Only the Ocean, Emergency Contact and The Mermaid’s Voice Returns in This One; The Best New Books I’ve Read in 2019 So Far

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I’m head-over-heels for this book & it’s adorable couple 

Only The Ocean by Natasha Carthew

Release date: 1 November 2018

Subjects: Lgbt+ romance 🌈, ship-worthy couples👩‍❤️‍👩, teen motherhood🍼, (literal) ships & stowaways 🚢

Ahh this book… This book left me with that sweet post-book bliss that only the very best story manage to provide. The (queer) (*squeals*) romance, and surprisingly dark character background (not to mention an ending that made me bawl) helped to make this book memorable and unique. I, like many of the other reviewers must admit that I found the writing style to be something of a challenge early into the story. However, I found that once I delved into the book for a significant period at a time, the writing would not only begin to make sense but begin to really contribute to my enjoyment of the novel. 5 stars!

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Emergency Contact by Mary H.K. Choi.

Release date: 27th March 2018 (perhaps not a ‘new book’, however, the copy I received on NetGalley was set to be released on January 1 2019…)

Subjects: ship-worthy couples 💑, college 🏫, complex family relationships 👨‍👩‍👧

The blurb may scream ‘angsty millennial characters’ and ‘tropey, cliched plot’ but in reality, the story carries a certain richness, which likely stems from its relatable characters and comfortable setting. It may not be a life-changingly-important-this-book-will-destroy-your-soul kind of read, but with one (Korean-American) main character who has a complex maternal relationship and another who’s recovering from alcoholism (and also has a complicated family setting), the book really doesn’t need to be ‘inspirational’ to be beautifully written and thoroughly engaging. 5 stars!

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the mermaid’s voice returns in this one by Amanda Lovelace

Release date: 5th of March

Subjects: Poetry, sexual assault, self harm

you
don’t
get to say
it’s
my fault
for
staying.
it’s
his fault
for
making me
afraid to
stay
or go.

This book comes at pivotal point in the history of women’s rights. It’s undeniable importance, as well as my experience with the two previous books in the trilogy made it possibly my most anticipated book for this year. Was it good? Definitely. Was it as good as the other two? Not quite. My feelings towards this book are hard to pinpoint and even harder to explain. The start of the book was the area I had the most trouble with, as I felt that the quality of poems just didn’t quite match up to what I was expecting. Where were the hefty one liners that made you grab your pen to jot them down? Or the intricately shaped poems that you had to reread three times before fully comprehending their message? Despite this, the second two thirds of the book was significantly better, with a number of poems that really spoke to me. While I would have liked more on the theme of mermaids, the guest poems were a new and welcomed addition. 4 stars!

What great new books have you read so far this year? Let’s talk new releases, recent book hauls and everything else below 😊.

 

My Favourite Reads of 2018 & Early 2019 |(Extremely Late) End of Year Survey

February’s not too late to post a 2018 wrap up, right? Right? I’ve been on holidays for the past few months but now, but have finally decided to get back to blogging at a slower, less structured pace. A huge thank you to the Perpetual Page Turner for organising this annual survey! Find my 2017 reading wrap up here!

The Facts

Number Of Books You Read: 72                                                                                            Number Of Pages You Read: 21,641 pages (avg of 300 pages per book)
Number of Re-Reads: 1 (Geek Girl book 1)
Genre You Read The Most From: YA Contemporary

Best Book You Read In 2018?

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Image credit Goodreads for all following cover images

Elena Vanishing, a memoir by Elena Dunkle and Clare B. Dunkle. Nonfiction…I too never would have guessed this would be the genre of my favourite 2018 read. Yet this story’s rawness, honesty and pain made it wondrously readable.

Book You Were Excited About & Thought You Were Going To Love More But Didn’t?

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One of Us is Lying by Karen M. McManus. Look. I didn’t hate this book, it just wasn’t ‘Amazing’ with a ‘capital A’; it was engaging and the Breakfast Club style assortment of characters was somewhat amusing but the twist just wasn’t that surprising. 

 Best series you started in 2018? Best Sequel of 2018? Best Series Ender of 2018?

The Women are Some Kind of Magic Series by Amanda Lovelace. The first two books for just perfect. Now I have my hands firmly on the Arc of the final book and am not letting go for anyone/thing.

Favorite new author you discovered in 2018?

None of these are particularly ‘new’ authors, but I did read my first books by Agatha Christie, Jesse Andrews & Adam Silvera last year. (Plus, got to meet Jesse Andrews irl *cue happy dance*).

Best book from a genre you don’t typically read/was out of your comfort zone?

