February Wrap Up…

Welcome to my February Wrap Up. I havent had a great reading month, finishing 6 books (unfortunately only 2 books off my TBR). I’m not unhappy with my reading this month, I had a lot to do after my holiday so im just glad I got some reading done. I also received 2 ARC’s this month, and I started collecting The Classic Enid Blyton Collection, and being the shortest month of the year I have decided to cram even more into it by starting my new goals of reading 1 Shakespeare play and 10 Shakespeare Sonnets, as well as 5 Brother’s Grimm fairy-tales, and 3 ‘books’ from Les Miserable by Victor Hugo. I hope to keep this up every month for the rest of the year. With all of this going on, I didn’t get to a lot of books off my TBR, but I’m actually fine with that.

I have reviews up or coming up for these books so as usual this is just going to be a brief run down on each book I read.

Without further ado, let’s get into my February Wrap Up…

Darker by E.L. James: I really enjoyed this book. After reading Grey, I was actually excited to read this book. I really enjoy reading this story from Christian’s point of view. I think I may prefer reading from Christian’s point of view over Ana’s. I also loved getting to see what was happening with Christian and his family whilst we were reading about Ana’s life. I looking forward to reading the next installment soon.

There’s Someone Inside Your House by Stephanie Perkins: I really enjoyed this book. I haven’t read anything like it in a long time, so I really got into it. It had great pacing, interesting characters and a pretty freaky plot. I didn’t guess who the killer was, I was surprised when it was revealed. I also loved that the story continued after the killer was revealed so we were able to learn more about the killer and the victims. If you are looking for a really engaging read, this is the book for you.

The Famous Five: Five On Treasure Island by Enid Blyton: I love The Famous Five. I grew up with these stories, so I was so excited to read these stories as an adult. This book definitely lived up to my memory. I reminded me of my childhood and put a smile on my face. I cant wait to read more of the Enid Blyton Collection.

The Secret Seven by Enid Blyton: I loved this book. I had honestly forgotten how amazing this book was. I had a fantastic time reading this book, it was a real nostalgia read for me. I am so glad I decided to collect these book and I can’t wait to dive into another Enid Blyton Classic.

The Adventures Of The Wishing-Chair by Enid Blyton: This book was really fun. I had never read this book, but as I am making my way through the Enid Blyton classics I was excited to pick it up. I really enjoyed it. It had great characters and awesome chapters. With each chapter containing a new adventure. I started and finished this book with a smile on my face.

Cinder by Marissa Meyer: I didn’t really like this book. I went into it with high hopes, thinking that I may have a new series to read, but it wasnt really for me. While I enjoyed certain aspects of this book, overall I just didn’t love it. I just couldn’t get into the whole cyborg, hovers and AI aspects. I don’t think I will be continuing with this series.

Shakespeare: To make up for not reading any Shakespeare in January, I decided to read 2 Shakespeare plays and 20 Sonnets in February, I also read 1 Shakespeare Poem. I read the following Shakespeare Works This Month:

The Comedy Of Errors

A Midsummer Night’s Dream

The Phoenix And Turtle

Sonnets 1-20

Les Miserable: For those who don’t know this novel, it is broken up into character sections with each character section containing ‘books’. Within each of these books are chapters. These books come in various sizes, it is just the luck of the draw really. I hope to read 3 ‘books’ each month. To make up for not reading any in January, I decided to read 6 in February. I have read the following ‘books’ this month:

Cosette:

– Book 1: Waterloo

– Book 2: The Ship Orion

– Book 3: Fulfilment Of A Promise

– Book 4: The Gorbeau Tenement

– Book 5: Hunt In Darkness

– Book 6: Le Petit-Picpus

Brother’s Grimm: To make up for not reading any Brother’s Grimm Fairytale’s in January, I decided to read 10 in February. I read the following Tales:

The Knapsack, The Hat, And The Horn

A Riddling Tale

The Twelve Apostles

Poverty And Humility Lead To Heaven

God’s Food

Our Lady’s Little Glass

The Aged Mother

The Hazel-Branch

The Heavenly Wedding

The Peasant And The Devil

That’s it for my February Wrap Up. I hope you all had a great reading month. Let me know what you guys read this month in the comments section.

