Monday, 18 September 2017

August Book Haul


This year I've really been trying not to buy any more books as my TBR shelf is more of a bookcase, and it's kind of ridiculous. But between going on holiday (always a danger for my bank account) and constantly hanging around the book aisle of supermarkets, I ended up buying a few books in August as well as receiving a couple.


There seems to be a bit of a red theme going on, but look at those gorgeous spines won't you? I've been following Emma of Drinking by my Shelf's idea of Balancing the Books, where I total up the books I haul each month and balance them with the books I read by getting rid of some of my other books. I ended up acquiring six books in total and seeing as I only read four books in August that means I have to get rid of two books *cries* but I'm sure there's some on my TBR that I no longer fancy. So anyway, let's have a look at the books.


The Midwich Cuckoos by John Wyndham
In the sleepy English village of Midwich, a mysterious silver object appears and all the inhabitants fall unconscious. A day later the object is gone and everyone awakens unharmed – except that all the women in the village are discovered to be pregnant.

The embarrassing thing is, I actually already own this! But the copy I already had is a tattered old one from a charity shop, with a less than stunning cover. So when I was visiting the Book Corner in Saltburn by Sea, I couldn't resist this gorgeous edition. I really enjoyed The Day of The Triffids by John Wyndham so I really want to get to this. It might be a great creepy Halloween read.

When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon
Dimple has plans to attend a summer camp for web developers, not knowing that her parents have planned her future arranged marriage to Rishi, a hopeless romantic with traditional values, who will also be at the camp.

When Dimple Met Rishi has had perhaps the most hype of any YA in recent years so I thought it was about time I found out why. The lovely Jessica noticed that I mentioned this book in my Mid-Year Book Tag and offered to send me her copy because she was finished with it. Isn't that just the nicest thing? So I'm super excited to get to this one, I'll probably be reading it soon, before every last vestige of summer completely disappears.



The Boy with One Name by J.R. Wallis
Twelve-year old Jones is an apprentice monster hunter in the Badlands, which exists on the edge of ordinary people lives. Ruby is outspoken, fearless and tired of her ordinary life. When the two meet and save each others lives, they have to work together to defeat a monster that not even the fiercest Badlander has yet faced.

I'm not going to lie, this was a total cover buy. I was loitering in the book section of my local supermarket and spotted this beauty and after finding out that it's a middle-grade with fairytale/supernatural elements (my weakness), I just had to have it. I'm pretty conflicted about buying books from supermarkets as I think that the author doesn't benefit well from these sales (I'm not sure on this, someone please educate me!), but I do make the occasional purchase. I've already read this one and will be reviewing it in my September wrap up, but for now I'll say that it's a nice, quick read, but nothing mind-blowing.

Christmas at Cold Comfort Farm by Stella Gibbons
First published in 1940, Christmas at Cold Comfort Farm is a collection of witty short stories (including the hilariously festive title tale) from Stella Gibbons.

Christmas at Cold Comfort Farm was 50p at a village summer fair that we stumbled across over the bank holiday weekend and I just couldn't resist the vintage red spine. I love these classics from vintage, mainly because they look so good on a shelf, but I was also intrigued by Stella Gibbons' writing. I think this one will be great for dipping in and out of on my commute nearer the festive period.



Sofia Khan is Not Obliged by Ayisha Malik
Unlucky in love once again after her possible-marriage-partner-to-be proves a little too close to his parents, Sofia Khan is ready to renounce men for good. Or at least she was, until her boss persuades her to write a tell-all expose about the Muslim dating scene.

I've heard a lot of good things about Sofia Khan is Not Obliged on various blogs and booktube channels so I was excited when I saw it on the bargain shelf of an independent bookshop in Whitby (I forget the name of the shop, eek!). A lot of people have said that it's a more modern Bridget Jones, and that sounds great to me. So I'm excited to give this one a go, hopefully it'll be an uplifting, easy read.

The Loneliest Girl in the Universe* by Lauren James
Romy Silvers is the only surviving crew-member of a spaceship travelling to a new planet, on a mission to establish a second home for humanity amongst the stars. Alone in space, she is the loneliest girl in the universe until she hears about a new ship which has launched from Earth – with a single passenger on board. A boy called J. But what does Romy really know about J? And what do the mysterious messages which have started arriving from Earth really mean? Sometimes, there’s something worse than being alone . . .

I first heard about The Loneliest Girl in the Universe at the Walker Books Christmas party last year where the proof cover was revealed and we all completely fell in love with it, and it's been one of my most anticipated releases ever since. Well nine months later, it's finally here in all it's beautiful foiled glory! I've already read this one (in two sittings nonetheless) and I FREAKING LOVED IT. Seriously, it was brilliant. You need this one guys, you really do, go and buy it!

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So there we have it! The six books that I acquired in August, in all of their beautiful newness! Have you read any of these books? Which one should I read next? Let me know!

Links to books in this post are affiliate links, which just means that if you want to purchase them, I get a little something too - with no extra cost to you! If you want to buy any other books, please consider using my Wordery link - thanks lovelies!
Books marked with a * were sent to me by the publisher for review consideration, I have not been paid by the publishers to feature any of these titles.


