17 July 2018

Top Ten Tuesday #127

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl and is a chance for everyone to get to know fellow bloggers and share lists. I love lists. Every week is a different list.

Top Ten Tuesday
This week is Top Ten 
Favorite Novellas/Short Stories
When it's nearing the end of the year, I love to cram novellas and short stories to hit my Goodreads Challenge target.
  • The Curious Case of the Werewolf That Wasn't by Gail Carriger
  • Yumi by Renee Ahdieh
  • Darkness Rises by Lily Blake
  • A Reaper of Stone by Mark Gelineau and Joe King
  • All Wrapped Up by Holly Smale
  • Dangerous Games by Teri Terry
  • Locked by Parker Witter (Rebecca Serle)
  • A Rare Book of Cunning Device by Ben Aaronovitch
  • The Haunting by Lily Blake
  • Lambs Can Always Become Lions by Charlotte Anne Hamilton

    What will you be reading this summer?

    11 July 2018

    Floored Blog Tour: Sahsa's Primark Haul

    I'm so delighted to be taking part in the Floored blog tour, and even more delighted that I get to focus on Sasha, who was easily my absolute favourite character in Floored. All of the characters are pretty easy to like (except Hugo) but Sasha hit close to my heart and home.

    Floored is a collaborative novel written by Sara Barnard, Holly Bourne, Tanya Byrne, Non Pratt, Melinda Salisbury, Lisa Williamson, and Eleanor Wood.

    I wanted to do something a bit different for Sasha, and I'm going to start by sharing Sasha's first line from Floored.

    I wake up with a jolt when one of the packages slides off the pile on my lap and into the footwell.

    What and Why

    Sasha is skint. She's had a pretty hard load in life. So when everyone chips together and gets her a £40 Primark voucher she's a bit chuffed and decides to have a bit of a splurge and get a new outfit and maybe a treat or two for herself too.
    White Grin And Bear It Cotton T-Shirt, Primark Haul
    Image Credit: Primark
    White Grin And Bear It Cotton T-Shirt, £2.50
    Primark slogan tees are excellent, aren't they? Versatile, super cheap, often funny as well as stylish. works with anything, basically.

    Blush Raincoat, Primark Haul
    Image Credit: Primark
    Blush Raincoat, £9.00
    Pretty and neutral and actually really handy. Being a blush colour it can go with pretty much any outfit. It's shower resistant and folds up into its own pocket so you can keep it in your bag.

    Super High-Waisted Skinny Jean, Primark Haul
    Image Credit: Primark
    Super High-Waisted Skinny Jean, £9.00
    Can't go wrong with a pair of high-waisted skinnies. Wardrobe staple that can be adapted for any situation.

    Monochrome Sneakers, Primark Haul
    Image Credit: Primark
    Monochrome Sneakers, £6.00
    Having a spare pair of shoes is always handy when you're skint, as you never know when you're going to wear out the sole of your current pair.

    Polka Dot Canvas Backpack, Primark Haul
    Image Credit: Primark
    Polka Dot Canvas Backpack, £8.00
    I mean it's polka dot so..? Can't beat a backpack for practicality, whether it's for the weekly shop, or just stuffing your stuff in for hanging out with friends. Or instead of using a carrier bag for your road trip snacks.

    Harry Potter Hufflepuff Notebook, Primark Haul
    Image Credit: Primark
    Harry Potter Hufflepuff Notebook, £3.00
    Sasha is a Hufflepuff, OK? She's the most lovely person, and even the other characters comment on just how selfless and nice she is. She gets this as a small treat to herself and because #HousePride.

    Beautiful Eau De Parfum, Primark Haul
    Image Credit: Primark
    Beautiful Eau De Parfum, £2.00
    Sasha gets this so she has something pretty to smell, something to lift her mood and remind her of good times, and to help keep her calm.

    Total £39.50

    Check out the other stops on our
    Collaborative Floored Blog Tour!

    Floored by Sara Barnard, Holly Bourne, Tanya Byrne, Non Pratt, Melinda Salisbury, Lisa Williamson and Eleanor Wood - Blog Tour

    Check soon for a review of Floored.

