IMI RECOMMENDS | Socially important millennial fiction

We always hear about the books that shaped history, the classics which were ahead of their time, leading social change. Harper Lee’s To Kill A Mockingbird, Orwell’s 1984, Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale and so many more. But what about the books of our generation, which are shaping our lives and socially important now? Well, here’s my list!

A Thousand Splendid Suns (2007) by Khalid Hosseini

Adult, Historical

Why You Should Read This Book: I read this book when I was 16 and it has since remained the most important book I have ever read. It follows two generations of Afghani women across 30 years and taught me more about the history of the conflict in Afghanistan than any news source ever could. It shattered my heart and enlightened my soul. If you’ve read The Kite Runner, then should should undoubtedly read this, but even if you haven’t, this book hits powerful chords in relation to war, family, women’s rights and survival.

Representation: PoC, mental health, immigration.
Content Warnings: Suicide, war themes, domestic violence, rape, abuse, miscarriage, death, severe misogyny, stoning.

★★★★★

“Learn this now and learn it well. Like a compass facing north, a man’s accusing finger always finds a woman. Always.”

The Hate U Give (2017) by Angie Thomas

YA, Contemporary

Why You Should Read This Book: With the number of black people being unjustly killed in the US every day, it is astounding that everyone in the world has not read this book. And they should. I say this as someone who has only just finished it. It should not have taken me so long to pick it up and if you haven’t, you should this very minute. There’s even a film now if you’re not into reading.

Representation: PoC main characters and black culture, mental health (grief and implied PTSD), strong familial relationships, second chances / rehabilitation.
Content Warnings: Shooting, gang themes, riots, violence, loss of loved ones, grief, substance abuse, drug dealing, police brutality, racism. Please research for more if you think this book may be triggering.

★★★★★

Thoughts from others…

“It demonstrates why representation in YA lit matters so much and that despite previous reticence of publishers, books written by PoC make money (which is sadly their bottom line).” – Josephine Boyce, author of the Rebellion duology

“It shows people what being African American in the USA is like, what it’s like to grow up in the inner city, how you have to deal with other people’s perception of you, and about prejudice.” – Colleen (@jedithebookpup)

“You know. We all know. Masterpiece. Especially in the US where police brutality is rampant.” – Melanie (blogger at Meltotheany)

“Sometimes you can do everything right and things will still go wrong. The key is to never stop doing right.”

A Long Way to a Small Angry Planet (2014) by Becky Chambers

Adult, Sci Fi

Why You Should Read This Book: This is the single most diverse book I have ever read and bonus points, it’s set in space. There are so many different species with beliefs of acceptance and prejudice across gender, sexuality and race. It’s a futuristic and fantastical look at the prejudices that divide the human race and is incredibly eye opening.

Representation: A racially (in terms of species) and sexually diverse cast of characters, so many different species and cultures, so much rep I can’t even list it.
Content Warnings: War themes, death, loss of loved one. Please research for more if you think this book may be triggering.

★★★★★

“People can do terrible things when they feel safe and powerful.” 

Girls of Paper and Fire (2018) by Natasha Ngan

YA, Fantasy

Why You Should Read This Book: This book is a beautiful and powerful embodiment of women fighting for themselves, their bodies and their rights in a fiercely misogynistic and patriarchal society. It explores caste systems and social segregation through the demonic castes, but further that that, explores a woman’s right to be treated as a human being despite her caste, her right to give her body to whoever she chooses and keep it from those she does not.

There are some very graphic scenes in this book – Natasha wrote a very beautiful and important and detailed author note at the front so please read that if in doubt. 

Representation: Asian PoC, F/F romance, racial castes (defined through demon, half-demon, human).
Content Warnings: Rape, sexual assault, slavery, sex trafficking, loss, murder, abduction, captivity, torture, physical abuse, war themes. Please research for more if you think this book may be triggering.

★★★★★

“You are strong, Lei. You are beautiful. You are mine. And, always, most important: You are yours.”

It Ends With Us (2016) by Colleen Hoover

New Adult, Contemporary

Why You Should Read This Book: This is one of the most impactful novels I have read. The lessons this book taught me about love and abuse will stay with me forever. I still don’t think domestic violence is talked about enough, we all know about it, we may know someone who has experienced it, but what are we doing about it? In this book, Colleen Hoover is doing something, she’s giving victims a voice, she’s giving them strength. 

Representation: Female friendship, homelessness, mental health.
Content Warnings: Domestic violence, physical abuse, sexual abuse, attempted rape. Please research for more if you think this book may be triggering.

★★★★★

Thoughts from others…

It Ends With Us does a great job exploring how ‘easy’ it is to fall into an abusive relationship, and how confusing feelings can be in that situation.” – Victoria (@victoriaeellis2).

“It’s one of the first contemporary novels to touch on how relationships can slowly unravel and an abusive one can begin without noticing. It explores the cycle of children of abusive relationships falling into ones of their own and the realisation that it can happen when you least expect it.” – Bee (blogger at Beauty and the Books)

“Just because someone hurts you doesn’t mean you can simply stop loving them. It’s not a person’s actions that hurt the most. It’s the love.”

I asked other bloggers, bookstagrammers and fellow book nerds what they thought the most socially important millennial books were – here are some answers!

Symptoms of Being Human (2016) by Jeff Garvin

“It’s the first person POV of a gender-fluid teen navigating high school. Being unfamiliar with what exactly being gender fluid meant, I felt it was a really eye-opening read for me. And Riley, the narrator, has such an honest voice that easily draws the reader in.” – Jennifer (bookstagrammer at
@berrybookishjenn)

Sawkill Girls (2018) by Claire Legrand

Sawkill Girls was the first book I’ve read where I’ve seen on page ace representation, that is not only introduced seamlessly throughout the story but explored and discussed with respect a partner. There is also further queer rep and PoC rep, which is important for a multitude of young readers seeing themselves in the protagonists..” – Lauren (blogger at Northern Plunder)

Our Own Private Universe (2017) by Robin Talley

“It is not only a very romantic contemporary featuring two queer women, one of who is a person of colour and bisexual, but it also talks about the importance of safe sex which is rare in ya contemporary and almost non existent in sex education when it’s about same sex relationships” – Kayla (@mskayla.reads)

Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda (2016) by Becky Albertalli 

“Because straight and white should not be the default, and it gives LGBTQ teens a happy ending when there are many books and TV shows that do the opposite for these characters.” – Lauren  (@leakycauldrons)

The Astonishing Colour of After (2018) by Emily X. R. Pan

“This book is all mental health and identity and is probably the book that meant the most to me all year. I have never read a book that discusses depression better than this one.” – Melanie (blogger at Meltotheany)

Girl Made of Stars (2018) by Ashley Herring Blake

“This is an important book because it showcases the aftereffects of sexual abuse and rape. It also has bi rep, gender fluid rep, talks about anxiety and PTSD. Great book to have in this day and age.” – Felicia (bookstagrammer at
@bookishly.slytherin)

The Long Song (2010) by Andrea Levy

“It’s about racial inequality, slavery and social unrest in a British colony. It’s a powerful story of love and  survival.” – Jess (blogger at Jessica Writes)

Looking for Alaska (2006) by John Green

“Because of it’s cult-like status it has made more people read across a range of ages, and sparked conversations about YA, the glorification of misery, and the manic, pixie dream girl.” – Julie (@LessonInGravity)

The Fifth Season (2015) by N. K. Jemisin

The Broken Earth trilogy tackles white supremacy, racism, and oppression head on, and reminds us that we shouldn’t vote on who gets to be people. ” – Melanie (blogger at Meltotheany)

The Female of the Species (2016) by Mindy McGinnis

“It’s mostly about rape, but not only. It also talks about how women are seen and it really resonated with me. The protagonist is morally grey, and yet, a lot of the way she spoke up and fought during the book made me heavily reflect on how people tend to remain silent and watch from afar instead of taking action.” – Camilla (blogger at Reader in the Attic)

Noughts & Crosses (2006) by Malorie Blackman

“It handles incredibly relevant and damaging social issues – the lasting impact of racism and segregation, with a twist that compels entitled audiences to consider the alternative side of their privilege – whilst being extremely accessible for children and young adults through making them and their struggles the focus.” – Becky (@padabecky)

This list is by no means conclusive, so please feel free to list the books you think are social important in this generation in the comments!


