The Mud and Stars Book Blog

thoughts from a girl who spends her days in other worlds…

The Mid Year Book Freakout Tag 2019

Hello, bookish friends!

I’m so sorry for disappearing again! Life just got on top of me, but I am going to do my best to keep popping in when I can. I feel so bad for abandoning my poor little blog, and all of you lovely people!

Today I thought I would do the Mid Year Book Freakout Tag! As it’s almost the end of July, if I don’t do this tag soon, it’s going to be nowhere near the middle of the year! And I love this tag – I don’t want to miss a year of doing it.

Today is the hottest day of the year so far (it’s 37 degrees C here in London) and I am melting as I sit here and type this! Hope you’re all coping with this heat better than I am (or are living somewhere cooler!)

Without further ado, here are my answers to the questions…


Best Book You’ve Read Yet in 2019

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The best book I’ve read this year so far is The Bone Clocks by David Mitchell! I read the companion novel – Slade House – in 2017, and it was one of my favourite books of the year. Slade House is a literary horror, although I’d describe The Bone Clocks more as literary fiction with interwoven fantasy. It’s set in our world, but has fantastical elements running through it.

This book is about a war between two groups of immortal beings, and how a normal human woman named Holly Sykes unknowingly becomes an important pawn in said war. The book is huge, and split up into sections told from different perspectives, set in different time periods through from 1984, right up until 2043. Although only the first and last sections are told from Holly’s perspective, she appears in every single part, crossing paths with each of the characters in important ways.

This book is quite mind-blowing, with an epic scope. The characters are all incredibly well developed (especially Holly herself), and although it requires a lot of concentration because it is quite complex (every little detail has a part to play later in the story), I really ended up loving it, and couldn’t give it any less than 5 stars.


Best Sequel You’ve Read So Far in 2019

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Queen of Air and Darkness by Cassandra Clare is the last book in her Dark Artifices series, and this was another epic read, filled with so many emotions! I cried, I laughed, I felt unbelievably tense and stressed, and I was ultimately left with a very full heart. I loved how this series was wrapped up, and I’m so excited for the next series of Shadowhunter books from Cassie.


New Release You Haven’t Read Yet But Want To

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I’m really excited to read Recursion by Blake Crouch, which is a sci-fi thriller surrounding the idea of False Memory Syndrome. I’m really intrigued to see what Blake Crouch does with this idea; he always has such exciting, high-concept stories, and I have adored everything I’ve read by him so far.


Most Anticipated Release for the Second Half of the Year

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I can’t wait for the release of All the Bad Apples by Moira Fowley-Doyle. I don’t know a lot about this particular book (I believe it has something to do with a family curse), but I love the way Moira Fowley-Doyle writes; her book always have a magical realism element, and she has such an atmospheric, dreamy writing style I just eat up every time. I will auto-buy anything she writes!


Biggest Disappointment

forever

Forever by Judy Bloom. I got this book from the library, and I’m so glad I didn’t spend actual money on it. Judy Bloom is supposed to be the OG YA author, i.e. she wrote YA books long before YA was a recognised category. Forever is the story of a first relationship, but the characters were a bit bland and felt underdeveloped, so I found I just didn’t really care what happened to them. I also got really annoyed when the guy pressured the girl about having sex, because this wasn’t challenged at all in the text. It was just a case of ‘that’s what teenage boys are like’ rather than ‘that’s not ok!’  I know this book was written in the seventies, but still, it rubbed me up the wrong way. This isn’t the worst book I’ve ever read, but it was pretty forgettable for me, unfortunately.


Biggest Surprise

99days

My biggest surprise was 99 Days by Katie Cotugno . This book doesn’t have the best reviews, so I had low expectations, but I actually ended up really enjoying this one. This book is about a girl whose author mother reveals her daughter’s most shameful secret by using it as a plot for her latest novel. I think a lot of people had issues with the fact that this book deals with cheating, but I honestly thought it was well handled, and that the emotions felt realistic. I think it’s also important that a book like this exists, because although cheating is wrong, so is the way we demonise teenage girls who happen to make a mistake, and I think this book makes that point in a way which really had me sympathising with the main character, despite the mistakes she had made. She’s a human being with feelings, first and foremost.


Favourite New Author

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Dathan Auerbach! I read this author’s first book, Penpal, earlier in the year, and I have his second, Bad Man, on my Kindle to read soon. This horror/thriller novel follows a boy who is being stalked by an anonymous pen pal. It’s atmospheric, tense, and thoroughly, thoroughly creepy. I’m so excited to read more from this author.


Newest Fictional Crush

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Leon from The Flatshare was a sweetie, and would probably make a lovely husband! Plus, the Irish accent… *swoons*


Newest Favourite Character

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Okay, so this isn’t actually a character, it’s a real person, but I would love to be friends with Jenny Lawson, author of Furiously Happy. The book is a mental health memoir/collection of funny anecdotes from her life, and as I read it I just totally fell in love with her quirky, hilarious personality, as well as relating to her on so many levels.


Book That Made You Cry

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Eliza and her Monsters by Francesca Zappia was a close second for my favourite book of the year. It follows a girl named Eliza who is the anonymous author of a successful webcomic with millions of readers, who does not want to reveal her ‘secret identity’ to the people she knows in ‘real life’. The portrayal of anxiety and depression in this book was so masterfully done, and this book made me feel so understood. This book had a huge emotional impact on me, and I think it’s the only book I’ve read this year that’s really made me sob (but in a good, cathartic way!)


Book That Made You Happy

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The Land of Neverendings by Kate Saunders!  I absolutely adored this children’s book. It explores some difficult topics (mainly grief) but in the most lovely way (through a story about a land where toys come to life, and their owners can go to be with them after they pass away). This story really warmed my heart, and as somebody whose obsession with plushies is just as big as my obsession with books, it meant the world to me. If you like plushies too, you might want to check out my plushie-themed Instagram page @pigglypuffandfriends. I have so much fun with it, and there is a brilliant plushie community on Instagram.


Favourite Book to Film Adaptation

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I haven’t seen any film adaptations this year, but for something that’s based on a book, I really enjoyed The Umbrella Academy series on Netflix (based on the graphic novel by Gerard Way and Gabriel Bá). I don’t usually like superhero stuff, but this was quirky and fun, and the characters were everything. I even adored the ones who were supposed to be the bad guys! If you’ve watched it, let me know who your favourite characters were. Personally, I adore Hazel.


Favourite Post You Have Done This Year

I haven’t done many posts this year, but my favourite is probably my first post of the year, simply because it took a lot of courage to write it and get back into blogging.


Most Beautiful Book You’ve Bought This Year

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How stunning is this cover?! I haven’t read The Dreamers by Karen Thompson Walker yet, but I enjoy staring at it.


What Books Do You Need to Read by the End of the Year

All of them! I recently made a list of my physical To-Be-Read pile, and I have almost 150 unread books. I am also going to YALC (the Young Adult Literature Convention) at London Film and Comic Con this weekend. so I forsee that pile growing considerably over the next few days!


Have you read any of the books I mentioned? What’s your favourite book of the year so far? I’d love to hear from you! 

