Dungeons and Dragons: Endless Quest Books

This week I’m excited to review something that brings some of my favourite things together, books, Dungeons and Dragons and Choose your own adventure. These style of interactive gamebooks rose to popularity in the ’70s and ’80s, such as Lone Wolf, Fighting Fantasy and Find your Fate as well as the most well known, Choose Your Own Adventure books. The idea was that not everyone had the friend or means to be able to play Dungeons and Dragons and other RPG’s like it but still longed for that style of personal, decision-based storytelling that has become so addictive and these books were a great way to capture some of that magic.

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In 1982, the original publishers of Dungeons and Dragons saw these books as an opportunity to bring in new players and so they too released their own series of books, titled Endless Quest, which were more about the story than combat like the Lone Wolf books for example. Now with the rising popularity of Dungeons and Dragons (and other tabletop roleplaying games) thanks, in part, to the success of shows like Critical Role and High Rollers as well as the more open “geek culture” we enjoy today the Endless Quest books have returned! Penned by American writer and game designer, Matt Forbeck, new books were released in September last year as hardbacks aimed mainly at a middle-grade audience, although easily accessible and enjoyable by anyone with an interest in Dungeons and Dragons. The four books feature unique storylines in a multitude of popular D&D settings such as the dangerous, winding Underdark and the murky streets of Waterdeep while each one also focuses on a particular class, these four in particular star a fighter, a cleric, a wizard and a rogue.

Two of our friends gifted us the set as a Christmas present and I’ve loved reading through them multiple times! They feature brilliant art like that you find throughout the source books for D&D and although they seem small each adventure is packed with choices giving the reader multiple outcomes, not all of which are good.

38398948To Catch a Thief – Rogue
When you tried to pick the pocket of a civilar in the night-shrouded streets of Waterdeep, you never thought she’d catch you — and you never dreamed she’d force you into her service. Now you must find the baby griffon stolen by the beholder Xanathar, leader of the city’s powerful Thieves’ Guild. And if you should fail . . . you can count on spending the rest of your life behind bars, rogue. 

To Catch a Thief was the first of the four I read as I play/have played a good few Rogues in my time and it seemed a good place to start. I was pleasantly surprised by the amount of art inside these books and reading about some of the popular characters from the Waterdeep campaign was a lot of fun. In my first read, I made it about three quarters through before I met my untimely demise but made it through the second time fairly easily. The story didn’t feel especially limited to a Rogue to me but enjoyable nether the less.

38398950Big Trouble – Wizard
When evil giants attack your home in Ardeep Forest, your parents think you’re dead and they go hunting for your missing little brother. You wake up and set out after them, helped by a giant wizard who lives in a flying tower. You don’t know where they’ve gone, but you know that if you don’t find them, you’re all in big trouble. Wield your magic wisely against the giants, wizard.

I died pretty early on in Big trouble to my absolute shock. I don’t play a lot of spell caster classes in the game and I often tend to forget just how squishy some of them can be. I found this one to be the hardest by far and died about four or five times, I did manage to survive twice but with unsatisfactory endings and a pretty good one. Despite having now read through Big Trouble at least eight times I’m fairly certain there’s still more to discover and plan to give it a few more tries still! This one felt a lot more suited to the chosen class of Wizard, although I definitely think it would fit an arcane trickster rogue too and as my favourite rogue archetype, this made me pretty happy.

38398947Escape the Underdark – Fighter
You awaken in an underground cell, stripped of your armor and your sword. Your fellow prisoners inform you that you’re trapped in the Underdark, soon to be taken to the great drowcity of Menzoberranzan and sold off as a slave. But word is that demons are stirring in the underworld’s depth. Perhaps you can use that to break free, fighter.

I love all things Underdark and as expected this is one of my favourites, unlike with the first two I read I found I actually got attached to the two characters who accompanied me which I hadn’t expected and after making two choices that led to my death it was third time lucky and got the best ending of any of the four books I’ve experienced. Although this is the Fighter book though I really didn’t think there was much that was hugely fighter specific to it but it was hugely entertaining even still.

38398952Into the Jungle – Cleric
The Harpers have lost one of their own, a legendary adventurer named Artus Cimber, keeper of the artifact known as the Ring of Winter. They’ve hired you to travel to the jungle-clad land of Chult to find him. If only you can manage to find Cimber before the frost giants do — or the zombies that infest the land get you first. You’re in the jungle now, cleric.

I’m not really a fan of dwarves and I’ve never been too sure of clerics but Into the Jungle totally won me over and is my favourite of the bunch. In one of the games of D&D, I play with friends we’ve had our fair share of run-ins with undead creatures and necromancy which I think added another level to this story for me. I only had to go back on one choice to accomplish the task my character had set out to complete but the journey there was heartbreaking and done so very well,. Into the Jungle definitely fit my style of storytelling more and not only had a brilliant and evocative storyline (in my playthrough at least) but also felt the most right and fitting for it’s chosen class.

In conclusion, I found the new series of Endless Quest books to be well worth the read and are a great way to dip your toe into the world of Dungeons and Dragons or to get you by until your next game session. Published by Studio Press Books, all four of these are available now and I’m hoping we’ll get some more classes in the near future. I would especially love to see Ranger, Warlock and Bard ones in particular!

