April 2020 Round-Up

Hello and welcome to my April 2020 round-up! I honestly cannot believe it’s the end of April already and we are all stuck inside watching the weather through our windows. This is not how I thought 2020 was going to go, but I’m trying to make the best of the situation. I’ve been writing daily for Camp NaNoWriMo and making pom-poms like there’s no tomorrow. There is something incredibly therapeutic about winding wool round and round and round, especially while watching one of my favourite movies like Burlesque. Back to the books, I’m struggling to read as much as I did before, but I try to read a little each day, even if it is only a couple of pages. I’ve been feeling quite overwhelmed, so thanks for bearing with me while my blog posts are very sporadic. I will try to get some book reviews up soon!

Top 3 novels I read in April

Daisy Jones and the Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid

What I liked about it: the unique format, the drama, the way she writes about music

What I did not like about it: Nothing that I can think of.

My favourite character: Camila. What an amazing woman.

Position in series: 1/1

Genre: Historical fiction, music

Aurora Rising by Jay Kristoff and Amie Kaufman

What I liked about it: sassy misfit crew, aliens, lots of sarcasm, the action and excitement

What I did not like about it: my heart exploding

My favourite character: Tyler or Zila. I didn’t realise how awesome I think Tyler is until I actually considered it.

Position in series: 1/3

Genre: young adult, science fiction, fantasy

Dust by Hugh Howey

What I liked about it: an incredible conclusion to the Wool trilogy, the worldbuilding, the unravelling of the plot

What I did not like about it: DEATHS.

My favourite character: Jules. I would die for that woman. Amazing.

Position in series: 3/3

Genre: science fiction, post-apocalyptic

Poetry of the month: Wild Embers by Nikita Gill

What I liked about it: emotional and empowering

What I did not like about it: that it wasn’t longer!

My favourite poem: For Her

Genre: poetry, feminism

Special mention: Reasons to Stay Alive by Matt Haig

Why: this book means more to me than I can put into words. It has saved lives and reminds you that at no point are you alone. You can get through than this. There is more to life than your mental illness.

Genre: nonfiction, mental health

And that, folks, is my April in books. For a full list of everything I read in April, check out my goodreads which I try my best to keep up to date! I hope you’re all well, even if you’re feeling unmotivated like I am. Wishing you and your families all the best, and if you ever want to talk you can reach me through my contact page here, Instagram here or twitter here.

A Book For Every Colour of the Rainbow

People all over the country have been putting pictures of rainbows up in their windows and outside their houses in order to cheer everyone up in these not-so-great times, so I thought I’d do my part and try and cheer you all up with a book for every colour of the rainbow! I’ve done both a paperback and a hardback rainbow, although I have to admit my paperback one is a lot better. Why do I own so many dark hardbacks?!

Paperback Rainbow

From left to right:

  • A succulent
  • The Mime Order by Samantha Shannon– I can’t wait for The Mask Falling to come out! I read the first three of this series a while ago, and I absolutely adored them. I’m definitely going to have fun rereading them in anticipation for The Mask Falling.
  • The Merlin Conspiracy by Diana Wynne Jones- I read this with my mum as a child, and while I can’t actually remember what happens, I remember that it was awesome! Diana Wynne Jones is an incredible author, and I adore Howl’s Moving Castle.
  • The Thousandth Floor by Katharine McGee- I read this quite recently, having had it sitting on my shelf for months. The gossip girl comparison is accurate and the ending left me furious, so as to whether I read the rest is a mystery.
  • This Vicious Cure by Emily Suvada- The only one on this list I haven’t read, This Vicious Cure is the conclusion to a trilogy. I thought the previous books were great, so I have no doubts that this one will be too.
  • Shift by Hugh Howey- I am actually in the middle of this at the moment. It’s quite a change of pace from Wool, being a prequel, but it’s just as gripping. This is truly brilliant science fiction.
  • The Rose & the Dagger by Renée Ahdieh- Another one I read a while ago, but I loved The Rose and the Dagger, it’s a complete whirlwind of magic and drama in the desert.
  • A Smuggler’s Path by I.L. Cruz- I was gifted this in return for review, and although it is chaotic at times, A Smuggler’s Path is never boring and I look forward ti reading the third book in the series
  • A succulent

