Top 5 Summer Reads

38c5ca81bf117b0abf88e15cc712157a

I’m a ‘read all the books all year round’ kind of person so I don’t really have specific seasonal reads BUT today I’ve decided to give myself one. So this is five books I plan to read during the summer months that felt particularly summer-y.

 

W E  A R E  L I A R S // I’ve heard so much about this book and yet I know nothing other than it’s a thriller about a rich family set in a private holiday home. But this season I will finally figure out exactly what this book is about.

Q U E E N  O F  G E E K S // It’s fun and geeky with queer and autistic characters and I genuinely don’t know why it’s taken me so long to actually pick this book up.

O U R  O W N  P R I V A T E  U N I V E R S E // a book I picked up because it was about gay girls and literally nothing else. I want to read more about lgbtq+ girls in general and this is book will definitely add to that goal.

 

W H E N  D I M P L E  M E T  R I S H I // there’s been hype for this book for months before it came out. It’s supposed to be a sweet romance set during a coding camp and I’m excited to fall in love with this story and these characters.

S I M O N  V S  T H E  H O M O  S A P I A N S  A G E N D A // another queer book that was recommended to me! I’ve been told it’s really sweet and Becky Albertalli’s writing is supposed to be incredible so I’m excited to give this book – and this author – a try!

 

What books are on your Summer Reading Lists? What do you think of the summer-y books that I’ve chosen? Let me know in the comments below!

Top Ten Tuesday: Series I Still Need To Finish

64e71a8d4f422ad94a4762b8eb7a2eef

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly bookish meme created by The Broke and The Bookish. For more information on the weekly topics, take a look over here.

This week is all about the series that I need to finish – or need to start as the case may be. I love a series. I love the development that can be achieved in one and I have a ton that are sitting on my shelves and waiting to be read.

26802894      9221793      25733990

T R U T H W I T C H  // I started this book and then stopped for unknown reasons and I just haven’t picked it up again. But I have both books in the series ready for a marathon and it will happen…eventually.

T H E   D E M O N   K I N G // Cinda William China books were recommended to be on booktube and I want an epic fantasy to sink my teeth into. But there seem to be a lot of books in this series. And even more books in the companion series. I don’t have enough room on my bookcase for all of them, but if I like this book as much as I have been promised, I will find the room.

S L E E P I N G  G I A N T S // I brought this book when I was in the sci-fi mood because I wanted some aliens and space giants or whatever this book is supposed to be about. I know it’s supposed to be good and I’m excited to start – I just haven’t done it yet.

20764879     17199504     25203675

A  G A T H E R I N G  O F   S H A D O W S // Finally, a book series I’ve started! I loved A Darker Shade of Magic and I wanted to read one book a month until I’d finished the series. That’s only three months of my life – not the worst way to spend me time. Watch me as I continue to not read A Gathering of Shadows.

T H E   B O N E  S E A S O N // I feel like I’m going to get judged for this one. I have all the books that are currently released, they’re just currently unread by me.

T H E  S T A R-T O U C H E D  Q U E E N // I was so hyped for A Crown of Wishes and when my copy arrived, I…didn’t read it. Still haven’t. Need to fix this.

 

T H E   W R A T H  &  T H E  D A W N // I brought the first book in this series very early on to me watching booktube because it was raved about so much. One of the first books I got my hands on – and yet still unread.

D O R O T H Y  M U S T  D I E // I’ve been wanting to read this series before I even got back into reading again. I brought the hardcover and it looks so pretty with and without the dustcover. I had to convince myself out of buying the most recent book this weekend.

D R E A D N O U G H T // it’s about queer superheroes and I love the idea. I was given permission to read the sequel that’s coming out this year by the publisher via Netgalley and boy I want to just read the crap out of this series.

A N D  I  D A R K E N // another book I have an egalley of the sequel of! Now I Rise comes out next week (June 27th) and I need to read the first book before I can sink my teeth into the next.

Have you read any of these? What’s on your series I must finish TBR List? Let me know in the comments below!

