Tuesday 31 July 2018

July Wrap-Up.

So, this month has been a little lacklustre in the reading department. Honestly, I'm disappointed in myself but I'm trying to not pressure myself so much to read as I've heard that can really force people into reading slumps. I managed three reads this month, and it's better than none.

  1. 'The Penelopiad' by Margaret Atwood. This book really started July out with a bang. It was so good and I loved it a lot! It was definitely a great introduction into Canongate's Myth series. I loved this feminist, snarky retelling of 'The Odyssey' told from the POV of Penelope, Odysseus's faithful wife. Great story, symbolism, and it really brought Ancient Greek Myths into modern times. 5/5 Stars.
  2. 'Mrs Rosie & The Priest' by Giovanni Boccaccio. These short stories were a bit of fun, and I really wanted to delve into reading something a bit different. I certainly achieved that with this snapshot of 14th Century Italian literature and I have to say, it's bawdiness took me by surprise! Apart from tale number four in the collection, the female characters were funny and sexually free and very clever. 3.5/5 Stars.
  3. 'Wonder Woman: Warbringer' by Leigh Bardugo. I don't normally read books about Comic Book characters, but this was by Bardugo whom I adore, and I really loved the recent Wonder Woman movie. So I gave it a shot! There were some similarities in plot-line and it was a little putdown-able for me.
This month I read three books for the Beat The Backlist Challenge, making my yearly total so far nineteen.

- The Penelopiad
- Mrs Rosie & The Priest
- Wonder Woman: Warbringer

This month I read zero books for the Finishing The Series Challenge, making my yearly total so far one.

I read zero books for the New Release Challenge, making my yearly total so far eight.

I read one book for the Netgalley & Edelweiss Challenge, making my yearly total so far fifteen.

- The Penelopiad

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

Blue Cover: Wonder Woman - Warbringer; Leigh Bardugo
A Book You've Been Putting Off: Warrior Witch; Danielle L. Jensen
Illustrations: The Good Guys; Rob Kemp & Paul Blow
Yellow Cover: Floored; Various
Freebie: --
Over 5 Years Old: Mrs Rosie & The Priest; Giovanni Buccaccio
Someone Else Picks For You: Out Of The Blue; Sophie Cameron
Red Cover: The Penelopiad; Margaret Atwood

Book Review: Wonder Woman - Warbringer; Leigh Bardugo

Ooh boy, this book took me a long time to get through. I honestly thought I'd never finish it! The weird thing is, I didn't think it was bad! When I was reading it, I enjoyed it immensely! I just wish that I had loved it to the point that it had been a one day read!

SOURCE: Illumicrate
TYPE: Paperback

TITLE: Wonder Woman: Warbringer
AUTHOR: Leigh Bardugo
SERIES: DC Icons (#1)
PUBLISHER: Random House
PAGES: 369
GENRE: Young Adult, Retellings, Science Fiction, Fantasy

Princess Diana longs to prove herself to her legendary warrior sisters. But when the opportunity finally comes, she throws away her chance at glory and breaks Amazon law—risking exile—to save a mortal. Diana will soon learn that she has rescued no ordinary girl, and that with this single brave act, she may have doomed the world.

Alia Keralis just wanted to escape her overprotective brother with a semester at sea. She doesn’t know she is being hunted by people who think her very existence could spark a world war. When a bomb detonates aboard her ship, Alia is rescued by a mysterious girl of extraordinary strength and forced to confront a horrible truth: Alia is a Warbringer—a direct descendant of the infamous Helen of Troy, fated to bring about an age of bloodshed and misery.


Two girls will face an army of enemies—mortal and divine—determined to either destroy or possess the Warbringer. Tested beyond the bounds of their abilities, Diana and Alia must find a way to unleash hidden strengths and forge an unlikely alliance. Because if they have any hope of saving both their worlds, they will have to stand side by side against the tide of war.

What I Liked:

  • I really loved the characters in this book. Diana and Alia are really well-written, and great POVs for this story. I can totally see Diana becoming an awesome Wonder Woman later on, and I loved watching her character develop. Alia was also awesome, complex, and I enjoyed her immensely. My favourite characters were probably Theo and Nim though - so much more than the token 'funny' side characters. They were complex and diverse. Great job Bardugo!
  • I think that Bardugo did a wonderful job at blending Greek mythology with a modern-day setting. I have never read Rick Riordan's series, but I imagine that if it was aimed at a slightly older audience then this would have been the result. I'm really on board with Greek Myth right now, so this book excited me a lot for that reason.
What I Disliked:
  • There were a few similarities to the film and points in the book were a little repetitive, which was a shame. I also found that my least favourite thing about the book was how putdown-able it was. I enjoyed it, but went long periods of time between reading parts of it. I wish it had sucked me in a bit better.
Overall Conclusion:
A good book for definite! As I said, I don't read superhero books often but I definitely liked this one a lot: a great set of characters and fantastic Greek mythology references to keep me going. I just wish I'd been as sucked in by this as I have been by other reads in the past!

