Friday, 30 December 2016

Reviewing my goals of 2016 + Bookish resolutions for 2017

I can't believe it's time for me to talk about my resolutions for next year.


I know it's really cliche but 2016 actually went so quickly. This year has been a very big one! I can't begin to explain how great it's been to have joined the book community, and this year Picnic Reads turned one!

Going back to find my resolutions post from last year was hilarious! Since the lovely Kelly has given my blog a whole new look,  all my reviews and posts look like this: 
 
As my font and background used to be different! *internal cringe*

1. The real test on this goal is whether you enjoy my reviews. I have definitely put much more effort in to them, and I'm now officially a gif-a-holic if that's a thing? 

2. I did indeed join bookstagram! Bookstagram is amazing because it's a combination of two things I love books and photography. There are some really talented booktagrammers, and I really like to look at their beautiful photos! 

3. Although I didn't participate in a read-a-thon, I did participate in Book Challenge within the Australian Book Bloggers Goodreads Club, which ran this year and that was very fun to do. I also have read (and counting) 85 books for my Goodreads Challenge


4. This year, I have met so many people online and in real life! It's amazing to talk with booklovers on social media and I have absoloutley loved talking with some lovely people! The book community is so welcoming and the people are so nice! I even met up with some people at heaps of book events which was really nice! 


I'm going to keep to four goals again this year, I think that if I only have a couple, it will be much easier to focus and achieve them. 

1. To finish reading Harry Potter 
So far I have been making good progress on this goal. I have read Harry Potter and The Philosophers Stone as well as Harry Potter and The Chamber of Secrets this month, and I am going to keep to my promise to you guys that I will read at least one Harry Potter novel each month until I finish it! I don't want to be a muggle anymore, I want to be a wizard! (Sorry for the delay on the reviews of those two books by the way, I am a bit behind so I will catch those up as soon as I can) 

2. Read more diverse books written by #ownvoices
This goal is one that is very important and I urge you aswell to take up this goal. Next year I really, really want to read more books that have diverse characters and settings in them, I also think that it's very important that the books are written by #ownvoices people who have personally experienced what their character does. It's so important that books are written by authors who truly understand what their character goes through because THEY have aswell. There are so many wonderful lists floating around of books written by #ownvoices & I encourage you to search up #ownvoices to find some of the recommendations! 

Here are some Diverse Reads on my most anticipated list: 
 When Dimple Met RishiAlways and Forever, Lara Jean (To All the Boys I've Loved Before, #3)The Hate U Give

3. To complete my Goodreads Challenge
Whatever number of books I choose to read (because I honestly have no idea) I really want to complete it, this is kind of an obvious goal, but it's the best when you get to the set amount of books you wanted to read for the year. I would love to read 100 books, but I don't know if I can do it! 

4. To work out my commenting system
So over this month I have had some serious issues with comments! I've been trying to find a system that I could install so that you will get my replies. I have installed Disqus which I'm hoping will work better than what I've had, but I'm still just seeing how things go! Hopefully, by the end of next year I will have fully functioning comments! 


So those are my goals for next year! Do you have any reading goals for next year? How many books are you hoping to read? 

Thankyou for an amazing 2016! I hope you all had a really good year, if you didn't, know that 2017 is right around the corner.



Thursday, 22 December 2016

'Twas The Night Before Christmas: An Aussie Bookish Parody

It's almost Christmas!! (Stating the obvious much, Julia

Let me tell you I'm excited! And so, I have made a Aussie kinda parody of the poem ' 'Twas the Night Before Christmas' which was written by Clement Clarke Nicholas. I love this poem, and it's kind of a tradition of mine to read it on Christmas Eve. So let me tell you a few things about this parody 1. Some of the rhymes might not make sense because I had to change lines to rhyme 2. I didn't make a TONNE of edits and it really is just a parody I didn't want the poem to be completely different, so I left quite a few lines alone 3. All my edits are in bold 4. I changed the narrator from 'I' to 'She' incase you were wondering what was different about this, (those edits are also in bold.) 5. All GIFs are from The Christmas Gifs Project.