Galley Review of The Strange Case of The Alchemist’s Daughter by Theodora Goss

oie_6HHFS1oLcsZ2

26006537The Strange Case of The Alchemist’s Daughter by Theodora Goss

Published: June 20th, 2017

Rating: 8ca5d99c98b8c8bc4a7bf59aa3470f468ca5d99c98b8c8bc4a7bf59aa3470f468ca5d99c98b8c8bc4a7bf59aa3470f468ca5d99c98b8c8bc4a7bf59aa3470f46

Purchase here: Amazon | The Book Depository

Synopsis: Based on some of literature’s horror and science fiction classics, this is the story of a remarkable group of women who come together to solve the mystery of a series of gruesome murders—and the bigger mystery of their own origins.

Mary Jekyll, alone and penniless following her parents’ death, is curious about the secrets of her father’s mysterious past. One clue in particular hints that Edward Hyde, her father’s former friend and a murderer, may be nearby, and there is a reward for information leading to his capture…a reward that would solve all of her immediate financial woes.

But her hunt leads her to Hyde’s daughter, Diana, a feral child left to be raised by nuns. With the assistance of Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson, Mary continues her search for the elusive Hyde, and soon befriends more women, all of whom have been created through terrifying experimentation: Beatrice Rappaccini, Catherine Moreau, and Justine Frankenstein.

When their investigations lead them to the discovery of a secret society of immoral and power-crazed scientists, the horrors of their past return. Now it is up to the monsters to finally triumph over the monstrous.

Diversity: No lgbt+ characters as confirmed yet. No characters of colour but characters that have come from many places across Europe and have language barriers etc to contend with.

Warnings: experimentation on children/child abuse, captivity, mentions of torture

18feae3427b6625fb6631d73be7a7cda

I received this copy from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

The Strange Case of the Alchemist’s Daughter is a brilliantly clever novel inspired by science fiction and mystery stories from the Romantic and Victorian eras of writing. Theodora Goss brings together Jekyll and Hyde, Frankenstein, Dr. Moreau and Sherlock Holmes in this fantastic world of murder mystery and secret societies and scientific advances left unchecked. 

In the story, you follow the daughter of the famous Dr. Jekyll, Mary Jekyll, as she finds out exactly what her father was responsible for before his death. Over the course of the story, she meets these fantastical women, all daughters of famous scientists and all products of their father’s experiments: Diana Hyde, Beatrice Rappaccini, Catherine Moreau, and Justine Frankenstein.

Goss keeps the era wonderfully. This feels like a book written in the 1800s. Whilst there is a modern pace throughout, time is taken to describe in a lot of detail the rooms in which Mary finds herself, and places that are visited across London. It’s hard to embody a time in history so different from your own, but Goss succeeds brilliantly.

The characters themselves are engaging and sympathetic. They have their limitations, despite their strength or their deadliness, and they slowly integrate themselves into the mystery and into Mary’s life. I particularly liked Beatrice, beautiful and intelligent and deadly to touch or be around because of the poison that her father slowly introduced into her system before birth.

You get a great sense of their voices through something that Goss incorporates through the course of the novel that I haven’t read before. The characters themselves interrupt the story as it is being written to object to the writing, to argue against what they were thinking in that moment, to complain about an event. They converse with each other and fight each other and speak about what they believe now, what has happened since and plainly banter between each other.

Whilst it can break up the events of the story, it also breaks up some of the more dense pieces of writing and gives you a chance to hear a character’s voice in a way that the narrative doesn’t allow for.

I finished the book and hoped that there was more to come in the future. I want to read about how they uncover the secrets of the mysterious Society of Alchemy. I want to know more about their lives together and see how the likes of Sherlock, Watson and Lestrade cope with the Athena Club on the case. I want to know what makes Mary and Diana monstrous, as they are so often referred to as such throughout the book.

The Strange Case of the Alchemist’s Daugther is a fun and entertaining twist on historical fiction, mysteries, and science fiction. It’s easy to read, immerses you into the time period and the world, and will have you constantly wanting to know more.

Book Talk | Why I DNF Books

oie_0iQ4Ipwp4naL

DNF’ing is something that can divide book lovers – after all, can you really say you didn’t like a book if you didn’t finish it?

Personally, I DNF books a lot.

