The ‘Greek Gods’ Book Tag!

Hi everyone! I’ve been seeing the Greek Gods book tag floating around, which was created by the awesome Zuky. I love the prompts in this one so I decided to give it a try!

Also, I’ve noticed that whenever I do book tags, I’m rarely able to stick to just one recommendation per prompt – is that against the rules?! Oh well, the more I add to your TBR the better, right? 😉

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Rules:

  • Pingback to Zuky so she can see your posts
  • Use Zuky’s graphics if you want to – but equally, you don’t have to use them
  • Tag as many people as you want, but please, share the love

Zeus: King of the Gods – Your favourite book

My standard answer when I get asked this question tends to be Wuthering Heights/The Book Thief. I can’t choose between the two because they’re both so different.

 

Hera: Queen of the Gods – A badass female character

The Unnamed Midwife, Kate ‘Puck’ Connolly, and Daenerys Targaryen are the ones that instantly spring to mind.

 

Janus: God of Beginnings – Your favourite debut

It’s impossible to pick just one. These are a few 2018 debuts I’ve loved!

 

Athena: Goddess of Wisdom – Your favourite non-fiction book

I don’t tend to read a lot of non-fiction because it feels too much like studying – and I’m already doing enough of that for my diploma! But Matt Haig’s take on mental health is always amazingly relatable and I think these books should be required reading for everyone.

 

Aphrodite: Goddess of Love – A book you adore and recommend everyone read

I don’t really have books that I will blanket recommend to everyone because we all have different tastes. But these three are books that I consistently name when people ask me for a dystopian, fantasy or historical fiction recommendation!

 

Hades: God of the Underworld – An evil book you wish didn’t exist

I recently read Damsel and wish I could erase some of the disgusting imagery from my mind! A similarly hurtful ‘feminist’ story was The Surface Breaks. I just can’t get behind books like this.

 

Poseidon: God of the Sea and Earthquakes – A beautiful and ground-breaking book

More Than This is such a brilliantly unique book that really moved me. In fact, everything I’ve read by Patrick Ness has been pretty ground-breaking and beautiful.

 

Apollo – God of the Arts – A beautiful book cover

I feel like I always pick the same books for the beautiful cover prompts so here are some I haven’t featured as often!

 

Hypnos: God of Sleep – A book so boring you almost fell asleep

the castle of otranto

This one has not aged well at ALL.

 

Hermes: Messenger of the Gods – A book you sped through

I flew through all three of these and definitely recommend them!

 

Well, there you have it! I hope you’ve found some new books to add to your TBRs 😉 I don’t know who’s done this tag and who hasn’t so if you’re interested, consider yourself tagged! X

 

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‘The Other Side of Lost’ spoiler-free review!

Hey everyone! Today, I’m reviewing The Other Side of Lost by Jessi Kirby, which was so kindly sent to me by Harper360YA. Thankfully, I liked this one much more than Damsel 😉 

What the book is about…

“Every day is a chance to be better than you were the day before”

Jessi Kirby, The Other Side of Lost

Girl Online meets Wild in this emotionally charged story of girl who takes to the wilderness to rediscover herself and escape the superficial persona she created on social media.

Mari Turner’s life is perfect. That is, at least to her thousands of followers who have helped her become an internet starlet. But when she breaks down and posts a video confessing she’s been living a lie—that she isn’t the happy, in-love, inspirational online personality she’s been trying so hard to portray—it goes viral and she receives major backlash. To get away from it all, she makes an impulsive decision: to hike the entire John Muir trail. Mari and her late cousin, Bri, were supposed to do it together, to celebrate their shared eighteenth birthday. But that was before Mari got so wrapped up in her online world that she shut anyone out who questioned its worth—like Bri.

With Bri’s boots and trail diary, a heart full of regret, and a group of strangers that she meets along the way, Mari tries to navigate the difficult terrain of the hike. But the true challenge lies within, as she searches for the way back to the girl she fears may be too lost to find: herself.

