July Haul

I managed to behave myself in July! Which was an incredible feat, since I have a July birthday, and I usually use that as an excuse to splurge. 😳 I bought a grand total of  seven books, three of which were replacements for books that I had in editions that I didn’t like (but have already read), and two more of which are mythology books, which I like to dip into now and then, but don’t stress out over not having read yet~ 😛 Anyway, here they all are, artfully displayed:

July Haul

1) Harry Potter & the Goblet of Fire by J.K. Rowling. I have, of course, read this several times already, and I used to own this exact edition… but it fell apart from too many re-reads, and I’ve been looking for a replacement ever since. It’s easy enough to find copies with this cover, but the first few books printed had an error in the graveyard scene, and I’ve never known an online seller to specify whether they’re selling a corrected or uncorrected copy. I accidentally bought a corrected edition on ebay a while ago, but I kept searching for an uncorrected one regardless (since I wanted a copy that was as close as possible to the one I originally owned) – so when one arrived at the second-hand bookshop where I work, I couldn’t let it slip away! Long story short: I bought it. 😉

2) Scottish Traditional Tales. This is a collection of Scottish stories, from (I assume, since they’re traditional) mostly anonymous authors. I picked it up while I was in Skye, since I’ve always loved folklore.

3) Land of the Seal People by Duncan Williamson. Another book I picked up in Skye, for much the same reason as the other. The stories in this one are mainly about Selkies, so far as I can tell.

4) Rebel Angels by Libba Bray. The second book in the Gemma Doyle trilogy, which I still haven’t started, but which I’ve heard amazing things about. But even if I end up hating it, I don’t feel bad because this was second-hand and therefore super-cheap. 😀

5) The Initiate by Louise Cooper. The first book in the amazing epic fantasy Time Master trilogy, which I read years ago. I actually already owned a copy of this book, but it was incredibly ugly, and in any case, it didn’t match the rest of the series, so I decided to finally buy myself a replacement as a birthday treat.

6) Eric and The Light Fantastic by Terry Pratchett. Two more Discworld books. I’m trying to collect the whole set of Rincewind books in these small-size editions (which are pretty hard to find nowadays), so I picked up The Light Fantastic second-hand, to replace my old, non-matching edition. Eric I bought new, as it’s pretty much the only Discworld book that you can still buy new in this edition… Another little birthday treat~ 😉

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June Haul

June haulSo, I managed not to buy any books at all in May, which was a promising start to my ban – but halfway through June I was given a gift card for one of my local bookshops, and I got a bit carried away… 😳 The good news is, I’ve read quite a few of these already, and I’m absolutely certain that I’ll read a good number of the rest soon, as I’ve decided to take them on holiday with me… The bad news is that I bought more books than I read in June, so my TBR has grown a bit… :/

1) To Hold the Bridge by Garth Nix. A collection of short stories, including one from the Old Kingdom series, which I love~ ❤

2) Between the Lines by Jodi Picoult & Samantha Van Leer. I found this by chance in the charity shop where I work, in perfect condition, & since it’s the prequel/companion novel to the booksplosion book of the month for June (Off the Page) I decided to pick it up. 🙂

3) Saint Anything by Sarah Dessen. Her newest book, which I’ve been looking forward to reading for a while, though I have no idea what it’s about. 😳

4) The Last Hero by Terry Pratchett. An illustrated Discworld story about Cohen the Barbarian…

5) Me & Earl & the Dying Girl by Jesse Andrews. A contemporary novel about a boy who’s forced by his parents to befriend a girl who’s been diagnosed with cancer. There’s a film of this coming out soon, which looks incredible, but I really wanted to read the book before seeing it, so I decided to buy this with a gift card that I was given…

6) A Court of Thorns & Roses by Sarah J. Maas. The first book in her new series, which is a Beauty & the Beast retelling, but set in a presumably awesome fantasy world, with presumably amazing characters. As you can see, I’m assuming a lot, but I loved the Throne of Glass books so much that I don’t think I’m setting my expectations too high. 😀

7) How to be Bad by E. Lockhart, Lauren Myracle & Sarah Mlynowski. A road-trip novel, though I don’t know all that much else about it… I really love what I’ve read of Lauren Myracle & E. Lockhart’s work so far, though, so I’m looking forward to this (& summer is a great season for contemporaries, so I’ll probably read it soon).

8) Seeker by Arwen Elys Dayton. Another fantasy novel, this time about a girl who is training to become a Seeker, but who finds out that the job’s not quite what she thought it would be… I’m really excited for this book, too – I’ve really been in the mood for fantasy lately. 😀

9) The Boy with the Porcelain Blade & The Boy Who Wept Blood by Den Patrick. A fantasy series (companion novels, I think) that’s been pitched as The Lies of Locke Lamora meets Gormenghast… Which sounds brilliant, so of course I had to pick them both up! 😛 I’m about halfway through The Boy with the Porcelain Blade at the moment, and it’s definitely caught my interest!

