Monday, February 6, 2017

January Reads 2017

First reading round up post of the year! I usually get a nice amount of books read in January which is true for this year as well. Except towards the end when I lost my interest in reading. So far in February I haven’t finished anything which is quite rare for me. Hopefully my mojo will pick up and I guess we’ll find out if that happens next month but for now, January!

January Reads

Paper Girls Volume 2 by Brian K Vaughan and Cliff Chiang

Paper Girls volume 2 by Brian K Vaughan graphic novel

So when it came to picking my top 5 graphic novels for last year I debated whether to chose Saga or Paper Girls (both by Brian K Vaughan) and chose Saga but Paper Girls was fantastic, I really liked it. I finally got a chance to read the second volume which I liked but didn’t love. I love the colours used but the plot just didn’t interest me as much as the first. I am looking forward to the next on though as it’s such fun. While I haven’t seen Stranger Things, I’ve heard a lot of people say that if you’re a fan of stranger things then you’ll enjoy this.

 

 

 

A Tragic Kind of Wonderful by Eric Lindstrom

a tragic kind of wonderful Eric Lindstrom YA novel about a bipolar girl

This is a YA novel that centres around teenager Mel, who is trying to cope with numerous things in her life along with trying to manage her bipolar disorder. I enjoyed this book, I have a full review that you can check out here. [NetGalley]

 

 

 

 

 

 

It’s All Absolutely Fine by Ruby Elliot

it's all absolutely fine by rub elliot graphic novel

Ruby Elliot writes and draws about her own experiences with depression, eating disorder, self harm that has a perfect mix of seriousness and humour. Ruby is so open and honest about her experiences. I laughed out loud several times reading this. If you liked Hyperbole and a Half, then you'll enjoy this book [NetGalley]

 

 

 

 

 

Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi

homegoing by yaa gyasi

Homegoing is a beautiful but heart wrenching debut novel that I just absolutely loved. We are introduced to two half sisters in Ghana, one who marries a slave trader and another who is sold as a slave bound for the South of America. We follow their descendants for several generations and see how their lives unfold. It was a tough read at times as Gyasi doesn’t shy away from terrible issues like rape, slavery and drug addiction but it’s so rich and incredible. I have a full review which you can check out here. [NetGalley]

 

 

 

 

The Secret Lives of the Amir Sisters by Nadiya Hussain

the secret lives of the amir sisters by nadiya hussain winner of the great british bake off gbbo

The Secret Lives of the Amir Sisters centres around 4 sisters, the only Muslim family in a small English village. Each one is different and have their own struggles. Fatima is the oldest, almost 30 and still living at home. Working as a hand model, when's she's not trying for the umpteenth time to pass her driving test, she spends her time locked in her room, eating squeezy tube cheese and trying to figure out who she really is. Farah is happily married but desperately wants to be a mother. She barely talks to her twin sister Bubblee, who's living in London determined to make it as an artist. Mae is 16 and the youngest feels like her family don't listen to her. Which is fine, because she has thousands of followers on YouTube and social media who are happy to listen to her. They're all overshadowed by their only brother Jay, who is useless but their parents put him on a pedestal being the only son. When a tragedy strikes the family, we see all the secrets tumble out and everyone's relationships are tested. Will the family fall apart or will the sisters be able to pull together and put their differences aside?

I enjoyed reading this book, coming from a big family myself I like family sagas and seeing all the different dynamics between characters. I felt like it was a bit slow in the beginning but sometimes I don't mind this when it's a family saga as it gives you a chance to find out more about the characters. I do think it was a bit cliched at times but there are plenty of other books and genres I read and enjoy that rely on cliches and tropes. It didn't make me enjoy the book any less. What I particularly liked about the book is that it's giving you an insight to a family structure and culture that doesn’t really get a big spotlight in popular fiction. I was drawn to this book as I read Sofia Khan is Not Obliged by Ayisha Malik, about a young Muslim woman living in London, and I was interested in reading more books that feature Muslim characters (side note: I was happy to see Ayisha's name crop up at the beginning of this book as it states Nadiya wrote this book with the help of Ayisha). A light and easy read [NetGalley]

 

The Mystery of the Painted Dragon by Katherine Woodfine

the mystery of the painted dragon by katherine woodfine, book 3 in the sinclair mystery series

