Bookoplathon – End of Week 1

So last week I posted about how I was doing Bookoplathon. It was the last post I put up so read back if you want more information on the readathon and how to join.

I thought I would do a quick update at the end of each week. I put it off a bit today because I was hoping to be further through my current read. It wasn’t to be!

It’s been a fair week for reading. I have finished a couple of things that I was working on reading in August so my progress in the readathon doesn’t quite reflect how much I read this week.

For the readathon I read one and a bit books. The aim was to read two but I’m not too sad about what I achieved. I’m not very far behind.

I finished The Wicked Deep by Shea Ernshaw. This was my foiled cover read. I loved it. I know the plot is a little bit predictable but the atmosphere and the writing swept me away and I loved being in that world. For that reason it was a 5 star book. I can see myself revisiting it at some point. I can’t wait to read Winterwood now!

I’m working my way through my 2nd read which was The Beautiful. It was chosen by a Discord poll. I’m not loving this one as much but it’s fairly easy to read. I’m about 150 pages through it I’m hoping I can finish it soon so it doesn’t impact my 2nd week too much.

As for what I rolled for week 2…

Roll 3. I landed on Adult and I had picked out Ninth House by Leigh Bardugo for that one. This was another book I hoped to get to last month. I’m a little bit intimidated by it’s size but I’m hoping to be excited enough to wizz through it.

Roll 4 (Roll 3 was doubles). I landed on 5 Star Prediction. For this I will read the manga My Brother’s Husband Volume 2 by Gengoroh Tagame. The first volume is I think the first manga I have ever read. It read it last month and absolutely loved it (once I got used to how to read the format). I’m hoping volume 2 is just as good.

Roll 5. I landed on Community Shelf. Becca had us make cards with prompts on them that fitted our TBR. I used a random number generator to pick one and it gave me Mood Read/Free Choice. That couldn’t have gone better really. I chose Here is the Beehive by Sarah Crossan. I have to read that book this week anyway because it is a library book that is due back. I know very little about this book but I’m excited to read it. It should be another quick read.

Hopefully I can finish up The Beautiful quickly. Ninth House is the one I’m worried about this week. The other 2 should go quickly and shouldn’t really impact my week.

I’m still really enjoying this readathon. There was a 24 hour readathon yesterday and it really helped get a lot of pages read. There will be another one this week.

Happy reading whether you are participating or not. See you next week!

Becca’s Bookoplathon + Sept Reading Plans

So apparently I am making last minute impulse decisions to join readathons now. Becca’s Bookoplathon started at midnight last night and I made the decision to join at around 11.50pm.

It proves though that it is not too late for you to join too.

The Bookoplathon is run by Becca from Becca and the Books and is based on that old family favourite Monopoly. You roll two 6 sided dice and the property you land on has a prompt for the book you have to read. There are a few other rules but if you want more details you should probably go and watch Becca’s annoucement video.

So on to my reading plans. I immediately loved that this readathon can really be tailored to your reading style and speed. There is no pressure to finish a certain amount of books. It’s more about having fun making a TBR or rolling as the month goes along.

I have decided to do 2 rolls every Monday. That’s 2 initial rolls and then I have to take any doubles I roll as well. If you roll a double then you have to roll again and take both prompts. So far it has been pretty nice to me but I could see it going south later in the month and I could end up having a pretty busy end of the month.

1st roll I landed on Foiled Cover. For this I picked up my shiny paperback edition of The Wicked Deep by Shea Ernshaw. I had intended to read this last month but didn’t get around to it so this works out well.

2nd roll I landed on Poll Pick. I set up a poll in the readathon Discord server overnight and The Beautiful by Renee Ahdieh was chosen so that will be book 2 this week.

I feel like this method gives me a bit of space at the end of the week to finish up any library books or ARCs that need reading before a particular date. It also means I’m not just rolling endless books. I don’t like the thought of rewarding my progress through the month with more pressure to read more books.

I really like the randomness of this readathon. I could end up reading all sorts of books that I wouldn’t have prioritised otherwise. Let the board decide!

