Thursday, May 31

Love, Hate and Other Deceptive Filters in This Debut by Samira Ahmed

A searing #OwnVoices coming-of-age debut in which an Indian-American Muslim teen confronts Islamophobia and a reality she can neither explain nor escape--perfect for fans of Angie Thomas, Jacquelyn Woodson, and Adam Silvera.

Maya Aziz is torn between futures: the one her parents expect for their good Indian daughter (i.e.; staying nearby in Chicago and being matched with a "suitable" Muslim boy), and the one where she goes to film school in New York City--and maybe, just maybe, kisses a guy she's only known from afar. There's the also the fun stuff, like laughing with her best friend Violet, making on-the-spot documentaries, sneaking away for private swimming lessons at a secret pond in the woods. But her world is shattered when a suicide bomber strikes in the American heartland; by chance, he shares Maya's last name. What happens to the one Muslim family in town when their community is suddenly consumed with hatred and fear?

I hated this book with a passion. It may seem like a strong statement to make, but I really did. Or maybe I was just too disappointed? Either way, this is a book I'd rather never have anything to do with again and let's see why, shall we? 

Tuesday, May 29

Bookish Worlds We'd *Never* Want To Live In

Hello, friends! One of the reasons why I adore reading so darn much is that books have the power to take readers to gorgeous and magical places - most of which I'd love to visit in real life. However, there are certainly some dark, vicious and creepy as fuck worlds out there that neither Clare, nor I would like to go near. Ever. Today, we brought you ten of these.

Saturday, May 26

The Books That Made Me a Reader

I have so many life-changing, mind-changing books on my shelves that I love (and definitely want to talk about sometime) but today I wanted to have a look at the books that made me a reader - and so brought me to this wonderful community. Reading is such a huge part of my life and it's so strange to think of all the times where it hinged on reading one book at the exact right time! 

Thursday, May 24

When 'The Little Mermaid" Becomes Vicious and Cunning: TO KILL A KINGDOM

"I have a heart for every year I've been alive. There are seventeen hidden in the sand of my bedroom. Every so often, I claw through the shingle, just to check they're still there. Buried deep and bloody.""

Princess Lira is siren royalty and the most lethal of them all. With the hearts of seventeen princes in her collection, she is revered across the sea. Until a twist of fate forces her to kill one of her own. To punish her daughter, the Sea Queen transforms Lira into the one thing they loathe most—a human. Robbed of her song, Lira has until the winter solstice to deliver Prince Elian’s heart to the Sea Queen or remain a human forever.

The ocean is the only place Prince Elian calls home, even though he is heir to the most powerful kingdom in the world. Hunting sirens is more than an unsavory hobby—it’s his calling. When he rescues a drowning woman in the ocean, she’s more than what she appears. She promises to help him find the key to destroying all of sirenkind for good—But can he trust her? And just how many deals will Elian have to barter to eliminate mankind’s greatest enemy?

Tuesday, May 22

Characters Worthy of Naming Our Pets After

Hello friends! After a few weeks long break, Clare and I are finally back with a Top Ten Tuesday (hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl) post!! Neither of us is particularly fond of children, so we altered the topic a tad bit, and are going to be naming our imaginary future pets today. 

FAIR WARNING - this post contains a ridiculous amount of cuteness, because we'll always say YES to gifs.

Saturday, May 19

Posters, Sashes and All the Women's Rights Campaigns in Girls for the Vote by Linda Newbery

When thirteen-year-old Polly befriends two suffragettes in the top floor flat at 6 Chelsea Walk, she finds herself questioning the views of those around her. The Votes for Women campaign strikes a chord with Polly and she becomes determined to join the suffragettes' protest march, even if it means clashing with her family... 

A perfect blend of history and story-telling, illuminating women’s place in history and introducing this to today’s readers.

Received in exchange for an honest review from Usborne Publishing UK.

Girls for the Vote follows 13-year-old Polly as she finds herself dragged into a flurry of posters, sashes and women's rights campaigns when her best friend and neighbour, Lily, moves away and two suffragettes (or rather, a suffragette and a suffragist) move in to her apartment instead. Edwina and Violet are the two young women who are fighting for suffrage, among many, many others, and it is through them that Polly begins to see a world of new opportunities. A world where she gets just the same opportunities as mean Maurice downstairs.

"Lily who had recently been to her cousin's wedding, had told Polly that in the marriage service, the bride had to promise to obey her husband. That meant doing whatever he told you, the way Mama always did what Papa said. Really, you might as well stay on at school, if someone was to carry on telling you what to do and not do."

Thursday, May 17

Unattractive Covers That Hide Some of My Favorite Books

I am HUGELY into covers, okay?? I know it is awful, I know it, but a book that has pretty cover is something I'll 10000% buy before I get one with a bad cover. *hides* Sure, if I'm super-interested in a book I won't care about the cover one bit, BUT when something pokes my interest for the very first time? The cover MATTERS - less so for self-published books than others, but I am turned off by awful covers in most cases. 

However, today I'm here to share some of my FAVORITE books that I picked up despite disliking their covers, and I never regretted that decisions. Who knows? Maybe you'll find your next favorite here. ;)

On a side note, this post is obviously 1000% subjective!! I don't like these covers, but that doesn't mean y'all can't find them appealing. Also, I'm in NO WAY trying to be shady towards these books or their authors - I LOVE THEM, for gods sake. But, as someone who's into pretty covers, I thought it'd be superb to make a post that showcases that the quality of the book is NOT in parallel with the cover! 