 

 

What I thought of it…

This was really quite lovely. I felt a real connection with the main character, Mari, who was trying to find her way in the world and stay true to herself while at the same time attempting to make genuine connections with people and distance herself from online negativity. The idea of presenting a certain persona to the world is one that I can relate to, thanks to my anxiety (though I like to think I still have my integrity in what I choose to show people, both on and offline). The whole thing just really spoke to me; I can’t quite find the words to explain how or why.

 I thought the author gave a very sensitive and believable portrayal of teenage grief; it wasn’t over-the-top with angst, it felt REAL. The anger and disappointment of expecting things to be a certain way and it not working out like that – I found this so so relatable. There were some truly poignant moments. 

Now, I do have to say that I found the concept of the book ever so slightly unbelievable. I could never imagine just going off on a whim and hiking 211 miles over the mountains, with no prior training or knowledge. Even for a non-anxious person, that would be super stressful and DANGEROUS. So in that respect, I did struggle to suspend my disbelief a tiny bit.

There was also a hint of insta-love here, which usually would irritate the heck out of me. Weirdly, it didn’t actually bother me too much in this case because it kind of made sense under the circumstances? The characters were in such a high intensity situation, it would have surprised me if a romance didn’t happen, to be honest. Thankfully, I found the story’s main focus to be much more of the found family aspect, which I completely loved. 

Overall, this book contained some beautiful imagery and I really enjoyed. I would certainly recommend it for fans of contemporary YA.

 

You might also enjoy…

Have you read this one? Let me know what you thought of it in the comments! Also, is anyone else struggling with the new WordPress editor?! x

‘Damsel’ spoiler-free review!

Hey everyone! I was recently sent an ARC of Damsel by the very kind people at Harper360YA. Sadly, I found it to be a very strange reading experience – read on to find out why!


What the book was about…

The rite has existed for as long as anyone can remember: when the prince-who-will-be-king comes of age, he must venture out into the gray lands, slay a fierce dragon, and rescue a damsel to be his bride. This is the way things have always been.

When Ama wakes in the arms of Prince Emory, however, she knows none of this. She has no memory of what came before she was captured by the dragon, or what horrors she has faced in its lair. She knows only this handsome prince, the story he tells of her rescue, and her destiny to sit on the throne beside him. Ama comes with Emory back to the kingdom of Harding, hailed as the new princess, welcomed to the court.

However, as soon as her first night falls, she begins to realize that not all is as it seems, that there is more to the legends of the dragons and the damsels than anyone knows–and that the greatest threats to her life may not be behind her, but here, in front of her.


What I thought of it…

Sadly, from the minute I started this one, I didn’t connect with the writing. What little world-building there was felt heavy-handed and clumsy, and the writing was very simplistic and repetitive. There was no showing, only the most basic telling – “he did this, then he did this.” It just wasn’t enjoyable to read.

I took an immediate dislike to Prince Emory. He was disgustingly arrogant and misogynistic. All the talk of women as property was awful enough but when a comment was made implying that a woman was to blame for a man not being able to restrain himself? Count me out. I would have DNFd right there if this wasn’t a review book.

In terms of plot, NOTHING HAPPENED. The whole book just revolved around waiting for a wedding day. Ama was annoyingly passive for most of the book and it was all fairly bland and boring. As for the twist, it was glaringly obvious to me from very early in the book. There was absolutely no subtlety in the clues.

There were also lots of spelling mistakes in the ARC. Hopefully these were caught in the final edit and I know they’re not necessarily a reflection of the book’s quality in themselves but it was just one more thing that put me off.

The absolute worst thing about this book, though, was that it contained some of the grossest, most disturbing imagery I have ever come across. I was genuinely open-mouthed reading some of the lines. I don’t know what the heck it was meant to achieve but, coupled with the misogynistic BS, it just sickened me.

I’m trying to desperately to find something positive to say but all I can come up with is that it was a fast read due to its simplicity and I did find myself weirdly compelled (if only to get to the end and discover if my theory was correct). It’s possible the author was trying to highlight issues that women in contemporary society are facing but, as with The Surface Breaks, the execution didn’t work for me.

I always say that, even when I personally haven’t enjoyed a book, you should still try it for yourself if you’re remotely interested. But I’m making an exception in this case. Do yourself a favour and just skip this one.

