What I Read In October 2020

What I Read In October 2020

Is it almost December? Yes. Have I still not posted this blog, 100%. It probably hasn’t escaped your notice I haven’t been blogging much. I’ll be honest, I finally got a great work project and when I wasn’t working on that I was trying to pack up my flat or sleep. Oh and a little thing, planning for Blogmas!

But before we get into the festive fun let’s finally get around to talking about what I read in October.

After seeing that Iman Vellani has been cast at Ms Marvel for the Disney+ series I decided it was time to finally get around to reading the comic book. It was a good read as far as an introduction but I’m not in a huge rush to get to volume 2, meaning it was a 3 star read for me.

Next up was Nikita Gill’s newest collection and I have to say that I, personally, think this is the best collection she has done so far. I adored each page of The Girl And The Goddess and was blown away by the story within. It was tough to read some parts and definitely be careful if you struggle with reading about sexual violence. That said it is handled brilliantly and this is going to be in my top 10 books of the year! 5 stars without a doubt!

Another favourite of this year (October was good for that) was Serpent and Dove by Shelby Mahurin. Oh my goodness this book. This book. I actually got it for Christmas last year and hadn’t got around to it, I’m kicking myself. It’s incredible a Witch ends up marrying a Witch Hunter and I loved them both. So much so I told my Mum not to buy it for me for Christmas because I needed the sequel immediately. A 5 star read for sure.

Next up I finally picked up Vengeful by V.E. Schwab again to finish it. I ended up enjoying it although I did find the beginning slower once I got into it and was back into the EO world again. Also I don’t feel like Sydney and Mitch get enough love. This was a 4 star read for me.

Mindy Kaling is known for being hilarious and I really liked her books Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? And Why Not Me? So I’ve started making my way through these short essay type books available on Kindle. I really hope there’s a bound collection at some point. Big Shot was a quick, fun read that made me think and got 4 stars from me.

I Am Not A Label written by Carrie Burnell was something I came across online and was drawn by the art style, what I didn’t expect is for it to touch me so much. I say Lady Gaga on the cover but having a book which described Fibromyalgia that’s aimed at younger people was emotional. It’s the first time I’ve seen it and it meant so, so much to be seen. A truly wonderful 5 star read.

The last two are from a duo that my and my fiancé both love to read about and have met at MCM in London before – Sarah Graley & Stef Purenis. I finally picked up Our Super Adventure Vol 2 because I realised I didn’t have it. I also backed Cute! on Kickstarted and got an adorable cat pin too! Both of these were 4 star reads.

So, it was better late than never. Have you read any of these? Let me know in the comments below!

Book Review: The Girl And The Goddess - Nikita Gill

Book Review: The Girl And The Goddess – Nikita Gill

Let her be a little less human, a little more divine
Give her heart armor so it doesn’t break as easily as mine

Meet Paro. A girl with a strong will, a full heart, and much to learn. Born into a family reeling from the ruptures of Partition in India, we follow her as she crosses the precarious lines between childhood, teenage discovery, and realizing her adult self. In the process, Paro must confront fear, desire and the darkest parts of herself in the search for meaning and, ultimately, empowerment.

Nikita Gill is an incredible poet who isn’t afraid to try new things in her collections – The Girl and The Goddess is no different. Weaving poetry with stories of Hindu mythology I was hooked.

As a warning I will say that if you are sensitive to reading about violence or sexual assault then please take your time with this, make sure you know more before you go into it and that you’re okay.

This is a stunning collection we follow the story of Paro from a baby to a child forced to leave her home, all the way to a young woman who is figuring out who she is and her place in the world. I didn’t know much going in, only that I liked some of Gill’s previous collections

Paro is an incredible character, I think because she has flaws. She’s not perfect but she is human, she gets confused, hurt, angry. We see the world through her eyes as she grows and in a way that we feel like we don’t miss anything. I fell in love with her over and over again and just wanted the best for her.

I found myself desperate to find more about the Goddesses and God mentioned. I’m the first to admit that I knew nothing about Hindu myths and legends before starting but I can’t wait to learn more (if anyone knows any good books for me to start, let me know in the comments!).

A few people may hear poetry and think that it’s not for them, I would urge you to try this collection, which I would say is more of a novel in verse. It’s absolutely stunning and flows so well that you’ll fall into without realising it’s different from what you’re used to.

This collection was 5 stars for me, it’s absolutely beautiful and I had to keep reading. For a real treat, I’d recommend reading a few out loud, just for yourself to really feel the magic within the pages of the story. A breathtaking piece of literature that more people want to know about.

