Lists · top ten tuesday · Weekly Posts

Top Ten Tuesday: Favourite Tropes

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together.

This week’s TTT is favourite tropes, which has been quite fun to write. This post is going to have a mixture of both plot and character tropes as both are important within stories.


All Myths Are True

Examples: Harry Potter, The Shadowhunter Chronicles, Buffy the Vampire Slayer

Badass Normal

Examples: Jude Duarte (The Folk of the Air), Chaol Westfall (Throne of Glass), Liam Ironarm (The Song of the Lioness)

Chosen Family

Examples: Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Harry Potter, A Court of Thorns and Roses

The Chosen One

Examples: Harry Potter, Buffy Summers (Buffy the Vampire Slayer), Aelin Ashryver Galathynius (Throne of Glass)

Defrosting Ice Queen

Examples: Cheryl Blossom (Riverdale), Cordelia Chase (Buffy the Vampire Slayer), Valencia Perez (Crazy Ex-Girlfriend)

Enemies to Lovers

Examples: Feyre and Rhysand (A Court of Thorns and Roses), Jude and Cardan (The Folk of the Air), Spike and Buffy (Buffy the Vampire Slayer)

Evil Vs Evil

Examples: Cersei and the High Sparrow (Game of Thrones), President Snow and President Coin (The Hunger Games), Regina and Mr Gold (Once Upon a Time)

Fractured Fairytale

Examples: Once Upon a Time, East by Edith Pattou, Spindle’s End by Robin McKinley

Villain Protagonist

Examples: Cersei Lannister (A Song of Ice and Fire/Game of Thrones, Olivia Pope (Scandal), Elphaba (Wicked by Gregory Maguire)

Wicked Witch

Examples: The Wicked Witch of the West (The Wizard of Oz), The White Witch (The Chronicles of Narnia), Ursula (The Little Mermaid)


Post a link to your TTT in the comments and let me know your favourite tropes

Review

Review: Blood Born by Renee Lake

Blood Born
Author: Renee Lake
Publication Date: 16th July 2019
Goodreads | Amazon
Rating: ★☆☆☆☆
*Finished copy provided by the author in exchange for an honest review*


Maddie West is excited about the new adventure’s college life promises. She dreams of rallies, weird roommates and challenging classes. She expects to have fun, play house with her girlfriend and make new lifelong friends. All while keeping an eye on her terminally ill twin brother. What she doesn’t expect is a mystery and tragedy within her first semester. Is there a monster preying upon the people at her college?

Will she betray her friends and succumb to temptation? Can they band together and fight the darkens? Or is the darkness that surrounds her not the enemy…. but her only ally?’

*Trigger warning: this book contains a journal entry depicting sexual assault*


This book is a genderbent modern day retelling of Dracula by Bram Stoker, the story follows Maddie (Mina) as she starts studying at Humboldt State university with her girlfriend Jo (Jonathan), while attending the university they are introduced to professor Valora Dulcara (Dracula).

Despite the interesting and original premise I felt this story just kind of fell flat at times. Many of the side characters just seemed quite interchangeable and all the characters just had such bizarre reactions to things. Like I get that story about a vampire professor isn’t going to be realistic but some of things were just so out there that I truly just didn’t understand the thought process at all.

I think one of my biggest problems with this story is how much the the author seemed to want the reader to root for Maddie and Valora, despite the fact that they are both just terrible people (or vampire in Valora’s case). Maddie’s girlfriend is sexually assaulted and nearly gang raped at one point and it’s just written off as not that bad (a view that isn’t challenged at all within the story itself, I think one of the character’s actually says something like ‘it could have been worse’). Yet Jo lying about liking a book is deemed to be truly terrible and evil.

One thing I did like was the story about Valora and her daughters and I’d rather have just read about that to be honest as opposed the story about Maddie, Valora and Jo.


Thanks for reading and let me know your thoughts on Blood Born in the comments

Lists · top ten tuesday · Weekly Posts

Top Ten Tuesday: Characters I’d Like to Be Besties With

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together.

This week’s TTT is characters I’d like to be besties with. This is such a fun and interesting idea, as I’m sure there a so many different characters everyone loves and I’m so excited to see who other people pick.

*All images in the post have been taken from the relevant fandom wikis*

Tessa Gray (The Shadowhunter Chronicles)

Tessa’s my favourite character in the Shadowhunter Chronicles (although I haven’t read TDA yet I doubt it’ll really change my opinion. And I hope if she were really we’d be get on well. She likes books, I run a blog about books. She’s taller than average for a woman, I’m taller than average for a woman. She’s immortal, I haven’t died yet so could be immortal, who knows.

Jem Carstairs (The Shadowhunter Chronicles)

Jem’s just such a nice character, like who wouldn’t want to be friends with him?

