Monday 30 September 2019

September Wrap-Up.

Reading-wise, I'm going through a pretty tough time at the moment. I'm allowing myself to just read what I can and be happy with what I achieve, but I definitely miss being able to plow through the books that I used to! I got through five reads, two of which were unplanned graphic novels!

  1. 'The Poet X' by Elizabeth Acevedo. I absolutely adored this. It was gorgeously written in prose, contained a very diverse cast of characters, and highlighted a number of important issues in an intelligent way. I'll definitely be reading more of Acevedo's stuff! 4.5/5 Stars.
  2. 'Fence [Vol. 2]' by C.S. Pacat & Johanna The Mad. This series is becoming a fast favourite of mine! I really enjoyed the tournament style flow of this book, as well as watching the relationship development. 5/5 Stars.
  3. 'Aphrodite Made Me Do It' by Trista Mateer. I don't read poetry often, but I quite enjoyed this. It read as a conversation between Mateer and Aphrodite, Greek goddess of love. I liked the spin on Aphrodite's story that Mateer came up with! 3.5/5 Stars.
  4. 'Lumberjanes [Vol. 1]' by Noelle Stevenson. As I read and enjoyed 'Nimona' a lot, I really wanted to try out this story of friendship and girl power! The themes and humour were there but I found the plot a bit too fragmented with little context. 3/5 Stars.
  5. 'Reign Of The Fallen' by Sarah Glenn Marsh. I had really high hopes for this high fantasy featuring a bisexual necromancer MC, but alas, the majority of the book was a repetitive cycle of grief and substance addiction with very little addition to the plot. It was a real shame. 2/5 Stars.

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

- The Poet X
- Fence [Vol. 2]
- Lumberjanes [Vol. 1]
- Reign Of The Fallen

This month I read one book for the New Release Challenge, making my yearly total ten.

- Aphrodite Made Me Do It

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

This month I read four books for the Diversity Reading Challenge, making my yearly total twenty five.

- The Poet X
*Mini Challenge: POC: Hispanic/Latinx*
- Fence [Vol. 2]
- Lumberjanes [Vol. 1]
- Reign Of The Fallen

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

Had quite an exciting week which made a nice change. On Monday I went out for dinner with my family, and got to see my gorgeous niece who has already grown so much and is a joy. Mat and I also went to see Marvel Universe Live! on Friday which was a ton of fun!

I Read...

I Received...

- 'The Sisters Grimm' by Menna van Praag: NetGalley (27/09/19)

I Posted...

Top Ten Tuesday: Books On My Autumn TBR

Book Review: Reign Of The Fallen; Sarah Glenn Marsh.

I was so excited for this pretty pink cover, necromantic fantasy, and the bisexual MC that I was promised in this book and went in with such high expectations. Honestly though, this was a bit of a disappointment.

SOURCE: Bought
TYPE: Hardcover

TITLE: Reign Of The Fallen
AUTHOR: Sarah Glenn Marsh
SERIES: Reign Of The Fallen (#1)
PUBLISHER: Razorbill
PAGES: 375
GENRE: LGBTQ+, Fantasy, Young Adult

RATING: 2/5 Stars

Odessa is one of Karthia's master necromancers, catering to the kingdom's ruling Dead. Whenever a noble dies, it's Odessa's job to raise them by retrieving their souls from a dreamy and dangerous shadow world called the Deadlands. But there is a cost to being raised--the Dead must remain shrouded, or risk transforming into zombie-like monsters known as Shades. If even a hint of flesh is exposed, the grotesque transformation will begin.

A dramatic uptick in Shade attacks raises suspicions and fears among Odessa's necromancer community. Soon a crushing loss of one of their own reveals a disturbing conspiracy: someone is intentionally creating Shades by tearing shrouds from the Dead--and training them to attack. Odessa is faced with a terrifying question: What if her necromancer's magic is the weapon that brings Karthia to its knees?