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S4S – Characters I’d love to go on a date with

Good morning (or relevant greeting depending when you’re reading), It’s Six for Sunday time and this week we’re talking “Characters I’d love to go on a date with” and was another one I found difficult because although I tend to fall in love with fictional characters on a semi-regular basis they aren’t characters I imagine going on dates with, especially because I read a lot of YA so the characters themselves are a fair bit younger than myself so in the case they are mentioned below it’s usually because I imagine them to be closer to me in age or myself younger if that makes sense? Either way, I found thinking about this quite fun and realising I probably have a type – well two types.

Jude from The Folk of Air and fire Trilogy by Holly Black
I love the raw strength and cunning Jude portrays in The Cruel Prince and The Wicked King. Although I have a strange thing for Cardan he is absolutely NOT dating material. Jude is probably not looking for someone to get emotionally involved with but I’d like to think we could have a fun time and she could have a break from all the hell raining down around her. We could have a picnic and she could show me how to fight after?

Mitch from Vicious and Vengeful by V.E Schwab
Mitch is an absolute sweetheart who I couldn’t help but fall in love with reading Vicious and Vengeful. I would take him to some fun but slightly gimmicky burger restaurant where we could eat and chat and order us the hugest chocolate milkshakes.

Katherine from The Last Beginning books by Lauren James,
I think I’ve spoken of my love for Katherine before but in case you hadn’t heard I LOVE HER. She’s smart, sassy, funny and confident. I feel like for our date she would probably pick some totally random physical activity that she saw an ad for somewhere online and chose at the spur of the moment like rock climbing, paintball or a giant zip wire! Although I’m pretty sure at some point during our date we would meet the cute but nerdy safety instructor called Matt and that’s when I would realise we just weren’t meant to be.

Scott Lang from Captain Marvel: Liberation Run by Tess Stone.
I’m currently reading this book so things could change later on but as seems to be one of my types I love that he’s smart, funny and quick-witted, not to mention with that criminal past (mostly), he’s a great example of a “bad boy” gone good and I’m so here for that. Chuck in the fact that I imagine him to look like Scott Lang from the Marvel films (Paul Rudd), the amount of great and often quite feminist novels he’s read and enjoyed as well as the beautiful relationship he has with his daughter Cassie and I would be powerless to resist. Not sure what our date would be like but I imagine doing the stereotypical going to a restaurant lark but actually really enjoying it and having a good time.

River Song from The Legends of River Song by Jenny T Colgan, Jacqueline Rayner and Steve Lyons.
This is a great collection of short stories about River who is my favourite character in the Doctor who Universe in which we really get to see her shine on her own a little more. At the risk of repeating myself, I love that she’s smart, funny, sassy and flirty with a big heart she keeps hidden away and it doesn’t hurt that she’s pretty gorgeous (that hair <3). I would probably have heard stories from her about this “Doctor” person and put two and two together from the way she talks about him but that wouldn’t stop us from going on a seemingly normal date and then it ends in complete and utter chaos after we have to solve some (probably intergalactic or alien) mystery, or stealing something. I’m sure we’d probably share one incredible kiss and then I would never see her again but it would have been totally worth it.

Jace from The Shadowhunter books by Cassie Clare.
Jace was one of my first proper “book boyfriends” / literary crushes (as long as you don’t count some confused feelings for Rhys in The Two Princess of Barremare or the morbid fascination I had with Damon Salvatore). Jace is a nice mix of my two types I think in that he’s sarcastic and sassy but a great fighter and just a little bit broken and angsty (…okay a lot) and I fell for him hard when I first read City of Bones, lines like “If you wanted me to take my clothes off you should have just asked” and “Alas, my one true love remains myself” and LOADS more just endeared him to me all the more. Our date would be awkward as hell though, I have no idea how to actually go on dates anymore and when I was younger wasn’t really the dating type, while he probably hasn’t really been on many dates either. I can just hope that some Shadowhunter stuff goes down and it turns out I’m actually a really good fighter, we fall madly in love, I become a Shadow Hunter etc etc etc.

I feel like I may have probably put more thought into that then needed so you’re welcome I guess?? It was fun to realise that I like my partners/love interests to be smart, funny, sassy, sarcastic and probably able to fight pretty well? Not to mention the slightly angsty, morally grey in places traits but thinking back on a lot of my fictional crushes this actually seems to have hit the nail on the head so that was interesting to realise! I hope you enjoyed reading and I can’t wait to hear all about which fictional character YOU would like to date too!

The Ship Tag

I found this tag via Book Princess Reviews a while back and as I’m well known in my circle of friends for shipping basically everyone and everything so I thought this would be a fun one to try out and what better time to do so then for Valentine’s Day?! (Not going to lie this was just a happy coincidence and I’m rolling with it). I tried to label each answer with any spoilers but there are technically spoilers about who gets with who in a lot of books but thats as far as any spoilers go so although this post is not technically spoiler free they are only mild spoilers.

1) If you could date a fictional character who would it be and why? Can I please date Kady AND Ezra please? I love them both so much and I wouldn’t want to separate them?

