Monthly Wrap-Up: July to August

It's so cliche, I know, but I can't believe it's already August! YIKES!
Overall, July was a busy but productive month for me. And I have a lot of plans for August...*cue ominous music*

I got a decent amount of writing done in July, which I'm so happy about. I'm also planning to start the first draft of my WIP tomorrow - and am extremely nervous about that. Wish me luck!
I'm hoping to read a lot of books in August, and start bookstagraming again. We'll see how that goes ;)  I'll probably also cut down on movies and Netflix, since I want to spend the majority of my time writing and reading.

I also really want to be posting more discussions and "fun posts" on my blog, as well as the usual reviews. I have so many ideas, but never seem to find the time. Hopefully I'll be able to get some out this month :)

Posts of the month (excluding reviews & weekly round-ups):

#VoicesofYA tag
Waiting on Wednesday #40
The Liebster Award
The Blog Squad: Part 17
The Mystery Blogger Award
Waiting on Wednesday #41
The Blog Squad: Part 18
The 13th Doctor!!
Waiting on Wednesday #42
The Blog Squad: Part 19
Waiting on Wednesday #43
The Blog Squad: Part 20

My Reviews: 

Miss. Sloane was easily my favourite film of the month. It's absolutely amazing. 
My least favourite was Passengers

My Reviews: 

Stalking Jack the Ripper - Kerri Maniscalco 

Carve the Mark - Veronica Roth 

Cinder - Marissa Meyer

The 100 - Kass Morgan

Ruin and Rising - Leigh Bardugo

The Cruelty - Scott Bergstrom

The Lost Girl - Candy Atkins

Quite a mixed bunch of reads this month. My favourite was either Cinder or Ruin and Rising, and my worst was The Cruelty.

A HUGELY ambitious TBR for August, but I couldn't help it! I am DYING to dive into these beauties <3 

Did you have a good month? What did you read or watch or write? What's been happening in your life? Chat with me! 

I hope you have a wonderful August <3 

Weekly Round-Up: watching and writing and school

School started this week, but it actually went pretty well. And fast. Really fast. I've also been watching a lot of Netflix and finished series 1 of The 100 and I'm almost finished with series 3 of Arrow. I'm not really feeling motivated to watch series 2 of The 100, though....I read up about it and apparently there's no Bellarke for the next few seasons except for some mild hints that only the die-hard shippers will interpret positively. Darn it.  
I gave up on Gilmore Girls (so boring and contrived) but I started Gossip Girl and am loving that.  

I've been forcing myself to write a lot this week. I finished my first draft of my outline, and I'm hoping to actually start writing the book soon as well. *gulp*

Posts of the week: 
Book Review: THE LOST GIRL


But I'll be starting a lot of books on the first of August :) 

I got this incredible package from Penguin Random House and I LITERALLY COULD NOT COPE WHEN I OPENED IT. I'd only requested Thirteen Reasons Why, yet they sent me the others as well! 

I also got an eBook of Silver Blood to review. 

Emily talks about when Books become TV shows

El reviews Here and Gone

Melissa does the Dual Character Tag

Silvia shares her July FairyLoot Unboxing!

Olivia reviews Crazy House

I have exciting news! In August it's my 1 year blogiversary, and as part of my celebration, I'm going to be answering questions from you guys in an upcoming post. 

 So comment below with any question or questions you're interested in having me answer, and I'll feature and answer them in the blogiversary post! 

 (You're welcome to ask personal questions, just not too personal please. Lol ;)

Have you had a decent week? What are you reading or watching? 
Have you been writing anything?  

THE LOST GIRL (The Lost Knight #2) - by Candy Atkins

THE LOST GIRL - Candy Atkins
Published: 2016 - Monster Publishing.
Genres: Middle grade / fantasy / adventure /
Pages: 290.
Format: Paperback.
Source: Thank you so much to the author for sending me this book in exchange for an honest review!

If Stratagor Ziras doesn't kill me, my training program will! Every day I wake up and go through the motions, but they've figured out that I’m not a Knight. I can’t ride, I can’t fight, I can’t do magic, and worst of all, I can’t see whatever it is I'm supposed to see in this stupid Orb. Nothing is what it seems here. Everyone says they want what's best for me, but who can I trust? The lying snake? The feathery crocodile trying to lock me away? The Queen who wants me dead? Or the devil himself? I don’t know what I’m more afraid of—the enemies that have made several attempts on my life, or my allies now that they know they've made a huge a mistake.

I loved the first book in this series. And although this book didn't blow me away, it's still a beautiful, heartwarming, and definitely underappreciated treasure of a story. It's the kind of book that makes you happy to be alive.