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REVIEW | Vengeful (Villains #2) by V.E. Schwab

Name: Vengeful (Villains #2)
Author: V.E. Schwab
Genres: Adult, Paranormal Fantasy
Publisher: Titan Books
Format: UK Hardback
Source: Waterstones Pre-Order
Rating: ★★★★★
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Eli Ever and Victor Vale were only medical students when their mutual discovery that near-death experiences can, under the right conditions, manifest extraordinary abilities.

They were best friends, and rivals, and then enemies. They were dead, then alive, and then—Eli killed Victor, once and for all.

Or so he thought—but Sydney Clarke felt otherwise, and used her own superpower to tip the scales. Now, a trio hides in the shadows, while another takes advantages of post-death life to take over the city of Merit.

If there can be life after death—will there be calm after vengeance, or will chaos rule?


So I read Vicious last year, having already read a lot of Schwab and naming her one of my all-time favourite authors. I kicked myself when I adored it and couldn’t believe it took me so long, and yet the wait for the second would be painful. Now I know it will only be worse because I need a third. Now.

This review is SPOILER FREE for Vengeful, but there will be spoilers for Vicious so please read ahead with caution if you haven’t read the first in the series.

Along with our usual suspects of Victor, Sydney, Mitch, Dol, Dominic, Eli and Detective Stell, we also meet new characters, most importantly Marcella Riggins and June.

  • Marcella – the wife of a mobster who dies, becoming an ExtraOrdinary with the power to reduce things to dust. The power to ruin. She’s tall, badass and has some of the best lines in the entire book. I love her.
  • June – a very ambiguous character who we know very little about, but is equally as badass as Marcella. She is also an EO, this time with the power to take the bodies of others.

THINGS I LIKED

  • Moral Greyness – basically the biggest bunch of Slytherins ever in an ensemble cast of characters but they all have such big hearts and honestly I would die for all of them.
  • Complex and compelling story arcs – each character has their own intense and intriguing past and present to deal with, there honestly isn’t a dull moment.
  • Multiple female protagonists who ain’t taking none of your shit.
  • FLASHBACKS – y’all, I love a backstory and this has backstory in d r o v e s. 
  • Victoria Schwab is without a doubt one of the best writers of our generation. Her prose is addictive, beautiful and so so quotable.

“Perhaps she was glass. But glass is only brittle until it breaks. Then it’s sharp.”

THINGS I DIDN’T LIKE

I don’t actually think I have anything to say here so I’m not going to waste your time. This book was perfection.

Representation: TALL WOMEN.
Trigger Warnings: Torture, dissection / vivisection, seizures, death, physical abuse. Please research for more if you think this book may be triggering.

TL;DR – The wait for this book was too long, but honestly it didn’t disappoint even a little bit. Phenomenal. Best 2018 release so far.

Is Vengeful on your TBR? Have you already read it? Let me know in the comments and feel free to leave links to your blog!


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IMI RECOMMENDS | My Fave Feminist & LGBTQIA+ Books

So it’s my lovely friend Abi’s birthday today and I thought that in honour of her wonderful, fierce feminist and LGBTQIA+ self, I would recommend some of my favourite books that deal with these topics!

Im also giving her the choice of one of these books as a gift so, Abs, take your pick!


Obviously, this is only a small collection and you will have heard of so many more than this, but these are my personal favourites.

FEMINIST & LGBTQIA+ CONTEMPORARIES

THE EXACT OPPOSITE OF OKAY by Laura Steven ★★★★★ (Act. 4.5) | YA, feminist, serious look at slut-shaming and revenge porn in a US high school, told in a comedic way. (Duology)

ONLY LOVE CAN BREAK YOUR HEART by Katherine Webber ★★★★☆(Act. 4.5)| YA, feminist, a look into grief and recovery through finding and believe in yourself. (Standalone)

RADIO SILENCE by Alice Oseman ★★★★☆ (Act. 4.5) | YA, ace, gay and demisexual rep, explores the time for teens when studying for their A Levels and having to decide their whole lives so young. (Standalone)

WING JONES by Katherine Webber ★★★★☆ | YA, feminist, magical realism, after a family tragedy the female MC tries to help her family, work out who she wants to be and how to overcome the hurt. (Standalone)

If you’re looking for anything LGBTQIA+, specifically contemporary and horror / thriller, I would always recommend anything by Juno Dawson to start with. She is a UKYA trans author who is an absolute ray of light to the world.


Name: The Exact Opposite of Okay
Author: Laura Steven
Genres: YA, Contemporary
Publisher: Electric Monkey Books
Rating: ★★★★★ (Act. 4.5)

Why You Should Read This Book: It’s a strong feminist story which is incredibly important in the world of social media, where almost every woman I know has experienced sexual harassment in some form and they’re experiencing this younger and younger. This book looks ar slut-shaming, revenge porn, and the “friend zone” in a comedically critical light and honestly, it’s a gift to the book world.

Representation:Diverse cast, LGBTQIA+ secondary character, sex-positivity, low-income rep.
Trigger Warnings: Slut-shaming, sexual harassment. Please research for more if you think this book may be triggering.

Find my full review here!


FEMINIST SCI-FI & FANTASY

GIRLS OF PAPER AND FIRE by Natasha Ngan ★★★★★ | YA, feminist, F/F romance, a girl taken from her family to serve the Demon King as a concubine falls in love with another of the girls, rebellion ensues. (Duology)

THE BONELESS MERCIES by April Genevieve Tucholke ★★★★☆(Act. 4.5)| YA, feminist, a female Beowulf retelling with amazing female friendships and heroines. (Standalone)

THE SURFACE BREAKS by Louise O’Neill ★★★★★ (Act. 4.75) | YA, feminist, a brutal retelling of The Little Mermaid, told in an aggressively misogynistic society, expertly executed. (Standalone)

SAWKILL GIRLS by Claire Legrand ★★★★★ (Act. 4.5)| YA, feminist, ace, gay and plus size rep, a paranormal spooky tale featuring fantastic female friendships about young people not having to be who their ancestors made them to be. (Standalone)



Name: The Priory of the Orange Tree
Author: Samantha Shannon
Genres: Adult, High Fantasy
Publisher: Bloomsbury
Rating: ★★★★★

Why You Should Read This Book: Seriously, this is the absolute feminist reclaiming of high fantasy. In an industry ruled by Tolkien and Sanderson and GRRM, Samantha Shannon is decimating the patriarchy one powerful chapter at a time. I applaud her. It’s vivid, rich in world-building, empowering and diverse. It is honestly one of the best books I have read in my entire life. Also, DRAGONS.