2) If you were to go on a date with said fictional character where would you go and what would you do?
I feel like there would be sweet waffles or pancakes and hamburgers? I bet Kady has some weird taste in food like she puts syrup in her burger or gherkins on her pancakes and Ezra and me are just like wha and then we try it too because we’re idiots.

3) A favourite “ship”/ couple you’ve read?
I can’t pick just one and you can’t make me.
Katherine and Matthew from The Next Together series because I love them so much and they are couple goals.
Kady and Ezra from Illuminae, I loved their relationship and dynamic together so much and that it didn’t feel too intrusive or over done.
Yelena and Valek from The Poison Study series, I wasn’t too sure about their relationship originally but it really grew on me, I love their balance of give and take as well as the real trust and teamwork they share too.
Also low key shoutout to Kieran, Mark and Christina, I’ve not finished Queen of Air and Darkness yet but my favourite thing about the entire book so far has been the beautiful relationship between these three and I’m glad to see it done well.

4) A “ship”/couple you hated?
(ToG and ACOTAR couple spoilers)
I’m not a huge fan of any of the couples in the A Court of Thorns and Roses or Throne of Glass books. I’m not sure if its the way Sarah J Maas writes but I absolutely hated Roawn with a a passion and then he’s suddenly her Caranam, which I could just about stand but then he turned out to be her mate? Ew. I enjoy some pretty unhealthy relationships in books (see next question) but for some reason I just can’t look past the way Rowan treated Aelin. I’m a little better with Rhysand and Feyre but it just makes me feel eehhh.
Ooo there is one ship I like in ToG, Dorian and Manon (Pre EoS at least as I’ve not finished that yet!)

5) A book that had the classic Hate to Love trope?
(Couple spoilers for The Cruel Prince and The Vampire Diaries)
I feel like I’ve read quite a few of them but honestly most of the time there was never any real hate, occasionally mistrust or just a general dislike, genuine hate is a bit more difficult. I would say Damon and Elena from The Vampire Diaries books? I am also SO here for the hot mess that is Jude and Cardan from The Cruel Prince and The Wicked King. I really enjoy this trope for it’s intensity and the line “Kiss me until I’m sick of it” has become one of my all time favourite quotes.

6) A book that had insta love?
A Pocketful of Crows by Joanne Harris, I love the way the insta love is played out in this little book, from the main character thinking she was too wild and untameable to ever actually love a human boy and then seeing him for the first time and falling head over heels in love with him. It’s described so well as are the consequences later which is nice and refreshing for a book featuring inst

7) A book with a light cutesie relationship?
Maybe Fangirl? That was pretty cute? I don’t read a lot of light cutsie books.

8) A book with a relationship that made you cry?
Lazlo and Sarai from Strange The Dreamer and Muse of Nightmares, they’re so beautifully tragic

9) A book without romance (or with very little)?
Vengeful and I’m so pleased for it, I like a little romance in books but I really don’t think there was room for it in this book and not having any was absolutely the right choice.

10) If you could delete one “ship” from a book who would it be and why?
Simon and Clary from the Shadowhunter books, it was painfully cringey and ironically it felt like she was dating her brother.

11) A new couple you read that you ship?
Matthew and Diana from the All Souls books, I know these aren’t a new couple technically but I only read the first book recently so they’re new to me. I like that although Matthew is partially still a ‘you must do what I tell you’ sterotypical male vampire Diana very much still does her own thing and Matthew learns to trust and value her and her opinion as she does his like a real couple and I’m really enjoying that at the moment.

The Loneliest Girl in the Universe Review

32601841.jpgThe Loneliest Girl in the Universe by Lauren James

Rating: XXXXX

Published September 7th 2017 by Walker Books

“Love takes so much energy, and it just leads to pain. I think it’s probably best for people to be self-sufficient. If I was strong enough to be independent, then I wouldn’t be so desperately lonely. I’m sure of it,”

Can you fall in love with someone you’ve never met, never even spoken to – someone who is light years away?

Romy Silvers is the only surviving crew-member of a spaceship travelling to a new planet, on a mission to establish a second home for humanity amongst the stars. Alone in space, she is the loneliest girl in the universe until she hears about a new ship which has launched from Earth – with a single passenger on board. A boy called J.

Their only communication with each other is via email – and due to the distance between them, their messages take months to transmit across space. And yet Romy finds herself falling in love.

But what does Romy really know about J? And what do the mysterious messages which have started arriving from Earth really mean?

Sometimes, there’s something worse than being alone . . .

I stumbled across this beautiful book at YALC in 2017 on early sale at the Waterstones stand and although to me it looked like it was probably just a contemporary, maybe set in space? (I know contemporaries can be good too, I’m just not usually as interested in them). After I read the blurb I figured it was maybe a cross of Fangirl and the lake house somehow? Either way, I couldn’t say no to that shiny, sparkly cover. That and on behalf of Walker to celebrate the books release I’d just had a sparkly makeover so figured the least I could do was to check out the book they were promoting (and that sweet sweet cover). I had no idea that The Loneliest Girl would end up being one of my absolute favourite books. Two years later and now eagerly awaiting Lauren’s new book “The Quiet at the End of the World” which is out in early March, I decided to revisit the book that started it all for me, “The Loneliest Girl in the Universe.”

