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Wednesday, 6 December 2017

We've moved!

Sorry Blogger but it wasn't working out! Find PebblePen Book Blog at Wordpress here.

Anthology imitations of Rupi Kaur's Milk and Honey

Now, I am a huge fan of Milk and Honey, but for me, no-one does the controversially honest style as well as Rupi Kaur. Recently I have read a few other anthologies recommended to me as similar in terms of style and content but none have really reached the bar set.

The Last Time I'll Write About You by Dawn Lanuza

I had high hopes for this book as the publishing house, Andrews McMeel, also recognised Milk and Honey and subsequently published Kaur. Unfortunately, much of the poetry in this anthology lacked the emotive language and read much like an unending whine. The only point that I actually enjoyed and connected with Lanuza was in the final two lines of 'Migratory Birds'.
"Never quite knowing,
How to be with yourself?" 

For me, this brought about a feeling of not belonging to yourself and the uncertainty of not understanding or knowing yourself. This is familiar to every person at some point in their lives.

I also wish that the anthology had ended on a slightly lighter note. It began with a shallow, fanciful first love and then slowly drooped into a depressing whine in which the speaker struggles to get over him. I would have liked perhaps a second love or a sense of contentment to be alone for now.

I wouldn't personally recommend it, but if you are tempted by this its expected publication date is the 30th January 2018.

The Princess Saves Herself in This One Amanda Lovelace

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This anthology has been incredibly popular among fans of Rupi Kaur as Amanda Lovelace seems to very much share the feminist ideology of Kaur. It was even recommended by one of my favourite book bloggers, Hannah at Fables and Tea for our collaborative genre bookmark project. Alas, I also thought it was a slightly paler imitation of Milk and Honey.

It's a bit more badass and sweary that Kaur but in my opinion didn't contain half as much depth of feeling. The princess saves herself quite easily as she hadn't fallen too far from her throne in the first place.
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Kudos there, as a lot of the time that is the case. Sometimes you may feel as though you've fallen a great height when in reality it was just a trip in the journey, but for a poetry anthology, I found it slightly anticlimactic.

So there you have it! If you think there is something I missed in these reviews please let me know.

You can get 'The Princess Saves Herself in This One' online here.

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Friday, 1 December 2017

The Social Media Race - Crowdfire vs. Hootsuite vs. Kereru Media

Every blogger encounters social media at some point during their travels.

I also encountered Crowdfire. 

Crowdfire's claim is that it is an application capable of promoting and engaging your audience on both a blog and social media. I previously tweeted my dissatisfaction at the new layout and the fact that more and more of the Crowdfire's functions are becoming premium features.

So I wanted to pit them against some of the best social media people and other programs to see what the best use of money is! My budget is only £20 for a month as this is how much the premium Crowdfire upgrade is and I really wanted to see what you can get for that.

December 2017 is Crowdfire's turn! Other programmes that will be tested include Hootsweet. I will also be hiring a social media marketing firm, run by my close friend Cat Randle, Kereru Media. If you are interested in participating in this race, please don't hesitate to contact me and we'll just keep rolling on every month!

My expectations so far:

There will be very little in the way of original postings aside from the four posts I will compose before the race begins. Crowdfire is an app at the end of the day and my prediction is that my feed will be full of news tweets and that it will automatically share my blogs on all social media channels.

As far as growth is concerned I think the blog will grow because of this, but I'm concerned about the number of those who subscribe to the blog and to the social media channels who will actually be engaging with my content and not just scrolling past because of the lack of any sentient thought behind half the posts.

As far as how much time is going to come from me, I would say more than 1 minute (which is the daily recommendation from Crowdfire) but part of that will be my desire to connect with the people that Crowdfire sends my way and also wanting to personally over-see this race.

I believe that it will present a relatively long-term social media solution if done successfully as they charge a reduced price for a yearly plan and they will also hopefully introduce me to other creators, reviewers, authors and collaborators!

At the start of next month (01/01/2018), I will review the service, value for money and whether I would recommend Crowdfire to help run your social media channels!

Current Social Media Activity:

Twitter followers: 175
Facebook Likes: 30
Blog Subscribers: 6
Youtube Subscribers: 7
Instagram Followers: 0
Pinterest Followers: 0

Off we go Crowdfire! May the odds be ever in your favour!

Wednesday, 29 November 2017

Fragments of Femininity by Olivier Pont

A collection of complex yet delicately woven stories. Some intimate moments I never expected as well as some truly dark points. I connected with the characters, yet still felt they were mysterious. There are no obvious answers and only the author knows the full story of what each character was going through. There were some stories such as Elikya, Mathilde and Fleur's stories that truly celebrated femininity and those characters found freedom and passion through their womanliness. Yet there were also tales told around Chloe and Faith, where despite having traditionally unfeminine bodies, they still found a sensual side. Then there were the darker tones of women such as Sylvia whose story actually made me feel somewhat disgusted. Sylvia's actions speak strongly of self-loathing, which is an important and emotive theme but deeply unnerving. Despite this, I did love having a leading lady with curves. Alison taught us that although the past can haunt us it is also crucial that we move forward and think more of the present and future.
The art is seductively smooth in some places and joltingly hard in others. The contrast is very expressive and I think Pont outdid himself in this regard. The balance of the characters and the way they move is very smooth and natural.

