June 2018 TBR

How is it June?! JUNE?! I’m flabbergasted at how quickly this year is going, and no way am I half way through reading all of the books I wanted to read this year… can we slow down time for a bit please?

But with June, comes PRIDE month!

I’ve made sure to include some LGBTQ+ rep reads in my TBR this month, and although this is a highly ambitious TBR considering my reading record so far this year, and my reputation for having never completed a TBR, one can only hope a miracle will happen and I’ll actually get through all of these…


Legendary (Caraval #2) by Stephanie Garber

I’m just about half way through this one now (and loving it so far!) so I hope to get it finished by the end of this week.

Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

A carry-over from last month, and one I’m reading a little as I go, I plan on finishing this lovely classic this month.

Language of Thorns by Leigh Bardugo

For some strange reason, I still haven’t checked this off my list… It’s sat half finished on my shelf, but because it’s short stories I don’t feel any need to rush and finish it. It would be nice to tick it off my TBR this month though and help fight my failed reading challenge…

Out of The Blue by Sophie Cameron

This book sounds wonderful, and after briefly starting it last month before leaving my copy at work when I had time off, I’ll be buddy reading this with Kate @ ReadingThroughInfinity as part of our Pride Month reading list. This book has F/F rep and a magical realism vibe that I’m so excited to read!

Simon vs The Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli

This book has been on my TBR for too long now, I definitely missed this ship with the movie coming out earlier this year (which I still haven’t seen… ashamed). So now is the time. I will read this book!


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There are lots of other books I really want to read this month, but the chances of me actually getting to them are so slim, that I didn’t want to set myself up for even more failure by adding them here… I guess they’ll just have to wait another month.

Fingers crossed I can get through all of these this month.

What’s on your TBR for June?


 

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May 2018 Wrap-Up

May is one of my favourite months of the year. Firstly, it’s my birthday month, but mainly because it always brings good weather, and with good weather I’m in a good mood, more motivated and just generally more chipper!

It’s been a reasonably tough year for me reading-wise so far, in that I just haven’t really read all that much, and I had a pretty long time away from blogging. I’m hoping that will start to change again with summer so I can catch up on all of the amazing books I’m dying to pick up, and I’m definitely excited to get back into my blog again. For now though, here’s what I managed to read this month:


A Court of Frost and Starlight by Sarah J. Maas

ad743968-cc1d-49fe-ac14-1eb3f97f33cfIt’s no surprise that I picked this up immediately on publication date – it was one of my most anticipated books of this year! I loved this, even if it was only short and there was little plot development. It was so lovely to be back with the Inner Circle in Velaris, and it’s made me even more excited for the next part of the series!

Read my full review

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐


Skylarks by Karen Gregory

16b40405-4037-4082-a9d5-e1e78262f40dI had heard wonderful things about this book on social media, so I decided to go and pick up a copy from the bookstore and started reading it straight away. It felt current, interweaving a strong political argument into its storyline, the romance was just the right amount of cute, and there was some beautiful imagery at times.

Full Review to come.

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

 


Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

2d3f0e1b-cd2e-4493-826c-cac3f6980875This has been an ongoing read throughout the month for me. It’s one that I feel like I’m enjoying more if I read it a little at a time in between other books, so that’s what I’ve been doing!

Although I haven’t yet finished it, I decided to include it on here as it has been a big part of my reading this month, and I’m over 70% of the way through.

 


Also read this month:

Captain Pug by Laura James

This was a really fun, quick read, 5-8 children’s book that I picked off my shelf as I was tidying. It took me no more than 30 minutes to read, but it was funny and the illustrations were bright and cheerful. I included it here at the bottom because I cheated and counted it towards my failing goodreads challenge total…

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐.5


What books did you read this month?

May 2018 Book Haul

Every month I tell myself: “I will not buy any books, my book haul will be small because my shelves are full enough and I have so many books to read already…”

Every month I lie to myself.

So here we are, at the end of May, with another stupidly huge haul. My excuse to myself this time is that it was my birthday this month, so I’m allowed. I will always find some kind of excuse, it seems.