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The Heart is a Lonely Hunter by Carson McCullers– A school-prescribed classic that I actually LOVED?!? 

 Most action-packed/thrilling/unputdownable book of the year?

And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie! Short, sweet and suspenseful, with a twist that left me reeling. 

Book You Read In 2018 That You Would Be MOST Likely To Re-Read Next Year?

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Leah on the Offbeat by Becky Albertalli or What If It’s Us by Becky Albertalli & Adam Silvera. I’m desperate to re-live these ships!

Favorite cover of a book you read in 2018?

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Most memorable character of 2018?

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Margot Lewis from Dear Amy by Helen Callaghan. I can’t say why she’s memorable without revealing the twist! Now you have an excuse to read it 🙂 .

Most beautifully written book read in 2018?

Moonrise by Sarah Crossan. Another book (beautifully) written in verse…hmmm….I’m starting to notice a pattern here. Perhaps because the writing style is more impactful & ~unique~..?

 Book you can’t believe you waited UNTIL 2018 to finally read? 

The Diary of Anne Frank. It may not have been the most gripping read but it’s honesty was compelling. Definitely an important read, especially in this political era. 

  Favorite Passage/Quote From A Book You Read In 2018?

“My Last Message would be to find your people. And to treat each day like a lifetime.”

“Sometimes the truth is a secret you’re keeping from yourself because living a lie is easier.”

“Entire lives aren’t lessons, but there are lessons in lives.”

“…stories can make someone immortal as long as someone else is willing to listen.”

Some of the many tear jerking quotes from They Both Die at the End by Adam Silvera.

Shortest & Longest Book You Read In 2018?

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  Book That Shocked You The Most

People Like Us by Dana Mele. That twist left me with my mouth hanging wide open. 

 OTP OF THE YEAR (you will go down with this ship!)

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(OTP = one true pairing if you aren’t familiar)

Bram & Simon from Simon vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda. For obvious reasons. 

 Best Book You Read In 2018 That You Read Based SOLELY On A Recommendation From Somebody Else/Peer Pressure/Bookstagram, Etc.:

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The hype around The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas drove me (like many others, I’m sure) to read it. Did it live up to the hype? Hmm… I’m gonna have to go with no.

Newest fictional crush from a book you read in 2018?

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Definitely not a new crush, but my answer to every book crush related question (’til the end of time) is always going to be Nick Hidaka from Geek Girl by Holly Smale. *swoons*.

Best Worldbuilding/Most Vivid Setting You Read This Year?

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Hive by AJ Betts. A dystopic future community that has removed all technology sounds strange but it was actually really good (ok, it was admittedly a little strange).

Book That Put A Smile On Your Face/Was The Most FUN To Read?

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You Don’t Know My Name by Kristen Orlando was like watching a badass teenage girl undercover agent movie (if that were a common genre of movie- I wish!).

Book That Made You Cry Or Nearly Cry in 2018?

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Moonrise by Sarah Crossan made me ugly-cry for HOURS.

 Hidden Gem Of The Year?

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Only the Ocean by Natasha Carthew. This book was cute. This book was terrifying. This book was tear-jerking. With an intense character backstory, uncertain setting and gorgeous romantic paring, I’m surprised this book is as underrated as it is. Read my review here.

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Favorite post you wrote in 2018? 

Character Files: Lorelei von Leyden. I liked the new direction I took with this post. I’ll definitely throw in a few posts like this later on in 2019.

4. Best bookish event that you participated in (author signings, festivals, virtual events,  etc.)?

I met Jesse Andrews, author of Me and Earl and the Dying Girl! 🙂 

5. Best moment of bookish/blogging life in 2018?

Receiving the Liebster Award twice was very exciting.

6. Most challenging thing about blogging or your reading life this year?

I had a huge reading slump in the middle of the year that resulted in me DNFing at least 5 Arcs. Whether the uninteresting books were the cause or effect of my slump remains unknown.

7. Most Popular Post This Year On Your Blog (whether it be by comments or views)?

My ‘New Books 16/01/18’ post somewhat surprisingly came out on top in terms of most views.

8. Post You Wished Got A Little More Love?

My ‘Recommendations for if you Loved All the Bright Places‘ post is an infographic that took me a while to make and sadly did’t receive much love. 

9. Best bookish discover (book related sites, book stores, etc.)?

I came across a new Arc site called Edelweiss but haven’t actually tried using it yet.

10.  Did you complete any reading challenges or goals that you had set for yourself at the beginning of this year?

I set a goal of reading 80 books for the Goodreads challenge but only managed to read 72.

