August Wrap Up

General Comments

I tend to be a planner. I make lists of all the books I want to read, and I categorise them, then re-categorise them, then prioritise them, and by the end of all that, I haven’t read as much as I want.

In August I participated in #RetellingAThon, which was fantastic, because I read heaps. I felt really motivated, especially because it would contribute toward my goals for Retelling Reading Challenge. I’m goal oriented, and without a deadline I tend to procrastinate.

This increase in reading meant that I neglected my blog to a shocking degree. I think I only posted three things last month. I suppose I’ll spend September catching up.

Books Read

Key:

📚Retelling Reading Challenge 📚

*Retelling Reading Challenge Bingo card *

🏮Year of the Asian Reading Challenge 🏮

💕2019 Release 💕

*📚The Chaos of Stars by Kiersten White ⭐️⭐️⭐️

  • Egyptian mythology
  • Easy read
  • Plot twist was a bit obvious

*📚💕Gods of Jade and Shadows by Silvia Moreno-Garcia ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

  • Mayan mythology
  • Worldbuilding was immersive, but sometimes felt a bit clinical
  • Pacing dragged in places

📚🏮A Spark of White Fire by Sangu Mandanna ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

  • Retelling of the Mahabharata
  • Everything was fantastic – the writing, characters, plot, worldbuilding

*📚Ophelia by Jackie French ⭐️⭐️⭐️

  • Retelling of Hamlet from Ophelia’s POV
  • Got sick of the cheese references
  • “Romance” was annoying
  • Loved the twist on the original

*📚Illyria by Elizabeth Hand ⭐️⭐️

  • Not a retelling of Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night
  • Not much of a plot
  • Beautiful writing

📚I, Iago by Nicole Galland DNF 16%

  • Retelling of Othello from villains POV
  • Hated Iago and his narration
  • Got sick of the military descriptions

📚Prince of Shadows by Rachel Caine ⭐️⭐️⭐️💫

  • Retelling of Romeo and Juliet from Benvolio’s POV
  • Fast paced, interesting read
  • Good writing
  • Traumatic scene in which a gay man is murdered

📚💕The Girl in Red by Christina Henry ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

  • Retelling of Little Red Riding Hood
  • Post apocalyptic dystopia
  • Love Red as a character
  • Gripping story

📚💕Robbergirl by S. T. Gibson ⭐️⭐️⭐️💫

  • Retelling of The Snow Queen from the Robber Girl’s POV

📚Sea Witch by Sarah Henning DNF 55%

  • Prequel to The Little Mermaid
  • The Sea Witch’s backstory

📚Jane Steele by Lindsay Faye DNF 10%

  • A sort of retelling of Jane Eyre
  • Didn’t like the MC, or the narration

*📚Tiger Lily by Jodi Lynn Anderson ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

  • Retelling/prequel to Peter Pan
  • Tinkerbell as narrator

*📚The Collector’s Society by Heather Lyons DNF 52%

  • Sequel to Alice in Wonderland
  • Interesting premise
  • Soft magic system trying to be a hard magic system and failing
  • Constant pining for male lead was tedious

📚Marilla of Green Gables by Sarah McCoy ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️💫

  • Prequel to Anne Of Green Gables
  • Character driven book
  • Wonderful writing

Mary Shelley by Catherine Reef ⭐️⭐️⭐️💫

  • YA biography about author of Frankenstein

The Bronte Sisters by Catherine Reef ⭐️⭐️⭐️

  • YA biography about authors of Jane Eyre, Agnes Grey, and Wuthering Heights

Anne of Green Gables by L. M. Montgomery ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

  • The story of my favourite red-headed orphan

The Body in the Library by Agatha Christie ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

  • A complicated murder mystery
  • Listened to the BBC dramatisation as well

Currently Reading

📚The Queens of Innis Lear by Tessa Gratton

Murder At the Vicarage by Agatha Christie

📚💕Stepsister by Jennifer Donnelly

What I watched

Little Women (2017) (rewatch)⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️💫

I love this story, and I think this is a fantastic adaptation.

Otherhood ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

This was funny and I love the actresses.

Derry Girls (season 1) ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

I laughed so hard I actually cried. In almost every episode.

Derry Girls (Season 2) ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

See above.

Instinct (season 1) ⭐️⭐️⭐️

I neither love nor hate this.

Australian Ninja Warrior (2019) ⭐️⭐️⭐️

There’s something really addictive about watching people climb things and fall in water.

Veronica Mars (2019) ⭐️⭐️⭐️

That ending killed me.

Dirty Dancing: Havana Nights ⭐️⭐️⭐️

Descendants 3 ⭐️⭐️⭐️

Detective Pikachu ⭐️⭐️⭐️

This was cute, but not something I’ll go out of my way to watch again.

Maleficent (rewatch)⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

I love the twist on the original tale of sleeping beauty. This is probably the best role I’ve seen Angelina Jolie play.

And Then There Were None ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

This was completely addictive. Only parts 1 and 2 had aired on television, but mom and I couldn’t wait so we purchased the last part on iTunes.

The Librarians (Season 1) ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Currently Watching

Moon Lovers Scarlet Heart Ryeo (rewatch)

The Librarians (Season 2)

Carnival Row

Currently Playing

Yoshi’s Wooly World on Wii U

Blog Posts I Liked

Why Plagiarising Reviews is Bad (Because Apparently it Needs to be Said) by Kathy @ Pages Below the Vaulted Sky

Ode to the Quiet Woman by Shri @ Sun and Chai

Ice Cream Combinations Inspired by Books by Alexis @ Cinnamon Summers

5 Reasons to Read Classics// ft. Recommendations by Olivia @ Purely Olivia

Loved This Ghibli Film? Read This Book! by CW @ The Quiet Pond

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June Wrap Up

General Comments

June was a decent month reading-wise. Personally, it was not so great. My grandma was in hospital for a week, and she has to go back to have surgery on her neck. Then I got very very sick. As a result, I haven’t written as many reviews as I had hoped to in my weeks off. Here’s hoping July is better.

What I read

Victoria the Queen by Julia Baird ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

This was a great general biography of Queen Victoria from birth to death. I think as a primer it is an excellent starting point. It was well researched and very easy to read.

The Candle and the Flame by Nafiza Azad ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

There was so much to love about this book! It had a bit of everything: Djinn, racial and religious diversity, an enthralling plot, complex interesting characters, as well as a slow burn romance. I highly recommend.