    What would be top of your Primark haul?

    09 July 2018

    The NetGalley Book Tag

    I saw this tag on Writing With Wolves and I couldn't resist it! It looks pretty fun and interesting, and I get most of my review copies from NetGalley. I have to admit that I am relieved that I don't have to actually disclose my NetGalley Feedback Ratio as it's pretty bad. I just can't help myself!

    NetGalley Member Professional Reader - The NetGalley Book Tag

    Auto-Approved: Who is one author whose books you automatically want to read, regardless of what they are about?
    There are a few! Teri Terry, Juno Dawson, Chris Russell, Eleanor Wood, Rachel Hawkins, Leigh Bardugo, Julie C Dao to name a few.

    Request: What makes you want to request a book on NetGalley?
    The cover, hype, a random why not? moment... I honestly have no self control on NetGalley and freely click away requests. It's led to some awesome reads, some less awesome reads, some new favourites and some things I'd rather have never read oops.

    Feedback Ratio: Do you review every book you read? If not, how do you decide what books to review?
    I try to at least write a few words on them, if it's a DNF I put why it wasn't for me, and if I didn't enjoy a book I try to find what other people might like about it. I always review on Goodreads but I'm more selective for my blog.

    Badges: If you could create one badge to display on your blog, what would it be for?
    Probably something like EPIC REVIEWER because I have sent feedback on over 600 titles and I'd like some validation of my efforts please.

    Wish For It: What’s one book you’re absolutely dying to read?
    Kingdom of the Blazing Phoenix by Julie C Dao. I am checking NetGalley daily at this point, because I absolutely loved the first book.

    2018 NetGalley Challenge: What was the last book that you received as an ARC that you reviewed? If you’ve never received an ARC, what’s the last book you reviewed?
    The last one I reviewed on my blog was The Foyles Bookshop Girls by Elaine Roberts, and on Goodreads it was A Miracle For The Baby Doctor by Meredith Webber.

    Although I try to review every book I read, not all of those reviews make it on to my blog. And sometimes it takes a while for reviews to make it to my blog.

    I am tagging:
    Dystopia Fantasy Reads
    Pretty Purple Polka Dots

    Do you get review copies from NetGalley?

    06 July 2018

    Five Things I Love About Book Blogging

    Sometimes blogging can be hard, especially book blogging. It's easy to undervalue yourself, to feel like you're screaming into the void. But despite that, I love it. I'm part of a community of book lovers, and I have met some of the nicest people ever. And, I'm lucky enough to occasionally get sent amazing books by awesome PRs. I've been feeling a bit down about everything recently, so it's time to take a look at why I really love book blogging.

    A pile of books

    1. Sharing the Love
      I get to share my love of books all of the time. I get to review them, rant and rave about them, recommend them. I can be inspired and do weird stuff like photo edits or blending tea or making playlists.
    2. Twitter Friends and Twitter Chats
      When I'm not reading books and blogs, or when I'm supposed to be reading books and blogs, I spend a lot of time on Twitter. I love joining SundayYA chat and ending the week on a high. I love being able to shout into the void and find my people, find someone who's read the same book so I can rant or rave, get endless recommendations.
    3. Reading Blogs
      I follow almost 500 blogs on Bloglovin and I try to read a few every day. I'm currently challenging myself to clear my feed once a day and it's so much fun. Reading everyone else's posts is so inspiring too. I've found new tags, been inspired to clear out my wishlist, and added to my TBR. I've even sorted my dog into her Hogwarts House.
    4. Hidden Gems
      I love it when someone posts about a book I've never heard of, or something that's been out for a while that I can easily pick up from the library. A self-published gem that went under the radar. Or something totally out of my comfort zone that I end up falling in love with.
    5. Branching Out
      Being a book blogger has helped build my confidence online - I'm no longer afraid of rejection (and there is so much rejection), I'm part of a larger community in general, and I've even worked with my first brand (eek!). This means I'm comfortable starting to introduce other little things to my blog, expanding my niche. I've talked about tea, candles, my local area, TV Shows, and I have plans to talk about even more.
    Book pages as a design feature

    What do you love most about book blogging?