10) Umbral Book 1: Out of the Shadows & Book 2: The Dark Path by Antony Johnston. A fantasy graphic novel series about an orphaned street thief (& doesn’t that sound familiar!). I’ve already read these, and my feelings were pretty mixed – you can read my thoughts on the series in my June wrap-up. 🙂

11) Princess Ugg Volume 1 by Ted Naifeh. A graphic novel about a Viking-style princess in a fantasy world, who’s sent off to a school for princesses in order to learn about “things like diplomacy”… 😛

12) Fables: The Deluxe Edition, Book 2 by Bill Willingham. I’ve been borrowing this series from my local library so far, but I decided to buy this one, since the library’s copy of volume 3 (which covers the same issues as book 2 of the deluxe editions) seems to have gone missing… :/ I actually bought this in May, but since I had to order it from the US in order to get a reasonable price, it didn’t arrive until the beginning of June…

June Wrap Up

I’ve been super-busy this month, with work and my trip to Iceland, as well as various other social commitments, but I’m pretty pleased with the amount of reading I managed to get done in spite of it all. 🙂 In total, I read nine novels in June, as well as four comic books. I also seem to be approaching the completion of my new year reading resolution challenges, which is exciting! The two that I haven’t quite finished yet are to re-read five books (so far I’ve on;y read two), and to read five books that showcase foreign cultures (only one left to go for this challenge!)… Anyway, this month I read:

Jodi Lynn Anderson//Tiger LilyTiger Lily by Jodi Lynn Anderson. A dark and eerie re-imagining of Peter Pan, focusing on the character of Tiger Lily, and, interestingly, told from Tinker Bell’s perspective. This was an incredible book, and I’ve written a full review of it, which you can read here, if you so desire.5 stars

Bill Willingham//Fables book 2Fables: The Deluxe Edition, Book 2 by Bill Willingham. This comprises the main series’ Storybook Love storyline – wherein Snow White and Bigby Wolf are sent on holiday together, where an assassin plots against them – as well as a few side stories, including some Jack and Boy Blue backstory, the tale of the Lilliputians, and a 2-issue comic where a reporter mistakes the Fabletown residents for vampires. This series is just getting better as it goes along, & I’m really looking forward to reading more. I’ve switched to the deluxe editions now, since they include more of the spin-off issues…5 starsCassandra Clare//City of AshesCity of Ashes by Cassandra Clare. The second book in the Mortal Instruments series, where Clary, Jace & co. try to figure out who’s killing Downworlder children, and why. I didn’t enjoy this one quite as much as City of Bones, but it was definitely worth reading. The tension between Clary and Jace is really well done, and Simon is growing on me a lot, although his relationship with Clary felt rather forced… At this point, I’m also really beginning to see what everyone means by Clary having really, really poor decision-making skills, but so far it hasn’t bothered me too much.4 starsTerry Pratchett//Interesting TimesInteresting Times by Terry Pratchett.Discworld novel, in which Rincewind is sent to the Counterweight Continent in order to help with a rebellion. This book was hilarious, as Terry Pratchett’s books always are, and I read it alongside my friend Clare while we were on holiday together, which made it even more fun. I wouldn’t, however, recommend reading it unless you’ve also read some of the previous Rincewind-centric stories, as they’re directly linked… There’s a really great Discworld reading guide here, if you need help figuring it all out (as I often do!).4 starsCassandra Clare//City of GlassCity of Glass by Cassandra Clare. The third Mortal Instruments book, and the conclusion to the series’ initial storyline. Also the first book I decided to read for the #Rainbowthon, and I decided to count it as my orange book, even though I read it on my kindle, and I was already halfway through it when the readathon started… 😳 Anyway, I really enjoyed the book, and it was a great conclusion to the storyline, even though I felt that some of the elements (particularly the romantic ones) were a bit predictable. It’s got nothing on The Infernal Devices, of course, but it was still a lot of fun. I’ll probably take a break before continuing the series, though. 🙂4 stars

