Monday, 9 October 2017

Last Week's Shenanigans (2nd October - 8th October)...

What a week! I made the most of my days off and went to see friends on Tuesday. We had dinner, watched The Big Bang Theory and had a lot of fun! My next day off was Friday and we went to see Kingsman: The Golden Circle which was a really cool film. I almost liked it as much as the first one, which was good because I was worried that it would be bad. There were a few issues but I liked it a lot. 

The best day of the week was Sunday! We went to our chosen wedding venue to an open day and saw some great suppliers that we're considering for the wedding. We have a lot of time ahead of us before the big day but we're really enjoying the planning process and it was nice to spend the day with friends and family!

I Read...


I Received...

- 'Devil's Day' by Andrew Michael Hurley: Approved by Netgalley (06/10/17)
- 'Everless' by Sara Holland: Approved by Netgalley (06/10/17)

Monday, 2 October 2017

Last Week's Shenanigans (25th September - 1st October)...

I'll be honest, I haven't really done much this week. I've been trying to get loads more reading done, as well as getting back into Pokemon Sun in a big way. I'd really missed gaming for fun, so it was good to do so! There's not much else to say, but I'm excited that October is finally here because while I don't like the cold, I love this month!

I Read...

I Received...

- 'Replica' by Lauren Olivier: Bought on Amazon (25/09/17)

I Posted...

September Wrap-Up
Planned Reads For October

Sunday, 1 October 2017

Planned Reads For October.

I'm not really a fan of the cold weather, but there is something about October that really excites me. It's Halloween month of course, and that always informs my reading! I want to read spooky books with a paranormal twist, and I've got some great options lined up, as well as a few other choices in between!

'The Hate U Give' by Angie Thomas. This is of course a leftover read from last month that I didn't quite finish in time, but the black cover really fits in anyway! This book covers some very serious issues: namely racism and the #blacklivesmatter movement and I'm all about the #ownvoices representation this book has. It's been on the NYT bestsellers list for so long and I have a really good feeling about it.

'The Elite' by Kiera Cass. Wow, pretty dresses on a cover. Remember when that was a thing? It's really about time I got through some of these old series and I'll admit, I'm using this book to fill a challenge category. That being said it feels like an Autumn read and I did like the first book a lot. Fingers crossed this isn't just 'filler' material.

'Lies We Tell Ourselves' by Robin Talley. So I read Talley's 'As I Descended' in October last year, a retelling of Macbeth which fit perfectly into the month's supernatural theme. There's no paranormal activity to be found in this read but that cover mixed with the American History lesson will no doubt make it a compelling read all the same. Race is a big issue here, but I'm even more excited to see that it's LGBT fiction! Very intriguing!

'The Goblins Of Bellwater' by Molly Ringle. Oh yes. Now we're getting to the spooky stuff. This book is based on Christina Rossetti's poem 'Goblin Market' which I always found very creepy when reading it for school, and the synopsis here sounds really cool! I wanted a little bit of Fantasy before I delve into ghosts and I'm going to get it here I think!

'Glimpse' by Kendra Leighton. This book has been on my list for a ridiculously long time, and it's another one based on a famous poem I read at school: 'The Highwayman' by Alfred Noyes. I really liked studying that one so I'm hoping that this will be a good read to get into on a chilly Autumn evening!

'The Woman In Black & Other Ghost Stories' by Susan Hill. 'Spine-chilling' has been used to describe this book, and that's exactly what I'm hoping for when reading it! Obviously I've already read 'The Woman In Black' and I'll most likely skip that one. But as it's one of my favourite ghost stories, I'm excited to get into the 'others' in this collection!

'The Girl In The Tower' by Katherine Arden. I loved reading 'The Bear & The Nightingale' earlier this year, it was a gorgeous re-imagining of Slavic folklore and I imagine it's successor will be no different. There were definitely indicators towards a bigger plot-line in the last book that I want to read about!

'The Hawley Book Of The Dead' by Chrysler Szarlan. Another book that has been on the list for way too long, who doesn't like to read about witches during Halloween month? The cover is really pretty and I'm definitely intrigued by the synopsis. I'm really hoping to plow through these as I'm in for a good reading month if I do!

Saturday, 30 September 2017

September Wrap-Up.

I'm so pleased because I had a much better month this month! Hooray! While not all of them were on my original list, I actually managed seven reads in September, which is amazing!