Lots of literary love,

Jess xxx

2 Comments »

The Spring has Sprung Book Tag

Hello, lovely bookish people! 

Today I thought I would have a go at the ‘Spring has Sprung’ Book Tag, which was created by The Naughty Librarian.

It doesn’t look much like spring outside my window right now, so here are some pictures of some lovely spring flowers to get us all in a sunny mood (featuring my stuffed pig, ‘Piggly Puff’: he has his own Instagram account and has more followers than this blog!!!)

Hope these cute pictures brought you some warm fuzzies on this cold, un-springlike day!

Without further ado, here are my answers to the tag. If you would like to participate too, consider yourself tagged! 🙂


1) Flowers: All the flowers we remember are blooming again. Pick a book that’s a fresh take on a retelling.

Okay, so this is a weak start, but I’m struggling to come up with an answer for this question. I very rarely read re-tellings any more, simply BECAUSE they don’t feel fresh to me.

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It’s not strictly a retelling, and I haven’t actually read it yet, but I’ve got A Study in Charlotte by Brittany Cavallaro on my shelf, and I’m so excited to get to that! It’s the start of a murder mystery series which follows the descendants of Sherlock and Watson at boarding school! Sounds like a unique spin on the original stories, and exactly my kind of book.


2) Mini Eggs: Obviously the superior springtime candy of choice. Pick a book that you consider to be a sweet treat.

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Love and Gelato by Jenna Evans Welch was a really cute and fluffy treat (despite having some sad parts to it). The romance was adorable, the setting (Tuscany, Italy) was beautiful, and the storyline of the main character getting to know her estranged father melted my heart too. It really was the novel equivalent of eating a super sweet and yummy ice cream on a sunny day, and it filled me with joy.


3) Allergies: Seasonal allergies often make your eyes water. Pick a book that made you cry.

Chaos-Walking-Covers

All of the books in The Chaos Walking trilogy by Patrick Ness. I will never get over the fate of a certain character in this series. I have honestly never cried so much whilst reading a book as I did during this one scene. The books follow a boy named Todd in a dystopian world where all the women have disappeared, and all the men can hear each other’s thoughts. Then, one day, Todd stumbles across a girl…


4) Spring Cleaning: Out with the old and in with the new. Pick a book to unhaul.

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I’m thinking of unhauling The Cruel Prince and The Wicked King by Holly Black. I picked up the sequel for 50p in the charity shop before I’d read the first one, and now I’ve read it I’m not sure I can be bothered to continue with the series. I gave it 3 stars and found it quite forgettable, plus I only like a couple of the characters, and Prince Cardan definitely isn’t one of them! I sort of like Jude, but not enough to fall in love with this series.


5) Spring Break: It’s the perfect time for an adventure. Pick a book involving a road trip.

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I loved The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue by Mackenzi Lee. Set in the 1700s, the story follows Monty, Felicity and Percy as their Grand Tour across Europe goes wildly awry. This book is full of crazy escapades, hilarity, and diverse, loveable characters. It’s so fast paced for historical fiction, and I loved every unexpected twist and turn of this adventure.


6) Mating Season: It’s that time of year in the animal kingdom to make some babies. Pick a book with some smutty delights.

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It’s been a while since I read it, but I really loved Smut by Karina Halle. It’s a hate-to-love romance about a guy and a girl who are paired up for a project in their college creative writing class. They decide to write an erotic novel together to make some money, and the tension between them starts to turn into something a little less fighty, and a lot more makey-outy.


7) Rainbows: Spring is made of rainbows! Pick a book featuring LGBTQ+ character(s).

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I feel like I mention this book all the time, but my favourite LGBTQ+ book is Know Not Why by Hannah Johnson. It’s so pure and sweet and fluffy and lovely. It’s set in an arts and crafts store, the dialogue is really witty and fun, the characters are a joy to read, and the romance is adorable. It has some really lovely and positive coming-out scenes too, which I think is important to see in books. This novel really is one of my favourites of all time, I can’t recommend it enough.


8) Spring Awakening: An amazing musical even though it’s filled with completely dysfunctional characters. Pick a book that’s also filled with completely dysfunctional characters.

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I actually just wrote about this book in my last post, but it fits perfectly for this question – Monsters by Emerald Fennell. This is basically about two 12 year olds who are obsessed with murder. At least one of them is a sociopath. The other comes from a very dysfunctional and sad family background. This is such a well-written, character-driven book, and one of the best I’ve read this year.


9) In like a lion, out like a lamb: Pick a book series that didn’t get better as it progressed.

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I’m sure this is an unpopular opinion, but I feel like the Daughter of Smoke and Bone series by Laini Taylor progressively deteriorated. I really loved the first book, but I felt like the second and third books dragged, and they were so utterly bleak and harrowing, I felt very little joy whilst reading them. The only thing I ended up liking about them were any scenes featuring Zuzana and Mik, because they are just the best, most hilarious and adorable side characters of all time.


Have you read any of these books? What did you think of them? I’d love to hear your thoughts!

Lots of literary love, Jess xxx

10 Comments »

The Nope Book Tag

Hello lovely book-lovers! Today I thought I’d give the Nope Book Tag a go, and talk about some of the books and tropes I am not so fond of. Apologies in advance if I trash any of your fave books. I mean no harm, I’m just expressing my personal (slightly saltier than usual) opinions. ❤


Nope Ending: A book ending that made you go NOPE either in denial, rage, or simply because the ending was crappy.

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The Peppermint Pig by Nina Bawden. The ending of this book made me so angry, I wrote a whole rant review about it. It does contain spoilers, but trust me, you’ll be sparing yourself so much unnecessary devastation if you choose not to read this book.


Nope Protagonist: A main character you dislike and drives you crazy.

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I couldn’t stand Nick OR Amy from Gone Girl. Let’s face it, they’re both atrocious people.


Nope Series: A series that turned out to be one huge pile of NOPE after you’ve invested all of that time and energy on it, or a series you gave up on because it wasn’t worth it anymore.

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I loved the first two books in the Southern Reach trilogy (Annihilation and Authority) but I was so disappointed by the third and final book, because I had patiently been waiting for some answers, and I did NOT get any! And I feel like I deserved some, considering this book was almost three times as expensive as the first one.


Nope Pairing: A ship you don’t support.

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In all fairness, I’ve only read the first book and half of the second in The Grisha Trilogy, so I do not know who she ends up with, but I can’t bring myself to ship Alina with Mal. Mal is so bland.


Nope Plot Twist: A plot twist you didn’t see coming or didn’t like.

I’m gonna refer you back to The Peppermint Pig. Brutal. (Yes, I know it looks like an adorable children’s classic with that cute piggy on the cover. IT’S ALL LIES! This book will stab you in the SOUL! #stillbitter)


Character action/decision that made you shake your head nope.

I mean, Dumbledore leaving Harry with the Dursleys was pretty sketch…

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Nope Genre: A genre you will never read.

I can’t think of a genre I will NEVER read, but genres I’m not the hugest fan of are police procedural crime fiction, historical fiction, and literary fiction. With a very limited number of exceptions, these tend to be the kinds of books that bore me into a slump.

