WWW Wednesday

WWW Wednesday July 17th

Okay so after June moving at a glacial pace July is moving far too quickly, YALC is next week and I still have so much more to read! Still, it’s time for my fortnightly bookish check-in!

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 feel slightly victimized by this question because I’ve dipped my toe into numerous books over the past fortnight as I frantically try to find the best order to read them in. My main current read is Revenger by Alastair Reynolds in preparation for YALC (and I’ve had it to read for a while). I’ve also been reading Finding Home by Hari Conner and The Tea Dragon Society by Katie O’Neil, both of which have been absolutely healing my soul. I’ve been enjoying Revenger as well but there’s just something about the story and art styles for these two graphic novels that just soothes me, Hari’s landscape pieces transport me to beautiful forests where I can fill my lungs with sweet air and Katie’s soft edges and pastel colours lull me into a relaxed dreamland, I can’t get enough of them.

What did you recently finish reading?

Last weekend I finished Wastelands: The New Apocolypse, the dystopian anthology I was reading and Heartstream. I really enjoyed Heartstream and read it very quickly, it was a little traumatising and had some difficult parts in it but I loved it, you can check out my review here. Wastelands was a great anthology but it just felt so huge! Just writing the review is taking me ages as I made notes for every single story and there are over thirty of them! I’m glad I decided to read it but I was so pleased to finally finish it. A review should be coming next week with any luck.

What do you think you’ll read next?

For a change, this is actually super easy to answer and shouldn’t change! If it hasn’t already arrived by the time this post goes live Heartstopper volume two should be arriving and I’ll be dropping absolutely everything for that! My next YALC book to read is Do you Dream of Terra-Two by Temi Oh which will my next non-graphic novel read. I’m also lucky enough to have been accepted for the new Tea Dragon Society graphic novel due out in September so will defintley be getting to that too!

What are you reading next? What have you been reading? What are you reading right now? Let me know!! Those of you attending YALC and still working through your TBR’s for it how are you getting on?

 

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The Nice and Accurate Good Omens Book tag

After watching the whole of Good Omens for the third time and then falling into a hole of video edits on youtube while looking up where to buy the script book, I thought to myself “…I really should be blogging.” Instead, I pressed play on episode three (my favourite for that 6000 years of slow-burn pre-intro alone). It was then I instead thought to myself, perhaps I can do both? I’m due a book tag post this week so what if? No. Surely it seems too easy of a solution. Or is it? I could make a Good Omens book tag I figured before obsessing over it for over a week before actually writing the damned thing. So now here we are, I hope you enjoy it and that it “feels love” to you.

Good omens booktag (1)

“Would be funny if we both got it wrong, eh? If I did the good thing and you did the bad one?” – A book you expected to like but didn’t and/or a book you didn’t expect to like but did or more than you had thought you would.

I don’t usually actively decide to read books I don’t think I’ll like but I gave Nexus the benefit of the doubt after not being keen on Zenith and I’m so glad I did because I loved it!

“Get behind thee, foul fiend…After you.” – Favourite flirty line

An oldie but a goldie one of my first and favourites is cocky Jace from City of Bones, he was my first bookish crush and this line killed me every time.

“Is this the part where you start tearing off strips of your shirt to bind my wounds?”
“If you wanted me to rip my clothes off, you should have just asked.”

“Somebody killed my best friend” – Bookish death that affected you the most

So I had to really think about this and honestly, I think it was probably (WARRIOR CATS SPOILER INCOMING) – Spotted Leaf from the Warrior Cats series, I’ve only read a few of the books so far but I get so attached to all the characters and Spotted leaf was a firm favourite. I was utterly devastated when we lost her.

I also want to give an honourable mention to Ned Stark in Game of Thrones, I’d read the first couple of books before the show and so when Ned died at the end of the first book I spent so long convincing myself that it didn’t happen that throughout most of the second book (I wanna say Storm of Swords?) I was waiting for him to show back up. When he didn’t I realised there were no rules about what characters would be killed off and how no one was safe etc and that was the first time I’d experienced that.

