Personal Experiences

Books That Let Me Down This November

This post may be a little controversial, so if in the collage below are any of your favourite reads, probably get out of this blog post… Now.

These three books let me down this month, I was really looking forward to them and two out of three were books that I was approved for ARC’s from NetGalley for. I didn’t finish these books. How do I know that I didn’t like them if I didn’t finish them? You may ask. Well let me tell you a thing about me. I give every book a chance, they have 50 pages to wow me, to draw me in and invest me in the story they are telling. If by 50 pages, I’m not invested, or even slightly enjoying the book, it gets unfinished. I used to feel guilty about this process, but not anymore. There are so many books to read and so little time,so why waste precious time reading something I’m not enjoying, why waste my time as well as the authors, the review readers and the NetGalley Team’s time? Which brings me to the following three books. Hold onto your hats people.

 

 

Mirage – SomaiyaDaud

This book has such a fantastic premise, stunning cover and so many great reviews, not to mention the overall hype about it! For me, I found the pacing incredibly off, it is quite slow paced to start with, but it speeds up in moments it needs to be slow, for the reader to appreciate the scene, and it is slow in the ‘action’ type scenes. I just found it incredibly hard to get into. I found myself having to re-read passages, to go back chapters to re-read things to make the current chapter I was reading make sense.

Grace and Fury – Tracy Banghart

Again, The premise of this book sounds so good! Two sisters, chalk and cheese, both spending eternity looking after the other, even by hiding a royally, deadly secret. It sounds incredible. However I found the writing style quite stiff and the language being used added to that stiff feel. I totally understand the Victorian Era language style, but it takes away the flow from scene to scene and character to character, throughout the book. It felt like a classic style book that I was being forced to read at Uni. I didn’t finish this one, but I can see and understand why so many people are loving it. It just wasn’t for me.

To Best The Boys – Mary Weber

I requested this title from NetGalley for its originality, for the idea that a girl was going to go into a male dominated quest, kick some serious arse and get to go and get a quality education. What I wasn’t expecting was to hate the protagonist. I felt as though she was trying to hard to be cool and edgy. It made her come across as callous and obnoxious. This book is fast paced, so that aspect really works in its favour. The over all writing style is a little different to what I usually go for, I didn’t finish this book, but like Grace and Fury, I can see how this book will be well received in some circles.

 

images

That brings my let down post to an end. It wasn’t incredibly long this month, and I hope I can keep them under 5 books a month. I was a little wary of posting this, but the reasons we don’t like books are just as important as the reasons we do. I also believe that any publicity for a title is good publicity and just because I am posting something negative about these books, doesn’t mean you won’t like them. This is purely my opinion!

We as bloggers are creating conversations about titles, through these conversations, we are getting the title and authors names out there for people to make their own mind up about reading or not reading.

Did any of these titles let you down?

 

As always, thanks for reading!

Julie

Uncategorized

December TBR

This TBR is the one that has me the most worried, I know I am not going to have time to finish all of these bad boys, on my list, I may not even finish two. December is always a flail-fest when it comes to finding a tiny bit of time for myself to read. But lets be optimistic, If I manage to get through 2 of these books, I’ll call it a success!

 

9780545224901_mres

 

  The Scorpio Races – Maggie Steifvater

Published October 18th 2011 by Scholastic Press

Synopsis: It happens at the start of every November: the Scorpio Races. Riders attempt to keep hold of their water horses long enough to make it to the finish line. Some riders live. Others die.

At age nineteen, Sean Kendrick is the returning champion. He is a young man of few words, and if he has any fears, he keeps them buried deep, where no one else can see them.

Puck Connolly is different. She never meant to ride in the Scorpio Races. But fate hasn’t given her much of a chance. So she enters the competition — the first girl ever to do so. She is in no way prepared for what is going to happen.

This book is the only one by Maggie Steifvater that I haven’t read… and may be a little cheeky to add to my TBR seeing as I am halfway through it already…. That being said, it is an incredible read, I love the incoporation of horses and a whole new folklore surrounding them!

 

36672988._UY960_SS960_.jpg

Shadow of The Fox – Julie Kagawa

Published October 2nd 2018 by Harlequin Teen

Synopsis: One thousand years ago, the great Kami Dragon was summoned to grant a single terrible wish—and the land of Iwagoto was plunged into an age of darkness and chaos.

Now, for whoever holds the Scroll of a Thousand Prayers, a new wish will be granted. A new age is about to dawn.

Raised by monks in the isolated Silent Winds temple, Yumeko has trained all her life to hide her yokai nature. Half kitsune, half human, her skill with illusion is matched only by her penchant for mischief. Until the day her home is burned to the ground, her adoptive family is brutally slain and she is forced to flee for her life with the temple’s greatest treasure—one part of the ancient scroll.

There are many who would claim the dragon’s wish for their own. Kage Tatsumi, a mysterious samurai of the Shadow Clan, is one such hunter, under orders to retrieve the scroll…at any cost. Fate brings Kage and Yumeko together. With a promise to lead him to the scroll, an uneasy alliance is formed, offering Yumeko her best hope for survival. But he seeks what she has hidden away, and her deception could ultimately tear them both apart.