  1. 'Our Numbered Days' by Neil Hilborn. A short book of poetry by my favourite modern poet, I bought this a while ago for my fiancé and decided to read them myself! With a heavy focus on mental health, some of these poems were very relatable while others a little nonsensical. Nevertheless, an enjoyable collection with some real gems. 3.5/5 Stars.
  2. 'The Geek Feminist Revolution' by Kameron Hurley. Don't get me wrong, I didn't hate this read. The raw, anger-fuelled passion was very inspiring without a doubt. But there was a lot of self-promotion, repetition and I didn't feel that the essays had been structured very well. More like a memoir in the wrong order at times. 3/5 Stars.
  3. 'The Little Red Wolf' by Amélie Fléchais. What a cute little re-imagining of a classic fairy tale! I loved that the wolves were the 'good guys' in this one and Fléchais put a great little spin on the original. Beautiful illustrations too! 4.5/5 Stars.
  4. 'O Frabjous Day!' by Lewis Carroll. I'm really obsessing over owning these little black classics now, after reading this one! I liked some poems more than others, especially those that I recognised so distinctly from Carroll's classic 'Alice In Wonderland' the rhythm and clever wordplay is so much fun! 3.5/5 Stars.
  5. 'The Return Of Sherlock Holmes' by Arthur Conan Doyle. I really went along the classics route this month, and felt that September is the perfect time of year for a little bit of Sherlock Holmes! Doyle really does write short stories extremely well, and these mysteries were no exception. I liked that not all of them were murders - a lot of variety meant I didn't feel that I was reading the same story repeatedly. 5/5 Stars.
  6. 'The Girl From Everywhere' by Heidi Heilig. To begin with I really didn't think I was going to enjoy this, thanks to a lack of 'building into it'. However, as the story progressed and came with well-researched settings, mystery and plot, and developed characters I really began to like this book. 4/5 Stars.
  7. 'I Am Malala' by Patricia McCormick & Malala Yousafzai. What an emotional read! This book made me cry with it's heartfelt passion and message. Malala is truly an inspirational figure in recent history and I really felt that I learned so much after reading this! My favourite read this month, that's for sure! 5/5 Stars.

Now it's time to see how I did with my challenges this month!

This month I have read two books for the Netgalley & Edelweiss Challenge, bringing my yearly total so far to twenty one. My read was:

- The Little Red Wolf
- I Am Malala

This month I have read zero books for the 2017 New Releases Challenge, bringing my yearly total so far to nine.

This month I have read zero books for the LGBTQIA Challenge, bringing my yearly total to nine

This month I have read four books for the Diverse Reads Challenge, bringing my yearly total to twenty nine. My reads were:

- Our Numbered Days
- The Geek Feminist Revolution
- The Girl From Everywhere
- I Am Malala

And here's my update on this quarter's Bookish Bingo card, courtesy of Pretty Deadly Blog!

Mental Health: Our Numbered Days; Neil Hilborn
Different Culture: I Am Malala; Patricia McCormick & Malala Yousfazai
Illustrations: The Little Red Wolf; Amélie Fléchais
Magic In The Real World: The Girl From Everywhere; Heidi Heilig
Yellow Cover: The Geek Feminist Revolution; Kameron Hurley
Required Reading: The Return Of Sherlock Holmes; Arthur Conan Doyle
Poetry Or Verse: O Frabjous Day!; Lewis Carroll

Book Review: I Am Malala; Patricia McCormick & Malala Yousfazai.

This book has been on my TBR for so long and I knew I'd like it, but it's my favourite read of the month hands down because it was so good. I learnt a lot about war, the Taliban, Pakistan, Islam and of course Malala's story! As she says, education is important and I feel very educated after reading!

SOURCE: Netgalley
TYPE: E-Read

TITLE: I Am Malala
AUTHOR: Patricia McCormick & Malala Yousfazai
PUBLISHER: Orion Children's Books
PAGES: 241
GENRE: Biography, Memoir, Non-Fiction

RATING: 5/5 Stars

Written in collaboration with Patricia McCormick, Malala tells her story - from her childhood in the Swat Valley to the shooting, her recovery and new life in England. 

She's a girl who loves cricket, gossips with her best friends, and, on the day of the shooting, nearly overslept and missed an exam. A girl who saw women suddenly banned from public, schools blown up, the Taliban seize control, and her homeland descend into a state of fear and repression. 

This is the story of her life, and also of her passionate belief in every child's right to education, her determination to make that a reality throughout the world, and her hope to inspire others.

What I Liked:
  • This book made me cry. That's it. It was so passionately written and inspiring, and I loved that Malala kept focusing on her cause: the education of women. It is important that everyone reads this book I think, in order to see those living under the thumb of groups such as the Taliban as real humans rather than 'another news article'.
  • I learnt so much! I never really understood much about the Taliban, how they came to be and what they believed in so I really felt that Malala's perspective gave a much clearer understanding of these things. McCormick did a great job helping to focus this for a younger audience too yet the simplification did not presume a lack of intelligence in any way.
What I Disliked:
  • I honestly felt that there were no dislikes for this book as it had me totally hooked and was well structure. I wish I'd read it sooner and it made me feel sad that Malala and her family have been forced into their position.
Overall Conclusion:
This is a great look at Malala's life which is passionate, inspirational, heartbreaking and at many times witty too! |I liked Malala's voice, it was warm and fun, with a great attitude towards her life and what's important to her. This is definitely one of those books that I feel anyone and everyone should read if possible. 

Thursday, 28 September 2017

Book Review: The Girl From Everywhere; Heidi Heilig.