Sunday, 30 July 2017

Printable Bookmark Recommendations Collaborative Project!

These free printable bookmarks were a collaborative project by your book blogging community. They're perfect little snippets for people interested in exploring new topics outside their usual bookshelves, or for more experienced readers to get more out of a genre they love. If you see a title you recognize, there's a blogger that would love to talk to you about it. If you see titles you've never heard of then there's a blogger who loves it and believes you will too! 

All credit is given to the wonderful people who worked on it:
The Historical, Fantasy & Sci Fi bookmarks below were the ones I contributed titles too, however, I was also in charge of compiling, formatting and coordinating the other blogger's suggestions and editing them into the other bookmarks on this page. All printables can be found permanently in the tab at the top of the blog, ready to be downloaded whenever you need some quick book advice!

Thursday, 27 July 2017

The Underground Railroad - Colson Whitehead

Winner of the Pulitzer Prize in April 2017 and of the National Book Award, Colson Whitehead's phenomenal race-centered novel has also been announced long-listed for the Booker Prize 2017.

Underground Railroad is everything. It is the secret to a new identity and life for slave girl Cora, as well as her past, present and future. Born and raised in a cotton farm in Georgia, Cora knows first hand the cruelty of the white man. As a child, abandoned by a mother that ran, she is strong and fights to stake a claim on what's hers, even if all this amounts to is a three foot strip of land between cabins, and continues to do so throughout her journey. She travels by rail, smuggled from state to state, reaching for the freedom and education she was denied.

The book is a poignant reminder that freedom isn't always what it seems and is seldom permanent, especially for a black girl. Whitehead explores the reality of people's attitudes towards slaves and even free men with darker complexions at the time. It was truly riveting and heartbreaking for the losses and injustice she suffers but the journey makes it all worth it. I loved the rare moments when Cora finds snippets of kindness and acceptance by the people who harbor her.

My second historical fiction novel of the month whose protagonist is also named Cora is just as brilliant as the first. A brilliant coincidence.

Buy The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead Now on Worderly

Tuesday, 25 July 2017

Happy Lippy Book Club: Heathen Vol. 1 - Natasha Alterici & Rachel Deering

Publication Date: 8th August 2017

Heathen is not only the first breath-taking leap into a Nordic fantasy world, but also a story of acceptance, courage and passion. The art is stunning and reckless. I love how free and unique both the art style and the story are. Aydis is a strong and fearless warrior, cast out of her village for kissing another girl.

Throughout her journey she seeks to not only end the suffering of a Valkyrie, who is cursed by the tyrannical God-King Odin, but also to abolish the subjugation of women like her. On her way she must fight tricksters, jump through flames, and even overcome the temptation of fickle love.

The Nordic lore and the immortal talking animals (especially her horse, Saga!) just wove another layer into the fabric of this story that I couldn’t resist.

I thoroughly enjoyed this volume and can’t wait for the next one. The ending is very much leading up to something big (though I can’t give too much away) and I would love to see where this series goes. Both Aydis and Brynhild are powerfully intense characters, whose mind-set and emotions are laid completely bare to you as the reader. You don’t read graphic novels like this. You experience them.

Saturday, 22 July 2017

The Essex Serpent - Sarah Perry

It's been a long time coming but here is my review of The Essex Serpent by Sarah Perry. I picked up this book to try something different to my usual fare but in the end I'm pleased to say that it's not that different at all. While The Essex Serpent is historical fiction, it is written in a very modern tone without much thought given to the typical drone of a history lesson. It follows the story of Cora, a magnetic, impulsive young widow finally free from her abusive husband. I loved that Cora, while attracting new friends like moths to a flame, is human enough to make mistakes and drive those people away at times too. It is very much an ebb-and-flow book that rises and recedes with the tides.

The Gothic, and in some places shocking experiences that surround the mystery of the Essex Serpent really bind together the thoughts and feelings of the characters, allowing Perry to fully explore the delirious mind of Stella and the emotions of Naomi who experiences losing a friend. It brings you closer to them and really makes them shine. All in all a phenomenal read!

