Wednesday, 24 May 2017

Wednesday Catch-Up 24th May 2017

Every Wednesday we are linking up with WWW Wednesday. WWW Wednesday is hosted at Taking on a World of Words and asks 3 questions: What are you currently reading?, What did you recently finish reading? What do you think you'll read next? You can click any of the images to go to the Goodreads page for that book!

Currently Reading:

The Progeny
I am about halfway through The Progeny by Tosca Lee and really enjoying it. I was a little worried initially because I am not a huge fan of plots dealing with memory loss as it's painfully personal for me but I love the main character and there has been plenty of action so far. My main worry now is cliff-hangers as the second book isn't readily available here.

Recently Finished:

Shadows on the NileThe Italian WifeThe Lost Girl of Astor StreetSpontaneousScorchedThe Raft
Shadows on the Nile was a re-read and The Italian Wife was the second to last Furnivall book I haven't read yet (the last being The Liberation). I didn't enjoy either as much as I expected to but they were still good historical reads. The Lost Girl of Astor Street was a great mystery with compelling characters. I wish I'd felt more emotional attachment at times but for the most part I really enjoyed it and hope there will be more. Spontaneous was another disappointment, this time because I just didn't care about any of the characters. It became a real struggle to get through. To fend off a reading slump I then read two really short, quick reads. Scorched was a great addition to Stirling's series and I loved how it ended and The Raft was a very good survival read - definitely strong on the realism front though so be prepared for dehydration and shark attacks and starvation galore. Such fun.

Planning to Read Next:

TornVanishing GirlsContagion (Dark Matter, #1)
Next up I will be reading two recommendations from Veronika @ Regal Critiques. Torn by Cat Clarke is one I am very excited for. I believe Cat Clarke will be at YALC this year which Ann and I are attending so I'm eager to read some of her books before going. Meanwhile Lauren Oliver is always an author I am drawn to so Vanishing Girls is a promising one as well. And then finally I might read Contagion. I'm in a very weird, fickle reading mood at the moment and keep picking up books and putting them down one chapter later so it's hard to tell what I want to read next but this really does appeal to me so hopefully??

You can also find us on Goodreads (Ann and Clare), Facebook and Instagram to keep up with what we are reading.

Tuesday, 23 May 2017

Top Ten Books I Want To Read This Summer!!

Top Ten Tuesdays are hosted by The Broke and the Bookish and you can find a full list of past and future topics here. I love making TBRs (I'm not so good at sticking to them but that's a whole other issue) and there are a whole load of books I am determined to read this summer. That said, not sure how much reading time I'm going to have with my module exam and YALC but I'm being hopeful!!

1) Daughter of the Burning City by Amanda Foody
Daughter of the Burning City
I need this because 1) GORGEOUS COVER and 2) a Carnival. Carnivals and circuses are my reading kryptonite so I am 100% on board for this!

2) Wonder Woman: Warbringer by Leigh Bardugo
Wonder Woman: Warbringer (DC Icons, #1)
I mean. Leigh Bardugo is one of my all time favourite writers. Wonder Woman is my all time favourite superhero (although there isn't that much competition - I tend to love the villains) so this is a combination that should work super well!

3) The Gentleman's Guide to Vice and Virtue by Mackenzi Lee
The Gentleman's Guide to Vice and Virtue
This was described as Simon vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda meets the 1700s which is just everything I never knew I needed? Honestly my anticipation for this book is waaaay off the scale at this point.

4) Roar by Cora Carmack
Roar (Stormheart, #1)
Kind of a more tentative one? I love the idea of storm magic but I dunno. Going into this kind of skeptical and I'm not sure why. BUT again gorgeous cover. 

5) Tash Hearts Tolstoy by Kathryn Ormsbee
Tash Hearts Tolstoy
I'll be honest I wasn't initially that excited for this because me and Tolstoy? We don't get on so well. I've been trying to finish Anna Karenina for years and don't even get me started on War and Peace. But I love the idea of the plot and I adore that the MC is asexual so fingers crossed I can get past my Tolstoy aversion and love this!!