I didn’t when I was younger but recently, I just don’t have time to dedicate to books that I’m just not enjoying reading, whatever the reason. In this post, I’m just going to outline some of the reasons – and some of the books – I’ve DNF’ed.

 

Far Too Slow To Start

32969235There’s a difference between a slow start and a snail’s pace. This usually happens with worlds and societies that aren’t like our own. They start with too much worldbuilding that doesn’t make sense at first glance, they don’t attach you to the main character, they don’t really describe anything making it hard to get a sense of space.

The Evaporation of Sofi Snow is one of those books – I was interested in the premise, this dystopian world with aliens and bloody games and the search to find a brother that may or may not be alive – but the opening d r a g g e d. There was action but nothing happened. I still had no idea why anything was happening and ultimately wasn’t entertained enough to keep reading.

 

Uncomfortable Subjects

In this, I’m not talking about important uncomfortable subjects. Conversations on abuse 30965707and homophobia and mental illness are all things that I think should be covered and discussed in literature. I’m talking about things like bestiality, which honestly wasn’t something I thought I would ever put on a list until I read How To Be Human.

It was sold me to as a story about mental health and obsession and the claustrophobia of suburban life. Instead what I got was a woman growing strangely attached to a fox in her garden and a would be case of child kidnapping. I got half way through this book before I decided that I wasn’t imagining things, this was really going where I thought it was and stopped reading.

 

34455622Gross Treatment of Women

This also applies to other minority groups but for Superpowerless, it’s women. This book had such a good premise and the opening was really promising – it reminded me of A World Without You, where it’s hard to tell whether these superpowers are real or imagined. There was a glimpse into the fraught relationship between a teenage boy and their mother – and then suddenly said teenage boy was watching his female next door neighbour sunbathing through a telescope in his bedroom. It was just …. gross and unnecessary and I found it really hard to keep reading after that and eventually, just stopped entirely.

 

Just Stopped Caring33823946

Or did I ever care? That’s the question. I read books to be entertained and to immerse myself in other worlds and if I literally don’t care what’s happening, there’s no point in reading. That’s what happened to me in Rose Petal Graves. It had such a promising blurb about fae and family feuds and spirits coming back from the dead but as I was reading, I realised I was just doing it to get to the end. I didn’t care about the characters, I kept checking the percentage on my kindle to see how much more I had to read. I reasoned with those around me whether it was okay to just stop. So I did.

 

But these are just my reasons.

What are your reasons for DNF’ing a book? Have you ever? Leave a comment below!

Review of Our Dark Duet by V.E. Schwab

oie_TaSELdg9oeAB

34397653Our Dark Duet by V.E. Schwab

Published: June 13th, 2017

Rating: 8ca5d99c98b8c8bc4a7bf59aa3470f468ca5d99c98b8c8bc4a7bf59aa3470f468ca5d99c98b8c8bc4a7bf59aa3470f468ca5d99c98b8c8bc4a7bf59aa3470f468ca5d99c98b8c8bc4a7bf59aa3470f46

Purchase here: Amazon | The Book Depository

Synopsis: Kate Harker is a girl who isn’t afraid of the dark. She’s a girl who hunts monsters. And she’s good at it. August Flynn is a monster who can never be human, no matter how much he once yearned for it. He’s a monster with a part to play. And he will play it, no matter the cost.

Nearly six months after Kate and August were first thrown together, the war between the monsters and the humans is terrifying reality. In Verity, August has become the leader he never wished to be, and in Prosperity, Kate has become the ruthless hunter she knew she could be. When a new monster emerges from the shadows—one who feeds on chaos and brings out its victim’s inner demons—it lures Kate home, where she finds more than she bargained for. She’ll face a monster she thought she killed, a boy she thought she knew, and a demon all her own.

Diversity: Soro has is agender. Emily is described with ‘dark skin’.

Warnings: gore, violence, character death.

18feae3427b6625fb6631d73be7a7cda

This review contains some spoilers for Our Dark Duet, although the biggest is something that you find out in the first few pages of the book. It does also contain spoilers for the first book in the series, This Savage Song, which I highly recommend reading before approaching this review! 