Sunday, 16 July 2017

After The Crash - Michel Bussi

Image result for after the crashI'm not normally known for being a thriller kind of girl but After The Crash is magnetic. The plot is wonderfully convoluted and strange. There is even a fake-your-own-death trope emerging within its pages. The story leads you one way and then another. It is completely phenomenal. The sole survivor of a devastating car crash is a baby girl, but in a time when DNA testing was both experimental and costly, officials are mystified as to which of the two families vying for the child are actually blood relatives. After an arduous investigation, nothing is concluded but she is placed with the family which the authorities think is the best environment for her, but at 18 the soul searching question of who she really is comes back with a bite. An enthralling and enigmatic tale that will leave you breathless with a conclusion that is more brilliantly thought up than any other thriller I've read.

Thursday, 13 July 2017

Five Unique Poetry Anthologies

The best part of reading poetry is being able to experience something completely new and remarkable, unlike anything you've felt before, all in the space of a few stanzas. These are my top five unique poetry anthologies that twisted and pulled at my emotions in a very short space of time.

The World's Wife - Carol Ann Duffy

Carol Ann Duffy is an incredibly talented writer and was appointed Britain's Poet Laureate in May 2009. This particular anthology is focused on the under appreciated women in literacy. The most intense storms are named after women and so are the intense and devastating poems in this anthology. They are filled with personality, imagination and the witty voice of their author. Among my favorites are Salome and Medusa.
Behind every great man there's a great woman!

Listener - Lemn Sissay 

Another really phenomenal anthology. Lemn Sissay's work is dynamic, rhythmic and made to be spoken allowed. His really flowing, fast paced poems, such as The Actor's Voice and Some Things I Like, have a really great beat and roll off the tongue. They are offset with creatively laid out poems such as Rain and even Gambian Holiday Maker, which are both succinct and formed of only a few words and letters yet have a lot to say.

Sissay brilliantly communicates thoughts and feelings in a way that not many other people can.

Six Poets Hardy to Larkin - Alan Bennett

Contains poems by Thomas Hardy, A. E. Housman, John Betjeman, W. H. Auden, Louis MacNeice and Philip Larkin.

Throughout this anthology are little snippets of information about the people behind the lyrical words. Bennett comments on the motivation behind the writing of the piece and, at one point, about Thomas Hardy's slightly worrying obsession with graves! These little snippets really made this anthology special to me and I enjoyed the poems even more with the context behind them.

Milk and Honey - Rupi Kaur

I've got a complex relationship with this anthology. Kaur tackles some painful and potentially triggering experiences, especially those regarding child abuse and domestic violence. Overall I found it excruciatingly beautiful. It is topped off with her down to earth views on respect and body image.

Kaur writes with a forward thinking attitude and a simplicity that drives me wild. Other's have tried to recreate this exceptionally honest style, for example in The Princess Saves Herself In This One, but none have succeeded. One of a kind.

Il Giardino - Vita Sackville West

This anthology I am very fond of, and not just because I bought it after a tour of West's stunning walled garden at Sissinghurst Castle. There is a particular section that calls me in Winter, where she talks about being alone and the difference between abandonment and a blissful solitude. The entirety of this vivid anthology is written in floral metaphors and the imagery is so sharp and clear. By the end you feel like you've sat in a serene garden, alone with your thoughts, for an entire year. It's a breath of fresh air and great at clearing your mind of trivial everyday worries.

Milkyway Hitchhiking Vol 1 - Sirial

There is some very striking artwork in this beautiful edition by Yen Press. The colors are soft and pretty and it feels very light and watercolor, missing almost any harsh lines at all. If good art is what you're looking for, this is your book. You can see that Sirial has worked tirelessly on every single panel of this book and I love it. The stories don't really scratch the surface of what I think she's capable of but they are light, fluffy and positively feel-good. The only thing I would say is that the cat uses waaaay too many meow puns. Perfect for a little boost between deeper, darker reading material!

Wednesday, 12 July 2017

Jojo's Bizarre Adventure: Phantom Blood: Part 1, Vol. 1 - Horihiko Araki

Famed for its wild humor and fight frenzies, I was really looking forward to reading JoJo's Bizarre Adventure for the first time. True to it's reputation, it has a considerable amount of fight scenes, almost obscene muscles and verges on the side of very gorey. The art style is detailed and iconic, just not my cup of tea. I love JoJo as a character. I grew to love his true gentleman nature and the very easy to empathize with underdog aspect of his character, however he has very few flaws besides his near constant losses to Dio. The way the information about the Aztec mask was revealed was very clever, both in the beginning few pages and when Dio steals the mask. One thing I vehemently dislike about this manga was the animal cruelty. First with JoJo's past attitude towards his dog, throwing stones at it and mistreating it because it bit him. Then again when Dio first meets the dog and punches it in the face, throwing it forcefully backwards. Then finally when the dog has its muzzle wired shut and is thrown in a box to be set on fire. What on Earth was Araki thinking? I don't think I'll ever understand why that was necessary to the story. I can see why people love it. Everything is bold and more than a little over the top. I can't say I liked it as much as I was expecting to. I'd give volume 2 a go if I stumbled upon it, but I'm unlikely to search out the rest of this story.