In my defence, it is actually half the size of previous months, and the stack just looks huge because actually the books that I hauled are FAT. I’m talking 600+ pages for some of them…

Anyway, here are the books I hauled this month in all of their glory:

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Purchases:

  • The Map of Salt and Stars by Jennifer Zeyab Joukhadar – This book sounds amazing and I can’t wait to read it. It follows a Syrian refugee and their family at the start of the Syrian war, and includes elements of mythology and old stories.
  • The Queens Of Innis Lear by Tessa Gratton – I’ve seen this one all over twitter and Instagram, and as a lover of Shakespeare, I couldn’t resist picking up this fantasy retelling of King Lear!
  • Legendary by Stephanie Garber – One of my most anticipated releases of the month, I’ve already starting reading this one and can’t wait to dive back intot he world of Caraval.
  • The Belles by Dhonielle Clayton – I’ve wanted to buy this since it was released, so this is one of the books I treated myself to on my birthday.
  • Skylarks by Karen Gregory – Another birthday purchase, I felt like reading a cute contemporary. I finished reading this a few days ago and it was wonderful. Romantic, gritty and based upon a relevant political foundation. Full review to come soon.
  • Leah on The Offbeat by Becky Albertalli – One on my summer TBR, I’ll be reading this one next month along with Simon vs. The Homosapiens Agenda.
  • I Was Born For This by Alice Oseman – I’ve heard incredible things about this, so decided to pick it up on a whim when I happened to wonder into yet another bookstore…
  • Sense and Sensibility and Emma by Jane Austen – These editions are to add to the beginnings of my classics collection. I adore these cover designs and plan on collecting them all.
  • A Court of Frost and Starlight by Sarah J Maas (I forgot to include this in my haul stack photo!) – Read it, loved it. I’m a Maas junkie, what can I say? Read my review here.

From the Publisher:

  • War Storm by Victoria Aveyard – I was going to wait until the paperback for this one, but a huge thanks to Orion Publishing for sending a finished HB copy my way!
  • The Craftsman by Sharon Bolton – One for a Bookstagram promo, it sounds very dark and intriguing! Thank you to Becci at Orion for my copy.
  • All The Ever Afters by Danielle Teller – Thank you to Shrina at Harper360YA for sending this beautiful book to me! It’s a re-telling of Cinderella’s Stepmother due for release in July, and this is another book I’ll be promoting on my Instagram.
  • Thunderhead by Neal Shusterman – I can now binge both Scythe and Thunderhead, and see what all the hype is about! Thanks to Walker for this one!

Which in this stack should I read next? I’m currently reading Legendary after finishing Skylarks.

Are any of these on your wishlist/TBR? Comment below 🙂


 

Review: A Court of Frost and Starlight (ACOTAR #3.5) – Sarah J. Maas

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

31076583Synopsis:

Feyre, Rhys, and their close-knit circle of friends are still busy rebuilding the Night Court and the vastly-changed world beyond. But Winter Solstice is finally near, and with it, a hard-earned reprieve.

Yet even the festive atmosphere can’t keep the shadows of the past from looming. As Feyre navigates her first Winter Solstice as High Lady, she finds that those dearest to her have more wounds than she anticipated–scars that will have far-reaching impact on the future of their Court.


Well my lovely Bookwyrms, it has now been 3 weeks since my most anticipated book of the first half of 2018 has been in my hands, devoured and finally processed into coherent sentences that are actually readable.

Let’s start off by saying that I was obviously excited for this one. I knew that we were only getting a novella, so my expectations weren’t too high, but who am I kidding, I’ll always expect the stars and the moon in their entirety when it comes to Maas.

Overall, I really bloody enjoyed this book. I loved being back in Prythian with all of my favourite characters, it was almost like an episode of F.R.I.E.N.D.S, fae-style! There were so many fun little scenes which were just an absolute joy to read, and had me beaming on my commute train, including the notorious snowball fight, and of course the solstice decorating with Feyre and Azriel!

