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Top 5 Wednesday: Books I Want to Read Before 2018 Ends!

–Halfway through the year, and it’s time to evaluate our reading goals and take a look at our TBRs for the second half of the year!

You mean aside from the *counts* 19 (!!!) books I have in my TBR pile?

I have many. Many many MANY books I want to read before 2018 reaches its end.

1. UNDEAD GIRL GANG

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I pre-ordered this months ago but instead of May, it’s turning up at the first part of July and I AM READY FOR IT!!! Give me the wiccan latinx teen, who raises her mate from the dead and goes to find their killer YES

2. VENGEFUL

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Vicious is one of my favourite books, so of COURSE I want to read the sequel! Victor Vale and Sydney are two of my favourites and I have a feeling I will love some of the women she’s introducing in the next one.

3. DEVIL’S THIEF

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I read The Last Magician earlier this year and my friend got me an ARC from BookCon of this. Soon as I get it, I will devour it!

4. WHAT IF IT’S US

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Adam Silvera and Becky Albertalli are two juggernauts of queer teen fiction and everyone I know is hype af for this. I will buy it as soon as it’s out.

5. THE POPPY WAR

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I recently listened to 88 Cups of Tea interview with RF Kuang and her book sounded so wonderful I want to read it as soon as I can. But I need to get to those 19 books first, so… maybe for my birthday?

PRIORITIES ON THE TBR LIST I WANT TO TACKLE:

Forest of A Thousand Lanterns, Invasion of the Tearling, Coldest Girl In Coldtown.

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April 25: Favorite Fandom Items

 Whether it’s something you own or something you are lusting after, what are some of your favorite fandom items/merch/memorabilia? Your picks don’t all have to be from the same fandom!

Bookmarks

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I have a LOTR and a Six of Crows bookmark and I LOVE THEM. I got them free, but there’s nothing better than seeing quotes from my favourite books when I’m reading something new. It re-affirms my love of reading.

Clothes / T-shirts

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I adore, ADORE, clothes and t-shirts with fandoms. I want an Ursula one, a Captain America one, I already have a Hulk one I designed myself, Placebo, MCR, Muse, Tornado Chasers, Arwen, Smeagol, Harry Potter, lots of Broadway shows, but gooodddddd I need more.

Scarves

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I received a LOTR scarf for a secret santa last year and I ADORE it. I love my scarves, it just seems to add to my look, so I adore prints that are from my favourite media.

Anything Candle!

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I ADORE candles in the first place but there’s nothing as satisfying as sniffing candles based on the Dregs, or Slytherin House, or places in the books… it’s a good job they’re a little bit expensive or else I would spend everything I had on them.

Bags

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I’ve had a slight obsession with bags since I was little and had to choose satchels for school, but I regret that I haven’t had ANY fandom bags. It’s my ambition to own a disney villains one and a LOTR one, but there’s also the supernatural one with pentagrams on it, and I need more money.

HONORABLE MENTION:

Funko Pops, Phone cases, Prints, Laptop covers

 

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TOP 5 WEDNESDAY – Favorite Teachers/Mentors

March 28: Favorite Teachers/Mentors

 Typically, we read about our protagonist being taught by someone wiser than they, whether is it is a teacher as we know them or more of a supernatural/magical mentor. Talk about some of your favorites! 

Image result for mcgonagallPROFESSOR MGCONAGALL – Harry Potter

Yeah I know technically we’re not allowed, but fack it. I love McGonagall, she deserves to be on this list for “Have a biscuit, Potter” ALONE. Fierce woman needs this top spot.

 

 

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CHRISTOPHER WOLFE – Ink and Bone

A highly enigmatic teacher, doesn’t want to be there but fights tooth and nail for what he believes in. Also he has an adorable husband/partner/I’m not sure if they’re married, but that relationship is amazing and real. He was the best part of the book IMO.

 

 

 

 

Image result for baghra grishaBAGHRA – Grisha Trilogy

This grumpy, acidic woman was so amazing and multi-layered. I enjoyed her presence in the books so much. The little nod towards her in the Language of Thorns via the Darkling made me well up.

 

 

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MR WEDNESDAY – American Gods

Ok so slightly unreliable mentor? But an important guide all the same. The way he teaches Shadow and brings him out of the depths is really fun to read, and the fact he’s so unpredictable makes him extra dynamic.

 

 

 

 

GANDALF THE GREY –  LOTR

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ULTIMATE WIZARD.

I prefer him to Gandalf the White, but his sacrifice and gentle pushing of people in the right places is just… textbook mentor.

 

 

 

 

 

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All The Crooked Saints – Review

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TITLE: All The Crooked Saints

AUTHOR: Maggie Stiefvater

BUY:

RATING: 4*

ABOUT: Here is a thing everyone wants: a miracle.
Here is a thing everyone fears: what it takes to get one.

