Reading Challenge Catch-Up

At the beginning of this year I started a challenge via my Goodreads account to read thirty books before the end of 2016. Now, history has proven that I’m awful at keeping to goals, especially when it comes to reading challenges and this year has kind of been the same. Now, I’ve been reading the books to keep up with my goal but I’ve been very bad at keeping up the progress on my reading on this blog. The last time I posted a round-up of what I’d been reading was in March!

So, I’d recommend making yourself a rather large cup of tea to get through this round-up of the last four months of reading. Yeah, it’ll take you a while and I don’t have all the photos of every book I read but I promise you it will be worth it!


The Lie Tree by Frances Hardinge

A good while ago Rick was admitted to hospital (don’t worry, he’s okay now) and on one of my many visits to see him I went down to the WH Smiths in the concourse and bagged this book in the three for two offer. Look at it this way, ours is the sort of relationship where one turns up with biscuits and books rather than grapes. Whilst Rick was happy to have anything to help distract him from being on the ward I was so busy running around keeping the house in order and still working that I forgot about buying this book for ages after I went home with it.

The Lie Tree is set around teenager Faith who has a thirst for science during a period of history where women are left out of any intellectual conversation. Faith discovers the journals of her disgraced father and soon starts searching for a mythical plant that is seemingly fed by lies. Sounds a bit boring right? I thought so too on the surface of it but I gave it a chance anyway.

I ended up reading this on a train journey to and from Scarborough I did really enjoy it, it’s been ages since I’d read a good young adult-adventure novel in a historical settings and I finished this feeling quite pleasantly fulfilled. There’s a lot more to this book than meets the eye I found it to be sophisticated and full of underlying female-power. Yeah, you kinda got to read it to get what I mean there.


Lady Midnight by Cassandra Claire

I think I brought this for myself for my birthday at the beginning of March but it’s such a big and hefty book that it took me quite some time to get through it. I’ve read the Shadowhunters series and this book is kinda of like a continuation of the world but not a direct sequel.

Taking place five years after the events of City of Heavenly Fire, Emma Carstairs must work with her parabatai Julian Blackthorn to investigate demonic plot that is happening across Los Angeles. If you’ve not read any of the Shadowhunters series before this book I wouldn’t bother starting reading this although it is written with some perspective of readers who would be new to the characters.

If you like the Shadowhunters then be prepared, this series might (kind of) annoy you a bit like it did me. I’m sorry but I just didn’t find the plethora of young characters interesting and I got the impression that I was reading one giant fanfic.


Once in a Town Called Moth by Trilby Kent

So begins my period of reading so many e-books that I don’t think I touched an actual, physical book with pages for atleast a full month. Around this time I treated myself to a Kindle Paperwhite (review of which to follow… eventually) and I got involved with a book review website and started downloading copies. This book was my first review copy and you can read a more in-depth review of what I thought about it here.

Ana is not your typical teenager, as the summary of this young adult novel reads, and that’s because she has just been pulled out of a home and community she has known since birth to start a life afresh in Toronto in search of her missing mother. You would expect this story to be a typical ‘fish out of water’ type but in fact the main character gets on surprisingly well in the situation she is placed in by her father who is searching desperately for her mother who went missing several years ago. What caused Ana’s father to suddenly pull the both of them from a comfortable society in Bolivia based on so few leads of a missing person is a mystery, but Ana is determined to find her mother on her own regardless.

Not my favourite book I’ve reviewed so far but a good short read for someone looking for a book with a little depth if you’re willing to look for it.



Passenger by Alexandra Bracken

Another book of those I reviewed and I gave this one quite a high rating. I was really surprised when reading this book by how much I enjoyed it in the end, I was racing to finish the chapters and for reading on a Kindle that’s pretty easy for me to do because I somehow read a lot faster on e-books.

In a nutshell: this book primarily follows the perspectives of two main characters, Etta and Nick, as they journey through time to stop the head of an ancient family from taking control of the world as we know it, in the past, future and present. It’s a great adventure YA book for anyone who’s got a thirst for a fast-paced romance read and maybe looking for something that sits in-between genres because there’s a lot packed into this book. You can read my full review here.


My Name is Leon by Kit De Waal

I was on a roll this month with review copies but unfortunately I didn’t enjoy this book as much as I thought I would when I read it’s description. The best way to give a brief and accurate idea of this book is to just outline it’s blurb such as:

Leon is nine, and has a perfect baby brother called Jake. They have gone to live with Maureen, who has fuzzy red hair like a halo, and a belly like Father Christmas. But the adults are speaking in low voices, and wearing Pretend faces. They are threatening to take Jake away and give him to strangers. Because Jake is white and Leon is not.

There’s themes of racism, child abuse and neglect in this book so it’s not for the faint-hearted. You’ll perhaps find yourself really frustrated with the adults in this book like I was but I wouldn’t force this on you as I ground breaking read. If you fancy a good old weep and want a flashback into how your mind may have worked as a kid then I’d say give it a go but I was struggling to get to the end of this one.


The Light of the Fireflies by Paul Pen

This e-book wasn’t a review copy, just a book that Rick read ages ago and I liked the sound of it’s summary – and the difference of opinion in reviews as well.

