#SixforSunday, spoiler free

S4S – Books you’d take on an Autumn Walk

Six for Sunday

A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness
I read this around autumn last year and I did actually take this out on an Autumn walk so I couldn’t leave it out. I’m hoping to get the second book read before the end of this year with any luck as I really enjoyed the first immensely.

The Near Witch by V.E Schwab
This is another book I’ve taken out on an autumn walk, I spent a good couple of hours in a book shop reading this while the rain poured and the wind howled outside as I sipped a lovely hot chocolate. It was basically perfect.

City of Bones by Cassie Clare
This is a book I genuinely love to snuggle up with and just enjoy reading but because I’ve read it so many times I tend to just flick through to my favourite parts which I could honestly see myself doing a nice Autumn walk.

The Hobbit by J.R.R Tolkien
A great chunk of Tolkiens books just feel like they have this connection to nature and The Hobbit is no exception and this is defintley a book that would fit an Autumn walk.

Hex Life Anthology by Various
I still have to read this (it’s next on my list, Angel Mage is just taking me quite a while to read) but I feel like this would be perfect with all its witchy stories!

City of Ghosts by V.E Schwab
I feel like this is a fairly obvious one as it is full of creepy, spooky vibes that are perfect for an early evening Autumn walk, but maybe not after dark eh?

I think if the weather improves next week I may have to grab a book and go for a nice walk! At the moment it’s just been raining almost non-stop and I don’t want my book to get wet. What books would you choose to take on an Autumn walk with you?

 

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The Autumn Tag 2019

AUTUMN IS HERE. Autumn is my favourite season and I’m so happy!! It’s a little early in the morning as I type this and it’s still mostly dark outside and I love it. I know when I go to do the school run later I’m going to wear my long grey cardigan and my shadowhunter rune scarf and I’m so glad it’s cold enough to do so. LOVE IT. So as the joy of Autumn feeds my soul I thought it would be a good time to try my hand at The Autumn Tag! I was tagged by the lovely Jenn from Jenniely and will try to remember to tag some more people below!

1. Hot Chocolate – what is your comfort book?

I love rereading Heartstopper to give me a case of the warm and fuzzies. If I want to escape for a while and get a nostalgia hit I’ll reach for The Hobbit and if I’m feeling some good ole cheesy, YA angst I’ll go for one of the Twilight books for City of Bones.

2. Pumpkin Carving – what is your favourite creative outlet?

I’m not really good at anything creative. I loved to write, fiction, a little poetry and D&D stories etc are my favourites. I’d love to learn to knit or crochet though.

3. Falling Leaves – changes that appear bad but you secretly love?

I don’t really deal well with any kind of change, to be honest.

4. Pumpkin Spiced Latte – something you love that others tend to judge

I think a lot of adults who aren’t in my circle of friends, e.g the people I used to work with used to think it weird that I still played video games in my late 20’s and that I read a lot of fantasy and Sci-fi, especially YA.

Also, I loved The Cursed Child and I’m a Reylo (I ship Kylo Ren/Ben Solo and Rey in Star Wars) which really infuriates a lot of people.

5. Bonfire Night – what makes you explode with joy?

So this might sound like a weird one but when I go to a concert and the band plays my favourite song or a song that means a lot to me. I have literally wept with joy at concerts and although I don’t go to them hugely often anymore I always remember that feeling.

6. Fright Night – favourite scary book or film

The Loneliest Girl in the Universe is amazing and it gave me actual nightmares.

7. Halloween candy – favourite thing to eat

I really need to cut down on snacking in the evening because at the moment I really love these cheap knock off peanut M&M’s and they’re super addictive. I think my absolute favourite thing to eat would probably be my dad’s curry though.

8. Scarves – your autumn ‘must-have’ accessory

SCARVES AND CARDIGANS. I have an extensive scarf collection and I’m so happy that it’s finally getting cold enough to wear them and I plan to replenish my cardigan draw this year as I’m down to just a couple after wearing most of my favourite ones to death.

9. Fire – a book or film that burns your soul

Probably another unpopular opinion but The Last Jedi. I loved The Force Awakens, I love Rey and I hated Kylo Ren but the damn emotions I went through during TLJ were crazy and when THAT fight scene happens (in the throne room) I practically vibrated with joy and I loved it so much I cried. But then as my husband can attest to, I genuinely wailed out loud in the cinema when Ben asks Rey…well I don’t want to spoil it. I rewatch this film a lot just for the chemistry between those two, to be honest. And that fight scene.

