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!

Why You Should Join A Book Club

Why You Should Join A Book Club

Last year I did something a little out of my comfort zone

Now, I’ll admit, my first book club I was so nervous. I’d been to one in my town before and it wasn’t great I didn’t gel with most of the people there and as far as I know it didn’t continue. On the day in question I was in the middle of a horrific flare causing me to get the time wrong and turn up half an hour late.

You are literally there to talk about books

Chances are if you’re looking at going to a book club then you like books. I don’t know about you but if you’re a total bookworm like me that alone is a reason to join. No one rolls their eyes when you get super excited about a new release or despair at a lackluster ending.

It’s a great way to meet new friends

I’ve met some of my closest friends in book club. I was already a regular at my local book shop but since joining the club I’ve made best friends that I now don’t know what I’d do without. I also ended up getting a job over Christmas and I only knew about it because of my visits!

You can explore reads you might not have picked up before

Book clubs are meant to show you new books you might not have read. We always vote on a range of books in a kind of knock out round system, the book with the most votes wins.

Thanks to the club, and my friend Maddie, I found a new fantasy series I adore The Mirror Visitor, starting with A Winter’s Promise which is an incredible book that you all need to read!

It gets you out of the house

I’m an introvert, I love nothing more than being left to drink lots of tea and stay in on my sofa in the evenings. Basically, I needed a reason to go out and see other people that didn’t rely on alcohol or spending a lot of money. This was the perfect excuse to get out while not being too out of my comfort zone.

It’s Fun

I have so much fun every month, we have snacks, I get a large cup of tea talk about the book with people. We don’t always stick to the chosen read, it’s perfectly normal for us to go off on a tangent here or there and sometimes I even go to the pub afterwards. It’s a nice feeling.

Are you part of a book club? I’d love to hear what you’ve been reading and if you were able to carry on virtually! Let me know!

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 

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!

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!

Book Reviews: The Liar’s Daughter – Megan Cooley Peterson

Piper was raised in a cult.
She just doesn’t know it.

Seventeen-year-old Piper knows that Father is a Prophet. Infallible. The chosen one.

She would do anything for Father. That’s why she takes care of all her little sisters. That’s why she runs end-of-the-world drills. That’s why she never asks questions. Because Father knows best.

Until the day he doesn’t. Until the day the government raids the compound and separates Piper from her siblings, from Mother, from the Aunts, from all of Father’s followers–even from Caspian, the boy she loves.

Now Piper is living Outside. Among Them.

I can’t help but find myself intrigued by these kind of books about those who are raised in cults and don’t know any better, because they have had no choice. This is a story about Piper’s discovery of herself and questions about the world around her.

The novel is told before and after the raid. In the time before the raid we see Piper and what she believes to be her siblings being raised under strict rules by the Aunts with visits from her mother and father – the heads of the compound. All she wants is to care for her younger siblings and prove herself to her father. Although she is starting to question memories and practices in the house.

In the after sections, however, Piper is struggling. She doesn’t trust anyone and thinks that this is the real kidnapping, living with a woman who claims to be her mother. She also starts therapy which was incredibly interesting. Seeing her attempt to unlearn years of lies and pressure.

There is also a romantic element which, at first, I was unsure about whether it was necessary in terms of the wider plot, but the more I read the more I understood. When there is a lack of people around, it isn’t surprising that you would have feelings for one of the people who show kindness.

I really wanted to know more about what happened after the children were rescued, how they coped and while we do see some of this I found myself wondering if they ever saw each other again. That said, I understand that wasn’t the intent of the book.

This was a 4 star read for me. I read it incredibly quickly and found myself absorbed in the story and even through I knew that Piper and the other children would be rescued at times I forgot while reading – that’s how absorbed I was in the story.

Book Review: Roomies - Christina Lauren

Book Review: Roomies – Christina Lauren

While Holland has watched her favourite street musician for months with deepening feelings she’s never had the courage to talk to him, until he rescues her from a drunken attack and disappears. She decides to find him again after her Uncle is desperate for an incredible musician and she knows that Calvin could fit the bill. While everyone falls in love with his talent there’s one catch – he’s in the US illegally after overstaying his student visa.

