Top 5: Anticipated Releases II

It has been a while since I last posted on here… Oops! At the end of November I lost focus on my blog due to assignments deadlines; come December I had decided to attempt Vlogmas on my YouTube channel and during the latter half of December I went home for Christmas break, during which I also didn’t get round to doing anything YouTube-y. Since then and until last week, I’ve been busy writing a beast of an essay.

Now, that’s been handed in, and I have returned from my unplanned hiatus! I’m not sure what day I’ll try to upload every week, but I’ll definitely try to post something each week from now on!

Excuses aside, back in July, I wrote a Top 5-post on Anticipated Releases. Here is another list, with some more exciting books that’ll be released between now and May!

 dumplin1. Dumplin’ by Julie Murphy (28 January 2016)

Willowdean has always been at home in her own skin. Her thoughts on having the ultimate bikini body? Put a bikini on your body. With her all-American-beauty best friend, Ellen, by her side, things have always worked until Will takes a job at Harpy’s, the local fast-food joint. There she meets Private School Bo, a hot former jock. Will isn’t surprised to find herself attracted to Bo. But she is surprised when he seems to like her back. Instead of finding new heights of self-assurance in her relationship with Bo, Will starts to doubt herself. So she sets out to take back her confidence by doing the most horrifying thing she can imagine: entering the Miss Teen Blue Bonnet Pageant-along with several other unlikely candidates-to show the world that she deserves to be up there as much as any twiggy girl does. Along the way, she’ll shock the hell out of Clover City-and maybe herself most of all.

This book just sounds like a whole lot of fun: body positivity, pageants, trying to figure oneself out, and a spot of romance. Dumplin’ has been getting really good reviews so far, and I can’t wait to find out for myself whether I like it as much as I think I will (though that might actually take a while, because it appears to be released in hardback first – and I tend to find those too expensive… Eventually I’ll get round to it!).

2. The Wicked + The Divine, vol. 3: Commercial Suicide by Kieron Gillen (11 February 2016)wickeddivinevol3

After the detonation of FANDEMONIUM the gods-as-pop-stars of THE WICKED + THE DIVINE try living in the long dark shadow.

The Wicked + The Divine is one of the first graphic novels I laid my eyes on – after recommendation by a friend – and I loved it. It’s got such fantastic art, the story is fascinating and it ends on a huge cliff-hanger. I read Volume 2, Fandemonium, last summer and was just as enthralled as by the first volume – and it had just as much of a cliff-hanger as the first one. I’m very excited for the release of Volume 3, so I can finally find out what happens next.

radiosilence3. Radio Silence by Alice Oseman (25 February 2016)

Frances has always been a study machine with one goal, elite university. Nothing will stand in her way […] But when Frances meets Aled, the shy genius behind her favourite podcast, she discovers a new freedom. He unlocks the door to Real Frances and for the first time she experiences true friendship, unafraid to be herself. Then the podcast goes viral and the fragile trust between them is broken. Caught between who she was and who she longs to be, Frances’ dreams come crashing down. Suffocating with guilt, she knows that she has to confront her past… She has to confess why Carys disappeared…

Meanwhile at uni, Aled is alone, fighting even darker secrets.

I read Alice’s debut novel, Solitaire, sometime last year – mostly out of curiosity about what a published book, written by someone my age, might be like. I didn’t like it all that much, which perhaps was largely down to the protagonist, or perhaps I just didn’t like the plot that much: I’m not sure. Who knows – I might give it another shot in the future. However, I am very interested in Radio Silence: story-wise it sounds more like something I’d be interested in, and I would also like to read something else by Alice and see whether I feel any different about it than her debut.

4. A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas (3 May 2016)acourtofmistandfury

Feyre survived Amarantha’s clutches to return to the Spring Court–but at a steep cost. Though she now has the powers of the High Fae, her heart remains human, and it can’t forget the terrible deeds she performed to save Tamlin’s people. Nor has Feyre forgotten her bargain with Rhysand, High Lord of the feared Night Court. As Feyre navigates its dark web of politics, passion, and dazzling power, a greater evil looms–and she might be key to stopping it. But only if she can harness her harrowing gifts, heal her fractured soul, and decide how she wishes to shape her future–and the future of a world cleaved in two.

This was to be expected, right? Last year I first read Sarah’s work, and I was immediately hooked. I didn’t love A Court of Thorns and Roses quite as much as I do the Throne of Glass series, but I am excited about this sequel to ACOTAR nonetheless!

 

thecrown5. The Crown by Kiera Cass

Twenty years have passed since the events of The One, and America and Maxon’s daughter is the first princess to hold a Selection of her own. Princess Eadlyn didn’t think she would find a real partner among the Selection’s thirty-five suitors, let alone true love. But sometimes the heart has a way of surprising you…and now Eadlyn must make a choice that feels more difficult—and more important—than she ever expected.

