Friday, 13 October 2017

October TBR and Life Update

Let's just breeze past the fact that it's practically halfway through the month and I'm only just posting a TBR - I've been super busy, ok? My work/life/study balance has been turned upside down the past couple of weeks and everything has been hectic, I'm basically just working and sleeping. Hence the radio silence - I'm sorry!


Anyway, I started my masters at the beginning of October and since then, all I've read, and am planning on reading, is set texts. To recap, so far this month I have read: Lady Audley's Secret by Mary Elizabeth Braddon, After Supper Ghost Stories by Jerome K Jerome, A Flock of Shadows edited by Claire Houguez and Nightmare Abbey by Thomas Love Peacock.


For the rest of the month, I'm going to be studying (and therefore reading): Lady of the Shroud by Bram Stoker and Speedy Death by Gladys Mitchell. Then I've got to get started on the first ones of November, which is The Face in the Glass by Mary Elizabeth Braddon and Collected Ghost Stories by MR James.


This is turning into a super fun-filled blog post!


Right, life update: like I said, I feel like I'm ever so slightly drowning in books and reading prep and essay planning. Why did I think going back to university was a good idea? Oh yeah, because I love books, even when the enormous pile of them next to my bed is trying to kill me!


All I wanted to say was I am still around, just a heck of a lot less! I hope you can understand that my studies have to take priority and even though I miss you all so much, just everything online really, I barely have time to take a breath!


Let me know what you're reading this month, what exciting books you're looking forward to, and if you could study anything what would it be? (Oh and can anyone guess what subject/genre I'm studying?)

Wednesday, 27 September 2017

There's Someone Inside Your House by Stephanie Perkins


There's Someone Inside Your House

One-by-one, the students of Osborne High are dying in a series of gruesome murders, each with increasing and grotesque flair. As the terror grows closer and the hunt intensifies for the killer, the dark secrets among them must finally be confronted.

International bestselling author Stephanie Perkins returns with a fresh take on the classic teen slasher story that’s fun, quick-witted, and completely impossible to put down.
 


I have to say I only picked this up because I really like Perkins' writing style and characters. Obviously it's very different from her other books and I'm not sure it quite hit the mark. I liked it, it's not my usual genre, but even I could tell it was standard high school slasher. Oh, and I do have to mention definite trigger warnings for gore, as well as severe hazing/mentions of suicide. 

Makani was a decent protagonist - her Hawaiian culture was very important to her and very obviously out of place in her new home. She had been shipped over by divorcing parents to her grandmother's, partly so she wasn't involved in the separation and partly so she could have a new start after some horrible incident at her old school. This was mentioned a lot and left me speculating more and more bizarre things that could have happened, but when it was finally revealed - yes it was horrific - it was a little bit of a let down. Her love interest, Olly, was the typical tortured, shy goth boy but he got some very good development and he really was quite sweet. 

Overall I liked it, but didn't always feel like a horror story - the crimes were gruesome and there was, for the most part, that sense of someone looking over your shoulder. But it was also very character driven and a surprising amount of romance - which I like in a story but I can understand why others didn't appreciate it. 

Published 26th September 2017 by Dutton Books for Young People. Thank you to the publisher and Netgalley for my copy in exchange for an honest review.

Friday, 22 September 2017

Things A Bright Girl Can Do by Sally Nichols

Things a Bright Girl Can DoThrough rallies and marches, in polite drawing rooms and freezing prison cells and the poverty-stricken slums of the East End, three courageous young women join the fight for the vote.

Evelyn is seventeen, and though she is rich and clever, she may never be allowed to follow her older brother to university. Enraged that she is expected to marry her childhood sweetheart rather than be educated, she joins the Suffragettes, and vows to pay the ultimate price for women's freedom.

May is fifteen, and already sworn to the cause, though she and her fellow Suffragists refuse violence. When she meets Nell, a girl who's grown up in hardship, she sees a kindred spirit. Together and in love, the two girls start to dream of a world where all kinds of women have their place.

But the fight for freedom will challenge Evelyn, May and Nell more than they ever could believe. As war looms, just how much are they willing to sacrifice?


Evelyn, May and Nell come from very different backgrounds and have different ideals, but all are impressed with the Suffrage movement, all desperate to change what it means to be a woman. As these three move about their lives, grow up and fall in love, they come to realise that their childish ideals of a perfect world require a bit more hard work. 