Teeth in the Mist.jpg

Teeth in the Mist by Dawn Kurtagich DNF 51%

In this retelling of Faust, we follow three female MCs living in different centuries who all have a connection to Mill House. The atmosphere was creepy, and initially I was really interested in the unfolding mystery. By time I got half way not much had happened and I was getting bored.

The Black Tides of Heaven by JY Yang ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

I’m not sure how to describe this book, but I’ll try. It’s about twins who are children of the Protector, the ruler of the land. But it’s also about power, both political and magical, which is concentrated in the upper classes. There’s magic and rebellion. There’s also LGBT+ representation: children are genderless, and eventually make the choice to become male or female.

Descendant of the Crane by Joan He ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

This Chinese inspired fantasy was a completely addictive read. I finished it in two sessions, which is almost unheard of for me. It had a bit of everything: a murder mystery, forbidden magic, court politics, the looming threat of war, complicated family dynamics, a legal trial…

Miranda in Milan by Katharine Duckett DNF 32%

This was a YA novella based on Shakespeare’s The Tempest. It was more of a sequel than a retelling, set in Milan after Miranda and her father, Prospero, have returned triumphant from exile. It promises a mystery and a f/f relationship. I found the dialogue was stilted and there was little suspense despite the supposed mystery.

Wicked Fox by Kat Cho ⭐️⭐️⭐️💫

As a fan of Korean dramas, I was super excited for this. I won’t say that I was disappointed, but it was very predictable to someone who has watched a lot of dramas and knows a lot about Korean mythology. It was an entertaining read, and I’d still recommend it.

Currently Reading

Equal Rites.jpg

Equal Rites by Terry Pratchett

This is the third Discworld novel, and the first featuring the Witches. The basic story involves a wizard passing his powers to an eight son of an eight son… only it’s not a son, it’s actually a daughter.

Albert.jpg

Albert: A Life by Jules Stewart

Continuing my reading about the Victorian era, I’m halfway through a biography about Prince Albert, husband of Queen Victoria. He was a fascinating man, and very talented.

What I watched

 

Good Omens ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

The scenes between Michael Sheen and David Tennant really made this tv adaptation truly marvellous.

victoria.jpg

Victoria (season 3) ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

I love this series so much, and I can’t wait for season 4. I find Victoria and Albert absolutely fascinating, both individually and as a couple.

Avengers Endgame.jpg

Avengers: Endgame ⭐️⭐️⭐️

I admit, I bawled my eyes out watching this. But afterwards I felt sort of disappointed. I don’t think this movie was as clever and well crafted as Infinity War, and there are a lot of plot holes. It feels like the writers completely undid all the amazing set up they previously did, and Thanos went from being a complex bad guy, to a cardboard cut out villain.

Kinky Boots ⭐️⭐️⭐️

Catch up on my blog

DNF Reviews|| Forest of a Thousand Lanterns, Teeth in the Mist, & Miranda in Milan

May Bullet Journal Flip Through|| Pokemon Theme

YARC mid-year Check In

Retellings Reading Challenge Check In

SFF by Asian Authors|| Recommendations

Mid Year Book Freak Out Tag

Why I Write DNF Reviews|| Discussion

T10T || Most Anticipated Releases for the Second Half of 2019

Blog Posts I Liked

To be clear, I liked a lot more posts than this. I just don’t feel well and I’m rushing to finish this wrap up.

Check Your Ability: On Ownvoices Disability Representation by Shri @ Sun and Chai, featuring Sabina Post and Lillie Lainoff

This is probably my favourite post of the year. It’s a discussion covering a lot of related topics around disability representation in fiction and being a disabled author. I’m not doing it justice, but it is fantastic, and you should read it.

Welcome to CW’s Hungry Hearts Food Crawl – Where I Tried Food and Cuisine From This Delicious Anthology by CW @ The Quiet Pond

This was such a unique and fun post to read. CW tried food mentioned in the anthology, and shares the experience with the reader. I’ve never come across anything quite like it, but I devoured every word (ha ha, I’m so funny.)

April Wrap Up

April was a big month so I took a week off blogging (mostly because my cat punctured a rather deep hole in my thumb while I was medicating him, and because I speared by other hand with a mechanical pencil, so I actually had no working hands to type with). Therefore I didn’t catch up with my reviews, or work on any of the recommendation posts I wanted to. Hopefully you’ll get to read some of them this month! *Fingers crossed*

I did read more than I expected I would, finishing four books and three novellas. I started out the month with a plan to read certain books, but mid-month I was struggling so I just axed my TBR and read whatever I felt like reading. If I make a really long and varied TBR I can stick to it, but forcing myself to read books, for whatever reason, just ensures I won’t read anything.

My boy, Gizmo, had to have his sinus drained, and they gave him this unfortunate haircut.

He normally looks like this:

And here’s a photo of my girl, Latte, just because she’s beautiful:

Book Haul

The Sword and the Dagger.jpgWicked Saints.jpg

Descendant of the Crane by Joan He – A Chinese-inspired fantasy featuring a murder mystery and court politics.

The Sword and the Dagger by Robert Cochran – A YA historical fiction novel set during the crusades featuring a Christian Princess, a Knight, and a Muslim assassin joining forces on an epic quest.

Wicked Saints by Emily A. Duncan– An Eastern European inspired (YA) Fantasy about clerics and gods and blood magic and war.

City of a Thousand Dolls.jpgSenlin Ascends.jpgThe Widows of Malabar Hill.jpg

City of a Thousand Dolls by Miriam Forster – Nisha, an orphan grows up in a city of orphans who are trained in the arts. After starting a forbidden relationship and dreaming of life outside the walls, other girls start dying and Nisha must solve the mystery before she is the next victim.

Senlin Ascends by Josiah Bancroft – Set in an alternate steampunk timeline, a man and his wife honeymoon at The Tower of Babel. He gets separated from her, and faces all sorts of crazy situations and dangers in his quest to find her.

The Widows of Malabar Hill by Balli Kaur Jaswal – An adult historical mystery set in 1920s Bombay, featuring the first Indian female lawyer investigating a will that will leave the man’s widows penniless.

Erotic Stories for Punjabi Widows.jpgConservation of Shadows.jpg

Erotic Stories for Punjabi Widows by Sujata Massey – I don’t know much about this aside from it involves Punjabi widows and a writing class, presumably where they write smutty stories.

