The #DAReadathon Sign Up Post + TBR

Posted January 5, 2017 by Hannah in uncategorized / 2 Comments

dareadathon-sign-up

Hey guys! The wonderful Aentee over at Read at Midnight is hosting a great readathon over the next two weeks – the #DAReadAThon! Inspired by spells from Harry Potter and focusing on diversity, Aentee has put together 7 prompts – 1 book per spell!

I was meant to do this post back in December, and if you’d still link to join, just head to the sign up post on Aentee’s website (click on the image above!). Anyone can join in, and the readathon is from January 1 through to 15th January.

I’m really excited to take part – one of my goals this year is to read more diversely, and read out of my comfort zone. Because I’ve placed myself on a no-buy ban for the year, sourcing books for this challenge was a little difficult as I realised just how un-diverse my shelves are…something that definitely needs to be rectified! So I’m going to use the #DAReadAThon as an extra sort of way to find #OwnVoices and diverse reads that I need to add to my bookshelves!

Go Gryffindor! What House do you belong to? Without further ado, here are the spells, and the books I’ve chosen for each of them! Have you read any?

dareadathon-expecto-patronum 

How It Feels to Fly has been on my TBR for a while now, and I’ve been wanting to read it for a long time. There’s a lot of themes here that resonate with me on a personal level, especially when I was a teenager. Once upon a time, I used to dance, and even though at the age of 11 my hopes of moving to White Lodge and joining the Royal Ballet became more of a whimsical fantasy, I did exams all the way up until I graduated high school. I did the eisteddfods and the competitions, even though I wasn’t in it competitively, but I suffered from performance anxiety on more than a few occasions. I was never slim enough, never pretty enough, never co-ordinated enough. I’ve seen how even though ballet is a beautiful thing, it can be detrimental to a person at the same time.

 Anxiety, Panic Attacks/Disorder, Body Dismorphic Disorder

da-readathon-expelliarmus

 

Let me be honest: I don’t read a lot of books featuring LGBT characters. It’s nothing personal, don’t misunderstand me, it’s just most books I pick up, LGBT characters are more…sidelined? Okay, time to definitely change that. What a great place to start, with some #LoveOzYA too! Add in family relationships and I’m really excited to read this novel.

LGBTQIA, F/F Relationships

 

 

 

da-readathon-protego

 

 

I’ve heard so many good things about this book and its sequels! I loved the Summer series (I got kicked out of a Waterstones for reading the books once) and I’m sure this will be just as great. I chose Jenny Han for this prompt as I’m a firm believer in normalising diversity because it should be the norm. Bracketing it into a box is not the way to make sure that stories are inclusive of all backgrounds, genders, races…you get the point.

East Asian Main Character, #OwnVoices

 

 

da-readathon-reducto

I am so excited to finally have an excuse to read And I Darken! To be honest, I was sold at gender swapped Vlad the Impaler (yeah, that guy), but after reading all the reviews, And I Darken sounds like such an awesome read, just gimme gimme gimme. In the same vein that The Winner’s Trilogy is fantasy but with no magic, White is breaking down those barriers of no magic fantasy in YA based on the Ottoman Empire, which you don’t see a lot of in fiction especially YA. So there’s that. And I mean, I feel really, really bad that I’ve never read a White novel, especially considering she’s written one of my favourite literary quotes of all time.

Islam, Gay Main Character, Non-Western Fantasy

 

 

 

dareadathon-impedimenta

This gorgeous thing has been on my TBR since September last year, one of the many impulsive Edelweiss review copies I’m planning to get through in the next couple of months…so what a better time, right? What draws me in is the friendship aspect between Frances and Aled and that it’s got a really, really good rating on Goodreads right now (4.45 stars, that’s pretty fabtastic). I haven’t read Oseman’s debut novel (which I hear is also great), and I’m hoping the “readers who love Fangirl” part isn’t as bad as it sounds (was not a Fangirl fan).

