November Wrap Up

Hey everyone, and welcome back to the blog! It’s been another month of whirlwind exams, assessments and dissertation readings. And that’s on top of two birthdays as well! Bonfire Night came and went with many flashes and bangs – just like the reading in this wrap up!

So without further ado, let’s begin and fair warning, there may be spoilers.

I read the second ebook in the Shades of Magic series – A Gathering of Shadows by V. E. Schwab. Picking up after the events of the first novel, Antari magician Kell is struggling to continue with his life after many magical events. On the other side of the coin, Delilah Bard is sailing the the high seas, trying to master hidden powers. The pair are thrown together once again as Red London celebrates an international magical competition – The Element Games. Magic is perilous and evil is already growing. This was a great continuation of the series, and the characters are always keeping readers on their toes. We are starting to learn more about the world, but I just wanted a little bit more of The Games. I understand why it didn’t have more though! In the end, I gave it 4 stars, and I’m eagerly anticipating the next book!

a gathering of shadows

Next is a standalone eBook: Asking For It by Louise O’Neill. This was a reread for me, but I hadn’t read this since its release. While ground in YA realism, this book appeals to YA readers and adults alike. The novel follows Emma, 18, beautiful, and confident. Everyone loves her, and thinks she could model. And then her world is turned upside down. After a party, she wakes up on the front porch of her home, whilst horrific photographs of the evening before circulate. Just as horrific is the disbelief of the towns people as they cling to their beloved football heroes. I could not put this book down – it was devastating and heartbreaking, but oh so real. The characters are progressive, and I found I liked to hate some. It is reflective of the world we live in, especially with so many speaking out on #MeToo. It’s a brave tale of hope and courage, whilst facing terrifying realities. And the reality is, women are not asking for it. I rated this 5 stars, and I eagerly await the next release from this author!

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Next is Lover Avenged by J. R. Ward, the seventh book in the Black Dagger Brotherhood series. This follows Rehvenge, a notorious club owner and drug lord, with secrets that he keeps close to his chest. One evening, during a hospital visit, he meets Ehlena. Ehlena’s family is struggling to survive after leaving the aristocracy. Rehvenge and Ehlena come together in a way that neither of them expected, and secrets are about to be told. I rated this 3 stars, simply because there were so many plots entwining that it was hard to keep track of who belonged where, and what certain characters felt. It distracted the reader from Rehvenge and Ehlena’s romance, which I felt could have been explored in more detail.

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I then read Lover Mine, the eighth book in the Black Dagger Brotherhood series, by J. R. Ward. Picking up after the events of the last book, this novel follows troubled, mute warrior John Matthew. His past routinely crops up and now his future is shaken. The love of his life, sympath Xhex, is kidnapped and he will do anything to get her back… I rated this 5 stars – John Matthew is a great character and Xhex is so dangerous. I’ve loved the pairing from day one, although I love the teasing and promises of more to come from characters, Qhuinn and Blaylock. The lesser battles are ramped up, as are the romantic scenes. And we get some glimpses of future character, Payne!

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I followed this up with Lover Unleashed by J. R. Ward. This is the ninth book in the Black Dagger Brotherhood series, picking up after the events of the last book. In this, we follow Payne, the twin sister to Vishous, a member of the Brotherhood. Kept hidden for centuries by her godly mother, Payne has longed to be set free. In becoming free though, she comes into contact with human surgeon, Manuel Manello, who knows he cannot leave her until he has treated her. And then he realises he cannot leave her at all… I rated this 3 stars. I felt the romance was poor, and should have had more interaction between the two lead characters. Instead, we revisit Vishous, and are taken on a Caldwell police case – that is linked to a new threat: the Band of Bastards, lead by big bad, Xcor. The side stories all interlink, but it just wasn’t as good as the previous tales.

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Finally, we come to the last book in the wrap up – Lover Reborn by J. R. Ward. This is the tenth book in the Black Dagger Brotherhood series, and it was a real heartbreaker. Tohr is in turmoil over the loss of his wife and unborn child. The only thing he lives for is battle, and being on the edge. No’One has a troubled past, has nothing and is trying to build bridges with her daughter. When the pair are brought together over the seasons by an unlikely angel, hearts and minds will twist and turn. I rated this 5 stars – the build up of romance was lovely and there were points when I had to put the book down because I cried. There are side-plots which connect with other characters from the Brotherhood and the Band of Bastards, but I don’t want to say too much. I’m addicted to the series, and the next book is on my to-buy list!

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So that completes my sixth wrap up for this blog! Let me know what book/books you have read in the month of November  – whether it’s paper/hardback, audio, eBook, graphic novels or manga. They all count! If you have any recommendations, please feel free to let me know!

– ReadWriteZoe.

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November Update

Hey everyone, welcome back to the blog! I realise I haven’t checked in with you all since my October Wrap Up, so I thought I would do this little chatty update, to let you know where I’ve been and what I’ve been doing… Which isn’t much now that I think about it.

I’ve been really struggling with my mental health. I’ve been binge watching TV shows that I’ve seen before to see if it helps. One that’s really been cheering me up is Netflix’s, Big Mouth. My best friend introduced me to it. It’s an animated show about kids going through puberty, dealing with emotions and hormones. It’s a great show – funny, crude and honest. I’d recommend it – and if you don’t watch it for the story-lines, watch it for the Hormone Monster and Monstress!