The point of this novella was to set us up for the next part of the series, and so for this reason, multiple POVs were introduced as opposed to it just being 1st person from Feyre’s perspective. Now, at the beginning this felt a little clunky to me. I don’t know quite what it was, I can’t put my finger on it, but something just felt a little off tonally. It turned itself around after the first few chapters, but when the book is only 230 pages long… well. But I have to say that reading from each character’s perspective was wonderful, and actually I did really enjoy this aspect of the book, especially Nesta’s chapters towards the end – she is definitely turning out to be one of Maas’ most intriguing characters, and I really hope that she continues to develop in this way and not become generic in the next books.

Honestly, not much happened in this book. There wasn’t the usual action-packed, on-the-edge-of-your-seat, throw-your-book-in-anger kind of plot we’ve come to expect from Maas, but I think for this reason, I loved it just as much. Was it necessary to have this as a whole separate book? Realistically, probably not. But I still loved it and I’m glad we had something from SJM in between the agonisingly long wait for her next book.

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What were your thoughts on ACOFAS? Let me know in the comments below!

#MentalHealthAwarenessWeek: 15 YA Books That Deal With Mental Health Issues

Mental Health is something that we all need to talk about more. But sometimes speaking out isn’t possible. Which is why #MentalHealthAwarenessWeek should be “Mental Health Awareness DAY”. EVERY DANG DAY.

As the week is coming to end, and so many people have felt loved and supported throughout the struggles that they would usually face on their own, I’ve put together a short list of YA books which handle different aspects of mental health remarkably gracefully, and are all definitely worth a read.


It's Kind of a Funny StoryIt’s Kind of a Funny Story – Ned Vizzini

Ambitious New York City teenager Craig Gilner is determined to succeed at life – which means getting into the right high school to get into the right job. But once Craig aces his way into Manhattan’s Executive Pre-Professional High School, the pressure becomes unbearable. He stops eating and sleeping until, one night, he nearly kills himself.

Craig’s suicidal episode gets him checked into a mental hospital, where his new neighbors include a transsexual sex addict, a girl who has scarred her own face with scissors, and the self-elected President Armelio. There, Craig is finally able to confront the sources of his anxiety.

Ned Vizzini, who himself spent time in a psychiatric hospital, has created a remarkably moving tale about the sometimes unexpected road to happiness.

Themes: Anxiety, Depression, Suicide, Self Harm


CleanClean – Juno Dawson

When socialite Lexi Volkov almost overdoses, she thinks she’s hit rock bottom. She’s wrong. Rock bottom is when she’s forced into an exclusive rehab facility.

From there, the only way is up for Lexi and her fellow inmates, including the mysterious Brady. As she faces her demons, Lexi realises love is the most powerful drug of all …

It’s a dirty business getting clean.

Themes: Addiction


Beautiful Broken ThingsBeautiful Broken Things – Sara Barnard

I was brave
She was reckless
We were trouble

Best friends Caddy and Rosie are inseparable. Their differences have brought them closer, but as she turns sixteen Caddy begins to wish she could be a bit more like Rosie – confident, funny and interesting. Then Suzanne comes into their lives: beautiful, damaged, exciting and mysterious, and things get a whole lot more complicated. As Suzanne’s past is revealed and her present begins to unravel, Caddy begins to see how much fun a little trouble can be. But the course of both friendship and recovery is rougher than either girl realises, and Caddy is about to learn that downward spirals have a momentum of their own.

Themes: Abuse, Social Anxiety, Self-Depreciation


When We CollidedWhen We Collided – Emery Lord

Jonah never thought a girl like Vivi would come along.

Vivi didn’t know Jonah would light up her world.

Neither of them expected a summer like this…a summer that would rewrite their futures.

In an unflinching story about new love, old wounds, and forces beyond our control, two teens find that when you collide with the right person at just the right time, it will change you forever.

