spoiler free, Tags

Rapid Fire Book Tag

I’ve been trying a few different book tags this week and I’ve been finding myself really stumped about answering some of them so I decided that today’s blog would instead be a really simple fun book tag I picked up from Sarah from Book Hooked Nook a little while back, the rapid-fire book tag!

1. E-Book or Physical Book?

If it’s small enough physical, if not an e-book is more comfortable.

2. Paperback or Hardback?

Paperback.

3. Online or In-Store Book Shopping?

Usually online as the only bookstores nearby are all in other towns and it costs me the price of a standard paperback to get to any of them.

4. Trilogies or Series?

I quite like standalone books at the moment but if I had to pick it would be a trilogy.

5. Heroes or Villains?

It feels so cliche but villains are so much more fun.

6. A book you want everyone to read?

Heartstopper by Alice Oseman because that stuff is food for the soul.

7. Recommend an underrated book?

Invictus by Ryan Graudin, I never hear anyone talk about this book but I adored it.

8. The last book you finished?

I finished Heartstopper Volume 2 in one sitting before bed a couple of nights ago and I’ve barely been able to stop thinking about it since.

9. The Last Book You Bought?

I did a little book order when I got paid a couple of days ago and ordered Do you dream of Terra-Two? By Temi Oh, a finished copy of The Starlight Watchmaker by Lauren James, Heartstopper volume two by Alice Oseman and The Tea Dragon Society by Katie O’Neil. It had been a while since I’d brought books!

10. Weirdest Thing You’ve Used as a Bookmark?

A fork.

11. Used Books: Yes or No?

As long as they’re in good condition then used is fine with me.

12. Top Three Favourite Genres?

Sci-fi, Fantasy and thriller

13. Borrow or Buy?

Buy, I don’t go into town often enough to to get proper use out of the library and I’m terrible at returning things on time. Also because quite often I’m buying a finished copy of an ARC I’ve enjoyed and might not get to reading it right away.

14. Characters or Plot?

Having one without the other is not enjoyable but I think good characters can save bad plot but a good plot doesn’t often save bad characters.

15. Long or Short Books?

Probably short. I’m finding it really hard to drag myself through longer books. Max 400 ideally although I’m reading a good few that are more than that at the moment so it’s not a make or break thing, I just like to read shorter books, if anything they’re more comfortable to hold.

16. Long or Short Chapters?

Short. I love the feeling of finishing a chapter, plus I tend to wait until I’ve finished a chapter before I stop reading and if it’s too long it just gets annoying.

17. Name The First Three Books You Think Of…

18. Books That Make You Laugh or Cry?

19. Our World or Fictional Worlds?

Fictional, or actually I like a bit of both so our world with a hint of fictional is great sometimes too. I want to say it’s called urban fantasy but I’m bad at this book blogging thing.

20. Audiobooks: Yes or No?

Yes. I’m sad that I don’t really listen to them as much now. I often still listen to ones I’ve heard before when I’m trying to get to sleep (Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them read by Eddie Redmayne is my favourite) but now that I’m not in a job where I can just crack on and get my work done with my headphones in all day I’m seriously lagging on the audiobook front.

21. Do You Ever Judge a Book by its Cover?

Absolutely. Don’t get me wrong, a book with a bad cover can be good and vice versa but it’s almost always the cover that draws me in or pushes me away.

22. Book to Movie or Book to TV Adaptations?

I really enjoy them for the most part. Sometimes they get me interested in a book I’ve yet to read (i.e Dumplin) even though I always try to read the book first but also they sometimes give me the feeling of rereading a book without having to actually do so.

23. A Movie or TV-Show You Preferred to its Book?

Stardust. I enjoyed the Stardust book but the film is one of my all-time favourites and just blew the book out of the water.

24. Series or Standalone’s?

I love me a standalone.

That was a such a fun tag, thank for so much for posting it, Sarah! I won’t tag anyone in particular but as always if you’d like to take part then consider yourself tagged!

