Book Update (Jan + Feb)

Heyyyyy Happy Bookworms!
(uses extended letters to hide that she’s disappeared for 2 months)

So. Yes. I did warn you! This year is a bit mad for me and sprinkle a little bit of Covid on top and I’m vaguely living a nightmare. But it’s fine. I’m fine.

This Is Fine GIF

I’m still figuring out how to fit blogging into my schedule because I know I don’t want to let go but I’ve just got to get through this year before I can feel not guilty for spending time on hobbies ✌️

I have, on the other hand, been reading a decent amount. It’s kind of a weird time because this year is the year of reading for pleasure but I still have a couple of obligations to get through first because I don’t like letting people down & also stuff like library books, when they’re available, you gotta snatch ’em up. So although they’re not bad books & actually books I want to read, I’m a bit of a moodreader so it’s been…not quite what I envisioned for 2021.

*All reviews will be spoiler free because otherwise what am I here for? (unless otherwise stated)
*🧸 children’s 🍿 YA 💼 Adult
*🌠 means that I got an e-copy from netgalley in exchange for an honest review

As always, skip to what interests you (because I am apparently incapable of writing mini reviews) & enjoyyyy!
(there she goes again)

🧸 Howl’s Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones


Technically my first read of 2021 was a happy birthday Eeyore book my friend got me for my birthday 😊 but this reread was my first full length book.
I brought this pretty edition a little while ago because I HAD to have my own copy & it’s gorgeous. But it just felt nice to reread this and especially fun to spot all the subtle hints Calcifer drops 😉

🍿🌠 The Sad Ghost Club by Lize Meddings


Then I thought I’d hit a little graphic novel (because honestly I wasn’t sure I’d read anything & wanted to bump the numbers). I can see how this would be comforting to a lot of people but it just wasn’t for me. Although I did like the discussion about how much pressure we put on ourselves to figure our lives out so early & how it’s unhealthy to centre your entire being around grades & results (butttt right now in my life, call me a hypocrite, but the advice just isn’t very realistic)

Pub date: Out already

🍿💼 Women Don’t Owe You Pretty by Florence Given

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I was a bit trepidatious going into this after reading other people’s reviews and although I see where a lot of people are coming from I don’t necessarily agree with them. We need to stop seeing progressive literature as the be all end all, as it goes against the very being of progressive literature. One person’s story is not the whole story. We know this, it’s why we try and read books like this and yet we are holding them to an impossible standard instead of just excepting the experiences of the author for who they are & what they went through, learning from them & moving onto the next perspective.

First of all though, this book is gorgeous. Some people have described it as a coffee table book and although I don’t think it has that pick up, put down quality, it definitely fits the aesthetic bill. The illustrations and typography help to hone Florence’s message & summarise key messages to take away which is especially good at the end of chapters where you can reflect on what you’ve just read. Speaking of, I think the chapters were really good sizes, not too long but they got everything they needed to across. I loved the way she chose to break things down and the different methods she used to express things because it just made it a smooth read; more conversational & less preachy.

I didn’t have any huge realisations per se but it helped me flesh out some of my own ideas – small realisations that had been niggling at the back of my mind – there’s something very comforting about finally being able to put words to feelings you haven’t been able to express fully yet.

Overall this book is a great collection of ideas spelled out in a modern & accessible way. Both empowering & massive, horrifying brain food. I also brought it for one of my friend’s birthdays so if that isn’t a recommendation, I don’t know what is.

🍿 One of Us Is Next by Karen M. McManus


This was fun. I don’t think it was as well thought out as the first one and the main thing that turned me off was the ending. I liked having less POVs but I still got a bit confused between who I was reading sometimes & their backstories. I liked the characters though & how old characters were brought back. The plot wasn’t my fave but it was quite exciting 🤷‍♀️

💼 Becoming by Michelle Obama


Michelle Obama is such an incredibly inspiring person & it was wonderful to literally hear her reflect on her life (I listened to the audiobook). Although I had a flip through the ebook as well to see the pictures that accompany it.

Just very thoughtfully written, she presents her life & commentates on it, adding insight and wisdom from herself & those around her. That’s something I really liked – her ability to recognise & credit her support systems. It had a great balance between telling her story & the stories of her family & friends. Overall it was just really fascinating to listen to her journey; how she felt about her various jobs, how she balanced her work/family life & how she adapted to such major shifts in her environments.

Excuse me while I go watch the documentary now 🙂
Which I still haven’t done actually & should.

🍿 To Kill a Kingdom by Alexandra Christo

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“It feels like the entire world is asleep. And us – just us – we are finally awake.”

