“My HIV isn’t a threat to you, but your ignorance is a threat to me.”
Camryn Garrett, Full Disclosure
Blurb Simone starts over at a new school where she hopes to keep the fact that she is HIV-positive hidden from her new classmates. As she gets closer to Miles, she has to make the big decision whether her diagnoses can stay a secret.
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
I think this deserves to be placed among YA classics like The Hate U Give, and similar to The Hate U Give, I would love to see this be made into a movie because I’d love as many people as possible to digest this story. It was truly incredible and so absolutely important. I loved how many issues this delves into like sexuality, race, further education and of course HIV status. This handled every single subject so well, I could have highlighted half the book. I’m so glad this covered HIV, because it’s definitely not something I’ve read much of before and this was really informative and eye-opening and a great way to learn a bit more.
The characters were all perfectly diverse, but similar to an Alice Oseman book where it doesn’t in any way feel like the author is just playing the diversity card. The conversations around sexuality were really interesting and I’m glad this also displayed a teenager questioning their sexuality because in many of the queer books I read the MC has known for a long time already, so it was nice to see the other side. It was also great to see such a nice and positive family dynamic and I loved Simone’s dads, they were both such interesting characters to learn more about too.
I also thought it was great to see a really sex positive YA book and I’m glad there are more like this now. I think there’s still a bit of a stigma of females thinking about and enjoying sex and this is often seen as wrong in some way, so it’s nice to see something challenging that.
I loved Simone and her love of theatre really spoke to me. I really enjoyed all the theatre references in here, especially all the Hamilton ones!
I’m really glad I read this and it’s definitely a book I’m going to be thinking about for a long time. As a side note, I took the audio route with this and it was so great. Adenrele Ojo gave some much emotion I was tearing up a couple of times! So definitely recommend.
It has been absolutely ages since I did a book haul, mainly because I’ve been trying to be good about buying fewer books as I work my way through my current TBR. However, sometimes it can’t be helped, so here’s all the books I’ve hauled in the past couple of months.
All The Things We Never Said – Yasmin Rahman Young Adult 16 year old Mehreen’s anxiety and depression are ruling her life. To the point that she decides to join MementoMori a website pairing people who decide to make a pact about the date and method of their deaths. Mehreen gets paired with Olivia and Cara and the three secretly meet, however as things progress, the website takes a nasty turn and they find themselves stuck in a game with each girl being pit against the other.
This book reminded me of another book I’d read with similar themes and absolutely adored, so I hope this doesn’t let me down.
Loveboat, Taipei– Abigail Hing Wen Young Adult 18 year old Ever Wong sends her to Taiwan for the summer so she can stufy Mandarin and join in with the genius children also part of the program. However, what she actually discovers is the program is more geared towards teenagers looking to party away the summer instead of studying. So Ever sets out to break every one of her parents strict rules before summer is over.
There’s been a lot of hype for this book recently and I’m definitely intrigued.
Into the Darkest Corner– Elizabeth Haynes Adult To Catherine, Lee is everything she could possibly want. He’s charming, handsome and also mysterious. What begins as a fun fling turns into something darker as Catherine learns about Lee’s violent side.
My parents got me this for Christmas as I’m starting to get more into psychological thrillers and this one definitely sounds interesting.
Infinity Son– Adam Silveira Young Adult Brothers Emil and Brighton both live in New York City, which is being torn apart by violence. Brighton has always wanted to join in, however Emil wants more than anything for the fighting to end. However when Emil suddenly shows signs of harbouring a magical ability, he ends up right in the middle of the conflict.
Adam Silveira is pretty much an auto buy author for me, I absolutely adore his writing style. I’ve had the release date (14th Jan) in my head for a long time, so when I went into Waterstones last week and found the book in the store I pretty much freaked out and of course bought it straight away. I think this is a book I’ll really love.
Heartstream– Tom Pollock Young Adult Told from two seperate POV’s, firstly Cat, who is dating a celebrity. Unfortunately, she has to keep this fact a secret as she knows the fangirls would try to destroy her if they ever found out. The second POV is Amy who uses new technology known as Heartstream, which allows users to upload their emotions to others. Still coping with her mother’s passing, Amy is surprised to find a strange woman in her house, she’s rigged with a bomb and says she needs to talk to Amy.