Conservation of Shadows by Yoon Ha Lee – A short story collection that blends sci-fi and mythology, featuring important themes (such as colonisation, war, grief etc.) and amazing worldbuilding.

Books I Read

Empress.jpg

 

 

 

 

 

In the Vanishers’ Palace by Aliette de Bodard ⭐️⭐️ Sci-Fi/Fantasy Novella – This is a Vietnamese inspired retelling of Beauty and the Beast. The worldbuilding was the highlight for me. It’s set in a futuristic world where creatures called Vanishers have destroyed the environment (and the fabric of reality). Frankly, a lot of the plot was confusing and somewhat convoluted, which is why I didn’t give it a higher rating.

Empress by Ruby Lal ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ Non Fiction – This biography follows the life, from birth to death, of Nur Jahan, the twentieth and favourite wife of Moghul Emperor Jahangir. It was easy to read and well researched, and provided a lot of context about the society, culture, religion etc. that she lived in.

White Lotus by Libbie Hawker DNF 35% Historical Fiction – Set in Ancient Egypt, White Lotus blends fact and fiction, telling the story of the haetera Doricha. Her life was inspiration for the oldest extant variation of the Cinderella tale. The book wasn’t bad, I just wasn’t really in the mood to read it, so I hope to come back to it at a later date.

Dark of the Moon by Tracy Barrett ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ YA Historical Fiction – A retelling of the Greek myth of Theseus and the Minotaur, told from the dual perspectives of Ariadne and Theseus. I thought the worldbuilding was wonderful, and I really appreciated how the author explored a fully realised religio-political system where women held positions of power. I liked that the fantastical elements were given realistic explanations, such as the nature of the Minotaur. I also liked that the author rendered both Ariadne and Theseus as sympathetic and complex individuals, which is completely missing in the original iterations of the myth.

The Heart Forger by Rin Chupeco ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ YA Fantasy – The second in The Bone Witch trilogy, The Heart Forger continued the story of Tea on her path of vengeance. Told again in two narratives, The Bard narrates the present, while Tea narrates the events that led up to this point. In The Heart Forger the two timelines are quickly converging. While book one focused on character development, worldbuilding, and the backstory, book two is full of action. Full review to come.

Gods, Monsters and the Lucky Peach by Kelly Robson ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ Sci-Fi Novella – For a fairly short novel(la) this packed a punch. Again, I think I need to write a full review for this one. In short, it features humans in a speculative future where the environment has been destroyed. Minh is an ecologist and habitat restoration specialist who applies for a project that involves time travel. There’s a lot of scientific, management sort of stuff, which I found kind of fascinating. It also explores an intergenerational friendship between two women, and the realities of time travel.

The Tea Master and the Detective by Aliette de Bodard ⭐️⭐️⭐️ Sci-Fi Novella – This seemed to be a kind of Sherlock Holmes retelling, but I’m unsure if the comparison was an intentional one on the author’s part. In this version, Watson is a sentient spaceship with PTSD, and the Sherlock character is a drug addicted genius. It had an interesting plot, the worldbuilding was fascinating, and the characters were well developed considering it’s only 88 pages long.

A Thousand Ships by Natalie Haynes ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ Historical Fantasy – This is a feminist retelling of The Iliad. It follows the women connected with The Trojan War, whether they be slaves or goddesses, wives or daughters, allies or enemies. It was so carefully crafted and sensitively rendered that I both laughed and cried. I don’t think I can express all my thoughts succinctly enough for a wrap up, so watch out for my full review.

Currently Reading

The Queens of Innis Lear by Tessa Gratton: This is a feminist fantasy retelling of King Lear by Shakespeare. So far the writing is beautiful, and the atmosphere and worldbuilding are completely enchanting. The four main characters are all very distinctive, and seem to have a lot of promise. It is quite long, and the pacing is languid, so I’m struggling a bit to stay engaged with the plot.

TV/Movies I Watched

The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina Part 2⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

The Exotic Marigold Hotel⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

The Second Exotic Marigold Hotel⭐️⭐️⭐️

Doctor Strange (Rewatch)⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Megan Leavy⭐️⭐️⭐️

Nancy Drew and the Vanishing Stair⭐️⭐️⭐️

Green Book⭐️⭐️⭐️

Catch up on my Blog

March Wrap Up

March Bullet Journal Flip Through

Things That Make Me Want to Pick Up a Book | Top Ten Tuesday

Bunny Books|| Easter Recommendations

Year of the Asian Reading Challenge

The Gilded Wolves Review

Top Ten Tuesday: Book Quotes

YouTube Videos I Liked

The Best YA Book of 2019? | The Kingdom by Jess Rothenberg Review by Bethany @ Beautifully Bookish Bethany

May Bullet Journal Plan With Me | Koi Fish Theme by Pypah’s Art

Defacing Six of Crows by iLiveforbooks

Nevernight (Spoiler Free) Review by Sam @ Thoughts on Tomes

Blog Posts I Liked

This was such an amazing month in the blogosphere and I read soo many fantastic, thoughtful discussions. I had such a hard time narrowing down which ones I thought were most deserving of linking. So I went crazy. I just want everyone to read all these phenomenal posts too!

Discussions

#DiverseBookBloggersDiscuss: Desi Voices. Desi Stories by Aradhna from Open Pages on Fadwa’s Blog Word Woonders

Overweight, underrepresented: Where are all the fat people in literature? by Shruti @ This is Lit

Things I want to see more in YA books by Amanda @ MetalPhantasmReads

Trigger Warnings: What Are They, And Do We Need Them? by Penny @ Read Yourself Happy

My Favorite Rating System: CAWPILE by Cat @ Pages & Plots

A Four-Star Book is not a Bad Book by Stephanie @ Adventures of a Bibliophile

‘Kilig’ and Other Alien Terms For Aromantics by Zia @ Accio! Blog

Do Characters Need to Be Relatable? by Krysta @ Pages Unbound Reviews

Miscategorizing Adult Books As YA (Discussion) by Briana @ Pages Unbound Reviews

In Defense of Flawed Characters by Krysta @ Pages Unbound Reviews

Disability the Forgotten Child of Diversity by Rebecca Thorne @ Diversely Creative

Book Reviews

ARC Review: A Thousand Ships by Foxes and Fairy Tales

Want by Cindy Pon – A Cornerstone of YA Sci-Fi by CW @ A Quiet Pond

Review: The Silence of the Girls | The Iliad, by Briseis by Jolien @ The Fictional Reader

