The Fandom by Anna Day

Rating – 4/5

“Cosplay ready, Violet and her friends are at Comic-Con. They can’t wait to meet the fandom of mega movie, The Gallows Dance. What they’re not expecting is to be catapulted by freak accident into their favourite world – for real. Fuelled by love, guilt and dear, can the friends put the plot back on track and get out? The fate of the story is in their hands…”

This is a new release and one I was extremely excited to read after seeing lots of people receiving arcs earlier in 2017. The book only released this month but I know it is going to get more and more hype as the year goes on.

Getting sent to the world of our favourite book is every bookworm’s dream and this story explores the downsides to what we all would assume is the perfect occurrence. Our four characters have to fully immerse themselves into the world which means poor hygiene, gross food and nearly getting killed at every turn. They also have to try and keep the story on plot in order to get home which isn’t easy when the story is pushing against you.

I really enjoyed reading from Violet’s perspective as she battled with wanting to get home but wanting to do the right thing for the characters in the world. We watch Violet struggle to keep to the plot as she learns horrifying truths about the world of the book she loves and I enjoyed experiencing the journey alongside her and questioning what I would do in the same situation. I adored Nate’s character and I loved Katie and I experienced the ups and downs of Violet’s friendship with Alice alongside her.

My favourite part of this story was something we learn at the end which I won’t spoil for anyone but it questions the strength of the reader and explores how our four heroes came to be part of the story they love. It was a really interesting aspect and made the story less predictable.

I highly recommend picking this book up no matter what genre of book you read as this story has something for everyone.

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What I read in December…

I had an incredible reading month in December which means I managed to surpass my Goodreads goal by a number of books. I read a mix of YA and NA and I enjoyed the majority of the books I read. I have spoiler-free reviews for books marked with an asterisk.

*Vendetta by Catherine Doyle – 4/5 – I have a spoiler-free review of the whole trilogy on my blog but this was a really great start and I enjoyed it a lot.

*Inferno by Catherine Doyle – 4/5 – I didn’t enjoy this book as much as the first one but it was still a great book.

*Mafiosa by Catherine Doyle – 4.5/5 – my favourite in the trilogy and the perfect ending.

The Sin-Eater’s Daughter by Melinda Salisbury – 3/5 – a unique fantasy story that I enjoyed but didn’t love.

Caroline’s Heart by Austin Chant – 3/5 – definitely not my favourite Austin Chant book but I still enjoyed it.

Off The Ice by Avon Gale & Piper Vaughn – 4/5 – this is the first New Adult book I’ve read in a long time and I loved it. I can’t wait to read more in this series.

The Deal by Elle Kennedy – 4/5 – this is such a fun NA book with a hidden depth. I loved the characters and I know it’s a book I will reread again and again.

*The Inexplicable Logic of my Life by Benjamin Alire Saenz – 5/5 – I can’t put into words how much I loved this book and I highly recommend it

Him by Sarina Bowen & Elle Kennedy – 4/5 – I loved this book so much and the characters were wonderful.

Us by Sarina Bowen & Elle Kennedy – 3.5/5 – the sequel to Him which I didn’t enjoy as  much but I still liked. I loved the progression of Wes and Jamie’s relationship.

The Next Together by Lauren James – 3.5/5 – I’ve been meaning to read this book for a while and I’m so glad I got round to it. I loved the format with the different time zones and it was a really unique story.

Another Together by Lauren James – 3/5 – the novella to The Next Together which I enjoyed but wasn’t anything special.

The Last Beginning by Lauren James – 3.5/5 – the sequel to The Next Together which I didn’t enjoy as much. I liked how the stories linked and the ending was really sweet.

Another Beginning by Lauren James – 2.5/5 – the novella to The Last Beginning that I unfortunately didn’t like all that much.

Good Boy by Sarina Bowen & Elle Kennedy – 3.5/5 – the spinoff to Him. I loved what we saw of Wes and Jamie but I didn’t really like Blake’s character which let the story down a little.

A Hundred Thousand Words by Nyrae Dawn – 3/5 – I didn’t like this story until quite near the end but it was still an enjoyable read.

Wrapped by Rebekah Weatherspoon – 3/5 – a Christmas novella that fell a little flat for me.

The Mistake by Elle Kennedy – 4/5 – the spinoff / sequel to The Deal. I loved Logan’s character and I really enjoyed the story.

The Score by Elle Kennedy – 3.5/5 – I didn’t enjoy this book as much as The Deal and The Mistake because I didn’t like Dean’s character.

The Book Thief by Marcus Zusak – 4/5 – this book is so important and I’m very glad I finally picked it up. The only reason this didn’t get 5/5 is because of how slow-paced it was but I thought the ending was beautiful.

The Goal by Elle Kennedy – 3.5/5 – I love Tucker and Sabrina but I wish we saw more of them with the baby as I found the beginning quite slow due to the storyline repeating itself a bit to introduce their relationship.

Fence #2 by C. S. Pacat – 4/5 – I’m loving this graphic novel even though reading it on my Kindle is rather difficult.

The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern – 5/5 – this is my third time reading this book and I love it even more every time.

