Behind the Blog: Connie at Connie Reads

Behind the Blog: Connie at Connie Reads

Behind the Blog is a regular feature where you and I can get to know the person behind the blog a little better!

unnamed.pngThis months blogger is Connie from Connie Reads! I am really excited to welcome Connie to the blog as she is one of the loveliest people and is just a joy to be around. She also takes some of the loveliest pictures!

Hi! Introduce yourself – what’s your name? Where are you from?

Hello everyone!  I’m Connie and I’m a bookwyrm from the wilds of the Fens… or just outside Cambridge, but that doesn’t sound as fun.

Give us one fun fact about you!

My usual answer is a little bit strange, but I have an obsession with green sweets.  Jelly tots, Fruit Pastilles, Starburst, you name it!

When did you become a reader?

I honestly don’t remember a time when I wasn’t a reader.  My mum and dad were both book lovers and would always read me stories before bed, and as soon as I was old enough to read the books myself I did it. I think I was reading books myself by the time I was about 5 or 6 years old.

What made you decide to start a blog and stick with it?

I’ve toyed around with blogging before, but I never really found a subject interesting enough to stick with it. I never thought about blogging about my love of books – then I found the bookstagram community on Instagram, and followed a few blogs and realised that I’d finally found something that I didwant to write about.

unnamed-1How would you describe your blog in 4 words?

Books, Flowers, Developing, Fantasy

Which of your posts are you most proud of or one that you wish had gotten a little more love?

I recently took part in a blog hop for World Book Day with some amazing UKYA book bloggers.  It was the first time I’d done anything like this, and I had so much fun writing the post and planning with the other bloggers – it was a really wonderful experience.

What tips would you give to someone looking to start a book blog?

Follow and talk to other bloggers.  The book blogger community is an amazing, fun and supportive place and there is always someone who is willing to share their experiences and give you advice if you need it.  It can be a bit daunting when you first start, but there will always be someone to help you.

What’s your favourite book/series?

Ooh this is always such a tough question for me!  I’m going to have to be a bit broad in my answer, and say The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern is my favourite book but the Daughter of Smoke and Bone trilogy by Laini Taylor is my favourite series.  Maybe!

img_7112Give us a book recommendation based on what you’ve read recently.

I’ve recently discovered the His Fair Assassin trilogy by Robin LaFevers and I completely adore it!  Assassin nuns living in 14th century France and completely kicking arse, whilst falling in love along the way!

Outside of reading and blogging, what do you do in your spare time?

There are things other than reading and blogging?!  Joking… sort of.  I love movies and music, cooking and baking and talking long walks with my beautiful Black Labrador, Max.

Are there any blogs that you’d recommend?

There are literally SO MANY!! Aside from the wonderful Vicky, my favourite bloggers are BooksNest, Fictiontea and Tackfiction – these girls are glorious!

 

 

WWW Wednesday: 27/03

WWW Wednesday: 27/03

WWW Wednesday is a meme hosted Taking on a World of Words that I thought would be fun to get involved with. It involves answering three WWW questions about recent reads.

This last week has been fairly hectic with meals and work. I then had a fairly busy weekend seeing family and friends and then trying to catch up on my blog. I want to try and use Sundays for blogging more as I often find myself drowning in posts to write so I definitely need to have a day of just catching up.

I managed to finish one book this week but I’m looking to make that 2 books a week once I’ve settled into my new job.

What are you currently reading?

I’m starting The Path Keeper by N. J. Simmonds on my Kindle and will hopefully start The Princess and the Fangirl by Ashley Poston today or tomorrow to give myself a head start on my #ARCAttack TBR!

What did you recently finish reading?

I finished Truly Devious late last night, which I quite enjoyed. I want to pick the next book up but with #ARCAttack coming up in April, I don’t think that’ll happen until May/June now!

What do you think you’ll read next?

With #ARCAttack coming up in April, there are several books I want to read but I’m going to start with The Princess and the Fangirl and The Davouring Gray. 

#ARCAttack TBR

img_7057You may have seen my tweet the other day about hosting #ARCApril in order to clear down some of my own ARCs. I’m super lucky that I get sent early copies of books by publishers but working full time and having a social life do get in the way of my reading time. I also have a lot of books that I have bought myself that I also want to read. Therefore, I wanted to use April to read only ARCs and early finished copies. Most of which are coming out in April or afterwards.

