Monday, 8 April 2019

Last Week's Shenanigans (1st April - 7th April)...

What a fun week! Made even better by the second round of Volunteering I took part in on Thursday, this time for LGBTQ+ Charity Diversity Role Models, who do lots of great work in educating students about the LGBTQ+ community, issues they face, and tackling bullying. I thoroughly enjoyed helping out with their fundraising evening and can't wait to do more like this in the future.

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Planned Reads for April

Monday, 1 April 2019

Last Week's Shenanigans (25th March - 31st March)...

It's been a great final week of March! I especially enjoyed Monday because Mat and I had some friends over to play board games and video games and it was so much fun! We are hoping to do things like this more often, as the wedding planning has taken up so much of our time that we feel we are losing elements of our social lives!

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March Wrap-Up

Planned Reads for April.

The fact that I'm getting married in a couple of months is both super exciting and extremely stressful! We are already at April? What?! March went super quickly though. But I'm super ready for another month of amazing reads.

'Enchantée' by Gita Trelease has been on my radar for a while, and it's probably one of my most anticipated 2019 releases! It's a bit disappointing that I haven't got to it yet but I have high hopes for doing so in the next couple of months!

I also love Sara Barnard's books and was totally pumped to see her release a sequel for 'Beautiful Broken Things', 'Fierce Fragile Hearts'. I can't wait to see Suzanne, Caddy and Rosie again and be back in Brighton! I hope I love it as much as I loved the first.

I have been drooling over 'Reign Of The Fallen's' cover for quite some time. But I recently looked a little more into the synopsis of Sarah Glenn Marsh's necromancer-fantasy novel and I am so hyped to see bi rep in it that I must read it at once.

Speaking of LGBTQ+ rep, Samantha Shannon's stand-alone epic fantasy, 'The Priory Of The Orange Tree', also has plenty to spare! I'm a little nervous about the size of this book but I think that it will be well worth it!

I received 'And The Mountains Echoed' as a present last year and was super excited, because my sister has been recommending Khaled Hosseini's books to me for an age. I can't wait to give this book a go!

Mat and I have watched Marie Kondo's hit Netflix series, and now I want to read the book that started the hype, 'The Life-Changing Magic Of Tidying'. Anything that can help me to become a little bit better at life will be most welcome.

'Illuminae' by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff is a book that I feel like everyone has read but me. There's a whole series now! But I'm excited to read it at some point soon, and I've found a whole new appreciation and love for sci-fi recently.

I'm also really in the mood for a retelling of a fairy tale, and 'Cruel Beauty', which re-imagines Beauty & The Beast with some Greek Mythology thrown in for fun, looks amazing! I can't wait to read this!

Sunday, 31 March 2019

March Wrap-Up.

My wedding is getting closer and closer, and as a result I'm finding less time to read. That's a little sad of course, but I did still manage to get through four books this month!

  1. 'The Mirror & The Maze' by Renée Ahdieh. A very short read that I didn't feel added a whole lot to the series as a whole, but it was nice to see Khalid again and briefly re-immerse myself in this world. It reminded me how much I needed to read the next book! 3/5 Stars.
  2. 'Everless' by Sara Holland. This was a recommendation from a fellow book-lover and friend and I finally got round to reading it! I enjoyed it too, though I felt that the plot had far too much going on throughout most of the book. I liked the finale though and plan to keep going with this one! 3.5/5 Stars.
  3. 'Rubyfruit Jungle' by Rita Mae Brown. This is often hailed as a coming-out classic and so, wanting to read more LGBTQ+ fiction, I gave it a go. I have to say that I was surprised by the super modern ideas and approved of most of them, especially considering when this book was written. The formula was a little repetitive though and there were a couple of bizarre plot elements and damaging stereotypes. 3.5/5 Stars.
  4. 'Crooked Kingdom' by Leigh Bardugo. Yaaaaas! Finally I finished this series and it was everything. I loved being reunited with my favourite crooks and con-artists, and seeing them develop even more! I also really love Bardugo's world-building! 5/5 Stars.

This month I read four books for the Beat The Backlist Challenge, making my yearly total ten.

- Thee Mirror & The Maze
- Everless
- Rubyfruit Jungle
- Crooked Kingdom

This month I read zero books for the New Release Challenge, making my yearly total two.

This month I read one book for the Finishing The Series Challenge, making my yearly total one.

- Crooked Kingdom

This month I read three books for the Diversity Reading Challenge, making my yearly total nine.

- The Mirror & The Maze
- Rubyfruit Jungle *Mini Challenge: (#ownvoices OR gender: women in male-dominated genres/non-fiction)*
- Crooked Kingdom *Mini Challenge: (#ownvoices OR gender: women in male-dominated genres/non-fiction)*

Here is the update for Pretty Deadly Blog's Bookish Bingo card.

Book Review: Crooked Kingdom; Leigh Bardugo.

What a fantastic read to finish the month with! I've been looking forward to this, particularly as it's the final book in the duology. It feels good to get through a series!

TYPE: Paperback

TITLE: Crooked Kingdom
AUTHOR: Leigh Bardugo
SERIES: Six Of Crows (#2)
PUBLISHER: Vintage Digital
PAGES: 536
GENRE: Young Adult, Fantasy, Adventure

RATING: 5/5 Stars

Kaz Brekker and his crew of deadly outcasts have just pulled off a heist so daring even they didn't think they'd survive. But instead of divvying up a fat reward, they're right back to fighting for their lives.