 

damsel

If anyone else has read this one, I’d love to hear your thoughts! Please leave me a comment below and let’s discuss! x

Discussion: Reaction to the Goodreads Choice Awards

Hey everyone! I wanted to get this post out sooner but life is kicking my backside right now. However, I’d still like to talk about the Goodreads Choice Awards and some of my initial reactions!

I’m a little nervous about this as I haven’t done many discussion posts up to this point – hopefully you won’t all hate me if your opinions differ from mine!

 

goodreads choice awards 2018

 

Initial Thoughts

So, my first reaction was outrage that one of my favourite books of the year, Muse of Nightmares, was not even nominated?! I’m pleased to see that plenty of readers obviously made their voices heard because now that we’re up to the semi-finals, Taylor’s masterpiece is indeed there. But initially, I could not believe that a book of such high calibre was not featured. Which leads me to…

 

What’s in a name?

It seems to me that some authors are guaranteed to be nominated for an award simply for who they are. (I’m not going to diss anyone here but I’m sure you all know which authors I’m talking about.) Sometimes I wonder at this because the books themselves are often of lesser quality (in my opinion) than ones that don’t even get nominated. Are authors guaranteed a nomination based on the number of books they’ve written or the size of their fanbase?

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Are the awards diverse enough?

Times have definitely changed and I’m delighted to see more authors of colour being nominated. However, with this being the 10th year of awards and Goodreads introducing the ‘best of the best’ category, it’s impossible to not look back and see the white-dominated group of past winners. As per my previous point, looking at these winners almost reads like a school yearbook, with the prom queens and jocks always coming out on top. And speaking of popularity contests…

 

Are we guilty of judging books by their covers?

Now, don’t get me wrong. I’m totally guilty of picking up books in shops because I’m drawn to their beautiful covers. But I would never vote for a book to receive an award simply because it looked pretty! Unfortunately, I usually haven’t read most of the books that are nominated in the Goodreads Choice Awards and so I abstain from voting, but I’m sure there are readers out there who (when they haven’t read all of the nominated books) might just vote for the book with the cover they like best. Surely, these awards should reflect the quality of a book’s writing or the importance of its themes, not just which cover looks nicest or which marketing campaign was most successful in building the hype?

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So those are my thoughts on the Goodreads Choice Awards! Do you agree or disagree with anything I’ve said? Do you think the awards are diverse enough? Is it all just a popularity contest? Leave me a comment and let’s chat! x

 

‘Toil and Trouble: 15 Tales of Women and Witchcraft’ spoiler-free review!

Hi everyone! Today, I’m reviewing Toil and Trouble, a collection of witchy stories! I started reading this in October but didn’t get it finished before the end of the month. But better late than never, right?!


What the book is about…

History tells us women accused of witchcraft were often outsiders: educated, independent, unmarried, unwilling to fall in line with traditional societal expectations.

Bold. Powerful. Rebellious.

A bruja’s traditional love spell has unexpected results. A witch’s healing hands begin to take life instead of giving it when she ignores her attraction to a fellow witch. In a terrifying future, women are captured by a cabal of men crying witchcraft and the one true witch among them must fight to free them all. In a desolate past, three orphaned sisters prophesize for a murderous king. Somewhere in the present, a teen girl just wants to kiss a boy without causing a hurricane.

From good witches to bad witches, to witches who are a bit of both, this is an anthology of diverse witchy tales from a collection of diverse, feminist authors. The collective strength of women working together—magically or mundanely–has long frightened society, to the point that women’s rights are challenged, legislated against, and denied all over the world. Toil & Trouble delves deep into the truly diverse mythology of witchcraft from many cultures and feminist points of view, to create modern and unique tales of witchery that have yet to be explored…


What I thought of it…

This was a really great anthology of witchy stories and just what I was looking for recently. As with all anthologies, there were some stories I enjoyed less than others so read on for some thoughts on each one!

