June 2021 Wrap Up

Hello! I am a day late, this post was meant to go up yesterday, but… I’m unorganised. And I did think for a second of skipping this wrap up altogether because I read so little in July.

Anyway, here are the stats.

  • Number of books read: 5
  • Number of pages read: 1385
  • Average star rating: 3.1 stars
  • DNF: 1
  • Physical TBR at the start of the month: 48
  • Books read: 0
  • Current TBR: 54

A Sky Beyond the Storm by Sabaa Tahir

I have very much enjoyed this whole series, including the conclusion. I wish I read the books in a bit of a closer succession, because I think I would’ve retained more info and therefore enjoyed it more. But overall, I think this installment was interesting, well paced and I like how the story ended. And maybe I would’ve rated in higher if not the romance aspect.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

The Empress of Salt and Fortune by Nghi Vo

When the Tiger Came Down the Mountain by Nghi Vo

I don’t have much to say about either of these. They were just okay, but I didn’t get anything out of them. I’ve no conclusive thoughts on either.

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Mirrorland by Carole Johnstone

I have a full review of this book here.

Rating: 2.5 out of 5.

Labyrinth Lost by Zoraida Cordova

This has been on my tbr for the longest time, I think I’ve added it before it even came out, and I might’ve hyped it up too much for myself. I did enjoy the story and Cordova’s writing, but it did read on the younger spectrum of YA and I think I’m growing out of those stories by now. I still think that any fans of paranormal fantasy should give it a go, even though it wasn’t my absolute favourite.

Rating: 3 out of 5.

As you see, I had a pretty bad reading month. The slump hit me hard. Let’s hope July is better.

I hope you had a great June. Thanks so much for reading.

Mirrorland by Carole Johnstone – A Review – TheWriteReads Tour

Hi! Today is my stop on TheWriteReads tour for Mirrorland!

Mirrorland by Carole Johnstone
  • Publication date:
  • Publisher: Scribner Books
  • Genre: Mystery/Thriller

Cat lives in Los Angeles, about as far away as she can get from her estranged twin sister El and No. 36 Westeryk Road, the imposing gothic house in Edinburgh where they grew up. As girls, they invented Mirrorland, a dark, imaginary place under the pantry stairs full of pirates, witches, and clowns. These days Cat rarely thinks about their childhood home, or the fact that El now lives there with her husband Ross.

But when El mysteriously disappears after going out on her sailboat, Cat is forced to return to the grand old house, which has scarcely changed in twenty years. No. 36 Westeryk Road is still full of shadowy, hidden corners, and at every turn Cat finds herself stumbling on long-held secrets and terrifying ghosts from the past. Because someone—El?—has left Cat clues all over the house: a treasure hunt that leads right back to Mirrorland, where she knows the truth lies crouched and waiting…

First of all, thank you to Dave at TheWriteReads and the publisher for providing me with an ecopy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

I am in the biggest reading and life slump at the moment, and honestly, reading hasn’t been much of a priority for me. But this book sounded really fun, and twisty, and I think thrillers are the best books to get one out of a reading slump, so I dived in hoping it’d do so for me.

Although the premise of this book isn’t anything special or unique, considering it is a debut novel, I thought the concept was fairly well thought out and still interesting. Domestic thrillers can be done in so many different ways, they don’t always have to be very unique in plot to offer something new.

From the get go the story was a little bit confusing. The way it is told, with the past and the present mixed together was disorienting at the start, but I definitely got used to it pretty fast. And the mystery was enough to keep me reading and engaged until about halfway through.

I felt very lukewarm towards all the characters. The mystery took over any character development, sadly, and I had no idea what to make of the main character, Cat, and as the story progressed, I liked her less and less. I have no problems with unlikeable characters, but when the whole story is full of them, it becomes a bit of an issue.

I found Mirrorland extremely atmospheric and quite well written, especially for the author’s first novel. So, although some things didn’t work for me, the writing and the uneasy feeling the book gave me, definitely made me want to read and find out more. But I do have to echo one thing that has made its rounds on everyone’s review, regarding the writing… what the hell is a Poirot?

I think, overall, Mirrorland was a mixed bag. It had things I enjoyed, and things I thought needed more attention. The book could’ve ended 20% earlier. The ending felt drawn out. But the mystery kept me reading and I did like the writing. Sadly, though, the reading slump is still very real.

Rating: 2.5 out of 5.

