Thursday, 22 February 2018

Women's History Month is Coming!

There's only one week left until it's March!

(How frightening is that? Wasn't it Christmas yesterday? I love winter but I do look forward to the spring once Christmas is over, it just seems to come around so fast every year...)

From the 1st - 31st March it's Women's History Month, probably the best month of the year if you're a history nerd like me, and I'm hoping to get some women in history content here on my blog. With any luck I'll have some reviews scheduled and perhaps I'll even be able to write a discussion post or two. Whatever happens, if WHM is something you're interested in then keep your eye on my blog for some kind of content!



Tuesday, 20 February 2018

Top Ten Tuesday | Never Say Never Apart From When You Should


Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature hosted at That Artsy Reader Girl. Each week you compile a list of ten books which coincide with that week's theme. You can find everything you need to know about joining in here!


This week's theme is 'Books I’ve Decided I’m No Longer Interested In Reading', and it was a difficult theme for me to make a list for at first because I'm one of those people who doesn't like to say 'never'. 


My tastes are always evolving and changing, so there are books I might not want to read now that I'll suddenly have a craving for in a year's time, so today I decided to go with a list mostly made up of books I've started reading before, given up on and am sure I won't go back to.


Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell: I remember this book being everywhere years ago and I was intrigued because Eleanor is overweight and it's so rare to see an overweight heroine in fiction - it's particularly rare to see an overweight heroine in fiction whose story isn't about losing weight in some way. I've since seen quite a few reviews from people of colour, however, who've said the way Rowell portrays Park made them uncomfortable which really put me off reading it and now it's been so long since it came out that I don't care. The only things of Rowell's I've read are Attachments and Midnights in My True Love Gave to Me and I didn't love either so I think she's just not for me.

Divergent by Veronica Roth: I tried reading this one years ago when YA dystopian fiction was all the rage and while I easily could have forced myself to finish it I didn't want to. I thought it was boring and the society as a whole didn't really make sense to me. The Hunger Games is creepy because it's easy to see how society might have got to that, but I couldn't understand in what world these factions were considered a good idea by any government. I don't think I'm missing out on anything and I know a lot of people who loved the trilogy hated the ending, so I'm going to keep my distance.

The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater: Tried it and didn't like it and I was disappointed! I've heard so many good things about Stiefvater's writing and about this series in particular that I was hoping to enjoy it, but sadly her style isn't for me. Also, as someone who's lived in Wales and worked alongside people whose mother tongue is Welsh, I couldn't get past the butchering of 'Owen Glendower'. His name's Owain Glyndŵr.

To All the Boys I've Loved Before by Jenny Han: I wanted to try one of Han's novels after really enjoying her short story in My True Love Gave to Me, but, again, her work isn't for me. This is another one I easily could have finished if I'd forced myself to, I just didn't want to force myself to finish something when I could be reading something else.

Where She Went by Gayle Forman: I liked If I Stay a lot and I picked up a copy of Where She Went with the intention of reading it, but I never did and now I'm not that interested. I think If I Stay is fine on its own.


Death Comes to Pemberley by P. D. James: It's only in the past year or so I've started to get into Austen and I wanted to pick this one up so I could watch the BBC adaptation starring Anna Maxwell Martin, whom I adore. Unfortunately the book was another I couldn't get into and I ended up watching the adaptation only to be pretty underwhelmed by the story as a whole, so I have no interest in reading the book.

Rebel Heart and Raging Star by Moira Young: Blood Red Road is one of my favourite YA novels. I love the way its written and I love Saba and I love Jack and it pulled me out of a reading slump when I really needed to be pulled out of one. I had every intention of continuing with the trilogy but then I saw more and more reviews that the latter two books weren't as good and eventually I lost interest in it. Blood Red Road is enough for me - why does every YA novel have to have a sequel?

A Darker Shade of Magic by V. E. Schwab: Schwab is another one of those authors who I should love and just don't. A Darker Shade of Magic, in particular, should be right up my street considering it's historical fantasy but Schwab's writing style and I don't get along. Oh well!

The Book of Strange New Things by Michel Faber: I'm always fascinated by novels that combine science and science fiction with religion, so I thought this one would be right up my street. I started reading it, got about a third of the way through it, and still nothing had happened. My patience only goes so far so I put it aside and I have no real desire to try again.

Which books made your list this week?

Tuesday, 13 February 2018

Top Ten Tuesday | All You Need is Love (and Books)


Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature hosted at That Artsy Reader Girl. Each week you compile a list of ten books which coincide with that week's theme. You can find everything you need to know about joining in here!


