January Wrap-Up & February TBR

Thanks to the week of Bout Of Books at the start of January, I pushed myself to read more than usual and got a good headstart on my reading goal of 52 books for the year. I read a total of 10 books this month - which is 6 more than I'd set myself (I aimed to read one book a week, at least). I read some great books, some not-so-great, and even found some new favourite authors. All in all, January has been a really good month!
Thank you to everyone who has followed the blog and left comments over the past few weeks; it's been a great first month of blogging!

January Wrap-Up

January Ratings & Reviews

•Zodiac - Romina Russell | ♡ ♡ ♡ | Review

•Messenger of Fear - Michael Grant | ♡ ♡ ♡ ♡ 1/2 | Review

•Fight Club - Chuck Palahniuk | ♡ ♡ ♡ |

•Nomad: Girl Without a World - McKeever & Baldeon | ♡ ♡ |

•The Iron Trial - Holly Black & Cassandra Clare | ♡ ♡ ♡  | Review

•The Calling -James Frey & Nils Johnson-Shelton | ♡ ♡ ♡ ♡ | Review

•The Key - Sara B. Elfgren & Mats Strandberg | ♡ ♡ ♡ ♡ ♡ | Review

•Saga Volume 1 - Brian K. Vaughan & Fiona Staples | ♡ ♡ ♡  ♡ Review

•The Martian - Andy Weir | ♡ ♡ ♡ ♡ 1/2 | Review

•Hidden - Megg Jensen | ♡ ♡  | Review to come

•Mind the Gap Volume 1 - McCann, Esquejo & Oback | DNF Review

February To-Be-Read

Did you read any great books this month?
And what do you plan on reading in February?

Stacking the Shelves [3]

Stacking the Shelves is all about sharing the books you are adding to your shelves, may it be physical or virtual. This means you can include books you buy in physical store or online, books you borrow from friends or the library, review books, gifts and of course ebooks.
Stacking the Shelves is hosted by  Tynga's Reviews.


The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks - E. Lockhart
The Demon King - Cinda Williams Chima
The Young Elites - Marie Lu

For Review

Hidden - Megg Jensen
Seeker - Arwen Elys Dayton

What did you get this week?

Feature & Follow Friday #1

Graphic Novel Review | Saga Volume 1 - Brian K. Vaughan & Fiona Staples

Series: Saga Vol. 1
Publisher: Image Comics
Release Date: October 23, 2012
Page count: 160
Genre: Fantasy | Sci-Fi 
Age bracket: Adult
Source: Purchased

This is how an idea becomes real.

From Goodreads:
When two soldiers from opposite sides of a never-ending galactic war fall in love, they risk everything to bring a fragile new life into a dangerous old universe. 

From New York Times bestselling writer Brian K. Vaughan (Y: The Last Man, Ex Machina) and critically acclaimed artist Fiona Staples (Mystery Society, North 40), 
Saga is the sweeping tale of one young family fighting to find their place in the worlds. Fantasy and science fiction are wed like never before in this sexy, subversive drama for adults. 

This specially priced volume collects the first six issues of the smash-hit series The Onion A.V. Club calls "the emotional epic Hollywood wishes it could make."

Collects Saga issues #1-6
~ • ~

Marko and Alana are on the run. Having fled her post as Private First Class to elope with Marko, a rival soldier and former prisoner in Landfall's detention center, Alana is now classed as a deserter and a wanted woman. With the addition of a newborn baby to their family, all Alana and Marko want is to find peace away from the galactic war that is raging between their respective rivalling planets of Landfall and its moon, Wreath, that is taking place on the planet Cleave.

With bounties on their heads and a reward for whoever captures their baby girl unharmed, the couple must outrun wickedly skilled Freelancers as well as their own people.

Did I just find my new favourite graphic novel?

After seeing just the cover artwork alone, I think I knew that I was bound to fall in love with Saga. Have you seen the artwork? If you haven't, then take a look at it in beautiful high-quality. Stunning, right? Well, the rest of the graphic novel is like that; simply beautiful work. Everything is vibrant and the colouring is gorgeous and just ugh, YES, I live for artwork like this.

Another thing I love : the characters. Never have I come across such sassy characters in a graphic novel; they're wonderful. Alana is gloriously sarcastic and comes across as being a badass - but you can tell that deep down she's a total softie when it comes to Marko and Hazel. And she has wings. Then there's Marko who wants to put his violent past behind him but would, if it came to down to it, kill for his family. Oh, Marko. I mean, just look at that face. 
I want my own Marko.
Then we've got numerous side-characters who are just as awesome. I can't even put into words how intrigued I am by Prince Robot IV. Like, WHAT ARE YOU??? There are so many weird and wacky creatures in Saga .. it's crazy and I love all these unique, diverse things. I want a Lying Cat, yes, I do.