Book Blog Newbie Tag

I didn’t realise this tag existed for book bloggers but I saw Minna’s post and thought it would be a good idea to do it too. You can find Minna’s blog here:

Minna’s Reading Corner

1. Why did you start this blog?
In March I was furloughed from my job. I work in one of the industries in the UK that is still waiting for the okay to re-open. I have ended up with an excessive amount of free time so I thought it would be good to have a focus.

2. What are some fun and unique things you can bring to book blogging?
I always find it difficult to compliment myself. This feels a bit like a job interview question. I hope that when I’ve settled in a little I can make some unique content. I read a lot of books so my main hope is that somewhere in that mess of a pile you will find something that you end up loving too.

3. What are you most excited for about this new book blog?
I can tell that my boyfriend is most excited to not have to be the outlet for all my bookish opinions. I’m excited to have somewhere to share my thoughts, I’m excited to hopefully find people who love books as much as I do and most of all I’m just excited to have an excuse to read more books!

4. Why do you love reading?
For me the main draw is the escapism. When you feel like you don’t want to deal with life, you can jump into another world and be away from it all. It helps me stay away from my own thoughts for a while. It really has been a constant and a massive help through some tough times.

5. What book or series got you into reading?
I could give the stock answer that I see a lot and say Harry Potter. Those books certainly helped but I can trace it back further than that. When I was much younger I discovered the Sophie series by Dick King-Smith. I had the cassette tapes and I would listen and follow along in the books. I essentially learned to read like this. If you don’t know the books, they are about a young head strong girl named Sophie. Sophie wasn’t the girly girl I found in lots of other media. She was messy and didn’t mind getting a bit dirty. She dreams of being a farmer, even if that isn’t a traditional role she would have been expected to fall into. Apart from her tantrums, I could have had way worse role models.

6. What questions would you ask your favorite authors?
I go back and forward on favourite writers. I’m not one for clearing an entire writers backlog. The Lunar Chronicles is one of my favourite series. I would maybe ask Marissa Meyer where her love of fairytales came from. And this is why I’ve not jumped into trying to interview authors yet…

7. What challenges do you think starting a blog will be the hardest to overcome?
Keeping up with posting is a big one I’ve encountered so far. I have so many posts half finished in my drafts. Even if I do end up posting regularly, keeping up with the stuff that is relevant at that moment has been tough. Case in point, after this post I’m off to finish my June Wrap-Up. I will get caught up, I promise.

8. When did you start reading?
I’m not sure how old I was. It feels like it has always been there in some form or another. I was read to from a very young age and then I worked my way up. It was something I got quite competitive about in school. I had to be at a high reading level.

9. Where do you read?
Anywhere I can. My bed is my favourite reading spot at the moment. It’s the quietest place in the house. All I need is somewhere comfy and quiet. All too often I try to read on moving vehicles and either end up feeling travel sick or end up staring out of the window.

10. What kind of books do you read?
Contemporary and romance are my go to easy reads but it doesn’t stop me picking up anything I can. I’m not as into fantasy as some but I sure do give it a good go. I like historical fiction and sci-fi and a bit of non-fiction. My boyfriend would describe my taste as “anything YA” as that tends to be the bulk of what I read but again, that wouldn’t stop me from picking up something different.

I hope I can write a few more chatty conversational posts like this. I feel like this is where I’m most comfortable. I just have to get caught up on those other posts first.

Children’s Titles

I thought it would be fun to have a look at a couple of new releases for children.

The Places We Sleep by Caroline Brooks DuBois

Rating: 4 out of 5.

This book is set around the events of September 11th and how children were affected by the terrorist attack. It follows 12 year old Abbey, who is the new girl in school once again when the family move because of her dad’s work in the army. It is September 11th 2001 and Abbey gets her first period. The book intertwines the historical events of the day with a coming of age story of a girl trying to find her feet in a new place.

This is a middle grade book written entirely in verse. I’m finding myself enjoying middle grade more and more and wondering why I shut off the genre thinking it was going to be too young for me. There’s lots there to enjoy for kids but also big kids like me.

The only thing that confused me slightly was the way the book jumped about so much. It is written as though we are in Abbey’s fast moving mind, flitting between all the problems that she is facing. I like the style for that reasons but it just made it difficult to follow sometimes. Usually when I was uncertain about something, it was explained pretty quick but I did find myself thrown out of the story occasionally and looking around for context.