An Aussie Bookmas Poem Parody:
Lucy Letherland


'Twas The Night Before Bookmas, when all through the house,
Only one human was stirring, but it wasn't a mouse.
The stockings were hung by the chimney with care,
In hopes that some books would soon be in there.

The children were nestled all snug in their beds,
While visions of harcovers danced in their heads.
And a bookworm with a novel on her knee,
Had just settled her brain for a long winter’s read.
Image result for christmas gif


When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter,
She sprang from the bed to see what was the matter.
Away to the window she flew like a flash,
For this noise better be important, as it made her book meet the floor with a crash.



The moon on the breast of the heated earth,
Gave the lustre of mid-day to objects in it's girth.
When, what to her wondering eyes should appear,
But a miniature sleigh, and eight tiny reindeer.


Related image
With a little old wizard, so lively and quick,
She knew in a moment it must be St Nick.
More rapid than muggle athletes his coursers they came,
And he whistled, and shouted, and called them by name!

"Now, Dasher! Now, Dancer! 
Now, Prancer and Vixen!
On, Comet! On, Cupid! 
On, Donner and Blitzen!
To the top of the bookshelf! To the top of the wall!
Now dash away! Dash away! 
Dash away all!"


Versus


As grains of sand that before the wild wind fly,
When they meet with an obstacle, mount to the sky.
So up to the house-top the coursers they flew,
With the sleigh full of bookish gifts, and St Nicholas too.


And then, in a twinkling, she heard on the roof
The prancing and pawing of each little hoof.
As she drew in her head, and was lifting her book off the floor,
Down the chimney St Nicholas came with a roar.



James Curran

He was dressed all in Fjerdan fur, from his head to his foot.
And his clothes were all tarnished with the gluey peel of stickers on books.
A bundle of novels and bookish merchandise he had flung on his back,
And he looked like a mailman with bookmail, just opening his pack.

His eyes-how they twinkled! His dimples how merry!
His cheeks were as red as ACOTAR, his nose like a cherry!
His droll little mouth was drawn up like a bow,
And the beard of his chin was as white as the cover of Stealing Snow.

Ignition
The stump of a pipe he held tight like a dollar,
And the smoke encircled his head like Morozovas collar.
He had a broad face and a little round belly,
That shook when he laughed, like a mixture of Milk and Honey!

He was chubby and plump, a right jolly old fae,
And the bookworm laughed when she saw him, tomorrow would be a good day!
A wink of his eye and a twist of his head,
Soon reminded her of a character and she knew she had nothing to dread.
Greg Gunn

He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work,
And filled all the stockings with books, then turned with a jerk.
And laying his finger aside of his nose,
And giving a nod, up the chimney he rose!

He sprang to his sleigh, to his team gave a look,
And away they all flew like the torn out page of a book.
But she heard him exclaim, ‘ere he drove out of sight,

"Happy Bookmas to all, and to all a good reading night!"
Nicolas Ménard

I hope you all have a very Merry, Happy & Bookish Christmas!


Tell me, what are you doing for Christmas? Do you want any books? Are you excited to eat your own body weight in Christmas food? I AM! 
Adam Hayes
This gif is adorable, if you see this comment a name for this pudding. It's too cute not to have a name. IT HAS ICING FOR HAIR AND HOLLY LEAF MOHAWK HAIR. 

Sunday, 18 December 2016

The Winners Trilogy wins me over in the span of a month + Wallpaper!

I know, you don't have to tell me how horrible that title was

So on the 1st of December I started The Winners Curse and it is now the 18th of December (and in between reading other books) I have finished this trilogy. It was amazing. 

Also, there will be no spoilers for any of the books in this series, so if you haven't read them, you can stay!


The Winner's Curse (The Winner's Trilogy, #1)The Winner's Crime (The Winner's Trilogy, #2)The Winner's Kiss (The Winner's Trilogy, #3)
Goodreads

The Winners Trilogy by Marie Rutkoski 
Published by Bloomsbury Australia
Imprint is Bloomsbury Childrens
Aus RRP: $15.99
YA Historical Fantasy
For blurbs of book two and three, you can see Bloomsbury Australia's website! I would usually include a blurb, but as this is a series review, there would be too many!

