‘On The Come Up’ spoiler-free review!

Hello lovelies! I’ve got another review for you today (there was a time when I couldn’t read fast enough to consistently put out reviews and now I feel like I’m never going to catch up!) So let’s get straight on with business, shall we? 🙂

on the come up


synopsis

Sixteen-year-old Bri wants to be one of the greatest rappers of all time. Or at least make it out of her neighborhood one day. As the daughter of an underground rap legend who died before he hit big, Bri’s got big shoes to fill. But now that her mom has unexpectedly lost her job, food banks and shutoff notices are as much a part of Bri’s life as beats and rhymes. With bills piling up and homelessness staring her family down, Bri no longer just wants to make it—she has to make it.

On the Come Up is Angie Thomas’s homage to hip-hop, the art that sparked her passion for storytelling and continues to inspire her to this day. It is the story of fighting for your dreams, even as the odds are stacked against you; of the struggle to become who you are and not who everyone expects you to be; and of the desperate realities of poor and working-class black families.


my thoughts

Angie Thomas was always going to be under pressure after her first novel The Hate U Give was such a global success. Though I tried hard not to compare her sophomore novel to her debut, it was difficult to keep them completely separate. However, I’m delighted to say that On The Come Up is another fantastic read!

Thomas excels in writing strong characters. Bri is a total badass; I loved that people tried to change her but she remained true to herself and stood up for what she believed. The rest of the cast of characters also felt fully realised, with understandable motives and human flaws. I thought the mother-daughter dynamic that Thomas portrayed was fascinating to read.

This is definitely a very character-driven novel. I found it a little difficult to picture the setting at times but there were moments (like the rap battles) when it was really vivid! And speaking of the rap, Bri had mad skills. Angie Thomas could definitely be a rapper if she ever decides to take a break from writing novels 😉

It was also lovely to see a few nods to THUG throughout the book; I love it when authors set their books within a common universe. Hopefully this is something that Thomas will  continue – I will take all of the Easter eggs please and thank you!

As I said, it’s really difficult to not compare this book to its predecessor and I would say that THUG just slightly has the edge because it is such a powerful Black Lives Matter story. However, On The Come Up stands up well in its own right and I definitely recommend it if you enjoyed Thomas’ first book or if you’re a fan of contemporaries in general!

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Have you read either of Angie Thomas’ books? What did you think of them? Let me know in the comments! xsignature (2)

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Mental Health Musings: How to cope when you feel the world is on your shoulders

Let’s get something straight right away. There is definitely a part of me that is writing this post for myself. Because more and more frequently, I am experiencing the crushing pressure of LIFE and I need to get better at dealing with it. I am by no means perfect and indeed, I find it difficult to take some of the advice I’m dishing out in this post. But hopefully, having all of these tips in one easily-accessible place will remind me that I’m capable of more than I think. And hopefully, the same will go for you!

A small disclaimer before we begin: while I do have a degree in psychology and I am currently studying for my counselling diploma, please do not take my words as gospel. I am more than happy to talk to anyone who wants to reach out to me but please don’t use me as a replacement for your GP ❤

coping when life gets on top of you


Say ‘no’ to things

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Getting my most hypocritical advice out of the way first. I absolutely SUCK at saying no. I have been a people-pleaser for as long as I can remember and I will consistently put other people’s needs before my own. I’m starting to realise that this is not healthy and that I can’t help other people if I don’t take care of myself. Sometimes you just have to say no to that blog tour, no to that overtime, no to that social obligation. We are not machines; there is a limit to how much of ourselves we can give. It is so important to make time for yourself (and not feel guilty about it!!)


Make lists

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If, like me, saying no to things doesn’t come easily for you, then make sure you keep yourself organised. I could not function without my daily to-do lists. In fact, I’m so extra that I now have multiple lists for different categories (blogging, studying, adulting, etc.) Sometimes, I can feel totally overwhelmed by everything I need to do and if I don’t get it out of my head and onto paper, I feel like I will explode. I usually make a list before bed of everything I need to do the following day (choosing high priority items from each of the wider category lists). It helps me the following morning to have my tasks already written out in front of me.


Break it down

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As I just mentioned, my to-do lists are these days separated into different categories. However, there are times when this can work against me; seeing EVERYTHING written down in this way can panic me if I’m not having a mentally strong day. When these feelings hit, I try to focus on small steps at a time. Yes, my to-do list may say that I have an essay to write but I might break that down further and say that all I’m going to focus on for now is writing the introduction. I might have 10 book reviews to write but today I’m only going to focus on writing one. Taking things in smaller chunks can make them a little more bearable. And this advice doesn’t just apply to the lists but to life in general. If it makes you anxious to think of everything you’ve got to do in a week, change the way you think about it! Just take it a day at a time. Or an hour at a time if you need to go even smaller. Looking at the big picture can be overwhelming and you don’t need to scare yourself with it unnecessarily.


Take care of your body

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If your mind is in turmoil, then try to care for your body instead. Be kind to yourself – I’m not suggesting you go for a 4-mile run or book a full-body massage (unless you’re up to that, in which case go for it!) I know I certainly couldn’t face anything like that on days when even getting out of bed is a struggle. You need to be gentle with yourself. Get the rest you need, even if that means sleeping later in the morning or having an afternoon nap. (Again, this is something I struggle with as I always feel like sleeping is not a productive use of my time. But it is so important! Sleep is when the body repairs itself and if you are physically rested, your mind will be in a better position to face the challenges of the day). Try to drink plenty of water and eat little and often. Make sure you take your medication. Brush your teeth, have a shower or a bath. And try to get some natural light if you can.