Until my March Wrap Up…

Happy Reading…

❤ Gem

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The One by Kiera Cass

‘When she was chosen to compete in the Selection, America never dreamed she would find herself anywhere close to the crown—or to Prince Maxon’s heart. But as the end of the competition approaches, and the threats outside the palace walls grow more vicious, America realizes just how much she stands to lose—and how hard she’ll have to fight for the future she wants.’

I absolutely adored this book.

After reading and loving the first two books in this series, I went into this book with high expectations. Not only did this book live up to my expectations, it surpassed them.

This book had everything a reader could want; romance, intrigue, drama and action. There was so much going on in this book, but it all felt completely necessary to the story. The pacing of this book was fast and my excitement over reading it meant it was an extremely quick read for me.

I loved getting to catch up with characters that I have become so emotionally attached to. With less characters in this book, we got to see and learn more about each one. Getting to know these characters better really added to the group dynamic and to the overall story being told.

Another great aspect of this story was getting to know more of the history of the World that Kiera Cass has created. Learning about the politics and history of this story really enhanced this book and made for some really intense scenes.

Kiera Cass has done a fantastic job with The Selection series on a whole, but The One just knocked it out of the park. With so many characters, so many twisting plot lines and an obvious end in sight, there were many ways in which this book could have gone wrong. Kiera’s ability to weave all of the different parts of this story together seamlessly made for a truly wonderful reading experience.

I honestly don’t have a bad word to say about this amazing little book.

The One by Kiera Cass is a surprising, moving and thoroughly entertaining book, that you should be adding to your TBR pile this very minute.

 

The Elite by Kiera Cass

‘The Selection began with thirty-five girls.
Now with the group narrowed down to the six Elite, the competition to win Prince Maxon’s heart is fiercer than ever—and America is still struggling to decide where her heart truly lies. Is it with Maxon, who could make her life a fairy tale? Or with her first love, Aspen?

America is desperate for more time. But the rest of the Elite know exactly what they want—and America’s chance to choose is about to slip away.’

Book 2 in The Selection Series.

I loved this book.

I was so excited to dive into this book after finishing The Selection, and I happy to say it didn’t disappoint.

With the cast of characters gradually reduced throughout this book, we got the chance to delve more into the remaining characters and their motives, being able to get to know the characters better really enhance my emotional attachment to this story.

I loved America in this book. She was more confident and comfortable in her self and her surroundings and this made for some really funny and sassy moments. I had some genuine laugh out loud moments whilst reading this book.

The pacing of this book was much faster than The Selection which I really enjoyed. With more happening and less characters the faster pace really helped to add an urgency to this story.

I loved getting to see America’s relationships strengthen throughout this book. Now that she was more confident she was really able to embrace the possibilities and relationships that were being presented to her.

Kiera Cass did an amazing job in growing her world in this book. We got to find out more about the castes and the politics of the country which really helped to ground the story and give the reader an insight into why each of the characters are the way they are.

I honestly don’t have a bad word to say about this book. I cant wait to start The One.

The Elite by Kiera Cass is a wonderful story that you wont regret reading.

 

Cover Buys…

Welcome to another Wacky Wednesday. Todays topic is Cover Buy’s. These are the books that I purchased solely because the cover appealed to me. So without further ado, lets jump in…

Lost And Found by Brooke Davis: The colour of this book was so pretty. The teal-ish colour drew me in and then the unique way in which the girl was drawn on the cover sold me. I am so glad I judged this book by its cover. It was such a wonderful read, with amazing characters and a great plot, this book was a truly heartwarming read.

