book reviews, spoiler free

The Quiet at the End of the World

32716442The Quiet at the End of the World by Lauren James

Rating: XXXXX

Published: March 7th by Walker books

“We live in the quiet at the end of the world. The slow winding-down clockwork motions before life stops completely. Time is slipping through our fingers.

How far would you go to save those you love?
Lowrie and Shen are the youngest people on the planet after a virus caused global infertility. Closeted in a pocket of London and doted upon by a small, ageing community, the pair spend their days mudlarking for artefacts from history and looking for treasure in their once-opulent mansion.

Their idyllic life is torn apart when a secret is uncovered that threatens not only their family but humanity’s entire existence. Lowrie and Shen face an impossible choice: in the quiet at the end of the world, they must decide who to save and who to sacrifice . . .

I’ve been SO excited about this book! Since Lauren revealed her next book would be about the two youngest people left alive on earth I was already intrigued and then as we got more and more information this easily became one of my most anticipated reads of this year. I was lucky enough to be gifted an early finished copy from Walker Books in exchange for an honest review and I genuinely screamed a little when I opened a package and found this gorgeous book inside. Reader, you will not be shocked I think, to hear that I was certainly not disappointed by any means and I will do my best to keep this review as coherent as possible, I promise.

The Quiet at the end of the World is a stand-alone story, so although I recommend Lauren’s other books (especially the Loneliest Girl in the Universe) you don’t need to have read them to enjoy this book and not connected to each other (at least in anyway that seems apparent at the moment) so don’t worry if this is your first Lauren James book!

The Quiet at the End of the World features a one-page prologue and if I had needed any more persuasion to read this book this would have absolutely tipped me over the edge. It’s simple yet super effective and quintessentially a style I have become to identify as Laurens. The rest of the book itself is paced exceedingly well, moments that might have otherwise been a little quiet and slower paced, like the beginning are sprinkled with great pieces of information to help you create this eerie, mostly abandoned and degraded vision of London that main characters Lowrie and Shen inhabit as what their day to day life consists of and what it means for them and the people around them. The book only continues to up the pace as the story unfolds and let me tell you it is a wild ride!! The plot is so cleverly put together, filled with breadcrumbs and questions and more mysteries but in true Lauren James fashion, even when I thought I knew where everything was going she STILL managed to pull a fast one on me and knock me for six. Unfortunately for me, this happened at one in the morning when I had decided to just read one more chapter, I nearly gave my poor husband a heart attack and didn’t sleep until the sun was already starting to peek through the bedroom curtains.

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Somehow it just manages to get even better from there and although there are some slower moments here and there for you to catch your breath they are, again filled with brilliant and useful information in the form of social media posts from Maya and Riz who I would also consider main characters in this book and to me, every bit as important as Lowrie and Shen. Not going to lie, I’m dreading the thought of anyone ever going back to look at my social media posts, heck I wrote them and even I hate going back over them sometimes!

The characters in Quiet felt so memorable and real, like most of the other information in this book it felt organic as we learnt so much about everyone. Although Lowrie and Shen are probably considered the main characters, as above I would argue that Maya and Riz are equally important and I felt that I knew them almost as well as Lowrie and Shen to some degree. There’s also Mitch the bot who is honestly the loveliest, sweetest thing and I love him to pieces despite his seemingly limited mode of communication which I think is Quiet possibly one of my favourite things in the book, it was done so well and although Mitch cannot communicate with words, Lauren has done a brilliant job at having his personality shine through regardless. There is, as expected a little romance in this book and it didn’t overly bother me as it felt so natural, I enjoyed the relationships that were present with or without the romantic element and although one or two times I did feel that I definitely read those bits faster on occasion to get back to the “main story” I still enjoyed them. Lauren has a gift for creating great connections and wholesome, healthy relationships that I will never get sick of.

This book made me cry, it made me laugh and it made me yell uncontrollably at 1am and I would absolutely do it all over again. I would say I wish it was longer as I read it in under forty-eight hours but I think it was honestly a perfect length, I will definitely have to read it again at least a few times and I cannot wait to do so. Lauren James is both an evil genius and a wizard with the spell she weaves with her newest book, it’s essentially a dystopia but it’s so full of warmth, love and light, a book that sounds like it should make you feel hopeless and impossibly small instead inspires hope and a greater sense of worth and your place in the world and the legacy of the human race. The Quiet at the End of the World is classed as a Young Adult book but I think it could appeal to any age group who feels comfortable with the subject, there is a lot of reflection and contemplation that can be done about the human race and its future as well as what exactly makes us human which I think could lead to some great discussions and certainly makes one reflect on themselves and future generations. The Quiet at the End of the World is out Thursday March 7th and defintley well worth checking out!