Themes: Grief, Depression, Bi-Polar Disorder


All the Bright PlacesAll The Bright Places – Jennifer Niven

Theodore Finch is fascinated by death, and he constantly thinks of ways he might kill himself. But each time, something good, no matter how small, stops him.
 
Violet Markey lives for the future, counting the days until graduation, when she can escape her Indiana town and her aching grief in the wake of her sister’s recent death.
 
When Finch and Violet meet on the ledge of the bell tower at school, it’s unclear who saves whom. And when they pair up on a project to discover the “natural wonders” of their state, both Finch and Violet make more important discoveries: It’s only with Violet that Finch can be himself—a weird, funny, live-out-loud guy who’s not such a freak after all. And it’s only with Finch that Violet can forget to count away the days and start living them. But as Violet’s world grows, Finch’s begins to shrink.

Themes: Suicide, Abuse, Grief


Am I Normal Yet? (The Spinster Club, #1)Am I Normal Yet? – Holly Bourne

All Evie wants is to be normal. She’s almost off her meds and at a new college where no one knows her as the girl-who-went-crazy. She’s even going to parties and making friends. There’s only one thing left to tick off her list…

But relationships are messy – especially relationships with teenage guys. They can make any girl feel like they’re going mad. And if Evie can’t even tell her new friends Amber and Lottie the truth about herself, how will she cope when she falls in love?

Holly’s upcoming release “Are We All Lemmings and Snowflakes?” will also explore mental health, and I am so looking forward to reading it! Another one to look out for.

Themes: OCD, Anxiety


The Rest of Us Just Live HereThe Rest of Us Just Live Here – Patrick Ness

What if you aren’t the Chosen One?

The one who’s supposed to fight the zombies, or the soul-eating ghosts, or whatever the heck this new thing is, with the blue lights and the death?

What if you’re like Mikey? Who just wants to graduate and go to prom and maybe finally work up the courage to ask Henna out before someone goes and blows up the high school. Again.

Because sometimes there are problems bigger than this week’s end of the world, and sometimes you just have to find the extraordinary in your ordinary life.

Even if your best friend is worshipped by mountain lions…

Themes: Anorexia, OCD


Finding AudreyFinding Audrey – Sophie Kinsella

Audrey can’t leave the house. she can’t even take off her dark glasses inside the house.

Then her brother’s friend Linus stumbles into her life. With his friendly, orange-slice smile and his funny notes, he starts to entice Audrey out again – well, Starbucks is a start. And with Linus at her side, Audrey feels like she can do the things she’d thought were too scary.

Suddenly, finding her way back to the real world seems achievable.

Themes: Anxiety, Depression


Made You UpMade You Up – Francesca Zappia

Alex fights a daily battle to figure out the difference between reality and delusion. Armed with a take-no-prisoners attitude, her camera, a Magic 8-Ball, and her only ally (her little sister), Alex wages a war against her schizophrenia, determined to stay sane long enough to get into college. She’s pretty optimistic about her chances until classes begin, and she runs into Miles. Didn’t she imagine him? Before she knows it, Alex is making friends, going to parties, falling in love, and experiencing all the usual rites of passage for teenagers. But Alex is used to being crazy. She’s not prepared for normal.

Themes: Schizophrenia


PaperweightPaperweight – Meg Haston

Seventeen-year-old Stevie is trapped. In her life. And now in an eating-disorder treatment center on the dusty outskirts of the New Mexico desert.

Life in the center is regimented and intrusive, a nightmare come true. Nurses and therapists watch Stevie at mealtime, accompany her to the bathroom, and challenge her to eat the foods she’s worked so hard to avoid.

Her dad has signed her up for sixty days of treatment. But what no one knows is that Stevie doesn’t plan to stay that long. There are only twenty-seven days until the anniversary of her brother Josh’s death—the death she caused. And if Stevie gets her way, there are only twenty-seven days until she too will end her life.

Themes: Eating Disorders, Suicide, Grief, Depression


The Astonishing Colour of AfterThe Astonishing Colour of After – Emily X.R. Pan

Leigh Chen Sanders is sixteen when her mother dies by suicide, leaving only a scribbled note: ‘I want you to remember’. Leigh doesn’t know what it means, but when a red bird appears with a message, she finds herself travelling to Taiwan to meet her maternal grandparents for the first time.