Monday, 11 September 2017

August 2017 Reading Wrap Up






2017 has been a strange year, I've felt kind of lost and lacking direction and this has even extended to my reading. After a strange few months where I read barely anything, August was a pretty good month for it. I read four books in total and although I'm definitely not going to meet my Goodreads Reading Challenge goal, I'm fine with that and four books is better than none!

The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood | ☆☆☆☆.25
Offred is a handmaid in the republic of Gilead, a class of woman kept by Commanders and their wives purely to provide a child. 

Despite having owned this modern classic for about three years, I only picked it up this summer as part of Girl Gang Books (the official Girl Gang book club! *plug plug*) and I'm so glad I finally got to it. I was slightly concerned that all the hype around it, especially after it was recently made into a tv series, would make for a disappointment but I can safely say it lived up to it's reputation. Several times whilst reading, I got a genuine eerie feeling as I could see how the events of this book could happen in our not-too-distant future. I've seen some reviews that criticise The Handmaid's Tale for being slow and plotless but I found it compelling as a snapshot of a potential (terrifying) future. I felt on edge almost the entire time but that's no bad thing as it heightened my emotions and made me feel empathy and fear every time Offred took any small risk. I wouldn't say I enjoyed this book, as that doesn't feel right, but I definitely appreciated it's brilliance. My one tiny criticism, that I know most won't agree with, is that I almost feel like it could've been longer. I felt like I needed slightly more time in Offred's past. But this book is excellent and I can't recommend it enough.

Wonder Woman: Warbringer by Leigh Bardugo | ☆☆☆☆☆
Diana, Princess of the Amazons, longs to prove herself to her warrior sisters but risks everything when she breaks Amazon law and saves the life of a mortal, Alia. But Alia is no ordinary teenager, and in saving her, Diana might have doomed the world.

Receiving this proof was like my birthday and Christmas combined. It was definitely one of my most anticipated 2017 releases and I was beyond excited when I got my hands on it. Surprisingly enough, I haven't seen Wonder Woman at the cinema and I didn't really know much about her or her origins until I'd read this. So if you're unsure about reading Warbringer because you don't know much about the DC Universe, don't worry, because I absolutely loved this despite my lack of knowledge. Leigh Bardugo's writing is superb and the characters in this book, like all of Leigh's characters, were incredibly well developed. I'm going to be posting a full review of this soon, but safe to say I LOVED it and you definitely need to pick it up.

Like Other Girls by Claire Hennessey | ☆☆.75
Lauren is going through a lot; her boyfriend thinks she's crazy, her best friend is going through something she can't understand and she's facing every teenage girl's worst nightmare.

I have such mixed feelings about this book. When I received it I thought it was going to be about the problematic nature of the 'not like other girls' trope, and it kind of was? But it also really wasn't. I loved Like Other Girls exploration of some of the really difficult teenage issues, but I felt that others could have been dealt with better. Lauren is a complicated character, and she's not particularly likeable, but she is kind of relatable. I definitely thought some of the things that she did when I was a teenager but I think very differently now, so my lower rating might be to do with the fact that I'm just out of the age range to be able to accept some of Lauren's questionable behaviour. I would say give this one a try if you find the synopsis interesting, it's definitely worth reading but I'm not sure how much I enjoyed it.

The Good People by Hannah Kent | ☆☆☆☆
Ireland, 1825, Nora's husband has died suddenly and Nora is left to care for her grandson, who can neither speak or walk. When unnatural things start happening in the valley, rumours are spread and Nora seeks the help of local healer Nance, who believes that Micheal is a changeling, a fairy child.

I adored Hannah Kent's Burial Rites and was just as excited to pick up her latest historical fiction The Good People, so when I received it as a proof late last year I couldn't believe my luck. I'm not sure why it's taken me so long to get to it but I'm glad I did. I read this over the long weekend in a house by the sea and I'm glad I read it in such atmospheric surroundings, because it's definitely an atmospheric book. Kent's descriptions of nature are beautiful and I lingered over each one:
'The valley was beautiful. The slow turning towards winter had left stubble on the fields and the wild grasses bronzes, and the scutter of cloud left shadows brooding across the soil. It was its own world.'

Her writing in general is beautiful and poetic and definitely makes up for the slight slowness of the plot. I found the plot of The Good People less compelling than Burial Rites, but only slightly, Kent writes the hell out of a historical fiction with folk tale elements. I find Irish folklore fascinating and The Good People lends an excellent insight into it and would act as a great springboard before delving into more. The Good People is definitely one to snuggle up with by a crackling fire or to take away with you on a windy autumn weekend away.

So those are the books I read in August, here's to another good month of reading (I've already finished two books!) and the start of my favourite season!

What have you been reading lately? Let me know down below, I appreciate every single comment!

Links to books in this post are affiliate links, which just means that if you want to purchase them, I get a little something too - with no extra cost to you! If you want to buy any other books, please consider using my Wordery link - thanks lovelies!