YES to standalones & YES to short chapters!
This is what we like to seeee 👏👏👏

Carried itself well – great pace – which is hard for standalones. Honestly I wanted the journey to be longer because I wanted more Lira + Elian 🥺
But the right choice was definitely made because dragging this story out would have killed it like so many other l o n g l o n g series but damn. Couldn’t I have gotten a couple more chapters slipped in there??? Pwetty pleaseee

Loved Lira’s evil to good arc and her & Elian’s relationship.
They had a lot of snarky banter™ which yes, was very scripted but honestly I was so here for it. Like I need their convos on tap 24/7. ALSO LIRA AND KAHLIA’S RELATIONSHIPPP 💖💖
One relationship I didn’t really get was Kye & Madrid’s. I don’t know if we needed some more backstory behind them to make it make sense but they seemed like they had a brother/sister dynamic going on which is NOT what you want from a significant other. Ummm… they just seemed to friend flirt with each other (well Kye did) and I felt like they never had a moment just something to solidify them as a couple & not just best mates (haha mates as in friends but also pirates – absolute genius comic over here)

But overall really liked it & enjoyed – thumbs up 👍
ALSO! I don’t normally like mermaid books so 😌 (there’s just a curse on me + mermaids idk why)
Maybe because these were sirens though…I found a loop hole. 😈

(Why does autocorrect keep wanting to call Elian Ellen?)

💼🌠 Sexuality: A Graphic Guide by Meg-John Barker, Jules Scheele


I thought this would be easier to read to be honest but despite the graphic format, the information was quite hard to digest.
I felt like there was a lot of information presented but I couldn’t always see the links easily and I don’t think they were summed up very well. A lot of the time I found myself thinking ‘ok so what?’ The information was great but they didn’t really reach a satisfying conclusions on a lot of it.

The scooby doo set up was so smart & a cute little quirk but I feel like it could have been milked more – it got a bit lost in the middle. Also, as a result of the scooby doo plot, I was expecting it to be more entertaining and funny than it was.

I liked the concept & the illustrations are incredible but I feel like this was ‘too smart’ for me. I understand thinking for yourself & drawing your own conclusions but I wanted a little more from this book.

Pub date: Out already

💼 The Bride Test by Helen Hoang

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Surprisingly I think I liked this more than the kiss quotient which I wasn’t expecting when I started it. The kiss quotient had a 5 star start but went downhill while this held it’s stamina reasonably well. I liked the spin on fake dating although I feel like it should have been utilised a little better – there is literally one mention of a date they go on which is really just a throwaway comment.
I think the problems they faced were really interesting; definitely unique but not at all in a bad way. Although the Jade thing was a bit anticlimactic – it made sense the way it resolved but it was built up to be a much bigger thing, almost the main problem & then *poof* nothing.

I really liked Esme & Khai’s relationship & felt it was a lot less frustrating than Stella & Michael’s (the ending of TKQ dragggeddd) Both of their families were cute too – especially Jade (although being Esme’s CHILD I thought she should have been mentioned more) & Quan (very excited for his book) But some side characters weren’t particularly fleshed out – Angelika anyone?!?! They pronounced each other best friends & although ‘off screen’ I’m sure they hung out a lot in class, ‘on screen’ their friendship gets basically no attention so it’s a little weird. Did she even go to the wedding?? We will never know.

You do have to be warned that this book really doesn’t move around a lot, Esme is kinda trapped so the settings are not very varied, also limiting side character opportunities. Overall I think it lacked the dynamism that the kiss quotient had. I’m hoping book 3 will be the one to achieve a good balance 🙂

🍿🌠 Everyone Dies Famous in a Small Town by Bonnie-Sue Hitchcock

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I didn’t think I was going to like this originally but after the first two chapters it sneakily grew on me until I’d gone from a 2 star to a 5 star without even realising it. I feel like I glanced away for a second and this story had bloomed from a weed into a rose bush.

We definitely got off on the wrong foot with the second chapter because it was just girls hating on girls over a guy & I feel like we don’t need to bring that energy into 2021 BUT as the story developed we got some really incredible complex female characters. So I take it back – hands in the air – I’m sorry for judging too early.

The concept of this book is just 👌 I mean this is short stories done RIGHT. An overarching story narrative with small POVs along the way, each with their own story to tell.
It was paced perfectly, each chapter long enough to get a whole new person’s story but not too long that you lost track of the main plot. Plus it was always fun seeing tiny parts of the puzzle slot into place when you least expected it.

The crowning achievement of this book though is the absolute R A N G E the author leaps from one end of the spectrum to the next and she SMASHES it. The different settings. The different characters. The different stories. IT👏IS👏ALL👏THERE👏

I have got to say a firm favourite of mine was the third chapter – the setting is just like no other, and the mundane mysteries that swirl in the air in that chapter – it is honestly a work of art. A very very close second though is the fifth chapter which made me absolutely bawl my eyes out.

Contrasting to that, there are some absolute belter lines in here. The most random, weird, and hilarious analogies and things that just completely come out of left field and make you die from laughter (not sure if all of them were intended but *I* found them funny). More seriously though, the writing is honestly really good, much better quality than a lot of YA out there.

Check the trigger warnings – the book actually has a note inside which is great but I don’t think it quite does the severity level justice (although I appreciate that TW vs spoiler is a hard balance to strike) AND READ THIS BOOK! Ignore the second chapter but savour every single word in the rest 😉

“God, why do you always have to notice molluscs, even in an emergency?”

Pub date: 1st April

Can we talk about my multiple personalities in this post? I write the reviews as I go so my mood 🌈changes🌈

How have all of you been? Read any of these? Planning to? Best book of 2021 so far? Tell me ALL!

I’m now going to read my 40+ notifications & catch up with you all 💕

2 thoughts on “Book Update (Jan + Feb)

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