What I Read In September 2020

What I Read In September 2020

In September we got back into the reading game with a few new releases, some incredible sapphic reads and overall a good reading month. I thought I’d get through even more as I had a week off (finally) but I was actually pretty busy.

Let’s get cracking!

Over the past few months I started playing Dungeons and Dragons, my friends had been playing for a while and I wanted in on the action. I absolutely love it, so when I came across The Adventure Zone and was recommended it by someone in a bookshop I picked it up. It’s a fun DnD story and I laughed out loud so many times! A 4.5 star read for me.

Next up, the sequel to American Royals , Majesty. This follows the start of Beatrice’s reign mixed with social climbers, romances, revenge oh it was so good! I loved this book, I couldn’t put it down and when I got to the end I wanted more…only to find out that it’s a duology! This was also a 4.5 star read for me. For transparency I was sent this for review by the publishers.

American Widow is a novel by Alissa Torres who lost her husband in 9/11, his second day in the towers and while she was 7 months pregnant. This focuses on the aftermath as she tries to make sense of what has happened and access the support that she should have received. This was hard to rate because it is so sad but it was a 3 star read for me.

I was really looking forward to reading The Henna Wars, initially I had problems getting hold of the physical book so I got the audiobook…which had a American narrator for a novel set in Ireland. This month I finally picked up my delayed physical copy and wow! This was a great novel, I read it so quickly because I wanted to know what happened, I cared about the characters and I’m definitely planning to read more by Adiba Jaigirdar. 5 stars from me!

I was sent Lady In Waiting a while ago by the publisher and have just gotten to it. Anne Glenconner has lead an interesting life, as part of it she was one of the Ladies in Waiting to Princess Margaret, sister to the Queen. This was a different kind of read and Lady Glenconner has clearly lived more than most people. It was ok but I don’t think I was the target reader. A 3 star read for me.

I’ve really gotten into novels in verse lately and this was written by Ibi Zoboi and Yusef Salaam of the Exonerated Five. Punching The Air is a unique novel, because of the influence that Yusef had on the novel and his experiences of being wrongly convicted and imprisoned. An incredibly well written novel that lets you feel the frustration through the pages. A 4.5 stars from me.

So many people love Kacen Callender’s novel Felix Ever After. I wanted to love this novel but, for me, it didn’t live up to the hype I saw online – it was okay, the blackmail situation felt very much like Simon vs The Homosapiens Agenda. Also there wasn’t really anyone in there I felt like I liked a lot or was connected to. That said, I’m not the target audience – it was 3 stars for me.

Finding Joy is one I came across in my local bookshop on my birthday and I instantly fell in love with the art style. This is a collection of drawings to show life after Gary unexpectedly lost his wife. It’s moving, beautifully drawn and will probably make you tear up at least – a 5 star read.

This year I discovered Nina LaCour so when I found out that she had a new novel coming out this year I was EXCITED. This is different to the other books I’ve read as it has a paranormal aspect. As if the case with Nina LaCour I didn’t always know what was happening and it wasn’t super fast paced but I still adored it – 4 stars!

I bought myself a copy or Orpheus Girl after eyeing it for a while. Wow this is a tough read, short but tough. This covers conversion ‘therapy’ and it’s pretty dark at times so I would advise some caution. This was another 4 star read for me.

I was given e-arcs of both My Name Is Selma and Loud Black Girls in exchange for review.

I read My Name Is Selma very quickly, it’s the story of a young woman who survived Nazi Germany as a resistance fighter and was also able to hide the fact she was Jewish. Selma lead a fascinating life and this was a brilliant read – 4.5 stars from me!

Loud Black Girls was an interesting read, there are some incredible writers in this collection but I did feel a little bored in the second half and put it down a fair bit. Still worth a read but a 3.5 star for me.

There we have it! I’m not sure October will be as successful but there are some excellent books in there. What did you read? Let me know in the comments below!

Book Review: The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue - V.E Schwab

Book Review: The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue – V.E.Schwab

“France, 1714: in a moment of desperation, a young woman makes a Faustian bargain to live forever and is cursed to be forgotten by everyone she meets.