What I Liked:
  • I think the overall concept for the world was really cool. Firstly, LGBTQ+ rep is really important to me and so I appreciated that Marsh was not afraid to include it, especially in a fantasy setting. I loved the necromancy idea too, it's something I haven't really seen a whole lot!
What I Disliked:
  • I really just felt that while the book had a strong beginning, way too much of the middle was a repetitive period of mourning the loss of a character that we barely got to know. It was interesting to focus on grief and addiction, but it wasn't what I was expecting from the story and having that much of it didn't really add anything.
  • Despite adoring the fact that the MC was bisexual, Marsh skirted dangerously close to my least favourite bisexual trope - promiscuity. I just felt that there was a little too much attraction to almost every character in the book and it was unnecessary. I can honestly say that I had no interest in the MC's romantic endeavours, which was a real shame.
  • There were some inconsistencies in the way that the world worked (can someone really live their entire life under a shroud and not expose themselves at all?) and a bit of a lack of exploration. Thanks to the middle being too much of the same, it meant that the final fifth of the book felt super rushed.
Overall Conclusion:
There was so much potential for this book to become my new favourite and I felt a bit disappointed that it didn't. I just felt that there was a lack of plot and so I felt no real connection to the characters or the events of the story. A real shame because the concept and promise of LGBTQ+ rep was super cool!

Friday 27 September 2019

Book Review: Lumberjanes [Vol. 1]; Noelle Stevenson, Grace Ellis & Brooke Allen.

Another graphic novel created by the famed Noelle Stevenson, this time a series! I was quite excited by how much attention this book had received and came away feeling a little disappointed as a result.

SOURCE: Web-Comic
TYPE: E-Read

TITLE: Lumberjanes [Vol. 1]
AUTHOR: Noelle Stevenson
SERIES: Lumberjanes (#1 - #4)
PAGES: 128
GENRE: Graphic Novel, Young Adult, LGBTQ+, Fantasy

RATING: 3/5 Stars

Lumberjanes is the hit series from the BOOM! Box imprint that features five rad ladies who fight monster baddies with the power of friendship! Written by Noelle Stevenson (Nimona, Adventure Time) and newcomer Grace Ellis, and illustrated by Brooke Allen (A Home for Mr. Easter), this new series has taken comics by storm and placed on many Best-of-the-Year lists, including Comics Alliance, Entertainment Weekly, and Comic Book Resources.

At Miss Qiunzella Thiskwin Penniquiqul Thistle Crumpet's Camp for Hardcore Lady Types, things are not what they seem. Three-eyed foxes. Secret caves. Anagrams! Luckily, Jo, April, Mal, Molly, and Ripley are five rad, butt-kicking best pals determined to have an awesome summer together...and they're not gonna let a magical quest or an array of supernatural critters get in their way! The mystery keeps getting bigger, and it all begins here.

What I Liked:
  • This book was certainly a lot of fun. There's a lot of action and antics to follow, and many humorous situations! I like a bit of comedy, and I recognised Stevenson's distinct style from 'Nimona' here.
  • I came into this comic hoping for a lot of inclusion and I certainly got it! And plenty of girl power too! I can really see the diversity in this one and how things could be developed in future issues, and I like that a lot.
What I Disliked:
  • Being completely thrown into the middle of a plot, spending ten minutes researching to see if I'd missed an issue, then going back to it and finding that they later explain in just a few panels what happened earlier. It wasn't fun and I didn't really see why.
  • This is a series of mini adventures with very limited cohesive plot-line to tie it all together. I'd have liked more focus on the overriding arc.
Overall Conclusion:
Hmm...this was a likeable read with plenty of character and potential. It just lacked the punch I'd been hoping for that would draw me into the world. I'm interested to continue and see if things improve, but right now I'm even struggling to remember character names and everything feels bitty. Hopefully it will get better!

Tuesday 24 September 2019

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

Ahhh, Autumn. The time of year for delicious warm beverages, cosy jumpers and blankets, and crunching leaves underfoot. Apart from the chilly weather I'm a huge fan of this time of year, and become really interested in reading spooky, mystery, fantastical and literary fiction. I've picked ten books I'd love to get through over the coming months!