2017 Wrap-Up

So 2017 has come to an end and I’ve had a really great year for reading. My Goodreads goal was 100 books and I’ve managed to read 127 books which I’m so happy about! I’ve read a range of genres and given an even wider range of ratings to the books I’ve read so I’m here to share with you my ‘Top 17 of 2017″ and my most disappointing reads of 2017. Up first…

My Top 17 of 2017 (in order of when I read them)

  1. The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller
  2. Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo
  3. History Is All You Left Me by Adam Silvera
  4. A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness
  5. The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
  6. The Upside of Unrequited by Becky Albertalli
  7. Lord of Shadows by Cassandra Clare
  8. A Conjuring of Light by V. E. Schwab
  9. This Savage Song by V. E. Schwab
  10. The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue by Mackenzi Lee
  11. Vicious by V. E. Schwab
  12. Radio Silence by Alice Oseman
  13. The Loneliest Girl in the Universe by Lauren James
  14. They Both Die at the End by Adam Silvera
  15. It Only Happens in the Movies by Holly Bourne
  16. Making Faces by Amy Harmon
  17. The Inexplicable Logic of my Life by Benjamin Alire Saenz

and now for…

My Most Disappointing Reads of 2017

I DNF’d three books this year; Heartless by Marissa Meyer, If You Could See Me Now by Cecelia Ahern and The Sleeping Prince by Melinda Salisbury.

Heartless was such a hyped book and I think I set my expectations a little too high. I didn’t like the characters, I wasn’t a huge fan of the writing style and the story was not at all what I was expecting.

If You Could See Me Now was just a really strange story and I couldn’t find myself getting into it. I had so many other books on my shelf to read that I decided not to waste my time finishing it.

The Sleeping Prince is my most recent DNF and it is no fault of the books. I read the first book in the trilogy, The Sin-Eater’s Daughter, on my commute to University during the last week of term and enjoyed it (I gave it a 3/5). However, since finishing for Christmas I’ve been powering through the books on my shelf so that I’m ready to read the new books I get for Christmas and as a result I stopped reading The Sleeping Prince (which is on my Kindle) around 70 pages in, lost interest in the story and couldn’t get into it when I tried to pick it back up. I will eventually come back to finishing this trilogy but for now I’m taking a break.

A book I finished but really didn’t enjoy is One Of Us Is Lying by Karen McManus. There’s lots of mixed reviews about this book but I’m firmly on the side that didn’t enjoy it. The story didn’t grip me, I didn’t like the mental health representation and the characters were very annoying. This book was not for me.

Finally, Call Me By Your Name was quite a disappointing read for me. I still enjoyed it (I gave it 3.5/5) but it was not at all what I was expecting and I was a bit let down with the story I read.

Goals for 2018

My reading goal for 2018 is to read as many books as I can. I’m probably going to set my Goodreads goal at 100 again and we’ll see how things go. I’m planning to read lots more New Adult books as I’ve read quite a few this month and I love how quick and easy they are to read. I’m also going to try and read some more fantasy books as it is not a genre I tend to reach for. I’ve really enjoyed rereading the Percy Jackson series after so long so I’m going to continue reading Rick Riordan’s books and maybe even some more middle-grade if I can find a series that interests me.

If you have any recommendations for New Adult, YA fantasy or middle-grade books, please leave them in the comments!

Thank you so much for reading and I will see you all in 2018!

 

The Inexplicable Logic of my Life by Benjamin Alire Saenz

Rating – 5/5

“The first day of senior year: everything is about to change. Until this moment, Sal has always been certain of his place with his adoptive gay father and their loving Mexican-American family. But now his own history unexpectedly haunts him, and life-altering events force him and his best friend, Samantha, to confront issues of faith, loss, and grief. Suddenly Sal is throwing punches, questioning everything, and discovering that he no longer knows who he really is—but if Sal’s not who he thought he was, who is he?”

I think the majority of readers know and love Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe but I haven’t seen as much love for The Inexplicable Logic of my Life but I think it’s even better than Ari & Dante.

Benjamin Alire Saenz creates beautiful characters which, coupled with his beautiful words, create a truly unique story. The families he creates are truly one of a kind and are always so supportive of their children. Sal’s father is honestly one of my favourite characters I’ve ever read about and he makes this book so special. He also creates such sweet and caring young men who adore their families and would do anything for their friends. Sal was such a wonderful character and I adored his friendship with Fito, but especially with Sam. I rarely read books where family is such a main focus which is why this book was so unique to me – Sal’s family were loud and boisterous but you could see how much they loved one another.

This book deals with death, grief and loss so beautifully and I couldn’t help but cry throughout. I know a lot of people aren’t fond of the ‘absent parent’ trope and the death of parents is quite overdone in YA but it was handled respectfully. This book also deals with homophobia and racism as Sal’s father is gay and they are a Mexican-American family. The book does not make light of these topics but focuses more on the positives like supportive friendships and family network.

I highly recommend this book as well as Aristotle and Dante if you have not read that either!

