Spring Flowers Book Tag

Spring is here! That means little lambs in the fields, the clocks going forward, lighter mornings and evenings, sunshine, gardening, Easter, leaves regrowing on the trees and flowers coming into bloom 🌸🌼🌺 and what better to mark this than the Spring Flowers book tag? It’s been a while since I did a book tag (the last one was the Spooky Scary Book Tag from October) and they’re always a great way of incorporating and chatting about a range of books into one post that I wouldn’t necessarily otherwise get chance to speak about.

This tag was originally created by Dreaming of Ink and Paper, but their blog is no longer available. I found it at Zee Zee With Books, where you can find all of the original questions for the tag. I changed one of the questions to better suit myself, that’s marked with an asterisk.

Daffodil

A book about found family*

Nevermoor – Jessica Townsend

Nevermoor The Trials of Morrigan Crow is the first book in a charming middle grade fantasy series. I’ve read the first two books in the series and love how much emphasis is placed on found family. The main character Morrigan is estranged from her parents and when she’s swept away to a magical world, she has the opportunity to create a family of her own. The relationship Morrigan has with her adopted father, Jupiter is so heart-warming. Likewise, the friendships that Morrigan builds with the other characters and the roles the characters take on in her life are so lovely to watch develop. This is a must-read series for readers that love reading about found family and friendship.

Foxglove

A book you pretended to like

The Lord of the Rings – J. R. R. Tolkien

I never pretend to like books, because I don’t see the point. If I don’t like something, I don’t like it and I’ll always be honest about that. So I didn’t necessarily pretend I liked The Lord of the Rings but I certainly acted like I liked it more than I actually did simply because I WANTED to love it so much. I’m the biggest fan of the film trilogy and so when I read the books only a couple of years ago in my mid-twenties, I wanted to feel that same spark of passion and love. When I didn’t have that feeling, I felt like I’d somehow betrayed the series or that I wasn’t a “true” fan. But as groundbreaking as this story is, it simply didn’t click for me. I plan to do a re-read in the future to see if my perspective changes, but my first read left me feeling very Luke warm.

Lilac

A book about first love

My Cousin Rachel – Daphne du Maurier

Not necessarily the book someone would expect to see for this particular prompt, but that’s exactly why I wanted to include it. My Cousin Rachel is a domestic thriller/mystery/gothic romance/historical fiction and combines all of this so incredibly. Rachel is the object of affection for the main character Philip who falls hard and fast for Rachel, who is the first and only woman he has ever loved. Unfortunately for him, Rachel comes with a lot of mystery and secrets. This romance is not plain sailing and is wrapped up in one of the most suspenseful plots and intense writing I’ve read in a long time. Daphne du Maurier once again shows her talent for crafting an intriguing romance amidst a genuinely captivating mystery.

Hyacinth

A book with a sad ending

Giovanni’s Room – James Baldwin

I’m such a sadist and revel in reading emotional and sad books, so there are so many books I could’ve put here πŸ˜‚ Giovanni’s Room sticks in my head as having a particularly sad ending. After reading it, I kept thinking about it and then recommended it to my manager. He read it soon after and I woke to a text from him at 1am on a Saturday telling me he’d just finished and couldn’t stop sobbing at the ending, which really says it all. This book is a phenomenal exploration of sexuality, identity and love and doesn’t hold back any punches. James Baldwin is not afraid to push against expectations and to remain true to the story’s ending, no matter how sad it is and it’s an ending that’s raw and real, and feels fitting for the overall narrative even if it’s not the happily ever after readers typically want.

Peony

A book that made you feel embarrassed

Call Me By Your Name – AndrΓ© Aciman 

Now, I know this is a very popular and well-loved book in general, but I really didn’t like this book. Despite stunning writing, I couldn’t see beyond the absolutely CRINGE sex scenes. I mean the whole thing with the peach πŸ‘…just no (if you’ve read it, you’ll know what I’m talking about, if not, count yourself lucky 🀣). I understand that young adulthood can be a time for blossoming sexuality and that Elio’s attraction to Oliver is very potently physical and sexual, but the way it didn’t float right for me, and instead of finding those scenes sexy, they were just cringe and awkward.

Tulip

A book with the most beautiful declaration of love

Wuthering Heights – Emily Bronte

I know, I know, I’m predictable πŸ˜‚ But of course I had to choose Wuthering Heights because this book has the most beautiful and heart wrenching declarations of love that I’ve read in literature. The intensity of Cathy and Heathcliff’s love and how entangled they are is felt with every declaration of love. Quote time!

“My great miseries in this world have been Heathcliff’s miseries, and I watched and felt each from the beginning: my great thought in living is himself. If all else perished, and he remained, I should still continue to be; and if all else remained, and he were annihilated, the universe would turn to a mighty stranger: I should not seem part of it. My love for Linton is like the foliage in the woods: time will change it, I’m well aware, as winter changes the trees. My love for Heathcliff resembles the eternal rocks beneath: a source of little visible delight, but necessary. Nelly, I am Heathcliff! He’s always, always in my mind: not as a pleasure, any more than I am always a pleasure to myself, but as my own being.”

He’s more myself than I am. Whatever our souls are made of, his and mine are the same.

Be with me always – take any form – drive me mad! only do not leave me in this abyss, where I cannot find you! Oh, God! It is unutterable! I can not live without my life! I can not live without my soul!

Their declarations of love are melodramatic and show their devotion to each other to the point of loss of self. It’s not the type of love people should strive for because it’s toxic, codependent and unhealthy, but the power of their love is undeniable and these quotes are stunning and some of my favourite book quotes of all time.

Crocus

A book that made you laugh out loud

This is Going to Hurt – Adam Kay

This biography from junior doctor Adam Kay covers a lot of very raw and heavy topics related to the UK’s health system and the reality of working as a doctor in the NHS. But amongst the sadness and seriousness, there were some truly hilarious moments in this book. I listened to the audiobook and always find that comedic moments come across better because of the tone of voice and manner in which it’s verbally performed. Since Adam Kay himself narrated the audiobook that I listened to, he knew just how to make the comedic moments hit right and I tittered out loud more than a few times. Whether it was spending his hours signing people’s passports or trying to educate a man who believed his wife would gave birth via her uretha, Kay plays on the ignorance and lack of education around gynecological health utilising irony and dry humour.