    05 July 2018

    Mid-Year Freakout Blog Tag

    I was tagged by Manon from Cafe Manon to do the Mid-Year Freakout Blog Tag.

    So now it's time to actually freak out because it's JULY ALREADY WHAT??

    Let's go!

    The Extinction Trials by SM Wilson

    1. The best book you’ve read this year?
    Start with the hardest? Eek! Probably Clean by Juno Dawson. It was honestly absolutely glorious to read.

    2. The best sequel you’ve read this year?
    The Extinction Trials: Exile by SM Wilson was just incredible. It's absolutely how a second book should be, and if anything I loved Storm even more. I was in my element reading it!

    3. New releases you haven’t read yet but want to.
    Why yes I did get an ARC of The Smoke Thieves by Sally Green in a book subscription box. So naturally I haven't picked it up yet. I guess I'm a bit scared?

    4. Most anticipated releases for the second half of the year.
    I am absolutely desperate to get my hands on Kingdom of the Blazing Phoenix by Julie C Dao. When I read Forest of a Thousand Lanterns I fell in love with Xifeng, and I still have so long to wait! It's almost unbearable.

    5. Biggest disappointment.
    Probably To Kill a Kingdom by Alexandra Christo. The story itself was pretty good, but the writing style was not my cup of tea and I just didn't enjoy it. It's still a book I'd recommend though.

    6. Biggest surprise.
    I was really surprised by Smoke in the Sun by Renee Ahdieh because I thought the first book was maybe 2.5-3 stars, and I wan't even sure if I'd read the second one. But I did, and wow. It blew me away.

    7. Favourite new to you, or debut, author.
    SM Wilson - I have already read The Extinction Trials and its sequel TWICE this year, and I'm gearing up to jump in again. I just love the world created, the dinosaurs, the danger, the intrigue. I love it all.

    8. Newest fictional crush.
    Charlie from Queens of Geek by Jen Wilde is definitely my newest fictional crush! I loved her narrative, her character, her motivations. Everything. She's just amazing.

    9. Newest favourite character.
    Rin from The Poppy War by RF Kuang. I read this book back in April and I still haven't managed to review it as it is such a difficult/amazing/scary book. But Rin was absolutely the standout character for me.

    10. Book that made you cry?
    When I read Skylarks by Karen Gregory I was a mess of tears. It just hit so close to home, right in the feels.

    Skylarks by Karen Gregory

    11. Book that made you happy?
    Theatrical by Maggie Harcourt makes me smile just thinking about it! It is an absolute joy, full of love and passion. And a beautiful story to boot!

    12. Favourite book to film adaption?
    I don't think I've seen any this year oops. I am quite excited for The Darkest Minds to come out later this year, as I recently read the first book.

    ​13. Favourite post you have done this year?
    I had so much fun with this post, blending my own tea for Children of Blood and Bone. I got to be creative in a whole new way, and it was very fun too.

    14. Most beautiful book you have bought this year?
    Spark by Alice Broadway has the most gorgeous shiny cover! Being a magpie, I bought it immediately.

    15. What books do you need to read by the end of the year?
    All of them? Ha, I have far too many to list, but I recently chopped my To Be Read list down to around 300 so I'm getting closer.

    I'm tagging:

    What a fun tag :) It was nice to look back, this year has actually been incredible for book blogging. Have you done this tag? Leave a link below and I'm come visit :)

    02 July 2018

    Blog Tour: No Sad Songs by Frank Morelli

    You know when you read the blurb of a book and just know that you're going to love it? That happened for me with No Sad Songs by Frank Morelli, so when Neverland Blog Tours did a call out for bloggers I was ON IT.

    No Sad Songs by Frank Morelli Add to Goodreads
    Following a family tragedy, eighteen-year-old Gabe LoScuda suddenly finds himself thrust into the role of caregiver for his ailing grandfather. Between the shopping trips and the doctor visits with Grandpa, Gabe and his friend John try to salvage their senior year, meet girls, and make the varsity baseball team. It doesn’t take long for Gabe to realize that going to school and looking after a grandfather with Alzheimer’s is more work than he ever imagined. And when long-lost Uncle Nick appears on the scene, Gabe soon finds that living with Nick and Grandpa is like babysitting two grown men.