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bigmouth hormones

I’ve been in an awful reading slump, but you’ll be pleased to hear that there will still be a Wrap Up at the end of the month – I’ve read at least one book! I’ll leave you guessing which book it was… Speaking of, I’ve finally managed to get my collection reorganised on my bookshelves. It’s only taken me a month after moving! Now I just need to add my little knick knacks!

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University work has completely taken over my life and that’s what I’ve been focused on. I’ve been revising for an exam and then obviously taking it. I’ll hopefully get my result soon! I’ve also been writing essays and reports for other classes. I’ve also been looking over reading and other sections for my dissertation, which is starting to look scary the closer we get to Christmas… This sloth has been me on more than one occasion, mainly in Statistics!

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Mentally, I’ve been drained with university work, and I wouldn’t be surprised to hear my classmates say the same. I’ve been working hard, but it’s leaving me feeling burnt out and tired. So I’ve definitely been taking time for me. I’ve basically turned into the Hormone Monstress…

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So, how is your November going? Let me know, I’d love to hear from you!

– ReadWriteZoe.

October Wrap Up

Hey everyone, and welcome back to the blog! This month has been so busy – I’ve had dissertation meetings and classes at university, and that’s on top of birthdays, family anniversaries, and a house move! I’ve also graduated from my foundation degree, and been to an amazing Halloween party! I’m so tired… I’ve always got time to read though, so it’s time for my October wrap up. So without further ado, lets begin and fair warning, there may be spoilers.

I read the first two eBooks in the Larry series by Adam Millard. The first novel, Larry, follows aging serial killer Larry ‘Pigface’ Travers as he decides to regain his former glory. He decides to return to Camp Diamond Creek and murder as many teenagers as possible. This was a great way to start the series, and what I loved was all the nods to classic horror movies like Psycho, Scream and Halloween, just to name a few. It took all the classic tropes like having a final girl, and put this great spin on it. Definitely for adults due to the language and sex, and slasher horror! A horror-comedy, I rated it 5 stars. larry

Larry 2: The Squeequel picks up a year after Pigface’s demise. He was dismembered and burnt, but that’s not going to stop his mother from hiring a voodoo practitioner! Larry returns and decides that he’s going to get rid of the final girl, once and for all. Even if it means travelling to the big city. The only problem is that the final girl now has a psychic link to the geriatric killer… I felt quite let down by this as it wasn’t as funny as the other and relied a lot on repetitive jokes. The eBook formatting was off, so it was slightly jarring to read. Although introducing the nun, Sister Geoff, was divine inspiration. Literally. An adult horror-comedy, it’s still full of bad language, sex and cheesy horror tropes. I’m now curious as to how Adam can bring another book to the series! I rated this as 3.5 stars. larry 2

Next is the first book in the Alien Huntress series – Awaken Me Darkly by Gena Showalter. This was another eBook read, and I’ve had this for a while. The novel follows Mia Snow, an alien huntress for the New Chicago Police Department. While working on a high profile case, her friend and partner is caught in the crossfire, and left fighting for his life. In walks Kyrin en Arr, an alien with a secret. He offers to save Mia’s friend, but there’s a price to pay… I was disappointed with this. It started promising, and then seemed a rush rush rush to the finish line as soon as Kyrin was introduced. The characters were flat and unlikeable. It was very predictable and I guessed the “plot twist” before it happened. The romance wasn’t even enough to save the novel, although the sex scenes had some spice to them. I did rate this 2 stars, as it was the start to the adult series, and I’m willing to give the next book a chance. awaken me darkly

Next is the first eBook in The Hybrid Chronicles – What’s Left of Me by Kat Zhang. I’ve had this for a while, and was pleasantly surprised. A YA read, the novel follows Eva and Addie – two souls in one body. Addie is able to control the body movements, talk to others, go to school. It appears she has settled, but she knows otherwise. Eva is still within her, clinging to life. One day, Addie learns of a way for Eva to get the chance to be able to move and speak again. The risks are huge, especially since people like them – hybrids – are considered dangerous. Eva decides that life is worth more than the risks… The characters were interesting, especially with this idea of genetics being a huge part of the settling process. It didn’t fall too much to YA tropes, and I really enjoyed Kat’s writing style.  I rated this 4 stars, and I’m excited to read the next one. whats left of me

Next is the first eBook in the Pericolo series – Femme Fatale by Kirsty-Anne Still. I’ve had this for a while too. An adult novel, it follows Amelia, the daughter of an Italian mobster. She has been raised to kill and so she does. Nicknamed the Femme Fatale, she doesn’t look back, and neither do the other killers in her family. And then her father asks her to kill Zane Maverick – her ex-boyfriend… Kirsty-Anne has a way of getting inside her characters heads and her dialogue is great. It was like nothing I had read before, especially with the mob scenes. It’s a brutal read, definitely for a mature audience. The plot back and forthed to murder and parties and Amelia’s indecision to either be a part of her family or to run to be with the man she loves. I rated this 3 stars, as I think the plot was too skimmed down and was more focused on characters thoughts and feelings. Amelia is young and is still confused over what she wants and where she belongs.