Books: Gods, Monsters and the Lucky Peach by Chelsea @ Spotlight On Stories

The Merciful Crow – Margaret Owen by Namera @ The Literary Invertebrate

A River of Royal Blood by Amanda Joy by Chloe @ The Elven Warrior

Consequences of Conquest: Dark Shores by Danielle L. Jensen by Alexia @ The Bookworm Daydreamer

Descendant of the Crane by Joan He || ARC Review by Rain @ Book Dragonism

Romanov by Nadine Brandes// Might work as non-fiction, but not as fiction by Tasya @ The Literary Huntress

Most Anticipated May Releases

Middlegame.jpg

A Thousand Ships by Natalie Haynes

Middlegame by Seanan McGuire

We Hunt the Flame by Hafsah Faizal

Stepsister.jpgThe Bone Charmer.jpg

The Candle and the Flame by Nafiza Azad

Stepsister by Jennifer Donnelly

The Bone Charmer by Breeana Shields

Let’s Chat!

How was April for you? What were your reading and watching highlights? Let me know in the comments below!

March Wrap Up

March started out pretty slowly. I was reading a fair bit, but not really finishing anything. By mid-March I had to switch to focusing on a single book at a time in order to actually complete a book.

I did spent a considerable amount of time working on my bullet journals and digital planners during that time though, so I’ll have a couple posts about those in April if you’re interested.

Other than that I’ve been cooking a lot, and I watched a ton of trashy tv. I’ve also started Hydrotherapy for my Chronic Fatigue/Fibromyalgia, and I’m really enjoying it, so March was a pretty decent month overall.

Books I read

Blanca and Roja by Anna-Marie McLemore ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

This Swan Lake/ Snow White & Rose Red retelling features Latinx sisters facing a family curse which results in one sister in every pair being turned into a swan. The writing is beautiful, the atmosphere is magical, and there is sensitive transgender and LGBT representation.

The Bone Witch by Rin Chupeco ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

I DNF’d this book last year, and I’m really glad that I have it another chance. Tea accidentally resurrects her brother, and discovers she is a Bone Witch. The world building is absolutely fascinating and very detailed. The plot was good, but somewhat slow paced. I loved the magic system, and the exploration of gender roles.

The Gilded Wolves by Roshani Chokshi ⭐️⭐️⭐️

Set in 19th century France during the Universal Exposition, this novel centres around a magical heist and features a diverse cast. It was a fun novel that explored a few darker themes, such as colonialism/imperialism.

The Cold is in Her Bones by Peternelle van Arsdale ⭐️⭐️⭐️

Slated as a Medusa retelling, this book takes inspiration from the myth, but tells a completely different story. It is about cursed girls and an affinity for snakes. It read very much like a fairytale, and speaks to all the girls out there who are told to be good, and quiet, and obedient.

Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor ⭐️⭐️⭐️

In terms of enjoyment, I would give this book 4 stars. Set primarily in Prague, it follows the story of Karou, her human friends, her demon/monster/chimaera family, and a mysterious winged man. Laini Taylor’s writing has this amazing ability to suck me in, and I powered through this. I liked the characters, and even though the plot was a bit predictable I enjoyed it a lot. The magic system was also cool, but disturbing.

An Affair of Poisons by Addie Thorley ⭐️⭐️⭐️

An alternative magical history set in 18th century France, this reimagines The Affair of Poisons, in which a palm-reader and her followers attempted to poison the Sun King, asking what would have happened had she succeeded.

Currently Reading

Empress: The Astonishing Reign of Nur Jahan by Ruby Lal

This non-fiction book charts the life of Nur Jahan, the twentieth and favourite wife of Mughal Emperor Jahangir, who co-ruled with him in the 17th century. She was intelligent, politically savvy, brave, and completely badass.

White Lotus by Libbie Hawker

Set in Ancient Egypt, this historical novel blends fact and fiction, taking inspiration from the oldest variation of Cinderella, blending it with the life of the hetaera Rhodopis, a contemporary of Aesop and Sappho.

TV/ Movies

New Amsterdam ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

This is probably the best medical drama I’ve watched in years. It has heartache, it has humour, and it has hope.

Isn’t It Romantic? ⭐️⭐️⭐️

Rebel Wilson, Adam DeVine & Liam Hemsworth star in this satirical romantic comedy that had me in stitches.

Captain Marvel ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

WOW. I didn’t think I was going to like this movie, but dad wanted to go, so mom and I went with him. There’s so much to love in Marvel’s latest release. The characters: Veres, Fury, Goose. The action and humour and drama. The coolest, most epic fight scene in ages. If you haven’t seen it yet, it’s definitely worth it.

Call the Midwife (Season 8) ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

The latest season of Call the Midwife is just as amazing as the previous seven. I’m crying by the end of every episode. Happy tears. Sad tears. Doesn’t matter. Every. Single. Time.

Catch up on my blog

February Wrap Up

Stain|| A. G. Howard

Fairytale Retellings|| Recommendations

February Bullet Journal & Digital Planner Flip-Through

Winterglass|| Benjanun Sriduangkaew

Crimson Bound|| Rosamund Hodge

Series I Won’t Continue (Even Though I Liked the First Book)

2019 Retellings reading Challenge || Quarterly Wrap Up

The Bone Witch|| Rin Chupeco

March Book Haul

First Lines That Had Me Hooked

YouTube Videos I Liked

Planning

Plan With Me | Bullet Journal – Simply Sweet by Jann @ Jannplansthings

Plan With Me | March Bullet Journal Setup by Jann @ Jannplansthings

Plan With Me | Bujo Weekly – Space Cat Gets a Friend by Jann @ Jannplansthings

PLAN WITH ME APRIL- Bullet Journal Suomi 2019 by Roosa @ Roosa Mononen

Discussions

I’m SICK of Black Trauma Porn – Blackathon Discussion by Jesse @ Bowties & Books

WHY ARE FEMALE CHARACTERS WRITTEN TERRIBLY? by __ @ The Book Pusher

What NOT To Comment on a Negative Book Review | Discussion by Theresa @Ivymuse

This book will wreck me: Opening Sentences That Had Me Hooked!!! by Noria @ Noria Reads