The basic premise of the series, is explained in the blurb of book one:

As a general’s daughter in a vast empire that revels in war and enslaves those it conquers, seventeen-year-old Kestrel has two choices: she can join the military or get married. But Kestrel has other intentions. 


One day, she is startled to find a kindred spirit in a young slave up for auction. Arin’s eyes seem to defy everything and everyone. Following her instinct, Kestrel buys him—with unexpected consequences. It’s not long before she has to hide her growing love for Arin. 

But he, too, has a secret, and Kestrel quickly learns that the price she paid for a fellow human is much higher than she ever could have imagined. 


Thankyou SO much to Bloomsbury Australia for sending me THE WINNERS KISS for review! However, this does not effect my opinion of this novel.

This series is just...
It's hard to put in to words. In case you need an image, I am staring at my laptop screen completely blanking on what to say to you about this series. Let me start on characters, because that's something I can actually kind of talk about. 
Related image

Kestrel is simply an inspiring character. She's the type of character that when you read about her you instantly feel stronger. Kestrel is a strategist and I loved that about her. As confused as I got (because I have no idea how to conquer anything) Kestrel's devious yet genius plans, once thoroughly explained always begun to make sense to me. I loved how Governors would ask Kestrel what to do tell her the problem and she'd reply as if the men had asked her what they should do because they felt hungry (I know terrible simile but it's true) The way Kestrel could way up the pros and cons so quickly made reading her thoughts so much funner, especially when Arin came along. The best part of having the point of view of both Arin and Kestrel was that sometimes Kestrel could be very very cold on the exterior (which we saw from Arin's perspective) but on the inside (Kestrel's perspective) she's trying, desperately to send a message through her words that she has to pretend to be this hard, unfeeling person, but that isn't who she really is. Which is why, Kestrel makes many decisions in these books that could be seen as for one reason, but it usually is for something much, much different to the public's view.

Image result for sneaky gif
*Literally every character that knows Kestrel at all when speaking to someone who thinks she's just the General's daughter and does nothing* 

Ahh Arin. You know what I love about, Arin? Is that he doesn't hide how he feels (more so in books two and three than book one)  Also that he always trusts in people, believes in the best of people. Arin is very loveable.  At the start of this series, Arin was a complete mystery to me. That's how I want him for you aswell. I love Arin, and I could go on FOREVER about him, but all of that fangirling shall be contained inside me so that you can discover him for yourself. 
Image result for mysterious gif
THE WORLD was something I am always nervous about in fantasy novels because I'm easily confused. But the empire and everything was explained REALLY REALLY WELL.  There is definitely lots of talk about conquering territories and such but it was very easy to understand. Of course, as a little added bonus there's a map which always helps! The conflict between Valorians (Kestrel's culture) and the Herrani (Arin's culture) as a very big part of this book, and it was very interesting to see how different both cultures were. I particularly liked how the author, included brief backstories throughout each of the books, so that by the end of the book we understand both the histories of both cultures. 

As for Rutkoski's writing style, I absoloutley loved it in book one. Her metaphors were gorgeous and I really noticed how beautifully the book was written. But towards the end of the series, her writing began to overcomplicate things that were simple to explain. Descriptions that could be very simply summed up became paragraph length long. In saying that though, Rutkoski is a very talented writer and I will definitely be picking up the next book she publishes (because there will have to be a new YA book soon from her right?)

Bits & Bobs:
  • I absoloutley loved learning about the Herrani Gods and the folktales that both Kestrel and Arin knew about. The tales were darkly written and all very important, and interesting pieces of backstory (for both of the main characters)
  • The political games that are played in this book are......... LET'S JUST SAY absoloutley astounded me. The dirty game of politics is for those with a level head and sharp intelligence  (*COUGH I know a character who has both of those qualities and more COUGH ENDED*) If you didn't get that hint, Kestrel, is the perfect player.
  • These books also include utterly awesome supporting characters. Who are introduced in books two and three, ONE IS SO SASSY AND I LOVE IT also another is just ADORABLE AND SO CARING and I really liked them both.


