Should Reviewers Charge For Their Reviews – A Discussion

Hi! It’s been a while since I’ve come on here to ramble, rather than review books or tell you about what I read or plan on reading. I think of myself as a very opinionated person, so these discussion posts are very fun to write, so let’s just get into this. As you can tell from the title, we’re talking about paid reviews!

Sometime last week I’ve seen an Instagram story from a person telling book reviewers who charge for reviews they “should be ashamed!” and it didn’t sit right with me at all. There are many reasons as to why one should or shouldn’t charge for reviews, and I think there’s a lot more to consider here before labeling these bloggers and reviewers greedy and ungrateful.

The argument against charging for reviews mentioned things like, authors don’t get paid enough for their work as it is, and it’s not right to on top of receiving a free copy of their book, to also charge them for it. The person who posted said story/post said a free copy of a book should be payment enough; that we, as readers, enjoy books and it’s our hobby rather than a paid gig, so we shouldn’t expect to get paid for our opinions. And in most cases, sure, I agree that someone who reads and reviews for fun only shouldn’t get paid for the reviews. But there is a difference between people like me, who have a small reach – probably less than 2k people following on Instagram and here, altogether – and people with a successful accounts on either platform (or both, and YouTube!), with 20k plus follows, lots of engagement and therefore influence.

While it’s not true in all of those cases, most of these people take book blogging seriously – they post multiple times a day, their pictures are immaculate, they go live or update their stories daily AND still review the books they get. They’ve built up their following through hard work, and they write coherent, detailed reviews of each and every book they read. Yes, they love reading, and they probably receive lots of books for free, most times unsolicited, too. It’s apparent especially in the BookTube world, that those bloggers do not ask for all of these books, and most of them don’t even get featured on their channel, but reading review copies means the blogger has less time to spend on reading what they want and enjoy. Reading a book takes time. Reading critically and trying to digest a book to then write about it in detail takes even more time. While treating blogging as a full time job, I think those people deserve to get paid for their time.

Of course, there’s doubt when it comes to paid reviews. Are they honest, or did the blogger only rate it 5 stars because they got paid to do so? I think there’s always doubt, even with NetGalley reviews. You never know if the person is being honest, but in the end, I think the quality of the review can tell you whether the reader enjoyed it. If you thought a book was meh, it’d be hard to praise it for paragraphs and paragraphs on end.

In the end, our Bookstagram accounts, or blogs, or Booktube channels are perfect for advertising. In the past week I’ve had my picture being shared on a different Instagram account to promote a book, which post then got reposted AGAIN by the author. And although they’ve both sort of credited me, no one asked me if it’s okay to repost that photo in the first place. No, I don’t want to be paid for it, but asking permission would be nice, especially since it wasn’t a shoutout kind of a post, I was just tagged at the bottom of it with no indication what for. The photo was screenshotted and zoomed in and lost all of its quality, too, which is a shame. These photos and posts are free advertising. People in marketing get paid to source these free things. So why should we, the people who actually do the work, not get paid? It doesn’t make any sense. I’ve put effort into something, and if the publisher thinks it’s good enough for them to repost and use it in their advertising campaign, then it’s good enough to be paid for.

That being said, I am very against book bloggers approaching self published authors asking if they would like their book reviewed, and then demand to get paid for it. But I’m also against authors reaching out to bloggers regardless what their review policy is, spamming them with messages to review their book. I’ve been approached a few times with a link to their book on Amazon, saying that they think it’s something I’d enjoy and they want me to review it and it’s only 1.99 on Kindle so I should also pay for it. Now, that’s something to be ashamed about.

That concludes my little ramble about book reviewers and whether or not they should get paid for their work. I think in a lot of cases, it’s up to the publisher to if they want to invest in that kind of advertisement, or waste money on sending out review and finished copies to people who are unlikely to read them. I definitely think getting paid for reviews in not an outrageous idea, especially for people who spend a lot of time reading and reviewing books full time. I don’t think those reviewers should be shamed. I’d never dream of charging for reviews myself because I don’t think I have that kind of influence over my followers and it wouldn’t seem fair, as I definitely blog in my spare time only and have not made the commitment to do it full time. But there are people out there who deserve to be paid.

What do you think? Do you think all book reviewers should treat it as a hobby and accept a free copy of a book as a “payment”? Let me know in the comments, I’d love to hear other people’s opinions on this matter.

