#SixforSunday, spoiler free

S4S – Books with Blue Covers

Six for Sunday

Happy Six for Sunday! Today’s prompt from the lovely Steph at A Little But A lot is “Books with Blue Covers.” Most of my book covers tend to be on the darker side but I feel like blue is pretty achievable so let’s take a look!

The Two Princesses of Bamarre by Gail Carson Levine
This was one of my favourites and most memorable reads as a young child, I liked the differences between the two princesses and even though I absolutely identified with the strong-willed, dark-haired princess who  enjoyed sword fighting this was an important lesson for me where I realised you didn’t have to be strong or physically tough to be brave. I still love sword fighting more than embroidery though not gonna lie.

The Quiet at the End of the World by Lauren James
One of my current favourite reads and peak Lauren James. This book is super interesting with important themes and a slightly different but fun format that really allowed the story to unfold by layers that worked really well. Not to mention, as always, THAT TWIST. Cannot explain how much I love this gorgeous book.

Summer Bird Blue by Akemi Dawn Bowman
Another departure from my usual reading habits, again I picked this contemporary up due to liking the authors’ previous work which was in-fact another contemporary! Summer Bird Blue is a beautiful, interesting and enjoyable read that had me in tears multiple times!

Blue Salt Road by Joanne Harris
Another beautiful poetic fairy tale by Mrs Harris, like A Pocketful of Crows this tale is inspired by the Child Ballads and feels just as iconic, this time though we follow the path of a selkie. I was always fascinated with selkies as a child so this was a fantastic read for me.

Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor
Speaking of beautiful poetic prose, Strange the Dreamer reads like a five hundred and thirty-six page poem and has a gorgeous blue and gold cover to boot. This was also the very first book that I had ever since and/or brought with sprayed edges and it changed my whole world.

The Extinction Trials by S.M Wilson
Described as The Hunger Games with dinosaurs and I gotta say I usually hate those stickers that say things like that plastered all over books but honestly it’s pretty damn accurate and a trilogy I absolutely love.

So all done and dusted for another week! Apologies for being a little slow getting back to comments at the moment as I’m either doing the being a parent thing (and it’s been a busy week for meetings – yay) writing frantically or reading just as frantically because oh my GOSH there are so many great books coming out right now and honestly I just want to read them all. Are there any books coming out right now that you’re super excited to get to reading?

spoiler free, Tags

Dungeons and Dragons Book Tag – Class Edition

tag Thursday

So as I’m sure many of you who have read my blog before will probably know, I really like Dungeons and Dragons. Like. REALLY like dungeons and dragons. My mum used to play when I was little and I’ve roped her into playing 5e with me and my friends this year too which has been a lot of fun. I’ve been playing for about three years now I think and it has had an enormous impact on my life as it really helps to foster my creativity, it’s a fantastic escape for when I’m feeling crappy and I love having things to be genuinely invested in and excited for. Now, I know I’m primarily a book blog but I do have some Dungeons and Dragons themed posts lined up so I thought this would be a good opportunity to make a little themed book tag to cross over two of my great loves. So I present to you, The Dungeons and Dragons Book Tag: Class Edition.

Barbarian – “A fierce warrior or primitive background who can enter a battle rage.”
A book that made you mad.
The Island by M.A Benett made me see red. The main character was absolutely and completely horrid, the things he did and thought were often disgusting and I think it was the first time I’d ever felt such rage for a character. I’m fairly certain the point of the book was to dislike this character, it does a brilliant job and will honestly be a book that will always stick in my mind. Kind of an I hate the character but not sure I hate the book kind of thing.

Bard – “An inspiring magician whose power echoes the music of creation.”
Your favourite book that features music in some way.
Finding Home by Hari Conner (spoiler-free review for volume two here) had some beautiful scenes with Janek playing and singing that I absolutely adore.

Cleric – “A priestly champion who wields divine magic in service of a higher power.” 
A book with a message to it that you found particularly important. 
Summer Bird Blue by Akemi Dawn Bowman. I feel like this book says grief is okay, grief is important and necessary and everyone deals with theirs in their own ways and that it is okay to feel better but to also carry that grief with you even still.