“You go too fast for me Crowley” – Favourite slow burn

This depends on your definition of slow burn I guess but I’m picking Nick and Charlie’s relationship in Heartstopper. Watching them two crushing on each other for most of volume one was honestly the best thing and watching them cautiously take their relationship slowly and carefully is just *chef kiss* (Happy Publication day to Vol 2 today btw!)

“Thank you for my pornography” – A romance scene you loved or that made you cringe (stating which is optional if you’d like to keep people guessing)

I’ve taken to skipping over most of the full-on sex scenes from any of the Throne of Glass or ACOTAR books, especially towards the end of both series as they literally cause firestorms, tsunamis and avalanches. I’m good thanks!

“There never was an apple, in Adam’s opinion, that wasn’t worth the trouble you got into for eating it” – Have you ever been caught reading a book when you shouldn’t have been? Either for content or the situation. 

Often. I’ve never been censored for the content that I’ve read but I have a habit of reading pretty much everywhere. One of the most memorable moments for me was the day Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows came out, both me and the other person I worked with at the small independent pet store I worked in were late to work because we had been picking up our copies of the book and spent the day alternating between  sitting at the till having a sneaky read or hiding in the backroom doing the same thing which was fine until our boss came in and caught us. That was the day that the “no non-work-related books allowed on the shop floor” rule was officially added.

“Well, obviously. You’re a demon. That’s what you do.” – Favourite unapologetic villain. 

Former mob wife turned vengeful (see what I did there) woman who can destroy and erode anything she touches, Marcella from Vengeful by V.E Schwab. I loved her SO much. She did what she wanted and took pleasure in it while also being complex.

“He plays an ineffable game of His own devising, which might be compared, from the perspective of any of the other players, ie., everybody, to being involved in an obscure and complex version of poker in a pitch-dark room, with blank cards, for infinite stakes, with a Dealer who won’t tell you the rules, and who smiles all the time.” – Favourite Twisty book

A Good Girls Guide to Murder by Holly Jackson hands down. I ADORED this book because I had no idea what was coming at me until it had smacked me in the face. This book was so full of twists to the very end, Holly is an evil (murder) genius.

“Most of the great triumphs and tragedies of history are caused not by people being fundamentally good or fundamentally evil, but by people being fundamentally people.” – Favourite complex or morally grey character 

Jude Duarte from the Cruel prince etc. I know Jude and the books as a whole are very marmite, in that some people love them and some people hate them which is totally fair. Personally, I love both The Cruel Prince and The Wicked King and Jude is one of my favourite characters because she’s not a stereotypical YA heroine, she makes bad choices, she’s selfish, she looks out for herself, she isn’t inherently likeable or out to make every one like her etc and she’s certainly not a popular character but I love her.

I tag:

Lucy from A Novel Purpose
Han, Solo from Queens of Geekdom
Layla from Readable Life
Gaynor from Paperbacks and Pinot
Liam from Book Worm Hole
Ash from For the Love of Books

If you enjoyed this tag and want to do it, consider yourself tagged as usual and don’t forget to link back to this post so I can check out your post and share it.

 

book reviews

Heartstream

43151477._SY475_Heartstream by Tom Pollock

Rating: XXXXX

Published July 4th by Walker Books

I just wanted to see you. Before the end. A taut psychological thriller about obsession, fame and betrayal, for fans of Black Mirror. Cat is in love. Always the sensible one, she can’t believe that she’s actually dating, not to mention dating a star. But the fandom can’t know. They would eat her alive. And first at the buffet would definitely be her best friend, Evie. Amy uses Heartstream, a social media app that allows others to feel your emotions. She broadcasted every moment of her mother’s degenerative illness, and her grief following her death. It’s the realest, rawest reality TV imaginable. But on the day of Amy’s mother’s funeral, Amy finds a strange woman in her kitchen. She’s rigged herself and the house with explosives – and she’s been waiting to talk to Amy for a long time. Who is she? A crazed fan? What does she want? Amy and Cat are about to discover how far true obsession can go.

This was my first Tom Pollock novel, I had heard of him before but I had no idea what kind of books he wrote or much of anything about him. Walker Books contacted me and asked if I would be interested in an early finished copy for review and after reading the synopsis I was sold. I’ve started reading a few more thriller and psychological horror books over the past year or so, having not read anything like that at all until The Loneliest Girl in the Universe by Lauren James but there are some absolute gems and Heartstream is one of them.