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The penultimate read this month was the YA eBook When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon. The novel follows Dimple, an Indian-American girl who is preparing to go to a computer coding summer camp. When she arrives, she finds another Indian-American student is there too – Rishi. Rishi tells her that their parents wish to arrange a marriage for them! This was a lovely insight into Indian culture and was a fresh take on YA. It’s described as a rom-com, but I didn’t really see that. To me, it was just a YA book. I was really excited to read about the coding and all the nerdy things (there were several anime references I could appreciate), but I felt like I was let down. The first half was great, although the second half seemed a little rushed. I found Rishi a bit wet behind the ears, very duty bound, whereas Dimple came across as aggressive and very headstrong. The eventual romance between them was sweet and endearing though, and overall, an interesting plot with a twist or two! I rated this 3 stars.  when dimple met rishi

The final book I read was a paperback in my new house – Three Dark Crowns by Kendare Blake, which is the first book in the Three Dark Crowns series. This was a reread, but as it had been a while, it was good to revisit! The novel follows triplets Arsinoe, Katharine and Mirabella. Each sister has their own magical ability, making them deadly. Or so each queen believes. To be the Queen Crowned and rule the country though, the sisters must fight to the death and only one can win. I rated this 4 stars as it was an exciting start to the YA series. Each queen is different and I still can’t pick a side! I liked the plot and how things started to connect. I just wanted more of a battle – I wanted a real down and dirty fight to the death, but I suppose it’s all to come in the sequel!

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So that completes my fifth wrap up for this blog! Let me know what book/books you have read in the month of October – whether it’s paper/hardback, audio, eBook, graphic novels or manga. They all count! If you have any recommendations, please feel free to let me know!

– ReadWriteZoe.

Spooky Scary Book Tag

Hey everyone, it’s fast approaching Halloween – just ten days to go, folks! I hope you’ve got your costumes sorted, picked out a pumpkin and got chocolate ready for those trick or treating. I love Halloween, even though I never really celebrated it much as a child. And for me, the holiday is about watching creepy films, eating junk food and reading spooky scary books. What better way to celebrate than with this tag, which was created by Clever Fox on YouTube!

So without further ado, lets do the tag!

What goes bump in the night? Name a book that has legitimately scared you while reading it. For this, I’m going with a book that I couldn’t finish reading because it scared me so much, and that is The Mall by S. L. Grey. I wasn’t far into the book, but the atmosphere sent shivers up my spine, and I had a nightmare so vivid that I had to put it down. The novel follows Dan, a disgruntled mall employee, and Rhoda, a drug addict, who is searching for a lost child. Rhoda bullies Dan into helping her look, but strange messages lead them into the depths of the mall. The only escape is down, until they emerge into something strange, where the nightmare is only just beginning for them. the mall.jpg

Jack O’Lanterns and Classic Costumes: A book you always reach for during Halloween time. I wouldn’t say a specific book, but I always try and read a lot of Stephen King! He is the master of horror after all, and I’m looking forward to being frightened. I’m definitely thinking of rereading It though, which I’ve spoken about before on this blog! 41aCsKYeDwL__SY346_

Black Cats and Magic Mirrors: A book you love that is laced with superstition and/or magic. I’ve chosen Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs for this. It’s the first book in the series, and I’m looking forward to reading the rest! I read this last year before the film adaptation came out, and there was something about it that had me hooked. There is so much magic at play, with these different abilities that the peculiar children have. The photos in the book are a nice touch, and really adds to the whole feel! Before I knew what the book was about, I thought it was a memoir of superstitious and supernatural children, so I was pleasantly surprised!

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Witch’s Brew: Favourite witch character in any book/series. I’m sure you can guess who I’ve chosen… Yes, it’s Hermione Granger from the Harry Potter series by J. K. Rowling! I love that she has the brains to achieve anything she sets her mind to – she has that grim determination, as well as courage in the face of the unknown. I really connect with her, as she was an outsider and had few friends she could trust. She’s definitely my favourite character, and Emma Watson was a great choice when casting her in the film adaptations. Hermione Granger

Ghouls and Ghosts: A book that still haunts you to this day (good or bad). I’m going with Alice by Christina Henry, the first book in the Chronicles of Alice series, which I read last year. The novel follows Alice who is trapped in a hospital in the Old City, not that she knows why. She remembers a tea party, long ears, and blood. When a fire breaks out, Alice is given a chance to escape, to find out what happened to her. Only something else escapes too, and the rabbit awaits her somewhere. I long for a really horrifying retelling of the classic, and I didn’t get that. It was bland, and although Alice has suffered trauma to damage her mental health, it seems this is the default way to characterise her. Due to the disappointment I felt when I read it, this is the book that haunts me in a bad way. alice

Haunted graveyard: You’re all alone in a haunted graveyard, you get ONE book to give you comfort – which is it? I’m being sneaky and would go for the omnibus edition of Confessions of Georgia Nicolson by Louise Rennison. I was bought this edition years ago, and it collects the first four books: Angus, Thongs and Full Frontal Snogging (1), It’s OK, I’m Wearing Really Big Knickers (2), Knocked Out by my Nunga Nungas (3), and Dancing in my Nuddy Pants (4). It’s something that makes me smile and laugh and holds a lot of memories. Definitely a comfort read! georgia nicholson

The Undead: Favourite supernatural creatures to read about i.e. vampires, zombies, werewolves etc. Vampire books will always have a soft spot in my heart, but I do enjoy reading about werewolves just as much. It’s why I read a lot of paranormal romance, because I get the best of both worlds! A series that has both, and has a lot of other supernatural creatures is the Anita Blake series by Laurell K. Hamilton. Anita reanimates zombies, and slays vampires, but sooner rather than later, her life is filled to the brim with supernatural creatures of all shapes and sizes. This image was taken from the Marvel graphic novel adaption! anita blake