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Nope Book format: Book formatting you hate and avoid buying until it comes out in a different edition.

I don’t really like movie editions of books, or book covers with people on them in general. Having said that, the To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before movie cover is super-cute.


A trope that makes you go nope.

I don’t like it when a love interest is what SAVES a character from their problems, particularly their mental illness.

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Nope Recommendation: A book recommendation that is constantly hyped and pushed at you that you refuse to read.

Anything by Brandon Sanderson. It’s nothing personal, his books just don’t appeal to me at all.


Nope Cliche/Pet Peeve: A cliche or writing pet peeve that always makes you roll your eyes.

This is a bit of a random one, but I HATE it when writers use the phrase ‘he jerked his thumb’ to indicate that a character is talking about something behind them. It’s just a phrase that makes me cringe, and also something nobody actually does in real life.


Nope Love interest: The love interest that’s not worthy of being one. A character you don’t think should have been a viable love interest.

dimily

Ugh, the love interest from DIMILY, I can’t even remember his name. He was SUCH a dickhead. He was cheating on his girlfriend with the mc, and he was just an insufferable, toxic douche in general. Insufferable, toxic douchery is not attractive.


Nope Book: A book that shouldn’t have existed that made you say nope.

I can’t think of a book I hate so much it shouldn’t have existed, so I’m gonna go with Donald Trump’s tweets. HELLA NOPE.


Nope Villain: A scary villain/antagonist you would hate to cross and would make you run in the opposite direction.

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I’m pretty sure Naughty John from The Diviners would make me pee my pants with fear.


Nope Death: A character death that still haunts you.

knifeofnever

I don’t want to give an actual spoiler, so I’m gonna say the death that happens in The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness. I don’t think I will ever get over it.


Nope Author: An author you had a bad experience reading and have decided to quit.

I quit E.L. James, author of Fifty Shades of Grey, after reading two of her books. (Why did I read the second one tbh?!) The bit where Ana refers to Christian’s little Christian as a ‘Christian Grey flavoured popsicle” still haunts me to this day. My ‘inner Goddess’ is giving E.L. James a great big resolute:

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Did any of these books make you say NOPE? Or did you shake your head NOPE at any of my opinions?! I’d love to hear from you either way! ❤

16 Comments »

The Finally Fall Book Tag

I know it’s been fall for a while now, and I’m a bit late (when am I not?) with this tag, but autumn is my favourite season, so this tag is my jam, and I’m really excited to do it today! If you would like to do it too, consider yourself tagged. ❤

(BTW, I took these photos when I visited Kew Gardens in London the other day. I got given a season pass to Kew for my birthday; it’s such a beautiful place to walk, especially in the autumn!)


1. In fall, the air is crisp and clear: name a book with a vivid setting!

wickeddeep

The Wicked Deep by Shea Earnshaw is the perfect book for this question. Although I found the plot of this book a bit predictable, the SETTING of this book earned it a 4 star rating from me. You can almost taste the sea-fog, rolling up the shore of the mysterious island our protagonist lives on, feel it, cold and damp against your skin. The little island is just across the water from the town of Sparrow, Oregon, a quaint, eerie and superstitious place, the descriptions of which are also sprinkled with just the right amount of dark magic. I loved Shea Earnshaw’s writing style, and I am looking forward to whatever she writes next; I hope it will be just as atmospheric as The Wicked Deep.


2. Nature is beautiful… but also dying: name a book that is beautifully written, but also deals with a heavy topic like loss or grief.

moonrise

Moonrise by Sarah Crossan is the story of Joe, whose brother Ed is on death row and has just received his execution date. This book is written in verse – it’s not flowery, but the writing is beautiful in its raw and brutal honesty. I’m pretty sure this book stabbed me in the heart, but I wouldn’t take back the experience for the world, and I highly recommend this phenomenal book.


3. Fall is back to school season: share a non-fiction book that taught you something new.

whywesleep

I haven’t actually finished reading this book, because it’s quite academic and requires a lot of focus (even if it is written in a very accessible style) but Why We Sleep by Matthew Walker taught me *this* disturbing fact: there is a (thankfully rare) type of insomnia some people get where they stop sleeping COMPLETELY, which goes on for about 18 months, and then they just… die. WTF how terrifying is that?! This book about sleep and sleep disorders and dreaming is super interesting though, and I really need to pick it up again soon.


4. 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.

piglettes

I would love to be part of the friendship group in Piglettes by Clementine Beauvais. I read Piglettes back in the summer, and I think it’s probably my favourite book of the year. It’s about three girls, Mireille, Astrid and Hakima, who become friends when they are voted the three ugliest girls at their school in their classmates’ annual ‘Pig Pageant’. But this book just blows raspberries at bullying, and it’s all about how these three awesome, witty, clever, resourceful girls decide not to let the haters get them down, and become media sensations by spending their summer cycling across France, selling sausages, and raising money for an anti-bullying charity. It’s SO good, SO funny (Mireille is a hilarious narrator), and SO uplifting. And I would LOVE to be friends with these girls because they just kick ass in the most positive of ways.


5. The colourful leaves are piling up on the ground: show us a pile of fall-coloured spines!

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I didn’t even do this on purpose, but I recently bought this selection of books from a charity shop, and they’re so perfectly colour-coordinated for this tag, and aesthetic glory in general.


6. Fall is the perfect time for some storytelling by the fireside: share a book wherein somebody is telling a story.

wrongtrain

The book that springs to mind for this question is The Wrong Train by Jeremy De Quidt. The story follows a boy who gets on the wrong train home in the middle of the night. He gets off at the next station, only to find himself alone on the platform but for a strange old man, who insists on telling him increasingly frightening stories whilst he waits for his train to arrive. This book was really creepy and unsettling, and I loved every second of it.


7. The nights are getting darker: share a dark, creepy read.

stuffofnightmares

I feel like I recommend the same creepy books every time this question comes up, so this time I’m going to suggest something I read recently, which was The Stuff of Nightmares by Malorie Blackman. This book was a lot darker than I expected, and although structurally it was a bit messy, I really enjoyed it because it made me think and it creeped me out. It’s about a boy called Kyle who’s on a school trip when he gets caught up in a train crash. Whilst struggling to find a way to get out of the train, he discovers that he has the ability to enter the nightmares of the other passengers on the train, learning some very dark and disturbing things about the people around him in the process.


8. The days are getting colder: name a short, heartwarming read that could warm up somebody’s cold and rainy day.

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For this question, I am recommending Take My Picture by Giselle Ellis which is an indie-published gay romance novella about a moody photographer, Jake, and his assistant, Aaron (who is of a much sunnier disposition!), two guys who are absolutely perfect for each other, and everybody knows it but them. This book was adorable, and filled my heart with so many fluffy feelings, and I promise that if you are feeling sad when you pick this up it will leave you with a big soppy smile on your face by the time you finish it. For a short book, the chemistry in this book is flawless, and you never doubt for one second that these characters are just hopelessly and cluelessly in love with each other.