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The first time I read The Loneliest Girl I found out far too late that this book is a thriller. It starts off fluffy and light, very much in the vein of Fangirl, despite the darker sides to Romy’s backstory and her situation it feels like boy meets girl but are thousands beyond thousands of miles away from each other, cute emailing ensues etc. When I realised it was a thriller it was far too late to turn back, I was utterly hooked and terrified at the same time. I want to say that it’s different the second time around but to be honest it still pulls you in, lulls you into a false sense of security and makes you complacent so that when it really gets going you still feel like you’ve hit the floor at the bottom of the stairs when you were convinced there was one more step. This book is a wild ride that will not let you go, as the story goes on you recognise that feeling when you know something bad is going to happen but you can’t stop looking anyway and it is WORTH IT.

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Romy is a fantastic character, she’s realistic and relatable despite living her entire life on a spaceship she is wracked with anxiety and real fears and wants that just really hit a note with me and from having spoken to others who have read this she has the same effect on them as well. There are only a small number of characters in this book and I think in a lot of other books I might have found that boring but it works so well with The Loneliest Girl in the Universe, it adds to Romy’s isolation and you feel how important any kind of communication between the small number of characters really is and makes you appreciate them all the more which I imagine is the same case for Romy. This is one of my favourite aspects of the book because it really puts you in Romy’s shoes and heightens so much of the story.

The science is fantastic and fairly easy to wrap your head around instead of the pages of confusing words that don’t actually make sense together or sound ridiculous like you find in some Science Fiction books, strangely especially the adult ones… I now realise after having read Lauren’s other books that this is always a defining feature as well as featuring female scientists in prominent roles which gets a huge thumbs up from me! I actually found out after reading this book for the first time that it was inspired by a physics calculation Lauren was tasked with completing while at university! How cool is that?!

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If for some reason you haven’t checked this book out yet I highly recommend you do so, it’s only a short read and you can even buy a personalised and signed copy from Lauren’s Etsy store (it’s a dangerous place) there are pin badges and different versions of the books of which I now own all of…my personal favourite is the doodle in my US copy of a space cat because I like space. and cats. You get the idea. Don’t forget you can also preorder The Quiet at the end of the World, I just read the prologue and I HAVE CHILLS.

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S4S – Favourite LGBT Characters

This week has gone so unbelievably fast, still, Sunday has arrived and that means another Six for Sunday post. Following the LGBT theme for the month Steph from A Little but a lot has chosen a prompt of “Favourite LGBT characters” this week. As with last week I’ve found this a little difficult because of the lack of LGBT rep in a lot of the things I had (not on purpose as I”m LGBTQ myself), the fact that sometimes I just forget who is canonically LGBTQ because honestly, I assume everyone is bi or pan unless stated somehow, as to be honest as that’s the sexuality I identify with and that to be a characters sexuality doesn’t define a character. I apologise for those of you who read last weeks post as this will feature books from a few of the books I mentioned so these may not be a surprise but I hope you’ll still enjoy! Some small spoilers below, I’ve tried to mention they’re incoming with italics beforehand to help you get through without spoiling anything you don’t want spoiled.

Ballister Blackheart from Nimona by Noelle Stevenson
As mentioned last week, there are a lot of different relationships in Nimona Blackheart has been in one of those that at the beginning of the story is not in a good place, especially when they’re trying to kill or have each other arrested. Blackheart deals with feelings he still clearly has the same way I probably would if I was an eccentric type supervillain – petty revenge and name calling with a side of longing glances He’s a fantastic character and he has some great sides to him.

Magnus Bane from the Shadowhunter books by Cassandra Clare
At the risk of repeating myself from lasts weeks post, Magnus helped me to realise my own sexual identity and that it had a name etc and I think he’s been a great form of rep for those of us out there who needed that. In addition, however, he’s also a great character who has flaws like any other but he ultimately goes out of his way to help those he loves and cares for and protects those who can’t help themselves. He’s also fun and very and open about his sexual orientation and past relationships over his very long life, not to mention he’s super sassy and I’m all for that.

Clove from The Last Beginning by Lauren James
(Spoilers for The Next Together below)
I adored Kat and Matthew in The Next Together and although they are featured this book focuses on one thing better, their daughter. Clove embodies the best (and worst) attributes of her parents. She’s smart and impulsive, quick-witted, curious and confident and does what she needs to do to make sure things are right. She’s a fantastic character and I hope we might get some more cameos from her in Lauren’s future books.

Kit Thornwood from Overlord by Sian Jefferson
Kit is adorable and full of hidden courage and I love him. Even when he’s technically a dark Overlord with a grand tower and an army of minions at his command he somehow he still manages to be an absolute cinnamon roll who just doesn’t feel like he fits in. I genuinely just want to keep him safe forever.

Stormer from Jem and the Holograms
(slight relationship spoilers)
I already went on and on about how much I love the relationship between Stormer and Kimber and this week I want to show my appreciation for Stormer. Despite the girl she likes being in a rival band she (quite rightly) doesn’t let this deter her and even when they aren’t together Stormer keeps the rest of her bandmates in check and tries to get them to act like decent human beings, she’s such a lovely character with a brilliant heart who feels the conflict between bands deeply, not just because of her feelings towards Kimber but because of the way it changes her friends too.