Stay tuned for all things Quiet at the end of the World this week, already lined up I have a special Q&A with author Lauren James, coverage of the Quiz at the end of the world event and a book talk video. I’m so excited I’ve even whipped up a mood board below for the occasion.

Are you excited to read The Quiet at the End of the World? Have you checked out any of Lauren’s other books? What would you do if you were one of the yongest people left alive on earth?

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#SixforSunday, spoiler free

S4S – Favourite Authors

The Prompt for today’s Six for Sunday from the lovely Steph over at A Little but a Lot was originally just “your favourite author” and I thought about it for quite a while and although there were some strong contenders I couldn’t just pick one so I decided to pick six and even that was super hard so there are some special mentions at the end too. I just love them all so much okay?!

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Maria V. Snyder
A firm favourite of mine for years and years and years after a chance encounter finding Poison Study in my local store so long ago and never turning back since. I will read pretty much anything by this woman.

Christie Golden
Christie Golden I dub thee the patron saint of video game tie ins. I love story based video games but sometimes there’s just not the room or the means for all of the story that needs to be told and Christie tells these stories beautifully, bringing these characters to life in a way that isn’t always feasible in game and making you care for them so much.

And then killing or hurting them emotionally.

I love you Christie Golden but damn you make me cry a lot.

Cassandra Clare
I wasn’t entirely sure whether to include Cassie or not, purely because she used to be one of my auto-buy authors and I could not get enough of the Shadowhunter books. Recently though I really feel as though I’ve outgrown them and months and months after getting it on the day of release I still haven’t finished her latest book and don’t find myself especially excited for future ones at the moment. That being said she really helped to get me through some things and her characters have been and always will be important to me which is why I decided to include her.

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Lauren James
Do you like space? Do you like time travel? Do you like twisty books that will keep you up at night and do you like awesome lady scientists and other lovely smart people?! You bet you do and that means you’ll love Lauren James. Reading The Loneliest Girl in the Universe kick-started my love for Lauren’s work and I’m yet to find a book by her that I haven’t loved. Also, she’s pretty much an evil genius. (Reminder that next week on my blog I’m celebrating the release of her new book The Quiet at the End of the world.)

Laini Taylor
Reading Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor felt like eating the most luscious dessert I’ve ever experienced, I’ve never wanted to savour but devour something so much. Laini’s writing style is just pure poetry. After reading Strange I then had to go back and read the Daughter of Smoke and Bone books and honestly although I had my problems with the third they just feel iconic. Don’t even get me started on Muse of Nightmares.

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V.E Schwab
Another incredible artist of language and storytelling. The books I’ve read by Victoria all feel absolutely polished to a high shine and I’m not saying that other authors don’t work their butts off but you can almost taste the blood, sweat and tears that this talented woman pours into her books. It’s honestly a thing to behold.

Honourable mentions to Akemi Dawn Bowman, Holly Jackson, Amie Kauffman and Jay Kristoff. I don’t feel I’ve read enough material by the others yet to class them as my “favourite authors” but adore them all the same.

spoiler free, Tags

The Netflix Book Tag

Happy Thursday! My reading has been a bit lacking the past month due to being super busy with lots of D&D but also spending a lot of my free times in the evening watching Killjoys. I started watching it on Netflix so I figured the Netflix book tag today would be appropriate after I saw it on Jackie’s blog, the Bookish Coffee Blog I knew it was the one for me.

Recently watched: The Last Book you finished reading.

I just finished The Quiet at the End of the World and honestly, I’m trying to restrain myself and not read it again immediately because WOW. (Review coming next week!)

Top Picks: Book/Books that have been recommended to you based on what you’ve previously read.

I don’t really tend to pay attention to books I get recommended by websites very often because often I already know about them but I do remember being recommended Illuminae by everyone and everything before I finally picked it up. I’m not proud of it and I wish I had listened earlier.