In the dead of night: Pick a book with a black cover. I’m going with The Blackhouse by Peter May. This is the first book in the Lewis trilogy. A brutal murder occurs on the Isle of Lewis, with similarities to a case in Edinburgh. Detective Fin Macleod is sent back to the island, representing a journey home, and a journey into his past. It’s a great thriller, with a remote setting. It’s perfect for ramping up the atmosphere, and as a reader, you want to know more about Fin’s life now, the life he once had, and the murders that have taken place. BlackhouseCover

Trick? Or treat? As much I love being scared, I’m going to say treat! I love spending the Halloween night with loved ones, watching films, tucking into a takeaway with bags of sweets scattered about. I draw the curtains and set candles burning. Perfect! Here’s a collection of horror villains to get you in the mood! villains-1024x410

So that’s it for the tag, please feel free to let me know your answers! What are your plans for Halloween?

– ReadWriteZoe.

Kindle Haul #3

Hey everyone, welcome to the third Kindle eBook haul on this blog! I was browsing Amazon the other night, and I found some real bargains that were too good to pass up. I feel really lucky to have found these, especially as there are some fairly new releases and several have been raved about on the BookTube community! I purchased a whopping NINE books, so without further ado, let’s get on with the haul!

The first book I got was Nevernight by Jay Kristoff, which is the first book in the Nevernight Chronicles. The novel follows Mia, who is raised in the shadows and is destined to destroy empires and avenge herself on those who shattered her world. For this, Mia must train with the assassins of the Red Church of Itreya, and prove herself. She needs to survive murderers, liars and daemons in a place that isn’t ordinary. Then again, Mia isn’t ordinary either… I’m really excited to try this – Caz of Little Book Owl is raving about this series! At the time of purchase, this eBook was £1.99. nevernight

The second book I got was Moxie by Jennifer Mathieu, and this is a standalone read. The novel follows Vivian who is fed up with her small town Texas high school. Sexism, enforced dress codes and hallway harassment is everywhere she looks. Vivian decides to create a feminist zine to distribute anonymously to her classmates. When others start to respond, she realises she isn’t just changing her school. She is starting a revolution! I’m curious to read this as Emma of emmmabooks has been talking about this for a little while now! This was released last month, so seeing the price tag, I couldn’t help myself. At the time of purchase, this eBook was 99p. moxie

The third book I got was The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas, and this is a standalone read. This is being made into a film, so this is exciting news! The novel follows Starr who witnesses the fatal shooting of her unarmed childhood best friend, Khalil, at the hands of a police officer. Was Khalil a drug dealer? Was Khalil a thug? The death of the teen becomes headline news, but only Starr knows what really happens. What Starr says could upend her community, and also endanger her life. This is a diverse read with a huge focus on social commentary, politics and the trauma faced by many black Americans today. So many members of the BookTube community are encouraging people to read this, so I can’t wait to pick it up! At the time of purchase, this eBook was £1.90. thug

The fourth book I got was Larry 2: The Squeequel by Adam Millard. This is the second book in the Larry series, and I’m dying to read it! Following on the theme of comedy and eighties horror movies, Larry ‘Pigface’ Travers has been brought back from his grisly demise. His goal? Destroy the final girl who ruined his amazing comeback. Now though, she has developed a strange telekinetic connection to Larry himself. And she’s become acquainted with Sister Geoff, a nun who could destroy Larry once and for all! What I loved about the first book was how well it fitted with the eighties films like Friday the 13th and A Nightmare on Elm Street. The series is a love letter to those films, with handfuls of lewd, crude, humour, so I’m excited to see what happens next. At the time of purchase, this eBook was £1.99. larry 2

The fifth book I got was Entangled by Cat Clarke, and this is a standalone read. The novel follows Grace who wakes up in a white room, with paper and pens laid on a table. The problem is that Grace has no idea of how she got there. Grace’s life comes back to her as she starts to write, although it means remembering everything she tried to forgot – falling in love with Nat, and the disintegration of her friendship with Sal. Grace needs to know why she is there. What is it that she’s forgotten? I remember reading this not long after its release in 2011 and it really struck a cord with me. There’s something about it that I connected with on a mental level, so I’m excited to re-enter Grace’s world. At the time of purchase, this eBook was £1.99. entangled

The sixth book I got was another standalone read by Cat Clarke – Undone. The novel follows teenager Jem who has fallen in love with her best friend. Her gay best friend. She’s trying to deal with this, to still be the best friend that he needs and wants. And then, her heart is broken. After being outed online, Kai kills himself. Jem knows nothing can bring Kai back, but she knows who was responsible. And she is going to take them down! I remember reading this not long after its release in 2012, so to come back to Jem’s story seven years later, is a good feeling. So many teenagers and adults continue to struggle within the LGBTQ community, so I feel that this is an important book. At the time of purchase, this eBook was £1.99. undone

The seventh book I got was another standalone read by Cat Clarke – A Kiss in the Dark. The novel follows Alex and Kate who meet and have that instant attraction. Alex is funny, good-looking, and a little shy. Kate is pretty, charming and a little naïve. And yet, one of them is hiding a secret that threatens to ruin their blossoming relationship and both of their lives. This is a Cat Clarke novel that I haven’t read yet, so I’m really curious to see what happens to this young couple! At the time of purchase, this eBook was £1.99. a kiss in the dark