Heartstream is told from two different points of view, always alternating back and forth with each chapter which was equal parts infuriating (in a mostly good way) and absolute genius. Often there would be a revelation of some kind of things will just start heating up and you’re dreading the end of the chapter because you know it’s going to switch to another part of the story. It creates a whole load of tension on its own, that paired with Pollock’s fantastic tension building and writing style is a winning combination, especially as things begin to develop throughout the story.

The characters were interesting but instead of being focused on them I found I was more focused on the things that were happening to them in a terrifyingly personal way, I can remember their hair colour or details about them and they’re not bad characters but in a very fitting manner for a book featuring a software that allows you to experience others emotions first hand for yourself, the main impressions I have from them are their emotions. When the book released last week I described Heartstream as being “Slightly traumatising” one reason for this is that each emotional beat feels like it leaves a mark on you and a lot of the feelings are very intense.

For me personally I find it difficult to cope with situations where I feel there is no way out or that are seemingly hopeless and/or the main character is helpless to control things around them in any degree, (I’ve never actually seen the end of Face-Off because I decided it was a no way out thing) which are things our two main characters definitely confront throughout this novel. Some parts really terrified me in a helpless kind of way and absolutely hit some nerves for me as a mother as well, it was a little like watching a horror film in that I felt scared/freaked out but in an almost enjoyable way? It definitely lives up to the description of a psychological thriller for sure.

Tom Pollock is an incredible storyteller and Heartstream is a bold intricate tapestry with a striking red thread of tension woven in and throughout the stories of both Amy and Cat, binding them together.  It captures the toxic, obsessive, abusive and entitled side of fandoms we are beginning to see more and more of lately as well as a hauntingly accurate and intense look at cyberstalking and harassment. Heartstream is gripping, yet moving, an addictive ride that will have you feeling like you’re “streaming” from the characters yourself throughout.

Have you ever experienced any fandom related moments that you felt were just too much or too far? Years ago I met with a group of other fans of “My Little Pony” and was shocked and appalled after witnessing them loudly tearing a display apart, arguing over blind bag figures and being confrontational with the staff in a toy store. I actually stopped watching the show after that and since tend to distance myself from a lot of communities since then.

#SixforSunday

S4S – Couples who need a sequel

Another week has gone by, another Sunday has arrived and it’s been somehow both a long week and a short one. It’s flown by but it’s been a hard one and I’m glad to see the back of it! I’m hoping things will calm down with any luck although amongst other things I’m off to Lego Land with my little family next week so we shall see. For now, at least it’s Six for Sunday time and this week the prompt is “Couples that deserve a sequel” which considering the past couple of weeks have been similar it was starting to get very difficult to pick some new and fresh ones but here we are and  I hope you enjoy them!

BRIEFING NOTE: Couple related spoilers are present throughout for Heartstopper, To Kill a Kingdom, The Mortal Instruments etc, Gemina/The Illuminae Files, Strange the Dreamer and Ouran High School Host club.

Nick and Charlie from Heartstopper by Alice Oseman.

I know they are getting a sequel and Alice updates Tapas with chapters regularly but these two will always need more because I love them so much.

Lira and Prince Elain from To Kill a Kingdom by Alexandra Christo

I would love for there to be a sequel with the gang all getting back together, crew and all!

Jace and Clary from City of Bones etc by Cassandra Clare

Okay so I know that they technically already have like, six books BUT I would love even just a short story about them running the institute or something. I hate to say it but I kind of miss them.

Nik and Hana from Gemina by Amie Kauffman and Jay Kristoff

I would love a story (short form or otherwise) of the two of them off on holiday or something after everything that happens. Hana just wants things to be normal so they try to go on a simple trip for a weekend, something like an exotic beach on another planet etc but then maybe there’s a hostage situation or something and things get all Die Hard? Oh my gosh. Die Hard meets Gemina yes, please.

Thyon Nero and Lazlo from Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor

So I know these two aren’t really a couple but I loved the chemistry between the two of them right at the beginning of Strange the Dreamer and I think I would love a soft little story with these two just being kind, it doesn’t have to be romantic, although I think Thyron has always had a bit of a thing for Lazlo, to be honest.