Emily Mather from A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness
I’ve only read the first book in the all souls series but in it, we’re introduced to Dianas’s Aunt Sarah and her partner Emily and Sarah is an enjoyable firecracker of a character but it’s Emily I really love. She’s a brilliant yin to Sarah’s yang and she doesn’t try to change Sarah but loves her for who she is and weathers her moods more than tries to temper them. She also clearly loves and cares for Diana as if she were her own child and when they begin to get a lot of company at the Bishop household she still manages to be warm and welcoming, she’s a brilliant spark of light and one of my favourite side characters in the series so far.

TBR Thursday – February

After what feels like the longest January possible we have finally reached the first Thursday of February and that means it’s time for my monthly TBR (to be read) post! I was hoping to have a Sci-Fi filled February but alas I had forgotten that King of Scars was coming out and that I still hadn’t read some of the other books that are advised to be read beforehand, also my most anticipated contemporary for the year has just arrived ready for me to read in time for the blog tour let alone all of the other stuff happening. I will absolutely be reading a sci-fi book by the end of the month though, you’ll have to read on to find out which one!

A Queen of Air and Darkness by Cassandra Clare
I’ve been trying to get this finished since it came out and I’M STILL reading it. Well listening to it, I have just under seven hours to go. So close yet so far. It’s not that it’s bad it’s just SO long.

Six of Crows and Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo
As mentioned above King of Scars is out now and I’ve read the Grisha Trilogy but I still hadn’t managed to get around to Six of Crows and Crooked Kingdom! I’m rectifying that this month by finally reading these. I’ve even got the auido book for Six of Crows and enjoying listening to that to avoid listening to AQOAAD, not gonna lie.

Summer Bird Blue by Akemi Dawn Bowman
I was lucky enough to recieve an early finished copy of this book from Ink Road books and I can’t wait to get stuck into it, I’m not a big contemporary reader but after reading Akemi’s first book, Starfish, she’s became an insta buy author for me.

King of Scars by Leigh Bardugo
I enjoyed most of the Grisha books I’ve read so far (we don’t talk about soggy bread Mal) and I’m excited to read more in the same universe, I figured it would make the most sense to read this after finishing Six of Crows and Crooked Kingdom. Also the sooner I read it the less likely I am to end up seeing spoilers I hope.

Once and Future by Amy Rose Capetta and Cori McCarthy
A female pansexual King Arthur. YES PLEASE. Those who know me will no doubt be aware of the fact I love kick ass girls with swords (I mean most weapons are fine but swords or daggers BIG yes) and to top it off she’s queer and Merlin is a gay teenager. This honestly sounds like the best thing and I genuinely can’t wait to get into it. It looks like I’m probably not going to get an ARC of Aurora Rising so I’m instead going to use Once and Future to kick start my incoming sci-fi binge.

 

Monsters Review

40060754 Monsters by Sharon Dogar

Rating: XXX

Published February 7th by Anderson Press

“I am Mary Wollstonecraft Godwin Shelley” she says aloud. “I am each of those names and I am myself.”

1814: Mary Godwin, the sixteen-year-old daughter of radical socialist and feminist writers, runs away with a dangerously charming young poet – Percy Bysshe Shelley. From there, the two young lovers travel a Europe in the throes of revolutionary change, through high and low society, tragedy and passion, where they will be drawn into the orbit of the mad and bad Lord Byron.
But Mary and Percy are not alone: they bring Jane, Mary’s young step-sister. And she knows the biggest secrets of them all . . .

Told from Mary and Jane’s perspectives, Monsters is a novel about radical ideas, rule-breaking love, dangerous Romantics, and the creation of the greatest Gothic novel of them all: Frankenstein.

I hate to admit, I’ve never read Frankenstein, I have a nice copy ready and waiting to be read but as someone who tends to read based on my mood quite often I’ve just never found myself with a huge desire to read it, I’ll admit I also tend to steer clear of reading “classics” for whatever reason that I’ve not discovered myself yet. I have found myself curious about its author though, a young girl who essentially created the horror genre and this is why when I heard about a YA retelling of the life of that author I decided to give it a go. This review is as spoiler-free as I can make it but with the life of an important and popular figure like Mary Shelley, there are a few things that are already well known.

First off I would like to say that Monsters is well written and the language flows well, with the age of the characters and the time period I wasn’t sure I would be especially comfortable with the language but I was pleased to find it didn’t hinder me at all and if anything really added to the feel of the piece instead of being too distracting which I have found to be the case with other books written in this time period.

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I found this read difficult because although I don’t in any way disagree with the idea of polyamorous relationships or free love when approached in a proper, consenting adult way but I found the way it was addressed by the main characters to be extremely uncomfortable. This may be because of their age but I think most of it came down to the fact that they all seemed to look at in vastly different ways when to me, the most important part of this kind of relationships is to make sure that everyone is on the same page and it didn’t feel like that was happening here. To me, Shelley just seemed to use his radical beliefs as an excuse to run out on his responsibilities where possible and change lovers because he was bored. I understand not wanting to be tied down by marriage and the idea of loving or being attracted to more than one person, even at the same time but this requires a lot more communication than he ever seems to do other than holding his “beliefs” up as a shield when he gets caught out. Mary came across as jealous and not agreeing to the ideals she seems to have romanticised to the extreme and more interested in the feminist side of the ideals being that a woman isn’t held down by marriage and doesn’t become a belonging of the man she loves but honestly it rather felt like this happened to her anyway. Her stepsister Jane, later Clare, I feel was the true believer and actually at some points had the best understanding of what it means to be polyamorous with the only jealousy she feels being more to do with the fact that everyone gets pushed to the side when Mary is involved than with the ideals. Despite seeming a little unbearable to begin with became a favourite character of mine and one of the viewpoints I enjoyed reading the most.

