Delicates – a review

Delicates is the sequel to Sheets, a cute spoopy graphic novel about sheets coming to life as ghosts in a laundromat. Our main character Marjorie has become close to one of these ghosts, a young boy called Wendell. But when she returns to school she’s finally accepted by the popular girls and is scared of spending too much time with Wendell in case her secret comes out. Everyone would think she was a freak who sees dead people!!

Delicates by Brenna Thummler

Similarly, Delicates is a lovely graphic novel which is aimed at a MG/YA(Middle Grade/Young Adult) audience to talk about difficult topics. Whilst Sheets focuses on grief, Delicates focuses on mental health and bullying.

Sadly, whilst Sheets handled the topic with grace and, ironically, delicacy, Delicates seemed a little too forceful. The message seemed to be pushed so hard that at points it was literally on the page. I’m not sure if it’s just my age not being the target demographic that meant that I found this so blatant and obvious, but it did mean that the beauty of the message was lost for me. I do, however, think that it is of course an incredibly important message for young people to receive and maybe this delivery method would work for more people.

Overall I’ve given this read a low 3 stars (6.43 on CAWPILE to be precise), and I would definitely recommend for people to pick it up. The art style, in my opinion, is gorgeous and the message positive and important. I just don’t feel that it was that well imparted, but as mentioned above I’m not the target audience and this may have paid a part in this.

Publishing tomorrow March 23rd 2021, go check this book out and pick it up if it sounds interesting!!

Thank you to NetGalley and Oni Press for a digital ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.

The Black Kids by Christina Hammonds Reed | A Review

I don’t read a lot of contemporary, so when I do I like it to be hard hitting. Hence why most of my contemporary is YA, those markets have so much potential when it comes to important issues. The Black Kids is a book about Ashley, a high school teenager in LA. She’s Black, and she’s in a predominantly white private school. Her parents have made their way in the world and they’re rich. The year is 1992, and the LA riots have started due to the murder of Rodney King by police (and unsurprisingly the perpetrators were acquitted). To avoid spoilers I won’t say anymore, but I’m sure you can guess the direction that this book goes in.

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As soon as I found out it was set in ’92 I assumed there wouldn’t be any LGBTQIA+ representation. Thankfully I was wrong! This book is wonderfully diverse, with various LGBTQIA+ characters and it also has diverse rep in terms of race.

One thing I adored about how Christina Hammonds Reed crafted the story is that she was able to give us multiple different viewpoints on the riots and race in general just from one main character. Ashley has been friends with a group of white girls since she was little, and they’ve been dating white boys. However, as she moves around different circles of people as the book progresses we also get to see what she thinks when within lots of different groups with different races, monetary status and more. This skilful writing really makes this book what it is and is a key part to why I loved it so much.

Our protagonist is the victim of microaggressions as well as blatant racism. You probably could’ve guessed that already. But she isn’t perfect herself. She actually, throughout the course of the book, does various things that we the reader will judge her for. She doesn’t shy away from this, she doesn’t pretend like she’s perfect, and that makes her so much more relatable as a person. We all fuck up, we all make mistakes.

This book also taught me about a number of events in US history. One obvious one that isn’t a spoiler is the ’92 LA riots. As a white Brit who was born in 1996 I genuinely didn’t know as I read through this book whether the riot was fictional or real. I of course did research and discovered that this was a very real riot that occurred and that Rodney King was in fact murdered by police. I have also since done research on other events that happened both in the US and elsewhere that the book mentions. I don’t know why I had never learnt about these. Whether it’s because I’m white or because I’m British (I’m assuming a mix of the two), but I’m so so grateful to this book for bringing these to my attention.

I was able to read an advanced copy of this book thanks to NetGalley, I only picked this up because it was available through the “read now” section rather than requesting it. I won’t be requesting diverse books and will only read those available on my “read now” tab as I am white and I don’t want to take the opportunity to read a book away from an OV reviewer. I can always pick it up once it’s been published!

I ended up giving The Black Kids 4 stars out of 5. I think that if I had been from the US I would have rated this the full 5 stars, but I just didn’t have the cultural connection to the book (I’m British if you don’t know). As it is I can’t actually think of anything negative so it is just that spark that’s missing for me. I really really recommend picking this book up, it comes out on the 5th August and you should definitely get a delivery from your local bookshop!