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Recently Added: The Last book that you brought.

With work being a little sparse on the ground at the moment I’ve been buying a lot fewer books but there are some that I had already preordered or that I considered must-buys, one such book was The Wicked King by Holly Black and it was totally and utterly worth it. Also while writing this my husband has just informed he has brought Slayer for us both to read ❤

Popular on Netflix: Books that everyone knows about (2 you’ve read and 2 you have no interest in reading).

For the first popular book I’ve read I’ve chosen A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness as now the TV show has aired a lot more people know about it. I’ve only read the first book and I do plan to get around to the second when my schedule isn’t quite so busy!

Secondly, I’ve chosen A Court of Thorns and Roses as this book reignited my journey back into reading YA and I’m not sure I would be writing this blog right now if I hadn’t read it. It’s not my favourite book or series by far but it feels especially pivotal to me for many reasons.

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As for the books I have no interest in reading I often don’t remember the names because I have no interest in them, to be honest so I found this one difficult but picked 13 reasons why (thank you to Jackie for inspiring me here), I don’t think it’s my kind of book at all and Bloodwitch because despite how much I wanted to like Truthwitch and Windwitch I just couldn’t get on with them.

As for a second book I decided to check out “what’s popular on Goodreads” to see what is supposedly popular as I just go off my twitter feed otherwise and they are total book buying enablers >.< The first one I saw that I have no interest in reading was Children of Blood and Bone. I had a passing interest in it when I first heard about it and now it’s been so long that I’m not especially bothered about reading it now when I have so much else I need to read.

Comedies: A funny book

I don’t really read many books that would be considered especially funny but Nimona did make me laugh out loud a lot so that one takes the win for me.

Dramas: A character that is a drama Queen/King

Mal. Mal from the Grisha trilogy, he did my head in and I couldn’t stand his whining and pinning.

Animated: A book with cartoons on the cover

I thought I would pick a non-comic one for this as that would be too easy and this is technically a novel and not a comic…it’s just based around a comic book character…kind of so that doesn’t entirely count right? I adored the artwork for the cover of Captain Marvel: Liberation Run and this was the one that immediately sprung to mind, the back cover especially I really liked.

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Watch it again:
A book/book series you want to reread

I know I’ve already mentioned it and it gets mentioned in almost every single book tag that I do but I’m desperate to reread the Illuminae Files series again, I’ve been occasionally listening to the Audio Books when I’m avoiding finishing Queen of Air and Darkness at the moment.

Documentaries: A non-fiction book you’d reccomend to everyone

Do art books count? Because I love art books, especially about my favourite video games. I don’t really read many other non-fiction books. Maybe the Princess Diaries by Carrie Fisher? I really loved that.

Action and Adventure: An action packed book

Skyward by Brandon Sanderson, I don’t always follow action especially well in books, especially when it’s fast-paced but the aerial fight scenes in Skyward really stood out to me, they made sense and were described in a way that it was nice and easy to imagine it in the minds eye while reading, I found the language varied well and didn’t repeat too much either which can happen sometimes I feel, when the same activity is repeated more than a couple of times in books (see The Belles – if I ever hear about bei power again I swear…). Anyway although it’s not all action, all the time I did feel there was a healthy amount of it and certainly enough for me to class it as being action packed while still maintaining a good story.

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New Releases: A book that just came out or will be coming out soon that you can’t wait to read

Aurora Rising…becasue obviously. Like this one needs explaining?

book reviews, book talk, Bookish Discuussions, Comics, spoiler free

Captain Marvel: Liberation Run

42583944Captain Marvel: Liberation Run by Tess Sharpe

Rating: XXXX

Published: February 26th 2019 by Titan Books

But nothing can resist the stars for long. And she was made of battle-worn-starlight – her own kind of fire, one that never went out.

Carol Danvers–Captain Marvel–narrowly stops a spacecraft from crashing. Its pilot Rhi is a young Inhuman woman from a group who left for a life among the stars. Instead, they were imprisoned on a planet where an enslaved Inhuman brings her owner great power and influence. Horrified by the account, Carol gathers a team–including Ant-Man, Mantis, and Amadeus Cho–and they set out to free Rhi’s people.