I hadn’t realised how much of a tragic life Mary Shelley led and although this book only goes so far as the finishing of Mary writing Frankenstein there is an afterword at the end which explains what the fate of each of the characters was to be. There are some truly dark moments in this book that are written so especially well that they can really pull you down to a dark place so please be aware of trigger warnings for infant death and suicide. This is a hard book for me to describe and review, its certainly a poignoint, thought-provoking and moving book that brought me to tears a number of times,  with great pacing with characters who are immensely complex but it wasn’t enjoyable for me in the way a lot of books are, I enjoy books with some angst and darker themes at times but I think this might have been a bit too real for me personally. Its certainly an incredible read that I think definitely merits attention but I think it should be something that maybe isn’t an impulse buy and that needs to be thought through before reading because this isn’t a love story in the way it first sounds, it’s a story of passion yes but also of pain and fear and loss which I think can be a little overpowering for some, certainly for me.

Thank you so very much to Anderson Press for sending me a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

 

#S4S – Favourite LGBT Reads

Happy Six for Sunday! This weeks prompt from the wonderful Steph over at A little but a lot is Favourite LGBT reads and I’m ashamed that despite being a member of the LGBT community myself I’ve read precious few LGBT books myself. It doesn’t seem to be something that’s focused on much in fantasy which is one of the two main genres I read, Science Fiction is a little better but I’m not sure I can think of many books that I’ve read that would be considered “LGBT” books so I’ll do my best to list the ones I would consider to feature LGBT elements in them. Feel free to reccomend all the good Fantasy and Sci-Fi LGBTQ+ books though, especially f/f or bi/pan/poly rep.

Just another note actually before we begin, a thought perhaps but what do you consider an “LGBT” read? Although they are important for those who need them I am often not at all interested in stories where characters “queereness” is the be all and end all of the story. As I’ve said those kind of books do need to exist because there are people out there who they will help and that will find themselves in those books but I really prefer the books where there are characters who are LGBTQ plus but it’s a normal natural thing and is not a pivotal plot point, obviously this is only personal opinion and everyone enjoys different kinds of books but I wanted to make that clear that is one of the reasons my list of “LGBT” reads probably aren’t considered as such because the sexuality of the characters aren’t the only plot point and I don’t want to diminish others love for books where that is the case at all but rather just wanted to explain my choices.

1. The Last Begining by Lauren James
This time bending book feautures Clove and her sometimes girlfriend Ella and was one of my favourite reads last year, I can’t say too much about why I love their relationship throughout this book without giving away spoilers but lets just say

2. Jem and the Holgrams by Kelly Thompson
I was a big fan of the Jem and the Holograms TV show when I was younger (showing my age!) and became a little obsessed with it. I was so excited to find out it was being made into a comic (we don’t talk about the “film”). The artwork is bold , beautiful and full of colour and the story is compelling and very much in the feel of the original show while still feeling updated and I’m gutted that it wasn’t a show instead but I’ve still loved every minute of it. Among some of the new changes I’ve enjoyed is the relationship between Kimber and Stormer, a star-crossed lovers tale with each being from rival bands. They are an absolutely adorable couple who adore each other but find it hard to be together with the tensions building between the two groups. They are easily one of my favourite couples in fiction.

3. The Shadowhunter Chronicles by Cassandra Clare
I feel like this one may be a little controversial somehow, purely because despite the relationship between Alec and Magnus Bane being one that really touched people, a lot of others feel it’s “over done” now somehow and that Cassie is just “milking it” to get positive attention. That’s not how I feel personally, although Alec and Magnus is a great step forward, especially at a time where same sex relationships were not often featured in YA for me I loved the fact that Magnus Bane was (at least) bisexual and this really helped me at a time where I was confused that I liked girls but I couldn’t be gay because I liked boys as well. Magnus sort of became a window to realising I didn’t have to be gay or straight as it wasn’t something I had ever really known or talked about. Now in the Dark Artifices we have all sort s of characters and relationships including trans and poly which I think have been done well and really appreciate seeing normalised in fiction.

4. Rat Queens by Kurtis J. Wiebe
Betty the smidgen is pretty much my favourite member of the Rat Queens (although I do love them all) and as with most of these on my list I love how easy and seamlessly her sexuality is introduced and plays out in these books. It’s very simple and sweet with just the right amount of fluff for my tastes.

5. Vicious and Vengeful by V.E Schwab
This might sound like a strange one but I was convinced during Vicious that Victor and Eli were besotted with each other even if they wouldn’t act on it or show it. The way Eli became obsessed with hunting down Victor just really seemed to have this…edge to it. In Vengeful it became apparent and although not done as smoothly as it could have been done, it was canonical acknowledged that Victor was Asexual (ace) and this felt like it made so much sense to me.