If you’ve read through all this and are still here – thank you!

Talk soon, and until then please take care and stay safe.

Record of a Spaceborn Few by Becky Chambers – A Review

Hi! I decided to continue with my Wayfarers’ reviews today, as I basically marathoned the series. So here’s what I thought about the Record of a Spaceborn Few!

Record of a Spaceborn Few by Becky Chambers
  • Publication date: July 24th 2018
  • Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton
  • Genre: Sci-fi

Centuries after the last humans left Earth, the Exodus Fleet is a living relic, a place many are from but few outsiders have seen. Humanity has finally been accepted into the galactic community, but while this has opened doors for many, those who have not yet left for alien cities fear that their carefully cultivated way of life is under threat.

Tessa chose to stay home when her brother Ashby left for the stars, but has to question that decision when her position in the Fleet is threatened.

Kip, a reluctant young apprentice, itches for change but doesn’t know where to find it.

Sawyer, a lost and lonely newcomer, is just looking for a place to belong.

When a disaster rocks this already fragile community, those Exodans who still call the Fleet their home can no longer avoid the inescapable question:

What is the purpose of a ship that has reached its destination?

I’ve gushed about this series in my previous two reviews just to be slightly disappointed by this book. I think it did a lot of great things, but ultimately, I didn’t care as much about the characters in this one, as in the first two.

I think my enjoyment of this series stems from the cosiness of it and the emotional attachment, which this one was lacking. Tessa, even though she’s Ashby’s sister, wasn’t someone I cared about before, and so I wasn’t much invested in her story line. Kip was probably the most interesting, as we got a perspective into a life of a normal teenager, which none of the other books explored. As for Sawyer… I wanted to enjoy his POV more but before I did, it was cut short. The book definitely did get better in the last third, but it was too late for me to connect and care – by the time I sort of did, it ended.

Becky Chambers’ writing was immaculate, as always, and the story itself was engaging enough for me to still enjoy the read. Like I mentioned before, it explores a lot of perspectives we haven’t gotten before. Sawyer is an immigrant and an outsider and the way he’s treated reflects a lot how we humans treat people we think “don’t belong”/ I think Chambers’ ideas are stellar and the way she approached each book was quite unique, and the fact I am rating it lower than other ones is down to personal preference.

I think Record of a Spaceborn Few is the weakest book in the Wayfarers’ series, but still a good read. Maybe upon rereading it I’ll think differently and be able to take more out of it. But for now…

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

I have one more review left and then I swear I’ll talk about other books. As always, thank you for reading/ It means the world to me. Talk soon, stay safe!

A Closed and Common Orbit by Becky Chambers – A Review

Hi! Let’s skip the introduction. I’ve a review for you for the second book in the Wayfarers series today!

A Closed and Common Orbit by Becky Chambers
  • Publication date: 2016
  • Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton
  • Genre: Sci-fi

Lovelace was once merely a ship’s artificial intelligence. When she wakes up in a new body, following a total system shut-down and reboot, she has no memory of what came before. As Lovelace learns to negotiate the universe and discover who she is, she makes friends with Pepper, an excitable engineer, who’s determined to help her learn and grow.

Together, Pepper and Lovey will discover that no matter how vast space is, two people can fill it together.

I didn’t realise this book wasn’t following the exact same characters as book one and I must admit, at the start I was bummed out. Just when I really fell in love with the crew of the Wayfarer, I had to leave them? Ahhh… My disappointment didn’t last for long, though.

I think I still love the first book a tad bit more, but this one is so close behind it’s incredible. Once again, even though it’s not necessarily a happy story, it’s one that is cosy and inviting. Chambers really lets us get to know Lovelace and Pepper and shows us what it is that make them tick, while still building onto the already rich world set up in the first book. We learn so much so effortlessly. And yes, there is a plot to it, but it takes the back burner while we really delve deep into the characters and their lives.

Lovey is a character I found incredibly fascinating in the first book, as she’s a sentient AI, with a personality and feelings, and I appreciated the way Chambers approached the subject. Lovey/Sidra really grows into herself throughout the book, and I was very invested in her journey.

Similarly, Pepper’s story is also really well done, and follows the character from childhood to when we know her, which inadvertently shows off more of the galaxy, laws, customs and all the good world building stuff that’s super intriguing.