I was gifted this gorgeous finished copy of Captain Marvel: Liberation Run by the publisher, Titan Books in exchange for an honest review. When I was offered this book that comes out under two weeks before one of my most anticipated Marvel film releases, Captain Marvel hits cinemas across the world I thought this would be a great opportunity to really dip my toe back into the world of Marvel comics and familiarise myself with the story of Carol Danvers, aka Captain Marvel. I’m usually very much a DC Comics reader (Give me Green Lantern or Gotham City Sirens any day) but the films we’ve seen from Marvel over the past decade have really piqued my interest and I’ve found my way to reading a few of their titles. I was excited however to find an entire story in one novelised volume instead of having to wait months for any kind of conclusion such as we often find in comics (I’m impatient okay?).

In the comics… Labelled as Marvels biggest female hero and quite possibly the Marvels mightiest Avenger, Carol Danvers  first entered the Marvel universe in the 1970’s as the security chief of a restricted military base and later in 1977 took on the title of Ms Marvel in her own self titled series after she effectively became a human-Kree hybrid thanks to being exposed to energy from an explosion of a device that tried to meld her genetic structure to that of  the Kree hero, Captain Marvel who was also in the vicinity. Despite some horrific treatment to her story in the 1980s, which even the former writer considered “inappropriate”, the title alone was socially progressive for its time by using the title Ms. which was then associated with the feminist movement. In 2012 after going through a lot of changes and different appearances, Carol returns with the title Captain Marvel in a new series written by Kelly Sue DeConnick which leads the way for a newer, more progressive side to the character and a slew of female writers. Fast forward to July 2018 and we get a “retelling” of Carol’s origin story with her mother instead being of Kree origin and the explosion merely unlocking her latent abilities, writer Margret Stohl has also commented on the fact that the series will share some similarities to the upcoming film although that is still “it’s own thing.”  Currently, Captain Marvels (and Carol’s) story is being written by Kelly Thompson (of Hawkeye and Jem and the Holograms fame) and illustrated by Carmen Carnero.

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Captain Marvel: Liberation Run was everything that I could have hoped for in that it felt like your typical but enjoyable YA storyline but became so much more with the addition of Carol and the team she assembles to aid Rhi, an inhuman girl who, along with her people have been trapped in a hellish prison disguised as a “safe place” for the powerful women of her kind. Not only do we get a well written, moderatley paced and interesting storyline with Rhi and the other inhumans but we also get to see a little into the lives of Carol and Scott Lang (Ant-man) as well as some great story and dialogue from Mantis, Hepzibah and Amadeus (with a hint of Brawn).

The only thing that I found irked me about this book, and it completely a problem of my own making, was that I wanted to know more about each character. If you’re an avid comic reader you will probably recognise all, if not most, of the Alpha Flight characters but as someone who only dips their toe in here and there with the occasional series that interests me I had to rely on my knowledge gleaned from the popular films which are not always entirely in line with the comic releases. Although each character does get a bit of an explanation as to their powers etc in the story, at times it kind of felt, to me, like the name was dropped and we should know everything we need to know about from just that and to be honest that is a fair assumption as someone who is picking up a Marvel novel will more than likely have at least a passing knowledge about it’s characters. I do think there maybe could have been an additional glossary type feature with a little explanation of each of the “superhero” characters – I just want to know how they got their powers is that so much to ask? – but as I said this is a problem that not everyone will have and is more to do with my inherent need to know backstories than any real problem.

Aside from the characters themselves, the story holds well, even on its own, I may have been less inclined to have picked this up without the Captain Marvel name but it does read very much like a YA story I would happily read and enjoy outside of the Marvel universe as well. I think this is one of the most enjoyable feminist books I’ve read in a while too, it really hits the nail on the head with a lot of its points and moments that I really connected to without feeling like it was steamrolling over the plot, it was a part of it that helped make it a whole instead of taking centre stage.

Captain Marvel: Liberation Run has definitely made me more excited about the upcoming film and has certainly piqued my interest in checking out the comics, I just need to decide where to start!

Have you read a novel based on or tied into a comic at all? How did you find it and had you read the linked comics beforehand? Let me know in the comments and sound off if you’re also looking forward to seeing Captain Marvel on the big screen on March 8th! Don’t forget Captain Marvel: Liberation Run is out today!