Talk to someone

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It is so important to tell someone how you are feeling. Going back to the people-pleasing, I will very often bottle up my emotions and keep them locked away inside because I feel like people will be upset if I tell them the truth and I don’t want to be that burden on them. But if you aren’t honest with people about what you’re feeling, then they can’t help you to get through it. You will have to continue pushing through alone. And trust me, that’s hard. If you have the courage to tell one person, then that one person may be able to lighten the load for you in ways you wouldn’t have imagined; they may offer you advice that you never would have thought of by yourself or they could brighten your day unexpectedly by sending a message to check how you are. The more people you let in, the more support you have to fall back on.



I hope these tips can help some of you if you feel like you are struggling. The main point I want you to take away is that you don’t have to be on top of things all the time – you are allowed to rest! I’m hoping that by writing this post I’ll have got the message through to my own brain as well.

There may be times when you feel you can’t cope with everything life is throwing at you, but know that it will eventually pass and just try to be gentle with yourself while you go through it all. You are not alone and you can survive this. signature (2)

‘The Secrets We Kept’ spoiler-free review!

Hello my lovelies 🙂 Posting for the second time today, as it is my turn on the blog tour for The Secrets We Kept, a fabulous debut that was sent to me by Hutchinson Books, an imprint of Penguin UK!

the secrets we kept


synopsis

A BANNED MASTERPIECE

1956. A celebrated Russian author is writing a book, Doctor Zhivago, which could spark dissent in the Soviet Union. The Soviets, afraid of its subversive power, ban it.

But in the rest of the world it’s fast becoming a sensation.

TWO FEMALE SPIES

The CIA plans to use the book to tip the Cold War in its favour.

Their agents are not the usual spies, however. Two typists – the charming, experienced Sally and the talented novice Irina – are charged with the mission of a lifetime: to smuggle Doctor Zhivago back into Russia by any means necessary.

A BOOK THAT CHANGED HISTORY

It will not be easy. There are people willing to die for this book – and agents willing to kill for it. But they cannot fail – as this book has the power to change history.


my thoughts

This is such a fabulous debut! I can definitely see this one taking off. Apparently, the movie rights have already been sold and I can see why; I could definitely see this one playing out on the big screen!

Prescott’s writing is confident and assured, with a lovely effortless quality. I devoured this novel in huge chunks because it was just so easy to keep reading. I actually can’t remember the last time a book kept me up so late at night. I feel like the word ‘captivating’ can be overused in book reviewing but it is genuinely the perfect word to use for this book.

The detail in this book is superb and it is clear that Prescott did her research. Despite having never read Doctor Zhivago myself, I never felt like I was missing out on anything because the author brought me into the story of its creation so perfectly. This book really does demonstrate why literature is so important.

As well as the main espionage plot surrounding the secret publication of a banned book, The Secrets We Kept also features various sub-plots, all of which felt well-developed and tied together really nicely. I particularly enjoyed the charmingly bittersweet f/f relationship which was included, as well as the details about Soviet Russia and the Iron Wall.

Overall, this was a fabulous read that I’m really glad I took a chance on. It is slow-paced but never boring and definitely worth a read if you consider yourself a book lover!

the secrets we kept


If you’re interested in finding out what other readers thought of this one, you can follow along with the blog tour!

FINAL The Secrets We Kept BT Poster


The Secrets We Kept is out on September 19th! Will you be picking it up? x
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‘The End of the World Survivors Club’ blog spot and UK giveaway!

Hello lovely people 😀 You’re lucky ducks today, you’ll be getting two posts from me in one day! Let’s pretend it was all intentional and not that I double-booked myself on two separate blog tours…

Some of you may remember me reading The End of the World Running Club last year so I was delighted when I was offered a copy of its sequel to review and a FURTHER COPY TO GIVEAWAY! Huge thanks to Anne Cater/Random Things Tours and the publisher for arranging this.

Furthermore, because I’m a generous soul, I will also be sending the winner a copy of the first book if they don’t have it! Before we get into the details of that, here’s what you can expect from this book…


synopsis

In THE END OF THE WORLD RUNNING CLUB Edgar Hill ran 550 miles after an apocalypse to try and find his family.

He had it easy.

This is his wife’s story.

Beth Hill has survived the apocalypse with a baby and toddler in tow. And what’s more she’s done it alone – without her husband’s help. He’s never been any help. But when disaster strikes and someone steals her kids, she knows what she has to do.

The new world might be very different: no government, no law, no infrastructure and a whole lot more ocean than there used to be. But one thing hasn’t changed – the lengths a mother will go to save her family…


Author information

Adrian J Walker Author picAdrian J Walker was born in the bush suburbs of Sydney, Australia in the mid ‘70s. After
his father found a camper van in a ditch, he renovated it and moved his family back to the UK, where Adrian was raised.

Ever since he can remember, Adrian has been interested in three things: words, music
and technology, and when he graduated from the University of Leeds, he found a career
in software. His novel The End of the World Running Club, a post-apocalyptic running fable about hope, love and endurance, was a Simon Mayo Radio 2 book club choice.

He lives in Aberdeen with his wife and two children.