Stella Gibbons//Cold Comfort FarmCold Comfort Farm by Stella Gibbons. A parody of late 18th & early 19th century agricultural novels (e.g. the works of Thomas Hardy or D.H. Lawrence), wherein Flora Poste, after the death of her parents, decides to embark on a career as a parasite, and descends on her unusual relatives, determined to sort out their lives. Thematically, the book reminded me a lot of Emma by Jane Austen, though as a parody, Cold Comfort Farm was understandably much more ridiculous… It took me a little while to really get into it, but once I did, I found it hilarious. In regards to the #Rainbowthon, this book counted for both red and blue.4 starsE. Lockhart//The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-BanksThe Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks by E. Lockhart. This was my green book for the #Rainbowthon, and it was fantastic! It completely sucked me in, and I managed to read it almost in one sitting (it would’ve been one sitting, if not for the fact that I didn’t start it until about 1am, and also work…). It follows Frankie, who is a sophomore at an elite boarding school, which has a secret boys’ club called the Bassets. Feeling excluded, Frankie decides to infiltrate the club, and everything just escalates from there. I initially picked this up on faith (because I liked We Were Liars so much), since I was under the impression that it was a revenge book, which isn’t usually my thing… but I’m so glad I was wrong! The book is heavy on the social commentary, à la George Orwell’s novels – super-interesting, and very well-written – but unlike those, the characters were really likeable, and the story was buckets of fun~! 😀5+ starsJesse Andrews//Me & Earl & the Dying GirlMe & Earl & the Dying Girl by Jesse Andrews. The story of a boy called Greg, who is forced by his mother (by means of incessant nagging) to befriend a girl who’s just been diagnosed with leukemia, and consequently has his life ruined (kind of). This was a great, and surprisingly funny take on a cancer story, with really interesting characters and relationships, and an incredibly deadpan narrator. The narration/writing style was probably my favourite thing about the book: It’s fast-paced, and a lot of it is written in script-format, so it’s very easy to get drawn into the story… (This was not one of the books I picked out for the #Rainbowthon, but I did finish it while that was still going on (but only just), and it technically qualifies to be my yellow book – which means I managed to get all the colours of the rainbow except purple! 🙂 )4 starsTed Naifeh//Princess Ugg vol. 1Princess Ugg, Volume 1 by Ted Naifeh. The first volume in a series about a viking-style princess who goes off to princess school in hopes of finding a nonviolent way of ender her people’s war against the frost giants. I was beginning to get a bit slumpy at this point in the month, so I thought I’d pick up a comic to stave the feeling off – and this book was really fun! 🙂 The story, characters and concept were great, and I really liked the art, too. I’m looking forward to seeing where this story goes.4 starsAntony Johnston//Umbral vol. 1Umbral, Book 1: Out of the Shadows by Antony Johnston. Another comic, this time about a thief who’s running from evil shadow monsters that seem to be killing everyone around her and taking their places… This was a strange, confusing story, and it didn’t really help that we were just dropped in in the middle of the action, which never really slowed down enough to explain anything. Apart from Rascal, the aforementioned thief, the story doesn’t stay with any characters long enough for us to really get attached to them, either, and unfortunately the character design meant that it was difficult to tell some of the characters apart…2 starsAntony Johnston//Umbral vol. 2Umbral, Book 2: The Dark Path by Antony Johnston. The sequel, in which the storytelling improved drastically, the pace slowed down, and the main characters were finally identifiable. I really enjoyed this, which surprised me – but it was certainly a happy surprise!4 starsSkye Jordan//RicochetRicochet by Skye Jordan. The third book in the Renegades series, which follows Rachel, the Renegades’ secretary/gopher/person-who-does-everything, and Ryker, a soldier on leave from Afghanistan, who’s called in as an explosives expert on a stunt they’re filming. This was a surprising hit, as I wasn’t too thrilled by the last book in the series! But Rachel and Ryker were both really great, sympathetic characters, and their relationship was both interesting and believable… Consider yourself warned, though: This series is definitely not for younger readers~ 😛4 starsAmy Tan//The Kitchen God's WifeThe Kitchen God’s Wife by Amy Tan. The life story of a woman called Winnie – growing up in China, her disastrous first marriage, and how she eventually escaped from it. I read this mainly because my dad thought I’d like it – and he was right! The narrative was a bit slow to start with, as it took a while to really set the scene, but once I got to the part where Winnie began to tell her daughter about her life in China, I got very invested, very quickly. This book also features one of the most despicable antagonists I’ve ever come across: Winnie’s first husband Wen Fu is right up there with Joffrey from A Song of Ice and Fire and Dimitri from The Bronze Horseman in vileness…5 stars

The Nintendo Tag!

This tag was created by Novels and Nonsense, and as usual, nobody tagged me for it, but I knew I had to give it a try as soon as I saw that it was a thing that existed! 😛 The first post of this tag that I saw was on Kacie’s Bookshelf, which you should definitely check out. 🙂

Charlotte Brontë//Jane Eyre1) NES: A classic that you want to read

I say this every time classics come up, but I really want to read Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë. I’ve been meaning to read it for years already, but it keeps getting pushed aside in favour of something shinier… One of these days, I will definitely get to it, though.

Garth Nix//Lirael2) SNES: A sequel you liked better than the first book

There are a lot of them, really, but the one that first comes to mind is Lirael by Garth Nix. I really loved Sabriel, the first book in the Old Kingdom series, but Lirael just blew me away, & is one of my all-time favourites.