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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?

 

Tags

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.

spoiler free, WWW Wednesday

WWW Wednesday July 3rd

img_6935It’s somehow been a fortnight already?! Time for 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?

Heartstream by Tom Pollock
I took a break from the dystopian anthology I’ve been reading (Wastelands: The New Apocolypse edited by John Joseph Adams) to jump headfirst into this new YA thriller by Tom Pollock. I hadn’t previously read anything by Tom but the premise sounded intriguing and I’ve been thirsting for a good thriller again already after cutting my teeth on A Good Girls Guide to Murder and then The Girl in Red a bit more recently (I’m also noticing a certain colour aesthetic it seems.) I’m already just under 200 pages through despite starting it just last night and I can’t wait to see just where it goes.

What did you recently finish reading?

Queen of Air and Darkness by Cassandra Clare
I ended up really enjoying this despite the amount of time it took me to actually get through (6 months) it was worth it though and the audiobook being narrated by James Masters was a bonus. You can check out my spoiler-free review here.

The Paper and Hearts Society by Lucy Powrie
This was such a lovely sweet book, I found it a little predictable but enjoyed it no less for it. Heartwarming and lovely. Review coming soon.

What do you think you’ll read next?

X-Men: Days of Future Past by Alex Irvine
I’m really feeling in the superheroes with powers mood at the moment and I particularly love the X-Men, I put this one off for a little longer than I planned but excited to finally get to it now.

My full TBR for July will be up tomorrow and it’s huge for me and I think probably a bit too ambitious but we’ll see. What have you been reading lately?

book reviews, spoiler free

The Starlight Watchmaker review

44097002The Starlight Watchmaker by Lauren James

Rating: XXXXX

Published July 15th by Barrington Stoke

“Doesn’t it get tiring being judged for who you are all the time?” Ada asked, “and treated like you’re less than other people?”

Wealthy students from across the galaxy come to learn at the prestigious academy where Hugo toils as a watchmaker. But he is one of the lucky ones. Many androids like him are jobless and homeless. Someone like Dorian could never understand their struggle – or so Hugo thinks when the pompous duke comes banging at his door. But when Dorian’s broken time-travel watch leads them to discover a sinister scheme, the pair must reconcile their differences if they are to find the culprit in time.

A wildly imaginative sci-fi adventure from YA star Lauren James, particularly suitable for struggling, reluctant or dyslexic readers aged 13+

At the Quiet at the End of the World event a few months back Lauren announced that she would be releasing a novella with Barrington Stoke later this year and as time went on we got a title, a cover reveal and synopsis for The Starlight Watchmaker which I’ve been excited for ever since.

I don’t normally go into much detail about publishers but I really wanted to rave about Barrington Stoke for a moment. They are a fantastic publisher who have been helping dyslexic and reluctant readers for over twenty years by working with writers and illustrators to publish super readable books as well as adding little adjustments like using a unique, dyslexia-friendly font specially created to make reading easier, Accessible layouts and spacing stop the page from becoming overcrowded and even Heavier paper with a gentle tint helps reduce visual stresses, their motto is every child can be a reader and I think reading can be so daunting for young children today that we need to do everything we can to create a space and opportunity for all readers, including those who might be reluctant or have difficulty reading for pleasure. I had read a couple of Non Pratt’s books published by Barrington Stoke previously and loved the shorter book format and just how effortless they felt to read which can be really motivating and confidence building.

I reached out to Barrington Stoke about Lauren’s new title and the lovely Kirstin sent me a proof to review in exchange for an honest review. At just 128 pages it is an extremely short read but oh the wonders Lauren can work with 128 pages. The Starlight Watchmaker is set in a universe that feels like magic and science, the academy that Dorian attends and Hugo works at is incredibly diverse, full of all kinds of sentient creatures from across the galaxy. It was absolutely refreshing to read all of these fantastic descriptions of different races and species, I was fascinated in particular with one of my favourite characters, a student like Dorian called Ada (Lady Ada de Winters – short for Adedeneumdora) who is essentially a mountain that can walk around and will eventually become a planet all of her own just like her mother, the planet Zumia. She’s well spoken, smart and fantastically quirky as well as being a brilliant departure from the usual humanoid looking alien lifeforms we usually see.