Overall, A Closed and Common Orbit is a fantastic, engaging and warm story that I’m sure non sci-fi fans would also enjoy!

Thank you so much for reading! I’ll be back with a review for the 3rd and 4th book soon!

Take care!

The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet by Becky Chambers – A Review

Hi there! We’re nearing a year of the pandemic in Ireland and I’ve gotten so fed up and uninspired, hence the lack of posts. Thankfully, I’m reading a fair bit, still. I thought to try and combat the bad feelings, I’ll post about a book I’ve read recently and LOVED, and spread the good vibes instead. Also – a new book in this series is out tomorrow (and I’m currently in the middle of it)! What better time to do this?

If you couldn’t tell from the title, this is for The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet by Becky Chambers. Let’s go!

The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet by Becky Chambers
  • Publication date: 2014
  • Published: Hodder & Stoughton
  • Genre: Sci-fi

When Rosemary Harper joins the crew of the Wayfarer, she isn’t expecting much. The Wayfarer, a patched-up ship that’s seen better days, offers her everything she could possibly want: a small, quiet spot to call home for a while, adventure in far-off corners of the galaxy, and distance from her troubled past. But Rosemary gets more than she bargained for with the Wayfarer. The crew is a mishmash of species and personalities, from Sissix, the friendly reptillian pilot, to Kizzy and Jenks, the constantly sparring engineers who keep the ship running. Life on board is chaotic, but more or less peaceful – exactly what Rosemary wants. Until the crew are offered the job of a lifetime: the chance to build a hyperspace tunnel to a distant planet. They’ll earn enough money to live comfortably for years…if they survive the long trip through war-torn interstellar space without endangering any of the fragile alliances that keep the galaxy peaceful. But Rosemary isn’t the only person on board with secrets to hide, and the crew will soon discover that space may be vast, but spaceships are very small indeed.

I wish I could give this book all the stars in the world! 2021 barely started and I know for sure that this book will end up in my top 10 reads.

I loved every second of this book, every character and all that happened in it. I shed a tear at the end. If that doesn’t describe my feelings enough, I don’t know how to do it better.

I’ve read Chambers before, although only one book, so I knew I liked her style, or what I’ve seen of it. But this was something else. She managed to write the cosiest, warmest sci-fi book I’ve ever read. Found family trope is my absolute favourite, and it’s a big part of this book. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not all sunshine and rainbows, but there’s something about it that makes it a great comfort read.

It’s definitely a more character than plot driven story. Chambers describes different species and their culture with such ease you believe they really exist. She mentiones their struggles, differences, politics and by it creates such vivid, multidimensional (no pun intended), real characters that feel both human and alien. They’re effortlessly diverse. I fell a bit in love with every crew member of the Wayfarer and I cared about them so deeply, and this might be weird to say but they almost felt like friends.

I was not once bored, not once disappointed. There’s nothing I would change about this book. I think it’s a story that would be approachable for non sci-fi readers, because it’s about so much more than space, aliens etc. You don’t have to like and understand these things, because they’re not the main focus. Anything that is alien to the reader, Chambers describes beautifully, and all the other aspects of it focus on the relationships and lives of the characters, which is something all readers look for regardless of the genre.

I’m so glad I finally picked up the series, it was a really special read. I would definitely recommend it to everyone who enjoys beautiful writing and well crafted characters.

Have you read this one? Let me know what you thought, I’d love to know!

As always, thank you so much for reading! Talk soon.

House of Salt and Sorrows by Erin A. Craig – A Review

Hi! It’s time for the first review of 2021.

Let’s take a moment to appreciate the lovely briefcase I got right before Christmas in a charity shop for… 5.50! It’s probably the best deal and purchase I made in all my nearly 28 years on this Earth. Also, before I move onto the review, let’s do a little self promo – if you like this photo, I have an instagram account full of them! I would be over the moon if you considered following me there. My handle is the same – imfullybooked!

Okay, now it’s review time!

House of Salt and Sorrows by Erin A. Craig
  • Publication date: August 6th 2019
  • Publisher: Delacorte Press
  • Genre: YA Fantasy/Retelling/Horror

In a manor by the sea, twelve sisters are cursed.