    Aside from John, the only person who truly understands Gabe is Sofia, a punk-rocking rebel he meets at the veteran’s hospital. When these three unlikely friends are faced with a serious dilemma, will they do what it takes to save Grandpa? If there’s a chance of preserving the final shreds of Grandpa’s dignity, Gabe may have to make the most gut-wrenching decision of his life - and there’s no way out.

    Source: Blog Tour

    5 Words: Family, responsibility, friendship, loneliness, help.

    No Sad Songs is quite a difficult book to read, and definitely a difficult book to review. It explores so many hard-hitting issues and situations with nuance, and I've probably rewrote this entire review about five times. It's not all fun, but it's not all doom and gloom. Despite starting with earth-shattering grief, the books still managed to make me laugh.

    I loved the exploration of friendship. Honestly, John is the best friend anyone could ever have. He's so supportive and selfless and it broke my heart a little how good he was to Gabe. He's there for him. All of the characters have real depth and it really endeared them to me.

    A young boy who only really cares about pizza and his crush is forced to change completely and take on new responsibilities when a terrible tragedy turns his world upside down.

    The devastating impact of Alzheimer's on those who suffer from it and their carers really hit home and made me cry a fair few times. But the way Gabe deals with his lot, caring for his grandfather, growing up too fast, is excellently covered.

    Grab this book and grab some tissues, cause you'll need them.

    No Sad Songs by Frank Morelli Neverland Blog Tours

    01 July 2018

    Clearing Out My Wishlist

    My Bookish Amazon Wishlist isn't too bad. There are only 40 items on it, so I guess I'm not doing too bad and it's a nice round number. But it's definitely time for a bit of a clear out, especially as my other half raided my wishlist for my birthday and I know a few have since arrived in subscription boxes. And when better than the first of the month?

    This post is inspired by Northern Plunder's Steam Wishlist Clean Up.

    Amazon Wishlist, showing The Reader by Traci Chee and Bygone Badass Broads by by Mackenzi Lee and Petra Eriksson

    On My Wishlist

    Shh I'm Reading Socks
    The Book Lover's Journal
    Books I Have Read & Books I Want to Read Notebook
    Knock Knock This is a Book Bookmark Pad 
    Leah on the Offbeat by Becky Albertalli
    The Gentleman's Guide to Vice and Virtue by Mackenzi Lee
    Wild Beauty by Anna-Marie Mclemore
    An Enchantment of RavenS by Margaret Rogerson
    The Queen’s Rising by Rebecca Ross
    The Wicked Deep by Shea Ernshaw
    Truly Devious by Maureen Johnson
    Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi
    The Hazel Wood by Melissa Albert
    State of Sorrow by Melinda Salisbury
    Practical Magic: by Alice Hoffman
    Bad Girls Don't Die by Katie Alender
    The Girl Savage by Katherine Rundell
    Cauldron's Bubble by Amber Elby
    The Sisters of Versailles by Sally Christie
    Thou Art The Bomb Socks
    Doreen by Ilana Manaster
    The Reader by Traci Chee
    Bygone Badass Broads by by Mackenzi Lee and Petra Eriksson
    Lady Renegades by Rachel Hawkins 
    Miss Mayhem by Rachel Hawkins
    Sky in the Deep by Adrienne Young
    A Beautiful Poison by Lydia Kang
    The Pirates by Matthew West
    The Pirate's Daughter by Margaret Cezair-Thompson
    I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith
    Long May She Reign by Rhiannon Thomas
    The Coldest Girl in Coldtownby Holly Black
    The Shadow Queen by CJ Redwine
    Black Powder by Ally Sherrick
    Clean by Juno Dawson
    The Elephant Thief by Jane Kerr
    The Last Leaves Falling by Sarah Benwell
    North of Porter by Kirkland Ciccone
    Daughter of the Flames by Zoe Marriott
    Queens of Geek by Jen Wilde

    Now it's time to chop some stuff off the list. I want to try to get it down to 25 items so wish me luck!

