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!

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The Next Together by Lauren James

the next together gif

Pinched the image off Lauren‘s website!

How many times can you lose the person you love?

Katherine and Matthew are destined to be born again and again, century after century. Each time, their presence changes history for the better, and each time, they fall hopelessly in love, only to be tragically separated.

Spanning the Crimean War, the Siege of Carlisle and the near-future of 2019 and 2039 they find themselves sacrificing their lives to save the world. But why do they keep coming back? What else must they achieve before they can be left to live and love in peace?

Maybe the next together will be different…

The Next Together, written by YA debut author Lauren James, was published by Walker Books last week Thursday, on the 3rd of September. As I mentioned in my Anticipated Releases post, I was excited about getting my hands on this book and made sure to have it pre-ordered. Part of my excitement is due to Lauren’s age – I can’t help but find it incredibly inspiring that people around my age have published books – but also due to the premise of the book and the love it’s been receiving from many other YA authors and book reviewers.

As for my thoughts on the book: I really enjoyed it. I didn’t adore it, but I did really like it. As is mentioned in the summary, the novel spans four different timelines – one of which, namely 2019, is solely told through snippets of communication between Katherine and Matthew (imagine fridge notes, emails, texts, etc.). Each chapter contains a part of each timeline, which, for me, made it a bit difficult to get attached to the story at the beginning. However, once I’d gotten used to it, the transitions were smooth enough and I began looking forward to reading my favourite timelines (which I think were 1854 and 2039 – the latter being my favourite because it contained the most suspense).

Throughout the novel an unknown being tracks Kate and Matt’s ‘progress’ in their relationship. I thought this was a really interesting touch. It also added another layer of suspense and invited the reader to ask more questions: what is this thing and why is it tracking, and sometimes influencing, the lives of these characters? At the end, a bit more information is given, but it remains vague, so hopefully it’ll be explained more in-depth in the sequel The Last Beginning!

Something to appraise this book for, is the amount of work that’s gone into the usage of different fonts, visualising of newspaper clippings, websites, and messages between characters. This added a great dimension to the novel and, in all honesty, is a lot more fun that just putting the text in italics. These snippets were not only fun, but also included a lot of detail surrounding the text.

There are two points that made me give this a 4/5 stars on Goodreads, the first one being is that I really would’ve appreciated the precise dates to be included at the start of each new section. Right now, the start of each section mentions where the characters are and in what year, but I would have liked to know the exact dates as well (don’t ask me why – I just feel that way!) The second point is that all four storylines, at their centre, revolve around Kate and Matt. There are not many side characters who have a lot of effect in what’s happening. I understand that the whole premise of the novel is that for some unknown reason Kate and Matt are destined to be reborn and fall in love with each other, but at times it got a bit much for me.

Over all though, Kate and Matt were two fun characters to read about and it was interesting to see how Lauren has woven the different timelines together. I would definitely recommend this book for anyone who loves stories involving romance, time-warpy elements and pieces of both historical and futuristic fiction – because this book has it all!

The Next Together is the first in a duology, the second of which is called The Last Beginning and will be published in Autumn 2016.

Love,

Christa

Ps. You might have noticed in the tags that I tagged this post/book as science fiction – that is because that seemed to be the most appropriate genre in my eyes at this moment. If I find something more suitable, I’ll change it!

Pps. If you enjoyed the book, I really recommend checking out Lauren’s website, as in the run-up to the release she’s posted lots of extras about the characters and the novel!