Review: Everless by Sara Holland

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So, I read Everless in 2017 and I never reviewed it… until now.

I really loved Everless – it’s set in a world where time is currency, and the poorer folk in this kingdom pay with their blood… literally. They go and have their blood drained and turned into coin. It’s a really interesting concept that I enjoyed a lot. (Does that sound creepy?)

Jules and her father fled from the nearby aristocratic estate (Everless) years ago, but she finds herself back there again after taking a job there to earn some money, to help her dying father. Everless is full of royalty, court drama, mystery, intrigue, secrets and magic.

When you’ve read as much YA fantasy I have, it’s sometimes easy to predict how the story is going to play out – but Everless is full of twists and turns and surprises, and I really loved the world-building. Put simply, Everless was a joy to read.

I’m really looking forward to the next book in this series (at least I think it will be a series?) and if you’re looking for some fun fairytale fantasy, give this one a go.

annalsie

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2018 Resolutions

Hello all! I hope you are having a perfectly pleasant first weekend of 2018 – and it’s probably time I write my 2018 resolutions. These are 100% so I can look back next year and see which ones I managed to do, and I’m sure I’ve heard that if you write down your #goals, you’re more likely to achieve them.

As ever, please let me know which books you rate down below in the comments or tweet me at @annalisebooks – I’d also love to know your resolutions, so feel free to let me know or link me to your blogs/vlogs/instagram.

Low Book Spend 2018

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I have a gargantuan TBR and a huge book-buying problem – I can’t just buy one book at a time, I buy a full series before even finishing the first book, my NetGalley TBR is spiraling out of control.

The plan this year is to really limit the number of books I buy. There will inevitably be must-have buys this year and it would be counter-productive to set a total book-buying ban – but the aim with any new book should be to read it immediately, and I’ve found a lot of new books I buy end up at the bottom of a very very very large TBR pile.

I’m looking forward to seeing how much better my bank balance will be by the end of this year – and I’ll need it as I’m planning on moving back to London. I’ll be asking myself with every book ‘Will I read it as soon as I get home?’ and if the answer is ‘yes’, I’ll be recording all the money I spend on books this year.

If the answer is ‘no’, and I still want to read it, I’ll put it on a list in my ‘notes’ app and reassess the situation later on – books on that list are totally fine to purchase for birthdays and christmas.

#FinishASeriesAMonth

My second resolution is to try and finish a series a month – this is slightly different to @dani_reviews’ #ASeriesAMonth2018 challenge as I’ve started a lot of series but not finished them. I’m ashamed to say a lot of the books and series featuring on this list have featured on my previous resolutions blogs before.

I’m not going to set the series I have to finish, and instead pick up the ones that I fancy each month but here are some of the series I would like to finish this year, in no particular order:

  1. The Dark Artifices by Cassandra Clare (I have books 2 and 3 yet to read)
  2. The Illuminae Chronicles by Jay Kristoff and Amie Kaufman (Just book 3 to go!)
  3. Throne of Glass by Sarah J Maas (Just the 7th book – if it is released this year!)
  4. The Winner’s Trilogy by Marie Rutkoski (Books 2 and 3 to read)
  5. The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer (Books 3, 4, Fairest and Stars Above)
  6. The Red Queen Quartet by Victoria Aveyard (I’ve read Red Queen – I’d like to read these in close succession)
  7. Six of Crows Duology by Leigh Bardugo (I haven’t read either but I have read the Grisha Trilogy!)
  8. ADSOM trilogy by V E Schwab (I only have A Conjuring of Light left to read but it is a huge book!)
  9. Rebel of the Sands Trilogy by Alwyn Hamilton (I’m really looking forward to Hero at the Fall)
  10. Bloodlines series by Richelle Mead (I’ve had Silver Shadows and The Ruby Circle (books 5 and 6) on my TBR for years)
  11. ASOIAF by George R R Martin (I’ve read the first book – my aim is to read one book every 2 months throughout 2018)
  12. Lord of The Rings by J R R Tolkien (I haven’t even started – but I feel like these are must-reads for any Fantasy fan!)
  13. DIMILY trilogy by Estelle Maskame (Books 2 and 3 still on the TBR shelf!)
  14. Northern Lights trilogy by Philip Pullman (I read the first book in 2017 and really enjoyed it – just need to read books 2 and 3)
  15. The Chronicles of Narnia by C S Lewis (I haven’t started these but they should be quick reads)
  16. The Passenger Duology by Alexandra Bracken

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#Brontë200 Book Club

I’ll be taking part in the Bronte Book Club with @lucythereader – where every two months, I’ll be reading a different Bronte classic. I haven’t read any of the Bronte books, so I’m looking forward to completing some classics and getting out of my comfort zone.