 

Starsong by Tehlor Kay Mejia – 3.5 stars

I can’t deny that I was initially confused by this one but I soon got into it and enjoyed it. Luna’s old and new selves felt a little jarring and disconnected, which I thought was appropriate as she was trying to reconcile who she used to be with who she is now. This was a cute story overall, even if I did feel like the romance happened a little quickly (maybe I’m just a cynic haha). But I loved the idea of Luna’s very specific and unusual kind of magic, and how she used it.

 

Afterbirth by Andrea Cremer – 4 stars

I really liked the way this was written, with the trial excerpts interspersed throughout. It was a really interesting take on a sad phenomenon that unfortunately women have to go through too often. I seem to be in the minority with my enjoyment of this one but it appealed to my newfound love of historical fiction.

 

The Heart in her Hands by Tess Sharpe – 5 stars

Not only does this feature foodie magic which is my absolute favourite kind, it’s also about forging your own path and not letting yourself be put into a box or defined by ‘fate’ or ‘destiny’ or what other people want for you. It was so empowering. And the f/f romance was the best. The writing also felt reminiscent of Leigh Bardugo so that should be enough to tell you why I loved it!

 

Death in the Sawtooths by Lindsay Smith – 3 stars

I struggled slightly with this story as it was quite a bit darker in tone and it almost felt like I was jumping into a world that had already been fully established? There was so much going on and I felt like I really had to concentrate to follow things. A lot of the talk of bullying also made me feel a bit uncomfortable. I just didn’t enjoy this one as much.

 

The Truth about Queenie by Brandy Colbert – 3 stars

I didn’t really connect with this one the way I hoped I would. I was enjoying it at first but it didn’t really go anywhere, and the whole thing had a pretty miserable vibe to it. I did appreciate the themes the author tried to tackle, I just didn’t love the way it was done.

 

The Moonapple Menagerie by Shveta Thakrar – 3 stars

At first, I was absolutely living for this. The purple prose was divine and I loved the theatre vibes and the inclusion of a disabled character. However, things took a very strange turn and there were weird shifts in time that jarred me out of the story and confused me.

 

The Legend of Stone Mary by Robin Talley – 4 stars

This one vaguely reminded me of The Secret Life of Bees, with all it’s talk of ancestry and knowing where you come from. I really liked the concept and the way it read like a contemporary but also incorporated historical elements.

 

The One Who Stayed by Nova Ren Suma – 4 stars

Guys, this was DARK. It was so powerfully feminist but not really very witchy? I feel like the story deserves 5 stars for the themes alone, it just didn’t feel like a 5-star read to me? I know I’m in the minority with this and I honestly do feel bad, but there was just something missing for me that I can’t quite put my finger on.

 

Divine are the Stars by Zoraida Córdova – 4 stars

I loved the magical realism here. I’ve never read about bruja so it was nice to get a different cultural perspective on witchcraft than the ones I’m used to. Córdova’s writing was gorgeous and I’d love to try some of her full-length novels.

 

Daughters of Baba Yaga by Brenna Yovanoff – 3 stars

This one felt unfinished to me; it was like it just kind of dwindled to nothing? I wanted more. I feel like this story tried to tackle quite a few different issues and it was maybe too much, as there was no real resolution. And it was very angry! I did like the start though.

 

The Well Witch by Kate Hart – 4 stars

This was a cool Western-style story; this is a not a genre I’ve ever experienced and I was surprised by how much I enjoyed it. I really liked the main character, Elsa (even before being told that she arranged her books in a rainbow!) This story went in a devastating direction and I’m not entirely sure how I feel about it; I was on the way to giving a 5-star rating but I had to drop it a little as I didn’t fully approve of where things went.

 

Beware of Girls with Crooked Mouths by Jessica Spotswood – 3 stars

So many of these stories felt unfinished to me?! I needed more answers from this one. I also couldn’t tell what time period this was meant to be set in; at times, it read like a contemporary but at other times it had a historical fiction vibe? It’s like it couldn’t decide what it wanted to be. I did like the elemental magic, I just wanted more from this story.

 

Love Spell by Anna-Marie McLemore – 5 stars

This was gorgeous! I’ve always had a feeling I would love Anna-Marie McLemore’s writing and I was completely right. I definitely need to get my hands on her full-length novels. This was just deliciously romantic and magical.

