The Marvel Readathon 2.0 Wrap-Up

I’m so proud of myself because I’ve actually managed to complete every challenge for this readathon – which is a first for me! I did change one of the books (Bridge of Clay to Matilda) purely because of my plans for the week, but I still completed six books and I’m so proud.

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The One Memory of Flora Banks – Emily Barr

I enjoyed this, it kept me hooked throughout, even though something didn’t quite work for me. I can’t say what specifically, but I just didn’t fall head over heels for it and at times found it a little irritating? It was a fun, unique read though. I’m glad I picked it up, and I enjoyed Flora’s perspective and the repetitiveness of the narrative as it made it feel a little more ‘real’ I guess. 3.5🌟

From a Low and Quiet Sea – Donal Ryan

Oh my goodness, this book was a little gem. I wondered what linked to what as the different parts seemed so unrelated, but they also all slightly linked in small ways and I loved it. In a way, it reminded me a little of NW by Zadie Smith in its execution. Honestly, it was a wonderful read and I flew through it, though I had absolutely no idea what it was about when I went into it. 4.5🌟

The Vigilante Poets of Selwyn Academy – Kate Hattemer

I feel quite conflicted about certain aspects of this book. Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed it and I loved the characters, the humour, and the plot too. It kept me laughing, especially during the second half of the book. The only issue I had was that some of the comments / humour wasn’t to my taste, but that’s such a personal thing, it’s unfair to judge a book purely because of that, as someone else may adore it! 4🌟

The Bookshop – Penelope Fitzgerald

This was such an adorable little book. I flew through it, and the first half especially I was completely immersed in. However, the second half and ending let it down for me. I did enjoy reading it though, and I am kind of curious about the film so I may check that out at some point. I enjoyed the characters and the fact that it was set in a bookshop, but everything felt a little flat and as though there could have been a bit more, I suppose. 3.5🌟

Matilda – Roald Dahl

This is one of my all-time favourite books. I swapped to this because I desperately wanted to reread it before I went to see the musical (which was phenomenal), and I’ve been wanting to revisit it for a while anyway. I love it. Roald Dahl is amazing. I wanted Matilda to be my best friend. As a kid with few friends who enjoyed reading, Matilda was the dream book. Everyone should read it. 5🌟

Throne of Glass – Sarah J. Maas

I actually really enjoyed this and I’m looking forward to picking up the sequel. It hasn’t become my new favourite ever book or anything, and there were certainly a lot of tropes and cliches that I found irritating or predictable. Overall however, it was a fun and readable book that definitely kept me hooked throughout. 4🌟

Thank you so much to Hannah for all of her hard work on this readathon. Go and check out her book blog at Sprinkledwithwords.wordpress.com! ❤️

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I Want to Read 10 Books in a Week?!

I’m challenging myself here, and I’ve already started this challenge, as of this morning. I really want to try and make a dent in my huge TBR, and so I’m prioritising some of the shorter books that I have and also really want to get to.

I’ll have to average around one and a half books a day, which is very ambitious for me. But if I do pull it off, I may be on track again with my Goodreads goal, which is a bonus. Here is my TBR for this challenge I have set for myself:

  • Speak – Laurie Halse Anderson
  • What Girls Are Made of – Elana K. Arnold
  • Words in Deep Blue – Cath Crowley
  • The Girl of Ink and Stars – Kiran Millwood Hargrave
  • Dreamology – Lucy Keating
  • Moxie – Jennifer Mathieu
  • Soundless – Richelle Mead
  • Hope Is Our Only Wing – Rutendo Tavengerwei
  • The Price Guide to the Occult – Leslye Walton
  • Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit – Jeanette Winterson

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If I’m not feeling one of these and I want to swap it out for something else, I probably will! I’ll update you when I’ve spent the week reading and let you know how I do!

 

Review: Children of Blood and Bone – Tomi Adeyemi

Genre: YA, fantasy

Publication date: March 8th 2018 by Macmillan Children’s Books 

Format: eARC copy for review from Macmillan Children’s Books via Netgalley. (I later purchased my own copy from Waterstones)

Zélie Adebola remembers when the soil of Orïsha hummed with magic. Burners ignited flames, Tiders beckoned waves, and Zélie’s Reaper mother summoned forth souls.