Document what I’ve read even if it’s not YA

I’ve seen a few people start Twitter threads showing what they’ve been reading – I’ve been reading tons of non-fiction recently and it can feel weird to talk about books that are so different and serious and scientific. I’d like to highlight some of the great books I’ve been reading that aren’t YA – although I’ll probably keep full reviews to fiction.

 

So there we have it – some pretty big resolutions for 2018! Do let me know what your resolutions are and link me to your blogs 🙂

annalsie

 

2017: A Review Part 1 (January – March)

It’s been a long while since I blogged about anything bookish (or anything at all), despite having been reading at my usual pace (or perhaps even faster!).

I’ve been finding it difficult to muster up the energy to review, instead of diving straight into the next book. I’ve read some amazing books this year, and some not so great books, so I thought I would wrap up the entire year in one hopefully-not-so-long blog post.

 

In 2017, I read (and finished) 97 books.

 

January

Frostblood by Elly Blake

I loved this fantasy, although it may be a little cliché. I have the second book (Fireblood) on my Kindle and I need to make time to read it before the third and final installment (Nightblood) releases this year. Check out if you like fantasy.

Talking As Fast As I Can by Lauren Graham

I read this on audiobook and it is essentially a short autobiography of the star of TV’s Gilmore Girls, which I watched in its entirety last year – including binge watching the eight season in one night. This was a fun read if a little short, and the main bulk of the book was focused on returning to filming Gilmore Girls after 10 years.

Mafiosa by Catherine Doyle

I loved this trilogy of books centred around the Chicago Mafia (I swear this is YA at its best!). This is the final book and dramatic conclusion to the trilogy, which is full of angst, romance, friendship, and murder. Definitely one to check out if you haven’t already.

Did I Mention I Love You? by Estelle Maskame

This is the first book in the DIMILY trilogy which is set in LA (at least the first book is!) and follows Eden and Tyler, step-siblings who fall in love. The subject matter can be a little awkward at times, but this is a fun guilty pleasure read. I plan on finishing the trilogy in 2018.

Truthwitch by Susan Dennard

The first book in the Witchlands series was a fun witchy ride with friendship galore – I’m looking forward to picking up Windwitch (the sequel) and Sightwitch (the prequel) in 2018.

We Come Apart by Sarah Crossan and Brian Conaghan

I really enjoy Sarah Crossan’s free verse, and this first release of the year from her was an interesting read about two troubled teens who cross paths and become friends. I really enjoyed this book and I would recommend you check out any of Sarah Crossan’s books (they are all brilliant!) if you would like a quick emotive read.

A Room of One’s Own by Virginia Woolf

This is a short classic essay from Virginia Woolf – I got the gorgeous Vintage Classics edition which also includes Three Guineas.

A Gathering of Shadows by V E Schwab

The second book in the A Darker Shade of Magic trilogy, I liked this book more than I did the first – I am planning on finishing the third book this year but it is a looooooong one. This trilogy has such good reviews and is marketed as Adult Fantasy although it is a firm favourite with the YA community.

February

All About Mia by Lisa Williamson

This is Lisa Williamson’s second book (the first the critically-acclaimed The Art Of Being Normal which was also excellent) and I devoured this one in one night. This is a must-read about a girl called Mia, the middle child between two excellent and talented sisters who feels inadequate.

Girl Up by Laura Bates

I read Everyday Sexism by Laura Bates a couple of years ago, and if you haven’t read that book yet, please please please go read it now. It is excellent. This book, Girl Up, is a kind of guide to being a woman, perhaps aimed at the teenage market, but it is still a great read and one to pick up and give to every young woman you know.

