Book Review | This Poison Heart by Kalynn Bayron

Briseis has a gift: she can grow plants from tiny seeds to rich blooms with a single touch. When Briseis’s aunt dies and wills her a dilapidated estate in rural New York, Bri and her parents decide to leave Brooklyn behind for the summer. Hopefully there, surrounded by plants and flowers, Bri will finally learn to control her gift. But their new home is sinister in ways they could never have imagined–it comes with a specific set of instructions, an old-school apothecary, and a walled garden filled with the deadliest botanicals in the world that can only be entered by those who share Bri’s unique family lineage.

When strangers begin to arrive on their doorstep, asking for tinctures and elixirs, Bri learns she has a surprising talent for creating them. One of the visitors is Marie, a mysterious young woman who Bri befriends, only to find that Marie is keeping dark secrets about the history of the estate and its surrounding community. There is more to Bri’s sudden inheritance than she could have imagined, and she is determined to uncover it . . . until a nefarious group comes after her in search of a rare and dangerous immortality elixir. Up against a centuries-old curse and the deadliest plant on earth, Bri must harness her gift to protect herself and her family. – Via Goodreads

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Book Review | The Box in the Woods by Maureen Johnson

Stevie Bell is bored. Home for the summer, she’s wanting a good murder to solve. When she receives an email from the owner of Sunny Pines, site of an infamous quadruple murder asking her to come and work on a true crime podcast about the Box in the Woods. Stevie thinks it’s going to be something to get her teeth into, and with her friends in tow, it could even be fun. But evil still lurks at Sunny Pines: Steve has received much more than she bargained for.

I loved the first three books in this series and was very excited when the fourth came out. It was just as exciting as the first three in the series, packed full of action, though it didn’t follow the same plot as the first three in the series. I wasn’t sure it would be as good or I would enjoy it as much, but Johnson can write a story in three books or in one!

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Book Review | Felix Ever After by Kacen Callender

Trigger warnings: transphobia, cyberbullying

Transgender, gay teen Felix Love has never been in love, and he is aware of the irony. When someone begins posting his old, pre-transition pictures, and sending him transphobic messages on Instagram, Felix devises a plan of revenge. Along the way, he learns about one of the most important relationships in his life: the one with himself.

Felix Ever After is a YA book that should be on every library’s shelves. At the fundamental core of the novel, we have a teenager who is learning about themselves, and how to navigate the world around them.

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Book Review | Bunny by Mona Awad

Trigger Warnings for this book: bestiality, murder, rape, assault, mental health, self harm.

Samantha is not the typical student you would on the famous Warren Creative Writing MFA, especially as a scholarship student. She is ostracised by the rest of her all-female cohort, a group of women who call one another “Bunny” and hug for too long. Then Samantha receives an invitation to their “smut salon”. As Samantha is dragged deeper into their sanctimonious world, the edges of fantasy and reality begin to blur, and the Bunnies push her to the edge.

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Monthly Reading Wrap-Up | July 2021

Another month is over in 2021, and I can’t quite believe how fast it’s going! The first four months of the year crawled by at a snail’s pace, and now they’ve flown by!

July was quite a busy month for me. I finished my first year of teaching (my training year, but it was also a full year!), went to stay with my partner, had a mini-break, and attended my first wedding reception as an adult! It was a blast, and I had a really lovely month, especially the last few weeks of it.

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Unboxing | Books By Nature: Holding All the Cards | June 2021

Books By Nature have delivered another stellar box!

Books By Nature is a fabulous bi-monthly (every other month) book box, and in June we received another fantastic box from them. The month’s theme was Holding the Cards and not only did we receive a book that is high on my want list, but the other goodies inside the box were very well curated to fit into the theme! Every box from BBN feels like a proper treat.

What I also love about this company is that with every box you buy, you are also donating to plant a tree somewhere in the world. As a BBN member, you can vote on where the next trees should be planted. This month’s tree was planted in Haiti.

So, without further ado, let’s actually dive into what was incuded in the box! Be warned: it was packed.

  • Vegan sweets from Elizabeth & Ernest
  • A handmade, crocheted cup cozy by Cream Soda Crochet
  • Card themed socks from Wow Socks
  • A lollipop, two handmade sugar lip scrubs, and a scrunchie
  • A book review tear off notepad
  • Promotional bookmark from a Holly Bourne novel
  • And of course, the book: Ace of Spades by Faridah Abike-Iyimide

Phew, what an epic box! I think my favourite item, aside from the sweets which I devoured as soon as I took a photo, was the book review tear-off notepad. I’ve always wanted one of these notepads, and now I finally have one! I have already forgotten to use it, but I know it’s one I will use in the future once I remember!

The socks were also a great item, especially as they are themed to the book. When I start reading Ace of Spades, I will definitely be wearing these socks. Such a random, yet exciting thing for a book lover!

So let’s get onto the book. Ace of Spades is a young adult thriller set in a private academy. The students there are perfect – until an anonymous texter begins to bring dark secrets to life. Devon, a talented musician, can’t escape his private photos being made public. And head girl Chaimaka isn’t afraid to get what she wants, but soon everyone know the price she has paid for her power. The Aces – the texters – are out to get them both. And they’re planning much more than a high-school game…  

This book has been getting rave reviews, and I nearly bought it a couple of weeks ago in a bookshop, so I’m glad I didn’t! I’ve recently been getting back into YA novels, and I always love a thriller, so it’s perfect for me.

Don’t forget to follow Books By Nature on Instagram if you’re interested in getting your own box! As for me? You betcha I’m purchasing the next one!

And don’t forget to follow me on my Instagram if you want to check out more of my bookish content. What did you think of this box?

Blog Tour | The Crimson Countess by Brynn Myers | vampires and serial killers, oh my! | book journal & mini review

Today I’m excited to participate in the Creative Blog Tour for The Crimson Countess by Brynn Myers hosted by MTMC Tours! The Crimson Countess is an Adult Gothic Romance inspired by the tales of the Blood Countess, Elizabeth Báthory, and it will be republished on June 5, 2021 from Indigo Ink Publications. Thank you so much to MTMC Tours for inviting me to take part.

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Review | Bone Talk by Candy Gourlay

10-year-old Samkad lives with his Father and his village in the Philippines 100 years ago. Life is not always fair and is not always safe, but Samkad is awaiting the day he becomes a man. But then a new boy arrives in the village, bringing someone called an “American” with them, and war is about to come.

I read Bone Talk as I will be teaching it at school, and this book raises a lot of questions that I think will be fascinating to discuss (though they could be tricky too!).

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Book Review | Enola Holmes #1 (The Case of the Missing Marquess) by Nancy Springer

Enola Holmes’ mother is missing. After her older brothers, the famous Sherlock and Mycroft, arrive back at Enola’s childhood home, much is destined to change. And Enola cannot let it. Her brothers do not seem concerned about her mother, so it is up to Enola to take matters into her own hands.

I read this book after watching Netflix’s film adaptation, but let me tell you: you should definitely read the book first. Why? Because it’s actually a bit disappointing in comparison to Millie Bobby Brown’s incredible adaption!

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