February Wrap Up

I feel like I’ve just done my January wrap up wtf is going on. This month I received 2 offers from unis and now have an uncomfortable decision to make about where I want to go. I’ve been to a couple of 6 Nations rugby games, Scotland vs Ireland and Scotland vs Wales and Scotland won both of them, I’m so incredibly happy about it. I’ve been going to rugby games since I was about 4/5 years old, and for the past few years it’s been very depressing to be a Scotland fan but not anymore!

I’m off to Italy for a week tomorrow so I’ll be absent in the blogosphere.

Before you read my summary of what books I bought just know that they’re all bar about 2 of them e-books that I got on a deal! I’m trying so hard to stop myself!

I earned my first badge of the Read Diverse 2017 Challenge!
5points

I read 12 books this month:

The Sun is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon
The Curse of the Bruel Coven
The Upside of Unrequited by Becky Albertalli
Flawed by Cecelia Ahern
The Lightening Thief by Rick Riordan
The Summer Palace by C.S. Pacat
Isla and the Happily Ever After by Stephenie Perkins
The Cubit Quest by Trevor Leck
George by Alex Gino
How to be a Vigilante by Luke Smitherd
Coffee Boy by Austin Chant
Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

Reviews I posted:

Goldsmith Jones by Sam Taylor-Pye
The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
November 9 by Colleen Hoover
The Rest of Us Just Live Here by Patrick Ness
Sabriel by Garth Nix
Every Falling Star by Sungju Lee &Susan McClelland
The Black Prism by Brent Weeks
One by Sarah Crossan

Books I bought:

Empress of a Thousand Skies by Rhoda Belleza (Fairyloot)
Johnny Be Good by Paige Toon
Sofia Khan is not Obliged by Ayisha Malik
Angelfall by Susan Ee
Wait For You by J. Lynn
After Math by Denise Grover Swank (I’m super excited to read this one because it’s about a girl studying maths)
Hopeless by Colleen Hoover
The Keeper’s Vow by Francina Simone
Gilded Cage by Vic James
The Summer Palace by C.S. Pacat
Alice by Christina Henry
Lirael by Garth Nix
The Constant Princess by Philippa Gregory
Hamilton: The Revolution by Lin-Manuel Miranda and Jeremy McCarter

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One by Sarah Crossan

This was my first time with a book that was written in verse and honestly I don’t really get it, but this was still a really good read and because it was in verse it was short and impactful. Again like I’ve said in previous reviews I’ve tried to make sure my language isn’t offensive or harmful, but of course I can make mistakes, I don’t know anyone who is a conjoined twin, so if I write anything in this review that isn’t right please let me know and I will correct it asap!

Tippi and Grace are twins who are conjoined at the waist, so have 2 hearts and 2 legs. But they’ve been conjoined a lot longer than a lot of twins are and they feel like they are a ticking time bomb. Then their parents tell them they’re running out of money and have to go to school instead of being home schooled and their lives start to change dramatically.

I’ve never really thought about conjoined twins and how they live their lives. How difficult it must be to share a body with someone. There’s a little bit of romance in this book which I think really showed how restricting it must be to be a conjoined twin because your sibling would literally be everywhere you go so you wouldn’t get a moment of privacy with someone you had a crush on. And whilst a conjoined twin would fin that a lot of the time of course with things like showering or just wanting time to think to yourself, those are often common things with siblings (obviously not to the same extent) butI just felt it was characterised really well in the bit of romance.

I wish we could have seen a little bit from Tippi’s perspective as everything is from Grace’s perspective.It would’ve been nice to see what Tippi thought about certain situations.

I felt like everything had been researched really well by Crossan, and it read like that without having too much complicated explanations. But she’s not a conjoined twin so it might not be entirely accurate, so apologies if my review is too positive and it turns out to be a harmful book.

Something that really hit me with this book was how people with disabilities end up having to sell their stories to tv networks just for money to keep themselves living with a roof over their head. Honestly I often see adverts for shows about people’s lives living with whatever disability or whatever facial differences and think to myself “why on earth have they done that, the network is just using them and embarrassing them” not even thinking about how desperately in need of money they could be, especially as many people cannot work and have extortionate medical bills to pay for. This book really opened my eyes.

