Bout of Books 18 Wrap Up

So this post is, to quote, a day late and a dollar short. Or to be more accurate, eleven days late. 🙈 I was supposed to write and post this the Monday after Bout of Books 18 finished. Instead, I’m writing this on a Friday afternoon eleven days late which means I’ll be twelve days late by the time you read this on Saturday. I can only apologise. For some reason January seems to be getting away from me. I am at this moment behind on everything.

So to get back to the point of this post: I’m supposed to be wrapping up my Bout of Books 18 experience…

Doing Bout of Books 18 was a great way to start 2017. It got me into the reading mood, and there was no pressure. It was really nice. ❤️

Between January 2nd and January 8th I managed to read three and a bit books – that’s one thousand one hundred and sixty-eight pages. I was really pleased with this. I could have read more, but reading these three books really helped towards my goal of getting more reviews scheduled for this year.

And although I did not set myself any goal apart from reading, I did manage to take part in the Saturday Twitter Chat (for a while anyway). This was just as much fun as I remembered from previous Bout of Books, and something I highly recommend for anyone taking part to try. It is pure chaos, but such fun!

The books I read during Bout of Books 18.

The books I read during Bout of Books 18.

And to wrap this post up, I thought I’d let you know that Bout of Books 19 is between May 8th and May 14th. You can find more details on the Bout of Books website, and I’m seriously thinking of taking part in it. Thank you so much for reading this far into this rambly, late post – you are awesome! If you haven’t had a chance to check it out you can find my review of Relativity by Antonia Hayes here. And I’ll see you soon with another review.

Review: Relativity by Antonia Hayes (Blog Tour)

This review is part of the Relativity Blog Tour.

Relativity by Antonia Hayes (UK edition)

Relativity by Antonia Hayes (UK edition)

Title: Relativity
Author: Antonia Hayes
Genre: Contemporary, Family
Source: The publisher
Publisher: CORSAIR (19th January 2017)
Blurb:

Ethan is an exceptionally gifted young boy, obsessed with physics and astronomy.

His single mother, Claire, is fiercly protective of her brilliant, vulnerable son. But she can’t shield him for ever from learning the truth about what happened to him when he was a baby; why Mark had to leave them all those years ago.

Now aged twelve, Ethan is increasingly curious about his past, especially his father’s absence in his life. When he intercepts a letter to Claire from Mark, he opens a lifetime of feelings that, like gravity, will pull the three of them together again.

Relativity is a tender and triumphant story about unbreakable bonds, irreversible acts and testing the limits of love and forgiveness.

Rating:  ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ (4 stars)
Review:

RELATIVITY by Antonia Hayes is a beautiful, poignant read. That is not to say it is a sad read, because it is not. RELATIVITY is full of life and hope. It tells the story of a twelve year-old boy who is obsessed with physics and astronomy, and of his parents. On the cusp of being a teenager, Ethan still views the world with a child’s wonder and curiosity. His mother Claire has brought him up on her own since he was small, and is fiercely protective of him. She has never told Ethan the truth of his father Mark, and why he’s no longer in their lives.

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Review: Blood for Blood by Ryan Graudin

Blood for Blood by Ryan Graudin

Blood for Blood by Ryan Graudin

Title: Blood for Blood (Wolf by Wolf 2)
Authors: Ryan Graudin
Genre: Alternative History, Historical Novel, Young Adult
Publisher: Orion Children’s Books (6th October 2016)
Blurb:

There would be blood.

Blood for blood.

Blood to pay.

An entire world of it.

The war might be over, but the fight has just begun.

For the resistance in post-war Germany, blood must be paid with blood.

For seventeen-year-old Yael and her unlikely comrades, there is no alternative but to see their mission through to the end, whatever the cost.

But dark secrets reveal dark truths and one question hangs over them all – how far can you go for the ones you love?

The thrilling conclusion to WOLF BY WOLF.

Rating:⭐️⭐️⭐️ ⭐️ (4 stars)
Review:

BLOOD FOR BLOOD by Ryan Graudin is the sequel to the brilliant WOLF BY WOLF, concluding the story. It continues the story of seventeen-year-old Yael, resistant fighter and shape-shifter. After the events of the previous book, the world stands on a precipice; dangerous secrets have been revealed, and events set in motion that cannot be stopped. Yael is left reeling, but her mission for the resistance must be completed. The fight to regain control has begun, though not everything is as it appears. The future of the world hangs in the balance. BLOOD FOR BLOOD brings Yael’s story, and that of the resistance, to a thrilling conclusion.

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Review: The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden

The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden (UK edition)

The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden (UK edition)

Title: The Bear and the Nightingale
Authors: Katherine Arden
Genre: Historical Novel, Fantasy
Source: The publisher via NetGalley
Publisher:  Del Rey (12th January 2017)
Blurb:

A magical debut novel for readers of Naomi Novik’s Uprooted, Erin Morgenstern’s The Night Circus, and Neil Gaiman’s myth-rich fantasies, The Bear and the Nightingale spins an irresistible spell as it announces the arrival of a singular talent with a gorgeous voice.