9. Fall returns every year: name an old favourite that you’d like to return to soon.

City_of_Bones

I’m actually in a big re-reading mood at the moment. I’m currently re-reading Persuasion by Jane Austen, because it’s an old, cosy favourite I feel at home in. But I also fancy re-reading The Mortal Instruments series soon, because it’s been ages since I’ve done that, and I love getting stuck into a series at this time of year.


10. Fall is the perfect time for cosy reading nights: share your favourite cosy reading “accessories”!

Well, obviously I love a cosy blanket! I also love fluffy socks, my pjs, a warm mug of hot chocolate or tea, a calming lavender-scented candle, and a mountain of cuddly animals to snuggle.

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Add a book, and that makes my perfect Friday night, because I’m a cool introvert who thinks social lives are overrated.


And that’s the end of this tag! Have you read any of the books I mentioned? What are you favourite fall reads? I’d love to hear from you!

18 Comments »

The Mid Year Book Freakout Tag 2018

Hi everyone, hope you’re all having a lovely week so far! Today I thought I would do the Mid Year Book Freakout Tag, because it’s the middle of the year, I’m freaking out about that, and I want to look back at some of the incredible books I’ve read so far in 2018 to calm myself down.

My reading this year has been a lot slower than usual, and according to Goodreads I’ve only read 40 books so far (although I have re-read a few books that I couldn’t be bothered to add to Goodreads, so it’s probably more like 45). I have soooo many books that I want to get to before the end of the year, but I’m gonna take my time, because there’s no rush.

Here are my thoughts on the books I’ve read so far in 2018. Apologies now for what is going to be a 20,000 word dissertation of a post.

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Best Book You’ve Read Yet in 2018

neverworldwake

This is actually the book I *just* finished. I had been holding off on doing this tag until I had read this book, because I had an inkling it would end up being my favourite. And guys, it was so ridiculously good. The story follows a group of five friends who are reunited for this first time since the death of the sixth member of their group, Jim. After getting into a car accident, the group become stuck in a time loop between life and death called a Neverworld Wake, and in order to escape, they will need to find out the truth about what really happened to Jim, and vote unanimously for the one member of their group who gets to survive the wake and live again. The writing was stunning – eerie and evocative, strange and otherworldly, the concept was well executed, and I stayed up late into the night reading in a hazy blur of excitement and energy because I was so sucked into the mystery. And I’m not usually one to sacrifice sleep if I can help it! I was nervous to pick this book up because Night Film by Marisha Pessl is one of my favourite books of all time, so I had very high expectations, but it did not let me down. If you enjoyed the way Night Film was written, but found it a bit slow, and were frustrated by the ambiguous ending, I think you will appreciate this one more; it has the same dark and delicious atmosphere of that book, but it’s pacier, and things wrap up more definitively and satisfyingly. I AM JUST IN LOVE WITH THIS BOOK, OK?


Best Sequel You’ve Read So Far in 2018

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Nemesis by Brendan Reichs was one of my top five books of 2017, so this was probably my most anticipated sequel of 2018. It didn’t disappoint me. I won’t say anything about the plot of this book, but the premise of the first book is that our two protagonists, Min and Noah, have both been struggling in private with the same horrifying predicament: every two years, on their birthdays, a black-suited man hunts and kills them in cold blood. They then wake up several miles from home, unscathed but terrified, and unable to talk to anybody about what’s just happened, because, who on earth would believe them? Set against the backdrop of an impending apocalypse, this series is so tense, thrilling, dark, and unique. Genesis was just as good if not better than Nemesis, and by the end I felt I knew these characters inside out, having been through so much with them. Highly recommend this underrated series.


New Release You Haven’t Read Yet But Want To

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Having adored Love and Gelato by Jenna Evans Welch last year, I can’t wait to get my hands on her next book. Love and Gelato was so warm, sweet and emotional, and I’m hoping I feel the same way about Love and Luck, which I believe is set in Ireland and follows Addie, the best friend of Love and Gelato’s protagonist, Lina.


Most Anticipated Release for the Second Half of the Year

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This book sounds freaking amazing, and I am dying to read it. It follows two girls who are accused of murdering their best friend in the woods after becoming delusional in their obsession with a dark fantasy novel called The Way into Lovelorn. But what really happened that night? I mean, come on, this book is my ultimate creepy cup of tea and I need it in my life right now.


Biggest Disappointment

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This book follows a boy named River who wanders into a support group for teen addicts after his girlfriend breaks up with him, and finds comfort and connection there. I was really excited to read this book, because several authors I adore had blurbed it saying how good it was, and how loveable and memorable a character River was. But honestly, I found River quite forgettable, and his actions quite offensive. He pretends to have a drug addiction to keep coming to the group, when in reality he just got dumped, which is not even remotely the same thing! He also borderline stalks his ex girlfriend, which is no way to win a girl back, and it made me super uncomfortable to read. This book was interesting, and I didn’t hate it, but it definitely didn’t live up to its praise for me.


Biggest Surprise

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Honestly I wasn’t expecting much from this book, but I was sucked in by the cover (stunning) and the dark circus setting. For some reason I thought this book was fantasy/magical realism, so finding out that it is actually speculative dystopian was my first surprise. This book follows what might happen if the dangerous far-right thinking of groups like UKIP were to gain precedence in the UK. In the near-future England of this book, immigrants (referred to by the government as ‘Dregs’) are denied basic human rights, and immigrant children like our protagonist Hoshiko are taken from their families to perform in The Cirque, a grisly circus where they are highly likely to die whilst performing for the ‘Pures’ who are baying for their blood. This book is dark and disturbing, and I found it pretty powerful. At the same time, I found some aspects of it problematic. There is a love story between Hoshiko and Ben, son of a prominent government minister, and he definitely feels like a ‘white saviour’ kind of character. I ended up with mixed feelings about this book, but the fact that I had so many feelings about a book I assumed was going to be something completely different definitely surprised me.


Favourite New Author

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Tom Ellen and Lucy Ivisson. I read Freshers, my first book by this writing duo, earlier this year, and I adored it. This book made me laugh out loud, which so few books actually manage, and I need more funny in my life, so I’m definitely going to check out more of their work this year. I’ve heard that all of their other books are just as hilarious.


Newest Fictional Crush

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Dante from Legendary!

I didn’t love Dante in Caraval, but he has more of a part to play in the second book, and I found myself swooning a lot whenever he was around. He’s a morally dubious character, and I kind of hate myself for feeling this way, but I just can’t help it!


Newest Favourite Character

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Oren from Scream All Night!

Oren is the older brother of Scream All Night’s protagonist, Dario. Oren is a wannabe B-horror movie writer, following in the footsteps of his famous father, but he’s somewhat misguided about what’s traditionally scary, and wants to make a film about murderous cauliflowers. Oren is a strange choice for favourite character, because for large parts of this book Oren is a total douche. But the thing is, he’s freaking hilarious (even though he doesn’t mean to be), and strangely vulnerable (which he definitely doesn’t mean to be), and I couldn’t help but love him, even when I sort of hated him simultaneously.


Book That Made You Cry

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This book follows a boy named Joe whose brother is on death row and it’s the most heartbreaking book I have ever read. I was in floods of tears reading this. It’s written in verse, and is so beautifully told, it will remain in my heart for a long, long time.