With an army of demons at her heels and the unlikeliest of allies at her side, Yumeko’s secrets are more than a matter of life or death. They are the key to the fate of the world itself.

I received a copy of this book in an OwlCrate, I had seen a few ARC’s floating around the place and thought it sounded cool. So now that I have a copy, I thought I’d add it to my TBR. I’m hoping that the hype doesn’t turn me off the book when I start to read, so often I find myself hating books that are so hyped over on Bookstagram.

 

9781760295691.jpg

 

LifeL1k3 – Jay Kristoff

Published May 29th 2018 by Knopf Books for Young Readers

Synopsis: On a floating junkyard beneath a radiation sky, a deadly secret lies buried in the scrap.

Eve isn’t looking for secrets—she’s too busy looking over her shoulder. The robot gladiator she’s just spent six months building has been reduced to a smoking wreck, and the only thing keeping her Grandpa from the grave was the fistful of credits she just lost to the bookies. To top it off, she’s discovered she can destroy electronics with the power of her mind, and the puritanical Brotherhood are building a coffin her size. If she’s ever had a worse day, Eve can’t remember it.

But when Eve discovers the ruins of an android boy named Ezekiel in the scrap pile she calls home, her entire world comes crashing down. With her best friend Lemon Fresh and her robotic conscience, Cricket, in tow, she and Ezekiel will trek across deserts of irradiated glass, infiltrate towering megacities and scour the graveyard of humanity’s greatest folly to save the ones Eve loves, and learn the dark secrets of her past.

Even if those secrets were better off staying buried.

A dear friend of mine Tamara (Booked for the Weekend) kindly gave me an ARC of this book, before it was published. But did I get time to read it? No. So here it is, on my December TBR. I am into Sci-fi, but I haven’t really liked Jay Kristoff’s solo books. Hopefully this one is different…

 

27268998New World Rising – Jennifer Wilson

Published January 5th 2016 by Oftomes Publishing (first published August 14th 2014)

Synopsis: Worlds collide in debut author Jennifer Wilson’s graphic dystopian series where Divergent meets Mad Max.

Since witnessing her parents’ murders at the age of eleven, Phoenix’s only purpose in life has been to uphold her mother’s dying words – to be strong and survive. But surviving outside of The Walls – outside of The Sanctuary – is more like a drawn-out death sentence. A cruel and ruthless city, Tartarus is run by the Tribes whose motto is simple, “Join or die.”

Refusing to join and determined to live, Phoenix fights to survive in this savage world. But who can she trust, when no one can be trusted? Not even herself…

The first of a trilogy, New World Rising is an epic tale of survival, instinct, trauma, and the extraordinary power of human connection.

Yet Again, this is a title that I have had in my TBR for too long, so long that the sequel has been published…

 

What the Woods Keep_F-REV2.jpg

What The Woods Keep – Katya De Becerra

Published September 18th 2018 by Imprint Macmillan

Synopsis: On her eighteenth birthday, Hayden inherits her childhood home—on the condition that she uncover its dark secrets.

Hayden tried to put the past behind her, and it worked. She’s getting ready for college, living in a Brooklyn apartment, and hanging out with her best friend and roommate Del. But now it’s all catching up with her: her mother’s mysterious disappearance a decade before, her father’s outlandish theories about a lost supernatural race, and Hayden’s own dark dreams of strange symbols and rituals in the Colorado woods where she grew up.

As soon as Hayden arrives at her hometown, her friend Del in tow, it begins: Neighbors whisper secrets about Hayden’s mother; the boy next door is now all grown-up in a very distracting way; and Hayden feels the trees calling to her. And among them, deep in the woods, Hayden will discover something incredible—something that threatens reality itself.

This book was on my radar before its release. Anything that combines the supernatural, creepy woods, and a coming of age story thrown into the mix has my name all over it. But what made me buy this beauty was Jayse (ItsmeJayse) He loved it and raved about it all over Bookstagram, so naturally, I needed to have it and read it asap. I would love to get to this one this month.

 

And that brings me to the end of the list of books that I want to read this month… I also have a short list from NetGalley that I need to read also. Here they are!

Hannah Who Fell From The Sky – Christopher Meades – Publication date Dec 4 2018 by Harlequin

War Bride – Sal Mason – Publication Date August 2018 by Rapid River Publishing

The Truth Aboout Leaving – Natalie Blitt. Publication Date January 22 2019, by Amberjack Publishing.

Camouflage by Sarah Bargiela – Publication Date 21 Feb 2019 by Jessica Kingsley Publishers

I love NetGalley and am so thankful for the opportunity to read fantastic books for free, in exchange for an honest review! But NetGalley can be overwhelming if you do what I did, when I first joined and requested way too many books. Read my tips on managing your NetGalley titles HERE

 

Well that brings my December TBR to a close. There are 8 titles here, and I am under no illusions that I’ll get to them all… But I like to have a target and a list to check at the end of the month!