Check out the Mirrorland and TheWriteReads hashtags to read other reviews of this book!

As always, thanks for reading! Talk soon!

Most Anticipated Releases of the Third Quarter of 2021

Hi! It is that time of the year again… the second quarter of 2021 is coming to an end, which means it’s time for my new releases post. These are for the months of July, August and September, and although it’s not a complete list, meaning I’m probably missing some books, they’re all the ones I’m aware of and excited to read.

I think you’ll see a bit of a trend here, too.

A Psalm for the Wild-Built by Becky Chambers

Release date: July 13th

We’re kicking off the list with a sci-fi book from an author whose series I binge read at the start of the year. I love Becky Chambers’ writing and this one is a first in a new series about robots and monks!

The Final Girl Support Group by Grady Hendrix

Release date: July 13th

On the same day, we have The Final Girl Support Group, which is a thriller about, you guessed it… final girls (for clarification, final girls is a term to describe a sole survivor of a big massacre). I haven’t read anything from Grady Hendrix yet, but this seems (very) similar to Final Girls by Riley Sager and so it sounds just up my alley.

Not a Happy Family by Shari Lapena

Release date: July 27th

I’ve read a Shari Lapena before and it didn’t really work for me. But this one sounds really good, so I’m gonna give her another go. Not a Happy Family is a thriller about an older rich couple who gets murdered and it alludes to one of their kids being their murderer. I love a good domestic thriller.

The Dead and the Dark by Courtney Gould

Release date: August 3rd

Yet another mystery/thriller on the list (now, do you see the theme?). This one is set in a small town in Oregon and sounds dark and supernatural. Teens go missing, two ghost hunters come back into town… I’ve seen a lot of buzz already for this one, and I can’t wait to get to it.

All’s Well by Mona Awad

Release date: August 3rd

I’ll be honest with you. I don’t know much about this book, but I saw Mona Awad’s name and I was like… yup, gimme. All I know it has something to do with a Shakespeare play and… that’s all. I know I’m not selling it well to you, but I think it’s safe to say we can expect something unique and slightly weird.

(Me) Moth by Amber McBride

Release date: August 17th

(Me) Moth is a debut novel written in verse. I haven’t read many books written in verse, but the ones I have I quite enjoyed. It’s a coming of age novel about identity and first love and it sounds great.

The Inheritance of Orquídea Divina by Zoraida Córdova

Release date: September 7th

First adult novel by Zoraida – count me in. This is magical realism, if I’m not mistaken, about a family who inherit magical gifts. I don’t think I’m very good at pitching stuff, because this is very vague, but I know deep in my bones it’s going to be good. I just know it.

The Hawthorne Legacy by Jennifer Lynn Barnes

Release date: September 9th

Hawthorne Legacy is a sequel to The Inheritance Games, a book I reviewed last year as part of a blog tour and really enjoyed. It’s about a girl who inherits a big estate of a person she never knew, but before she can claim said inheritance, she has to live in a mansion for a year, with the late millionaire’s family and survive. Dun dun duuun… I thought the first book was great and I’m looking forward to continuing with the story.

All These Bodies by Kendare Blake

Release date: September 16th

I’m a bit torn. On one hand, I read Anna Dressed in Blood years ago and really disliked it. On the other hand, I loved loved LOVED Three Dark Crowns. This one seems more in the vein of Anna Dressed in Blood – it’s set in the 50s and about a 15 year old girl who’s accused of many murders and decides to confess to the sheriff’s son. I am keeping my hopes high, but staying weary.

Into the Dying Light by Katy Rose Pool

Release date: September 21st

Okay, I am getting ahead of myself, as this is book 3 in the series and I haven’t yet read book 2. I also don’t remember a great bit about book 1. What I do remember, though, is being surprised by how much I enjoyed it, though it had a few too many POVs. So before I dive into this one, I probably need a good refresher of There Will Come a Darkness. Ummm… I’m still keeping this on the list!

Summer Sons by Lee Mandelo

Release date: September 28th

I have seen so many people mention Ronan Lynch in their reviews of this book, and I think it might’ve swayed me slightly… Summer Sons is meant to be gothic, dark, queer and great. It deals with grief, academia and ghosts. That’s all I know, unsurprisingly. And I need it.