Book That Made You Happy

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I just adore Becky Albertalli so much. All of her books leave me with a massive soppy smile on my face and this one was no exception. She writes the kind of romance that gives you butterflies in your tummy, her dialogue is on point and hilarious, and her books are packed with diversity. Basically, she is my queen.


Favourite Book to Film Adaptation

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Speaking of Becky Albertalli, the adaptation of her first book Simon vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda was PERFECTION. I loved the casting in this movie, especially for Simon, Nick, and Blue, and this was just all kinds of adorable and made me so happy and squishy inside. I can’t wait till it comes out on DVD so I can watch it basically every day.


Favourite Post You Have Done This Year

Probably this one! I like looking back at what I’ve read so far this year and reliving all of my favourites.


Most Beautiful Book You’ve Bought This Year

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The Illuminae Files series by Jay Kristoff and Amie Kaufman. These books are stunning, both inside and out. They are works of art. This series is another of my favourites, and the first book, Illuminae is definitely in my top five so far this year. The books are so action packed, tense, epic, badass, and glorious. The characters are my precious babies.


What Books Do You Need to Read by the End of the Year?

ALL THE BOOKS! BUT IN PARTICULAR, THESE:

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If you made it all the way to the end of this post, congrats, and I love you. What has been your favourite book of the year so far? I’d love to hear from you!

9 Comments »

The ‘What Cats Do’ Book Tag

HAPPY FRIDAY everyone! I hope your week has been…

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Mine has! I’m currently slap-bang in the middle of a two week break from work and I am enjoying life immensely. I’ve been participating in all kinds of joyful thangs such as sleeping in until 10am, spending the majority of my Christmas money on the majority of Waterstones, and drinking my body-weight in cups of tea.

Today, I thought I’d do a book tag, because it’s been a while! Thank you to Tiana from The Book Raven for tagging me in the ‘What Cats Do’ book tag, which I’m embarrassed to say actually happened back in March last year. Better late than never! Please do go and check out her wonderful blog, asap! 🙂

I’m excited to do this tag, and not only because it gives me an excuse to spam you all with a bunch of cat gifs… but mainly because of that. #sorrynotsorry

Anyhoo, here are my answers to the tag…


1) PURR…

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Purr – As cats do this when they’re happy or relaxed, what is the book that makes you happiest or relaxed?

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The Princess Diaries books were my favourite fictional retreat from the world during my crazy mixed up teenage years, and I find the series just as warm, safe and comforting today. Whenever I re-read these books it feels like coming home and catching up with old friends who I still get on with like a house on fire, even if I haven’t seen them for a long time.


2) SLEEP…

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Sleep – What is a book that put you to sleep or was just boring?

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Swann’s Way by Marcel Proust. I had to read this book for my European Modernist Fiction module at university, and it was achingly dull. The writing is so flowery you want to be sick, and nothing happens; it’s just this guy waffling on about all the beautiful things he remembers from his childhood, like the taste of a particularly memorable biscuit, the architecture of his local church, and other fascinating things like that. It made me want to claw my own eyes out, and I don’t even mean that in a cat-pun kind of way.


3) CLAWS…

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Seems to Play Nice…Until the Claws are Out – Which book had the biggest plot twist?

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The Peppermint Pig by Nina Bawden. Oh, this book played so cutesy-cutesy, nicey nicey… and then it stuck in its claws and tore out my heart with its brutal ending. This book made me so ANGRY with its unnecessary cruelty, and I will never not be bitter about it.


4) CUDDLES…

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Cuddles – Which book character would you give a hug to?

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Eeyore is the character in Winnie-the-Pooh who most needs and deserves a cuddle. Eeyore is my mopey and mourngeful little spirit animal and I love him to pieces. (Sidenote: I’ve been using the word mourngeful for years, but my laptop has put a squiggly line under it. Did I just make this word up?! I swear it’s a thing.)


5) CATNIP…

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Catnip – What’s a book that made you have warm and fuzzy feels?

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A Dog’s Purpose by W. Bruce Cameron. Oh gosh, this was just adorable. If you are in need of a hug in the form of a book, read this one. Reading from this dog’s perspective is just so pure, and his naivety is so sweet and amusing, yet Bailey is also gifted with bags more wisdom than most humans possess. I cried so many times while reading this book (and mainly from joy).


6) CAT BREEDS…

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Cat Breeds – What are your favourite books?

My favourite classic is Tess of the d’Urbervilles by Thomas Hardy.

My favourite YA book is Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver.

My favourite thriller is Night Film by Marisha Pessl. I’m planning on re-reading all of these books this year.


7) GETTING THE CAT…

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Getting the Cat – How did you find your favourite book(s)?

 

I discovered Tess because I started watching the BBC adaptation with Gemma Arterton and Eddie Redmayne, and I decided I wanted to read the book itself before I got to the ending. The BBC adaptation is brilliant, but the book is everything.

I discovered Before I Fall through first reading the Delirium trilogy by Lauren Oliver (when I was going through my post-Hunger-Games-Dystopian-phase). I loved these books and desperately wanted to read more from their author.

I discovered Night Film because a friend with similar reading tastes recommended it to me, and I’m so grateful, because I’ve never been so utterly obsessed with/possessed by a book. Marisha Pessl is bringing out a YA book later this year and I am so ready.


8) THE VET’S OFFICE…

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The Vet’s Office – Your least favourite book:

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The Book of Margery Kempe by Margery Kempe. I had to read this book for my Medieval Literature module at university, and whilst I loved everything else I studied for that unit, I detested this with a fiery passion. It’s basically a religious autobiography about this woman who wanders around weeping uncontrollably because she’s so overwhelmed by how much she loves God. It was boring and repetitive and basically agony to read.


9) BEING PLACES THEY SHOULDN’T…

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Being in Places They Shouldn’t – Least favourite cliche:

The ‘chosen one’ trope (with HP being the only exception). Ugh. Ugghhhh. Whenever I read the back cover of the book and it mentions “So-and-So: the one and only super-special teenager who can save the world from crumbling into a million irreparable pieces”, a part of my soul shrivels up and dies.


10) THE GOOD OLD CARDBOARD BOX…

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Final Question: The Good Old Cardboard Box – Most underrated book series:

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The Diving In trilogy by Kate Cann. I haven’t read this series in many years, but I remember these books being fantastic when I was a teenager. They follow a girl named Coll through her first serious relationship, but they essentially tell a coming-of-age story. They are all about the intensity of first love, but have some really healthy things to say about sex and relationships, the importance of friendships, and identity too. The characters were well-developed and memorable; fourteen years later, I still remember Coll’s feisty best friend Val, and her cool feminist mum. I would love to re-read these books and see if they live up to my memories.


As I was tagged to do this literally ten months ago, I am not sure who has done this one already, so I’m throwing this one out to all my followers… if you haven’t done this and would like to, consider yourself tagged!

Love to you all and I hope you have a gooooorgeous weekend full of books, pillows, and possibly pizza! ❤

13 Comments »

The A-Z Book Tag

Hi guys! Hope you’re all having a lovely week, and enjoying the season of pumpkin-spiced-everything as much as I am.

