Weekly Update (27/10/2019)

The last time I wrote a weekly update post (over a year ago), I was very clearly drowning and trying to convince myself that I was JUST FINE. Which I why this time I am dropping review requests and NetGalley entirely. Let's see if this works?

Read This Week (and a bit)

As usual I dived into reading head first and excitedly read everything I could get my hands on! I've had The List, Thanks and Rest Of Us on my TBR forever so it felt good to finally get them read. reviews of those will be on my blog soon.

Anticipated November Releases

I'm going to skip having an October wrap up post, it's so close to the end of it. So here's the November releases I can't wait to arrive in my postbox:

 The Starless Sea has a gorgeous US edition which I sincerely wish I had bought. The UK cover is so ugly (it would be better without the shadow man) and it is A TOME. It's already released in the UK in paperback, I really wasn't expecting it to be so freaking big in height. It will be hard to read this without breaking the spine. Expect to see reviews of these books popping over the next month and I'll leave an update about them too.

Thanks For The Trouble - Tommy Wallach

Genre: Contemporary, Romance
Pages: 276
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Release Date: 25/02/2016
Find The Author: Website
Find The Book: Book Depository / AbeBooks UK / US
Add To Your Goodreads Shelf

“Was this story written about me?”

I shrugged.

“Yes or no?”

I shrugged again, finally earning a little scowl, which somehow made the girl even more pretty.

“It’s very rude not to answer simple questions,” she said.

I gestured for my journal, but she still wouldn’t give it to me. So I took out my pen and wrote on my palm.

I can’t, I wrote. Then, in tiny letters below it: Now don’t you feel like a jerk?

Parker Santé hasn’t spoken a word in five years. While his classmates plan for bright futures, he skips school to hang out in hotels, killing time by watching the guests. But when he meets a silver-haired girl named Zelda Toth, a girl who claims to be quite a bit older than she looks, he’ll discover there just might be a few things left worth living for.

Admittedly, when I when the blurb of this - a boy that never speaks and some snobby girl with a lot of money - I did roll my eyes. But I was intrigued enough to buy it. It was the right decision - despite so many things that should have gone wrong with this book, everything seemed to go right and I ever had that sad moment where I didn't want to close the last page at the end. This book is perfect for John Green fans.

It absolutely uses the Manic Pixie Dream Girl trope but this time our character Zelda felt like a fully realised human being. She's an old soul who knows the history of the city but has never experienced what it is to be a teenager, while Parker has closed himself off from his peers, using his lack of speech as an excuse really, to avoid social situations. Both are dealing with their own unique grief and they help each other move on from that.

This book gets wonderfully strange fairly early on and adds a concept not often seen in contemporary romance. I'm a fan of strange hipster novels so wandering around Tea Rooms, visiting local museums and musing over Seurat paintings was completely up my alley. I can't wait to read more from this author!

Passenger - Alexandra Bracken

Series: Passenger #1
Genres: Time Travel, Romance
Pages: 496
Publisher: Disney Hyperion
Release Date: 05/01/2016
Find The Author: (Website / Twitter)
Find The Book: Book Depository / AbeBooks UK / US
Add To Your Goodreads Shelf

In one devastating night, violin prodigy Etta Spencer loses everything she knows and loves. Thrust into an unfamiliar world by a stranger with a dangerous agenda, Etta is certain of only one thing: she has traveled not just miles but years from home. And she’s inherited a legacy she knows nothing about from a family whose existence she’s never heard of. Until now.

Nicholas Carter is content with his life at sea, free from the Ironwoods—a powerful family in the colonies—and the servitude he’s known at their hands. But with the arrival of an unusual passenger on his ship comes the insistent pull of the past that he can’t escape and the family that won’t let him go so easily. Now the Ironwoods are searching for a stolen object of untold value, one they believe only Etta, Nicholas’ passenger, can find. In order to protect her, he must ensure she brings it back to them—whether she wants to or not.

Together, Etta and Nicholas embark on a perilous journey across centuries and continents, piecing together clues left behind by the traveler who will do anything to keep the object out of the Ironwoods’ grasp. But as they get closer to the truth of their search, and the deadly game the Ironwoods are playing, treacherous forces threaten to separate Etta not only from Nicholas but from her path home... forever.

You really have to be in the mood for a tome when reading this book, because it doesn't really start going until 200 pages in. I'd be unsurprised to see this on many DNF shelves. Once it does get going though, it's a pretty fun ride, hopping between cities and centuries as Etta and Nicholas try desperately to find her mother's Astrolabe while on the run from the Ironwoods and Thorns.