10. Toffee apples – a book or film that seems one thing but really has a different inside.

I know I’ve already mentioned it but The Loneliest Girl in the Universe by Lauren James absolutely hit me with a curve-ball. I went in thinking it a fluffy contemporary-like novel set in space. HAH. Damn was I wrong.

I tag Gaynor at Koop PaperbacksandPinot
Susan at NovelLives
Cora at TeaPartyPrincess 
Lois at Loisreadsbooks

If you haven’t been tagged and would like to do the tag anyway then go for it, consider yourself tagged!

spoiler free, WWW Wednesday

WWW Wednesday 9th October 2019

www wednesday

 

If you want to join in with WWW don’t forget to send over a big thank you to Sam at Taking on a World of Words for keeping WWW alive and kicking.

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

What are you currently reading?

I’m finally starting to make my way through Angel Mage by Garth Nix and really enjoying it already. I’m not a huge amount of the way through but the group is pretty much all accounted for now and things are starting to come together. The world is really interesting and I can’t wait to read more.

What did you recently finish reading?

I’ve just finished the gorgeous Finding Home Graphic Novels by Hari Conner, I adore Janek and Chepi. I’d been meaning to read them for ages and they’ve been a nice break, I started reading a few pages or so of Vol. 1 each evening and then I ended up reading most of Vol. 2 in one sitting. I’ll go into more detail in a couple of weeks when my review of them both go live.

What do you think you’ll read next?

Definitely Hex Life: Wicked new tales of witchery edited by Christoper Golden and Rachel Autumn Deering. October is here and I’m feeling spooky and this book is an absolutely perfect read on the run-up to Halloween for sure. Not to mention I kind of want to get in the witchy spirit ready for the second book Discovery of Witches book I’m planning to get back to in audio format this month too.

What have you been reading this past fortnight? Have you read any of these already? If so what did you think? What are you planning to read next?

 

book reviews

The Deathless Girls by Kiran Millwood Hargrave

Book Review
43453718._SY475_The Deathless Girls 
by Kiran Millwood Hargrave

Rating: XXX

Published September 19th 2019 by Orion Children’s Books

Gothic, intoxicating, feminist, darkly provoking and deeply romantic – this is the breathtakingly imagined untold story of the brides of Dracula, by bestselling author Kiran Millwood Hargrave in her much-anticipated YA debut.

They say the thirst of blood is like a madness – they must sate it. Even with their own kin.

On the eve of her divining, the day she’ll discover her fate, seventeen-year-old Lil and her twin sister Kizzy are captured and enslaved by the cruel Boyar Valcar, taken far away from their beloved traveller community.

Forced to work in the harsh and unwelcoming castle kitchens, Lil is comforted when she meets Mira, a fellow slave who she feels drawn to in a way she doesn’t understand. But she also learns about the Dragon, a mysterious and terrifying figure of myth and legend who takes girls as gifts.

They may not have had their divining day, but the girls will still discover their fate…

A few months ago now I heard about a new feminist teen YA series from Hachette Children’s Group, called Bellatrix with an aim to “engage readers with stories, voices and characters that demand to be heard in the modern world”, said the publisher. Then at YALC I saw that one of the first titles would be The Deathless Girls by Kiran Millwood Hargrave, the gorgeous cover pulled me in and when I read it was a feminist retelling of the brides of Dracula I was giddy with excitement! As such, I requested it on Netgalley as soon as I was able and I finally read it this week (my backlog is immense people).

First off, I would like to say that The Deathless Girls is well written. I enjoyed the narrative style, the world was, although hugely similar to a lot of fantasy YA books has great potential as did the characters who I think I could have grown to become attached to but it was just..missing something? (slight spoiler incoming) If you had asked me what that was at around 60% I would have said, Vampires. It was missing vampires. “But”…I would have said, “don’t worry they’re coming soon, I know it!”

There are mentions and tidbits spread throughout a lot of the book that kept edging me on and thinking “the vampire stuff can’t be far off now, stuff is gonna go dooown.” As a result, I read this fairly quickly but in reflection, it feels like this was because the plot was effectively a carrot on a stick, teasing something that, in my mind at least, it just failed to deliver.

The Deathless Girls is not inherently a bad book and I’m not sure if it is purely my own expectation that ruined it for me because it sounded amazing and I did enjoy it as I read it, I almost felt invested and but it just ended up falling short. I feel it really needed to elaborate on that ending.