I haven’t done a book tag in 5eva, so when I saw this one over at YA Allegiance, I couldn’t resist giving it a go, because apparently I am never going to get around to doing any of the tags I have actually been tagged in. I’m the worst.

If you want to give this tag a go, feel free lovely people. Link me to your answers down below if so. Here are mine (and in case you couldn’t tell, I’ve made them as Autumnal as possible because October is my life):


Author You’ve Read The Most Books From:

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Lucy Daniels. I read approx. fifty gazillion of the Animal Ark books when I was little, and I was obsessed with them, even though they were all basically the same story but with a different animal. I recently discovered that ‘Lucy Daniels’ is not a real person, but a bunch of different authors writing under a pen name. My childhood imploded.


Best Sequel Ever:

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This is such a difficult question, but I think I’m going to have to steal YA Allegiance’s answer and go with A Court of Mist and Fury. It was my favourite book of 2016, and Rhysand is bae. I mean, I really f***ing hate the word ‘bae’, but let’s be real, he is bae.


Currently Reading:

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I’m currently reading The Diviners by Libba Bray. I’m in the mood for paranormal reads at the moment because I live and breathe the month of Halloween, and I am enjoying this book SO MUCH. I love the creepy, occult vibes, I love the 1920s New York setting, I love how outrageous and fun the main character is, and I’m very impressed with Libba Bray’s writing.


Drink of Choice While Reading:

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I love cosying up with a mint hot chocolate and a good book.


E–Reader or Physical Book?

I much prefer reading physical books. There’s something so satisfying about turning pages; swiping on a screen is just not the same.


Fictional Character You Probably Would Have Actually Dated In High School:

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Michael Moscovitz from The Princess Diaries, my very first fictional crush, obvs.


Glad You Gave This Book A Chance:

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A Game of Thrones. I put off reading this book for the longest time, because I thought it would be too violent for me, but when I finally got around to reading it, I adored it. I really need to read the rest of the series, but those books are so intimidatingly long, and the TV show has Kit Harrington, so…


Hidden Gem Book:

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Know Not Why by Hannah Johnson. Why do people Not Know about this book? It is the most adorable gay romance with the most hilarious narrator of ever. It will make your heart so HAPPY.


Important Moment in your Reading Life:

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I guess that would be the moment when, at the age of 17, I fell unconditionally and irrevocably in love with Edward Cullen. I was SUCH a Twihard teenage fangirl. Just to clarify, I fell out of love with Mr Sparklypants eventually, but I still give Twilight and Stephanie Meyer credit for igniting my love of reading, and turning me into the bookworm you see before you today.


Just Finished:

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I’ve just finished reading We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson. This is a very short, very strange book, with very odd characters, a cat called Jonas, and a mass-murder involving blackberries. Right up my alley, basically.


Kinds of Books You Won’t Read:

I’m not the hugest reader of historical fiction, unless there are paranormal elements involved, or the characters are LGBTQ+.


Longest Book You’ve Read:

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The longest book I’ve ever read is Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy. I enjoyed parts of the book, but on the whole, I was bored to tears, especially the part where there was a ten-page description of some characters mowing a field. TEN F***ING PAGES, PEOPLE!!!!


Major Book Hangover Because Of:

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I don’t often get book hangovers, because I’m usually excited to start another book, but when I binge-read a series I tend to struggle to get into something else straight afterwards, because I’m still wrapped up in the characters I’ve been spending all my time with.


Number of Bookcases You Own:

I have three bookcases at my flat in London, and two bookcases at my parents’ house in Oxford, although not all of them are full yet. Why helloooo, Waterstones, I haven’t bought anything from YOU in a while!


One Book You Have Read Multiple Times:

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I’ve read Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone over and over and over. It’s not my favourite book in the series (although of course I adore it), but I’m really bad at finishing the full re-read, so I always end up going back and starting at the beginning again. The beginning is pretty magical though, tbh. 🙂


Preferred Place To Read:

Probably on the sofa, because when I get into bed, my eyes automatically get sleepy, and my book gets neglected. This sounds like sacrilege but I think I like sleep more than books, you guys. Don’t throw things at me!


Quote That Inspires You/Gives You All The Feels From A Book You’ve Read:

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I adore this quote from Wild by Cheryl Strayed (one of my favourite books of all time):

“Fear, to a great extent, is born of a story we tell ourselves, and so I chose to tell myself a different story from the one women are told. I decided I was safe. I was strong. I was brave. Nothing could vanquish me.”


Reading Regret:

That I’ve never, ever read a graphic novel. So many people seem to be into them. I feel like I’m missing out!


Series You Started And Need To Finish:

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I seriously need to finish the Grisha trilogy by Leigh Bardugo, because I really want to read Six of Crows. I enjoyed Shadow and Bone, but I’ve been reading Siege and Storm for ages now and I’m finding it a bit boring.


Three Of Your All-Time Favourite Books:

I’ve already mentioned Wild by Cheryl Strayed, so I’ll go with Night Film by Marisha Pessl, Noughts and Crosses by Malorie Blackman, and Tess of the d’Urbervilles by Thomas Hardy.


Unapologetic Fangirl For:

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I’m trash for Malec, Rhysand, and Damon Salvatore.


Very Excited For This Release More Than All The Others:

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I have no idea what this book will be called, or when it will be released, but I can’t wait to get my hands on Moira Fowley-Doyle’s next book. I read and loved The Accident Season in 2015 (which, btw, is the PERFECT Autumn read, if you’re looking for recs), and I recently finished her second book, The Spellbook of the Lost and Found. If you love magical realism and atmosphere with a capital A, I highly recommend her books.


Worst Bookish Habit:

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I’m sure everyone can relate, but definitely buying books and then not reading them, then buying more books, and reading them instead of the ones I already owned, and then buying even more books. And repeat, forever.


X Marks The Spot: Start At The Top Left Of Your Shelf And Pick The 27th Book:

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The 27th book on my shelf is The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater, which I am ashamed to say has been sitting on said shelf since before I started this blog. I am, however, planning to finally read it this month, because it feels like an October kind of book, and I’m trying to read as many of those as possible this October.


Your Latest Book Purchase:

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I ordered Something Wicked This Way Comes by Ray Bradbury from Amazon yesterday. It’s a story about a dark carnival, set around Halloween, so it’s top of my TBR for the last week of October.


ZZZ-Snatcher Book (The Last Book That Kept You Up WAY Late):

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I don’t often stay up late reading these days, because I get hella cranky without my beloved bed, but when I read I’m Thinking of Ending Things by Iain Reid, I sacrificed sleep because that book was just too damn addictive. It was also very creepy and legitimately scared me, so I may have struggled to nod off after finishing it too…


Have you read any of the books I mentioned? I’d love to know what you thought of them! 🙂

35 Comments »

The Mid Year Freak Out Book Tag 2017

Hello everybody! I hope you’re doing well. Today I thought I’d do the Mid Year Freak Out Book Tag, because I’ve had so much fun doing this tag in previous years.