Pansy

A book that challenged you to think about a heavy subject

The Reluctant Fundamentalist – Mohsin Hamid

Set in a cafe in Lahore, this book explores complex themes through a monologue from the main character, Changez. It was such a hard-hitting and thought provoking which focused on topics of imperialism, racism, Islamophobia, white privilege and the conflict between the East and West. As a Pakistani man and Princeton graduate, Changez’s intersectionality of privilege and inequity provides a fascinating perspective with which to discuss the impact of the aftermath of 9/11. His love and abhorrence for the US is tangible and the internal conflict that wages inside him as someone that has benefitted from the US’ promise of the American dream but that has also has suffered from their imperialism and the destruction that the US has brought to his home country.. As a white British person that has never lived through war, this book helped me to connect to these issues on a new level and was invaluable to me.

Daisy

A book about a strong female friendship

A Thousand Splendid Suns – Khaled Hosseini

There is no other book I could’ve chosen. This is the greatest example of female friendship, love and solidarity that I have ever read. It’s the story of two women who from their first meeting are set in opposition to one another as wives of the same husband. Yet their shared suffering, abuse and tragedy bonds them so deeply and their relationship eventually blossoms into something so beautiful. They are one another’s strength; they carry each other through the hard times and although circumstance and tragedy is what initially bonds them, their relationship becomes so much more. It’s a complex relationship characterised by loyalty, honour, sacrifice and devotion. This story shows the power of female friendship unlike any other book I’ve read and how it can quite literally save women’s lives in certain circumstances.

There we have it – the Spring Flowers Book Tag. If you’d like to do this on your blog, please do, the more the merrier 😊 I hope you’ve found time to enjoy the spring sunshine as much as I have this week. I’m so excited for spring this year and was so content to have seen the blossom on the trees for the first time ☺️

Happy Spring, my lovelies and keep reading.

Spooky Scary Book Tag

It’s Halloween Eve so in keeping with the spooky season I’m bring to you the Spook Scary Book tag πŸŽƒπŸ‘»πŸ§›πŸ’€πŸ¦‡πŸ˜ˆ

As always, I couldn’t resist switching things up a tad and adjusted some of the questions and added a couple of my own. All the prompts I edited or added are marked with an asterix. For the original prompts check out the original creator of the tag, Clever Fox on YouTube.

Also let’s take a moment to appreciate that this is the second post I’ve shared in this week – your girl is on a roll!

What goes bump in the night?

A book that has legitimately scared you while reading it

The Woman in Black – Susan Hill

Whilst on the surface this is a typical haunted house story, the isolation and slow building of tension and suspense crept up on me. The way Susan Hill crafts the story makes the supernatural elements feel realistic and Arthur’s terror is palpable. It made me feel like something that could actually happen. Reading this alone at night in a hotel on a stormy autumn night also probably added to the creep factor of my reading experience.

Jack O’ lanterns and classic costumes*

Recommend a book to read at Halloween time

Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde – Robert Louis Stephenson

It’s short, it’s snappy and it’s a classic. Although it’s not set on or around Halloween, the gothic elements and chilling nature of the plot and its moral message make it a must-read during the spooky season.

Black cats and bats*

Favourite animal character in a book/series

Pooh Bear – Winnie-the-Pooh

So Pooh is as far from Halloween that you can get, but I couldn’t choose anyone else for this one. Pooh’s optimism, naivety and endless loyalty to his friends makes him one of the most loveable characters ever written.

Witch’s brew

Favourite witch character in a book/series

Minerva McGonnagall – Harry Potter

Who else could I choose for this than the bad-ass Minerva? Not only is she a powerful witch, but she’s confident, out-spoken and sassy. Whether she’s taking down Umbridge with some one-liner, offering her students biscuits or defeating Snape with a flick of her wand, she’s one hella awesome lady.

Ghouls and ghosts

A book that still haunts you to this day (good or bad)

Dark Matter – Black Crouch

This mind-bending sci-fi thriller is oddly disturbing. Set in a world of multi-universes, this tale takes endless twists and turns and is unpredictable. Sci-fi as a genre is meant to push the boundaries and poses heavy philosophical and moral questions, and Dark Matter poses some of the toughest ones.

Haunted graveyard

You’re alone in a haunted graveyard, you get one book to give you comfort, which is it?

Winnie-the-Pooh – A. A. Milne

It’s charming, it’s warm, it’s happy and it’s a piece of my childhood. I’m certain that this book would help combat all those pesky ghosts and keep me somewhat sane whilst trapped in a haunted graveyard alone.

The Undead

Favorite supernatural creatures to read about

Vampires

It’s a predictable answer, but I can’t deny my fascination for vampires. These blood-sucking fiends are addictive to read about and embody so many hidden depths. The creation of vampires in folklore gives voice to human’s attempts to make sense of death, disease, grief and in more modern times, capitalism, politics and sexuality. There are various takes and perspectives on vampires with authors putting their own spin on the vampires they create, which keeps the genre somewhat fresh.

Trick or Treat*

A book that took you by surprise (good or bad)

Coraline – Neil Gaiman

Neil Gaiman is a widely loved author and I’d heard great things about Coraline prior to reading it, but I was surprised by how much I disliked this book. The suspense was built up well, but with little reward. It was anti-climatic and I didn’t fully grasp where the story was going or why.

Devils and Demons*

Favourite antagonist from a book/series

Heathcliff – Wuthering Heights

So technically, Heathcliff is an anti-hero, but I consider him to be more a villain than a hero hence why he’s made it here. The fact that Heathcliff is even regarded as an anti-hero reveals how incredibly written he is. Despite being cruel, selfish, abusive and vengeful, Heathcliff is a character that is strangely sympathetic and pitiful. His complexity is exactly what makes him easily my favourite villain that I’ve ever encountered in literature.