Biracial Main Character, Anxiety/Depression, LGBTQIA

 

 

 

dareadathon-stupefy

Fantasy, curses and mythology. What a neat little package of yes please I want to read this. I’ve heard good and bad things – it seems like a book that has people quite divided, but I’m ready to dive into a fantasy world that doesn’t have a Western setting, and I mean, that cover alone makes you want to pick it up and read straight away. Plus I hear the romance is pretty good????

South Asian Mythology, #OwnVoices, Non-Western Setting

 

 

 

dareadthon-lumos

Oh look, another book with a ballet setting. Wooo! Another book that I’ve heard really good things about, this one was recommended to me by Emily who has the most amazing recs, so please take her advice when she tells you to read a book! There seems to be a diverse range of characters in this, so I’m pretty excited to start reading.

Biracial Main Character/s, Intersectionality, #OwnVoices, Mental Health, Eating Disorders

Are you taking part in the #DAReadAThon? Feel free to connect with me, or on social media to keep up with me!

 

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Fire & Ice Rarely Play Nice: Frostblood by Elly Blake

Posted January 2, 2017 by Hannah in Reviews, Young Adult / 0 Comments

Fire & Ice Rarely Play Nice: Frostblood by Elly BlakeFrostblood Series: Frostblood Saga #1
by Elly Blake
Published by Hodder & Staughton, Hachette Australia on 10th January 2017
Pages: 304
Format: E-Book, E-ARC
Source: Publisher, Netgalley, Won
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Goodreads

The first in a page-turning young adult fantasy series perfect for fans of Victoria Aveyard's Red Queen and Sarah J. Maas's Throne of Glass series.

In a land governed by the cruel Frostblood ruling class, seventeen-year-old Ruby is a Fireblood who has spent most of her life hiding her ability to manipulate heat and light - until the day the soldiers come to raid her village and kill her mother. Ruby vows revenge on the tyrannous Frost King responsible for the massacre of her people.

But Ruby's powers are unpredictable...and so are the feelings she has for Arcus, the scarred, mysterious Frostblood warrior who shares her goal to kill the Frost King, albeit for his own reasons. When Ruby is captured by the Frost King's men, she's taken right into the heart of the enemy. Now she only has one chance to destroy the maniacal ruler who took everything from her - and in doing so, she must unleash the powers she's spent her whole life withholding.

Frostblood is set in world where flame and ice are mortal enemies - but together create a power that could change everything.

Frostblood is the first fantasy release of 2017 that I’ve read, and boy oh boy, does it set the bar high for the rest of 2017’s fantasy releases. If this is the calibre of books coming out, then please, by all means, hit me with them.

Ruby is our heroine, a girl with fire running through her veins who watches her mother die at the hands of the ruling Frostbloods and imprisoned. Years later, she is rescued by an order of monks, who wish for her to help them depose of the Frost Throne and in turn, the ruthless King. When Ruby is captured by the Frost King’s men and forced to fight for her life, what she must overcome in order to survive will be her greatest test.

There is so much to love about this book. The two opposing sides, Frostbloods and Firebloods, have a tumultuous history that Blake is able to weave into the story without info dumping like a boring world history lesson. Instead, what we do learn about Sudesia and Tempesia and the world Ruby lives in is given to us in little pockets, making you wish for more. In fact, if it’s the only thing I didn’t like so much was that I wanted to know more about the history of the world and the Gods and how the Frost & Fire Bloods became to be, but that’s probably just me being greedy.

I loved Ruby as a character too, which is interesting because at first, she bothered me a lot in that at time, she was quite whiny and petulant. But all characters must grow, and so does Ruby, and I loved that she wasn’t a stereotypical “Chosen One” character and in fact at times pushed against the notion of her abilities and strengths. Watching her come to terms with who she was and what she could do was great, and I loved that her vulnerability shone through at times as well. She wasn’t perfect, and we need more YA heroines like her because let’s face it, none of us are.

And I’d be remiss to leave out the romance too, because of course who doesn’t love a mysterious brooding interest? Arcus was great, albeit a little predictable in his character arc, and the banter between him and Ruby as their relationship grew is the sort of romance that fuels me, and once again I’ve lost myself to a fictional character. Arcus made me want to weep in parts with what he’s been through, and to see him grow and learn through Ruby (and vice versa) was just great. They may say that “affairs between fire and frost rarely end well”, but they’ve clearly never met Arcus and Ruby, have they?