The book was really emotional and honest. I didn’t know middle grade fiction could hit me as hard as this one did. The disaster of September 11th sometimes feels so far removed from our understanding that we become numb to it. This book brings the real human stories back to the forefront and reminds us of how we felt when it first happened.

The Places We Sleep by Caroline Brooks DuBois is released 25th August 2020

Once Upon a Dragon’s Fire by Beatrice Blue

Rating: 4 out of 5.

This one was purely indulgent for me. After reading The Tea Dragon Society last week I was really in the mood for another cute picture book featuring a dragon. This is exactly what I got. Once Upon a Dragon’s Fire is an adorable story of friendship and of discovering someone for yourself. It is the story of how dragons got their magical gift and are able to breathe fire.

The illustrations are beautiful and colourful. They are so full of detail that I could have spent a good long time just looking at them and imagining the stories of the people that lived in village. The story itself is very short and aimed at younger children. It would make a good bed time story. It left me feeling all warm and fuzzy inside. I would have loved this book as a kid and I hope I remember it long enough to get a copy for my future kids.

Once Upon a Dragon’s Fire is released on 1st Sept 2020

June Wrap Up (Part Three)

I realise no one cares at this point but here are some more of my June reads.

The Glass Ocean by Beatriz Williams, Lauren Willing and Karen White

Rating: 3 out of 5.

This is a fictionalised account of the ill fated journey of the Lusitania. I mentioned this book to a few people while I was reading it. As soon as you mention the word “Lusitania”, their faces drop and they know how it will end. I had heard the name thrown around but wasn’t sure of the details. It was very interesting to read this and find out more about the kind of people that traveled on it for its last journey across the Atlantic. The book follows the fates of two women travelling on the boat and runs duel timeline with a third who is researching the disaster years later.

I loved that there was a mystery element to the book. I was invested and wanted to find out how it ended. The Lusitania disaster is not the only story here. The characters and their individual stories were well fleshed out. I think it benefited from there being three authors.

Overall, it was an enjoyable reading experience but not overly memorable. I recommend this to anyone interested in the time period or anyone just wanting to escape for a little while. I’d be tempted to pick up something from these authors again, collectively or separately.

The Weight of Our Sky by Hanna Alkaf

Rating: 4 out of 5.

This is another historical fiction, set during the race riots in Kuala Lumpur in 1969. This is a subject I knew nothing about going in. It features an OCD main character which I’m always for. That intensified the action for me, especially someone who has suffered with mental illness. I did find that it was on the edge of being too much to handle if I read lots of chapters in one sitting. That was just a personal thing. It is really interesting to read about outdated views on mental illness but it wasn’t the most helpful thing for me to be doing when I was hit hard by mine.

I do always say, however that the books that make you feel strongly are the best books. If a book can evoke an uncomfortable feeling in the reader then it’s done a good job. If a book can make a reader sad, as this one did many times, then it’s done a good job.

This book skews younger. I’m not sure if you would call it YA or middle grade. I’m guessing middle grade as the main character is quite young. I certainly think it would be okay for older children to read, as long as they are okay with the subject of violence as that figures quite heavy in this book.

The Girl in the Blue Coat by Monica Hesse

Rating: 4 out of 5.

I was on a historical fiction roll at this point of the month. This historical fiction is a heart-wrenching look at what was going on in The Netherlands during the war. I know this is a particular favourite of Hayley from Hayley in Bookland so I’ve had it on my list for a long time. It came up on my library service as available and I knew it was finally time to read it.

It is the story of a young black marketeer and her search for a Jewish girl who disappeared from her hiding spot in the house of a customer. I loved the mentions of the small acts of rebellion happening by resistance workers. You had the worst examples of what humans can do but also there were small reminders of what a little bit of good can do to change someone’s life.

Some of it was a difficult read. Although there isn’t much focus on the horrific acts of violence, there is still the element of people being ripped away from, home, loved ones and from everything they knew. This was enough without the knowledge of where they would be ending up. I was really impressed by how this book became so emotional whilst staying at a level that younger people could read.

Not That Kind of Guy by Andie J Christopher

Rating: 3 out of 5.