Sunday, 9 July 2017

Borne - Jeff Vandermeer

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Borne is such an imaginative labor of love. Only Vandermeer could hope to capture the intricacies of this strange post-apocalyptic biotech-bear ruled world. Every nuance and feature of Borne's development is painstakingly explained and laid out for the reader's attention. Every shift in relationship between Rachael and Wick and Borne is felt as real as day. You as the reader, watch Rachael's transformation, which is, in a way, even more startling than Borne. You become used to watching this strange organism bend and wiggle its tentacles but the feelings and emotions in this novel will never fail to surprise you. I loved the three way war dynamic, with Rachael and Wick fighting both the Magician's influence as well as Mord and his Proxies. The incredible journey from Balcony Cliffs at the ending was fantastically done! Five stars!

The Girl with all the Gifts (Collaborative Post) - M.R. Carey

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Penny : What did you think of girl with all the gifts?

Joel : I thought it was quite pretty in the way it was told. In the sense of the girl [Melanie] has such an innocent way of looking at life. Even though she's not really human, she's blissful. She learns so much but shes never really scared other than of loosing her friends (as far as I can remember).

Penny : Did you like the characters?

Joel : Justineau is an incredible mother figure but Parks tends to turn her into a bit of a sex object. She puts her life at risk rather than Melanie's and in some parts she was blinded by wanting to help Melanie out more than to survive and she'd put the group at risk for that because of her guilt over her past.

I didn't know what to think about the ending.

Penny : I thought it was a bit of a kick in the teeth for Justineau in that she now has no-one her own age to talk to and the solitude will probably really hurt her in the future but at the same time she can't end it like parks did because she now has this duty to be the template for the humanity in the Hungry children.

Joel : There were times when I really didn't like parks. I could tell he was trying to be defensive and keeping people in line to make sure they were safe but the way he did it was wrong. He was talking to civilians, not soldiers. The opinion that he's the only one that can be right caused the other characters to deviate and put themselves in danger in order to be heard. His attitude changed and his style of leading changes. He considers other peoples opinions and feelings more throughout the novel.

Caldwell was a hardhearted but hard working scientist that was looking for the cure to the pathogen.

Penny : She felt she was the hero of the story even if the people in the group detested her. As a character I thought she was the most complex and well written.

Joel : That still doesn't make the things she did good. She would hurt other people just to give her an edge to discovering the cure and treated Melanie and the other Hungry children as just another slab of meat ready to be dissected.

Penny : At the same time Caldwell played an important role in helping Melanie reach her own conclusion that the era of the humans had ended and that there would be no cure. Melanie grew Doctor Caldwell's ideas and flipped them on their head.

Joel : Overall it was well written and the character development is definitely worth talking about but the ending leaves you wanting more in that it's quite abrupt.

Penny : I agree about the character development but the abrupt ending I thought was a good shock tactic and completely unexpected! 

Friday, 30 June 2017

June Monthly Motif Challenge : Just One Damned Thing After Another - Jodi Taylor

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How is the Cretaceous Period for a unique destination? How about eleventh-century London, World War I, and the destruction of the Great Library at Alexandria? I love how wacky this book is! From mad accidents in time, to a murderous History - this is the time travel book we've all been waiting for. 

Behind the seemingly innocuous facade of St Mary's, a different kind of historical research is taking place. They don't do 'time-travel' - they 'investigate major historical events in contemporary time'. Maintaining the appearance of harmless eccentrics is not always within their power - especially given their propensity for causing loud explosions when things get too quiet. Meet the disaster-magnets of St Mary's Institute of Historical Research as they ricochet around History. Their aim is to observe and document - to try and find the answers to many of History's unanswered questions...and not to die in the process. But one wrong move and History will fight back - to the death. And, as they soon discover - it's not just History they're fighting. For wherever Historians go, chaos is sure to follow in their wake ...

I really enjoyed the delightful historians at St. Mary's and their antics and how each character was so fundamentally different from another. The set up was perfect in that there was none. No foreshadowing that would give the game away. Every different event was separate and unpredictable. There were moments of great sweeping laughter and all encompassing heart break. Nothing in this beautiful book is one dimensional! 

Monday, 26 June 2017

Blue Exorcist - Kazue Katō

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Another brilliant Spunky main character, but what can you expect from the son of Satan himself! I love this manga. The juxtaposition between the two brothers Rin and Yukio is perfect. Rin is very like Naruto in that he has these big emotions that blow you away right with him as a reader, as well as the similarity in their hidden deamons, though in Rin's case that secret is out of the bag pretty early on. I enjoy the art style and the way it fluctuates between very stereotypically anime (large eyes etc) and the comic cartoon expressions that sometimes grace the pages. I love the character designs, not just the way they look and what they wear but also that real special something that makes them all unique. A great shonen manga!