I absoloutley loved this trilogy, and so I decided to make a graphic of one of my favourite quotes from the series. (This quote is one of my favourite quotes of all time)


Please note:
  • This quote belongs to Marie Rutkoski and is from her book, The Winners Kiss.
  • Please do not re-upload this graphic to social media, if you would like to share it, send the link of this post.
  • This graphic was made by me, please don't say you did.
  • You may use this graphic for personal use only it should never be used commercially. 


Because I'm only an amateur graphic designer, I made this graphic in a square, which doesn't really fit iPhone or Samsung phones perfectly, but if you have a Apple Mac laptop, if you like the wallpaper, you can use it on tile setting and it fits well!


Did you like The Winners Trilogy? Who'd you like better Arin or Kestrel (*evil cackle* also I'm not answering that if you ask me) Also, did you like my graphic or should I just give up on graphic design?

Wednesday, 7 December 2016

The Sunshine Blogger Award

I can't believe it, but a few weeks ago I was nominated by the lovely Flavia @ Flavia The Bibliophile Blog for the Sunshine Blogger Award (See her post here)


This is my first blogger award and just thankyou so much Flavia! 

  sunshine.png
The rules:
Answer the 11 questions from the nominator
Nominate 11 blogs
Ask them 11 questions

1. Which 2016 release are you most looking forward to? (I know that there isn’t much left of 2016, but there are still books coming out!)

The Secret of a Heart NoteI am really excited for The Secret of A Heart Note by Stacey Lee! The cover is stunning, and the blurb sounds amazing! It's about a sixteen year old girl, who has an over-sensitive sense of smell which she uses to mix potions to make others fall in love! She is one of two aromatuers left on the planet. But this talent comes at a price if she falls in love, she immediatley loses her unique gift. 


2. Which 2017 release are you most looking forward to?

I have rendered my answer for this question down to two books (but if you want to see a two part list of all of my anticipated releases, here are the posts Anticipated Reads Part One and Part Two) A Court of Wings and Ruins by Sarah J Maas is the third book in the A Court of Thornes and Roses series (which I absoloutley love!) A Court of Mist and Fury was one of my favourite books of this year and I can't wait to read more about these characters and world! Also, When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon  is a really cute, contemporary about two Indian-American teenagers and their lives before and after they meet at a web design summer program! 

3. Do you like the bookish social media scene? Why?

I really like bookish social media! I have met so many lovely people, readers and bloggers through it who I look to chat with about books! Bookstagram is another great outlet for bookish social media, there are so many gorgeous bookstagram accounts and it's another way to chat about books and photography. I really like bookish social media which is why it is absoloutley horrible when drama involving books, authors or readers starts. We have this amazing online community and it honestly makes me so sad when arguments online arise. For the most part though, I think that bookish social is absoloutley awesome. 

4. If a book and its movie adaptation are both available for your reading or viewing pleasure, which do you go for first?

BOOK BOOK BOOK BOOK. Without a doubt, I always read the book first! For the majority of book to movie adaptions, in my opinion, I think that the book is better. Also isn't it better to read the book so you know the story, and then compare it to the movie, since the movie is based off it? You can't really do it the other way around? I'd also feel so unmotivated to read the book if I'd got spoiled in the movie, but I guess that could also work the other way around too? I just think that the author put so much hard work in to the book, it's great to read the authors book and see all of her/his work be brought to the screen!

5. Do you prefer physical, traditional books? Or e-books?

100% physical books! The only time I read ebooks are when I beta-read otherwise I will always read a paperback! There's something special about reading off a page and not a screen and it's easier for me to focus on the book if the words are on a page and not my laptop screen (where I can easily go on to the internet and get distracted!) Same for me with buying books, I love to be in a bookshop surrounded by novels and be able to pick a book from the shelves over online shopping.

6. What kind of music do you listen to when you’re reading (or do you not listen to music)?

I don't listen to any music when I'm reading! I have to read in silence otherwise I find myself having to read the chapter again because I didn't understand anything (since there was noise and I couldn't concentrate on the words!) I know, pretty fussy mind. 