This week's theme is a love themed freebie, so today I thought I'd talk about my bookish otps. I usually struggle with otps - something I've mentioned before is that, for whatever reason, I have more otps from films and tv shows than books - but today I decided to challenge myself to sit down and think about the romantic couples in books I love and was pleasantly surprised to discover that almost half of them are from books I read last year!

(Please be aware that there may be some spoilers in this post if you're the kind of reader who doesn't like to know who ends up with who!)



Cinder and Kai from The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer: There are plenty of sweet couples in this series, Cress and Thorne are especially adorable, but I've always had a soft spot for these dorks.



Judith and Lucas from All the Truth That's in Me by Julie Berry: I wasn't expecting to enjoy this book as much as I did and I loved it, and I was especially surprised by how much I enjoyed the relationship between these two.



Monty and Percy from The Gentleman's Guide to Vice and Virtue by Mackenzi Lee: Well done romances that grow from friendship are hard to do - quite often they come across as a little lazy to me - but the relationship between Monty and Percy was my favourite thing about this book.



Molly and Reid from The Upside of Unrequited by Becky Albertalli: These two are just the cutest nerdy, body-positive couple and I love them.



Saba and Jack from Blood Red Road by Moira Young: When it comes to fictional characters I have a genuine soft spot for guys called Ben and Jack and I love this Jack in particular, but I loved Saba even more and their chemistry is fantastic.



Achilles and Patroclus from The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller: I went into mourning after I finished this book and I adored the way Miller wrote the relationship between these two from childhood through to adulthood. If you haven't read this book yet you're severely missing out.



Rosemary and Sissix from The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet by Becky Chambers: The relationship between Rosemary and Sissix was such a pleasant surprise. I loved their chemistry and hoped something might happen but thought 'nah, the author's probably not going down that road' and then she did! This book is another one of my all-time favourites.



Meche and Sebastian from Signal to Noise by Silvia Moreno-Garcia: The above quotation is one of my favourites and always tugs at my heart. This is another one of my favourite novels and I loved the relationship between Meche and Sebastian, both their awkward teen years and their awkward reunion as adults. This is another example of platonic to romantic love done exceptionally well.



Laura and Carmilla from Carmilla by J. Sheridan Le Fanu: Definitely not exactly the healthiest relationship on this list, but Carmilla is one of my favourite classics and I've always loved the strange, intoxicating relationship between Laura and Carmilla.



Maia and Csethiro from The Goblin Emperor by Katherine Addison: If someone held a gun to my head and asked me to pick my favourite novel of all time, this is the novel I'd pick. What I love about the relationship between Maia and Csethiro is that we only ever see its potential, but I love the way they interact with each other and I love that they work at becoming friends before anything else.

What did you talk about this week?

Tuesday, 6 February 2018

Top Ten Tuesday | Shame, Shame, Shame...


Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature hosted at That Artsy Reader Girl. Each week you compile a list of ten books which coincide with that week's theme. You can find everything you need to know about joining in here!


This week's theme is 'Books That Have Been On My TBR the Longest and I Still Haven’t Read' which is basically the story of my life. So this is going to be embarrassing.


We all have them, don't we? Those books we keep telling ourselves we need to read but then, year after year, they fall by the wayside for other things. I have quite a lot of those books, in fact, so today I'm talking about the books I haven't read despite having owned my copies for quite a few years now.



A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini: I'm pretty sure I've owned my copy of this book since I finished my undergraduate degree, which means I've owned it since 2013 and still haven't read it. It's about time I got on that!

The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon: Even worse I'm fairly certain I picked my copy of this one up while I was still at uni. It's one of those books I tell myself I'm going to read and never get to, so I really do need to try and get to it soon.

The Crimson Petal and the White by Michel Faber: Like the majority of the books on this list this is another one I came across in a charity shop and picked up because, as a huge historical fiction fan, it's one of the classics of the genre that I feel like I should have read by now. I'm not as eager to pick this one up as I am the others on this list but I'd like to cross it off my TBR at some point.

The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood: Considering I did my dissertation on women in dystopian fiction it's incredibly embarrassing that I haven't read this one yet and, sadly, I know it's still so relevant. I want to read it, I just know it's going to make me angry and upset and I need to be in the right mood for that kind of book.

The Book of Lost Things by John Connolly: I've owned my copy of this for a few years now and still haven't read it which is ridiculous considering it's historical fiction with a dash of dark fairy tales. So many things I love!



Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell by Susanna Clarke: It's the size of this book that intimidates me but my friend Natalie @ A Sea Change loved it and I'd really like to cross it off my TBR.

The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas: Similarly, at around 1,500 pages, this book is so daunting to me. It's the one classic I'd really like to try and cross off my TBR, though.

Here Be Dragons by Sharon Kay Penman: Another one I found in a charity shop and still haven't read because I'm the worst. Sharon Kay Penman is an author I definitely need to have under my belt, though, she's so highly regarded in the realms of historical fiction.

The Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett: My parents got me this one for my first Christmas home from university. This means I've owned my copy since 2010. Oh dear.

The Lady's Slipper by Deborah Swift: Yet another one I discovered in a charity shop and would really like to read because I had the pleasure of meeting the author while studying for my MA and she was lovely. This piece of historical fiction is actually set around the area where I went to university so it'd be lovely to revisit it in this book.

Which books made your list this week?

Sunday, 4 February 2018

My Top 3 Anticipated Releases of 2018!

I try to take part in Top Ten Tuesday every week and not too long ago I talked about all of the book releases I'm looking forward to this year. I've since discovered even more and today I thought I'd pick the top three books I'm most looking forward to which are being published in 2018.

It wasn't until I compiled this list that I realised that all three of these books are retellings in some way, which I wasn't expecting as I've been staying away from retellings for fear of reading too many and getting fed up with them like I did with dystopian fiction. Since finishing The Lunar Chronicles, though, I've been eager for more retellings that capture my imagination the way that series did.



In 2017 I finally read Madeline Miller's The Song of Achilles and it became not only one of my favourite reads of the year but one of my favourite books of all time. I went into mourning after finishing that book and it feels like I read it at the perfect time as Miller's second novel, Circe, is being released in April. Like The Song of Achilles, Miller is giving her own spin on another character from the Ancient Greek legends, Circe, who is considered to be one of the very first fictional witches. This one is my most anticipated read of 2018 and I can't wait to get my hands on a copy!


I've been pretty underwhelmed with the Shakespeare retellings I've encountered recently. Anne Tyler's Vinegar Girl completely missed the point of The Taming of the Shrew and Robin Talley's As I Descended didn't capture Macbeth in the way I'd hoped, but when I heard Tor were publishing a high fantasy novel inspired by King Lear I knew I had to keep it on my radar. I've been getting back into high fantasy since reading and adoring The Goblin Emperor back in 2015 and I'm so looking forward to reading a story about three sisters fighting for the same crown. I've yet to read any Tessa Gratton but I have high hopes that I'm going to love The Queens of Innis Lear.


I'm probably as surprised as you are to see this book here as it's no secret that I wasn't the biggest fan of Uprooted. I didn't dislike it, but it left me feeling a bit empty and took me a long time to get through. I wasn't all that intrigued when I heard Naomi Novik was releasing another fairy tale inspired book until I came across Spinning Silver and realised she'd written a retelling of Rumpelstiltskin. Rumpelstiltskin just so happens to be my favourite fairy tale, I read it so many times when I was younger, and I have been waiting for a retelling for the longest time. I might not have enjoyed Uprooted as much as I wanted to, but I'm hoping to love this one! (I'm also hoping we might have a different cover in the UK that matches the UK cover of Uprooted).

Which books are you most looking forward to this year?

Tuesday, 30 January 2018

Top Ten Tuesday | Books I Can't Believe I Read


Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature hosted at That Artsy Reader Girl. Each week you compile a list of ten books which coincide with that week's theme. You can find everything you need to know about joining in here!


This week's theme is 'Books I Can’t Believe I Read'.


Most of these are books I had to read for school or university, but they're all books I'm proud I managed to force my way through considering how much I disliked them or had trouble getting through them. I'm now much better at DNFing books I'm not enjoying, particularly as I no longer have to read anything for a piece of coursework.

If you don't like reading negative things about books (which is perfectly understandable - it can be a bit of a bummer!) then I recommend you don't read any more of this post...


Death of a Salesman by Arthur Miller: I'm so sorry to American Literature, but other than Of Mice and Men I did not have a good experience with it in school. This story seemed so unnecessarily depressing and I got so bored of talking about the American Dream in my English Lit classes.

The Withered Root by Rhys Davies: I ended up reading this one while helping to format the eBook at my publishing internship. All I can remember is how much I hated it.

The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald: I loathe this book. I know it's a favourite of so many people's and I totally respect that, it's just not for me.