But everything changed the night magic disappeared. Under the orders of a ruthless king, maji were killed, leaving Zélie without a mother and her people without hope.

Now Zélie has one chance to bring back magic and strike against the monarchy. With the help of a rogue princess, Zélie must outwit and outrun the crown prince, who is hell-bent on eradicating magic for good.

Danger lurks in Orïsha, where snow leoponaires prowl and vengeful spirits wait in the waters. Yet the greatest danger may be Zélie herself as she struggles to control her powers and her growing feelings for an enemy.

(from goodreads.com)


I feel like this book was hyped from the minute it was first mentioned, but let me tell you, it did not disappoint. I’m not a huge fantasy fan; I enjoy the odd book now and again and I’m very picky about which ones I read. I wouldn’t have requested this if it hadn’t sounded like something I would enjoy, but I didn’t expect it to ignite a desire in me to read every fantasy book in existence. So, you know. 

I don’t even know where to start with this review, it has so much going for it. There wasn’t one aspect I didn’t love about it. The characters were incredible, the writing wonderful to read, the plot thrilling, honestly, I don’t have a bad word to say.

I loved the mix of characters; everyone was so unique and interesting and had their own way of doing things. The friendships that formed, unlikely though some may be, were real and fragile. The change in point of view and narrative voice did not put me off, as it sometimes can do in fantasy books. Instead, I got their own voices, their own thoughts, and it made the narrative richer as I could understand them a lot better. I still didn’t know who to trust at points though!

The world was incredible too. I believe it is based on Nigeria, and I truly got a sense of ‘place’ whilst I was reading (I’ve never been to Nigeria so can’t comment on that specifically, but from what I’ve heard, you can tell she based it there). The descriptions were vivid, and I could easily picture the landscape that the characters were in. 

Leading on from that to another point that should be highlighted but have no authority to speak on, is that the book is a commentary on society and the racism that underlies it. Even reading it as a white person, I could see this, and it brought home how isolated people feel, even in places where they’ve always felt was home. I knew people felt like this before, of course, but this book allowed me to see their viewpoint through their eyes, and experience it in a way I can understand a little better (if that makes any sense whatsoever). If you know any reviews by readers of colour, please link them below as I would love to read their thoughts.

The plot kept me intrigued throughout, I couldn’t put this book down (the typical one-chapter-before-bed-turns-into-a-hundred-pages kind of can’t put it down). So many things kept happening, I struggled to keep up. Though I don’t say that as a negative. I just mean it forced me to concentrate on what was going on, which made it better as I didn’t miss anything by doing that ‘I’ve read a whole page but actually read about three of the words’ thing. 

I don’t even need to tell you that I would definitely recommend this book to anyone and everyone. It was truly phenomenal and I cannot wait until the sequel comes out, because THAT ENDING. Holy crap it was good. 

Rating: 5 / 5 🌟

The Marvel Readathon 2.0 TBR

I’m not really a fan of Marvel, but I love readathons (and the host of this one just happens to be my bestie so🤷‍♀️) so I’m taking part in it! It lasts from the 6th-12th August and you can read all about it here.

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  1. Ant-Man: A book below 150 pages
    • My choice: The Bookshop by Penelope Fitzgerald
    • I mean, it’s 155 pages but I don’t have anything shorter that I particularly want to get to soon.
  2. Wasp: A book set in summertime
    • My choice: The One Memory of Flora Banks – Emily Barr
    • I think, judging by what she said at a panel event I was at, this takes place in the summer months as it’s in Scandinavia with endless days – so summer. I may be very, very wrong.
  3. Ghost: A book featuring technology – bonus points if it’s cool tech
    • My choice: The Vigilante Poets of Selwyn Academy by Kate Hattemer
    • This probably shouldn’t count, but it’s about a reality TV show, and one of the kids is into technology (stage lighting, gaming, computers/hacking etc) so I’m going for it. I have nothing else I can think of.😂
  4. Hank Pym: A book with a rehashed plot that feels new (eg friends-to-lovers, chosen-one, etc.)
    • My choice: Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas
    • Does this count? I’m not sure. I’m not even sure whether I should read TOG or The Assassin’s Blade first, so any advice would be welcome!
  5. GiantMan: A book that you don’t know anything about
    • My choice: From a Low and Quiet Sea by Donal Ryan
    • I’m trying to work my way through my Netgalley list – I’m sure I knew what this book was about when I requested it, but I’ve definitely forgotten now.
  6. Scott Lang: A book that features family
    • My choice: Bridge of Clay by Markus Zusak
    • I got this on Netgalley recently and I am so excited to get to it as soon as I can!