If you’ve done this tag recently, let me know down below, as I’d love to see all of your answers, and find some more books to add to my TBR. (I’m not supposed to be buying books right now, but w/e).

Before I get started, I just wanted to let you guys know that The Mud and Stars Book Blog officially turns TWO YEAR’S OLD this week! Thank you so much to everyone in the book-blogging community for your support and general awesomeness over the past two years. I love you guys so much, and I couldn’t have made it this far without you.

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Without further ado, here are my answers to the tag…


Best Book You’ve Read Yet in 2017

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My favourite book of 2017 so far has been Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman. This book was so well written, so hilarious, and so deeply moving. Eleanor was such a memorable character, and reading from her perspective was a delight. This book completely blew me away and I can’t believe it’s a debut! You can read my review here.


Best Sequel You’ve Read So Far in 2017

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Hands down this has to be Lord of Shadows by Cassandra Clare. The ending may have ripped my still-beating heart out of my chest, causing a great big bloody mess, and I may be ever-so-slightly pissed off that I have to wait until 2019 to find out what happens next, but this book wowed me on so many levels. It’s one of the best books Cassandra Clare has ever written. My full review can be found here.


New Release You Haven’t Read Yet But Want To

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The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas. I’ve heard so many amazing things about this book, and the subject matter (racism and police brutality) is so important and relevant. It’s one of those books which everybody should read, and now I finally have a copy, that’s exactly what I’m going to do, asap.


Most Anticipated Release for the Second Half of the Year

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I was going to say The Treatment by C.L. Taylor for this question,  which comes out in October, but I managed to land an ARC of this book at YALC, so THE WAIT IS OVER (for me). I am SO excited to read this book. I love C.L. Taylor’s adult thrillers, so imagine my delight in finding out she has written a YA novel about a creepy reform school brainwashing its students. SO DOWN.


Biggest Disappointment

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After Me Comes The Flood by Sarah Perry. The writing in this book was beautiful, but the plot was such a let-down. When I bought this book, I thought it sounded AMAZING and creepy and intriguing. The premise is that a man’s car breaks down in the middle of nowhere… he goes in search of help, and stumbles across a house. When he knocks at the door, he finds that the strange people who live there all know his name, and have been waiting for him… WHAT A CONCEPT, RIGHT?

Unfortunately, instead of something sinister and cool, the whole thing ends up being a coincidence caused by their actual expected guest having a similar name. The rest of the book is very slice of life, not much happens, and the ending had very little impact on me (in fact, I can’t even remember how it ended.) Basically, yawn.


Biggest Surprise

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The Hating Game by Sally Thorne. I don’t know why, but I’m always surprised by how much I enjoy romance books. I only ever reach for them when I’m so tired my brain is mush, and I just want something fluffy to escape reality with. I never expect to be bowled away by books like this one, but I ended up giving The Hating Game four stars. I loved the characters, the publishing house setting, the enemies-to-lovers romance, and the unbearable sexual tension. UGH, SO GOOD.


Favourite New Author

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Catherine Doyle. I binge-read her Blood for Blood trilogy (YA mafia romance, FYI) and I completely fell in love with it. I loved her writing style, her characters, ALL THE DRAMA AND ACTION AND DARKNESS, and, most importantly, the swoony, swoony romance. Highly recommend this trilogy if you’re looking for some excitement. You can read my mini review of the first book here.


Newest Fictional Crush

That would have to be Luca from the Blood for Blood trilogy. He’s the (stunningly attractive) underboss of a mafia clan, but deep down, he hates his family’s way of life, and just wants to be good. No YOU’RE lustfully fanning yourself at the thought of him!

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Newest Favourite Character

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Eleanor Oliphant; a lonely person, a bit of an oddball, and utterly, utterly herself. Her voice was so distinctive, and she felt so real. I loved her to pieces.


Book That Made You Cry

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I haven’t read many sad books this year, but the ending of Lord of Shadows, as you know, destroyed me, and History is All You Left Me by Adam Silvera, dear God, had me weeping from chapter one. I haven’t written a review for this one because I’m not really sure what to say about it other than it caused me to expel a lot of liquid from my eyeballs.


Book That Made You Happy

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That would have to be The Upside of Unrequited by Becky Albertalli. Molly was an adorable main character with really cool creative hobbies, her romance with Reid was super-cute, and basically this book was FULL OF RAINBOWS. You can read my review here.


Favourite Book to Film Adaptation

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I recently watched the movie adaptation of Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver on Netflix and I thought it was fantastic. The actress who played Sam portrayed her so well – she was exactly as I had imagined her – and the ending of the movie had me sobbing just as hard as the book’s final page.


Favourite Post You Have Done This Year

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I think the post I am most proud of is my ‘Self-care tips for book bloggers’ post. I wrote it initially because it was something I needed to hear myself, but I was also so happy that other people managed to find something helpful in what I wrote. ❤

Here’s the post if you’d like to take a look. It contains lots and lots of Pusheen gifs and it was made with love.


Most Beautiful Book You’ve Bought This Year

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I am still very in love with the cover of Caraval by Stephanie Garber. It’s STUNNING. My review of this book can be found here.


What Books Do You Need to Read by the End of the Year?

So, I bought several books at YALC…

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Ahem. I need to read all 22 books I hauled, because I am on a book-buying ban until I have done so. I don’t think I need to explain why. ^^


What’s been your favourite book of 2017? I’d love to hear from you. Much love to you all and I hope you have a fantastic week! xxx

35 Comments »

The Unpopular Opinions Book Tag

The Unpopular Opinions Book Tag is one of my favourite tags to watch on BookTube, and one of my favourite tags to read on WordPress. I’ve never done it myself, but I’ve always wanted to, so I thought I would give it a go today. I’ve done way too much gushing over 5 star books recently, so I think it’s time for a bit of balance around here, y’know?

Apologies in advance if I trash your favourite book or character. These are just my opinions, and if you loved these books that’s totally okay, they just weren’t for moi! 🙂

Without further ado…


A popular book or series you didn’t like.

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Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi. I actually DNFd this book 100 pages in because I hated the writing style SO much. Everything was described using nonsensical, douchey metaphors that were so jarring to the narrative, and the romance was just nauseating. You know when there’s a gross couple on the bus eating each other’s faces on the seat in front of yours? It felt like the literary equivalent of that.


A book or series everyone hates but you love.

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My answer to this question has to be Twilight. I know, okay, I KNOW that Twilight is shit. But… I will always have a soft spot for it. Twilight was the book that made me fall in love with reading again after spending the majority of my teenage years barely picking up a book. If I hadn’t gotten back into reading, I probably wouldn’t have studied English Literature at university, so, if you think about it, Stephanie Meyer is the reason I have a degree.


An OTP you don’t like.

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I’m not going to name names as I don’t want to spoil anything for the very small percentage of people on this planet who have not yet read Harry Potter, but I’m not keen on any of the pairings in this series. Perhaps it’s because I was way more invested in all of the Voldy-dramz, or perhaps it’s because all of my OTPs were non-canon 😉 but I just didn’t really care about any of the romantic subplots in the later books (unless we’re talking “always”.)


A popular genre you never reach for.