And now for the bit I know you’re all here for… the giveaway!

giveaway blog divider

To be in with a chance of winning, you need to be a UK or ROI resident and over the age of 18 (or if you are under 18, you must have permission to share your address with myself and the publisher). You must also be following my blog.

Simply leave a comment below if you would like to be in with a chance of winning, letting me know if you would like both books or just the sequel, and confirming if you are in the UK or Ireland!

Also, you can head over to my Instagram account for a further chance at winning 😉

Good luck!!

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To read reviews and find out more about the book, check out the other stops on the blog tour! And look out for my review soon!

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‘I’ll Be There For You: The One About F.R.I.E.N.D.S’ review!

Hello everyone! I feel like I’m saying this constantly these days but apologies for being behind on blogging. I’m really struggling to balance everything. Please know that I value each and every one of you who takes the time to interact with me and I promise I will try to do better ❤

But enough with the pity party; I’ve got a book review for you! Thank you to Harper Collins for sending me this non-fiction title about one of my favourite tv shows 😀

I'll be there for you


synopsis

When Friends debuted in 1994, no one anticipated the sensation it would become. Through its decade-long run, the show maintained an uncanny connection to its audience, who saw it both as a reflection of their own lives and an aspirational escape from reality. I’ll Be There for You is a deep dive into Friends history and lore, exploring all aspects of the show, from its unlikely origins to the societal conditions that amplified its success. Journalist and pop culture expert Kelsey Miller relives the show’s most powerful moments, sheds light on its sometimes dated and problematic elements and examines the worldwide trends that Friends catalysed, from contemporary coffee culture to the wildly popular ’90s haircut The Rachel. I’ll Be There for You is not only for fans of the series, but for anyone who’s ever wondered what it is about this show—and television comedy—that resonates so powerfully.


my thoughts

Can you believe it’s been 25 years since the first episode of Friends aired? I can’t honestly remember when I first watched the show; I know I was late to the party but I genuinely feel like this show has been part of my life for as long as I can remember. It really is the epitome of comfort for me – and for so many others, as the author of this book explains.

I waited a long time to be in the mood for this book but I needn’t have worried as it was extremely readable. The narrative voice is very relatable and I found myself not wanting to stop reading. The book doesn’t feel laborious to get through thanks to its conversational tone.

I’ll Be There For You is structured really nicely, following along with the chronology of the show and picking up on key moments along the way. I will say that I had to take certain things with a pinch of salt; I’m not sure it’s fair to judge a show that is very clearly a product of its time through a modern lens. However, it was nice to revisit seasons and episodes I loved and to find out those interesting behind-the-scenes details.

There’s not much else I can say about this one but I’d definitely recommend it to anyone who loves the show!

i'll be there for you


Ok, time for the important questions. Who was your favourite character in Friends? Do you have any favourite seasons or episodes? I want to know! x
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‘Let’s Call It A Doomsday’ spoiler-free review!

Let’s Call It A Doomsday released last month and I can tell you now that it’s going to make my top ten books of the year. A big thank you to Harper 360 for sending me an ARC! Let’s see what I loved about this one, shall we?

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synopsis

There are so many ways the world could end. There could be a fire. A catastrophic flood. A super eruption that spews lakes of lava. Ellis Kimball has made note of all possible scenarios, and she is prepared for each one. What she doesn’t expect is meeting Hannah Marks in her therapist’s waiting room. Hannah calls their meeting fate. After all, Ellis is scared about the end of the world; Hannah knows when it’s going to happen.

Despite Ellis’s anxiety — about what others think of her, about what she’s doing wrong, about the safety of her loved ones — the two girls become fast friends. As Ellis tries to help Hannah decipher the details of her doomsday premonition, she learns there are secrets Hannah isn’t telling her. But with time ticking down, the search for answers only raises more questions. When does it happen? Who will believe them? How do you prepare for the end of the world when it feels like your life is just getting started?


my thoughts

“I didn’t know why but I knew I needed you.”

First of all, this book has some of the best anxiety rep I’ve ever read. Only two pages in, I was absolutely certain that this was going to be a realistic and respectful portrayal. I thought Katie Henry did a great job of capturing the intrusive thoughts that come with anxiety; I always feel like people think I’m weird when I tell them about the little voice in my head that never shuts up so, I swear, I felt so SEEN by this book.

Ellis was a wonderful protagonist. Honestly, my heart ached for her so much. She was just such a real character, flawed and floundering a bit, and I wanted to shout through the pages that she wasn’t alone. I also love that she felt safest in the library (RELATE!)

Henry also did a great job of portraying how anxiety disorders can affect a whole family, not just the person suffering. I struggled with Ellis’ mum as a character because her reaction to her daughter’s anxiety was genuinely painful to read. I know exactly what it’s like to hear the kind of things she said to Ellis and it really fucking hurts. But I acknowledge that it can be difficult for a parent to understand and that they can struggle themselves with figuring out how best to help their children. The point I’m trying to make is that it was all VERY realistic.

In terms of the writing itself, I found the dialogue super realistic; the banter between the friends never felt forced. I also thought there was a nice, easy flow to the writing.

