Tuesday, 25 December 2018

Favourite Books I Read in 2018

2018 is coming to a close so it only makes sense to go back and look at all the books I've read this year. I read over 95 books 2018 (including lots of rereads). There were so many amazing releases in 2018 and I discovered some great backlist books too. This is a list of my top 10 books of 2018; some were released this year and some weren't. I tried to put them in order but it was too hard. 

1.Kingdom of Ash by Sarah J Maas
Read my review here!

2.Queen of Air and Darkness by Cassandra Clare
Review to come!

3.The Cruel Prince by Holly Black
Read my review here!

4.Nevernight/ Godsgrave by Jay Kristoff
Review to come!

5.Stormcaster by Cinda Williams Chima
Read my review here!

6.Josh and Hazel's Guide to Not Dating by Cristina Lauren
Review to come!

7.The Diviners/Lair of Dreams/Before the Devil Breaks You by Libba Bray
Read my review here!

8.City of Ghosts by Victoria Schwab
Review to come!

9.And I Darken/Now I Rise/Bright We Burn by Kiersten White
Review to come!

10.What I Lost by Alexandra Ballard
Read my review here!

Tuesday, 18 December 2018

The Distance Between Us by Kasie West

Publication: July 2nd 2013 by HarperTeen

Goodreads Description:
Seventeen-year-old Caymen Meyers studies the rich like her own personal science experiment, and after years of observation she’s pretty sure they’re only good for one thing—spending money on useless stuff, like the porcelain dolls in her mother’s shop.

So when Xander Spence walks into the store to pick up a doll for his grandmother, it only takes one glance for Caymen to figure out he’s oozing rich. Despite his charming ways and that he’s one of the first people who actually gets her, she’s smart enough to know his interest won’t last. Because if there’s one thing she’s learned from her mother’s warnings, it’s that the rich have a short attention span. But Xander keeps coming around, despite her best efforts to scare him off. And much to her dismay, she's beginning to enjoy his company.

She knows her mom can’t find out—she wouldn’t approve. She’d much rather Caymen hang out with the local rocker who hasn’t been raised by money. But just when Xander’s attention and loyalty are about to convince Caymen that being rich isn’t a character flaw, she finds out that money is a much bigger part of their relationship than she’d ever realized. And that Xander’s not the only one she should’ve been worried about. 

My thoughts:
The Distance Between Us is a great light easy quick read that's perfect for summer. I flew through it in one sitting in a handful of hours. This was my second West book and I have to say her books are great filler books to pick up when you've finished a big series or a dark fantasy and need a quick break. They are super easy and cute to read but i will say they don't leave much of an impression when you're done. I had fun while reading The Distance Between Us but since finishing I haven't really thought about it.

I felt like the characters were very surface level but I wasn't looking for overly complex layered characters when I picked up The Distance Between Us. I liked Caymen; she had a very dry sense of humour and her sarcastic dialogue was fun to read. I liked Xander too, he was very respectful and I liked how he challenged Caymen's prejudices she had about rich people.  

This is a YA romance so of course it was a big part of the plot. There were a good few cute moments but I wasn't necessarily shipping it. It was cute at time and their banter was fun but nothing to get invested in.

The plot was very predicable and very convenient but because I read it so quick I didn't mind and I didn't pick this book up for a complex plot that had me on the edge of my seat or anything.

It was interesting reading a book where money was a big issue for the characters because it's not something I come across a lot in my reading. I liked how the book explored prejudices and biases and stuff in relation to finances.

There was nothing noteworthy about the writing. It was nice and easy to read.

I've read 2 Kasie West books now, this one and On the Fence, and I think  I liked On the Fence better. I will definitely be picking up more of her books in the future when I want a quick light read!

Thanks for reading,

A :)

Tuesday, 11 December 2018

Save the Date by Morgan Matson

Publication:June 5th 2018 by Simon Schuster Books for Young Readers 

Goodreads Description:
Charlie Grant’s older sister is getting married this weekend at their family home, and Charlie can’t wait—for the first time in years, all four of her older siblings will be under one roof. Charlie is desperate for one last perfect weekend, before the house is sold and everything changes. The house will be filled with jokes and games and laughs again. Making decisions about things like what college to attend and reuniting with longstanding crush Jesse Foster—all that can wait. She wants to focus on making the weekend perfect.

The only problem? The weekend is shaping up to be an absolute disaster.

There’s the unexpected dog with a penchant for howling, house alarm that won’t stop going off, and a papergirl with a grudge.

There are the relatives who aren’t speaking, the (awful) girl her favorite brother brought home unannounced, and a missing tuxedo.

Not to mention the neighbor who seems to be bent on sabotage and a storm that is bent on drenching everything. The justice of the peace is missing. The band will only play covers. The guests are all crazy. And the wedding planner’s nephew is unexpectedly, distractingly…cute.