Thus begins the extraordinary life of Addie LaRue, and a dazzling adventure that will play out across centuries and continents, across history and art, as a young woman learns how far she will go to leave her mark on the world.

But everything changes when, after nearly 300 years, Addie stumbles across a young man in a hidden bookstore and he remembers her name.

Addie, Addie, Addie where do I begin. It’s no surprise to my regular readers that I have been excited for this book, it featured in my most anticipated books of the year. I’m a big Schwab fan and I think seeing how excited and nervous she was to release this only made me love it more. So you can imagine I squealed when I received an ARC.

I fell in love with Addie quickly, she’s smart and wants to see the world, she wants more than to be a man she doesn’t love’s wife. While her decision to trade her soul in exchange for freedom to a god might not have been the smartest I understand it.

We follow Addie back and forth in her life. I was wondering how it would work, she’d be forgotten by everyone, how would she survive? What would it mean? How far did it go? All of my questions were answered and in a way I could believe.

I thought I loved Addie and then we met Henry. Can I just say that he’s probably the closest I’ve come to wanting a ‘book boyfriend’. He seems like a genuinely wonderful guy who has his own hang ups, his own issues but he’s very real.

You can tell while reading this is a personal book, Scwab has recently written about coming out (you can read it here – I got emotional), there is LGBTQ rep that just naturally falls into the story. There’s discussions of loneliness, depression, dreams, joy – it’s all there.

The thing is that you don’t read this book, you fall into it and live alongside the characters. You love and root for them. You care deeply about their happiness and what’s going to happen to them. Also, while I won’t say much about him the God that gives Addie the deal is a truly excellent character. I’m not usually drawn to bad guys but…well.

This is probably my favourite Schwab novel and ever since I read my ARC I’ve told everyone to pre-order a copy because it is absolutely incredible. I love it so much I’ve bought myself the USA cover and the Forbidden Planet signed edition – if I can get my hands on the Waterstones exclusive edition too.

It’s not going to be a surprise that I gave this 5 stars. It’s intelligent, beautiful and breathtaking. Victoria has spoken about this book for years and it was worth the wait. I cannot thank her, Tor and Netgalley for the early copy in exchange for review.

Book Review: Majesty – Katharine McGee

Power is intoxicating. Like first love, it can leave you breathless. Princess Beatrice was born with it. Princess Samantha was born with less. Some, like Nina Gonzalez, are pulled into it. And a few will claw their way in. Ahem, we’re looking at you Daphne Deighton.

As America adjusts to the idea of a queen on the throne, Beatrice grapples with everything she lost when she gained the ultimate crown. Samantha is busy living up to her “party princess” persona…and maybe adding a party prince by her side. Nina is trying to avoid the palace–and Prince Jefferson–at all costs. And a dangerous secret threatens to undo all of Daphne’s carefully laid “marry Prince Jefferson” plans.

A new reign has begun….

As a follow up to the first novel American Royals, Majesty is possibly even better than the first. Picking up not long after where we left off as Beatrice not only has her love life to deal with but also the small matter of becoming the first Queen of the United States.

The novel is, again, told in multiple perspectives Beatrice herself, Princess Samantha, her best friend Nina and social climber Daphne as each woman finds her way in this new era for America. Each of them has guy troubles, parental expectations, the public eye and their own feelings to contend with.

I felt this novel grew more than the first. I mentioned in my review of American Royals I felt that it had very close ties to The Crown and following the life of Queen Elizabeth 2nd. At the start of the novel I wondered the same but this picked up and I really enjoyed seeing not only Beatrice grow as a Queen but also Samantha as a person.

One small thing I would say is that I’m not sure how needed Nina was in this novel. It may be that 4 perspectives in a novel of this length is 1 too many for me. It feels as if there is only room for Nina or Daphne – in this case we learn much more about Daphne.

Katharine confirmed on Twitter that American Royals is a 2 book series (for now at least) I’m really, really hoping that she changes her mind about this because there is so much that is left open at the end of the novel. I really feel like there are opportunities to come back and let us know what happens next.