Milk and Honey by Rupi Kaur

This is such a popular poetry book of the moment, and I was amazed how poetry can make you feel things with such few actual words. I really enjoy Rupi Kaur’s poetry although it can be a little… weird. Give this one a go and see what the fuss is about.

Animal by Sara Pascoe

An absolute must-read and one you must put on all your to-buy lists, this is the ‘autobiography of the female body’ – it is clever and funny and scientific and just wonderful. I read this as an audiobook which worked really well (some non-fiction books do not translate well to audio) as Sara is a comedian and this book will make you laugh out loud on the train, as well as educate you thoroughly.

Geek Girl 4 – 6 by Holly Smale

I’m going to combine these books – I read the final three books in the Geek Girl series by Holly Smale – these are aimed at the slightly younger end of the YA market but they are so much fun. The final book in particular stood out for me in the series as it is emotional and perfect. Give this series a go if you haven’t already.

Caraval by Stephanie Garber

Caraval was a book I enjoyed despite it being confusing and super super cliché – overall I was disappointed in the book as it had been hyped so much over the year preceding publication, but I did really enjoy it. I don’t think I’ll be continuing on with this duology but we will have to see when reviews come out for the second book later this year.

To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han

Jenny Han’s writing is not for me – it’s a little too fluffy and whimsical – but this book was an improvement on the first book by hers I read a few years ago (The Summer I Turned Pretty). I have the second book on my TBR to read this year but won’t be continuing with the third book in the series.

Doing It! by Hannah Witton

I really enjoyed this book which was in the same vein as Girl Up! above – it’s a book about sex and healthy relationships and is a non-fiction must-read for me. This book is comprehensive and inclusive and well worth the read.

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

I don’t think I need to say too much about this one – it’s an absolute must-read and a new-classic. Angie tackles the Black Lives Matter with an engaging main character Starr who witnesses the murder of her best friend by a police officer.

March

Nina Is Not Ok by Shappi Khorsandi

Another book by a UK female comedian (see Sara Pascoe above), this is a dark YA novel about a teenage girl struggling with alcoholism. A really great and engaging read, although much darker than I anticipated.

How Not To Disappear by Clare Furniss

I really enjoyed this book about a pregnant teenager engaging with her ailing grandmother on a road trip. This was such a heartwarming coming-of-age story that read like an adult novel, with complex and diverse characters who almost jumped off the page.

Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty

I read this in anticipation of the Sky Atlantic series – I tried to watch the first episode and didn’t come back for more. I enjoyed the book but don’t feel the need to re-read so I am unhauling this book and donating to my local charity shop.

Seven Days of You by Cecilia Vinesse

Think Anna and the French Kiss set in Tokyo minus all the cheating. Sweet romance that will transport you to the heart of Japan.

Moranifesto by Caitlin Moran

This is a collection of Caitlin’s columns – I loved this and it’s an easy book to dip in and out of due to the format (being a collection of newspaper columns). I want to pick up more of Caitlin’s work but her books always seem so expensive!

If Birds Fly Back by Carlie Sorosiak

I read this book on iBooks on my phone whilst commuting to and from work – this is a sweet romance between a girl working at a nursing home for the summer and a boy trying to connect with his elderly father. I’m looking forward to Carlie’s second book Wild Blue Wonder.

 

Hope you enjoyed reading about what I read at the beginning of the year… what did you read? What do you want to read this year? Tweet me @annalisebooks or let me know in the comments!

annalsie

Review: Goodbye, Perfect by Sara Barnard

Goodbye, Perfect is Sara Barnard’s third novel, and the third novel of her’s that I have read. I am a huge fan of Sara’s previous novels, and this book was no exception.

Goodbye, Perfect is centred around the disappearance of our Eden’s best friend Bonnie with the school music teacher, Mr Cohn, set during Eden and Bonnie’s GCSEs. Eden battles between loyalty to her best friend and her said best friend betraying her by not telling her about being in a relationship with (and running away with) their teacher.

I loved how this book delved into topics such as adoption and fostering (Eden and her younger sister Daisy were adopted) and family bonds (particularly between Eden and her adoptive sister Valerie), as well as student-teacher relationships (way too often glamourised in teen media – think Ezra on Pretty Little Liars or Ms Grundy in Riverdale) and academic expectations. Bonnie was a particularly interesting character who was academically bright but wanted to carve a different path for herself.