7. If you were offered a bundle of bookmarks, or a bookish candle, which would you choose?

I am choosing bookish candle for this question (which by the way, really like this question) I have a lot of bookmarks (and I do really like them) but for some reason I always end up using a scrap of paper to actually use because I'm too afraid of bending my actual bookmarks (I need wooden ones I know. I've seen some wooden bookmarks and they are STUNNING. Especially ones with burnt quotes in them!) Anyway, bookish candles are so rarely made in Australia and I have never bought a book scented candle because SHIPPING TO AUSTRALIA IS SO EXPENSIVE! All the bookish candles on Etsy sound so good, I REALLY WANT TO SMELL SOME!  I would really like one though, so definitely bookish candle!

Etsy has character candles guys. Rhysand.

8. Are you in the mood for particular kinds of books during different seasons of the year? Such as classics during the Fall, or beach reads during Summer?

During Autumn and Winter I really like to read cozy, warm contemporaries and during the Christmas period I like to read at least one book based around Christmas time. As much as I like to read certain books around Autumn and Christmas I usually just end up reading whatever I need to read without any link to the month, but I usually try to have a read of at least one book relating to the season. 

9. Do you actively keep up with book trends? Or do you just go for what sounds good to you, no matter the year of release?

I usually try to be in the know with book trends but there are so many that sometimes I just can't keep up. Next year, I will definitely try and read most of my anticipated releases, but I don't know how I'll go. I haven't kept up with many series trends e.g. I haven't read Divergent, Throne of Glass, The Hunger Games or Harry Potter and I am trying to catch up on these series soon! So a bit of both is my answer. Most of the time I just read books no matter of the year it was released, but at the same time I like reading books after they've just come out, because you can talk about the book with others who are reading it (and avoid spoilers) but at the same time HYPE IS SCARY AT THE HOT-OFF-THE-PRESS STAGE!

10. Do you read more than one book at once?

No! I have never been able to read more than one book at once because which book do I choose to read when I feel like reading, how do I stop myself from getting confused and also what if my opinions of one book gets muddled because I don't like the other book? Even though I can't read, I do find it amazing people who can read 2+ books! They read SO MANY BOOKS every month, I don't understand how they do it, but it's incredible!

11. What are you reading now?

I am just about to start reading 
The Winners Crime by Marie Rutkoski, the second book in the Winners Trilogy! This series was recommended to me by Anisha @ Sprinkled Pages! I really liked the first book (four stars) and I can't wait to read this book!

I Nominate:
Jaz @ Pixselski 
Cait @ Paper Fury
Eugenia @Genie in a Book
Steph @Igniting Pages 
Anisha @ Sprinkled Pages


Your questions:
1. What's your favourite book you have read this year?

2.  What's a book you are so excited for in 2017, you are thinking of/have pre-ordered?

3. A book that you plan to read in 2017 because it's been sitting on your TBR for SO LONG?

4. Do you buy books or borrow books (e.g. from the library) more often?

5. What are some of your favourite things about book blogging?

7. Favourite genre and why? 

8. If you could make a candle for one of your favourite characters, who would it be & what would you put in it/ how would it smell?

9. Apart from books, what is another thing you love?

10. Why do you think reading diversely is important? Recommend some of your favourite diverse books!

11. A book (publishing in 2017) that's cover you can't take your eyes off?


Thankyou again to Flavia for nominating me and let me know all your answers in the comments!

Tuesday, 6 December 2016

I finally stop procrastinating and write my Crooked Kingdom review



I really liked Crooked Kingdom. It's a big book but it is worth it! Also, I was kind of terrified to read this book but let me talk about that a bit later.


Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo 
Published by Hachette Australia
Imprint is Orion Childrens Books
Published in September 2016
Aus RRP: $22.99
YA Fantasy



After pulling off a seemingly impossible heist in the notorious Ice Court, criminal prodigy Kaz Brekker feels unstoppable. But life is about to take a dangerous turn - and with friends who are among the deadliest outcasts in Ketterdam city, Kaz is going to need more than luck to survive in this unforgiving underworld.

Thankyou SO much to Hachette Australia for sending me this book for review! However, this does not effect my opinion of this novel.

----------------------------
Crooked Kingdom is the second book in the Six of Crows duology and so this review contains minor spoilers for Six of Crows. I recommend leaving this review if you haven't read the first book. But come back after you have so you can hear my thoughts on Crooked Kingdom!

