Friday 31 July 2020

Review: A Beautifully Foolish Endeavor by Hank Green

The statutes disappeared the same way they appeared, in an instant. While they were on Earth, they caused confusion and destruction without ever lifting a finger. Well, that's not exactly true. Part of their impact was the untimely death of April May: a young woman who stumbled into their path and named them the Carls, gaining viral fame and putting herself in the middle of an avalanche of conspiracy theories.

Now, the world is as confused as ever. Andy has picked up April's mantle of fame, speaking at conferences and online about the world post-Carls; Maya, ravaged by grief, begins to follow a string of mysteries that she is convinced will lead her to April; and Miranda infiltrates a new scientific operation . . . one that might have repercussions beyond anyone's comprehension.

As they each get further down their own paths, a series of clues arrive - mysterious books that seem to predict the future and control the actions of their readers - which seem to suggest April may be very much alive . . . But there's a new threat. A growing force that wants to control our reality.

Did the Carls ever really leave us, and what happens if they're here to stay?

Review: This book was very easy to get straight into because it picks up right where an absolutely remarkable things ends. We have some explanation of the time we've missed but then we get to interact with some of the same characters from the first novel and we get some answers that the previous novel questioned straight away. The other things that sucks you right into this reasonably long book right from the word go is the way it is written it sometimes speaks straight to the audience as it is kind of a book within a book and so you have to sit up and pay attention. 

This book is definitely more detail heavy that its predecessor. You absolutely have to concentrate the whole time you're reading it. I read this book on audio and so sometimes I would be doing something like driving at the same time and miss a detail and have to put it back to find out what I missed. I think this previous novel was a decent introduction to this world that was easy to access for those of us who don't normally read sci-fi novels. 

I loved Maya as a character in the previous novel so I was happy to have her be a big part of this book. I think she is a great character because she is easy to relate to and I feel like I would definitely follow her on social media. She has a determination about he that is easy to get on board with and so I enjoyed getting to know her a little better in this book. 

Just like the first book, this novel has a big dollop of geek culture assuming a prior knowledge of certain technology, playing with words and being aware o online communities. Like the first novel, this one also does a great job of mixing in social commentary, tackling guns, racism, social media and getting absorbed in that world. The audiobook has a great interview in the form of an authors note and bonus content at the end of the book that does a great job of explaining this even more. 

I think because of the detail heavy nature of this book and also the fact that it is reasonably long, I didn't enjoy this one as much as the first April May/Carl novel but I would definitely carry on with the series if there were to be more books published. I do recommend the audio if you are able to access books in that form but I would also love to have a flick through the physical book to see if I missed anything whilst listening. 

To order your copy now, just click the link: UK or US

Thursday 30 July 2020

Reading Vlog: How Many Books Did I Read This Week?


Guest Review: 66 On ‘66 By Matt Eastley

66 on 66 provides a unique perspective on what, 50 years on, remains the greatest occasion in English sporting history. Countless words have been written and spoken about this extraordinary match which made national heroes of the team and its manager. Yet this book eschews those men who sported the Three Lions that day and, instead, talks to dozens of other people who were present. For the first time, one book collects together the fans, the journalists, the celebrities, the musicians, the police officers, the ball boys and the officials who all witnessed that famous, wonderful match. Their stories are accompanied by newly-taken, world-class photographs making 66 on 66 the definitive record of England's World Cup glory.

Review: On Saturday, 30th July 1966, England beat West Germany by 4 goals to 2 to win the Football World Cup for the first, and only, time. Much has been written of this occasion and of the players who became national heroes on that day, whilst countless debates have raged over whether or not Geoff Hurst’s shot was over the line after bouncing off the underside of the crossbar for England’s third goal. This book, published to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the event, is a compilation of 66 interviews and photographs of people who were there.

None of the players who participated in the match are featured but, instead, the reminiscences are those of an eclectic mix of supporters, from both England and Germany, as well as persons essential for the staging of a major sporting event. Hence, there are Police Officers, members of the Royal Marines band that provided the half-time entertainment, ball boys, journalists, the FIFA president’s personal assistant and even one of the operators of the scoreboard (numbers were inserted by hand in those days). The interviews concentrate on how the individuals obtained their tickets, how they travelled to and from the venue, their impressions of the match and any celebrations that took place afterwards.

