Reading around a life

I can’t be the only one who struggles with this, who was an introvert through circumstance in childhood and now has to learn how to balance reading with a social life. Actually leaving the house, or having people come over and socialising. I’m just not used to it.

My parents weren’t the type that liked to have my friends over and they also needed 2 weeks notice if I was going to a sleepover or the like. We also didn’t live close to any of my school friends, no buses and definitely not in walking distance. So I was alone a lot, hence my obsession with Animal Crossing and reading! Now that I’m an adult, and for now (whilst I’m at uni) I have my own place, I can actually have people over, go out when and where I want. It’s a little confusing in itself and I’ve still not gotten to grips with it over the three years I’ve not lived at home. But adding reading into the mix? Just makes it even harder.

I’ll be moving back into my parents place soon, as I have finished my degree and don’t have anywhere else to live while I hunt for a job, or decide generally what my future might look like. I expect that this will result in more reading time as I’m shut away in my room, passing the hours with the internet and all my books. But I can’t stay like that forever, essentially hermitted. So when I eventually get my own place again I’ll have to find that balance. Who knows where it’ll come from…

I take a book, kindle or iPod for an audiobook everywhere I go to squeeze in reading time. But often people consider it antisocial, even though I only pull out my book when everyone is sat on their phones and not talking. I know I could read on my phone but I hate to buy ecopies of physical books I already own and my phone screen isn’t huge. Most of my friends aren’t readers, we’ve bonded over other pastimes. They don’t understand the want to read and think that you can interrupt just as you would with a Facebook article or a youtube video. They mean well, they just want to chat, but all this extra socialising not only means you brought your book for no reason but it also means you’re too tired to read once you get home.

I love my friends, I really do. If I didn’t I wouldn’t spend so much time with them! But finding a way to incorporate one of my favourite pastimes whilst actually having a social life (which I am still really not used to) is unexpectedly difficult. Genuinely, if any readers have advice please tell me! I guess I’m just an introvert by circumstance and an extrovert in personality.

This has been a bit ramble-y. I’m just typing this out on my phone while I’m visiting York and it’s a lot harder to edit on here! But let me know if you have this issue too, or anything similar. Surely I can’t be alone in this!

The Hazel Wood


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…).


Saga, Book 1


I’ll be honest, I only picked up volume 1 of Saga as I had seen so many BookTubers talking about it and I wanted a quick read to help me out of a reading slump, for me graphic novels are a lot quicker reads than traditional books. It turns out that this was such a good decision! I absolutely loved the first volume and quickly read volumes 2 and 3, also really enjoying them.

This graphic novel series is based around the story of a young girl, but starts (and is still, as far as I am up to) before her birth and continues to focus on her parents while she is an infant. It is set in space (hello sci-fi!) and this girl’s parents are from two different species who are war with each other, which evidently creates an issue of them finding a safe place for them to raise their child within a time where war rages through most of the area of the galaxy they are in. Not only do we follow this couple and their plight to find somewhere safe for their baby, but we also see what is happening elsewhere within this war, and the stories start to intertwine as the plot continues on.

The art style melds perfectly with the theme of sci-fi and I personally really like it, it definitely adds another aspect to the story in a brilliant way. I really enjoy this storyline so far and I am one hundred percent going to continue on to all of the other volumes currently published. Definitely looking forward to seeing how this story develops!

Coffin, Scarcely Used


When I saw this title I knew I had to look at the synopsis of the book, and I like this type of mystery so I was definitely up for giving it a go! This book was originally published in the 1950s, but for some reason seems to have been overlooked all this time. You can definitely feel the time period whilst reading, and personally, I found that added a nice touch to the experience and the plotline as it is 100% a product of its time in the best way.

Colin Watson wrote a fun, cute mystery book in an Agatha Christie-esque style which will keep anyone who is a fan of the genre interested and entertained throughout. There are some very interesting characters throughout and the story develops in an odd and interesting way, leaving me confused but pleased as I read. Watching the characters interact, and learning more about them as they reveal traits and implicate themselves in the crimes, was very fun for me, as well as discovering an interesting and well-developed plot.

This book is the first in the Flaxborough Chronicles, and I am definitely looking into carrying on the series. It’s a pity that these books weren’t more well known in their time and I am really grateful to Netgalley for providing an eCopy in return for an unbiased review, as although this was not one of my favourite books so far this year it is definitely a book I am glad to have read.

Beneath The Surface will get under your skin


This book is so so good! 5/5* from me. Firstly thank you to NetGalley and NineStar for a free ebook of this novel in return for an honest review. I had attempted to read a NineStar published Sci-Fi already this year (again thanks to NetGalley) and disliked it so much that it’s the first book I have ever DNF’d. I was pretty worried coming into this book that I would end up doing the same but Rebecca Langham has written an absolutely engrossing novel.

This isn’t a faced paced Sci-Fi, and that really isn’t an insult! Instead, it is a slow moving, dystopian world, where you gradually learn more about the characters and their backgrounds and start to form certain suspicions about the Outsiders (one of my suspicions was confirmed near the end of the book) who are treated poorly by the humans and forced to live underground and have many limitations placed upon them. The oppression of the Outsiders and the feelings of the humans who are around them is an incredibly interesting plot and reflects attitudes of society today.

As anyone who knows me is aware, I really really don’t like romance in books. The mushiness has always just annoyed me in the past, but I absolutely love how it was written here and the way it plays so naturally into the story and does not feel forced at all. The LGBT romance is written very naturally, unlike some other stories I’ve read where it feels forced and not simply a natural progression of the plot, and is a very sweet relationship.

