Tags

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!

#SixforSunday

S4S – Books set in Schools

Six for Sunday

Continuing with the back to school theme (don’t even talk to me about actual school right now) this weeks theme from Steph at A Little but A Lot is “Books set in schools” I think I’ve discovered a trend I like in books…Harry Potter by J.K Rowling
An obivous one I know but I love the whole boarding school setting and I’m not sure if I discovered this because I read Harry Potter or because it reminds me of Harry Potter. Either way, I like it and I think good ole Hogwarts had a part to play in that so I had to include it. 

Nevernight by Jay Kristoff
This probably feels as predictable as Harry Potter for me at this point as I’ve not been able to stop raving about this book and the rest of the Nevernight Chronicles for the past few weeks but I really loved Mia’s time in the Red Church and is in part a reason why this book has become one of my all-time favourites. For those who have yet to read Nevernight, the Red Church is basically Murder Hogwarts for wood-be assassins. 

The Starlight Watchmaker by Lauren James
The prestigious academy which Hugo lives on the grounds of in The Starlight Watchmaker is fascinating and full of so many different species of aliens who are all learning the skills they will need to lead and shape their worlds in the future, I loved reading about it. 

Skyward by Brandon Sanderson
Another boarding school setting, this time it’s a flight school where the pupils are trained to shoot defend their homes from an alien threat that has plagued them for years, not to mention that completing the programme and becoming a pilot of prestigious in itself!

Tales from the Shadowhunter Academy by Cassandra Clare and other authors
So this book collects all of the Tales from the Shadowhunter Academy short stories into one and although the content within a lot of these stories stretches further than the academy itself, the main storyline itself that the smaller ones are embedded into all take place within the academy. I loved this collection a lot more than I thought I would. 

Vampire Knight by Matsuri Hino
A manga instead of a novel but still counts, Vampire Knight mainly takes place at Cross Academy where human students attend the school during the day and vampires at night. This one is totally a boarding school again too, apparently, this is a thing.

Also, honourable mention to Ouran High School Host Club by Bisco Hatori is one of my favourite mangas and takes place almost solely in a school for rich kids (actually not a boarding school though, shock horror) where a “poor” honours student accidentally breaks a vase worth 3 million yen and works with the school host club to earn back the money. I would have put this on the list but I thought of Vampire Knight first.

Do you have a favourite fictional school? If so which one? When I was younger I always wanted to go to Cackles Academy from The Worst Witch (another honourable mention as I somehow forgot it when making this list).

 

#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.

 

 

spoiler free, Tags

Bank holiday tag

tag ThursdayExcept not Thursday because Bank Holiday Reasons.

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Oh my gosh, what is this?! A book tag on a MONDAY! This is madness! Actually, it’s just because here in the UK it’s a Bank Holiday Monday and I’m doing a slightly different tag this upcoming Thursday so you get extra posts this week, lucky you! This tag is actually from the lovely Cora from Tea Party Princess and I couldn’t resist giving it a go so thank you, Cora!

Have a lie-in. Which book could you lounge in bed with all morning?

I can’t have super long lay-ins or I get headaches buuuut I would love to sit and snuggle up in bed on a lovely morning to read the Heartstopper books by Alice Oseman.

Oh my goodness, it’s actually sunny outside! A book that makes you feel optimistic.

Strangely I think this would be Quiet at the End of the World by Lauren James but this has so many great messages behind it and one is what it means to be human and how we, as humans, endure in the way that only we can.

Spend some time outdoors. A book that reminds you of nature

The Warrior Cat books! The cats in these (for the most part) are wild cats with their own clans and territory and I love seeing how they approach certain things in nature, for example, their use of herbs by their healer cats to help with injuries and illnesses.

Make some punch. A book that you find difficult to classify into one genre.

I feel like maybe Sanctuary by V.V James is a hard one to classify because it feels contemporary but because of the inclusion of witchcraft, it tilts it towards the paranormal or fantasy side of things, perhaps urban fantasy but also a thriller AND a  mystery! It has everything!

Pass some food around. A book you want to share with everyone.

The Loneliest Girl in the Universe by Lauren James is one of my all-time favorite books and I recommend it to anyone who will listen.

Light the BBQ. A book that took a while to get going.

Nevernight, I love it to death but it definitely took a little while to really get into it but once I was hooked that was it. I’m in for life now.

Failed BBQ. A book that ultimately disappointed you.

Sky in the Deep by Adrienne Young. It wasn’t a bad book by any means but I just found it far too predictable for my taste and I think  went into it expecting it to be fantasy in a way that it wasn’t, I am however enjoying the kind of sequel/follow up/companion book for it The Girl the Sea Gave Back however.

It’s raining. Of course. A book to curl up with when it’s raining outside.