I have taken this book into my heart so completely. Seriously, anytime I wasn’t reading this one, I was thinking about it and it has stayed with me long after turning the last page. There were so many lines that spoke to me and the ending managed to be hopeful without falling into the trap of that miracle cure we so often see in these types of novels. I hope that anyone else who battles anxiety on a daily basis can find something to relate to in these pages.

lets call it a doomsday


What are some books that you’ve related to previously? I’d love for you to let me know in the comments! x
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September 2019 Anticipated Releases!

Well, I am mortified. I had this post all drafted up and thought I had scheduled it… turns out I hadn’t. So please forgive the lateness! But here are some September releases that  I’m excited about! We’ll just pretend we’ve not missed the first few days, shall we?

[As always, all covers and synopses are taken from Goodreads, and I have used UK release dates.]

September


Dead Voices by Katherine Arden

Release date: September 1st

dead voices

Having survived sinister scarecrows and the malevolent smiling man in Small Spaces, newly minted best friends Ollie, Coco, and Brian are ready to spend a relaxing winter break skiing together with their parents at Mount Hemlock Resort. But when a snowstorm sets in, causing the power to flicker out and the cold to creep closer and closer, the three are forced to settle for hot chocolate and board games by the fire.

Ollie, Coco, and Brian are determined to make the best of being snowed in, but odd things keep happening. Coco is convinced she has seen a ghost, and Ollie is having nightmares about frostbitten girls pleading for help. Then Mr. Voland, a mysterious ghost hunter, arrives in the midst of the storm to investigate the hauntings at Hemlock Lodge. Ollie, Coco, and Brian want to trust him, but Ollie’s watch, which once saved them from the smiling man, has a new cautionary message: BEWARE.

With Mr. Voland’s help, Ollie, Coco, and Brian reach out to the dead voices at Mount Hemlock. Maybe the ghosts need their help–or maybe not all ghosts can or should be trusted.

Dead Voices is a terrifying follow-up to Small Spaces with thrills and chills galore and the captive foreboding of a classic ghost story.

Why I’m interested: The first book in this series, Small Spaces, was one of my favourite reads of 2018. I adored it. I cannot wait to read this follow-up!


The Lady Rogue by Jenn Bennett

Release date: September 3rd

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Traveling with her treasure-hunting father has always been a dream for Theodora. She’s read every book in his library, has an impressive knowledge of the world’s most sought-after relics, and has all the ambition in the world. What she doesn’t have is her father’s permission. That honour goes to her father’s nineteen-year-old protégé—and once-upon-a-time love of Theodora’s life—Huck Gallagher, while Theodora is left to sit alone in her hotel in Istanbul.

Until Huck arrives from an expedition without her father and enlists Theodora’s help in rescuing him. Armed with her father’s travel journal, the reluctant duo learns that her father had been digging up information on a legendary and magical ring that once belonged to Vlad the Impaler—more widely known as Dracula—and that it just might be the key to finding him.

Journeying into Romania, Theodora and Huck embark on a captivating adventure through Gothic villages and dark castles in the misty Carpathian Mountains to recover the notorious ring. But they aren’t the only ones who are searching for it. A secretive and dangerous occult society with a powerful link to Vlad the Impaler himself is hunting for it, too. And they will go to any lengths—including murder—to possess it.

Why I’m interested: A gothic story inspired by Dracula? I am intrigued! I’m also interested to see how this author handles a different genre as she’s mostly known for her contemporaries.


The Girl The Sea Gave Back by Adrienne Young

Release date: September 3rd

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For as long as she can remember, Tova has lived among the Svell, the people who found her washed ashore as a child and use her for her gift as a Truthtongue. Her own home and clan are long-faded memories, but the sacred symbols and staves inked over every inch of her skin mark her as one who can cast the rune stones and see into the future. She has found a fragile place among those who fear her, but when two clans to the east bury their age-old blood feud and join together as one, her world is dangerously close to collapse.

For the first time in generations, the leaders of the Svell are divided. Should they maintain peace or go to war with the allied clans to protect their newfound power? And when their chieftain looks to Tova to cast the stones, she sets into motion a series of events that will not only change the landscape of the mainland forever but will give her something she believed she could never have again—a home.

Why I’m interested: I have not read Sky in the Deep but I was still really excited to be offered an early copy of this one by Titan Books! I’ve only read a little of it so far but I’m really liking the world and the Norse mythology references.


Kingdom of Souls by Rena Barron

Release date: September 3rd

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Arrah is a young woman from a long line of the most powerful witch doctors in the land. But she fails at magic, fails to call upon the ancestors and can’t even cast the simplest curse.

Shame and disappointment dog her.

When strange premonitions befall her family and children in the kingdom begin to disappear, Arrah undergoes the dangerous and scorned process of selling years of her life for magic. This borrowed power reveals a nightmarish betrayal and a danger beyond what she could have imagined. Now Arrah must find a way to master magic, or at least buy it, in order to save herself and everything she holds dear.

An explosive fantasy set in a world of magic and legend with a twist you will never see coming.

Why I’m interested: I love the idea of a book about witch doctors. I feel like this could be really great if done right.


Pumpkinheads by Rainbow Rowell

Release date: September 5th

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Deja and Josiah are seasonal best friends.

Every autumn, all through high school, they’ve worked together at the best pumpkin patch in the whole wide world. (Not many people know that the best pumpkin patch in the whole wide world is in Omaha, Nebraska, but it definitely is.) They say good-bye every Halloween, and they’re reunited every September 1.

But this Halloween is different? Josiah and Deja are finally seniors, and this is their last season at the pumpkin patch. Their last shift together. Their last good-bye.