For fans of Red Queen and Throne of GlassFrostblood will dazzle you with fiery passion and fast paced adventure that will leave you burning for more at every page (see what I did there?!). It’s safe to say that its sequel will be just as explosive, and I can’t wait to find out what happens next.

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Welcome to 2017: A Fresh New Year

Posted January 1, 2017 by Hannah in uncategorized / 0 Comments

Welcome to 2017 everyone!!!

This year totally crept up on me. I don’t know about you, but I feel like time is flying by so fast these past couple of years, and I’m barely holding on. I’m determined to start the year off on the right foot, and that includes on the blog! I’m so excited for what 2017 will bring for my blogger life that I thought I’d share with you what I hope to bring to the blogging community over the next year and what I plan to get up to here at Hannah Plus Books! I’ve already started ticking off some points too, which is good news!

Lifetime Telly wtf project runway what just happened

Let’s do a quick recap of the year that was 2016. Like most people, 2016 was a really crap year for me, even though there were some shining moments, so I’ll try to touch on them! This includes a mixture of personal and blogging moments as well!

My best friend Claire from YA Madness got married! It was such a beautiful day, and I’m so glad to have been a part of something special.

> After extensive (and somewhat lack of) testing I was diagnosed with Hashimoto’s Disease, an autoimmune condition which means my thyroid isn’t producing enough hormones (hypothyroidism) and basically explains a lot of things about my health. It’s not something I talk about, because I’m still coming to terms with it and what it means for my future, but 2017 is the year of me being more open, so there it is! Also, Gigi Hadid & I have the same condition, which when I found out I cried a little bit a lot.

> I moved to Sydney for university! I’m currently in the middle of a Bachelor of Arts degree in English and Media Studies. Being in Sydney is amazing, I honestly never thought I’d love this city as much as I do, and it’s allowed me to get out of my comfort zone so much more!

> I started blogging again after a looooong hiatus in March and I’ve loved being back in the community, meeting new people and reconnecting with old people! Everyone is so welcoming, and it’s been great to see how widespread even our “little” #LoveOzYA community has become!

> I went back to Scotland for my close friend’s wedding and aside from the 19 hour layover in Abu Dhabi (where I watched all 3 seasons of When Calls The Heart in 17 hours) it was perfect! Being back in my second home and catching up with people I hadn’t seen in years was just so magical.

> Sydney Writer’s Festival and TeenCon happened and I got to meet up with some wonderful Aussie bloggers for the first time!

> I got sick in July (which kicked off my thyroid issues) and binged all 6 six seasons of Game of Thrones and am firmly on that bandwagon!

> Allen & Unwin Teen held their YA Night which was buckets of fun!

….and not much else happened? It was, really, a quiet 2016.