Double-crossed and badly weakened, the crew is low on resources, allies, and hope. As powerful forces from around the world descend on Ketterdam to root out the secrets of the dangerous drug known as jurda parem, old rivals and new enemies emerge to challenge Kaz's cunning and test the team's fragile loyalties.

A war will be waged on the city's dark and twisting streets - a battle for revenge and redemption that will decide the fate of the Grisha world.

What I Liked:
  • I had missed these characters so much, especially Kaz and Inej! It was so good to read them again, and I really felt that Bardugo put a lot of work into making them the gang that we know and love while finding new facets to their personalities and uncovering more backstory for each! She certainly gave Jesper and Wylan a little more attention, which was nice to read.
  • The OTPs in this book are my absolute favourite and I had mostly been looking forward to seeing more of Kaz and Inej (and they did have some super great moments). But I was pleasantly surprised by how much more I fell for Wylan and Jesper!
  • I also found a whole new appreciation for the world-building in this series. 'The Grisha Trilogy' was very much focused on Ravka, while this book was based entirely in Ketterdam but revealed so much more about the rest of the countries and the politics between them.
What I Disliked:
  • I only felt disappointed in one thing within this book, and that was how little we got to see of Dunyasha! She was so spectacular, and no sooner had she been introduced, then she was gone again! I'd have really liked to see more of her.
Overall Conclusion:
I loved the finale to this little series, much more so than 'The Grisha Trilogy'. I think this was mainly because the characters are so spot on here! Thank you Bardugo for including so much representation in this book too - PoC characters, LGBTQ+ rep, educationally and physically disabled MCs, I loved them all! Every character was SO loveable and had flaws too and that made them complex and wonderful to read. Also, Kaz scheming is my FAVOURITE thing.

Monday, 25 March 2019

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

It's been a pretty busy week for me, namely because outside of working I did two very exciting and amazing things! Firstly, I'm working on a super exciting project with a talented artist and friend of mine and we are collaborating to create a WEB-COMIC! I'm super pumped for this and I've been wanting to do something like this for some time. I won't reveal too much - other than we have great plans for plenty of representation of all kinds!

Also, I am currently undertaking a career experience in which I liaise with charities and non-profits, and organise groups of volunteers to help out at various events around London. Sunday 24th was my first ever one, for the charity We Are Beams, and we had a great time! I'm extremely proud of myself and those that attended with me and can't wait to do more to aid non-profits and make the world a better place.

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I Received...

- 'The Life-Changing Magic Of Tidying' by Marie Kondo: Gift (19/03/19)
- 'They/Them/Their' by Eris Young: NetGalley (20/03/19)
- 'Trans Power' by Juno Roche: NetGalley (20/03/19)

I Posted...

Top Ten Tuesday: Books On My Spring TBR List

Friday, 22 March 2019

Book Review: Rubyfruit Jungle; Rita Mae Brown.

Another chosen read for the Podcast, and this one was certainly very different to my usual read. I don't read too many modern classics, especially set in the seventies, and I can't recall any recently that were LGBTQ+ fiction. 

SOURCE: Bought
TYPE: E-Read

TITLE: Rubyfruit Jungle
AUTHOR: Rita Mae Brown
PUBLISHER: Vintage Digital
PAGES: 242
GENRE: Classics, LGBT+, Adult Fiction

RATING: 3.5/5 Stars

Molly Bolt is a young lady with a big character. Beautiful, funny and bright, Molly figures out at a young age that she will have to be tough to stay true to herself in 1950s America. 

In her dealings with boyfriends and girlfriends, in the rocky relationship with her mother and in her determination to pursue her career, she will fight for her right to happiness. Charming, proud and inspiring, Molly is the girl who refuses to be put in a box.

What I Liked:
  • I really liked the MC, Molly. Lesbian MCs are hard to come by, but even more so, I really enjoyed her sense of humour (even if it was a little dated) and her stubborn, spunky attitude. She wasn't afraid to stand up for her dreams or her sexuality, and I really admired that about her!
  • I also liked some of the emotional parts of this book. Honestly, the scene towards the end between Molly and Carrie was pretty heartstring-tugging and I really liked the way that it was written. The book felt pretty ahead of it's time in the way that it portrayed Molly's coming out story and her feminist ideologies.
What I Disliked:
  • I guess I felt that it was a bit weird that every girl that Molly met was also a lesbian. Not just a lesbian, but a lesbian stereotype. And some of them were a little damaging, while others - such as the homophobic mother with strange role-play fetishes and a desire to sleep with her daughter - were just perplexing! This is where things still felt a bit dated in this book, and some of the dub-con sexual situations had me feeling pretty uncomfortable.
Overall Conclusion:
The 1970s wasn't all that long ago, and even so this book was oddly modern in some of it's ideas, and truly dated in others. I found that Brown flitted between creating some truly refreshing complex characters, and falling heavily into cringeworthy stereotypes. I found that the plot lacked a little bit too with no real ending (the book just sort of...stopped). It had a lot of personality though, and I was pleasantly surprised by how much this read appealed to me considering that I don't read a lot like it!