Unfortunately, #ARCApril had been previously used by some bloggers back in 2016 and I was asked to change the name. Therefore, thanks to Connie, #ARCAttack was born and will be going ahead in April instead of #ARCApril. If you are going to participate, please use #ARCAttack instead of #ARCApril.

So, what am I reading for #ARCAttack, I hear you ask? Well, I have a few books that I do want to read and I’m going to try my best to read them. I am starting a new job in April so I am a little worried that will affect my reading as I’ll be settling into that but I do get an hour for lunch every day so that’s an extra 30 minutes of reading time in the day which I plan to read in. We’ll see, I’m just going to try my best!

Without further ado, here are the books I am planning to read for #ARCAttack…

ARCs

Processed with VSCO with a6 presetThese are in order of importance to me. The top two books are coming out in April and the bottom two books are released in May, but I want to read all of them. I especially want to make sure I read A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder because I have been saving it since July to read it closer to its release date in May.

  1. Opposite of Always by Justin A. Reynolds
  2. Viper by Bex Hogan
  3. A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder by Holly Jackson
  4. Romanov by Nadine Brandes

Finished Copies

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Both of these books are coming out at the beginning of April so I really need to get a move on with them. I am thinking of starting The Princess and the Fangirl prior to April if I can just to give myself a bit of a head start on my list of books to read in April as there are so many!

  1. The Devouring Gray by Christine Lynn Herman
  2. The Princess and the Fangirl by Ashley Poston

ARCs Now Released

Now, if I do get through the above books then I want to move onto ARCs that I received that are now out in the world because they deserve it. I wish I had a super reading speed that allowed me to read 30 books a month, but unfortunately I was not blessed by the book Gods with that talent. It’s unlikely I’ll get to all of them, but I can try!Processed with VSCO with a6 preset

  1. The Antidote by Shelley Sackier
  2. The Truth About Keeping Secrets by Savannah Brown
  3. Girls of Paper and Fire by Natasha Ngan
  4. The Girl King by Mimi Yu
  5. The Familiars by Stacey Halls
  6. Circle of Shadows by Evelyn Skye

So that’s my list of books to read for #ARCAttack leading to a total of 12 books to read in April. I mean, that’s a lot for me so I do really doubt that I will read that many, especially when so many of them are a decent size but I would really like to give this a go and I hope you’ll get involved too!

If you plan to participate, please make sure to use the hashtag #ARCAttack on twitter and if you create your own post of books you’re planning to read, make sure to comment and link me to your post as I’d love to see what you’re planning to read!

The Cruel Prince by Holly Black

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Title: The Cruel Prince

Author: Holly Black

Pages: 370

Publisher: Hot Key Books

Published: 2018

Source: Bought

Rating: ★★★★.5


Jude was seven when her parents were murdered and she and her two sisters were stolen away to live in the treacherous High Court of Faerie. Ten years later, Jude wants nothing more than to belong there, despite her mortality. But many of the fey despise humans. Especially Prince Cardan, the youngest and wickedest son of the High King.

To win a place at the Court, she must defy him–and face the consequences.

As Jude becomes more deeply embroiled in palace intrigues and deceptions, she discovers her own capacity for trickery and bloodshed. But as betrayal threatens to drown the Courts of Faerie in violence, Jude will need to risk her life in a dangerous alliance to save her sisters, and Faerie itself.


The Cruel Prince was a last minute favourite read for 2018. It was one of the books I read for the readathon I hosted at the end of 2018, End of Yearathon.

I haven’t read anything by Holly Black before so I wasn’t too sure what to expect but I’d heard quite a lot of positive things about this book throughout 2018 since its release so I wanted to make sure I read it during the year it was released. Especially since the sequel, The Wicked King, was released in January so I knew I had to get to The Cruel Prince before that.

Oh boy, I really was not prepared for how much I’d enjoy this book. Don’t get me wrong, this book did have some aspects that I wasn’t too keen on, but by the end of the book I found that I had really enjoyed it and I really needed the next book that second. Luckily for me, I didn’t have to wait too long.