This was a fairly run of the mill adult romance. It was an enjoyable experience but I don’t remember a huge amount of details. There’s an office romance, there’s fake dating. I quite like both of those tropes so this was enjoyable. If those things appeal to you then this one is certainly worth a try.

It was only when I got right to the end of this book that I realised it is a companion novel to Not The Girl You Marry by the same author. Having now read that too, I don’t think I suffered too much by reading them the wrong way round. You obviously know where the first book is headed but with adult romances, you can kind of guess that anyway.

Watch Us Rise by Renee Watson & Ellen Hagan

This one was about two girls who start a feminist club in their school. This reminded me of Moxie by Jennifer Mathieu. It has a similar sort of feel. It’s about two girls who are sick of how women and especially black women are treated in a school that claims to be progressive. They start a Womens Rights Club and start to post poetry and articles online. When their blog is hit by cyber bullying, the club is shut down.

It’s a great commentary on feminism, on racism and intersectionality. It looks at politics of a school aswell as the wider country. It also has much to say on censorship but also on how online abuse is handled. Youtube is an example of a company taking a similar approach as this school did, taking the stance of “if you are getting abuse, then what you are posting is the problem.” It’s a really timely novel and the more I think about it, the more I really appreciate everything the main characters fight for.

The only thing I couldn’t get one hundred percent behind was the school itself. This may just be my limited experience but I found it difficult to imagine the existence of such a progressive school where every subject is centered around how students can effect change and make things happen. Maybe there are schools like that out there but it meant that I wasn’t fully emersed because I just couldn’t picture it.

The mix between prose and poetry really made this book unique. It gave you all the information a non-fiction book on the subjects would but in an entertaining way. I really enjoyed it and recommend to all, especially young girls trying to find their place in society. I wish I had found books like this growing up.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Orphan Black No. 1 by John Fawcett, Graeme Manson, Jody Houser, Szymon Kudranski, Mat Lopes & Neil Uyetake

Rating: 4 out of 5.

This is a comic based on the Orphan Black TV series. This volume basically followed Beth’s story from the start of season one. It didn’t feel like there was anything new particularly but it was nice revisiting the world of Orphan Black. The art work is great. It was a good time. It felt like a nice way to do a re-watch. If you enjoyed the TV series, you will probably like this. If you haven’t seen it, then I recommend watching the series. It’s brilliant!

There’s only one more June post and I promise it is coming soon.

Upcoming Graphic Novels

I received a couple of graphic novels from Netgalley that are released soon. I was sent them both for free in exchange for an honest review. I thought I’d combine this post and talk about them both together. Thank you to Oni Press for both of these books.

My Riot by Rick Spears (& illustrated by Emmett Helen)

Rating: 3 out of 5.

My Riot is a YA graphic novel set in the 90s. It follows a girl from a conversative family as she moves away from what her family expects from her and treads her own path. Although I didn’t relate to the character’s rebellion, I still found lots of elements and references that I recognised, growing up in the 90s.

I do like how the book tackled difficult subjects but, I would warn anyone who doesn’t want to read about eating disorders that maybe this book isn’t for them. It is set in the 90s and some of the opinions expressed by the characters feel dated. I felt quite uncomfortable about the pressure put on the main character to lose weight. I’m glad the book didn’t shy away from the tough things that teenagers go through though. Consciously or subconsciously, the pressure, especially in the dance world, exists.

I was a big fan of the artwork in this book. The title pages in particular were stunning. I would hang them up as pieces of art. It suited the punk style of the story really well. I can almost imagine some of the pages hung up as band posters.

The book was quite fast paced and intense. This was down to the format and didn’t leave much time for discovering the motivation behind the decisions. I felt that this suited the characters though and you ended up with impulsive, flawed characters acting on their feelings.

Overall I really enjoyed my reading experience and will keep my eyes open for any future releases from this team.

My Riot is released in the UK on 20th October 2020

The Tea Dragon Tapestry by Katie O’Neill

Rating: 5 out of 5.

This is one of the most exciting ARCs I have ever received. The Tea Dragon series by Katie O’Neill started as an online comic series. The Tea Dragon Tapestry is the 3rd and concluding book to be published in the series. The books are marketed towards children but the online book community has taken the dragons into their heart and they have become favourites of readers of all ages.

