Tuesday, 27 June 2017

Top Ten Books Of 2017 (So Far)

Top Ten Tuesdays are hosted at The Broke and the Bookish and you can find a list of past and future topics here. I'm not limiting myself to books published in 2017 although I think most of the books I've read this year have been new releases so it may well work out that way anyway. These are in no particular order. 

1) The Smoke Hunter by Jacquelyn Benson
The Smoke Hunter
If Lara Croft meets Indiana Jones hasn't already hooked you then I don't even know what I could say. Honestly this book was like all my favourite things rolled into one and I just adore it!

2) My Lady Jane by Cynthia Hand, Jodi Meados and Brodi Ashton
My Lady Jane: The Not Entirely True Story
This was hilarious. I studied the Tudors-Stuarts in college so I was fairly familiar with the story of Lady Jane Grey but OMG this was such a funny and cute take on it (not words I ever thought I'd use in reference to Jane Grey). I cannot wait for the other Jane books!

3) Georgia Peaches and Other Forbidden Fruit by Jaye Robin Brown
Georgia Peaches and Other Forbidden Fruit
I loved how positive and interesting this book was. The romance made me swoon and then cry and then smile so much.

4) Dreamfall by Amy Plum
Dreamfall (Dreamfall #1)
Definitely better than I was expecting. The nightmares in this were super creative and genuinely scary in places plus the whole concept actually felt way more real to me (and therefore more frightening) than I was expecting. 

5) This Is Not a Test by Courtney Summers
This is Not a Test (This is Not a Test #1)
One of the best zombie books I have ever read. And there weren't even that many zombies in it. Mostly this focused on the human tensions and problems during the zombie apocalypse with plenty of in fighting and drama and tension over supplies and mistrust and it was just so great.

6) The Diabolic by S.J. Kincaid
The Diabolic (The Diabolic #1)
Nemesis was badass. All the characters were compelling and unique and I actually kinda loved the romance. The whole concept of this was great and I am excited/nervous for the second book because I don't know where Kincaid will take the story from here!

7) Holiday in the Hamptons by Sarah Morgan
Holiday In The Hamptons
Sarah Morgan's books are always a delight. This was super romantic and sweet and funny and sad. The characters were realistic and awesome. 

8) Done Dirt Cheap by Sarah Nicole Lemon
Done Dirt Cheap
AMAZING girl friendship and two very different but totally awesome romances. Just writing this makes me want to re-read the book. It was also really tense and exciting.

9) Devil in Spring by Lisa Kleypas
Devil in Spring (The Ravenels, #3)
My favourite Lisa Kleypas book so far (which is saying something). I loved the tie-ins with the Wallflower series and the romance itself was just the sweetest. 

10) Dating Sarah Cooper by Siera Maley 
Dating Sarah Cooper
I've already re-read this book. Twice. And am planning to re-read it again in the next couple of months. I'm obsessed. Just. Everything about this book. I loved it so much.

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

Monday, 26 June 2017

Monday Highlights #12

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 and discover more posts from blogs we may already follow!

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

Sunday, 25 June 2017

Sunday Post 25th June 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 Reading Reality 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.

Last Week on the Blog:

  • Monday Highlights #11
  • Top Ten Series I've Been Meaning to Start
  • Wednesday Catch-Up
  • Clare Reviews: Broken Branches by M. Jonathan Lee
  • Friday Reads: Beauty Queens by Libba Bray
  • July Releases

Books We Got This Week:

The First Days  (As the World Dies, #1)Fighting to Survive (As The World Dies, #2)Siege (As The World Dies, #3)Feed (Newsflesh Trilogy, #1)
The First Days/Fighting to Survive/Siege by Rhiannon Frater: ZOMBIES! Because apparently I'm super into zombies (literally two months ago I said I hated anything with zombies and now look at me - so fickle!) plus I adore these covers.
Feed by Mira Grant: See. More. Zombies. It's a problem. This actually has quite mixed reviews but it's so hard to find YA zombie books (you THINK they're more common than they are) and so I thought I'd take a chance.
A Drop of NightRoar (Stormheart, #1)Going BovineAn Act of Silence
A Drop of Night by Stefan Bachmann: Already super engrossed by this one. Whenever a new book arrives I read the first sentence as soon as I open the package and I did that here but couldn't stop reading so I'm three chapters in now. 
Roar by Cora Carmack: I've been really excited about this one because I love the colours on the cover and I'm really intrigued by elemental magic so this just looks great. 
Going Bovine by Libba Bray: This is somehow the last of Libba Bray's published books that I haven't read and I obviously NEED to read it. 
An Act of Silence by Colette McBeth: Received for review from the publisher. This sounds intense and intriguing and I am very excited for it. 