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My goal is again 80 books this year, however I’m also setting a page count goal of 24,000 (for an average of 300 pages per book). Hopefully this will stop me from fearing the larger books as the time taken to read them will be reflected in my page count goal.

One Book You Didn’t Get To In 2018 But Will Be Your Number 1 Priority in 2019?

I have been wanting to read The Upside of Unrequited by Becky Albertalli for years! This is the year I finally tick it off my TBR. From Twinkle, With Love by Sandya Menon is also high on my 2019 TBR.

Book You Are Most Anticipating For 2019 (non-debut)?

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Happy Girl Lucky (The Valentines Book 1) by Holly Smale, one of my all time favourite authors! Release date: February 7!

Series Ending/A Sequel You Are Most Anticipating in 2019?

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The Mermaid’s Voice Returns in This One by Amanda Lovelace. I already have the Arc and am eagerly anticipating an opportunity to start reading it. Release date: March 5!

One Thing You Hope To Accomplish Or Do In Your Reading/Blogging Life In 2019?

150 followers? 200? We’re at 123, people! Let’s keep it up. Just blogging and reading throughout the year without any slumps is my main goal. *fingers & toes crossed*

Wow. That was an adventure. Thanks for sticking out this super loonnggggg post with me. 

I would LOVE to hear what you read last year and/or your thoughts on my 2018 reads. Drop a comment down below- let’s exchange 2019 tbr recommendations! 🙂

2017 reading wrap up. 

The Cake Book Tag

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I have been so, so, so busy lately, even now, I am guiltily taking a break from my work to post this.  Luckily my reading hasn’t been falling too far behind, I managed to start & finish The Library of Unrequited Love just this morning and while not a book, I did finally get around to watching the movie of Me & Earl & the Dying Girl. But more on my recent reads on Wednesday, for now I thought it would be fun to do a quick book tag. This one comes from Marianna’s Corner.

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Photo by Tookapic on Pexels.com

1.Chocolate Cake (A Dark Book You Absolutely Love)

 I’m not too sure about this topic as I wouldn’t say I read too many ‘dark’ books. Possibly Miss Peregrine’s or The Lovely Bones, although I wouldn’t say that I love the latter as much as I am deeply disturbed by it.

2.Vanilla Cake (A Light Read)

Recently I finished Love and First Sight by Josh Sundquist which was a light, cute read that still had enough substance to keep me engaged. A great holiday novel.

3.Red Velvet (A Book That Gave You Mixed Emotions)

Playlist for the Dead by Michelle Falkoff. This book was just so anticlimactic, I was expecting a huge revelation or at least something interesting but in the end I felt that the story really had no purpose. It wasn’t terrible, just sort of ‘meh’.

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Photo by Mikey Brosky on Pexels.com

4.Cheesecake (A Book You Would Recommend to Anyone)

Beautiful Mess by Claire Christian or Words in Deep Blue by Cath Crowley, both of which are AMAZING books- you should all read them :). In terms of a series, Ruby Redfort or Geek Girl.

5.Coffee Cake (A Book You Started But Never Finished)

806 by Cynthia Weil, an interesting concept that wasn’t executed to the standard that I was hoping for resulted in me DNFing this book.

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Photo by Lisa Fotios on Pexels.com

6.Carrot Cake (A Book With Great Writing)

Either Sister Heart by Sally Morgan, Moonrise by Sarah Crossan and The Princess Saves Herself in This One by Amanda Lovelace. All of these are written in verse which probably says something about my reading preferences.

7.Tiramisu (A Book That Left You Wanting More)

The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice & Virtue, I loved this book so much and somehow, despite the fact this it was quite long, I was still left wanting more. I’m hoping to read The Lady’s Guide as soon as possible.

Top Ten Books I’d Slay a Lion to Get Early| TTT 01/05/18

Top Ten Tuesday was hosted by  The Broke and The Bookish but has recently moved to That Artsy Girl. This week’s topic is all about the books that you’d do Anything to get early. Anything. I’m super excited for this list as I have a fair few new releases on my TBR and haven’t ad the opportunity to discuss them in depth yet.

Image credit goes to Goodreads.