Spooky Reading Recommendations!

So I’m not great with scary things. They aren’t my favourite and I don’t enjoy scaring myself, so instead my recommendations for Halloween reads are more mystery, thriller and dark, rather than pure scary. I’ll start off with children’s books and move on through to adult literature, but definitely try out all you feel comfortable with! I also have this post in video format on my YouTube channel from last year, so click here if you prefer to listen to/watch the recommendations!

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Sheets by Brenna Thummler

This cute little graphic novel is linked into Halloween with an adorable ghost who appears and wants to assist our protagonist. A nice and unspooky way to join in with the season. Find my full review here!

 

Kiss of DeathKiss of Death by Malcolm Rose

Something a little more creepy, two children pick up a coin on a school trip to a town which was previously ravaged by the plague. Taking this coin places a curse on the two and we see them struggle to come to this realisation and figure out a solution.

blood waterBlood Water by Dean Vincent Carter

There’s a “thing” in the water in this slightly scary teen read. It’s escaped from where it was being kept for research and is resulting in the gory deaths of those living nearby. Something a bit more creepy for those who want to test themselves. This isn’t a book I enjoyed personally but if the synopsis looks intriguing to you then check it out.

the black book of secretsThe Black Book of Secrets by F. E. Higgins

Back to something not as scary again, this book (and the whole series) are very fun, creepy reads aimed at 11+ readers. This book focuses on a man who pays money to write peoples secrets in his black book, our protagonist doesn’t understand why he would pay for this. So he tries to find out.

Who Could That Be at This HourWho Could That Be at This Hour by Lemony Snicket

What creepy but not too scary book recs list would be complete without Lemony Snicket?! Obviously there is the whole Series of Unfortunate Events, however, another one of his series’ is called All The Wrong Questions and is more of a YA book. More of the Snicket we love with a more mature audience in mind.

skuldugerySkulduggery Pleasant by Derek Landy

One of my¬†absolute favourite¬†series’, that I’ve been following since the beginning and continue to pick up. These books are 11+ and follow a Skeleton detective and the niece of his best friend as they get into a lot of scrapes. So much fun, great Irish humour and perfect for Halloween! (Also not spooky at all, the only fear is when the characters get themselves into stupid situations haha)

the last apprenticeThe Last Apprentice by Joseph Delaney 

This series goes by many names, in the UK (where I’m from!) it’s called Spooks, but in the US it is The Last Apprentice, and the first book has the same name. A little more of a creepy YA, we follow a young boy as he becomes the apprentice of the spook. A man who rounds up witches and keeps society safe from them. There are a few issues with this series, as it seems to be incredibly patriarchal with a mistrust of any female, however, I thought I would still mention it on this list as when I first read it at 15 I didn’t notice this and still really enjoyed the books. It’s up to you.

Messenger of FearMessenger of Fear by Michael Grant

Another one of my favourite books, I read this for the first time recently and couldn’t put both it and the sequel down. I’m waiting on tenderhooks for book #3!! This follows a girl who has been apprenticed to the Messenger of Fear. It’s a nasty job, but she chose to take it on, and doesn’t remember why as her memory was wiped. Lots of graphic violence and a little bit of creepiness. A lot of fun!!

cold bath streetCold Bath Street by A. J. Hartley

Not the most well heard of book, which is such a pity as this is yet another 5* read on this list! We follow a young boy names Preston when he has died, and how he copes in the world beyond. But there’s trouble, things aren’t following the route that they’re supposed to and he somehow gets himself entwined within this issue and aims to discover what is going on. Creepy (on a small scale, but more than some of the others on this list) and so engrossing!¬†Find my full review here!

aliceAlice by Christina Henry

An Alice In Wonderland retelling with a twist. This book had me absolutely ensnared for well over a week after I finished reading it! It’s dark, gritty and you should probably forget about other retellings you’ve read as this doesn’t follow that tried and tested format. I loved the skewed, humanoid versions of our well-known characters within Wonderland and how this was dragged into more of a dystopian world than a mythical land. 100% recommend and love! This isn’t a YA read though, so don’t go in with that expectation.¬†Find my full review here!