Are any of these books on your TBR?

 

Thanks

Julie

 

Uncategorized

Netgalley: Pros & Cons and how to not get overwhelmed.

As a reader, it is hard not to get over-excited at the idea of free books. It feels almost too good to be true, that all you need to do in return is, write a review, a few hundred words in return for free books at your fingertips… But let me give you a tiny bit of advice, don’t do what I did, when I first found the reader’s utopia, NetGalleynetgalley_logo

I, like many readers before me, found Netgalley, made an account and requested every single title that was in the YA section… big, big mistake. In theory, requesting and being accepted for all of the books, is a dream… In reality it is super over whelming and quite intimidating. And I am here,  three years later, still trying to tackle the list of titles that past me requested… Hence why this post came to the fore-front of my mind.

Let us begin. NetGalley Pros and Cons.

Pros 

  1. Come, on… the first one is blatantly obvious… Free books, and lots of them. There is no submission area for you to plead your case, all you do is choose from the options, why you want to read the book, and press submit. Boom, you are in with a pretty good chance of receiving an E-Galley of your chosen book.

2. All you need to do is write a review, in return for your free titles. Maybe copy and paste it to your GoodReads or Amazon account. Give it a /5 rating and then search for more books to request and review.

3. Did I mention free books?

4. It is a fantastic platform to use, easy to find your way around, easy to find titles and easy to request, download and review. 

5. Your review may get featured on the title’s page! It is so rewarding to see a snippet of something you have written, on a page for the whole world to see (well all of the members of NetGalley anyway).

6. There are titles from every genre from non-fiction, to children’s picture books. There Advance Reader Copies, popular books from previous years, books being re-published and so much more. The main point of this website is publicity for all of the available titles. The more readers they can reach, the better, and this is where it gets tricky.

Cons

 

  1. The books are completely free. This may be a strange thing to be adding to a Cons list, but trust me, it is dangerous. You see, knowing they won’t cost you anything, other than your time, is such a tempting factor, to request ALLL of the books. 

2. There is no system in place to remind you when a book is going to be archived. This is when the title you have requested, becomes unavailable for downloading to your device, computer or kindle/kobo. This can lead to you not being able to read the titles you requested.

3. There is no system to remind you to write reviews, or to chase up reviews. This website gives you complete freedom. Firstly it gives you free books, with the expectation that you will review them, but it doesn’t send reminders like ‘hey, we sent you that book, any chance you can review it now?. It leaves you with the ball in your court and it is completely up to you as to when and if you return the ball… so to speak.

 

How to not become completely overwhelmed within the NetGalley platform.

 

As you can see, the pro’s outweigh the cons, but the thing that stands out in my mind, to use this platform efficiently and fairly, (and to not end up like me with a crazy amount of books sitting on my Kindle from years ago, that I still need to read and review), is to not go crazy when you first sign up. 

Here are a few of my NetGalley Reader top tips.

♦ Only choose up to five (5) titles to review per month. 

♦ Only choose those five (5) titles from genres you are genuinely interested in.

♦ Make a note of when the title is going to be archived, if it is an ARC, when it is due to be published, or if it has already been published, when it was.                                                                   This will help you to work out the order in which you need to read your requested titles. remember, publishers like your reviews to be posted as close to the publication date as possible.

♦ Write a full review.                                                                                                                                       I know this one seems obvious, but it can be so tempting to toss a few lines in the review box and move on to the next title. But remember, you are receiving this service for free, in exchange for a full and honest review. Why write something half heartedly, when you are receiving something free of charge, in exchange for your services?

♦ Netgalley have a Review percentage that they look for.                                                    They are more likely to approve you for a title if you have reviewed 80% of the titles that you have been approved for. This is where you can get unstuck. if you download all of the books, chances are you won’t get to them before they are archived. This means, if you read it, after it has been archived and even if you post the best review of your life, it still won’t go towards your review percentage… 

 

I know these things seem to take all of the fun out of the endless supply of free, available books that are at your fingertips, but I think the main thing to remember is, you are providing a service. Yes, you receive all of the ‘goods’ if you like, but this host is expecting you to hold up your end of the bargain. 

It is easy to fall into the trap of ‘collecting’ freebies, if you like, to request, download and hoard these titles for a later date, for when you feel like reading them, but try to avoid this mindset. NetGalley is a business providing readers and reviewers a fantastic service, don’t take advantage of that!

The most important thing is to remember why you signed up for the NetGalley service… wether it be for your love of reading, to get more experience writing reviews, to boost your blog posts or whatever it may be. Enjoy the chance to read something you may not have been able to find or read before. It is such a fantastic platform for readers of every kind.

As I wrap up, I realise that this post isn’t quite what I planned it to be. Sorry-not-sorry. Return the good juju that you receive and it will return to you ten-fold. If you request a book, review it before it’s publishing and archive date. Simples 🙂

As always, Thanks for reading!

Julie