J.K. Rowling//Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone3) N64: A book that revolutionized the way you look at the world

This is probably an obvious answer, but I’ll have to go with the Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling, which is the series that made me love reading – and since reading has become such a huge part of my life, I think this counts as revolutionary…

Tahereh Mafi//Shatter Me4) GameCube: A popular book that did not go over so well with you

The Shatter Me trilogy by Tahereh Mafi. I’ve written a review of this whole series, explaining why I wasn’t as thrilled with it as most of the other people I’ve come across seemed to be. I didn’t hate it by any means, but it really didn’t click with me… :/

E. Lockhart//The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks5) Wii: A new favorite book

I haven’t actually added any new books to my favourites list in quite a while, but I recently read and loved The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks by E. Lockhart – a boarding school story full of pranks and a surprising amount of social commentary.

Bryan Q. Miller//Batgirl vol. 16) Nintendo Power: Favorite graphic novel/A graphic novel series you want to start

I’ve read quite a lot of really great comics (particularly in the last year or so), but the one I’ve probably talked the least about is the Batgirl series by Bryan Q. Miller. The series didn’t run for all that long, so there are only three volumes, but they’re all fantastic, and Stephanie Brown makes a really fun lead character. 😀

Bill Willingham//Fairest vol. 1As for a series I’d like to start, I’m pretty interested in Fairest by Bill Willingham, though I probably shouldn’t pick it up ’til I’ve read a bit more of Fables

Amy Tan//The Kitchen God's Wife7) Super Mario: A character you want to squish like a Goomba

I’m currently reading The Kitchen God’s Wife by Amy Tan, and Wen Fu – the main character’s first husband – is simply vile. 😡

Brandon Sanderson//The Final Empire8) Zelda: A newer fantasy that you consider to be a modern classic

The Mistborn trilogy by Brandon Sanderson. These books were just so well put together, with amazing characters, really wonderful world-building, and an unforgettable storyline! 😀

Patrick Ness//The Knife of Never Letting Go9) Samus Aran: Favorite Sci-Fi novel or one you want to read

I don’t read all that much sci-fi, but I really loved The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness… though I still haven’t read the sequels. 😳

Terry Pratchett//The Colour of Magic10) Pokémon: Book editions you want to collect

The old small-size editions of the Discworld series by Terry Pratchett, with Josh Kirby’s illustrations on the covers. There are so many of these books that I don’t know if I’ll ever get through them all, but I at least want to read all the Rincewind and City Watch books.

Den Patrick//The Boy with the Porcelain Blade11) Donkey Kong: A book with original characters

The Boy with the Porcelain Blade by Den Patrick, which I only just started reading. I’m still not entirely sure where this story’s going, but the characters are really interesting, and not at all like any I’ve come across before.

Fire Emblem Awakening12) Nintendo Fandom: Favorite Nintendo games

There are so many that it’s difficult to say, but a few of my favourites are: The Legend of Zelda series (especially The Ocarina of Time); the Pokémon series (particularly Pokémon Soul Silver and Pokémon Platinum); and more recently, I’ve been really obsessed with Fire Emblem: Awakening, though I haven’t played anything of the other Fire Emblem games (I’m super-excited for Fates, though 😀 ).

May Wrap Up

For me, May was a really great reading month, especially for graphic novels, and for library books (most of which I’ve had checked out for way too long without picking them up… 😳 ). I’m going to Iceland near the beginning of June, and I don’t know how much I’ll be able to read while I’m away, but hopefully I’ll be able to keep this momentum going! Overall (including the #CRUSHYOURTBR readathon), I read 11 novels, 7 comics/graphic novels, and 10 short stories, and I also listened to 1 audiobook. 😀

Melissa Grey//The Girl at MidnightThe Girl at Midnight by Melissa Grey. The first book in a new series, which follows a human pickpocket called Echo who’s been raised as part of a hidden world, where there’s an ancient war going on between two species: The bird-like Avicen, and the dragon-like Drakharin. The story’s plot centres around something called the firebird – which has been prophesised to be able to end the war – and Echo’s search for it, with a rather motley crew along for the ride. I really enjoyed this book: The story was really solid, and the characters were amazing (my favourites were Dorian and Caius). 😀 It was fast-paced enough to keep me gripped, but slow enough to allow for proper character development. My only real problem with it was the portrayal of Rowan – he never really felt like a viable love interest for Echo, since he only appeared in three or four scenes… But then again, that was probably for the best, since the book teetered on the edge of being over-crowded…4 stars