More Popular Books I’ll *NEVER* Read by Theresa @ Ivymuse

Recommendations

10 Non-Western Fantasy Book Recommendations | Fantasy Recommendations # 2 by Bethany @ Beautifully Bookish Bethany

Dark Fantasy & Morally Grey Characters: 11 Book Recommendations | Fantasy Recommendations # 3 by Bethany @ Beautifully Bookish Bethany

Blog Posts I Liked

Discussions

#DiverseBookBloggersDiscuss: Busting some Indian myths and Stereotypes by Prags on Fadwa’s blog @Word Wonders

Discussion & Rambles // What makes a great plot twist? by Xandra @ Starry Sky Books

Understanding and handling your bookworm: A guide by Shruti @ This is Lit

How-To Do A Character Study (i.e. Loving on Characters!) by Dani @ Perspective of a Writer

Reviews

review: a shiver of snow and sky by Jolien @ The Fictional Reader

Descendant of the Crane, Joan He – Book Review by Judith @ Chain Interaction

Review: The Fever King by Victoria Lee by Acqua @ Acquadimore Books

The Priory of the Orange Tree by Samantha Shannon | Review by Ruby @ Rubysbookblog

Blog Tour Review | The Shadow Glass (The Bone Witch #3) by Rin Chupeco by Melanie @ Mel To The Any

Recommendations

[Reading Recs] #AroAceApril: A-spec Reading Recommendations by faerieontheshelf

Recommendation Time: A List Inspired by Shadow and Bone by Acqua @ Acquadimore

Hot Off The Press: April 2019 by Jen @ Pop Goes the Reader

Interviews

Who Stokes the Fire: Talking About The Bone Witch and World-Building With Rin Chupeco by Rain @ BookDragonism

Going Undercover // An Interview With Book Cover Illustrator, gg by __ @ Novels and Waffles

Most Anticipated April Releases

Books

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Descendant of the Crane by Joan He

Murder mystery, forbidden magic, and court politics all come together in this Chinese- inspired world.

The Tiger at Midnight by Swati Teerdhala

This is a story about a rebel assassin and soldier prince, drawing on Indian history and Hindu mythology.

Upon a Burning Throne by Ashok K. Banker

Inspired by the Maharabhata, this has political intrigue, a royal test to determine the future ruler, and rebellion.

TV and Movies

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The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina Part 2: Premiers April 5 on Netflix

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Her Private Life (Korean Drama):  Premiers April 10

Let’s Chat!

What were the highlights of your month? Let me know in the comments below!

2019 Retellings Reading Challenge|| Quarterly Wrap Up

My quarterly wrap up for the 2019 Retelling Reading Challenge is a little late, but here it is. Because I’ve done reviews for most of these I’ll only give you dot point notes, and I’ll link to my full reviews if you want to know more of my thoughts on any given book.

DNF

Alcestis by Katherine Beutner

Historical Fantasy

  • Retelling of the Alcestis myth
  • Pacing was very slow
  • Didn’t like where the plot was heading, so DNF @ 65%

The Silver Handled Knife by Frances Thomas

YA Historical Fiction

  • Retelling of the Oresteia from Elektra’s POV
  • Pacing was all over the place
  • Felt more like a summary of the myth, rather than a retelling
  • Narrative jumps back and forward
  • Felt no connection to any of the characters

2 stars

For the Immortal by Emily Hauser

Historical Fantasy

  • Retelling of Heracles, Theseus & Amazons myth from Admete and Hippolyta’s POVs
  • Plot and characters interesting
  • Writing needed editing (some sentences were grammatically incorrect)
  • Wish I read series in order

3 stars

Girls Made of Snow and Glass by Melissa Bashardoust

Fantasy

  • A Feminist retelling of Snow White with LGBT representation
  • Focus on relationship between Queen Mina and her stepdaughter Lynet
  • Both live with the heavy unrealistic expectations of their fathers
  • About the family you choose, and moving beyond the expectations placed on you

Crimson Bound by Rosamund Hodge

YA Fantasy

  • Retelling of Little Red Riding Hood in French inspired world
  • Solid plot, worldbuilding, and characters
  • Disability representation- Armand, the male lead, is an amputee
  • Themes of penance and redemption
  • Liked the contrast between organised religion and the folk believes still popular in rural areas

4 stars

Blanca & Roja by Anna-Marie McLemore

YA Fantasy

  • Latinx retelling of Snow White & Rose Red, with Swan Lake mixed in
  • Gorgeous writing
  • Setting was otherwordly
  • Worldbuilding as a whole was magical and whimsical
  • Loved the relationships between the sisters, Blanca & Roja, as well as their relationships with the parents, and with Page and Yearling
  • Loved the LGBT (especially transgender) representation, which was moving and sensitive
  • About writing your own story, not living the one others choose for you

Stain by A. G. Howard

YA Fantasy

  • Retelling of The Princess and the Pea, with other fairytale elements
  • TW: Child abuse, violence
  • Magical, fantastical descriptions
  • Themes of found family, embracing your scars
  • Huge book, and the pace is meandering

Winterglass by Benjanun Sriduangkaew

Fantasy Novella

  • Retelling of The Snow Queen
  • Magic system was dark and creepy
  • Two main characters with third person present tense narration
  • Enjoyed the plot and characters
  • Lots of gender diversity (neutral, non-binary, transgender etc)

A Curse so Dark and Lonely by Brigid Kemmerer

YA Fantasy

  • Retelling of Beauty and the Beast
  • Disability representation (cerebral palsy and amputee) was positive and sensitively portrayed
  • Adored the characters
  • The new twist on the fairytale was unique

Echo North by Joanna Ruth Meyer

YA Fantasy

  • Retelling of East of the Sun, West of the Moon with other fairytale influences
  • Magical, whimsical world with wintry atmosphere
  • I loved the plot and the characters
  • There was a library full of mirror books!