The result, following an introduction giving a brief outline of the group and knockout stages leading up to the final, is a collection of 66 highly individual accounts of one particular sporting occasion. I found this book to be a really interesting trip down memory lane, providing a snapshot of a bygone era. It also gave an insight into some of the different roles required to stage such an event. As expected, there were several opinions of the match itself and whether or not Geoff Hurst’s shot did cross the line. However, as in any sport, it is the referee’s decision, after consultation with the linesman, that is final.

To order your copy now, just click here!

Wednesday 29 July 2020

Guest Review: Letters from the Past by Erica James

It's the autumn of 1962 in the idyllic Suffolk village of Melstead St Mary. Evelyn Devereux's husband Kit is planning their 20th wedding anniversary party. But as they prepare to celebrate, Evelyn receives an anonymous letter that threatens to unravel the secrets she's kept hidden for many years - secrets that reach back to the war and her days at Bletchley Park.

Evelyn's sister-in-law, Hope, has brought joy to countless children with her bestselling books, but despite having a loving husband and caring family, happiness has never come easily to her. Then in an instant her fragile world is turned upside down when she too receives an anonymous letter.

Across the village, up at Melstead Hall, Julia Devereux has married into a life beyond anything she could have dreamt of, not realising until it's too late that it comes with a heavy price.

Meanwhile, in the sun-baked desert of Palm Springs, Romily Devereux-Temple, crime-writer and former ATA pilot, is homesick for her beloved Island House, where she's saved the day more times than she can count. On her return home, and shocked to learn what has been going on in her absence, she finds herself reluctantly confronting a secret she's kept hidden for a very long time. Once again Romily is challenged to save the day and hold the family together. Can she do it, and maybe seize some happiness for herself at the same time?

Review: I always enjoy reading a book written by Erica James; they are generally delightful family sagas. This one, her 23rd book, is a sequel to Coming Home to Island House and is set in the same idyllic Suffolk village. In fact, when I reviewed the earlier book, I finished by wishing that there could be a sequel, and here it is! Although the characters and location will be familiar to readers of Coming Home to Island House, this one can easily be read as a stand-alone if you didn’t read the first title. I chose the audiobook version of this novel, read beautifully by Jemma Redgrave. Although several years have passed since the end of the first book, I was instantly transported back to the lives of the characters associated with Island House.

This story begins in the autumn of 1962 and carries on through to the beginning of 1963, with a few flashbacks to the war years for some of the characters. Central to everything is Island House, a large country house in the Suffolk village of Melstead St Mary. This is the home of crime writer Romily Devereux-Temple, her stepchildren and others connected with the family living nearby or a short train ride away in London. The peace of this normally sleepy village is suddenly shattered for some of the ladies by the arrival of nasty poison pen letters. Nobody can work out who is sending these missives, but Romily is determined to get to the bottom of the situation. These letters are not the only drama experienced by the various characters in this story. There is a lot going on in all their lives, including mental and physical abuse, a life-threatening accident, illness and secret romance. Will the strong sense of family and friendship see everyone safe through to the end?

I have thoroughly enjoyed reading this novel, and would recommend it, and the one that went before, to all readers. Since it is a couple of years since I read the first in the series, it took me a few minutes to sort out the characters and their relationships, but it was worth taking the time to do that. As I usually find when reading one of Erica James’s novels, the story had me hooked immediately and kept me coming back as I followed the twists and turns of the extended family with the common connection of Island House and Romily Devereux-Temple. The storyline is full of drama for all of the characters, flitting between London, Suffolk, and even California. I liked the way that each of the many chapters in the book was written from the point of view of an individual character; I felt that I got to know each of them better through that approach. All the characters and the situations they faced were believable, and the reader could warm to most of them, with one notable exception. I’m already looking forward to the next novel from Erica James.

To order your copy now, just click the link: UK or US

Tuesday 28 July 2020

Unboxing Enchanted Fandom Disney Villains July 2020 Subscription Box


Reading Rush 2020 Wrap Up-How Many Pages Did I Read?

Right let's break this week into the challenges to see what I read...

I completed all the video challenges and 5 out of 7 of the Instagram challenges. My video will be up very soon so keep an eye out for that!

