The Mid-Year Book Freak Out Tag 2021

The Mid-Year Book Freak Out Tag 2021

It’s that time of year again, we’re already half way through the year and I have to admit it hasn’t been my *best* reading year especially after starting 2021 recovering from covid! That said, there have been some great reads, so let’s take a look at where I am so far!

My goal: 50 books

My Harsh Reality: As of writing I’ve read 42 books. However! My original goal was 100 at the start of the year but Goodreads kept telling me how ‘behind’ I was so I decided to change it to 50 and I’ll review the goal once I hit it. I can see myself reading about 75 books this year if I’m still not 100%.

Let’s get cracking.

Best Book of the Year- So Far

The novel just managed to sneak in as I wrote this post and oh wow I loved it. This novel takes us back to Victorian London but also takes place in the present day. We follow two women and one girl as big changes take place in their lives and they’re all seamlessly interwoven. There’s murder and revenge but also a lot of heart and understanding. It’s pretty brilliant.

Best Sequel Read in 2021

No other sequel I’ve read has lived up to it – this was an excellent follow up to the ACOTAR series, one of my favourites. This is now competing for my favourite book of the series in general because while Nesta isn’t always likeable she is real. She feels a deep level of pain, anger and lashes out. The fact that she isn’t perfect makes the novel even more powerful and I can’t wait to see what comes next. It’s a brilliantly written book.

Newest Release I Haven’t Read Yet, But I Want To

While One Last Stop is actually out as I write this, my copy has been held up so I’m eagerly waiting for it to arrive. I absolutely loved Red, White and Royal Blue and can’t wait to read another book by the author. Also this one has time travel? I’m down.

Most Anticipated Release for the Second Half of the Year

Can I pick 2 here? Mostly because they’re both the final book in series’s that I’ve loved.

First up Gods and Monsters by Shelby Mahurin and after the cliffhanger in book 2 I need to know what’s happening to Lou and Reid, also even though it came out last year I’m still not over what happened in Blood and Honey. It’s out next month, the 27th July 2021 and I have everything crossed my copy comes on time because I cannot handle spoilers.

Next is the final book in the A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder series which I took way too long to pick up. I loved the first, was hooked on the second and I’m intrigued to see what the third holds especially as this time it’s a threat against Pip herself. It’s released on the 5th August on the UK.

Biggest Disappointment

This was hard because I don’t think there’s anything I was really looking forward to that disappointed me, I guess it would have to be Dearly by Margaret Atwood. I’d just heard so many good things and I just didn’t connect with it at all.

Biggest Surprise 

I can’t remember how I came across The Impending Blindness of Billie Scott but it looked interesting. This is Zoe Thorgood’s debut and that fact was a huge surprise. This is an excellent book with a stunning art style and it’s made me incredibly excited to see Zoe’s career develop, also her Instagram is great.

Favourite New Author

I’m currently really into Tillie Walden books and I’m slowly picking them all up – I really love the art style and the stories find a way to pull at my heart strings, no matter what their length. I’m really hoping to find a few more of her books when I’m next in London and am let loose in Forbidden Planet.

Most Beautiful Book I’ve Bought This Year

This picture doesn’t do it justice, the colours, the design, there’s foiling. It is *chef’s kiss* also I really loved this book, it’s perfect for any lover of books. Also, Cathy Rentzenbrink is really, really lovely.

Books To be Read By The End of The Year

I have a huge TBR in my house and there’s so many that I need to get to which includes (but isn’t limited to):

The Wolf Den – Elodie Harper

Circe – Madeline Miller

The Missing of Clair De Line – Christelle Dabos

Malibu Rising – Taylor Jenkins Reid

Lycanthropy and other Chronic Illnesses – Kristen O’Neal

What are you looking forward to this year? Let me know below!

Book Review: Dear NHS - Edited By Adam Kay

Book Review: Dear NHS – Edited By Adam Kay

Created and edited by Adam Kay (author of multi-million best seller ‘This is Going to Hurt’), ‘DEAR NHS’ features household names telling their personal stories of the health service.

What would we do without the NHS? In the UK it means that no matter what we earn, no matter who we are we can receive healthcare for free. The immense pressure that it has been under in the past year is quite possibly the biggest challenge they’ve ever faced since it started. Even after cuts after cuts it still stands on shaking legs and continues to provide us with one of the best healthcare services in the world.