This is another psychological thriller and one I’ve heard is incredibly dark and twisty, so I’m excited to see where this goes, also having a character with my name doesn’t hurt!
Moonrise – Sarah Crossan Young Adult 17 year old Joe hasn’t been able to see his older brother, as he’s been in prison for the past 10 years. Joe’s brother has been on death row and now the execution date has been set. With time running out, Joe wants to understand his brother better and work out whether he actually committed the crime.
I think this will be a really heart-breaking contemporary dealing with some really sensitive issues. I hope it does it justice.
All Rights Reserved – Gregory Scott Katsoulis Young Adult Set in the future, lawyers have managed to put copyrights on words. To the point where every person over the age of 15 has to pay fees for the words they use. As Speth aproaches her 15th birthday, she decides rather than accepting the debt she could get herself into, to instead vow to remain silent. This decision threatens to tear apart her family and city she lives in.
This sounds similar to Vox in my opinion and as I completely adored that book, I’m hoping this one will also make a good impression on me and have strong commentary on our current society.
Strange Fire – Tommy Wallach Young Adult Humankind’s desires for power, money and knowledge have brought about its downfall. The remainders banded together to form the Descendancy on the strong belief history must not repeat itself, going as far as to ban all technology. Brothers Clive and Clover are sons of a respected member of the society, however when truth comes to light about the past, two sides are formed and the brothers find themselves on opposite sides of the fight.
Whilst this is very outside of my comfort zone, something about the cover and the blurb caught my attention and I couldn’t put it down at the bookstore. I’m hoping my expectations are correct about this one!
Girl of Storm and Shadow– Natasha Ngan Young Adult In Girls of Paper and Fire, 8 girls were chosen as Paper Girls to serve the King, however it’s not her Paper class but her golden fire eyes which intrigue the king about Lei. Forced into training the skills to become the king’s consort, she tries to stop her fate from being decided for her.
This is the sequel to Girls of Paper and Fire, which is a book I really loved, especially because of it’s brilliant diversity and representation. I couldn’t wait to pick up a special edition copy when it first released!
Far From You – Tess Sharpe Young Adult Sophie has been sober from drugs for over nine months now, however that’s not what everyone else believes. When she finally manages to get out of rehab, she has only one mission, to find the person responsible for the death of her best friend Mina.
Happy 2020!! I can’t believe it isn’t 2019 anymore, I genuinely looked at the date 2/1/2019 this morning and thought to myself so that was a couple of days ago… nope over a year ago! I’m hoping 2020 is going to be another great reading year and to stay on track with my reading, I’m going to try to continue posting TBR’s. So welcome to my first TBR post in 2020! 😀
City of Fallen Angels – Cassandra Clare Young Adult Having completed the first three books in The Mortal Instruments series, I’ve had a long enough break that I need to get back into the Shadowhunter universe so I can finally this series off and move onto the next one in this realm. I know many people have said this is their least favourite book in the series, so I’m keeping my expectations low.
The Foxhole Court – Nora Sakavic Young Adult Neil Josten is one of the best players at Exy, a sport which is sort of a mix between lacrosse and football. However he is trying to keep a low profile, on the run from his past. Which is why he doesn’t know what to think when he finds out his coach has sent his details to some university recruiters. One of the recruiters is from Palmetto State University and wants to recruit Neil. They’re a team which takes kids who deserve a second chance.
I follow Cait at PaperFury (paperfury.com) who continuously posts about how much she loves this book, I’m hoping I’ll feel the same!
Full Disclosure –Camryn Garrett Young Adult Simone starts over at a new school where she hopes to keep the fact that she is HIV-positive hidden from her new classmates. As she gets closer to Miles, she has to make the big decision whether her diagnoses can stay a secret.
I had this on my anticipated releases for 2019 and haven’t yet gotten round to reading it but I’m definitely excited to read it. I actually think this is now been produced as an audiobook, so I might try taking this route.
The Kiss Quotient – Helen Hoang Adult Stella has Asperger’s syndrome and decides she needs more help when it comes to relationships, so she of course turns to escort Michael. After spending plenty of time together, the two begin to develop feelings.
This seems to have been in a lot of people’s top books of 2019 and it’s been on my radar for the longest time, so I’m excited to finally delve into it.