6) Want by Cindy Pon
This is one of those books I want purely because of hype. I'm not even sure what this is about honestly. Not a clue. But everyones raving about it and/or can't wait to get their hands on it so I'm getting vicariously excited? Is that a thing?

7) Spellbook of the Lost and Found by Moira Fowley-Doyle
Spellbook of the Lost and Found
I loved Fowley-Doyle's debut The Accident Season and this sounds just as great. Plus this cover just appeals to me more and more the longer I look at it.

8) The Sandcastle Empire by Kayla Olson
The Sandcastle Empire
ALL I know about this (literally all) is that there is some kind of survival element? I love survival stories for some reason. I would never actually "survive" any of them cause I am useless but they're so much fun to read!

9) Dreamfall by Amy Plum
Dreamfall (Dreamfall #1)
As someone who has insomnia this sounds like it could be potentially terrifying to me. And I'm not sure why that appeals to me but it does. Bring on the terror? Also I really enjoyed Amy Plum's past trilogy Die For Me.

10) A Beautiful Poison by Lydia Kang
A Beautiful Poison
Anything recommended for fans of Libba Bray or Cat Winters is just automatically going on my to-read list no questions asked. I've heard no advance anything about this book but I am still super excited for it!

You can also find us on Goodreads (Ann and Clare), Facebook and Instagram to keep up with what we are reading.

Monday, 22 May 2017

Monday Highlights #7

The idea is to just link your favourite blog post from the past week (for example a post you're very proud of or just had a lot of fun making) and then I, and hopefully others, can discover new blogs to follow and interact with!

You can also find us on Goodreads (Ann and Clare), Facebook and Instagram to keep up with what we are reading.

Sunday, 21 May 2017

Sunday Post 21st May 2017

The Sunday Post is a weekly meme hosted at Caffeinated Book Reviewer, it's a chance to post a recap on the past week, show the books we have received and share what we plan for the coming week. Stacking the Shelves is hosted by Tynga's Reviews and the aim is to show our newest books and to see what everyone else received for review, borrowed from libraries, bought in bookshops or downloaded on to their e-reader. As always you can click on any of the pictures to be taken to the Goodreads page for that book if you're interested in finding out more about it or click the title to go to the review.

Life Update:

I started my GCSE exams this week and have so far sat 6 of my 21 exams, so I thought that I would do an exam update this week and for the next few weeks of exams! So far this week I have done 2 Science, 2 RE and 2 French exams. I think that so far all my exams have gone okay, except I am a little worried about my French exam because I have never really been very good at speaking or understanding French. Hopefully however, I will be able to pass all my exams and get in to the courses I am hoping to do at College. I shall let you know next Sunday about my exams next week. Wish me luck!

Last Week on the Blog:

Books We Got This Week:

Almost a Bride (Destination Love, #2)Odd & TrueEverything Must GoWater in MayThe Smallest Thing
Almost a Bride by Jo Watson: Received copy from publisher for review. This looks super cute and summery and I am really looking forward to it! I'm a huge fan of the fake-relationship turns real trope. 
Odd & True by Cat Winters: I legit screamed when I got the approval email from Netgalley for this. Probably my most anticipated release for the rest of the year - I adore Cat Winters' books! 
Everything Must Go by Jenny Fran Davis: Just such a fun, crazy cover that initially drew me in. This was also received via Netgalley and is being released in October.
Water in May by Ismee Amiel Williams: Received via Netgalley. In contrast I was drawn to the simplicity of this cover and then totally hooked by the blurb. It sounds like it could be quite an emotional one. This is another September release!
The Smallest Thing by Lisa Manterfield: Received via Netgalley, this is released in June, I am really in the mood for thrillers/adventures at the moment so this intrigues me.
The Love InterestThe Secrets of Lizzie BordenThe Italian WifeThe Lost Girl of Astor StreetThe Scarecrow Queen (The Sin Eater’s Daughter, #3)
The Love Interest by Cale Dietrich: One of my most anticipated books of the year! Spies, and LGBT romance and tropes done in a tongue in cheek way. 
The Secrets of Lizzie Borden by Brandy Purdy: MORE Lizzie Borden you ask incredulously. Yes. More. Always more. 
The Italian Wife by Kate Furnivall: One of my favourite historical authors. This actually disappointed me (you can see my thoughts below).
The Lost Girl of Astor Street by Stephanie Morrill: A mystery set in the 20s was always going to appeal to me plus the cover is gorgeous!
The Scarecrow Queen by Melinda Salisbury: Found this in a charity shop and had to buy it cause I have the first two and now I can read the whole trilogy. Someday.
Gena/FinnContagion (Dark Matter, #1)Spontaneous
Gena/Finn by Hannah Moskowitz and Kat Helgeson: This is a novel told entirely through email and text and blog posts which is a format I adore. 
Contagion by Teri Terry: I went to Waterstones. Which is always a bad idea for my poor bank balance. But also a great idea because look these two books. I actually kind of want to read both of these straight away so I don't even feel guilty about it.
Spontaneous by Aaron Starmer: "The smartest and funniest book about spontaneous combustion you will ever read." Yeah sure John Green. Especially since it'll be the ONLY book about spontaneous combustion I've ever read? But hey this sounds really fun.

Reading Update:

Unfortunately due to doing exams almost everyday this week, I have not really been able to read much but I have read half of Love Song a book that Clare brought me recently so I am hoping to have finished that by next week.

 As Long As You Love Me (2B Trilogy, #2)The Shape of My Heart  (2B Trilogy #3)Queens of GeekThe Far Side of the Sun
As Long As You Love Me and The Shape of My Heart by Ann Aguirre: 4.5 stars, I just genuinely love this series! Such good romances and non-cliche-driven storylines. If you like New Adult then I very much recommend these! 
Queens of Geek by Jen Wilde: 4 stars, Super super cute. I really appreciated having a bi main character and also a main character with social anxiety - both felt real and relatable for me and it was so lovely to see myself in both main characters so clearly! 
The Far Side of the Sun by Kate Furnivall: 4.5 stars, Really enjoyed this. Super good character development, liked both romances and the mystery was engaging and I solved it just before the characters did which gave me this great "NOOOOO don't trust them" moment before they figured it out. 
Shadows on the NileThe Italian WifeThe Lost Girl of Astor Street
Shadows on the Nile by Kate Furnivall: 4 stars, I re-read this one just because reading The Far Side of the Sun reminded me how much I enjoyed it. I definitely still like it although I would now recommend TFSotS more!
The Italian Wife by Kate Furnivall: 3 stars, My least favourite Furnivall novel to date. Wasn't a huge fan of the way some of the issues were handled. The mystery and the romance were still good but I just wasn't as engrossed as I usually am with her books which was disappointing.
The Lost Girl of Astor Street by Stephanie Morrill: 4 stars, This was a really good read. The mystery was sad and compelling and I loved the main character. I do wish there had been a bit more character development for the other characters because I found myself badly unattached when something sad or eventful happened. But otherwise really good and I hope there are more books about Piper. 

Next Week on the Blog:

  • Monday Highlights #7
  • Top Ten Books I Want to Read This Summer
  • Wednesday Catch-Up
  • June Releases We're Making Room on Our Shelves For!!
  • Friday Reads
  • Mid Year Freak Out Tag

You can also find us on Goodreads (Ann and Clare), Facebook and Instagram to keep up with what we are reading.

Saturday, 20 May 2017

Dealing With Exam Stress

I have exams starting soon and one of the biggest issues I have in preparing for them is stress; I know I am not the only one so I thought that I might suggest a few ways of just trying to remain calm and not panic! One of the biggest reasons why I don't do as well as I could in exams is due to having panic attacks in the middle of them so I have tried to develop a few ways of coping and I thought I would share them with you!