The Deathless Girls by Kiran Millwood Hargrave is out now and although I didn’t enjoy quite like I thought I would plenty of other people have and maybe it will be your thing too? If you enjoyed The Deathless Girls, sound off in the comments and tell me what you loved about it!

 

#SixforSunday, spoiler free

S4S – Books with Leaves on the Cover

Six for Sunday

Okay so this weeks prompt is “Books with Leaves on the Cover” and after searching through my bookshelves I only have one book that matches that description so although I will still be adhering to the prompt this will actually be more of a “Books I want to read/look interesting that have leaves on the cover – only one of which I actually own” but that was a bit of a mouthful for a blog title so here we are.

Circe by Madeline Miller
This is the one I actually own and I KNOW I need to read it and I promise I will but I have so many books from publishers to get through at the moment and I feel like this will defintley be a book that’s worth the wait, so it can wait a bit longer.

Wuthering Bites by Sarah Gray
So Wuthering heights except Heathcliffe is a vampire born of a vampire hunter mother and a vampire father. Basically, Wuthering Heights meets Blade? All I know is I need it.

Bones of Faerie by Janni Lee Simner
I’ll let the Goodreads synopsis speak for this one.
“The war between humanity and Faerie devastated both sides. Or so 15-year-old Liza has been told.
Nothing has been seen or heard from Faerie since, and Liza’s world bears the scars of its encounter with magic. Trees move with sinister intention, and the town Liza calls home is surrounded by a forest that threatens to harm all those who wander into it. Then Liza discovers she has the Faerie ability to see into the past, into the future and she has no choice but to flee her town.
Liza’s quest will take her into Faerie and back again, and what she finds along the way may be the key to healing both worlds.”

Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater
I’m sure I have this somewhere on my shelves but I just couldn’t it!! I brought it years and years ago because the cover was pretty and werewolves *shrugs*

To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
One of the only “classics” I actually want to read. I’ve heard good things but I’m still fairly sceptical. Also, I figure it’s not going anywhere, it can wait.

Pax by Sara Pennypecker
The art always draws me to this book whenever I’m in a bookstore. It reminds me of the Shelter video game where you play a mama Badger protecting her cubs. That similarity may have drawn me in but is also what has been driving me away as I can sense just as much heartbreak coming. I absolutely need to read it at some point in the future though.

spoiler free, tbr thursday

October TBR 2019

tbr Thursday
It is somehow October already and although I’m wondering where on earth the time went I’m also SO READY for Autumn. Give me cardigans and hot chocolate and darker nights, chilly air and crispy leaves. I love Autumn so on that note I am glad to see October, it just arrived sooner than I had expected. I had an absolutely terrible reading month in September and only actually got two books read all month after Darkdawn took me so long. BUT I think I’m back in the swing of things (hopefully) and this month my TBR will look a little familiar as it will include a lot of the books from last month with one extra which I am super grateful to be on the blog tour for at the end of October!

Angel Mage by Garth Nix
I loved reading Sabriel when I was younger and something described as The Three Muskateers x Joan of Arc with MAGIC. Yes please, thank you, I’ll be over here reading. This is the blog tour I’m on this month (despite me telling myself I wouldn’t be accepting any more reviews or blog tours last month – I just couldn’t pass up this opportunity). I’ve already read a small bit and have already enjoyed what I’ve seen so far so fingers crossed the rest of the book is just as good!

Hex Life Anthology by Kelly Armstrong, Rachel Caine and many more
After just writing up my review for a different anthology I’m super excited to finally FINALLY get around to reading this collection of witchy stories at last.

Imaginary Friend by Stephen Chbosky
The new novel by the author of The Perks of Being a Wallflower promises to be different, unnerving and spooky from what I’ve read of the sample I’ve already read,

The Boneships by RJ Barker
I had really hoped to read this last month and would have been what I read after Darkdawn but my copy seems to have got lost in the post somewhere *cries* I have thankfully managed to get a copy via NetGalley which I’m still looking forward to reading, just a little later than I expected.

NPC Tea: Issue Seven by Sarah Milman
I AM NOT READY. Issue seven is the penultimate issue and I’m excited, scared and sad. I love all of the characters and I’m not ready for it to end! That being said, some things went down in issue six that need to be addressed and ahhhhh I just can’t. I backed the issue on Kickstarter and I think they’ll probably be sent out soon!