I won’t go too deep into the plot of this book, as it is the third in the series but the first book is about a girl who stumbles across what remains of The Tea Dragon Society. They are protectors of cute creatures called tea dragons who grow tea leaves and fruit on their horns and antlers. The Tea Dragon Society are also charged with making sure that the lost art of making tea with the leaves from the dragons, does not get forgotten.

The first thing that has to be said is that the artwork is ridiculously adorable! Each page feels like it has been constructed with love. Looking at it feels like a comforting hug. Each tea dragon is unique and has its own personality. I dare you to come out of one of these books not wanting a tea dragon of your own. I certainly want one.

I didn’t feel the story was quite as strong in this one as the first but I still really enjoyed it. It was a good end to a trilogy. It wrapped up well whilst also leaving you thinking about the future of the characters. You need a bit of both in a final book.

The concept of grief was tackled in a very gentle and comforting way and I could imagine it being a good way to introduce children to the idea. I also really appreciated the representation in this book. There is a character in a wheelchair and elements of same sex relationships. I think it is important for children to see these characters in normal settings, where that element of their character is not the only thing about them.

Overall, it was exactly the kind of book I needed to read right now. It was happy and wholesome and feels like something I can come back to whenever I’m sad.

The Tea Dragon Tapestry is released on 27th October 2020 in the UK.

Basically Readathon

One of my favourite readathons is back! Basically Readathon is a 24 hour readathon hosted by Britt who happens to be one of my favourite booktubers.

This time the readathon runs for the entirety of 8th August, whenever it is 8th August in your time zone. So that’s midnight tonight until midnight tomorrow.

The aim is to read a book that’s been on your TBR (to be read) list forever. It’s all about clearing your backlog a bit and making that commitment to read that you keep putting off.

You can find Britt at Basically Britt on YouTube or on Twitter as BrittAlsemgeest or BasicallyReadathon.

You can follow everyone’s progress through the day using #BasicallyReadathon on Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.

In terms of what I am planning for it. I’m going to try and read Becoming by Michelle Obama. It’s not my usual definition of “on my TBR forever” but I did get it a few Christmases ago so I think it is time.

Hope you can all join. If not, then Britt runs these every couple of months. There’s always next time.

Happy reading!

June Wrap Up (Part Two)

I have decided that six is a nice number to review before I start a new post. It gets too long otherwise.

Notes on a Nervous Planet by Matt Haig

Rating: 5 out of 5.

It was a good week for reading as I went on to next read another 5 star book. Notes on a Nervous Planet is part memoir and part self help book from author Matt Haig. As someone who struggles from anxiety myself, I need to be in the right mood to read something like this. Sometimes I don’t want my live reflected in a book. This was presented in such a way that it didn’t feel overwhelming. It was very accurate to what I have experienced with my mental health issues and often presented to me perspectives that I’d never thought of.

It has some food for thought on how social media and the intense, in your face world that we live in can affect your mental health. It definitely helped to have some perspective on this considering what is going on in the world.

The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah

Rating: 4 out of 5.

A big sweeping slice of life novel about a family who move to Alaska in the 70s. They soon find out how much of a struggle it is to live in such an unforgiving place. It wasn’t something I’d usually be drawn towards but I’d heard a lot of good things about Kristin Hannah’s writing. I listened to it on audiobook which I think was a good decision. The length of this book is intimidating and it was nice to be able to relax and listen to it instead of worrying about how thick the book is.

You could really picture the landscape as you read this. It made me want to go and visit Alaska. It would certainly put you off the idea of living there though, in the 70s at least. I like my home comforts too much.

Some of the book was tough to read, with some violent scenes. I think that and the length of the story were the only things I struggled with slightly. It would certainly encourage me to read another Kristin Hannah book. I will pick up The Nightingale soon. I promise!

Cursed by Thomas Wheeler (& illustrated by Frank Miller

Rating: 2 out of 5.

I was excited to see what this was like considering it was being made into a Netflix series (now available to stream). I’d somehow gotten it into my mind that this was a graphic novel and I think going in with that expectation, I was already on the back foot. Go in with the knowledge that it is a regular novel that happens to include some wonderful illustrations.