I'm gonna say the word and you're not going to quickly close the tab, okay? You ready? This isn't quite as full on as other examples of insta-love but I absolutely feel it fits in the category. Your mother has been kidnapped, you're trying to find this stupid relic before idk the universe collapses or something and what are you doing? Mooning over Nicholas when he's shirtless.

Overall if you're not invested in the treasure hunt / time travel aspect I would just give this one a miss. There seems to be a lot of repeated words and sentences, the book takes FOREVER to get going, the chapters are kinda weird cos they'll go from really short to a solid 30 minutes long and you're gonna need to read the sequel to get any form of closure. I'll definitely be reading the sequel which I just ordered cheap off Abe Books (minor plug because I just love me some cheap af second hand books) but I'm not sure you'll be seeing this duology on my shelves in the future.

The Rest Of Us Just Live Here - Patrick Ness

Genre: Contemporary, Fantasy
Pages: 345
Publisher: Walker Books
Release Date: 05/05/2016
Find The Author: (Website / Twitter)
Find The Book: Book Depository / AbeBooks UK / US
Add To Your Goodreads Shelf

Not everyone has to be the chosen one.

What if you're not an indie kid, fighting zombies, or whatever this new thing is, with the blue lights and the death?

What if you’re like Mikey? Who just wants to graduate before someone goes and blows up the high school. Again.

Sometimes you just have to discover how even an ordinary life can be extraordinary.

I believe I bought this book when it was first released, which means that this little gem has been lurking on bookshelves, stuffed into boxes and has lived in a shed for 3 years before I finally pulled it out and cracked it open.

I've read most of the big tropey YA books, I've suffered through Vampires, Immortals, Angels, Demons, Fae, all of those big hyped Paranormal Romances that came after Twilight. It looks like this book dealt with them too. I loved how aware the sections featuring Satchel and the indie boys were, constantly daring to poke fun at the genre while weaving an emotional story about The Rest Of Us, the kids that just want to graduate and leave their small town in peace.

Interweaving the two narratives is probably the cleverest part of the book, while you only get a small paragraph of Satchel's side of the story (hey we have a YA book where the main character is called freaking Belly so in comparison this name is valid), which gives you some context of what is happening to Mikey and his friends when they suffer the aftermath of an avalanche of deer, scary blue eyed cops and building being blown up.

This small group of friends really felt like real people dealing with real issues, relationships and mental health issues. I loved them all. The ending is bittersweet and really left me wishing for a sequel, while everything is wrapped up the characters themselves were left with question about what would happen in their futures, just like all of us have.

The List - Siobhan Vivian

Genre: Contemporary
Pages: 336
Publisher: Push
Release Date: 01/04/2012 
Find The Author: (Website / Twitter
Find The Book: Book Depository / AbeBooks UK / US 
Add To Your Goodreads Shelf

An intense look at the rules of high school attraction - and the price that's paid for them.

It happens every year. A list is posted, and one girl from each grade is chosen as the prettiest, and another is chosen as the ugliest. Nobody knows who makes the list. It almost doesn't matter. The damage is done the minute it goes up.

This is the story of eight girls, freshman to senior, "pretty" and "ugly." And it's also the story of how we see ourselves, and how other people see us, and the tangled connection of the two.

At some point in her life Siobhan Vivian decided that having a 350 page book with eight different points of view was a fine idea, and no-one sat her down and suggested that maybe, no.

Quite frankly that could really sum up the whole book without a full review. However I do feel I should cover the Whole Thing, including the underused characters, the stories that never were and the complete lack of ending. The majority of characters get no closure whatsoever. It just stops. A couple of characters get a decent ending but not a single character comes away from the story without leaving unanswered questions. Potentially some spoilers as I'm discussing who got a decent ending. 

Freshmen: Ugliest - Danielle. Prettiest - Abby. I think most readers can agree that Danielle could easily hold up an entire novel by herself, she's a great character that struggles with being viewed as masculine, while loving to swim competitively. She has a boyfriend she met at camp that's acting weird around her and a great backstory about how they met. Easily a standalone. On the other hand, Abby is not really memorable or interesting and she may have the least amount of chapters. Abby's sister was easily more intriguing, she's a geek that struggles with not being as pretty as her younger sister and later on (view spoiler).

Sophomores: Ugliest - Candace. Prettiest - Lauren. Candace is labelled as ugly due to her personality, which you basically never see. Lauren has just moved to town after previously being homeschooled and is almost a Carrie character, if Carrie was attractive and accepted by girls. Candace seems hurt by her friends but you never see the ugly personality mentioned. If anything, Candace and Lauren end up with an interesting almost-friendship that could also have been explored in it's own book. The ending for Lauren ends with a lot of questions as to what will happen in her future.