This book is hard hitting and really captures the bond of sisterhood. I truly believed that Tippi and Grace would do anything for each other, of course they had little fights and grievances, but you could really feel the love they felt for each other.

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The Cubit Quest by Trevor Leck Blog Tour | Author Spotlight and Review

Summary

Twelve-year-old Charlie Watkins could have inherited his dad’s massive intellect.
He got his massive feet instead.

Perhaps if Charlie had that intellect he might have been able to figure out why so many men in suits were suddenly following him or where his dad hid the Cubit – a mythical object that men have sworn to protect and even more have died trying to possess – before his so-called accident.

If starting yet another new school wasn’t bad enough, Charlie meets Mr Leopold, a disfigured, mind-reading lunatic and discovers that he alone must find the Cubit if he is to save his dad. The Brotherhood, however, have other ideas. Led by the ruthless Draganovic, they will stop at nothing to get their hands on it. With the help of Mr Leopold and fellow new boy Elvis, Charlie sets out on The Cubit Quest.

Hunting for the Cubit, playing football, lessons with the dreaded Funeral Face and unsuccessfully avoiding school bully Grimshaw by day, Charlie finds his nights no less complicated. Stalked in his dreams, he’s soon immersed in a world of power struggles, battling dragons and duels to the death. With the Brotherhood hot on his heels and as the bullets begin to fly, there are no guarantees that Charlie, or anyone else, will make it to the end in one piece.

Author Spotlight

Well, they say that everyone needs a hobby, but whilst sat in a tent listening to fighter jets scream overhead in a foreign land, I realised that I needed something else: a distraction.  Writing was the perfect solution; even if writing about military life wasn’t.  I was much more interested in writing about action-packed adventures that was bristling with the likes of bullying, crunching tackles and great goals on the football pitch, the afterlife, mythical creatures, fate, destiny and the obligatory arch-villain hellbent on world domination.  Hence my foray into the world of young adult writing began. You could say that I was always going to be less Andy McNab and more J.K. Rowling.

They also say that you should write about the things you know, and even if I was writing about twelve-year-old boy Charlie Watkins, who suddenly found that he had more enemies than hot dinners, or super-powerful and deadly adversaries, or hobgoblins, I wanted people to believe it.  Therefore, I needed a real place to set my semi-fantasy world. The town of North Shields, in the northern corner of England with a view of the River Tyne, the place where I grew up, provided the perfect backdrop for my first novel The Cubit Quest.  After all, the place really does have it all – great buildings, great parks, great coastline, and even greater people.  I hoped to do the place justice – I didn’t.

The reason for this was relatively simple: I wasn’t very good at it.  Four years down the line and The Cubit Quest was still more a figment of my imagination than a reality.  The ‘Ian Rankin style’ of writing, namely you have a rough idea of where you’re going and let’s see how it pans out, was hugely successful – for Ian Rankin that is!  For me, the process was an unmitigated disaster – four years and no end product proving testament to that fact.  But that didn’t matter.  Other than my lovely wife, nobody knew I was writing and nobody was going to read it anyway – right?

The process also highlighted something that I, and anyone who meets me will figure out soon enough: I have the world’s worst memory.  The places in The Cubit Quest were all real, Ralph Gardner High, Charlie’s house, Elvis’s house, Sonia’s house, all of it – ‘were’ being the operative word.  The story is therefore a mismatch of eras, some present day, some straight from my very poor memory.  The result is less Dan Brown, whereby every detail is correct at the time of writing and more John Grisham – never let the facts get in the way of a good story.

Having a second crack at it – it was my secret hobby after all – I knuckled down to some serious planning and eleven months later I had a first draft, a completed novel at last!  Of course, perhaps I should have mentioned that it wasn’t The Cubit Quest, it was the follow up, which takes up immediately where The Cubit Quest leaves off.  It was an odd situation, even I’ll admit that, to have the second part of what I envisaged to be a four-part series and no first part in existence.

