The Book Eaters by Sunyi Dean, a review

The Book Eaters by Sunyi Dean was September’s Illumicrate book. A YA fantasy horror that was perfect to start in October.

The Book Eaters by Sunyi Dean

A young mother runs away to keep her son safe. That’s the basic premise of this book, but it misses out on so much of the nuance. For example the fact that the mum only eats books, and the son? Well he eats minds.

I really enjoyed this book! For those worried about the horror marking? I personally wouldn’t be. There is some graphic violence, but whilst the book is dark I wouldn’t say it’s especially creepy. So it’s not that it doesn’t deserve the horror mark, perhaps that our view on horror should alter slightly.

The world building is done fantastically through this book. We jump back and forwards in time, and Dean has managed to arrange these in the perfect way so that we learn about the history of this world whilst we become invested in our protagonist Devon’s life and that of her son, Cai.

I also adore the fact that a fair amount of this is set in Newcastle and Northumberland! We almost never get books set in that region (where I’m from if you didn’t know, in the north east of England) and it was so much fun recognising places and streets!

The character development is really interesting, especially with us jumping back and forward in time. I think Dean managed this really well in how she keeps the plot simple in the beginning of the book, when we’re in the modern day. And advancing this plot as we learn more about past Devon and her life. I enjoyed seeing the change in Devon from childhood innocence to adult denial and then acceptance of the truth.

On CAWPILE I rated this: Characters: 7, Atmosphere: 9, Writing: 8, Plot: 8, Intrigue: 8, Logic: 8, and Enjoyment: 8 with an average of 8 and a 4.5* rating.

Highlight here for content warnings: violence, domestic abuse, pregnancy, child abuse, death, body horror, misogyny, confinement, gaslighting, cannibalism, grief, infertility, rape, eating disorder, police brutality, death of parent, acephobia, kidnapping.

This book is a fantastic standalone read, but I would 100% read a sequel! The ending is satisfying, don’t get me wrong, but Dean could 100% write a book 2 and I hope that one day she does! Definitely an author I’ll be keeping an eye one

November Reading Wrap Up

I tried to keep my November tbr small and still failed, but I managed to get through a fair amount of them! I didn’t finish up my Goldsboro or Illumicrate books, so I’m going to leave those for now and if I do finish my December tbr in good time I’ll squeeze them in before the end of the year.

Dracula by Bram Stoker is the classic vampire novel that I was finishing up from October. Truthfully I had been expecting to just find this fine. But I loved it! The character development was so engaging and the female characters? Actually being appreciated and fleshed out? *French kiss*.

Mindwalker by Kate Dylan is another book I was finishing up from my October TBR. It’s a fabulous Sci-Fi story

The Book Eaters by Sunyi Dean is the final book that I was finishing up from my October reads.

Van Gogh by Meyer Schapiro is a book that I found in a charity shop in October. It is a non-fiction which shows large prints of selected van Gogh paintings alongside Schapiro’s thoughts and analysis on the work. It was a little overly academic for me at times, but I did enjoy learning more about this artist that I love.

Between Starshine and Clay by Sarah Ladipo Manyika was sent to me by the wonderful people over at Footnote, and I’m so very grateful because this book was fantastic. I really enjoyed how Ladipo Manyika told us the stories she was learning, utilising different styles and methods. We hear so many stories from wide across the diaspora and I will definitely be looking to learn more about every person included in this book!

Assassin’s Apprentice by Robin Hobb is a book Celine wanted me to read, and now I have I totally see why. This book was amazing! Exactly the type of fantasy that I adore and oh dear I’m in love with this series just one book in! Watching the growth of this young boy, isolated from everyone around him, and the struggles he faces. The character development. All of it is just amazing and you all (if you enjoy fantasy) need to pick this book up!

How To Kill Your Family by Bella Mackie is a book that Hannah had put on my tbr for October, clearly it didn’t happen that month but I wanted it to still happen so I got in gear and read it in November. At the start I hated our main character, but I pushed through and I’m glad I did! This is such a wild book and a lot of fun. The ending? Frustrating. Honestly Mackie WHY. But apart from that? Fun!

Erotic Stories for Punjabi Widows by Balli Kaur Jaswal is the book that Hannah actually put on my tbr for November, and again she picked an amazing book. This is set in London and follows a young British Indian woman who doesn’t fit in with the cultural expectations but ends up with a job in her local temple… teaching the elderly women how to write erotic stories. But this book is about so much more. It’s about racism, feminism, community, and culture. It’s a really beautiful book and one I’ll definitely be recommending! There are scenes of written erotica in here, as we see the widow’s stories, which as a Demi weren’t what I was here for. But I did enjoy the rest of the book.

Dune by Frank Herbert was my final read for November and I buddy read this with Eleanor (and Chels tried but life was lifeing). There weren’t any chapter breaks in this book, which obviously was an issue while buddy reading. So that was frustrating. And the synopsis is written badly in my edition as it spoils something which doesn’t actually occur until over 200 pages in. I think I’ll appreciate this book a lot more on reread but it was simply fine for this first read through. Now I need to decide if I’m continuing with the series or if I’m leaving this here.