Hardback Rainbow

From left to right:

  • A succulent
  • Bedlam by Derek Landy- when I read the first series of Skulduggery Pleasant, I was obsessed. I loved everything about Valkyrie and Skulduggery and their relationship and the various characters they knew. In the revival Valkyrie is very different, and I miss the old her, but Landy’s writing is brilliant as ever and I look forward to reading this one.
  • The Priory of the Orange Tree by Samantha Shannon- this is currently my favourite book, and has been since I first read it. I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to write a review, because a) it’s massive and b) I love it too much. A female-led fantasy epic with a slow-burn sapphic relationship and dragons? Just take my money.
  • Broken Homes by Ben Aaronovitch- you might have noticed that this rainbow has not one, but three Ben Aaronovitch books on. This is because I am completely obsessed with the Rivers of London series and I managed to get my mum hooked as well. Pure brilliance. A modern London detective series with magic and crime and humour that I will continue to recommend to everyone I meet.
  • False Value by Ben Aaronovitch- I will admit I have not read this one yet, because I cannot bear for it to end. It came out recently and my mum ordered it immediately but I just can’t bring myself to step into Peter Grant’s world because inevitably I’ll have to leave. Also the cover glows in the dark which I think is the coolest thing ever.
  • The Wicked King by Holly Black- the second book in a delicious trilogy filled with magic and faeries and betrayal. Holly Black is a brilliant writer and I had the privilege of meeting her last year. She has blue hair which I think automatically elevates her to awesome.
  • Moon Over Soho by Ben Aaronovitch- I honestly devoured this series. They’re so easy to dive into and I am emotionally attached to all of the characters and the books are the perfect mix between reality and magic.
  • Aurora Rising by Jay Kristoff and Amie Kaufman- I read this last week and it is pretty much the perfect YA sci-fi. A badass space crew, mysterious girl from the past, all the sass and the occasional battle? Just my cup of intergalactic tea.
  • A succulent

I hope you’ve enjoyed this post and it at least made you smile a little bit. Keep going and stay home, save lives. Shoutout to the NHS for being absolute superheroes!

Why not make your own book rainbows and post them on instagram or twitter? Remember to tag me so I can see your favourite books!

Wool Review

Wool by Hugh Howey

Wool is the first adult sci-fi book I’ve read in a while, and it did NOT disappoint. I had been putting it off because I was a bit (a lot) intimidated by its thickness but I am now very annoyed that I didn’t pick it up sooner! As I write this review I’m actually finding myself smiling at the thought of it.

Wool is set in a post-apocalyptic world where everyone lives in underground silos, with 144 levels each with different purposes. The earth’s air is toxic, and the people live under lots of regulations but there is one main one: never say you want to go outside. Going outside is fatal, and the people who get sent out only live long enough to clean the cameras which provide a view of the outside world. Anyone who says they want to go outside are sent, as well as criminals.

I’ll start with the plot and writing. The writing and plot were amazing. The end.

Just kidding.

Not about the plot being amazing though. There was a delicious mix of slow reveals with clues dispersed through the chapters, and shock reveals that left me staring into the distance trying to process it. Since it’s been a while, I had forgotten how complex adult sci-fi could be and how many things happen simultaneously and it was a delightful surprise, never over-complicating while having lots of depth. The further I got the more questions I had, and one answer would create a thousand more questions which I loved since the answers came at a sensible rate. The story is brilliantly paced, keeping the atmosphere of different scenes right while moving on the plot. Basically most of my notes are me being shocked. Some quotes include ‘I am shook. How did I not see this coming. I’m as observant as a mole’ and ‘If I am given one more shock I will have a heart attack please stop this and let me live the story, I keep having to stop.’ I also noted down page 200, so I think the action steps up then. The action descriptions are wonderful and immersive, bringing me onto the characters.

