Posted in Uncategorized, fiction, Wrap Up, lifestyle

A Little Bit of Everything

Hello!

It’s been a little while and my brain keeps nudging me to post, then I think of what to say and it goes round and round until it isn’t relevant anymore, that’s just my brain!

I recently joined together with a few others to encourage blogging and general posting so hopefully I’ll get a little more motivated.

So here are some updates from the last few months …

Books

September

In September, we went on holiday where I devoured several books while lazing in the sun – it was perfect and exactly what I needed as a holiday.

I finally read my first Taylor Jenkins Reed book Carrie Soto is Back which I really enjoyed! I was impressed with the ease I fell into the storytelling and I wasn’t overwhelmed by the amount of tennis talk – it was a lovely treat and I’m excited to read more of TJR’s work. I also really enjoyed A Very Large Expanse of Sea by Tahereh Mafi although it broke my heart a little bit.

Following this, I read some real disappointments! Glint, Good Girl Complex, Twice Shy. I DNF’d How to Kill your Family (skim read) and Beneath the Burning Wave.

My standout read for September though was Wolfsong by TJ Klune, I am now in mourning as, due to the books getting a trad publishing deal, I cannot get ahold of the other books in the series for like SO LONG. I am so sad 😦

October

Sadly, October carried on my reading skit of very ‘meh’ books and although I wanted to consume all my spooky reads, I actually ended up reading some Christmas books instead as I was on some book tours!

I began October with Mindwalker by Kate Dylan and I also read Lost in Time by AG Riddle. Both were intriguing science fiction books and I enjoyed them but didn’t love them. I also finally delved into Anne of Green Gables which I just felt I couldn’t love as much as everyone else does – sorry!

For book club we read Nothing More to Tell by Karen McManus, another I only found okay! I took comfort in knowing what to expect from McManus – I’ve read four of her books now and none have blown me away but they’re enjoyable enough.

Standout for me in October was The Dead Romantics by Ashley Poston – my first book by this author – I really enjoyed it considering I picked it up on a whim, it gave me nostalgic vibes from all the cheesy 00s supernatural TV I’ve consumed over the years 🙂

Lastly, the festive books! I read Picture Perfect by Jeevani Charika and The Christmas Cupid by Jennifer Joyce – I enjoyed both and would recommend them, you can find reviews for them on my instagram!

Lifestyle

In September, I picked my Japanese language up again thanks to Duolingo. I studied Japanese briefly at college and university but dropped out ha. I’m enjoying my learning this time and definitely want to stick to it although the app drives me mad and gets a little obsessive. I also started learning to tap dance! It is so much fun and I’m loving it – I don’t know why I didn’t do it sooner, I’ve wanted to learn for years as my mum used to dance 🙂

It’s been a weird couple of months for me. I applied for a different job at work (didn’t get it), I turned 34 and we took our first steps towards fertility treatment – not something I ever thought I would be saying but I guess that’s how it is for everyone who finds themselves in this situation. I can’t put a lot of my feelings about it into words without feeling guilty and that’s something I’m working through personally – I think writing about it will help so I’m going to try. It will always be at the end of my blog posts so if you find it triggering (which I very much totally get!) you can hopefully avoid it – do what is right for you (another lesson I’m learning for myself). On the other hand, if you have questions or are comfortable being of some support – let me know. You can always reach out on my instagram, I think having that support outside of my usual networks would be really helpful for me.

Now we are nearly at the end of NOVEMBER I’m starting to prepare for Christmas, getting my craft on and making plans… we always get a bit busier at work towards the end of the year before having a nice quiet few days – I’m working through the holidays except for the bank holidays unfortunately but it’s a good time to get everything ready for 2023!

I’ll try not to leave it too long next time!

Posted in book review, fiction

Nine Perfect Strangers by Liane Moriarty

I found this post in my drafts and it seems a shame not to post it now considering it’s a book I really didn’t like! (I think I was quite generous!)

I was really looking forward to this book, it sounded amazing – nine strangers go on a health retreat but all is not what it seems – my perfect read!

However that is not what this book is. All the way through I kept thinking ‘maybe something will happen now and everything will kick start’, this didn’t happen, I was so disappointed! I finished the book wishing I hadn’t wasted my time.

Characters – the chapters are centred around the different people individually for the most part so you have the chance to get a feel for each character however I personally didn’t think I connected with any of them very deeply – I just wasn’t given enough from each one. I wanted to get inside their heads and really get to grips with their hidden pasts (promised from the blurb) but each character was just touched upon and then left abandoned. Perhaps there were just too many of them to delve into – each one was flawed and vulnerable (reflecting very human neuroses – very refreshing and relatable), it’s just a shame we aren’t given the chance to pay them the attention they deserve and get ourselves some mental healing too.