I gave this novel 4 stars because I couldn’t put it down. There’s secrets, romance, scheming. It’s an excellent book for when you want to be absorbed into a novel that you can flow along with – a perfect companion to the first novel.

Thank you to the author, Netgalley and the publisher for this copy in exchange for a fair and honest review.

A Q&A With Marieke Nijkamp!

FIVE friends go to a cabin.
FOUR of them are hiding secrets.
THREE years of history bind them.
TWO are doomed from the start.
ONE person wants to end this.
NO ONE IS SAFE.

Are you ready to play?

Ahead of her new book coming out I was able to as Marieke a few questions about Even If We Break, writing and what she likes to read.

The new book is one that sounds perfect for the Autumn evenings with Halloween not far away – what gave you the idea for it?

I love cabin in the woods type stories, and I really wanted to write a book that centred around a roleplaying group and friendships. RPGs have always been a big part of my life, and I’d been wanting to play with them in fiction more. In this case, what happens when friendships start to shatter and a previously closely knit group goes awry.

If you could explain the book in 5 words – how would you describe it?

A roleplaying game turns deadly.

How do you plan your novels? Do you have a process you stick to?

I plot and plan a lot in advance. For this, there was an extensive timeline and lots of flashcards. I also wrote an extensive outline during edits, because it helped me and my editor keep track of everything.

What would your advice be for people who want to write and publish a novel?

Learn as much as you can. Write the books you want to read. And persevere.

What is the best book you’ve read in 2020 so far?

For YA murder mysteries: Darcie Little Badger’s Elatsoe. I’ve been recommending that book far and wide, because I love it so.

For YA that fills your heart and makes you dance: Lyla Lee’s I’ll Be The One, which is joy in book form.

For YA that makes you feel seen: Kacen Callender’s Felix Ever After, which is about love and identity and embracing who you are.

And if you’re looking for a good graphic novel recommendation: Niki Smith’s The Deep and Dark Blue, which made me cry in a good way. Oh, and also check out Kat Leyh’s Snapdragon, which is a modern type fairytale. And Kiku Hughes’s Displacement, about history and memory. And Sarah Kuhn and Nicole Goux’s Shadow of the Batgirl, because Cassandra Cain is the best and I’m always hear for Oracle!Babs.

Let’s just stick to seven recommendations. That’s a reasonable answer to your question, right?

Thank you to Marieke for chatting to me and Midas PR for the opportunity!

What I Read In July & August 2020

What I Read In July & August 2020

While I was struggling to write I didn’t do my wrap ups but I was still reading a lot! So, here’s a bumper wrap up of some of the books I was reading, including a few new favourites and some that are almost certainly going to be in my top books of the year…

July

Both of these were ARCs from Netgalley. Coffee Days Whisky Nights by Cyrus Parker was a great collection of poems that I personally could relate to. Finding both the light and the dark, the hope and the pain in life is woven through the pages. Once I finished I immediately wanted to start reading again. A 5 star collection.

I’ve really enjoyed some of Sarah Crossan’s YA novels written in verse and this was her first adult novel. While it passed quickly this wasn’t the right book for me. The novel follows a woman who is having an affair and her boyfriend dies, leaving her in secret grief. I think this just wasn’t my kind of novel but I can see others liking it. A 3 star read for me.

Dear NHS 100 Stories To Say Thank You – edited by Adam Kay is incredible. Written and put together through lockdown proceeds also go towards supporting the NHS and the incredible people who care for us. Celebrities from all walks of life have contributed Emilia Clarke, Jacqueline Wilson, Sir Trevor McDonald, Jack Whitehall and so many more. After I finished I went and bought a copy for my Nanna to read too. An incredible book, 5 stars. I’d give it 50 if I could.

Music From Another World by Robin Talley was sent to me in exchange for a review. Set in the USA in the 1970s, two teenagers become penpals through a school project, but they end up getting much more from it. Dealing with homophobia in the 70s, religion and what the changes around them meant for the future. I really enjoyed this book and loved both the main characters, I also highly recommend the audiobook.