Another fun mystery from Sophie and friends in the Sinclair series! I enjoy this middle grade detective mystery series, it reminds me of reading Enid Blyton as a child. I think this is great for boys and girls aged 9-14, but older people will certainly enjoy it too [NetGalley]

 

 

 

 

 

Eat Sweat Play by Anna Kessel

eat sweat play how sport can change our lives by anna kessel

So I first heard about this book from Leena Norms. I was intrigued but didn’t put it on my TBR straight away. However when I saw one of the categories for the 2017 Book Riot Read Harder Challenge was to do with sport, this is the first book that came to mind. And I’m so glad I read it! Kessel tackles women and sport from so many different aspects, such as why girls tend to hate sports in school, sports and periods, sports and pregnancy and why watching sports is very much seen as a guy thing. I loved how in the first chapter people such as Serena Williams, the Gladiators from the 90s TV show and Sporty Spice were all mentioned, it helped pique my interest. The chapters on periods and pregnancy just opened my eyes to the sexism in the industry and how taboo it still is to mention these things. It reminded me of the Olympics last year when Chinese diver Fu Yuanhui mentioned how her performance had been hindered a bit as she was so tired because of her period and how shocked some people were that she mentioned it. This made me think about sports in a different way and inspired me to try and have a more genuine interest in women’s sports. I watched the first Women’s Six Nations game with Ireland against Scotland on Friday and loved it so hoping I can watch it more in the future. This book should be read by men and women. It’s a great non-fiction book as it’s so well researched, the author has passion which comes through but it’s not dense and heavy and it’s easy to read.

 

Goldie Vance Volume One by Hope Larson and Brittany Williams

Goldie Vance Volume One graphic novel

I first saw this when Rincey from Rincey Reads mentiond it in a video. Goldie is a sassy smart 16 year old who lives in a Florida resort hotel with her father. She works part time as a valet but really she wants to be a detective and often sticks her oar in to help the in-hotel detective. This was super fun, it has a great Nancy Drew in the 50s/60s vibe, I loved the characters, drawing style and colour scheme. It’s good clean fun, the volume ends at the end of the story line arc so there’s no cliff hangers which is cool and I’m looking forward to continuing this series! [NetGalley]

 

 

 

Three Dark Crowns by Kendare Blake

three dark crowns by kendare blake

On the island of Fennbirn, every generation a set of triplet girls are born and each one are equal heirs that possess different gifts. They are separated at a young age and raised by different families who possess the same gift as them, hoping to nuture and train them up in their gift so that when they turn 16, they’ll be skilled enough to fight against the other sisters and win the throne. The 3 sisters in this book are Katharine (poisoner who can ingest deadly poisons without harm), Mirabella (an elementalist, who can control the elements) and Arsinoe (naturalist, who can grow beautiful flowers and control animals). The stories starts a few months before they turn 16 and we see the POV of each sister as the chapters alternate between them. This book was a bit slow at the beginning, there’s a lot of characters to get your head around and concentrates on world building. But I quite liked this as sometimes book 2 is all about building up plots and I find it can ruin the momentum. At first I was a fan of Katharine and didn’t want the story to switch to the other sisters but I got hooked into their stories too and loved them all by the end. The action ramps up towards the last 30% of this book and I’m hoping it’ll keep going in book 2. Overall I really liked this and I can’t wait to pick up book two later this year.

 

If I Was Your Girl by Meredith Russo

If I Was Your Girl by Meredith Russo

I mentioned this book in my book haul post, it’s about a trans girls and is written by a trans woman author. Amanda is 18 and has moved to live with her father and finish off her final year of school. She’s torn between keeping to herself to keep her secret (and self) safe and living her true life and allowing herself to have friends and fall for a boy. I read this book really quickly one weekend and it’s so important to have visibility for trans characters and trans writers. It’s a great contemporary YA read for covering trans issues from different angles.

 

 

 

Captain Marvel Volume One: In Pursuit of Flight by Kelly Sue DeConnick, Dexter Soy, Emma Rios, Richard Elson, Karl Kesel and Al Barrionuevo

captain marvel in pursuit of flight volume one

With the Captain Marvel film due out next year I wanted to read some of her comics and chose this place to start from. I wasn’t bowled away by this, I only found it ok as I wasn’t a massive fan of the artwork and the storyline was confusing at first to me. I would continue the story though and give it a chance but alas it doesn’t seem to be in the library!