Hugo is an android and an absolute sweetheart who I love, he’s a hard worker making the best of a bad situation who enjoys what he does and is mostly content but finds himself yearning for more, things like friendship and freedom, not to mention he really likes plants. Our other main character, Dorian is a fifth-year student but also a Duke who comes to Hugo for help but comes across a little brusque at first and perhaps a bit to forward which could be misconstrued negatively but I think he really grows and learns over the course of the story and you learn more about him as well as Hugo and see how they react to each other.

Somehow, even in under 200 pages Lauren managed to fit a nice little twist into the story, the plot is simple but honestly all the more enjoyable for it, the narrative is fast flowing and straight forward but conveys every detail and emotion needed. This entire book is akin to a nice chilled glass of juice on a hot day or that feeling when you step out of your morning shower, it’s refreshing and soothing and the moment I finished it after reading it the first time I managed to put it down for five minutes before I decided to pick it back up and read it all over again. The story is well rounded and unlike with some short-form works where I find myself  wanting more in an unsatisfied way, I found The Starlight Watchmaker to be the perfect bite-size piece of cake, it felt complete and whole and I felt like I’d been on a journey after reading it which is why I read, to be whisked away on adventures and feel a better person at the other end. This is a beautiful tale of friendship and I cannot recommend it enough.

The Starlight Watchmaker will be available on July 15th, don’t let it’s smaller size fool you, it’s a fantastic little read and one that can definitely be enjoyed by a variety of ages.

#SixforSunday, spoiler free

S4S – Characters I want to be friends with

It’s Six for Sunday time! Rounding out the last of the Bookish Wishes prompts for this month is “Characters I want to be friends with” which is very similar to a prompt we had last year which was characters you think would make great friends” (You can check out the post here, this was one of my better earlier posts I think) I’ve read a good few books since then so consider this in addition to last years list and maybe a bit more tailored to me instead of just characters I think would make good friends.

Olivia from The Paper and Hearts Society by Lucy Powrie
I love Olivia so much, she’s so bubbly and full of energy, she plans as over the top and as excessively as me so we’d always have great detailed plans too.

Pippa Fitz-Amobi from A Good Girls Guide to Murder by Holly Jackson
She’s loyal, wicked smart and not afraid to ask difficult questions, I feel like she would challenge me to be better and maybe I could make her laugh? We’d absolutely get into trouble.

Charlie from Heartstopper by Alice Oseman
Charlie is adorable and I know he already has some pretty great friends but I would love to be one of them, he’s a little dorky which I can totally relate with and I would absolutely fuss Nelly ALL of the time.

Finnian from Aurora Rising by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff
I knew I would pick someone from the Aurora Rising crew I was just trying to decide who, it was a toss-up between Scarlett and Finian but I think even though I’d probably be half in love with him (as well as Scarlett), I think me and Finn would make better friends.

Katherine from The Next Together by Lauren James
I feel like we’d get on pretty well as we’re both pretty sarcastic, I always loved reading her parts in The Next Together because her attitude and the way she interacts with Matthew really mirrors mine and Chris’ relationship, minus the time travel and reincarnation obviously.

Lazlo Strange from Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor
As someone who can also find themselves easily lost in stories I think me and Lazlo would get on pretty well although we probably wouldn’t get much of anything useful done with our heads stuck in books or talking about them.

Okay so that did end up being quite a different list and was less about who would just make good friends in general but who would I think would make a good friend for me. It was fun! Would you pick any of these for yourself? Who would you like to be your fictional best friend? I think out of all these I’d love Olivia to be my best friend.