Juniors: Ugliest - Sarah. Prettiest - Bridget. Sarah gets called Ugly so naturally, she decides to wear the same clothes and not bathe for a week. She somehow gets so disgusting that no-one wants to stand near her. Anyone who's been stuck in a depression spiral knows that this is greatly exaggerated and unless you're running track every single day you're not going to be as greasy and smelly as Sarah is on Day 3. I found her obsession with Milo's ex pretty annoying but she did have an okay ending. Bridget has an eating disorder, which the List just makes a hundred times worse. She gets no ending really, no closure, not even a clue as to if her disorder will be dealt with before it's too late. It was a very strange ending, almost flippant which you never want to be about a subject as serious as this. 

Seniors: Ugliest - Jennifer. Prettiest - Margo. Jennifer and Margo have a history and they're yet another pair that could fill a whole book. Margo was a good point of view to have, as she showed the hard decisions people have to make to fit in, and the way friendships change as you grow up. I found the reasons Margo had for disliking Jennifer to be pretty understandable in the end at least.

Wilder Girls - Rory Power

Genres: Mystery, Horror
Pages: 353
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Release Date: 09/07/2019
Find The Author: (Website / Twitter
Find The Book: Book Depository / AbeBooks UK / US 
Add To Your Goodreads Shelf

It's been eighteen months since the Raxter School for Girls was put under quarantine. Since the Tox hit and pulled Hetty's life out from under her.

It started slow. First the teachers died one by one. Then it began to infect the students, turning their bodies strange and foreign. Now, cut off from the rest of the world and left to fend for themselves on their island home, the girls don't dare wander outside the school's fence, where the Tox has made the woods wild and dangerous. They wait for the cure they were promised as the Tox seeps into everything.

But when Byatt goes missing, Hetty will do anything to find her, even if it means breaking quarantine and braving the horrors that lie beyond the fence. And when she does, Hetty learns that there's more to their story, to their life at Raxter, than she could have ever thought true.

It may be September but look at me, I finished a book this year! I picked Wilder Girls as my way back in because it has a drop dead gorgeous cover and all the tropes I love. Mysterious island? Check. Weird virus? Check. Boarding school drama? Check check check.

Wilder Girls is one of the books that feels absolutely amazing. Until you actually sit down and start thinking about the overall plot. To be honest, this is full of plot holes, things are not explained much or explained in a rush (which often just feels like lazy writing) and there's very little characterisation outside of Hetty and her friends.

The story is good and I did love Hetty, Byatt and Reese, however the story from Reese's perspective would have been more interesting, as it was pretty clear that Reese had a better back story. Actually I can't really say much about Hetty before Raxter because it's barely mentioned and all I know about Byatt is that she's Byatt. It might have been mentioned and I forgot. There's definitely an overall feeling like they have lived at Raxter their whole lives.

The ending was a straight up cliffhanger so I presume there will either be a sequel or the author just didn't have the ability to finish the story properly. I hate to be harsh but the overall vibe I got was that the author had a small stomach and very large plate, they had a concept and no ability to fully flesh out and execute it into something beautiful.

Review of Harry Potter And The Half-Blood Prince

When Dumbledore arrives at Privet Drive one summer night to collect Harry Potter, his wand hand is blackened and shrivelled, but he does not reveal why. Secrets and suspicion are spreading through the wizarding world, and Hogwarts itself is not safe. Harry is convinced that Malfoy bears the Dark Mark: there is a Death Eater amongst them. Harry will need powerful magic and true friends as he explores Voldemort’s darkest secrets, and Dumbledore prepares him to face his destiny...