 

 

 

 

 

January Stats

Number of Books Read- 11

Ratio fiction to non-fiction- 9:2

Number of eBooks- 7 (A Tragic Kind of Wonderful, It’s All Absolutely Fine, Homegoing, The Secret Lives of the Amir Sisters, The Mystery of the Painted Dragon, Goldie Vance and If I Was Your Girl )

Number of Books Borrowed from Library- 2 (Captain Marvel and Eat, Sweat, Play)

 

Book Riot Read Harder Challenge 2017 Checklist

Read a book about sport- Eat, Sweat, Play

Read a book that is set more than 5000 miles away from your location- A Tragic Kind of Wonderful

Read a fantasy novel- Three Dark Crowns

Read a YA or middle grade novel by an author who identifies as LGBTQ+ – If I Was Your Girl

Read a superhero comic with a female lead- Captain Marvel

Read a book wherein all point-of-view characters are people of colour- Homegoing

6 out of 24 challenges down. I was going to mark off two more but decided against it. For the debut novel, I was going to have The Secret Lives of the Amir Sisters but because it’s written with someone’s help, I decided against it. For the all ages comic I was going to pick Goldie Vance but I felt it might more be YA and when I looked at how other people had labelled it they went more YA than all ages.

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Recent Book Haul

Hello! So the last time I did a book haul was at the beginning of October so of course there’s been plenty of books gathered since then, especially since Christmas was last month. Here’s a look at all the physical books, ebooks and audiobooks I’ve recently acquired. First up the physical books, 14 in all!

book haul

From the top to bottom

Three Dark Crowns by Kendare Blake. I’ve heard a lot about this and almost bought it when I was in Manchester earlier in the month but I held off in case I couldn’t fit it in my bag as I had already picked up 3 books! It’s a YA book about an island where every generation triplet sisters are born, raised apart in different factions and then must battle each other after they turn 16 for the crown.

 

A Mindfulness Guide for the Frazzled by Ruby Wax. So by the time I got to the airport it turns out I did have enough room for another book and seeing as this was half price at WH Smith that week I decided to pick it up. It is all about mindfulness, that massive big buzz word, but Ruby promises that well informed and funny so hopefully this’ll be good.

 

The Sun is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon. I’ve heard nothing but good things about this book so I picked this up while in Manchester. This is a contemporary YA novel about Natasha and Daniel who meet unexpectedly a few hours before Natasha’s family is being deported.

 

Casting Off by P.I. Paris. I bought this on a whim, a copy for me and a copy for my friend to say thank you for letting me stay with her in Manchester. I bought mainly because of the knitting on the front! As far as I can tell, when a care home is due to put up prices, the residents get together to try and raise some money. Something for when I want something light to read.

 

Wild Irish Women by Marian Boderick. My aunt bought me this for my birthday, there’s small biographies a few pages long of loads of Irish women over the years and all the interesting and cool things they’ve done. It’s not enough to get an in depth about every woman but it’s enough to spark interest and shine a light on those who may not be well known.

 

The Lonely Life of Biddy Weir by Lesley Allen. I showed this book in my Bord Gais Energy Irish Book Awards post as the book I got in the goodie bag. One day Biddy Weir rings a day time television show about their topic at hand: bullying. Biddy has a story to tell. I don’t know much else but I’m intrigued!

 

Gemina by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff. The follow up to Illuminae, which I loved when I read it earlier this year. My library is way behind buying follow up books and the likes (and the request a purchase option has disappeared) so I got this as a Christmas present.

 

The Other Half of Happiness by Ayisha Malik. I loved Sofia Khan is Not Obliged when I read it last year and so I requested this ARC off the publishers Bonnier Zaffre and they kindly sent it to me.

 

A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman. I don’t know a lot about this to be honest, I keep seeing it mentioned on the Rick O Shea book Club though! This was in a box at my local library as free to take and while I had no books at the time to put in, I will next time I’m there to make up for taking it!