Annaleigh lives a sheltered life at Highmoor, a manor by the sea, with her sisters, their father, and stepmother. Once they were twelve, but loneliness fills the grand halls now that four of the girls’ lives have been cut short. Each death was more tragic than the last—the plague, a plummeting fall, a drowning, a slippery plunge—and there are whispers throughout the surrounding villages that the family is cursed by the gods.

Disturbed by a series of ghostly visions, Annaleigh becomes increasingly suspicious that the deaths were no accidents. Her sisters have been sneaking out every night to attend glittering balls, dancing until dawn in silk gowns and shimmering slippers, and Annaleigh isn’t sure whether to try to stop them or to join their forbidden trysts. Because who—or what—are they really dancing with?

When Annaleigh’s involvement with a mysterious stranger who has secrets of his own intensifies, it’s a race to unravel the darkness that has fallen over her family—before it claims her next.

Oh boy, did this book take me on a rollercoaster!

I’m not sure how to articulate my feelings towards House of Salt and Sorrows. On one hand, I was sure it would be a 5 star read until about 35% in, and then after partial redemption about 65% in. And on the other hand… everything that happened in between those times was just so disjointed from the rest of the story and hence jarring, and I can’t with good conscience give it anything more than 3 stars.

The story grabbed me from the start. I didn’t know what to expect, I had no clue what it was really about, other than 12 sisters who kept dying one by one, and I genuinely didn’t know it was a retelling (nor do I know the original story). It would probably be wiser for me to read the blurb beyond the first 2 sentences, but I like going into things blindly. The book opens with a funeral, which really set up the atmosphere, and the elements of mystery and possible supernatural elements had me super intriguing. It really seemed like my cup of tea. Until…

I am not sure what happened around 35% in. The atmosphere and pacing changed. The overall mood of the story changed. What started out dark and moody, turned into fluffy adventure and love story. Spooky supernatural elements disappeared. It really had me confused – I wasn’t sure what I was reading anymore. The feel I got from it at the start of atmospheric, ghosty mystery changed. And then when I was losing hope, it changed again! And again.

I would definitely enjoy it a lot more has it stayed with one mood, and didn’t jump around so much, undecided what it actually was. I think some of the ideas were fantastic. As was a lot of the execution. I loved all of the Thaumas sisters and I really cared about them all. But what grabbed me at the start just didn’t carry through the book. Twists and turns are great, but when they keep the same tone. The book is marketed as a YA horror, but a lot of it doesn’t read like horror at all. It made the ending feel super disjointed. I feel like the author tried to do too much in 400 pages. It’s a shame.

I’ll be picking the authors other book once it comes out, as I think she’s a skilled writer. Hopefully that one will work for me more.

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Have you read this one? What did you think? Do you agree with me, or did you love it? Let me know down below.

Thank you so much for reading, and apologies for the shameless promo at the start.

Until the next one!

The Cousins by Karen M. McManus – A Review #TheWriteReads #UltimateBlogTour

Hi! It’s my stop on TheWriteReads tour for The Cousins by Karen M. McManus (as you can tell by the title)! This one releases in December, so keep an eye out for it – it’s a fun one!

The Cousins by Karen M. McManus
  • Publication date: December 1st 2020
  • Publisher: Random House Children’s Books
  • Genre: Mystery

Milly, Aubrey, and Jonah Story are cousins, but they barely know each another, and they’ve never even met their grandmother. Rich and reclusive, she disinherited their parents before they were born. So when they each receive a letter inviting them to work at her island resort for the summer, they’re surprised . . . and curious.

Their parents are all clear on one point–not going is not an option. This could be the opportunity to get back into Grandmother’s good graces. But when the cousins arrive on the island, it’s immediately clear that she has different plans for them. And the longer they stay, the more they realize how mysterious–and dark–their family’s past is.

The entire Story family has secrets. Whatever pulled them apart years ago isn’t over–and this summer, the cousins will learn everything.

Thank you to the publisher and Dave at TheWriteReads for a free e-arc of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Every Karen M. McManus book surprises me, and I think by now I should know and expect to enjoy them. I liked and flew through her other books, and The Cousins was no different.

The story follows 3 estranged cousins: Milly, Aubrey and Jonah, who are invited to spend a summer at their grandmother’s resort. The catch is, she disowned her own children 24 years ago and has not kept in contact with either of them since. So, why is she reaching out now?