    Already Bought

    Turns out there are some I have already bought!
    I got the audiobook of Truly Devious by Maureen Johnson when it came out using my Aubile credit. Although I got a review copy of Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi, I couldn't resist the Waterstones exclusive with sprayed edges. Queens of Geek had been on my wishlist forever, and I finally caved and got the Kindle edition when it was on offer. I read a digital review copy of Sky In The Deep by Adrienne Young and I loved it so much that I pre-ordered it as soon as I had enough money.

    From Subscription Boxes

    Leah on the Offbeat by Becky Albertalli came in my June box from Wildest Dreams along with lots of other incredible goodies including Oreos. In the Wildest Dreams/SundayYA box I got Clean by Juno Dawson, which I was extra excited for because it's the first book that my review has been quoted in! The Hazel Wood by Melissa Albert was in one of my FairyLoot boxes a few months ago and had lovely sprayed edges. Another Fairyloot exclusive, State of Sorrow by Melinda Salisbury arrived in all of it's hardcover glory.

    Gifts and Giveaways

    I won An Enchantment of Ravens by Margaret Rogerson at the end of last year on a Twitter Giveaway so off it pops. I got Wild Beauty by Anna-Marie Mclemore for my birthday and it's absolutely gorgeous, honestly perfect for a gift. I'm reading it right now and really enjoying it, the writing begs to be read out loud.

    Changed My Mind

    Now it's time to get quite harsh and get rid of the things that I don't really need want.
    First up it's the Books I Have Read & Books I Want to Read Notebook. I have two book journals on my wishlist and looking at reviews I think I prefer the other one more. Next to face the chop is the Thou Art The Bomb Socks, because for a pair of socks (no matter how funny they are) they are very expensive.
    I'm dropping Lady Renegades by Rachel Hawkins from my list because it's book three in the series, and I have only read the first one! As much as I loved Rebel Belle, I don't want to get ahead of myself.
    Cauldron's Bubble by Amber Elby just isn't piquing my interest like it once did. The more I look at it, the less I want to read it, so it's bye for now. I used to use a Knock Knock This is a Book Bookmark Pad all of the time when I was reading, but it's been discontinued (boo) and so I'll have to take it off.

    The Ones I Should Have Dropped

    There are some books that I maybe should have dropped from the list, but for Reasons I am not.
    Why yes, I do already have seven different editions of I Capture The Castle by Dodie Smith. But I don't have this pretty yellow hardback and it's my favourite ever book, so it's staying. Doreen by Ilana Manaster is coming up as unavailable, but I really do want to read it and I can't find it to order it anywhere else.

    What's Left?

    Yaay I managed to get it down to twenty five! I'm counting that as a success because it was well over due and I am a book hoarder.

    Shh I'm Reading Socks
    The Book Lover's Journal
    The Gentleman's Guide to Vice and Virtue by Mackenzi Lee
    The Queen’s Rising by Rebecca Ross
    The Wicked Deep by Shea Ernshaw
    Practical Magic: by Alice Hoffman
    Bad Girls Don't Die by Katie Alender
    The Girl Savage by Katherine Rundell
    The Sisters of Versailles by Sally Christie
    Doreen by Ilana Manaster
    The Reader by Traci Chee
    Bygone Badass Broads by by Mackenzi Lee and Petra Eriksson
    Miss Mayhem by Rachel Hawkins
    A Beautiful Poison by Lydia Kang
    The Pirates by Matthew West
    The Pirate's Daughter by Margaret Cezair-Thompson
    I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith
    Long May She Reign by Rhiannon Thomas
    The Coldest Girl in Coldtownby Holly Black
    The Shadow Queen by CJ Redwine
    Black Powder by Ally Sherrick
    The Elephant Thief by Jane Kerr
    The Last Leaves Falling by Sarah Benwell
    North of Porter by Kirkland Ciccone
    Daughter of the Flames by Zoe Marriott

    When did you last clear out your wishlist?