Review: Clean – Juno Dawson 

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Genre: YA, Contemporary 

Publication date: April 5th 2018 by Quercus Children’s Books

Format: eARC sent to me for review from Hachette Children’s Group via Netgalley (I then purchased my own copy from Waterstones)

When socialite Lexi Volkov almost overdoses, she thinks she’s hit rock bottom.

She’s wrong. Rock bottom is when she’s forced into an exclusive rehab facility.

From there, the only way is up for Lexi and her fellow inmates, including the mysterious Brady.

As she faces her demons, Lexi realises love is the most powerful drug of all … 

It’s a dirty business getting clean … 

(from goodreads.com)


Content warnings: (they are also listed just inside the book but I struggled with this book at points so I want to reiterate them here) Drug abuse / overdose, addiction (many varieties), eating disorders, mental health issues, self-harm, rehab. There are probably others that I’ve missed as it’s been a while now since I finished this, so PLEASE PLEASE check before you read and look after yourselves!

This book was amazing. I adored it. I did have to put it down for a while around a third of the way through, because it was a difficult read at the time and I needed a break from the Subject. It was nothing to do with the book itself or anything like that though, just how I was mentally at the time. 

I freely admit that when I met Juno Dawson at YALC I completely gushed about how phenomenal this book was (thankfully she was one of the nicest people ever and chatted with me about it). Lexi’s character is a complete – dare I say it – bitch to begin with, but she grows so much in the story that I actually kind of liked her by the end, or at least could empathise with her. I loved seeing her change and grow as the story progressed, I felt like I was going through things with her and learning as she learnt. 

Juno Dawson is such an incredible writer, and I’m almost ashamed to say that this is the only book of hers that I’ve read – though that will certainly change very soon! She dealt with all the topics covered (and there are a lot of topics / issues covered) sensitively but honestly. Nothing was sugar coated; the scenes were raw and painful and brutal but I felt that they were accurate and carefully depicted. 

Lexi was such a good character, I know I’ve already said how much I liked her, but she recognised her own privilege (she’s a wealthy Russian heiress), discussed what it meant to her, and still had her own issues. She screwed up and had good moments, just like any other human being. Juno Dawson pulled out all of the stops writing Lexi and created a real human character, someone who makes mistakes, is a bit of a handful (to put it nicely), and is capable of feeling (and causing) a whole range of emotions. 

Like I said, this book is not an easy read, but that doesn’t lower the rating I give it by any means. It was a personally difficult read, and if you pick it up and struggle with it, take a break. I enjoyed it so much more when I went back to it because I was in a better mindset to read it. The fact that is a challenge at times made it more realistic in my mind; life is difficult and shitty and it is not easy to get through problems, especially the likes of overcoming an addiction. It reflected the struggle of the characters so, so well, I can’t fault it for being a hard read. 

I wholeheartedly recommend this book to anyone, if I’m honest, though on their terms. You have to put your health first and if it’s not a good choice then that doesn’t matter. Maybe it will be some other time. However, if you feel up to reading it, please DO. You won’t regret it. It was an incredible book in so many more ways that I can even explain and honestly fills me with so much hope too. I was asked why I read books that I find to be triggering, and books like Clean are the reason why. They aren’t ‘oh-look-a-miracle-I’m-cured’, they’re gritty, tough, but also show that maybe, just maybe, things can – and will – get better. 