I was pretty hooked on the premise from the get go. I really enjoy family mysteries, the more twisted ones, the better, so I was looking forward to reading it – although I kept my expectations low, because YA mysteries tend to be too predictable for me. The story really took off from the first few chapters (as it’s told from alternating POVs of the 3 cousins), though it didn’t capture me fully until the halfway point.
I enjoyed all three of the cousins’ perspectives and how different they and their circumstances were. Once the flashbacks were introduced, I started caring a lot more about the past events, though, and I wish the story focused more on the Story children, and not the grandkids. Truth be told, the mystery worked either way.

I think Karen M. McManus is really good at pacing her stories and giving the readers just enough info to keep them interested and engaged. Like with her other books, I didn’t once get bored and want to put the book down to take a break. I had fun reading it start to finish, although it wasn’t perfect by any means.

I could’ve done without the romance, but I say it every time. I know parts of it put things in motion when it comes to plot, but I think I’d enjoy it more if literally anything else happened.
Although I didn’t fully figure out where the story was going, I had a pretty good inkling how it’ll end, and the finale didn’t surprise me. It’s not always detrimental for me to be shocked by the reveal to enjoy a story, as long as the rest of the book makes up for it, and I’ll happily admit it did. I think as far as YA mysteries go, this one turned out pretty impressive.

Next time Karen M. McManus comes out with another book, I’ll try not to doubt her. She’s proven to write continuously fun and engaging stories.

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Make sure to follow TheWriteReads on Twitter and check out all the fantastic reviews from other bloggers, as this tour is a huge one.

Thank you for reading!

The Once and Future Witches by Alix E. Harrow – A Review

Hi! How are you? I thought after a downer of the last review (which was for Addie LaRue), I’ll post one I absolutely loved – just to balance it out. So here it is – The Once and Future Witches by Alix E. Harrow – a book that has been out for nearly a month and is not getting the praise it deserves!

The Once and Future Witches by Alix E. Harrow
  • Publication date: October 13th 2020
  • Publisher: Little, Brown Book Group Limited
  • Genre: Historical fantasy

In 1893, there’s no such thing as witches. There used to be, in the wild, dark days before the burnings began, but now witching is nothing but tidy charms and nursery rhymes. If the modern woman wants any measure of power, she must find it at the ballot box. But when the Eastwood sisters–James Juniper, Agnes Amaranth, and Beatrice Belladonna–join the suffragists of New Salem, they begin to pursue the forgotten words and ways that might turn the women’s movement into the witch’s movement. Stalked by shadows and sickness, hunted by forces who will not suffer a witch to vote-and perhaps not even to live-the sisters will need to delve into the oldest magics, draw new alliances, and heal the bond between them if they want to survive. There’s no such thing as witches. But there will be.

Alix E. Harrow did it again! And now I’m forever convinced I will read everything she ever writes, although I was quite sure of that after reading her debut novel.

The Once and Future Witches had me enchanted from the first page. Set in the late 1800s at the brink of the suffragette movement, it’s a story of three estranged sisters, Agnes, Bella and Juniper, who are brought back together in strange circumstances. It’s a beautiful, atmospheric and feminist tale of sisterly bonds, witchery and women’s rights.

Harrow’s writing is impeccable. It’s just the right amount of flowery, without being lofty and overdone. Considering it’s only her second book, it’s very impressive as she seems to have found her style and voice already.

I love all three sisters equally. It’s not often I get attached to every character in the story, I usually have my favourites, but it’s really hard to pick a favourite out of Agnes, Bella and Juniper. All three sisters are vastly different and fascinating in their own way. Most of the secondary characters are female, too, and together they make for a greatly diverse and strong ensemble.

Give me anything witchy and I’ll read it. I have a soft spot for magic of any kind and witchy stories. The Once and Future Witches is so much more, though. It’s about women who are fed up of being silenced, objectified, judged, harassed… you name it. It’s feminist in the best way – inclusive of ALL, no matter their race, sexuality or biological sex (although Harrow acknowledges how it was perceived in the past, and for some until this day). The family dynamics and sisterly bond between the three protagonists was just the cherry on top.

I don’t understand why so many people are sleeping on this book. I deserves more hype – it’s absolutely fantastic. All the stars for The Once and Future Witches!!!