White Smoke by Tiffany D. Jackson

Release date: September 30th

Last, but not least, we have a new release from Tiffany D. Jackson, who is slowly becoming one of my favourite authors. It’s a bit different from what we’ve gotten from her before – it’s a psychological thriller with a haunted house! As you can see, I’m in a very specific mood this summer. This sounds great, and even better coming from Jackson.

And that is all. Are any of these on your tbr? Did I miss any exciting books? Let me know down below.

Thank you for reading, and as always I’ll speak to you soon!

Shards of Earth by Adrian Tchaikovsky – Blog Tour

Hi! I haven’t done a book tour in a hot minute! …and I’m super late. Apologies, but life really got in the way. I was meant to post 3 days ago.

Today we’re talking about Shards of Earth by Adrian Tchaikovsky. This is more of a first impressions post, as I haven’t finished the book yet. Let’s go.

The Shards of Earth by Adrian Tchaikovsky
  • Publication date: August 3rd 2021
  • Publisher: Tor
  • Genre: Sci-fi

The war is over. Its heroes forgotten. Until one chance discovery . . . Idris has neither aged nor slept since they remade him in the war. And one of humanity’s heroes now scrapes by on a freelance salvage vessel, to avoid the attention of greater powers. After earth was destroyed, mankind created a fighting elite to save their species, enhanced humans such as Idris. In the silence of space they could communicate, mind-to-mind, with the enemy. Then their alien aggressors, the Architects, simply disappeared—and Idris and his kind became obsolete. Now, fifty years later, Idris and his crew have discovered something strange abandoned in space. It’s clearly the work of the Architects—but are they returning? And if so, why? Hunted by gangsters, cults and governments, Idris and his crew race across the galaxy hunting for answers. For they now possess something of incalculable value, that many would kill to obtain.

Sci-fi is one of my favourite genres and I especially enjoy space operas. But it’s also the genre that is harder to get into when you’re in a reading slump. I’ve read from Tchaikovsky before, and I enjoyed his writing and ideas, and I was really excited to pick this book up.

Right off the bat it throws you into the story with little explanation, enough to keep you intrigued but not to give too much away, which makes me believe the story will be nicely paced throughout.

The cast of characters seems very diverse and interesting. I love the found family trope, it’s one of my favourites and it’s meant to be present in this story! What’s better than a group of misfits on a space ship?!

I am not far into the book (about 20%), but I already love the writing. Some sci-fi books are a bit… too dry. Not Tchaikovsky’s writing. He writes in a very accessible way for non sci-fi readers, I think.

I can’t wait to get more into the story. I’ll be sure to post a full review once I’m done.

As I’m unable to give you more of my thoughts please check out these reviews:

Tessa

Bex

Blair

And check out The Write Reads hashtags for this tour!

As always, thanks for reading. Apologies for being late. Talk soon!

May 2021 Wrap Up

Hi! Another month gone… (insert lots of talk about months flying by, as per usual). I had a strange month, it started off strong and then I completely lost steam. I still managed to read 11 books, which isn’t bad.

Let’s get into my favourite part of the post – stats! May is my birthday month (I turned 28!) so you’ll see my physical TBR shot up quite a bit.

  • Number of books read: 11
  • Number of pages read: 4573
  • Average star rating: 3.4
  • DNF: 1
  • Physical TBR at the start of the month: 37
  • Books read: 2
  • Current TBR: 48

Illusionary by Zoraida Córdova

I have a full review on here if you’d like to check it out!

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Sorrowland by Rivers Solomon

I’ve also posted a full review for this one, here.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

The Project by Courtney Summers

I’ve seen many mixed reviews about this book, mostly comparing it to Sadie, and how it was vastly different from it. I think Summers’ writing was just as good and the story she told in The Project interesting and well done. I guess I’m in the minority here, but I really liked it.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Descendant of the Crane by Joan He

This one is a blend of fantasy and mystery, and the mystery was what drove the plot, and I wished it was the other way around. I did like the book, but I think it would’ve benefited more from really focusing on the world building and political intrigue, and by giving us more depth, rather than mystery twists and turns. It was good, but it had the potential to be great.

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Rogue Protocol by Martha Wells

What can I say? I love Murderbot. I kind of wish we got a full length novel, but these snippets are satisfactory for me and a great palate cleanser in between bigger books.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

A Sprinkle of Sorcery by Michelle Harrison

I found this second installment in the series fun, but slightly underwhelming. I usually love pirates in middle grade books, but I preferred the first books storyline and the magical elements of it. Charlie was once again my favourite Widdershin sister.