One other thing to note is that I am really happy with the variety of books I read this week. I like the fact that I have nonfiction and poetry in here as well as young adult, middle grade and adult fiction. 

1/ Read a book with a cover that matches the colour of your birth stone.

432 Pages

2/ Read a book that starts with the word “The”.


343 Pages & 304 Pages

3/ Read a book that inspired a movie you’ve already seen.

261 Pages

4/ Read the first book you touch.

448 Pages-I forgot I was going to read this one this week so I could watch the movie!

5/ Read a book completely outside of your house.

See challenge 6...

6/ Read a book in a genre that you’ve always wanted to read more of.

176 Pages

7/ Read a book that takes place on a different continent than where you live. (Quite easy for me...)

416 Pages 

Plus these others...

368 Pages

478 Pages

I only managed 72 pages of this one before the end of the readathon hit. You know I will be finishing this one today though and so look out for my review very very soon!

So in total I read 3298 pages. I completed all the challenges including the hidden 'read 7 books' challenge. 

Now I just need to sit down and write all of my reviews!

Saturday 25 July 2020

Review: Slay by Brittney Morris

Black Panther meets Ready Player One. A fierce teen game developer battles a real-life troll intent on ruining the Black Panther-inspired video game she created and the safe community it represents for black gamers.
By day, seventeen-year-old Kiera Johnson is a college student, and one of the only black kids at Jefferson Academy. By night, she joins hundreds of thousands of black gamers who duel worldwide in the secret online role-playing card game, SLAY.
No one knows Kiera is the game developer - not even her boyfriend, Malcolm. But when a teen in Kansas City is murdered over a dispute in the SLAY world, the media labels it an exclusionist, racist hub for thugs.
With threats coming from both inside and outside the game, Kiera must fight to save the safe space she's created. But can she protect SLAY without losing herself?

Review: I absolutely loved this book and I don't know why it took me so long to read. I think perhaps I was scared of the hype and so stayed away until more people had had time to voice their opinions on this one. I was worried I would struggle to understand the video game world of Slay because I struggle with reading fantasy and it took me a couple of goes to enjoy all that Black Panther had to offer but I had no issues immersing myself in the world of Slay and I LOVED all that it had to offer. 

I really got along with Kiera as a character. She has so much of the world on her shoulders because she is a teen applying to colleges and trying to get through senior year but also because she is a strong black woman dealing with all that the world throws at her because of her race and her family. I really love that through Kiera this book explores the experience of white friends expecting you to explain and be representative of all Black people. We also get to explore the problems associated with rigid ideas about what Black excellence should look like. Toxic masculinity and cultural identity is explored so well through Kiera and her friends. 

Kiera creates Slay to have a safe space for black gamers after experiencing racism in the gaming community but whether that is inherently racist or not is brought up when the mainstream media discovers the game. This throws up a lot of issues for the reader as well as for Kiera and her friends and made me ask a lot of questions for sure. I wholeheartedly loved the idea of Slay. The cards involved in the game celebrate and highlight black culture and I also love that it opens up an international world. 

Overall this book was such a delight to read and I can highly recommend it to anyone. It is thematically rich, well paced and brings up so many important questions for readers today no matter what your cultural background. It's a must read. 

To order your copy now, just click the link: UK or US

Friday 24 July 2020

Review: Olive by Emma Gannon

She knows her own mind.

And it’s ok that she’s still figuring it all out, navigating her world without a compass. But life comes with expectations, there are choices to be made and – sometimes – stereotypes to fulfil. So when her best friends’ lives branch away towards marriage and motherhood, leaving the path they’ve always followed together, she starts to question her choices – because life according to Olive looks a little bit different.
Moving, memorable and a mirror for anyone at a crossroads, OLIVE has a little bit of all of us. Told with great warmth and nostalgia, this is a modern tale about the obstacle course of adulthood, milestone decisions and the ‘taboo’ about choosing not to have children.

Review: I was sucked into this book right from the very first page because I loved getting to met Olive and I really identified with her as a character. There were some moments in this book I identified with because I am almost the same age as Olive so I am in the same life stages as her and there were some parts I identified with because they were just so wonderfully British. It really made me miss London and the tube but I still 100% recommend this book. 