Top Ten Tuesday: My picks for 'Popular Books That Lived Up To The Hype'.

So often, books receive a lot of hype prior to and after they are released. I especially see this in YA and there are a fair amount that I read and feel disappointed about because I expected much more from them. But these ten picks were the most satisfying reads ever because they were so good (at least, in my opinion)!

1) 'The Fault In Our Stars' by John Green. I read this so long ago, but loved it. Even when it destroyed my soul. I don't normally like books with unhappy endings but my sister begged me to read this and everyone else was reading it too. I'm really glad I listened.

2) 'Cinder' by Marissa Meyer. This series looked awesome as soon as I stumbled upon it, and I saw it absolutely everywhere. As soon as I read 'Cinder', I knew I'd made the right choice. I loved all of Meyer's 'The Lunar Chronicles', my favourite being 'Cress'.

3) 'The Rosie Project' by Graeme Simsion. I saw this book on Amazon every day, and finally decided to get it when I really wanted something light and funny to read while on holiday. This is still my favourite beach read of all time to this day!

4) 'The Girl With All The Gifts' by M.R. Carey. Zombie stories have a tendency to be very similar, but I'd always wanted to come across one that really impressed me. This was it. I loved this book, and saw it absolutely everywhere beforehand.

5) 'A Monster Calls' by Patrick Ness. All of Ness's books receive a humongous amount of hype, and that's partly down to his imaginative spin on the concept of genre. But this book just hit the right spot for me, and I adored it.

6) 'Radio Silence' by Alice Oseman. I had seen Oseman's name absolutely everywhere but took a long time to get to her books. 'Solitaire' was top of my list though - I'd heard such great things about it's characters and teenage voice and I wasn't disappointed. Teenage me adored this and related so hard.

7) 'A Darker Shade Of Magic' by V.E. Schwab. This is a hugely popular fantasy series with a reputation for a fun, intriguing concept and loveable characters. I adored the simple but effective idea of parallel Londons with different relationships with magic. Definitely hype-worthy!

8) 'The Final Empire' by Brandon Sanderson.

Ask any epic fantasy readers about a decent series and most likely you'll be recommended a book by Brandon Sanderson. This is the first Brandon Sanderson book I have read and I have to say, I loved it! It gives great 'League Of Extraordinary Gentlemen' vibes mixed with interesting elements from the fantasy genre.

9) 'Six Of Crows' by Leigh Bardugo.

I am still not over this book. I'd previously read Bardugo's other hyped series, 'The Grishaverse' trilogy and found it mostly hype-worthy with a few lacklustre elements. This one blew me away though, and I'm in love with the characters. I can't wait to read 'Crooked Kingdom'.

10) 'Children Of Blood & Bone' by Tomi Adeyemi. This book has taken off in a way that reminds me of the Harry Potter phenomenon and I am so here for it. I got to read an ARC of it. I hyperventilated when it arrived. It was completely worth all of the emotions and while it ended on a very cruel cliffhanger, I'll let it off because it was amazing.

Monday 30 July 2018

Last Week's Shenanigans (23rd July - 29th July)...

Well, as I said yesterday, this week has felt a bit heavy. I volunteered for LFCC/YALC and it was certainly an experience that I'll never forget. Other than that, I've been working a lot which has been exhausting, and spending time with my kittens which has been delightful!

I Read...


I Received...


I Posted...

A note on volunteering and mindfulness.

Sunday 29 July 2018

A note on volunteering and mindfulness.

Gosh. What a week. I mean most of it was spent at work with not a lot of happening until the end, when everything happened and knocked me for six a little bit.

Because for the first time in a while, on Sunday 29th July, I volunteered! And it was for YALC/LFCC which is something I'm super passionate about. So I was understandably very excited but also super anxious because I hate going into things not knowing what to expect. I could have volunteered to be a part of the full-day Crew but wanted to be a Helper as I could only do one day and wanted some time to actually explore the convention too. It meant I wasn't paid and I gave up my free time to help them out for next to no reward other than entry into the show itself afterwards.