 

Purple Hibiscus by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. The other book I took out of the box at the library and another one I don’t know too much about. But I loved Americanah so I’m pretty happy to go into this not knowing a lot.

 

Hygge: The Danish Art of Happiness by Marie Tourell Søderberg. My last book haul post had a book about hygge and this one does too! This time it’s one that I won on Twitter and I have high hopes as it’s written by a Dane.

 

Holding by Graham Norton. This is another book I mentioned in the Irish Book Awards post as one I was adding to my TBR after seeing Graham win and talk about the book. My Mum got it for Christmas and passed it on to me (my sister also got a copy, good thing I didn’t buy one for myself!). Set in a small fictional town in Cork, secrets start to come to light after the remains of a body are found on a farm.

 

Solar Bones by Mike McCormack. This was one of the books of the month on the Rick O’Shea Book Club but I didn’t get to read it at the time. Then it won Book of the Year at the Irish Book Awards so I decided to pick it up when I was in Manchester (good thing too as it’s gone to reprint several times as it’s so popular!). I don’t know anything about it as I’ve heard it’s best to go into it not knowing!

 

The Great British Bake Off Colouring Book by Tom Hovey. My brother got me this at Christmas and it’s beautiful! So on GBBO when the show talks about the bake the contestant has planned it shows a beautiful mock up drawing of the plans. This book has several versions of some of the big favourites over the past few years that you can colour in which is pretty cool!

Now onto the e-books, six in all. All on offer on Kindle

ebooks

Dark Matters by Blake Crouch. A friend loved this so when it was on offer I bought it. It was also on Audible offer around the same time but after talking to my friend she thought it would be a better experience to read it.

 

Year of Yes by Shonda Rhimes. Yes, this is THE Shona Rhimes, creator of Grey’s Anatomy (which I must try get back into. Or maybe I should start it again…?) Anyway, as far as I can tell this is just about saying yes more when all you want to do is say no. I doubt it’ll be as weird and wacky as Yes Man by Danny Wallace but I do like the idea of the book.

 

If I Was Your Girl by Meredith Russo. This is a story about a trans girl written by a trans woman, which I think is so important. I’d heard good things about it too before buying.

 

Am I Normal Yet? by Holly Bourne. I don’t know much about this tbh, I know it’s a YA book so I’ve seen good reviews from friends on Goodreads so when it was 99p I decided to buy it and give it a go.

 

I Heart Christmas by Lindsey Kelk. I’ve already read this but it was free at some stage over Christmas on Kindle so I said I’d get it just in case I decided to read it again.

 

The Longest Holiday by Paige Toon. Another free book, I don’t know anything about it but I’ve seen that author’s name before and thought I might read it one day when I want something light to read.

 

Finally I have some audio books, all got on offer from Audible.

audio books

Where Am I Now? by Mara Wilson. I requested this on NetGalley but never got it and my library is super slow about getting this too. So I decided to use a free credit I had to get the audiobook as I figured it would be interesting to listen to Mara Wilson narate it herself.

 

Scarlett Says by Scarlett Moffatt. This was one of the Daily Deal on Audible and I’ve enjoyed Scarlett on Gogglebox so I said why not?! and decided to purchase it. Hopefully it’ll make me laugh, I think it will considering it’s narrated by Scarlett herself.

 

Black Box Thinking by Matthew Syed. Another Daily Deal, I’ve seen this book around before, a non-fiction book about success. If a Daily Deal looks any bit interesting or something I’d pick up in a shop I get it which is exactly what happened here!

 

A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens. This was free on Audible and I had planned to listen to it over Christmas but never got around to it so I’ll save it for 11 months time!

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

2017 Most Anticipated Book Releases

I always love sitting down and finding out what books of the year that I’m most looking forward to reading. The list is never complete. More books are announced later in the year, I’ll keep hearing about a book and will want to pick it or I’ll read book 1 in series and can’t wait to get my hands on the next installment. Nonetheless, there’s always books from favourites authors that I’ll want to pick up. I’ve already read and reviewed two books I was going to list on here (Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi and A Tragic Kind of Wonderful by Eric Lindstrom). Here are some of the others!

