You may have noticed that I didn’t make a August TBR post? That’s because I have so many books in my pile at the moment that forcing myself to read certain books per month is starting to become a struggle. Because sometimes I just don’t want to read a certain book which is why I end up reading multiple books. Plus, after starting my new job I’ve been feeling extra tired and less inclined to read large series or in depth books. So I’ve decided to pick 5 books/series that I want to read by the end of the year instead!
Outlander by Diana Gabaldon
Yes I know this has been sat in my currently read for ages on GoodReads. I do feel slightly disapointed in myself. But I started it, then put it down and just never got back round to it because I already know the ending to the first book from the TV show. I just feel like it’s going to be a struggle to read. BUT I really want to read the entire series and have asked for them as birthday/christmas presents. So I WILL read this by the end of the year.
Ready Player One by Ernest Cline
Not only is Ready Player One being made into a film, it’s also been recommended to me multiple times. So I really want to read it before I watch the film. I’m also promised video games and lots of nostalgic references so bring it on!
The Dark Tower Series by Stephen King
Again another one I want to read before I watch the film. It’s quite a big series too, but I already love King’s horror books so I’m sure I’ll love The Dark Tower series.
The Faithful and the Fallen Series by John Gwynne
I’m going all out on fantasy series’s this year. I really want to read more epic fantasy because I’m getting quite bored with reading YA. I still love YA fantasy of course, but sometimes I want something a bit more in depth like LOTR or ASOIAF. Gwynne comes highly recommended as well.
Mistborn Series by Brandon Sanderson
Brandon Sanderson is nearly always recommended when I ask for recommendations. So I thought I would dive straight into his Mistborn series this year. It helps that the covers are absolutely stunning as well.
What other books would you recommend? And what are you looking forward to reading this year?
The Suffering Tree is a YA fantasy novel with intriguing characters, historical aspects and an unsettling feud which is ready to blow. I enjoyed the storyline but there were many issues that somewhat irritated me.
One of my qualms is that self-harm is a very pivotal part of the story. According to the Disney book website, The Suffering Tree is aimed for 12+ year old’s. I disagree here, purely from being so soon out of high school. I don’t think children of 12, 13, 14 etc should read about this in detail. Also, there’s no warning in the blurb. Which is in poor taste.
Self-harm is portrayed in a poor way. It actually creates a positive outcome for Tori as it raises Nathaniel from the dead. Positive connotations are never applicable towards teenagers who are often impressionable. Tori’s self-harm is also not referred to in a bad way by those around her, and it is not resolved by the end.
The overall mystery of the book was really interesting. I loved the premise, I just wish it had bypassed the problematic aspects. An enjoyable part of every muster is not knowing who the antagonist is. Tori changes her suspect list throughout, but the ending is truly spectacular story telling.
Another problem was that the POV shifted a lot between past and present and between our main characters. This might just be on my e-book version, but I didn’t know who I was reading sometimes. I usually have no problems with shifting POV’s. But I do require some indications as to who and when I’m reading about for comprehension.
Tori, Nathaniel and the Slaughter family are all engaging and relatable to a degree. The secondary characters maybe not so much. This correlates to Tori feeling like an outcast or ‘transplant’ to the town. So I take this more of a chosen method of writing instead of lack of planning.
Overall, I enjoyed the book but I hated the more graphic scenes of self-harm. I also disliked knowing younger audiences could read this without knowing.
I received The Suffering Tree* by Elle Cosimano as an e-book from the publisher, Disney Hyperion, via Netgalley. This is an unbiased and honest review.
College sweethearts Julia and Evan move to NYC just before the 2008 financial meltdown. As they start to lead vastly different work lives, they start to spin apart. As Evan throws himself into his job and Julia reconnects with someone from her past, they find they’re both capable of betrayal.