I feel like having all of these books on my list might be a little overconfident as a good few of them are pretty chunky books. It’s also Intokber month and I’m planning to take part in the writer’s version as well as prepping for NaNoWriMo next month and you know, raising a four-year-old, running a house (haha), etc.  Either way, wish me luck and may your TBR be ever fruitful but not so much that it falls over and crushes you to your death!

book reviews, spoiler free

Wastelands: The New Apocolypse Anthology

Book Review

42774046._SY475_Wastelands: The New Apocolypse by over thirty authors, edited by John Joseph Adams

Rating: XXXX

Published June 4th by Titan Books

“I know it was the perils of the sea making me think this way, and my old age, my time running out. But it shouldn’t have to run out to want to spend it more wisely. The world shouldn’t have to end to think of all that might be.”

The brilliant new post-apocalyptic collection by master anthologist John Joseph Adams, for the first time including new stories by the edgiest modern writers.

New short fiction by many of the edgiest modern authors, offering tales of life after the apocalyptic event or events that end society as we know it today. In addition to a selection of newly reprinted works, WASTELANDS 3 will feature original, never-before-published stories by a group of writers hand-picked by master editor John Joseph Adams. Original stories by Veronica Roth, Hugh Howet, Elizabeth Bear, Seanan McGuire, Tananarive Due, Wendy N. Wagner and many more. Reprints will include works by Carmen Maria Machado, Charlie Jane Anders, Paolo Bacigalupi, Ken Liu and Cat Valente amongst others. 

Dystopia novels are not very often my thing, before now anthologies were not something I read very much of either, especially if they weighed in at over five hundred pages but when I heard there was a new instalment of an anthology of dystopian tales including new Divergent material by Veronica Roth I weighed my options and decided I would give it a go, who knows, I might even like it?

and you know what?

I really did. It turned out that some wires had been crossed and the Veronica Roth story was actually not part of the Divergent universe (although still enjoyable) but I’m glad that made me pick it up because this anthology has introduced me to some fantastic short stories and I’m so glad I had to the opportunity to read it. I’ve given the book a rating above as a whole but there are over 30 separate tales so instead of a normal review I’ve written a few words or sentences about each short story and a separate rating for each one (see here for my rating/classification system).

Bullet Point by Elizabeth Bear – XX
Not a great start for me. I found it a little disjointed and unsatisfying but enjoyed the writing style mostly.

The Red Thread by Sofia Samatar – XXX
Done in a letter type format which I really liked but found a little too repetitive. Got me curious about the state of humanity in this story though.

Expedition 83 by Wendy N Wagner – XXXXX
Okay, so this was perfect. Information was explained in an easy, non-bogged down way, leaving room for the lovely, sad, little story to play out. I loved it.

The Last to Matter by Adam Troy Castro – DNF
So the first sentence featured the word orgynisim (yes you read that right) and I thought maybe it’s a typo or I had read it wrong but nope. This was (from what I can gather) a floating ball of people having sex with multiple sets of genitalia and this guy gets ejected from it. He then goes through a series of “multiple male and female castrations” to be presentable for the outside world. I like to think I’m fairly open and non-judgmental about other peoples kinks but this just felt like a bit much for a dystopian short story for me. I made the mistake of carrying on in spite of it and discovered a woman constantly giving birth and then swallowing her baby, said baby then stopped to have a conversation with the main character. I decided to skip at this point.

Not this war, not this world by Johnathan Mayberry – XXXX
A good solid read with an interesting explanation about the start of a zombie-like outbreak and it turns out according to the author’s notes it was written at the request of George A. Romero to officially connect the author’s previous books to Romero’s movies which I found interesting!

Where would you be now by Carrie Vaughn – XXXXX
A favourite, not too much detail given other than the world seems to have gone to hell and things are dire. This story follows a group of people, including doctors who are based at a clinic, which they still operate and help others to the best of their abilities. The question is asked of some of those living there “where would you be now?” Throughout, it was interesting and a little heartwarming in a strange way. My only complaint is that I wish there had been more.

The Elephants Crematorium by Timothy Mudie – XXXXX
Another surprisingly heartwarming tale. A really interesting post-apocalyptic world where reality has become warped and an expecting mother finding out what has been happening to elephants that have begun self-combusting. Sounds a little weird but honestly really good and made me well up a bit.

Bones of Gossamer by Hugh Howey – XXXX
An interesting tale about a man who lives in a tribe like situation in a hard to reach island who has no idea what has happened to the rest of the world until survivors start appearing on their shores. Very enjoyable.

As Good as New by Charlie Jane Anders – XXX
The world ends and a woman finds a genie. Brilliant premise and a great first half but I found the second half a little boring as the woman writes a play.