1) 'His Last Bow' by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.

The penultimate volume in the 'Sherlock Holmes' series and the perfect little mystery to read during the Autumn time. I'm a huge fan of the 'Sherlock Holmes' novels as a whole, and I want to keep enjoying them!

2) 'A Dance With Dragons: Dreams & Dust' by George R. R. Martin.

I've watched the entirety of Game Of Thrones and it's beginning to hit me that there won't be any more of it! So now I'm looking to go back to the books and I'm interested to see how different they are!

3) 'The Phantom Of The Opera' by Gaston Leroux.

This is another story that has always captivated my heart (I'm a huge fan of the musical and 2004 film) but that I've never read. It seems like a good autumnal read too - murder, mystery and gothic romance.

4) 'Wakenhyrst' by Michelle Paver.

I'm fond of a good ghost story, and 'Thin Air' by Michelle Paver really captured my attention when I read it. This is another that is set in an old house, and it is giving me real 'The Woman In Black' vibes which I love.

5) 'The Deathless Girls' by Kiran Millwood Hargrave.

This book is an LGBTQ+ retelling of Dracula from the perspective of his brides. Do I really need to say more than that? I need to read it ASAP!

6) 'A Skinful Of Shadows' by Frances Hardinge.

Frances Hardinge entered my radar a while back, but I loved reading 'The Lie Tree' and many people on the blogosphere have recommended this book on the back of that. I can't wait to get into it!

7) 'The Alchemist' by Paulo Coelho.

So many people have recommended this book to me, and I think it actually looks really cool! I like the fairytale format, and I'm interested to see what all the hype is about with this one.

8) 'Tiger Lily' by Jodi Lynn Anderson.

I read one of Jodi Lynn Anderson's books a while back and found it okay, but this one has really stuck on my radar because it's a reimagining of 'Peter Pan' but from Tiger Lily's POV. I'm definitely intrigued!

9) 'Retribution Rails' by Erin Bowman.

I've raved about 'Vengeance Road' enough to know I'm going to enjoy this YA Wild West adventure. I just have to actually read it now, and I'm frustrated that I haven't already.

10) 'Pet Sematary' by Stephen King.

I've always been in love with the idea of King's books as I think he is an excellent writer with a vast imagination. But I really want to totally fall in love with and be terrified by one. I'm hoping that 'Pet Semetary' will be that one.

Monday 23 September 2019

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

I can't believe how quickly September is going, and how fast Halloween is creeping up on us! I'm actually really excited to be entering Autumn - I do't normally like the cold but I do love hot chocolate, thick jumpers and autumnal leaves!

I Read...

I Received...


Thursday 19 September 2019

Book Review: Aphrodite Made Me Do It; Trista Mateer.

I really felt like I wanted to read some poetry, and I loved the idea of this collection because there are references to Greek mythology, in particular Aphrodite.

SOURCE: NetGalley
TYPE: E-Read

TITLE: Aphrodite Made Me Do It
AUTHOR: Trista Mateer
PUBLISHER: Central Avenue Publishing
PAGES: 224
GENRE: Poetry, LGBTQ+, Feminism

RATING: 3.5/5 Stars

Bestselling and award-winning author Trista Mateer takes an imaginative approach to self-care in this new poetry and prose collection, Aphrodite Made Me Do It. 

In this empowering retelling, she uses the mythology of the goddess to weave a common thread through the past and present. By the end of this book, Aphrodite will make you believe in the possibility of your own healing.

What I Liked:
  • The dialogue between poet and Aphrodite was really cool. It's empowering and quotable, and covers a lot of themes - feminism, abuse, love and hate. I liked watching the two figures interact and the reimagining of the way that Aphrodite's story has been interpreted.
What I Disliked:
  • I think the main problem with this collection comes from the fact that I found it a little forgettable. There are some great quotes and yet none of them have really stuck with me. That might change with a re-read or two but I'd have liked to have been a little more blown away.
Overall Conclusion:
This was a really interesting collection and I enjoyed reading it. It opened some really interesting dialogue between Mateer and Aphrodite about the role of women in society throughout the ages, and I definitely appreciated that part of it. I particularly liked Aphrodite's sections. But I wish that I'd loved it enough that I'd been reflecting on it all day afterwards.