It was incredibly clever and informative without being too imposing - it gave a very good impression of what life was actually like in the 1910's, not knowing the significance of larger events, just going about daily life. As a bit of a history nerd, I adored reading about their lives, how each family worked and lived a slightly different way but all wanted a better life. 

I fell in love with all of them, and especially appreciated how each young woman encompassed a different value of the Suffragettes. Nell, used to wearing her brother's hand-me-downs, was hard working and tough and wanted what was best for her large family. When she meets May, their differences seem hardly important and they fall head over heels - which was not only adorable but so unique in a historical fiction, I nearly cried! It was just May and her mother, both Quakers and pacifists, who have differing opinions to the rest of the country when war is declared. Evelyn is determined to have the same opportunities as her older brother and wants to study at university, whereas her parents want her to marry. 

As I said, they might be different women on the outside but all three just wanted a world that treated them fairly. It was just fascinating to read about women with their feet on the ground, as it were, in the midst of the Suffrage movement and the first year of the Great War. Definitely a new favourite and one I will be happily recommending. 

Published 7th September 2017 by Anderson. Thank you to the publisher and Netgalley for my copy in exchange for an honest review.

Tuesday, 19 September 2017

Top Ten Books on my Autumn TBR

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish.

As I prepare to start my masters - by the way, have I mentioned I'm doing a masters? ;) - my TBR has basically gone out the window as I have to prioritise my university books. So this week's top ten will be split in two, for uni and for pleasure.

University:
1 - Zofloya by Charlotte Dacre
2 - Poppet by Mo Hayder
3 - Sherlock Holmes, the Collected Short Stories by Arthur Conan Doyle
4 - Collected Ghost Stories by MR James
5 - Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie

I recently got the set text list so I'm shopping for all the books I need and these are just a few of them, some of which I've already got.

Pleasure:
1 - Now I Rise by Kiersten White
Sequel to And I Darken, and the only reason I haven't picked it up sooner is I'm a little intimated by the dense text!

2 - Juniper Lemon's Happiness Index by Julie Israel 
Picked up at Yalc and it sounds lovely, I'm imagining something like Jandy Nelson's books.

3 - Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls
Something to dip in and out of, might make me feel better when I'm tired from studying.

4 - Moxie by Jennifer Mathieu
After hearing all about this at Yalc, I'm really excited by this girl power story.

5 - Can I Speak To Someone In Charge? by Emily Clarkson
This was a spur of the moment find in the library this past weekend - I haven't heard of it before but it sounds clever and funny.

Friday, 8 September 2017

Defy the Stars by Claudia Gray

Defy the Stars (Constellation, #1)Noemi is a young and fearless soldier of Genesis, a colony planet of a dying Earth. But the citizens of Genesis are rising up - they know that Earth's settlers will only destroy this planet the way they destroyed their own. And so a terrible war has begun.

When Noemi meets Abel, one of Earth's robotic mech warriors, she realizes that Abel himself may provide the key to Genesis' salvation. Abel is bound by his programming to obey her - even though her plan could result in his destruction. But Abel is no ordinary mech. He's a unique prototype, one with greater intelligence, skill and strength than any other. More than that, he has begun to develop emotions, a personality and even dreams. Noemi begins to realise that if Abel is less than human, he is more than a machine. If she destroys him, is it murder? And can a cold-blooded murder be redeemed by the protection of a world?

Stranded together in space, they go on a whirlwind adventure through Earth's various colony worlds, alongside the countless Vagabonds who have given up planetary life altogether and sail forever between the stars. Each step brings them closer - both to each other and to the terrible decision Noemi will have to make about her world's fate, and Abel's.
 


Space plots generally confuse me, even as much as I like them - whole planets, not necessarily relating to Earth, having their own histories and societal places can be bloody confusing, especially when in this story, Earth was the mother-ship of a ring of planets and one of them wanted out. That's where Noemi comes in - she is a soldier on Genesis, the planet desperately fighting for independence, and when she comes across Abel's ship, she commandeers it and him to help her fight. 

