On the TBR Pile: Stealing Snow

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Seventeen-year-old Snow has spent her life locked in Whittaker Psychiatric—but she isn’t crazy. And that’s not the worst of it. Her very first kiss proves anything but innocent…when Bale, her only love, turns violent.

Despite Snow knowing that Bale would never truly hurt her, he is taken away—dashing her last hope for any sort of future in the mental ward she calls home. With nowhere else to turn, Snow finds herself drawn to a strange new orderly who whispers secrets in the night about a mysterious past and a kingdom that’s hers for the taking—if only she can find her way past the iron gates to the Tree that has been haunting her dreams.

Beyond the Tree lies Algid, a land far away from the real world, frozen by a ruthless king. And there too await the River Witch, a village boy named Kai, the charming thief Jagger, and a prophecy that Snow will save them all.

2016 in Books

According to Goodreads, I have read 83 books this year. But that doesn’t count rereads, and I’ve read all the Sarah J Maas books once (some of them twice. One of them maybe three times), the SoC books once, the entire Psy-Changeling series once (yes, all like, 15 of them.) and a few other of favourite series, so in total, I’ve probably read about 150 this year.

And then theres all the picture books I never put down that I’ve read (and I read a lot of the, thanks to working in a bookshop)…so lets make that more like….over 200 books? Who knows.

Maybe I ought to keep better track somehow.

The longest book I read this year was Empire of Storms- which I am still reeling from.

I also rated 16 books with 5 stars this year- EoS being one, along with ACoMaF (that’s the three times read one, if you were wondering), Blue Lily Lily Blue, Heartless, Crooked Kingdom, the V E Schwab books and The Princess Bride.

Only one book got one star from me- Low Red Moon- which was so bad I didn’t review, but did do a live blogging reading of which you can find here (along with some other entertaining reads).

Four books were marked two stars- two of which were in the same series, Snow Like Ashes. (I hoped it would getter better. It didn’t)

There have also been a few DNF this year (I should keep better track of these too) including The Book Thief, which I attemped twice, and gave up twice.

There are still a few books that I am reading- Nevernight (which is brilliant), A Monster Calls (which I am not enjoying as much as people said I would) and American Gods (which is very strange but I think I like- being only 50 pages in, I haven’t made up my mind yet)

But over all, this has been a better year for books than not- some brilliant new releases, a return to some older favourites (Even though I’m still going to pretend Cursed Child is nothing to do with Potter)  and some wonderful new authors appearing on the scene.

Here’s to next year- a year where at least three series I am reading finish (anyone else terrified for ACoWaR?) and some new beautiful editions come out (hello, nice looking Beauty and the Beast) and some interesting new books coming out.

Happy reading, everyone, and happy new year!

A Quiet Kind of Thunder, by Sara Barnard

SAVE THE DATE: 12th January 2017

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Steffi has been a selective mute for most of her life – she’s been silent for so long that she feels completely invisible. But Rhys, the new boy at school, sees her. He’s deaf, and her knowledge of basic sign language means that she’s assigned to look after him. To Rhys, it doesn’t matter that Steffi doesn’t talk, and as they find ways to communicate, Steffi finds that she does have a voice, and that she’s falling in love with the one person who makes her feel brave enough to use it.

This is Sara’s second book. Her first book- Beautiful Broken Things- is a book I’ve been meaning to buy since it came out, but it wasn’t even until half way through this one that I realised it was the same author- and this has only solidified the fact that I need to get my hands on Beautiful Broken Things as soon as I can.

I loved so many things about this book.

  1. it’s a love story. And I may love my angst, death filled fantasy books, but I also adore well written romances. Added bonuses for happy endings.
  2. the main character has anxiety- its explained in the book that she hasn’t technically got selective mutism anymore, its more her anxiety that makes her struggle to talk. She has panic attacks, she struggles to even talk in school, she overthinks so much…and you know something? So many teens are going to read this book and understand. Here is a character they can all relate to- and some of them can read it and think ‘if she can try that, get through that, then so can I.’
  3. the secondary main is deaf. And it’s not just skated over- its a huge part of who he is, and the book is so well done in how he is treated by others, the differences between the hearing community and the deaf community. And the struggles he has to face every day. It kinda makes you realise how much we take our hearing for granted, and how difficult it would be without it- added in the fact that so few people know sign language. (I so wish it was taught at schools)
  4. at the end of some chapters, it describes some BSL which IS WONDERFUL. (this is in the proof copy, I’m hoping it stays in the finished ones next month)