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Have you read The Once and Future Witches yet? Is it on your radar? If not, you definitely should pick it up – trust me!

As always, thank you for reading!

The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue by V.E. Schwab – A Review

Hi! I almost forgot I said I’ll post the review for Addie LaRue today! As I said in my wrap up, it’s probably the most disappointing book I’ve ever read, considering how much I hyped it up for myself so let’s just get into the review, shall we?

The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue by V.E. Schwab
  • Publication date: October 2020
  • Publisher: Tor Books
  • Genre: Historical Fantasy

France, 1714: in a moment of desperation, a young woman makes a Faustian bargain to live forever—and is cursed to be forgotten by everyone she meets. Thus begins the extraordinary life of Addie LaRue, and a dazzling adventure that will play out across centuries and continents, across history and art, as a young woman learns how far she will go to leave her mark on the world. But everything changes when, after nearly 300 years, Addie stumbles across a young man in a hidden bookstore and he remembers her name.

This is somewhat controversial and comes as a surprise not only to me, but I think to everyone who knows a bit about me. I love Schwab, I consider her one of my favourite authors and I’ve been lookong forward to reading this for a really long time. I’ve seen a bunch of great reviews and I had very high expectations for it.

I’ll be completely honest and say I don’t know exactly what didn’t work for me. Addie wasn’t a bad protagonist, the writing was very Schwabesque and I was sold on the premise. But… although in theory this was a perfect book for me, in practice it REALLY didn’t mesh me with. I think has it been written by anyone else, I would’ve DNFed it.

Like I said… Addie was a fine protagonist. I didn’t love her, but I didn’t hate her. As far as heroines go, she was very middle of the road. Same goes for Henry. We don’t much know any other people aside from Luc, whom I wanted more of, and so for over 600 pages that’s a very slim and average cast of characters and if they’re not in any way interesting, it makes it for a dull read.

It could’ve been saved by a plot of some sort, but alas… it lacked that, too. I’m not saying the book is plotless. I just think there isn’t enough plot in it that warrants over 600 pages, and all could’ve been condensed into a much shorter book. I think it would’ve made it more enjoyable (for me; it looks like many found the book enjoyable as it is). The pacing was incredibly slow and the book meandered for so long without anything happening, it actually put me in the biggest reading slump ever.

The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue wasn’t a book for me and it’s surprising as on paper it ticked all the boxes. I kept wanting and trying to enjoy it, because it’s V.E. Schwab, but I found myself bored and frustrated with it. Unfortunately I can’t say any more about it other than the fact that I’m really disappointed.

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I know I’m definitely in the minority here. Did you enjoy this book? What was your favourite thing about it?

Thanks for reading!

My Name is Monster by Katie Hale – A Review

Hi! I haven’t posted a review that wasn’t for a tour in a hot minute. I read My Name is Monster at the start of the month and it was an experience, so here’s a short and sweet review.

My Name is Monster by Katie Hale
  • Publication date: June 6th 2019
  • Publisher: Canongate Books
  • Genre: Dystopian fiction

After the Sickness has killed off her parents, and the bombs have fallen on the last safe cities, Monster emerges from the Arctic vault which has kept her alive. When she washes up on the coast of Scotland, everyone she knows is dead, and she believes she is alone in an empty world. Monster begins the long walk south, scavenging and learning the contours of this familiar land made new. Slowly, piece by piece, she begins to rebuild a life. Until, one day, she finds a girl: another survivor, feral, and ready to be taught all that Monster knows. But the lessons the girl learns are not always those Monster means to teach . . . Inspired by Robinson Crusoe and Frankenstein, My Name Is Monster is a novel about power, about the things that society leaves imprinted on us when the rules no longer apply, and about the strength and the danger of a mother’s love

I picked up My Name is Monster on a whim. I didn’t know what it was about other than it was a dystopian, post apocalyptic novel about a girl called Monster. Honestly, I think that sums it up and I’m not sure if it’s a good or a bad thing.

My Name is Monster was a strange read. Told from a perspective of what it seems like the only human alive in the United Kingdom, in both present time and through flashbacks, it’s a story about survival, loneliness and what it means to be human.