1) The first way I try to stay in control and remain calm is to just breathe. I know it sounds simple but if you just take a minute to clear your head and breath, to just focus on the exam and the facts that you know and not what you don't know it can help.

2) Revise, if you don't want to panic about not doing well in an exam try to revise, the more you know about the subject that you are taking an exam on then the less you have to panic about. Again this sounds obvious but I know that some people in my school haven't done as much revision as they could and it is going to cause unnecessary stress that could be avoided, trust me!

3) Be prepared, double check that you have all the equipment the night before the exam, if you have all the equipment that you need and you know that you definitely have it then it gives you one less thing to worry about. I went shopping and brought all new exam equipment and it made me feel ready, prepared and calmer.

4) Don't over revise. Although revision can help, it is also one main sources of stress, not know what to revise because their is so much, doing hours of revision and feeling like you cannot remember anything. You can always make a revision timetable depending on what exams you have first, and do revision in 30-45 minute sessions otherwise after about 45 minutes you stop being as focused and then the revision isn't worth the stress.

I hope that this can help a few of you, if you are sitting any exams soon and if you are Good Luck!

You can also find us on Goodreads (Ann and Clare), Facebook and Instagram to keep up with what we are reading.

Friday, 19 May 2017

Friday Reads 19th May 2017

Friday 56 is hosted at Freda's Voice and Book Beginnings is hosted by Rose City Reader. The idea is to share a sentence or so from the first page and the 56th page of the book you are currently reading!

The Lost Girl of Astor Street
Book Beginning:
"If he doesn't know it already, Jeremiah Crane is about to learn that I'm not the type of girl to be pushed around."
Friday 56:
"Why's he razzing me so hard? It's not like I went out of my way to talk to him. He called out to me." 
I'm actually heading straight into a reading slump at the moment and I'm hoping this book will pull me out (no pressure)! I love a good mystery and I love books set in the 1920s so this should be a definite win? I'm only one chapter in but I like what I've read so far!  

You can also find us on Goodreads (Ann and Clare), Facebook and Instagram to keep up with what we are reading. 

Thursday, 18 May 2017

Clare Reviews: Crimson & Bone by Marina Fiorato

Crimson and BoneTitle: Crimson & Bone
Author: Marina Fiorato
Source: Received from the publisher for an honest review
Pages: 320
Rating: 5/5
Blurb: London, 1853. Annie Stride has nothing left to live for - she is a penniless prostitute, newly evicted from her home and pregnant. On the night she plans to cast herself from Waterloo Bridge into the icy waters of the Thames, her life is saved by Francis Maybrick Gill, a talented pre-Raphaelite painter - and her world is changed forever.

Francis takes Annie as his artist's muse, elevating her from fallen woman to society's darling. With her otherworldly beauty now the toast of London, her dark past is left far behind. 
But Annie's lavish new life is not all is seems - and there are some who won't let her forget where she came from...

I've been a fan of Marina Fiorato for a long, long time. I've read and loved every one of her books and I can confidently say that this is her best yet! This was compelling and dark and so, so tense right from the start and I was hooked from page one right to the end. 

Annie was such a wonderful character, full of self-doubt and with a dark past and all of her actions were so understandable. I could feel her anxiety not to return to her old life, I could understand her desperation and her willingness to give Frances whatever he wanted so that she could hang on to security. I can't remember the last time I was this entranced by a character. Frances of course is slightly more complicated but the progression of his character development or rather the revelation of his character was so thoroughly fascinating and realistic.

Marina Fiorato is as good at writing settings as she is people - which means they feel alive! London and Venice are both cities I know and love and she brought them to life expertly, whilst Florence is somewhere I haven't yet been but she made me love it! It's so easy to get lost in her books because they feel so real and alive - everything is tangible and exciting and you just want to keep turning the pages indefinitely. 