 

The Gherin Girls by Emery Lord – 5 stars

This was a really nice story of sisterly love and recovering from emotional abuse. At times, I forgot that I was reading a story in a witchy anthology because the magical elements were so effortlessly incorporated into the plot. Based on this story, I will definitely be picking up more from Emery Lord!

 

Why They Watch Us Burn by Elizabeth May – 5 stars

This story made the entire anthology. It deserves all the stars in the universe. It was so powerfully feminist and utterly devastating; it reads like a call to arms, like the whole #metoo movement in story form. Every line was perfection. Please give me everything this author has ever written.

 

On the whole, I really enjoyed this collection. There was a run of average-feeling stories that I didn’t quite connect with but the better ones I really loved. And I’m delighted that I didn’t rate any of the stories in this collection below 3 stars! That so rarely happens with an anthology.

 

toil and trouble 15 tales of women and witchcraft

If you’ve read this one, what was your favourite story? What are some other witchy books you’ve enjoyed? Do you read many anthologies? Leave me a comment below! x

‘Eclairs for Tea and Other Stories’ spoiler-free review!

Hello everyone! You may remember I included this book in my September wrap-up but I’m only just getting round to reviewing it because I wanted to only post spooky reviews in October 😉

Eclairs for Tea and Other Stories is written by indie author, Julia Blake, whom I discovered through Instagram. Julia has quite a selection of published books to choose from but I decided to pick up this collection in order to get a taste for her writing across a variety of genres. Before I begin dissecting, take a look at the Goodreads blurb!


What the book was about…

Eclairs for Tea and Other Stories is a wonderful, eclectic, mix of short stories, flash fiction and poetry, to be dipped in and out of, and enjoyed at your own pace.

Eclairs for Tea – There was something very important Kevin had told her not to forget. If only she could remember what it was…

Taproot – As war raged in the skies above, Meg fought her own battle against growing up, and her fears for her brother… 

Do You Believe? – Susan was never one for flights of fancy, so what is she to think, when her daughter tells her a fairy has taken up residence at the bottom of the garden..? 

Vicious Circle – As far as DI Cass Sawyer is concerned, the past should remain firmly in the past, but, it seems time may have a different idea…

Lifesong – If there is life on other worlds, what would it be like? What would they make of us?

Along with many other heart-warming, surprising tales, interspersed with the author’s quirky poems about modern life, this is a book you’ll want to read again and again…


What I thought of it…

This was a wonderful introduction to Julia Blake’s work and really accessible for anyone not sure where to start.

Blake here clearly demonstrates the meaning of the phrase ‘quality over quantity’. She manages such exquisite storytelling in so few pages; I am in awe. Taproot was really lovely and surprisingly powerful for a mere 11 pages. Then came the titular story Eclairs for Tea and WOW. Only 2 pages long but what an impact. It was really dark considering the fluffy-sounding title!

There really is something for everyone here. Dinner Party highlighted Blake’s ability to write superbly realistic dialogue and her talent for humour as well as the more hard-hitting stuff. Other stories were more sweet. Strange Kind of Love even had a Gaiman-esque vibe which I really enjoyed. Blake’s fiction ranges from romantic and ethereal to dark and gruesome, but it is always captivating.

The stories in the book are also interspersed with Blake’s unique poetry, which really captured an aspect of modern life that many authors steer clear of. I related to so many of them! I really appreciated the subtle links between each short story/poem. I would say my favourite poem in the collection was This is Heaven; I found it very evocative.

And of course, I have to mention the novella Lifesong which brings this collection to a close. Blake’s writing really shines in this longer tale and has ensured that I will be giving her full-length novels a try! I loved the whole concept and the ending blew me away.

My only *tiny* gripe is that occasionally commas would be used where I personally would have put semi-colons. However, this is genuinely the most nit-picky thing I could say and I thoroughly recommend this anthology!

 

eclairs for tea and other stories julia blake

If you are interested in trying Blake’s writing for yourself, her latest novel The Forest has just been released!