I appreciate the strong female hero but I ended up being pretty bored by the story itself. I wasn’t enjoying my reading experience. I found the whole thing a bit confused. I will still probably watch the Netflix adaptation at some point. I think the story may be better suited to that.

Meet Me in Monaco by Hazel Gaynor & Heather Webb

Rating: 4 out of 5.

I think the test of a good historical fiction is to finishing it wanting to find out more about the era or subject of the story. This story is set around the wedding of Grace Kelly to Prince Rainier of Monaco. I knew very little about either of them or about the media whirlwind that followed them and their nuptials.

I was entranced from start to finish by the story, the romantic setting and the glamorous Hollywood star who is always feels just out of reach from the regular lives of the main characters. I wanted to visit all of the settings. They were all beautifully described.

I did enjoy the story but I think the main thing that captured my attention was finding out more about Grace Kelly. I’ve seen her on film but I was impressed with her strength through the media circus that was happening around her. I’ve since seen some clips of her leaving America to travel to Monaco and it is scary. It is amazing that the press were ever allowed to behave like. It does make you wonder however if things have really moved on that much. It makes you wonder how scary it is to walk a modern day red carpet or be hounded by paparazzi.

I would read another book by this writing team but mainly I’m off to watch all of Grace Kelly’s films.

All Boys Aren’t Blue by George M Johnson

Rating: 4 out of 5.

A sometimes difficult but important and timely read. This is a memoir in essays from journalist and LQBTQIA+ activist George M Johnson. He was completely unknown to me before reading this but the book started to get a bit of buzz and it quickly moved its way up my to be read list.

The book focuses on gender identity, toxic masculinity, brotherhood, family, consent, structural marginalization and black joy. It is an insight into growing up black and gay.

The book was meaningful and important. I’m not an own voices reviewer for this book and I think it’s important to go and look up a review from them if you are interested in this book. It moved me. It made me sad, it made me thoughtful and it made me angry. It was important for me to read this account and consider what it is like for queer black kids growing up in our current world.

The Neighbours by Nicola Gill

Rating: 4 out of 5.

A unusual contemporary that instead of focusing on romance, focuses on an unlikely friendship struck up between neighbours. I enjoyed the dynamic of the younger and older woman striking up a friendship. In some ways it is just your run of the mill contemporary romance. To be honest, it isn’t that memorable to me. I obviously had an enjoyable reading experience, giving it four stars. Let me give you the synopsis and you can go judge it for yourself.

Meet Ginny, 34, and Cassie, 55. Neighbours, and (very) unlikely friends.

Some women have it all. Others are thirty-four, renting a tiny flat alone because they recently found their long-term boyfriend in bed with their boss. Unfortunately, the latter applies to Ginny Taylor. Single and jobless, Ginny is certain her life can’t get any worse. But then she encounters her downstairs neighbour for the very first time…
Cassie Frost is a woman who had it all – she was a once-loved actress, but a recent stint on reality TV has rocketed her to online infamy. She’s suddenly become a national hate figure – and she desperately needs a new publicist. And Ginny is a publicist who desperately needs a job… but can she be persuaded to work for the uber-difficult, excessively prickly woman that lives below her floorboards?

It did what is says on the tin.

I’ll hopefully get another six books up in the next few days. More June to come.

Try a Chapter – Andersen Press Edition (Part One)

Andersen Press also released some samples for YALC weekend and I thought I’d give some of those a try too. There seems to be lots of exciting YA books on the horizon.

The Silent Stars Go By by Sally Nicholls

I hadn’t heard of this book but the cover was revealed as part of the YALC celebrations. The blurb on Goodreads suggests a war-torn romance and a child given up for adoption to spare the shame of an unwed mother.

First few pages and I’m already intrigued. I like a historical fiction book. This starts with a girl returning to her childhood home in 1919. It feels like an easy read and something I would fly through. I’m definitely interested in picking this up when it is released.

The Silent Stars Go By is expected to be published on 5th November 2020

The Short Knife by Elen Caldecott

This one is set in the dark ages. It isn’t something I’d usually pick up but that’s why these samples are so exciting. Hopefully I can find something new.