Our Dark Duet is the sequel to This Savage Song and last book in the Monsters of Verity duology. It ups the stakes of the first book and concludes the battle of human and the monsters their actions have caused in the only way a story like this could possibly end.

I adored This Savage Song. It was the first Victoria Schwab book that I read and it’s what made me understand why people love her writing style so much. Plus it was a unique idea – monsters created from violence was something that intrigued me a lot. This Savage Song started a conversation on what makes you human and what makes you monster, and Our Dark Duet continues that story by literally putting the monster into Kate’s head.

Following Kate and August six months on after the end of the first book, they both are affected by what they’ve experienced. Kate, still trying not to get attached to anybody, remembers August and his humanity and the connection she had made with him and finds it hard to keep that distance as she wishes too. August thinks he can hear Leo, his twisted older brother in his head, telling him to let go and sometimes, living in a war zone, emotions make things so much more complicated. Their lives collide again and in each other, they find what made themselves good.

Character wise, Schwab always does fantastically. The journey of Kate and August is brilliant and looking back on the first book makes parts of their story gutwrenching. I loved Ilsa and the newest Sunai, Soro, who sees the world in saints and sinners and cannot see beyond his understanding of a purpose. I enjoyed the antagonists – Sloan, not as dead as you would think, and Alice, the Malachi that rose from Kate’s act of violence. They’re bitter and twisted and really engaging to read about.

I enjoyed the humanity in the book. The opposing ideas and people struggling to survive. Those from the North that sought refugee in the South and those who were stubborn enough to hold out until there was no choice. Even with a common enemy, these people were finding it really hard to find unity so the tensions that rise there are interesting background noise the rest of the book’s events.

In a book like this, action scenes are important and Schwab writes them really well. To the point or drawn out when they have to be, she keeps the tension up and never allows the fighting to overstay its welcome.

Schwab has a great sense of setting. Whilst the world outside Verity seems quite plotted like points of a map, the chaos and confusion of The North and South sides of Verity are easy to picture. You can image the Seam, this makeshift wall between two warring fractions, and the South compound, constantly prepared for war even when the North was functioning without the control of monsters.

Our Dark Duet is a brilliant conclusion. It’s a fantastically quick and easy read that keeps you entertained and desperate to reach the end and find out what is going to happen to these characters you’ve grown attached to. It’s Schwab being as great as Schwab usually is, and you will not regret picking up this duology at all.

 

Galley Review of Juniper Lemon’s Happiness Index by Julie Israel

oie_cB5JHnRTcxLQ

33871765Juniper Lemon’s Happiness Index by Julie Israel

Published: June 1st, 2017

Rating: 8ca5d99c98b8c8bc4a7bf59aa3470f468ca5d99c98b8c8bc4a7bf59aa3470f468ca5d99c98b8c8bc4a7bf59aa3470f468ca5d99c98b8c8bc4a7bf59aa3470f46

Purchase here: Amazon | The Book Depository

Synopsis: It’s hard to keep close a person everyone keeps telling you is gone.

It’s been sixty-five painful days since the death of Juniper’s big sister, Camilla. On her first day back at school, bracing herself for the stares and whispers, Juniper borrows Camie’s handbag for luck – and discovers an unsent break-up letter inside. It’s mysteriously addressed to ‘You’ and dated July 4th – the day of Camie’s accident. Desperate to learn the identity of Camie’s secret love, Juniper starts to investigate.

But then she loses something herself. A card from her daily ritual, The Happiness Index: little notecards on which she rates the day. The Index has been holding Juniper together since Camie’s death – but without this card, there’s a hole. And this particular card contains Juniper’s own secret: a memory that she can’t let anyone else find out.

Diversity: Sponge is confirmed gay. No people of colour as far as I am aware.

Warnings: death, grief, parental abuse, invasions of privacy, bullying, mentions of suicide

18feae3427b6625fb6631d73be7a7cda

I received this copy from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Juniper Lemon’s Happiness Index is a look into death and how a person deals with the absence that person has left. It deals with how grief can be different from person to person, how it affects a family and how it takes over your whole life. Most importantly, it deals with getting past that grief and being able to move on with life again.