After that ending, I'm so glad I've already purchased the next three volumes; I can't wait to read more, and hopefully I will enjoy them as much as I enjoyed Volume 1!

Now, I'd like to point out that this is definitely for mature readers. There's violence and sex galore. So, if you're not comfortable with - or not of an age for graphic content.. you've been warned.

From my very first day, I was pursued by men.
All of them tried to hurt me, but only one managed to break my heart.

"Waiting On" Wednesday | Lair of Dreams - Libba Bray

"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking the Spine.

My pick of the week is:

Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
July 7, 2015 

From Goodreads:

After a supernatural showdown with a serial killer, Evie O'Neill has outed herself as a Diviner. Now that the world knows of her ability to "read" objects, and therefore, read the past, she has become a media darling, earning the title, "America's Sweetheart Seer." But not everyone is so accepting of the Diviners' abilities...

Meanwhile, mysterious deaths have been turning up in the city, victims of an unknown sleeping sickness. Can the Diviners descend into the dreamworld and catch a killer?

The Diviners is one of my favourite books and, although I've yet to read all her books, Libba Bray is one of my favourite authors. I completely devoured The Diviners when I read it back in 2012; it was unlike anything I'd read before. Bray's writing is completely magical and transports you back in time to 1920's New York with its Ziegfeld Girls and speakeasies, with some good ol' paranormal activity, and it's a read that still plays on my mind two-and-a-bit years later.
I'm so ridiculously excited and impatient for the long-awaited sequel, Lair of Dreams - it's definitely up there with my most anticipated books of the year. I think I might even shed a little tear when I finally get my hands on it.

What releases are you excited for?

DNF Review | Mind the Gap Volume 1: Intimate Strangers - McCann, Esquejo & Oback

Series: Mind the Gap #1
Publisher: Image Comics
Release Date: October 30, 2012
Page count: 168
Genre: Mystery | Paranormal 
Source: Netgalley

Everyone is a suspect.
No one is innocent.


From Goodreads:
Elle Peterssen is young, wealthy, and beautiful - and there is a reason someone tried to kill her. Only, Elle doesn't remember any of this.
Mind the Gap, the new series by the Eisner Award-winning writer JIM McCANN (Return of the Dapper Men), is a mystery with a paranormal twist.
Elle, in a spirit form detached from her comatose body, must not only unravel the mystery of her attacker's identity and motive but her entire life as well.
Who can she trust, in both this word and in the gap she exists in that lies between life and death? Filled with twists and turns, Elle's life isn't the only one turned upside down by the attack on her life.
Deceit, secrets, and hidden agendas are everywhere in a story where everyone is a suspect, and no one is innocent.
Collects Mind the Gap #1-5

 ~ • ~

Ellis Peterssen is taken into hospital after being found collapsed and in a coma at a Subway station that is off her usual daily travel route. Her best friend is convinced that Ellis didn't simply fall but was, however, maliciously attacked. Ellis herself knows she was attacked; although her body is in a coma, her spirit is in a sort of in-between purgatory called The Garden - and there she meets Bobby, a guide who will help her to piece together the attack that she knows happened but can't remember the details of.

Well, I really didn't enjoy what I read of Intimate Strangers. The mere 100 pages I managed felt more than twice that amount; it was a struggle to read that much and I just wanted to give up on it well before that point.
I really wanted to like it; the synopsis made it sound like something I could very well enjoy. However, in my humble opinion, it just felt like a good idea extremely poorly executed.

Unfortunately, the dialogue did absolutely nothing for me. Not only that, the story just felt so disjointed and all over the place and wasn't pleasant to read. Both Elle's nosey, law-breaking co-doctor and best friend have their suspicions that there's more going on with Elle's accident than meets the eye but where did these suspicions even come from? There are discrepancies between her medical charts and she also made strange phonecalls to her friend and boyfriend the morning of her accident. But how, exactly, does that warrant suspicions for attack? Convenient of them to think so.

Between the unlikeable characters (I'm looking hard at you, Bobby), bad script, and artwork I really didn't like, I'd had enough and felt like I would be wasting my time reading any further. After the second chapter and into the third, I rapidly lost interest in finishing reading and really couldn't force myself to pick it back up.

Top Ten Tuesday | Top Ten Books I'd Read If I Had A Bookclub

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme created and hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.

If you couldn't tell, most of these are Adult novels. For me, Adult novels -bar those in the High Fantasy genre- are a struggle to pick up. I often need to force myself into reading anything outside of the YA category, so I think being part of a book club would be the best motivation for me to read some of these books. I do intend to read them at some point in the future, however, whether or not I have someone to read them with.
I have already read Let the Right One InThe Fellowship of the Ring, and The Two Towers; I thoroughly enjoyed them but would love to read them again - this time with other people to discuss with.