Image result for dr who matt smith gifs

  • Grow My Readership. I want to find a fun and creative balance between my reviews, features & discussions and bring something more to my blog to grow my readership, and not just through blog stats. I’ll be the first to admit, I do get blogger envy more often than not. Seeing the awesome blogs that I follow getting many a comments – and not just on features post – does give me the mean reds some days, and while I want to curate my blog in terms of numbers, I think interactions is really the most important part of defining the “success” of your blog.
  • Comment & Visit Other Blogs More. This ties in nicely with my spiel above. Half the reason I have such an issue with my growth is that I’m not interactive enough myself, and guys, it is a two way street. In 2017 I’m going to strive to be a better person in following up on comments, on blog hopping and visiting other people’s blogs. I definitely lack in this area, and it’s time to change that!
  • More Than Just Reviews. One thing I’d like doing is start to concentrate on other posts that aren’t review based. Currently, aside from the odd discussion post and the steady Top Ten Tuesday, all I’ve got are reviews…and they’re kind of boring? I’m brainstorming a couple of features to start doing, including Five Reasons Why (basically just an excuse for me to gush about authors, book series and general bookishness), and A Day in the Life (chatting with bloggers, vloggers, bookstagrammers, business owners, publishers, authors etc about exactly what their days entail), so if you have any suggestions for what you’d like to see on the blog, please let me know!
  • Grow my #Bookstagram. I’m proud of how far I’ve come on Instagram, and I’ve learnt so much. Putting my new found skills into practice has definitely been fun, and I’m keen to keep taking it all the way. It’s a long, slow process, but hopefully I will get there! It doesn’t help that the Instagram algorithm is completely %^&%, but I’m determined to figure it out.
  • Learn to be Happy. This is a big one for me. It kind of ties my previous three together and goes back to “Blogger Envy.” I get so bogged down worrying about the negatives that I don’t take note of the positives, and I think that can be really detrimental to your well being. At the end of 2016 I was (and still kinda am) obsessed with #Bookstagram & why I wasn’t getting the same amount of likes/comments/followers as other people, until I realised how bad it can be for you. Learning to take a step back and see what is in front of you is just as important as success.
  • Goodbye NetGalley & Edelweiss! (Maybe?) I am currently 4 books away from clearing my NetGalley list FOR GOOD. Well, we shall see. I’m definitely going to be more selective when it comes to choosing review copies, that’s for sure. I won’t even disclose how many books I have on my Edelweiss TBR. Auto-approval, you really make me suck at self control.
  • Make WordPress My Bitch! Okay, I totally stole that from Ashley over at Nose Graze, but it’s so true. WordPress and I, we have a love hate relationship, and I’m determined to fix all of the current problems I have (such as issues with CommentLuv) and really work on maximising my design. I feel it’s good, but not great, and I can definitely improve. How do you all make it look so easy?! Ashley has these great e-courses that I want to get stuck into, and I think they’ll be useful not just on a personal level, but on a career level as well!

  • Branching Out. In 2016, I rekindled my love for historical romances and chick lit. After feeling exhausted and over reading for a few years, finding my passion of books again was helped by not reading as much YA and discovering new favourites. Most recently, I’ve discovered psychological thrillers, especially those set in Britain (it’s a thing), and I love them so much. I’ve got quite a few on my reading list! I’d also like to start reading more non-fiction, especially historical pieces.
  • Read for Fun. Reading for fun. I mean, I should be reading for fun with every book I read, but some times it feels like a chore and it shouldn’t be. I have a lot of books on my shelf I’ve purchased that have been put aside simply because I want to get review copies out the way first, but with an especially busy school year coming up, I need to learn to say no and read for me.

 

  • Goodreads Challenge. I’m going to behave this year, and set myself an achievable goal of 100 books. A nice, rounded out number, and considering the state of my TBR, completely achievable, right?!

  • 2017 Diverse Reads Challenge. One of my main goals for 2017 is to read more diversely. 2016 has been a great eye opener for me, especially as someone who writes and wants to be a part of the publishing industry in the near future. I’ve been learning the importance of diversity in literature, and by participating in this particular challenge I hope to really begin to understand the world outside of my own. I’m also planning on doing the #DAReadathon hosted by the lovely Aentee at Read at Midnight this month, and I’ll be posting more about the two later on.

  • 2017 Flights of Fantasy Challenge. I’ve absolutely been loving fanasy this year, and I really, really want to discover more fantasy novels, so I’m going to take part in this awesome challenge hosted by Alexa and Rachel. I’ve often lurked around the challenge before and have discovered some wonderful fantasy titles, so I’m completely willing to give this a go! More on this challenge later on!

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All The Books I Need in 2017: The Historical YA Edition

Posted December 30, 2016 by Hannah in uncategorized / 4 Comments

It’s time for another All The Books 2017! Can you see how excited I am? 2017 is going to be a great year for books, and I’m really, really excited that historical fiction is making its mark in YA lit this year. I love historical set novels, and I’d dearly love to read more, so if you have any suggestions, please let me know so I can add them to my TBR!!