The Places I’ve Cried in Public – Holly Bourne Young Adult Amelie truly believed her and Reese were in love and they were meant to be together. However slowly she begins to understand that love shouldn’t be this painful, so she begins to unravel the story back to the beginning to trace all the ways it went wrong.
I’ve been meaning to pick up a Holly Bourne book for the longest time and this one seems right up my alley.
Here we are in the last few days of 2019! I can’t believe that’s a full decade over with, it freaks me out. But I’m ready to step into 2020, although I hate change, I’m ready to make 2020 a fabulous year.
Anyways, onto the books I read this month. This month was all about the holiday romances for me, and I read some really fantastic Christmassy reads.
Empress Orchid – Anchee Min 2 out of 5 stars Adult In an attempt to rescue her family from poverty, 17 year old Orchid decides to join the competition to become the Emperor’s wives. However when she is chosen to be a lower-ranking concubine her journey leads to her hearing the rumours about the fall of China.
Unfortunately I didn’t get off to a fantastic start in December. I did enjoy the beginning of this, as I really enjoyed reading about Orchid’s determination and fearlessness. However the further I got into it, the harder it got to finish the book. It read like a history textbook with too many names and dates for me to keep track of. I’m not sure if I read this at the right time for me, but I couldn’t bring myself to enjoy much of this, it was really dry.
Casting Lacey – Elle Spencer 3 out of 5 stars Adult Celebrity Quinn Kincaid is tired of being in the closet, luckily her publicist creates the perfect idea for Quinn to come out to the world by hiring someone to become her fake girlfriend. However, when “fake” feelings turn into real ones, can they learn to live with each other without killing each other.
Unfortunately this wasn’t what I was hoping it’d be. Whilst I do have to admit I felt the chemistry between Lacey and Quinn, I just didn’t like the plot, it was so overly dramatic. Both MC’s were really immature, I had a hard time picturing them as mid 30s rather than teenagers. Plus they suffered one of the main issues I have with romances these days which is a lack of communication between the characters. I mean honestly they were shouting at each other for no reason, whilst thinking they wanted the other to concede so they could get back together again, it just makes no sense to me, so ended up being quite averagey.
Skylarks – Karen Gregory 4 out of 5 stars Young Adult Joni and Annabel come from very different backgrounds. Joni is struggling with her father’s health and the prospect of losing her house. Annabel meanwhile is the daughter of the richest family in town. However, the two girls strike a relationship and their lives become connected.
I really like Karen Gregory’s writing, she always picks the hardest of subjects to discuss and always manages to do them justice. Whilst Countless spoke about teenage pregnancy and anorexia, this discusses class divide and sexuality. The discussions in this were really interesting and it really made me think about the stories we read in newspapers and online which mean that we judge people so quickly. This was also so quintessentially British I loved it.Both Joni and Annabel were great characters who I was rooting for the whole time. I loved their relationship and I felt it progressed very naturally. I would say it did feel a touch repetitive at times but only slightly. Overall this was a really lovely story on a very important subject matter.
Alphas like us(book 3 of the Like Us series) – Krista and Becca Ritchie 5 out of 5 stars New Adult I was meant to wait to read this a little bit longer, but I just couldn’t resist. It’s becoming a challenge not to binge read the rest of this series in one weekend, but I’m trying to make it last! This had to be my favourite of the series so far, another instant favourite. It was such an emotional rollercoaster, I was jumping between smiling so widely my cheeks heart and trying desperately to not cry in public! Once again the narrators on audible did an amazing job. I’m so grateful that Krista and Becca created these characters and this series.
What Light – Jay Asher 4 out of 5 stars Young Adult Sierra normally lives in Oregon, however over the Christmas period her family pack up and move to live in a trailer on a christmas tree lot. Meaning she has to balance her life between her friends and school in Oregon and one month every year, her friends and community of California. This year when Sierra’s family moves to California she breaks her one rule of not getting involved with any boys at the christmas tree lot, as she knows it can only last until Christmas day. However, Caleb seems worth breaking the rules for.
Better Not Pout – Annabeth Albert 4 out of 5 stars Adult When Nick is asked by his Commanding Officer to dress as Santa for a charity event, he isn’t thrilled. He’s not a big fan of Christmas, however that changes when he meets the elf for the event, Teddy. Although only together for a short time, they suddenly can’t imagine going the whole year without each other.
