Monthly Reading Wrap Up | August 2021

How do the summer holidays always go by so fast?! Even though I am now a teacher, not a student, it still feels like the last day of school was just yesterday!

In August, I did not read as many books as I wanted to. Thought I thought it was going to be a relatively quiet month, August turned out to actually be rather hectic and busy. I did a lot of adventuring and day trips, as well as a couple of overnight trips; I finished my Masters, and my first edited novel; and I had a good time! Maybe August wasn’t as productive and book-filled as I’d expected, but sometimes that’s not a bad thing.

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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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Week 25 in Books | 2020 | Mini-Reviews

This week I decided to complete the entire #MakeYourMythTaker readathon by MythTake Reads! The readathon is based around you choosing your mythical/medieval path and choosing books to fit the prompts. I chose to become a witch, and luckily all of my books were somewhat magical. They also all featured strong, powerful women, which I greatly enjoyed.

Hauled

  • The Circle by Dave Eggers – I’ve wanted to read this for a while and bought it second hand!
  • Talking as Fast as I Can by Lauren Graham
  • The Truants by Kate Weinberg (kindle)
  • 40-love by Olivia Dade (kindle)
  • The Guest List by Lucy Foley (kindle)

Read

  • The Wicked Cometh by Laura Carlin
  • All the Bad Apples by Moira Fowley-Doyle
  • The Familiars by Stacey Halls
  • As Old As Time by Liz Braswell

Reviews

The Wicked Cometh

Rating: 4/5

This book had a pretty slow start, and for the first third of it I was just waiting for the action to begin. I was even worried that the beginning would become redundant later on; luckily it was basically just set up for the rest of the 2/3s of the book. I do therefore think the beginning could have been shorter, but…

…wow. The rest of the book: just, wow. I don’t want to give too much away but I bloody loved it. It was crimey and mysterious with a speckle of romance and some angst to pull on my heart strings. I thought the plot was paced and accelerated really well and the plot twists! Ah.

I really enjoyed the main character, Hester, and how spunky she was. She did sort of go-with-the-flow sometimes, but she knew who she was and what she wanted. Not only that, but she developed the whole way through. She was a little underhand at times, but that just made me love her more!

Overall, despite not being 5/5, this book is a new favourite of mine, and I definitely recommend it.

All the Bad Apples

Rating: 3/5

This is the third Moira Fowley-Doyle novel I’ve read, but I have to admit: it wasn’t my favourite so far. The premise here is that our main character’s sister is assumed dead by suicide, but the main character believes she’s still alive. Letters start turning up with addresses on and she and her friends go on a 36 hour hunt to try and reach the end of the chain.

Throughout the novel there were a couple of big plot twists that literally made my jaw drop. I thought the cast of characters was really interesting, and I loved that it was a story centered around women and women’s rights.

The reason my rating for this is so low is because, for me, the ending really let the entire book down. I thought the beginning and middle were really good, with just the right amount of magical realism and mystery Fowley-Doyle always presents, but in the last 20 or so pages, I was so confused. I kept batting back and forth, trying to catch up with who was where and speaking to whom, and then there was one whole chapter in which a character gave a speech that sounded incredibly well-rehearsed and not at all like natural speech. It really disappointed me, although I could feel the author’s well-placed anger coming through the text.

#StayHomeReadingRush Wrap-Up | Mini Book Reviews

The #StayHomeReadingRush was an event hosted by The Reading Rush (Ariel and Raeleen) from the 16th – 19th April 2020 to bring together people to both read and stay at home. I had a great time reading the books I chose to fit in with the Reading Rush’s challenges, and I thought I would share my wrap-up and mini-reviews with you here.

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Book Review | All Fall Down by Sally Nicholls

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It’s 1349, and something has come to England. People are dying – but that’s happening far away, right? Isabel never dreams that the Black Death will come to her little village… until it does. Now she has only her wits, her courage, and hope to survive.

I was pretty disappointed by the start of this book, however it did finish by picking up and becoming engrossing.

All Fall Down follows the story of Isabel, a child during the Black Death in a little village near York in 1349. Considering the terror nowadays about all sorts of diseases (swine flu, bird flu, ebola, coronavirus…) this book is really interesting to read. It really puts into perspective how many people really did die of the Black Death, and what life would’ve been like when you lost basically everyone you’ve ever known.

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Book Review | Outwalkers by Fiona Shaw

I am delighted to be sharing this book review working alongside with David Fickling Books for the Outwalkers Brexit Book Tour. This timely dystopian novel looks at borders, freedom, and loyalty. You can read my full (unbiased, as always) review below.

I was gifted this book by the publisher in exchange for a review. As always, all opinions are my own.


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Book Review | The ABC Murders by Agatha Christie

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Mrs Ascher in Andover; Betty Barnard in Bexhill; Mr Carmichael Clarke in Churston; a serial killer is on the loose. He’s sending letters to one Hercule Poirot, but even one of the world’s best sleuths is struggling to catch him. The only link is the alphabet – can Poirot catch him before he gets to Z?

I initially picked this book up because the BBC adapted The ABC Murders into a three-part series and I wanted to read it before I saw it! It wasn’t quite like the other Christie’s I’ve read – I’m normally completely entrapped, but this one took a lot longer to grab my attention.

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