Jay Asher//13 Reasons WhyThirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher. A story about the suicide of a girl called Hannah, told through the cassette tapes that she left behind, sent out to the people she holds responsible for the events leading up to her death. We hear the tapes alongside Clay, one of the people on her list. I’d been on the edge about whether or not to read this for a while, but I decided to pick it up as an audiobook after reading wander-ful worlds’ review, and I’m really glad I did – both the narrators (who played Clay and Hannah) were excellent, and it seemed really fitting to be listening to the story, since so much of it was about listening. However, a lot of the time while I was listening to it, I felt that it was really written more to make a point than to tell a story, and consequently the story itself wasn’t that brilliant. That said, it did make its point really well, and it was very thought-provoking, particularly on the topic of gossip, and how actions that you think are insignificant can actually have a powerful effect on other people’s lives.3 starsBill Willingham//Fables vol. 2Fables Volume 2: Animal Farm by Bill Willingham. This volume followed Snow White and Rose Red on a visit to the Fabletown Farm (which is home to the Fable who can’t blend in with human society), where a revolution is brewing. It was a great introduction to some of the non-human Fables, like the Three Little Pigs and Reynard the Fox, and the obvious allusions to George Orwell’s Animal Farm were fun. There’s quite a few character deaths in this one, though, so it’s probably not one for the squeamish. 😛4 starsJulie Kagawa//RogueRogue by Julie Kagawa. The sequel to Talon, featuring Ember now on the run from both Talon and the Order of St. George! The story was really action-packed, and the character development was great as well – I particularly liked how Ember seemed to grow up a lot towards the end of the book, and I enjoyed getting to know Riley a lot better. Dante’s character is still a little difficult to pin down, but I remain hopeful, and I’m definitely looking forward to the next book! 😀4 stars

Tamora Pierce//The Will of the EmpressThe Will of the Empress by Tamora Pierce. The first of the Circle Reforged companion books (though chronologically it takes place after Battle Magic), which is part of the Emelan universe and follows on from the Circle of Magic and The Circle Opens series. These books follow a group of young mages – Sandry, Tris, Daja and Briar – as they grow up and face the various different challenges that life has to offer. I first read this book several years ago, but I’d been meaning to re-read it for the longest time, so I finally decided to pick it up~ 😛 And I’m really glad I did! It’s my second favourite of all Tamora Pierce’s books, after Street Magic (which says quite a bit, since that’s probably my favourite book of all time, and Tamora Pierce is my favourite author), and it was just as amazing as I remember it being!5+ stars

Terry Pratchett//MortChuck Dixon & Scott Beatty//Batgirl/Robin: Year OneTamora Pierce//Tortall & Other LandsLaurell K. Hamilton//The HarlequinThese are all the books that I managed to finish for #CRUSHYOURTBR, but I’ve already talked in detail about them in my wrap-up for that readathon, so you should check that out if you’re interested. In order, my overall ratings for each book were:

4 stars  5 stars  3 stars  4 stars

Malorie Blackman//CallumCallum by Malorie Blackman. A brief novella that presents an alternative version of one of the events in Noughts and Crosses: What if Callum and Sephy ran away together when she was captured by the Liberation Militia? It’s been way too long since I read the main books in this series, as I had trouble remembering everything that led up to the beginning of this story… But I still liked it, and I’d definitely recommend it for fans of the Noughts and Crosses series. 🙂3 starsGeoff Johns//Aquaman vol. 2Aquaman Volume 2: The Others by Geoff Johns. It’s been so long since I read the first volume of this series, that I’d forgotten just how amazing it is! This volume gives us some backstory, as a treasure hunter called Black Manta is hunting down members of Aquaman’s old team in order to steal the royal Atlantean relics that they possess.5 starsGeoff Johns//Aquaman vol. 3Aquaman Volume 3: Throne of Atlantis by Geoff Johns. This volume covered the whole of the Throne of Atlantis crossover with Justice League, where Atlantis attacks the surface world in retaliation against a missile strike that accidentally detonated in the sea. Once again, it had a well thought-out plotline, great characters, and amazing art. This is definitely one of the best titles that’s come out of the DC in recent years.5 starsJonathan Stroud//The Ring of SolomonThe Ring of Solomon by Jonathan Stroud. The prequel to the Bartimaeus trilogy, this book follows the djinni Bartimaeus’ adventures in ancient Jerusalem, where he is enslaved to one of King Solomon’s magicians. The second protagonist is a young Sheban guardswoman called Asmira, who has been sent by her queen to Jerusalem in order to assassinate Solomon and steal his ring (a powerful magical object that seems to grant wishes). This book suffered from the lack of Nathaniel (understandably so, since it’s set several thousand years before his birth), but thankfully Asmira grew on me a lot – I certainly liked her a lot better than Kitty! – and the story, while slow to get started, really picked up once Asmira and Bartimaeus crossed paths. My favourite part was, the footnotes in Bartimaeus’ chapters, where his sarcasm really shone through… 😛 I went into this book fully prepared to find it lacklustre, so I was very pleasantly surprised! 😀4 stars