This might seem a strange one but I think for me this would be A Discovery of Witches, it’s rare that I like huge books but A Discovery of Witches is one that I really enjoy and I can imagine the rain pouring down the windows in a lot of the scenes.

Let’s just eat chocolate. A book that’s super sweet.

The Tea Dragon Society by Katie O’Neil, it’s absolutely gorgeous and every page is gloriously sweet, from the art style and the characters, the story and the Tea Dragons themselves.

As usual, I won’t tag anyone but if you would like to give this tag a go feel free but let me know so I can check out your answers!

spoiler free, Tags

A-Z Tag

tag Thursday

I’ve seen this book tag floating around for such a long time now but have never had the chance to do it myself! I found it while checking out Lois’s blog, Lois Reads here. I love a good book tag and this has been one of my favourites so far! I hope you enjoy the A-Z book tag!

An author you’ve Read the Most Books From

Probably Cassandra Clare because of the sheer amount of Shadowhunters books and I still haven’t gotten around to the Red Scrolls of Magic yet! A close second would probably be Maria V. Snyder.


Best Sequel Ever

I sound like a broken record but Gemina by Jay Kristoff and Amie Kaufman, I didn’t think anything would be able to live up to Illumiane but Gemina did a damned good job. I also want to give an honourable mention to Vengeful by V. Schwab because it was absolutely perfect. Vengeful is probably the best sequel but Gemina is my favourite.

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Currently Reading

I had planned to read something different but this morning I decided to read The Girl the Water Gave Back by Adrienne Young.


Drink of Choice Whilst Reading

I tend not to drink too much while I’m reading as I tend to do little and often usually but if I’m settling in for a long read I usually have a cold glass of squash but as it gets colder I’ll be breaking out the hot chocolate for sure.


E-Reader or Physical Book

I jump between both but tend to lean towards physical books, mainly because there’s just something about looking up at my bookshelves full of all my favourite books and the memories they hold. I do like that that if I finish a book at 3am I can just download it’s sequel on my kindle – I do not recommend this if you plan to sleep ever.


Fictional Character You Probably would have Actually Dated in High School

I feel like there would be many unrequited crushes on my part, Ari from Once and Future, Mia from Nevernight, Finn from Aurora Rising, Jace from City of Bones, Stormer from Jem and the Holograms and Damon Salvatore from The Vampire Diaries. I feel like Simon Lewis from the Shadowhunter Chronicles would probably be the only one I might have actually dated with our similar nerdy interests.


Glad You Gave this Book a Chance

Gah! There have been SO many books I’ve read on a whim and absolutely loved so I refuse to pick one, The Devouring Gray by Christine Lynn Herman, Heartstopper by Alice Oseman, A Good Girls Guide to Murder by Holly Jackson, Adrift by Rob Boffard and Once and Future by Amy Rose Capetta and Cori McCarthy.


Hidden Gem Book

Sanctuary by V.V James, it’s not really that hidden anymore, especially after it was the book in the Illumicrate box last month but when I read it months ago I was so happy to have found it when I wasn’t looking for it.

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Important Moment in your Reading Life

When I read The Two Princesses of Barremare when I was (a lot) younger, for the first time and I fell head over heels in love with the characters, I felt so immersed in their world and they felt like real people to me when I was younger and I really think that Addie facing her fears helped me in some ways to become who I am today.


Just Finished

I finished Godsgrave by Jay Kristoff last night and I am…wrecked.


Kind of Books you Won’t Read

I don’t like super heavy adult books and I’m not comfortable reading anything that features miscarriage.


Longest Book you’ve Read

I’m fairly certain this is Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire at 734 pages but with A Discovery of Witches coming a close second at 688 pages. I don’t really read a lot of long books.

Scrap this, I just double-checked and actually, Queen of Air and Darkness by Cassie Clare was the longest book I’ve read at 912 pages. Ouch.

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Major Book Hangover because of

The only one I can really think of was after I read Lord of Shadows by Cassie Clare. The ending wrecked me and I think I was just a little burnt out after reading a couple of huge books in a row, I didn’t read for almost three months.


Number of Bookcases you Own

There are two small bookcases in our hallway filled mostly with Manga and I have another four in our bedroom, one of which is only half-sized and mostly contains video games.

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One Book You’ve Read Multiple Times

I haven’t reread a lot of books lately, I used to reread The Hobbit every year but it’s been a little while now and I just haven’t found the time to get back to it, that and I have so many great new books to read that I don’t feel like I could justify it. I do however listen to audiobooks before bed quite often and I always pick ones I’ve read/heard before so that I can actually get to sleep. The most popular is either Illuminae, Gemina or Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them because I adore Eddie Redmayne reading it.


Preferred Place to Read

I love to read on my comfy sofa in our bedroom! I’ve made my own little reading nook which is also where I film my YouTube videos on our old sofa that we were going to get rid of because it had a rip in it but it was too comfy and I couldn’t part with it so I just have a blanket covering it and it’s all good! I do also tend to read in/on my bed quite a lot too.