Olive is not perfect, parts of her personality may comes across to readers as immature, but I liked that we got to see her warts and all. We can all be a bit immature in our own heads when we're scrolling through Instagram and we get that FOMO or just really really want whats that other person has and with Olive we get to feel those thoughts alongside her. I was a little jealous of her, I have to say because she has this amazing career and gets to travel with it. She is just great. 

The other thing that really drew me to Olive and her story is that she is at a very similar life stage to me. She has 3 friends from university who are all very different, they love one another and their bond is strong enough to hold them together event though they live very different lives. Cec is just about to give birth, Bea has 3 children, the husband and the house in Surrey and Isla is desperately trying to start a family. I loved the addition of Isla as a character because she brings up the rarely written about issues of endometriosis. She has suffered with endometriosis her whole life and we get to see through her how it affects her life, emotionally and physically and how it affects her relationships with friends and partners. 

In this novel we get to explore what happens to a friendship group when people really are moving in different directions, this was so painfully real for me in so many ways, We also get to experience the pros and cons of living alone, the very real pain of FOMO and also what it is like trying to make new friends as an adult. This book made me laugh, it made me cry and I just connected with Olive on a whole other level I didn't think possible. I really loved this book, it is timely and it is real but it is also thoroughly entertaining and I really recommend picking it up now. 

To order your copy now, just click the link: UK or US

Thursday 23 July 2020

Book Haul


Review: All The Lonely People by Mike Gayle

Hubert Bird is not alone in being alone.

He just needs to realise it.

In weekly phone calls to his daughter in Australia, widower Hubert Bird paints a picture of the perfect retirement, packed with fun, friendship and fulfilment.

But Hubert Bird is lying.

The truth is day after day drags by without him seeing a single soul.

Until, that is, he receives some good news - good news that in one way turns out to be the worst news ever, news that will force him out again, into a world he has long since turned his back on.

Now Hubert faces a seemingly impossible task: to make his real life resemble his fake life before the truth comes out.
Along the way Hubert stumbles across a second chance at love, renews a cherished friendship and finds himself roped into an audacious community scheme that seeks to end loneliness once and for all . . .

Life is certainly beginning to happen to Hubert Bird. But with the origin of his earlier isolation always lurking in the shadows will he ever get to live the life he's pretended to have for so long?

Review: Ah this book was so beautiful and so timely. I don't know why I am surprised because Mike Gayle never disappoints when it comes to representing raw, real life in beautiful ways in his novels. I loved meeting Hubert Bird and getting an insight into his long and storied life. 

This book confronts loneliness and its various forms head on right from the word go and continues to look at what that means to different people and its various effects throughout the book. It covers not only how loneliness can set in when you live on your own, but loneliness brought on through loss of a loved on and also the very real loneliness that occurs when you move to another country. Hubert Bird was part of the Windrush immigrants to the UK and so experiences what it was like to sometimes be the only black person in a room. His wife then goes on to experience the loneliness of motherhood, especially when your baby is judged to be something less by some people. I love the way loneliness is fully explored in this novel in ways I never thought possible. 

Of course there is an attempt to combat that loneliness and that comes in the form of neighbor Ashleigh. Ashley is one of those people that once she sets her mind to it, nothing can stand in her way. She is determined to be involved in Hubert's life and there really isn't anything he can do about it. Her quest extends beyond Hubert though and then we get to see how a community can pull together when it has the right people at the helm-just so beautiful. Ashleigh is the perfect sidekick for Hubert and I love their interaction.

The structure of this book is also wonderful. We have parallel time lines, a then and now. The now pretty much remains the same but then then parts of the story takes us back to Hubert's roots and shows how his life in the UK came together. Through this structure, Mike Gayle explores hot topics such as racism, grief, homelessness, addiction and dementia in a sensitive and timely manner. This all feeds into the theme of loneliness and every moments of Hubert's past helps us as readers get to know him in the present and really drives the plot forwards. 

As much as loneliness is a depressing topic to think about, it is dealt with incredibly sensitively in this book and also it is explored so fully that I defy anyone not to feel uplifted by reading Hubert's story. This book is so wonderful and definitely couldn't have come along at a more appropriate moment in time. I have and will continue to recommend all of Mike Gayle's novels but this new one is a game changer for certain. Highly recommend. 