Any visitor to Bicho Raro, Colorado is likely to find a landscape of dark saints, forbidden love, scientific dreams, miracle-mad owls, estranged affections, one or two orphans, and a sky full of watchful desert stars.

At the heart of this place you will find the Soria family, who all have the ability to perform unusual miracles. And at the heart of this family are three cousins longing to change its future: Beatriz, the girl without feelings, who wants only to be free to examine her thoughts; Daniel, the Saint of Bicho Raro, who performs miracles for everyone but himself; and Joaquin, who spends his nights running a renegade radio station under the name Diablo Diablo.

They are all looking for a miracle. But the miracles of Bicho Raro are never quite what you expect

REVIEW: I got this in ARC form from my dear CP and all around lovely woman Kelly ^_^

This is gonna be a tough one to review, like. Really.

Before I started my review I read some on Goodreads, particularly the 2* ones, and I have to say I can see their point re: manic pixie dream girls, weird phrases, things that don’t make sense. I get it. While I adored the writing there were some things I could have done without. And I’m not entirely blind to the anger from some of the Latinx community on Twitter about the subject matter or treatment of their language.

While I don’t know enough about those issues to contribute meaningfully to that particular conversation, I recognise many people found the concept of this problematic. I can see why, since it was a very Latinx-centric book written by a non-Latinx author, and it had a sort of “People of Colour As Magical Beings” trope. It may have worked just as well without the Latinx history placed in it, so I’m not sure how that contributed, and I believe it would have held a much richer tone if written by an actual Latinx author — however I can’t deny I still love Stiefvater’s writing and this was a delightfully weird, eccentric story which gave me all the Big Fish vibes.

I read this as though I were directing the adaptation, because it’s the sort of creepy, atmospheric story I would love to visually portray myself, if not write like in the future. I saw everything like a vivid picture in my mind with The Mood clear on the page. Everything was vivid, and while I admit I skipped some of the descriptors (I had an ARC, so it wasn’t really the finished product – not sure if anything majorly changed) and history, I was still bowled over.

One thing I noticed with Stiefvater is that her books take me about 70-100 pages to understand the rhythm. Then I get into it. But until then I tend to read 40 pages, put it down and read an ‘easier’ book, then come back to it later.

As for the characters, some of them weren’t really needed IMO but I definitely prefer Beatriz to Blue, and she is now one of my favourite literary characters. She was practical, and reasonable, and had a lot of emotions she had to bury because everyone told her she was practical with no emotions – so she wanted to fit into that expectation. And I get that, having been told that for a while when I was younger by others, simply because I didn’t show them all openly on the surface.

While a lot of the emotional stuff was surface level and it didn’t go deep as I wanted I still appreciate the craft that was there, and the atmosphere really made it up for me. I will remember this book for the atmosphere and visuals of the place, and Beatriz, the rest may fade a little.

 

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The PitchWars Experience Comes To An End…?

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You may have noticed there’s a question mark in the title, which I will get to in a bit, because that’s… well it’s my own version of clickbait. So keep reading! (if you want, no pressure, there’s no flashy adverts here.)

As we’re nearing the finale of PitchWars, there’s a conflict of feelings I’ve noticed in general conversations and posts.

Excitement – definitely. Nervousness – oh hell yes. Courage – IN BUCKETS.

Everyone is doing their best to balance real life, revisions, and the multitude of things we need to prepare for in general.

For those who don’t get in PitchWars (having been there twice, I know the feels) the competition may have gone dark. You may not have bothered looking at the hashtag, you (hopefully!) ploughed on with your writerly life, and for the most part mentees are hidden away in their writing caves screaming at the keyboard, only surfacing to cry.

Or was that just me…?

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Behind the scenes there’s so much happening it’s a struggle to keep up. The amount of posts in our 2017 Mentee Facebook group is testament to that, with about 20 posts a day at peak times. Then there’s the helpful comments and the wonderful camaraderie, and you’re lost in a sea of authory wonder on the best of days. People at all stages of revision and preparation for deadlines come through to help each other out and answer questions some of us can’t see the solution to.

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Throughout this whole experience my CPs have been incredibly supportive, and I treasure them forever and always. My mentor Cat has been absolutely wonderful in shaping this story and being the ultimate critiquing cheerleader. My teammate Elizabeth has been in the exact same situation as me, and we’ve checked in and supported each other during the *head down don’t look up* phase of revisions.

But I don’t think I could have done this without the YA PitchWars friends I’ve made along the way. They’ve lightened dark moments with humour, dragged me up by my britches when I needed it most, and given me the most hilarious conversations I think I’ve ever had which leave me giggling to this day.