Julie Israel’s writing style is simple and easy to read. There is enough heart-wrenching detail that, in the hardest moments of the plot, you feel it in your chest but it doesn’t overwhelm you. I read through the book quite quickly because everything flowed nicely from one point to the other, and there wasn’t anything that took away from the point of the story.

Israel handled grief in this book incredibly well. It was open and honest and wasn’t clean. Juniper clearly suffers from a form of post-traumatic stress disorder and, although it would have been nice to have this addressed more certainly, it was obviously there. I also liked the idea of all these different ways to grief rubbing up against each other, causing friction and pain that no side means to cause – Juniper wants to surround herself with her sister so that she doesn’t ever forget her, whereas her mother has slipped into depression and doesn’t want that memory of her daughter disturbed in any way and her father is desperately trying to be understanding of his wife, and in doing so misunderstands his daughter. It’s a complicated situation and as things come together, you see these tangles of separate grief becoming something that can be tackled together.

The characters were easy to relate to. Juniper desperately wanting to make up for what happened before her sister died. Kody wanting her bullying to end. Angela desperately searching for a love she thinks dead. Nate trying to make amends for something he couldn’t control. Brand hiding his biggest secret even as he reaches out for the person he cares about. Sponge becoming more than just an amazing brainiac. They’re each explored in this book and they come together in such a brilliant way.

Unfortunately, this is done through an initial invasion of privacy that is revealed towards the end in a rather cruel way. Not to say that I don’t think it was handled well in the story, but if this is something that makes you uncomfortable, it’s worth knowing about.

The only issue I really had with the book is the mystery that remains a mystery. I don’t want to give too much away, but whilst I appreciate the idea that maybe the conclusion doesn’t even matter, it’s a bit of a disappointment to start a story with a question and then just not answer it.

The romance I found sweet for the most part. Brand is understanding of what Juniper wants in terms of closure and Juniper finds emotionally happiness outside of the grief-stricken cloud over her house. There are issues though, which are addressed and apologises are given. It’s important to have awareness of mistakes and that is there in the book.

Juniper Lemon’s Happiness Index is a delve into how to deal with life after death and I think it was handled with care. It’s a quick read with engaging writing and I enjoyed my time reading it.

Wrap Up: Books Read in May 2017

oie_WpcwfbkGeE87.png

May was a bit of a chaotic month for me – my mental health went all off the handle, which means I didn’t read as much as I wanted to or add as much content to this blog as I wanted to – but I did manage four books!

34338745            27830287               31194576            32571395

The Opposite of You by Lou Morgan 8ca5d99c98b8c8bc4a7bf59aa3470f468ca5d99c98b8c8bc4a7bf59aa3470f468ca5d99c98b8c8bc4a7bf59aa3470f46

It Started With Goodbye by Christina June 8ca5d99c98b8c8bc4a7bf59aa3470f468ca5d99c98b8c8bc4a7bf59aa3470f468ca5d99c98b8c8bc4a7bf59aa3470f468ca5d99c98b8c8bc4a7bf59aa3470f46 + review

Release by Patrick Ness 8ca5d99c98b8c8bc4a7bf59aa3470f468ca5d99c98b8c8bc4a7bf59aa3470f468ca5d99c98b8c8bc4a7bf59aa3470f468ca5d99c98b8c8bc4a7bf59aa3470f468ca5d99c98b8c8bc4a7bf59aa3470f46 + review

One of Us Is Lying by Karen M McManus 8ca5d99c98b8c8bc4a7bf59aa3470f468ca5d99c98b8c8bc4a7bf59aa3470f468ca5d99c98b8c8bc4a7bf59aa3470f468ca5d99c98b8c8bc4a7bf59aa3470f468ca5d99c98b8c8bc4a7bf59aa3470f46 + review

 

b152ed327bfb64adcb71dd7f41d606d7

One of Us Is Lying by Karen M McManus

52561fe04018db09cd9c4ed5edf913a9

Release by Patrick Ness

32309d7604aa0903a8af90fc3b538e42

The Opposite of You by Lou Morgan

Like I said, I didn’t have a chance to read a lot last month and hopefully, that will change in June!