The Grimreaper*

Most shocking character death in a book/series (warning A Game of Thrones spoilers)

Eddard Stark – A Game of Thrones

George R. R. Martin defied all expectations when he brutally murdered the protagonist of A Game of Thrones. It’s unpredictable, it’s shocking and it shook me to the core the first time I read it. There’s no other book I’ve ever read that subverts expectations surrounding character deaths like the A Song of Ice and Fire series. There are many more deaths from the series that could’ve taken this spot but I decided to go with the OG major character death.

Happy Halloween, my lovelies and stay spooky πŸŽƒπŸ‘»πŸ§›πŸ’€πŸ¦‡πŸ˜ˆ

Unpopular Opinions Book Tag

It’s been a while since I posted here, almost a month to be exact πŸ™ˆ Life has been busy which has left little time for reading and blogging. I was recently offered a new job starting in September and I’ll be going into my final year of my MA, so I’ll be a busy bee 🐝 but I’m hoping to read more this month and get back to posting at least once a week. Today I’ll be doing the Unpopular Opinions Book Tag.

This tag was originally created by The Book Archer on YouTube.

A popular book or series that I disliked

The Wayward Children Series – Seanan McGuire

I’ve seen this series recommended everywhere. It’s actually what led me to pick up the series. Whilst the concept was cool, the first two books I read completely lacked depth and I simply didn’t care enough about the world’s to continue reading. Even with them being short reads, I still didn’t feel compelled to spend any more of my time reading on.

A popular book or series that everyone else seems to hate but I love

I don’t have an answer for this one. I feel like generally, all of the books or series that I love are well-liked.

A love triangle in a book or series where the main character ended up with the person I did not want them to end up with

Twilight – Stephanie Meyer

Remember the days of Team Edward vs Team Jacob that quite literally defined most millenials teen years? Well, I was always in the latter camp waving the Team Jacob flag. I recently binged the Twilight movies on Netflix and it propelled me back to my angsty, teenage, Twlight-obsessed years and reaffirmed that Jacob and Bella make so much more sense to me than Edward and Bella. Let’s clarify, that both of these relationships have issues but Bella and Jacob’s connection is built on friendship and builds slowly over time, rather than being lust at first sight. He doesn’t control her or endanger her to the extent that Edward does and treats her like a human rather than a fragile doll that must be protected. I also find Jacob and Bella’s chemistry more natural and less forced.

A popular book genre that I hardly reach for

Thriller

Every now and again I’ll pick up a thriller novel on the slim chance that this will be the time where I’ll actually enjoy it, but unfortunately, it’s very rare. I find thrillers to generally lack in character development, substance and suspense. The main appeal hinges on the mystery itself, but very often the answers are either predictable or so damn hard that it’s impossible to play along as the reader. In the past, I’ve read thrillers that I have enjoyed only to be completely let down by the ending. Agatha Christie might be the exception to this rule, since And Then There Were None is by far the best thriller I’ve ever read, but it’s still not a genre I generally reach for.

A popular or beloved character that I dislike

Hermione Granger – Harry Potter

I know, I know. Shocking, right? Here’s the thing, I love Hermione. I really do. She’s such a complex, dynamic and well written female character that has had such a huge impact on young girls of all ages across the world. However, as a character, I just don’t like her. All of the flaws that Hermione has make her annoying rather than endearing to me. There’s no denying she’s a well-written and incredible character, but on a personal level she’s not my cup of tea.

A popular author that I can’t seem to get into

Brandon Sanderson

As a fantasy reader it feels like you can’t be part of the club unless you’ve read everything Sanderson has ever written because he’s so loved in fantasy circles. So far I’ve read Warbreaker and The Final Empire, and attempted Elantris. I really enjoyed Warbreaker but generally I find it so difficult to get along with Sanderson’s writing style. It’s so basic, clunky and completely lacks flow. His writing actually pulls me out of the story he’s trying to tell because it’s so glaringly bad at times. I’m still planning to read The Way of Kings, but itf it doesn’t go well, it might be time to call a day on Sanderson.

A popular book trope that I’m tired of seeing

The Chosen One

Do I really need to explain? It’s not only over-done, but annoying because as a concept it’s unrealistic. There are no “chosen ones” in real life. This idea that someone is destined for greatness and is naturally gifted at everything, adored by everyone and wins by default because they’re the Chosen One, is difficult for me to get behind..

A popular book or series that I have no interest in reading

Six of Crows

I think if I’d read this book when I was a teenager, I would’ve loved it. But as I’ve grown up and my reading tastes have evolved, I’ve really shifted away from YA fantasy. I just don’t think I would vibe with this book now. But hey, never say never.

A movie or TV show adaption of a book or series that I like more than the book/s

Dexter

Dexter is one of my favourite shows of all time (yes, even with that finale haha), but my experience of reading the books just didn’t live up to the show. The show is thrilling, suspenseful, fast paced but the books were dry. Generally, Dexter works so much better as a show because it’s visual and Michae C. Hall brings Dexter’s character to life brilliantly.

What are some of your unpopular book opinions? Share in the comments!

Stay safe, my lovelies and keep reading.

Mid-Year Freak Out Book Tag

So, we’re half way through 2021. Where has the time gone?! I don’t know about anybody else, but this year has flown by for me. We’ve been living with COVID for over a year now and it’s been good to see the UK slowly getting back to some normalcy. I celebrated my 27th birthday just over a week ago and will be setting off on a UK caravan holiday this weekend (hoping for lots of sunshine and looking forward to dipping my toes in the sea for the first time in over 8 years!). But enough of that, today I’ll be doing the Mid-Year Freak Out Book Tag. I’m excited to reflect on what I’ve read so far this year and share t with you all.

This tag was originally developed by Earl Grey Books and Chami on YouTube.

Note:

  • All books on this list are books I’ve read this year in 2021 or books I want to read.
  • I have reworded/condensed most of the questions.
  • I’ve changed a couple of questions to suit my own preferences. All questions that have been changed are marked with an asterix.

Best book

The Heroes – Joe Abercrombie

Joe Abercrombie is one of my favourite fantasy authors and The First Law one of my favourite trilogies. The Heroes is the second stand-alone novel set in The First Law universe and it blew me away. Spanning a three-day war, this book is a meticulous examination of the damaging impact of war. Abercrombie’s stellar character work shone as always and although it was a slow started, the action and plot was built up fantastically with an explosive conclusion.

