MAY WRAP UP

Hello! I know that this is a little late, but I can finally say that I have finished my University Degree! May was incredibly hectic and stressful for me. That being said, I now have all summer to read (and learn driving theory). Despite having numerous assignments to complete in May, I was able to read 11 books!!! Not only that, but they were all pretty good (mostly 4 and 5-star ratings!).

  1. The Handmaid’s Tale – Margaret Atwood 

RATING – 5/5 Stars

2. The Nickel Boys – Colson Whitehead

RATING – 5/5 stars

3. The Starless Sea – Erin Morgenstern 

RATING – 5/5 Stars

4. They called us enemy – George Takei 

RATING – 4/5 STARS

5. Hey Wait – Jason 

RATING – 5/5 Stars

6. Circe – Madeline Miller 

Rating – 4/5 Stars

7. Saga Volume 1 

Rating – 4/5 Stars

8. #Girlboss – Sophia Amoruso

RATING – 3,5/5 Stars

9. All Your Perfects – Collen Hoover 

RATING – 4/5 Stars

10. Shadow of Night – Deborah Harkness 

Rating – 4/5 Stars

11. The Sense of an Ending – Julian Barnes 

RATING – 5/5 Stars

INSTAGRAM – GLOBALBOOKMANIA

GOODREADS – Katerina Turner 

Popular Book Series I Am Yet Too Read…

These book series have been sat on my shelves for longer than I care to admit! I honestly can’t wait to read all of them as I’ve heard amazing things, but I’m currently finishing off the All Souls Trilogy by Deborah Harkness. In other news, I have officially submitted all of my university work and am now free to enjoy my summer, so hopefully, I will be getting round to all, if not most of these books.

Are there any series you are yet too read?

 

The Raven Cycle – Maggie Stiefvater

 

A Court of Thorns and Roses – Sarah J Maas

The Illuminae Files – Jay Kristoff and Amie Kaufman

The Mistborn Trilogy – Brandon Sanderson

The Kingkiller Chronicles – Patrick Rothfuss

INSTAGRAM – GLOBALBOOKMANIA

GOODREADS – KATERINA TURNER 

My Favourite Stand-Alone Books

I often prefer reading standalone books as opposed to book series purely because I hate having to wait for the next book to come out. With this in mind and with the current global pandemic, I thought I’d share a small list of some of my all-time favourite standalone books. I read a variety of books, so this list has no set theme.  Let me know if you have read any of these and whether or not you liked/disliked them!

If We Were Villains – M L Rio

SYNOPSIS 

Oliver Marks has just served ten years for the murder of one of his closest friends – a murder he may or may not have committed. On the day he’s released, he’s greeted by the detective who put him in prison. Detective Colborne is retiring, but before he does, he wants to know what really happened ten years ago.

As a young actor studying Shakespeare at an elite arts conservatory, Oliver noticed that his talented classmates seem to play the same roles onstage and off – villain, hero, tyrant, temptress – though Oliver felt doomed to always be a secondary character in someone else’s story. But when the teachers change up the casting, a good-natured rivalry turns ugly, and the plays spill dangerously over into life.

When tragedy strikes, one of the seven friends is found dead. The rest face their greatest acting challenge yet: convincing the police, and themselves, that they are blameless.

The Five: The Untold Lives of the Women Killed by Jack the Ripper – Hallie Rubenhold

SYNOPSIS

Polly, Annie, Elizabeth, Catherine and Mary-Jane are famous for the same thing, though they never met. They came from Fleet Street, Knightsbridge, Wolverhampton, Sweden and Wales. They wrote ballads, ran coffee houses, lived on country estates, they breathed ink-dust from printing presses and escaped people-traffickers.
What they had in common was the year of their murders: 1888.
Their murderer was never identified, but the name created for him by the press has become far more famous than any of these five women.
Now, in this devastating narrative of five lives, historian Hallie Rubenhold finally sets the record straight and gives these women back their stories.

Song for Night – Chris Abani

SYNOPSIS

Trained as a human mine detector, a boy soldier in West Africa witnesses and takes part in unspeakable brutality. At 12 his vocal cords are cut to prevent him from screaming and giving away his platoon’s presence, should he be blown up.

Awaking after an explosion to find that he’s lost his platoon, he traces his steps back through abandoned villages and rotting corpses and through his own memories in search of his comrades.

Song for Night is a lyrical, poignant journey through the nightmarish landscape of brutal war.

Childhood’s End – Arthur C Clarke 

SYNOPSIS 

Earth has become a Utopia, guided by a strange unseen people from outer space whose staggering powers have eradicated war, cruelty, poverty and racial inequality. When the ‘Overlords’ finally reveal themselves, their horrific form makes little impression.