Monster has always been a tad bit strange and a recluse and she’s the one who tells us that about herself. We get glimpses of her past through the stories she recalls herself while travelling the country trying to find food and shelter. We learn about her family life, about her time in school and of how she’s always kept to herself. There isn’t much more to her personality than that, and I don’t think it matters until halfway through the book when the POV changes.

I thought a survival story would be more exciting, but I would describe the book as pretty much plotless. Well, of course it has a plot, things are happening, it’s just not very plot driven, but slow and meandering. It focuses more on the characters, their feelings and how they perceive the now desolate world. There are a lot of topics which this book explores in a very subtle yet effective way. I am being vague because I don’t want to spoil the book in any way.

I would call My Name is Monster an acquired taste when it comes to books. If you like action heavy books, it’s not for you. If you like straightforward books, it’s also not for you. It’s a book that takes a simple and somewhat overdone concept and instead of going the obvious route, it decides to explore the ideas in a different way and bring different things to attention. Overall I think I enjoyed it, although it wasn’t a favourite read or a very profound one.

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Thanks for reading. Again, apologies if it doesn’t look like my regular posts, I’m still learning how to use the phone app editor.

Fable by Adrienne Young – A Review

Hi there! I am so behind on reviews, you wouldn’t believe! But hopefully that means more content. Today I have a review for Fable by Adrienne Young, as you can guess from the title. Let’s get into it.

Fable by Adrienne Young
  • Publication date: September 1st 2020
  • Publisher: Wednesday Books
  • Genre: Fantasy

As the daughter of the most powerful trader in the Narrows, the sea is the only home seventeen-year-old Fable has ever known. It’s been four years since the night she watched her mother drown during an unforgiving storm. The next day her father abandoned her on a legendary island filled with thieves and little food. To survive she must keep to herself, learn to trust no one and rely on the unique skills her mother taught her. The only thing that keeps her going is the goal of getting off the island, finding her father and demanding her rightful place beside him and his crew. To do so Fable enlists the help of a young trader named West to get her off the island and across the Narrows to her father.

But her father’s rivalries and the dangers of his trading enterprise have only multiplied since she last saw him and Fable soon finds that West isn’t who he seems. Together, they will have to survive more than the treacherous storms that haunt the Narrows if they’re going to stay alive.

Welcome to a world made dangerous by the sea and by those who wish to profit from it. Where a young girl must find her place and her family while trying to survive in a world built for men.

Thank you to the publisher and NetGalley for providing me with a free eArc of this book in exchange for an honest review.

I have read from Adrienne Young before. I really loved Sky in the Deep, when I read it back in 2018. So, obviously, when I got my hands on an early copy of Fable I was delighted. I’m not sure what I expected from it, but whatever I got was not it.

The premise of Fable had me hooked. It’s pitched as a pirate story about a girl who needs to get off an island full of thieves and criminals, on which she was left by her father. All checks out. Except it’s not much of a pirate story. It’s set on a ship, yes, but it’s not your conventional pirate story.

I liked Fable as a main character at the start. That’s usually a good sign, if I like a character at the start, I usually end up loving them by the end of the book. Or at least still liking them. Fable became very bland very fast. Literally everyone else had more personality than her and I definitely cared about the side characters more than her. I didn’t dislike her by the end of the book by any means, I just didn’t think she was particularly interesting. The side characters were great, though, and I do have a bit of a soft spot for West, I’m not going to lie.

Adrienne Young’s writing is beautiful. I had no qualms with the language or narration style. I think she writes beautifully and it was one of the reasons why I continued reading the book even though I could not get into it at all at the beginning.

Which brings me to the biggest downfall of this book, in my opinion. The pacing. The book didn’t get interesting to me until the 50% mark. If not the fact I’ve gotten an arc of this book and it was on my list of most anticipated releases of 2020, I might’ve DNFed it. The first half dragged. Not much happened, or at least I felt like nothing was happening… and then BAM. Everything started happening all at once. I enjoyed the second half of the book much MUCH more, but considering how slow the first half was, it didn’t blow me away. I wish the pacing was a little bit more even.

Overall, while I quite enjoyed the book come the last page, I am on the fence on how I actually feel about it. It lands somewhere around 3.5 stars for me and I might be picking up the sequel once it’s out early next year.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

Like I said – I’m behind on reviews so you can already purchase a copy of Fable if the book sounds interesting to you. Thank you for reading and as always I will talk to you soon!