Tamaki Suoh and Haruhi Fujioka from Ouran High School Host Club by Bisco Hatori

So this couple is actually from a manga series I read years and years ago that ran for eighteen volumes (80-ish chapters) it was a sweet, silly series about a girl who pretends to be a boy in a male host club at a school for insanely rich kids so that she can pay back a huge debt she incurs when she breaks an incredibly expensive vase. Both Tamaki and Haruhi have trouble understanding and later confronting their feelings for each other but everything turns out okay in the end as Tamaki moves to the USA with Haruhi and unbeknownst to them until the last moment, the rest of the Host Club are their neighbours! I loved the series and it did have a really great end but I would still very much like to see another volume or maybe even a small mini-series about what the gang get up in the USA.

Let me know what your choices would be in the comments or send me a link to your Six for Sunday post for this week!

 

book reviews

The Girl in Red

43550676.jpgThe Girl in Red by Christina Henry

Rating: XXXXX

Published June 18th by Titan Books

“She was just a woman trying not to get killed in a world that didn’t look anything like the one she’d grown up in, the one that had been perfectly sane and normal and boring until three months ago.”

It’s not safe for anyone alone in the woods. There are predators that come out at night: critters and coyotes, snakes and wolves. But the woman in the red jacket has no choice. Not since the Crisis came, decimated the population, and sent those who survived fleeing into quarantine camps that serve as breeding grounds for death, destruction, and disease. She is just a woman trying not to get killed in a world that doesn’t look anything like the one she grew up in, the one that was perfectly sane and normal and boring until three months ago.

There are worse threats in the woods than the things that stalk their prey at night. Sometimes, there are men. Men with dark desires, weak wills, and evil intents. Men in uniform with classified information, deadly secrets, and unforgiving orders. And sometimes, just sometimes, there’s something worse than all of the horrible people and vicious beasts combined. 

Red doesn’t like to think of herself as a killer, but she isn’t about to let herself get eaten up just because she is a woman alone in the woods…

You know that author you keep putting off reading? Not in an unkind way, but in an “I WILL get around to reading one of their books” muttered every time you see them because you just know they’re going to be great and you then something comes up and you for whatever reason the thought slips your mind again and again and again. This is Christina Henry for me so when the lovely Julia from Titan Books asked if I wanted to review The Girl in Red by Henry and take part in the Instagram book tour in I jumped at the chance! I love retellings at the best of times but this sounded like a really interesting inspiring take on the Red Riding Hood Story.

I found The Girl in Red to be slightly terrifying, absolutely creepy as heck and wholly addictive. It reminds me a lot of the human element to the earlier episodes of the Walking Dead when you begin to realise it’s not the zombies, or in this case, the cough that are the things you have to watch your back for it’s the survivors, most of who have become desperate or cruel (if they weren’t already) since the crisis. It’s not a unique tale by any means and is a little repetitive and predictable in some places but forgivably so because the real star of this book for me (other than main character Red herself) was the amazing way Henry builds tension. I found I was holding my breath, clenching my teeth and I had trouble reading it in my house alone, at one point my phone rang (a rare occurrence) while I was reading and it was during such a tense moment in the book that I screamed so loudly I woke up my four year old. On the slightly negative side, I did personally find the ending very rushed and a little unsatisfying but the book, even on reflection was no less enjoyable for it.

Red has possibly become one of my favourite fictional characters. She is a fantastic mix of badassery and compassion, she will kill and make tough choices to survive but she doesn’t let herself become dehumanised for it which I found a really refreshing balance, when she has to fatally defend herself she doesn’t relish it, when she has to take supplies she takes what she needs and likes to make sure that there is enough left if someone else needs them etc. Red often overthinks things, often to a fault and often thinks herself round in circles to inaction which is a habit I am also extraordinarily guilty of, so seeing it portrayed in this fantastic character who acknowledged that her obsessive and sometimes paranoid thinking could be debilitating like that felt incredibly eye-opening and has really helped to keep my own obsessive thinking in check by being able to identify it.