I’ve previously really enjoyed Annabeth’s series Out of Uniform and after spotting this one mentioned by Dahlia Adhler at LGBTQ reads, I had to give it a go. Both Nick and Teddy were so great for each other and this was another fun Christmas pick, perfect for the holidays.
Let it Snow – John Green, Maureen Johnson and Lauren Myracle 3.75 out of 5 stars Young Adult This is a collection of 3 short stories which are all connected set at Christmas Eve and just after.
I’m normally not a big fan of short stories, but this was pretty great. I really adored the first story, Maureen’s writing is superb and so hilarious. The last one by Lauren Myracle was also great, if a touch over dramatic. The only story which I was less keen on was John Green’s, but that’s completely a personal thing just because I’m not a fan of his writing at all. I actually liked the characters and romance in his story. I also listened to this on audible, as with all my other Christmas reads and the narrators were fabulous so another audio recommendation!
Needing a Little Christmas – Silvia Violet 5 out of 5 stars Adult Eli’s plans for Christmas aren’t especially exciting, as the rest of his family plan on spending it on a cruise leaving him by himself on Christmas day. After much encouragement from his mum, he decides to travel to a family friends cabin up an isolated mountain. In the middle of a terrible snowstorm, he gets left without any wood for the fire and has to call out someone. Luckily that person is Mac, who is more than happy to rescue Eli.
I picked this up as a complete whim, as it’s narrated on audible by one of my favourite narrators and was only about 1.5 hours long and I needed something to get me through my last day at work before Christmas. This was perfectly magical and again gave my all the perfect Christmassy feelings while stuck at work. It was really great and I need to pick up a full length novel from Silvia Violet now.
Favourite book this month: Alpha’s Like Us by Krista and Becca Ritchie
So I ended up reading some amazing Christmas books and getting in a holiday mood. I’m excited now for the New Year to begin to read some new series and more seasonal reads. I hope everyone had an amazing Christmas Day (for those for celebrate) and is looking forward to celebrating the new year!
Okay so this may just be me, but I love stats. I’m always interested to know the split between how people read and what genre they read from mostly. Now we’ve made it to the end of 2019, I thought I’d check my own stats on Goodreads and see how I’ve been reading this year to help me decide on my reading goals for next year.
Overall stats So to start I managed to read a total of 115 books in 2019, which totals 45,648 pages read. My goal was 100 books so I’m glad to have totally smashed my reading goal. I’ve done better than last year on both accounts which is awesome.
The longest book I read this year was Kingdom of Ash at a whopping 992 pages (thanks Sarah J Maas!), and I gave the books I read an average rating of 4.2 stars, so I clearly enjoyed the vast majority of the books I read, which matches how I feel about my reading year. I think my average rating last year was 4.3 stars, so while I felt like I was being more critical of my books, I think I’m actually still rating books consistently which is good to know.
Publication Date In terms of publication date, I’ve read from a really wide spread of both backlist books and recently published. The oldest book I read this year was Empress Orchid, published in 2003 and I also read my fair share of 2019 new releases.
Non-fiction vs fiction This year I read 111 fiction novels in comparison to only 2 non-fiction and 2 graphic novels. I would love to read more widely next year and read a few more non-fiction and definitely more graphic novels and if possible some poetry too.
Young Adult vs New Adult vs Adult One of my reading challenges this year was to read more New Adult and Adult and I think I achieved that. I’m hoping to keep this up next year.
Genre This year I was hoping to widen the genres that I read from and try to read more fantasy than before, as I’d been putting off a lot of the fantasy series I’d desperately been wanting to catch up on.
Standalones vs Series I was interested to see my breakdown between books I read which are purely standalones and those which were series. I felt like I’d read a lot more standalones, so this stat really surprised me. I’m glad I haven’t been put off reading series too badly!
Audio vs physical reads I pretty much always have 2 books on the go at any one time. One will be my physical read, either paperback or e-book, and the other will be on audio, as I read them both at different times of the day and of the week. So I thought the split between the two would be pretty even, but I ended up reading an additional 15 books in physical than audio, so I clearly have a slight preference!
I’ve definitely had a great reading year and it’s so much fun to look back over the books I’ve enjoyed in 2019. I hope to keep the good streak going in 2020 and hopefully get all of the above stats evened out even further.