Josiah’s ready to spend the whole night feeling melancholy about it. Deja isn’t ready to let him. She’s got a plan: What if instead of moping they went out with a bang? They could see all the sights! Taste all the snacks! And Josiah could finally talk to that cute girl he’s been mooning over for three years . . .

What if their last shift was an adventure?

Why I’m interested: I’ve been getting more into graphic novels this year and I feel like I’ll really enjoy this Halloween-themed offering from Rainbow Rowell!


The Girl Who Speaks Bear by Sophie Anderson

Release date: September 5th

girl who speaks bear

Found abandoned in a bear cave as a baby, 12-year-old Yanka has always felt out of place in her small village. When she wakes up to find that her legs have become bear legs, she sets off into the forest to discover who she is, on a journey that takes her from icy rivers to smouldering mountains, with an ever-growing group of misfits alongside her… Interwoven with traditional stories of bears, princesses and dragons, Yanka’s journey is a gorgeously lyrical adventure from the best-selling author of The House With Chicken Legs.

Why I’m interested: I loved The House with Chicken Legs last year so I was delighted to see that the author had written another book. I feel like this will be another gorgeous story with Russian mythology inspiration.


Tunnel of Bones by Victoria Schwab

Release date: September 5th

tunnel of bones

Trouble is haunting Cassidy Blake . . . even more than usual.

She (plus her ghost best friend, Jacob, of course) are in Paris, where Cass’s parents are filming their TV show about the world’s most haunted cities. Sure, it’s fun eating croissants and seeing the Eiffel Tower, but there’s true ghostly danger lurking beneath Paris, in the creepy underground Catacombs.

When Cass accidentally awakens a frighteningly strong spirit, she must rely on her still-growing skills as a ghosthunter — and turn to friends both old and new to help her unravel a mystery. But time is running out, and the spirit is only growing stronger.

And if Cass fails, the force she’s unleashed could haunt the city forever.

Why I’m interested: There are a lot of sequels and second books coming out this month! Tunnel of Bones is the follow-up to City of Ghosts and I’m excited to continue with Cassidy’s story!


The Nightjar by Deborah Hewitt

Release date: September 5th

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The Nightjar by Deborah Hewitt is a stunning contemporary fantasy debut about another London, a magical world hidden behind the bustling modern city we know.

Alice Wyndham has been plagued by visions of birds her whole life…until the mysterious Crowley reveals that Alice is an ‘aviarist’ capable of seeing nightjars, magical birds that guard human souls. When her best friend is hit by a car, only Alice can find and save her nightjar.

With Crowley’s help, Alice travels to the Rookery, a hidden, magical alternate London to hone her newfound talents. But a faction intent on annihilating magic users will stop at nothing to destroy the new aviarist. And is Crowley really working with her, or against her? Alice must risk everything to save her best friend–and uncover the strange truth about herself.

Why I’m interested: I loved Neverwhere and A Darker Shade of Magic, two books about alternate Londons. And good things come in threes, right?!


Darkdawn by Jay Kristoff

Release date: September 5th
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The greatest games in Godsgrave’s history have ended with the most audacious murders in the history of the Itreyan Republic.

Mia Corvere, gladiatii, escaped slave and infamous assassin, is on the run. Pursued by Blades of the Red Church and soldiers of the Luminatii legion, she may never escape the City of Bridges and Bones alive. Her mentor Mercurio is now in the clutches of her enemies. Her own family wishes her dead. And her nemesis, Consul Julius Scaeva, stands but a breath from total dominance over the Republic.

But beneath the city, a dark secret awaits. Together with her lover Ashlinn, brother Jonnen and a mysterious benefactor returned from beyond the veil of death, she must undertake a perilous journey across the Republic, seeking the final answer to the riddle of her life. Truedark approaches. Night is falling on the Republic for perhaps the final time.

Can Mia survive in a world where even daylight must die?

Why I’m interested: Confession time. I haven’t read the first two books yet. But I’ve heard so many great things and I am ready to BINGE.


A Treason of Thorns by Laura E. Weymouth

Release date: September 10th

a treason of thorns

Violet Sterling has spent the last seven years in exile, longing to return to Burleigh House. One of the six great houses of England, Burleigh’s magic always kept the countryside well. And as a child, this magic kept Violet happy, draping her in flowers while she slept, fashioning secret hiding places for her, and lighting fires on the coldest nights to keep her warm.

Everything shattered, though, when her father committed high treason trying to free Burleigh from the king’s oppressive control. He was killed, and Vi was forced into hiding.

When she’s given a chance to go back, she discovers Burleigh has run wild with grief. Vines and briars are crumbling the walls. Magic that once enriched the surrounding countryside has turned dark and deadly, twisting lush blooms into thorns, poisoning livestock and destroying crops. Burleigh’s very soul is crying out in pain.

Vi would do anything to help, and soon she finds herself walking the same deadly path as her father all those years before. Vi must decide how far she’s willing to go to save her house—before her house destroys everything she’s ever known.

Why I’m interested: I love stories about houses that are almost characters in themselves and I feel like there’s potential for that here? But also, it just sounds magical and I’m sure it will be full of gorgeous writing.