October Wrap-Up! (In which significant life changes hinder my spooky reading)

Hello all! I can’t believe it’s wrap-up time again. October ended up being a much busier month than I had expected as I got a last-minute invite onto a diploma course (and obviously, I jumped at the chance!) So I’m now back studying as well as working full-time and, unfortunately, that leaves less time for reading. But I still managed to get through some good books. So without further ado, let’s take a look at what I read in October!

 

Classics

rebecca du maurier

Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier

This was one of my most anticipated reads. I bought this book back in January but wanted to save it for the dark Autumn nights as I just knew it would be so atmospheric. And I was not disappointed. This is a Gothic masterpiece and the characters were absolute works of art.

 

Review books/Books I was sent

The Black Prince by Adam Roberts

I struggled a little with this one as it felt quite disjointed and the battle scenes were very visceral, but it was an interesting take on a period in history that I knew virtually nothing about.

 

Perfect Death by Helen Fields

The third instalment of this thriller series was just as fantastic as its two predecessors and kept me up reading far too late. I particularly enjoyed the exploration of gender roles that the author tackled in this one.

 

Sawkill Girls by Claire Legrand

A strange but compelling story that was quite dark at times, I really liked this powerfully feminist read. Some of the descriptive writing was gorgeous and the rep was awesome.

 

Books from my TBR

Muse of Nightmares by Laini Taylor

By far my favourite read of the month, if not the year, Muse of Nightmares didn’t just live up to all of my gigantic expectations but surpassed them. Laini Taylor is a true queen of words and I will be eagerly awaiting news of her next book.

 

The Halloween Tree by Ray Bradbury

This was a great little coming-of-age story about the origins of Halloween. My only complaint was that I wanted it to be longer!

 

Sweet Pea by C. J. Skuse

This thriller written from the perspective of a female psychopath was absolutely hilarious. Its twisted humour had me laughing out loud at every page and I will definitely be picking up the sequel at some point.

 

The Book of the Unnamed Midwife by Meg Elison

I thought this was a really gripping and original dystopian. The author got across some excellent points about birth control, sex positivity, sexuality and consent, while painting a terrifying picture of a world where 99% of the female population has been wiped out.

 

The Witchfinder’s Sister by Beth Underdown

This book had the unfortunate position of following Muse of Nightmares; I don’t think I enjoyed it as much as I could have because I was in the biggest book hangover! I thought it was an interesting premise but it was very slow in pace, though it was still impressive for a debut and I genuinely think it was just a case of bad timing.

 

Small Spaces by Katherine Arden

I adored this spooky middle grade with a heart. I felt a real connection with the protagonist, Ollie, and was so invested in her story. Arden’s portrayal of childhood grief was superb.

 

The Miniaturist by Jessie Burton

This was an interesting story but not really what I was expecting. I can’t honestly say that I liked the protagonist but I still found it to be compelling, and I’d like to maybe revisit it in the future to pick up on all the foreshadowing I undoubtedly missed this time round.

 

Stats

Total pages: 4001

Average pages per day: 129

Longest book: Muse of Nightmares (528 pages)

Shortest book: The Halloween Tree (145 pages)

Favourite read of the month: Muse of Nightmares

Biggest disappointment of the month: The Black Prince

Male authors: 2

Female authors: 9

Books read towards Pop Sugar Reading Challenge: 1

 

october 2018 reading wrapup paperbackpiano.jpg

Those of you who are eagle-eyed might notice that Toil and Trouble features in this picture. Unfortunately, I overestimated my ability to get through it in time! So just pretend that it’s The Book of the Unnamed Midwife instead, since I didn’t have a physical copy of that 😉

Have you read any of these? What was your favourite book that you read in October? x

My favourite blog posts of October 2018!

Seriously, guys. Where are the months going? I feel like time is absolutely racing. But I say the same thing at the end of every month haha. So without further ado, here are some blog posts I’ve loved recently!


Reviews

Kristin reviewed The Oyster Thief and featured a guest post from the book’s author! This book wasn’t really on my radar but after reading Kristin’s review, it’s definitely something I’m interested in.

Ali reviewed I Am Legend, which I read and enjoyed last October. I really liked the format of this review!