----------------------------

Some back story:

If you follow my Goodreads, you will know that I  gave Six of Crows 3.5 stars. Which means that I liked the book. But it doesn't mean that I absoloutley loved it like everyone else seemed to.  You could narrow this down to a few reasons: 

1. I had only read Shadow and Bone at the time and so didn't have a great handle on the Grisha world
2. I was in a slump, which doesn't help when you're reading a 400 page book.

Whatever it was Six of Crows just didn't click for me. This is where I say to you, read the first two books of the Grisha trilogy AT LEAST before you pick up Six of Crows or Crooked Kingdom. Most people will tell you that it's ok to start the Six of Crows Duology without reading The Grisha Triology but in my opinion Six of Crows could've been a 5 star read for me if I had read it AFTER I had read the Grisha trilogy because the world would've made so much more sense to me (and the setting was my main issue with Six of Crows)

Nevertheless, this review is for Crooked Kingdom. 
Which I read after I read book two in the Grisha Trilogy Siege and Storm. Can I please say, I loved the Grisha world in Crooked Kingdom because Siege and Storm goes in to such great detail about the world. Crooked Kingdom might not have the most amount of action, but that was something I kind of liked about the book! It really focused on the characters, something I loved because the characters are everything!!


I was so happy that in Crooked Kingdom, Kaz really started to open up! Of course he was still a mysterious and EXTREMELY DANGEROUS BEAN but YAY FOR KAZ! AND YAY FOR ALL OF THE KAZ AND INEJ FEELS. I must admit that I am a huge lover of Nina (and Matthais is just THE CUTEST FJDERAN!!! And them TOGETHER) and this book HAS ALL THE FEELS FOR THEM AS WELL! We also get lots of the adorable Wyland and THE ABSOLOUTLEY HILARIOUS JESPER WHO IS ACTUALLY SO FUNNY! All of the characters work SO WELL TOGETHER! Their witty banter is just the best! I really love how each character brings a different asset to The Dregs and they just work together so well!

Although the plot wasn't action every minute every second I really liked it.  It left time for the reader to get to know the individual characters and as this book is narrated by multi characters it was nice for it not to be as hectic and plot based but character based! 

ALSO: Warning before you pick up this book, don't read it before your sisters birthday party because emotions!! Yes, I finished this book before a birthday party, cried at the end and well, just finish this book at a time when you are in SOLITUDE and don't have things to do for at least 24 hours afterwards.

Bits & Bobs:
  • Leigh Bardugo's writing style in this book is amazing! The descriptions are so beautiful Leigh has a wonderful way with words.
  • Sometimes some parts of this novel confused me, especially within action scenes the descriptions of how to use the equipment (and what it does) confuzzled me! But that might just be a thing that only I didn't understand because I don't know much about high wire equipment. Or the things needed for Wylan's potion?
  • I loved learning more about Inej in this book! There's a lot on Suli culture in this book (AND SKILLET BREAD, which reminds me that I need to make Skillet bread) I really loved also learning about Jesper, and his life as a boy! Also learning about Fjerdan traditions was actually the best! So much thought went in to Druskelle traditions and I just loved reading and learning about Matthais' history!
  • ALSO ALWAYS HAVE TISSUES HANDY!!! (But seriously have a love/hate relationship with the ending because there are sooo many emotions!)
  • I think this could've been a 5 star read for me if I didn't overthink everything I read! If I just read the book and not worried about what my end opinion would be, I would've been more relaxed and probably enjoyed the book more! It's just with Six of Crows I loved the characters so much but not the plot and I didn't want Crooked Kingdom to be the same! I wanted to love the plot as much as I did the characters. So I pretty much OVER ANALYSED everything which I think lessened my reading experience. Someone tell me to stop looking in to EVERY LITTLE DETAIL!


I really liked Crooked Kingdom! I think after I finish the Grisha Trilogy completely I will re-read them both and see if I enjoy them more if I understand the world better! 

Thankyou so much again to Hachette, who I absoloutley begged for a review copy of this book from!

Have you read Crooked Kingdom? What'd you think of it? Let me know!