All that remained, was to complete that first novel – and complete it I did!  It was a behemoth by the time I’d finished, large enough to give a sci-fi epic a run for its money.  Having visited the fabulous Warner Bros Studios to spend a very enjoyable day living and breathing the equally fabulous world of Harry Potter there is an opening address by J.K. Rowling in which she says that the Philosopher’s Stone was a product of good editing.  I didn’t appreciate this fully – but I did by the time I’d whittled the book down to a more palatable word length – eight edits, ouch!

I was recently asked what short response I’d say to someone who had a passing interest in The Cubit Quest. My response: buy a ticket, strap in and enjoy the rollercoaster ride of an adventure!

Review

This book was a weird read, but something a bit different. It was advertised to me as YA but I’d say it’s that middle ground between Middle Grade and YA.

There was a lot of little references in this book, which I absolutely adored, like Charlie went to the Library to pick up a copy of a Garth Nix book, there was characters with names that were references to things. It made my read more fun when I picked up on them.

At times it did border on a bit silly, but I think that’s mainly because Leck seemed to want to keep the reader in the dark about what was going on in the same way that Charlie was. It was generally a bit awkward at times because it would go from the fantastical elements to kids playing football in the space of a few sentences.

The formatting wasn’t really great either, there wasn’t enough line breaks to tell you when you’d moved into a different POV or a different time. Like it felt like it needed more paragraphs or general transitions.

This was set in South Shields (I think) which was quite nice to read for me as my Gran lives in the Tyneside area and the place she lives was actually mentioned at one point.

I occasionally found some of the fantastical elements of the plot a bit confusing, I eventually got my head around it but I felt there maybe could have been a bit more of an explanation to what was going on.

I liked that this was still set in a school. What I mean by that is that too often in books of this nature kids find out that they have powers and have to go on an adventure leaving their school and family life behind. Whereas this book was still set at home and the MC still had all his childhood problems.

Living in Telford, Shropshire, Trevor Leck has been dabbling in writing for over fifteen years. Always a fan of gripping adventure stories he has taken inspiration from his favourite authors, including John Grisham and J K Rowling, and the towns and cities he grew up, especially North Shields, to create his Young Adult series.

Amazon | Goodreads

Thank you to Rachel Gilbey for arranging this tour!

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2016 Year in Review Book Tag

Thank you to Eva for tagging me in this really witty tag.

1. Trump vs. Clinton: Name your favourite character rivalry.

Ooooooh Harry vs Draco

2. Turkey Failed Coup: A book you started but failed to finish? DNF. 

Most recently Nina is Not Okay by Shappi Khorsandi, she’s a British-Iranian comedian and I was really excited to read this but man it made me so incredibly uncomfortable and I had to stop.

3. Pokemon Go: What book did you buy or read based on the hype? Did you enjoy it?

I read a lot of hyped up books last year and I think I generally liked most of them, a few were maybe not what I was expecting but oh well.

4. Stranger Things: What’s one book you want everyone to read?

Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi! Are you tired of hearing me talking about this book yet?

5. Game of Thrones, The Walking Dead, Mr. Robot: What was your favourite book cliffhanger within a series?

The end of Empire of Storms by Sarah J. Maas!

6. The Tragic Crisis in Aleppo: Name the last book that made you cry or teary-eyed.

I finished George by Alex Gino the other day and I found myself crying a lot through my read through.

7. Brexit: Name a book you have an unpopular opinion towards. 

I’m not really sure about this one, I can’t think of anything specifically, but I know there’s probably a few.

8. Four new elements discovered in the periodic table: Name an author you discovered/read for the first time this year.

Becky Albertalli is my absolute new fave of all faves I will read everything she writes!

9. #AllLivesMatter: Your favourite diverse read.

Um ok why is this all lives matter??????

10. Zika Virus: A book that spread like wildfire.

Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo, feel like everyone has read it bar me, but I’m taking it with me to Italy next week!

11. Leonardo DiCaprio FINALLY won the Oscar: What was your most anticipated book release this year?

Well here’s an unpopular opinion, I don’t get the Leo thing I think he plays the same character a lot. My most anticipated release of 2016 was probably Empire of Storms.

