Books I’m Taking to University & An Announcement!

Hi all!

So, as you can tell from the title of this post, I’m off to university soon! As in, tomorrow. (AAAAHHH!) I thought I would share with you the books I’m taking with me as well as my reasons for  choosing these over the rest of my bookshelves. This was such a difficult decision; I wanted to only bring 10, but that turned into 12. Also, because I have not been organised at all, there aren’t any photos in this post as they’re all packed up!

*On a kind of important note – As I imagine university is going to be a hectic time, I’m honestly not sure how much I’ll be able to post on either here or my Instagram. I would still love to stay in this community and keep my blog going, and I do have a few posts waiting to be published. However, after that my posting may be sporadic (well, more so than usual!), so I hope you guys understand. *

The Diviners & Lair of Dreams by Libba Bray – If you didn’t know, this is one of my all-time favourite series (I even wrote a post about why I love it so much here), and the third book, Before the Devil Breaks You, comes out in early October so I had to bring these along! Part of me was hesitant because I doubt I’ll be rereading them and they’re heavy books, but I decided that they were worth it to keep BTDBY company.

The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue by Mackenzi Lee – This is another all-time favourite of mine! I read it this summer and I’ve never been more cheered up by a book before, so I think it will be a good one to read if I’m feeling a bit blue or homesick. My review for this will be up as soon as I can!

The Infernal Devices by Cassandra Clare – I have already read this series, but I’ve been wanting to reread it for at least a year now. I figured that if I bring them to uni with me then I’ll have no excuse to not reread them! It was Autumn when I first read Clockwork Angel, so it’d be cool to reread it at the same time.

A Darker Shade of Magic and A Gathering of Shadows by VE Schwab – I read the first book in this series ages ago, and I loved it! The world was fascinating and I loved Kell and Rhy – and then for some unknown read, I never read A Gathering of Shadows. At university I hope to fix that! (Maybe…)

Dracula by Bram Stoker – This is hopefully going to be my Halloween read for this year! After reading a biography of Byron, Mary Shelley, and the night she came up with the idea of Frankenstein, I really want to read a Gothic story. However, as I don’t own Frankenstein, I figured Dracula was the next best thing! It’s also been a while since I’ve read a classic, so I’m excited to pick this up soon.

Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys – I’ve read quite a few emotional Second World War novels this year – The Girl in the Blue Coat by Monica Hesse becoming a new favourite – so I’m looking forward to reading this before the end of the year, especially as everyone says it’s incredibly moving.

Hamlet by William Shakespeare and Courtiers by Lucy Worsley – These are my academic-y books. I’m doing a history degree, but one of the modules focuses on the history behind famous plays, so I will once again be studying Hamlet. Hopefully I like it more than when I studied it for A Levels, as by the end of exams I felt I could quote Hamlet in my sleep! Courtiers is about 18th Century court life and doesn’t really have anything to do with my course, but Lucy Worsley is my favourite historian and I felt weird not bringing any non-fiction to uni with me.

That’s all the books that are coming with me! Have you read any on my list? Are you going to university this year? If anyone has any tips or tricks for university I’d definitely welcome them!

Thanks for reading 🙂

 

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Lord of Shadows – Review!

Hi all!

Today I’m reviewing Lord of Shadows, the second book in The Dark Artifices series by Cassandra Clare. There will be mild spoilers for Lord of Shadows, and as this is a sequel there will be spoilers for Lady Midnight, so please beware!

Synopsis (from Goodreads):

Emma Carstairs has learned that the love she shares with her parabatai, Julian Blackthorn, isn’t just forbidden—it could destroy them both. She knows she should run from Julian. But how can she when the Blackthorns are threatened by enemies on all sides?

Their only hope is the Black Volume of the Dead, a spell book of terrible power. Everyone wants it. Only the Blackthorns can find it. Spurred on by a dark bargain with the Seelie Queen, Emma; her best friend, Cristina; and Mark and Julian Blackthorn journey into the Courts of Faerie, where glittering revels hide bloody danger and no promise can be trusted. Meanwhile, rising tension between Shadowhunters and Downworlders has produced the Cohort, an extremist group of Shadowhunters dedicated to registering Downworlders and “unsuitable” Nephilim. They’ll do anything in their power to expose Julian’s secrets and take the Los Angeles Institute for their own.