I can't write a 'proper' review of Harry Potter. I'm 26, so when Harry Potter was released I was right at the age it was marketed towards. I remember starting to notice the hype around Harry Potter when the third book was released (I was 8) and I bought all three books for my holiday. I didn't have a great childhood to be honest and these books were very much my escape. I would beg and beg to get a copy on the release date and my Gran would literally have to fight crowds to get them, I've never seen so much hype around any other book since. So basically, I can't review something that was my entire childhood - here's everything I loved during this re-read instead (and some other stuff) (also I'm presuming that you've read the book, so potential spoilers)
  •  The group's official Ministry Of Magic badges being titled 'Harry Potter, Rescue Mission'
  • Dumbledore making himself completely at home via forcing the Dursley's onto a sofa before getting out a bottle of mead
  • Dumbledore deciding that the best way to make sure he's not an imposter is to ask him his favourite flavour of jam
  • Raspberry '...although of course, if I were a Death Eater, I would have been sure to research my own jam-preferences before impersonating myself.'
  • Real actual rotting flesh zombies 
  • Harry just slowly going darker - dark Harry is best Harry
  • Dumbledore looking at knitting patterns
  • 'Harry had spent nearly all his time at the Dursleys' lying on his bed, refusing meals and staring at the misted window, full of the chill emptiness that he had come to associate with Dementors.' Rowling often said that Dementors represented depression and she totally gets it
  • 'said Dumbledore, with an approving pat on Harry's back. 'I take my hat off to you - or I would, if I were not afraid of showering you in spiders.' Dumbledore wtf 
  • Tonks pining after Lupin the whole book was actually really really annoying? I mean Sirius JUST DIED. Get your shit together?
  •  Karkaroff's death getting all of one line basically. Oh well, he was a twat.
  • 'Why Are You Worrying About You-Know-Who? You SHOULD Be Worrying About U-NO-POO - the Constipation Sensation That's Gripping The Nation!'
  • 'Draco Malfoy with his back to them, just visible beyond the very same large black cabinet in which Harry had once hidden to avoid Malfoy and his father.' for fucks sake Harry how many times does this thing have to be name dropped
  • 'I enjoyed those meetings, too,' said Luna serenely. 'It was like having friends.' aw Luna
  • Snape - 'Do you remember me telling you we are practising non-verbal spells, Potter?' 'Yes,' said Harry stiffly. 'Yes sir.' 'There's no need to call me "sir", Professor.' SHADE
  • 'Lord Voldemort has never had a friend, nor do I believe that he has ever wanted one.' Yeah didn't stop him having a kid apparently though did it
  • That I was totally correct in saying that any of the Weasley's could have performed magic underage - it's a location spell that isn't specific so as long as there's an adult wizard in the house you're fine
  • Young Snape's super elaborate potion to cure poisoning - 'Just shove a bezoar down their throats'
  • '...Harry had no difficulty whatsoever in recognising as Voldemort. He was plainly dressed in a black suit; his hair was a little longer than it had been at school and his cheeks were hollowed, but all of this suited him: he looked more handsome than ever.' Harry is totally into that. 
  • 'took a left at the broken Vanishing Cabinet in which Montague had got lost the previous year' MY GOD HARRY 

Weekly Update (16/06/2018)

So there's this comic by the rather brilliant Catana Comics that sums me up perfectly.

Which is really cute and funny until you end up breaking commitments and not reviewing your NetGalley and just generally end up in a spiral of avoidance where you feel like you'll never achieve anything. I have this thing where I go through phases, so usually I will read 50+ books and then drop the blog for like a year before coming back to it and somehow convincing myself that that's obviously not going to happen again. Which is always does.

This time I've been distracted with cross stitch. I don't do anything by halves, so instead of just picking up a piece and stitching occaisionally I've made a blog and I've started making free patterns, which is something I used to do and I miss it, so I really want to continue with that. But I also don't want to abandon this blog. So I put myself on a 2 week hiatus instead, to see if forcing myself to take a break would be the thing that breaks the cycle.

And I think that it's working? I'm here, on the date I said. I'm actually writing this post on the 10th, because I actually felt like getting up and doing that today. I quite feel like reading again too! So as long as I keep checking on myself and work out what's working, there's a very good chance I can balance everything I need to do.

Obviously, I've not been reading - so here's what I need to catch up on instead:


 Seven isn't actually too bad - some of them are from May but most are from June.

Review Requests

 In total that's just 10 books and I'm a fast reader - as I'm writing this from the 10th that's 20 days to catch up, so one every two days is easy for me.

The Other Blog

 If you're into cross stitch my new blog is Witch Stitch and I'm also on Instagram - it's WIPs, free patterns, wishlist patterns and kits, all that sort of thing. Here's a cloud pattern I made that you can download for free:

I have a Pirate pattern coming up too, I just need to stitch him.

Weekly Wrap Up (02/06/2018)

I don't know where the time has gone this month but now I feel like I'm trying to play catch up and failing. I didn't manage to get a Weekly post last week simply due to being busy and exhausted.

Willow's 3rd birthday went terribly - she ended up with tonsilitus and spent the day in a fluffy blanket with her new doll, we didn't bother trying to give presents or anything, she just wanted to lie on the couch and nap.

We did manage to get out on Sunday though and redid her birthday at Wookey Hole with CAKE. It was pretty amazing there, we slightly went crazy in the gift shop where I bought myself a stuffed owl I've named Gatsby, Willow got a cuddly dinosaur and my partner got cheese, wine and chutney amongst the other things we bought.

(Click for bigger images)

Read This Week

 I finally FINALLY finished re-reading Harry Potter and even squeezed in Cursed Child, which wasn't quite as bad I was expecting. I got Skylarks from NetGalley because gay YA but it was really bogged down with a poverty gap storyline that didn't really work.

Song Of The Week

Yes that is Clay from 13 Reasons Why.