A Bloody Big Book Haul

A Bloody Big Book Haul

September was my birthday month, it was also a month that a lot of my pre orders arrived and I was given books – so we’ve got a big old haul coming! Grab a cuppa and a snack for this one!

So these books cover from the 1st September to the 15th October…I think this is all of them at least. I was really spoilt for my birthday, a few pre orders were released too but as you’re going to see there are a LOT of books for someone who is having to move in a few months…

After discovering Nina LaCour earlier in the year I ordered Watch Over Me as soon as I could and then read it as soon as it arrived. A little different to her other stuff but still excellent nonetheless. I also ordered a copy of Orpheus Girl by Brynne Rebele-Henry which was a tough read about a young woman going through ‘conversion therapy’ after she gets caught with her best friend.

American Widow by Alissa Torres was recommended as a graphic memoir after Alissa’s husband was killed in the 9/11 attacks while she was pregnant – this follows what life was like for her. Punching The Air by Ibi Zoboi and Yusef Salaam is a novel in verse which I devoured about a young man who is wrongly imprisoned. This has roots in Yusef’s experiences as one of the Exonerated Five.

So I got an early ebook of The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue by V.E. Schwab, I ordered not one but 2 copies. My American edition arrived when it was meant to, there was an issue with my signed UK edition so technically it arrived later than this list but oh well. Everything you need to know about my favourite book of the year is in my review here.

I was given a copy of Heart Berries by Terese Marie Mailhot, it looks to be an interesting and insightful memoir about an indigenous woman’s life. I bought a copy of Finding Joy by Gary Anderson this is a reflection of Gary’s life raising two kids after the death of his wife and it is truly beautiful.

I also received a copy of The Court of Miracles by Kester Grant as a gift from Maddie and Fred and not just any edition, a special sprayed edges edition!

I received Bloom by Beau Taplin and Swimming Sideways by C.L Walters from my friend Sarah for my birthday. One is a poetry collection and the other was recommended for fans of one of my new favourites Nina LaCour!

Dear Life by Rachel Clarke was a Waterstones Book Of The Month so I decided to buy it’s probably one for when I feel like less of an emotional mess though. I also got The Left-Handed Booksellers of London by Garth Nix with my birthday gift card, magic, books and an endorsement from V.E Schwab? Take my money.

Now I have my original copy of Radio Silence but I really wanted one to match my other Alice Oseman covers…it’s what birthday money is for right? I heard glowing reviews for Circe by Madeline Miller and I kept meaning to read it, also a reason for birthday money.

My pre order of Thoughts & Prayers by Bryan Bliss arrived! This is about the aftermath of a school shooting and how it impacts people’s lives, it should be an interesting read. I also picked up the only copy of Witch by Finbar Hawkins because I’ve found myself falling back in love with witchy books and Autumn is the perfect time!

Majesty is the second and final (for now) novel in American Royals, picking up after a number of cliffhangers from book one and the reign of America’s first Queen. I pre-ordered a signed copy of More Than A Woman by Caitlin Moran and started reading it the day I got it…I haven’t finished it yet, take from that what you will.

I got second hand copies of Just Listen and This Lullaby by Sarah Dessen with the covers I read as a teen – it was just before my birthday and I was feeling super nostalgic.

Every Body Looking by Candice Iloh is a novel in verse that I pre ordered, I don’t know too much about it other than it’s about a young woman and finding her place in the world. I also got Adventure Zone Vol 2 after enjoying the first one so much, let’s see what the gang get up to this time.

Another pre-order and another sapphic read (it’s been a good year for sapphic books, right?!) I Kissed Alice by Anna Birch. It’s pitched as a ‘romantic comedy about enemies, lovers and everything in between’ I’m in. I also won a copy of Ashes by Christopher De Vinck, a novel set in WW2 about friendship and survival.

After seeing that there is going to be a TV series for Ms Marvel I finally got around to picking up vol 1. I read it pretty much straight away – it was okay, I want to see what happens in the next few volumes. My friend Charissa gave me a copy of Sincerity by Carol Ann Duffy – I really like Duffy’s work and this is one I haven’t read yet.

And last, but certainly not least The Girl and the Goddess by Nikita Gill is a breathtaking novel in verse, I highly recommend and will write a review soon! Every collection of hers I like her style more and more.

I clearly don’t need to buy any more books (although as I write this my copy of Blood and Honey is on the way – oops). Have you done any book buying recently? Let me know what you picked up!

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.