When Downworlders turn against the Clave, a new threat rises in the form of the Lord of Shadows—the Unseelie King, who sends his greatest warriors to slaughter those with Blackthorn blood and seize the Black Volume. As dangers close in, Julian devises a risky scheme that depends on the cooperation of an unpredictable enemy. But success may come with a price he and Emma cannot even imagine, one that will bring with it a reckoning of blood that could have repercussions for everyone and everything they hold dear.

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My rating: 4.25 stars.

Ohh this book.

Cassandra Clare never fails to deliver brutal cliffhangers, and I think that the ending of Lord of Shadows is the most emotional. I will say now, I don’t think Lord of Shadows is as good as Lady Midnight. That’s not to say it’s a bad book! I adored Lady Midnight, and I loved returning to the Blackthorn family. For me, though, while Lady Midnight was very tightly plotted, Lord of Shadows was a bit more sprawling if that makes sense?

The Characters:

These are always the best parts of any Shadowhunter novel.  The characters in Lord of Shadows just feel so real; it doesn’t feel like you’re reading a book, it feels like you’re following these people as they navigate their lives. Emma is wonderfully refreshing and I love her sense of humour, but I don’t think we perhaps saw as much of her in LoS as we did in Lady Midnight. I love Cristina’s quiet strength, Livvy’s optimism, Ty’s intelligence, Julian’s very Slytherin-y heart. It was also interesting hearing from other perspectives like Kit, Diana, and Dru. I haven’t actually warmed to Dru that much yet, but Kit was so funny at calling out the archaic Shadowhunting world, and Diana’s story is so important. I love that Clare has such varied and realistic characters!

While it was nice to see recurring characters from The Mortal Instruments, it was a little jarring and it took a while to get used to. However, once it became clear that they weren’t meaningless cameos but actually contributed to the overall plot I was so impressed with Cassandra Clare’s storytelling!

‘We get used to living one way, even if it’s a bad way or a hard one. When that’s gone, there’s a hole to fill. It’s in our nature to try to fill it with anxieties and fears. It can take time to fill it with good things instead.’ 

The Relationships:

I do love Emma and Julian, and there were some moments in Lord of Shadows that was beautiful. I feel like we really got to see how well-suited they are and how good they could be together, especially when they were in Malcolm’s cottage. I was relieved that the whole Mark-and-Emma thing was resolved quickly, too. The Mark-Cristina-Kieran love triangle honestly stressed me out because I CAN’T DECIDE WHICH SIDE I PREFER. Normally I have some sort of idea (In The Infernal Devices I was firmly Team Will) but this time I am so undecided. However, my favourite relationship in LoS was one that hasn’t necessarily happened yet – Kit and Ty! I just love how in Kit’s chapters there are so many times when he’s protective over Ty, and how he listens and understands Ty. And he’s definitely going to be needed after that ending.

‘Break my heart,’ he said. ‘Break it in pieces, I give you permission.’

 

The Plot:

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This is why I like Lord of Shadows less than Lady Midnight. The plot is fantastically complex, and the amount of thought and detail put into every plot point is astonishing. However, there was a lot of moving about in this book and it’s perhaps a bit too complicated. I do think this was partly because of how I read it, as I had two very busy weeks and had to put the book down a lot. That being said, I loved how involved we were in the different Faery societies and it was so interesting finding out about how the Cold Peace has affected the Seelies as well as the Shadowhunters.

Another aspect of the plot that I loved was the arrival of the Cohort.  To read something that so clearly reflects parts of society today was chilling, and the way that Zara (I HATE ZARA!) and her followers truly believed in the hatred that they were trying to achieve was terrifying.

‘When a decision like that is made by a government, it emboldens those who are already prejudiced to speak their deepest thoughts of hate. They assume they are simply brave enough to say what everyone really thinks.’ 

The Ending:

This deserves its own section of the review because WHAT WAS THAT ENDING. Let me set the scene: I was trying to finish Lord of Shadows before the end of August. It was about half past midnight, and I only had about two chapters left, so I decided to carry on.

This was a mistake!

That ending was just utterly heart-breaking. The deaths were – obviously – devastating, especially Livvy (I had this big theory that Julian or Emma would die and the other would use necromancy in the last book – and I was completely wrong!). But what was more heart-wrenching, I think, was that this plan that our team had worked and worked on, that they had put all their hopes on, that would save Emma and Julian and the Downworlders – that this plan could have gone so catastrophically wrong. And there are even bigger problems on the horizon – Warlocks losing magic? A new Inquistor needed (Please say it won’t be Dearborn!)? The Unseelie King getting rid of Shadowhunter magic?? There are so many unanswered questions!!