12. In Memorium: Name a memorable character death.

I can’t without spoilers!!!

13. Samsung phones: One book that blew your mind this year!

Hahahahahahahahahahaha samsungs blowing up.

I can’t name just one book, so many did!!

It’s February now so I’m not going to tag anyone but if you want to do it consider yourself tagged.

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The Black Prism by Brent Weeks

What an interesting world Brent Weeks has built with this world. I want to read the rest of the series but the books are so big that I just can’t hack it right now, but I just want to see what else happens.

The Prism, Gavin Guile, finds out he has an illegitimate child which could literally throw everything in his life into a state of flux. On top of that there is rising frustration in one of the kingdoms towards the ruling power and means that Gavin is heading into a war.

Something I really loved about this book was how women are regarded in the world. They aren’t just side characters, they hold most of the power. Generally women have better powers and are better respected, the only man who is in a big position of power is Gavin himself and that’s only because he’s the Prism. ON TOP OF ALL THIS there is talk of periods (you know I love talk of periods) and not just “oh yeah I’m bleeding” but diarrhoea, cramps, fainting, the things that the majority of people who have a period go through. AND there’s a bit of female masturbation. It’s clear that Weeks isn’t afraid of women like some male writers are, he isn’t afraid to think of women being involved in things that are “taboo”.

Another thing that was kind of different from the norm was our token “chosen one” type character, Kip, was a fat kid. You never see that. I really liked reading the scenes where he struggled with something due to his weight or inactiveness, it presented issues that aren’t usually found in fantasy books with big quests etc. because it’s always people who are skinny or fit.

There is so much humour in this, I was killing myself laughing at times. Some of it is dark, some of it is smart and some of it is just silly but it made me read through so much more enjoyable.

There’s so many well thought out characters and everyone had their own voice. I find with many high fantasy reads the author gets so bogged down in creating millions of character (*cough* GRRM *cough*) and as a reader it can be really hard to remember every single person. With this book I didn’t struggle with that. Yes there was a few characters, but there wasn’t too many, and the important ones really stood out and I knew exactly who they were.

There’s so many damn twists and turns in this book I never know what was going to happen next. So many times I sat there going WTF. I often can see twists before they happen but man so many of these left me reeling. It made reading even more satisfying.

This was another book with a huge spider in it WHY

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Every Falling Star by Sungju Lee &Susan McClelland

Thank you to netgalley and Amulet Books for sending me a copy of this book.

This was a book. An incredible book. And I think you all need to read this and remember that this is the world we live in, this is happening right now in North Korea. This book is a memoir of a guy who lived through all this stuff whilst I was growing up. It’s scary to think of this happening but then remembering that it’s happening in your life time makes it so much worse. It made me just so genuinely sad. Whilst this obviously has a good ending as Sungju is alive to tell his story, so many people don’t get that good ending, so many kids die fending for themselves in North Korea.

It’s about Sungju’s life as a teenager trying to survive in North Korea after his father is sacked and they have to move to the incredibly poor countryside after being used to the well off city life. But honestly it’s just so much more than that.

I thought I knew a lot about North Korea going into this as I have a keen interest in South Korean culture and you can’t learn about South Korea without learning about North Korea but man alive I did not know the half of it. I had no idea about people reselling houses after parents went missing, I had no idea that kids had to literally form violent gangs just to stay alive.

Every single part of this memoir is so richly described, I could picture every event that takes place and every environment that Sungju was in.

After I finished this book I just sat there for a long period of time just shocked. I can’t describe to you how I felt reading this, there was a hole in my heart. I felt sick and distraught reading this but I could not put it down because it was written so well and had me on tenterhooks NEEDING to know what happened. I still just feel so affected by it that I don’t even really know what to write in this review because I don’t think a review can do it justice, so please just read it.

If you would like to read further into people’s experiences of North Korea there is a book called In Order to Live by Yeonmi Park. I haven’t read it yet but I’ve heard nothing but good things about it and is even more recent.