Fed up of being a second character in her own story Holland decides to take a risk and marry him – even though he has no ideas of her feelings. They’re going to have to put on the show of their lives, but at one point does it stop becoming an act?

I’d heard about Christina Lauren a few times and this is the second book of theirs that I’ve picked up and I’m so glad I did. This is a romance that includes music, theatre and a protagonist that isn’t sure what she wants to do with her life. That ticks a lot of boxes for me!

I listened to the audiobook of this on Scribd and it was a really enjoyable experience, particularly as the narrator has a knack for the variety of accents that this story needs. It’s worth nothing as well that the characters lend themselves to the diversity that a city like New York would have.

While you cannot hear the music and performance that is being discussed, it didn’t matter – it was as if I could feel it through the page. The heart and the soul that these characters were connected by felt second nature to me. Now, I don’t know if this is the case because I have a passion and love for music myself but it touched my heart.

I also found myself feeling connected to the characters – I cared deeply about their lives and wanted the very best for them. I felt like I knew them. I was constantly rooting for Holland and Calvin to find love in each other and have a shot at happiness together. It’s safe to say I was wrapped up in this book from the first page.

This was a 5 star read for me. It’s a fantastic romance that I could not put down. I needed to know what was going to happen, was the relationships going to stick? Would Calvin fall in love with Holland? Would the law catch up with them? Of course, I won’t spoil anything for you but I really enjoyed this book. I’d also recommend the audiobook as a fun read.

Book Review: Clap When You Land - Elizabeth Acevedo

Book Review: Clap When You Land – Elizabeth Acevedo

Camino Rios lives for the summers when her father visits her in the Dominican Republic. But this time, on the day when his plane is supposed to land, Camino arrives at the airport to see crowds of crying people…

In New York City, Yahaira Rios is called to the principal’s office, where her mother is waiting to tell her that her father, her hero, has died in a plane crash.

Separated by distance – and Papi’s secrets – the two girls are forced to face a new reality in which their father is dead and their lives are forever altered. And then, when it seems like they’ve lost everything of their father, they learn of each other.

After reading Acevedo’s novel With The Fire on High I knew I needed to read Clap When You Land. I was fascinated by the idea of a tragedy bringing together unknown family members and the difficulties they have after learning the truth. 

This is ultimately a story about grief, family and secrecy. While both Camino and Yaharia share a father, their lives couldn’t be more different. One is used to living in New York in reasonable comfort, while the other is keeping her head above water with her aunt in a struggling neighbourhood. 

As with Acevedo’s other book I read there are a number of diverse characters in terms of race and sexuality as well as looking at forms of intimidation women may face around the world. 

The way in which this is written is beautiful, I particularly enjoyed the descriptions of the Dominican Republic and Camino’s sense of community and love for those around her. Overall I think I felt more connected to Camino, simply because I was rooting for her the whole time. That’s not to say I wasn’t rooting for Yaharia, it was just a different kind of connection. 

For me this was a 4.5 star read, I can’t talk about the ending without risk of spoilers but I wanted to see more of that happened after the endpoint. I would definitely read a second book about the girls. I wish I could say more but I refuse to spoil this wonderful book for anyone. 

Thank you to the author, publisher and NetGalley for a copy in exchange for review. 

What I Read In April 2020 – Part 1

Posting my what I read post within the first few days of the month? Who am I? April was a funny old month, wasn’t it? The outside was pretty terrible and it was demanded we stay home. It turns out staying in for an entire month can do wonders for your reading – who knew.

I read over 20 books this month, most of them are short because my concentration has been shot but overall I’m past half way on my Goodreads goal. Woo! Because there were quite a few I’ve separated this into 2 blogs. It might be a long one so let’s get going.

The first book I finished this month was With The Fire On High by Elizabeth Acevedo. It’s about a teenager with dreams of becoming a chef but she’s also a teenage Mum and trying to work her way through life for herself and her daughter. I LOVED this book, it was quite chill but had beautiful writing and I was cheering Emoni on the whole way. A 5 star read.