Druid – “A priest of the old faith, wielding the powers of nature and adopting animal forms.”  
A classic book you’ve enjoyed. 
The Hobbit by J.R.R Tolkien. I don’t usually read a lot of books that are considered “classics” but I think this one would qualify. I read it tons when I was younger and it defintley helped me to fall in love with fantasy in a hard way.

Fighter – “A master of martial combat, skilled with a variety of weapons and armour.”
In a trial by combat which bookish character would you choose to fight for you?
No question, I would choose Mia from the Nevernight trilogy.

Monk – “A master of martial arts, harnessing the power of the body in pursuit of physical and spiritual perfection.”
A book that has everything.  

Once and Future by Rose Capetta and Cori McCarthy for sure. To quote my own review in-fact, “SWORDS, JOUSTING, SPACESHIPS, STRONG QUEER WOMEN, TEENAGE MERLIN, GORGEOUS FLUIDS AND NON BINARIES, MAGIC, ANGST, SEXUAL TENSION AND DID I MENTION THIS IS MOSTLY SET IN SPACE BECAUSE YES.”

Paladin – “A holy warrior bound to a sacred oath”
A book you will recommend or defend until the end of time. 

Heartstopper by Alice Oseman because it is beautiful and wholesome and I love those boys so much (and Nelly).

Ranger – “A warrior who combats threats on the edge of civilization”
Favourite bookish animal companion.
Nelly from Heartstopper obviously.

Rouge – “A scoundrel who uses stealth and trickery to overcome obstacles and enemies.”
A plot twist that snuck up on you! 

I feel like I just need to say Lauren James instead of just naming a book because her books, especially The Loneliest Girl in the Universe and The Quiet at the End of the World featured some twists that felt like they literally smacked me in the face which I adore.

Sorcerer – “A spellcaster who draws on inherent magic from a gift or bloodline.”
Favourite bookish family.
Sorry but I’ve got to say the Herondales from the Shadow Hunter books. Will, Jace, James, Lucie? Herondales are awesome.

Warlock – “A wielder of magic that is derived from a bargain with an extraplanar entity.”
A bookish anti-hero.  

I know a lot of people hate her but I adore Jude Duarte from the Cruel Prince. I love that she’s unapologetic, she takes a hit and gets back up and she does what she needs to get what she wants.

Wizard – “A scholarly magic-user capable of manipulating the structures of reality.”
Favourite fictional world.
This is kind of a cheaty answer because it’s not wholly bookish but Azeroth and it’s other surrounding continents from World of Warcraft. I don’t play as much as I would like anymore and there haven’t been many new tie-in books recently but I will never forget Azeroth, Northrend, Pandaria and all the others and probably the others to come. The world just has such amazingly rich lore and it’s only secrets as well as looking beautiful.

I won’t tag anyone in particular but if you liked this tag and want to take part, whether you’ve played or are a Dungeons and Dragons fan or not, consider yourself tagged and let me know if you do it so I can check out your answers! Have a great rest of the week/end and I’ll see you back here Sunday with some witchy books!

 

 

book reviews, Graphic Novels

Finding Home Vol. Two by Hari Conner

Book Review

45876539._SY475_Finding Home Vol. Two By Hari Conner

Rating: XXXXX

Published September 1st 2019 by Hari Draws Books.

“You always say ‘I’m fine’ when you look like you’re falling apart.”

Torn between the fae and human worlds, Chepi got used to being alone – that is, until he met Janek. Janek is unguarded, straightforward, and longs to return home to his friends and family – but there may not be a place for Chepi in Janek’s old life.
As they grow closer on their long journey together, Chepi struggles with anxiety, past trauma, and now his complicated new feelings for Janek. Janek doesn’t understand his new friend’s hesitance and is unsure if the spark he feels between them is even real. With time running out before their journey ends and dangers lurking on the path before them, can they make it home at all?

You may have seen that I reviewed Volume One: The Traveller of the Graphic Novel “Finding Home” last week (spoiler-free review here) and at the weekend I finally got time to sit down and read Volume Two: The Healer in two sittings and oh my. I’m glad I didn’t wait any longer because although I did very much enjoy the first book, its sequel absolutely blew it out of the water.