I got a copy of The Black Kids by Christina Hammonds Reed from the publisher via Netgalley. While I was excited by it, after reading I realised it wasn’t for me. I couldn’t get on with the protagonist and actually found her sister to be much more interesting. 3 stars for me.

I’m a big fan of Alice Oseman’s writing and Loveless was one I was really excited for this year – it didn’t disappoint. Set during Georgia’s first term at university not only is she trying to adapt to her new surroundings but also that she just doesn’t seem to get relationships or love. As she learns about terms such as Asexual and Aromantic she’s got even more to work out, while also trying to keep her friendships together. A 5 star read for me!

Little Moments of Love is an flick though of cute moments from Catana Comics. I enjoyed it, a 3 star read for me.

August

The Meaning of Birds by Jaye Robin Brown is a heartbreaking and also wonderful sapphic novel that I am so glad I got for myself. It deals with grief, healing and anger. Put simply I found it to be as beautiful as the cover suggests. A big 5 stars and one that is not shouted about enough!

In Real Life by Cory Doctorow and Jen Wang is one I’ve eyed for a while. A graphic novel about a gamer who realises that things might not be what they seem. A really well written and illustrated story of friendship, understanding and poverty – 4 stars from me.

I am so late to the party with theses I know! I have to say though Holly Jackson is a bit bloody brilliant. Both A Good Girl’s Guide To Murder and Good Girl, Bad Blood had me hooked. I could not put them down for the life of me, I needed to know what happened. I’ll be preordering the third book as soon as I can because these are amazing. Murder, mystery and twists that you won’t see coming – both 5 star reads.

I found All Hail The Queen – Twenty Women Who Ruled by Jennifer Orkia Lewis & Shweta Jha on Scribd and thought it was worth a read. What I enjoyed about this book was that it focused on Queens from around the world throughout history. A quick read full of interesting women – 4 stars.

Another one I finally got to! Spinning by Tillie Walden is a graphic memoir about Tillie’s time ice skating from a child to her teens as she also begins to realise her sexuality. I gave this one 3 stars.

This book came to be at the right time. The Midnight Library by Matt Haig is about life, death and possibilities. Not only is is beautifully written but it also makes you consider what’s important and who you are. I’ve been recommending this to everyone because I love it so much. Review to come, 5 stars – go and buy it now and enrich your life.

I’ve read all of Bryony Gordon’s memoirs, so I preordered the audiobook of Glorious Rock Bottom. This one was surprising as it overlaps with some of the others in a way that I didn’t expect. Bryony bares all about her alcoholism and trying to get clean, including things that she isn’t proud of but she does share her reality. She also acknowledges her privilege that she can pay to go to rehab. A solid 4 star read.

Honor Girl by Maggie Thrash kept popping up on lists about graphic memoirs (something I’ve liked reading recently). This is about a Mormon teenager at summer camp who is working out her sexuality. While I could appreciate the story I wasn’t keen on the art style. A 3 star read for me.

I adore the Heartstopper series by Alice Oseman and so I wanted to pick up this short story she wrote about the main characters Nick and Charlie. This does have spoilers if you only read the bound editions (although if you’re up to speed then I wouldn’t say there are too many spoilers). That said it was a really sweet quick read that I loved. 5 stars

I got an ARC of The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue by V.E. Schwab via Netgalley and I squealed. This is one of my most anticipated reads of the year and this book. This book! Oh it’s something special. It comes out next month and I can’t WAIT to share my review with you all soon. 5 stars, obviously.

What have you been reading? Let me know below!

The Folklore Book Tag

The Folklore Book Tag

I decided that as I’m getting back into regular blogging and posting I’d ease myself in with a fun tag. Like a lot of other people in the bookish community I lost it when I found out that Taylor Swift was dropping a new album.

Now, I’m not going to lie there are definitely more Autumn vibes for me from the album (or maybe that’s just wishful thinking) but nevertheless I saw this tag an knew I had to do it. So let’s get on with it.

The Rules:

  • Link to the original creator: Ilsa A Whisper Of Ink
  • Tag at least 3 people. 
  • Declare the rules and list of prompts in your post
  • Thank whoever tagged you and link to their post.