 

Traitor to the Throne by Alwyn Hamilton

traitor to the throne

Traitor to the Throne is the follow up to Rebel of the Sands which was a super fun YA adventure book where the desert meets a wild western vibe with a dash of magic. The first book was such a unique new world and I definitely loved how this add some excitement to the YA world. 2nd February

 

 

 

 

The Mystery of the Painted Dragon by Katherine Woodfine

the mystery of the painted dragon

Book 3 in the Sinclair Mysteries series. This is a middle grade detective series set around the glorious Sinclair’s Department store and follows shop girl/detective Sophie and her friends. I love these novels as they remind me of all the Enid Blyton books I read as a child. February 9th

 

 

 

 

The Good People by Hannah Kent

the good people hannah kent

I LOVED Burial Rites by Hannah Kent when I read it in 2015 and was excited to her she has a new book coming out. This one is set in Ireland in the early 1800s which has really interested me! February 9th

 

 

 

 

 

The Summer Seaside Kitchen by Jenny Colgan

the summer seaside kitchen

I always love picking up one of Jenny’s books each year and this one is no different! This one centres around Flora who has to leave London to go back home to the tiny island of Mure. I don’t know much else about it but I just discovered there that Jenny has written a short story about this location for the Galaxy Quick Reads series that comes out a week before so I might read that first before picking up this one. February 9th

 

 

 

Heartless by Marissa Meyer

heartless

So I mentioned this book in last year’s anticipated reads and it did come out on Kindle in November but it’s out in physical form this year (don’t know why there was a different date for this, if anyone does let me know). This is a new series from Meyer and it’s about the Queen of Hearts origin story. I loved the fairytale retellings in the Lunar Chronicles series so looking forward to picking this up! February 9th

 

 

 

King’s Cage by Victoria Aveyard

king's cage

Book 3 in the Red Queen series by Victoria Aveyard. I read Red Queen and Glass Sword at the beginning of last year and have been looking forward to picking up King’s Cage since then (as I’m sure many other people have been too!). February 9th

 

 

 

 

A Conjuring of Light by V.E. Schwab

a conjuring of light

The final book in the Darker Shade of Magic series by V.E. Schwab. The first two books were amazing (and the fact that book 2 was excellent in its own right and not just a book to build up the hype for the finale just goes to show how strong this series is). I’m sad it’s the final book actually, I love this world with all the different Londons and the magic. February 21st

 

 

 

 

 

 

Saga Volume 7 by Brian K Vaughan and Fiona Staples

sage volume 7

I’m still enjoying this space opera graphic novel series and this is when the next installment is due out. April 7th

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Other Half of Happiness by Ayisha Malik

the other half of happiness

Sofia Khan is Not Obliged was a favourite of mine last year, it was so funny. And I’m really looking forward to the follow up, Sofia was such a fun character and can’t wait to see more of her. April 6th

 

 

 

 

 

Perfect by Cecelia Ahern

perfect cecelia ahern

 Flawed was Cecelia’s first YA book and Perfect sees the return to the dystopian world where if you don’t follow the rules, you get branded. Flawed had a lot of the same tropes from the YA dystopian genre that I’ve seen before but I thought she did it well and I enjoyed it. It reminded me that when the genre is done well it can be a lot of fun. April 6th

 

 

 

 

A Mask of Shadows by Oscar de Muriel

a mask of shadows

The Frey and McGray series is set in Victorian Scotland and follows the local Detective ‘Nine Nails’ McGray and London blow in Inspector Ian Frey as chalk and cheese partners. de Muriel nailed the first two books, they’ve really been key players (along with Stephen King’s Mr Mercedes series and Tana French’s Dublin Murder Squad series) at reigniting the love of mystery and detective stories I loved as a kid. April 6th

 

 

 

The Blood Miracles by Lisa McInerney

the blood miracles

The Glorious Heresies was one of my top 5 books that I read last year and I was so excited to see there was a sequel coming up! It was a gritty look at the seedier side of Cork and all these characters that linked together. April 6th

 

 

 

 

 

Past Mortems: Life and Death Behind Mortuary Doors by Carla Valentine

past mortems

Valentine is an Anatomical Pathology Technologist and I first came across her when I saw some of her videos on YouTube about death and pathology. I really enjoyed Caitlin Doughty’s Smoke Get In Your Eyes about her memoirs working in a crematory and I’m excited to read another memoir from a death professional. April 20th