Like Volume One, The Healer is almost purely character-driven. As Janek and Chepi continue their long journey together we begin to learn more about each of them and we see their relationship grow as they become more comfortable with each other and begin to open up about their pasts. There is a little story to it in places, much like The Traveller but it is very much not the main focus and it does a fantastic job of moving the plot along when it needs to without feeling convenient

Everything feels totally stepped up in this volume including the number of pages, it’s larger at 196 pages to volume ones 149. The Traveller had some funny moments but there were just so many moments where I honestly laughed out loud in this book. One particular moment when Janek is pretty exasperated (see below) had me in fits and I actually had to put the book down for a few moments to compose myself. The facial expression and mannerisms were just spot on. As our pair of protagonists have become more at ease around each other they have also begun to tease each other a lot more, there are in-jokes and the snark is honestly priceless.

There are some beautiful, sweet and close moments with others being so thick with tension you could cut it with a knife. There’s some serious longing going on in Volume Two and I’m very much here for it. Speaking of which, as before each chapter preface showcases a type of fauna that sprouts from Chepi throughout the course of the story and I’m glad we finally see what the little yellow primroses are (scroll past next picture if you don’t want to know yet!).

Alongside all the wholesome good feelings we delve further into Chepi’s bad memories and emotionally abusive past relationship. These are some hard moments for those who have experienced anything similar but I feel that Hari has really done these parts and Chepi’s panic attacks justice in the way they are portrayed.

This was a fun, gorgeous, sweet and deeply emotional book. I think while reading this may have been the first time I’ve ever cried at a graphic novel. I’m desperate for the third and final volume in the series but also apprehensive because I don’t want it to end!

If you like the sound of Finding Home you can purchase Volume One and Volume Two at Hari’s Etsy store. They also have a Patreon here where you can receive sketchbook updates, AU comics, sneak peeks and can read NEW pages and chapters up to 100 pages in advance. I’ve just signed up and there is SO much great content.

 

 

#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?

 

#SixforSunday, Bookish Discuussions, spoiler free

S4S – Characters who I think could be great friends

Six for Sunday
Another Sunday has arrived and with it, another Six for Sunday Prompt! Thank you to Steph at A Little But A Lot for coming up with these prompts each week. This weeks prompt is “Characters you’d love to be friends with” but I did something similar back in June (here) and my answers haven’t really changed that much so this week I’ve decided to do something a little different and instead this week I’m going to pair up characters that I think would make brilliant friends with each other (who aren’t already).

Ari (from Once and Future by Cori McCarthy and Amy Rose Capettea) and Mia (from the Nevernight Chronicles by Jay Kristoff)
This would probably be a fairly volatile friendship at times I think but I’d like to imagine that they would be good for each other. I also have a bad feeling that Mia would get Ari addicted to smoking and the idea of Ari letting Mia hold Excalibur or aboard her ship is kind of terrifying. I think they would defintley understand each other with all that destiny stuff going on.

Paige Turner (from The Bookshop Girl by Chole Coles) and Izzy O’Neil (from The Exact Opposite of Okay by Laura Steven)
Like Ari and Mia this could either be an amazing friendship or go terribly, horribly on but hopefully on a much lower level than mass murder and chain-smoking. I think Izzy is a little older than Paige so I feel there could defintley be some big sister vibes going on here and that (with time) Paige would enjoy having advice from her “big sister” but that Izzy would also appreciate the seemingly sage, (if not sometimes a little wacky) council from the bookshop girl.

Tyler (from Aurora Rising by Amie Kaufman and JayKristoff) and Far McCarthy (from Invictus by Ryan Graudin). 
I feel like these two hanging out would just always end up dissolving into both of them getting drunk and ranting about their respective teams. Tyler: “Finn has spent the entire two days replying to everything I say with ‘that’s what she said’ I’m losing my goddamn mind!” Far: “Have you ever woken up with a hungry red panda on your face?”