Representation:Racially and sexually diverse cast of characters, so many different cultures, F/F central romance, female rulers.
Trigger Warnings: War, death, plague, miscarriage, loss of loved ones. Please research for more if you think this book may be triggering.

Full review to come!


LGBTQIA+ SCI-FI & FANTASY

EVERY HEART A DOORWAY by Seanan McGuire ★★★★★ | Adult, ace and trans rep, a series of novellas about young people who visited other worlds and feel like they no longer belong when they’re dragged back to the mortal world. An adult Faraway Tree. (Quintet)

PANTOMIME by Laura Lam ★★★★ | YA, intersex protagonist, young aristocrat runs away and joins the circus because they are struggling with their gender so reinvents themself. (Trilogy)

REIGN OF THE FALLEN By Sarah Glenn Marsh ★★★★ (Act. 4.5) | YA, bi rep, a necromancer loses someone important to her and has to learn to move on from this while also saving her land from the dead. (Duology)

LIGHT YEARS by Kass Morgan ★★★★(Act. 4.5)| YA, feminist, gay rep, teenage space cadets from across the galaxy thrown into space boarding school and have to learn to get along. (Duology)


Name: A Long Way to a Small Angry Planet
Author: Becky Chambers
Genres: Adult, Sci-Fi
Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton
Rating: ★★★★★

Why You Should Read This Book: One of the best books I have ever read and the best book for gender and sexuality issues. A world-building master class, impeccable diversity of characters and a love story to found families.

Representation:Racially and sexually diverse cast of characters, so many different species and cultures, so much rep I can’t even list it.
Trigger Warnings: Please research for more if you think this book may be triggering.

Full review here!


BONUS RECS

FURYBORN by Claire Legrand ★★★★★ | YA, feminist, bi rep, fantasy, two queens rise, one to save and one to destroy the world but split between a thousand years. (Trilogy)

STALKING JACK THE RIPPER by Kerri Maniscalco ★★★★ | YA, feminist, historical, a female pathologist tries to solve the mysteries of her time, demolishing Victorian gender roles as she goes. (Quartet)

THE SONG OF ACHILLES by Madeline Miller ★★★★★| Adult, bi and gay rep, retelling of the Illiad from Patroclus’ perspective, focusing on his relationship with Achilles. (Standalone)

A DARKER SHADE OF MAGIC by VE Schwab ★★★★★| Adult, feminist, gay rep, implied bi rep, there are multiple parallel-universe Londons and only two people have the magic to travel between them. Kickass complex and incredible female MC, plus bucketloads of diversity. (Trilogy)

How’s your week been? What have you read? Have you posted any reviews? Let me know in the comments – feel free to leave links!

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BOOK REVIEWS | Eight ★★★★★ Reads, from ‘Only Love Can Break Your Heart’ to ‘A Long Way to a Small Angry Planet’

Shall we take a guess as to who is behind on her reviews (again)? Here’s a bumper-mega-catch-up session of every book I haven’t reviewed but should have since July.


 

  • Radio Silence by Alice Oseman ★★★★★ (Act. 4.5)
    YA, Contemporary
    Alice Oseman writes the most beautiful and compelling looks into everyday life in this coming of age story reflecting on the stress of A Levels, university applications, moving away from home, and learning who you are / who you want to be. Also incredible representation throughout. Plus, can we talk about the fact that Alice Oseman is my age and has published three phenomenal novels.
    Representation: LGBTQIA+ (in abundance!), PoC secondary character, mental illness (esp. anxiety, depression). 
    Trigger Warnings: Depression and implied suicidal thoughts, physical and emotional abuse, death of a pet. Please research for more if you think this may be triggering.
  • Every Heart A Doorway (Wayward Children #1) by Seanan McGuire ★★★★★
    NA, Fantasy
    A series of novellas which tell the stories of children who have passed into other worlds, before returning to our world and finding themselves unable to fit in anymore. I tend to describe this as The Faraway Tree for an older age category. Filled with tales from mysterious lands, and incredible representation from all walks of the LGBTQIA+ spectrum. I am so looking forward to reading the rest of this series.
    Representation: LGBTQIA+ (including on-page ace), mental illness.
    Trigger Warnings: Discussion of murder, post-mortem, etc., various dark themes. Please research for more if you think this book may be triggering.
  • All Your Perfects by Colleen Hoover ★★★★★ (Act. 4.5)
    NA, Romance
    As an avid CoHo lover, I was very excited to get stuck into this. While I wouldn’t say this was my favourite CoHo (November 9), or the most powerful (It Ends With Us), it still resonated with me strongly and, though I have cried while reading every single one of her books, this one had me ugly bawling. And bawling isn’t an overstatement. From about the mid-point onwards I was just a mess. This book is about marriage. It’s about pain. It’s about love.
    Representation: Mental illness (esp. depression).
    Trigger Warnings: There is a big trigger warning but it is a spoiler, so please research for more if you think this book may be triggering.

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Name: Only Love Can Break Your Heart
Author: Katherine Webber
Genres: YA, Contemporary
Publisher: Walker
Format: Paperback
Source: YA Prom / Book Launch
Rating: ★★★★★ (Act. 4.5)
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This book absolutely shattered me. Now, I loved Katie Webber’s Wing Jones, so picking up this wasn’t even a question for me. It definitely did not disappoint.

More than anything else, this book is about love, but it is definitely not a romance. This book is about familial love, sisterly love, friendship love,  yes, romantic love at times, and also self-love. It’s about finding out who you are at the most difficult time in your life. But it’s also about loss. Losing yourself, loved ones, relationships, friendships. It’s about so many important things young people experience at the end of high school when they are at their most vulnerable. 

As ever, Katie’s writing is impeccable and I was instantly drawn in. She takes you inside Reiko, the protagonists’s head, making you feel the same things she feels and experience the same emotional tumult. I was upset and angry when she was and cried with her, but the resolution make me feel stronger than ever. Young women realising their own strength is such a refreshing trope that we should spread and share with as many young women as possible.

Representation: PoC / Asian MC, mental illness (implied PTSD, depression).
Trigger Warnings: Grief, loss of a loved one, toxic relationship, consent scene (well executed). Please research for more if you think this book may be triggering.

 

  • The Surface Breaks by Louise O’Neill ★★★★★ (Act. 4.75)
    YA, Fantasy
    A feminist retelling of The Little Mermaid, which paints a bleak picture of the patriarchal world. It was a difficult read, and not at all what I expected, and yet it was such an incredible book. Definitely something to work up to.
    Representation: PoC secondary characters.
    Trigger Warnings: Sexual assault, allusions to rape and attempted rape, self-harm, emotional & physical abuse. Please research for more if you think this may be triggering.
  • Sweet Black Waves by Kristina Perez ★★★★★ (Act. 4.75)
    YA, Fantasy, Romance
    A retelling of Tristan and Iseult from the perspective of Branwen. Focus on female friendship, and duty to family and country. Super magical and super beautiful and I’m so incredibly excited for the rest of the series.
    Representation: Mental illness (esp. anxiety).
    Trigger Warnings:
     Assault, self-harm. Please research for more if you think this may be triggering.
  • The Kiss Quotient by Helen Hoang ★★★★★
    NA, Romance
    Romance following a young woman with Asperger’s who wishes to learn how to ‘date’, so hires an escort to teach her. Funny, heart-warming, and beautiful. I laughed, I cried, and I bloody adore this book and everything it represents. Devoured it so quickly.
    Representation: Asperger’s MC, PoC MC.
    Trigger Warnings: Mental illness (spec. anxiety attack), sexual harassment, unwanted / reluctant sexual acts, cancer. Please research for more if you think this may be triggering.