Monday 16 September 2019

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

Another uneventful week gave me plenty of time for lots of reading! I've really enjoyed being able to do that again! I also had a great week because I entered a competition to win a proof of 'The Deathless Girls' and I received it at the start of the week! I couldn't believe it!

I Read...

I Received...

- 'The Deathless Girls' by Kiran Millwood Hargrave: NetGalley (09/09/19)
- 'The Beautiful' by RenĂ©e Ahdieh: NetGalley (11/09/19)

Sunday 15 September 2019

Book Review: Fence [Vol. 2]; C.S. Pacat & Johanna The Mad.

I really loved Vol. 1 of this series and couldn't wait to get round to Vol. 2! There is so much goodness in this awesome series, and I was not disappointed by this second instalment!

SOURCE: Web-Comic
TYPE: E-Read

TITLE: Fence [Vol. 2]
AUTHOR: C.S. Pacat & Johanna The Mad
SERIES: Fence (#5 - #8)
PAGES: 106
GENRE: Graphic Novel, Contemporary, LGBTQ+, Young Adult

RATING: 5/5 Stars

Nicholas Cox is determined to prove himself in the world of competitive fencing, and earn his place on the Kings Row fencing team, alongside sullen fencing prodigy, Seiji Katayama, to win the right to go up against his golden-boy half-brother.

Tryouts are well underway at King’s Row for a spot on the prodigious fencing team, and scrappy fencer Nicholas isn’t sure he’s going to make the grade in the face of surly upperclassmen, nearly impossibly odds, and his seemingly unstoppable roommate, the surly, sullen Seiji Katayama. It’ll take more than sheer determination to overcome a challenge this big!

What I Liked:
  • Just like Vol. 1, this was so much fun! I loved reading more of the fencing matches and the developing plot leading up to building a fencing team for the national championship. I'm just totally hooked to be honest!
  • The characters are just amazing. I love the rivalry between Nicholas and Seiji, the friendship between Aiden and Harvard, and of course adorable Bobby! Pacat has created an amazing cast here.
What I Disliked:
  • Uhhh...the fact that it ended? Graphic novels are often short but I really felt it here.
Overall Conclusion:
You've probably already got this but I thoroughly enjoyed this second volume in the series and plan to read the third one very soon. Great plot and characters, and I love the LGBTQ+ developments that I'm seeing come to fruition! I want more!

Wednesday 11 September 2019

Book Review: The Poet X; Elizabeth Acevedo.

It felt so good to be reading a novel again, and especially as this one was on my TBR for some time. I still feel very much like I'm going through a massive blogging/reading slump at the moment. But I'm trying to get out of it!

SOURCE: NetGalley
TYPE: E-Read

TITLE: The Poet X
AUTHOR: Elizabeth Acevedo
PUBLISHER: Electric Monkey
PAGES: 368
GENRE: Young Adult, Poetry, Contemporary

RATING: 4.5/5 Stars

Xiomara has always kept her words to herself. When it comes to standing her ground in her Harlem neighbourhood, she lets her fists and her fierceness do the talking.

But X has secrets – her feelings for a boy in her bio class, and the notebook full of poems that she keeps under her bed. And a slam poetry club that will pull those secrets into the spotlight.

Because in spite of a world that might not want to hear her, Xiomara refuses to stay silent.