The world building is beautifully and incredibly detailed, and we get to see so much more of Agatha's new home. There's the politics, the society, the town, the castle, the magic system....everything gets expanded upon and it's effortless and natural.

Not once was I bored. The story's entertaining, funny, deliciously imaginative, and spectacularly quirky and unique. The writing is rich, colourful, and never flowery. I loved every minute of the tale - even if the story was quieter and more "chilled out" than the first book, which had spanned a physical journey.
My only tiny criticism with the story is that it's too rushed in sections.

And now I have to talk adorableness!!! This book is basically is need of a huge hug, and I volunteer as tribute. It's so pure, so clean, so heartwarming, and so ABSOLUTELY CUTE AND ADORABLE I LITERALLY COULDN'T BREATHE SOMETIMES. I was dying of its cuteness. My insides were frequently melting in a warm, fuzzy goo.

The cast grows drastically in this second book. It is hard to try keep track of them all, and I admit I struggled to define everyone's personalities; they aren't all as vivid as the leads and need more rounding.
But I loved the added depth to Dathid's character and I thoroughly enjoyed learning more about him. (FYI: I don't know if you're permitted to crush on a character in a MG novel, but I REALLY LOVE DATHID. I SWOON A LOT WHEN HE'S AROUND. Sorry kids).
I'm also so glad there are two new female characters as well: Solara and Levise. Agatha doesn't interact them much, but I hope she'll get closer to them in the next book. She needs some female friendships.

Agatha's still a fantastic heroine. She's so amazingly relatable and flawed and human, and I love that she has to work for everything; she really has to pick herself up time and time again, and when she does succeed, it's because she's learnt valuable lessons and persisted. Her emotional growth in this novel is also excellent.

I'm not a big fan of Middle Grade, but this series is one of the best series I've ever read. The humanness of its heroine, the abstract but deliciously creative storytelling, and the wealth of the world building come together to concoct a wonderful and heartwarming tale you'll utterly lose yourself in.
It's not as good as the first book, but it's still fantastic.

The Blog Squad: Part 20

We are a group of three book bloggers situated on different continents but brought together by our love for books and a penchant for talking about them. We’ve joined our forces to create a collaborative series of posts about book blogging and we hope you’ll enjoy the discussions. 


What makes you add a book to your TBR? 

It’s a combination of a lot of factors… But generally I’d have to say that other reviewers are what drive me to add books to my TBR in the first place. Even when it comes to my favourite authors I probably only found these authors on recommendation from someone else. I’m just that sort of reader - I like to know that other people have read the book and enjoyed it before I pick it up!

For me too it’s a combination of factors. I think reviews and recommendations from from other reviewers, either on Goodreads or in the blogosphere is the biggest reason for why my TBR has grown like Jack’s beanstalk! Another big reason why my TBR is currently exploding is that I have a habit of going through book lists on Goodreads and looking for ones that I think I’d enjoy. I also end up browsing on Amazon for hours looking at both book reviews and the prices so I can make a proper wishlist.

What makes you most likely to buy a book? 

My favourite authors are definitely autobuys for me - I even pre-order when I can but for some reason I’m not often able to do this on Kobo. 

If I pick up the first book in a series and I absolutely love it I’ll pretty much go straight in and buy the next book - even if the first book was a library borrow and I could probably get the rest if I just went and looked - I just like to support the authors that I love and buying their books seems to me to be a great way to do this! 

Also if I’ve enjoyed a series by an author previously I’ll probably go and buy another of their books to try, even if it might take me awhile to get to it!

Here too, it’s a combination of factors - premise, cover and money. Premise because I have to actually read the book and not just showcase it prettily on my shelves (I do that at times), Cover because I like to oggle at pretty cover and also ‘cause I #bookstagram; and money because no one’s giving out books for free (Except authors and publishers who actually value my opinion. LOVE you guys.) If it’s the sequel to a book I’ve already read and loved, it gets moved higher up on my wishlist; same if it’s one of my favorite authors or if the plot makes me want to eat it (I swear I’ve never eaten books).

Are you comfortable with rating a generally disliked book highly? Or vice versa? 

Reading is so subjective. What I always try to keep in mind is that a lot of my ‘bad reads’ can just come down to personal preference as will a lot of my ‘good reads’. 

I love a lot of book bloggers out there but we don’t have to enjoy the same books for me to respect their opinion. In fact there’s only a couple that I feel have very similar reading tastes to mine. Often I’ve been surprised that people had issues with certain scenes in a book or even with an entire theme in a book that I was never bothered by. No two readers will ever be exactly the same! 

If I liked a book I’m going to shout it out there, whether other professional reviewers liked it or not. A book review is simply my own personal opinion and experience with a book and if I found something to enjoy I want to express that because there will surely be other readers out there that can enjoy the same things that I did. 