The Questions:

The 1 – a book with an ending that left you speechless

If you’ve read A Court of Mist and Fury you know exactly what I’m talking about. It’s my favourite in the ACOTAR series and seeing as it’s the second book I can’t say too much. I will say I was VERY pleased that the first 3 books were out when I read them because waiting after that ending would have killed me.

Cardigan – a book that makes you feel happy and sad all at once

The Last Great American Dynasty – a book with a fascinating and well-told story

It’s no secret on this blog that I loved The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid. I was completely and utterly absorbed by this story and the audiobook, I was listening to it constantly.

It’s just an amazingly well written story and I was surprised by the ending which doesn’t happen often!

Exile – a book you wish you hadn’t read

A controversial opinion but Clean by Juno Dawson irritated me. I generally struggle reading about people who are rich and spoilt who can just go to rehab. I didn’t enjoy it and I found the main character annoying.

My Tears Ricochet – a book that made you cry uncontrollably 
Orbiting Jupiter - Gary D. Schmidt

I wouldn’t say cried uncontrollably but I definitely cried while reading Orbiting Jupiter by Gary D. Schmidt. I picked it up at YALC a while ago not knowing much about it and it was an emotional read guys. I expected it to be a challenge but I cried.

Mirrorball – a book that feels like it was written just for you

The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath spoke to my soul while I was at university. A young woman full of potential who doesn’t know what she wants to do with her life but doesn’t want to lose her potential. Throw in a mental illness and a desire to be a writer and hello there.

It’s one of my favourite books of all time – it can be a pretty tough read but even now at nearly 26 I still feel like that book is mine in my heart. I also adore Plath’s poetry. She feels so hard through her art and I get it.

Seven – a childhood book that makes you feel nostalgic

Anything by Jacqueline Wilson, in the late 90s and early 2000s she was a Queen in children’s literature (I’ve heard she still is but I haven’t read one in years). I had to read every one of her latest releases as it came out.

August – a book that reminds you of summer

It might be a strange one but the Harry Potter series. I used to reread them during the summer during my holidays while I was growing up.

This Is Me Trying – a book that deals with loneliness & sadness 

We Are Okay by Nina LaCour deals with grief as a particular kind of sadness. There isn’t a huge amount of action in the novel but it stirs up feelings and you can understands the sadness and loneliness. I think Nina LaCour is able to write difficult emotions quite well and I love her work.

Illicit Affairs – a book that gave you a book hangover

At the time of writing I read The Meaning of Birds by Jay Robin Brown a few weeks ago and I just can’t get it out of my head. I can’t stop wondering about the main character, what she gets up to after the end of the book. Is she ok? Does do what she wants to do?

Invisible String – a book that came into your life at the exact right time

A new released but The Midnight Library by Matt Haig came to me when I was struggling with my own mental health and struggling to have hope for the future. Even though it can be a sad and difficult read (TW for suicide and death) but it’s one of my favourite books of the year hands down.

Mad Woman – a book with a female character you adore

I’m yet to find someone who hasn’t fallen in love with Nimona. She’s funny, she’s smart and she can basically be whoever she wants to be. I love her.

Epiphany – a book that was haunting

The first book that comes to mind is Rebecca by Daphne Du Marier. I haven’t read it since I was at university but I know there’s a new adaptation coming out which will be interesting. But yeah, literally haunting!

Betty – a book couple that fills you with yearning
Letters on Motherhood

While the thought of being a mother does scare me a little bit reading this book made me strangely calm about it. It made me think ahead to my future, which I hope involves my own kids and hope with all my heart for little people. They don’t exist yet but I already love them.

Peace – a book character you’d die for because you love them so much

This is one that I’ve really struggled to come up with someone for. I think, currently, I can’t say much more than Addie LaRue.

Hoax – a book that you thought you were going to love but didn’t

Simon Vs The Homosapiens Agenda was such a let down for me. I heard so many good things about it but it just fell flat for me. It wasn’t anything new or different. I know I’m in the minority for this.