Magnus Bane (The Shadowhunter Chronicles)

Okay so being friends with Magnus just sounds like it would be so much fun. Parties? Check. Glitter? Check. Magic? Check.

Isabelle Lightwood (The Shadowhunter Chronicles)

Isabelle is just so badass and I love her so much. I’d also want to be her friend so I could find someone better for her than Simon cause come on she is way way out of his league.

Morrigan (A Court of Thorns and Roses)

Besties can also mean girlfriends or wives right? Mor’s just such an amazing character and I love her so much.

Azriel (A Court of Thorns and Roses)

I love a good gossip and as a shadowsinger Azriel knows pretty much everyone’s secrets. Also reckon he needs someone to be like ‘look it’s been centuries it’s time to get over Mor. And like Elain is right there dude.’

Manon Blackbeak (Throne of Glass)

Haven’t finished this series so this might change but I doubt it. Let’s be real we all need someone as ride or die as Manon. Also would like to be her friend to give her advice like ‘girl stop thinking about Dorian when Elide is right there.’ Realising now quite a few of these choices are based on me wanting to tell the characters their choices are wrong.

Jude Duarte (The Folk of the Air)

Actually think Jude just needs an actual friend to be like ‘no don’t do that’ or ‘you’re literally queen can’t you just pardon yourself?’ Also she just needs a hug to be honest.

Luna Lovegood (Harry Potter)

She’s always the fictional character I get compared to the most so I’d reckon we’d get on quite well.

Hermione Granger (Harry Potter)

Hermione was pretty much my first ever favourite character so obviously I’d love to be besties with her.


Let me know what you think of my squad and post a link to your TTT in the comments

Book Tag

Birthday Book Tag

As you can probably tell by the title today’s my birthday!!! Today I’m turning 22 (God I feel so old?). Hopefully going to be getting some books as presents.

I’ve seen this tag on so many blogs (if you know who created it please let me know so I can credit them) and have been waiting for my birthday to come around so I could give it a go.


Count your birth day along your bookshelf and then subtract your birth month. What book does it land on?

Grace and Fury by Tracy Banghart

This is such a good book (if a little predictable at times) and I really enjoyed reading it. Haven’t read the sequel yet so I’m not sure if it continues to be as good, but it is on my Summer TBR so hopefully going to get around to it soon.

If you could spend your birthday with any fictional character who would it be? And why?

Morrigan – A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas

Obviously spending my birthday with one of the Fae would be amazing. And do you know what else would be fun? Drinking wine and going to a gay bar. And with Morrigan I could do both. She’s also my favourite character in the series so that’s also a bonus.

Find a book that takes place in the season you were born

City of Bones by Cassandra Clare

This one took a little while because I realised I don’t really have any idea what season most of the books I’ve read are set in, obviously if there’s snow I presume it’s Winter but other than that I have no clue. But according to the timeline on the Shadowhunters wiki City of Bones takes place in August. With the rest of the events taking place by the end of the year? Like what a stressful year that was for poor Clary?

Find a book that is the colour of your birth stone

Wicked by Gregory Maguire

My birthstone is peridot which is green, and obviously the go to book for green is the one with a green main character. I do really love this book and its’ sequel Son of a Witch, although I haven’t yet read the rest of the series. They’ve been on my TBR for years so hopefully I’ll get around to them one day.

Is there a series with the same number of books as your age? If so what is it?

If there is a series with 22 books out then I haven’t found it. Both the Tortall universe by Tamora Pierce and the Shadowhunter Chronicles by Cassandra Clare are nearing it though. These series both have upcoming releases so maybe in a couple of years they might catch up with my age.

Pick a book set in a time period, country or world you would like to live in

The Night Court – A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas

Specifically Velaris. Although maybe not during the events of the third book, but other than that it’s shown to be such a nice place to live.


Thanks for reading and I’ve hope you’ve enjoyed this post. Let me know in the comments if you agree with my choices, or if you’re my birthday twin I’m always on the lookout for those.

Lists · top ten tuesday · Weekly Posts

Top Ten Tuesday: Cover Redesigns

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together.

This week’s TTT is all about cover redesigns we’ve either loved or hated. I figured the best way to go about this topic is to split it into five and talk about both.