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Cross Her Heart by Sarah Pinborough

A straight thriller, a common choice for this time of year. This one messed with my mind, and it’s why I gave it 5 stars! I’ll say straight off that not everyone will enjoy this book, for example, BooksandLala really didn’t like it due to the ending which she considered to be over the top (and I can see why), so keep that in mind. But personally, I loved it and was absolutely enraptured and unable to put it down.¬†Find my full review¬†here!

the end of mr yThe End of Mr Y by Scarlett Thomas

This book is a lot less well known than it should be, in my opinion, and I only know about it as I spotted it in a charity shop. With a creepy mystery surrounding a long-lost book, death, fantasy and weird shit are all present in this great book!

25694617His Bloody Project by Graeme Macrae Burnet

This isn’t your traditional Halloween read, the only real gory section is that there is a murder. Our MC is being tried for a murder he committed, and we follow the events before, during and after the murder, as well as the trial itself. This is 100% not creepy, but it will make you think. Find my full review here!

the girl in 6EThe Girl in 6E by A. R. Torre

This thriller has it all, murderous tendencies, a creep that goes rogue and so much more. This will keep you on the edge of your seat and I personally came to really love our protagonist despite her obvious and glaring flaws.

the house of silkThe House of Silk by Anthony Horowitz

I had to include a traditional style mystery in here! I love reading Agatha Christie and Arthur Conan Doyle so whenever people add to their works and build upon their characters – I’m in! This book was brilliant and had me hooked, 100% recommend if you want to delve back into the world of Sherlock.

macbethMacbeth by William Shakespeare

Now for an original classic, this book has murder and witches and is thoroughly enjoyable! If you find play scripts difficult to read then there are many great film adaptations of the work, sometimes watching a performance before reading it can be helpful for those who don’t flow naturally into this different writing layout.

the damnedThe Damned vol 1 by Cullen Bunn, and illustrated by Brian Hurtt and Bill Crabtree

A dark, noir, gangster comic which definitely fits within the horror genre with its graphic panels, there are also fantasy elements within the story which allows it to break the walls of reality in an interesting manner. Check out my full review here!

ghosts of the pastGhosts of the Past by Serge LeTendre and David S. Khara, and illustrated by Frédéric Peynet

This is a mystery/crime comic which follows our protagonist as he deals with Nazi’s, both in the present day and also with what they did during WWII. Pretty dark, due to the topic that it deals with, however, there isn’t really a scare factor. Click for my review for more of my thoughts.

And that’s your lot! It’s a bit of a long list, and my video is almost 25 minutes long so I apologise for that, but hopefully, I’ve been able to provide some ideas for books to delve into this spoopy season!! If you want to see how I get along with my October reads (which have a bit of a spooky theme) then keep an eye on my channel for my October Reading Wrap Up!

Have you read any of these? What did you think of them?

The Doll Factory review

1850s London, a young girl with a spinal deformity and a love of art, an up and coming artist, and a taxidermist. What could go wrong…
The concept of this book is so interesting! I have only one complain (and will address this first), and that is that once the *event* has occured, the book becomes a little slow. The writing really slowed down for me and I struggled to get to the event and then read through it. I didn’t have this issue leading up to the event and afterwards so that was a real pity. I also wished that there had been more time within the book after the event rather than it just stopping.
However, this is a lovely historical fiction that delves into the darker truth of humanity whilst retaining some of the purer and more loving aspects of humanity.
I give this book 3.5 out of 5. I enjoyed it, but it was pulled down by the slower ending. I’d definitely keep an eye out for anything else Elizabeth Macneal releases in the future.

The End of Chiraq, who is it for?

This is going to be a tough review for me to get into words. I got this book through NetGalley, and ended up both giving it 3* and also DNFing it (Did Not Finish). The 3 stars was for the content, personally this is not the type of writing style that I enjoy, although the content was informative, and I would not run to pick it up again. It’s the DNF factor that is tough in this review.