I tag anyone who loves Folklore and wants to do this tag! It was such a fun one 

Book Review: Love On The Main Stage -S.A. Domingo

Book Review: Love On The Main Stage – S.A. Domingo

Nova is ready for the summer, to put school and ex’s behind her and get stuck into working the circuit on her family’s food truck. Then she meets Sam a gorgeous American boy with an amazing voice who makes her want to share her own songs…but why does he always have those backstage passes? 

This is a really easy read and also is super sweet without being too cutesy. Nova was an amazing character who stands out well on her own, even without the romance element. Not only is she smart and on top of things such as environmental issues, she also doesn’t take herself too seriously. 

I also absolutely adored the passion for cooking and food that came from Nova’s parents. It was as if I could smell the food, taste how delicious it was and the additional plot line of their challenges and need to win a competition. I was rooting for them the whole way through as well as Nova. 

The relationship between Sam and Nova is very sweet, particularly the stages as they begin to get to know each other. While there is clearly a romantic attachment between them this isn’t what pulled me in. It’s the fact that they can encourage each other, have fun and be teenagers. There was a kindness about their relationship that was lovely to read. 

Domingo clearly has a talent for description, I felt like I was at a festival while reading this novel (something I’ve missed this year). I could hear it, see it, smell it and I had a huge craving for Eats and Beats after I finished, yep I know it’s fictional. 

This is a sweet read and I really enjoyed it. I’d love to know what Nova gets up to after this novel. This was a 4 star read for me. I highly recommend it for those who love music and for those who want a nice chilled read. 

Thank you to the publisher and author for sharing a copy of this with me in exchange for review. 

What I Read In May And June 2020

Am I posting this in the middle of July, yes, yes I am.

After April’s mammoth reading month which featured a part 1 and part 2 wrap up because there were so many books, it felt like I read hardly anything in May and June.

It turns out I was wrong, while I did dip into a lot of shorter reads I’m pleased to say that there was a good mix. I also managed a good number of LGBTQ books in May and June and while the original TBR didn’t happen (surprise, surprise) I will carry on in the coming months.

Let’s get into the books!

I finished ‘I Will Not Be Erased” Our Stories About Growing-Up As People Of Colour by Gal-dem at the beginning of the month. This was a collection of work by people of colour and I learnt a lot about things that I couldn’t experience myself. I’d highly recommend it which is why it was a 5 star read for me.

I was given A Quick & Easy Guide To Consent to review via NetGally and this one wasn’t really for me. I’m not sure if it is aimed at younger readers but it came across as a little bit patronising.

So, Clap When You Land is one of my favourite books of the year so far, I’m almost certain that it will be in my top ten. Beautifully written with a plot that I just couldn’t put down. 5 stars and I’m recommending it to everyone.

I read my second Nina LaCour book, Hold Still and I think I liked it just as much if not more than We Are Okay. It follows Caitlin as she tries to navigate life without her best friend, who she recently lost to suicide. The way LaCour writes is magical and I adore it. Another 5 star read.

I finally got around to reading Nimona and what took me so damn long?! I laughed out loud reading but this graphic novel also has a lot of heart. I got a little emotional at the end as well. Again we have a 5 star read – I know it was a bloody good few months.

I got an early copy of Frankie Comics by Rachel Dukes via NetGalley. This is a must for any cat owner it’s absolutely adorable and I just fell in love with the cuteness of it all.

I really loved The Flatshare by Beth O’Leary last year, it was sweet, funny and really well narrated. So of course I wanted to read her next novel The Switch (and I’ve already added her third to my TBR), I listened to it on Audible as I did the first book and it was equally sweet. You don’t often get perspectives from peoples nans but I really loved it – Eileen was my favourite. 4.5 starts for me.

What Would Boudicca Do was one I’d had for a while and wanted to give a chance to. While I did find out about interesting women it wasn’t for me. It felt like it was trying too hard to be cool and down with the kids. I did finish it but put it into the donate pile. 3 stars for me.