Five Cover Redesigns I’ve Loved

The Bear and the Nightingale (The Winternight Trilogy #1) by Katherine Arden

US Edition / UK Hardback Edition

Grace and Fury (Grace and Fury #1) by Tracy Banghart

US Edition / UK Edition

Rose Daughter by Robin McKinley

1997 Edition / 1998 Edition

Wild Magic (The Immortals #1) by Tamora Pierce

1997 Edition / 2004 Edition

Vampire Academy (Vampire Academy #1) by Richelle Mead

2007 Edition / 2009 Edition


Five Cover Redesigns I’ve Hated

Clockwork Angel (The Infernal Devices #1) by Cassandra Clare

2010 Edition / 2015 Edition

Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West (The Wicked Years #1) by Gregory Maguire

1995 Edition / 2009 Edition

Spindle’s End by Robin McKinley

2003 Edition / 2010 Edition

The Surface Breaks by Louise O’Neill

2018 Edition / 2019 Edition

Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone (Harry Potter #1) by J.K. Rowling

1997 Edition / 2011 Edition


Post a link to your TTT in the comments and let me know which cover redesigns you’ve loved and/or hated

Monthly Wrap-Ups

July Wrap-Up

Can’t quite believe that we’re already going into August, this year has gone by far too quickly. On the whole July has been quite a good month, I went on holiday, started my blog, attended YALC for the first and got a new job. Alongside all of that this month I’ve managed to read 6 books and 3 novellas. Here’s what I’ve read this month.

Books:
Crown of Midnight by Sarah J. Maas ★★★★★
Heir of Fire by Sarah J. Maas ★★★★★
The Wrath and the Dawn by Renee Ahdieh ★★★★☆
The Rose and the Dagger by Renee Ahdieh ★★★★☆
Girls of Paper and Fire by Natasha Ngan ★★★★★
The Shamer’s Daughter by Lene Kaaberbol ★★★☆☆


Novellas:
The Crown and the Arrow by Renee Ahdieh ★★★☆☆
The Moth and the Flame by Renee Ahdieh ★★★★☆
The Mirror and the Maze by Renee Ahdieh ★★★★☆

Pages: 2,467


Hope you’ve all had a good month. Let me know what you’ve been reading in the comments.

Weekly Posts · WWW Wednesday

WWW Wednesday #2

WWW Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Sam@TakingOnAWorldofWords and was formerly hosted by MizB@ADailyRhythm. Just answer the three question. It’s open to anyone to participate, even without a blog you can comment on Sam’s post with your own answer. It’s a great way to share what you’ve been reading! All you have to do is answer three questions and share a link to your blog in the comments of Sam’s blog.

The Three Rs are:

What are you currently reading?

What did you recently finish reading?

What do you think you’ll read next?


Currently Reading

Queen of Shadows by Sarah J. Maas

Have been really enjoying this series so far. Started this book yesterday and so far it’s good, hoping it stays that way. I have yet to read a Sarah J. Maas book that I’ve disliked though so I’m hopeful.

Recently Read

Girls of Paper and Fire by Natasha Ngan and The Shamer’s Daughter by Lene Kaaberbol

Enjoyed reading both of these books. My review of Girls of Paper and Fire can be found here, and I’ll have a review of The Shamer’s Daughter up within the next few days.

Reading Next

Empire of Storms by Sarah J. Maas, Jack of Thorns by A.K. Faulker or Here There Are Monsters by Amelinda Berube

Not sure which of these I’m going to read first but I’m planning to read all of them soon.


Let me know you’re currently reading and what you’re planning to read next in the comments.

Review

Review: The Shamer’s Daughter by Lene Kaaberbol

The Shamer’s Daughter
Author: Lene Kaaberbol
Series: The Shamer’s Chronicle #1
Publication Date: 4th July 2019 (new edition, original published earlier)
Goodreads | Waterstones | Amazon
Rating: ★★★☆☆
*Finished copy provided by the publisher via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review*

The first step into the thrilling middle grade fantasy world of The Shamer Chronicles.

Dina has inherited her mother’s gift: she is a Shamer, able to see a person’s most guilty secrets just by gazing in their eyes. But sometimes her gift feels more like a curse. Nobody seems to want a friend who can see their deepest shame.

But when Dina’s mother is called to Dunark Castle to uncover the truth about a terrible crime, Dina must come to terms with her power, and quickly – or let her mother fall prey to the vicious dragons of Dunark.


This book series leans more toward middle grade than YA, although I think readers of YA could still enjoy it as it’s quite a fun and engaging read. Maybe the later books change a bit but I think this series so far could best be described as Game of Thrones but for children. Mostly because the main character Dina, kind of reminds me of Arya Stark.

This story has such an original premise. The creation of a shamer, someone who can reveal someone’s biggest shame and darkest secrets is such an original idea that I hadn’t seen elsewhere before. The way in which Dina has to learn to deal with both the good and bad sides of this gift makes quite an interesting read.

The story itself was a pretty good read, focusing on Dina and her time at Dunark Castle. Including being bitten by a dragon and uncovering the true perpetrator of a murder. While some of the topics may be somewhat unsuitable for super young readers it should be fine for anyone over the age of ten.

Not sure I’ve I’m going to continue with this series but I’d definitely recommend it for readers in the 9-14 age group.


Thanks for reading and let me know what you think about The Shamer’s Daughter in the comments.