Sunday, 18 June 2017

Thirteen Reasons Why - Jay Asher

This books cover and premise both interested me. I think the subject of teen mental health and suicide should be much more widely covered. I know that I sometimes enjoy a sad story. However, this book is the biggest pile of drivel I have ever read. Now I must admit I didn't finish this train-wreck, so if there is some incredible plot-redeeming ending I didn't ever encounter then I'm sorry. The story features teenage girl Hannah sending a rather malicious recording to the 13 people she 'blames' for her suicide. People are unkind sometimes. Life isn't fair. While I can see both of those things as reasons to commit suicide, I think the recording was overdone. Geez girl just leave a note! Directing the recording at other people is just spiteful and I wasn't able to connect with her. At the end of the day, she took her own life, and though she may have been driven to do so by the actions of others, surely the point of ending it all is to end the suffering rather than to get revenge on these people with a macabre voice recording? Her sitting down to record an entire novel of recording strikes me as her wallowing in her own pain. The other segment of the novel, where Clay walks around, carrying on with life and listening to the recording, is boring. I don't think I've read anything I hate more.

A colleague of mine once said that you can't make a great movie out of a great book but you can make a great movie from a mediocre one. For the sake of humanity I hope the same is true of Netflix series.

Illuminae - Jay Kristoff & Amie Kaufman

Five stars! Everything about this book is a breath of fresh air. The unique layout and how it connects to the story was brilliantly executed. The voice of the AI was just the right amount of human to connect with and the right amount of robot to solidify it as real. At the same time, there are moments that will rip your breath from your lungs. Artfully, Aime Kaufman and Jay Kristoff lead you to almost forget vital details that then come back and smack you backwards with them. So many damn bombshells! I cried at three separate moments during this emotional roller-coaster. The Phobos virus haunted me into sleeplessness. This is the essence of what I love about books. How they can make you feel more alive, engaged and happy yet rip you apart at the seems. A revolutionary title!

Everyone should gosh damn stinking read this book!

Puella Magi Madoka Magica - Magica Quartet/Hiroshi Takashige

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This manga looks like everything it's not. Madoka's story starts and ends with a witch named walpurgisnacht. In exchange for a wish from the magical Kyubey, Madoka Kaname can become a magical girl and fight witches. There is a twist, or several, that render this manga one of the most heart breaking stories of friendship and loyalty I have ever read. Far from being the girly magical girl manga I was expecting, Madoka Magica is gruesome in places and emotionally a complete roller coaster. As each part of the story emerges and new discoveries are made, the plot spirals towards the ultimate battle of walpurgisnacht. One of my favorite manga! This is definitely worth a read!

Saturday, 3 June 2017

The Huntress Book 1: The Sea - Sarah Driver

I wasn't so much a fan of this book. While suited for the 9+ age group, for me it read much like a watered down Northern Lights but with much more irritating language such as 'heart-glad' and 'feather-fun' that broke up any possibility of a natural flow. I enjoyed the story arc regarding the pearl and the false eye but I found this the most surprising aspect of the plot. The beast chatter, while it could have been an important and worthwhile gift, Mouse rarely uses it at all. She comes across a little self entitled and juvenile, which puts older readers off reading it. I would put the age range a little lower based on this. The relationships between characters are a little flaky and many of the supporting cast seem more like vague acquaintances than life long friends and crew. Unfortunately, not my cup of tea.

Wednesday, 31 May 2017

The Sin Eaters Daughter - Melinda Salisbury

Sin-Eating, a traditional feast set at a funeral in order to let the deceased slip free of the sins that hold them to earth and continue on to the other world. It would have been Twylla's fate to become a sin eater, had she not been chosen by the gods. Instead, she is a goddess embodied for as long as she eats a deadly mixture of blood and poison once a month, and is capable of killing with a single touch. The plot snakes around the royal family and their so called 'immunity' to Twylla's fatal touch. Twylla's loneliness manifests itself in undying faith to her Gods, which makes her blind to the Queen's instability. An interesting read, the next book in the series is on my to read list. Well worth a look at!

Friday, 26 May 2017

Of the Red, the Light, and the Ayakashi - HaccaWorks & Nanao (Illustrator)

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A confusing first volume to say the least! Lots of characters and settings were introduced in relatively few pages but the story still holds a lot of appeal for me. I'm interested in the different perceptions of humans. Some of the Ayakashi refer to humans as "meals" and I'm worried about hopelessly naïve Yue who seems only genuinely concerned with befriending them! I've read some very good reviews on the series as a whole so am looking forward to seeing some of these plot points develop. The art style is gorgeous and consistent while still allowing the characters their own unique visual! I like it already but want to know if in later volumes whether or not I can come to love it.