I pre-ordered this as soon as I heard it was happening. I’m a big fan of Adam Kay and the fact that each copy purchased gave money to NHS charities. In the UK at least, we all have a story of how the NHS has helped us or someone we love. Of course I was picking up a copy.

The stories within this collection may be by celebrities, those who we see as ‘having it all’ that they too rely on our incredible health service, that some of them may not be here without it. Like many of us the NHS has been there for them at the start of their lives, at times where we are scared and in pain and will be there for us when it’s our time to go, to make us as comfortable as we can be.

Emilia Clarke’s essay is the one that stuck with me the most. While filming the first season of Game of Thrones, Emilia became incredibly ill due to a brain aneurysm. Every step of the way she thanks the NHS for their expertise, care and for saving her life. In particular she thanks “The nurse who suggested — after everyone else in A&E struggled to find an answer when I was first admitted — that maybe, just maybe I should have a brain scan. She saved my life.”

There are so many popular names, I’m sure that everyone who picks up this book will find a story that they relate with. Celebrities include; Peter Kay, Sir Paul McCartney, Stephen Fry, Dawn French, Sir Trevor McDonald, Graham Norton, Sir Michael Palin, Naomie Harris, Ricky Gervais, Sir David Jason, Dame Emma Thompson and Joanna Lumley.  

Some of the pieces are short and funny, others will make you want to hug your family a little closer, all of them will make you proud of the incredible institution that the NHS is. It will remind you that weekly clapping isn’t what got us this far, it’s the hard work, the blood, sweat and tears of all that work within the NHS, not just the surgeons, doctors and nurses but the health assistants, the porters, the receptionists, the secretaries. Every single person working within the NHS is a part of one of the greatest things to come out of this country – something that must be protected.

I couldn’t give this book any less than 5 stars. The fact that in the midst of everything this idea was born and such a beautiful collection was created so quickly is truly wonderful. Adam Kay is excellent, there is no one else I think that could have put these stories together so well. I finished the book and immediately ordered a copy for my Nanna so she could read this too. I highly recommend picking up a copy and money from each goes to NHS charities.

Blog Tour: The Sad Ghost Club - Lize Meddings

Blog Tour: The Sad Ghost Club – Lize Meddings

Ever felt anxious or alone? Like you don’t belong anywhere? Like you’re almost… invisible?

Find your kindred spirits at The Sad Ghost Club.

When BookMark asked if I’d like to be part of their blog tour for The Sad Ghost Club, I jumped at the chance. I requested to read an early copy of the book because I liked the art style and thought the idea sounded sweet. The team at Bkmrk got in touch asking for my address, I mentioned it would be a great distraction as at the time I was in isolation with Covid. Not only was Becci kind enough to send me The Sad Ghost Club, she also sent across a few other books that I was so looking forward to. That kindness meant the world. Anyway, I digress.

For anyone who has felt depression or anxiety, who’s felt like they’re going through the motions because they don’t feel entirely present, you’ll be seen within the pages of this book. While reading I could feel myself nodding, remembering times where everything has felt so urgent and terrifying, while I just couldn’t bring myself to do anything about it.

The first half of this book will make you feel less alone, less weird, because I know for certain that in my toughest times with my mental health I felt not only lonely but also like there was something wrong with me. The experience being put on a page does wonders.

The second half of the book will do something even better, it’ll give you hope – something I think we’re all in need of right now. The good news, and something that you’re reminded of while reading is that there are others like you and, actually, people who understand can make really good company. We all have our stories, quirks and oddities – we’d be really boring if we didn’t, but it’s what makes us work.

I highly recommend this book. It’s a shorter read and, for me, it was something I could pick up and go through without having to think too much, which is great when you have a foggy brain. If you want to find out more you can also see the other stops on the blog tour below!

Thank you to the publishers and author for my copy in exchange for this post.

Blogmas 2020: The Best & Worst Books Of Each Month!

When I saw Hailey in Bookland doing this idea on her channel I knew it would be a good (and hard) challenge for myself. I’ve read some absolute crackers this year and it’s been an excellent year for releases with some books published in 2020 being in my top books ever category (I’m looking at you, Addie LaRue).