To be honest, I have quite mixed feelings about The Selection series: I didn’t love the first three books, but found them somehow quite addictive. The Heir, which followed Eadlyn for the first time, I liked more: possible because America was constantly getting on my nerves in the first three. Despite my mixed feelings, I’m interested in reading The Crown, which will be the final instalment in this series. I’ve gotten this far – might as well see it through ‘till the end!

 

Those are all the books for today: as per usual, let me know what books you’re excited about and whether you’re planning on picking any of these up!

What Became of My (Wishful) Summer Reading List

At the start of the summer I uploaded this post, in which I told you all about the books I hoped to read between July and September. The summer has now come to an end (both weather-wise and freedom from uni-wise) and I’m back to tell you which of those books I actually managed to read, as well as the ones I read that weren’t even on the list.

First up: the books from the list that I’ve actually read;

  1. The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde
  2. A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas
  3. Vicious by V. E. Schwab
  4. The Year I Met You by Cecelia Ahern
  5. Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor
  6. Lying Out Loud by Kody Keplinger
  7. Northern Lights by Philip Pullman

So, that’s about half of the list I managed to read. Not too bad, but still, I really would have liked to read the others as well.

Now for the books that weren’t on the list:

  1. Only Ever Yours by Louise O’Neill
  2. The Next Together by Lauren James
  3. The Tinderbox by Hans Christian Andersen (Penguin 80th Anniversary Edition)
  4. Famous Five: Five on a Treasure Island by Enid Blyton
  5. Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon
  6. The Wicked + The Divine, vol 2: Fandemonium by Kieron Gillen
  7. The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe by C. S. Lewis
  8. The Tale of Jemima Puddle-Duck by Beatrix Potter
  9. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by J. K. Rowling, narrated by Jim Dale
  10. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by J. K. Rowling, narrated by Jim Dale*
  11. Swallows and Amazons by Arthur Ransome*

Overall, I’d say it’s been pretty good going – though I must add some of those books were tiny and both Harry Potter books were audiobooks. But still! I consumed a very decent amount of texts and some of the texts above are for my children’s literature module this semester (the ones by Lewis, Ransome, Pullman and Blyton).

I have written/filmed reviews of the following books in case you’re interested: The Picture of Dorian Gray, A Court of Thorns and Roses, Lying Out Loud, Only Ever Yours, The Next Together, Everything, Everything, and will soon have some sort of collective review going up on some of the children’s books I’m reading for uni!

Let me know what you’ve read this summer in the comments!

Love,

Christa

*Technically I haven’t finished the starred books just yet, but I’m sure I will have by the end of this week!

Only Ever Yours by Louise O’Neill

Pinched the image off Louise's website!

Pinched the image off Louise‘s website!

freida and isabel have been best friends their whole lives. Now, aged sixteen and in their final year at the School, they expect to be selected as companions – wives to wealthy and powerful men. The alternative – life as a concubine – is too horrible to contemplate. But as the intensity of the final year takes hold, the pressure to be perfect mounts. isabel starts to self-destruct, putting her beauty – her only asset – in peril. And then into this sealed female environment, the boys arrive, eager to choose a bride. freida must fight for her future – even if it means betraying the only friend, the only love, she has ever known…

I can’t exactly remember when I first heard of Only Ever Yours, which was the debut novel of Irish author Louise O’Neill, but I know I wanted to read it ever since I’ve known about its existence. I even mentioned it in my Bookish Wish List a few weeks ago.

Having since obtained it, I read it during this year’s Booktube-A-Thon. And I loved it. Throughout the novel, I feel like not a whole lot of information is given about the, somewhat dystopian, world it’s set in – there is especially not a lot of information about what goes on beyond the walls of the School. We, as readers, know as much about her world as freida does, which is intriguing. Rather than lots of things being explained by freida, they just are. We don’t know why they’re the way they are, or how the world has developed to be like it is in the novel, because freida doesn’t know. All she knows, and we know, is that she needs to perfect – she needs to constantly improve herself so she can fulfil her life’s goal to become a companion and bear sons.

The lengths these girls go to in order to improve themselves and upkeep these impossible standards are frightening. What’s perhaps even scarier is the fact that at times freida would be talking herself or others down, in a way that reminded me of ways I’ve thought about myself and/or others, as well as how I’ve heard others speak of themselves and each other. It’s appalling that we feel the need to think and speak so badly of ourselves and others – we’re only human and flaws are a part of our existence.

As for the novel itself – it was great. It fascinated me to read from freida’s perspective as she struggles to maintain the desired standards. Furthermore, I also feel Louise O’Neill portrayed a very plausible cast of characters, and I would be eager to learn more about each individual. For example, I would have loved to know more about the outside world – for example what the girls’ lives would be like after becoming companions, concubines and chastities. Or even how the boys felt in their roles as Inheritants.

The manner in which this story was told, as well as the themes that are prevalent throughout it, reminded me of both Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro and The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood.  Which, let’s be honest, are far from terrible stories to be reminded of when reading something.

So if you like those two novels, or generally enjoy calm and somewhat eerie dystopian reads, I would highly recommend Only Ever Yours. I will definitely be picking up her upcoming novel Asking For It when it’s released (though I might wait until the paperback comes out), and I can’t wait to see what else Louise O’Neill will write in the future!