Next up, I got Scribd and realised there was a LOT of poetry on there so I downloaded To Drink Coffee With A Ghost by Amanda Lovelace. This was an ok read, there were some good parts but they’re starting to become very similar and merge into one…

I also read To Make Monsters Out of Girls by the same author and honestly I read it a month ago and I can’t remember much about it at all apart from the fact that it’s about a toxic mother daughter relationship. 2 stars.

After hearing about Every Heart A Doorway by Seanan McGuire on BookTube a LOT and I finally had access to the audiobook. At first I was very confused and it is a very strange novel but also it’s so good. I needed the next one straight away (I ended up listening to the whole series in a few weeks and I can’t wait for the next one). It’s all about children who come back from magical worlds. It was a 4.5 star read for me.

And go on to the next book I did – Down Among The Sticks And Bones! Jack and Jill are probably my favourite characters in the series but they’re not entirely likeable. I just find them and their world fascinating. In this book we learn more about them and it’s probably my favourite of the series – 4.5 stars!

Next up was Watch Us Rise by Renée Watson and Ellen Hagan and was for the Easter Readathon. I’ve had this for a while and not got around to it, it’s about 2 high schoolers who want to start a women’s rights group. This was an ok read – there are some really important points but overall, for me, it was just ok. A 3 star read.

The third installment of the Wayward Children series by Seanan McGuire – I told you I got through them! Beneath The Sugar Sky was a really odd one, I enjoyed it but this is about a land of nonsense. Another 4 star read and a return from a few past characters.

I was also lucky enough to get an ARC of The Eve Illusion by Tom and Giovanna Fletcher, the second book of the Eve of Man trilogy. Oh this was so worth the wait and so, so good. I read it in a day and then ordered the physical book.

Discovering Debbie Tung’s books made me SO happy. Book Love is one for book lovers and I want to buy a copy for all my bookish friends because it’s so true but also adorable.

I also finally got to read Heavy Vinyl Vol 1 and damn I loved it. Good representation and I can’t wait for volume 2.

That’s the end of part 1 of what I read in April! Have you read any of these? I’d love to know your thoughts below or catch me on Twitter! Don’t forget to come back tomorrow for part 2!

Book Review: The Black Flamingo - Dean Atta

Book Review: The Black Flamingo – Dean Atta

A boy comes to terms with his identity as a mixed-race gay teen – then at university he finds his wings as a drag artist, The Black Flamingo. A bold story about the power of embracing your uniqueness. Sometimes, we need to take charge, to stand up wearing pink feathers – to show ourselves to the world in bold colour.

*I masquerade in makeup and feathers and I am applauded.*

This book is definitely a coming of age novel with a twist. I, personally, have never read a book about how someone becomes a drag queen. Personally, I think it is an amazing creative art form and the make up skills? Damn.

A few people I know have pushed back from reading this because it’s written in verse, which I understand. When I read my first novel in verse as a teenager I didn’t get it BUT now I see it as a really creative way of telling a story. If you’re new to novels in verse this is a great place to start because it flows so well and it’s easy to just read it and forget because you’re so absorbed in the story.

This is a story about finding who you are, about balancing expectations and family with your own truth. It looks at the LGBTQ community and drag but I think this could speak to anyone who has struggled with working out who they are and who they want to be. I could relate because I also started to work myself out at university and found confidence I didn’t know I had.

The story also follows Michael’s realisation that he is gay and what this meant for him as well as his crushes, relationships and the like. I’m pretty sure all of us can relate to teenage crushes.

The poetry within the pages were absolutely beautiful! Also the flow from around the middle to the second half seemed effortless, even though I know it must have taken a long time to put together.

This was a 4 star read for me, incredibly interesting, well written and, for me at least, very original in both the way it was written and the story it told. I will say that towards the beginning I struggled a little bit, particularly with Michael’s younger years but found as he got to university I could relate.