Sunday, 1 January 2017

2016 In Books: Part 2

Hi all!

You may or may not remember, but in the middle of the year I did a post about all the books I had loved in the first half of 2016. You can check that out here before we go on if you would like! This was supposed to be one post like last year but I have just read wayyy too many books.

I hope you enjoy hearing about what I have read in the second half of this year and maybe find a gem that you would like to read too.

My first book of July was The Luxe by Anna Godbersen. It's an old favourite of mine and this year I decided to reread it. Spoiler alert: I still love it three years later. It is basically about the upper class of New York in 1899 (and beyond) and follows two sisters with all their scandals and drama. I will admit, it's probably not the best written book but it was thoroughly enjoyable and a quick read, so for that I would definitely recommend it to you. If you love a bit of historical fiction that's not too stuffy or early on then this is for you. My rating on Goodreads: 5 stars.

I had heard a lot of hype surrounding The Winner's Curse by Marie Rutkoski and as such I was a little bit nervous to read it. The premise of the book sounded so amazing and I was worried it wouldn't live up to my expectations. I can happily say, it did! It is basically about two warring nations who are constantly enslaving the other, and what happens when two of them fall in love from the opposite sides (starcrossed lovers/forbidden romance is a favourite of mine in case you haven't noticed). I really really loved it and couldn't wait to read the next book. My rating on Goodreads rating: 4.5 stars

Sticking with the theme of rereading old favourites (something I wanted to do this year was read all the books on my bookshelf and reread any I hadn't read in a while to make sure I actually still liked them) I decided to read Starcrossed by Josephine Angelini. As the title might suggest, it is about to starcrossed lovers who are basically the reincarnation of Helen of Troy and Paris (you know the whole Trojan myth thing - it's about that). It's really cool to learn about some Greek myths and the romance is great. Also, Helen is strong and kick-butt so what more could you want in a book? My rating on Goodreads: 4 stars

And would you look at this, I have another reread - this time City of Fallen Angels by Cassandra Clare, which is the fourth book in the Mortal Instruments series. I really enjoyed this one but I obviously won't give you a run down because I don't want to spoil the first three! All I will say is that it is a fantastic series and if you love fantasy and paranormal than this is the book for you. My rating on Goodreads: 5 stars

The next two books was The Heir and The Crown by Kiera Cass, which while I enjoyed and had a good time reading them, I knew the whole time that they weren't particularly great. They are the two books that carry on from The Selection series and honestly, the only way I can describe these two books is like watching trashy reality TV. You know its bad but you enjoy it anyway. I thought that the first three books were definitely better. My rating on Goodreads: 3.5 stars for both

We're in university territory now and the first thing I had to read for my English Literature course was a poetry book (I hate poetry). I can objectively see how people would think this is good poetry but I hate it all so I got nothing out of it. If you do like it though, check Simon Armitage out because everyone was raving about him. We read his compilation book Paper Aeroplane. I didn't give it a rating on Goodreads because I did not think that was fair seeing as though I really dislike poetry (I just do not get it).

I read something I actually liked next, and that was Shadow Kiss by Richelle Mead. It is the third book in the Vampire Academy series and I thought this one was really good. For some reason when I first read the series I skipped this book (too impatient to wait for it to be at the library!) and so it was nice to finally read it. I love this series and I definitely think you should all check it out. My rating on Goodreads: 4.5 stars

Aaand we are back to university stuff and I really really really disliked this one. Kafka on the Shore by Haruki Murakami was definitely not my kind of book and I am not in any way enticed to pick up other books by the author. It was just very weird, for lack of another word to describe it, and I did not like it at all. I could see that it was well written but then you add in the ridiculously passive characters who just sit back and take all the shit (excuse my language) that life throws at them and they don't even care! It drove me insane. Plus there was a super weird prophecy that I won't talk about because some of you may be young, talking cats (which was probably the tamest thing about the book) and just so many unexplained and ridiculous things that I could not enjoy it at all. My class loved it though so there you go (they're all ridiculously pretentious). My rating on Goodreads: 2.75 stars (very generous if you ask me)

Rereading another book, I went with Legacy by Cayla Kluver and it definitely wasn't as good as I remember it being. But, kind of like Twilight, this would be a pretty great guilty pleasure read when the mood strikes (although it is better than Twilight). It is basically about two warring Kingdoms and the romance between the Princess of one and an unknown boy from the other. It was enjoyable and not altogether terrible but it did need a lot more work to be a great book. My rating on Goodreads: 3.5

Much to my disappointment, I had heard a lot of criticism about After You by Jojo Moyes, the sequel to Me Before You. Having now finished it, and really enjoying it, I can't quite understand why. It was definitely completely different to the first book, but we still follow the same loveable Louisa (I just adore reading from her perspective) and it was a quick but thoroughly enjoyable read. My rating on Goodreads: 4 stars
I then finally got to read a book I waited simply aaaages for: The Winner's Crime by Marie Rutkoski. I won't say too much about it as it is a sequel, but to be perfectly honest, I think it was a better book than the first one. It added to the plot really well and created a lot of tension and build-up for the finale. I really loved it! I may as well throw in the last book in this paragraph as well, The Winner's Kiss. It was so so so good and what an amazing final book! It was so intense and I read it ridiculously quickly because I just could not wait to read what happened next. I adore this trilogy and cannot wait to see what else Marie Rutkosi writes. My ratings on Goodreads: 4.75 and 5 stars