The main character, Jules, is not introduced immediately, instead we follow the story of a couple of other members of the silo. This continues throughout the novel, so while we spend a lot of time following Jules, we also follow several other characters for varying amounts of time to supplement the plot. Even so, I fell in love with Jules almost immediately. She was direct and down to earth and not afraid to speak her mind. The characters are subtly created through their interactions rather than descriptions leaving strong impressions, and then smashing my heart to pieces over charcters I barely know.

I always love seeing the communities in fantasy and sci-fi, how different people interact, and this novel illustrates its world beautifully, mostly drip-feeding information about the building of the silo, the different levels and how people interact. The way they live fascinates me, like how the electricians are a family and how people only go up to the top levels after a clearing and the different uses of the different levels as well as the mysterious way relationships and families work, which I’m still slightly in the dark about. Quick clue though: the place is very dysfunctional.

In conclusion, wow. The characters. The plot. The action. Just amazing. The only problem is that it ended far sooner than I thought, because there were lots of pages at the back! Very disappointing but the ending was great, and I’m excited to read the sequel. Would I survive this book? Unlikely, I hate being underground, I probably would have been wiped out in the apocalypse.

January 2020 Round-up

Happy January Everyone!

I can’t believe that January has gone by so quickly! It seems crazy we’re already a month into 2020, with only 11 to go when it seems like Christmas was yesterday. I’ve read 26 books this month and I’ve definitely got lucky- I’ve enjoyed every single one of them! There’s been a good mixture of fiction from authors new and old as well as some nonfiction, mainly medical because that’s one of my favourite nonfiction genres.

I’ve also done some writing, by which I mean I realised that I needed to finish my first novel there and put the rest in a second novel, then realised that it’s now a bit limp because it doesn’t have the rest of the plot so  I need to do something about that. And right as I was about to finish the novel I came up with a new idea for another novel and got side-tracked, so am now in a bit of a writing-related mess.

So, without further ado I am going to give my top 5 books of January 2020, in NO PARTICULAR ORDER because choosing an order might kill what’s left of my sanity and lead to me being a mad, reclusive bookworm. Or more accurately a madder, more reclusive bookworm.

Gemina by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

What I liked about it: the unique format, gripping action and fast pace

What I didn’t like about it: my local library does not have the sequel

My favourite character: Hanna, a rich girl turned badass

Position in series: 2/3

Genres: sci-fi, young adult, fiction

Wool by Hugh Howey

What I liked about it: well thought out world building, lots of plot twists, every detail enriches the story in some way

What I didn’t like about it: too big to easily carry around

My favourite character: Jules, an all around legend and mechanics genius

Position in series: 1/3

Genres: sci-fi, post-apocalyptic, fiction

Children of Virtue and Vengeance by Tomi Adeyemi

What I liked about it: rich culture, awesome magic, vivid characters

What I didn’t like about it: the sequel hasn’t even been announced yet

My favourite character: Zelie, a magic wielding, realistic emotioned maji

Position in series: 1/3

Genres: young adult, fantasy, fiction

This is Going to Hurt by Adam Kay

What I liked about it: genuinely funny, well explained, honest and emotional

What I didn’t like about it: the lack of funding to the NHS, which is amazing

My favourite character: Adam, an ex-doctor

Position in series: standalone

Genres: nonfiction, medical, autobiography

For the Winner by Emily Hauser

What I liked about it: stunning setting descriptions, epic depiction of Ancient Greece and mythology, strong female character

What I didn’t like about it: nothing. Please write more Emily Hauser.

My favourite character: Atalanta, a bow wielding, powerful princess of Ancient Greece

Position in series: 2/3

Genres: historical fiction, fantasy, ancient Greece

Honourable mentions go to The Deathless Girls by Kiran Millwood Hargrave for beautiful, lyrical writing, and to Renegades by Marissa Meyer for being fresh and all around excellent.

So that brings us to the end of my January top 5. It’s not a long read, but it certainly took me long enough to try and decide which five books to choose, and in the end I cheated by adding some honourable mentions at the end anyway! I hope your January reading has gone well and you’ve achieved any goals you wanted to! Get in contact and let me know or leave a comment below 😊