Love,

Christa

Anticipated Releases

In a way, this blog post is linked to this week’s video on my YouTube channel – namely My Bookish Wish List. But whereas the video will mainly be about the books I wish to own and read that are already published, this post will be about the books I wish to own and read that are yet to be released.

queen of shadows

  1. Queen of Shadows by Sarah J. Maas (01/09/2015)

Everyone Celaena Sardothien loves has been taken from her. Now she returns to the empire – to confront the shadows of her past …The fourth breathtaking instalment in the New York Times bestselling Throne of Glass series. Bloodthirsty for revenge on the two men responsible for destroying her life, and desperate to find out if the prince and his captain are safe, Celaena returns to Rifthold, the seat of so much evil.

I’ve read Throne of Glass for the first time this January, and quickly followed it up with the sequels (and prequels!) after finishing it. I adore this series and can’t wait to see where it will go. Sidenote: I also love Maas’s writing – it is so well done and I will forever be envious of the words she manages to choose!

  1. the next togetherThe Next Together by Lauren James (03/09/2015)

A powerful and epic debut novel about fate and the timelessness of first love. Katherine and Matthew are destined to be born again and again. Each time their presence changes history for the better, and each time, they fall hopelessly in love, only to be tragically separated. How many times can you lose the person you love? For Matthew and Katherine it is again and again, over and over, century after century. But why do they keep coming back? How many times must they die to save the world? What else must they achieve before they can be left to live and love in peace? Maybe the next together will be different.

I think I first stumbled upon Lauren James and her upcoming debut after following author Alice Oseman on twitter. The two are friends and Alice might’ve mentioned The Next Together. I followed Lauren quickly after and found out more about her novel. It sounds very sweet and exciting and I can’t wait to read it! (I won’t lie: part of my excitement comes from Lauren being a young author at only 22, which, you know, is always inspiring to me!) I’ve already got the book pre-ordered, so I’ll be reading it as soon as it lands on our doormat.

  1. flawedFlawed by Cecelia Ahern (March or April 2016)

Celestine North lives a perfect life. She’s a model daughter and sister, she’s well-liked by her classmates and teachers, and she’s dating the impossibly charming Art Crevan.But then Celestine encounters a situation in which she makes an instinctive decision. She breaks a rule and now faces life-changing repercussions. She could be imprisoned. She could be branded. She could be found FLAWED.

Let us be silent in our excitement for a moment…

I am so, so, so excited for this book! I’ve been reading Cecelia Ahern’s novels for years and have always loved them, but now she’s releasing a YA novel! From what I gather it’s the first in a dystopian duology (the second being named ‘Perfect’) and it will be released early 2016. I can’t wait to see how she handles a different audience and genre!

  1. hp one illustratedThe illustrated edition of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone by J. K. Rowling & Jim Kay (06/10/2015)

Prepare to be spellbound by Jim Kay’s dazzling depiction of the wizarding world and much loved characters in this full-colour illustrated hardback edition of the nation’s favourite children’s book – Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone. Brimming with rich detail and humour that perfectly complements J.K. Rowling’s timeless classic, Jim Kay’s glorious illustrations will captivate fans and new readers alike.

This book. Oh man, this book. It looks stunning. I always thought Harry Potter could’ve done with some illustrations (especially ‘cause its intended audience is children) and now it’s happening! The few illustrations that have been released look amazing and I think Jim Kay has interpreted the characters wonderfully. It might take a while for me to get my hands on this book once it’s released, because it retails at a whopping £30, but I’ll get it eventually!

  1. more happy than notMore Happy Than Not by Adam Silvera (unknown)

The Leteo Institute s revolutionary memory-relief procedure seems too good to be true to Aaron Soto miracle cure-alls don’t tend to pop up in the Bronx projects. Aaron could never forget how he’s grown up poor, how his friends aren’t there for him, or how his father committed suicide in their one-bedroom apartment. Aaron has the support of his patient girlfriend, if not necessarily his distant brother and overworked mother, but it’s not enough. Then Thomas shows up. He has a sweet movie-watching set-up on his roof, and he doesn’t mind Aaron’s obsession with a popular fantasy series. There are nicknames, inside jokes. Most importantly, Thomas doesn’t mind talking about Aaron’s past. But Aaron’s newfound happiness isn’t welcome on his block. Since he can’t stay away from Thomas or suddenly stop being gay, Aaron must turn to Leteo to straighten himself out, even if it means forgetting who he is.

Another case of me following the author on Twitter and learning about their upcoming debut. As of right now, More Happy Than Not has already been published in the USA and has received many glowing reviews. I could order it on Amazon and get the American hardback of this book, but I’m leaning towards waiting for it to be sold to the UK. Apparently the novel is somewhat heart-warming, but in equal parts heart-breaking, and I can’t wait to read it.

That is it for today – I’m sure in the future I’ll bring back this feature and discuss some more of my anticipated releases, but for now these are the highest on my list!

Love,

Christa