 

 

 

 

New Boy by Tracy Chevalier

new boy tracy chhevalier

New Boy is the next book in the Hogarth Shakespeare series, this one being a retelling of Othello. There’s a few books out already (I’ve read Hag-Seed and Vinegar Girl and attempted Shylock is My Name) and I hope to read this and The Gap of Time to be up to date on the series. May 11th

 

 

 

 

 

Hunger by Roxane Gay

hunger roxane gay

This book is Roxane’s memoirs about food, weight, self-image and taking care of yourself. While I haven’t read Bad Feminist yet (I plan to!), I can’t wait to see how Roxane’s take on food and image. June 13th

 

 

 

 

 

I Can’t Believe You’ve Just Said That by Danny Wallace

No cover yet for this but I’m looking forward to Danny’s first adult non-fiction book in years. He’s talking about why people are so rude these days and travels the world to interview people who are rude (like critics) and those on the receiving end of rudeness (like bell boys). June 15th

 

Skin Deep by Liz Nugent

Another book with no cover but this will no doubt be another big book for Liz following her big hit from last year Lying in Wait. July 6th

 

The Break  by Marian Keyes

So I had just published this post and mentioned how I’d love a new Marian Keyes book when I discovered Marian tweeting about her next book possibly coming out later this year! Talk about magic. The tweet says it’s called The Break and hoping to be published early September.

 

Throne of Glass Book 6 by Sarah J Maas

Not even a title for this one! And even though I have yet to read Empire of Storms I can’t wait for the final book to come out. I might keep Empire of Storms until closer the release date so I’m not waiting forever to get my hands on it! September 5th

 

Solutions and Other Problems by Allie Brosh

I had this in my post last year but the publication got pushed back. Hoping it does come out this year. September 7th

 

One Dark Throne by Kendare Blake

The next in the Three Dark Crowns book, which I only just finished last night. And oh boy what an ending!! Looking forward to this a lot now. September 19th

 

Illuminae Book 3 by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

So I haven’t read Gemina yet but if it’s anything as good as Illuminae I’ll be looking forward to picking this up! October

 

I Heart Book 7 by Lindsey Kelk

Lindsey announced on a Facebook video that her next book will be the next Angela Clarke book. No date or title but I do enjoy this series!

 

So those are the books I am aware about. As per usual there’s always author’s I’d love to see books from. J.K. Rowling says she’s writing at the moment so I’m hoping there will finally be another Robert Galbraith book! I’d love another Marian Keyes book (see above!), another book from Becky Chambers in the Wayfarers series would be awesome and I have no idea if Paul Crilley is working on a follow up to Poison City, I’ve been keeping my eyes out for that one as I really enjoyed Poison City. I’ll probably do another post half way through the year when new titles are released and I get dates for some of the ones above. All in all though plenty to keep me going for the year!

Monday, January 23, 2017

A Tragic Kind of Wonderful by Eric Lindstrom Book Review

a tragic kind of wonderfulMel Hannigan is 16 years old and is coming to terms with having bipolar disorder. Only her parents, her aunt and a friend of her late grandmother, who lives in the nursing home where Mel works, knows about Mel's condition. Mel is trying to cope with her brother's death, her parents divorcing and Mel and her mother moving to a new town. She spends a lot of time at Silver Sands, the retirement home, where she meets David, a boy she's interested in. Her life can be a bit unpredictable so she tries to compartmentalise her life to help her cope better with everything. When a former friend gets in contact with her, Mel is baffled as to why she's trying to talk to her and afraid of the secrets that might come out and threaten to disrupt Mel's life and mental health.