It was back to university work after that and this time I read The Mandibles by Lionel Shriver. Oh my dear god, I've never read a book with so much blathering about things I don't quite understand (and that's saying a lot because I read Les Miserables by Victor Hugo and he rants about history and wars and the sewers of Paris). But this book was filled to the brim with economics and it was so dry. Pages and pages of it, and frankly it took away from what could have been a really interesting story. Granted, it was based on the collapse of the American dollar/economy but it probably could have done without so much of the explanation - the gist would have been fine for the average reader. Once you got used to it though, the book was okay. My rating on Goodreads: 3 stars

I gave into the hype on books again and tried Poison Study by Maria V Snyder and I am so so glad I did. It was actually so good! Picture this: a girl committed murder for mysterious reasons and instead of being hanged she has the option of becoming poison taster for the King (or Commander in this book I think). Cue romance with an older man (not the King) and ahhhhhh. I have no words for this book. Like honestly, it has magic, it's set in a castle, and it's got a great love story: bring on book two! My rating on Goodreads: 4 stars 

Going back to my rereading, I decided to read Delirium by Lauren Oliver. In all honesty, I had forgotten how much I loved this one! It is set in a dystopian where love is thought to be a disease and for those that know my reading tastes the forbidden romance bells were ringing. The romance is great, I love the main character, Lena, and it's such a different and unique idea for a dystopian that you cannot help but be sucked into the story. I will for sure be buying the rest of the series now that I remember how much I loved it! My rating on Goodreads: 5 stars
My reading gets a little sad now, because I don't think I read anything that wasn't uni related for almost two months. The first of which was Disgrace by J M Coetzee and I have to say, at first I really did not like this book. For one thing I absolutely loathe the main character, David Lurie, and that is mostly because I thought he was just a vile human being. But in the end I chose to do this book for my major assessment and after reading the book for a second time I definitely had a newfound appreciation for it. I still didn't like the character but I could see why he was written that way. If you were wondering, I wrote my final piece on the representation of women within the novel. My rating on Goodreads: 3.5 stars (originally a 3).

I then actually read my very first graphic novel! It was Fun Home by Alison Bechdel, which I believe is autobiographical. I cannot say I enjoyed it too much but I can appreicate that it was well written/drawn (how do you describe a graphic novel??). The plot was, for me, very confusing and that detracted from the story and I didn't like the colourt theme throughout the book. Although, again, I can understand why that decision was made. Not my cup of tea, but it hasn't put me off graphic novels forever. My rating on Goodreads: 3 stars
I did get to read a book of my own towards the end of November though! I have been waiting impatiently for Blood for Blood by Ryan Graudin since I read Wolf by Wolf earlier this year and let me tell you, it was worth the wait. The plot is still ridiculously fascinating to me and I loved the subtle hint of romance that did not in anyway detract from other aspects of the books. The females in this book are so kickass and strong, which is really great to see in a novel, and I thoroughly enjoyed this one. Not going to lie, I'm a little disappointed that it is only a duology! (On another note, I think this is the only duology I have ever read. That's a lie, I just remembered I read Me Before You and the sequel this year, so technically that's a duology too). My rating on Goodreads: 5 stars

My next book is more of an honourary mention than anything else and that is The Teddy Bear's Night Before Christmas. This is a book I have been reading every year on Christmas Eve with my Mum since I was very very little. It's a tradition we still stick to today and one that I plan on carrying on with my own children.

I also finally got around to finishing Outlander by Diana Gabaldon and I have to say I really really loved it. It was a book that combined some of my favourite things (history, romance, and a little bit of family) really well and I adored the love interest, Jamie Fraser. He's really great. The book did take me a lot longer to read, but that was only because I read it at shorter intervals (I literally read over half of it on Christmas Eve). I guess it's a bit like Game of Thrones in a sense that the language and terminology is a bit heavier and takes quite a bit longer to get through than the average novel (they're not similar though). I cannot wait to read the next books, although from what I've seen they just get bigger and bigger form here. My rating on Goodreads: 5 stars

Having finished Outlander, I then read Allegiance by Kayla Kluver. It's the sequel to Legacy, which I mentioned a little earlier in this post. I don't want to say too much as it is a sequel, but it was at about the same quality of writing as the first one but I still enjoyed it. The story sucked me in quite quickly (after a few confusing few pages trying to remember who was who!) and I won't lie it is a slight guilty pleasure read. My rating on Goodreads: 3.5 stars

I then finally read my next installment of the Chronicles of Narnia, which was The Horse and His Boy by C S Lewis. I never read these books as a child but I have been really enjoying reading them now anyway. They are quite religious but for the most part you can look past that and it has a really enjoyable story underneath. This was probably my least favourite of the three I have read but it was still really good. My rating on Goodreads: 4 stars

And then (not going to lie, it was mostly so I could finish of my reading challenge of 50 books) I finished up one of my Downton Abbey books. I really love reading these types of books as they give so much more insight into the characters, the world and all the little details that you might miss by simply just watching the show. There was a whole section on the music in Downton Abbey, and I also really enjoyed the costume and props parts. There was also recipes in this book which is so cool! This is a really enjoyable read for Downton Abbey lovers (particularly if you're a history buff like me). My rating on Goodreads: 5 stars

It's just gone midnight here, so I would just like to say a Happy New Year to all of you - I cannot wait to see what 2017 brings.
This post was a little way too long so this year I will be doing monthly wrap ups of my reading instead of at the end of every six months. I think that will be a little more manageable!


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