To order your copy now, just click the link: UK or US

Wednesday 22 July 2020

Guest Review: The Garden of Forgotten Wishes by Trisha Ashley

All Marnie wants is somewhere to call home. Mourning lost years spent in a marriage that has finally come to an end, she needs a fresh start and time to heal. Things she hopes to find in the rural west Lancashire village her mother always told her about.
With nothing but her two green thumbs, Marnie takes a job as a gardener, which comes with a little cottage to make her own. The garden is beautiful – filled with roses, lavender and honeysuckle – and only a little rough around the edges. Which is more than can be said for her next-door-neighbour, Ned Mars.
Marnie remembers Ned from her school days but he’s far from the untroubled man she once knew. A recent relationship has left him with a heart as bruised as her own.
Can a summer spent gardening help them heal and recapture the forgotten dreams they’ve let get away?

Review: I always look forward to reading a new book by Trisha Ashley; they are always full of interesting characters and situations. For returning readers, her books very often contain familiar characters too, which I always enjoy. This book is one of many set in a small Lancashire village and does indeed contain a few faces that I recognised from her last novel. I found it a quick but absorbing read.

The story revolves around Marnie, who has been living and working as a gardener in France for a few years, travelling around to avoid her controlling ex-husband. When it seems that he has turned his affections towards another unfortunate woman, Marnie decides to leave France and takes up a position as gardener in the little Lancashire village of Jericho’s End, once her mother’s home. The job comes with a small but cosy flat above an ice cream shop which is attached to a cottage inhabited by two rather eccentric sisters and a very large ginger cat who takes a liking to Marnie. While looking after the cottage garden, Marnie’s duties also involve helping to restore the large garden of the manor house next door. She is surprised to find that the large house and grounds belong to an old college friend, Ned, now a successful garden designer. After a somewhat rocky start, Marnie and Ned find common ground in their interest in the plants and the secrets that the overgrown garden gives up as they work. There are other surprises in store for Marnie as she settles into the job and life in the village, not all of them pleasant.

As I expected, I thoroughly enjoyed this book; another hit for Trisha Ashley. The setting in this tranquil village with the river running through and the picturesque falls with the promise of fairies and angels left me feeling peaceful each time I read. However, the pace of the story quickened towards the end, when there was a great deal of drama all within a few pages. I liked Marnie as a character and enjoyed her ability to stand up to the somewhat moody Ned. I found him a bit annoying to start with, but he grew on me as the story progressed. I was intrigued by the cat in the story; his colour and great size were unusual. He was quite a formidable character with definite ideas of his place in the world. As well as the drama, romance and hint of magic, the book has quite a bit of humour in its pages, the old ladies living in the cottage providing a large proportion. They enjoy experimenting with new ice cream flavours, and there is an interesting selection of recipes at the end of the book for those readers possessing an ice cream maker. I can definitely recommend this book to other readers; if not familiar with Trisha Ashley’s work, this would make a good place to start.

To order your copy now, just click the link: UK or US

Guest Review: Summer at Rachel’s Pudding Pantry by Caroline Roberts

The Pudding Pantry opens its doors for summer.

And there are wedding bells on the horizon . . .

The sun is shining as Rachel and her gorgeous beau, Tom, prepare to tie the knot at Primrose Farm.
It takes a village to pull off the perfect country wedding and Rachel couldn’t be more grateful for her friends and family as they roll out the haybales and string up the bunting – all she needs to do is focus on her Happy Ever After.
But no wedding is without drama. A face from the past is looking to stir up trouble in the village and there’s a secret following Rachel all the way up the aisle . . .
With old friends, new promises and a little borrowed time, will Rachel get the wedding of her dreams?

Review: This is the third book in a series about the Pudding Pantry, a teashop on Primrose Farm run by Rachel and her mother Jill. All the regular characters that will be familiar to readers of the previous two books in the series are there, but each of these books could easily be read as a stand-alone. This book has a lovely cover that gives away the fact that not only is this summer, but there is a wedding in the offing. As with the last two books in this series, I found this a quick read that I was immersed in from the very first page.