The characters and the romance is what sold this for me; robots who can think and feel and love are like my kryptonite and Abel was just so damn adorable I couldn't stand it. Noemi and Abel are thrown together in what is possibly the most horrible circumstances, but as Abel has information that could help save Noemi's planet, she is willing to overlook the fact that he is a killing machine. They literally have to traverse the galaxy to hunt down parts to build... a thing that would blow up... another thing like a star-gate... yeah, this is where the details just went over my head! Point is, adventure and hilarity ensues, as well as bonding and super cute kissy moments, until Noemi is able to return home with hope.

All in all, a great sci-fi adventure, with some astrophysics stuff that passed me by, but really great characters and fantastic writing. 

Published 6th April 2017 by Hot Key Books.

Tuesday, 5 September 2017

A Few Books That I Struggled To Read (To Start With)

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and The Bookish.

I rarely DNF books, not just because all the books I read are amazing but mostly because I'm quite picky over what I pick up in the first place. This week's theme is books you had a hard time with, so I'm going with a few books that I struggled with but ended up enjoying.

The Woman in White1 - The Woman In White by Wilkie Collins
I've only just finished this one, which is why it's top of the list. I technically should have read this at university but I didn't have enough time, and also I didn't write any essays on it so I didn't bother. Terrible, I know. But now that I'm about to start my masters (AHHH!!) I need to re-programme my brain into the Victorian-Gothic language. Anyway, the book itself is ridiculously long, over 600 pages, and in tiny font, so it did take me about two weeks to finish. But the story was really good, and I ended up really invested!

2 - Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
Please don't hate me! I really wanted to like this, and I did, but I forget every time now much of a chore some Austen language is to read, it's just so long! It helped that I already knew the story and I'm glad I've read the original, but it took me a while.

3 - The Island by Olivia Levez
The IslandThis was a review book so I had no idea what it was about apart from it sounded interesting. And it was, the story was incredible and very moving, but it's written in this... almost stream of conscious narrative, flitting back and forth between present and past, which took me a while to find the rhythm but it suited the protagonist so well. 

4 - We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson
I knew I would love this one, or at least it sounded right up my street, but I wasn't quite prepared for the slow story and the confusion over what had happened. Took a little while to get into it, especially to understand Merricat, but really liked it. 

5 - Valley of the Dolls by Jacqueline Susann
Yet another classic that I couldn't quite get my head around! This time, it was more that I wasn't expecting the story to span so many years, it really did follow the three women's lives in the Big Apple.

Sunday, 3 September 2017

Weekly Highlights: the 'September TBR' edition


Weekly Highlights is a feature borrowed from Faye of A Daydreamer's Thoughts, where I get to highlight my posts of the week, show you my new books and talk about bookish things!

I am both happy and sad that it's September already - on one hand, I handle autumn weather much better than summer, but on the other, it means my term-time job is starting again. But I do have some exciting news: at the end of the month, I will be starting my masters! So lots more work and almost certainly less time online and on the blog, but I will not disappear, I promise. 


On The Blog
A few of my favourite posts of the month:
Review of A Change Is Gonna Come
Review of The Gender Games by Juno Dawson
Review of Tell It To The Moon by Siobhan Curham
Review of True Love at the Lonely Hearts Bookshop by Annie Darling
Review of The Loneliest Girl in the Universe by Lauren James
Review of Nowhere Near You by Leah Thomas


Currently Reading
I am still plodding through The Woman in White, which is to get my brain back into classic literature mode for my MA. I've also just started the audio book of Order of the Phoenix. 

On My Bookshelf
Wonder Woman: Warbringer (DC Icons, #1)Wonder Woman: Warbringer by Leigh Bardugo
She will become a legend but first she is Diana, Princess of the Amazons. And her fight is just beginning...

Diana is desperate to prove herself to her warrior sisters. But when the opportunity comes, she throws away her chance at glory and breaks Amazon law to save a mere mortal, Alia Keralis. With this single heroic act, Diana may have just doomed the world.

Alia is a Warbringer - a descendant of the infamous Helen of Troy, fated to bring about an age of bloodshed and misery. Diana and Alia will face an army of enemies, mortal and divine, determined to destroy or possess the Warbringer.

To save the world, they must stand side by side against the tide of war.