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Name: A Long Way to a Small Angry Planet (Wayfarers #1)
Author: Becky Chambers
Genres: Sci-Fi
Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton
Format: Paperback
Source: Amazon
Rating: ★★★★★
GOODREADS | BUY

I know it’s only October, but this is it. This is the best book I’ve read, and will read, in 2018. This is the best book I have read in my entire life. This, and A Thousand Splendid Suns. I don’t need anything else. Just these two books forever and ever.

The novel centres around the crew of the Wayfarer, a tunneling ship sent to do a specific task out in the far reaches of the galaxy, taking them on a year-long journey. During this year, we really get to know the characters, how they work, and see them for the beautiful and incredible found family they are. Together, they are the most diverse cast of character I have ever seen and honestly, it was beautiful to see their friendships and relationships build, break and grow. While there is certainly a plot, more than anything, this is character-driven. I loved learning about the beings and the worlds they are from. Becky Chambers is a master if world building.

This was a buddy read with my wonderful friend, Melanie, and I am so grateful to have gone on this journey with her because this book is everything. 

I cannot recommend this enough.

Representation: The most beautiful gender, sexual and racial diversity possible in every single way.
Trigger Warnings: Please research for more if you think this book may be triggering.

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How’s your week been? What have you read? Have you posted any reviews? Let me know in the comments – feel free to leave links!


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ARC REVIEWS | September-November Releases

As usual, I’m behind on reviews so let’s have a catch-up session on some ARCs I’ve read of late. A few of these were read as part of my #ARCAugust challenge (yes, that’s how behind I am) while others I read this month!


KILLER T by Robert Muchamore  ★★★☆☆ (Act. 3.5) | 6th Sep. 2018
YA, Dystopia |  I received a proof copy from Hot Key Books in exchange for an honest review.
Killer+T+cover+shadowI love Robert Muchamore thanks to him writing one of my favourite childhood series of all time, CHERUB. I had such high hopes for this one, and on the whole, it did live up to it for me. My main issue is the fact that the novel jumps years in advance over and over again, which, at first, worked quite well but then began to split the narrative so much and I struggled with connection. This was especially prevalent in the last quarter as it really lost momentum.
The basis behind the story is a Black Mirror-esque near future with killer super viruses, genetic modding / editing, and some serious science. It was action-packed, and I really enjoyed the characters but I can’t deny that there were issues.
Representation: LGBTQIA+ characters (notably an F/F marriage with children).
Content Warnings: Drug Abuse, Child Abuse, Physical Violence, Gun Violence. Please research for more if you think this may be triggering.

The Boneless Mercies by April Genevieve Tucholke ★★★★★ | 4th Oct. 2018
YA, Fantasy | I received a proof copy from Hashtag Reads in exchange for an honest review.
the-boneless-mercies-9781471170003_hrWhat a book. This is marketed as a female Beowulf retelling and it is jam-packed full of found family, incredible female friendships, kickass women, magic, adventure, and beautiful writing. It’s basically everything I have ever wanted from a book.
The Mercies are girls trained to bring death / mercy to those who require it, but as the trade dwindles and this band of women grow weary of taking lives of plagued children and near-death elderly, they decide to travel across the country to save the land from the monster plundering villages in the north. And it’s wonderful.
Representation: LGBTQIA+ implied.
Content Warnings: Violence, Torture, Self-Harm. Please research for more if you think this may be triggering.

Damsel by Elana K. Arnold ★★☆☆☆ | 2nd Oct. 2018
YA, Fantasy | I received a proof copy from Shrina at Harper 360 YA in exchange for an honest review.
Damsel_JKTI don’t want to dwell on this book. It was unpleasant and made me greatly unhappy. It has, however, greatly divided readers so I would say that it is definitely worth making up your own decision. HOWEVER. You should 100% go in knowing that though this is marketed as a YA book, the content is definitely adult or at the very least the older end of YA. The back of the book says 14+ but I would hate to see this unknowingly in the hands of anyone below the age of 16, and even that seems young.
This is a ‘feminist’ reimagining of the whole prince saves the damsel in distress from a dragon tale. My personal opinion is that it attempted to do what Louise O’Neill did in The Surface Breaks and failed. It tried to tell some gruesome tale of how the fairytales were, but got the tone wrong and simply abused a poor woman and animals with little to no redemption. This book upset me, triggered me, and at times even bored me. The only compliment I can give is that the writing was  (on the whole) lyrical.
Representation: Literally cannot remember a single one.
Content Warnings: Rape, attempted rape, emotional abuse, physical abuse, sexual abuse, animal abuse (particularly horrific), self-harm, implied bestiality. Please research for more if you think this may be triggering.

Light Years (Light Years #1) by Kass Morgan ★★★★☆ | 9th Oct. 2018
61OKuREtmQLYA, Sci-Fi | I received a proof copy from Illumicrate May 2018 box.
I totally overlooked this when it arrived in my Illumicrate but holy moly this was fantastic. If you love Illuminae this should be your next read. It’s basically a boarding school for a space army of young adults filled with drama, spies, romance, a varied and intriguing cast of characters, and so much more.
I won’t pretend this book is deep or original or anything new, but it’s amazingly fun, easy to read, and more than anything, it is crazy addictive. I never read The 100, but I did see the TV show and I got a bit tired of that after a while. This I did not tire of at all. I am so excited to follow this series because I need more space in my life.
Representation: LGBTQIA+ (M/M central relationship), PoC cast.
Content Warnings: War, violence. Please research for more if you think this may be triggering.

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Name: Girls of Paper and Fire (Girls of Paper and Fire #1)
Author: Natasha Ngan
Genres: YA, Fantasy
Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton
Format: Paperback ARC
Source: Facebook Trade
Release: 6th Nov. 2018
Rating: ★★★★★
GOODREADS | PRE-ORDER/BUY

Holy smokes this is the new series of the year. The premise is original, the characters are amazing and the writing is stunning.

This is an Asian inspired, own-voices fantasy, set in a world with a strict caste system. The highest caste is Moon, demons who take the form of humanoid animals; then Steel, part-demon with a singular animal characteristic; and finally Paper, fully human. From reading the blurbs and in the run up to reading, I had no idea the book would be like this but honestly, it’s so clever and interesting.

The premise is that every year, the Demon King takes eight Paper girls from across the kingdom to be his concubines, some volunteer and compete to be chosen, while others are taken against their will. The protagonist, Lei, is taken from her home due to her unusual golden eyes in so that a general can get back in the good graces of the king. She is taken from everything and everyone she has ever known and loved and flung into a completely different life.

In the palace, Lei learns and experiences the harsh treatment of women in this world, and how to fight for herself and those she cares about. It’s about self-worth, love, finding who you are and what you believe in. This novel requires a lot of content warnings, including rape, attempted rape, and sexual assault. As usual, Melanie (meltotheany.com) describes this the best, so I am going to steal this from her:

“To me, this is a book about rape, and rape culture, and how rape survivors will reclaim their bodies in all the different ways. And how rape is always about power, never about sex. This book is about how rapists can be charming, good-looking, friendly, and have the entire world at their feet. It doesn’t matter. This is a book about reclaiming your body after someone forcibly takes it. And how everyone heals differently at their own pace.” 

meltotheany.com

That sounds very depressing, but this book is positive. The subject matter is hard, but this book is about fighting and learning and growing. As usual, I feel like this review is really poor because I can’t collate all my thoughts and feelings because I just love it so much. Basically, you should pre-order this book right now. I am so ready for the rest of this series.