At the edge of the Russian wilderness, winter lasts most of the year and the snowdrifts grow taller than houses. But Vasilisa doesn’t mind—she spends the winter nights huddled around the embers of a fire with her beloved siblings, listening to her nurse’s fairy tales. Above all, she loves the chilling story of Frost, the blue-eyed winter demon, who appears in the frigid night to claim unwary souls. Wise Russians fear him, her nurse says, and honor the spirits of house and yard and forest that protect their homes from evil.

After Vasilisa’s mother dies, her father goes to Moscow and brings home a new wife. Fiercely devout, city-bred, Vasilisa’s new stepmother forbids her family from honoring the household spirits. The family acquiesces, but Vasilisa is frightened, sensing that more hinges upon their rituals than anyone knows.

And indeed, crops begin to fail, evil creatures of the forest creep nearer, and misfortune stalks the village. All the while, Vasilisa’s stepmother grows ever harsher in her determination to groom her rebellious stepdaughter for either marriage or confinement in a convent.

As danger circles, Vasilisa must defy even the people she loves and call on dangerous gifts she has long concealed—this, in order to protect her family from a threat that seems to have stepped from her nurse’s most frightening tales.

(Blurb taken from Goodreads)

Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ (4 stars)
Review:

THE BEAR AND THE NIGHTINGALE by Katherine Arden is a beautiful book. It has a gorgeous front cover, and the story inside is delightfully magical. This debut novel tells the story of a young girl, Vasilisa Petrovna – Vasya to her family: the youngest child of Pytor Vladimirovich and Marina Ivanovna. THE BEAR AND THE NIGHTINGALE follows Vasya, as she grows up, the daughter of a lord in a small Russian village. Vasya isn’t quite like the other girls, not even her elder sister. Her life changes with the arrival of her father’s second wife, Anna Ivanovna, and Father Konstantin Nikonovich.

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Bout of Books 18 |Progress?

This is where I’ll be keeping track of my progress with Bout of Books 18. Be sure to check back here if you want to see how I’m doing.

Day 1: January 2nd
Book(s) I’m Reading: I Was Here by Gayle Forman [Goodreads]
Number of Pages Read Today: 102
Number of Pages Read Total: 102
Book(s) I’ve Completed:  n/a
My day:

Monday was the last day of the Christmas holidays, and I spent it with my parents. So I had quite a gentle start to this Bout of Books, as I didn’t actually spend a lot of time reading. It was nice. This no pressure thing seems to be working.

The first one-hundred-or-so pages of I Was Here were interesting, and I’m glad I decided to pick up this book.It seems like one I can just dip in and out of when things get hard to give myself a bit of distance.

Day 2: January 3rd
Book(s) I’m Reading: I Was Here by Gayle Forman [Goodreads], This Savage Song by V. E. Schwab [Goodreads]
Number of Pages Read Today: 189
Number of Pages Read Total: 291
Book(s) I’ve Completed:  I Was Here by Gayle Forman
My day:

Today I was due for a blood test (because of the medication I take) so I had that first thing, which was why I decided to treat myself to a McD’s breakfast and then have a mooch around town. I also decided to use up the leftover bacon and have bacon and egg mayo cobs.

I was in a real reading mood today, so with a lot of breaks I managed to get quite a few pages in which I am super happy about. 😁

Tueday in pictures.

Tuesday in pictures.

Day 3: January 4th
Book(s) I’m Reading: This Savage Song by V. E. Schwab [Goodreads]
Number of Pages Read Today: 74
Number of Pages Read Total: 365
Book(s) I’ve Completed:  I Was Here by Gayle Forman
My day:

Today was medicine day, and to be honest I didn’t really feel like reading. So I didn’t really. Happy with what I did manage though. It was more than nothing. 😝

Day 4: January 5th
Book(s) I’m Reading: This Savage Song by V. E. Schwab [Goodreads]
Number of Pages Read Today: 200
Number of Pages Read Total: 565
Book(s) I’ve Completed:  I Was Here by Gayle Forman
My day:

Another good reading day. My best one this week so far. I didn’t really do a lot. A little cleaning, but I buckled down on the reading front. 🤓

Day 5: January 6th
Book(s) I’m Reading: This Savage Song by V. E. Schwab [Goodreads]
Number of Pages Read Today: 101
Number of Pages Read Total: 666
Book(s) I’ve Completed:  I Was Here by Gayle Forman, This Savage Song by V. E. Schwab
My day:

Today I took the Christmas tree down and boxed everything up for next year – apparently you’re not supposed to put the tree up until today so that the three magi could deliver their presents. It took less time than I thought it would and was relatively stress free.