Then comes the sign that the Overlords have been waiting for. A child begins to dream strangely – and develops remarkable powers. Soon this happens to every child – and the truth of the Overlords’ mission is finally revealed to the human race. . .

Swastika Night – Katherine Burdekin 

SYNOPSIS

SWASTIKA NIGHT takes place seven hundred years after Nazism achieved power, by which time Adolf Hitler is worshipped as a god. Elsewhere, the Japanese rule the Americas, Australia, and Asia. Though Japan is the only rival superpower to the Nazi West, their inevitable wars always end in stalemate. The fascist Germans and Japanese suffer many difficulties in maintaining their populations, because of the physical degeneration of their women.
The protagonist is an Englishman named Alfred on a German pilgrimage. In Europe, the English are loathed because they were the last opponents of Nazi Germany in the war. Per official history, Hitler is a tall, blond god who personally won the war. Alfred is astounded when shown a secret, historic photograph depicting Hitler and a girl before a crowd. He is shocked that Hitler was a small man with dark hair and a paunch. And his discovery may mean his death…

Educated – Tara Westover 

SYNOPSIS

Tara Westover and her family grew up preparing for the End of Days but, according to the government, she didn’t exist. She hadn’t been registered for a birth certificate. She had no school records because she’d never set foot in a classroom, and no medical records because her father didn’t believe in hospitals.

As she grew older, her father became more radical and her brother more violent. At sixteen, Tara knew she had to leave home. In doing so she discovered both the transformative power of education and the price she had to pay for it.

Only Ever Yours – Louise O’Neil

SYNOPSIS

eves are designed, not made.
The School trains them to be pretty
The School trains them to be good.
The School trains them to Always be Willing.

All their lives, the eves have been waiting. Now, they are ready for the outside world.
companion . . . concubine . . . or chastity
Only the best will be chosen.
And only the Men decide.

We Were Liars – E Lockhart

SYNOPSIS 

We are the Liars.
We are beautiful, privileged and live a life of carefree luxury.
We are cracked and broken.
A story of love and romance.
A tale of tragedy.
Which are lies?
Which is truth?

Between Shades of Grey – Ruta Sepetys 

SYNOPSIS

One night fifteen-year-old Lina, her mother and young brother are hauled from their home by Soviet guards, thrown into cattle cars and sent away. They are being deported to Siberia.

An unimaginable and harrowing journey has begun. Lina doesn’t know if she’ll ever see her father or her friends again. But she refuses to give up hope.

Lina hopes for her family.
For her country.
For her future.
For love – first love, with the boy she barely knows but knows she does not want to lose…

Will hope keep Lina alive?

Set in 1941, Between Shades of Gray, is an extraordinary and haunting story based on first-hand family accounts and memories from survivors.

The Kite Runner – Khaled Hosseini  

SYNOPSIS

Afghanistan, 1975: Twelve-year-old Amir is desperate to win the local kite-fighting tournament and his loyal friend Hassan promises to help him. But neither of the boys can foresee what will happen to Hassan that afternoon, an event that is to shatter their lives. After the Russians invade and the family is forced to flee to America, Amir realises that one day he must return to Afghanistan under Taliban rule to find the one thing that his new world cannot grant him: redemption.

 

INSTAGRAM – GLOBALBOOKMANIA

GOODREADS – KATERINA TURNER

Books I would like to read…

So, since we are nearly halfway through 2020, I would like to mention some of the books I would like to read by the end of the year. This list only consists of 10 books so I’m sure it’s a manageable TBR (even if some of the books are absolute beasts!). If you have read any of these and liked/disliked them, then let me know!

  1. The Priory of the Orange Tree – Samantha Shannon

The Priory of the Orange Tree (Paperback)

2. The Book of Life – Deborah Harkness (All Souls Trilogy/ book 3)
3. Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine – Gail Honeyman
4. The Girl with all the Gifts – Mike Carey
5. The Binding – Bridget Collins
The Binding (Paperback)
6. Girl, Woman, Other – Bernadine Evaristo
Girl, Woman, Other (Paperback)
7. A Brief History of Seven Killings – Marlon James
8. Shantaram – Gregory David Roberts
Shantaram (Paperback)
9. Water for Elephants – Sara Gruen
Picture 1 of 1
10. A Little Life – Hanya Yanagihara

The Complete Maus – Art Spiegleman

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SYNOPSIS 

Combined for the first time here are Maus I: A Survivor’s Tale and Maus II – the complete story of Vladek Spiegelman and his wife, living and surviving in Hitler’s Europe. By addressing the horror of the Holocaust through cartoons, the author captures the everyday reality of fear and is able to explore the guilt, relief and extraordinary sensation of survival – and how the children of survivors are in their own way affected by the trials of their parents. A contemporary classic of immeasurable significance.