  1. The Lady’s Guide to Petticoats and Piracy by Mackenzie Lee. Oh my, I absolutely cannot wait to read the next instalment in the Guide Series. Felicity was one of my favourite parts of the first book so a whole story about her seems too good to be true!
  2. 35396511.jpgWhat If It’s Us by Adam Silvera & Becky Albertalli. I read History is All You Left Me earlier this year and thought it was super sweet. This book is getting a lot of hype so I can’t wait to see how good it really is.
  3. From Twinkle, With Love by Sandhya Menon. When Dimple Met Rishi was adorable  so I can’t wait to read more of Sandhya’s work.
  4. The Cheerleaders by Kara Thomas. A YA psychological thriller is always a very welcome addition to my reading pile and this one seems especially intriguing (it’s giving me serious People Like Us vibes).
  5. The Mermaid’s Voice Returns in This One by Amanda Lovelace. Don’t even get me started on how much I love Amanda Lovelace’s work, I read both of the other books at the start of this year and would do almost anything to get my hands on a copy of this next book.
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    Love & Luck by Jenna Evans Welch. 
    From the author of Love and Gelato, this one seems like a super cute read.
  7. If Only by Jennifer Gilmore. This book seems fresh and original, plus, the blurb reminds me of a book that my friend and I started writing last year so it’ll be interesting to see how that works out.
  8. Freak ‘N’ Gorgeous by Sebastian J. Plata. A fun sounding story about a town where the gorgeous suddenly become the hideous and vice versa
  9. This Is Kind of an Epic Love Story by Kheryn Callender. I don’t know too much about this book, however the synopsis and title sounded fun so Ithought it was worth adding.
  10. An Assassin’s Guide to Love and Treason by Virginia Boecker. While I’m a little worried this is just going to be a bad copy of Gentlemen’s/Lady’s Guide, it does sound interesting in its own right.

What books would you do anything to get early? Do you have any of these books on your TBR? Leave a link to your TTT and I’ll make sure to stop by. 

The Witch Doesn’t Burn in This One, Amanda Lovelace- Review

Wow. This book made me feel inspired in a way that no book has made me feel before. Correction: In a way that only one book has made me feel before, and yes, that book was The Princess Saves Herself in This One, the first book in the Women are Some Kind of Magic series by Amanda Lovelace.

This book was fierce. While The Princess Saves Herself in This One provides much more personal tale of resilience and empowerment, The Witch Doesn’t Burn in This One takes a much more broad look at misogyny and women’s rights and has a distinctly angry undertone. This book quite frankly doesn’t give a damn.

Like the first book in the series, The Witch Doesn’t Burn in This One is divided into four different sections, entitled ‘The Trial’, ‘The Burning’, ‘The Firestorm’ and ‘The Ashes’ respectively. Like with the previous book, I found the last section to be my favourite and (in my personal opinion) the most empowering of the four chapters. I felt that while the first 3 parts seethed with anger, the last one was slightly more composed, helping to leave the reader with a clearer lasting message to take away from the read.

I loved this book. Even with the slight change in atmosphere it still felt like the perfect second instalment in the series and a natural progression in the development of the author’s voice. An absolute must read for anyone who hasn’t tried this series. 5 stars! 🙂

Note: I received this book from the publisher in return for an honest review. No way did this impact my opinion of the book.

The Princess Saves Herself In This One by Amanda Lovelace- Review

Never would I have thought that a book could give me so many emotions. So. Many. Emotions. I almost love this book too much to be able to right a review. Nonetheless, I’m going to attempt to review it as best as I can. Note: this is the book for the 5th challenge of the MMD Reading Challenge which I am taking part in (a book of poetry, a play or an essay collection).

This book was sad, shocking and dark; it looks at anorexia, abuse, rape, suicide, death, grieving and many more topics that make it seem like a dismal reading choice. But then there are other topics too; love (real love, not the kind of love found in abusive relationships), moving on and self love are also heavily featured, especially towards the end of the book. Not only this, but the way in which it is written (in verse) and the raw voice in which the story is told make the story both deeply moving and incredibly inspirational.

The poetry collection, which is divided into 4 parts (The Princess, The Damsel, The Queen, You), looks at four different stages or aspects of the narrator’s life with the last (and personally, my favourite) part focusing on ‘you’ or the reader, how you can take the lessons from the book into your own life, how you can learn from the narrator’s personal experience etc.

 

Finally, I would just like to conclude by saying a few things:

  1. There are countless review on Goodreads that say this book doesn’t have real poetry in it (because it doesn’t rhyme, have set syllables etc.). Honestly, isn’t that just intentionally missing the point of the whole story? I could go on a long rant about this but I’m not going to. Hmph.
  2. There is so much more I could say about this book. Even thinking about it now there are so many things I could go on about (the shape of the words, how powerful the voice of the narrator is… The list goes on). Instead, I’ll stop my rant and insteadleave it to you to read it for yourself and to experience how good this book really is.
  3. I’m looking forward to reading the 2nd book in the series (The Witch Doesn’t Burn in This One) soon.
  4. My rating? 5 stars! 🙂 📚