I’ve not read a Monica Hesse book before and thought this would be a good one to start with. They Went Left follows a young woman after she is liberated by a concentration camp and the search for her brother. I appreciated this novel and the story it was telling but the ending really bothered me. That’s all I can say and this was a 3 star read for me.

Read With Pride is the second book in the Paper And Hearts Society series by the lovely Lucy Powrie. This follows Olivia and her fight after her school tries to make it impossible to take out books with LGBTQ characters while at the same time trying to do her best in exams, see her girlfriend and friends… A 4 star read for me!

Another book I’ve been meaning to get to since it came out was The Love Hypothesis by Laura Steven who also wrote one of my favourite YA books The Exact Opposite of Okay . A novel about a teen who wants to work out love and will experiment to work out the one formulae she hasn’t cracked so far. This was a strange one that I wasn’t sure of at first but by the end I was crying tears of joy.

If you’re looking for a cute graphic novel with beautiful artwork then do yourself a favour and read Bloom. I read this in record time, sent a message to my friend and they also read it super quickly. It felt so real and also so sweet. 5 stars, of course!

I Moved To Los Angeles To Work In Animation was recommended to me on Scribd and it was well worth it. I enjoyed the illustration, the honesty that Natalie shares and that she also adds in thoughts from other people who work in animation. A great book for people who are interested in Animation and those interested in memoirs – 4 stars.

I haven’t read any Jackie Kay before but have heard about her before. Bantam was one that didn’t quite work for me as it didn’t seem to flow in a way I could appreciate. Also I find it difficult to read accents, particularly in poetry as there is less time to get used to them. Not memorable for me so a 2 star.

I listened to All Boys Aren’t Blue after seeing it raved about everywhere. I’m not sure if it was just the audiobook but I found it a little disjointed. I did, however, learn a lot about growing up black and queer in the US – something I know little about. Overall a 3 star read for me.

Love On The Main Stage by S.A. Domingo was sent to me for review by the publisher and this is an adorable YA novel that is perfect for the summer. It follows sixteen year old Nova as she works the festival circuit during the summer on her family’s food truck. She then meets Sam, a cute American and romance ensues… A 4 star read!

I’ve waiting for Happily Ever After & Everything In Between by Debbie Tung to come out on Scribd and I was not disappointed. This is such a sweet collection and one that I could relate to again. And that ending!!! 5 stars from me.

And there we have it! Are there any you want to read or have read? Let me know in the comments below!

Book Review: The Eve Illusion – Giovanna and Tom Fletcher

As we’re thrown back into the world of Eve, the first girl born in 50 years things are about to get dark. This will contain spoilers for the first book (review here) so if you haven’t read it yet pop back later! 

It might just be that I haven’t read the first book in a long time but this definitely felt darker and earned its place as a dystopian book in my opinion. With new technology, a few big twists and a plot that meant I could not put the book down for the life of me. 

When starting the book I was a little lost, but thankfully the end of book one is recapped in an interesting way, from a different perspective which allowed me to remember where we left off and who was who. I didn’t realise that the first book came out 2 years ago – no wonder I felt like it had been a while. 

That said once I’d caught up that was it. It was also great to find out more about the world that Eve had been shielded from and what the reality was outside her own paradise. I had chills while reading this. 

While I can’t say much about it, because I wouldn’t ruin a book like that, the ending is incredible. I did wonder about it a little earlier on but once it happened I was full of intrigue and excitement. That is how you write a cliff hanger, the Fletcher’s have got it spot on. 

This is easily my favourite sequel of the year so far and deserves all the praise. A 5 star read and I’ll be eagerly anticipating book 3, which according to the internet is supposed to come out in 2021 – I will be keeping everything crossed. 

Thank you to the publisher, authors and Netgalley for a copy in exchange for a fair and honest review. 

The Mid-Year Book Freak Out Tag 2020

The Mid-Year Book Freak Out Tag 2020

Well, what a reading year so far! At the time of writing this post I have read a total of 72 books…I’m pretty sure that’s the most books I’ve ever consumed in 6 months.

While I set my goal at 100 books, I’m pretty sure that I will hit at least 120, if not more. So while I’m not freaking out I am excited to look back at the books I’ve been reading in the first very weird half of the year. If you want to see how it compares to 2019 you can click here.

