Reading Jar 2016!

So starting in 2015, I’ve kept a reading jar each year of what books I’ve read, the date I finished them on (not necessarily when I started them) and a rating out of five.

I didn’t have my blog in 2015, but here’s a photo of that reading jar anyway:

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And here’s my 2016 one!

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So a normal piece of paper in here looks like this:

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This year I read 27 books (compared to last year’s 50-something, that doesn’t feel like a lot!) but I am halfway through a lot of others that are scattered around my room.

Anyway, onto my read books of 2016!
(Any that I’ve reviewed are linked)

January
8th – Of Mice and Men, John Steinbeck
28th – Afterworlds, Scott Westerfield

February
1st – Running Girl, Simon Mason
13th – The Potion Diaries, Amy Alward
17th – Fans of the Impossible Life, Kate Scelsa
24th – House of Secrets, Jennie Walters

March
13th – Lady Midnight, Cassandra Clare
20th – The 5th Wave, Rick Yancy
31st – The Sky is Everywhere, Jandy Nelson

April
1st – Rebel of the Sands, Alwyn Hamilton
8th – The Child Thief, Brom
13th – Seeking Crystal, Joss Stirling

May
14th – The Hidden Oracle, Rick Riordan
21st – Broken Heart Club, Cathy Cassidy
29th – Eliza Rose, Lucy Worsley

June
23rd – Marked, P.C. & Kristin Cast
30th – Scarlett Says, Scarlett Moffat

July
1st – Messenger of Fear, Michael Grant
9th – The Raven King, Maggie Stiefvater
31st – The Hobbit, J.R.R. Tolkein

August
4th – Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, J.K. Rowling
7th – Six of Crows, Leigh Bardugo

October
1st – The Fever Code, James Dashner
28th – Magnus Chase and the Hammer of Thor, Rick Riordan

December
28th – Eyes Like Stars, Lisa Mantchev
30th – The Night Circus, Erin Morgenstern
30th – Five Go on a Strategy Away Day

I’ve also read The Great Gatsby and Othello too, but I can’t remember when I finished them, so that takes my total up to 29!

Target for next year is 50, as always, and I will put up a post with my to-be-read books for 2017…

Happy New Year!

Holly xx

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Eyes Like Stars – Book Review

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Title: Eyes Like Stars
Author: Lisa Mantchev
Paperback: 352 pages
Published: April 13th 2010 by Square Fish
My Rating: 4/5 stars

Summary (from Goodreads): Welcome to the Théâtre Illuminata, where the characters of every play ever written can be found behind the curtain. The actors are bound to the Théâtre by The Book, an ancient and magical tome of scripts. Bertie is not one of the actors, but they are her family. And she is about to lose them all because The Book has been threatened, and along with it the Théâtre. It’s the only home Bertie has ever known, and she has to find a way to save it. But first, there’s the small problem of two handsome men, both vying for her attention. Nate, a dashing pirate who will do anything to protect Bertie, and Ariel, a seductive air spirit. The course of true love never did run smooth. . . .

I actually really, really enjoyed this book.

At first I had to refer to the cast list to get my head around the backstage crew, but once I got it, they all just clicked into place.

Enter Bertie – Headstrong, willing to speak up for herself, likeable, creative, questionable judgement when it comes to boys (but we’ll get on to that later). She is compelling to read and has enough common sense to make her worth it.

Enter Nate – Protective, pirate, rough and ready – his accent got on my nerves a little, I must admit, but all round a decent guy and possibly my favourite character, because at least he’s upfront about his thoughts and feelings.

Enter Ariel – The one from the Tempest, charming, manipulative, lying and honestly I really dislike him. I would label him as one-dimensional, however we do see a second side to him (kind of) so I’m hesitant.

Enter the faeries – Peaseblossom, Cobweb, Moth and Mustardseed aka the comic relief of the novel. Enjoyable enough to read, if a little immature at times.

The one word that I felt really applied to this book was ‘Clever’; the concept and how every character somehow fits in. I love the idea of every play character ever written being bound to the theatre – even if it does get a little heated at times! I was also pleasantly surprised at Les Miserables being mentioned, because I don’t really class that as a play.

Anyhow.

The plot was rather simple, all things considered. Bertie has to prove herself to stay at the Theatre and that she does, if not in the way everyone expects. It’s simple, but easy to follow and I did actually find myself rooting for her all the way. It is used mostly to set up a couple of other plots that arch into the next book, which works well. It feels less like a novel in its own right and more like the beginning to a series, which I don’t mind.

One thing that I didn’t much care for was the supposed ‘Love Triangle’. Quite honestly, I felt that she had more of a friendship with Nate than a romance, but at least he legitimately cared for her. Ariel, on the other hand literally used her to get his own way. When thwarted and trapped, she still let him go – I thought that his entrapment was going to continue to the next book at least and felt a little cheated when she released him so soon.

We were introduced to what I believe is the overarching plot of the books – the conflict with Sedna the Sea Witch. I’m interested to see where this plot line goes and how exactly she threatens them, because she is a highly powerful character.

At this point it’s also worth mentioning Ophelia, from Shakespeare’s Hamlet. She’s presented as a ditzy girl who just floats around, but there is a bit of a backstory to her (which I will not talk about because it is a major spoiler). There is a lot of talk about drowning, which is a potential trigger for some, so fair warning for that.

Overall, I’ve given this book 4 stars because despite its flaws (and yes, there are a few) it was a really enjoyable read. I just hope that the faeries start singing musical songs in the next book!

Has anyone else read this book, or does anyone want to read it? Tell me your thoughts!

Holly xx