Narrative – The book is written well but simply; this is not a wordy text you need to take your time over however it feels like the narrative never really gets going in a sense and because of this the conclusion felt rushed to me. The majority of the book is taken up by how these strangers distrust each other and how their experience in the retreat will make them ‘new people’ but it is written too lightly for such heavy subject matters (mental health & wellbeing) which I believe has led to my disengagement with the text. I found myself confused as to if I was reading a happy book of self-discovery or a mystery thriller.

I have given the book two stars, it did keep me reading to the end after all but I’m glad I borrowed this from the library and didn’t actually pay for it. I’ve only read one other Liane Moriarty novel – Big Little Lies and I loved it, it whet my appetite with its intrigue and by the end of the novel I was stuffed. I’ve also heard great things about her other novels so I think I will read her back catalogue before I read any more of her new stuff, hopefully this one was just a blip!

Goodreads Rating – 2 / 5

Posted in book review, book tour, fantasy, fiction, gifted, retelling

Midnight in Everwood by M.A Kuzniar

Published by HQ – 28th October 2021 (UK)

Synopsis

There’s nothing Marietta Stelle loves more than ballet, but after Christmas, her dreams will be over as she is obligated to take her place in Edwardian society. While she is chafing against such suffocating traditions, a mysterious man purchases the neighbouring townhouse. Dr Drosselmeier is a charming but calculating figure who wins over the rest of the Stelle family with his enchanting toys and wondrous mechanisms. 

When Drosselmeier constructs an elaborate set for Marietta’s final ballet performance, she discovers it carries a magic all of its own. On the stroke of midnight on Christmas Eve, she is transported to a snowy forest, where she encounters danger at every turn: ice giants, shadow goblins and the shrieking mist all lurk amidst the firs and frozen waterfalls and ice cliffs. After being rescued by the butterscotch-eyed captain of the king’s guard, she is escorted to the frozen sugar palace. At once, Marietta is enchanted by this glittering world of glamorous gowns, gingerbread houses, miniature reindeer and the most delicious confectionary. 

But all is not as it seems and Marietta is soon trapped in the sumptuous palace by the sadistic King Gelum, who claims her as his own. She is confined to a gilded prison with his other pets; Dellara, whose words are as sharp as her teeth, and Pirlipata, a princess from another land. Marietta must forge an alliance with the two women to carve a way free from this sugar-coated but treacherous world and back home to follow her dreams. Yet in a hedonistic world brimming with rebellion and a forbidden romance that risks everything, such a path will never be easy.

Posted in book review, book tour, fantasy, fiction, gifted

Book Tour – Under the Whispering Door by TJ Klune

Published 28th October by PanMacmillan (UK)

Thank you to PanMacmillan and Black Crow PR for letting me post as part of the book tour and for the advanced copy to read and review.


Synopsis

When a reaper comes to collect Wallace Price from his own funeral, Wallace suspects he really might be dead.

Instead of leading him directly to the afterlife, the reaper takes him to a small village. On the outskirts, off the path through the woods, tucked between mountains, is a particular tea shop, run by a man named Hugo. Hugo is the tea shop’s owner to locals and the ferryman to souls who need to cross over.

But Wallace isn’t ready to abandon the life he barely lived. With Hugo’s help he finally starts to learn about all the things he missed in life.

When the Manager, a curious and powerful being, arrives at the tea shop and gives Wallace one week to cross over, Wallace sets about living a lifetime in seven days.

Posted in book review, book tour, fiction, gifted

Book Tour! Subject Twenty One by A.E. Warren

Published by Del Rey – 1st July 2021

Synopsis

What if our future lies 40,000 years in our past?

 Elise’s world is forever changed when she is given the opportunity of a lifetime – to work at the Museum of Evolution and be a Companion to the Neanderthal, Subject Twenty-One.

As a Sapien, a member of the lowest order of humans, she and others like her are held responsible for the damages inflicted on the world by previous generations. This job may be Elise’s only chance to escape a stagnating life in an ostracised and impoverished community.

But it doesn’t take long for Elise to realise that, away from the familiarity and safety of her home, her own secrets are much harder to conceal. 

And the longer she stays the more she comes to realise that little separates her from the exhibits . . . and a cage of her own.

Review

Subject Twenty One is the first book in A.E Warren’s series Tomorrow’s Ancestors. Tagged as ‘Jurassic Park meets Sapiens’ I was quick to sign up to this Book Blog Tour and get my hands on a copy to read and review. Subject Twenty One was gifted to me by the publisher Del Rey and is set to be released on 1st July … along with book two The Hidden Base which I will be reading and reviewing as soon as it plonks through my letter box!