What would you like to read with a book club?

Review | The Martian - Andy Weir

Publisher: Ebury Publishing
Release Date: February 13, 2014
Page count: 369
Genre: Sci-Fi 
Age bracket: Adult
Source: Purchased Ebook

I'm stranded on Mars.

From Goodreads:
I'm stranded on Mars.
I have no way to communicate with Earth.
I'm in a Habitat designed to last 31 days.
If the Oxygenator breaks down, I'll suffocate. If the Water Reclaimer breaks down, I'll die of thirst. If the Hab breaches. I'll just kind of explode. If none of those things happen, I'll eventually run out of food and starve to death.
So yeah. I'm screwed.
~ • ~

NASA crew Ares 3 are due to spend a 31-day mission on Mars. On Day 6, a severe dust storm sweeps through their camp, forcing them to abort their operation. In their haste to leave, Mark Watney is struck down by flying wreckage and thought of as dead; his crew are forced to leave his body and return to Earth. However, Mark is not dead - he's very much alive and only in need of stitches. Stuck in a Hab on the Martian plain of Acidalia Planitia with very few resources and no means to contact Earth, Mark must put all his training and skills as a botanist to the test in a desperate attempt to survive. 

I really wasn't expecting to like this just as much as I did. I had visions of spending the majority of this book bored; how are all 300+ pages documenting a man isolated and alone on Mars going to be entertaining? I was still intrigued, though, and still wanted to give it a go - and I'm glad I did. I assumed this was going to be a serious, heavy story, but it's far from that.
Written in the style of daily logs, Mark journals the main points of each Sol he spends on Mars. Mark has a very unique voice; even though he's in a dire situation, he is often light-hearted and jovial, which makes for an easy and surprisingly humorous read. 

The Martian was very interesting and enlightening. It shows Mark, who's an extremely intelligent man, putting what little resources he has to very good use. I mean, he grows potatoes in his Hab on Mars. He makes his own soil out of refuse; water by burning hydrogen and using the various Hab systems available to him. It's just so clever.
Each day, he continues to push himself to stretch out the use of the six-person-crew rations of gear and food, all the while creating new means for himself to attempt to survive the four long years until the next scheduled Ares mission is due to land.

Another interesting thing was that not all of the book is centered around Mark. We get glimpses into the working days of various staff members of NASA, such as the administrator, director, and head of PR, as they deal with the aftermath of Mark's "death". There are also insights into the media frenzy surrounding the whole fiasco, and the planning of the Ares 4 and other missions, so we get to see everything from two very different sides.

Now, while I really enjoyed this book, I spent a lot of the time completely confused. There's an abundance of science jargon, NASA/space-terms that I'm not familiar with, and a lot of chemistry and botany things that went completely straight over my head.
Obviously, this isn't the book's fault... I'm just not as well-educated as some people on these topics.
It's not you, it's me.
However, this didn't detract from how much I enjoyed the story as a whole.

Overall, it was an entertaining and interesting read with likeable characters and an ending I found myself really satisfied with, and emotional about. If you're interested in space-travel and science, I think it'd definitely be worth giving The Martian a read!

Astronauts are inherently insane. And really noble.

Sunday Post #1

The Sunday Post

The Sunday Post is a weekly meme hosted by Caffeinated Book Reviewer. It's a chance to share news~ A post to recap this past week on your blog, showcase books and things we have received. Share news about what is coming up on our blog for the week ahead. See rules here: Sunday Post Meme

I didn't get an awful lot of books read this week; on Monday, I went up to Dublin for my father's birthday which resulted in me spending the next few days in a tired-coma due to a hell of a lot of walking (and shopping!). I had my second visit to Chapters, which is the country's largest independent bookshop. Their selection of graphic novels, manga, and YA novels was simply heaven... and I didn't even make it up to their previously-owned section! I couldn't face stairs at that point, haha! I'll have to visit again and be suitably prepared for all the trekking next time.
For the rest of the week, I had to finish reading The Key which was a heavy read at 850+ pages and took me longer to finish than I expected it to. Other than the Dublin trip, nothing much exciting or newsworthy has happened.  How was your week?

Last Week On The Blog

Next Week On The Blog

 Top Ten Tuesday | Top Ten Books I'd Read If I Had A Bookclub

 Waiting On Wednesday

 Graphic Novel Review | Saga Vol. 1 - Brian K. Vaughan & Fiona Staples

 Review | The Martian - Andy Weir

 Feature + Follow Friday

 Stacking The Shelves

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