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#SixforSunday, spoiler free

S4S – LGBT Books I still need to read

Another Sunday, another Six for Sunday! This weeks prompt is LGBT books I still need to read, this will be a super easy one because there are LOADS and the six I’ve chosen below are just from the books I already own…As with my other posts of a similar vein this month, these are books that I consider to be LGBT because they feature LGBT characters and not necessarily because said books focus solely on the sexuality of the characters.

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A Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue by Mackenzie Lee
The moment I heard this had sassy, bi rep I brought it pretty much without question. I’m excited to get around to it and it’s sequel but it’s one of those books that I just haven’t managed to get around to yet.

Once and Future by Cori McCarthy and Amy Rose Capetta
This was on my TBR for this month but my review and blog tour schedule has been a lot more hectic than I had first anticipated and although I’m enjoying my current read, I’ve not been able to dedicate a lot of time to it. Once and Future has a pansexual main character who ends up wielding Excalibur and as someone who is pan and spent every waking moment as a kid pretending I was a badass lady night with a sword (apart from Xena phase be then Buffy ofc) and I am so ready for this, having to schedule my reads like a boring grown up with deadlines is killing me!

The Nevernight Chronicles by Jay Kristoff
One of my besties has been on at me FOREVER to read these books and I agree, I really want to read them and I did start one but just couldn’t get into it at the time, it sounds completely on brand for me but I’ve just not had time or been in the right mood to get around to it yet. I’m determined to get around to them this year.

Carry on by Rainbow Rowell
So I’ve had Carry on for age after buying it and having Rainbow sign it at my very first “proper” book event. I finally got around to reading and really enjoying Fangirl and I know Carry on is definitely something I will enjoy but I think I’ve kept putting it off due to hype and just not being in the right mood to read it but with Wayward Sons coming out pretty soon I figure I better finally get around to it.

The Long Way to a Small Angry Planet by Becky Chambers
I’ve been hearing SUCH good things about this series and loved hearing Kelly speak on the space panel at YALC last year alongside Lauren James and Sasha Alsberg and I’ve been fascinated by her series ever since but to sound like a broken record, I’ve just not been able to get around to it yet. It’s also not helped by the fact that I’ve been avoiding starting any new series of books right now for fear of becoming hooked. Soon. I promise.

The Shades of Magic Trilogy by V.E Schwab
Another book everyone has been telling me to read and another one that suffers from the same problems The Long Way to a Small Angry Planet, I’ve not had the time, I’ve been too scared to start a new series AND I’ve not been quite in the right mood for it.

I’m very very aware of just how many great books I have to read right now and once I’m caught up on reviews of new the slew of new releases coming out over the coming months I’m diving straight in with one of the amazing books from this list, without a doubt. Are there any on this list you have yet to read but want to? Have you read some of these and enjoyed them? Let me know if you can think of any more great LGBT books I need to add to my TBR!

 

Blog Tours, Tags

Moxie Book Tag

I hope you’re enjoying Fierce Female Reads February and have been enjoying all of the posts from all the lovely bloggers taking part! Today is my turn and I present to you my Moxie Book tag to celebrate our chosen book for the Fierce Female Reads February read-a-thon!

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35383830Moxie by Jennifer Mathieu

Published:

Rating; XXXX

Vivian Carter is fed up. Fed up with her high school teachers who think the football team can do no wrong. Fed up with sexist dress codes, hallway harassment and gross comments from guys during class. But most of all, Viv Carter is fed up with always following the rules.
Viv’s mum was a tough-as-nails, punk rock Riot Grrrl in the ’90s, and now Viv takes a page from her mother’s past and creates 
Moxie, a feminist zine that she distributes anonymously to her classmates. She’s just blowing off steam, but other girls respond and spread the Moxie message. As Viv forges friendships with other young women across the divides of cliques and popularity rankings, she realises that what she has started is nothing short of a girl revolution.

TIME TO FIGHT LIKE A GIRL

A page-turning read with a feminist message, for anyone who has ever had to deal with #everydaysexism

“This is what it means to be a feminist. Not a humanist or an equalist or whatever. But a feminist. It’s not a bad word. After today it might be my favorite word. Because really all it is is girls supporting each other and wanting to be treated like human beings in a world that’s always finding ways to tell them they’re not.”

Girls Supporting Girls –Your Favourite female friendship.