This is the first two chapters. It begins with a birth during a time of looming danger. It’s not an era I’ve read anything about and it is fascinating to have a different picture in my mind. It reads slightly younger than some things I would read but I generally don’t mind that with historical fiction.

They are greeting each other in Welsh! Ooh that’s an instant win for me. I’ve been slowly learning bits and pieces of the language so that’s nice to see.

I don’t think this is something I will want to continue on with but it was really fun to dip into. I recommend checking it out if it is a time period that is of interest to you.

The Short Knife by Elen Caldecott is out now

The Lost Witch by Melvin Burgess

I know Melvin Burgess is a famous name but I don’t think I have read any of his books. The Lost Witch is about a girl who can see things no one else can. I hope it is as atmospheric and spooky as the cover makes it look.

From the first few pages I can see there is a contemporary element to the book. This will make it easier to read for me as there won’t be an unknown world to establish. I’m surprised too how dark it is, this early into the book. I did not appreciate the animal death.

I think I’m going to look into getting this one. I really want to know where this goes. That was a nice surprise as I didn’t think that this one would be my kind of thing.

The Lost Witch by Melvin Burgess is out now.

The Falling in Love Montage by Ciara Smyth

This one looks right up my street. I love a YA romance and I’m assuming that is what this is. Based on the Goodreads blurb, we have a F/F romance and a mother character with early onset dementia. I’m interested to see how the harder hitting themes are addressed.

There’s a girl who is just through exams on the cusp of university. It’s quite a common setting for YA books but I always enjoy seeing it. It’s a challenging time under normal circumstances but I can imagine it will be really tough for the main character with all her mum is going through and with her dad getting re-married.

I really enjoyed the sampler. It is something I would definitely pick up again.

The Falling in Love Montage by Ciara Smyth is out now

The Crossover by Kwame Alexander (& illustrated by Dawud Anyabwile)

This is a graphic novel about basketball told in verse. Not my kind of thing exactly but it is very good at being what it is. If those things tick your boxes then check this out. There isn’t much to say about this because an excerpt is even shorter when it is a graphic novel.

It looks as though the book was published as a novel and this is a new adaptation. That’s really cool.

I probably won’t be picking up the whole book but it looks good. It might encourage me to read the original book. I think that would probably be more my kind of thing.

The Crossover by Kwame Alexander is out now in both straight text and graphic novel format

Small Town Hero by Patrick Neate

This looks like urban fantasy with elements of time travel. I like that video games are mentioned in the synopsis too. I always appreciate a story set around those.

So far it’s really readable. I’m already sad that it seems like quite a short sample. It has a sort of super hero vibe that I’m really enjoying. I don’t feel like I’ve read a good super hero origin story for a while.

I reckon I will pick this one up at some point. I’d like to know what happens next.

Small Town Hero by Patrick Neate is expected to be published Aug 6th 2020 in the UK

I have more Andersen Press samplers left to read but I will leave them for another post.

Try a Chapter – Bloomsbury Edition

This weekend was supposed to be the YA book convention YALC. I’d never been but always wanted to. Obviously it wasn’t possible this year so everything has moved online.

Bloomsbury released a sampler of some of their new and upcoming books and I thought I’d read it and see what jumps out at me and what I fancy reading in the future.

This is my first time doing this sort of thing so it will be interesting to see what if anything I can tell from reading the first chapter of the books.

Cinderella is Dead by Kalynn Bayron

First of all the cover is beautiful. I have heard a little about this book and it is already on my radar for reading. I hope the chapter won’t change my mind.

This one is actually the first two chapters. It looks like a YA F/F romance within a fairytale re-telling. It is set 200 years on from the original Cinderella story and things are not looking great for teenage girls. We find out that they are forced into going to a ball for some sort of matching ceremony.

The style strikes me as leaning towards self-aware, something I love in books especially re-tellings. The female characters, from what I’ve read so far sound interesting and I’m guessing will be opposing the status quo. It won’t be your traditional fairytale.

I’m really excited about this one. The first few chapters were very readable and everything I’ve seen so far ticks boxes for me. It has all the things I usually like in books. I have actually just pre-ordered this book and I can’t wait to see if the rest of the book is just as good.