I did not appreciate being immediately shouted at for being late because the bike race going on prevented anyone from being able to cross a road for ten minutes by a member of an external security company who knew nothing about the volunteers anyway. I did not expect to be told that I was 'too late', not trusted that I actually was a volunteer and made to feel that my hour journey there had been for nothing. I did not enjoy the chaos, the feeling that no one knew what they were doing, the eye-rolling because I was 'only a helper' and not doing a full day.

It fed my anxiety and it made me angry.

Now the rest of the day, after talking myself out of turning round and going home, was okay. I met some nice people, most of all those attending YALC whose tickets I scanned and I saw some cool costumes, stalls and sights before going home after my shift finished. But was it worth it?

On the one hand - no. I am still reeling from the first part of it, and felt that I gained no real valuable insight or skills from the rest of my shift. I didn't even get to enjoy a huge amount of the show because I was exhausted afterwards. Though I was asked to, I won't be doing it again. But I'm still classing it as a victory, because despite dealing with very severe feelings of anxiety, procrastination, and feeling drained emotionally, I still did it

And that still puts a smile on my face.

Monday 23 July 2018

Last Week's Shenanigans (16th July - 22nd July)...

Wow, this week has felt so busy! It's mostly because Mat and I have been working our socks off to help our kittens settle into the flat and they are getting along (with each other and us) like a house on fire! (Side note: why is that a phrase?). We feel like proud parents right now! My parents met them for the first time on Friday and adored them. It's a bit of a relief to finally have the surprise out in the open to be honest!

On Saturday Mat and I went to a barbecue for a friend's birthday and had a wonderful time. I feel like I really haven't had much time to myself recently and I think it will be like that for a few weeks but I'm happy and excited all the same!

I Read...

I Received...

- 'If Cats Disappeared From The World' by Genki Kawamura: Netgalley (21/07/18)

Thursday 19 July 2018

Book Review: Mrs Rosie & The Priest; Giovanni Boccaccio.

While I was still in a big reading mood, I decided to make the most of it and grab the first of my new set of eighty little black classics. I love these gems because they give me a new reading experience every time.

TYPE: Paperback

TITLE: Mrs Rosie & The Priest
AUTHOR: Giovanni Boccaccio
SERIES: Little Black Classics (#1)
GENRE: Classics, Adult, Short Stories

Four hilarious and provocative stories from Boccaccio's Decameron, featuring cuckolded husbands, cross-dressing wives and very bad priests. 

What I Liked:
  • The first three tales in this collection were very different to what I expected from an excerpt from 14th Century Italian literature. They were not only fun, but also very bawdy and full of clever word-play and innuendo. I really enjoyed this aspect of them, especially as the characters were so full of life and personality. The women were intelligent as well as beautiful, every story had a lesson/moral and I have to say I enjoyed this saucy collection a lot.
What I Disliked:
  • The final story made my inner feminist scream. And it also felt like it didn't really fit into the collection with the other three. Here, the sadistic, cruel husband tests his patient (aka meek) wife by publicly stripping her, verbally abusing her, pretending he has killed their children and sending her away and saying he'll marry someone else and then ends by giving her a pat on the back for putting up with it all. Ugh.
Overall Conclusion:
I started off quite well with this. Nothing here blew me away but I was pleasantly surprised to find that I enjoyed this set. The last story was a bit of a buzzkill, but nevertheless this was pretty good and I feel like I've dipped my toes into a new reading pool and found it pretty agreeable.

Monday 16 July 2018

Last Week's Shenanigans (9th July - 15th July)...

So I finished off my mini vacation with Mat at his family's, and we really loved our last couple of days. We spent our time there with the dog they were sitting, and I got a lot of work done on my end. My favourite part of the week happened when we returned home. Because Mat had a little surprise for me...

Meet Thor and Loki!

I met them on Tuesday and we picked them up on Sunday! I'm so, so happy to finally have a couple of gorgeous kittens. I've wanted them for so long and I'm happy to announce that so far they've not been setting off my allergies!

They are just over 8 weeks old and settling in nicely, and we both adore them. I can't wait to watch them grow up!

I Read...

I Received...

- 'Into The Jungle' by Katherine Rundell: Netgalley (09/07/18)


Top Ten Tuesday: Best Books I've Read In 2018 So Far

I Posted...

Floored Blog Tour!

Saturday 14 July 2018

Book Review: The Penelopiad; Margaret Atwood.

I've been waiting for a read like this to break the reading slump and get me all excited about reading again! I'm so relieved!