Over the course of three ridiculously chaotic days, Charlie will learn more than she ever expected about the family she thought she knew by heart. And she’ll realize that sometimes, trying to keep everything like it was in the past means missing out on the future.

My thoughts:
Save the Date was a lighthearted, family orientated story with lots of hijinks but it just didn't live up to my expectations of a Morgan Matson book. I had fun reading for the most part but it is definitely my least favourite Morgan Matson book; it was just missing something.

This book was so funny with everything falling apart. It was actually ridiculous how everything that could go wrong went wrong. It was hilarious to me at the start but towards the end I was over it, it was too unrealistic and I knew what was going to happen. The hectic mess of everything falling apart was stressing me out too at times.

I also didn't like the main character Charlie. I usually love Morgan Matson's protagonists because I can see myself in them and they few real but Charlie was so annoying. She felt very young and naive and I could relate to her at all. Her obsession with her brother's friend, Jesse, drove me mad. She was so blinded by her childhood crush. Her attitude towards her brother's girlfriend threw me off too; she was very cold to her. And Charlie was such a bad friend to her best friend. I felt like I was reading about a 13 year old.

While Save the Date is about a wedding it is not romance heavy at all. The blurb was misleading- I expected more of a focus on Jesse and the wedding planners nephew and was sitting around waiting for something to happen. I love Morgan Matson's books for their cute romances and love interests but the 'romance' was a tiny sub plot in this book. I was a bit disappointed about it.

I loved the focus on familial relationships though! The Grants are a big family and it was so much fun reading all the different dynamics between brother's and sisters and parents. I loved all the siblings interactions; they were so much fun and full of banter and bickering which is exactly like me and my siblings.

The plot felt a bit like this was the 'before' of the real story, of that makes sense. I felt like this was all leading up to the actual story. The plot was also very predictable because of everything going wrong I just started assuming it would go wrong. 

I really liked the message about putting people on a pedestal and building them up into something they're not in our minds and how that stops us from seeing them as just people like everyone else. 

I loved the little cameo of characters from The Unexpected Everything! 

Save the Date is long but fast to get through. It has some very sweet family moments but it's not a cute contemporary romance like Morgan Matson's other books. It ended up being my least favourite book from her.

Thanks for reading,

A :)

Tuesday, 4 December 2018

Upside Down by Lia Riley

Series: Off the Map, #1

Publication: August 5th 2014 by Grand Central/Forever

Goodreads Description:
If You Never Get Lost, You’ll Never Be Found

Twenty-one-year-old Natalia Stolfi is saying good-bye to the past-and turning her life upside down with a trip to the land down under. For the next six months, she'll act like a carefree exchange student, not a girl sinking under the weight of painful memories. Everything is going according to plan until she meets a brooding surfer with hypnotic green eyes and the troubling ability to see straight through her act.

Bran Lockhart is having the worst year on record. After the girl of his dreams turned into a nightmare, he moved back home to Melbourne to piece his life together. Yet no amount of disappointment could blind him to the pretty California girl who gets past all his defenses. He's never wanted anyone the way he wants Talia. But when Bran gets a stark reminder of why he stopped believing in love, he and Talia must decide if what they have is once in a lifetime . . . or if they were meant to live a world apart.

My thoughts: 
Upside Down is one of the most addicting books I've read this year! I literally stayed up all night reading it without meaning to; it was such a fun easy quick read! I'd definitely recommend it for anyone looking for a quick new adult romance book.

Natalia, the main character, was likeable enough. She's dealing with a lot of stuff in the story and has lots of flaws which made her feel real and human to me. I liked how she was independent she was and how she wasn't struggling with self confident issues like many other NA female protagonists.

I had a hard time liking Bran, I knew straight away he was trouble. He has a lot of issues too and he's not a nice guy. He's actually a bit mean at times. I didn't love him but I did warm up to him a bit as we got to know him. He does make some bad decisions which turned me off but he might redeem himself in later books.

The romance was good, I liked how Bran wasn't used as a way to 'fix' Talia. They definitely have their issues as a couple but their relationship was fun to read about.

There is some OCD representation which I don't think I've ever come across in my reading. The whole book isn't about Talia dealing with her OCD but it is mentioned a good few times. One of the other characters tees picks up on Talia's rituals but doesn't treat her any different which I liked. I can't speak on the rep but from other reviews it seems like the author did a good job as it's ownvoices.

I also want to highlight that one of the side characters is anorexic and it is talked about so if that's triggering for you maybe skip this one.

I was so excited when I heard Upside Down was set in Australia because it's no somewhere I've ever been or read about. There was so many Australian stereotypes though which annoyed me. I felt like the author went overboard on it.

Upside Down was full of drama, tragic backstories and emotional hurt but that's what made it so quick to read 

I wasn't left dying to pick up the next book but I had a lot of fun reading Upside Down and will be picking up the rest of the books when I want something quick and easy to read!

Thanks for reading,

A :)