Danielle reviewed The Demonologist, a book that I don’t see around very much! I’ve been interested in the careers of Ed and Lorraine Warren for a long time, since before I even watched The Conjuring, and I’d love to try this book at some point.

Lily wrote a wonderful review of The Book Thief by Markus Zusak. This is one of my all-time favourite books and it’s always nice to find someone else who loves it as much as I do.

Jo gave a glowing review to The Other Side of Lost, which I’m really happy about because I have this one to review next month!

Ngoza reviewed my favourite book of the month (if not the year), Muse of Nightmares! I just love how much this lived up to everyone’s expectations.

Cait absolutely killed it with her posts this month but I particularly enjoyed her mini reviews. It also made me feel so much better for wanting to reread books!

Kelly reviewed Dracula and convinced me that I absolutely have to get round to reading this Gothic classic!

Zezee wrote an insightful review of The Invisible Man by H. G. Wells and made me consider some things that I hadn’t thought of when I read it.

Marta reviewed The Land of Stone Flowers which I hadn’t heard of before but which sounds awesome!

Beth reviewed Frankenstein, which I have to admit I’m a little obsessed with right now! Beth’s blog was one of my favourite discoveries in the blogging community this month.

Nicole wrote a helpful review of The Ice Twins. This book has been on my shelf for years and I’ve been considering donating it to charity as I’m not sure I’ll ever get round to it; this review might have convinced me!

 

Discussions

Ashleigh talked about how things have changed for her over the last year, and how she noticed these changes by watching her old booktube videos. I did some similar self-reflection recently looking back at old photographs so I really connected with what Ashleigh said.

Callum wrote a great book to film comparison about Frankenstein. Callum and I both love Gothic fiction so I found this post really interesting.

Marie co-hosted the Shattering Stigmas event, which was absolutely amazing and raised some really great discussions. I loved every single post and think all of the contributors were so brave for sharing their stories.

Drew wrote a fantastic post in response to the negativity towards book bloggers that happened over on Twitter recently. This one is definitely worth a read.

The Orangutan Librarian returned from travelling (yay!) and raised a great discussion post about the need for darkness in books.

 

Other fun posts

My bestie Mia wrote some tips on how to ‘cosify’ your bookstagram feed! Mia’s pictures are always gorgeous and these tips are really accessible.

Jenna created her own book tag, based on a love of words! I’m looking forward to doing this one.

Clara listed some great tips for coping with a bad day – I think we could all do with keeping these to hand!

Samantha wrote a list of tips for enjoying books on a budget. This is super relevant for me right now as I’ve just started studying again, so as well as my mortgage I’ve now got a diploma to pay for! I’ll definitely have to take some of this advice on board.

Ayunda recommended 10 books to try this Autumn! I love a good list of recommendations and this one was great.

Swetlana wrote an interesting post about annotating books. This is something I’ve always been curious about.

Melanie wrote some great recommendation posts this month; I particularly loved this list of her favourite ghostie books!

 

So those are some posts I’ve loved this October! I wish I could feature everyone – just know that I love you all 😉 

‘Sawkill Girls’ spoiler-free review!

Hello friends! Well, it’s my last spooky review of the Halloween season! I’m hugely grateful to Harper360YA for sending me a copy of Sawkill Girls to review – I’d heard such great things about it and was really excited to read it!


What the book is about…

Who are the Sawkill Girls?

Marion: the new girl. Awkward and plain, steady and dependable. Weighed down by tragedy and hungry for love she’s sure she’ll never find.

Zoey: the pariah. Luckless and lonely, hurting but hiding it. Aching with grief and dreaming of vanished girls. Maybe she’s broken—or maybe everyone else is.

Val: the queen bee. Gorgeous and privileged, ruthless and regal. Words like silk and eyes like knives, a heart made of secrets and a mouth full of lies.

Their stories come together on the island of Sawkill Rock, where gleaming horses graze in rolling pastures and cold waves crash against black cliffs. Where kids whisper the legend of an insidious monster at parties and around campfires.

Where girls have been disappearing for decades, stolen away by a ravenous evil no one has dared to fight… until now.