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Spin the Dawn by Elizabeth Lim

This was a fun, if a bit predictable and formulaic read. I enjoyed the plot and found the book entertaining, but the last portion got too romance heavy for me to really enjoy it. That being said, it’s definitely just personal preference and I know many people would probably love it. I’m undecided on whether I’ll be continuing with the series for that reason.

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Wicked as You Wish by Rin Chupeco

My first Rin Chupeco and sadly I didn’t enjoy it. I found the world building too much, it seems to be based off all and every fairytale AND myth the author could find. That paired up with a big cast of characters, too big to properly develop any, and it honestly turned into a bit of a disaster for me. I read it last month, and I already am struggling with remembering what it was about. Disappointing, but maybe their other books will work for me.

Rating: 2 out of 5.

The Serpent’s Curse by Lisa Maxwell

I honestly thought it was the last book in the series. At 75% I realised it couldn’t possibly be, because the plot was nowhere near wrapped up. I think this series is criminally underrated – rhis installment was fantastic and exciting, but I will admit I’m growing sick of the will they, won’t they romance.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Exit Strategy by Martha Wells

Once again, I love Murderbot. There isn’t much to say about these books, they’re bite size, fun and hilarious. I found Exit Strategy to be a bit less sarcastic and a bit more serious, though, and it made it my least favourite installment so far.

Rating: 3 out of 5.

The Gilded Wolves by Roshani Chokshy

I finally got my hands on this book. It’s been on my TBR since it was announced. I will be publishing a review for it soon, so I’ll leave my thoughts until then. Let me just tell you I’m intrigued but not totally sold on it just yet.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

And that is all. I’ve been wondering if you’d be interested in seeing my reading related spreads from my bullet journal in these wrap ups? Also, let me know if you’d like a full review for any of these?

How was your reading this month?

Talk soon!

Illusionary by Zoraida Cordova – A Review

Hi! It’s been a while. I’ve fallen into a creative slump, and then it was my birthday (I turned 28!) so this review is a few days late.

Illusionary by Zoraida Cordova
  • Publication date: May 11th 2021
  • Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
  • Genre: Fantasy

Reeling from betrayal at the hands of the Whispers, Renata Convida is a girl on the run. With few options and fewer allies, she’s reluctantly joined forces with none other than Prince Castian, her most infuriating and intriguing enemy. They’re united by lofty goals: find the fabled Knife of Memory, kill the ruthless King Fernando, and bring peace to the nation. Together, Ren and Castian have a chance to save everything, if only they can set aside their complex and intense feelings for each other.

With the king’s forces on their heels at every turn, their quest across Puerto Leones and beyond leaves little room for mistakes. But the greatest danger is within Ren. The Gray, her fortress of stolen memories, has begun to crumble, threatening her grip on reality. She’ll have to control her magics–and her mind–to unlock her power and protect the Moria people once and for all.

For years, she was wielded as weapon. Now it’s her time to fight back.

Thank you to NetGalley for providing me with an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Incendiary took me a while to get properly into and I really didn’t like Renata as a main character. I still enjoyed the book, especially some of the supporting characters and the world and magic system. After finishing it, I was looking forward to learning more about everything – I didn’t quite realise it was a duology. That being said, I think Illusionary wrapped up the story quite well, and it was a satisfying conclusion.

While the first book focused more on the rebellion and had Renata confused about her powers, alliances and love life, and therefore annoying, Illusionary focuses more on her character growth and the magic, which is definitely the strongest aspect of this series. It definitely made me like her more as a character – I think she grew into the person she was meant to be from the very first page, the powerful and badass woman, and she really realised where she belonged.
My favourites remain Leo and Castian, though. Honestly, if the story revolved around those 2 and Lady Nuria from the first book, I think those would easily be 5 star reads.

This book was fast paced and exciting. So much happened in this installment, but it didn’t feel rushed. We found out a lot about the world, how and why the rebellion started. It was a perfect mix of action, character development and back story. And it all led to a satisfying conclusion.

I really enjoyed Illusionary and I’m looking forward to picking up more by Zoraida Cordova in the future. I think, although YA fantasy has a lot to offer that is similar to this story in plot, this duology is definitely worth a read, as Cordova’s voice is distinctive and strong.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Will you be picking up this duology? Or have you read it already? What did you think?

Thank you for reading. Talk soon!

Sorrowland by Rivers Solomon – A Review

Hi!