Representation: LGBTQIA+ (F/F central relationship), PoC characters, oppression.
Content Warnings: Rape, attempted rape, sexual assault, slavery, sex trafficking, abandonment, loss / grief, murder, abduction / captivity, torture, branding, physical abuse, war. Please research for more if you think this book may be triggering.

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How’s your week been? What have you read? Have you posted any reviews? Let me know in the comments – feel free to leave links!


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#ARCAUGUST: PART I | That’s Not What Happened, These Rebel Waves & City of Ghosts

So #ARCAugust is an annual challenge hosted by Read Sleep Repeat – I’m not necessarily participating in the official challenge, but feel free to go check it out on their blog and see what their plans are.

For me, I just want to read as many unreleased ARCs as I can that have been building up for me, so I’ve come up with my own personal goals for August.

  1. Read at least 6 unreleased ARCs from my TBR.
  2. Review at least half of what I read on my blog.
  3. Mini-review all books on my twitter and insta stories.

Read

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Name: That’s Not What Happened
Author: Kody Keplinger
Genres: YA, Contemporary
Publisher: Hodder Children’s
Format: Paperback ARC
Source: Team BKMRK @ YALC
Release: 28th August  2018
Rating: ★★★★
GOODREADS | BUY

I received a proof copy via Lucky Dip at YALC from Team BKMRK in exchange for an honest review.

I’ve been on a bit of a contemporary kick this year, I’m not really sure where that’s come from but I’m rolling with it. The premise of this book is that there are six survivors of a high school shooting and, as you can expect, everyone has viewed and reported on the event differently. Three years on, Leanne wants to tell her truth of what happened on that day.

This book is basically one long letter, plus five shorter letters, allowing these survivors to tell the reader what they saw, how they felt, and the aftermath of the shooting in their lives. It depicts the impact of the media, misconception of events and the damage of not knowing the full story.

I’ve also got to give a big shout out to the on-page ace rep. I really love seeing this in books, as it really is so important. Personally, I thought this was done well, but I am not asexual and therefore do not feel like I can definitely say one way of the other.

There is also a strong religious factor to this book. The blurb states that Leanne’s best friend, Sarah, died in the massacre proclaiming her faith but that isn’t what happened. *SPOILER* This book has a lot of quite aggressive Christians being abusive to people. I can see why this may offend some people, but as an atheist, I was very indifferent to this depiction. I actually found it quite interesting to see the lengths to which people will go for their faith. I know that the US takes Christianity far more seriously on a much larger scale than even the most devout in the UK, so I have never really been exposed to this sort of behaviour in the same way.

Representation: LGBTQIA+ (including on-page ace), PoC, Mental Health (esp. anxiety and PTSD).
Trigger Warnings: Trauma, Religious Abuse, Gun Violence. Please research for more if you think this may be triggering.

TLDR; I found this book very interesting and as the idea of ‘fake news’ becomes more and more relevant, along with the US gun regulations debate, I believe it to be very topical.


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Name: These Rebel Waves (Stream Raiders #1)
Author: Sara Raasch
Genres: YA, Fantasy
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Format: Paperback ARC
Source: Harper360 YA
Release: 7th August 2018
Rating: ★★★★☆ (4.5)
GOODREADS | BUY

I received a proof copy from Shrina at Harper360 YA in exchange for an honest review.

Okay so before I read this, I flicked through my goodreads and saw two reviewers I really trust 2-starred this. I was surprised, but their views seemed valid and I went in skeptical. I’m not saying they were wrong, the book wasn’t for them, but I found that reading their reviews may have helped me enjoy it more because one of the main things they said was that they thought it was going to be a fun romp with gay pirates. This book is not that, and knowing that going in, meant I enjoyed it more.

Now you know what it’s not, let me tell you what it is. This is political. It tells the story of a revolution on an island, Grace Loyan, run by another country, Argrid. After fighting to separate itself from Argrid, the book shows the issues the Grace Lorayans are having running their own country and the prejudices that exist. So yeah, political. There’s also a prevailing Religion vs. Magic theme – Grace Loray is full of botanical magic which Argrid and its church are trying to eliminate. Then there are the pirates, known as Stream Raiders. There are multiple syndicates originating from different countries who now find their home on Grace Loray and these people are the main targets of the prejudice. Bottom line, this is not all fun and games and adventures.

HOWEVER, there are adventures, and there is laugh out loud moments. The characters are honestly such a highlight for me, I loved them all (except maybe one for like half the book) and I need to tell you all about them.

  • Adeluna, also known as Lu – one of the central perspectives, Lu is a self-proclaimed Grace Lorayan and the daughter of the famous revolutionary Kari the Wave who fought for the rule of Grace Loray. She was a child spy during the war and now helps her parents rule the country with the Grace Lorayan council. When shit goes wrong, this bitch is saving the country and I will follow this girl to the end of the earth because she’s badass as fuck.

  • Devereux Bell, also known as Vex – another central perspective, Vex is the ultimate Stream Raider and the love of my life. He is the only raider not aligned with a syndicate so he works alone and jesus christ I love him okay. He is cocky, brilliant at what he does, will serve you your ass on a plate with a wink and a cheeky smirk. He’s like my ultimate James Potter/Sirius Black combination pirate fantasy.

  • Prince Benot of Argrid, also known as Ben – the final central perspective and the character I disliked the most. Okay, that’s an overstatement because it’s not that I didn’t like him, I just didn’t really care?? His perspectives were the only part of the book not taking place in Grace Loray and I just wanted to get back to Vex and Lu. He did grow on me and as his storyline progressed, it did improve, but his POV is the only reason this wasn’t a 5-star read for me. It also really annoys me that I didn’t enjoy his sections because he is the only character who is explicitly gay, but it’s also a toxic relationship. Ugh.

  • Teo – Lu’s best friend’s six-year-old brother and actual angel. Seriously, every time he was there, I was happy. So happy. Teo is a highlight.

  • Nayeli – member of Vex’s crew, and of Tuncian descent with connections to the Tuncian raider syndicate. Heavily implied that she is gay. Loves blowing things up. I want to be her.

Honestly, I don’t know where this review is going, but I loved the banter between the characters, I love that it was so political and serious. The magic system is incredibly interesting due to it being botanical, and honestly, that cliffhanger is killing me and I needed book two YESTERDAY.

Representation: LGBTQIA+ (notably M/M and F/F secondary characters), Colonisation & oppression of different races.
Trigger Warnings: Mild Violence, Torture, Religious Abuse. Please research for more if you think this may be triggering.

TLDR; Political fantasy with amazing characters, botanical magic and Devereux Bell aka love of my life. Pls read it.


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Name: City of Ghosts (Cassidy Blake #1)
Author: Victoria Schwab
Genres: MG, Paranormal
Publisher: Scholastic
Format: Paperback ARC
Source: Facebook Trade Group
Release: 28th August 2018
Rating: ★★★★
GOODREADS | BUY

I received a proof copy in exchange for an honest review.

If you know me, you know that Victoria (VE) Schwab is one of my all time favourite authors. This is probably 95% of the reason I picked up this book as I so rarely stray to middle grade, but honestly, it was so worth it.

