All about Books
This is the page where I will be discussing what I'm reading, reviewing those books and be open to suggestions to keep adding to my To Be Read pile. Honestly, I'm never going to get through that thing anyway, so the more the merrier.
This may be a bit long. Thanks to a few friends in the Goodreads community, I heard about this book and have now read it. I wrote this review listening to a bunch of female positive songs, including but not limited to, Beyoncé- Run the World (Girls), Little Mix- Salute and Jordin Sparks- I Am Woman.
Title: The Exact Opposite of Okay
Author: Laura Steven
Original publication date: 8th March 2018
My Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars (Read April 2018)
The whole story is so relevant to, like, everything. It highlights so well the way that it's ok for guys to have sex and never suffer for it, but if women do the same, they get called everything under the sun. Or if they don't have sex- or want to even- there's something wrong with them. An English TV show briefly mentioned this a couple of weeks ago, where the non-British woman hearing the story called the guys out on it and threw her drink over one of them. Which was fantastic, but I digress.
Onto the characters. Izzy is so sarcastic and hilarious, even in serious moments, there was always something that had me snorting with laughter. She handles her experiences of being on the end of revenge porn so well at times, and I'm so glad she wasn't ever alone. I really fell in love with her character and just wanted to hug her so much.
And everyone needs a best friend like Ajita. This could turn into a part about how wonderful she is, but that's because she is wonderful and fierce. So yeah, best friend material right there peeps. :)
Danny. Just no. I couldn't stand him with his rich male privilege and entitlement for a start, despite supposedly being the girls' best friend too. Yeah, things aren't great for him in some ways but that's no excuse.
I really liked Meg, even though she not's in a lot of scenes. I hope we get to know her more in the sequel. Betty is Izzy's amazingly supportive grandmother. She still works and there's no shaming her for wanting to support her granddaughter, or people telling her to retire cause she's old. That was nice to see. Mrs Crannon was such a supportive teacher to Izzy in comparison to those who just let the bullying and other things happen and did nothing!
The other characters all seemed so real too and they were the main part of the book for me, even over the plot, despite how important the subject matter is. And this is also really diverse. :) A strong and solid debut by Laura Steven and I'm glad we haven't seen the last of these characters!
If you haven't read it yet, please do, you won't regret it. If you have, what are your thoughts? All the best and happy reading. :)
My final review of the day is for one of my most anticipated releases for the first half of 2018.
Title: The Wicked Deep
Author: Shea Ernshaw
Part of a trilogy: No, it’s a standalone
Original publication date: 8th March 2018
My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars (Read April 2018)
As always, being English, to the right is the UK cover, though I also like the US version.
The contrasts between the past and present really helped to make the Swan sisters feel like they had a story before being accused as witches and drowned, so that they didn't just keep haunting the town for no reason, more of which came clear as the book went on.
My favourite characters were Rose and Penny, though I'm also going to say the town/island of Sparrow itself, because it played such a large part and was so detailed, I feel like it could be a real place. From the Swan sisters, I definitely preferred Hazel all the way through.
The Wicked Deep is as dark as I'd hoped with the blurb as it is, and I definitely wouldn't want to stay in Sparrow to be potentially possessed by revenge-seeking ghosts. With the shorter chapters to detail the lives of the sisters, the book can be broken up in several sittings quite nicely, especially if you don't have lots of reading time on your hands. And there are plenty of twists and guesses to be made- oh, and I didn't see the big reveal coming.
My only real negative is that I felt the relationship between Penny and Bo turned to love a bit too quickly. I know she was trying to protect him, but it still felt a bit rushed in places. But overall, making this one of my anticipated releases for the year so far didn't disappoint. :)
If you've read this book yet, what did you think? All the best and happy reading.
When I read Gilded Cage last year, I really enjoyed it, but Tarnished City was a step up. Though I bought the book almost the day it came out, I didn't read it immediately. I was annoyed at myself for that, but after that ending, I'm kinda glad I don't have to wait too many months for the final book.
Title: Tarnished City
Author: Vic James
Part of a trilogy: Yes, book 2 in the Dark Gifts trilogy
Original publication date: 7th September 2017
My Rating: 5 out of 5 stars (Read April 2018)
First off, I just want to express my love for the covers (UK). I love how the colour schemes are so different yet the bird and taglines line up in various ways. :)
Coming into Tarnished City, I knew things were going to get so much worse given the stakes, where both Luke and Abi find themselves and the state of the country after the end of Gilded Cage. During each chapter, I wasn't sure if things could get worse, but they always did. Now I'm left with so many questions for when Bright Ruin comes out!