6. Nimona by Noelle Stevenson
By the looks of this list I read and enjoy a lot more LGBT comics than I do traditional books. Nimona is probably my absolute favourite on this list for many many reasons but one of them is the way it handles LGBT relationships so well. We often see LGBT couples possibly going through some kind of hardship and then they get back together and they live happily ever after. In Nimona we. See a huge variety of couples, some who are very happy together but also those who fight, or break up or flirt or just want something casual or different and I think thats another really important angle that needs to be shown as well. This book is absolutely a must read. Its a masterpiece.

Thank you for checking out my six for Sunday post! I think this may have inspired me to do a longer post. On a similar subject so keep an eye out for that coming soon! I hope you’ve all had a fantastic week and don’t forget to let me know if you’ve taken part in todays prompt as well so I can check it out!

P.S Wanted to give an honourable mention to Carry On! I haven’t finished it yet but I feel like if I had it probably would have made this list.

Fierce Female Reads February Announcement

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Happy Fierce Female February eve! The wonderful Ashley at Falling Down The Book Hole has brought myself and a whole host of bloggers together for the month of February to celebrate fierce females in books, TV, Film and real life! Fierce Female Reads will consist of tons of fierce female focused blog posts throughout the month (listed below), a readathon with a group read of Moxie by Jennifer Mathieu, Instagram photo challenge and multiple giveaways.  Thank you so much to Ashley for putting all of this together and getting us all inspired!

Fierce Female Blog Post Tour

February 1st: Ashley @ Falling Down The Book Hole “What Defines A Fierce Female”

February 2nd: Sarah @ Bookish Rantings “10 Unexpected Fierce Female Characters”

February 3rd: Carolyn @ The Suburban Lifestyle “Everything I Know About Being A Female, I Learned From A Book”

February 4th: Allie @ Allieereads “An Exploration Of Femininity And Strength? Instagram Poetry And Female Empowerment”

February 5th: Kim @ Writer Side Of LifeFierce Females in Historical Fiction

February 6th: Ashley @ Falling Down The Book Hole “Fierce Female Recommendations From The Book Community”

February 7th: Elizabeth @ Redgal Musings “Favorite Fierce Females We Should All Fangirl Over”

February 8th: Amanda @ Classy x Book Reviews Favorite Fierce Females

February 9th: Kristen @ Timofeevbooks ” Favorite Fierce Female Characters”

February 10th: Ashley @ Falling Down The Book Hole ” Fierce Female Readathon Sign-Up & Challenge Recommendations”

February 11th: Alyssa @ Reading, Reading, Reading “Favorite Fierce Female Characters in YA”

February 12th: Laura @ Books And Geekiness “What Makes A Female Fierce”

February 13th: Ashley @ Falling Down The Book Hole ” Fierce Female Readathon TBR”

February 14th: Gel @ Whimsy Wanders ” How To Be Fiercer This Year”

February 15th: Kim @ Writer Side Of Life ” Top Female Sci Fi Writers”

February 16th: Lauren @ The Creatively Bookish ” Must Watch Fierce Females”

February 17th: Alyssa @ Reading, Reading, Reading “Moxie by Jennifer Mathieu Book Review”

February 18th: Stephanie @ Books In The Skye #Fiercefemales Shoot Bows And Arrows”

February 19th: Ellie @ A Book DevourerA Queen Who Needs No King

February 20th: Stephanie @ Holed Up In A BookFemale Badass-y Books

February 21st: Jemma @ Fantastic Books And Where To Find Them ” Fierce Female February Book Tag”

February 22nd: Cait @ Functionally Fictional ” Top 10 Fierce Females With Power”

February 23rd: Rachael & Jaclyn @ Pingel SistersFierce Female Reads: Nonfiction Books With Strong Female Leads

February 24th: Laura @ Books And Geekiness ” A Darker Shade of Magic Book Review”

February 25th: Carolyn @ The Suburban Lifestyle “When In Doubt, Go To The Library”

February 26th: Ashley @ Falling Down The Book Hole ” Top Nonfiction Books Focused On Women I Want To Read”

February 27th: Allie @ Allieereads “To Be Fierce: Nalini Singh’s Guildhunter Novels And The Portrayal Of Warrior Women”

February 28th: Ashley @ Falling Down The Book Hole ” Internment by Samira Ahmed Book Review”

#FierceFemaleFridays Instagram Photo Challenge
Every Friday we will be challenging you and the people of instagram to post your fierce female reads photos, this is just one of the events you can take part in to be eligble for one of the prize packs listed further below! Make sure you use the hashtags #FierceFemaleFridays #FierceFemaleReadsFebruary So we can find your posts! If Instagram is your thing there will also be a follow train compettion on take part in too!

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Fierce Female Readathon
There will be a sign up post in regards to the readathon with a link up on February 10th on Falling Down The Book Hole !

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Giveaways!

We have some awesome prizes that have been generously put together by the bloggers/book lovers being spotlighted and participating in this event! Overall there will be 4 different prize packs available (with 3 being international)! You will need to participate in some part of the month long event in order to be eligible for one of the prizes.