Best sequel

The Dragon Republic – R. F. Kuang

The Poppy War was one of my favourite books of 2020 and The Dragon Republic had a lot to live up to, but it accomplished it. It built upon the world, characters and plot that was established in the first book and elevated it to the next level. I didn’t love it as much as The Poppy War, but the ending will be a moment that will stay for me for a long time #PlotTwist. You can read my full review of The Poppy War Trilogy here.

New book series you want to start*

Stormlight Archive – Brandon Sanderson

As a fantasy reader, I feel like a fraud for having not read the Stormlight Archive. Sanderson’s works are raved about in every corner of the fantasy community and this series is championed. One of my close friends adores this series and is constantly begging me to read is so I can jump on the Stormlight train. I’m excited to learn about the characters I’ve heard so much about like Kaladin and Dalinar. I just hope that it meets my expectations, which are very high based on the great things I’ve heard.

Most anticpated read for the second half of 2021*

The Sword of Kaigen – M. L. Wang

The Sword of Kaigen exploded in the fantasy community this year. It’s a self-published stand-alone fantasy which has been highly praised by readers and reviewers. I recently starting reading it but have put it aside to focus on other books I’m currently reading, but I am beyond excited to sink my teeth back into this and have a feelng it will be a favourite 2021 read.

Biggest disappointment

Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe – Fannie Flagg

This had been on my TBR for a while and I was expecting feel-good small town vibes with friendship, found family and romance. Although I did like this book, it just wasn’t what I wanted or expected going into it. It reads more like a historical drama and the disjointed timeline and wide cast of characters was difficult to follow at times. Generally, it was an okay read but rather forgettable.

Biggest Surprise

Ballad of Reading Gaol – Oscar Wilde

I’m not a poetry reader. As much as I’d like to be, I struggle to connect to or understand poetry. Quite frankly, I feel too stupid for it. However, I adore Oscar Wilde’s writing style so decided to listen to the audiobook on a whim through my library and fell in love. Wilde’s use of language and ability to craft an emotive, complex and rounded story of his time in jail through poetry was staggering. Having the audiobook to set the rhythm of the poetry helped me to become immersed in it completely and I’d like to read more poetry in the future in this format.

Favourite newly discovered author

Robin Hobb – Assassin’s Apprentice (Farseer Trilogy)

Despite having only read one of her books so far, I can already sense that Robin Hobb is an author I’m going to love. Her world-building and character work immediately pulled me in. Whilst Assassin’s Apprentice was slow paced, I appreciated Hobb’s attention to detail and the time she took to flesh out her characters and allow the reader breathing space to become anchored in the world.

New favourite relationship*

Rin and Nezha – The Poppy War Trilogy

I know I’ve already spoken about this trilogy, but it deserves to take another spot on this list. The enemies to friends to lovers to enemies relationship between Rin and Nezha was compelling and I became deeply invested. Kuang created such an intruiging, complex dynamic between these two characters and developed it well. I wasn’t completely satisfied with the way the relationship was concluded, but nonetheless enjoyed following their relationship a lot.

Book that made you cry

We Can Do Better Than This: 35 Voices on the Future of LGBTQ+ Rights – Amelia Abraham (editor)

We Can Do Better Than This is a collection of essays from LGBTQIA+ individuals who share their experience of their queerness and their hopes for the future of LGBTQIA+ activism. The diversity and breadth of voices in this book was beautiful but the topics that explored were hard hitting and made me cry multiple times, sometimes with sadness and sometimes with joy. It was a very impactful read and the words and stories in this book will always stay with me.

Book that made you happy

Emma – Jane Austen

Emma is one of those books that could cheer me up no matter what mood I was in. It’s light-hearted, fun and dramatic. Emma as a character is incredibly flawed but endearing and her incessant meddling is entertaining to watch. You can read my fulll review of Emma here.

The most beautiful book you’ve bought or recieved

Wuthering Heights – Emily BrontΓ« (Folio Society Edition)

My brother bought this for me for my birthday and OMG, I’m in love. The illustrations in this book are stunning and although I already own two copies of Wuthering Heights, my motto is you can never have too many copies of your favourite books.

A book you want to read by the end of the year*

Hollowpox: The Hunt for Morrigan Crow – Jessica Townsend

I love the Nevermoor series and have enjoyed the first two books immensely. The world is whimsical, fun and charming. These books are like a warm hug. It’s one of my favourite fanatasy series currently and I’m excited to dive back into the world and follow Morrigan’s adventures. The only reason I haven’t read it yet is because I have to wait until October 2022 for Book 4 and I want to reduce the wait as much as I can.

Favourite book to movie adaptation

Wuthering Heights (1939)

I’ve made no secret of my love for Wuthering Heights and because of how much the book means to me, I didn’t have much faith that I would enjoy an adaptation of it. This film does get a lot of things wrong and isn’t a very accurate portrayal of the book, but I still really enjoyed it. The acting was strong and the relationship between Cathy and Heathcliff was encapsulating. I generally don’t watch classic films, but really enjoyed the old-school style and felt that it being in black and white fit with the tone and the setting of the moors perfectly.

Stay safe, my lovelies and keep reading.

Pride Flag Book Tag πŸ³οΈβ€πŸŒˆ

In celebration of Pride Month, today I’m going to be doing the Pride Flag Book Tag. This looks like such a creative, fun and colourful tag! I’m excited to do it and to share some of my favourite LGBTQIA+ books with you all that I may not have had the opportunity to speak about until now.

This tag was originally developed by Common Spence on YouTube.

Red – Life

A book with a spirited protagonist totally proud of who they are. Someone who gives you LIFE!

Black Flamingo – Dean Atta

Black Flamingo is a heart-warming story of pride and celebrating who you are. The protagonist Michael goes on a journey of self discovery and although he faces struggles along the way, he remains true to himself and isn’t afraid to stand up and be his most authentic self. His sense of identity and unwillingness to compromise himself based on the judgement or prejudice of others is inspiring.

Orange – Healing

A book that made you, as the reader, find a deeper meaning or catharsis in your own life.