Peter Pan by J. M. Barrie: I did a really interesting module on Victorian Popular Fiction at university where we studied detective fiction, adventure fiction and children's fiction. It was a brilliant module but it made me realise just how twisted the original Peter Pan story is, and something about it made me too uncomfortable to enjoy it.

Wise Children by Angela Carter: This one just felt weird for the sake of being weird and I didn't like it at all when I had to read it in school. I wish The Bloody Chamber and Other Stories had been my introduction to Carter and not this strange novel.


The Boy With the Cuckoo-Clock Heart by Mathius Malzieu: If I had to pick the absolute worst book I'd ever read this one might be it. I forced my way through it because it's so short, more of a novella than a novel really, but it's just awful.

Vinegar Girl by Anne Tyler: I forced my way through this retelling of The Taming of the Shrew hoping it would get better. It didn't.

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child by John Tiffany and Jack Thorne: I'm very lucky to have been to see the play in London, which I really enjoyed, but the script and story itself I didn't like at all. This story does such a disservice to some of my favourite characters and for me Scorpius was the only saving grace.

The Gift by Alison Croggon: I didn't dislike this one, I just remember it took me a long time to get through it and that it wasn't particularly memorable so I'm surprised I managed to force my way to the end of it.

Requiem by Lauren Oliver: I loved Delirium, and I think even with that ending it would have been a fantastic standalone, then Pandemonium came along and made Delirium just like every other YA dystopian triloy, then Requiem came along and kicked us all in the teeth. I like to pretend Pandemonium and Requiem never happened.

Which books made your list this week?

Monday, 29 January 2018

Review | Prime Meridian by Silvia Moreno-Garcia


by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

My Rating: 

Amelia dreams of Mars. The Mars of the movies and the imagination, an endless bastion of opportunities for a colonist with some guts. But she’s trapped in Mexico City, enduring the drudgery of an unkind metropolis, working as a rent-a-friend, selling her blood to old folks with money who hope to rejuvenate themselves with it, enacting a fractured love story. And yet there’s Mars, at the edge of the silver screen, of life. It awaits her.


I've been a huge fan of Silvia Moreno-Garcia's work since her debut novel, Signal to Noise, became one of my favourite novels of all time back in 2015 so I couldn't let the opportunity to support the publication of her new novella pass me by. I, along with the other lucky backers, were able to receive copies of Prime Meridian in December, but it will be available for everyone else to buy this summer!

I've read two of Moreno-Garcia's novels so far and am currently reading her third, The Beautiful Ones, and I've also read one of her short story collections, This Strange Way of Dying, so I was interested to see her bridge the gap between novel and short story with a novella. Novellas are something I've become more and more interested in lately and there are so many more I'd like to read, and now I'm glad to have this one under my belt.

At this point Moreno-Garcia is already one of my favourite authors so I knew I was going to enjoy it, but I didn't know what to expect from it. In the realms of SFF I lean far more towards fantasy than science fiction and the science fiction I do love is quiet, character-focused sci-fi such as Becky Chambers' The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet. Luckily for me, Prime Meridian is also that kind of sci-fi.

Amelia is a college dropout, forced to quit her academic pursuits to look after her mother before she passed away and now stuck sharing a tiny apartment with her pernicious sister. Now she works odd jobs, from working as a professional friend for the lonely to donating blood to those who believe it will restore their youth, all the while dreaming of a fresh start as a colonist on Mars.

Once again Moreno-Garcia's writing was a dream. This is moody sci-fi at its best, full of equal measures of regret and hope and reminiscent of films such as the 1990 version of Total Recall with elements of early sci-fi novels such as Edgar Rice Burroughs' A Princess of Mars. There's a wonderful Old Hollywood vibe throughout the story, making this the ideal novella for fans of Catherynne M. Valente's Radiance or indeed for any fans of those old classic movies starring beauties like Grace Kelly and Tippi Hedren.

But it's Amelia who ultimately steals the show throughout this story. What I love about her is how unspectacular she is. She's a young woman like any other, looking around at her life and wishing for something better in a city where there are no jobs and all the money she does manage to earn has to go on getting by one day at a time. There are so many times when she could settle for what's in front of her, even a relationship with someone who has the finances to keep her in a better place than the one she's accustomed to, but that dreamer in her never quite goes to sleep, never quite gives up, and it's her quiet persistence I loved most.

I'm in the middle of a bit of a change in my own life right now. Next week I'm starting a new job and moving to a new city where I know absolutely no one, and this novella was just the kind of pep talk I needed. Whether you love sci-fi or you're fairly new to the genre there's something in this novella for you, and I implore you to get your hands on a copy later this year.