Happy (UK) publication date to Sorrowland by Rivers Solomon! I’m very excited to be sharing this review with you.

Sorrowland by Rivers Solomon
  • Publication date: May 6th 2021
  • Publisher: Merky Books
  • Genre: Fantasy

Vern – seven months pregnant and desperate to escape the strict religious compound where she was raised – flees for the shelter of the woods. There, she gives birth to twins, and plans to raise them far from the influence of the outside world.

But even in the forest, Vern is a hunted woman. Forced to fight back against the community that refuses to let her go, she unleashes incredible brutality far beyond what a person should be capable of, her body wracked by inexplicable and uncanny changes.

To understand her metamorphosis and to protect her small family, Vern has to face the past, and more troublingly, the future – outside the woods. Finding the truth will mean uncovering the secrets of the compound she fled but also the violent history in America that produced it.

Thank you to the publisher and NetGalley for providing me with and audio ARC of this book in exchange for and honest review.

I’m not sure how to approach writing this review. I’ve never read anything by Solomon, I had no idea at all what to expect, apart from the short and somewhat vague blurb. I had no expectations, other than hope that I would enjoy it. The experience of reading this book surpassed all the expectations I could’ve had.

Sorrowland is not an easy book, nor a book that is for everyone. I’ve realised recently that I enjoy “weird” books – books that don’t fit a specific genre, ones that do unconventional things with the plot, narration or the characters. This is exactly what Sorrowland did. Solomon touches on so many issues in this book, and although the story itself is speculative, the issues very much apply to our real world. It is brutal, honest and talks about race, identity, sexuality, gender and so much more.

I loved the writing. After reading Sorrowland, I swiftly added all of the other books by the author to my TBR. It was lyrical, without sounding pretentious; incredibly atmospheric and beautiful, even the horrifying and brutal parts.

Vern was a really strong and interesting character. I enjoyed following her throughout the story as she learned about who she was and what Cainland did to her. I really liked her children, too, and the relationship they had. Well developed familial relationships are something I love in books, no matter the genre.

I’ve seen people complain about how slow the middle of the book was, but I couldn’t disagree more. I think Solomon paced the story really well, and it flowed naturally. It was a perfect blend of action and character development. I found the book interesting all throughout.

The only thing about Sorrowland I didn’t enjoy were the overly explicit sex scenes. They didn’t ruin it for me, and I understand why the author has put them in, but I don’t ever find them necessary, and prefer the fade to black approach.

I can’t say much more without spoiling anything about the book. I think it’s best to go into it knowing very little, and watching it unfold.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Thank you for reading! Is Sorrowland on your TBR?

Until the next time!

May Hopefuls

Hi. I’ve written a few TBR posts before but I haven’t really stuck to them at all. This month I’m being quite ambitious, though, and I thought what better way to keep myself accountable than with a TBR? So, here are my May “hopefuls” – books I’d like to get to, if possible.

First of all, I have a few NetGalley books I am planning to read.

I got approved for these three recently and I already made a dent in two, so I’m quite convinced I’ll read them soon. Spin the Dawn isn’t a new release and I’m not sure why it was on NetGalley, maybe because the second book is coming out this month and people will be more likely to request it and review it if they also get the first book – but I was smart and requested just one, in case I don’t enjoy it. I have a feeling I will, though.

It’s my birthday halfway through the month and I’m lucky to be getting MANY books. I picked a few I already own, and a few I’ll be receiving to read physically. It’s quite a big stack of books, but it’s the 2nd and I’m already halfway through one. Many of these are my most anticipated releases of this and last year and I think I’ll fly through them.

Audiobooks really boost my numbers every month, and I enjoy them immensely. I can journal, clean or shop AND read all at once! There are a few audiobooks on Spotify, which I’ll definitely be listening to.

And lastly, I’d like to continue with some series I have as ebooks. Luckily, all of these are novellas, rather than full length novels. Although I’d like to read all of them, I’d be happy with reading one of each.

That makes… 19 books. More than I’ve ever read in a month. If I read them all – perfect. If not, I’m positive I can read MOST of them.

Any books on here you’re looking forward to reading? Or maybe you’ve read them already? What did you think?

Thanks for reading. As always, talk soon!

April 2021 Wrap Up

Hi, there!

April is over. I’ve had a strange month for productivity, and an even stranger reading month. I did manage a good few books, though, so here are the stats.