Felix Ever After – Kacen Callender

Felix Ever After is a YA tale about a young trans guy called Felix. He questions his gender and sexuality throughout the story as he attempts to find the labels that best reflect his identity and to understand himself better. His process of exploring his identity and finding himself resonated with me on a personal level and helped me to better understand myself. This book will always be special to me because it was the key to finally opening me up to my own queerness.

Yellow – Sunshine

A book that fills you with so much joy it could brighten even your darkest day.

The Lady’s Guide to Celestial Mechanics – Olivia Waite

A wonderful, fluffy and romantic WLW story which gave me all the feels. The dynamic between the two main characters, Lucy and Catherine, is refreshing. Their relationship is honest, passionate and tender. I love that both women have their own dreams and insecurities and that they support and encourage each other to reach their dreams and overcome their insecurities. They develop hugely from meeting each other and reading their journey will never fail to warm my heart.

Green – Nature

A book that is set out of this world β€” a reality different to our own.

This is How You Lose the Time War – Amal El-Mohtar and Max Gladstone

I’ve spoken about this book at least twice in previous posts, but I will never stop talking about it, because it’s so AWESOME. This story is so other-worldly, from the language to the setting and the overall story. Readng this book is like falling into an abstract dream that you feel but cannot quite see or touch. It has the added bonus of a wonderful queer romance which takes the enemies to lovers trope and executes it with breathtaking results.

Blue – Peace

A book where one of the characters finds peace with a difficult truth.

The Passion – Jeanette Winterson

The Passion is a recent read for me but I fell in love with it. One of the main protagonist’s, Villanelle, is a queer young girl who goes on one hell of a journey. She has to come to terms with multiple difficult truths throughout regarding loss and the injustices of the world. Her resillience and determination is admirable and I deeply connected to her character and journey.

Purple – Spirit

A book that deals with LGBT+ themes and religion.

Under the Udala Trees – Chinelo Okparanta

Under the Udala Trees tells the harrowing and emotional experience of Ijeoma’s experience as a gay woman living in Nigeria. Throughout Ijeoma battles against the illegality of homosexually and the conflict between her mother’s Christian faith and her sexuality. It’s not an easy read, but an unforgettable and powerful story nonetheless.

I wanted to share some LGBTQIA+ charities you can donate to in the UK, if you would like to:

This is not an extensive list. If you would like to donate, I would recommend doing your own research to find a charity that aligns with your ethics and does the work that you feel most passionately about.

Happy Pride Month ❀️ 🧑 πŸ’› πŸ’š πŸ’™ πŸ’œ

Stay safe, my lovelies and keep reading.

The Last 10 Books Tag

Thank you to the lovely Amy @A Fangirl’s Opinion for tagging me to do this ❀️ Amy is a very supportive blogger who gives so much to the book community. If you love bookish and fandom related content that’s insightful, unique and fun be sure to check out her blog and follow her if you don’t already.

1. Last Book I Bought

And Then All Hell Broke Loose: Two Decades in the Middle East by Richard Engel. I have a huge interest in history and studied at history at university, but unfortunately, I know very little about the Middle East’s history despite being very interested in it. I bought this on Kindle deals and I’m really looking forward to learning more about this topic.

2. Last Book I Re-Read

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid. It was a favourite the first time I read it and it’s still a favourite after my re-read. I adore this book and it means a lot to me. You can read my review here and an analysis of Evelyn’s character here, if you want to know more of my thoughts on the book.

3. Last Book I Gave Up On

Reaper Man by Terry Pratchett. It’s the second book I picked up from the Discworld series and I really like the series, but wasn’t in the mood for this particular book at the time I was reading it. I’ll definitely come back to the book to finish it and will continue with the series.

4. Last Book I Said I Read But Didn’t

I can’t actually remember. I don’t recall ever lying about reading a book. Even when I was at school and had compulsory reading to do I would read the books that were set because I liked reading or I’d straight up say if I hadn’t read it. My teachers did not appreciate that though πŸ˜‚

5. Last Book I Wrote in the Margins Of

Wuthering Heights, no surprise there. I love this book and I love annotating it with my thoughts and feelings as I read it. Generally, I don’t write in books that often but I want to do it more because I feel like it helps me to engage more with the book and get more from the reading experience.

6. Last Book That I Had Signed

Confession time: I’ve never had a book signed 😲 I’m not the type of person that gets invested in authors. Even with books or series that I’ve loved and been borderline obsessed with (*cough* Harry Potter *cough*), I tend to separate them from the author a lot and just focus my energy and love onto the book and the fictional world itself.

7. Last Book I Lost:

I don’t think I’ve ever lost a book. I have such little space to keep my books that if I lost one it would be very noticeable because I know every book I own and where it’s kept. I also tend to take ebooks with me when I’m out and about so I don’t really mislay books at other places.

8. Last Book I Had to Replace

I’ve never replaced a book because A) I’ve never lost a book and B) I tend to keep my books in good condition so they don’t need replacing. Although, I’m expecting that I’ll need to get a replacement copy of Wuthering Heights one day because I just can’t stop reading and annotating this book πŸ˜‚

9. Last Book I Argued Over

I wouldn’t say I ever argue over books, more that I have discussions or debates. The last debate I had was about The Throne of Glass series by Sarah J. Maas. I posted some of my thoughts online and was quite critical with my views, expressing the things that I disliked and someone who was a huge fan of the series disagreed with most of what I said. But it was all respectful and more of a discusson sharing our different views. That’s what reading is all about for me – discussing books with others and sharing differences in opinion and thoughts. After all, reading is completely subjective!

10. Last Book You Couldn’t Find

Again, never not been able to find a book because I own so few πŸ˜‚ My dream is to one day have so many books that it’s possible for me to not be able to find a specific book I’m looking for. Forever dreaming of Belle’s library from Beauty and the Beast.

Stay safe, my lovelies and keep reading.

My Bad Reading Habits Book Tag

Dog earing pages, skipping chapters, writing in the margins, cracking spines… As readers, we’re all guilty of having “bad” habits and I have a fair few of my own πŸ™ˆπŸ˜‚

I’m unsure who the original creator of this tag was. If you know, leave a comment and I’ll be sure to credit them.