Of course I decided to start the day as I meant to go on, by actually making scrambled eggs for breakfast instead of just having toast. I enjoyed it.

I spent most of the afternoon with Mum, which was nice.

My breakfast.

My breakfast.

Day 6: January 7th
Book(s) I’m Reading: An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir [Goodreads]
Number of Pages Read Today: 230
Number of Pages Read Total: 896
Book(s) I’ve Completed:  I Was Here by Gayle Forman, This Savage Song by V. E. Schwab
My day:

Today was a typical Saturday, apart from the fact that Mum went off to a tutorial. It was nice and relaxed, so I decided to make cakes. 🍰

I did manage to make a five-minute appearance in the Twitter chat. I was about half an hour late, and had to rush off to help make the stew. From what I saw, there were some interesting questions asked and answered. There were also some book recs that looked interesting, and I really enjoyed the discussion about what people would like to see more of in books.

My lunch.

My lunch.

Day 7: January 8th
Book(s) I’m Reading: An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir [Goodreads], A Torch Against the Night by Sabaa Tahir chapter sampler.
Number of Pages Read Today: 272
Number of Pages Read Total: 1,168
Book(s) I’ve Completed:  I Was Here by Gayle Forman, This Savage Song by V. E. Schwab, An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir, A Torch Against the Night by Sabaa Tahir Chapter Sampler.
My day:

Another nice and relaxing day. I slept in and managed to complete An Ember in the Ashes and read the chapter sampler for A Torch Against the Night. It has me intrigued.

It’s only 19:28 as I write this, but I find myself read out which means I’m going to take a break from reading for the rest of tonight. So that means this is it for me for Bout of Books 18. I’ll be posting a wrap-up post tomorrow, but right now I’m really happy with how things went. 🤓👍🙌📚😴

One of the cakes I made yesterday. A lovely reading snack, even if I do say so myself.

One of the cakes I made yesterday. A lovely reading snack, even if I do say so myself.

Bout of Books 18 | Starting the year with good habits?

The Bout of Books read-a-thon is organized by Amanda Shofner and Kelly @ Reading the Paranormal. It is a week long read-a-thon that begins 12:01am Monday, January 2nd and runs through Sunday, January 8th in whatever time zone you are in. Bout of Books is low-pressure. There are challenges, giveaways, and a grand prize, but all of these are completely optional. For all Bout of Books 18 information and updates, be sure to visit the Bout of Books blog. – From the Bout of Books team

With 2017 just starting, I thought I’d use Bout of Books 18 to begin the year as I mean to go on – with plenty of reading.

These are some of the books I'm thinking of reading for Bout of Books 18!

These are some of the books I’m thinking of reading for Bout of Books 18!

This time I think I’m going to be very book focused. Normally when I take part in Bout of Books I try and take part in at least one challenge and Twitter chat, but not so this time. The only goal I am going to set myself for Bout of Books 18 is this: read as many books as I can. Which is, I’ll be honest, pretty open but as I’ve leart from past read-a-thons it’s never a good idea to put too much pressure on yourself.

If you’re taking part in Bout of Books 18 please let me know in the comments. And if you want to see how my progress is going be sure to check my updates page (going up soon).

Review: The Twelve Days of Dash & Lily by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan

The Twelve Days of Dash & Lily by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan (UK/Zoella Book Club edition)

The Twelve Days of Dash & Lily by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan (UK/Zoella Book Club edition)

Title: The Twelve Days of Dash & Lily (Dash & Lily 2)
Authors: Rachel Cohn and David Levithan
Genre: Contemporary, Romance, Young Adult
Publisher: Electric Monkey (6th October 2016)
Blurb:

Twelve days.
We had twelve days.

It was going to take more than finding the perfect tree.

It was going to take a miracle.

Dash and Lily have been dating for nearly a year, but when Lily’s beloved grandfather falls ill, the repercussions take their toll on everyone. Even though they are still together, somehow the magic has gone out of their relationship and it’s clear that Lily has fallen out of love with life.

Action must be taken! Dash teams up with Lily’s brother and a host of their friends, determined to get Lily’s groove back in time for Christmas.

Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ (4 stars)
Review:

THE TWELVE DAYS OF DASH & LILY by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan is a brilliant continuation of Dash and Lily’s story. This book starts just before the one-year anniversary of Dash and Lily’s relationship, during the run-up to Christmas. A lot can happen in a year; Lily’s beloved grandfather is ill, and this has turned Lily’s family’s lives upside down. And, although they are still together Lily and Dash seem to be drifting apart. Lily herself is definitely not in the mood to celebrate Christmas. Dash teams up with Lily’s brother, and the rest of her family, to try and reignite Lily’s love of Christmas.