Cinderlla is dead is published 6th August in the UK

The Great Godden by Meg Rosoff

I’ve not heard of this book and neither the title nor cover gives much away. From Goodreads, it looks like a YA contemporary romance that will probably include some darker, hard hitting elements. Sounds good. I also like the sound of the setting, a holiday home by the sea. Looks like it could be a good summery read.

This sample is the first four chapters. The first is very short and is basically the blurb you get on Goodreads. We have the set up of a family holiday with a potential romance. It is intriguing but I haven’t gotten anything about a plot from it yet.

It’s a really interesting start but I think this one will depend on price and whether I happen to come across it when I’m buying books.

The Great Godden by Meg Rosoff is out now

The Gravity of Us by Phil Stamper

This is an interesting one because I’ve rented this one from my library online and I’m actually planning on reading it in the next few weeks. I know it is a YA M/M contemporary romance set around a NASA mission and that’s all I really need to know to be excited. I love all things NASA.

So far we have a guy who live streams his own news reports from New York. This sample is the first two chapters. I’m really interested to see when exactly this is set. You don’t get a clear picture from the first few chapters. It might be that it is just a vague “sometime in the near future” and it isn’t really referenced anyway.

I want to keep reading it. I’m already sucked in and it will now be difficult to wait to read this in a few weeks. I have it on a list for a readathon so I need to wait.

The Gravity of Us by Phil Stamper is out now

House of Earth and Blood (Crescent City) by Sarah J Maas

I’ve definitely heard of this one as there was a big buzz around it when it was first released. I’ve read the A Court of Thorns and Roses series by Sarah J Maas but have never read anything else by her. I’m not as massively into fantasy as a lot of bloggers so it will be interesting to see if this one grabs my attention. Maybe it will finally convince me to read the Throne of Glass series. The blurb suggests a fantasy revenge story, maybe a bit of mystery and thriller thrown in.

So far we have a collection of fantasy characters. I reckon it will take a while to establish the world and I’m not sure it will be accomplished in a short chapter sampler. That’s nothing against the book necessarily. There’s a lot going on in the first section.

I think this is another case of I will read it if I happen to pick up a copy. It didn’t massively draw me in in the first two chapters but I’m sure it will be an interesting read after investing a bit more time in it. I think maybe fantasy chapter samplers just don’t work for me.

House of Earth and Blood by Sarah J Maas is out now

We Are Bound By Stars by Kesia Lupo

This one looks like a sequel so that’s immediately a question mark as to whether I can get anything from the chapter sampler. I questioned whether to include it at all but it’s in the book so here it is. The first book is called We are Blood and Thunder. It looks like it is a fantasy about a witch hunt.

“Another thrilling, plot-driven adventure, with an even bigger twist, We Are Bound by Stars is a tale of masks, politics, desire and deception that will have you gripped once again in Kesia Lupo’s rich fantasy world.” – What Goodreads says about the 2nd book.

This seems to have elements of a familiar world which I appreciate. I prefer when fantasy books are closer to magical realism. I don’t really want to say too much about the plot as I don’t know what is a spoiler for events in the first book.

I might pick up the first one to see what it is like at some point but a fantasy series always feels like more of a commitment to me. I would need some free time.

We Are Bound By Stars by Kesia Lupo is out now.

The Enigma Game by Elizabeth Wein

This is another interesting one because I’ve already ordered it. I hope I like the sampler. Elizabeth Wein is very knowledgeable about wartime and has written some really great historical fiction that I’ve enjoyed in the past.

This one looks like it will be another good one about young women shaking up the war. It’s about an enigma code device that the young people stumble across and their efforts to keep it hidden from the enemy.

Her writing style is just so readable and I’ve already fallen into the time period. I’m excited to continue reading when my copy arrives.

The Enigma Game by Elizabeth Wein is out now

It was really great to have the chance to sample some of these books at home. I haven’t been able to attend YALC in person yet so this was a great chance to join in.

I wasn’t sure how I was going to feel after only reading a short section of these books but, I think I am more likely to pick them up after reading the excerpts. I was most interested in Cinderella is Dead and The Gravity of Us, both of which I intend on reading soon. I think overall the contemporary books were easiest to pick up from a small section but I’m intrigued by them all. It was a great way to decide which books to prioritise reading soon.

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