Spellslinger - Sebastien De Castell

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Spellslinger was Sebastien De Castell's riveting toe-dip into the world of YA writing. I love the way that De Castell slowly has Kellen rediscover something he really already knew. Kellen knows that his people aren't kind, when they beat down those with little magic and make them into slaves, but he sees it only as something he needs to avoid at all costs. HE knows his people aren't architects, but he never questioned the sprawling city they live in or the magical oasis they use to practise their magic. This is all he knows until a traveller Ferius Parfax, forces him to really observe his surrounding and figure out what it all means. She teaches him that there are often more than two choices and that he doesn't need to be powerful to fight the good fight. Full of unexpected twists and turns and more than a few questionable battle tactics, this book pits the strongest of mages against one kind apprentice who treats magic as a con game. I really loved the characters best, I thought they were really strong and consistent and the plot rose and fell with them. I loved Kellen's quick lies and how often they turned out not to be far off at all! Soon to be released in paperback, I definitely recommend picking it up!

Wonder - R. J. Palacio

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I'd seen Wonder as a popular book that I often sold at my shop. I hadn't the faintest idea what it was about or whether it was the kind of thing I would like, until I read a blog post here on books you should read before they become films 2017. I read it in under three hours. It's that good. R. J. Palacio writes about a young boy named August starting school for the first time and about the genetic condition that impacts the perceptions of the people around him. There is a strong theme of kindness not always being easy but worth it in the end. It tells a story of finding true friends that see you for who you are, rather than what's on the surface. The picture R. J. Palacio paints is empathic and told from multiple perspectives. It is beautifully done, tearful in some places, fun in others. A wondrous book.

Wednesday, 10 May 2017

Romana's Freedom - M.P.A. Hanson

Romana's freedom is THE perfect fantasy novel.

Romana starts off life in a desert slave shop, and as the only elf there, catches the eye of love-interest Prince Martin. Romana and Kate, the little sister she never had, set off for the palace where they are to work as servants to the royal family.

Prince Martin, has his sights set on her seemingly from the first conversation and the romance factor in this book is brilliant. I enjoyed watching the two fall in love!

The settings and descriptions are beautiful! They spring from the page and immerse you in all the vibrancy and colour of the world that M. P. A. Hanson has created. I loved the medieval/magic set up and the thrills I got with the magical fighting and sword fighting.

Romana is brilliant and Silver is awesome. There is no other word to describe them and I'm so glad they were a part of this book. The mystery surrounding both of their pasts is really addictive and I can't wait to read more!

I recommend to anyone, no matter who you are or what tropes you usually read. This book is in a league of its own!

Monday, 1 May 2017

My First Booktube! Favourite Books

My first booktubing video! I can say I've tried it now :)

I covered the most important topic, my favourite books, in a round about, rambly way. It's a bit cringy but I hope you enjoy it. Let me know :)

Friday, 21 April 2017

Interview with MPA Hanson - Author of the Soul Merge Saga

When I met MPA Hanson, author of the Soul Merge Saga, I was impressed by her dry wit and top notch sarcasm. A really lovely lady and great to have a laugh with! Here she talks about the finished saga as a whole and shares a few intimate scenes with us.

My speech is in bold.
MPA Hanson's is plain text.

Describe the Soul Merge Saga in three words or less:
Graphic torture scenes
Okay there's a bit where she slices off a few eyelids but apart from that…
Okay any other thoughts?
You don't need eyelids - she sticks them back on in the end.
No not that!
I think it has good characters and it's funny in places and sad in others.
That's not three worlds but… What is the best part of finishing your first series?
Well the worst part is constantly wanting to go back and relive them and write more in that world. I can understand why people do 15 book series now!
What about the best part?
The best part of writing the book is losing yourself in the world and the characters and not having to think. There's this head space where it just flows.
What's your personal favourite part of the series?
When Asha is a child and just her growing up and the way Silver changes.
What is it about Silver and Asha's evolution that interests you?
It's a classic case of somebody having to step up and change because of a responsibility they didn’t necessarily ask for.
My grammar-Nazi is killing you in my head.
(I'm speed typing to keep up so spelling has been compromised)
Please continue J
You've run out of questions.
Ah yes - Favourite book in the series?
Third one - Silver's Redemption - even though it doesn’t have my favourite part in it.
In the first two Silver is almost an afterthought and Romana was quite goody-two-shoes. I liked the sharp contrast Silver provided. It's refreshing to write the antihero.
In a disturbing way writing from her point of view is addictive.
Why should I read these books?
Because they are my heart babies and the realisation of a dream.
Anything else to add?
I haven't even gotten to the bit where she inserts a thin blade into the arm pit to dislocate the shoulder and skinned the little bits between the fingers and toes and pinned them to give webbed feet.
Don't put that in there! And stop spelling badly!
How old were you when you started writing?
There was a project in year two when I rewrote my own version of five on a treasure island… But with torture and eyelids.
That is the most twisted version of my words ever
How old were you when you started writing these novels?
First draft was when I was 12.
I thought this was supposed to help me with my image!
I am - you come across as humorous and bloodthirsty - Perfect.
A QUOTE - "Screams rent the night asunder as blood flowed freely from his eyes. His uncontrollable urge to blink forced the wound to mix with his tears. […] She deftly pinched the second eyelid and replaced the knife by his face, running the sharp edge along the skin she touched, gently, mockingly.In another second the skin was gone, and in each hand she pinched a piece of skin with thin little eyelashes still attached."
MPA 's boyfriend: There's a torture scene? I thought this wasn’t a sex book?
It's not a sexy torture it’s a rip off your eyelids torture!
Thank you MPA Hanson for this enlightening interview about the Soul Merge Saga books.