GOODREADS RATING – 4.55/5 STARS 

REVIEW 

This is a must-read for everyone! Spiegelman approaches themes of memory, genocide, war, relationships, ethics and identity with a lot of respect and in a truly beautiful way. 

Individuals are represented as either mice or cats (or dogs and pigs) through the masks they wear. By representing humans as animals, it strips everyone’s humanity to a certain degree and reminds us as readers that people’s actions were not always their own choice due to the inherent need to survive. Identity is a construct and can be manipulated. The concept is brilliant, but in terms of the graphics, it sometimes became confusing or fuzzy because of the number of graphics on each page.  

Spiegelman’s graphic novel depicts both the hardships of the Holocaust that his father (Vladek) has experience alongside his own guilt as a second-generation survivor. Art tries to understand his father and respect his past. This is shown through a few real photographs. This hit me hard as it reminded me that although the graphics are beautiful, this story tells the life of real people and a real family. 

RATING – 5/5 STARS!

INSTAGRAM – GLOBALBOOKMANIA

GOODREADS -KATERINA TURNER 

Turtles All The Way Down – John Green

SYNOPSIS

It all begins with a fugitive billionaire and the promise of a cash reward. Turtles All the Way Down is about lifelong friendship, the intimacy of an unexpected reunion, Star Wars fan fiction, and tuatara. But at its heart is Aza Holmes, a young woman navigating daily existence within the ever-tightening spiral of her own thoughts.

In his long-awaited return, John Green shares Aza’s story with shattering, unflinching clarity.

REVIEW

This book is so hyped up which is perhaps one of the reasons that I feel so let down by it.

I will start by saying that I loved the way mental illness is portrayed and Aza character is great! She goes through her ups and downs. Her character is so frustrating but it makes those that have been through mental illness relate to her and those that have had friends with mental illness understand how frustrating it can be when you don’t understand why someone behaves a certain way.

Unfortunately that is the only good thing about this book. The plot line was so boring and made very little sense to me. Some of the character were not developed at all and they just seemed like they were just there for the sake of it. I did not understand the point of Daisy and Mychal’s relationship or the instalove between Davis and Aza. The crime aspect of the novel really intrigued me as did Noah’s character but in the end the revelations were boring.

I really wanted to like this book and I felt like it had so much potential but it just didn’t work for me. I love John Green’s writing but the plot of this book was such a let down!

2,5/ 5 stars ⭐️

Instagram – Globalbookmania

Goodreads – Katerina Turner

A Torch Against The Night – Sabaa Tahir

SYNOPSIS

Elias and Laia are running for their lives. After the events of the Fourth Trial, Martial soldiers hunt the two fugitives as they flee the city of Serra and undertake a perilous journey through the heart of the Empire.

Laia is determined to break into Kauf—the Empire’s most secure and dangerous prison—to save her brother, who is the key to the Scholars’ survival. And Elias is determined to help Laia succeed, even if it means giving up his last chance at freedom.

But dark forces, human and otherworldly, work against Laia and Elias. The pair must fight every step of the way to outsmart their enemies: the bloodthirsty Emperor Marcus, the merciless Commandant, the sadistic Warden of Kauf, and, most heartbreaking of all, Helene—Elias’s former friend and the Empire’s newest Blood Shrike.

Bound to Marcus’s will, Helene faces a torturous mission of her own—one that might destroy her: find the traitor Elias Veturius and the Scholar slave who helped him escape…and kill them both.

REVIEW

BETTER THAN THE FIRST BOOK!

I enjoyed reading An Ember in the Ashes but I wasn’t completely blown away by it and I didn’t crave the sequel. That being said… this book blew my mind! It was so fast paced as it start off exactly where An Ember in the Ashes ends. Laia and Elias are on the run and they are headed North to free Laia’s brother!

Throughout this we meet so many new amazing characters! We learn more about characters from the previous book! There are some horrific deaths throughout this book that really rattled me. The so called ‘villains’ throughout this book were not as extreme as the in the previous book, however Marcus is quite a horrific emperor (not a spoiler… it was too be expected).

If you are like me and you hate love triangles, you will love this book. I felt like the romance between Laia, Keenan and Elias was really annoying but it’s barely mentioned in these books (and there is a massive shocking plot twist) because the focus is on survival.