Bridget Jones (from the Bridget Jones books by Helen Fielding) and Betsy Taylor (from the Undead Series by Mary Janice Davidson. 
I would genuinely read/watch the hell out of this friendship because of what a force of nature they would be. I think the blood-drinking might be a little weird for Bridget to start with and she would definitely refer to Betsy and Sinclair as a smug married couple but after a while (and possibly witnessing an argument or two) they would totally be as thick as thieves. Betsy probably keeps offering to turn Bridget who doesn’t want to be turned until she’s her target weight and she’s actually doing really well because they just drink smoothies and go shopping all day (good exercise) but you can bet Sinclair is making sure Bridget is eating a good meal when the girls are back from said shopping excursion that almost certainly ended up with one of them getting into an argument about shoes and then some immortal enemy trying to off Betsy but Bridget absolutely ended up accidentally saving her life and now they’re best BEST friends. (This feels like strange a strange kind of fanfiction but now I really want to write it).

Issac (From the Devouring Gray by Christine Lynn Herman) and Jace (from the Mortal Instruments by Cassie Clare). 
The Angsty boys club has arrived. I actually imagine this being slightly older Jace so maybe between The Mortal Instruments and The Dark Artifices and Jace who is, at this point, a mostly reformed, sarcastic, beautiful, angsty boy would absolutely take Issac under his wing. A couple of months out of the town and away from the other founding families as well as the Gray would do wonders for Issac in the right company and I think that time could be well spent in the New York Institute. Jace could teach him some awesome moves as well as understanding when it comes to family abuse and drama as well as liking someone who you ‘should’n’t/isn’t good for you etc. I’m telling you, friends for life and think of super Issac coming back to town, kicking butt and breaking hearts. *Contented Sigh*

Rhysand (from A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J Maas) and Celaena Sardothien (from Throne of Glass, also by SJM) 
Another hilarious partnering. I think these would be another pair that would end up drunkenly ranting at each other as well as Celaena training with Cas and Az, giving Rhysand pointers with Feyre, flirting with Amren and getting into arm wrestles. Rowan would probably be crappy and overprotective but Rhsyand would totally woo him too and they would be best buds as well.

Okay so turns out that what I meant by, “great friends” means that I just friend-ship them I think and now, as quite often seems to happen I’m overcome with the need to expand on these ideas with fanfiction. I hope you’ve enjoyed my, slightly strange partnering and promise we’ll be back to the normal scheduled  Six for Sunday prompts next week! (Also my spoiler-free Darkdawn review is coming Tuesday!).

 

book reviews, spoiler free

The Girl the Sea Gave Back by Adrienne Young

Book Review

42867937
The Girl the Sea Gave Back 
by Adrienne Young

Rating: XXXX

Published September 3rd 2019 by Titan Books

“He knew that I’d bring death since the moment he first laid eyes on me. And he was right.”

For as long as she can remember, Tova has lived among the Svell, the people who found her washed ashore as a child and use her for her gift as a Truthtongue. Her own home and clan are long-faded memories, but the sacred symbols and staves inked over every inch of her skin mark her as one who can cast the rune stones and see into the future. She has found a fragile place among those who fear her, but when two clans to the east bury their age-old blood feud and join together as one, her world is dangerously close to collapse.

For the first time in generations, the leaders of the Svell are divided. Should they maintain peace or go to war with the allied clans to protect their newfound power? And when their chieftain looks to Tova to cast the stones, she sets into motion a series of events that will not only change the landscape of the mainland forever but will give her something she believed she could never have again—a home.

I was gifted an early finished copy of The Girl the Sea Gave Back by publisher Titan Books in exchange for an honest review, despite not being blown away by Sky in the Deep, the debut book by the same author I decided to give this second book a go as there defintley felt like potential and the cover and name of the book completely won me over.

img_8555

You might remember back in April I reviewed Sky in the Deep (you can find my review here) and I found it really predictable and didn’t hugely enjoy it too much as a result but I am pleased to report the sequel of sorts/companion story The Girl the Sea Gave Back felt like a vast improvement. If you haven’t read Sky in the Deep however do not despair as they can be read as separate books and you do not have to have read Sky in the Deep to understand and follow TGTSGB. I would say, however, that it is beneficial and gives the story much more depth. It is certainly a good story in its own right but I found I was already attached to other characters because of their involvement in the first book, especially Halvard who is a main character this time around and I had already decided I would lay my life down for him in Sky in the Deep.