 

Blood for Blood trilogy by Catherine Doyle

Vendetta – 4/5

Inferno – 4/5

Mafiosa – 4.5/5

I’d heard nothing but wonderful things about this trilogy so I thought it was time I picked it up and I’m so glad I did. It was the right amount of cheesy contemporary mixed with dark, thrilling mafia families that kept me on my toes from start to finish. I read all 3 books in a matter of days which shows just how much I enjoyed this trilogy.

We follow our protagonist Sophie as she gets sucked into a world of blood feuds, gang wars and hot Italian mafia boys whilst trying to navigate life with her father in prison and her mother withdrawing herself from the world. Sophie was such a wonderful protagonist to follow; I often find female leads in contemporary novels to be quite irritating but Sophie was witty and intelligent making her a joy to read about. We also see quite a lot of Sophie’s best friend Millie throughout the books who may be one of my favourite female characters ever – she was incredible. The friendship that two shared was breathtaking and I hope to find a friend like Millie someday. There was no fighting between the two of them, just pure love and support. This review would not be complete without a mention of our hot mafia boys and what I really liked about the Falcone brothers was how I was never completely sold on just one. They had such complex personalities and I was constantly back and forth deciding whether I liked the character or not. By the end of the trilogy I wholeheartedly loved Luca but not before wanting to slap him a few times first!

This trilogy is so over the top yet entirely realistic which shows just how incredible a writer Catherine Doyle is to make something so unbelievable seem believable. This trilogy was so much fun to read but it also made me cry as it deals with loss and grief which is something we can all relate to. There’s also really important messages in regards to family and friendship.

I think this trilogy is wonderful and I highly recommend giving it a read – you won’t regret it!

What I read in November…

November started off as a very slow reading month but I bought a couple of short stories / novellas on my Kindle and managed to read a total of 8 books which I’m really happy about! There is a full spoiler-free review for books marked with an asterisk (I have a series review for Percy Jackson).

*Percy Jackson and the Titan’s Curse by Rick Riordan – 4.5/5 – I really enjoyed this book in the series and I read it in a matter of hours.

*Percy Jackson and the Battle of the Labyrinth by Rick Riordan – 3.5/5 – this was my least favourite of the Percy Jackson books and I’m not entirely sure why…

*Percy Jackson and the Last Olympian by Rick Riordan – 4.5/5 – the final book in the Percy Jackson series and the best one yet. Enough said!

Call Me By Your Name by Andre Aciman – 3.5/5 – I read this book in anticipation of watching the film (which sadly is not being shown in any cinemas near me) but it disappointed me. I had such a high expectations and unfortunately, the book did not live up to them.

Fence by C. S. Pacat – 4/5 – this is the first graphic novel I’ve ever read and I really enjoyed it. I did read it on my Kindle so I don’t think I got the full experience but I can’t wait for the second instalment.

Coffee Boy by Austin Chant – 4/5 – this story is so pure and I fell in love with Austin Chant’s writing. This is an own voices story about a gay trans-man and I highly recommend reading it!

Peter Darling by Austin Chant – 4/5 – after reading Coffee Boy I immediately bought another Austin Chant book, this one a retelling of Peter Pan where Peter is a trans-man who falls in love with Captain Hook. I adored this story.

*Making Faces by Amy Harmon – 4.5/5 – this book is beautiful and I wish everyone would read it.

More Happy Than Not by Adam Silvera – 4/5 – this book seemed to take me ages to read but I really enjoyed it by the end. This isn’t my favourite Silvera book but I enjoyed it nonetheless.

What did you read in November and what are you planning to read in December? Let me know in the comments!

Making Faces by Amy Harmon

Rating – 4.5/5

“Ambrose Young was beautiful. The kind of beautiful that graced the covers of romance novels, and Fern Taylor would know. She’s been reading them since she was thirteen. But maybe because he was so beautiful he was never someone Fern thought she could have… until he wasn’t beautiful anymore. Making Faces is the story of a small town where five young men go off to war, and only one comes back. It is the story of loss. Collective loss, individual loss, loss of beauty, loss of life, loss of identity. It is the tale of one girl’s love for a broken boy, and a wounded warrior’s love for an unremarkable girl. This is a story of friendship that overcomes heartache, heroism that defies the common definitions, and a modern tale of Beauty and the Beast, where we discover that there is a little beauty and a little beast in all of us.”

I can think of no better way to describe this book than beautiful which is fitting considering beauty is one of the main themes. From start to finish I was hooked and I read it in a matter of hours due to the short chapters and the irresistible story that left me wanting more.

The characters are what truly made this story and I think the story would have been very different without Bailey. Bailey was my favourite character for so many reasons; his humour and positive outlook on life despite being handed one of the worst situations was outstanding and his influence on all the other characters made him truly special. I loved Bailey and Fern’s relationship and it was possibly my favourite element of the book. I was a little worried going into the story that the romantic relationship would be heavily focussed on the girl ‘saving’ the guy but this was not the case and I adored the romance in this book.

The book deals with some really heavy and difficult topics such as war, domestic abuse, grief and guilt, disability and religion but the topics are handled respectfully and make the book so special. This book truly is a masterpiece and I know it will continue to mean so much for me for many years. I highly recommend reading this story!