Lists · top ten tuesday · Weekly Posts

Top Ten Tuesday: Series I’ve Completed

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together.

This week’s TTT is an open choice so I’ve decided to go for ten series I’ve fully read and loved. This won’t include some series that I do really enjoy, such as ‘Throne of Glass’, as I haven’t actually finished it yet.


The Winternight Trilogy by Katherine Arden

The Winternight Trilogy is probably my all-time-favourite series. Both the characters and story are amazing and Arden is just such a brilliant writer. I can’t recommend this series enough.

The Rime Chronicles by Mindee Arnett

Okay so this is a duology rather than a series but I’m including it on here because not enough people know of its existence and you all are missing out. The ending of the duology also sets up the possibility for a number of spin-offs so you never know, this could soon become a series.

The Infernal Devices by Cassandra Clare

Was pretty slow getting around to reading this series and only actually read it this year but I fell completely in love. Which I’m sure most of the people who have read this series will understand. And yes I did spend pretty much all of Clockwork Princess in tears.

The Mortal Instruments by Cassandra Clare

Okay so I don’t think this series is as good as The Infernal Devices but I do still love it. Also may be an unpopular opinion but I think the later three books are better than the original trilogy.

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

I read these back to back on holiday in France about a year or two before the movie came out and completely fell in love with them. I’m super excited about the prequel coming out next year.

A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas

My problematic fave. I get that there are a lot of problems with this series but honestly I just enjoyed reading it so much. Also any book series that has a character like Morrigan in is going to be auto-fave.

The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer

The Lunar Chronicles is just such an original take on the fairytale retelling genre, even if it is still very hetero. The books are just such fun reads and I fell in love with so many of the characters.

The Song of the Lioness Quartet by Tamora Pierce

Tamora Pierce is pretty much the queen of fantasy so obviously her books where going to end up on this list (although I haven’t read all of them yet, hence why only two series are here). If you haven’t read this series yet then you really must.

The Immortals Quartet by Tamora Pierce

And here’s the second Tamora Pierce series on this list. Set in the same world as The Song Of The Lioness Quartet, this series picks up years later introducing new characters and continuing the stories of some familiar ones.

Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling

I’ve loved these books so much ever since I was a child. Although I do think there’s definitely parts of them that haven’t aged so well I think I’ll also love them due to the nostalgia element. Plus I’m pretty sure I’d due a re-read soon.


Thanks for reading and post your TTT in the comments below and let me know some of your favourite series.

Review

Review: Girls of Paper and Fire by Natasha Ngan

Girls of Paper and Fire
Author: Natasha Ngan
Series: Girls of Paper and Fire #1
Publication Date: 6th November 2018
Goodreads | Waterstones | Amazon
Rating: ★★★★★
Trigger warning: this book contains sexual assault, rape, violence, abuse and animal death

Each year, eight beautiful girls are chosen as Paper Girls to serve the king. It’s the highest honor they could hope for…and the most cruel. But this year, there’s a ninth girl. And instead of paper, she’s made of fire.

Lei is a member of the Paper caste, the lowest and most persecuted class of people in Ikhara. Ten years ago, her mother was snatched by royal guards, and her fate remains unknown. Now, the guards are back, and this time it’s Lei they’re after – the girl whose golden eyes have piqued the king’s interest.

Over weeks of training in the opulent but oppressive palace, Lei and eight other girls learn the skills and charm that befit being a king’s consort. There, Lei does the unthinkable – she falls in love. Her forbidden romance becomes enmeshed with an explosive plot that threatens her world’s entire way of life and Lei, still the wide-eyed country girl at heart, must decide just how far she’s willing to go for justice and revenge.’


I’ve finally read this book after hearing about it for months. And I’m just going to start by saying it definitely lives up to the hype. Girls of Paper and Fire is such a fresh and original fantasy story. Through this story Ngan deals with extremely complex and traumatising topics such as sexual assault, with the sensitivity that these topics really should be given. Something that is sadly quite rare in fiction.

Ngan weaves together elements of fantasy, aspects of her Malaysian heritage, her own experiences and the experiences of women living in patriarchal societies to create a fantasy world that is immensely intriguing, albeit one I would rather not live in.

Told from the point of view of Lei, one of the paper girls brought to the Hidden Palace to be trained as a consort to the Demon King. The story follows her as she is forcibly taken from her childhood home, then as she begins to rebel against the Demon King and as she falls in love with one of the other paper girls. The narrative voice of Lei is incredibly compelling and had me rooting for her throughout the story.

Ngan’s storytelling also allows the nuanced feelings of the paper girls and other women living in this society to be clearly shown. Showing how the ways in which some of these women rebel are incredibly important even if its only small.

All in all I really loved this book and I can’t wait for the sequel to be released later this year.


Thanks for reading and let me know what you thought of Girls of Paper and Fire in the comments.