First off, let's talk about the cover! It's so beautiful! YA books are killing it cover wise these days. The US cover is just as pretty too. I enjoyed Lindstrom's previous book Not If I See You First and so I was really looking forward to this release and in fact I think I enjoyed it more than the previous book. I liked the character of Mel, as well as the other characters in the book. Lindstrom has a way of writing these characters so they feel real and believable and not cliched. I do think there was a lot going on plot wise for Mel to be dealing with (brother's death, parents divorcing, the big issue with the friends, the love story as well as the mental health aspect) and I think one or two of those arcs could have been dropped or trimmed a bit, but what I do like about this book is how the mental health element isn't the BIG problem in the book. It is certainly a central one, don't get me wrong, but I feel like we're reading about a character has all these other issues to deal with and the bipolar disorder doesn't necessarily make everything else harder, these would be issues any teenager would deal with regardless of the mental health diagnosis (just like how in Not If I See You First Parker's blindness is part of the story but it's not the big issue. It's a girl who has problems she's dealing with who just so happens to be blind). What I really liked about this book is how we see Mel managing her condition. Therapy, medication, hospitalisation, keeping track of one's moods and having family and friends for support are all things that crop up, as does the issue of just because one or more of these things work for one person, doesn't mean it will work for the next person, that dealing with mental health issues is personal to the person experiencing them. I thought this was fantastic and something that is well worth pointing out. This book lived up to my expectations and I look forward to Lindstrom's next novel!

I received this e-book free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. I’m not required to post a review on here and all thoughts are my own

Thursday, January 19, 2017

2016 Reading Resolution Review and 2017 Reading Resolutions

I love January as there’s loads of bookish posts! So far I’ve had my Top Books of 2016, Book Riot Read Harder Reading Challenge 2016 Review, 2016 Reading Stats (lots of graphs and nerdy maths!) as well as my review for the amazing Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi. I still have a few more posted planned and this post is to go through my 2016 Reading Resolutions to see how I got on and to put down some new resolutions for this year.

2016 Resolutions Review

1. Do the Book Riot Read Harder Challenge

This I successfully completed! You can read my wrap up post here where I list out all the books I read for the challenge and my overall thoughts on it.

2. Reduce the Amount of Books I Own

This one wasn’t a great success. Partly because I won some books and partly because I read so many NetGalley books.

3. Read 90 Books

This I completed, I read 129 books. But a lot of these were graphic novels and single short stories. Though even discounting those books I still managed to read 90 books, which surprised me as I thought it would be under 90 so I’m pleased with that.

4. Read more Irish Authors

Yes I did this! I did my all Irish March again (well, minus one book this year towards the end of the month), but while in 2014 I read all Irish authors I hadn’t read before, this year I read a mix of new and favourites. And I continued to read more Irish authors during the year, including reading Donal Ryan for the first time when I read the excellent All We Should Know.

 

So my goals last year were small and realistic enough. And this year they will be similiar.

2017 Reading Resolutions

1. Read 52 Books

So I lowered my goal this year to 52, a book a week. And seeing as I plan to continue reading graphic novels this will be an achievable goal. I lowered it though because I wanted to concentrate more on quality and not quantity. Not that I think I was trying to achieve that last year but I do think the higher goal made me shy away from larger books and books I’d read at a slower rate.

2. Read more non-fiction

Now this is going to be a tricky one in one sense. I already read non-fiction so it’s not much of a challenge but I read less non-fiction last year and I think it’s partly to do with the larger reading goal on Goodreads. I tend to read non-fiction at a slower rate and I think I shied away because it takes me longer to read non-fiction. But I’m not going to force myself to read non-fiction or make it a target I have to meet. I just want to be less hesitant to pick up non-fiction.

3. Lessen the amount of books I own

I need to try pick books off my shelf more often, I have loads that look interesting and need to get excited by them again. Again I’m not going to put a target on it (I want to lower it by X amount or more books out than in) but it’s something I want to be more conscious about it.

4. Read more Irish authors

I’ve seen a lot of people online committing to a British Books Challenge for 2017 and I want to continue supporting local home talent and read Irish authors. I’m going to do an All Irish March again, I think I’ll try and concentrate on new authors for then as well if I can. I have a big list from last year that I didn’t get to try all of so I have plenty of talent and books to try.

5. Book Riot Read Harder 2017 Challenge, Pop Sugar 2017 Challenge and BookTubeAThon

I’ve decided to stick with the Book Riot Read Harder Challenge as my main challenge as I liked the format last year and enjoyed it. I might try and do the Pop Sugar one as well but instead of just one book per prompt I might try and use one boo for 2 or more prompts so I can get through the list faster. I plan on doing BooTubeAThon should it be on again (and I’m sure it will be).

So nothing that do or exciting to be honest but I’m happy with these goals for the year. I want to less pressures to have a high reading count and just enjoy my reading for the year.