1. Constantly counting how many pages are remaining of a chapter/book

When I’m reading a book, I cannot stop myself from constantly counting pages to calculate how much I’ve read and how long it will take me to reach a certain chapter, section or the end of the book. I count pages to create check-points for myself. In some ways this can be helpful to break down my reading into smaller, manageable chunks, but it does sometimes distract me from just enjoying reading a book. Kindle helps me to manage this bad habit because it calculates a reading time for each chapter.

2. Reading a book/series because it’s popular

I can be a bit lazy with my TBR and choosing the next book to read, so I often reach for something based on popularity and not because it’s actually the right book for me. I’ve found plenty of great popular books from online bookish spaces, but a majority of the time when I pick up a book based purely on popularity, I end up disappointed. I’ve learned that the amount of people that like/discuss a book is no reflection on how much I’ll enjoy it, so it’s wise to base my reading choices on more than just this.

3. Not researching a book before I read it

I like to go into books as blind as possible. Sometimes even the blurb or synopsis of a book reveals too much information because I have a huge aversion to spoilers (even mild ones). I want to read a book and experience the journey, and every twist and turn with the characters. The disadvantage of this is that I inevitably pick up books that aren’t for me which I probably would’ve realised if I’d actually taken the time to do some basic research.

4. Reading when I’m over-tired

I read most evenings before bed because it’s the most convenient time for me to read. Unfortunately, by the time I actually pick up the book I’m practically falling asleep so my comprehension and retention of what I’m reading is very low. I recently finished The Burning God (#3 The Poppy War) and completely forgot entire chapters because I read them when I was so tired that I could barely keep my eyes open.

5. Reading classics I probably won’t like simply because they’re classics

I love classics, they’re some of my favourite books but there are a lot out there that just aren’t my cup of tea. Books like The Catcher in the Rye, Lord of the Flies, War and Peace and The Count of Monte Cristo don’t really appeal to me but I feel a strong urge to read them simply because they’re well-known classics and featured on most “Books to Read Before You Die” lists.

6. Buying multiple copies of my favourite books

I have two copies of Wuthering Heights, and already have my eye on two other copies that I want to buy. Do I need them? Nope. But when I love a book, I have an uncontrollable desire to own every pretty edition that exists and to have a couple of cheap copies to annotate too. By the time I’m 50 it’s very likely I’ll have an entire shelf dedicated entirely to Wuthering Heights.

7. Playing an audiobook and not listening to a single word

Here’s the thing: I love audiobooks. I think they’re an incredible invention that make reading accessible and can elevate the reading experience. Unfortunately, I’m not an auditory person. Unless an audiobook is completely immersive with a talented narrator and other sound effects, the chances are my mind will wander and I will listen to hours of an audiobook but have no idea what’s actually happened.

8. Completely ignoring my TBR

So far this year I’ve read 22 books and out of those only 8 were actually on my TBR. The combination of being a mood reader, picking up books based on popularity and not doing enough research before reading a book leads me to read books on a whim either because I’ve seen them in a blog post, in a YouTube video or at the library. I forget that my TBR is there to help me make wise reading decisions and read books that I’m more likely to enjoy. I really should attempt to use it more πŸ™ˆ

I turned out to have even more bad habits than I anticipated when I first decided to do this tag. I feel like my bad reading habits reflect my complete indecisiveness as a person πŸ˜‚

What are your bad reading habits? Share in the comments!

Stay safe, my lovelies and keep reading.

F.R.I.E.N.D.S Book Tag

F.R.I.E.N.D.S is one of my all time favourite TV shows. I grew up watching it and it owns a piece of my heart. Since I’m currently re-watching friends for the thousandth time, it seemed like the perfect time to do this tag.

The tag was originally developed by ALittleButAlot.

Ross: Seems harmless, but problematic

Name a book you had problems with

Did I Mention I Love You?

I read this way back in 2019 when I was first attempting to get back into reading and experimenting with what I liked and boy, this book was a lesson in what I don’t like in a book. The premise is that 16-year-old Eden falls in love with her “bad boy” step-brother. What ensues is a “love story” built on toxicity, secrecy and manipulation. It promotes the single message that I despise most in romance – if a girl loves a bad boy enough she can save him. This book also *attempts* to address a bunch of complex issues around addiction, body image and child abuse but does so terribly.

Monica: neat and tidy

Name a book/series that ends satisfyingly

The Hobbit

Tolkien knows how to write satisfying endings. I love the falling action in The Hobbit and the way in which Bilbo’s character arc ends having come full circle with him returning to The Shire with an entirely new perspective from his adventures.

Chandler: funny and relatable

Name a firm fave

Wuthering Heights

At this point, I think I’ve established that Wuthering Heights is my all time favourite book. It owns my heart and soul, and I will read it over and over and continue to love it. I’d be surprised if any other book in my life will knock this one from the top spot.

Phoebe: reliable and friendly

An author you always rely on

Joe Abercrombie

I’ve read five books from Joe Abercrombie so far and really liked all of them. Although none of them would make my top 10 favourites, I love Abercrombie’s writing style, tone, world building and character work. Whenever I pick up a book from him, I know what I’m getting and I know that I’ll enjoy it.

Rachel: she grows on you over time

Name a book/series that’s grown on you over time

This Is How You Lose the Time War

I started out strongly disliking this book and almost DNFd it, but fell in love with it around the mid-way point and would love to re-read it in the future. You can read my full review of This Is How You Lose the Time War here.

Joey: Looks good on the outside

A book whose cover is better than its contents

The Binding

Absolutely stunning cover; average content. This book was the pick of the month for my book club with friends and we were all drawn to this gorgeous cover. The dark purple and blue tones with the gold is just stunning. Although the premise is interesting, unfortunately, the execution is sloppy and it doesn’t reach its full potential.

Gunther: always there, always ignored

A book you’ve had on your TBR forever

My Cousin Rachel

I’ve wanted to read this since the moment I finished Rebecca. I adore Daphne Du Maurier’s writing style with its gothic tone ad she expertly crafts suspense and mystery. If it wasn’t for the fact that this book is a future read for my book club, I would’ve read it by now. But I’m waiting for the month that it gets pulled out of the hat! I’m excited to finally read it and to buddy read it with friends.