In this story, we see Rachel happily finishing off the preparations for her wedding to neighbouring farmer and friend since childhood, Tom. As the farm is set on the edge of a small village, everyone is looking forward to Rachel’s big day, and getting involved where they can. With a strict budget to adhere to, Rachel and her mum are glad of the help from their friends. However, it’s not all plain sailing, with problems from ex-spouses of both bride and groom, secrets to be kept and rumours flying. Rachel begins to wonder if she will ever make it to the altar.

I have very much enjoyed all of the books in this series about the Pudding Pantry. Even though they can all be read independently of the others, I would recommend reading all of the set in order to get the best experience from Caroline Roberts’ excellent story. There are some wonderful characters and situations to be discovered. As you might expect from a story involving setting up and running of a tearooms, there is frequent mention of delicious cakes and pastries. Many recipes are included in the text of this and the previous two books, several of which I intend to try.

To order your copy now, just click the link: UK or US

Tuesday 21 July 2020

Reading Rush 2020 TBR | Why Do I Not Have Any Books Starting With THE?!?


Review: Felix Ever After by Kacen Callender

From Stonewall and Lambda Award-winning author Kacen Callender comes a revelatory YA novel about a transgender teen grappling with identity and self-discovery while falling in love for the first time.
Felix Love has never been in love--and, yes, he's painfully aware of the irony. He desperately wants to know what it's like and why it seems so easy for everyone but him to find someone. What's worse is that, even though he is proud of his identity, Felix also secretly fears that he's one marginalization too many--Black, queer, and transgender--to ever get his own happily-ever-after.
When an anonymous student begins sending him transphobic messages--after publicly posting Felix's deadname alongside images of him before he transitioned--Felix comes up with a plan for revenge. What he didn't count on: his catfish scenario landing him in a quasi-love triangle....
But as he navigates his complicated feelings, Felix begins a journey of questioning and self-discovery that helps redefine his most important relationship: how he feels about himself.
Felix Ever After is an honest and layered story about identity, falling in love, and recognizing the love you deserve.

Review: Well I loved this book right from the word go. Felix makes for a great narrator and it was just so wonderful being a part of their world and hearing the thoughts in their head. I really think that if you loved reading the development in Simon vs The Homo Sapiens Agenda, you will love reading this one. This books takes it that step further, that step deeper and I am so here for it. 

All of the themes explored in this book are of course wonderfully timely and definitely something that you people today need to be reading about. The issues surrounding online harassment and bullying just can't be written about enough in my opinion. There is so much stigma around speaking up against that kind of harassment and how schools handle that when it occurs outside of their walls. I just loved how it was handled and dealt with in this book. 

Friendship is a major theme of this book as well as family and that is something that often comes up in young adult fiction but it is dealt with in new and interesting ways in this novel. I like that friends might be those you find outside of school and family might just disappoint you, that can happen. There is a fab support group in this novel that reminds me a lot of the support group I read about in Rick by Alex Gino. It is encouraging to know that that kind fo support is out there. 

Identity is also of course the over arching theme in this novel and it is dealt with so well. We might think we know something about our identity but at any point in our lives that can change drastically or even minutely and that can be terribly discombobulating. I think living this issue through Felix is great and it is written about so well here. I also love that Felix is encouraged to be creative at school, that it is celebrated. As a teacher it makes my heart happy to see that it could actually happen.

If you are wary of picking up this book because it covers so many issues, please don't let that put you off. This book is romantic and funny and the plot is perfectly pace. Yes issues are dealt with but they are part of the story of Felix and I really enjoyed every moment of this. Highly recommend. 

To order your copy now, just click the link: UK or US

Review: 10 Things I Hate About Pinky by Sandhya Menon

Pinky Kumar wears the social justice warrior badge with pride. From raccoon hospitals to persecuted rockstars, no cause is too esoteric for her to champion. But a teeny tiny part of her also really enjoys making her conservative, buttoned-up corporate lawyer parents cringe.

Samir Jha might have a few . . . quirks remaining from the time he had to take care of his sick mother, like the endless lists he makes in his planner and the way he schedules every minute of every day, but those are good things. They make life predictable and steady.

Pinky loves lazy summers at her parents' Cape Cod lake house, but after listening to them harangue her about the poor decisions (aka boyfriends) she's made, she hatches a plan. Get her sorta-friend-sorta-enemy - who is a total Harvard-bound Mama's boy - to pose as her perfect boyfriend for the summer.