The only issue I had with this book was that the ending felt a little rushed to me, as everything was wrapped up very quickly. I understood how the author was attempting to make the reader feel, in that everything happened very quickly after certain events and change came about in a small time period, but I don’t think she quite managed to capture it the way she wanted. I wanted more!! All in all, this was an amazing book and I will 100% be reading any sequels to learn more about these characters and the world they live in. The writing in this book is very well done, and without having read up on it I would never have known it was Rebecca Langham’s first novel. Looking forward to seeing more from this author!

Tattooist of Auschwitz will break your heart


This book was absolutely amazing and left me in tears once I finished it. The narrative follows Lale, a holocaust survivor and his time in the clutches of the Nazi’s, and this book is based on a real-life story from the author’s chats with Lale Sokolov and his son. We see his arrival at Auschwitz and how he managed to get into his position through a mixture of luck and work. As he settles in as best as he can in the life he is left with, we are shown him meeting a woman who he decides he justs has to talk to, even though there is a risk of death. We see him attempt to avoid trouble, whilst helping out those around him and attempting to give the kids living in his block some semblance of a normal childhood. There are some shocking moments, ones which will make you feel grateful to be alive and free and living in relative luxury, but thankfully there are also moments where hate is overturned and we get to see some beautifully happy moments come out of atrocious conditions.

Once I finished this book I cried for a good 20 minutes, full on sobbing, because this book is so powerful. It is written beautifully and gives such an insight into the world that was created to dehumanise people, and yet still there was hope throughout that may have been suffocated at times but always managed to keep breathing. This is definitely a must read and I need to get this book in a physical format so that I can read it again. Absolutely amazing and something I will recommend to everyone I know.

Thank you so much to NetGalley for a free eCopy of this book in return for an unbiased review.

Becoming Mrs Smith, a novella to break your heart


The first thing I need to address – this book made me weep. For some reason I am a masochist when it comes to WWII set books, I love them but they love to hurt me. This is 100% a 5 star read!!! This novella knows how to pack a punch!

This book is based around a woman living in South Decota (USA) before and during the second world war, showing her life and how she matures from a young girl into a young woman attempting to keep going in a world which seems to be limping onwards into danger. As the book is a novella, a lot happens in a very short time which makes it hard to explain without giving anything away! Our protagonist Violet leads a life of constant worry when her childhood sweetheart signs up to the war effort and she is left wondering whether she will ever see him again. This book absolutely wrenched my heart out, made me weep and managed to make me have pretty intense feelings about the next book in this series within 2 small paragraphs at the end of the book. Definitely a series I am continuing and will be recommending to all of my friends!

Tanya E Williams offers an excerpt of the book on her website: so definitely head there if this book sounds like your cup of tea. Thank you to Tanya and NetGalley for an eCopy of this book in return for an unbiased review, I have found a new favourite book and a series I will follow!

The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas, breaking my heart one page at a time


I had been avoiding reading this book for the longest time. I was made to watch the film adaptation when I was in year 8 and despite being a self-professed lover of all literature WWII based and was too scared to bring myself to pick the book up because the movie scarred me too much. But finally, as a 21-year-old, I picked it up! Reading this as an “adult” definitely changed my perspective compared to how I would have reacted if I was younger. One part of this is due to me sadly having been exposed to more violent acts, both by the Nazis in WWII and in general fiction (both written and cinematic) and in real life, but it is also due to me being able to more fully understand what is going to happen and what Bruno is experiencing, even when he doesn’t know himself.

The most unique aspect of this book has to be that it is told through the eyes of a nine-year-old. This viewpoint means that, as an adult, I am very aware of what Bruno does not understand and of how those around him are reacting to the situation they have found themselves in. This really impacts how we experience his move from Berlin to “Out-With” (Auschwitz) and the people in pyjamas he can see from his bedroom window whom he desperately wants to meet. The innocence of the protagonist completely offsets the horrors which are being carried out in the background, which is a very odd position to be in as a reader as you know of the events which Bruno is blind to but are instead engrossed in the tale of Bruno’s life.

This is a book that I think everybody should read at some point in their life, it emphasises that everybody is essentially the same no matter what labels we assign to ourselves and others. The opposite of what the Nazis stood for and a very important message.

Mort and his mortality


As always with The Discworld so far, I’ve really enjoyed this book and the new perspective looking closer into Death’s life, his daughter, his manservant and also his new apprentice Mort. Being able to discover more about Death’s life through the eyes of someone who is also new to the world is really helpful narratively and leaves us confused half the time, which I’m sure is what Terry Pratchett would want! Although the repetitive mentioning of the slow speed of light breaking on the disc was starting to grate on my nerves after the seven-hundredth time (okay I’m exaggerating a little, and it is relevant, but it really didn’t need to be mentioned so often!), I really liked the ending of the book and I’m definitely looking forward to reading the next book in the series and to see what I’ll be told next about the Discworld.

Three Days Dead, The Damned vol. 1


I’ve been reading a lot of comics so far this year! This is yet another graphic novel that I enjoyed and want to continue with the series. We follow a gun-for-hire who keeps coming back from the dead, as long as someone touches him after he dies, and a bunch of daemons having a gang war in the city. Yeah… it’s an interesting concept! It’s a classic noir comic with a twist of horror and a big dollop of death, a main character who you want to keep following and an art design that very much fits the genre with its sharp, angular preferences.

This is a new release of a previously published comic, and the major addition seems to be that this is now in colour. Although a black-and-white theme would suit this style of comic, the addition of colour really brings the world to life and adds a whole new dimension. I don’t want to say much more to let you discover what this graphic novel has to offer on your own. Definitely one to pick up if you like action, crime and a little bit of horror (I hate horror books or films but comics I can deal with for some odd reason) with some daemons thrown in for good measure.

Thank you to NetGalley for a free eCopy of this graphic novel in return for an unbiased review.