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Review: Crimson Death by Laurell K. Hamilton

Crimson Death by Laurell K. Hamilton (UK edition)

Crimson Death by Laurell K. Hamilton (UK edition)

Title: Crimson Death (An Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter, Novel, #25)
Author: Laurell K. Hamilton
Genre: Erotica, Paranormal Romance, Urban Fantasy
Publisher: Headlines (11th October 2016)
Blurb:

MY NAME IS ANITA BLAKE.
I’M A VAMPIRE HUNTER AND NECROMANCER, AND I’M ABOUT TO LEARN THAT EVIL IS IN THE EYE OF THE BEHOLDER . . .

I’ve never seen Damian, my vampire servant, in such a state. The rising sun doesn’t usher in the peaceful death that he desperately needs. Instead, he’s being bombarded with violent nightmares and blood sweats.

Damian is at his most vulnerable, but now is the time I need him most. The vampire who created him, who subjected him to centuries of torture, might be loosing control, allowing rogue vampires to run wild and break one of their kind’s few strict taboos.

Some say love is a great motivator, but hatred gets the job done, too. I’m joining forces with my friend Edward to stop the carnage, and Damian will be at our side, even if it means travelling back to the land where all his nightmares spring from . . . a place that couldn’t be less welcoming to a vampire, an assassin and  a necromancer.

Ireland.

Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️(4 stars)
Review:

CRIMSON DEATH by Laurell K. Hamilton is the twenty-fifth novel in her excellent Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter series. This book sees Anita travel to Ireland at the request of her friend Edward, to deal with vampires running rogue – they may even been breaking one of the strictest taboos within their culture. However, traveling to Ireland means going to the one place Damian does not want to return to – the home of the vampire that made him – but Anita desperately needs his help. It doesn’t help that Damian is being bombarded with violent nightmares and blood sweats, as the rising dawn no longer appears to grant him peaceful death.

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Review: Empire of Storms by Sarah J. Maas

Empire of Storms by Sarah J. Maas (UK edition)

Empire of Storms by Sarah J. Maas (UK edition)

Title: Empire of Storms (Throne of Glass, 5)
Author: Sarah J. Maas
Genre: Fantasy, Sword and Sorcery, Young Adult
Publisher: Bloomsbury (6th September 2016)
Blurb:

BLOOD WILL RUN.
DREAMS WILL SHATTER.
AN ARMY MUST RISE.

The assassin-queen has sworn not to turn her back on her kingdom again. Especially when she might be the only one who can raise an army to keep the Dark King from unleashing his beasts upon them all.

But Erawan will wield Aelin’s past, her allies, and her enemies against her.

With a powerful court trusting Aelin to lead them, and her heart devoted to the warrior-prince at her side, what – or who – is she willing to sacrifice to spar her world from being torn apart?

Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ (4 stars)
Review:

EMPIRE OF STORMS is the fifth book in Sarah J. Maas’s brilliant Throne of Glass saga. Maas continues the story of the assassin-queen Aelin Ashryver Galathynius as she seeks to reclaim her kingdom and defeat her enemies. Regaining her kingdom is not an easy feat when she has to raise an army to keep the Dark King from unleashing his beasts upon the world. Aelin does have some aces up her sleeve though, in the form of her powerful court. But gaining an army isn’t an easy feat, not with Erawan hunting her and her companions, and old enemies lurking in the shadows.

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Review: The Bronze Key by Holly Black and Cassandra Clare

The Bronze Key by Holly Black and Cassandra Clare (UK edition)

The Bronze Key by Holly Black and Cassandra Clare (UK edition)

Title: The Bronze Key (Magisterium, 3)
Authors: Holly Black and Cassandra Clare
Genre: Fantasy, Middle Grade, Sword & Sorcery, Young Adult
Publisher: Corgi Books (1st September 2016)
Blurb:

MAGIC CAN SAVE YOU
MAGIC CAN KILL YOU

It should be a time of celebration. The Enemy of Death is dead; a severed head proof of his downfall – Callum, Tamara and Aaron, all students of the Magisterium, are heroes.

But when a fellow pupil is brutally murdered, Call’s worst fears are confirmed: there is a spy in his magical school.

No one is safe.

Now, using the powerful magic they’ve been taught, the trio must risk their lives to track down the killer. But magic is dangerous – in the wrong hands it could bring terrible destruction. And reveal the deadliest secret of all . . .

Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️ (3 stars)
Review:

THE BRONZE KEY is the third book in Holly Black and Cassandra Clare’s brilliant middle grade fantasy series Magisterium. This book continues the story of Callum Hunt – or Call to his friends – as he attends magic school. The Enemy of Death has been defeated, and Call is about to start his third year at the Magisterium. Call had a good summer with his father and best friend Aaron away from the world of magic; he hopes his third year will be less eventful than the previous two. Unfortunately that isn’t to be, as not long after his return a pupil is murdered.

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