Robin McKinley//BeautyBeauty by Robin McKinley. A pretty straight-up retelling of Beauty & the Beast, but done much better than most of the re-imaginings I’ve come across lately (e.g. Breath of Life and Dragon Rose by Christine Pope, or even Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge…). Beauty (who is actually called Honour 😛 ) was a wonderful character, and I loved the slow, realistic development of her relationship with Beast. Her family were really great, too, and Beast’s invisible servants made me chuckle. My only real complaint is that the ending was rather quick – several big events took place in the space of a few pages, and then the book just ended… 😦4 starsDanica Novgorodoff//The Undertaking of Lily ChenThe Undertaking of Lily Chen by Danica Novgorodoff. A graphic novel about a tradition from Northern China in which, when an unmarried man dies, the body of a young woman must be found for him, so that a ghost wedding can take place. The main character in this story is a young man called Deshi, who has been tasked to find a corpse bride for his recently-deceased brother… A really intriguing story, with great characters and a haunting storyline. The only thing I wasn’t a huge fan of was the character design, but even that I got used to eventually. My favourite thing about this comic was probably the watercolour panels, which were incredibly beautiful.4 starsChristi Caldwell//For the Love of the DukeFor Love of the Duke by Christi Caldwell. A Regency-era romance between Jasper – a Duke who shut himself away after the death of his first wife – and Katherine – a young lady trying to escape from an arranged marriage and her controlling mother. For a bodice-ripper, this was remarkably well-written, with characters that I actually really liked and got quite invested in. It also featured one of the most hilarious (intentionally, I think) proposal scenes I’ve ever read. 😛 Obviously, though, I wouldn’t recommend it for younger readers.4 starsChristi Caldwell//In Need of a DukeIn Need of a Duke by Christi Caldwell. The prequel to For Love of the Duke, which follows Katherine’s older sister Aldora, as she tries to secure herself a comfortable marriage with the Marquess of St. James, and ends up falling for his disgraced younger brother Michael instead… Not quite as good as For the Love of the Duke (naturally, since this was so much shorter), but still a lot of fun.3 starsChristi Caldwell//More than a DukeMore than a Duke by Christi Caldwell. The second book in the Heart of a Duke series, which focuses on Katherine’s twin sister Anne, who persuades Harry, the Earl of Stanhope, to teach her how to win the hand of the Duke of Crawford. This book reminded me a lot of North & South, in that actual words (as opposed to constant teasing) would’ve taken care of most of the conflict in the story… That said, I enjoyed it a lot. The dynamic between Anne and Harry was brilliant, and I appreciated getting to know the girls’ mother a bit better – even if that knowledge only led me to think that she’s a bitter, manipulative harpy. 😛3 starsChristi Caldwell//The Love of a RogueThe Love of a Rogue by Christi Caldwell. The third book in the Heart of a Duke series. This one follows Alex, the best friend of Harry from More than a Duke, who is forced by his brother to be a chaperone for his younger sister, and ends up falling for her best friend Imogen. I really liked Alex in the last book, so I was looking forward to reading this one, and I think that Imogen is probably my favourite of the heroines so far. The Love of a Rogue was a lot of fun to read, but I wish it’d been a bit longer, and that more focus had been put on the strained relationship between Imogen and her sister…3 starsChristi Caldwell//Loved by a DukeLoved by a Duke by Christi Caldwell. The fourth (and final?) book in the Heart of a Duke series, following Auric, the Duke of Crawford (who was the other side character that I really liked in More than a Duke), and Daisy, the sister of his childhood friend who passed away. Probably the best thing about this book is that it the romance wasn’t the only point of the plot – it also dealt heavily with grief, as Auric blames himself for the death of Daisy’s brother. The writing was also pretty solid, and the book was a good length… I didn’t enjoy it quite as much as For Love of the Duke, though, objectively speaking, I think it’s probably the best in the series. They’re all rather similar, to be honest…3 starsMike Richardson//47 Ronin47 Ronin by Mike Richardson. A graphic novel of the (true!) Japanese story of 47 samurai who swore to avenge the death of their lord, Asano, when he was unfairly sentenced to commit seppuku (a form of ritual suicide). It’s definitely a good story, but I think it would have come across better if it had been a bit longer. There were just so many characters that it was difficult to distinguish between them, and only Oishi (Lord Asano’s chief retainer) really stood out from the crowd. That said, I really liked the little epilogue-scene at the end, and the art (by Stan Sakai) was interesting, too, though it took a little while to get used to.3 stars