Wednesday, 19 April 2017

Nevernight - Jay Kristoff

A many facetted novel, Nevernight flits between protagonist Mia's past and present with interspersed notes and tales from a darkly humorous narrator. Mia is a murderer, and though bloodthirsty and fearless, she is also an empathic person that I found it very easy to connect with. She and the other acolytes at the Red Church are competing for the chance to be a Blade of the Lady of Blessed Murder (a weird name choice for a deity but it fits!). The story follows Mia's initiation into the Red Church in the present and the story behind her need for revenge in the past.

The relationship between acolytes and teachers are cleverly done. Each is believable and intricate. Between each acolyte there is the pressure of the competition, as well as the realisation that any of them could die, but there is also the slow blossoming and much denied love Mia ignores for fellow acolyte Tric. Their histories are fully fleshed out and each of their personalities matches what they've been through. All of the acolytes are killers, but many are so much more than that.
A winding and enchanting story that kept me guessing till the very end. I look forward to the next in the series 'Godsgrave'.

The Infinite Loop - Pierrick Colinet & Elsa Charretier (Illustrator)

The infinite loop is a beautiful book. I thoroughly enjoyed the book and the art is beautiful. I loved the concept of times and the way all the different versions of the main character, Teddy, were represented and the way that differences in their timelines had shaped them. The romance between her and Ano, the anomaly that Teddy is supposed to destroy, really hooked me. This graphic novel portrays so many diverse and interesting people in such a realistic way so that, instead of becoming a melting pot of odd characters, Pierrick & Elsa turn them into a fabulously detailed mosaic.

I really enjoyed this book and I thank the publishers for the reading copy they sent me.

Info-graphic: 5 Confessions of a Book Blogger

Sunday, 16 April 2017

April 2017 Monthly Motif Challenge: The Girl of Ink and Stars - Kiran Millwood Hargrave

This story focuses on the daughter of a cartographer, who, like her father, is a versed navigator and map-maker. Unlike her father, Isabella doesn't just dream of sailing the world and creating beautiful maps, she also dreams of mapping her island, and the central region their governor has forbidden to explore. At the death of one of her classmates, Isabella realizes something must be done to catch the culprits, but the governor seems adamant not to search the forests. When the governor's own daughter goes missing in the forest, a search party ensues, and disguised as her twin brother Gabo, Isabella sets out to find her friend and to prevent the destruction of her island by a mythical Fire God. Easy to follow and very emotive, especially towards the end. This book won Waterstones Children's Book Prize 2017, as did one of my all time favorites Half Bad back in 2015. Another lovely read!

Why I March - Abrams Books

A really beautiful collection of the faces and messages from the men and women who embarked on the Women's March on Washington. The protest sparked movements in all 7 continents and a particular favourite of mine was the Antarctica sign 'Penguins march for peace'. I'm also a sucker for the free pencils and balloons the publishers sent me with them!

Monday, 10 April 2017

Snotgirl - Leslie Hung

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"Green Hair Don't Care"

Lottie is a stuck up fashion blogger with allergies. The subject matter is very shallow but I liked the relationships between characters, especially 'cool-girl' and her ex-intern. The fact that the main character couldn't be bothered to learn her friends names wasn't great and it was confusing when she called characters 'norm-girl' and 'cute-girl' which I thought just reduced them to even more 2D versions of themselves and made me unable to connect with them. That being said, the art is beautiful. I love the style of the drawings and I love the character's green hair. Allergies is a much rarer flaw for a comic book character than it is in real life and I appreciate the creativity that went into designing her flaws and making her more than a mary-jane.