Main character Red is also an amputee and obviously, I can’t speak to the accuracy of her experience or identify with it but I found it really enlightening and I hope it helped people who find themselves with prosthetics feel seen and represented as well as hopefully helping to educate others. There is a line that is said in relation to someone question how much Red is capable of due to her amputation and Red replies with “Stop treating me like half a person…I am missing my leg below the knee. My brain is still functioning. I know what I can do and what I can’t.” and this feels SO important and relatable for anyone who is judged, babied and looked down on because they’re differently abled.

The Girl in Red is out in stores and online today!

 

#SixforSunday

S4S – Characters who deserve another/their own book

Happy Six for Sunday day! This weeks prompt, thanks to the ever lovely Steph from A little But A Lot, is “Characters who deserve another/their own book” There are a good few characters I would love to see more about but I made sure the six I picked made sense, some of the choices I had in mind either had a really satisfying end to their story or character arc to the point that I couldn’t see them in another story, no matter how much I liked them or there are sequels imminent i.e Asha from the Last Namsara, most of Squad 312 from Aurora Rising, Issac Sullivan from The Devouring Gray etc.

Remy Silvers from The Loneliest Girl in the Universe by Lauren James

I know The Loneliest Girl in the Universe is a stand-alone book and it works but I would just really love to have a had maybe even a novella about her time after (no spoilers). Until this happens I think I’m just going to read that damn fantastic book over and over again because I can’t get enough of it.

Lucien Vanserra  from A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J Maas

I know I mentioned Lucien last week (and I’m not sorry) but I couldn’t not mention him for this prompt because this is a story I desperately want. I like to think I’m quite disillusioned with Sarah J Maas all these years later but honestly, I would throw myself at her feet and buy all these damned random special editions of Throne of glass etc if it meant she gave Lucien his own book.

Ben Solo from Star Wars (as written by Claudia Gray)

Completely disregarding the fact that I’ve been known on occasion to ship Reylo, I find Ben Solo/Kylo Ren an immensely interesting character at times and I would love to see where he came from, what events brought him to the Dark Side and how he feels about all of it. He’s a very conflicted character and I’m not saying there’s no chance he’s just a spoilt over privileged kid with some issues but I like to think there’s more to it, I don’t need justification for his crappy behaviour and I’m not (entirely) seeking out a redemption arc but I do want to understand the character better and after reading Bloodline by Claudia Gray I absolutely think she would be the one to do so. I would have suggested Christie Golden too but I honestly think she’ll just make me cry the whole time.

The Illuminae Group from The Illuminae Files by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

Again, I know mentioned this in last weeks post but it’s too important to ignore, especially now that I’ve read Memento. You could honestly write about any of the characters in the Illuminae Files and I would read the hell out of it.

Ari and Janco from the Chronicles of Ixia/Poison Study series by Maria V. Snyder

I loved this duo more and more throughout the Study books and I would love to see them both in their own adventure!

Clove and Ella from The Last Begining by Lauren James

Although I hadn’t initially been too keen on Ella I really enjoyed the short story Another Begining which really warmed me to her and made me want to read more about them together. I know technically Another Beginning IS their story but I feel it’s also very much about unwinding Kate and Matt’s story and I’d love to see more of Clove and Ella’s adventures throughout time.

What do you think? Would you be interested in any of these? What characters would you like to see get their own books?

book talk, spoiler free

Harley in the Sky Cover Reveal

It’s been SO difficult to keep this secret the past couple of weeks but as a member of the Harley in the Sky Street Team I was lucky enough to see the cover for Akemi’s newest novel a little earlier and I’ve been in love with it ever since! Harley in the Sky is the next book out by author Akemi Dawn Bowman, award-winning author of Starfish and Summer Bird Blue follows a multiracial teenage girl who dreams of quitting school to become a trapeze artist in her parents’ Las Vegas circus, against their wishes, prompting her to join a rival circus. There, she grows close to a handsome musician and performer—while untangling her family’s complicated past and present.

Would you like to see the cover?

 

 

Are you sure?

 

 

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I love the mix of yellow and bronze, the silhouetted figure, that absolutely gorgeous font and the beautiful stylised pattern in the background that just SCREAMS circus tent to me. You can add Harley in the Sky to your want to read on Goodreads RIGHT NOW.