#CRUSHYOURTBR: Wrap-Up

The readathon is now sadly over, but I had a good three reading days, and I think I did quite well overall! I managed to finish three of the five books on my TBR, as well as one other that I wasn’t planning on reading for #CRUSHYOURTBR, and I also managed to get through a couple more chapters of a fourth book from my list. 😀 Here’s a breakdown of the books I read this weekend:

DAY 1 (161 pages)

Terry Pratchett//MortMort by Terry Pratchett (the final 190 pages). The story of a boy called Mort who gets hired as an apprentice to Death, and on his first day taking on the duties of Death by himself, he accidentally saves the life of someone who was meant to die, which has some very bizarre consequences on the Discworld. This book was hilarious, as all Terry Pratchett’s books that I’ve read have been. The main characters – Mort, Death, his daughter Ysabell and his servant Albert, the Princess Keli, and the wizard Cutwell – were all brilliant to read about, and the story and setting were delightfully weird.4 stars

Nawat by Tamora Pierce (71 pages, from the Tortall and Other Lands anthology). A follow-up novella to the Daughter of the Lioness duology, wherein Aly gives birth to triplets, and she and Nawat (a crow who’s taken human form) try to raise them according to both their human and crow heritages. This was probably my favourite story in the whole anthology, despite the fact that I wasn’t as keen on the Daughter of the Lioness books as I have been on some of Tamora Pierce’s other works… Nevertheless, it was a really cute and funny read.4 stars

DAY 2 (584 pages)

The Dragon’s Tale by Tamora Pierce (62 pages, from Tortall and Other Lands). This one is set sometime after the events of The Immortals quartet, and follows Kitten, the baby dragon that Daine adopted in Wild Magic, as she tries to befriend a young homeless woman who’s been cast out of the nearby village with her infant son, because the villagers are afraid of her magic. I wasn’t a huge fan of Kitten’s voice in this, but otherwise I thought it was very well done. Fans of The Immortals quartet will undoubtedly like it a lot, but I don’t think it was quite as good as Nawat3 stars

At this point, I picked up The Harlequin, and I managed to get through 80 pages of it, but since this series isn’t exactly safe for work, I decided not to take it with me while I was at work all afternoon, then babysitting. 😛 So…

Lost by Tamora Pierce (41 pages, fromTortall and Other Lands). The last of the Tortall-universe stories in the collection, Lost didn’t feature any familiar characters from her previous books, but instead focused on a young but talented mathematician called Adria, living with her abusive father, who one day meets a darking called Lost. This story was really sweet (darkings are so cute!), and all the characters were very relatable – it would’ve been nice if Adria had done a bit more to try to save herself, but it was really great seeing Lost try to help her regain confidence in herself and her abilities.4 stars

Chuck Dixon & Scott Beatty//Batgirl/Robin: Year OneBatgirl / Robin: Year One by Chuck Dixon & Scott Beatty (the final 374 pages). The origin stories of both Dick Grayson (the first Robin) and Barbara Gordon (the first Batgirl). Dick’s story involves a plot by Two-Face (with some input from Shrike, of the League of Assassins), while Barbara has to face off against Killer Moth and Firefly, but both are really engrossing – fast-paced and well-thought out, with great art and character development. I liked the Batgirl comic a little better than the Robin one (which probably only really deserved 4 stars), but they were both excellent.5 stars

Time of Proving by Tamora Pierce (9 pages, from Tortall and Other Lands). A very short story about a girl travelling in the desert, who meets a wounded bull-man and decides to teach him how to survive in the wild. This was an interesting story, and I liked the characters a lot, but it was just much too short, and would really have benefitted from having the world a bit more fleshed-out…3 starsPlain Magic by Tamora Pierce (18 pages, from Tortall and Other Lands). Another snapshot of a story, this time about a girl living in a town that’s about to be attacked by a dragon, and how she meets a woman who has magic with cloth and thread. This was a little more substantial than Time of Proving, so I was able to get a bit more into it – it reminded me a lot of Sandry, from Tamora Pierce’s Circle of Magic books, though I know they’re not actually connected… 😛4 stars

DAY 3 (242 pages)

Mimic by Tamora Pierce (42 pages, from Tortall and Other Lands). The story of a young shepherd girl who finds a strange lizard-like creature that can mimic other animals, and nurses it back to health. This was one of the anthology’s stronger stories – the characters were likeable and well-developed, and I got emotionally invested enough that the ending made me quite sad (though it’s not a sad story overall). I’d definitely like to see more from this universe!4 stars