It can be difficult as a book blogger to know that your opinion isn’t aligned with the masses - whether you love a book that no one else seems to (because how could they NOT???) or whether you were disappointed after hearing a million good reviews and all the hype and a book just didn’t meet your expectations… If you can back up your opinion and you aren’t just doing it to be contrary it’s valid and you should OWN it.

I have a LOT of unpopular opinions and let’s face it, we all do because we’re not all potatoes. My unpopular opinions are mostly me not loving a book that almost everyone else seems to adore. And while it’s scary to admit to a group of chocolate lovers that you don’t like chocolates (I belong to the chocolate-loving group mind you), I think it’s perfectly okay! Isn’t that why we rate and review books? To get our personal opinion about it heard? 

Also, rating seems much easier compared to reviewing when it comes to unpopular opinions. It’s VERY scary. Okay so I’m not a fan of the Throne of Glass series. (Don’t you dare throw things at me!). Like I LOVED books 1 and 2 but the series just spiralled down for me after that. While I’ve rated the series, I haven’t written a review for books 3, 4 and 5. Why? Because it’s scary as hell writing a negative review for an extremely loved series and I honestly don’t know how to go about with it! All you guys who aren’t scared or intimidated by the task, you’re awesome and really brave! I do plan to write those reviews soon but *gulp*

Come check out my answers over at their collab posts!: 

We hope you’ve enjoyed Part 18 in our series of discussion posts! Please talk to us and let us know YOUR answers below. What do you think of our responses? If you have any specific questions you’d like us to address in the future, please let us know in the comments section below. Stay tuned for next week’s questions!

Waiting on Wednesday #43: THE WOOD - by Chelsea Bobulski

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme originally hosted by Breaking the Spine and now taken over by Wishful Endings that highlights upcoming book releases we're excited to read. On my blog, I include movies as well.

Publication Date: 1st August 2017. 

After her father goes missing in the woods that they protect, Winter tries to seek the truth in what happened, why the wood is changing, and what it all has to do with the arrival of a mysterious stranger in this thrilling YA debut. When Winter’s dad goes missing during his nightly patrol of the wood, it falls to her to patrol the time portals and protect the travelers who slip through them. Winter can't help but think there's more to her dad's disappearance than she's being told. She soon finds a young man traveling in the wood named Henry who knows more than he should. He believes if they can work together to find his missing parents, they could discover the truth about Winter’s dad. The wood is poisoned, changing into something sinister—torturing travelers lost in it. Winter must put her trust in Henry in order to find the truth and those they’ve lost.

WOW. This looks so exciting, suspenseful, romantic and haunting. I love how there seems to be a ton of secrets seething beneath the surface. 
Can't wait to read this! 

Anyone else excited for The Wood?

Weekly Round-Up: Watching and Writing

I start school again tomorrow (having had a three week holiday) and I'm so not ready. I've forgotten everything I learnt and I basically just wanna curl up and die. 
But there're a few hours before everything falls apart, so I'm trying to savour that. 

It's been a productive week. I haven't been reading much, but I've done a lot of writing and plotting for my WIP, and I've also set some firm writing goals for myself for the months to come. 

We also got Netflix!! Finally! And I am so overwhelmed by everything I want to watch: Red Riding Hood, Gangster Squad, The Big Short, The 100, Arrow, Gilmore Girls......the list goes on. This week I've just been watching The 100 and Arrow, and lamenting how only the first two seasons of The 100 are available to us (cos of our country and level of membership). Sigh.   
But I've been enjoying it so far. It's still got a lot of the book's flaws and the acting isn't always great, but the leads are decent and I love Bellamy, Jasper, Raven and Octavia. Also, can I please marry Bellamy? If not, I'll take Jasper. 

Posts of the week: 

Book Review: THE CRUELTY

I'm still reading The Lost Girl, and I'm thoroughly enjoying it :) 

I got eBooks of Starr Fall and Canary Club for review, and a print copy of Windfall as well. 

Genni reviews When Dimple Met Rishi

Genni does The Liebster Award

Heather gets Engaged

Di reviews The Last Magician

Eve shares a beautiful Poem

Uma has a huge Giveaway going on!

Uma reviews Starr Fall

I have exciting news! In August it's my 1 year blogiversary, and as part of my celebration, I'm going to be answering questions from you guys in an upcoming post. 

 So comment below with any question or questions you're interested in having me answer, and I'll feature and answer them in the blogiversary post! 

 (You're welcome to ask personal questions, just not too personal please. Lol ;)

Have you had a good week? What are you writing or reading or watching?