Also, that cover. I’m a sucker for anything rose gold, so it’s pretty much perfect.😂

Rating: 5 / 5 🌟

August TBR 2018

I desperately want to try and catch up on my Goodreads challenge this month, and though I won’t be on track, at least I’ll be heading there. I’ve managed to bring it up from 19 books behind schedule to 10/11 in the past six weeks, so fingers crossed I can bring that number down further.

LucytheReader is hosting a readathon this month – the Classicsathon – which I am going to join in, if only to read one or two books! The aim is to read as many classics as possible, but I want to read a variety in August before uni starts again, so I may just aim for one or two.

I’m so indecisive at the moment, and also worried that I may be going into a reading slump, so I’ve kept this as short as possible so that I can just pick up whatever I may be in the mood for! I’m in the mood for either Rebecca or Jamaica Inn by Daphne Du Maurier, though I can’t decide between them so I’ll see how I feel when I come to pick one up.

  • Les Miserables – Victor Hugo (I’m about two-thirds of the way through this already and would just like to read some more of it!)
  • The Woman in White – Wilkie Collins
  • Only Love Can Break Your Heart – Katherine Webber
  • It Only Happens in the Movies – Holly Bourne
  • A Sky Painted Gold – Laura Wood

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YALC Haul 2018

Last weekend I went to YALC with my best friend, and I bought far, far too many books. I had an absolutely wonderful time, however, and I have no regrets as I’m so excited to read all of the ones that I picked up. I managed to meet a load of my favourite authors, pick up new releases I was am excited about, and just all in all have a great time.

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Books I took with me and got signed:

I took a fair few with me for signings, and I actually managed to get most of them signed! There were a couple I didn’t, but I did well overall I think.

  • Goodbye, Perfect – Sara Barnard
  • Clean – Juno Dawson
  • Big Bones – Laura Dockrill
  • In Your Light – Annalie Grainger
  • Half Bad, Half Wild, Half Lost, and The Smoke Thieves – Sally Green
  • White Rabbit Red Wolf – Tom Pollock
  • The Exact Opposite of Okay – Laura Steven
  • The Summer of Us – Cecelia Vinesse
  • In Paris With You – Clementine Beauvais
  • Floored – Various Authors
  • It Only Happens in the Movies – Holly Bourne
  • Starfish – Akemi Dawn Bowman
  • Skylarks – Karen Gregory
  • Editing Emma – Chloe Seager
  • A Sky Painted Gold – Laura Wood

Books that I purchased there and got signed:

  • The Manifesto on How to Be Interesting – Holly Bourne
  • Are We All Lemmings and Snowflakes? – Holly Bourne
  • Only Love Can Break Your Heart – Katherine Webber

Other books I purchased there:

  • Moon Chosen – P.C. Cast
  • The Love That Split the World – Emily Henry
  • The Sacred Lives of Minnow Bly – Stephanie Oakes
  • Edgewater – Courtney Sheinmel
  • Bookish Boyfriends – Tiffany Schmidt
  • Gabriel and the Swallows – Esther Dalseno
  • Final Draft – Riley Redgate
  • Sweet Black Waves – Kristina Pérez
  • Valley Girls – Sarah Nicole Lemon
  • A Taxonomy of Love – Rachael Allen
  • Hello Me, It’s You – Various authors
  • Hope is Our Only Wing – Rutendo Tavengerwei
  • The Price Guide to the Occult – Leslye Walton
  • All Those Beautiful Strangers – Elizabeth Klehfoth
  • Grace and Fury – Tracy Banghart

ARCs I picked up:

  • Devoted – Jennifer Mathieu
  • The Strange Fascinations of Noah Hypnotik – David Arnold
  • The History of Jane Doe – Michael Belanger
  • Lives You Never Told Me – Jennifer Donaldson
  • Sadie – Courtney Summers

I was doing so well with restricting myself on the Friday and Saturday, but I definitely went overboard (what a surprise) on the Sunday. Sunday afternoon means amazing offers that are too good to pass up, and I bought five in the few minutes in between my best friend leaving and me having to go too. Oops.

I had such a great time though, and I have no regrets (my shoulders disagree but hey ho). I’m utterly exhausted now, as it’s a very intense weekend and we were constantly on the go, but it was so, so worth it.