Quote that Inspires You

It’s probably a strange one and there are a lot of great quotes out there that I also love but this one has always stuck with me from Warm Bodies by Issac Marrion. It reminds me to speak up, whether for others or myself I don’t want to be silent either in my words or my actions and I will keep on going.

“I long for exclamation marks, but I’m drowning in ellipses.”


Reading Regret

I wish I hadn’t stopped reading. It was really only a few years but I can’t help at despair at all the books I could have read in that time and all the great books I missed. Still, I came back and that’s what matters.


Series You Started but Need to Finish

Six of Crows I guess? I got about halfway through the first book and had to get another book read for a blog tour but haven’t got back to it yet.


Three of Your All-Time Favourite Books

  • The Loneliest Girl in the Universe by Lauren James
  • Illuminae by Jay Kristoff
  • Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

Unapologetic Fangirl for

Lauren James, she’s an absolute instabuy author for me and I have yet to read one of her books that I haven’t adored.

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Very Excited for this Release More than Others

Darkdawn. I am both excited and terrified to be honest. I NEED ANSWERS.

Also Queen of Nothing. I hate to be so predictable but eh.


Worst Habit

Requesting or accepting books to review when I already have a ton to read. I’ll go to check a release date or something on Netgalley and end up requesting books because I’m a narcissistic idiot. It’s the same when I receive emails from publishers, I see a book I just KNOW I would love and would kick myself for not requesting and then it sits on my shelves forever. I’m trying to get through my backlog now.


X Marks the Spot – the 27th Book on Your Shelf

This is Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor. I loved this book so much, it was the first Laini Taylor book I’d ever read and her prose is absolutely poetic. This was my second book from Fairy Loot too so it has the blue-stained edges and is signed and personalised to me after I met Laini a couple of years back at YALC.

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Your Latest Book Purchase

Technically it was the Goldsborough edition of Darkdawn I guess? It won’t arrive until mid-September but I ordered it yesterday when a few extras went up for sale. Before that, I brought books at YALC and can’t remember which one I brought last.


Zzzz Snatcher

I stayed up until 4am reading The Quiet at The End of The World after hitting a plot twist at around 2:30am. It was worth it but I do not recommend it if you have a dependent child waking you up at 6am.

I hope you enjoyed the A-Z book tag! This has given me an idea for a simialr book tag myself but with a twist so keep your eyes peeled for that coming soon! I won’t tag anyone in particualr but you’d like to take part feel free and make sure to let me know so I can check out your answers!

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.

spoiler free, WWW Wednesday

WWW Wednesday 22nd May 2019

So WWW Wednesday from Sam at Taking on a World of Words is back (it didn’t go anywhere I just didn’t take part last week), instead of every week I’m planning to do this every fortnight instead to prevent it from being very repetitive as I don’t often read especially fast but if you want more updates however feel free to check out my Goodreads account.

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 currently reading Nexus by Lindsay Cummings and Sasha Alsberg. I’ve been excited to read this since finishing Zenith a couple of years back. Zenith had some problems I feel but overall I really liked the premise and story and knew I wanted to come back for the next instalment. I’m just shy of halfway through and there have been slow moments here and there but overall I’m really enjoying it and can’t wait to see how it all ends!

What did you recently finish reading?

The last book I finished was The Starlight Watchmaker by Lauren James, it’s the first novella I’ve read in a little while and it really made me miss short form stories (more to come soon!) It was a super cute read and especially powerful for such a tiny book, I can’t wait to share my review with you.

What do you think you’ll read next?

It wasn’t on my original TBR but my next read will be X-Men: The Dark Phoenix Saga by Stuart Moore. I hadn’t realised it was coming out but when I saw it pop up on my Twitter feed I knew I needed to read it. The Dark Phoenix Saga is one of my all-time favourite comic arcs and I’m so excited to see it in novel form, not to mention the film is out pretty soon now so I’m feeling all the Jean Grey hype.

What are you reading at the moment? What did you read last? What are you planning to read next? Let me know in the comments or leave links to your own WWW Wednesday posts.

Briefing note: In case you didn’t see my post on Twitter yesterday I just wanted to apologise for the lack of review this week. I had one all written and scheduled to go as I’ve been back and forwards to a ton of different appointments these past few weeks for me and my little man so it felt good to have posts in place still that I didn’t have to worry about until I realised I had a release date for yesterdays review totally wrong by a big difference and I just didn’t have the time or ability to change it or write a new one in time. Instead, I’ll be posting a different review this week instead and possibly a video by the weekend with any luck! Thank you all for bearing with me and I hope if anyone did manage to read the review before I took it down again that you enjoyed it. Normal schedule will be resumed next week.