Best Book Of The Year So Far

This is too hard, there are so many excellent books I’ve read this year so, top 3? Even that was super hard but they are all new to be books and the authors you’ll find out more about below!

Clap When You Land is an excellent YA novel about two girls who are sisters…but neither knew the other existed.

Hold Still is about a young woman who’s coping with the death of her best friend. It’s beautifully written and while it hurt my heart it also made it full.

Come Tumbling Down is the 5th book in the Wayward Children series and definitely my favourite but that is because I have a soft spot for Jack – I highly recommend the audiobook!

Best Sequel Of The Year So Far

The Eve Illusion - Giovanna and Tom Fletcher

The Eve Illusion – Tom and Giovanna Fletcher

I thought this was going to be good but I was blown away by the second in the series and the ending was incredible. Spoiler free review coming soon, keep your eyes peeled. 👀

A New Release You Haven’t Read Yet But Want To

I am all about the Sapphic books this year, can’t get enough of them. This looks absolutely adorable and came out in June. It follows Saoirse who no longer believes in happy endings after her mother ends up with early onset dementia – something she may inherit.

That is until she meets a girl at a party who’s determined to give her a summer of fun, including movie cliches, rom-com moments and the promise it will end in the autumn.

This just screams cute to me and I need to get to it soon.

Most Anticipated Release Of Autumn/Winter

So Victoria Schwab has become an autobuy author, I’ve already preordered a signed special edition of The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue. A bargain is made by a young woman so that she can live forever – but to do so will mean that cursed to be forgotten by everyone she meets. That is until she meets a man who remembers her name. Dun, dun, duuuuuuuun. Sounds so good, I’m so excited.

Also, Nina LaCour is now an autobuy author. This one looks a little different and has a paranormal element to it which is totally different to her other books but I find her writing beautiful and lyrical so obviously I need it.

Biggest Disappointment Of The Year So Far

Similar to last year I think I’ve outgrown Amanda Lovelace as an author. I’ve now read all of her poetry collections and while I loved her first, I just can’t get on with the others, they just seem to repeat.

Biggest Surprise So Far

I was one of the few people who couldn’t get into The Poet X, so I didn’t really keep an eye on Elizabeth Acevedo as an author but then I kept hearing about With The Fire On High and it peaked my interest.

After I read this I immediately wanted more of her writing and requested Clap When You Land, one of my favourite books of the year so far.

New Favourite Author (Debut/New To You)

I couldn’t pick just one…because this year I’ve found three authors I absolutely adore (all of which I found in lockdown). I tried Elizabeth Acevedo again this year and fell in love with two of her novels and absolutely devoured them.

Similarly, I started We Are Okay by Nina LaCour after getting it for Christmas and as soon as I could I ordered her first novel Hold Still. I’m looking forward to getting through the rest of her books.

Last but not least Seanan McGuire. I got through all of the Wayward Children series in record time while listening to the audiobooks (thank goodness for Scribd!).

Newest Fictional Crush

I don’t get crushes on fictional characters, sorry!

Your Newest Favourite Character

Eileen Cotton is adorable, fierce and lovely and I completely fell in love with her while reading Beth O’Leary’s second novel, The Switch. She’s the best.

A Book That Made You Cry

So I teared up at the end of this book, which means I can tell you absolutely nothing about the reasons why but I didn’t expect to because the rest of this book is absolutely hilarious.

A Book That Made You Happy

The Most Beautiful Book So Far

I bought this over Christmas while I was working in a book shop but only got around to it once I’d finished in January. Oh this is stunning, absolutely beautiful in both its illustration and its message. A good read for adults or kids too (I swear I’ll be trying to sell this book for the rest of time, it’s like muscle memory now).

Books You Need To Read By The End Of The Year

There are so many but out of the books I already own and are currently staring at me The Hate You Give by Angie Thomas (I know, I know!), The Missing of Claire de lune by Christelle Dabos and Everything Leads To You by Nina LaCour.

What have you loved so far this year? I’d love to hear your recommendations below!