I loved learning more about Helene Aquilla – Blood Shrike. From coming across as very cold hearted to now being someone who loves her family, friends and the Empire. She is such a brave badass female character!

I love the supernatural element of this series and I hope to find out more about it in the next book! I want to know more about Laia, Elias, Cook and Helene Aquilla.

4,5/5 stars ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Instagram – Globalbookmania

Goodreads – Katerina Turner

* I’m hosting a giveaway on my instagram! There is a chance to win a trilogy box set! This is an international giveaway that closes on the 1st September 🖤

An Ember in the Ashes – Sabaa Tahir

SYNOPSIS

Laia is a slave. Elias is a soldier. Neither is free.
 
Under the Martial Empire, defiance is met with death. Those who do not vow their blood and bodies to the Emperor risk the execution of their loved ones and the destruction of all they hold dear.
 
It is in this brutal world, inspired by ancient Rome, that Laia lives with her grandparents and older brother. The family ekes out an existence in the Empire’s impoverished backstreets. They do not challenge the Empire. They’ve seen what happens to those who do.
 
But when Laia’s brother is arrested for treason, Laia is forced to make a decision. In exchange for help from rebels who promise to rescue her brother, she will risk her life to spy for them from within the Empire’s greatest military academy.
 
There, Laia meets Elias, the school’s finest soldier—and secretly, its most unwilling. Elias wants only to be free of the tyranny he’s being trained to enforce. He and Laia will soon realize that their destinies are intertwined—and that their choices will change the fate of the Empire itself.

REVIEW

This book sat on my TBR shelf for ages and for some reason I kept putting it off. I’m so glad I’ve finally read it because I truly enjoyed it and cannot wait to read the next book in the series!

I love the characters and the plot itself. The only thing that I did find a little irritating was the odd love triangles going on. One of them was understandable, but the other made no sense to me. It seemed awkward and forced.

The novel starts off straight by jumping into a really extreme and scary scenario which sets the pace of the book and the descriptions were great. The world building could have been a bit better but overall it was unique and interesting. I hope that throughout the series the authors goes into some of the characters backstories as it would be interesting to understand how certain characters became how they are in the book.

RATING – 4,5/5 STARS

Instagram – Globalbookmania

Goodreads – Katerina Turner

Insanity – Cameron Jace

SYNOPSIS

After accidentally killing everyone in her class, Alice Wonder is now a patient in the Radcliffe Lunatic Asylum. No one doubts her insanity. Only a hookah-smoking professor believes otherwise; that he can prove her sanity by decoding Lewis Carroll’s paintings, photographs, and find Wonderland’s real whereabouts. Professor Caterpillar persuades the asylum that Alice can save lives and catch the wonderland monsters now reincarnated in modern day criminals. In order to do so, Alice leads a double life: an Oxford university student by day, a mad girl in an asylum by night. The line between sanity and insanity thins when she meets Jack Diamond, an arrogant college student who believes that nonsense is an actual science.

REVIEW

Insanity by Cameron Jace is both an amazing book and also a confusing one. On one hand I thought that the plot was incredibly interesting and well crafted but on the other hand the characters confused me and seemed to be random.

The relationship between the Pillar and Alice was great and very comical. The history behind the Cheshire was great and I really enjoyed the twists in the book.

I can’t seem to understand Jack Diamonds role in this book. He honestly seemed like a really random character and completely useless. Perhaps he is spoken about more in the later book, but I don’t think I’ll be reading them to find out.

Alice’s backstory is still unclear which is interesting and I loved how all the Wonderland characters were human characters that reflected their true selves.

Overall I would give this book 3,5 stars!

Instagram – Globalbookmania

Goodreads – Katerina Turner

Popular books I am yet to read…

1. Carry On – Rainbow Rowell

Everyone has been going on about how amazing this book is but I’ve put off reading because I didn’t enjoy Fangirl. That being said I did enjoy Elenor and Park. I don’t think I like her writing style but perhaps I’ll give it a go sometime.

2. An Ember In The Ashes – Sabaa Tahir

I honestly don’t know why I haven’t read this yet because it sounds amazing and everyone has told me to read it! It’s just always been put to the back of my bookshelf and forgotten about as new books have come out.

3. A Court of Thorns and Roses – Sarah J. Maas

If any of you have read my reviews for the Throne of Glass series ( albeit I’ve only read the first 3), then you’ll know how much I loved the series! So I truly cannot answer or understand why I have not read this book yet… but hopefully I’ll get round to it soon enough!

Do any of you struggle with this? Do you buy books and then never get round to reading them even though they seem incredibly good!

Instagram – Globalbookmania

Goodreads – Katerina Turner