Reading Update:

Shadow Run (Kaitan Chronicles, #1)Liberty: The Spy Who (Kind of) Liked MeEliza and Her MonstersFalse Hearts
Shadow Run by Adrianne Strickland & Michael Miller: 4 stars, So, so badass. The characters were deep and interesting and the plot was so compelling and then towards the end it was proper heart pounding action - it felt very Star Wars dramatic which I loved and I can't wait for book 2!
Liberty by Andrea Portes: 2 stars, I'm a fan of sarcasm. I'm at least 50% sarcasm. But god, Paige/Liberty was 100% sarcasm. Not even remotely kidding she was never ever serious and it drove me up the wall. I get defense mechanisms but it was so hard to connect with her character when she didn't seem to care about anything? Plus she just came across as super immature which didn't exactly seem realistic for the whole covert op thing she had going on.
Eliza and Her Monsters by Francesca Zappia: 4.5 stars, Very accurate mental health rep and some very compelling characters. I loved the drawings as well, they added a lot of detail to the story.
False Hearts by Laura Lam: 3 stars, This was very entertaining and I thought it was very good, however I always struggle a little with Sci-Fi (unless its space pirates. I love space pirates). 

Next Week on the Blog:

  • Monday Highlights #12
  • Top Ten Books of 2017 (So Far)
  • Wednesday Catch-Up
  • Blog Tour: Why I Loathe Sterling Lane by Ingrid Paulson
  • Friday Reads
  • Clare's June Wrap Up & July TBR

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

Saturday, 24 June 2017

July Releases I'm Excited For!!

The DisappearancesBecause You Love to Hate Me: 13 Tales of VillainyThe Dragons of Nova (Loom Saga, #2)The Last MagicianThe Library of FatesThe Ends of the World (The Conspiracy of Us, #3)Lucky in LoveDaughter of the Burning CityFirst We Were IVChanges in Latitudes
The Disappearances by Emily Bain Murphy: Releasing July 4th 2017. If I'm honest I'm a little vague on the actual plot details of this. But there is a chain of literary clues (my favourite kind of clues) and a mysterious location and it sounds eery and wonderful. 
Because You Love to Hate Me edited by Ameriie: Releasing July 11th 2017. An anthology from basically all my favourite authors entirely centered around villains?? Uh, yes please! Basically this sounds amazing and I am so, so excited for it!
The Dragons of Nova by Elise Kova: Releasing July 11th 2017. The sequel to the wonderful The Alchemists of Loom. Arianna became an instant favourite for me and I can't wait to read more of her. 
The Last Magician by Lisa Maxwell: Releasing July 18th 2017. The more I hear about this book the more excited I get to the point where it's getting ridiculous. The cast of characters sound almost Six of Crows levels of awesome and I'm seriously missing the Dregs so that couldn't be a better hook for me.
The Library of Fates by Aditi Khorana: Releasing July 18th 2017. This is one I've only recently seen around so I don't know a whole lot about it. But anything recommended for fans of The Wrath and the Dawn or The Star Touched Queen is something I want to read. 
The Ends of the World by Maggie Hall: Releasing July 18th 2017. The third and I think final book in The Conspiracy of Us series. I have only read the first one so far but it was super exciting and compelling. A little cheesy but in a way I enjoyed. I only held off on reading the second book because I was wary of cliff-hangers so once the series is complete I can hopefully jump back in.
Lucky in Love by Kasie West: Releasing July 25th 2017. I recently discovered Kasie West (or recently discovered my love for her books) and so am now eagerly anticipating this one. It sounds a lot like Windfall in the whole winning-the-lottery premise but I'm super ready for a cute summer read!
Daughter of the Burning City by Amanda Foody: Releasing July 25th 2017. I have a review copy of this which I'm super excited to dive into soon because CIRCUSES. Circuses are basically my kryptonite. Plus, I believe this is LGBT which is exciting!
First We Were IV by Alexandra Sirowy: Releasing 25th July 2017. Secret societies. That is all. Secret societies fascinate me so, so much. AND it has revenge in it. My favourite.
Changes in Latitude by Jen Malone: Releasing 25th July 2017. "A road trip romance that takes place at sea." I'm sold. Doesn't this just sound like the perfect summer read? I've never read anything else by Jen Malone but this is definitely going on my wishlist!