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The Season of Book Blogging Tag

Thank you to Lindsey for the tag! And J. BookishJ. BookishJ. Bookish for creating the tag!

  1. Thank the creator and the person who tagged you.
  2. Begin with the month in which you have been tagged and move forward from there!
  3. For your birthday month, state the best gift you’ve ever been given.
  4. Tag whomever you’d like when you’re finished.
  5. Have fun, of course!

1. October is time to celebrate Halloween! Pick one character that you would love to dress up as for Halloween.

Well I dressed up as Sailor Venus a couple of years ago, I can’t really think of one that’s not way overdone.



2. November is the month when we’re reminded of how much we have to be thankful for. Choose one book you’re grateful for having read and give a shout-out to the person who recommended it!

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I’m grateful that I read Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi, I feel like it’s changed my life in a way.


3. December is a time when friends and families come together and celebrate. Name one book you would give as a gift.

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Hmmmm maybe Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys. Not exactly the most happy book but I feel like both adults and teens could learn a lot from it.


4. January begins a new year. Name a resolution you made this year and if you’ve kept it or not!

I don’t really make resolutions but on the 26th of December I went vegetarian and so far it’s going really well. Other than that I’m just trying to be healthier and I have my good days and bad days.


5. February is the month for relationships. Name your favorite book relationship: romantic, platonic, or familial, your choice!

Harry, Ron and Hermione, Feyre and Rhys, Aelin and Rowan, The Lunar Squad, Cath and Levi, Lizzie and Darcy etc. etc.



6. March is the month for luck and new beginnings. Name a book or series that you would like to re-experience as if you’d never read it.

Harry Potter. Without a doubt. Is there another answer to this question?


7. April is a spectacularly ordinary month. Name a book that was so over-hyped that it just could not live up to your expectations.

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Something In Between by Melissa De La Cruz, whilst it was fine for the most part it was just so hyped up for what it was that it just fell short for me.


8. May is the month when the flowers start to bloom. Name a book that was a pleasant surprise to you.

 


9. June is the time to take a break. Name a book or genre that you like to read when you just need to check out.

YA romantic contemporary. It’s just a good chill out genre that doesn’t ever get too stressful. If I need to completely escape reality then it’s fantasy for definite.



10. July is the time to celebrate your independence! Name a book that made you see fireworks.

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Queen of Shadows by Sarah J. Maas


11. August is the hottest month of the year. Pick an up-and-coming author that you think will be the next hottest thing.

Becky Albertalli. I’ve adored both books that she’s written and I think great things are headed her way!


12. September is time for students to go back to school! Pick a book you read for school that you actually enjoyed.

9780141439563

Great Expectations by Charles Dickens. Everyone hated it but I adored it.

I tag:

Annike and Zoë
Kat
Donna
Raven and Beez
Danica

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Sabriel by Garth Nix

If you want classic YA fantasy, Sabriel is one of the first ones to come to mind. Garth Nix has been in the YA game for what seems like centuries, so I thought I would finally give one of his books a go.

Sabriel’s father, Abhorsen, has crossed to the other side and Sabriel, despite being a teenager and never having done anything of the manner must journey into The Old Kingdom on her own to clue together exactly what has happened to her dad and

One thing I really found interesting about this book was the world. It’s split in 2 separated by only a wall but the 2 places couldn’t be any different. On one side you have Ancelstierre, which I imagine is something like early 1900s earth, but we don’t really see much of it, and on the other we have The Old Kingdom which is like your classic High fantasy kingdom, medieval kind of style with magic and monsters etc. The world building was absolutely fantastic, I could imagine everything perfectly

This felt slow at times, it was a bit heavy going. The writing was really good but at times I needed to read things over a couple of times just to figure out what was actually happening.

I loved all the characters, Nix created a wonderful cast of people. Everyone had a really strong voice and I found it funny often, mainly Mogget’s interactions with everyone, it was so sarcastic and I loved it.

There’s a few twists and turns that were expected or not expected but even when I did expect them it was fun when the reveal happened.