The Ten Thousand Doors of January by Alix E. Harrow

Release date: September 12th

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In a sprawling mansion filled with peculiar treasures, January Scaller is a curiosity herself. As the ward of the wealthy Mr. Locke, she feels little different from the artifacts that decorate the halls: carefully maintained, largely ignored, and utterly out of place.

Then she finds a strange book. A book that carries the scent of other worlds, and tells a tale of secret doors, of love, adventure and danger. Each page turn reveals impossible truths about the world and January discovers a story increasingly entwined with her own.

Lush and richly imagined, a tale of impossible journeys, unforgettable love, and the enduring power of stories awaits in Alix E. Harrow’s spellbinding debut–step inside and discover its magic.

Why I’m interested: If the inside is anywhere near as gorgeous as the cover, then this is going to be an amazing book. I saw so many people getting ARCs of this one and then giving it glowing reviews. Honestly, it sounds like a perfect book for me.


Bone China by Laura Purcell

Release date: September 19th

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Consumption has ravaged Louise Pinecroft’s family, leaving her and her father alone and heartbroken. But Dr Pinecroft has plans for a revolutionary experiment: convinced that sea air will prove to be the cure his wife and children needed, he arranges to house a group of prisoners suffering from the same disease in the cliffs beneath his new Cornish home. While he devotes himself to his controversial medical trials, Louise finds herself increasingly discomfited by the strange tales her new maid tells of the fairies that hunt the land, searching for those they can steal away to their realm.

Forty years later, Hester Why arrives at Morvoren House to take up a position as nurse to the now partially paralysed and almost entirely mute Miss Pinecroft. Hester has fled to Cornwall to try and escape her past, but surrounded by superstitious staff enacting bizarre rituals, she soon discovers that her new home may be just as dangerous as her last.

Why I’m interested: First of all, why is this ugly cover messing up the aesthetic of my post?! I feel like Laura Purcell has been done dirty. But the book itself sounds Gothic and amazing!


The Deathless Girls by Kiran Milwood Hargrave

Release date: September 19th

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They say the thirst of blood is like a madness – they must sate it. Even with their own kin.

On the eve of her divining, the day she’ll discover her fate, seventeen-year-old Lil and her twin sister Kizzy are captured and enslaved by the cruel Boyar Valcar, taken far away from their beloved traveller community.

Forced to work in the harsh and unwelcoming castle kitchens, Lil is comforted when she meets Mira, a fellow slave who she feels drawn to in a way she doesn’t understand. But she also learns about the Dragon, a mysterious and terrifying figure of myth and legend who takes girls as gifts.

They may not have had their divining day, but the girls will still discover their fate…

Why I’m interested: This is billed as the untold story of the brides of Dracula! I don’t need to know anything more. Plus I can’t deny it, I was drawn in by that gorgeous cover. But I enjoy this author’s middle grade books so I’m interested to read her YA debut!



Well, those are the books I’m looking forward to this month! Are you looking forward to any of these too? Or is there anything you’re anticipating that I haven’t featured? Let me know in the comments! xsignature (2)

August 2019 Wrap-Up!

Hey lovelies! 🙂 We’ve got a lot to get through in this wrap-up so let’s just jump right in, shall we?! Here’s what I read in August!

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Review Books

I’ll Be There For You: The One About F.R.I.E.N.D.S by Kelsey Miller

I’m so glad I finally made time for this one! It reminded me exactly what I love about Friends. I’d definitely recommend this if you’re a fan of the show, though take it with a little pinch of salt – I don’t entirely think that we should judge things that are a product of their time through a modern lens.

N.E.W.T.s prompt: Defence Against the Dark Arts – Acceptable – A book that is black under the dust jacket

 

Forget Me Not by Claire Allan

This is the third thriller I’ve read from Allan and probably my least favourite. Though as I said in my original review, even her weakest book is still a strong and entertaining read! I think I’m just getting used to the way Allan lays her clues so I found it easier to work out the twist in this one.

N.E.W.T.s prompt: Muggle studies – Acceptable – cover that includes an actual photo element

 

The Butcher’s Daughter by Victoria Glendinning

I read this book for a blog tour and found it incredibly slow. However, it was a unique take on a period of history that has been explored through many lenses but not, to my knowledge, this particular perspective.

N.E.W.T.s prompt: Potions – Exceeds Expectations – A book with a cover in your Hogwarts house colour

The Wild Book by Juan Villoro

This was such a cute middle grade read about the magic of stories. The translation flowed really nicely and I would recommend this to book lovers of all ages.

N.E.W.T.s prompt: Arithmancy – Acceptable – A book that ends on an even page number

 

Let’s Call It A Doomsday by Katie Henry

New favourite alert! I am going to be recommending this one a LOT. Full review coming soon. All you need to know for now is I LOVED IT.

N.E.W.T.s prompt: Transfiguration – Acceptable – A book with LGBTQ+ representation

 

The Deaths and Afterlife of Aleister Crowley by Ian Thornton

Sadly, this one was a DNF after not very long at all. It’s partly my own fault because I honestly thought this book was about something completely different. I still gave it a chance but I just couldn’t connect with it.

N.E.W.T.s prompt: This would have given me an outstanding in Transfiguration for a book over 500 pages but I didn’t count it since I only read about 50 pages!

 

Johnny Ruin by Dan Dalton

I really enjoyed this quirky mental health read surrounding a man’s suicide attempt. I thought it was cleverly done and I liked how the author balanced humour with poignancy throughout.