East Of Eden by John Steinbeck: This book caught my eye because of it amazing cover. Most classics are just plan and kind of boring, not this one. The cover is blue and red with great illustrations. The moment I saw it I was intrigued. I am so glad to say that I loved this book. This is one of my all-time favourite books and I don’t no if I would have ever read it if it wasnt for the amazing cover.

Tomorrow Never Knows by Jeff Apter: This book is about Australian rock band Silverchair. The moment I saw the band on the cover I had to buy the book. I am so glad I saw this book because it is absolutely brilliant. I have read a few books buy Jeff Apter and I have really enjoyed all of them.

The Normal Heart by Larry Kramer: This was a true cover buy. I had absolutely no idea what I was buying, only that it looked good. I was drawn to the red cover and bold writing. Once I read it I was over the moon with my purchase. Given that it is a play it was a pretty quick read but it absolutely broke my heart. This is a story that will stay with you long after the final page and hopefully change the way you look at the world.

Cinder by Marissa Meyer: I love this cover. The red heel and the transparent ankle in the shoe completely drew me in. I just had to have this book. Unfortunately this book didn’t live up to its cover. I just didn’t enjoy this book. I was planing on getting the entire series but after how disappointed I was with this book I vetoed that idea.

The Song Of Us by J.D. Barrett: Anyone who doesn’t love this cover is crazy. The bright read cover has bold writing and hearts and musical notes. I fell in love with this cover and couldn’t wait to get this book. Thankfully I fell in love with the book too. The story was heartwarming and real, I read it in one sitting, I just couldn’t put it down.

Queens Of Geek by Jen Wilde: I picked up this book solely for its cover. I love pink and this cover is pink pink pink. Unfortunately I haven’t actually gotten around to reading this book yet. For now it is just sitting pretty on my TBR shelf.

Secrets Between Friends by Fiona Palmer: The cover of this book just made me so relaxed. I could just see myself on the cover relaxing at the beach reading this book. Not only does this book have a fantastic cover but it is genuinely a fantastic book. I have already recommended it to everyone I know. Now its your turn, go out and get yourself a copy of this book now.

Nevermoor by Jessica Townsend: Giant cat, people flying with umbrellas and sparkles. How could I not buy this book. The magical cover is just the start of this magical book. I honestly don’t have a bad word to say about this book. One of my favourite reads of the year. I will be forever grateful that I picked up this wonderful book.

Dumplin by Julie Murphy: This was an interesting cover buy. I looked at it a few times before actually buying it. I was intrigued by the cover, but I just didn’t no if I would like the story. Eventually my love of the cover won out and I purchased the book. I am so glad I did, I absolutely loved this book. My only regret is I didn’t trust myself enough to buy it earlier.

Never Tear Us Apart by Quinn Brockton: A prequel book to the American version of Queer As Folk. Anything with Queer As Folk on the cover is getting purchased. I absolutely adored the tv show and this book was a perfect prequel. I am so glad I found this book.

Moxie by Jennifer Mathieu: Pink Cover, Bold Black Lettering and Graffiti. SOLD. The cover of this book definitely does justice to the story. This book was fantastic. A call to arms for teenage feminists, I am so glad I picked up this book.

Mirror Mirror by Cara Delevigne: This cover was just so mesmerizing, I had already decided to buy it before I even knew the author or plot. I love a bright coloured cover and the yellow and black just drew me in. Luckily the book lived up to and maybe even surpassed my love of its cover.

Well that’s it from me. Let me no if you have read any of these book or which books you have purchased because you loved the cover.

Until next time…

Happy Reading…

❤ Gem

The Selection Kiera Cass

‘For thirty-five girls, the Selection is the chance of a lifetime. The opportunity to escape the life laid out for them since birth. To be swept up in a world of glittering gowns and priceless jewels. To live in a palace and compete for the heart of gorgeous Prince Maxon.