The penultimate book I got was – can you guess? Yes, readers, it was another standalone read by Cat Clarke – The Lost and the Found. The novel follows Faith, who was the only witness to her sister Laurel’s abduction. Her childhood was dominated by the disappearance – from her parents broken marriage to media attention, and “friends” who only want to talk about Laurel. Thirteen years later, a girl is found with Laurel’s teddy. Laurel is home. When a set of events leaves Faith isolated and paranoid, she starts to wonder if anything lost can be truly found after all. This is another Cat Clarke novel that I haven’t read yet, so I’m really excited – I love reading about this kind of thing! At the time of purchase, this eBook was £1.99. the lost and the found

Guess what the final book was that I bought? Yes, it was Girlhood by Cat Clarke, another standalone read. The novel follows Harper who attends Duncraggan Academy. She is trying to escape the guilt over her twin sisters death, something she was a part of. No-one else will ever really understand, especially not her new friends. Until Kirsty arrives… Kirsty has lost a sister too, and the pair connect. Soon though, Kirsty’s behaviour becomes erratic. Her life mirrors Harper’s. She becomes obsessed with Harper’s dead sister. Harper’s sense of identity and her friendships start to suffer. She wants nothing more than to get back to being who she wants to be… It came out earlier this year, so I’m excited to jump into this! At the time of purchase, this eBook was 99p. girlhood

So that completes my third eBook haul. Let me know what eBooks you have hauled lately, and if you have any recommendations, please feel free to let me know! Oh, and if you recommend, Torn by Cat Clarke… I already have it! *big cheesy grin here*

– ReadWriteZoe.

Mini Waterstones Haul

Hey everyone, I’m here today to show you the three books I hauled from my recent trip to the Waterstones book shop on the High Street in Lincoln! I was visiting for the day with my best friend – nothing like a day of wandering the shops and going for dinner when you’re feeling absolutely rubbish!

The first book I picked up was the paperback copy of  Tower of Dawn by Sarah J. Maas. This is the second spin off book from the Throne of Glass series (the first spin off, The Assassin’s Blade, is a collection of prequel stories). This novel occurs alongside the events of Empire of Storms, so it’s best to read the series before jumping in! The reader follows Chaol Westfall as he tries to recover from the atrocities that have left his body broken. He decides to travel to the southern continent to try and regain his strength, and become who he used to be. I’m excited to read this, although I have heard mixed reviews. I haven’t fully caught up on the Throne of Glass series yet, and naturally I was a little spoilt for the plot. Oh well, it happens! This edition has an illustrated card in the front and was £7.99!

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The second book I picked up was the paperback copy of One Dark Throne by Kendare Blake. This is the second book in the Three Dark Crowns series, and picks up after the events of the first book. The three magical sisters are still at war and the battle ground has changed. Katharine, once the weakest, is now rumoured to be the strongest. Arsinoe is facing powers that she never expected to have. Mirabella, once the strongest, faces trouble like she never has before. Danger surrounds them all, but who will prevail and become Queen Crowned? This was supposed to be £7.99, but due to a promotion, it was £3.99!

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The final book I picked up was The Invisible Child and The Fir Tree by Tove Janson. This is a standalone small hardback book, which collects two short stories in one. It’s part of the classic franchise – the Moomins! I love the Moomins so much – look, I even met Moomintroll in London a few years ago!

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In the first short story, The Invisible Child, little girl Ninny is invisible, and with the help from her new friends, manages to take her rightful place in the world using a Moomin recipe. In the second short story, The Fir Tree, the Moomin family are celebrating a classic Christmas. This edition also has the Moomin gallery, with art of the characters and descriptions, which is a lovely touch! This book was £4.99, and all of the money goes to Oxfam. The money goes to assist women and children around the world, which I think is a great idea!

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So that completes my mini Waterstones haul! I will be featuring another Kindle haul soon, so watch out for that one – I went on a bit of a one click spree!

Let me know what physical books you have hauled lately, and if you have any recommendations, please feel free to let me know!

– ReadWriteZoe.

Finally Fall Book Tag

Hey everyone, welcome to the first post of October! It’s my favourite month – the leaves are falling, the nights are drawing in, and of course, Halloween is fast approaching. I’ve had my costume picked out since maybe… April, May? Here’s a clue – check out The Binding of Isaac!

So I thought it was natural to do the Finally Fall Book Tag! I saw this on the YouTube channel HardbackHoarder, and the original creator of the tag was Tall Tales – check them both out!

So without further ado, lets do the tag!

In fall, the air is crisp and clear: name a book with a vivid setting. For this, I’m going with The Hobbit by J. R. R. Tolkien – I remember being so drawn in by the world, and its characters when I was young. I love the various settings we visit with Bilbo and co. Smaug’s lair is so vivid, with its many treasures and trinkets! I think if my bearded dragons saw all that treasure, I’d never see them again…

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Nature is beautiful… but also dying: name a book that is beautifully written, but also deals with a heavy topic like loss or grief. It says it all in the title of this series – A Series of Unfortunate Events by Lemony Snicket. It’s simplistic in its writing style, but oh so beautiful. You find yourself caring for the characters and wishing that the children would be rid of Count Olaf once and for all. It’s repetitive, I’ll admit that, but it deals with loss and grief very well.