What I Liked:
  • Considering that I've never really read anything in prose before, it blew me away just how much I enjoyed this book! I loved the flow of the writing, mixed with the fact that the plot was still easy to follow and focused on spoken word poetry. The prose also made the book very quotable - there were some great snippets in this one!
  • The characters were super interesting. Firstly, twins! I just love twins. Also Xi's fiery personality in contrast with her brother's meek one. They were both so likeable in very different ways, but had a wonderful, complicated relationship. Family is a really big part of this story and I also really liked Xi's mother, even though she was pretty awful at times.
What I Disliked:
  • The ending struck me as a little too happy, considering how the story built towards that moment. I liked it actually, but I think that it was a little rushed in terms of the healing process that the family would have to go through.
Overall Conclusion:
This was a really enjoyable read and made me super happy to be reading again. I loved the prose, loved the story and adored the characters (even the 'villainous' ones). I also really liked the #ownvoices inclusion here. Diversity is really important and this book covered race, family, religion, LGBTQ+ issues, and feminism. It was so good.

Monday 9 September 2019

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

Not an especially busy week this week actually, but one thing that I've really been getting into is playing D&D! Mat and I have had a lot of fun, Mat is an amazing DM and I love creating and playing as a character. Anyone who has never tried it I'd thoroughly recommend it, especially if you enjoy playing tabletop board games or RPG video games.

I Read...


I Received...

- 'The Nightjar' by Deborah Hewitt: NetGalley (03/09/19)
- 'The Black Hawks' by David Wragg: NetGalley (06/08/19)

Monday 2 September 2019

Last Week's Shenanigans (26th August - 1st September)...

Felt a bit creative, so decided to make a new graphic! Yay! I've been feeling a little lethargic while blogging recently, and have found it really hard to motivate myself to do it. I love writing, tracking my reading and joining challenges, but I think I lack any real content to push myself out of my comfort zone and this is something I really want to change.

So onto the main event of the week? Look at my beautiful niece!!!!

I am so proud of my sister for being so brave, and I know that she and her partner will make wonderful parents. I also can't quite get my head around being an Aunt? My relationship to the idea of having children has always been a bit of a rocky one - when I was younger I really loved the thought of having kids, then when I went through a bad patch mentally I felt that having children shouldn't have to be my 'ultimate destination', was not a decision to be taken lightly, and scared me a little bit.

Having just got married and looking to settle down and buy a house now, I feel much more relaxed and ready to start thinking about things like this again. And holding my sister's beautiful baby girl has been an uplifting, wholesome experience! I love her.

Other than catching up with family, meeting the newest arrival, and generally having a lovely bank holiday there hasn't been a whole lot else going on!

I Read...


I Received...

- 'The Mercies' by Kiran Millwood Hargrave: NetGalley (29/08/19)

I Posted...

August Wrap-Up
Planned Reads for September

Sunday 1 September 2019

Planned Reads for September.

I have a brand new list of books that I'm desperate to read this month! I can't believe how close it is to Halloween, and so I'm starting to get a feel for some different genres!

I have started and am a good way through 'Reign Of The Fallen' by Sarah Glenn Marsh and liking it so far. It's full of necromancy, has a bisexual MC, and a gorgeous front cover. I hope to finish it soon!

'The Poet X' by Elizabeth Acevedo looks absolutely amazing, and I'm really excited to give this book a try! I love a PoC MC, and I'm looking forward to some spoken word poetry!

Speaking of poetry, I've been really intrigued by this fairly recent acquisition: 'Aphrodite Made Me Do It' by Trista Mateer. The cover is so stunning, but I love the idea of poetic dialogue between Mateer and Aphrodite, Greek goddess of love.

I'm also in the mood for some epic fantasy if I get time this month, and 'The Poppy War' by R.F. Kuang has definitely caught my eye! Hopefully it lives up to the crazily good reviews and hype!

I want to try and get a bit further through 'A Song Of Ice & Fire', and so the next book I need to read is 'A Dance With Dragons: Dreams & Dust' by George R.R. Martin. It's more epic fantasy which is a good genre for September!

Lastly, I want to read 'His Last Bow' in Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's 'complete Sherlock Holmes' collection. I'm really looking forward to having my socks blown off for this one, the previous instalments in the series were very impressive!