Nyxia by Scott Reintgen
Nyxia (The Nyxia Triad, #1)Emmett Atwater isn't just leaving Detroit; he's leaving Earth. Why the Babel Corporation recruited him is a mystery, but the number of zeroes on their contract has him boarding their lightship and hoping to return to Earth with enough money to take care of his family. 

Forever. 

Before long, Emmett discovers that he is one of ten recruits, all of whom have troubled pasts and are a long way from home. Now each recruit must earn the right to travel down to the planet of Eden--a planet that Babel has kept hidden--where they will mine a substance called Nyxia that has quietly become the most valuable material in the universe. 

But Babel's ship is full of secrets. And Emmett will face the ultimate choice: win the fortune at any cost, or find a way to fight that won't forever compromise what it means to be human.


These two I received in August's Illumicrate, which was brilliant, as per usual! I hadn't heard of Nyxia but it sounds like a really cool space adventure, and of course Wonder Woman I am super excited for!

InvictusInvictus by Ryan Graudin
Time flies when you're plundering history.

Farway Gaius McCarthy was born outside of time. The son of a time-traveling Recorder from 2354 AD and a gladiator living in Rome in 95 AD, Far's birth defies the laws of nature. Exploring history himself is all he's ever wanted, and after failing his final time-traveling exam, Far takes a position commanding a ship with a crew of his friends as part of a black market operation to steal valuables from the past. 

But during a heist on the sinking Titanic, Far meets a mysterious girl who always seems to be one step ahead of him. Armed with knowledge that will bring Far's very existence into question, she will lead Far and his team on a race through time to discover a frightening truth: History is not as steady as it seems.


Things A Bright Girl Can Do by Sally Nichols
Things a Bright Girl Can DoThrough rallies and marches, in polite drawing rooms and freezing prison cells and the poverty-stricken slums of the East End, three courageous young women join the fight for the vote.

Evelyn is seventeen, and though she is rich and clever, she may never be allowed to follow her older brother to university. Enraged that she is expected to marry her childhood sweetheart rather than be educated, she joins the Suffragettes, and vows to pay the ultimate price for women's freedom.

May is fifteen, and already sworn to the cause, though she and her fellow Suffragists refuse violence. When she meets Nell, a girl who's grown up in hardship, she sees a kindred spirit. Together and in love, the two girls start to dream of a world where all kinds of women have their place.

But the fight for freedom will challenge Evelyn, May and Nell more than they ever could believe. As war looms, just how much are they willing to sacrifice?


Both of these are from Netgalley, so thank you Anderson and Orion! I was vaguely aware of them but found out about them at Yalc so couldn't wait to snatch them up!

The Wrath and the DawnThe Wrath and the Dawn by Renee Ahdieh 
Every dawn brings horror to a different family in a land ruled by a killer. Khalid, the eighteen-year-old Caliph of Khorasan, takes a new bride each night only to have her executed at sunrise. So it is a terrible surprise when sixteen-year-old Shahrzad volunteers to marry Khalid. But she does so with a clever plan to stay alive and exact revenge on the Caliph for the murder of her best friend and countless other girls. Shazi's wit and will get her through to the dawn that no others have seen, but with a catch . . . she may be falling in love with a murderer.

Shazi discovers that the villainous boy-king is not all that he seems and neither are the deaths of so many girls. It's up to her to uncover the reason for the murders and to break the cycle once and for all.

Moxie by Jennifer Mathieu

MoxieVivian Carter is fed up. Fed up with her high school teachers who think the football team can do no wrong. Fed up with sexist dress codes, hallway harassment and gross comments from guys during class. But most of all, Viv Carter is fed up with always following the rules.

Viv's mum was a tough-as-nails, punk rock Riot Grrrl in the '90s, and now Viv takes a page from her mother's past and creates Moxie, a feminist zine that she distributes anonymously to her classmates. She's just blowing off steam, but other girls respond and spread the Moxie message. As Viv forges friendships with other young women across the divides of cliques and popularity rankings, she realises that what she has started is nothing short of a girl revolution.

And finally, these two were in kindle sale, 99p each, and I've heard great things about both of them, so no brainer! I'm more excited about Moxie, really, but hoping to read both as soon as possible. 

September TBR
Two review books: Invictus and Things A Bright Girl Can Do. Apart from that, my TBR is pretty open. Well, until I get my MA reading list, that is!