These are the ten most exciting releases (for me) in July - I'm interested to see which books you are most anticipating? And if you're lucky enough to have read any of these already let me know what you thought of them. 

Link up to Monday Highlights

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

Friday, 23 June 2017

Friday Reads 23rd June 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!

Beauty Queens
Book Beginning:
"This book begins with a plane crash."

Friday 56:
"It's such a tragedy that those sweet girls who follow the rules set down for women through the ages while also learning to walk in bathing suits and heels are the ones who are now missing."

This is actually one of my all time favourite books and I am re-reading it! It's so funny and the characters are amazing and just seriously, read it if you haven't already because this book is amazing. 

Link up to Monday Highlights

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

Thursday, 22 June 2017

Clare Reviews: Broken Branches by M. Jonathan Lee

Broken BranchesTitle: Broken Branches
Author: M. Jonathan Lee
Format: Paperback
Source: Received from publisher for an honest review
Pages: 294
Rating: 4/5

Blurb: A family tragedy was the catalyst for Ian Perkins to return to the isolated cottage with his wife and young son. But now they are back, it seems yet more grief might befall the family.
There is still time to act, but that means Ian must face the uncomfortable truth about his past. And in doing so, he must uncover the truth behind the supposed family curse.

If this weren't a book I was sent for review I would, honestly, probably never have picked it up. I'm a certified wimp so anything that looks remotely creepy is going on my NOPE pile. But I was intrigued enough about this to brave it and I am so glad I did.

Firstly, it's not actually that creepy. There are some creepy elements to it and there are definitely moments you don't want to be reading at night but for the most part I would describe this as more atmospheric than out and out scary. The perspective of the book switches between Ian of the past  (growing up in the house) and Ian of the present whose marriage is suffering after "an incident" and is desperately seeking answers about the family "curse".

Ian wasn't a hugely likable character at times but he felt so relatable to me that I just couldn't stop reading and rooting for his life to get back on track. He is struggling but his struggle felt real and it just made everything so intense. Even day to day activities suddenly seemed incredibly important whilst I was reading them. We do get a little bit from his wife's perspective but it's always quite vague and I definitely didn't get inside her head in the same way. One of the great things about this book is how it plays with perspective. I, as a reader, made so many assumptions and accepted so much as fact because it came from Ian and I know I am going to re-read this at some point and try to see how much I trust his viewpoint in the future.

But the real standout quality of Broken Branches was the writing style. This isn't a hugely plot driven book. The entirety of the book is set in one location for the most part and you're following just a handful of characters so a lot of what I was reading was just general daily activity. And yet the writing style, how crisp and important every single word felt, kept me compelled the whole way through. Ian answering emails could be an interesting paragraph purely by virtue of how well Lee wrote it. 

If you need plot driven action and excitement in your books or you were hoping for something very creepy then this probably isn't for you. But if you want a book that will make you hold your breath and doubt your own perspective and just blow your mind with great writing - then definitely give this a try. I now want to read more by M. Jonathan Lee and I can say with confidence that I don't even care what genre or plot it is because it's the writing that enthralls me. 

Trigger Warnings:
Grief, Suicide

Link up to Monday Highlights

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

Wednesday, 21 June 2017

Wednesday Catch-Up 21st June 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:

Beauty Queens
Beauty Queens is just incredible and I love it. And I really feel in the mood to re-read it (again) so here I go. Again. God this book. 