For the first time in a while I’ve had to DNF a book. I read 50% in and realised I was completely bored and I wasn’t seeing an improvement coming up. I’m still unsure of whether there was an actual plot or whether it was mainly going to be about Julia cheating on Evan because she’s not getting any attention
Both Evan and Julia were unlikeable characters. Their POV’s were uninteresting from the beginning. Their actions were often not thought out and just made me want to shake them. The worst part was that neither of them seemed to realise how much easier it would have been to have broken up.
Overall I just couldn’t bring myself to finish the book. If you do enjoy a more contemporary and relationship based book, this might be better for you. Also, if you don’t mind unlikeable characters you’ll probably be okay with it as well. I just personally didn’t enjoy the premise or the characters.
I received The Futures* by Anna Pitoniak as an e-book from the publisher via Netgalley. This is an unbiased and honest review.
Genie Lo’s Bay Area town is coming under siege by demons from Chinese folklore. As she traverses her old life of school and college admissions, Genie must also hone her powers and build up her strength. With Quentin her only guide, Genie finds out the hard way of how to be a hero. The Epic Crush of Genie Lo shows that a hero can defeat demons without skipping classes and admissions prep.
The Epic Crush of Genie Lo was a thoroughly entertaining read. It definitely has some tropes, but humour was often a factor which overshadowed them. Genie as the ‘chosen one’ to help defeat demons was a hilarious reveal moment. She’s a very plain, average girl who gets both cynical and angry when told what she is. Unlike some common character arcs, Genie doesn’t become the best fighter alive miraculously. Plus, Quentin gets himself into hysterically awkward situations.
Genie was a great hero, but she also felt very real and ordinary. There weren’t any points that made me question whether Genie was being written too old. She acted in a typical teenage way, although she was a lot more hotheaded. There were awkward teenage moments with friends, family and crushes alongside the fantasy and folklore elements.
I’m used to reading many European fairytales, Greek mythology, and England based lore. But I really enjoyed reading more about folklore from China. It helped make the book less predictable and more surprising because I personally didn’t know much about it beforehand. The Epic Crush of Genie Lo also brought the folklore out into America. Alongside this it discusses stereotypes within America which is important for middle-grade books.
It only took me two nights to read the Epic Crush of Genie Lo. It was a very fast read. But it was a good one, I didn’t think anything was missed due to it being smaller. There’s also going to be a sequel so they’ll be more expansion on the folklore introduced.
I received The Epic Crush of Genie Lo* by F.C. Yee as an e-book from the publisher via Netgalley. This is an unbiased and honest review.
So it’s already been a whole month since I moved down to Guildford! Time really has flown by as I’ve moved in, started my new job and started to explore the area. As someone who’s from the North, It’s a bit different living in Surrey.
The area as a whole seems a lot safer and calmer than Newcastle. Although there’s a high street, it’s not nearly as busy living in the City Centre in Newcastle. It’s just feels safer overall, but many of my colleagues at work have said that nothing bad really happens in Guildford. The worst is mainly traffic accidents, which isn’t surprising as I’ve seen the commuting traffic every morning and afternoon.
The high street is also full of more expensive shops, especially the end I live at. They do have the Friary Shopping Centre which holds my favourites such as Primark, Urban Outfitters and Topshop. There’s also so many places to eat at, and there’s a food court within the Friary. Since work is opposite the Friary, I’ve already tried many of them as well. Oops.
I updated you a bit on my new place a couple of weeks ago. It’s a really good flat, larger than my old one. It’s also in a fantastic place. Only 10 minutes walk to work, 15 to get to the main train station. It’s great for getting around as I’m also right around the corner from the high street and the secondary train station.
It’s also really close to London. There’s a fast train which can get you to Waterloo in about 40 minutes! This will be great to meet people who live in London, or who can also get into London easily. I’ve already visited one of my friends who’s also on a placement, and we visited Camden together!
I’m really loving my placement as well! It’s definitely the right role for me, and I’m still feeling really lucky I got it. I ended up having 13 assessment centres and interviews before I managed to get this Marketing Communications Internship so it was such a relief as well. I’ve been able to go to some really cool meetings and there’s so many amazing events I get to go to in the year ahead too.