‘There is truth in stories,’ said Arthur. ‘There is truth in one of your paintings, boy, or in a sunset or a couplet from Homer. Fiction is truth, even if it is not fact. If you believe only in facts and forget stories, your brain will live, but your heart will die.’ 

 

 

What did you think of Lord of Shadows? Are you excited for Queen of Air and Darkness? (I’m not looking forward to the year long wait!) Who’s your favourite character in TDA?

Thanks for reading 🙂

2016 Favourites & The Dashing and Smashing Character Awards!

Hi all!

It’s that time of year again when we look back and decide what the best books of 2016 are. This year hasn’t been the best in terms of reading for me because other commitments have meant that I couldn’t read as much as I wanted to.

However, I may not have read much, but what I did read was super! According to my Goodreads, my average rating was 4.2 stars out of 5, so choosing a single favourite book is basically impossible (also I’m just very indecisive, but shh we’ll blame it on Goodreads!).

These won’t be in any order, but enjoy my favourites of 2016!dsc03290

  • Lady Midnight by Cassandra Clare – This is the first book in The Dark Artifices series,
    and Cassie didn’t disappoint with another Shadowhunters novel! I love this world so much, and the development of the characters and the world was so strong that I couldn’t help but adore this book. I’m so excited to read Lord of Shadows.dsc03295
  • Six of Crows and Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo – THESE BOOKS. I’m sure you’ve seen t
    hem all over bookstagram and booktube, but the praise is well-deserved. Having met Leigh Bardugo I love these books even more because the author is so sweet and funny.

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  • Lair of Dreams by Libba Bray – I know I said I wasn’t going to have a definite favourite, but if I did, it would be this one. I have SO MUCH LOVE fo
    r The Diviners, the first book in this series, and the sequel was even better! Libba Bray creates the most wonderful world of 1920s New York, and I can gush about this series so much that I wrote a blog post on it, which you can find here.
  • Cdsc03293arry On by Rainbow Rowell – I am so glad that I went to the Worlds Collide tour (my recap of the event is here if you’re interested) because it motivated me to read Rainbow Rowell’s books, and they definitely lived up to the hype! I love Fangirl, but I decided that Carry On was my favourite because I loved the setting of Watford and Simon and Baz.
  • Tiny Pretty Things by Sona Charaipotra & Dhonielle Clayton – I pdsc03292icked this book up in the middle of a reading slump, wanting something quick and easy to read. Instead I got evil ballerinas and a competitive dance academy, and it was brilliant. The atmosphere at the school is so tense, and you can feel the stress and the mistrust between all the dancers as you read the book. As soon as I had finished it I wanted the sequel, and I’m still thinking about it a week later.

As well as my favourite books of 2016, I thought I would do a few questions from the Dashing and Smashing Character Awards! This fun tag was created by the lovely Cait @ Paper Fury, and I thought it would be a great way to wrap up my 2016 reading experience.

  1. Fiercest fighter – I think this has to go to Manon from the Throne of Glass series (I refuse to put Aelin because I’m realising that I don’t like her very much!). Manon is fierce and ruthless in battle, but she’s also fiercely loyal and caring and I like that about her.
  2. Best sidekick – Iko from The Lunar Chronicles gets an honourable mention in this category, but I think I’ll have to say George from Tales from the Shadowhunter Academy, who helped Simon settle in and lightened the mood of the short stories.
  3. One You’re Surprised You Loved – I picked up Radio Girls by Sarah-Jane Stratford on a whim at the airport, but I am glad I did! It was just the right mix of historical fact and fiction, revealing the busy world of the BBC in the 1920s that I didn’t know existed, and I warmed to the main character, Maisie, especially as we saw her journey from a shy woman to one in control of her life.
  4. The best ship of all – This is so hard to decide! Emma and Julian? Simon and Baz? Helen and Lord Carlston? I think they’re close seconds, but I have to give this title to BLUE AND GANSEY from The Raven Boys series. They are just…perfect. And I would really like someone to give me a Gansey please.

That wraps up my 2016 reading year! How was your year? What was your favourite book you read? Let me know in the comments!

I hope you have a wonderful 2017!

Thanks for reading (:

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