Saturday, 8 April 2017

She is Not Invisible - Marcus Sedgwick

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This is the story of a 16 year old girl, who abducts her younger brother Benjamin, to travel to New York on a mission to find their father. Her viewpoint is so complex. She's completely blind and has been since birth, so colour and sight mean nothing to her. She navigates an airport and a hunt around New York for her novelist father without ever being able to see. The way she relies on Benjamin to guide her is interesting and all the way through she's reminding herself to trust him more, to trust their father more, and to trust the love in her family, though she has her doubts more than once. Laureth is an incredibly human main character, as is her errant father, and I enjoyed this book almost as much as the last Marcus Sedgwick novel I read 'My Sword hand is Singing'. The only things I would say I didn't like as much are that I would have recommended it to slightly younger readers, say 9 - 12 year olds, based solely on the language and the parent-focused plot, than to teenagers, but still a really good read.

Friday, 31 March 2017

Book Blogger Hop : March


3rd - 9th - When you start reading a novel, do you prefer to be plunged right into the action, or do you prefer a slower, more descriptive introduction to the plot and characters? (submitted by Maria @ A Night's Dream of Books)

10th - 16th - How far in advance do you read the books you have scheduled for review? (submitted by Elizabeth @ Silver's Reviews)

months, sometimes minutes

17th - 23rd - Do you read a lot of diverse or own voices books? Why or why not? (submitted by Kitty @ Vicarious Bookworm)

I read diverse books with topics that interest me. I like novels that have diverse characters actually going out and having a story rather than the, in my opinion, more common option of just being diverse. Diverse people need plots too! You can't just state that they are *insert sexual orientation/other diverse-ness here*

24th - 30th - How do you handle negative comments left on your blog? (submitted by Maria @ A Night's Dream of Books)

As of yet, not a problem. I suspect after the previous question it may become one!

31st - April 6th - Do you visit every listed blog in the linky list when you are participating in a meme? (submitted by Elizabeth @ Silver's Reviews)

Yes and no, depends how much I'm enjoying the meme as to how many blogs I look at relating to it but I guess that's pretty standard.

Saturday, 18 March 2017


Hi All,

This Spring I've been reminded that when I go to University in a few months I'll have to move all my books, and with that horror in mind I have decided to have a clean out. Hopefully I can put the money towards accommodation or course costs in September. Some of these books I found it really hard to part with, and some you may recognize from my reviews.

The book sale is here, hosted by a good friend of mine.

I'd be grateful for your support!


Thursday, 16 March 2017

March 2017 Monthly Motif Challenge: A Discovery of Witches - Deborah Harkness

Romantic and well written, A Discovery of Witches is written by Deborah Harkness, a professor of history, so is accurate in its facts and the main character Diana's History knowledge is as palpable as the authors own.The characterizations are particularly good, as are the characterizations of Diana's parents, even if only through the notes and trinkets they left their daughter, the care they have for her shines through. It includes this months theme of time travelling very subtly but it was a book recommended by a friend that I was dying to read. Cleverly done and brilliantly built upon, I'd recommend to older fans of supernatural romance and fantasy.

Saturday, 4 March 2017

The Widow - Fiona Barton

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This book was a pretty great read. I was invested in every part of the story, from DI Bob Sparkes catching the child-napper, to Kate Waters writing her interview. I especially wanted to know exactly what happened to little Bella. (spoiler) It was a bit disappointing to know she dies but at the same time I was shocked to know that Jean, the Widow herself, knew that the child was dead.
I'd definitely recommend this books to lovers of thrillers and to anyone who enjoyed After the Crash or similar. It kept me on the edge of my seat and I read the entire thing in just three days.

Tuesday, 28 February 2017

Book Blogger Hop : February


3rd - 9th - Read or Clean? Read or Bake? Read or Make Dinner? What would be your choice? (submitted by Elizabeth @ Silver's Reviews)

Read. Read. Make Dinner. (Alas, my other love is food)

10th - 16th -What is your favorite Valentine's Day read? (submitted by Kristin @ Lukten av Trykksverte)

Captain Corelli's Mandolin - THE best romance ever written.

17th - 23rd - Can you read and watch TV or listen to the radio at the same time? (submitted by Elizabeth @ Silver's Reviews)

No, but I rarely do either of those things so I don't think it's a problem.

24th - March 2nd - How do you feel about books with multiple narrators? (submitted by Eli @ The Book Supplier)

Love them! It's so interesting to see the story play out from different perspectives and it gives insight into parts of the story the MC may not know anything about.

Saturday, 4 February 2017

The Crystal Run - Sheila O'Flanagan

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This is the first book from Sheila O'Flanagan that I have ever read and I certainly wasn't disappointed. It's a brilliant read that I found very thought provoking in the way the story was expressed. Kaia's attitude towards her duty is very mature but also very... pitiable? That is probably not the right word but its the only one I could think of to express her willingness to sacrifice her life for her people. I love the romance between her and Joe, especially the contrast between Joe's instinct for running away from danger and Kaia's determination to run into it. I can't wait for it to be released in May and I can't wait for the second book either! It is well worth a read.

Thank you to the publishers for sending me a copy!