I was glad that Abi found herself back amongst friends/allies(?) quite quickly, so I didn't always immediately worry about her too much. After finding out what Crovan had done to Dog, however, I was nervous. Instead of what I expected, I loved how these scenes were written to lower your guard and them- bang. Something horrible happened to remind you of Luke's situation and what Crovan is really like. Like a false sense of security.
The Hadley's aside, the other character who totally mystified me from when I first met him- and still does- is Silyen. I still can't get a read on him and what my full thoughts are- which, I kind of like. To me, he's so morally grey but I'm sure he has a heart somewhere. He is lots of fun to read about though.
One thing I found was that this one was less political, which I was glad about. I know the politics plays an important part in the world, but some of it from the first book was lost on me at times.
And all of these secrets and surprises- both good and bad, and from characters both new and old. I don't know what to do with my feelings on them. There's so much suspense and excitement for Bright Ruin and I know that book will also be a great ending to this trilogy, one I'm sure I'll be re-reading at some point. :)
That's it for this review. What are your thoughts if you've read it? As always, all the best and happy reading.
Finally reviewing this now my thoughts are better than a stream of- "Oh my goodness, it's amazing, everyone read this book." I mean, that's all still true, but anyway.
Starfish was finally released in the UK on the 5th April. I spent the whole night reading it and did in about 4 hours. It was the best early birthday present I gave myself this year.
Trigger warnings- Emotional and sexual abuse, suicide attempt.
Author: Akemi Dawn Bowman
Part of a trilogy: No, it’s a standalone
Original publication date: 26th September 2017 (US)/5th April 2018 (UK)
My Rating: 5 out of 5 stars (Read April 2018)
I'm still in awe of that cover. Look at it. The aesthetics, and it's purple (my favourite colour). <3
I'm that person who usually doesn't put book quotes into reviews, but I need to for this one. From the first day I heard a main character had social anxiety, I was always going to read it. And honesty, I have never felt so heard and understood in terms of social anxiety rep as I found in this book.
Normal people don't need to prepare for social interactions. Normal people don't panic at the sight of strangers. Normal people don't want to cry because the plan they've processed in their head is suddenly not the plan that's going to happen.
I'd read this bit in a review I read last year and it made me cry then because I realised someone finally understood. So, you'd think I was prepared...until I was in the middle of the scene and it was just there in front of me.
Everyone's experience with SA will be different, but for me, Kiko is so relatable. There were plenty of times when I was smiling at her responses, as well as being a little frustrated with her, because I'm exactly the same. Though I admit, seeing it from the outside was a bit strange, but it just means I haven't found many books with good social anxiety rep yet.
I really liked Jamie and I admire him for trying to help Kiko, even when he really couldn't understand her feelings and they got frustrated with each other. But...well, exactly. When you're a person with social anxiety and are around people who don't have SA, it is incredibly frustrating. My ability to vocalise my feelings is really hard, so I try to write it down instead. Not everyone will want to read that. Jamie did at least try, which is the important thing.
I'll still panic when I'm in a crowd. I'll still question whether people mean something different from what they say. And I'll probably always feel my heart thump when I think someone is criticising me.
But I can live with that.
I accept myself.
Yes, I cried a lot at this part. More so than any other part of the book. I'm not at this point yet, but I'm getting there. I'm trying to make 2018 a year when I can accept that having social anxiety is part of me and I'm probably never going to 'cure' it.
And I've realised how important talking about it is. Personally, I feel like mentioning my depression is more well received than my anxiety amongst some people I know. I have work to do.
For everyone out there with social anxiety- go read this book. Also, you're amazing and what you feel is valid. <3
Onto other parts of Starfish. I loved hearing what Kiko was drawing at the end of each chapter. As someone who can't draw, it's always interesting for me to read books about people who can because there's a sense of awe in a way.
And the parts where Kiko met Hiroshi and all that followed with his family and learning about the Japanese part of her culture where great to read about and learn something. There was such a sense of her finally realising where she fit in and it was all lovely after her home environment. I love Hiroshi's family. :)
Thankfully, I've never known anyone like Kiko's mother, but the contrast of her home to being in California was huge. Every time her mother was mentioned, I couldn't wait for her to not be, since she was dragging her children down so much. But I thought it was all well written.
So this review ended up longer than I thought, oops. :) And that's it, I think. It's been a long time since I could relate to a book so much and I know I'll be re-reading it many times in the future.