Thoughts

The Cruel Prince follows Jude, a human girl, who navigates through faerie whilst being seen as below everyone else. We follow her as she goes to school and balls and has to deal with the disapproval of faeries the majority of the time. During her time in faerie, Jude comes across some interesting information as Elfhame becomes increasingly closer to having a new ruler.

I liked Jude despite the fact that, at times, she was a little annoying. I thought that she was quite brave and that she was trying to do what was right. She has been through a lot in her life, such as witnessing her parents being murdered and then being taken away and raised by their killer, which is cruel in itself. Despite her experiences, I felt that she was a fairly strong and resilient character, as well as being fairly clever and using things to her advantage.

I disliked Taryn, Jude’s twin sister as I thought that she was pretty bad to Jude at times. Vivi, on the other hand, was pretty cool and I loved that she was fairly rebellious. Cardan and his group are friends are huge bullies. I wasn’t keen on a lot of ways they treated humans like they were so below the faeries. Some of the things they did really didn’t sit well with me and I found myself getting quite frustrated at them at times.

The Cruel Prince is set in Elfhame. I felt like I could imagine things fairly vividly, including Madoc’s estate as that’s where a lot of Jude’s time was spent. The map at the front of the book also really helped me when trying to imagine where places mentioned throughout the book were. Everything was described fairly well so that really added to my reading experience.

There was plenty of scheming throughout this book which I quite enjoyed. It involved different plots by different people and it was interesting to see how the different schemes were carried out throughout the book. It’s especially intriguing to see Holly’s faeries scheme as they are unable to lie so I think that does make the scheming seem even more clever at times.

I quite enjoyed the writing of The Cruel Prince and felt that it flowed really nicely. The chapters were fairly short which enabled me to read this book at a faster pace. Of course, this was aided by the story being so good. I thought that Holly’s writing worked so well with the plot and that she really kept the pace up throughout. Holly’s experience in writing about faeries really shows.3B5E7238-93A1-45ED-A945-0BC75D9ECF6E

Final Thoughts

As I said before, there were some aspects of this book that I wasn’t keen on, which is why I gave this book 4.5 stars, but I did end up really enjoying it. I don’t read that many faerie themed books (apart from Sarah J Maas’ books) and this was the first book by Holly Black that I have read. I found myself liking both her interpretation of faeries and her writing so that has definitely pushed me to check out more of her work in the future.

 

WWW Wednesday: 20/03

WWW Wednesday: 20/03

WWW Wednesday is a meme hosted Taking on a World of Words that I thought would be fun to get involved with. It involves answering three WWW questions about reading.

Another week has passed and I finished another book! I am currently above target for 30 books this year, but I’m really aiming for 70/80 books read this year. That means I need to be reading a lot more!

What are you currently reading?

Truly, Devious by Maureen Johnson. I’ve been really looking forward to this one for a little while now so I’m happy to finally be reading it. I’m hoping I’ll it as much as I think I will!

What did you recently finish reading?

City of Glass by Cassandra Clare. I did like it but as I finished it exactly a month after starting it, I just wanted it finished.

What do you think you’ll read next?

I’m thinking A Study in Charlotte by Brittany Calavaro??? or The Princess and the Fangirl by Ash Poston??? I’m excited to read both, it just depends on what sort of mood I am in after Truly, Devious. It also depends on when I finish Truly, Devious!

What are you guys currently reading?

10 Books to Read in 2019 from my TBR

It should come as no surprise that, as a bookworm, I have a fairly big TBR made up of books from the last five years.

img_6983In fact, if you know me, you’ll know that my owned TBR is about 270-280 books. In 2019, and the next few years, I want to really cut that down by (obviously) reading more books but also by unhauling. My reading tastes have changed quite a bit over the last five years and books that interested me before, just don’t have that same effect now. I just need to learn to let go of those books!

Knowing that there are that many books on my TBR, I thought I’d list out 10 of the books on my TBR that I most definitely want to read this year. So without further ado, here they are…

  1. Eliza and Her Monsters by Francesca Zappia img_6984
  2. Muse of Nightmares by Laini Taylor
  3. Uprooted by Naomi Novik
  4. Snow Like Ashes by Sara Raasch
  5. An Enchantment of Ravens by Margaret Rogerson
  6. History is All You Left Me by Adam Silvera
  7. Daughter of the Burning City by Amanda Foody
  8. Gemina by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff
  9. A Gathering of Shadows by V. E. Schwab
  10. Aristotle and Dante Discover the Universe by Benjamin Alire Saenz

Bonus book: Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo.

img_6985Most of these books have been on my TBR for at least a year so I absolutely want to read them. I definitely want to unhaul some books so I can create a better system that encourages me to read more of my owned books without feeling overwhelmed.