“There are so many things prickling in the back of my mind, threatening to take me out of this moment. But instead of worrying about anything, I close my eyes, lean forward, and allow myself to believe in us.”
Jay Asher, What Light
Blurb Sierra normally lives in Oregon, however over the Christmas period her family pack up and move to live in a trailer on a christmas tree lot. Meaning she has to balance her life between her friends and school in Oregon and one month every year, her friends and community of California. This year when Sierra’s family moves to California she breaks her one rule of not getting involved with any boys at the christmas tree lot, as she knows it can only last until Christmas day. However, Caleb seems worth breaking the rules for.
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
This was my first Christmas read of the season and it was a really great way to start off my seasonal reading. It was the absolutely perfect cheesy holiday romance, whilst also dealing with some heavier subjects, which is how I prefer my romances.
I really enjoyed getting to understand Sierra’s family business of selling Christmas trees. It was great that her family still loved and enjoyed the holiday time rather than becoming frustrated as they have to deal with it year round. It was also interesting to see Sierra balance her two lives between Oregan and California. This book had a lot of discussion about friendship and having to make decisions about where you spend your time and I thought it was handled very well. I actually really liked all of the side characters in this and thought they made good additions to the story.
Thankfully the romance was adorable and I was routing for them both the whole way through. What made this romance heaps better than some I’ve recently read is the communication!! Finally a book where both main characters express how their feeling and why and talk it through with each other. This was a really healthy relationship and I adored that. Both main characters were fantastic, I loved Sierra, she was a really great protagonist and made the book for me. I also really loved Caleb and understanding the mystery about his past.
The only thing I wasn’t as keen on was the relationship between Sierra and her father, it didn’t feel very consistent, her father seemed to change his mind daily about how he felt and I got a touch frustrated with this.
Overall, this was a fun, sweet, quick Christmas read. I actually listened to this on audio and really loved the narration, so can definitely recommend enjoying the book this way. If you’re looking for your next holiday read this is easily one to consider.
Now we’re nearing the end of 2019, I thought it would be the perfect time to reflect back on the reading goals I made myself at the beginning of the year and work out whether I’d actually managed to meet any of them. I’m focusing on two blogs I made in January, one was my 2019 bookish resolutions and the other was all the sci-fi and fantasy series I’d like to begin throughout the year. 2019 Bookish Resolutions and Christmas Haul 15 Fantasy and Sci fi Series I Must Read in 2019
Read more fantasy and historical fiction I think this is one I can safely say I have met and enjoyed. I went through all the backlisted fantasy books that I knew I wanted to begin and started binge reading them. I’ve made such a good start at reducing all the fantasy series I’ve been meaning to read for the longest time and I actually enjoyed the majority of them. I’ve still got some left to start but I reckon I’ll be back into a fantasy series mood in 2020 and I’ll see if I can blast through them then. In terms of historical fiction, I think I’ve also done well with reading more of it. The below are all the historical fiction books I can think of that I read this year.
Making an effort to finish off series I definitely had a slight panic at the thought of starting a 6 book fantasy series back in 2018 and one of my resolutions was to get over that and get stuck into all of the series I’d been putting off. Again, this is another resolution I think I’ve done pretty well at sticking to this year. I managed to get up to date with a number of series which I’d been meaning to start. I’m really glad I made this a resolution and that I’ve gotten over my fear of long series because more often than not I end up preferring series over standalones as it’s so great to return to a world I love with characters I adore.
Reading more New Adult and Adult books I’ve been an adamant young adult reader for a really long time, however as I grow older I’m trying to broaden my reading scope by introducing myself to more New Adult (NA) and adult novels and I’m finding I’m really loving the ones that I’ve picked out. It’s nice to give myself more choices in a book shop and not automatically assume I’ll hate anything outside of the YA section. Again, I think I’ve met my goal this year and it’s definitely something I’ll keep on my 2020 bookish goals.
Finally, I had a list of 15 Sci fi and fantasy series that I’d like to have started or continued to 2019. Out of the 15 I managed to read at least one book from 7 of them, which I’m actually really impressed with. I’d still like to continue with the other 8 of them and hopefully make headway in 2020.
Overall, I’ve definitely had a fantastic reading year and I’m hoping my good luck continues into 2020. I’m excited to set myself some new resolutions and goals that hopefully I can smash.