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!

I Read...

I Received...


I Posted...

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.

I Read...

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!

Tuesday, 19 March 2019

Top Ten Tuesday: My picks for 'Books On My Spring TBR List'.

I love seasonal TBRs! They are, without a doubt, my favourite Top Ten Tuesday topics to fill out! Without further ado, here's my picks for Spring 2019.

1) 'Fierce, Fragile Hearts' by Sara Barnard.

Yay, a new book by Sara Barnard! I'm a huge fan of her books and I love the idea of a sequel to 'Beautiful, Broken Things' which was her debut and a book I loved. I can't wait to catch up with Caddy and co!

2) 'Starfish' by Akemi Dawn Bowman.

I love diverse books and I'm looking forward to reading this one! The MC is half-Japanese, and my upcoming wedding has me very excited for my 2020 Honeymoon there so I want to read more books that reference Japanese culture!

3) 'Shadow Of The Fox' by Julie Kagawa.

Speaking of Japan, this book has plenty of references to mythology and culture from the country and I'm super excited to read it! I've never read any of Kagawa's books before so I'm hoping this is a good one to start with.

4) 'Last Bus To Everland' by Sophie Cameron.

I adored reading Cameron's debut 'Out Of The Blue' last year and I can't wait to read her second book 'Last Bus To Everland'! I love retellings, and this LGBT+ of the story of Peter Pan looks especially intriguing!

5) 'And The Mountains Echoed' by Khaled Hosseini.

I received this for my birthday last year, and my sister has always recommended for me to read Khaled Hosseini's books! I can't wait to get stuck in, even though I'm 99% sure it will make me cry.

6) 'Illuminae' by Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff.

'The Long Way To A Small, Angry Planet' by Becky Chambers really has me hankering for some more good YA sci-fi, and I'm hoping to find it here. I've heard really great things about this series!

7) 'The Astonishing Colour Of After' by Emily X.R. Pan.

This book was also a book I'd hoped to get round to a number of times last year, but it never happened. It really feels like a springtime read though so I'm hoping to get to it in the next few months.

8) 'Persephone's Orchard' by Molly Ringle.

The Goddess of Spring certainly deserves to have a retelling of her relationship with Hades read in her season! And whose better than Molly Ringle's, whose 'The Goblins Of Bellwater' I loved.

9) 'The Surface Breaks' by Louise O'Neill.

I love retellings. I love 'The Little Mermaid'. And I love discovering new authors. I get to all three here and I'm super excited! I've heard so many great things about this book too.

10) 'Paper Butterflies' by Lisa Heathfield.

Another new author to discover, I've heard a ton of great things about Lisa Heathfield's work! This book looks like it's going to be heartbreaking and make me super emotional as it covers some pretty hard topics. But I am trying to get better at reading books like this, so fingers crossed I can manage this one!