If you've read it, what are your thoughts? All the best and happy reading.
Today's post is the update for how my March reading went, as I'd dedicated it to reducing the amount of books I had on my TBR. I listed 6 books in this post, but knew there would be room for life and general stuff.
Basically, March was full with life happening and I had barely any time to read after the first couple of days until about the final week. It was super stressful and I'm very glad to see the back of the month.
Books I Read
I started the month by finishing up 'Fire Lines' on the first day because February is too short compared to other months. Like me, compared to the vast majority of people I know. :)
But in terms of reading full books, let's start by working backwards, because it was the most productive part of the month for me.
In that final week and a bit, I got reading time back and did actually manage to focus on my originally planned TBR list. I got four books read:
The Fallen Kingdom, If We Were Villains, Caraval and Witch's Pyre. You can read my round-up reviews on them here.
The other book I read was 'The Wren Hunt' by Mary Watson, which recently was published this year. You can read my review of it here, but as you recall from my original list, this book wasn't on there.
Yeah, I'm totally guilty on that one. I just couldn't resist.
And while I did enjoy the book, it took me ten days to read it. I was in a weird half-slump kind of thing, where I wanted to start 'The Fallen Kingdom' and 'Witch's Pyre' together, but knew it would be a bad idea with where I was at. So I got through it with a new book.
Actually, reading 'The Fallen Kingdom' got me out of the slump, but anyway.
And that's it. I read five full books in March and hated the month.
...if you are reading this and follow/are friends with me on Goodreads, you'll realise I've left something out, and I wanted to talk about it separately, because I'm a bit unsure of what to do.
'Strange the Dreamer' was published in paperback in the UK early March. I couldn't afford the hardback at the time, with still being at uni and had less money to spend on books ect, as I've mentioned before. So, while this book wasn't new in one sense, it meant I could finally read it.
I began the book when things were going good and got about a quarter of the way in before the slump/life hit me. Whenever I thought about reading more of it, I either didn't want to, or forced myself through a few chapters.
Now, before you assume I wasn't enjoying it, let me clarify- no, I really was.
This is no fault of the book at all, but where my head space has been at. So I put it on hold, and the original intention was to continue later this month and try to finish it, since I'm close to halfway or something.
I'm now debating stopping altogether and re-starting it in August when I have my 2nd Beat the Backlist month. I don't want to ruin the progress I made, but at the moment, it seems like a sensible option. So I think I'll do that instead.
The other books on the list I didn't get to have also been pushed back to August.
That's my March update and that's it for today. What books did you read in March and where they as many as you were hoping or too few? What are your expectations for April?
As always, all the best and happy reading. :)
Since I took an unplanned hiatus at the end of March thanks to my mental health, I've now accumulated a backlog of book reviews to write for around the last week and a half of the month. Four, to be exact. So I made the decision to put all of them into one long post. I've also put the briefest of info about them, instead of the longer parts like normal.
In the order I read them, the four books are:
- The Fallen Kingdom by Elizabeth May
- If We Were Villains by M. L. Rio
- Caraval by Stephanie Garber
- Witch's Pyre by Josephine Angelini
As usual, all the covers are the UK versions, though I think the US covers are also pretty for each book. Also as usual, I've done my best to keep spoilers out, especially where a book is part of a series.
The Fallen Kingdom
Book 3 in 'The Falconer' trilogy. 5 out of 5 stars.
This beautiful version of the paperback was published in the UK in January, so I didn't have to wait too long once I'd finished 'The Vanishing Throne'. Thankfully.
Coming into this one, I wondered how it could possibly get any better- or in Aileana's case, worse for her. The answer: quite a bit worse. It's definitely the darkest book out of the three, but I loved it. There's even more depth in the characters and story and I never wanted it to end.
Onto the characters. In book 2, I talked about Aithinne a lot and for good reason. Yes, I'm about to gush over her again. I adore that woman. I really want her to be real so we could be best friends, but I'll settle with watching be the fabulous queen she is in the series. Her friendship with Aileana is lovely to see, given the lack of it I often find in fantasy.
I also still enjoyed the relationship between Aithinne and Kiaran, though both are so stubborn, it's not hard to see how they're related from the word go. :) Given everything they were 'supposed' to do, as hinted at in the previous book, I was wary of where I might find them here. Thankfully, they still care about each other as siblings. Also, Aileana and Kiaran are still wonderful together.