But for America Singer, being Selected is a nightmare. It means turning her back on her secret love with Aspen, who is a caste below her. Leaving her home to enter a fierce competition for a crown she doesn’t want. Living in a palace that is constantly threatened by violent rebel attacks.

Then America meets Prince Maxon. Gradually, she starts to question all the plans she’s made for herself—and realizes that the life she’s always dreamed of may not compare to a future she never imagined.’

I loved this book.

I didn’t know what to expect going into this book. I thought it may have been a bit to young for me, but boy was I wrong.

After a slowish start, which ended up being necessary in order to meet to large cast of characters, this book really hooked me. I was honestly surprised by how quickly this book got under my skin. I couldn’t put it down.

Kiera Cass’ writing was really emotive and inclusive, at times I forgot I was reading this story not actually living it. The world she created was so well thought out and it really made me think about the world we live in.

I loved the fact that the characters developed authentically after the first information dump. Once we knew who everyone was we got to see the grow naturally, with friendships and enemies being formed in a really organic way.

I had mixed feeling about America at the beginning for this book. I loved her compassion and strength but I found her a little annoying. Though once she entre the Selection she really grew on me. Her determination and courage blended perfectly with her fear and home-sickness to make her a really grounded and loveable character.

Given how much I enjoyed this book, and how fast I read it, I am so excited to read the next book in this series. Bring on The Elite.

The Selection by Kiera Cass is a wonderful, fulfilling read, that will leave you wanting more.

Get Remarkably Organised by Lorraine Murphy 

‘How to be organised in business and in life, by one of Australia’s leading entrepreneurs and founder of The Remarkables Group. Be so good they can’t ignore you. Is your life chaotic? Are you hungry for advice on how to live calmly, happily and productively? The cornerstone of success at work and at home is being organised and, with Lorraine’s help, you can achieve this by forming excellent habits – in a way that’s easy and fun, not stressful.’

I can definitely see this book helping a lot of people organise their lives and become more productive, unfortunately for me, I didn’t really find anything new to help improve my life.

Some of the chapters in this book didn’t really apply to me and the ones that did didn’t really help. I don’t no if it was the way I was raised but a lot of the tricks and tips in this book I found to just be common sense, nothing new.

I was really hoping to find some tips in this book, so I was disappointed with what I found. A lot of the things talked about in this book are true and I have found that they work but they aren’t anything that most people shouldnt already know how to do.

For the chapters that didn’t apply to me; like running a business and caring for children, I didn’t get the chance to try any of these tips but I can see the appeal and the way in which they could work.

I can see this book genuinely helping some people, but for me it was just reinforcing the things I already do and the rules and lessons that my parents instilled in me during my childhood.

Get Remarkably Organised by Lorraine Murphy could be what you are looking for to help you become your best self.

Book Courtship Tag…

Welcome once again to Wacky Wednesday. Today I am partaking in the Courtship Book Tag. This Tag explains itself as you go through it, so lets jump right in…

Phase 1 – Initial Attraction: A book that you bought because of the cover: This one is easy. My most recent cover buy was Queens Of Geek by Jen Wilde. The cover is pink, how could I not buy it.

Phase 2 – First Impressions: A book that you got because of the summary: Salt To The Sea by Ruta Sepetys. I loved the concept of this book, it sounded fascinating. Turns out it was. I adored this book and have now gone and got Ruta Sepetys’ other works.

Phase 3 – Sweet Talk: A book with great writing: One of the best written books I have ever read is The Book Thief by Markus Zuzak. I absolutely love this book.

Phase 4 – First Date: A first book of a series which made you want to pursue the rest of the series: Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs. I was unsure about this book going into it, but after finishing it I had to get my hands on the rest of the series.

Phase 5 – Late night phone calls: A book that kept you up all night long: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J.K. Rowling. I read this book in one sitting. After completing this book I watched the sun rise as I cried.

Phase 6 – Always on my mind: A book that you could not stop thinking about: Where Is Daniel? by Bruce and Denise Morcombe. This heartbreaking book has stayed with me, and spends a lot of time occupying my thoughts.