It's hard to know how to talk about the plot without giving something away - and I don't want to do that because the darkness at the centre is best discovered on your own. But - imagine My Fair Lady but way creepier and more intense. I started with relief and then progressed to this niggling unease like something was going to go bad soon and then slow dawning horror and finally a tense finale. It was just so wonderfully crafted. 

At the beginning of each chapter you get a small snippet from Mary Jane's point of view - Mary Jane being a friend of Annie's who committed suicide shortly before the novel begins. These were the parts that caused my unease the most and definitely added to the eeriness and the sadness of the book. It also let you get to know Annie from someone else's eyes - someone who had loved her and seen the good in her in a way that Annie couldn't. 

Overall this novel just stunned me. Everything from characters to plot to writing to the atmosphere was about as close to perfect as a book can get. I definitely recommend this to anyone who loves historical fiction or dark stories although it might not be for those who dislike profanity or sexual content (which you probably already gathered from the blurb). 

Trigger Warnings:
Rape, physical abuse, emotional abuse, suicide.

You can also find us on Goodreads (Ann and Clare), Facebook and Instagram to keep up with what we are reading.

Wednesday, 17 May 2017

Wednesday Catch-Up 17th May 2017

Every Wednesday we are linking up with WWW Wednesday. WWW Wednesday is hosted at Taking on a World of Words and asks 3 questions: What are you currently reading?, What did you recently finish reading? What do you think you'll read next? You can click any of the images to go to the Goodreads page for that book!

Currently Reading:

Shadows on the Nile
I've actually read Shadows on the Nile before but reading The Far Side of the Sun reminded me how much I love Furnivall's writing so I picked it up again. Plus I am always a sucker for books set in Egypt! 

Recently Finished:

 Crimson and BoneMaplecroft (The Borden Dispatches, #1)The Dead HouseMissingTill Death
I Want It That Way (2B Trilogy #1)As Long As You Love Me (2B Trilogy, #2)The Shape of My Heart  (2B Trilogy #3)Queens of GeekThe Far Side of the Sun
Crimson & Bone was even more incredible than I had expected. Marina Fiorato's books are always excellent but this was, in my opinion, her best so far. It was an engrossing tale of obsession and I couldn't put it down! My full review will be up tomorrow. I then picked up Maplecroft which was nothing like I had expected. Being me the mention of Lizzie Borden was enough for me to buy it and I never read the blurb but it was a lot of fun and I loved all the characters. The Dead House was another excellent read, it definitely had me guessing the whole way through and even now I'm not sure I could say conclusively whether Carly/Kaitlyn were really two people in one body or whether is was MPD. Missing was a YA thriller from the wonderful Kelley Armstrong and it was good. I found the mystery less baffling than I expected to but it was still engaging which is good. Till Death was my only real disappointment of the week, although I liked the romance I found the mystery was way too easy and thus I got a bit bored of it. I then read Ann Aguirre's 2B trilogy which was great - definitely the best New Adult series I've read with engaging characters and plots that weren't as cliche driven as I usually expect from NA. Queens of Geek was a super cute, super lovely contemporary. I loved that it was set around a Con and with vloggers - I loved even more that one main character was bi and the other was socially anxious (and on the autism spectrum). I then started The Far Side of the Sun which is a Kate Furnivall novel I've been wanting to read for a while, it was really good as all her books are. She is another favourite in Historical fiction. 

Planning to Read Next:

The Italian WifeThe LiberationThe Himalayan Summer
Continuing on this Kate Furnivall kick I'm on I am planning to read The Italian Wife and The Liberation which are the only other books by her I have yet to read. Then all I have to do is wait impatiently for her next book to be published! And then I am going to pick up The Himalayan Summer which I am really looking forward to. Louise Brown's Eden Gardens was a really promising debut and this sounds even better so I'm excited! 

You can also find us on Goodreads (Ann and Clare), Facebook and Instagram to keep up with what we are reading.