Are any of the books on my list on your TBR? Or perhaps you’ve read them already?

The Near Witch by V. E. Schwab

 

Title: The Near Witch

Author: V. E. Schwab

Pages: 293

Publisher: Titan Books

Published: Re-release 2019 (Original release, 2011)

Source: Finished copy, gifted by the publisher (Thank you!)

Rating: ★★★★


The Near Witch is only an old story told to frighten children.

If the wind calls at night, you must not listen. The wind is lonely, and always looking for company.

And there are no strangers in the town of Near.

These are the truths that Lexi has heard all her life.

But when an actual stranger-a boy who seems to fade like smoke-appears outside her home on the moor at night, she knows that at least one of these sayings is no longer true.

The next night, the children of Near start disappearing from their beds, and the mysterious boy falls under suspicion. Still, he insists on helping Lexi search for them. Something tells her she can trust him.

As the hunt for the children intensifies, so does Lexi’s need to know-about the witch that just might be more than a bedtime story, about the wind that seems to speak through the walls at night, and about the history of this nameless boy.


‘It starts with a crack, a sputter, and a spark.’

I went into The Near Witch not really knowing too much about it except for the fact that it was a re-release and that it involved a witch but you know, it’s by V. E. Schwab so I was immediately interested.

There are some books that you just know you’re going to love or hate within the first few pages and with this one, I knew almost immediately that I was hooked within it’s grasp. It ended up taking me about four hours to The Near Witch as I read just under half of it on the way to Victoria’s Forbidden Planet signing in London and then the remainder of it on my train back home.

Thoughts

The Near Witch follows Lexi in the small village of Near, where everybody knows everyone. Lexi lives with her mother and sister after her father passed away. She carries her father close to her and he is a big influence on her throughout this book. I liked the character of Lexi. She is interested in gathering the facts but also is open minded and almost fearless. As children go missing in Near, she makes a decision to try and find them in her own way whilst trying to also avoid her Uncle, the protector of Near. Before the children go missing though, a stranger turns up in Near. There are never strangers in Near and this one comes at a time before all hell breaks loose.

The time that The Near Witch is set in is a strange one. It felt as if it was set in the 1600/1700s with the talk of witches, but then it also felt almost like it didn’t exist at any specific time at all. When writing this review, I also realised that the village of Near is just a place, it’s not specified that it’s any country which is interesting as you’re then just focused on the place itself. Near just exists.

The plot is fairly fast paced with plenty of mystery and intrigue that draws you in and doesn’t really let you back out until the end. I can vouch for this considering I read it in four hours. I though that the writing really contributed to the pace of the plot. The writing is different to but I feel it is still distinctively V’s. It’s descriptive meaning that you can really imagine the people and places quite vividly.

I think it’s difficult to compare it to V. E. Schwab’s more recent works as she has really developed as a writer in the past 8 years since The Near Witch was originally released. I was a bit wary going into this book that perhaps there was a reason The Near Witch didn’t do so well when it was originally released – was it because it wasn’t that great or was it simply because it wasn’t the right time for it to be released? However, upon reading it, I do think that it was just that timing wasn’t right. It is a quirky little book that might not work for everybody, but I liked it and thought that it was a fairly quick read.

Final Thoughts

Whilst I enjoyed this book and read it so quickly, I’m still hovering between 3.5 and 4 stars with this book. I should clarify that for me, a 3 star rating doesn’t mean it’s bad. It means that I liked the book. I enjoyed it and got through it quickly, but I didn’t love it and I probably won’t re-read it. I think it is a great book for September/October when Halloween is approaching and Autumn is starting to really set in.

One of the questions I have asked myself, when thinking about the rating, is if I’d have read this back in 2011 as a 15/16 year old, would I enjoy it? It’s hard to tell because my tastes are obviously a bit different to how they were 7/8 years ago but I do think I would have enjoyed this book back then too.