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Fall is back to school season: share a non-fiction book that taught you something new. I don’t really read non-fiction, unless it’s for university assessments! However, The Heroin Diaries: A Year in the Life of a Shattered Rock Star by Nikki Sixx was incredibly eye-opening, and made me realise the struggles with my own mental health. It also gave me the start to take the first steps in getting help.

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In order to keep warm, it’s good to spend some time with the people we love: name a fictional family/household/friend-group that you’d like to be a part of. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again, I’d love to be a part of the Weasley family from the Harry Potter series by J. K. Rowling. I love the atmosphere when Harry visits during the summer, and the glimpses we get of Christmas time. The family are so lovely, as well as being warm and inviting!

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The colourful leaves are piling up on the ground: show us a pile of fall-coloured spines! I’m moving house shortly and there are no books at all in my current flat. They have all been packaged and are in my new house – sorry guys! Here’s a picture I liked that I saw on Google instead!

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Fall is the perfect time for some storytelling by the fireside: share a book wherein somebody is telling a story. For this, I’ve chosen the Monster from A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness. In this, the Monster comes alive at night and proceeds to tell three ancient tales to Conor. As the three stories come to an end, the Monster requires Connor to tell a story too – the truth. It was a heart-breaking story, a fast read, and I can’t recommend it enough!

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The nights are getting darker: share a dark, creepy read. You can’t talk about dark, creepy reads without talking about the master of horror, Stephen King! I’d recommend a lot of his books, but I’ve narrowed it down to It, which has boomed in popularity since the new 2017 film was released! Derry, Maine, is terrorised every twenty-seven years by a strange creature – a creature who can take on a child’s deepest, darkest fears. Beware the storm drains, because they float. And when you’re down there with Pennywise the Dancing Clown, you’ll float too…

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The days are getting colder: name a short, heart warming read that could warm up somebody’s cold and rainy day. I’m going with a recent purchase – The Invisible Child and The Fir Tree by Tove Jansson. If you’re a fan of the Moomins, it’s definitely for you! By buying this £4.99 book from Waterstones/Oxfam/Moomin stores, all the money is donated to support women and girls around the world. The Invisible Child shows how Ninny is able to regain her voice and take her place in the world of the Moomins, and The Fir Tree takes us through a classic Christmas tale.

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Fall (luckily it’s my favourite season) returns every year: name an old favourite that you’d like to return to soon. I’m going with Three Dark Crowns by Kendare Blake. This is the first book in the series, and follows three queens who are equal heirs to the throne. Possessing magic beyond our wildest dreams, each sister has to fight for her rightful place on the throne – and it’s a fight for life or death. The sequel One Dark Throne has just been released so I’m excited to revisit the world and become reacquainted with Mirabella, Katharine and Arsinoe!

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Fall is the perfect time for cosy reading nights: share your favourite cosy reading “accessories”! It’s the same things I have year round – comfortable pyjamas and a fandom mugs! My current favourites are a heat changing Marauders Map mug, and a Hello Kitty mug. In the fall/winter, I love my unicorn dressing gown and some boot-style slippers. Perfect! Here’s a picture of me with an incredibly cute Asda mug!

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So that’s it for the tag, please feel free to let me know your answers! Have you got your Halloween costume sorted yet?

– ReadWriteZoe.

September Wrap Up

Hey everyone, and welcome back to the blog! I’ve been so busy with university and other personal things, so I’m afraid that the blog has taken a little tumble. I’m sorry guys!

It doesn’t mean I haven’t been reading though! That being said, it’s time for my September wrap up. All of these books were eBooks, all available on Amazon! So without further ado, lets begin the wrap up! Fair warning, there may be spoilers.

First up is the first book in the Shades of Magic series – A Darker Shade of Magic by V. E. Schwab. I’ve mentioned this series in the last few posts, so now you get to know more about it! The novel follows Antari magician and item smuggler Kell, who uses magic to move through different parallel versions of London – Red, White, Grey and long ago, there was Black. When a smuggling mission goes wrong, Kell runs into Lila Bard, a wannabe pirate and thief. When magic starts to weave around them, they go on an adventure through the different London’s, with different villains on their heels. The first novel does well to establish the characters and create worlds like we’ve never seen. I think this is classed as YA, and I rated it 5 stars. I can’t wait to read the next one!a darker shade of magic

I then read The Girl in Between by Laekan Zea Kemp. This is the first book in The Girl in Between series, which is YA. Teenager Bryn wants to be like everyone else – go to university, have friends and a boyfriend. Bryn suffers from Klein-Levin Syndrome, which causes her to have prolonged episodes of sleep. Whilst her body is in a bed, she travels in her mind to a reality made up of her memories. Everthing seems fine until a strange boy washes up on her beach. To top it off, she starts to hallucinate in her waking moments. Bryn finds herself drawn into a mystery, as well as trying to solve her medical problems. I rated this 5 stars, as it kept me intrigued. Although the setting is similar to other YA novels, this seemed very “small town” and I felt like it added to the plot. Bryn was an interesting character and I’m curious to see where the series goes!