If you want to see everything I’ve read in 2020 then hold tight, it’s coming a little later in the month! At the time of writing this there are 117 books – it’s been a good reading year. Also, it’s worth noting that I DNF books I really don’t like so while these may be the ‘worst’ I read they were still good enough for me to finish.

January

Best – The Only Plane In The Sky

It may seem strange to rate it the ‘best’, it’s such a well written and fascinating book – even if it is about something as heartbreaking as 9/11. This has so many stories of various people who were there, who were with the president at the time and others. A crucial book for learning about something that changed the world so much.

Worst – Sunday’s Child

I was so disappointed but there wasn’t anything memorable about this, I thought it would at least be an insight into a german child’s view of the war but I didn’t really get anything from it.

February

Best- Letters on Motherhood – Giovanna Fletcher

She may now be Queen of the Castle but Gi is also an author and I absolutely love her non-fiction on motherhood. I got this as soon as it came out as I absolutely loved Happy Mum, Happy Baby even though I don’t have any human babies. Before HMHB, I loved watching Gi’s vlogs and blogs and I’m hoping to listen to the podcast in the new year. You can read my review here.

Worst – Fascism and Democracy – George Orwell

I struggle with George Orwell. I read Animal Farm at school and thought it was brilliant, I still do. I tried to tread Homage to Catalonia at uni and couldn’t get through it. Then I thought I should read Fascism and Democracy and it was super short but it could have been even shorter. So much waffle. I think I just need to accept that George Orwell isn’t for me.

March

This was a TOUGH month to pick because there were a few stand outs.

Best- The Gravity of Us – Phil Stamper

I met Phil while we both studied at Kington University as he was undertaking his MA and was so excited to read his book because he’s lovely. The Gravity of Us not only made me interested in space and NASA but it was also really clever in how it was put together and how social media was incorporated. You can read my review here.

Worst – Break your glass slippers – Amanda Lovelace

During Lockdown I got Scribd which meant that I could finish off reading the Amanda Lovelace books that I hadn’t bought yet. I think I’m at a point where I’m just not gelling with her work anymore which is fine – it’s just not for me.

April

I read over 20 books in April, because Lockdown which means I gave you a part 1 and part 2 roundup

Best- The Eve Illusion – Tom and Giovanna Fletcher

I love this series and read the second book in 24 hours, also, while I did see the ending coming it was still super exciting when it did! I can’t wait for book 3, the end of the series, which is due to be released in March next year and my copy is already pre ordered. You can read my review here.

Worst – Lady Stuff: Secrets To Being A Woman by Loryn Brantz

I’m a fan of the cartoons but the book just seemed very repetitive

May

Best- Hold Still – Nina LaCour

This book was absolutely beautiful. There was love, pain and Nina’s incredible writing. I’ve definitely found another favourite author after starting with We Are Okay this year.

Worst – A Quick & Easy Guide To Consent – Isabella Rotman

I got this as an ARC on Netgalley and I couldn’t gel with it. For something that’s meant to be aimed at teenagers it felt quite patronising and a little too young.

June

Best- Bloom – Kevin Panetta

This graphic novel was not only beautiful in all its hues of blue, but it was also a sweet and lovely story that deserves all the love it gets.

Worst – Bantam – Jackie Kay

I wish I could tell you more about this but the fact that I can barely remember anything says it all. Also there didn’t seem to be a great flow to the poems either.

July

Best- Dear NHS 100 Stories To Say Thank You – edited by Adam Kay

I think that Adam Kay is an excellent writer and I recommend This Is Going To Hurt to just about everyone. So in the summer he pulled together a lot of celebrities and high profile people to write about their experiences and thank the NHS, it also raised money to support them. If this year and this book highlights anything, it’s how much it needs to be protected.

Worst – The Black Kids by Christina Hammonds Reed

Another unpopular opinion I couldn’t get on with this book and found the protagonist really annoying. It might be because I’ve learnt a fair bit about the LA riots but I just didn’t care for her perspective.

August

Best- The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue – V.E Schwab

Addie, Addie, Addie you are perfection and I can’t begin to explain how much I love this book. I will be getting a tattoo of the constellation though so that should tell you something. Beautiful, lyrical and I want all my friends to read it.

Worst – All Hail The Queen – Twenty Women Who Ruled by Jennifer Orkia Lewis & Shweta Jha

Now, this isn’t a bad book at all – August was another great month. I think I would have liked more information on the Queens and their lives. This is a book kind of like Goodnight Stories for Rebel Girls but more obscure.