Looking at other reviews I’ve seen a general feeling of enjoying it but feeling a kind of disconnect with it which I guess is how I feel. I could have really loved this book but something just didn’t feel quite right about it (not that there’s anything wrong just that it wasn’t right with me). I’m definitely going to continue with this series but I’ll be expecting more out of it the further the series goes.

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The Rest of Us Just Live Here by Patrick Ness

This is a strange but interesting book. It’s about the people in the background, the not chosen ones, the rest. The whole idea of this book is really humorous but there were times where it just fell short.

Mikey just wants to graduate before his school blows up. He knows it’s coming because weird stuff keeps happening to the indie kids every few years.

This book has little snippets at the beginning of each chapter that tells you what the chosen ones are doing whilst the regular people are carrying on with their lives. Every now and again the crazy fantastical stuff that’s happening in the background crosses over into the actual plot, but sometimes the concept of the book was easily forgettable and it just felt like a classic YA contemporary.

Our MC Mikey is kind of annoying and I wished I could’ve read this from a different character’s POV like Henna. Mikey struggled to accept that his best friend wasn’t what he thought he was and I just felt really apathetic to him. The characters were so wonderfully diverse and I loved that that was just part of it, it wasn’t a big thing, it wasn’t like LOOK A GAY COUPLE or SHE’S A POC. There was mental illness, there was lgbt+ rep, and racial diversity and I loved reading that

There is a lot of dark humour in this book. I love dark humour, I found myself laughing a lot. It also read really well, whilst the plot wasn’t the greatest and there was some problems I had with it I still found it such a fun, easy read and I got through it super quick.

This was my second Patrick Ness book after The Monster Calls and recently I tried to read The Knife of Never Letting Go but had to put it down because of the style of writing, so maybe Patrick Ness just isn’t for me but I’m going to keep trying.

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The Bookish Book Lover Tag

Thank you to Kirstie for the tag!

Rules:

Use the original banner
Answer the questions!
Use lots of book covers
Tag your friends


Question 1:
What book are you currently reading?

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Percy Jackson and the Lightening Thief by Rick Riordan 

This is technically a reread but I read it for the first time in 2011 and I have no recollection of it.

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Gun to my Head by Dira Lewis

Not sure how I feel about this currently, it’s a bit weird.


 Question 2:
What was the last book you finished?

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Flawed by Cecelia Ahern

I was quite excited for this book but I felt let down by some of the elements of it. It had some really interesting concepts but then fell prey to some really bad tropes.


 Question 3:
Favourite book you read this year?

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The Upside of Unrequited by Becky Albertalli

This was one of my most anticipated reads and I somehow managed to get on netgalley even though everyone else seemed to get denied. IT WAS SO GOOD.


 Question 4:
What genre  you read most this year?

I would say so far I’ve read fantasy the most at the moment but I kind of have a solid eclectic mix so far.


 Question 5:
What genre have you read the least this year?

Well I mean, I never read Horror, so that, but if we’re talking genres I actually like probably historical.


 Question 6:
What genre do you want to read more of?

YA Fantasy because I always want to read more of YA fantasy


 Question 7:
How many books did you read last year and what was your goal?

I read 131 and my goal was 30


 Question 8:
What was the last book you bought?

THE HAMILTOME


 Question 9:
What book are you saving up to buy next?

I’m on a book buying ban don’t let me answer this!!!!!


 Question 10:
How many books did you check out last library visit?

Only 1 but I have a list of requests so I don’t normally browse I just get sent them on a drip.


 Question 11:
What’s a book you can’t wait to read?

All of them???

I have a pile of books that I think I’ll probably read next and Six of Crows is on that so lt’s go with Six of Crows.


 Question 12:
What’s a series you’d recommend to everyone?

Harry Potter of course


Question 13:
Who’s an author you’re hoping writes more?


 Question 14:
A few books your heart adores?


 Question 15:
What series’ coming conclusion makes you sad?

Throne of Glass #6, it was the first series that I got hooked on when I started reading again and I can’t believe it’s ending.


 Question 16:
What books are on your Wishlist?

http://amzn.eu/fGBz0vV

I tag:

Lauren
Krysti
Casey
Tera
Alex

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