Giveaway Rules:
– Must be 13 years of age or have a parents consent
(will need to provide mailing address)
– Will run from 2/1/2019 – 2/28/2019

Grand Prize {US only} – 1-2 Books Featuring Fierce Females
– Bookish Candle
– Bookmark (created by  @AugustinesBook )
– Fierce Female Product (created by @homenkozies)
International Prizes
– Choice of The Last Hours, The Summer Queen or Code Name Verity [Book Depository] ( @shufflingpaper)
– Bookish Coffee Mug ( created by @carolynmartino)
– Newest Book From Author K.N Timofeev
– Surprise Pack [Philippines Only](from @whimsy_wanders)
Additional Prizes
– US ARC of The Light Between Worlds by Laura E Weymouth
(@HoledUpInABook)
– Nonfiction Book from Pingel Sisters Recommendation List

There are absoloutley loads of ways to take part this month and we all hope you’ll join us for a month chock full of fierce female reads!

 

Star Wars: Women of the Galaxy Review

40242517Star Wars: Women of the Galaxy by Amy Ratcliffe and various artists

Rating: XXXXX

Published October 2018 by Chronicle Books

When I need courage, I’m bolstered by Leia’s no-nonsense attitude and optimism. When I need to speak so people will listen, I’m energised by Padme’s intelligence and commanding presence. When I need to find light in a dark situation, I’m encouraged by Rey’s unflinching kindness and deep strength.

The women of the Star Wars universe are a diverse galaxy of heroes and villains, renegades and rogues, caretakers and, sometimes, unscrupulous scum.

The women of the Star Wars galaxy drive its stories and saga forward at every level. This beautiful book profiles seventy-five fascinating and inspiring characters from across films, fiction, comics, animation and games. Featuring Leia Organa, Rey, Ahsoka Tano, Jyn Erso, Rose Tico, Maz Kanata, and many more — including characters from Solo: A Star Wars Story and Star Wars Resistance — Each character is explored through key story beats fresh insights and behind the scenes details from journalist-author Amy Ratcliffe and more than 100 all-new, incredible pieces of artwork from 18 talented female and non-binary artists. The amazing lineup of illustrators includes Alice X. Zhang, Amy Beth Christenson, Annie Stoll, Annie Wu, Christina Chung, Cryssy Cheung, Eli Baum, Elsa Charretier, Geneva B., Jen Aberin Johnson, Jen Bartel, Jenny Parks, Karen Hallion, Little Corvus, Sara Alfageeh, Sara Kipin, Sarah Wilkinson, and Viviane Tanner. Including Jen Bartel’s cover featuring a striking image of Rey. This book is an inspiring celebration of the characters that help create a galaxy far far away.

I had planned to open with an explanation about never having reviewed an art book before even though I own tons of them but upon spending hours upon hours engrossed in this gorgeous book (also, side note – art books have THE BEST new book smell) I realised this isn’t just an art book, it’s a beautiful, chronicle of information and inspiration, with even some of the characters who are considered lesser by some for their short amount of screen time or perceived value in the grand scheme of the Star Wars universe which even alone speaks volumes about this book because this to me, is a message in itself that everyone is important in their own way and deserves to have their stories told.

The art is obviously gorgeous and I really love that we get to see such a varying degree of art styles, techniques, perspectives and mediums used throughout the book, with some characters who have larger written pieces to encompass their deeds etc who have multiple illustrations from different artists which are fantastic to see and absolutely breathtaking.

The writing is interesting and delivers facts and story beats without sounding like just a list of accomplishments being rolled off, each fact or moment is explained well and with just enough detail and then often the consequences of certain actions and how it sometimes goes on to affect the future of the galaxy. If you haven’t seen and/or read every part of the current Star Wars universe there is a potential for spoilers here as mentioned it does include not just the films but the tv shows, books, comics and games.

Not only did I enjoy reading about some of my favourite characters I also learned a lot about ones I haven’t discovered yet as I’m still working my way through “The Clone Wars” tv show at the moment but this has only served to make me more determined to get through it as I’m looking forward to meeting so many of these interesting and sometimes intricate characters. In addition to learning about these new characters I found out a lot of new information about characters I already knew, I especially loved the background on Admiral Holdo from the Princess Leia book by Claudia Grey but even more than just collecting the information from some of the media I haven’t yet got around to there were facts from behind the series as well such as the fact that after seeing her on the front of one of the Star Wars comics, George Lucas decided, very late into post-production on Stars Wars: Attack of the Clones that he wanted to include Aayla Secura who became the films first Twi’lek to be featured in an action-heavy role, not only was she added in last minute but the person chosen to portray Aayla on screen was Amy Allen, production assistant at Industrial Light and Magic who had worked behind the scenes on films like Artificial Intelligence before working on a stage unit for Attack of the Clones. There are plenty more great nuggets of information even for some of the most well informed Star Wars fans out there.

I highly recommend this book to any fans of Star Wars, regardless of gender or knowledge level, its a fascinating and extremely interesting look into a wide range of characters from Jedi or Sith to Rebel or imperial, scavenger, senator or even librarian. There is absolutely something for everyone here and the excited, nervous wait I’ve had since finding out this book was being published feels very much worth it and will easily be a book I’ll be talking about for a long time to come and looking back at often as I take in more of the Star Wars universe.