Delia and Josie from Rayne and Delilah’s Midnight Matinee by Jeff Zentner, win this one easily. The compliment each other so well, they know how to interpret each other and wants best for their friend. They have their disagreements, as do any friends, but they never stop caring for each other and come to understand the choices each of them has to make for themselves and the path it leads them on, even if it’s apart. (My review for this is coming so soon so keep an eye out for it if you like the sound of this!)

“And you telling me not all guys are like that doesn’t really help me feel better. Because some guys are like that. A lot of them, actually.”

Seth –A book that problems, maybe it made you angry or you just hated it but it worked out in the end.

Only Love Can Break Your Heart, by Katherine Webber. First off I want to say that this book is amazing and got a XXXXX from me in my spoiler-free review but I had a hard time reading the first half to three quarters or so because the main characters and their relationship made me SO MAD. This is intentional, they are not a healthy relationship and a lot of the things they do and ways they act are vile but I feel this is the point, we are only human, we all make mistakes, we can all be selfish and horrid and this book really delves into that and is about recognising that and understanding it. I wasn’t sure I would be able to finish the book but I’m so very glad I did.

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“Audre Lorde quote on them. YOUR SILENCE WILL NOT PROTECT YOU.”

GRIT: Girls respecting and inspiring themselves – A book that made you feel inspired.

Starfish by Akemi Dawn Bowman is another difficult book to read in the best and most heartbreaking way. Kiko is a character that I feel like a lot of people today could see themselves in; those suffering from depression, anxiety or an unhealthy relationship with an emotionally abusive parent or children of interracial couples who aren’t considered “passing” or have trouble reconciling with their heritage as well as those who are treated differently on a day to day basis for the colour of their skin. Kiko overcomes so very much and it’s not all smooth sailing and the ending is left in a way where we know she still has hardships ahead of her but this book helped me to realise that things are hard a lot of the time and things don’t always magically get better but the way you deal with the way these things make you feel and the actions you take (or don’t) because of that, are important. This book made me aspire to do better and not give up.

“It’s easy to talk to Emma Johnson, I realize. She’s just a nice girl who goes to my high school. That’s probably all she’s ever been.”

Queen Emma – A Book that surprised you.

I’m sure we all know the story now about the time I picked up a pretty book that sounded like a cute, fluffy, fangirl style romance story in space and discovered that it was, in fact, a hair raising on the back of your neck thriller that would give me some of my first book related nightmares. That amazing book was The Loneliest Girl in the Universe! (I reread it last week and you can check out my review here)

“We are marching because those words deserve to be run over. Steam rolled. Flattened to dust. We are marching in our converse and our candy-coloured flip flops and our kitten heels, too. Our legs are moving, our arms are swinging, our mouthes are set in lines, so straight and sharp you could cut themselves on them.

Maybe we hope you do.”

Walkout – A book you just couldn’t finish.

I hate not finishing books but the last one I remember really giving up on was Big Bones by Laura Dockrill. I know a lot of people like this book, including those who, like myself, are larger ladies but I just couldn’t get on with this book. The main character made me furious, she just seemed so lazy and whiny and I some of the food descriptions made me feel genuinely sick. Apparently, it does improve but at the time I was so mad and done that I didn’t want to give it any more of my energy. This isn’t to say it’s a bad book by any means and I liked the idea that plus size ladies, especially ones who like to eat are getting rep but this just wasn’t a book for me.

“Moxie Girls Fight Back! …and hunt you down! …and remember your face! …and take names!”

Show some Moxie – Your Favourite Feminist Read.

The Exact Opposite of Okay by Laura Steven is by far my favourite feminist read, it’s funny, important, inspiring, painfully eye-opening and a hell of a ride that I honestly wish everyone could and would read. (You can check out my spoiler-free review here,  which explains just how much I love this book and why I wish everyone, everywhere could read it).

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Thank you so much for checking out my Moxie book tag, I tag EVERYONE! If you want to take part in this book tag consider yourself tagged and let me in the comments if you do so I can check out your answers too! Don’t forget to check out the #FierceFemaleReads hashtag and tomorrow, February 22nd: Cait @ Functionally Fictional  will be posting her Top 10 Fierce Females With Power”

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book reviews, book talk, dungeons and dragons, spoiler free

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!