I DNFd the book because, I felt like I shouldn’t be reading it? The strongest feelings I had throughout the 50% of the book that I did read were of injustice, hatred (justifiably so) and that this book was not meant for me. And it’s not. This book, in my opinion, is written by black Chicagoans, and is intended for black Americans. Now I know that we should read books that aren’t aimed at us and expand our bases, however, this felt in essence like I was intruding. Like I was listening to something that I shouldn’t get to listen to.

I will say, I learnt a lot about “Chiraq” from what I read, and I can see the struggles that happen every day. The police in this city have some serious explaining to do, but let’s be real. That’ll never happen. This is a tough book, about a tough subject, about lives that are lived every day in an area where the police are more like the army than anything else. Racism abound towards black people, despite the majority of people in the neighbourhood being black, and essentially the rest of America stays silent.

I encourage you to pick up this book, even if you DNF it like I did. It’s something that needs to be highlighted as an issue, and these voices need to be heard. Black Lives Matter. Full stop. Maybe this book can help more people realise that.

The Mystery of Three Quarters, an homage to classic mystery

I adore classic mystery stories. I’ve loved the original Sherlock books for as long as I can remember, as well as Agatha Christie’s writing, so when I spotted this little gem on NetGalley I just had to request it and luckily my request was granted!

This is the third book in this new installment by Sophie Hannah in the Hercule Poirot series and follows Poirot investigating an apparent murder where a forger has pretended to be him and has accused individuals of the crime via letters. This, of course, intrigues him and he begins to delve deeper into the mystery that has been laid out.

The writing style is done very well, and really gives you the feel of a classic Christie book. There are obviously imperfections in the writing, however, it is a well written piece and incredibly enjoyable. I found myself speeding through the book, and it was finished in no time at all. Always a sign of a good book for me. I definitely want to go back to the first two books Sophie Hannah released and delve into those too, as I can only imagine how much I’ll enjoy them. If you enjoy a traditional mystery then definitely pick this up. Great fun, enjoyable plot twists and all-in-all something that fits in well alongside Agatha Christie and Arthur Conan Doyle.

That Old Black Magic, a review

First of all, thank you for NetGalley for a copy of this book in return for an unbiased review. I grabbed this book as it was set in WWII times, no surprise there. However, I didn’t re-read the synopsis before diving into the book so this was all I knew, and lord was I confused! But, obviously, this was all my own fault and I managed to catch up to the gist of the plot by 20-odd% through.

This book engages in the mystical and the unknown, following a Scottish policeman in his work to uncover German spies. He manages to tangle himself up in a world of magic and spirits, with people supposedly speaking to the dead and transferring messages from the other side as well as being part of curious cults (for want of a better word) who terrify and control their members. Essentially this is a very odd book which mixes the occult with British 1940s/50s values and it’s incredibly entertaining.

I was invested in the plot and hooked right to the very end, I absolutely loved the mystery present within the story and how it entwined itself into the fantastical plot and the societal feelings of the times. Our Scotsman protagonist is a great viewpoint for the story, but there are also other points of view dotted about within the book which encompass the story more fully and allow for the reader to gather the gist of events and their relevance to each other.

I whole-heartedly recommend picking this book up if its synopsis intrigues you, as there are so many dimensions to this novel that something is sure to spark your interest! I definitely enjoyed the reading experience.

Cross Her Heart – get ready for a ride

This book. THIS BOOK. Damn. Where to start?

First things first, I was expecting this to be a standard thriller with the usual twists and turns. Not always a bad thing, I kept reading at the very start in hopes that the writing style would be good enough to boost the books predictable plot.

I. Was. Wrong!

This book did not head off in the direction I was expecting, and then did it again… and then did it again! When I was expecting a standard plot concept this was a massive surprise and made this so much more enjoyable. On top of this, the writing style was also really enjoyable for me personally, and I liked the way that the characters were switched between. It was a little confusing at times, but that was purely because I had an eARC from NetGalley and so the formatting of the file wasn’t 100% finished up yet. There are mini headings for each character (they were just interspersed a little randomly in the eARC) so there should be no confusion for those buying the book!

You will be chopping and changing who you believe to be “at fault”, shall we say, for the plot this book revolves around, and I promise you will probably be wrong at least 9 times. I was wrong many more than that! Every person has their own secrets and this is played up beautifully by Sarah Pinborough to keep you on your toes and guessing until the last second.