I did also read some of Silver Under Nightfall of Rin Chupeco and The Whispering Dark by Kelly Andrew, which hopefully I’ll be finishing up before the end of the year. I’m enjoying both of them, Silver a lot more, and I hope that carries on as I finish up the books.

Overall I’m really happy with how this reading month ended up, with a fair few books read! What is the best book you read in November? I’m debating between Assassin’s Apprentice and Dracula!

๐ŸŽ…๐ŸปDecember TBR!๐ŸŽ…๐Ÿป

It’s Chriiiiiistmaaaasss!!! Or at least it’s December. Look I’ve waited until December started and we’ve all had such a bad year that we deserve to enjoy something! But yes, this means it’s time for my final tbr of 2022! ๐Ÿ˜ฒ

In the twist of the decade I’ve actually kept this months list short so let’s dive in!

First up are the book box books. Goldsboro GSFF box for this month with be The Immortality Thief by Taran Hunt which is another Sci-Fi book. 100% here for squeezing in some more Sci-Fi before the end of the year! And Illumicrate is giving us The Luminaries by Susan Dennard as a Daphne Press book. I’m excited to finally try out some of Dennard’s writing!

Then onto the books I already own. The Poppy War by R.F. Kuang is the last book on my “12 in 2022” instagram list, where I had people pick 12 books for me to read this year. After adoring Babel I’m so so excited to dive into more of Kuang’s writing! A Chinese history inspired political fantasy? Exciting!

The Spear of Truth by Caroline Logan was one of my most anticipated releases of 2022 and I need to get to it before the year is out! This is the final book in the Four Treasures series which follows a grumpy grandpa of a young girl who is coerced into being a bodyguard for some selkies! Scottish mythology combined with YA fantasy and I adore the series. I’m so excited and so nervous for this series to end!

My boyfriend adores the Discworld series, and yet after I’ve moved in with him I’ve not read a single Discworld book! So Guards! Guards! by Terry Pratchett is going on my December tbr. This series is a classic in the fantasy world and I’m excited to dive back into the madness!

The final book on my tbr is a reread, and that is A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens. I’m going to be getting the train to my parents house on Christmas Eve, and this seems like the perfect travel read for the season!

That’s only 6 books! Six! That’s the smallest tbr I’ve made in ages! I won’t lie, it was surprisingly hard, and I had another 5 books that could’ve been added to the tbr. But I really want to be reasonable this month and not give myself too much to read.

What’s on your final tbr of the year? What do you need to get to before New Years Day?

Babel by R.F. Kuang, a review

Babel by R.F. Kuang. Where do I even start with this incredibly hyped and very popular book? With editions from Illumicrate, Fairyloot, Waterstones and Barnes & Nobles it looked like everyone had this book!

Babel by R.F. Kuang

This dark academia fantasy novel is set in Oxford in the 1800s following international students in a translation college at the uni. In this world, silver working provides the power that was made possible in the real world through the industrial revolution. This involves matching similar words across languages and utilising their meanings. But despite relying on foreigners for this work, the English still maintain their “superiority” over people of colour and look to exploit them and their work for their own gain.

The etymology side of this book is absolutely fascinating. The sheer research that Kuang must have done on such a large range of languages is incredibly impressive and really demonstrates the beauty of language.

Kuang also integrates the colonial ideals of exploitation of non-whites for the gains of the empire throughout this novel, and the impact both mentally and physically this takes on people of colour who have been taken under the wings of the empire. These people have been given the privilege of an education not offered to the rest of their countrymen, and they feel like they should be grateful for this. But they were only given this because there was a “use” for them that white students couldn’t provide. And none of the innovations developed will be passed on to China, India, the Caribbean – the places which provided our main characters with the culture and language that Oxford and the Babel Institute finds so useful. Seeing this complex play of emotions and manipulation through the lenses of our characters throughout the novel is fascinating and heartbreaking.

I really enjoyed how Kuang interlinked real history, historical events and technological innovation, with the magical potential discovered in this world. It adds an extra weight to the racism and sexism portrayed, as the reader can’t escape by thinking this is just a fantasy. These events happened, in a slightly different manner, in real life.

I really cannot speak truly to everything this book contains and all of the aspects of it. This book is a work of art. Also, as a white woman I’m not going to be impacted in the same way that others will be. But. This book is god damn gorgeous. I will say, for the reading experience, it is a very slow read. That is usually something that I really don’t enjoy out of a book, I like a fast paced read. However, it works absolutely perfectly within this book. I found myself wanting to savour and relish every sentence and I was more than happy to make my way slowly through this book. So go into this expecting it to be slow, but don’t let that put you off if you’re usually a fast paced reader like me.