A.E Warren self published these books previously (under different titles) and I’m so glad they got picked up! Reading Subject Twenty One was easy, the story gripped me completely right from the beginning and it kept my attention all the way through. I loved how much research had been undertaken in writing this book but how this didn’t make it ever feel overwhelming or complicated. Warren has created a fascinating class system with various quirks and categories, all while weaving a heartfelt narrative.

For me, the connections between the characters was key. Elise is hired to be a companion to Twenty One, a Neanderthal who has been brought to life in order to be an exhibit in a museum as well as be part of an experimental program. She leaves her family to do this job and in turn discovers more about the other classes and the events in history which brought about their current situation. In the museum, Elise encounters a Potior, the highest class of being but also other Sapiens, like herself. By the end of the book, Elise has brought together an interesting group who work really well together and I was fully invested in them all.

As a setting, the museum was amazing, I could imagine it very clearly – I’d very much like to visit it! It definitely gave off Jurassic Park vibes but there is nothing wrong with that at all, I loved it! The genetic engineering aspect was one that I personally felt could have been explored in more depth but I also think that doing so would have strained the main storylines progression.

Overall, I enjoyed Subject Twenty One a lot and will be reading book two ASAP. It is YA and offers a thought provoking look at humanity and the future as well as the past. I will say that this book includes details of a Pandemic which some of you may not want to read about just yet but I found the detail was sparing and not gratuitous, only really mentioning it in passing. Warren writes a unique and intriguing narrative in a believable dystopia.

Goodreads Rating 4 / 5 Stars

Posted in Author Q&A, book review, book tour, fiction

Book Tour and Q&A – The Asylum by Karen Coles

Published by Welbeck – April 2021

Synopsis

1906: Being a woman is dangerous, being different is deadly.

Maud Lovell has been at Angelton Lunatic Asylum for five years. She is not sure how she came to be there and knows nothing beyond its four walls. She is hysterical, distressed, untrustworthy. Badly unstable and prone to violence. Or so she has been told.

When a new doctor arrives, keen to experiment with the revolutionary practice of medical hypnosis, Maud’s lack of history makes her the perfect case study. But as Doctor Dimmond delves deeper into the past, it becomes clear that confinement and high doses are there to keep her silent.

When Maud finally remembers what has been done to her, and by whom, her mind turns to her past and to revenge.

Posted in book review, fiction

The Curse of the King by Winnie Lyon

Published September 1st 2020 by Parliament House Press

Synopsis

Laura Wilson is the heir to an ancient curse.

As a young witch descending from the very powerful trio of witches that had cursed Macbeth, the pressure she faces daily is non-stop. When Laura is forced to participate in her school’s rendition of the classic play, she gives herself a single task: breaking the curse once and for all.

This task proves itself to be more difficult than she ever could have imagined when a miscast spell leads to the summoning of her dead ancestor, Cecily Wilson, one of the very witches that cursed Macbeth.

As Laura attempts to send her resurrected relative back beyond the veil, she is faced with one of the harsh realities of high school—having a crush on her best friend, Holly. However, things only get more complicated as Holly pines after Peter, a lonely, quick-witted vampire.

While she grows closer to Cecily, Laura sees first-hand the true horrors of being a witch in Elizabethan England as demonic forces arise in her little town of Shipley Hollow.

Can Laura break the curse and save her family name before the curtains rise on opening night?

Posted in Uncategorized

Book Tour – Unravelled by Briony Marshall

Published by The Writing Hall

I was gifted a copy of this book in exchange for a review as part of Love Books Tours 🙂

Synopsis

“For crying out loud! I can’t even cast on now.”

Claire has never unravelled anything before, being a confident knitter. But now, to her dismay, everything she creates is a disaster, riddled with dropped stitches and glaring holes. It’s almost as if her hands have a mind of their own. Maybe it’s because her longest relationship to date has just ended, or perhaps it has something to do with the fact her career is on the ropes.

“Don’t get frustrated with your needles! The problem lies with the knitter, not the knitting,” said Adrian, owner of Oddballs wool shop. Following his advice, in the desperate hope it will cure her woolly woes, Claire begins to turn her life around. Her grand plan involves FishTank, the online dating site. She convinces Adrian that if they sign up and find love, their problems will be solved (and she’ll have at least one area of her life sorted!). The trouble starts when he has far more luck in the romance department than she does.

But it’s little wonder Claire can’t throw herself into dating. She’s already found her perfect match.

A must-read for avid knitters and those with a passion for crafting, this comical yarn will melt any reader’s heart.

Will they? Won’t they? Romance enthusiasts will be rooting for the pair to be knitted together, forever!