My one negative about this book is that the ending wrapped up a little quickly, but at the same time we learn all we need to and we get the closure needed for this genre. Maybe I just didn’t want the book to be over! I need more of her writing! I’ve not yet read Behind Her Eyes but it is 100% going on my tbr after this amazing thriller.

5/5 stars and one I would recommend to anyone who loves this genre! Also, the British cover is stunning so that’s a plus! (The American one not so much but hey, maybe they just know the market really well). I just wish that there would be a sequel about Simon and his past! But I think that’s a little too much to wish for ūüėČ

Thank you NetGalley for the eARC in return for an unbiased (I promise!) review, and to Sarah Pinborough for this amazing novel.

March Wrap Up 2018

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I am disappointed with how much I read this month, but I shouldn’t be! This was the second to last month where I’ll be working on my dissertation and therefore I couldn’t justify spending too much time leisure reading.


For those who don’t know, a dissertation is the end¬†project of a degree in the UK. The degrees usually last three years, and most people start at 18 (it’s like our version of the US’ college) and this final paper is worth a huge amount of our grade. The word count varies between 8000 and 11000 and it is really daunting!


Despite the pressure and the work, I did manage 6 books! For the books that had to be ‘represented’ in the photo, Coffin, Scarcely Used was an eARC from NetGalley, The Call was borrowed from someone who lives in my apartment¬†complex, and Something Rotten was an audiobook.

Books and their Ratings

  1. Coffin, Scarcely Used by Colin Watson ***
  2. The Call¬†by Peadar O’Guilin ****
  3. Inspector Chopra and the Million Dollar Motor Car by Vaseem Khan ****
  4. Macbeth by William Shakespeare ****
  5. Something Rotten by Jasper Fforde ****
  6. Boy Snow Bird by Helen Oyeyemi ***.5

Sadly no 5 star reads this month but some got pretty close!¬†The Call is one that I immensely enjoyed and I will 100% be carrying on with the series. I also really enjoyed¬†Something Rotten and felt that this first section of the series was wrapped up really well, so well in fact that I’m tempted not to carry on with the rest! I don’t want to ruin it!¬†Boy Snow Bird¬†would’ve had a higher rating if it wasn’t for the incredibly… weird… ending and the odd choices Oyeyemi made, which explains the 3.5*s I gave it.

Overall, not my best reading month but I’m glad I managed to keep reading some stuff throughout the month and it’s a huge increase to where I was this time last year and I was barely even reading 2 years ago after a 5-year reading slump! So a vast improvement and I’m really enjoying myself to boot!

The Hazel Wood

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As a lot of you reading this will know, this book received a lot of hype in the book world online. I don’t know if this is because of the premise of the book, the various beautiful covers, or if the publishers just did a really good job of marketing! I would like to say thank you to NetGalley for the free eARC of this book in return for an unbiased review.

This book follows Alice as she tells us about her life, we are sped through her younger years on the road with her mum Ella, essentially being homeless, until they end up stationary, finally, in New York. But Alice is noticing some weird things happening around her, and they’re resurfacing memories that she had subconsciously¬†pushed deep down. This is when things start getting… weird.

I won’t be saying any more in order to keep this spoiler free, but I really liked the way the book progressed from this point. There is a strong and frequently mentioned link to fairy tales and when this fully gets underway it’s incredibly gripping and engrossing. I enjoyed the twists and turns and discovering the details as Alice does, and I absolutely loved the end half of the book! But… the very end was a bit… eh…

I feel bad for saying that, after such an amazing book all the way through, but the wrap up of this story felt rushed, incomplete, unsatisfying, and as if Melissa Albert didn’t know how to end the story. It could’ve been so much better if there had just been a bit more tweaking of this section. There is going to be a sequel which is expected to be published in 2019, and I am sure I’m going to pick it up as I need more of this world and to learn more about Alice, Ella and the Hinterland. I just really hope Melissa Albert improves on how she ends books, and that her editors help her along with this because this could have been a five-star book. As it is, it was a very enjoyable 4-star read and I am looking forward to finding out more about the world (if it’s possible with the ending we got…).