Phase 7 – Getting Physical: A book in which you love the way it feels: The Illuminae Files. Both books in this series just feel amazing. The plot, the writing and the artwork just make for a truly wonderful reading experience.

Phase 8 – Meeting the Parents: A book in which you would recommend to your friends and family: This is a hard one, I love recommending books. I’m going to have to go with my most recent favourite to recommend and that’s, Secrets Between Friends by Fiona Palmer.

Phase 9 – Thinking about the future: A book or series that you know you’ll re-read many times in the future: Well the easy answer would be the Harry Potter series so im going to mix it up and go with Moxie by Jennifer Mathieu.

Well that’s it from me. Let me know your courtship books in the comments.

Until next time…

Happy Reading…

❤ Gem

Hunting Prince Dracula by Kerri Maniscalco

‘Following the grief and horror of her discovery of Jack the Ripper’s true identity, Audrey Rose Wadsworth has no choice but to flee London and its memories. Together with the arrogant yet charming Thomas Cresswell, she journeys to the dark heart of Romania, home to one of Europe’s best schools of forensic medicine…and to another notorious killer, Vlad the Impaler, whose thirst for blood became legend.

But her life’s dream is soon tainted by blood-soaked discoveries in the halls of the school’s forbidding castle, and Audrey Rose is compelled to investigate the strangely familiar murders. What she finds brings all her terrifying fears to life once again.’

Hunting Prince Dracula is the sequel to Stalking Jack The Ripper.

I absolutely loved this book.

After reading Stalking Jack The Ripper I was so excited to dive into this book, thankfully it not only lived up to but utterly surpassed my high expectations.

I loved getting to catch up with Audrey Rose and Thomas, seeing their relationship grow as they deal with the effects of The Ripper case whilst adjusting to their new surroundings and peers made for a fantastic reading experience.

This book had some amazing twists and turns that really kept me on the edge of my seat. Everytime I thought I knew who the killer was something happened to make me doubt my conclusion. When the killer was finally revealed I was genuinely surprised. I can usually tell who the bad guy is way before the ending of a book, so being surprised was wonderful for me.

Kerri Maniscalco’s writing is so inclusive and emotive, I often forgot I was reading and just got caught up in what was happening as if I was actually living it. Each revelation, and the highs and lows really touched me and made for a truly wonderful read.

Kerri Maniscalco is fast becoming one of my favourite authors and I cant wait to get my hands on her next book.

Hunting Prince Dracula by Kerri Maniscalco will take you on a dark and twisted journey that will leave you wanting more. This book is not to be missed.

 

 

Frankie Fish And The Sonic Suitcase by Peter Helliar

‘Twelve-year-old Frankie Fish hates visiting his grandparents. Grandad Fish is cranky, and yells a lot, and has a creepy hook for a hand – plus he NEVER lets Frankie go inside his shed. But after a teensy tiny prank goes wrong at school, Frankie is packed off to Old-People Jail for the whole holidays.

What Frankie doesn’t know is that Grandad has been building a home-made TIME MACHINE in the Forbidden Shed, and the old man has big plans to get his missing hand back. But when Grandad goes back in time, he changes history and accidentally wipes out Frankie’s entire family – Nanna, Mum, Dad, even his annoying sister Saint Lou. Somehow, everyone is gone but Frankie and Grandad! And it’s only a matter of time until Frankie disappears too…

As the last Fish men standing, Frankie and Granddad must race back in time to undo this terrible mistake. But can they stand each other long enough to put the past back together again? And even if they manage the impossible – will Grandad’s wonky time-machine ever get them home?’

I can definitely see this book being a favourite for many young readers and their families. I don’t think you could read this book and not enjoy it.

Peter Helliar has done a wonderful job with this book. This fast paced, funny book has some wonderful lessons threaded through the story. Lessons about knowing when pranks go too far, the importance of family, and knowing when to leave the past in the past and move forward.