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I’m going to have to say historical fiction for this one. I own several historical fiction books, but they are gathering dust on my shelves and have been for a good while. I had The Book Thief for approx. a decade before reading it (though I ended up loving it), and I have a feeling it’ll be another ten years before I reach for All the Light we Cannot See; I’ve had it for two years already, and I’m just never excited enough to choose it next.


A beloved character you do not like.

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Sorry Chaolaena shippers, but I’m really not a fan of Chaol Westfall from the Throne of Glass series. From the very beginning, I felt like he had his priorities all wrong (what with the whole fierce-loyalty-to-a-barbaric-conquering-dictator thing), and he only continued to disappoint me. The man is a hypocrite because everything he struggles to accept in Celaena, he turns a blind eye to in the King. I hated the way he thought he could pick and choose which parts of Celaena to love. Not cool, man. It’s not love unless you accept a person in their entirety.


A popular author you can’t seem to get into.

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Neil Gaiman. I’ve read several of his books now, and, although I think he writes well, and his concepts are always intriguing, I’ve never been able to find an emotional connection with his writing. His books are reasonably entertaining when I read them, but they never leave a lasting impact on me. I finish them, then forget everything I’ve read.


A popular trope you’re tired of seeing.

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I am so sick of characters in YA novels who don’t understand how to breathe. How can you hold your breath so many times per chapter without realising you’re doing so? Unfathomable!


A popular series you have no interest in reading.

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So many! I have no interest in reading the rest of the Red Queen series (because the first book was just riddled with dystopian and love-triangle clichés.) I also doubt I’ll ever finish the Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children series. Let me clarify: I LOVED the first half of the first book, because it was all mysterious, atmospheric, and creepy… But as soon as we had met the peculiar children, all of that tension fizzled out, and I got bored, because there was nothing to anticipate any more. I enjoyed the build up so much more than the reveal, and I’m not all that interested in the story without all that awesome suspense from the beginning.


A movie or TV series you like better than the book.

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The Vampire Diaries TV show is infinitely better than the book series. I think it’s partly because the books feel very dated, but mainly because the characters have so much more depth in the TV series. Plus, book-Elena is precocious, irritating, and shallow, but TV Elena is an actually-likeable person. Also, and most importantly, the TV adaptation has Ian Somerhalder. Anything involving Ian Somerhalder wins.


Do you share any of my unpopular opinions? What are some of yours? I’d love to hear from you!

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The Ben & Jerry’s Book Tag

Hi everyone! Sorry for my (unannounced) hiatus of approx three weeks. I’ve missed you all lots, and hope your days since we last spoke have been filled with good books, snuggly blankets, and gigantic tubs of ice-cream. You deserve those things! ❤

I’m struggling to keep up with blogging (and reading) at the moment due to good old anxiety, so I’m not going to make any promises about posting more regularly this month… But for now, I thought I’d do a book tag, because book tags are fun, and I haven’t done a single one so far in 2017.

I was tagged for this one by The Orangutan Librarian, and I’m ashamed to say this was actually over a year ago! Better late than never, I guess 😊 Please go check out her fantastic blog immediately – she’s one of my favourite book bloggers, and if you’re not already following her, you are very silly 😝


 VANILLA CARAMEL FUDGE: PICK A LIGHT, FLUFFY CONTEMPORARY

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Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins. I’ve loved all of Stephanie’s books, but Anna was by far my favourite. I loved the Paris setting (Paris being one of my favourite places on this planet we call Earth), I loved Anna (because she was dorky and funny and relatable), and I loved Etienne (because I couldn’t help but make swoony eyes whenever he appeared on the page).


MINT CHOCOLATE COOKIE: A NEW RELEASE THAT YOU WISH EVERYBODY WOULD READ

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Sometimes I Lie by Alice Feeney. I just finished reading this book, and I could NOT put it down. I have been getting a bit bored with psych thrillers recently because they’re all so samey and predictable, but this one surprised me, and had some very interesting, very screwed up, characters. It’s narrated by a woman in a coma, so it also has a creepy, claustrophobic feel, which made the reading experience unbearably tense, in the best possible way. And, most importantly, I DID NOT PREDICT THE ENDING.


CHERRY GARCIA: AN ENDING THAT WAS BITTERSWEET

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Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J.K. Rowling. There’s an overwhelming feeling of triumph, but an undercurrent of loss. I knew not everyone would make it out alive, but some of those deaths still SLAY me today.


STRAWBERRY SHORTCAKE: A BOOK CONTAINING YOUR OTP OF OTPS

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It’s a toss up between City of Heavenly Fire by Cassandra Clare (because I just can’t with all my fluffy Malec feels) and Carry On (because I also have pretty intense Simon and Baz feels). #dilemma


MILK AND COOKIES: TWO AUTHORS THAT IF THEY COLLABORATED, THEY WOULD GO PERFECTLY TOGETHER

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Sara Barnard and Holly Bourne. These ladies are two of my favourite UKYA authors, and both prioritise female friendship over romance in their books, which I think is just FABULOUS. Both have also written about characters with anxiety issues, which is something I relate to, too hard, and both did so in realistic, poignant, yet often humorous ways. I think these two authors would write a wonderful collaboration, filled with smart, funny, and extremely relatable young women.


BOSTON CREAM PIE: A BOOK THAT HAD YOU TURNING YOUR PAGES LATE INTO THE NIGHT

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The Magpies by Mark Edwards. This was the first thriller I ever read, and I remember finishing it in a single sitting. It’s about a couple who move into a new flat, and start getting harassed by their next-door neighbours. The harassment gets worse and worse, creepier and creepier, and, let’s just say, there’s a scene involving spiders mid-way through the book that legit gave me nightmares. So many thrillers fail to be SCARY, but this one nailed it. I highly recommend all of Mark Edwards’ books. He always has such original concepts, which stand out in the overcrowded thriller market.


CHOCOLATE THERAPY: A BOOK THAT MAKES YOU FEEL BETTER AFTER A LONG DAY OF LIFE

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Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli. This book only came out in 2015, but I’ve already read it several times. It’s my go-to book when I’ve had a rubbish day because Simon and Blue’s adorable romance never fails to make me feel all happy and fluffy inside.


COFFEE, COFFEE, BUZZBUZZBUZZ!: A BOOK NOT YET RELEASED THAT YOU CAN’T WAIT TO GET YOUR HANDS ON

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Lord of Shadows by Cassandra Clare. I absolutely adore all of Cassandra Clare’s books, and Lady Midnight last year was no exception. I’m so excited to read the sequel – I picked up a free sample of the first chapter in Waterstones the other day, and I may or may not have squealed. I’m planning on re-reading Lady Midnight over the next month in preparation. I’m so excited for more Emma and Julian, more cameos from Malec (pretty please?), but mainly more Mark Blackthorn. #swoon


I’m not going to tag anybody, because, as I mentioned, this tag has been floating around in my shameful list of tags-I-haven’t-done-because-I-suck for over a year. However, if you feel so inclined, feel free to give this tag a go, and link me to your answers, so I can find bookish inspiration, and spend further time fantasizing about ice-cream. ❤

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