SOURCE: Netgalley
TYPE: E-Read

TITLE: The Penelopiad
AUTHOR: Margaret Atwood
SERIES: Canongate Myth Series (#2)
PUBLISHER: Canongate
PAGES: 224
GENRE: Adult, Retelling, Fantasy, Historical Fiction

RATING: 5/5 Stars

In Homer’s account in The Odyssey, Penelope—wife of Odysseus and cousin of the beautiful Helen of Troy—is portrayed as the quintessential faithful wife, her story a salutary lesson through the ages. Left alone for twenty years when Odysseus goes off to fight in the Trojan War after the abduction of Helen, Penelope manages, in the face of scandalous rumors, to maintain the kingdom of Ithaca, bring up her wayward son, and keep over a hundred suitors at bay, simultaneously. When Odysseus finally comes home after enduring hardships, overcoming monsters, and sleeping with goddesses, he kills her suitors and—curiously—twelve of her maids.

In a splendid contemporary twist to the ancient story, Margaret Atwood has chosen to give the telling of it to Penelope and to her twelve hanged maids, asking: “What led to the hanging of the maids, and what was Penelope really up to?” In Atwood’s dazzling, playful retelling, the story becomes as wise and compassionate as it is haunting, and as wildly entertaining as it is disturbing. With wit and verve, drawing on the story-telling and poetic talent for which she herself is renowned, she gives Penelope new life and reality—and sets out to provide an answer to an ancient mystery.

What I Liked:
  • Atwood's writing is intelligent and witty, and that's what I loved most about this book. Penelope is not the most loveable MC, but she doesn't need to be. She's an incredible storyteller, and I found that I didn't care for Odysseus's adventures. Her account of life as a lady was far more interesting. I liked the unusual choral additions from the twelve maids, laced with a sharp bitterness. It really referenced greek culture and entertainment, but brought it into the modern age.
  • This book really resounded with current events, especially the #MeToo campaign and the feminist movement. Social injustice and sexism are really big themes right now and it felt like the perfect time to read about them with the backdrop of an ancient story. Scarily, it doesn't feel like we have moved forward from these times a whole lot.
What I Disliked:
  • Nothing about this book really stood out to me as a dislike. I was hooked from beginning to end. The only thing, I guess, was that the characters felt a little one-dimensional at times. Particularly Helen, whom I would have loved to see some more depth from (especially as history remembers her for beauty alone, and no personality). That being said, this wasn't Helen's story and characterisation was not the point to this.
Overall Conclusion:
I'm so glad that I adored this for a couple of reasons: (a) I love Greek mythology and retellings, (b) I liked the last book by Atwood that I read but I really wanted to find some work of hers that I love and this fit the bill nicely, and (c) I needed to find a book to be hooked on again. I really enjoyed this read and it was perfect for the Summer too with the Greek setting!

Wednesday 11 July 2018

Floored Blog Tour!


That's the line I've drawn inspiration from for this post, and it's also the name of the character that the chapter this line is from focusses on. I really liked the opening section of Velvet's first chapter because it's really about her unusual name, and the kind of reactions she gets as a result.

My name also produces a lot of reactions.

- "Oh? Katrina? That's an unusual name."

- "You don't look like a Katrina."

- "Where are you from? Oh...Britain? But Katrina is an Indian/ Irish/ Greek/ Scottish/ Polish/ Martian name. Are you sure you don't have family there?

- "Katrina? Spelt with a K?" *disapproving glare, proceeds to ramble on about the number of people killed and injured in various parts of the world during Hurricane Katrina, somehow insinuates that it's all my fault.*

- And...my least favourite? "Katrina? Oh like--" *proceeds to sing, dance to or hum the tune of Walking On Sunshine by Katrina & The Waves*


But it got me thinking a lot about what I could do with this post, as I've already reviewed the book here. And in an effort to give a spoiler free way of getting to know the characters a bit better (and get Walking On Sunshine out of my head) I decided to pick seven songs that I think represent the characters in the book or a situation they face, and the book as a whole, without telling you guys which characters they represent.

So here they are!

1) 'My Father's House' by Bruce Springsteen.

2) 'Hero' by Mariah Carey.

3) 'Puppy Love' by Donny Osmond.

4) 'Ka-Ching' by Shania Twain.

5) 'Walk Of Shame' by P!nk.

6) 'The Blower's Daughter' by Damien Rice.

7) 'Crowded Elevator' by Incubus.

Well guys, I hope you liked my list! If you've read the book, I'd love to hear your ideas on which songs match which characters and why! If not, then I thoroughly recommend it, it's a great book!

Also, I'm part of a week long blog tour with six other blogs. Please feel free to check out their posts too! The schedule below will let you know if you've missed anything and what's to come!