You know the best thing about historical fiction? It covers such a huge stretch of time period, we literally get absolutely everything! I love most of history; I find it fascinating and intriguing and I love being able to see it woven into fiction. From World War Two, the rule of Julius Caesar to Regency Europe, 2017 has some amazing releases coming up. Let’s please continue this on into 2018 and 2019 and pretty much forever please! Follow the links on the covers to add them to your Goodreads TBR! (you know you want to)

I’ve also got  The Innkeeper’s Daughter by Cindy Trumbore // Odd and True by Cat Winters on my list, but they don’t have covers yet. Both sound really, really intriguing and are from two completely different time periods!!

If you’re like me and didn’t read a great deal in 2016, you probably missed out on reading these great books too (I promise I will get to Dolssa, Taneika!). I’ve had so many good recommendations in 2016, these are just some of the books that were released that I have on my TBR, and hopefully I’ll get the chance to back-read some of them in 2017.

Who said anything about conquering TBRs, right? I’m going to need a holiday from a holiday just to get through this lot alone! If you have any more historical fiction to recommend, let me know in the comments below!

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Three Reasons You Need to Read As We Know It by Carrie Butler

Posted December 28, 2016 by Hannah in Adult, Reviews / 3 Comments

Three Reasons You Need to Read As We Know It by Carrie ButlerAs We Know It by Carrie Butler
Published by Indie on 12th December 2016
Format: E-ARC
Source: Author
Amazon USAmazon UKBarnes & Noble
Goodreads

Deep beneath the ocean, stretching hundreds of miles alongside the Pacific Northwest coastline, lies the Cascadia subduction zone—a fault on the verge of unleashing a catastrophic earthquake, thirty times more powerful than the San Andreas. Unfortunately, like most tourists, Elena Cordova is oblivious.

She’s got her own pent-up stress to deal with, a humiliating breakup that’s driven her to end her tenure as a human doormat once and for all. So, when a pickpocket makes off with the last remnant of her relationship, she takes action—only to get trapped with him when disaster strikes.

Now, if either one hopes to survive, they’ll have to get past their initial impressions and work together . . . because in fifteen minutes, half the town will be underwater.

Let me just put it out there – I love disaster films. Which is probably already weird, but when you add in the fact that earthquakes are one of the only things that strike fear into my heart, you might be wondering, “Huh? I don’t think that’s healthy?” To be honest, I think it’s a kind of coping mechanism, because the scary thing about pretty much every natural disaster film out there is that there’s a harsh reality behind it.

So naturally when one of my favourite New Adult authors offered up her new novel for review and I found out it was a romance survival story, I jumped at the chance to read it. “But why should I read As We Know It?” I hear you asking, wondering where I’m going with this whole conversation about earthquakes and romance. Well, I have three very good reasons for you, and if you’re looking to branch out into adult fiction in 2017 (or even the end of 2016!), then I highly suggest you add As We Know It to your TBR!

A Well Rounded Host of Diverse Characters. I haven’t come across much diversity in adult contemporary romance, if I’m honest you with you. And I hadn’t really expected it in As We Know It, so it was completely refreshing to read about people from all walks of life who are brought together because of one situation. Our MC, Elena, is a feisty Hispanic that really shines as a woman who can stand on her own two feet and has a sassy sense of humour I absolutely loved. Vincent, the romantic interest, is a war veteran suffering from PSTD. There’s great diversity between all the supporting characters as well, which just hones in the point that in a crisis, there’s more people of colour in the world than just Dwayne Johnson and his all white family from San Andreas.

Insta-Love That Actually Works (What?!). I know. If you’re like me, insta-love has always been a big no no, but after reading As We Know It, it’s really made me assess that word, and what it means when applied to different situations that we face. Granted, I don’t think you can fall in love at first sight (fall in attraction, yes), but life is full of little meet cutes, romantic or not. And natural disasters are no different, I guess? Two people relying on each other for survival and comfort are bound to bond in some way or another, and I love the way Carrie explored this in such a natural way.