Carol and Susan: Keeping it diverse

An LGBT+ book you love/hate/want to read

A Little Life

This book has been huge in the book community in recent years and the share amount of discourse around it has intruiged me beyond belief. I’ve heard so much about how heartbreaking this book is so I’m a bit nervous about the emotional reaction I’ll have but I like my books to be emotional and explore dark, complex themes so I simply have to check it out.

This was SUCH a fun tag! The prompts were unique and connected well to the characters. If you like F.R.I.E.N.D.S and haven’t done this tag before, I tag you to do this on your own blog 😊

Stay safe, my lovelies and keep reading.

DNF Book Tag

Over the last couple of months I’ve found myself DNF’ing more and more books, so thought it was a fitting time to do the DNF Book Tag.

The tag was originally developed by Gunpowder, Fiction and Plot over on YouTube so be sure to check their video out. I’ll be using the questions from the original tag as a guide but putting my own spin on them.

Here are the original questions for those of you that would like to do the tag:

1. Do you dnf?
2. If you dnf a book does it count towards books read for the month?
3. Is there a difference between dnfing and ‘just putting down for a bit’?
4. What popular book did you dnf?
5. What book do you wish you had dnfed?
6. Do you ever re-attempt to read a dnf? Has this ever been successful for you?
7. What do you do with books you dnf?
8. Do you choose more or less risky titles because of your stance on dnfing?

1. Do you DNF?

You bet I do. Life is too short to force myself to read books that I’m not enjoying ✌

2. What is your opinion on DNFing?

I think DNFing is a positive thing and something that all readers should do. I started out being reluctant to DNF because it felt like I’d failed or somehow wasted my time if I didn’t read a book until the end. Then I realised that it was actually the opposite and that reading a book to the end that I disliked was more of a waste of my time than DNFing. Since I like to go into books blind, I often pick something up only to find that it wasn’t at all what I was expecting so being flexible with DNFing is important for me. I can tell pretty early on whether a book is going to be worthwhile reading and if it’s not, I don’t see the point in forcing myself to persevere when I could spend that time reading something else.

3. If you DNF a book does it count towards books read that month?

Nope. I only include books that I’ve read in full.

4. Is there a difference between DNFing and just putting down for now?

Not really. To me, DNF means what it stands for – Did Not Finish – so whether it’s for now or forever, it’s still a DNF. Having said that, I do have two types of DNF that I categorise my books into – hard DNF and temporary DNF. Hard DNF’s are books that I’m never coming back to and temporary DNF’s are books I plan to come back to and finish. Since I’m a mood reader, I often DNF books temporarily if I find I’m not in the mood for that particular book at the time I’m reading it.

5. What popular books have you DNFed and why?

  • Becoming (Michelle Obama) – This is a book I picked up because of its popularity. Despite not having a personal interest in Michelle Obama or her back-story, I thought I’d find value in the themes that Michelle was likely to discuss around politics, feminism and race. Unfortunately, there was little discussion of those topics and I didn’t connect to the detached, chronological narration style.
  • Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe (Bejamin Alire Saenz) – I picked this up when I was looking for a reflective LGBTQIA+ read but simply didn’t connect to the characters or the story. It read too young for me and was too angst-ridden at the expense of any real development or discussion of the themes it was depicting.
  • The House in the Cerulean Sea (T. J. Klune) – Another book I reached for based on popularity and another lesson that a book being popular doesn’t always guarantee that I’ll enjoy it. I loved the concept of this but it fell completely flat. The characters were one dimensional, there was no real plot and it felt like it was purposefully written to be sweet and felt forced.
  • The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue (Mackenzi Lee) – I really, really didn’t like this book. It was historically inaccurate, the plot was contrived and nonscencial and I didn’t like the portrayal of queerness which felt like it was shoe-horned in for the sake of representation.

6. What book(s) do you wish you had DNFed?

In hindsight, there’s a lot of books I wish I’d DNFed πŸ˜‚

How to Disappear (Gillian McAllister), Interview with the Vampire (Anne Rice), Get Your Sh*t Together (Sarah Knight), The Guest Cat (Takashi Hiraide), Misery (Stephen King)… and the list could continue. Pretty much any books that I rated 2 or 3 stars were probably books that weren’t that worthwhile and that I could’ve/should’ve DNFed.

7. What book(s) have you recently DNF’d?

  • Reaper Man – Temporary DNF
  • I Capture the Castle – Temporary DNF
  • Anne of Green Gables – Temporary DNF
  • The House in the Cerulean Sea – Hard DNF

8. Have you ever successfully read a book that was originally a DNF?

Yes, I’ve come back to a lot of books that I originally DNFed and generally have a lot of success with it. As a mood reader, my DNFing a book is often a reflection of my own mood at that time rather than the book itself, so most of the time I can come back to a book I’ve DNFed and enjoy it. The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings are two prime examples. I tried multiple times to read them as a teenager but couldn’t get to grips with Tolkien’s writing style and pacing, then came back to them a couple of years ago and loved them.

Do you DNF books? Share your thoughts about DNFing in the comments!

I tag anybody that would like to do the DNF Book Tag to do it! You can use the original questions or my adapted version of the questions.

Stay safe, my lovelies and keep reading.


‘Goodreads was wrong’ Book Tag

Like most readers I use Goodreads everyday. I’m always looking at average ratings or reviews and use Goodreads to decide what to read next. Since Goodreads is such a big part of my life as a reader, when I saw this tag I knew I had to do it.

The tag was originally developed by GabsAboutBooks over on YouTube so check here video out.

What is the highest rated book that you gave a low rating?

We Should All Be Feminists – Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Average Goodreads rating: 4.44
My rating: 2

I had high expectations for this book since it was so highly rated and all of my friends rated it 5 stars. Unfortunately, I found Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s perspective on feminism to be very narrow. She conflates gender and sex, adopts a binary perspective and draws heavily on masculine and feminine stereotypes. Although she discusses feminism within a cultural context as an Nigerian woman, there’s very little discussion of the wider factors that impact feminism such as race, class, religion, sexuality, disability etc. Because I personally identify with intersectional feminism, I found this to be a huge issue for me.