When Samir's internship falls through, leaving him with an unplanned summer, he gets a text from Pinky asking if he'll be her fake boyfriend in exchange for a new internship. He jumps at the opportunity; Pinky's a freak, but he can survive a summer with her if there's light at the end of the tunnel.

As they bicker their way through lighthouses and butterfly habitats, sparks fly, and they both realize this will be a summer they'll never forget.

Review: Ahhh I love a Sandhya Menon novel and it was so wonderful being back in the Dimpleverse again. I loved seeing old characters raise their heads and explore some side characters we had only heard mention in previous books. You don't need to have read the other novels to enjoy this one but you might just get a couple of spoilers for some plot points in 'There's Something About Sweetie' just be warned. 

I have to admit that this book got off to a slightly slow start for me, but once I had got past the initial couple of chapters and really got these characters established I couldn't put this story down. It was just so sweet and so fun it gave me butterflies and I was just excited to keep turning the pages. 

I really loved the setting of this book, which I really didn't expect, I don't think I have read anything else like this set in and around cape cod. It meant for excellent settings with the sunset and the water and lots of drinking of lemonade around family game nights-so fun. I also really love the 'green' aspect of this novel. Pinky is very into conservation and recycling as well as looking out for the nature around her. I really loved this aspect of her character and it also means that we got to meet the wonderful opossum named Drama Queen-what could be better than that?

Pinky is just a great character all round. I loved how mature she was in her own mind but she turned into your classic stroppy teenager when she was around her parents. We also get to see her FOMO in action on every page, something else that all young people, and those of us who should know better, have to deal with. I love his intelligent she is, I feel like everyone in this novel was educated and also cared about bettering themselves. I think these characters would make good role model. 

This book also explores what happens when we place certain expectations on ourselves and others. This includes things like ingrained racism within communities and even within families. I like the idea of turning those expectations on their heads and really pulling out why they are there in the first place. Sandhya Menon always does this is subtle and nuanced way whilst still riving the plot forwards and also creating these characters who are so easy to like and so easy to identify with. 

This is the perfect summer read and I highly recommend adding this one to your summer TBR.

To order your copy now, just click the link: UK or US

Monday 20 July 2020

Review: The Year of Witching by Alexis Henderson

The Handmaid’s Tale meets The Village in this stunning feminist debut . . .
Born on the fringes of Bethel, Immanuelle does her best to obey the Church and follow Holy Protocol. For it was in Bethel that the first Prophet pursued and killed four powerful witches, and so cleansed the land.
And then a chance encounter lures her into the Darkwood that surrounds Bethel.
It is a forbidden place, haunted by the spirits of the witches who bestow an extraordinary gift on Immanuelle. The diary of her dead mother . . .
Fascinated by and fearful of the secrets the diary reveals, Immanuelle begins to understand why her mother once consorted with witches. And as the truth about the Prophets, the Church and their history is revealed, so Immanuelle understands what must be done. For the real threat to Bethel is its own darkness.

Review: I don’t normally read a lot of books about witches but boy am I glad I read this book. This book has amazing intersectional feminism, a great exploration of identity and then some magical realism and issues with curses and plagues all rolled into one novel. I have no idea how Alexis Henderson did it! I am in awe. 

Immanuelle is such an interesting character because she has such conflicting identities going on. She has her family, very much part of her past, the church and community, her present and then she has her own views and values which are basically her future. I loved the way she handled herself throughout the novel and that this book is very much about her and the way she handles the problems that she is faced with. I felt very sorry for her and wanted to champion her throughout the book. 

The magic in this book is just the right level of magic for me as a reader. I could picture the curses and plagues involved in all of the issues that Immanuelle faces. Everything is very believable and it all ties in with the stories of witches I grew up with, the Salem Trials and the dunking in Tudor England. I loved the mix of real and magical here, it ties together nicely with the issues of religion and darkness throughout the book. 

I also really loved the description of the setting in this book. I could picture the dark woods and Immanuelle’s home. I could picture the other woman described and the pastor and their marriage ceremonies! Overall I really enjoyed Immanuelle’s story and would love to read more from this author in the future!

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