Real, Nitty, Gritty Fiction That’s Not Marred by the Hollywood Complex. It’s so easy for these types of stories, in whatever format they appear, to become unrealistic, but Carrie keeps her plot firmly grounded in reality with every situation one that you can put yourselves in. Which makes the determination of the characters to survive this ordeal so much more personal. In other words, Carrie knows how to take the ordinary and put them into the extraordinary, all the while maintaining a level of humanity. There’s no sugarcoating either; there’s a darker side to humanity that is shown in As We Know It, but at the same time, Carrie instills a level of hope and determination that I hope I can carry on if I were ever in a natural disaster (and please, let’s hope not).

All in all, a heart pounding mixture of grim reality coupled with sweet romance makes As We Know It a thrilling read, and one I’d highly recommend. 

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Unsportsmanlike Conduct by Sophia Henry

Posted December 19, 2016 by Hannah in Adult, Reviews / 0 Comments

Unsportsmanlike Conduct by Sophia HenryUnsportsmanlike Conduct Series: Pilots Hockey #4
by Sophia Henry
Published by Random House Flirt on 18th October 2016
Pages: 266
Format: E-Book, E-ARC
Source: Publisher, Netgalley
Amazon USAmazon UKAmazon CaBarnes & Noble
Goodreads

The author of Delayed Penalty returns with the story of a free spirit who believes she’s found forever with a playboy on a singles cruise. Discover why Kelly Jamieson calls the Pilots Hockey series “fun and flirty, warm and sweet.”

Kristen Katsaros wants a life full of adventure and laughter. After a difficult childhood, her motto is to live each day like it’s her last—because it just might be. So when Kristen’s parents send her on a post-grad singles cruise in the Caribbean to meet a Greek husband, she promptly hooks up with the hottest guy she’s ever met. Pasha’s decidedly not Greek, but Kristen gives him a pass because he’s got fun written all over his rock-hard abs.

Pavel Gribov, the cocky playboy of the Detroit Pilots hockey team, can score any girl he wants. But when a teammate drags him on a singles cruise, he can’t resist the chance to help out a drop-dead gorgeous damsel in distress by pretending to be her boyfriend. Before long, the fake fling turns intimate, fueled by something much deeper than lust.

Kristen and Pasha both agree to walk away once the cruise is over, but reality hits like a slap shot when Kristen finds out Pasha lied about everything. Just when she’s ready to start living again, the two stubborn survivors must decide if they can bear to lose the best thing that ever happened to either of them.

You guys, I think I’ve found my new favourite trope.

Hockey players. Swoon.

Unsportsmanlike Conduct is the story of Kristen, a post grad Greek on a cruise (around the Caribbean) of a lifetime…but it has a catch. It’s a Singles cruise her parents have booked her on to find a Greek husband. And when the world is your oyster, a husband definitely isn’t in your plans – especially for Kristen, whose battle with Cystic Fibrosis has her living each day like it’s her last. Until she meets Pasha – not Greek, and not the kind of guy you bring home to your parents.

What was essentially a quick, lazy day read turned into something that was a little bit more – a story about living life and breaking down barriers placed upon you by society. The relationship between Pasha and Kristen was really intense, something I’m not quite used to be a slow burn type of girl, but at the same time it’s good to see people who fall madly in love in such a short time frame (it is, after all, how my parents met!).

Having not read any of the other Pilot novels in the series meant that I didn’t really get Pasha’s “bad boy” image as much, so he just came across as brooding most of the time. But he was a good match for Kristen, who at times was a little too nice and naive…but they were like two pieces of a jigsaw puzzle.

And most importantly – the way Henry wrote about a disability I thought was very well done. You don’t see a lot of novels depicting people with Cystic Fibrosis, and I thought Henry really outshone here. There was nothing degrading or…what’s that word? Condescending about the way she wrote about Kristen’s condition, but instead gave us an insight into what it is like to live every day with a condition that gets little attention. Which should be the norm in fiction (so that’s five stars in itself)!

So if you enjoy your couples falling head first in love, you’ll definitely enjoy Unsportsmanlike Conduct. Just remember to bring a fan, because it packs some serious heat, and I’m not talking about the Caribbean sunshine (I mean abs. Pasha’s abs.)

For more information about Cystic Fibrosis in America, visit here. For Australia, visit here. For the U.K., visit here

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