Leigh is far away from home and far away from Axel, her best friend, who she stupidly kissed on the night her mother died – leaving her with a swell of guilt that she wasn’t home, and a heavy heart, thinking she may have destroyed the one good thing left in her life.

Overwhelmed by grief and the burden of fulfilling her mother’s last wish, Leigh retreats into her art and into her memories, where colours collide and the rules of reality are broken. The only thing Leigh is certain about is that she must find out the truth. She must remember.

Themes: Suicide, Grief


Under Rose-Tainted SkiesUnder Rose Tainted Skies – Louise Gornall

At seventeen, Norah has accepted that the four walls of her house delineate her life. She knows that fearing everything from inland tsunamis to odd numbers is irrational, but her mind insists the world outside is too big, too dangerous. So she stays safe inside, watching others’ lives through her windows and social media feed.

But when Luke arrives on her doorstep, he doesn’t see a girl defined by medical terms and mental health. Instead, he sees a girl who is funny, smart, and brave. And Norah likes what he sees.

Their friendship turns deeper, but Norah knows Luke deserves a normal girl. One who can walk beneath the open sky. One who is unafraid of kissing. One who isn’t so screwed up. Can she let him go for his own good—or can Norah learn to see herself through Luke’s eyes?

Themes: Agoraphobia, Anxiety


History Is All You Left MeHistory Is All You Left Me – Adam Silvera

When Griffin’s first love and ex-boyfriend, Theo, dies in a drowning accident, his universe implodes. Even though Theo had moved to California for college and started seeing Jackson, Griffin never doubted Theo would come back to him when the time was right. But now, the future he’s been imagining for himself has gone far off course.

To make things worse, the only person who truly understands his heartache is Jackson. But no matter how much they open up to each other, Griffin’s downward spiral continues. He’s losing himself in his obsessive compulsions and destructive choices, and the secrets he’s been keeping are tearing him apart.

If Griffin is ever to rebuild his future, he must first confront his history, every last heartbreaking piece in the puzzle of his life.

Themes: OCD, Grief


Girl in PiecesGirl In Pieces – Kathleen Glasgow

Charlotte Davis is in pieces. At seventeen she’s already lost more than most people lose in a lifetime. But she’s learned how to forget. The broken glass washes away the sorrow until there is nothing but calm. You don’t have to think about your father and the river. Your best friend, who is gone forever. Or your mother, who has nothing left to give you.

Every new scar hardens Charlie’s heart just a little more, yet it still hurts so much. It hurts enough to not care anymore, which is sometimes what has to happen before you can find your way back from the edge.

Themes: Depression, Self-Harm


After the FireAfter The Fire – Will Hill

Father John controls everything inside The Fence. And Father John likes rules. Especially about never talking to Outsiders. Because Father John knows the truth. He knows what is right, and what is wrong. He knows what is coming.

Moonbeam is starting to doubt, though. She’s starting to see the lies behind Father John’s words. She wants him to be found out.

What if the only way out of the darkness is to light a fire?

Themes: PTSD


These books provide an excellent way to find out more about mental illness. It shouldn’t be a stigma, and we should all be fighting to change that.

Do you have any recommendations to add to the list? Comment below.

Life Update: Back To Blogging, Where I’ve Been and Taking Care of Myself

Hello Book Bloggers!

It’s been a while, but I can confidently say that I’m back to blogging again after having a break for a couple of months.

Where Have I Been?

Truth be told, I haven’t been anywhere, I’ve been here along still following the bookish community, but I decided to take a step back from blogging. Why? Well, to be honest, I just wasn’t enjoying it. Blogging had become a bit of a chore. I had no inspiration for what to post, I didn’t have the time or patience to put into making it great, and for people who know me, I just don’t like to do things by halves.