Laurell K. Hamilton//The HarlequinThe Harlequin by Laurell K. Hamilton (the final 104 pages). Anita and co. are sent a white mask, which means that the Harlequin (the vampires’ equivalent to the bogeyman, but real) are watching them. And things escalate from there. I can’t believe how long it’s taken me to read this book! 😡 I think I’ve been around halfway through it for about three years or so, so I was pretty surprised that I still remembered what was going on (& therefore, thankfully, I didn’t need to re-start it). And reading it really brought back just how much I love most of the characters in this series (though, just for the record, I still think there are way too many of them…) It’s such a shame that, story-wise the books have gone so far downhill – there was a plot in The Harlequin, but about half of the book was still taken up with all Anita’s relationship issues. (And sex. Lots and lots of sex. Apparently I was right in the middle of a sex scene when I last put this down, so that made for an interesting place to start… 😳 ). I still don’t know if I’m going to read any more of this series, but if I do, then I’ll definitely be picking them up at the library rather than buying them…3 stars

Huntress by Tamora Pierce (26 pages, from Tortall and Other Lands). A story set in modern-day New York, about a girl who gets into huge trouble while trying to fit in with the popular crowd at her school. The real world isn’t something Tamora Pierce usually writes about, but there was a little magic in this, in the form of a goddess who shows up at the end. It was also rather more violent than most of what I’ve read of her work, though I still quite liked it… 🙂

3 stars

Testing by Tamora Pierce (24 pages, from Tortall and Other Lands). This is the last of the short stories in the collection, and has no fantasy elements at all, much to my surprise! 😮 It tells the story of a group of girls in a group home, who pull pranks in order to scare off their new housemothers, and of one particular housemother who manages to surprise them. I didn’t think it was a bad story, exactly, but it did drag rather, and it felt a lot longer than the 24 pages that it actually was. It apparently drew partly on some of Tamora Pierce’s own experiences as a housemother, and I appreciated the brief notes section that came before it in the book…

2 stars

Lastly, I picked up The Ring of Solomon by Jonathan Stroud in the last few hours of Sunday, but I only managed to get through 46 pages, so I guess I’ll be finishing that in the next few days…

April Haul

I’m not feeling too bad about the books I bought in April, since most of them were second hand and therefore incredibly cheap, but I am absolutely on a book-buying ban from now on! 👿

April Haul

I also bought Half Wild, but it’s not in the photo ’cause I lent it to a friend…

1) All I Know Now: Wonderings and Reflections on Growing Up Gracefully by Carrie Hope Fletcher. A book of advice on dealing with difficult issues that often come up during “the Teen Age”. I’ve already read this, so you can see what I thought about it in my April wrap-up.

2) Reaper ManGuards! Guards!, Pyramids, Wyrd Sisters, The Last Continentand Lords and Ladies by Terry Pratchett. These showed up in the charity shop where I volunteer, so I decided to buy them – I’ve been collecting these editions of the Discworld series for a while now, but I don’t know specifically what these ones are about…

3) Dragons at Crumbling Castle by Terry Pratchett. A collection of short stories that Terry Pratchett wrote as a child, I believe. This is the collector’s edition, and it’s absolutely beautiful.

4) Hildafolk by Luke Pearson. A really short graphic novel about a little girl who goes on a mini adventure. I’ve read this already, too, and I’ve talked about it in my last wrap-up.

5) Roald Dahl Audiobooks: 10 Dahl Puffin Classics on 27 CDs, which consists of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator, Danny the Champion of the World, Esio Trot, Fantastic Mr Fox, George’s Marvellous Medicine, James and the Giant Peach, Matilda, The BFG, The Enormous Crocodile, The Giraffe and the Pelly and Me, The Twits and The Witches. I read a couple of these when I was little, but I’m really excited to listen to the rest. 😀

6) Jabberwocky and Other Nonsense by Lewis Carroll. A collection of Lewis Carroll’s poetry, in the beautiful Penguin clothbound edition.

7) Hansel and Gretel by Neil Gaiman. A re-telling of the Brothers Grimm fairytale, illustrated by Lorenzo Mattotti. I really loved The Sleeper and the Spindle, so I have high hopes for this, too. 🙂

8) Zombie-Loan Volume 13 by Peach-Pit. This is the final volume of the Zombie-Loan series, which I picked out of the clearance bin at Waterstones for just £3, though there wasn’t anything wrong with it that I could see (unlike most of the other books in there). I probably won’t be reading this anytime soon, since I don’t have volumes 7-12 yet…

9) Half Bad and Half Wild by Sally Green. I got these at the Cambridge Literary Festival so I could get them signed, even though I own both of them as ebooks already. I love these so much~! ❤

10) A Great and Terrible Beauty by Libba Bray. The first book in the Gemma Doyle trilogy, which I’ve been meaning to read for a while. This showed up by chance at work, too, and I decided to buy it, since it was pretty cheap. As far as I can tell, it’s a historical gothic fantasy series, which sounds fun.

(A brief aside: ChapterStackss posted a really interesting video a little while ago – In Defense of Libraries – where she discussed, amongst other things, book-buying habits, and you should definitely check that out if you’re at all interested. 🙂 )