For his whole life, the boy has lived underground, in a basement with his parents, grandmother, sister, and brother. Before he was born, his family was disfigured by a fire. His sister wears a white mask to cover her burns.

The boy is always called boy and his family don’t have names but you eventually put the pieces together to discover that a) all of the family are disfigured by horrific burns in one way or another and b) they all hate the sister. I mean really hate the sister. I do actually recommend you to read this book and it’s one of those that I would say you need to form your own opinion about because it seems to have divided those who have finished it.



The Loneliness of Distant Beings by Kate Ling

Yet another review copy to add to my collection and I gave this one a pretty scathing one at that. I actually saw this in a shop the other day as a recommended read and spent about five minutes giving my verbal opinion to the entire store, a bit louder than I intended to… woops.

Even though she knows it’s impossible, Seren longs to have the sunshine on her skin. It’s something she feels she needs to stay sane. But when you’re floating through space at thousands of kilometres an hour, sometimes you have to accept there are things you cannot change.

And then meets Dom… ack. Blerrggh. Boys.

Let me get this straight before you read my in-depth review – your life doesn’t change because you meet a boy and fall in love. Soul-shattering depression does not suddenly evaporate thanks to love. Nope. Be more realistic please. That’s not the impression I want little girls and boys to have.


Only Ever Yours by Louise O’Neill

You know what… we have a big library in Cardiff and we hardly go in there even though we both have library cards. It was a sunny weekday afternoon and I can’t remember what went into the library for exactly but this book caught my eye because I has Asking for It on hold for review and I’d spotted this around the book blogger community and the genre of it was a bit more up my street.

This story is set in a society where young girls are bred as Eves (always spelt without a capital letter like they’re not worth the name) and are raised to be chosen as concubines by men. It’s a bit of a modern day twist on selection where boys are paraded in to choose the girls they want to marry or have as their sluts. Men are bred as the dominant race and sex is a brisk subject. I find it difficult to explain what exactly happens in this book but I know that the ending did leave me feeing a tad let down. After reading Asking for It though I would say that this is O’Neill’s best work that I’ve read so far.


Black Fairy Tale by Otsuichi

A raven who has learned to speak from watching movies befriends a young girl whose eyes were ruined in a freak accident. He brings her eyeballs he steals from other people, and when she puts them in her eye sockets, she sees memories from their original owners. Desperate to make the girl happy, the raven brings her more and more eyeballs.

I loved, loved, loved this book! I couldn’t give it enough stars in my more thorough review. I’m a fan of Japanese authors anyway but I’m already on the look out for a printed copy of this book to add to our bookshelves – even if they’re already overflowing. You don’t have to be a fan of horror novels to get this book – because I’m not – you just need to appreciate it’s form and approach. I would shove this under your nose and force you to read it if I could!



Woman of the Hour by Jane Lythell

Finally, the last of the review copies… for now. I picked this booked to read because it’s set in a British TV station and as I have a background in media production I was intrigued. This story follows a woman called Liz who is juggling motherhood to a teenager and a job as head of features for a popular daytime topical TV programme. There’s not any big mystery to keep you turning to pages of this one but more of a study on how men can dominate the industry and the behaviours that go on behind the scenes.

I’ve written a better idea of what the whole thing is about here.


Sleeping Giants by Sylvain Neuvel

Apart from e-books we get a fair few physical review copies through our letterbox thanks to Rick’s blog and when this one arrived I was really excited to get my grubby little mitts on it.

A girl named Rose is riding her bike near her home in Deadwood, South Dakota, when she falls through the earth. She wakes up at the bottom of a square-shaped hole, its walls glowing with intricate carvings. But the firemen who come to save her peer down upon something even stranger: a little girl in the palm of a giant metal hand. Seventeen years later, the mystery of the bizarre artefact remains unsolved – the object’s origins, architects, and purpose unknown.

I went into this with so much positivity but I left unfulfilled. Set-up like a novel this book turns into a collection of interviews and reports led by a mystery individual and that sudden change in format really put me off. When you begin reading the first few chapters of a book you want to get an idea of what you’re getting into, the type of writing you need to adapt reading to and how you’re going to feel about these new characters as the story moves on.

Needless to say I didn’t like anyone in this book, and the one person I did kind of think had potential died halfway through to come back at the very end in some weird twist that I’m still confused about because there’s so much time and location hopping in this story I was lost from chapter three.


Noughts and Crosses by Malorie Blackman

The first book in this trilogy and the other two I haven’t read so when I saw the set in a shop for pennies I snapped them up. The trouble with growing up and reading series is that sometimes you can read the beginning of a set and by the time the second or third one has been released you may have grown out of that genre and moved onto other things. I think that may have been the case with this series because I think by the time the last book has been released I was too busy squeezing my spots in my vanity mirror and trying to get this boy in my drama class to fancy me – sans spots.

Set in a society where the dark-skinned ‘cross’ ruling class are in power over the white ‘nought’ underclass who were once slaves to the ‘crosses’, we are introduced to Callum (a nought) and Sephy (a cross) who have a sort of Romeo and Juliet romance going on. Alright, I may have referenced Shakespeare but this series is ten times darker, grittier and brimming with racist ideals. Blackman turns modern society on it’s head and puts a magnifying glass over a world where we never really moved on from severe race oppression.

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