  • Number of books read: 9
  • Number of pages read: 3523
  • Average star rating: 3.2
  • Physical TBR at the start of the month: 35
  • Books read: 5
  • Current TBR: 37
  • DNF: 1

I might’ve gotten some new books… and getting more soon, because it’s my birthday in 12 days. Am I ever going to get through my physical TBR? Unlikely…

The Darkest Bloom: Shadowscent by P.M. Freestone

I have written a review of sorts for this book, you can check it out here.

Rating: 2 out of 5.

Chain of Iron by Cassandra Clare

I think it’s time to accept I might’ve grown out of my love for Clare’s books. Chain of Iron was a bit better than the first book in the series, yet it didn’t really grab me, and I am not attached to those characters, no matter how hard I’m trying to make myself attached to them. While the story was somewhat interesting, the amount of drama was unjustifiable, in my opinion.

Rating: 3 out of 5.

For Esme, with Love and Squalor – and Other Stories by J.D. Salinger

I love Salinger’s writing and characters, though they’re definitely an acquired taste. All of the stories in this collection were good, but I enjoyed the opening and the closing ones the most.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

The Glass Hotel by Emily St. John Mandel

The Glass Hotel was not what I expected. I enjoyed the reading process of it all, mainly due to the stunning writing, but I kept waiting for things to happen and they didn’t. Don’t get me wrong – I like character driven stories. I just don’t think this one is just that. I honestly don’t know where I stand here. On one hand, I found some parts of it engaging and enjoyable, and on the other hand… I don’t understand its point? I am not sure it makes sense, but it’s exactly how I felt about it.

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Rule of Wolves by Leigh Bardugo

I couldn’t have hoped for a better conclusion to a fantastic duology. The Grishaverse became very dear to my heart, thanks to Nikolai Lantsov and Zoya Nazyaensky (and Kaz Brekker, but he and I go way back). Being back in this world was great. I loved everything about it, to be perfectly honest, because it wrapped up the story perfectly, and left us with a hopeful next book in a certain well loved series… I’m really trying to not spoil anything.

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Children of Time by Adrian Tchaikovsky

I think I hyped up this book too much for myself, because, although I’m not exactly disappointed, Children of Time didn’t live up to my expectations. I don’t know what I thought when I heard “giant, intelligent spiders”, but it wasn’t what I got. The story was good and for most of it engaging, but I found it quite repetitive in plot and narration. I’m not sure if I’ll be continuing with the series.

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Dark Stars by Danielle Rollins

Yet another absolute gem that saved this somewhat bad/average reading month. This is the last book in a criminally underrated YA sci-fi series of the same title, and I flew through it. I really enjoyed getting back into this world and coming back to the characters I grew to love. I think the reviews are split when it comes to this one, but I thought the ending made a lot of sense and wrapped up everything nicely.

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Fire Study by Maria V. Snyder

I kind of want to make a separate post ranting about Yelena and Valek, specifically about Valek calling her “love” on every single page of this damned book (and the other two books, too), but I’m not sure that’s entertaining. I don’t know why I thought I was enjoying this series, because this one was frustrating to say the least. I could honestly rant for a long time – it was formulaic, every exciting scene faded to black before it even began, and had Yelena wake up rescued. The political intrigue got lost between all the unnecessary character drama. I did not enjoy it…

Rating: 2 out of 5.

Children of Virtue and Vengeance by Tomi Adeyemi

Speaking of being fooled in thinking I was enjoying a series… this book! I don’t know what happened, but I found Children of Virtue and Vengeance to be so vastly different from the first book in the series, it was hard to believe the same author wrote it. I adored Children of Blood and Bone. I thought the plot was fresh and exciting. I feel in love with the characters and how deep and real they were. The world was vibrant, the magic system… *chef’s kiss*. None of these were true in this second installment, but what hurt the most was the fact that it felt like the characters were completely different. I am so disappointed I might be skipping the last book altogether.

Rating: 2 out of 5.

And that is all I read in April. How was your reading month? Let me know in the comments.

Why Is Cancel Culture Within The Bookish Community Toxic – A Discussion

Hi. You can tell from the title of this post what I’ll be talking about today. I wanna preface this post by saying that the opinions I am stating on here are my own – I am not claiming I am right – but this is what I think and how I feel about the current situation. I am willing to discuss this issue further in the comments, and I welcome people to disagree with me in a respectful manner, as what I am writing on here is not aimed to harm anyone and I will not welcome any harm directed back at me. I have a voice and I will use it in a way I see fit, as long as I am not harming others by it.