Not to single anyone out here, but I am about to name drop: Anna, Victoria, Gillian, Kimberly, Bethany, Sher-May and Ciannon — YOU ARE GODDESSES and I love you. I look forward to the day I can stroke your pretty covers on my shelf (with the ULTIMATE non-creepy vibe).

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(if you’ve never seen Friends that could seem quite alarming…)

In fact… there are so many – SO MANY – books I want to read I truly want everyone to keep going with their PitchWars novels until they see the light of day.

So here’s where the question mark comes in– just because she showcase ends soon, does it mean PitchWars is done? For this year, maybe, but the experience will continue indefinitely. The Facebook group isn’t going to close. All the mentees aren’t going to disappear off Twitter. News will come in, people will get agents, books will find homes. More books will be written. The knowledge we’ve learned, we’ll gladly pass to others and the friendships will rage on.

So while the PitchWars contest is technically July-November, the experience itself is much longer and richer than that. To anyone who’s thinking of submitting next year I urge you to GO FOR IT. It’s an amazing, heartbreaking, difficult and OH SO REWARDING experience. And you know I’m passionate about it cause I’m using caps, what more do you need?!

I hope to see all of you and your fantabulous books smashing it next year.

Never give up; NEVER SURRENDER.

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(listen to the Galaxy Quest alien!!)

 

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The Defenders – A Review!

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4 / 5

My favourite characters go thus – Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, Claire, the entire cast of all the Marvel series, and ends with “Ir-on Fissst”.

I’m gonna lay out the bad stuff first.

The issue with the Defenders is that it puts its weakest character front and center, and everyone revolves around it. Iron Fist, who despite supposedly being the most trusted warrior of K’un Lun comes across as an entitled little rich boy who can’t see anyone else’s opinion but his own.

And rational? He’s anything but. When I think of a warrior I imagine someone so chill they could have swallowed the Little Book Of Calm. That they are a wise and trusted being with the gift passed down generations. Not someone who hasn’t matured past infancy and hisses his dialogue like someone just shat on his favourite lego.

And so while the Defenders is fun, it would have been better if they’d been united against a common enemy, not to ‘defend’ the weakest (both personality wise and story wise) character of them all. Even Daredevil, who with his self-righteous dialogue and his friends who want to ‘save’ him I don’t even know what from, might have been a better choice for the One In Peril.

OK NOW THE PARTS I LIKED.

Jessica Jones, man. She’s easily the best of the Defenders and this series proved to me just how much I missed her. She’s the only one who delivers proper belly-laughs with her dry wit and “what the fuck is this” attitude giving a refreshing turn against the “For The City!” moaning heroes we’ve known.

It was exciting when the supporting cast of our heroes came around and they all got together. When Karen Page and Trish Walker had a conversation I admit I squeed a little – with Trish wanting to go more investigative and Karen being investigative, could we see another team up there? (anything to get more Trish, ngl).

Sigourney – queen. The concept of her character was brilliant and she’s a smoooooth actress who just oozes power and flair with every scene she’s in. However by the end of the muddled narrative we weren’t sure which line she was drawing in the sand, or whether there was a line at all. It promised to do so much with her character, then it was sort of… not delivered?

Madame Gao is still an absolute favourite of mine. Manipulative, sneaky, charming, POWERFUL who knew?! I think – think – we’ll see more of her? Here’s hoping, anyway. And Misty! Are we going to segway into the Amazing Arm story? Are ALL the sidekicks finally going to get their superhero alter egos going on or….?

Overall it was enjoyable but I do think it could have done with some bigger laughs, tightening of the narrative and a little less Iron Fisssst.

 

 

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REVIEW – Wolf Children by Phil Dowsdell

THANK YOU BLOOMSBURY AND NETGALLEY FOR THIS E-ARC

REVIEW – DNF

It is July 1945, Hitler’s Third Reich has fallen, and Berlin is in ruins. Living on the edge of survival in the cellar of an abandoned hospital, Otto and his ragtag gang of kids have banded together in the desperate, bombed-out city.

The war may be over, but danger lurks in the shadows of the wreckage as Otto and his friends find themselves caught between invading armies, ruthless rival gangs and a strange Nazi war criminal who stalks them …

A climactic story of truth, friendship and survival against the odds, Wolf Children will thrill readers of Michael Morpurgo and John Boyne.

I was hopeful for this novel, because I love the WW2 setting and historical novels in this context. But… it fell flat.

It was particularly tell-y, and it jerked me out of reading. Like an “and over there we have…” situation, where it’s obviously pointing where to look or what to feel at any given moment. Dialogue felt stilted, as though the author described the characters’ emotions rather than allow us to feel them authentically while we lived their story.

I didn’t feel either that we were in the setting of World War 2 – while it was a really interesting concept unfortunately it didn’t pay off and I DNF’d at 10%