Saturday, May 12

Eurovision Book Tag

Last year Vera and I created The Eurovision Book Tag which I am super proud of! And this year Eurovision just so happens to fall on the same day as Pride - so as  you're reading this I am having the time of my life at Pride in Exeter! And I wanted to combine these two things so here is our Eurovision Book Tag with only LGBTQ answers to the questions! 

Thursday, May 10

Royal Rantings - Resisting the Hype

One of the biggest...afflictions I see in this community is the hype, oh my God, the hype. It's omnipresent, whichever way you turn. Whether it's a new book coming out or a new cover for an older book. Whether it's an unnecessary addition to a series or a much-awaited sequel. A prequel, a novella, a spin-off. Diverse, ownvoices, neither of these. Hardcover, paperback, painted fore edges, stained edges. Collector's editions, anniversary editions, special editions. Books, books, and yet more books, and being part of the bookish community means you're attacked by the hype from all around you.

Saturday, May 5

Tropes I Can't Help But Adore In Books + Recs for All of Them!

Hello friends. After how much I enjoyed writing a post about things I didn't like in books (you can see it here) I decided to compensate for all that negativity and share some of my favorite tropes, themes and such with y'all today. And, let me tell you, this post turned out QUITE COOL, with lost of awesome recommendations, so wow, I cannot wait for you to see it! So, without further ado, let's get right into the bestest tropes there are + some amazing recs. 

Thursday, May 3

Trying Out New Things: Mini Reviews of Two Graphic Novels

The Adventures of John Blake: 

The Adventures of John Blake: Mystery of the Ghost Ship
Trapped in the mists of time by a terrible research experiment gone wrong, John Blake and his mysterious ship are doomed to sail between the centuries, searching for a way home. In the ocean of the modern day, John rescues a shipwrecked young girl his own age, Serena, and promises to help.

But returning Serena to her own time means traveling to the one place where the ship is in most danger of destruction. The all-powerful Dahlberg Corporation has an ambitious leader with plans far greater and more terrible than anyone has realized, and he is hot on their trail. For only John, Serena, and the crew know Dahlberg's true intentions, and only they have the power to stop him from bending the world to his will...

This was a must read for me purely because it's Philip Pullman. I've only read one graphic novel before (Nimona by Noelle Stevenson) and whilst I loved it, it's proven a hard medium for me to get into. 
The art style in this was completely my style. It was very clear and beautiful but also simple and I think it suited the characters and the story extremely well. I especially loved the use of colours which made the book feel like the sort of thing child-Clare would have been crazy about (meaning fun and easy). 
The story was less my thing but still a lot of fun to read. I'm never a big fan of time travel (I just can't wrap my tiny brain around it ever). And the concept of a ship full of people from various time periods all trying to get to various other time periods and passing through our time on their way to go maybe backwards or forwards - I just got lost as you can probably tell from that very confusing explanation. To be fair I don't think this was the fault of the book and I kinda loved that one of the main characters was about as confused as I was.
This isn't my favourite Philip Pullman story but I did enjoy it and would definitely recommend it if you've got any reluctant middle-grade readers. I will be passing it on to my younger brother who rarely reads because it seems like something he would enjoy anyway.

Dragon Age: Knight Errant

Dragon Age: Knight Errant
Vaea, an elven squire, and her knight, the drunken Ser Aaron Hawthorne, arrive in Kirkwall just in time for Varric Tethras' appointment as Viscount. A talented thief, Vaea skips the party to take on an easy job recovering a hidden lock box . . . but when she chooses to change the terms of the deal mid-heist, she is entangled in a dangerous mission that is surely above her pay grade.

So the obvious first thing to address here is - will this story be of any interest to people who have never played any of the Dragon Age games. And the answer is a little of both (sorry that's not helpful). The story itself follows a new main character and a new plot. And the fantasy world and action are intriguing enough to draw anyone in. However I'm not sure the story did a good enough job with the lore for unfamiliar readers to fully immerse themselves in the story. 
In addition to this there are many cameos from favourite (and less favourite) characters who receive little to no introduction. Knight Errant very much works on the assumption that you've played the game and that's why you're reading the story. Which is great for fans - not so great for anyone who picks up this book for the gorgeous artwork.
That said, if you are a fan then I highly recommend this. The art is so, so beautiful; the cameos are variously funny and intriguing; the story is canon and its going to be a while till the next game so... anything to tide me over?

Both of these novels have reminded me of why I want to get into graphic novels (pretty pretty art) so if you have any recommendations for me please do let me know what are some of your favourites!!

Tuesday, May 1

Unreleased Books We Could Kill To Get

Hello friends! I'm like, 1000% sure that as bookworms we all have a long as hell to-read pile slash wishlist that consists entirely of books that were already published. (Am I right, or am I right?) 

HOWEVER, I'm also sure that you all have a nearly as long list made up of books that have not been published yet - I mean, it would be kind of impossible not to with all the awesome titles being released soon, or not so soon. 

TODAY, following this week's TTT topic (hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl), Clare and I have brought you 10-10 books we are super-duper excited about, and would legit fight to get our hands on. 

BEWARE, you'll likely leave this post with a bunch of new books on your tbr, you've been warned. 

*click on covers for goodreads!*