Tuesday 10 July 2018

Top Ten Tuesday: My picks for 'Best Books I've Read In 2018 So Far'.

My favourite kind of lists are that ones that let me reflect upon things I've already read, so this list is perfect! Yay!

1) 'Six Of Crows' by Leigh Bardugo.

I really loved this book, and especially loved the different take on the world I was introduced to in the Grishaverse series. I have so many new OTPs from this novel and loved everything about it!

2) 'Wintersong' by S. Jae-Jones.

Labyrinth was one of my favourite movies growing up, and I've been wanting to read a book with the Goblin King featured for a while. This was a magical, gorgeous retelling. Dark and sexy, I can't wait to read the sequel!

3) 'Goodbye, Perfect' by Sara Barnard.

I loved Sara Barnard's newest contribution into the YA genre, this time touching on the sensitive topic of a teacher-student relationship. I worried that I wouldn't enjoy reading this because of the topic, but there was a lot more to this book than meets the eye.

4) 'Children Of Blood & Bone' by Tomi Adeyemi.

Okay, this is pretty much my favourite read of the year so far. I loved it! It was top of my anticipated reads list, and for good reason! Thank goodness I got to pick it up so early on!

5) 'Out Of The Blue' by Sophie Cameron.

A recent read of mine, I loved Cameron's different take on angels and what would happen if they started falling from the sky. I'm glad there was no paranormal romance in sight here too, instead the story focused on deeper themes. 

6) 'The Cruel Prince' by Holly Black.

Yes, I am so happy to see a great contribution to books on the fae! I knew this would be good because Black has such a great grip on her idea of the world of the fae, it's various courts, and her world-building is exquisite.

7) 'Spectacle' by Megan Rose-Gedris.

The only graphic novel on the list, I was surprised by this one! Ghosts, the circus and a murder mystery make for a great combination. I loved the art as well!

8) 'bone' by Yrsa Daley-Ward.

I also have some poetry on the list! I really don't read poetry much, but I adored this little addition to my 'books I've read' list. I really want to read more poetry, and this book is part of the reason why.

9) 'Fantastic Beasts & Where To Find Them' by J.K. Rowling.

I have never read this book before, despite loving the Harry Potter universe! I'm glad I have now though because it really added a lot to the lore of the universe. I also liked the essay on the classification of beasts.

10) 'Floored' by Various.

This is my most recent read and one that I liked a lot. Written by seven very talented authors, I got to meet seven very different POVs and liked them a lot. Especially Hugo. Even if he was the worst.

Monday 9 July 2018

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

It's been another slightly hectic week, but things began to calm down again at the end and I think I can start settling back into a routine. I have exciting things on the horizon too! At the beginning of the week I pretty much worked non-stop and became very tired as a result, but Mat and I did get to go out to Central London for the afternoon and then visit our friends and meet their new kittens, Rocket and Quill! They are absolutely adorable! 

After work on Thursday we went back to see them again, and stay while the work on our flat was being completed. Then, on Friday evening, Mat and I went to visit his family and spend a few days there. In fact, we're still there! They are currently dog-sitting an adorable little girl called Polly which is a bonus! We also went to visit our potential florist on Saturday morning, so as you can see, we've been busy bees!

I Read...


I Received...

- 'Den Of Shadows' by Christopher Byford: Netgalley (03/07/18)
- 'Colour Me In' by Lydia Ruffles: Netgalley (03/07/18)
- 'The Darkest Legacy' by Alexandra Bracken: Netgalley (03/07/18)
- 'Vox' by Christina Dalcher: Netgalley (04/07/18)
- 'The Colour Of Madness' by Dr Samara Linton & Rianna Walcott: Netgalley (06/07/18)


Top Ten Tuesday: 4th July Special! Red, White & Blue Covers

Tuesday 3 July 2018

Top Ten Tuesday: 4th July Special! My picks for 'Red, White & Blue Covers'.

I am not American, so of course 4th July is not really all that special to me. But I am British, and of course red, white and blue are the colours of the Union Jack! So here are some of my favourite covers in those colours, from books I've read!

1) 'The Snow Child' by Eowyn Ivey.

2) 'Heartless' by Marissa Meyer.

3) 'No Lasting Burial' by Stant Litore.

4) 'Wolf By Wolf' by Ryan Graudin.

5) 'A Monster Calls' by Patrick Ness.

6) 'One Of Us Is Lying' by Karen M. McManus.

7)  'Siege & Storm' by Leigh Bardugo.

8) 'Wintersong' by S. Jae-Jones.

9) 'Good Bones' by Margaret Atwood.

10) 'Child 44' by Tom Rob Smith.