The Girl the Sea Gave Back, for me at least, defintley benefited from having a little more of a fantasy element to it. The main character, Tova, is a truth tongue, she can communicate (in a way) with the spinners who carve fate into the tree of Udur and thus she can cast runes and use them to determine futures and outcomes. This really gave it a more interesting depth and the fact that Tova from a Kyrr, (a member of a mysterious clan from the headlands who keep to themselves) living among another clan called the Svell made for some brilliant narrative and conflict within as she tried to find her place. I really like that although Tova is young and relatively inexperienced she made smart choices and was an easy character to mesh with and see the world through her eyes.

Halvard is all grown up ten years after the events of Sky in the Deep and he is almost impossible not to love, he’s grown up to be honourable and thoughtful but as one of the first generations to have not seen battle in the fighting seasons, instead being taught merely to fish and hunt instead of fight he sometimes feels he is lesser and not worthy of responsibility placed on him by those around him. He is as wholesome as ever in this companion story and the love I already had for him only grew as he makes hard decisions and proves himself to be who his family and his village already know him to be.

The plot was paced fairly well, with sprinklings of battle here and there which were written very well, being both exciting and easy to follow. There is the smallest sprinkling of romance involved and I was worried that it would be very predictable and irritate me but honestly, it was okay and not made a huge deal of which I think was for the best. I found moments surprised me and I became quite invested in the outcome of all involved, The Girl the Sea Gave Back is a solid and enjoyable read.

 

#SixforSunday, spoiler free

S4S – Books you think should be studied in school

Six for Sunday

Yikes! Steph from A Little but A Lot who comes up with these prompts picked a hard one for this week! I have no idea what would be beneficial to children today, I’m so out of touch! I will, however, list six books that I would have liked to have studied in school or that I think would be interesting to discuss.

Summer Bird Blue by Akemi Dawn Bowman
I feel like this would potentially be a difficult one because it is so filled with grief and some behaviour that could be construed as negative (but realistic). I’m a little out of touch with how teenagers or those who had lost someone very close to them would feel about reading or studying this so not sure this would actually be the best of choices as it could be a sensitive subject but I think it’s something that I would have valued at a younger age personally.

The Exact Opposite of Okay by Laura Steven
This is an incredibly important book. It showcases so many relevant topics, although this would probably be a 16+ book.

His Hideous Heart by various authors, edited by Dahlia Adler
I think this anthology of retellings of the works of Edgar Allen Poe would be a brilliant book to study, especially as it also includes the original poems in the back of the book too. Perhaps when studying this, students could pick a poem and write a story about that in the same way?

The Quiet at the End of the World by Lauren James
This book is a great read but it also has some important messages about how we treat the world itself and what it means to be human, I feel like this could lead to some important and educational discussions and ideas.

Floored by Sara Barnard, Holly Bourne, Tanya Byrne, Non Pratt, Melinda Sailsbury, Lisa Williamson and Eleanor Wood
I feel like this book is so good at showcasing a group of very different young people and how despite their differences and disagreements they can still care about each other and still get along with dealing with some pretty hard times in their life and topics that may be difficult to broach otherwise.

Macbeth by William Shakespeare
Okay so this is probably boring for a lot of people but I studied Macbeth multiple times in school and I LOVED it. I was so glad we weren’t stuck studying Of Mice and Men or Romeo and Juliet but Macbeth had battles and witches and Lady Macbeth telling her husband to sort himself out and murder the king already, also regicide is always fun, let alone the characters and then going mad with guilt. Also, I won’t spoil it but that loophole in the prophecy hey? LOVE it. I think studying Shakespeare is cool but we defintley need to look at some of the more awesome plays instead of repeatedly studying the same things. (I would have loved 12th night or Hamlet in addition to Macbeth instead of doing Macbeth twice despite how much I loved it).

Okay so most of these probably aren’t great or realistic choices but I tried? Was there a particular book at school that you studied and really liked? I was particularly fond of The Crucible and that always stuck with me.