N.E.W.T.s prompt: CharmsOutstanding – Spongify (Softening charm) – A paperback book

 

Perfect Crime by Helen Fields

The latest instalment in this series was another enjoyable read, if slightly formulaic this time around. Maybe I’m just getting used to the author’s style, as with Claire Allan above. Honestly though, I’m trash for this series and I’ll definitely be continuing with it when the next one comes out.

N.E.W.T.s prompt: Transfiguration – Exceeds Expectations – A book that isn’t the first in a series


Books from my TBR

Enchantée by Gita Trelease

I had high expectations for this book but I was also nervous that it wouldn’t live up to them. Thankfully, I found it a gorgeous read that has stayed with me long after finishing it.

N.E.W.T.s prompt: Charms – Acceptable – A book you think has a gorgeous cover

 

Radio Silence by Alice Oseman

This one is another new favourite! I honestly connected with this one so much and I’m already planning to buy more Alice Oseman books.

N.E.W.T.s prompt: Defence Against the Dark Arts – Oustanding – Cornish Pixie! A book written by an English author or set in England

 

On The Come Up by Angie Thomas

Angie Thomas has triumphed again with another powerful story. It was hard not to compare this one with The Hate U Give; I personally enjoyed THUG more but On The Come Up is definitely a strong story in its own right

N.E.W.T.s prompt: Muggle Studies – Outstanding – A book written by a person of colour

 

Normal People by Sally Rooney

I can understand why this is a polarising book. It’s an intense character study with little-to-no plot so readers who like a lot of action probably won’t enjoy this one. As it was, I liked it but wouldn’t call it a new favourite.

N.E.W.T.s prompt: Potions – Acceptable – Read a friend’s favourite book

 

A Darker Shade of Magic by V. E. Schwab

This is one of the twelve books I must read this year and man, I’m kicking myself for not getting to this one sooner. I always knew I would love it and I hate myself for taking so long to pick it up.

N.E.W.T.s prompt: Defence Against the Dark Arts – Exceeds Expectations – Gilderoy’s memory charm! The first book you remember from your TBR

 

Sandman Vol.1: Preludes & Nocturnes by Neil Gaiman

I finally took the plunge on Neil Gaiman’s graphic novels. I can see why this series is hailed as one of the greats. It was obvious that a lot of this volume was laying the groundwork for the volumes to come – I’m excited to continue!

N.E.W.T.s prompt: Charms – Exceeds Expectations – a comic/graphic novel/manga


Rereads

one flew over the cuckoo's nest

One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest by Ken Kesey

Just as poignant as the first time I read it, if not more so due to the nature of my job these days. The narrative voice is genius.

N.E.W.T.s prompt: Muggle studies – Exceeds Expectations – A book set in the real world


Non Fiction

Technically, my first review book of the month was non-fiction! So at least I read one this month haha.


Stats

Total pages: 4798

Average pages per day: 154.8

Longest book: Enchantée (480 pages)

Shortest book: Johnny Ruin (185 pages)

Favourite read of the month: Radio Silence/Let’s Call It A Doomsday

Biggest disappointment of the month: The Deaths & Afterlife of Aleister Crowley

Male authors: 5

Female authors: 10

Multiple authors: 0

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N.E.W.T.s wrap-up

I managed to hit 14 of the prompts for the magical readathon, and I got all the grades I needed to become a mind medic! (You may remember me completing the O.W.L.s and saying that I couldn’t go on to achieve this career as I hadn’t hit one of the prompts… well I subsequently did ‘extra credit’ for that subject so that I could progress as originally planned. I’m extra like that.)

This is honestly one of the most detailed readathons in existence and it’s a great way to tick off a lot of books from your backlist. I definitely recommend doing it next year if you missed it this time.

Here is a final roundup of what I read!

N.E.W.T.s required:-

Outstanding in Charms

  • A: Enchantée
  • E: Sandman Vol.1: Preludes & Nocturnes
  • O: Johnny Ruin

Outstanding in Defence Against the Dark Arts

  • A: I’ll Be There For You: The One About F.R.I.E.N.D.S
  • E: A Darker Shade of Magic
  • O: Radio Silence

Exceeds Expectations in Muggle Studies (I actually achieved an ‘outstanding’!)

  • A: Forget Me Not
  • E: One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest
  • O: On The Come Up

Exceeds Expectations in Potions

  • A: Normal People
  • E: The Butcher’s Daughter

Exceeds Expectations in Transfiguration

  • A: Let’s Call It A Doomsday
  • E: Perfect Crime

And then I got an ‘acceptable’ in Arithmancy just since the final book I read fit the prompt! So overall, a great reading month!


Well this wrap-up ended up a million times longer than I thought it would be – cookies for you if you made it to the end! Did you take part in the N.E.W.T.s readathon? What wizarding career did you go for?! Let me know in the comments! xsignature (2)

‘Enchantee’ spoiler-free review!

Hello dears 🙂 I’m so behind with my reviews! I actually read this book way back at the beginning of August and I’m only just getting round to sharing my thoughts with you! But hopefully, you’ll find them worth the wait 😉

enchantee


synopsis

When smallpox kills her parents, Camille Durbonne must find a way to provide for her frail, naive sister while managing her volatile brother. Relying on petty magic—la magie ordinaire—Camille painstakingly transforms scraps of metal into money to buy the food and medicine they need. But when the coins won’t hold their shape and her brother disappears with the family’s savings, Camille must pursue a richer, more dangerous mark: the glittering court of Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette.