I decided instead to put my time into doing something I love, and performed in a show again. Musical Theatre is one of my biggest passions; I trained at a drama school for 3 years, and not being in a show was really starting to get me down. Now I’m in a much happier place, keeping myself busy and after having 2 weeks off work, found that I had so many idea for blog posts! In fact, I’ve planned ahead for the next 3 months!

There really is no telling how much difference it makes to your life when you take care of yourself. At the end of the day, there’s no point in doing something unless it makes you happy. In the light of #MentalHeathAwarenessWeek, I feel like there is no better time to talk about these things.

Since starting my blog and bookstagram 2 years ago, I kept it completely separate from my personal life – I didn’t share it with anyone I know and it almost became as though I had an online alter-ego… I realise now that this filled me with anxiety every time I thought about someone from my “real world” finding out about it – NOT GOOD. So, I’ve made the decision to share my blog and Instagram posts on my Facebook, where everyone I know can see them. There is no shame in loving books. There is no shame in reviewing books. And I don’t know why I ever thought otherwise.


So What Comes Next?

For starters, I’m going to continue to read and love books. I’m going to continue doing the things I love and stop putting so much pressure on myself. I’m in a career where the chances of me getting professional work are so, so slim and there is just so much competition out there. If I manage to land a professional performing job then yes, amazing, HOWEVER it is not the be all and end all, and as long as I keep trying and taking part in productions just for fun, it doesn’t matter. I’m still doing what I love which is the most important thing.

I’m thinking of giving my blog a little makeover and changing the theme to something fresh. Sometimes a new look is all you need to perks things up a bit. I’ll still be posting the same content, though I may include a few extra personal life updates every now and then, but I really just feel like changing the layout a little. If I don’t like it, I’ll just change it back again!

But for now, I’m going to start typing furiously as I watch the royal wedding, and catch up on all of the wonderful blog posts and book recommendations I have for you all.

And remember:

Put you first, people, you matter.

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January Fairy Loot Unboxing: “Talk Faerie To Me”

Hola Bookwyrms!

I haven’t done an unboxing here on my blog in a LOOOONG while, but I loved January’s Fairy Loot so much, that I figured now was a great time to start up again!

January’s theme was “Talk Faerie To Me” and was perfect for fans of Sarah J. Maas and all things Fae!

I have to say, I think this is my favourite box to date. It was filled with so many amazing goodies, and the book was one of my most anticipated releases, so I’m so pleased that I finally have it in my hands!

Contents:

img_2512Exclusive Pillowcase designed by Evie Seo, inspired by ACOMAF. This was my favourite item from the box. The design is stunning, and has taken pride of place on my bed!

Prince Cardan Candle by Meraki Candles. Unfortunately this company has now closed, but this won’t stop me from loving their candles! This one smells woodsy with a hint of black pepper. A very masculine scent, perfect for our Cruel Prince…

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Magnetic Bookmarks by Dreamy & Co. These Feyre and Rhysand bookmarks are so cute, I love them! I’ll definitely be using them in May when A Court of Frost and Starlight is released to the world!

“Seelie” Lip Balm by Geeky Clean. There were two different balms sent out, Seelie and Unseelie, based on Fae courts. The Seelie one I received smells of fresh apples, yum!

Double Sided Art Prints. The sides in the photo above were designed by Stella Bookish Art, who does some of my favourite bookish merch. The other side features images of Aelin and Rowan from the Throne of Glass series.

img_2511Faerieland Colouring Book. I’ve never received a colouring book in a subscription box before, so I was so excited when I saw this one! The illustrations inside are simply beautiful, including all kinds of mythical creatures, and I can’t wait to colour them all in!

The Cruel Prince by Holly Black was the book included inside, and I was SO excited when I opened it! This book was one of my most anticipated released of this year, and I can’t wait to dive into the Fae realm. It also included a signed bookplate and letter from the author!


Who else got this box? What did you think? This one was my personal favourite to date, and I can’t wait to see what Fairy Loot pull out of the bag for their two year anniversary box this coming month…

Visit the Fairy Loot Website