Do you have any reading resolutions? Let me know in the comments below!

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

2016 Reading Stats

Hello! The past 2 years I’ve taken a look at my reading habits for the years (here’s 2014 stats and 2015 stats). I like seeing the changes from the year before.

Fiction to Non-Fiction Breakdown

Fiction vs nf

So again I read more books than the year before and read more fiction books. The percentage of non-fiction books I’ve read has gone from 35% in 2014, to 29% in 2015 to 20% in 2016. This is something I was aware of and tried to address by doing Non-Fiction November and will be something I’ll try not to shy away from in 2017.

 

Physical Books vs E-Books vs Audiobooks

Pysical vs E-Book vs Audio

So there’s some changes again this year when it comes to the way I read books. For physicals books I went from 51% in 2014 to 56% in 2015 down to 49% in 2016. E-books had seen a drop in 2015 (35% from 2014’s 45%) and in 2016 46% of the books I read were in e-book format. And while I read the same amount of audiobooks in 2015 and 2016 (7 in all), the % dropped down to 5%.

 

Female to Male Authors

female vs male authors

2016 has seen another rise in the amount of female authors I read, even though it’s a very small amount. 60% in 2014, 65% in 2015 and 66% in 2016. It was a bit trickier to measure it this year as I read a lot of books that had more than one author, especially graphic novels. I chose the first or main author credited with the work. It’s not a perfect system, I know, but I don’t think it would have changed things that much doing it another more complicated way.

This year I also saved the Goodreads Stats that the website provided me which was fun!

goodreads 1

goodreads 2

Other fun facts

-My library books (physical and audio for this year, no e-boos) increased this year. 2014 it was 33, last year it was 29 and this year it was a whopping 52!

-My NetGalley books also greatly increased, I read 51 books through NetGalley (2014 it was 14 and 2015 it was 17)

-Out of my own books I read 8 of them, which is pretty bad (I only counted physical books even though I also read e-books and audiobooks that I had purchased.). This was a decrease from 2015’s 17 books and only a slight improvement from 6 books in 2014.

From this I’m going to think about my reading resolutions, I have a few ideas about what I want to concentrate for the upcoming year and I’ll have a post up in next week or so.

Monday, January 16, 2017

Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi Book Review

homegoing

Homegoing is a rich debut novel that follows the lives of two half sisters: Effia and Esi. Both their lives change in different ways when they reach the Cape Coastal Castle in Ghana. Effia lives upstairs, the wife of a white English governor who's in the slave trading business. Esi is downstairs, in the dungeon, waiting to go to the American South as a slave. The story follows the descendants of each woman, alternating from one of Effia's descendants to one of Esi's, going down through six more generations. Effia's side of the family stay mainly in Ghana, while Esi's side are in America. Both have their successes and struggles, from such issues as slavery in America, colonisation, drug addiction, sexuality, violence, death, doing what's right for you vs what's expected of you.

I'm just blown away by this book. There's a lot of hype surrounding it but it lives up to this hype. For such a short book (compared to the amount of people's stories we read) Yaa Gyasi packs in so much depth and detail. When it comes to multiple perspectives, sometimes the story or character development can suffer but I never found this the case. If there was ever one person's story or an event I wanted more to know more about, usually I found out more when it came to the next descendant's story.Through the generations there's an importance on telling stories and we get to see moments in history and how they impacted that character's life. We see family traits and fears pass through the generations, sometimes without them knowing that they affected the previous generations. This is especially the case when it comes to the themes of fire and water and I loved seeing how this theme crops up with Effia and Esi and with the final generation. And if the sheer number of characters sounds overwhelming (there's 12 perspectives after all!), I didn't think it was confusing and there's a family tree within in the book to help you keep track. With some many of the issues I mentioned above being bleak, this book isn't the happiest at times and it can be a bit tough (I was describing the book to my fiance and he said 'this doesn't sound cheerful at all!') but the book warmed my heart while reading it and has had me thinking about it days after finishing it. Yaa Gyasi's writing is superb and such a delight. I was interested in each character along the way and looked forward to picking up this book every night. Believe the hype, it's well worth picking up!

I received this e-book free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. I’m not required to post a review on here and all thoughts are my own.

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