The Goose Girl by Shannon Hale

YA Fantasy

  • Retelling of The Goose Girl
  • TW: Animal death
  • Focus on MC development from a shy princess to confident young woman
  • Themes of friendship, identity and self-confidence
  • Low on romance
  • Magic was interesting. I liked that the predisposition was innate, but it required practice. Also appreciated that it wasn’t the solution to every problem

The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller

Historical Fantasy

  • An LGBT retelling of The Iliad from Patroclus’ POV
  • Love the writing- super easy to read
  • Worldbuilding was well done
  • Some scenes were quite violent and disturbing
  • Centres around Patroclus and Achilles’ relationship

Here, The World Entire by Anwen Kya Hayward

Historical Fiction Novella

  • Retelling of Perseus myth from Medusa’s POV
  • TW: Rape
  • Beautiful writing
  • Sympathetic and poignant reflection on three key scenes in Medusa’s life

5 stars

The Children of Jocasta by Natalie Haynes

Historical Fiction

  • Retelling of Oedipus and Antigone myths from the perspectives of Ismene and Jocasta
  • Writing was excellent
  • Engaging and interesting plot and characters- told from two POVs, one in past, one in present
  • Liked the twist on the original myth- completely believable
  • Vivid worldbuilding
  • Discussion about writing your own history, and the unknowable effect other people can have on you

February Wrap Up

Hello and welcome! So I’m here writing my second wrap up for the year and I’m wondering how we got here so quickly. I read four novels and one novella this month, and DNF’d two other novels. I also watched three Korean dramas, and did a ton of bullet journaling/digital planning, so watch out for related posts in March if you’re interested.

Books I Read

Stain by A. G. Howard ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ (Review to come in early March)

YA Fantasy

Retelling of The Princess and the Pea with little mermaid and other fairytale vibes. Lush descriptions. Retains fairytale atmosphere. All about found family and embracing your scars. Bawled my eyes out because I loved Crony so much.

CW: Violence, child abuse

A Curse so Dark and Lonely by Brigid Kemmerer ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

YA Fantasy

Retelling of Beauty and the Beast. There was positive disability representation, which I really appreciated. As a person with disabilities it is quite uplifting to read about characters who are more than their disabilities, while still acknowledging the difficulties and limitations they face. I loved the side characters. I loved the main characters. I liked Kemmerer’s interpretation of the curse. The only thing I didn’t enjoy was the ‘twist’ that continues the story into the sequel. I thought it could have been a standalone.

Winterglass by Benjanun Sriduangkaew ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ (Review to come in March)

Fantasy novella

Retelling of The Snow Queen set in an Asian coded land. Had huge gender diversity. Nuawa is a gladiator, Lussadh is general, and they’re both quite serious, brooding characters. Dark and enthralling magic system where ghosts provide energy to power cities.

Alcestis by Katherine Beutner DNF 65%

Historical Fantasy

The pace was quite slow. When Alcestis finally made her sacrifice for her husband, she ends up being some sort of sex slave for a creepy goddess. Wasn’t a fan of the direction it was going so I quit.

Girls Made of Snow and Glass by Melissa Bashardoust ⭐️⭐️⭐️ (Review to come in March)

YA Fantasy

This is more like a 3.5 stars. I wish I could have rated this much higher than I did, but my expectations were ridiculously high, so I thought there would be a lot more to love. That being said, this is a good book. The writing is easy to read. I liked the exploration of themes surrounding family and identity. Magic system was simple but interesting. The worldbuilding was good. Has LGBT rep. I understood both main characters, but I found that I wasn’t really that connected to them emotionally.

The Silver Handled Knife by Frances Thomas DNF 16%

YA Historical Fiction

Retelling of the Oresteia from Electra’s point of view. Writing seemed to be for a younger YA audience than I usually read (I’m not saying it’s too YA, I’m saying it’s closer to Middle Grade and I just don’t enjoy that personally). The plot was like reading a superficial summary of the original myth, and it jumped around a bit at the start. I felt no connection to the main character, so I wasn’t invested in what she was narrating.

Crimson Bound by Rosalind Hodge ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ (Review to come in March)

YA Fantasy

Retelling of Little Red Riding Hood set in a French inspired world. I liked the mythology, it had a mixture of Christian inspired beliefs mixed with pagan ones. Easy to read. The characters were well crafted and I enjoyed the relationships between them. The themes revolved around regret and salvation, and were explored thoughtfully.

Currently Reading

The Bone Witch by Rin Chupeco

I DNF’d this books last year, but have decided to give it a second chance because the worldbuilding was interesting and the second book is apparently much better. It’s about a necromancy, monsters, and magical geisha (called asha).

The Social Life of Inkstones: Artisans and Scholars in Early Qing China by Dorothy Ko

This non-fiction book, written by academic Dorothy Ko, charts the lives of artisans, scholars and other workers connected with the production of inkstones during the Qing dynasty. In doing so, she explores not only the material culture of the period, but also the political, artistic, social and economic influences.

Blanca & Roja by Anna-Marie McLemore

This is a retelling of both Swan Lake and Snow White & Rose Red. Blanca and Roja are from a family cursed by swans. Every generation one sister is turned into a swan. There’s LGBTQI and Latinx representation.

Korean Dramas

My Love From the Star/ You Who Came From the Stars (rewatch) ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Fantasy/Romantic Comedy starring Gianna Jun & Kim Soo-Hyun

Gianna Jun plays a top actress (haha) who ends up getting involved in a scandal, and she develops a relationships with her neighbour, who is a serious straight laced alien from the stars. Their romance is adorable, Gianna Jun is hilarious, and Kim Soo-Hyun is phenomenal.

Moonlight Drawn by Clouds/ Love in the Moonlight ⭐️⭐️⭐️

Historical Romance starring Park Bo-Gum & Kim Yoo-Jung

This is a pretty standard story of a girl dressing as a boy to make money in the Joseon period, who catches the attention of a rich boy (who happens to be the crown prince). She ends up pretending to be a eunuch at the palace, and hilarious hijinks ensue. The romance was cute, and I liked the friendships among the main characters. Also Park Bo-Gum has such a gorgeous face.

Oh my Venus (rewatch) ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Romantic Comedy starring Shin Min-Ah & So Ji-Sub

This features a romance between a lawyer with hypothyroidism, and a personal trainer/chaebol. It is seriously the cutest thing ever. The supporting characters are hilarious, and the message about weight/beauty was well executed. I liked that the emphasis was on being healthy, rather than thin.