I generally avoid books about time travel because the constant jumping around confuses me and I get frustrated when authors don't research their time periods properly which I find often happens in this genre. That being said, I thoroughly enjoyed this one and am glad I finally read it!

SOURCE: Bought
TYPE: E-Read

TITLE: The Girl From Everywhere
AUTHOR: Heidi Heilig
SERIES: The Girl From Everywhere (#1)
PUBLISHER: Hot Key Books
PAGES: 469
GENRE: Historical Fiction, Young Adult, Fantasy, Adventure

RATING: 4/5 Stars

Sixteen-year-old Nix Song is a time-traveller. She, her father and their crew of time refugees travel the world aboard The Temptation, a glorious pirate ship stuffed with treasures both typical and mythical. Old maps allow Nix and her father to navigate not just to distant lands, but distant times - although a map will only take you somewhere once. And Nix's father is only interested in one time, and one place: Honolulu 1868. A time before Nix was born, and her mother was alive. Something that puts Nix's existence rather dangerously in question...

Nix has grown used to her father's obsession, but only because she's convinced it can't work. But then a map falls into her father's lap that changes everything. And when Nix refuses to help, her father threatens to maroon Kashmir, her only friend (and perhaps, only love) in a time where Nix will never be able to find him. And if Nix has learned one thing, it's that losing the person you love is a torment that no one can withstand. Nix must work out what she wants, who she is, and where she really belongs before time runs out on her forever.

What I Liked:
  • So let's start with the best bit - the research! It was the bit I was most dreading but I really felt that Heidi knew what she was talking about when it came to Hawaiian history, and indeed, the other lands that she ended up talking about. The mixture of Victorian values and the native traditions of Hawaiian locals was really interesting, and I liked the indication to Hawaii's last monarch too.
  • Strangely, I kind of liked the love triangle in this book. I actually felt that it was applied well and pointed towards a bigger picture - Nix's confusion about what exactly is 'home' and 'stability'. Also rare, I rooted for Kashmir (who was very funny and even more sassy) but I liked Blake too (though I'm a little disappointed he'll still be on the boat for book two, I hope Heilig doesn't drag this thing out for too long).
  • There were some cool characters in this book with interesting pointers to their history. I found Bee and Ayen really intriguing, and also really wanted to learn more about Rotgut. Kashmir I obviously loved and I liked hearing about his backstory. Nix was a great MC and her relationship with her father was complicated but well written later in the book. Madame Joss really intrigued me, I have to say and she was probably my favourite character.
What I Disliked:
  • The beginning of this story really didn't grab me. I felt thrown, headfirst into the 'mission' for the map and Nix's complicated relationship with her Father without the build-up. It made Nix come across as whiny and weak as she seemed totally unable to communicate her feelings in any way, shape or form, and Slate came across as nothing short of awful! Of course, as the book went on, this improved drastically but it almost totally destroyed my perspective on this novel.
  • So I have to say there was a little bit of 'blink and you miss it' in this novel. Especially in some of the plot twists surrounding Madame Joss. We learnt so much about her as the book went on but I found her timeline really confusing. In fact there were a couple of aspects that confused me during the story. But they didn't impact the plot heavily enough that it ruined the reading.
Overall Conclusion:
This is a really interesting book because it had points that I thought would ruin the reading experience for me, but in the end the writing was great and it was so intriguing as a concept! I loved Heilig's ideas for the time travelling (or 'navigation') itself as it felt very different to other things I'd read. Heilig grew up in Hawaii herself, so I loved the #ownvoices vibe! Great story, characters and setting too! I wish that the beginning had been better built into, and I'd also hoped for less confusion in the timelines which is one of the things I don't like about time travel. But I'm definitely up for book two!

Monday, 25 September 2017

Last Week's Shenanigans (18th September - 24th September)...

I had such a fun week, I'm so hyped over how good it was! Rosie was still at mine on Monday and we went to Lady Dinah's Cat Emporium which was just as fun a place as I remember! There are so many gorgeous cats there and they were much more playful than the last time I went, so that was really cool.

On Wednesday, Mat and I went out and about for a day in London! We started off with lunch at Spaghetti House, followed by shopping around Forbidden Planet (yay), Orc's Nest (double yay) and Waterstones (all the yays in the world) which was so nice! Then we went to St. James' park, where I proceeded to be climbed by a hungry squirrel, and had a look at Buckingham Palace for the first time since moving to London! 

Finally, after a few days of working hard, I found myself back at work but on Sunday (my next day off) it was my Dad's birthday and my family came up to visit me for the day! Yay! We had a lovely cup of tea and a chat at my flat, followed by lunch out at a nearby pub. I enjoyed spending time with them, that's for sure, and Mat and I then spent the evening in watching iBoy which is a surprisingly good film if a little awkward at first.

I Read...

Note: I read 'The Return Of Sherlock Holmes' from this collection.

I Received...



Top Ten Tuesday: Books On My Autumn TBR List