The book isn’t out yet, which means I don’t want to stay too much about it and spoil it, so…

… It was really interesting reading the way the parents treated the two teens- the girls mum constantly almost…reminded her of her mutism. She worries that by her using BSL, she will want to talk even less. She worries that being with the boy, the girls world will get smaller, not bigger. I get it, I do. Parents worry and panic about their children, but often, with cases like this- they forget that if they don’t let their kids try something, it can be worse. (although, being visually impaired, I do think I aged my mother by 30 years while I was growing up, because I had a drive to prove myself. Sail around the UK? Learn Archery? So I do understand- especially with his parents. They just worry) 

It was also interesting seeing how she portrayed the how the two communicated. BSL was bolded, sometimes mixed with actual speech. Though he could lip read, the book brought up problems- a bearded man who’s mouth could not be seen, people acting like ‘deaf’ meant ‘stupid’ (this was like, one line, and my god I wanted to slap that character)

I just… it was just a good book- a brilliant book filled with real characters, relatable characters, and a pretty cute love story.

Heartless, Marissa Meyer

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Catherine may be one of the most desired girls in Wonderland and a favorite of the unmarried King, but her interests lie elsewhere. A talented baker, she wants to open a shop and create delectable pastries. But for her mother, such a goal is unthinkable for a woman who could be a queen.

At a royal ball where Cath is expected to receive the King’s marriage proposal, she meets handsome and mysterious Jest. For the first time, she feels the pull of true attraction. At the risk of offending the King and infuriating her parents, she and Jest enter into a secret courtship.

Cath is determined to choose her own destiny. But in a land thriving with magic, madness, and monsters, fate has other plans.

Don’t you just hate it when books come out in other countries four months before they are published in your own? Heartless isn’t actually published in the UK for a month or two, and I was going to leave reading it until nearer that date- but then I kept seeing pictures online of the US editions and gave into the temptation. (Thank Publishers for early copies) (and for early copies that have better covers than the UK cover)
Meyer’s other series- The Lunar Chronicles- is one of my favourite series for many reasons. Fairytale retelling with wonderful female characters, friendships, and not a single love triangle in sight. So of course, I was looking forward to this one as well.
And I was not disappointed.
The start was rather slow- the whole first chapter, I read worried that it was going to be like this the whole way through, but it sped up quickly, introducing all the characters in a wonderful way that really makes you wish Wonderland actually existed. All the players we know well were there- just slightly different, as it was not only Meyers version of them, but a prequel of how they became who there were when Alice’s Wonderland.
But once the story started, it was wonderful. The first time we get introduced to Jest is one of my favourite scenes (okay most of my favourite parts included Jest) but it wasn’t even the romance I liked- Unfortunately, in this book, there was a slight love triangle which irritated me at some points, but didn’t ruin the book for me. What I liked was that Jest was fun, and like his name, full of mischief. And Raven, his constant companion, who mainly spoke in rhyme (and quotes from the poem of the same name).
I think my only issue (aside from triangles) with this was actually the main character, Cath. There were times when I could have quite happily shaken her with how stupid she was being, and how much she didn’t think about the people around her. Her development was great- it’s rare to have a book where the main character gets worse, not nicer, but sometimes, it felt off. Like I didn’t believe she would have done some things, or would have done something differently.
But the book, overall, was fun to read, and once again showing why Meyer is the queen of fairytale retellings.
four stars

On the TBR Pile: Take Back the Skies

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Catherine Hunter is the daughter of a senior government official on the island of Anglya. She’s one of the privileged – she has luxurious clothes, plenty to eat, and is protected from the Collections which have ravaged families throughout the land. But Catherine longs to escape the confines of her life, before her dad can marry her off to a government brat and trap her forever.

So Catherine becomes Cat, pretends to be a kid escaping the Collections, and stows away on the skyship Stormdancer. As they leave Anglya behind and brave the storms that fill the skies around the islands of Tellus, Cat’s world becomes more turbulent than she could ever have imagined, and dangerous secrets unravel her old life once and for all . . .