Currently Watching

The Umbrella Academy

She Was Pretty (Korean drama)

The Empress Ki (Korean drama)

Catch up on my blog posts

I Started a Bullet Journal || January Flip Through

January Wrap Up

Three Books I’ll Give A Second Chance and Why 

How To Read More || Some Ideas

2019 Retelling Reading Challenge TBR

Echo North by Joanna Ruth Meyer

The Goose Girl by Shannon Hale

A Curse so Dark and Lonely by Brigid Kemmerer

The Children of Jocasta by Natalie Haynes

YouTube videos I liked

Good Omens – Official Teaser Trailer | Prime Video

The Hustle – Official Trailer (Universal Pictures)

Bookish Names You May Be Mispronouncing by Kazzie Athena

Cocoa Daisy March Unboxing by Rachel Blundell

Black Leopard, Red Wolf by Marlon James In-Depth Book Review (non-spoiler) by Beautifully Bookish Bethany

10 Worst SFF Tropes by Elliot Brooks

Reacting to your assumptions by Piera Forde

Blog posts I liked

Reviews:

The Cold is in her Bones by Peternelle Van Arsdale by Vicky @ Vicky Who Reads

Review: We Set the Dark on Fire by Kaitlyn @ Kaitlyn Gosiaco

The Bone Witch by Rin Chupeco by Beatrice @ Confessions of a Pinay Bookaholic

Sorcery of Thorns by Margaret Rogerson Review by Chloe @ The Elven Warrior

Discussions/Opinions: 

We Are More Than Our Marginalisations by Fadwa @ Word Wonders

Reviewing bad LGBT Books: A Conflict by Hollie @ Hollieblog

Top 10 Bookish Things That Drive Me Nuts by Amanda @ Metalphantasmreads

Writing pet peeves | things I hate to encounter in books by Jolien @ The Fictional Reader

Recommendations/memes:

50 book recommendations for Year of the Asian Reading Challenge 2019 by Nandini @ Unputdownable Books

Binding of Bindings: Ball Gowns & Royals by Jenaca @ jenacidebybibliophile

Book Recs: 10 Quietly Magical Books by Charlotte @ Reads Rainbow

Top Ten Tuesday: Places Mentioned In Books That I’d Like To Visit by Chloe @ The Elven Warrior

T10T: Fictional Places I’d Like To See by Acqua @ Acquadimore Books

Top Ten Tuesday// Bookish places I’d like to visit by Kate @ Reading Through Infinity

Blogging:

I Font It That Way// How To Choose The Right Font For Your Blog by Kat @ Novels and Waffles

How in the World I Make My Graphics // A Step- By- Step Tutorial by Kat @ Novels and Waffles

My Rebranding Journey + Four Things To Ask Yourself While Rebranding by Kat @ Novels and Waffles

Most Anticipated March Releases

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The Fever King by Victoria Lee

YA Fantasy

Set in a future America where a magical viral plague threatens humanity, our hero Naom is changed by the magic. Now, as a technopath, he becomes involved with the elite of the nation Carolinia.

The Cold is in Her Bones by Peternelle Van Arsdale

YA Fantasy

I am obsessed with Greek mythology retellings, and this looks like a really interesting and unique take on the Medusa myth.

Sherwood by Meagan Spooner

YA Historical Fantasy

Sherwood is based on the premise that Robin of Locksley is dead, and his fiancé, Maid Marian, has to step into his shoes to help the people of Nottingham. How? By becoming Robin Hood!

Let’s Chat

What did you read this month? What new releases are you looking forward to reading?  Do you like Korean dramas? Let me know in the comments below!

January Wrap Up

Welcome to my first wrap up of the year! I’m trying a new format where I link to some of my favourite blog posts and YouTube videos I watched this month, as well as talking about the books I read. I might start including tv shows and movies next month as well. Who knows?

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Books I read

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In Search of the Trojan War by Michael Wood (1998) DNF

I was really interested to get my hands on a non-fiction book that explored the Trojan War, but I just couldn’t get myself engaged with the text.

The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller (2011) ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

I love Madeline Miller’s writing so much, and she truly excels at character driven novels. The Song of Achilles is an LGBT retelling of Homer’s The Iliad from Patroclus’ perspective. It follows him from childhood and centres around his relationship with Achilles. It also explores the valorisation of war, violence and hyper masculinity in society, with Patroclus acting as a sort of foil. He is the antithesis of Greek society at the time, being a kind, gentle, pacifist. CW: Violence.

Here, The World Entire by Anwen Kya Hayward (2016) ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

This is 83 pages of pure pathos. It’s a first person recollection of Medusa’s life, focusing on three key scenes, moving from present to past. The writing was beautiful and I was completely invested in Medusa’s story. CW: Sexual violence.

Beasts Made of Night by Tochi Onyebuchi (2017) DNF 28%

This Nigerian inspired fantasy had fantastic worldbuilding and an interesting magic system. Unfortunately the pace was quite slow, and I didn’t like the first person narration. The main character just seemed really flippant, and I was sort of like ‘if he doesn’t care, why should I?’

Binti: The Night Masquerade by Nnedi Okorafor (2018) ⭐️⭐️⭐️

This is the third and final novella in the Binti series. It explores family, grief, anxiety, self-identity and culture. Plot-wise, there was a lot happening here, and some parts felt quite disconnected from the rest of the story. The narration changed mid-book which was disconcerting, and I wasn’t much of a fan of the romantic elements that ‘developed’ in this volume. CW: Violence.

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For the Immortal by Emily Hauser (2018) ⭐️⭐️⭐️

This is the third in a series of companion novels. I wish I had read the others first because some elements followed on from the previous books. It’s a retelling of a few different Greek myths revolving around Hercules, Theseus and The Iliad told from Admete and Hippolyta’s points of view. The world building was great, and the plot and main characters were engaging. CW: Violence, sexual violence.

In an Absent Dream by Seanan McGuire (2019) ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

The fourth in The Wayward Children series, this companion novella tells the story of Katherine Lundy and her adventures in The Goblin Market. I really love this series and how the magic system is evolving with each story. The premise of The Goblin Market is the concept of fair trade, and it was fascinating to see how McGuire wove it through the story.

The Children of Jocasta by Natalie Haynes (2017) ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

I am obsessed with Greek mythology retellings, and this one is phenomenal. It’s a realistic historical retelling of the Oedipus and Antigone myths from Jocasta and Ismene’s perspectives. The writing was excellent, and the world building and setting were thoroughly researched. I was completely immersed in this world, and so invested in the characters. I loved Haynes’ take on the myth, and she definitely made it her own. The novel alternated between Jocasta’s story, told in third person narration; and her daughter Ismene’s story, which was told in first person. I cannot wait to write a full review of this book, and I’m looking forward to Haynes’ forthcoming novel, A Thousand Ships, which is a retelling of The Iliad, and is set for release on 2 May.