Monday, 21 August 2017

Reacting to My First Book Haul


I've been blogging for over two years now and recently I've been taking a look back at posts from my first year of blogging. Most people are embarassed about their early blog posts but although some things are a teensy bit cringe, I'm actually really proud of my first year of blogging. I feel like it was a simpler time, before I worried about reviewing all the proofs I'm sent and before all the pressure I feel now to have a 'glossy' looking blog (I definitely don't have one of those). I started blogging because I really wanted to just chat about my love for books and just share my rambling thoughts with the world and I feel like I've slipped away from that a bit in the last year. So I thought what better way to get back to my roots than by taking a look at my first ever book haul. This isn't about an embarrassed reaction to an early post, it's more taking a look back at the books I hauled to see what became of them. So let's go, all the way back to April 2015, to an Easter weekend book haul...

Thursday, 17 August 2017

Five Podcasts I Love


This year I've only read 21 books, but I've probably listened to hundreds of hours of podcasts, and that's totally fine. Podcasts are such a great way to stay informed and entertained during the most tedious of times, like commuting and cleaning. I've listened to a huge amount of podcasts so I want to start doing these posts every now and then and hopefully you'll find your new favourite. I've discovered most of these this year and I've listened to nearly every single episode of all of them, and you should too. So let's get into it, here's five podcasts that I love.

Monday, 14 August 2017

Release by Patrick Ness | Spoiler-Free Review




Release by Patrick Ness
Published by Walker Books
Release date: 4th May 2017
Source: proof copy from Walker Books.
I received this book for free from Walker Books. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of this review.

Adam Thorn is having what will turn out to be the most unsettling, difficult day of his life, with relationships fracturing, a harrowing incident at work, and a showdown between this gay teen and his preacher father that changes everything. It's a day of confrontation, running, sex, love, heartbreak, and maybe, just maybe, hope. He won't come out of it unchanged. And all the while, lurking at the edges of the story, something extraordinary and unsettling is on a collision course.

Themes: LGBT, family, friendship.

My rating: ☆☆☆☆☆

When I heard that this book was coming out at the Walker Books Christmas party, I audibly gasped. For some reason I had no clue that Patrick Ness was even writing this and it came as the most pleasant surprise. Patrick Ness is one of my auto-buy authors, I've read almost everything he's written and will continue to do so. So when a proof of Release fell through my letterbox, you can bet I was more then excited.

Monday, 7 August 2017

Currently #7


Reading: I'm about to start re-reading The Girls by Emma Cline for The Girl Gang book club this month. Come and join us, everyone is welcome!

Watching: Game of Thrones has just started back and whilst I'm really enjoying it, I'm also slightly struggling to remember everything that's happened in the seasons before and I keep annoying my boyfriend with all my questions - does anyone else do this?

Planning: blog content for the next couple of months. It's been a bit quiet around here lately whilst I've been so busy with my job and etsy shop, and I really want to get back into blogging.

Making: bookmarks! I've been wanting to sell bookmarks for ages and now they're finally up in my etsy shop! I particularly love the Hogwarts house pride ones. I'll be coming up with lots more designs but if you have any requests, please let me know! 

Stocking up on:
plants! I decided that our flat needed a little more life so we popped down to the local garden centre at the weekend and came away with a gorgeous dieffenbachia (or it's ugly name: dumb cane) and a cute succulent to accompany our aloe vera plant. I'm now a bit addicted and want all of the plants!

Wishing for: more hours in the day. I feel like I've been so busy these past few months but I'm still not getting enough done. I want more hours in the day so I can work, make things, blog and actually have time to relax at the end of it all.

Enjoying: the long days and light evenings. Although autumn is my favourite, I'm actually really enjoying the bright, long days and nights of summer - it makes me feel so much more awake.

Trying: to do more yoga. I've been an on and off gym-goer for a few years and I've dabbled in both pilates and yoga, but I've been trying to make yoga a regular thing lately as I find it really relaxing and it just feels great, it's just about making the time for it.

Eating: slow-cooker curry, particularly this recipe by The Kitchn. It's the perfect thing to stick on, head to work and it's ready and tasting delicious by the time I come home. I like to throw some veggies in there to make it a little healthier.

Goal Setting: This isn't quite a 'goal' but we're hoping to move to a cheaper flat by the end of the year. We moved into this one because we needed somewhere last minute but it's not the best we could get for our money and although it's going to be exhausting and stressful, it'll be worth it in the long run.

Learning: how to become a better teacher. I'm not a teacher in the traditional sense (although I might possibly be considering it, eeeek) but I'm a tutor of maths, English and creative writing and I'm always looking to improve my teaching methods and lesson planning. It's surprised me how much I enjoy tutoring!

That's it! What's been going on with you lately?

Tuesday, 1 August 2017

Mid-Year Book Tag | 2017


We're just over half way through the year and you know what that means? Essentially superfluous but fun mid-year book tag time! Okay so it's actually called the 'mid-year book freakout tag' but I'm not sure what I'm supposed to be freaking out about.

My reading has been much slower this year, I could make excuses about busyness and reading slumps but you know what? It is what it is. I may have read 19 books compared to the 41 I'd read by this time last year but my life is also very different from this time last year, and I'm not going to beat myself up about it.

So let's get into this tag!

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