What is the lowest rated book that you gave a high rating?

The Reluctant Fundamentalist – Mohsin Hamid

Average Goodreads rating: 3.71
My rating: 4

This literary novella is built on a very simple concept but manages to do so much with it. The main character, Changez, is a young Pakistani man who lived in the U.S. between the ages of 18-22. It’s set in a restaurant in Lahore, Pakistan and is a one-way dialogue in which Changez shares his story with an American man. This novella explores the rise in Islamaphobia and discrimination against Muslims post-9/11, the toxcity of the “American dream” narrative and the conflict that Changez feels as a Pakistani man residing in a place that has in many ways contributed to the conflicts that are destroying his hometown. I can understand why this book wouldn’t be for everyone since it’s slow and uneventful, but I found it to be a thought-provoking discussion around complex and hard-hitting topics.

What is the most popular book that you disagree with the average rating?

The Great Gatsby – F. Scott Fitzgerald

Average Goodreads rating: 3.93
My rating: 1

I read <i>The Great Gatsby</i> in 2019 right at the very start of my reading journey and man, I really did not like this book. The narrative, plot, characters and everything else fell completely flat for me. A 1 star rating was probably a tad harsh in hindsight, but the reading experience with this book was pretty grim and that’s reflected by the rating I gave it. I still struggle to understand how or why this is considered a well-loved classic. Since I’ve read more classics now, there’s a chance if I did a re-read I’d feel differently, but for now, I have no desire to pick this book up again.

What is the least popular book you disagree with the average rating?

Sexual Fluidity: Understanding Women’s Desire – Lisa Diamond

Average Goodreads rating: 3.89
My rating: 2

In my opinion, this book is rated higher than it should be. Although it does provide some interesting insights, for an academic text it’s very limited. It is almost exlusively reliant on oral interviews from 10 females and draws most of it’s conclusions from the experiences of this small group of women. Therefore, it’s completely lacking in diversity and representation. This would probably be a more impactful read for those that are new to the concepts of gender and sexuality in an academic context, but I found that it over-explained simple definitions and concepts which anybody that is likely to pick up this book wouldn’t need.

Choose two books that have an average rating of 3/5 stars but you gave a higher rating.

If There Be Thorns – V. C. Andrews

Average Goodreads rating: 3.71
My rating: 4

So it turns out that all of the books I’ve read that were closer to a 3 star rating were ones I’d rated lower than 3 stars, so this was the closest one. I read the Dollanganger series years ago when I was a teenager and loved the gothic vibes. This book is a fascinating and spine-tingling exploration of the toxicity of family and love. It’s over the top, explosive and sometimes even far fetched, but for the pure nostalgia, it’ll always have a place in my heart. In many ways, my love for this series as a teenager foreshadowed my love for Wuthering Heights 10 years later.

Carmilla – J. Sheridan Le Fanu

Average Goodreads rating: 3.82
My rating: 4

For me, Carmilla is a nearly perfect read – gothic horror, vampires, atmospheric, WLM relationship, sharp plot which is to the point and leaves you wanting more… I think that it’s deserving of a much higher rating. Unfortunately, it doesn’t always resonate with modern readers because they are already so familiar with the vampire genre. But for me, this is probably the best vampire novel I’ve ever written. After all, it’s where it all started.

Choose two books that have an average rating of 3/5 stars but you gave a lower rating.

The Reckoning / The Struggle – L. J. Smith

Average Goodreads rating: 3.40 | 3.47
My rating: 1 | 1

I picked up the Vampire Diaries series because like most other teens growing up in the late 00s/early 10s, I was obsessed with the TV show. Unfortunately, the books didn’t come close to measuring up to the show. It’s been years since I read these books but what I do remember is that the writing style was awful, the characters completely one dimensional and almost every single relationship was “insta love” (one of my least favourite tropes of all time). Think Twilight, but unlike Twilight, this isn’t guilty pleasure trash, it’s trash that you just want to toss into the bin.

Choose two books that have an average rating of 4/5 stars but you gave a lower rating.

Interview with the Vampire – Anne Rice

Average Goodreads rating: 4
My rating: 2

I read this one as part of a book club with my friends and man, it was a slog to get through. The plot was slow, the characters annoying and the take on vampires wasn’t what I look for in vampire novels. I prefer the soulless, evil, vindictive predatory vampires than one’s that are constantly plagued by conscience and emotional turmoil. I appreciate that it was a pivotal novel for the vampire genre because it broke away from the one-dimensional vampires like Dracula and Carmilla to provide a more “human” type of vampire, but it just wasn’t to my tastes. If I’d read it as a teenager, I probably would’ve loved it but reading it at 26 didn’t work for me.

Letter to my Daughter – Maya Angelou

Average Goodreads rating: 4
My rating: 2

Letter to my Daughter didn’t meet my expectations and I felt that it was misrepresented. I expected heartwarming letters written from Angelou to women across the globe on issues such as education, family, love and careers. Instead, it read more like a bunch of diary entries on random topics which were disjointed and lacking in any central or coherent theme. I also found this book to be exclusionary since anyone that doesn’t identify as a Christian woman living in America, would find a lot of what Angelou discusses difficult/impossible to relate to. This would be a valuable read for some women, but unfortunately, only a very specific and narrow pool of women of which I’m not part of.

Do you tend to agree or disagree with GR average rating and do you use GR as a guide for books you want to read?

I agree with the average ratings generally. I wasn’t sure that I would until I did this tag, but most of the ratings I give the books I read align closely with the average ratings. I do use Goodreads as a general guide for the books I want to read. In my experience, anything that has an average rating below 3.5(ish) is probably not worth the read. But I rely more on reviews to help me decide what to read since they provide a fuller picture of what readers thought about a book.

This was a fun tag! I liked that it gave me the opportunity to talk about books I wouldn’t usually get the chance to.

Do you use Goodreads as a guide for the books you read? How much do you agree with average ratings on Goodreads?

Stay safe, my lovelies and keep reading.