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The next book I read was a standalone, adult, horror novel – The Secret of Crickley Hall by James Herbert. This book was a reread for me, although it had been a long time! The novel follows the Caleigh family as they move into Crickley Hall, a long dormant house on the coast. The family are trying to put the past behind them, especially as mother Eve feels guilt over her missing son. Yet, the house is making noises. Puddles appear. Doors don’t close. The dog hates it. A long time ago, something terrible happened in that house. The Caleigh’s are about to see the history of Crickley Hall… This was a solid 4 star read – I knocked off a star because the Kindle edition muddled punctuation and spelling, often leading to periods of confusion. The atmosphere and horror factor kept me engaged though, and I recently started to watch the BBC television adaption that is on Netflix, just to see how it would compare.

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I also read the first FOUR books in the adult romance Crossfire series by Sylvia Day – Bared to You, Reflected in You, Entwined With You and Captivated by You. The series follows troubled Eva as she enters into a job in New York. Eva has a lot in her past, but she thinks she might be able to get through it with the love of one man – brooding, billionaire (and equally troubled), Gideon Cross. The novels shows the passion the pair have for each other, as well as how others try to ruin their happiness. These books were very popular after the release of the Fifty Shades series by EL James, so that’s a little heads up… I will say the troubled past for the pair has a lot to do with sexual abuse and mental health, so consider this a trigger warning. After that warning, there is still more underneath it all. I rated Bared to You and Reflected in You as 4 stars. They were hot and heavy, but there were times it was repetitive, although very angst driven. I rated Entwined With You as 3 stars as I felt it was boring and a little too wrapped up, although more books were planned. Captivated by You was also a 3 star read as it continually swapped perspectives – something that we hadn’t had in the series before. It was jarring, and it felt really lacklustre. I believe there’s one more book left in the series, so I will have to read that as soon as possible!sylvia day.jpg

The final book I read this month was another adult horror reread – The Exorcist by William Peter Blatty. The book that inspired the popular film, and the FOX TV show, the novel follows the MacNeil household who are trying to figure out what is wrong with young girl, Reagan. She’s not herself, and the medical tests aren’t helping. They decide to turn to Father Karras, a priest with a troubled soul to see if he can help save the young girl. I rated this book as four stars – whilst it is a long read, it is still an engaging storyline. I love the possession aspect, and for Pazuzu to make Reagan do and say the things he does, is creepily awesome. My downside is that I cared little for the mother – Chris. I found her lazy, depending on her house assistants to do the bulk of the work, but I suppose it is in keeping with her being a Hollywood starlet. I also didn’t care for Lt. Kinderman, who seemed an incompetent police officer – he seems lonely and so has to keep people talking, which is really irritating…

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So that completes my fourth wrap up for this blog! Let me know what book/books you have read in the month of September – whether it’s paper/hardback, audio, eBook, graphic novels or manga. They all count! Of course, if you have any recommendations, please feel free to let me know!

– ReadWriteZoe.

Kindle Haul #2

Hey everyone, welcome to the second Kindle eBook haul on this blog! Before all my bills came out of my bank account a week or so ago, I had a little bit of money for me. So I did what any bookworm would do – I started trawling through the Kindle store! I was so lucky and I came across some really good bargains. I purchased five books, so without further ado, let’s get on with the haul!

The first book I got was A Gathering of Shadows by V.E. Schwab, which is the second book in the Shades of Magic series. Continuing the series, the novel follows Antari magician Kell, as he crosses paths once more with adventurer, Delilah Bard. In the land of Red London, the citizens are preparing for the Element Games (an international magical competition). The magic at play is dangerous though, as the shadows of a forgotten London begins to flourish, threatening to destroy another. I really enjoyed the first book so I’m excited to start this. At the time of purchase, this eBook was 99p.

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The second book I got was another by V.E. Schwab  – This Savage Song. It’s the first book in the Monsters of Verity series, and I’ve heard good things about this! This is a world where violence breeds monsters – real monsters. Kate Harker wants to be a ruthless leader, like her father, letting these monsters roam and making humans pay for protection. August Flynn wants to be human and good natured, like his father, and help protect innocent people. The problem is that August is a monster, who is able to steal souls with a simple piece of music. I’m really intrigued to see how the pair will meet and what will become of their lives, and of course, the monster strewn city. At the time of purchase, this eBook was 99p.

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The third book I got was The Wrath and the Dawn by Renee Ahdieh. This is the first book in The Wrath and the Dawn series. The series is a retelling of A Thousand and One Nights, which is a collection of folk stories. I’ve heard mixed reviews about this, so I’d like to give it a shot. The novel follows Shahrzad as she becomes the newest bride for the Caliph of Khorasan. Khalid, the Caliph, has had a great many wives, and each morning, each wife is found with a silk cord wrapped around their throats. When Shahrzad’s friend falls victim, Shahrzad is determined to end the reign of terror. At the time of purchase, this eBook was 99p.

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The penultimate book I got was The Girl Who Played With Fire by Stieg Larsson. This is the second book in the Millennium series. I haven’t read any of the series so far, as I’m a little intimated by them, but hey, if I can read A Song of Ice and Fire, I’m sure I can get through these! The series is a set of Swedish crime novels and follows Lisbeth Salander, who has a photographic memory and poor social skills, and Mikael Blomkvist, who is an investigative journalist and publisher of Millennium magazine. I wish I had more to say for this series! I got the first book for free a while ago, and lately, Amazon sent me a promotional code, so I was able to get this for free too!