We all know what this is about – the absolute shit storm concerning Emily A. Duncan and Jay Kristoff. In the light of the current stop AAPI hate movement, and an ongoing BLM movement that has gotten a lot of traction last summer, both authors were called out as racist and bullies, for different reasons. I am not basing this post off those two and their behaviour, on anyone else who is involved in the conversation and controversy, and I am definitely not here to make excuses for anyone. If you expect a post shit talking an author and pointing out every single thing they did and said wrong, move along. I am here to talk about the fallout after these things were mentioned, and how we handle it as a bookish community, and why I think that’s wrong.

I don’t know a single person who has never in their life been disrespectful, racist, dismissive or oppressive in any shape or form. Whether we did things intentionally and meant it in a malicious way, or said things due to miseducation or simply ignorance, we have definitely done things that harmed others in some capacity. There is always room to improve, always a stance we can educate ourselves on, especially those who are not part of a minority. Yes, I am a white, straight passing female – I was born into a life where I didn’t have to worry about being oppressed, because of my race, religion or culture. My opinions on this issue may not be the most valid as I don’t have the authority to speak on things that don’t concern me personally. However, I can do my part in spreading awareness, and try to reach people who already listen to what I want to say and maybe change their opinions. Doing that is great and I think everyone with a platform should speak up on issues concerning racism, sexism, bullying and many other.

Where is this going, then, you ask? I have been noticing every single time someone calls out a famous author, many other people jump on that hate train without doing any research themselves and without educating themselves on the matter. It’s not enough to repost Instagram or Twitter posts, bashing said author and telling people to stop reading their work and promoting it, if you yourself don’t look deep into the issue and make sure that you really understand what’s going on. I have seen so many stories, linking to an Instagram post, basically captioning it – I don’t know the whole story, BUT read this post to educate yourself. I know, I know… it’s not their JOB to tell me, the follower, what is happening and why it’s bad, but if they really felt strongly about the matter, they would do EVERYTHING to reach the people who might still be ignorant, and not just repost an info graphic etc. That is not doing the work. That is false accountability just to not be called out. It creates a vacuum of people repeating the same things without really understanding them. People who tell you to educate yourself half the time forget to do the same. Those people then take the time out of their day to, for a lack of a better word, harass others because they post or read books by certain authors.

Do you see where I’m going with this? The time and efforts are completely misplaced. Instead of going onto someone’s post to shit talk them for posting about a book they’ve enjoyed, how about you make sure that you post alternatives to said books on your platform. Uplift marginalised voices ALWAYS, instead of posting a story saying “I can’t believe X amount of people I follow STILL follow that author and didn’t delete photos of their books off their feed”. Being bitter achieves nothing.

This is what cancel culture does, in a nutshell. It’s okay to call out an author who appropriates cultures that are not their own. It’s okay to take a stance and say it’s not a voice that should be uplifted. But there’s a fine line between appropriation and inspiration. Jay Kristoff can’t write about anything Japanese inspired, because he’s not Japanese, and a white male, but Sarah J. Maas can base her world on the UK and Ireland and make the Irish the evil fairies? Is it okay for Kiersten White to write about genderbent Vlad the Impaler, or for Leigh Bardugo to base her world of the Russian Empire? If the answer is no to any of these, then why are those books still insanely popular, and those authors reaching the bestsellers list with any new books they come out with? Why are bookstagrammers, book bloggers and booktubers those who suffer the most in the fallout? For such a small community, we should be uplifting others, instead of bringing them down. We should be making sure that our voices are heard by the authors doing wrong things and their teams and their publishers. And we should let those authors apologise and give time to do better. And lastly… we need to respect people’s boundaries. No, not everyone has the privilege to be comfortable at all times, and there are situations in which we need to step out of that comfort zone to have important conversations. But it’s no one’s right to impose on other’s comfort zone, as in can do more harm than good.

This post is really long, and I’m not sure if in the end I made myself clear. The subject is very broad, and this is just one side of it. And anyone who knows me knows I get rambly all the time. It’s probably not good enough for many as I haven’t called out authors on anything, but, like I said I am not the authority on the issues and no one needs another white person getting outraged on the Internet.

If you’ve read up to this point – thank you. I’d love to know your thoughts, if you’re willing to share them in the comments.

Talk soon.