September

Best- Finding Joy – Gary Andrews

I came across this on my birthday and picked it up with a curious mind. This is a stunning exploration of grief through art.

Worst – Felix Ever After – Kacen Callender

I know this is an unpopular opinion but I didn’t like this book. I couldn’t get on with the protagonist and found it quite boring.

October

A tough month because there weren’t any books I particularly didn’t like!

Best- Serpent and Dove – Shelby Mahuir

This is one of my new favourite series, a Witch and a Witch Hunter end up married? Umm hello! Also I love Lou, she’s got a special place in my heart because I understand her sarcasm.

Worst – Ms Marvel Vol 1

I think, for a first volume it was ok, but it didn’t have me rushing to get volume 2.

November

Ahh I loved all of the books I read in November – how do I choose?

Best- Blood and Honey – Shelby Mahuir

Although it started slower than the first in the series, I was hooked and could not stop reading, we now have to wait until August 2021 to read what happens next after that ending. At least it’s something to look forward to.

Worst – Homebody – Rupi Kaur

Controversial because I love Rupi Kaur, I just found the first half of this collection a lot harder to get into which is why it’s here, but I still think it’s a good read and I recommend it!

December

I’ve only finished 2 book sso far this month…between Blogmas and moving I’ve hardly read at all! Let’s hope from next week I can change that!

Blogmas 2020 - My Christmas Wishlist

Blogmas 2020 – My Christmas Wishlist

My Mum asked me to write a Christmas list back in August, before I’d even had my birthday. Now, I struggled this year to write things down. We’re moving into a smaller place and most of my books and all of my Lego sets are packed away in storage for the forseeable future, so what on earth was I going to ask for?

I came up with a little list and you guessed it both of those things are on the list…oops!

General Bits

friends lego

Friends Lego Set

I’ve had my eye on this set for a while. I grew up with friends in the background (it literally started the year I was born) and it became a firm favourite, something I can have on whenever and still remember a lot of lines. I think it would be so fun to build the set!

Waterstones Voucher

I know for a fact a lot of my friends and families don’t want to buy me books because they don’t know what I’ve read and what I haven’t read. So I add a Waterstones voucher to my Christmas list. It’s also pretty fun popping to the shop after Christmas and being able to go to my local bookshop and ask my bookseller friends for their opinion.

They’re actually my friends by the way, that’s not me getting over excited.

Anything Dalmatian

101 Dalmatians has been one of my favourite films since I was in a high chair and made my Mum watch it every damn day. Recently Dalmatian’s seem to be ‘in’ but that is fine with me as long as they don’t do another remake, Glen Close was perfect as live action Cruella in 1999 and it’s the only live action Disney film I accept.

Clementine Gin from M&S

Ok, so three things. One – it’s Clementine gin, yum. Two – it has gold flecks and a Christmas theme. Three – it lights up!!! Need I say more? They also do another flavour but I can’t remember what it is. It’s so pretty!

Loungefly

I’ve got a fair collection going now so this was just a little add on – I don’t expect to get it but you never know!

Books

Of course, I’m asking for books – what else would I ask for?

The How & The Why – Cynthia Hand

This has been on my want to read list for a while, it’s about a girl who was given up for adoption looking for answers and also about her mother at the same age and her life. Definitely looks like an emotional read.

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo – Taylor Jenkins Reid

If you’ve followed my blog for a while you might be thinking hang on didn’t you already read that? The answer is yes and it’s one of my favourites so I really want a physical copy. Also, how beautiful is this cover?

The Dark Vault - V.E Schwab

The Dark Vault V.E. Schwab

I absolutely love V.E Schwab and I’m making my way through all her books. I hardly ever see copies of The Dark Vault and I’m intrigued by the concept. Also she’s become one of my auto-buy authors, I’ll read pretty much anything she writes.

House of Salt and Sorrows – Erin A Craig

I always try and add in some kind of fantasy on my wishlist, because who knows what you might find. Last year it was Serpent and Dove which has turned out to be a new series I love, so here’s hoping! This is loosely based on 12 dancing princesses but with suspected murder. I’m down.

What are you hoping for this Christmas? Let me know in the comments below!

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.

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!