Christmas Book Haul • Books To Read In January

As an adult, I don’t get as much for Christmas as I used to, but I still received some great books from family and friends that I’m really looking forward to reading this January.

I mentioned to my friend that I wanted book 1 in the Grisha trilogy, Shadow and Bone, and it turned out she was my Secret Santa so I finally got my hands on it. My luck is never usually that good! I half-expected to get a generic shower and body set, but this is infinitely better!

My mammy got me The Spire (which I’ve wanted for months!) and Paper Girls 2, which she got for a great discount off Book Depository (a fantastic site to buy books), and another friend of mine got me The Legend of Eli Monpress from eBay. Unfortunately, it’s a little damaged even though he paid for a version supposedly in excellent condition so he’s going to try and get his money back. I don’t mind about some damage as long as I get to read it, so no worries on my end!

christmas book haul

I got Flashfall from December’s Fairy Loot and it looks right up my street. It’s nice to have a TBR list for every month during my book challenge as it gives the year a bit more structure. For 2017, I’ve dropped my goal a little and I’m aiming to read 30 books; I’m absolutely positive I’ll reach it, and if I exceed it then all the better.

Flashfall by Jenny Moyer 

Orion is a Subpar, expected to mine the tunnels of Outpost Five, near the deadly flash curtain. For generations, her people have chased cirium—the only element that can shield humanity from the curtain’s radioactive particles. She and her caving partner, Dram work the most treacherous tunnel, fighting past flash bats and tunnel gulls, in hopes of mining enough cirium to earn their way into the protected city.

But when newcomers arrive at Outpost Five, Orion uncovers disturbing revelations that make her question everything she thought she knew about life on both sides of the cirium shield. As conditions at the outpost grow increasingly dangerous, it’s up to Orion to forge a way past the flashfall, beyond all boundaries, beyond the world as she knows it.

The Spire by Simon Spurrier and Jeff Stokely 

The Spire is a mountain of metal and stone that rises out of the middle of the desert, containing a vast city of twisting tunnels, grinding elevators, and ancient machinery, and home to over a million human and non-human residents. Sha, the last of the Medusi, is responsible for keeping watch over them as Commander of the City Watch, despite the fact she isn’t shown any respect due to her race. When a string of grisly murders is committed just as a new Baroness of the Spire is about to be sworn in, Sha will have to find the serial killer and bring them to justice. But the new Baroness has a deep hatred of non-humans, and Sha will have more than one enemy at her back.

The Legend of Eli Monpress by Rachel Aaron 

Eli Monpress is talented. He’s charming. And he’s a thief.

But not just any thief. He’s the greatest thief of the age – and he’s also a wizard. And with the help of his partners – a swordsman with the most powerful magic sword in the world but no magical ability of his own, and a demonseed who can step through shadows and punch through walls – he’s going to put his plan into effect.

The first step is to increase the size of the bounty on his head, so he’ll need to steal some big things. But he’ll start small for now. He’ll just steal something that no one will miss – at least for a while.
Like a king.

Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo

Surrounded by enemies, the once-great nation of Ravka has been torn in two by the Shadow Fold, a swath of near impenetrable darkness crawling with monsters who feast on human flesh. Now its fate may rest on the shoulders of one lonely refugee.

Alina Starkov has never been good at anything. But when her regiment is attacked on the Fold and her best friend is brutally injured, Alina reveals a dormant power that saves his life—a power that could be the key to setting her war-ravaged country free. Wrenched from everything she knows, Alina is whisked away to the royal court to be trained as a member of the Grisha, the magical elite led by the mysterious Darkling.

Yet nothing in this lavish world is what it seems. With darkness looming and an entire kingdom depending on her untamed power, Alina will have to confront the secrets of the Grisha . . . and the secrets of her heart.

Paper Girls 2 by Brian K. Vaughan

The smash-hit series from BRIAN K. VAUGHAN and CLIFF CHIANG continues with a bold new direction, as intrepid young newspaper deliverers Erin, Mac, and Tiffany find themselves launched from 1988 to a distant and terrifying future…the year 2016.

All blurbs from Goodreads! 

What books are you reading this month? Let me know in the comments!

Books Read in April 2016 • #50bookschallenge

Another month, another disastrous attempt to stick to my #50bookschallenge. At the start of the year I wrote a post about my conflicted feelings with adding graphic novels to my book challenge count as they’re so much easier to read and the point of my challenge (when I first decided to do it) was to read actual novels, not comics, which I read plenty of.

I’m beginning to regret including them in my count.

I think that if I had stuck with just novels then I’d have far more under my belt at this stage. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve read 18 books and it’s only the start of May now, but about half of those are graphic novels. I won’t get into certain types of books being seen as ‘better’ than others (because that’s a topic for another day), but I do feel a little down about it.

All of the books I read this month were graphic novels, which is the first time this has happened. Most months I’ll still have at least one book in the mix, but not this time. I don’t want this to become a habit because, although I love reading graphic novels and I’m going to continue keeping them in my count, I want to read more BOOK books and I have to keep that in mind for May.

I don’t like to include books I haven’t finished in my monthly count, even if I’m CLOSE to finishing. Until I get to that final page, it won’t appear in one of these lists. For this reason, I haven’t included The Fifth Wave, The Girl With All The Gifts and Eragon, all of which I’ve nearly finished. But they will be featured on a count post at SOME POINT by the end of the year. Hopefully.

This month, I read: 

Maus by Art Spiegelman 

An extraordinary book and one of my favourites ever, it follows the author and cartoonist, Art Spiegelman, as he interviews his father about his experience as a Polish jew and Holocaust survivor.

I’d heard a lot about this book for years before I finally picked it up. It was touted as one of the best graphic novels of all time and has a Pulitzer under its belt (which is well deserved, in my opinion). I really loved this and found it so easy to read.

One of the aspects of the storytelling that I found ingenius was using animals to represent the different sects – mice were jews, cats were Germans, frogs were French, dogs were Americans and so on.

It was absolutely tragic, especially so when I remembered that the little animals scurrying about the pages represented real people who were mercilessly slaughtered by the Nazis. I can’t recommend the book enough, but if you have even the slightest interest in world history (and to be honest, even if you don’t) you’ll find this wonderful little book fascinating.

The Walking Dead volumes 8 – 10 

I have a bit of a zombie and The Walking Dead obsession. At this stage, it’s pretty full blown and anything with a zombie in it is sure to be right up my street. This, plus easy access through my iPad’s Image app meant that I just couldn’t help but download several volumes.

They’re so easy to read and I just need to know what happens next in the story so I’ll keep going until I’ve downloaded all the volumes. I’ll probably have the entire series read by the end of the year and then I’ll start buying up the singles. Ah, comic appreciation… or obsession… is so expensive.

Although I’ve already spoken about the series at length, I do seriously recommend you give The Walking Dead a go. It’s a fantastic survival story and the art is so raw and emotive that it’s impossible not to get invested in the characters and the story. Two hearty thumbs up.

Book count: 18/50