This book is out in early February, so I would heartily recommend getting this one on your TBRs for 2018.

Why I’m NOT reading the new John Green book…

Evening book lovers!

Today is the 10th October and also the release date of the heavily anticipated new John Green book – Turtles All The Way Down.

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(Is anyone else underwhelmed by the cover? There’s exactly ZERO turtles.)

Unlike what feels like most of the YA community, I won’t be reading this (yet?).

Why?

The short answer is that I am on a book-buying ban and so all the books I’m desperately lusting after have been relegated to the christmas list.

The long answer is… I just feel meh.

I read Looking For Alaska years ago; it was one of the first YA books I read. There was hype around this book and it just didn’t do it for me.

I read The Fault in our Stars around publication day and thought it was ok, then reread it in preparation for the film and absolutely loved it.

Yet I still have two John Green books on my TBR (An Abundance of Katherines and Will Grayson, Will Grayson), both of which I have started and struggled to get through. Maybe John Green is just not for me, or maybe I should give his new book a chance (although the premise doesn’t excite me the same way a lot of YA books do?)

Please let me know if you’ll be reading Turtles All The Way Down, and if you have/haven’t read it, let me know why! I’d love to hear all of your opinions 🙂

annalsie

What will I be reading in Autumn 2017?

It seems to me like the past week everyone has fallen through a pile of crunchy autumn leaves and landed firmly in the run up to Halloween and Christmas. All the names on Twitter are spooky (except mine, I’ll make do with some emojis because I can’t think of a good Halloween name!) and the season of book release upon book release is here. Time to cosy on up with a warm drink and a good book…

The first thing you should know is that my TBR is (hopefully) currently at a standstill – I’m trying not to buy any books this month, and hopefully not until Christmas! This excludes Fairyloot boxes so the books from those will be added to my TBR (and I’m fairly sure I know what those books will be!) but other than that, I won’t be buying any books. This is partly because my TBR is super huge, especially after YALC, and partly because I need to save money!

I don’t like to give myself an overly prescriptive TBR because I never stick to them. I want to be free to be able to pick up any book and be able to read it – and equally, sometimes I won’t be in the mood for a particular book, even if, at another time, I would instantly devour it.

I’ve read 75 books so far this year(!) and hoping to get to a hundred so the goal is 25 books before 31st December…

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I’m reading a weird combination of books at the moment, but I’d like to finish Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie (I’m really enjoying this one and reading in preparation for the film which releases November 3rd), Delusions of Gender by Cordelia Fine (non-fiction about gender differences), Northern Lights by Philip Pullman (first time reading!) and Scarlet by Marissa Meyer (I have all of the rest of her books but just can’t seem to get through this one…).

My Kindle is nicely full at the moment – I’d like to read two of the Zoella Book Club, After The Fire by Will Hill and Girlhood by Cat Clarke before the year is out. I’d also like to read Fireblood by Elly Blake, before the final book in the trilogy is released in June 2018.

Hardbacks I’ve not got round to reading yet include Windwitch by Susan Dennard (in preparation for Sightwitch coming January 2018) and Stalking Jack The Ripper by Kerri Maniscalco (I was so excited for this one last year and still have not read it… story of my life!). I was also sent a beautiful copy of Warcross by Marie Lu which sounds amazing.

In the Shadowhunters world, I want to get up to speed with all the books before The Queen of Air and Darkness is released, which has been pushed up to May 2018. Whilst I’ll be reading Lord of Shadows next year, I’d like to get up to date with Magnus Bane and The Bane Chronicles as well as The Midnight Heir.

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Staying with Fantasy, I have a wild ambition to read all the ASOIAF books and rewatch the entirety of Game of Thrones before the final season, and so I had better get on with reading A Clash of Kings by George R R Martin. I wasn’t the biggest fan of A Game of Thrones but I love seeing the foreshadowing that’s going on way back in the first books.

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Over to New Releases, I am so excited for A Shiver of Snow and Sky by Lisa Lueddecke and thank you very much to Scholastic for sending me a beautiful copy (this is such a gorgeous book!).