With dark magic forbidden by her mother, Camille transforms herself into the ‘Baroness de la Fontaine’ and is swept up into life at the Palace of Versailles, where aristocrats both fear and hunger for la magie. There, she gambles at cards, desperate to have enough to keep herself and her sister safe. Yet the longer she stays at court, the more difficult it becomes to reconcile her resentment of the nobles with the enchantments of Versailles. And when she returns to Paris, Camille meets a handsome young balloonist—who dares her to hope that love and liberty may both be possible.

But la magie has its costs. And when Camille loses control of her secrets, the game she’s playing turns deadly. Then revolution erupts, and she must choose—love or loyalty, democracy or aristocracy, freedom or magic—before Paris burns…


my thoughts

This was one of my most anticipated reads of the year. I was hearing buzz about this one for months before it came out and it sounded like the exact kind of book I would enjoy. Then some disappointed reviews started to creep in and I got nervous. Turns out, my gut instinct was pretty accurate because this was definitely a book for me.

From the outset, I could picture everything so clearly. I thought the author did a brilliant job with her world-building; she included lots of sensory detail, which is something I always enjoy. I felt completely transported to the luxurious halls of Versailles. And I loved all the court politics! It was like something from an Austen novel but in a much more easily-accessible form. (I have no issue with Jane Austen, by the way, but I know some people struggle with classic literature!)

Add to this the exquisite magic system and I was giving it major heart-eyes over the descriptions. This was seriously so gorgeous. Yes, there wasn’t a lot of explanation behind how ‘la magie’ worked but I think that would have bogged everything down; the book is almost 500 pages as it stands and I don’t think long-winded explanations would have helped it in any way. I was happy to just suspend my disbelief and go with it.

Trelease excels further in her characterisation. While Camille could at times get a little bit whiney, I liked her for the most part. And I shipped her and Lazare so hard ❤ Because it’s young adult so you know there’s got to be a romance in there somewhere 😉 Honestly though, this was a romance I was definitely cheering for!

I also loved Camille’s sister Sophie (if anyone has read Gail Carriger’s Parasol Protectorate series, Sophie reminded me a lot of Ivy!) The villains in the story are also suitably nasty; there are moments when they border on the caricature but Trelease does try to give them decent motives and make them feel fully realised, and I didn’t think she did too bad a job.

Overall, I would say that if you like the sound of this one, you should definitely give it a try! It’s sumptuous and magical and made me feel totally transported. I think this was a great debut and I’ll definitely be looking out for more from this author!

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Let me know in the comments if you’ve read this one and what you thought of it! x
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My favourite blog posts of August 2019!

Well here you are my lovelies, the usual roundup of my favourite content from the month! Enjoy!

Also, a small disclaimer: I always try super hard to make these posts fair and to share a wide range of content but obviously I can’t share everything or my post would be never-ending! But it is never my intention to make anyone feel bad so please don’t be upset if you are not featured this time around. If I have EVER interacted with you in any way, then know that I value you. We are all valid here ❤

favourite blog posts of the month


favourite reviews

Giuli wrote a great balanced review of Gods of Jade and Shadow.

Rachel compared The Bird Tribunal to both Wuthering Heights and Rebecca, and made it sound amazing!

Kelsey wrote a wonderfully detailed review of After Alice by Gregory Maguire – just be wary of spoilers if they aren’t your thing!

Margaret gave a glowing review to Like A Love Story and made it jump straight into my online basket.

Keri reviewed Final Draft and confirmed that I definitely want to read this book at some point!

Gabby took a new approach to her reviews and it definitely worked well for her – I loved this review of Nevernight!

Sophie reviewed Turning Darkness Into Light and got me much more excited to read it!

Marija’s review of The Ten Thousand Doors of January was gorgeous, just like the book itself!

Emma reviewed Under A Dancing Star and confirmed that I’ll be buying this one on my next trip to the bookstore.

Kal wrote a brilliant review of House of Salt and Sorrows; I hadn’t given much attention to this book before now but she made it sound so good!

Melanie wrote a review of her usual high calibre and explained why Leigh Bardugo’s Ninth House might not be for everyone.


favourite discussions

Kelly wrote about finding the motivation to write book reviews and wow, did I need this post this month.

Krysta raised the subject of required reading and why it might not be as terrible as some people think.

Anda talked about why comments matter.

Marie shared some tips for giving your blog posts an extra spark and I think we’d all be mad not to listen to her, considering the award she just won! 😉

Wendy shared her joy at seeing fat girls on book covers and just YES.

Xandra talked about aspects of blogging that seem scary but aren’t really so bad.


other fun posts

CW recommended books to read if you enjoy Studio Ghibli movies!

Ayunda shared her travel adventures in Montreux, Switzerland and bumped this place further up my travel wishlist!

Kristin recommended books featuring artists/art forms of various kinds. I thought this was such a great list.

Cait compiled an incredible list of YA books about siblings!

Jordan collaborated with the author of We Are The Ghosts to share a super cool road map!

The Orangutan Librarian shared a list of bookish parties they’d love to attend – I’ll be expecting my invite as a plus one any day now 😉

Olivia gave us all five reasons to read classics and recommended her favourites.


I hope you all have fun exploring some of these posts and possibly finding some great new blogs to follow! xsignature (2)