Cassidy Blake, daughter of paranormal experts, should have died and now she can see ghosts (her best friend is one), ghosts which her parents most definitely can’t see. That’s basically the whole premise and I’m already here for it. In this first installment of the Cassidy Blake series, we see her parents travelling to Edinburgh, Scotland to film the first episode of their brand new TV show about haunted cities.

This book had three key things for me that made me love it:

  • Edinburgh – one of my favourite cities and somewhere I know well, so could mentally follow Cass around on her adventures.

  • Great writing – everything you would expect from a Schwab book, but just suitable for younger readers.  Perfectly paced and plotted, exciting and adventure-filled.

  • Harry Potter references – and lots of them. Not only is Edinburgh a key location for Harry Potter in terms of buildings and people and places who inspired JKR, but Cass is also a massive HP nerd so they just keep cropping up and I was living.

I already have this on pre-order for my 12 year old cousin because everyone needs this lovely adventure in their lives. I need more of Cassidy Blake and I really want to see where this series goes!

Representation: PoC secondary character.
Trigger Warnings: Drowning. Near-death experiences. Please research for more if you think this may be triggering.

TLDR; Lovely adventure filled with ghosts, HP references and Edinburgh.

next week

 

The following are next up on my #ARCAugust blitz:

  • Killer T by Robert Muchamore (6th September 2018) – The Cherub series was honestly the highlight of my post-HP, pre-YA reading years so I was really excited to hear about this book and so grateful to Tina at Hot Key for sending me a copy!
  • The Boneless Mercies by April Genevieve Tucholke (2nd October 2018) – Classical retellings are my FAVOURITE, I love a fairytale but give me a retelling of classical literature/epic poems and I am so there. This is a female Beowulf retelling and I am SO HERE.
  • Beneath the Citadel by Destiny Soria (9th October 2018) – I managed to win this one at YALC and I’m super excited to dig back into fantasy!

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How’s your week been? What have you read? Have you posted any reviews? Let me know in the comments – feel free to leave links!


Follow me elsewhere: TWITTER | INSTAGRAM | GOODREADS

FLOORED BLOG TOUR | Kaitlyn’s Book Launch Playlist

Hey guys, instead of Imi posting today, she’s handed the reigns over to me. The publishers of Floored by this amazing group of UKYA authors have asked the six of us to unite one last time to help promote the book and plan the launch party because we all feature in it. Maybe I should introduce myself, I’m Kaitlyn, and according to the book, I’m “the fangirl”. I do have social media of my own and somewhat of a following, but I felt Imi’s blog had a better target audience, seen as she actually talks about books, plus she lives in Manchester too (where the book is set and most of us live) which is helpful!

So, I’ve been put in charge of planning the music for the launch, and we thought it would be fun if I chose songs that reminded me of our friendship, of each of the gang, especially early reactions, and things like that. Best way to read this post is by listening to the playlist while you read so click play below and I’ll talk you through it!

 

“I found someone to carry me home.”

  • We Are Young by Fun.
    So I chose this because more than anything, this reminds me of the group. We were never expecting to be thrown together the way we were and we certainly didn’t expect to see each other again after that first meeting, and yet, we did. Only once a year, sure but we found some kind of solace in each other’s presence. We became friends and this song reminds me of that.

Got a dream, got a spark, got somewhere to be.”

  • The Reckless and the Brave by All Time Low
    This is Dawson’s song – unlike us, he’d been in the public eye for a long time and no matter how much negative press he got, he still kept his dream of theatre and I have a lot of respect for that. He recognises the viciousness of the world and the card he’s been dealt and yet he still has a heart of gold.

“Shoot me down, but I get up. I’m bulletproof, nothing to lose…”

  • Titanium by David Guetta ft. Sia
    So this one’s for me. It seems weird to choose a song for myself, but having gone through all of my experiences and come out the other side, I feel like I’ve learned a lot, gained a lot, and now I feel pretty strong. I’m very proud of myself, and confident in who I am more than I ever was. Also, the others recommended it because they told me my choice wasn’t good enough *rolls eyes*

“Mistreated, misplaced, misunderstood.”

  • F*ckin’ Perfect by P!nk
    Sasha’s song seems like a depressing choice, but you know what, I think it’s empowering. Sometimes we all need a reminder of how great we are and Sasha has dealt with a lot from the start, but she’s always been the glue of the group. The thing about a good super glue is that it usually dries clear and goes unnoticed, but that doesn’t make anyone less grateful for the glue or love the glue any less. Sasha is one of the best people I have ever met – kind, selfless and loving – she’s perfect.

“I’m the king of everything and oh, my tongue is a weapon
There’s a light in the crack that’s separating your thighs
And if you wanna go to heaven you, should f*ck me tonight”

  • Young God by Halsey
    Hugo is undoubtedly the biggest douchebag I have ever met. He has such a high opinion of himself that it could compete with the Beetham Tower and so Halsey’s Young God reminds me so much of him. There’s a suave arrogance to the character she sings about which has Hugo written all over it.

“No, I don’t need no help, I can sabotage me by myself.”

  • Caught in the Middle by Paramore
    I don’t think Velvet would mind me saying that she hasn’t always made the most sensible choices in life. In comparison to Hugo, the hand she was dealt could not have been more different, and I think for a time, she felt caught within her own life. I like to think that meeting us all made her realise that there was more for her out there.

“I used to be your knight in shining armor and I’d rescue you from hell…”

  • Legendary by The Summer Set
    Joe cares and loves more than anyone else in the group I think and he’s probably the one who has grown up the most in the years since we met. Legendary has the vibe of chasing dreams and romance that might not happen and that was a lot of how Joe was when we met him. He just wanted to be Legendary.

“To burn out forever or light up a spark.”

  • Kids in the Dark by All Time Low
    It’s been a long time since I’ve listened to All Time Low and yet they’ve shown up twice in this playlist. I guess they just seem to relate to a lot of our experiences growing up because that what we’ve done through the course of this book – we grew up, we learned who we were and who we wanted to be. Back at the start, we knew so little of the world, although we thought we knew more. Teenagers are pressured into making life-changing decisions at young ages, or life-changing situations are thrust upon them, but sometimes you just need to take a break, take a breath and the right things will come along. Eventually.

Floored releases on 12th July on ebook and paperback, available to buy from WaterstonesAmazon and Book Depository!

Check out my full review here!

SPACER

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The Breakfast Club meets One Day in Floored, a unique collaborative novel by seven bestselling and award-winning YA authors: Sara Barnard, Holly Bourne, Tanya Byrne, Non Pratt, Melinda Salisbury, Lisa Williamson and Eleanor Wood.

When they got in the lift, they were strangers (though didn’t that guy used to be on TV?): Sasha, who is desperately trying to deliver a parcel; Hugo, who knows he’s the best-looking guy in the lift and is eyeing up Velvet, who knows what that look means when you hear her name and it doesn’t match the way she looks, or the way she talks; Dawson, who was on TV, but isn’t as good-looking as he was a few years ago and is desperately hoping no one recognizes him; Kaitlyn, who’s losing her sight but won’t admit it, and who used to have a poster of Dawson on her bedroom wall, and Joe, who shouldn’t be here at all, but who wants to be here the most.

And one more person, who will bring them together again on the same day every year.