Recently Finished:

The Sandcastle EmpireTruth or DareShadow Run (Kaitan Chronicles, #1)Liberty: The Spy Who (Kind of) Liked MeFalse Hearts
The Sandcastle Empire is a book I have mixed feelings for. I felt like the first half was incredible and I loved the complex dynamics and the survival and discovery aspects - it was exciting and engaging. And then halfway through it turned into romance/dystopian and we lost that which wasn't as good for me personally. Truth or Dare again was a half and half book. I liked the first half but the second half after you flip over felt almost skippable in places. Shadow Run was really good. I love space adventures and politics and it definitely got way darker than I was expecting which I kind of liked. There isn't a cliff-hanger but I am desperate for the next book because this was awesome. Eliza and Her Monsters was really sweet for the most part and then suddenly gut punches you with emotions and I was not prepared (TW: Suicide ideation and anxiety). I loved all the graphic novel drawing sections as they really added to the feel of the story. Finally I read False Hearts which I did enjoy. I wasn't totally blown away but I did like the diversity a lot and I am definitely interested in reading the next book which I believe is a companion novel not a direct follow on?

Planning to Read Next:

The First Days  (As the World Dies, #1)Fighting to Survive (As The World Dies, #2)Siege (As The World Dies, #3)
I really want to read the As the World Dies series next because I love zombies. I mean zombie stories. Not actual zombies. This is described as Thelma & Louise meets The Walking Dead and boy does that appeal to me!! 

Link up to Monday Highlights

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

Tuesday, 20 June 2017

Top Ten Series I've Been Meaning to Start

Top Ten Tuesdays are hosted at The Broke and the Bookish and you can find a full list of past and future topics here

1) Mistborn by Brandon Sanderson
The Final Empire (Mistborn, #1)
I've had this recommended to me by practically everyone. I even own the books. But I never seem to get around to actually reading them! Someday. Someday it will happen.

2) The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch
The Lies of Locke Lamora (Gentleman Bastard, #1)
This is my brother's all time favourite series. He rates it just above Six of Crows. So obviously I'm desperate to read them... but the series isn't complete and that scares me. 

3) Truthwitch by Susan Dennard
Truthwitch (The Witchlands, #1)
I pre-ordered the first book then never read it. I pre-ordered the second book telling myself that now I WOULD read them. But nope. Here I am in June still not having read them. I am the worst.

4) Snow Like Ashes by Sara Raasch
Snow Like Ashes (Snow Like Ashes, #1)
I love fantasy so I was initially super excited for this series but since buying the first book I've seen such mixed reviews that I keep putting it off. Her next series sounds incredible and it's entirely possible I'll wind up skipping this one and then maybe coming back to it later?

5) The Glittering Court by Richelle Mead
The Glittering Court (The Glittering Court, #1)
Another one with mixed reviews. I love Mead's other books (or the ones that I've read which is basically just Vampire Academy and Bloodlines) and these sound awesome. I'm just.... so many mixed reviews. What if I dont like it?

6) The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin
The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer (Mara Dyer, #1)
I'm unsure on these just because I don't know how mind bending/scary they are? I'm a lot better with scares and thrillers than I was when this series originally came out but I'm still nervous.

7) The Goddess Test by Aimee Carter
The Goddess Test (Goddess Test, #1)
Hades and Persephone retellings will get me every time. Hades is my favourite. Persephone is badass and kind. I just seriously need to read these.

8) The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan
The Forest of Hands and Teeth (The Forest of Hands and Teeth, #1)
See when these first came out I hated zombies. I thought they were boring. Since then I've developed an obsession with zombie books and movies (almost entirely down to my youngest brother honestly) and so now really want to read these.

9) Enclave by Ann Aguirre
Enclave (Razorland, #1)
Please see above for zombie obsession! I read some of Aguirre's new adult recently and loved them and whilst this is obviously a very different genre it still looks great!

10) The Winner's Trilogy by Marie Rutkoski
The Winner's Curse (The Winner's Trilogy, #1)
Just heard all the good about this series. I need to read it. I can't quite understand why I haven't already.

Link up to Monday Highlights

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