One day only by Tananarive Due – XX
Found it a little boring and characters very unlikable for me so found I was very uninvested in the story but the ending was kind of nice.

Black, their regalia by Darcie little – XXXX
Found it a little hard to keep track of at times but overall very good and another interesting take on the curing of the plague.

The Plague by Ken Liu – XXXX
Short, sweet, enjoyable but a little confusing with two points of view.

Four Kittens by Jeremiah Tolbert – XXXXX
Man nearly gets himself killed repeatedly protecting kittens. HELL YES. Best story.

The Eyes of the Flood by Susan Jane Bigelow – XXXXX
Written in an incredibly interesting style and with lovely prose and a good twist in such a very short piece.

The Last Garden by Jack Skillingstead – XXXX
I love the AI in this, I just wished there was more to it.

Through Sparks in the Mornings Dawn by Tobias S. Buckell – XXXXX
Really good, really solid read. It was written fantastically, we got great information that wasn’t too bulky. It was interesting and it had a great message of hope and rebuilding. Defintley a top ten story.

Cannibal acts by Maureen F. Mchugh – XXX
Not bad, not great. Really good story idea but just didn’t grab me.

Echo by Veronica Roth – XXX
Ehhh. Probably not helped by the fact that I went into this thinking it was related to Divergent but turns out it has nothing to do with it. The story just felt a little flat, the idea was a really good one but it just felt boring.

Shooting the Apocolypse by Paolo Bacigalupi – X
Utterly boring, super crappy sexist main character. Did not enjoy.

The Hungry Earth by Carmen Maria Machado -XXXXX
Brief but really interesting and intriguing, haunting even. Loved it.

Last Chance by Nicole Kornher-Stace – XXXX
I think it went on a little long for what it was but still good, felt like it could easily have been a part of something bigger.

A Series of Images from a Ruined City at the End of the World by Violet Allen – XXXX
This one was a little strange but I enjoyed it. It felt quiet and intimate but also powerful.

Come on Down by Meg Elison – XXX
Interesting idea but I found it hard to follow.

Don’t Pack Hope by Emma Osbourne – XXXXX
Written well, interesting story with a trans MC ❤

Polly Wanna Cracker by Greg Van Eekhout – XXXXX
Another interesting take, this one about a group of parrots living in the apocalypse. Things get dark.

Otherwise by Nisi Shawl – XXXX
A little long-winded but over-all a good one. I would have been interested to know more about Otherwise.

And the rest of us wait by Corinne Duyvis – XXXX
I like the message of this story that being equal is more than just treating everyone the same and the premise was interesting, I just found I didn’t really connect to the main character very much.

The Last Child by Scott Sigler – XXXX
A good read. Left me wanting more and defintley thinking about checking out the trilogy this is set during (The Generations Trilogy).

So sharp, so bright, so final by Sean McGuire – XXXXX
Brilliant story! Well written, interesting with good world-building and a fantastic twist. Loved it.

Burn 3 by Kami Garcia  – XXXXX
A great read, easily immersive and well rounded. A good amount of story packed in.

Snow by Dale Bailey – XXX
Good tension building but a little underwhelming and I found I kept getting confused about who’s point of view the story was actually from.

The Air is Chalk by Richard Kadrey – XXX
This was a tough one to rate, the “monsters” in it were creepy and brilliant and I did like the ending as well as the way the story was told but I knocked the rating down because I didn’t enjoy reading it from the main character who I cannot eloquently describe without the aid of curse words. I mean he’s obviously not meant to be likeable but urgh just his every move made me so mad.

The Future is Blue by Catherynne M. Valente – XXXX
A strange one but really quite good. It reminded me a lot of LifeL1k3 by Jay Kristoff. Some parts made me angry and sad because people are cruel and that’s the way it is, even now.

Francisca Montoya’s Almanac of Things that can Kill You by Shaenon K. Garrity – XXXXX
Fantastic! Informative, funny and written beautifully. Hard to explain but it tells a story while masquerading as a guidebook. Loved it to pieces, another one of my favourites and a great end to the anthology.

There were a few stories that flopped for me or that didn’t interest me but these were defintley outweighed by the stories that I did like and even love. Out of the 34 stories, ten received an XXXXX rating, 11 had an XXXX rating, 7 had a XXX rating and just two received a XX rating, one with an X rating and one did not finish. This is one of the first anthologies I’ve read in a long while and I already have two more lined up from Titan Books thanks to enjoying this one so much! If you like Alice in Wonderland or Witchy tales keep your eyes peeled!