SPACER

Day 1: Dawson @ Overflowing Library | Day 2: Kaitlyn @ Imi Reviews Books |
Day 3: Sasha @ Rachel’s Rambling Reviews | Day 4: Hugo @ The Book Commissioner |
Day 5: Velvet @ The Little Contemporary Corner | Day 6: Joe @ Charlotte, Somewhere |
Day 7: The Narrator @ Moon Kestrel Blog

REVIEWS & WRITING: EPISODE III | ARCs Edition – Sawkill Girls, Floored & A Sky Painted Gold

SHOCK, I’m back on my blog in a timely manner! So I’ve recently had the pleasure of reading some ARCs provided to be by lovely publishers and thought I’d get the reviews up before I lose track of time and it becomes another manic, ridiculous amount of half-remembered reviews. HERE WE GO.

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Name: Sawkill Girls
Author: Claire Legrand
Genres: YA, Paranormal
Publisher: Harper Collins
Format: Paperback ARC
Source: Shrina at Harper360YA
Rating: ★★★★★
Release: 22nd October 2018
GOODREADS | PRE-ORDER/BUY

I received a proof copy from Harper360YA in exchange for an honest review.

Probably more of a 4.5-4.75 because there were a few questionable choices here and there, but overall, this book was everything I wanted. It has on-page Ace rep, Bi rep, and an F/F romance. Much like Legrand said on Goodreads this book is all about girls. Girls loving themselves, each other and their family. It’s about friendship, overcoming obstacles and realising who you are. 

So here’s a baseline. Someone or something is killing girls on the island of Sawkill Rock, so when Marion and her sister move there, they too are drawn into the mystery and the drama along with Zoey, the daughter of the Sheriff and Val, youngest in a long line of the matriarchal Mortimer family. These three are the POVs we see throughout and, honestly, I loved them all.

This book has a spoopy, halloween, paranormal feel to it, and honestly, there were times when I was slightly terrified and/or disgusted, but it wasn’t exactly horror either. I adore Legrand’s writing, but found it so very different from her recent release, Furyborn – more lyrical at times and abstract. My favourite sections were actually that of Sawkill Rock, the personified force of the island who is given brief, one-page prose sections overlooking the girls’ journey.

“The Rock felt its daughters’ feet beat angry paths into its ravaged flesh,
and sent out its call, and waited for them to wake up.”

Also, huge shout out to Legrand’s sly mentions of smashing the patriarchy because it made me laugh out loud so many times, even in the tense moments.

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Name: Floored
Author: Sara Barnard, Holly Bourne, Tanya Byrne, Non Pratt, Melinda Salisbury, Lisa Williamson & Eleanor Wood
Genres: YA, Contemporary
Publisher: Macmillan
Format: Paperback ARC
Source: Beatrice at My Kinda Book
Rating: ★★★★
Release:
10th July 2018
GOODREADS | BUY

I received a proof copy from My Kinda Book in exchange for an honest review.

This book had such an interesting concept, and I got a sampler last summer at YALC, so as soon as ARCs became available, I requested it. I’m actually on the blog tour next week so look out for my post!

Seven authors collaborated to create this novel about six teens thrown together in a lift when tragedy strikes, and how their lives keep intersecting as they grow up and realise who they are and who they want to be. The novel follows them for five years, with each character having a chapter each, plus one chapter for the “narrator” which summarises what is happening in everyone’s lives at the time.

The Characters
Dawson: the child star | Kaitlyn: the fangirl | Sasha: the dutiful daughter
Hugo: the asshole | Velvet: the fraud | Joe: the swot

The thing I loved most about this is that more than anything, it explored the idea of growing up and finding out your journey, which can be so different from those around you. You do not have one path. You do not have to go to university. You do not have to do what your best friend since you were four years old is doing. You do not have to stay friends with the same people you went to school with. Each of the six characters follow completely different paths from each other and from their “home friends” and I find that so refreshing and reassuring. I wish everyone could read this book when they’re 16 and being told that they have to have their lives figured out because guess what, you don’t. And, if you do, it probably won’t go to plan anyway!

“They all felt it, that itch – the realisation that there’s more to life than this. That you can be
with people that you want to be with. Not people that you 
have to be with through circumstance
or mere geography – family, teachers, colleagues – but people who are willing to make room
for you in their lives when they don’t have to.”

Bonus points for disability rep, LGBT rep, lower socio-economic classes rep, literally so much rep because each of the six characters is so drastically different. Also set in Manchester which I’ve never seen before in YA and was awesome because I live there.

61AnND5DVBL._SX324_BO1,204,203,200_.jpgName: A Sky Painted Gold
Author: Laura Wood
Genres: YA, Historical
Publisher: Scholastic
Format: Paperback ARC
Source: Northern YA Lit Fest
Rating: ★★★★★
Release:
5th July 2018
GOODREADS | BUY

I received a proof copy at the Northern YA Lit Fest in exchange for an honest review.

I think this was my favourite June read. I was so lost in the world Wood created and completely swept away right alongside the protagonist Lou, into this Gatsby-esque, high society world. The Cornish setting was a great bonus and gave me And Then There Were None vibes (which is like totally wrong because this isn’t a murder mystery, though Lou is obsessed with Agatha Christie). I’m actually still in the *heart eyes* faze where it’s difficult to articulate my feelings for this book but I’ll do my best.

“I found the Cardew House, a house full of shadows, and I knew,
with a huge sense of relief, that I belonged there.”

Lou is from an ordinary Cornish family, expected to grow up, get married and never leave her village, until she is thrown into the world of the infamous socialites, the Cardews, whose summer home is located on an island just over the causeway from her home. From there she is thrown into a whirlwind, rural summer in the roaring 20s, full of love, family, friendship, and jazz. I fell in love with so many of these characters and I just want everyone to read this and fall as deeply in love with them as I am.

The story is addictive, woven beautifully and honestly, I loved every second and would re-read it immediately if I hadn’t loaned it to Ellie.

write

Okay, good news. I sadly haven’t started writing again, BUT I have a fresh new project that is making me really excited. I don’t want to talk about it yet, but it’s very different from TSH and a lot more chilled out and fun which is a lot less pressure. Hopefully, it’ll get me back into the swing of writing and then I can smash TSH out of the park.

Also considering going back to my fanfic writing… unsure as of yet but a new chapter may be on the horizon…

next week

  • Soon, I will be starting my ARC of All These Beautiful Strangers by Elizabeth Klehfoth which I will be buddy reading with my girl, Ellie.
  • And just to keep with my mermaids and pirates theme, Louise O’Neill’s The Surface Breaks, just in time for YALC at the end of the month!

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How’s your week been? What have you read? Have you posted any reviews? Let me know in the comments – feel free to leave links!


Follow me elsewhere: TWITTER | INSTAGRAM | GOODREADS

REVIEWS & WRITING: EPISODE II | Playing Review Catch-Up – Clean & A Thousand Perfect Notes

Already, these weekly updates have slipped to never. I have been in the direst writing slump and that has just affected everything and I haven’t really been particularly active here at all. I’m constantly busy and blogging takes a lot. My Instagram, however, is pretty active so if you fancy mini-reviews and what I’m up to – that’s the place to be.

Obviously, I’ve read quite a lot since my update so what I’m going to do is list them all with short reviews and do longer ones for my faves! Here goes nothing!