Lesley Vamos has done a fantastic job with the illustrations in this book. Her illustrations perfectly compliment Peter Helliar’s amazing story and really add an extra layer to this wonderful book.

Frankie Fish And The Sonic Suitcase by Peter Helliar is a must have for all young readers. I cant wait to see what Frankie Fish gets up to the future.

Trust The Hype…

Welcome once again to Wacky Wednesday. Today’s topic is Trust The Hype, Popular books that I loved. These are some of my favourite popular books and I am excited to talk about them. So without further ado, lets jump in…

The Harry Potter series by J.K Rowling: One of the most hyped series of all time, and it deserves all the praise it gets. My all time favourite series, Harry Potter sparked my love of reading and changed my life for the better. The Harry Potter series will go down in history as one of the greatest literary creations.

Caraval by Stephenie Garber: This book was absolutely fantastic. The dark, twisted Carnival feel was perfectly complimented by the sister’s relationship. This is a book that will truly take the reader on a journey and leave you wanting more. If you haven’t read Caraval yet, do it now.

The Book Thief by Markus Zuzak: This book is truly one of a kind. Following the effects of World War 2 on a preteen to teenage girl and ‘Death’. This book was so perfectly written and narrated. This book is one of the best books I have ever read and I truly believe it is a modern classic.

The Peculiar Children series by Ransom Riggs: I put off this series for a long time, unsure if I was going to like it. Turns out my fears were unfounded, this series was perfect. The plot,the characters and the awesome addition of the peculiar photographs make for a truly wonderful reading experience.

The Land Of Stories series by Chris Colfer: I adore this series. This series takes place after the ‘Happily Ever After’s’ of our favourite fairytale. Following twins Alex and Conner as they solve problems, discover hidden secrets and battle evil, all in the name of saving our beloved fairytale characters. This series is truly magical and deserves all the recognition it receives.

Nevermoor by Jessica Townsend: I honestly don’t know if I have the words to describe how fantastic this book is. With mystery, magic and a murderous secret, this book will take the reader on a whimsical journey that will stay with you long after the final page. I am so glad this is just book 1 in a series because one book is just not enough.

The Turners series by Mick Elliott: I loved this series. This fantastic series follows Leo Lennox and Co. Leo is a newly discovered ‘turner’ who unintentionally finds himself caught up in a world-wide, murderous conspiracy. This series was action packed, fast paced and utterly brilliant. I can’t speak highly enough of this series.

The Illuminae Files by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff: This series blew my mind. I honestly didn’t know what to expect going into this book. The answer, expect the unexpected. This entire series is mind-blowing. I couldn’t get over how creative and artistic this book was. On top of its unique layout, the story is absolutely fantastic. I cant wait to get my hands on book 3.

Heartless by Marissa Meyer: A prequel to Alice in Wonderland. This amazing book follows the Queen of Hearts before she becomes the Queen of Hearts. I have read a lot of prequels and retellings and I can honestly say that this is by far the greatest retelling I have ever read. Going into the story knowing the ultimate outcome had absolutely no impact on how engaging this story was. I was completely captivated and spent most of the book on the edge of my seat. This book is not to be missed.

To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before series by Jenny Han: This was such a beautiful series. I loved the story, the characters and the themes that were explored in this series. I was concerned when it got turned into a trilogy when it was originally at duology, but the third book was perfect, and really solidified the series. I can completely understand why this series is so popular. If you havent read it yet, go get yourself a copy now.

Salt To The Sea by Ruta Sepetys: This book is a masterpiece. The story, the layout and the characters all complemented each other perfectly, making for a truly emotional reading experience. This book was equal parts heartwarming and heartbreaking. Everyone should read this book. I honestly believe this book can change lives.

Well that’s it from me. Let me know if you agree with this list, or what books you would have included.

Until next time…

Happy Reading…

❤ Gem