Echo North by Joanna Ruth Meyer (2019) ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

A standalone retelling of East of the Sun, West of the Moon, Echo North is a gorgeous, atmospheric novel. The world was magical and whimsical, and there was a library of book-mirrors! I loved how the author incorporated other influences such as the Cupid & Psyche myth, Tam Lin, and Peter & the Wolf, to make the story unique. The writing was flawless. And I loved the relationships in this novel, especially between Echo and her friend Mokosh, which surprised me.

The Goose Girl by Shannon Hale (2005) ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

As the title suggests, this is a retelling of The Goose Girl. It’s a gem of a story. I really loved the Ani’s growth throughout the story, changing from a shy, cloistered princess, to a confident young woman. It explores themes of friendship, self-confident, and identity. It was low on romance, and high on friendship, which I appreciate. I also thought the magic system was interesting – some people have the ability to speak to animals, some can influence other people, and some can speak to inanimate things, like fire. I liked that the magic was a useful tool, but not a solution to every problem. I also liked that it was like any other skill, something to be practiced and honed over time. CW: Violence, animal death.

Catch up on my Blog Posts

Top 10 Books of 2018

11 Most Disappointing Reads of 2018

The Song of Achilles review

Strange Grace review

African inspired book recommendations

Are audiobooks ‘real’ reading? 

Favourite Blog Posts

The Fever King review by Lily @ Sprinkles of Dreams

Sawkill Girls review by Elise @ The Bookish Actress

The Cold is in her Bones review by JenAcideByBibliophile

Literary Blogging 101: Why your blogging voice and style matters by Lara @Naiji Book Bae

Favourite YouTube Videos

2019 New Bullet Journal/Planner Setup by Inprint

30 Lessons about life with a chronic illness… by Jessica

PLAN WITH ME| January 2019 Bullet Journal Setup by AmandaRachLee

PLAN WITH ME| February 2019 Bullet Journal Setup by AmandaRachLee

A Portrait of Womanhood & Patriarchy: Circe by Madeline Miller Book Discussion by Beautifully Bookish Bethany

UNPOPULAR BOOK OPINIONS (& that time an entire fandom came for me) by ivymuse

Turning myself normal for the first time in 11 years by emilia fart

Best books of 2018 by Tome Riddle

10 TIPS TO GET INTO ADULT SF & FANTASY by Elliot Brooks

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Most Anticipated February Releases

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Enchantee by Gita Trelease

An Affair of Poisons by Addie Thorley

The Priory of the Orange Tree by Samantha Shannon

The Cerulean by Amy Ewing

Black Leopard Red Wolf by Marlon James

What did you read this month? What were your favourite blog posts/ YouTube videos? Any recommendations? Should I start including more varied content? 

Spookathon Wrap Up

Spookathon is over for the year, and I managed to read a whole two books in seven days. Which sounded much more impressive in my head… I completed two out of the five challenges, and I’m pretty happy with that considering I rarely read thrillers. So here’s what I read, and here’s what I thought of them:

Read a Thriller: The Girl with all the Gifts by M. R. Carey

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Thriller/Horror/Sci-Fi

#1 in series

5/ 5 stars

Synopsis

Melanie is a very special girl. Dr. Caldwell calls her “our little genius.”

Every morning, Melanie waits in her cell to be collected for class. When they come for her, Sergeant Parks keeps his gun pointing at her while two of his people strap her into the wheelchair. She thinks they don’t like her. She jokes that she won’t bite, but they don’t laugh.

Melanie loves school. She loves learning about spelling and sums and the world outside the classroom and the children’s cells. She tells her favorite teacher all the things she’ll do when she grows up. Melanie doesn’t know why this makes Miss Justineau look sad.

My Thoughts

I went into this book knowing nothing about it, and I was so surprised. I was completely immersed in the story and the world from the first page. The mystery surrounding Melanie and the other children was gripping to say the least.

There are five main characters in The Girl With All the Gifts; Melanie, Miss Justineau, Sergeant Parks, Private Gallagher, and Doctor Caldwell. We follow each at different times through third person point of view. I have to say I was slightly disappointed that some tropes/cliches were used: the cold-hearted scientist who values science above morals, and believes the end justifies the means; the grizzled warrior who isn’t intelligent, but has ‘street smarts’; the green newbie soldier who is super eager to follow orders, but hasn’t got a clue about anything. Granted, the author did expand on these tropes to make well rounded characters with personal histories and realistic motivations.

There was a lot to love about The Girl With All the Gifts. The first being Melanie. She is such a wonderful character. She has an irresistible combination of curiosity, intelligence, courage, wonder and pragmatism. It makes her character so interesting and nuanced. The second thing I loved about this book was the world building, I mean the plot. I mean… well, the plot and the world building are woven so closely together, that I struggle to separate them. The story was surprising, the science was believable, the world was immersive, and the suspense was palpable.

I often struggle to find the right words to describe and analyse books that I love. This is no exception. All I can really do is urge you to give it a try. Even if you don’t read thrillers, because The Girl With All the Gifts is a strange and surprising gem.

Read a Book with a Purple Cover: Strange Grace by Tessa Gratton

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YA Fantasy

Standalone

4/ 5 stars

Synopsis

Once, a witch made a pact with a devil. The legend says they loved each other, but can the story be trusted at all?

Long ago, a village made a bargain with the devil: to ensure their prosperity, when the Slaughter Moon rises, the village must sacrifice a young man into the depths of the Devil’s Forest.

Only this year, the Slaughter Moon has risen early.

Bound by duty, secrets, and the love they share for one another, Mairwen, a spirited witch; Rhun, the expected saint; and Arthur, a restless outcast, will each have a role to play as the devil demands a body to fill the bargain. But the devil these friends find is not the one they expect, and the lies they uncover will turn their town—and their hearts—inside out.

My Thoughts

Strange Grace is a really spooky, suspense-filled, atmospheric kind of book. It seems like not a lot is happening, but suddenly you’re well over half way through and completely entranced. The characters were complex and multi-layered, which I always appreciate. I didn’t necessarily like Mairwen, Rhun, or Arthur, but I thought they all experienced believable growth throughout the course of the novel. I also love Tessa Gratton’s writing. I wouldn’t exactly describe it as lyrical in the same way as Roshani Chokshi or Laini Taylor’s, but it was certainly mesmerising. It took a bit of a strange turn plot-wise half way through, but it was in keeping with the atmosphere, so I didn’t take much off the rating, because I loved the rest so much.