I also plan on reading my YALC haul – a lot of these books release in 2018 and it’s coming round fast! I’m hoping to get into City of Brass by S. A. Chakraborty, The Taste of Blue Light by Lydia Ruffles, The Treatment by C. L. Taylor, This Mortal Coil by Emily Suvada… as well as 2018 releases including The Hazel Wood by Melissa Albert, The Fandom by Anna Day and The Truth and Lies of Ella Black by Emily Barr.

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I’m also exciting to read more Margaret Atwood, and I hope to get through Alias Grace in time for the Netflix series that will be released in November.

This is by no means an exhaustive list, but I’m excited to see which books will be my favourites, and which may fall a little flat.

Have you read any of these books, and what are you planning to read this autumn? Let me know in the comments below or tweet me at @annalisebooks x

annalsie

Genuine Fraud by E Lockhart


I took part in a stunt at YALC for Hot Key Books where I dressed up as the main character in the novel and handed out samplers for this book! In return, Hot Key Books sent me a copy of this book – thank you so much to them!

If I had to describe this book in one word, it would be confusing. It’s hard to talk too much about this book without spoiling anything, but it is a suspense novel about two friends, Jule and Immie, and it takes place in reverse chronological order, all over the world (London, San Francisco, Mexico, New York, Martha’s Vineyard…).

The reverse chronological order was new for me, and I liked the little reveals as you go through the book. However, I was confused, especially as Jule impersonates Imogen at times, and there wasn’t a big reveal at the end that made everything click into place. I also found some of the male characters (Forrest, Isaac, Paolo) to be a bit too similar, and so I was confused who was who…

I enjoyed E Lockhart’s usual themes and social commentary around women, privilege, education, etc., but there was a lack of wow factor with this book. That being said, I am looking forward to diving into some of her older work, especially The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks, which comes well recommended by Holly Bourne herself.

annalsie

Alex & Eliza by Melissa de la Cruz

Disclaimer: I had the entire Hamilton soundtrack in my head the entire time I read this.


Alex & Eliza is the (embellished) story of how Alexander Hamilton and Elizabeth Schuyler met and fell in love. Those of you unaware of these two characters – go and listen to the Hamilton soundtrack from start to finish, now.

I got this book as an early copy during YALC and because it has a gorgeous cover – it’s a beautiful pearlescent pink with a subtle pattern that looks like old wallpaper (it looks good, I promise!).

I really enjoyed this book – it’s a historical novel, where Melissa de la Cruz has taken some creative liberty to tell the story of how Alex and Eliza met and fell in love. I believe not much is known about this time so I think this story is more fiction than non-fiction, but it was enjoyable (if you take it with a pinch of salt, of course!). It’s set in the late 1700s in the recently-formed United States of America, and it’s full of historical setting and backstory which I really liked (although sometimes it did read like an infodump).

What I didn’t get when I picked up this book is what story it was going to tell – this isn’t a novelisation of Hamilton the musical, it’s set in the early years of Hamilton’s career when he meets and marries Eliza. I thought this book might be set over the years of their marriage but it ends with their wedding day (hopefully not a spoiler that they get married!).

I was a little disappointed with the characters of Angelica and Peggy who are much more fun in the musical, but overall it was an enjoyable read and one that will look very nice on my shelf!

annalsie

A Change Is Gonna Come – #ChangeBook


#ChangeBook is the breath of fresh air the publishing industry needs right now. It’s a collection of short stories and poems from 12 BAME authors centred around the theme of ‘change’ – four of those authors are unpublished and ones to watch out for.

I bought this book because I think it’s important to send out a message to the publishing industry that we need more diverse books, more BAME authors. A bonus was the amazing stories inside, which were exactly what I was looking for – stories about cultures other to my own, that weren’t too focused on themes such as gang culture and violence. I loved that there’s a real selection of female BAME voices here, and I’d love to see more and more in future.

Every single story in here is absolutely fantastic, covering topics that are regularly in the media nowadays – mental health, grief, sexuality, gender, racism.

My absolute favourite story in here has to be Mary Bello’s Dear Asha, but I enjoyed every single story in it’s own right, and can’t wait to read more from these authors.

Get down to your nearest bookstore and grab a copy of #ChangeBook – you won’t regret it.

annalsie