What I thought of it…

This was such a strange little story! But I found it so compelling and couldn’t stop thinking about it whenever I wasn’t reading.

The multiple perspectives were all great – though I didn’t necessarily like all three girls, I needed to know what was going on with them. The author really did a good job of showing the rawness of the girls’ grief and the struggles they were facing. And the character development was truly excellent for all of them.

I also liked the inclusion of a perspective from the island itself; I thought this was such a unique thing to include and it really added something extra to the story.

Sawkill Girls was actually very dark at times. There were some great creepy moments which made this a perfect October read, yet there was also some really gorgeous descriptive writing which I loved.

I also have to mention the rep, which was unbelievably awesome. We had all sorts of rep in here but what I particularly liked was the representation of asexuality which I feel we don’t see very often. Obviously, it is not my experience but I feel that it was sensitively done and I feel like this book will be so helpful to readers dealing with similar feelings.

And the feminism! It was practically dripping off the pages. I loved all the female positivity and the notion of girls helping each other up instead of knocking one another down! (I know, it’s practically unheard of.)

I very nearly gave this a 5-star rating but the pacing went a bit weird in the middle and it also felt very bleak at times. But I’d still recommend this one for a creepy and unusual read!

 

sawkill girls

What spooky books have you been reading this month? Have you ever read any books with a unique perspective? Leave me a comment below! x

The ‘Halloween Creatures’ Tag!

Hey everyone! Well, I genuinely can’t believe that October is nearly over. This has been such a crazy busy month and I feel like that’s hindered my Halloween spirit somewhat. But I decided to make the effort to get this post up before the month was over – I couldn’t let October pass without doing at least one themed tag! 😉

This tag was created by Anthony @ Keep Reading Forward!


Witch: A Magical Character/Book

language of thorns.jpg

This fairytale collection was EVERYTHING ❤

 

Werewolf: The Perfect Book to Read at Night

the night circus

Since all the magic of this book happens at nighttime, there’s no better time to read it! I actually stayed up most of the night to finish this one and I’m sorely in need of a reread.

 

Frankenstein: A Book That Truly Shocked You

thunderhead

It takes a lot for a book to shock me but the ending of this one was brutal! Also, I feel like this prompt should say ‘Frankenstein’s monster’ rather than just ‘Frankenstein’ but I’m not getting into that whole debate right now 😉

 

The Devil: A Dark, Evil Character

wolf

You can’t get much worse than Hitler!

 

Grim Reaper: A Character That Should Never Have Died

harry potter and the deathly hallows

There were so many innocent lives lost in this book. Still not over it.

 

Zombie: A Book That Made You ‘Hungry’ For More

a dance with dragons

Will we ever see The Winds of Winter?!

 

Gargoyle: A Character You Would Protect At All Costs

bone gap

Finn, my precious boy.

 

Vampire: A Book That Sucked the Life Out of You

the castle of otranto.jpg

It took me over a week to read this book that was just over 100 pages! Soul-destroying.

 

Ghost: A Book That Still Haunts You

eleven

Another book that I need to reread soon. It was beautiful and has never left me.

 

Demon: A Book That Really Scared You

the book of the unnamed midwife

I hope we never encounter a future like the one portrayed in this book.

 

Skeleton: A Character You Have a Bone to Pick With

the forgotten guide to happiness

Lana, girl. What were you thinking?!

 

Mummy: A Book You Would Preserve Throughout Time

book thief

Just like Liesel herself, I’d have to save this book from destruction. It’s a classic in the making.

 

Creepy Doll: A Cover Too Scary to Look At

I will draw your attention to Melanie’s post because she picked the best answer for this question! I have an eye phobia so I had to totally skim past her choice and I can’t even include it in my post! *shudders*

 

The Monster Mash: It’s fun to be with friends on Halloween! Tag your friends!

I’m not going to tag anyone individually because I love you all and consider everyone in this community a friend! But feel free to play along with this one, or link me up to your posts if you’ve already done this tag!

i love you rocky horror picture show.gif

 

What do you all think of my answers? Which books have shocked you? Which ones would you preserve throughout time? x