Sorcha's backstory made me understand her a lot more and it made me dislike her just a bit less. This book also introduces the Morrigan- you know, the Irish goddess of death- as one of the Fae and is as terrifying as you'd expect.
I did, of course, cry quite a bit. Crying at books was rare for me a couple of years ago- not so much now- but clearly I've become far too attached to everyone and everything in this world in order to cry over it. I mean, they are brilliant.
If you haven't read the series yet, go do it. If you can't find them yet, keep looking. It took me a while too but here we are now. :)
If We Were Villains
A standalone, published in June in the UK. 5 out of 5 stars.
If We Were Villains is what I broke my August book buying ban for and it was absolutely worth it. Thankfully, these days I'm a fan of Shakespeare when I wasn't always (I blame school), as the Bard is basically an extra character in this book.
It was exciting to find these characters immerse themselves in the plays so much, they quote them in everyday conversation. (Be still, my heart.) Even though I haven't yet read all of the plays, a good few of the tragedies are among my favourites, which also boded well going into this- seeing as the blurb states death to one of the acting students.
Each of the seven main characters are good friends, having spent four years together. Each of them usually play a certain type of character in the plays they perform, and it seemed to me as though this definitely blurred over into real life, something the book picks up on. But there is more than what seems on the surface. Oliver was a good narrator, though unreliable of course- you wonder if he really did commit murder since he's just been released from prison for it. He was sometimes naïve while at the school but I liked his character.
It was interesting to watch the teachers shake things up, as the blurb says, but all the while wondering what would happen with the students. I had two candidates for the victim and did guess right, but it never felt like it would be obvious, so I did second-guess myself at times. Even after this, the victim always seemed to be part of the story.
This book is such a good page-turner, and being split into scenes and acts, made for easy reading. But it dragged me in and I'd find myself reading more in a sitting than I'd anticipate. But it's worth it. I'll definitely be re-reading it. And that ending...well, you'll have to pick it up and find out for yourself. :)
Book 1 in the 'Caraval' duology. Paperback published November. 4.5 out of 5 stars.
When this first came out, I was still a uni student with not enough money to buy hardbacks. In November, the paperback came out and I could finally buy it. Granted, I didn't read it immediately because of other books I read last year involving circuses as a main setting- the main two being The Night Circus and Pantomime- which were fantastic, but I didn't want to get sick of reading about one thing, though all these books are very different.
Then I put March down as a Beat the Backlist month and here we are.
I shouldn't have made myself wait. I read Caraval in two days- 80% of it over the course of one. I couldn't put it down for long, eating and general survival aside. The world of Caraval is so rich and detailed. I could see how easy it would be to a) want to go there for the game, and b) forget it's not real, because I got so lost in the story.
I also loved the majority of the characters and the rest I loved to hate. I'd definitely want some of them to be friends with me. My one tiny point that dropped the last half a star was Scarlett's inner monologue of her and the count when Julian was around. From a personal viewpoint, it's good to find someone in a book who isn't stuck in a love triangle and wants to be faithful to her fiancé- especially in Scarlett's case when she's never met him. But I just felt it was mentioned a bit too much.
Oh, and I loved that epilogue! Didn't see it coming. I'm now very excited for Legendary and glad there will be another book. :)
Book 3 in the Worldwalker trilogy. 5 out of 5 stars.
Though I liked the first book, this trilogy has improved a lot since then. I also love how these versions of the covers, when all put together, fit to show Lily and Lillian. Also this one is purple, my favourite colour. But I digress.
Witch's Pyre picks up right after where Firewalker ends, but almost immediately, Lily and her coven are thrown into another new situation and how what they thought they knew changes. I love how these books have also been dark, but in this one I really felt they danger they were in. Even the 'down-time' moments were spent preparing- no one is safe or escaping the upcoming war.
Lily really grows in her powers even further and I felt so proud of her taking control of the coven and leading them through various events. And she needed to. If you thought Lillian was awful before...she's really not the villain anymore. At least, I didn't fully see her that way in this book. The new characters introduced make the world building far more complex and real, compared to the first book, which was mostly focussed on Salem, also showing how good the series has gone on to become.
I thought it was a good ending and wrapped everything up well. And potential loose ends were taken care of in the epilogue, which I like the idea of for the future of the alternate world Lily has learnt to call home.
That's it for today. Have you read any of these books and what are your thoughts? As always, all the best and happy reading.
Hi, I'm an animal lover and have a degree. You can usually find me either reading or writing. Failing that, I might have actually ventured into the outside world...