Read

  1. The Smoke Thieves by Sally Green ★★★★☆
    I received a proof copy from Illumicrate. 
    Narrative-driven, enjoyable medieval fantasy from five character POVs. Reminded me of a simplified version of A Song of Ice and Fire series. Might read the sequel but I’m not desperate for it?
  2. The Last Days of Archie Maxwell by Annabel Pitcher ★★★☆☆
    A really lovely short novel, written to help people that don’t read or have reading difficulties get into YA. Contemporary about a teenage boy whose father comes out as gay and how he deals with his own mental health at the time. Very interesting and touching.
  3. A Court of Frost & Starlight (A Court of Thorns and Roses #3.1) by Sarah J. Maas ★★★★☆
    This reminded me of like a Christmas special of my fave tv drama. Anything goes – a bit weird with things you’d never see in the normal show, but also heartwarming and fun. It’s probably more of a 3.5 stars, but it was sweet so. See the lovely Tes’s goodreads review if you want to laugh.
  4. Always and Forever, Lara Jean (To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before #3) by Jenny Han ★★★★☆
    The perfect ending to this sweet and fluffy series. I honestly don’t have anything more to say, but yeah, I really enjoyed this whole series.

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Name: Clean
Author: Juno Dawson
Genres: YA, Contemporary
Publisher: Quercus
Format: Paperback
Source: Book Depository
Rating: ★★★★★
GOODREADS | BUY

This book centres around Lexi Volkov, a party girl socialite and recreational drug user who isn’t aware she has a problem until she ends up in a private rehab facility. From the outset, this book is very much to be about recovery, but it covers all kinds of topics including grief, loss, a variety of mental illnesses and most importantly friendship and support systems. Therefore, there are 5827593753984 trigger warnings for this book, please look them up before reading if you’re concerned.

As someone who has suffered from anxiety and depression since I was young, this book resonated with me really strongly at points, and it’s quite difficult to articulate why it was so important to me, but just know that it was. I honestly think it’s an incredibly important read if you’ve been struggling and I really enjoyed Juno’s narrative style and the accessibility of her writing.

Juno Dawson is a transgender UKYA author, journalist, and model. You can find her instagram here and honestly, she’s an inspiration and an icon.

  1. To Kill A Kingdom by Alexandra Christo ★★★★★
    Probably the best Little Mermaid retelling I have ever read (she says shortly before repeating her statement for the next book). Big fan of the fairytale, big fan of the disney film and a big fan of pirates so guess how much I loved this (A LOT). “Ariel” as a siren and “Ursula”‘s daughter, falls in love with “Prince Eric”, whose goal in life is to kill her. Hell yeah, I’m in. Just read it, it’s fantastic.
  2. Daughter of the Pirate King by Tricia Levenseller ★★★★★
    Another really great Little Mermaid retelling but both parties are pirates (f yeah) and mortal enemies. Less intense that TKAK but just as enjoyable and I’m so down for the sequel!!
  3. Blood & Sand by C. V. Wyk ★★★★☆
    Sold as a ‘female Spartacus’ – the princess of Thrace, captured by the Roman occupiers, is sold into slavery and gifted to the greatest gladiator in Rome. The pair tries to rebel together against their master and fight for their lives in a vicious, bloodthirsty empire. ADORED.
  4. Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman ★★★★☆
    Recommended by my mother of all people but I really loved this. A strong, intriguing narrative voice and a look into grief, loneliness, and depression from a very interesting angle. Beautiful.

9781408349908

Name: A Thousand Perfect Notes
Author: C.G. Drews
Genres: YA, Contemporary
Publisher: Orchard
Format: Paperback ARC
Source: Team BKMRK
Rating: ★★★★★
GOODREADS | BUY

I received a proof copy from Team BKMRK in exchange for an honest review.
Welcome to Imi reads multiple contemporaries and LOVES THEM. What a rare sight! A Thousand Perfect Notes is the debut novel from infamous book blogger and bookstagrammer PaperFury, and DAMN CAN SHE WRITE. It’s about the son of a world-famous pianist who is being forced to follow in her footsteps to the point where he no longer enjoys what he is doing (TW: physical and emotional abuse). It’s about friendship, family, and music – basically the most important things in my life. You can see why I loved it.

Honestly, Cait’s writing is phenomenal. Her lyrical prose flows like the music she describes and I felt every word in my soul. It made me crave performing again, more than I have since I stopped five years ago. I mark quotes in all the books I read and I swear to god, I have never used so many book darts on a book of that size.

I cannot recommend this enough.

write

Nothing. My brain feels dry and tired. I can’t focus on writing reviews, let alone my own work. I feel like I never stop. I take on too much and the thing that suffers the most from that is definitely my writing. I want to say that it’s okay and that there are worse things in the world, but honestly, this is all I have ever wanted so why can I not keep reaching for it.

I’m wondering if I’ve been living in Borea for so long in my head that when it comes to putting it on paper, my words refuse to come. Perhaps I need to step away for a while and reevaluate. Try writing something else. Put my writing brain in a different headspace, then I might be able to return. But for right now, I have nothing.

In the meantime, I going to read every pirate novel that exists in the hope that it kickstarts something in my brain so GIVE ME YOUR BEST RECS!

next week

  • I’m currently reading an ARC for Floored which is a collaborative novel by seven UKYA authors about seven teens whose lives cross. I’m actually part of the blog tour for this which takes place the week after my birthday in July!
  • Soon, I will be starting my ARC of All These Beautiful Strangers by Elizabeth Klehfoth which I will be buddy reading with my girl, Ellie.
  • Finally, I’m hoping to get around to reading Daughter of the Siren Queen by Tricia Levenseller because omg I loved the first *heart eyes*

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How’s your week been? What have you read? Have you posted any reviews? Let me know in the comments – feel free to leave links!


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COVER REVEAL | Folsom by Tarryn Fisher & Willow Aster

It was an absolute pleasure to receive this press release and cover reveal yesterday to announce to all my followers today! I absolutely adore every single book Tarryn Fisher has written, and I’m certain this new venture will be just as perfect as the rest of her work.

Without further ado, I give you FOLSOM!


We are so excited to reveal the cover for Folsom by writing duo Tarryn Fisher and Willow Aster coming on May 29th!

The nation as we know it is a thing of the past.

With the male species on the verge of extinction, a society called the End Men is formed to save the world. Folsom Donahue is one of twelve men whose sole purpose is to repopulate the Regions. The endless days spent having sex with strangers leaves Folsom with an emptiness no amount of women, money, or status can fill.

Until Gwen.

Gwen has wanted a child for as long as she can remember, but when she finally gets a chance to have her own, she uncovers a long hidden truth. The injustice she sees moves her to help save the men whom no one else believes need saving.

A forbidden love, grown in a time of despair, ignites a revolution.

Folsom and Gwen, torn between their love for each other and their sense of duty, must make a choice. But some will stop at nothing to destroy them.

Folsom is book one of the End of Men series.

Coming May 29th

Contemporary Romance with a side of Dystopian

Tarryn Fisher is the New York Times and USA Today Bestselling Author of nine novels. Born a sun hater, she currently makes her home in Seattle, Washington with her children, husband, and psychotic husky. Tarryn writes about villains.

Website: www.tarrynfisher.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/authortarrynfisher

Instagram: https://instagram.com/tarrynfisher/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/Tarryn__Fisher

Willow Aster is the author of True Love Story, In the Fields, Maybe Maby, Fade to Red, and the upcoming release, Whore. Willow loves nothing more than writing the day away—anywhere will do. Her husband and two children graciously put up with her endless daydreaming and make fun of her for reading while cooking.

Website: www.willowaster.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/willowasterauthor/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/willowaster1/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/WillowAster