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The final book I got was Sweet Venom by Kirsty-Anne Still. This is a standalone adult book, and I originally saw this advertised through the author’s Facebook page. This novel follows three separate points of view – the crazy, the crazier and the craziest. It is sold as a love triangle that is not made for those looking for an easy romance or stories with obvious endings. This is such an unusual pitch for a novel, and I’m really intrigued! At the time of purchase, this eBook was free.

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So that completes my second eBook haul. Let me know what eBooks you have hauled lately, and if you have any recommendations, please feel free to let me know!

– ReadWriteZoe.

Back to School Tag

Hey everyone, welcome back to the blog! It’s September now, which means that parents have watched their children go off to school – whether it’s nursery, primary or secondary. For some people, they will be going to college or to university. I thought it was appropriate for today that I do the Back to School Tag. I saw this on the YouTube channel HardbackHoarder, and the original creator of the tag was BangadyBangz – check them both out!

So without further ado, lets do the tag!

Fresh new outfit – a book with best dressed characters. For this, I’m going with Kell from A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab. This is my current read and I’m really enjoying it so far – it’s also the first book in the Shades of Magic series. Kell is an Antari, which is a magician with the ability to travel between parallel London’s. I love that his coat seems so magical, and that it has several sides and pockets – each variation has a purpose and Kell still doesn’t think he has found out all the secrets the coat holds!

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New lab partner – a new sci-fi book you want to read. I don’t read a great deal of sci-fi, but for this answer, I’m choosing Zenith by Sasha Alsberg and Lindsay Cummings. It’s the first book in the Androma Saga and isn’t due for release until January 2018. Zenith follows Andi aka the Bloody Baroness as she and her all-girl crew are tested when a routine mission goes awry, and the Mirabel Galaxy is threatened to be torn in two. Both Sasha and Lindsay make videos on YouTube so it’s worth checking out their channels!  

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Favourite teacher – a book with a great mentor. This might be a strange answer, but I’m going with Damon McCready aka Big Daddy from the graphic novel series Kick Ass by Mark Millar. Whilst others may see this as controversial, Big Daddy was able to train his daughter Mindy aka Hit Girl to be a strong, independent, special child. She can handle the bullies and take down the bad guys without so much as breaking a sweat. I do see the problems with Big Daddy though, as he lies to many people, including Mindy. To train her, he had her shot in the chest and had her assassinate a target. And at the end of the day, she is a child! Without his actions though, we would not have Hit Girl – Big Daddy did love and respect her.

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New supplies – favourite new reading or writing accessories. I’m a big fan of pens and notebooks, as you may already know! I’m so excited to be using the stationery set I got two years ago as a gift – I love Tsum Tsum’s!

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Old friends – a book you want to re-read OR a favourite friendship in literature. For this, I’m going with the option ‘a book you want to re-read’. And my answer is Grotesque by Natsuo Kirino. It’s one of my favourite books. Tokyo prostitutes Yuriko and Kazue have been murdered, leaving many unanswered questions about their lives. Yuriko’s older sister narrates a portion of the novel, taking us back to their prestigious high school and how the girls struggle to fit into society. One woman is beautiful, whereas the other prizes knowledge above everything. How did they come to be working girls in such a hostile world?

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Ready for sweater weather – a book featuring cold weather. The Shining by Stephen King. I read this in the summer two years ago, so I’d really like to dip into this again when October comes around. The autumn atmosphere will be perfect, and the spook factor will be right up there. I can guarantee I’ll hear a noise and jump out my skin! The novel follows Jack Torrance, a recovering alcoholic writer, as he takes on the off-season caretaker job at the Overlook Hotel. Jack takes his family with him, where his son Danny learns that he has ‘the shining’ – psychic abilities that allow him to see into the hotels vivid past. The winter storm leaves the family snowbound and begins to test Jack’s sanity, leaving those he loves in danger.

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Open house – a book that made a memorable (good OR bad) first impression. The book I’ve chosen left a very bad impression and that is the script adaptation of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child by John Tiffany. Taking place during the epilogue nineteen years after the battle of Hogwarts, Harry is an adult and is seeing his son Albus onto the Hogwarts Express for the first time. Albus is worried about what House he’s going to be put in, and it’s this uncertainty which sparks the plot. I really didn’t like this – the Time Turner plot should not be able to work, I think the characterisation is off, there are parts which are sandwiched in which doesn’t feel canon to the original…. I could go on! I didn’t care for the characters or the ridiculous “plot twist”. It felt like fanfiction and I was really disappointed.

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Too early for this – a book you would get out of bed for. Sarah J. Maas is planning on releasing a set of spin-off novels which are set in the A Court of Thorns and Roses world, so I’m really excited for that! According to Maas’ website, there’s going to be three more novels and two novellas. A Court of Thorns and Roses was an amazing trilogy – Maas is a great author, so I’m excited to see where she will take the series!

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The textbook costs HOW much? A book you spent too much money on. I spent £46 (or thereabouts) on a second-hand copy of Labyrinth by A. C. H. Smith – it’s the book of the film, which was released in the eighties. It also comes with eight pages of colour photos from the film. Once I knew the book existed, I knew I wanted it. And it’s worth the money! It’s actually back in print now in a hardback version, but I wanted the original, which I bought in 2011.

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Best school in literature you want to attend. You already know what I’m choosing, don’t you? I don’t think I need to explain, I’ll just leave the picture here…

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So that’s it for the tag! Let me know your answers, and what your plans for September are!

– ReadWriteZoe.