On CAWPILE I rated this: Characters: 10, Atmosphere: 9, Writing: 9, Plot: 9, Intrigue: 9, Logic: 9, and Enjoyment: 10 which gives a score of 9.29 and a 5* rating!

Highlight here for content warnings: racism, colonisation, racial slurs, death, violence, xenophobia, classism, child abuse, grief, war, sexism, suicide, murder, gun violence, misogyny, death of parent, emotional abuse, enslavement, torture, physical abuse, cultural appropriation, hate crime, islamophobia, trafficking, gaslighting, addiction, confinement, drug abuse, infidelity, self harm, kidnapping.

In my opinion? This book is 100% worth the hype. It’s a gorgeous, multi-facited, read that has inspired me to reach for more books from R.F. Kuang. I’m hoping to read The Poppy War in December! This will sit pride of place on my shelves and is a definite contender for my book of the year!

November TBR Time!

Is this tbr a little late? Yeah! But better late than never ๐Ÿ˜…

October did not go great for me reading wise, but it gave me the reality check I needed that reading is a hobby that I’m supposed to enjoy, not stress about. So although I’ve got a fairly big tbr for November, I’m not going to stress if I don’t manage to read all the books.

I’m also transferring books over from last months tbr, so let’s start with those before I move onto the new books on the list.

Dracula by Bram Stoker is a well known Gothic classic, and one that I got over halfway through in October. I’m really enjoying it so far and looking forward to finishing up the story.

Illumicrate’s book for last month, The Book Eaters by Sunyi Dean is a horror standalone set mainly in the north east of England (love) about people who eat books and people who eat minds. I’m only about 20% of the way into this one but it’s another I have high hopes about enjoying.

And then Goldsboro’s GSFF book last month was Mindwalker by Kate Dylan. A YA Sci-fi with Marvel vibes, this is definitely a fun one and I’m looking forward to the conclusion.

Assassin’s Apprentice by Robin Hobb is one of my “12 in 12 months” books and I’d like to be able to at least make a good dent in all of those. It’s also a high fantasy, which I’ve not read for a while.

And the last for transferred books is How To Kill Your Family by Bella Mackie. I only read 35 pages of this last month so I’ve barely scraped the surface of this one, but I’m intrigued and always down for a death themed read.

Now onto the books that are new for this month.

The wonderful people over at Footnote sent me Between Starshine and Clay by Sarah Ladipo Manyika, which is a non-fiction work where Ladipo Manyika has conversations with people across the African diaspora. It sounds completely fascinating and I’m really excited to dive in.

Then we have this month’s Illumicrate read: The Whispering Dark by Kelly Andrew. This has own voices deaf representation and seems like it’s going to be a dark read. Right up my street.

Goldsboro GSFF for this month is Silver Under Nightfall by Rin Chupeco. I loved The Never Tilting World so I’m excited to read this vampire book from them, I’ve not read a vampire book in years!

Then Dune by Frank Herbert is also on my “12 in 12 months” list so I’m trying to squeeze this one is as well, buddy reading it with Eleanor and Chels. This is a classic sci-fi space opera and the first time I’ve dove into one of those. Hoping I enjoy it!

And the final book on my tbr is Erotic Stories for Punjabi Women by Balli Kaur Jaswal, one that Hannah from Ladette M put on my tbr for this month. This is a contemporary, which I don’t usually read. But I trust Hannah so I’m looking forward to diving into this one!

And that’s the tbr! Like I said, if I don’t read these books it’s not the end of the world. Fingers crossed I do but I’m just taking it easy and looking after my mental health.

With us being almost half way through the month, I hope that your tbr is going well! Good luck for the rest of November!

August Reading Wrap Up

In August I had two readathons: the Mary Shelley AThon and the MiddleEarthAThon. Both were amazing and both inspired me to pick up books I wouldn’t have (at least this month) otherwise. It also meant that I read more than I would’ve so no complaints here!!

If you’d like to see how well I balanced my books out this month, then check out the video here!

The first book I finished in August was Fire by Kristin Cashore which is the second book in the Graceling series. This is an older YA series that has gotten a bit of a revival lately and it’s so much fun! Fire is our main character and I loved seeing her development throughout the book, as well as how the court changed around her. So excited to dive into Bitterblue next! This was my tbr jar pick and I’m glad this was forced into my hands!

Next up was Mathilda by Mary Shelley which I picked up for the Mary Shelley A Thon prompt of something written by Shelley. This is a super short read, around 100 pages, and a really interesting one. It’s essentially an unedited short story about a young woman who just wants a family and considering it’s unedited… wow is it written well. I just wish Shelley had been able to edit this one up into a fully fledged work!

The Final Strife by Saara El-Arifi was my next read, the Goldsboro GSFF book for last month, and WOW did I adore this book. Five stars, one of my favourites ever. This book is just amazing. I need the sequel like yesterday. This high fantasy is incredibly detailed, beautifully well developed, and I adored seeing the characters learn more about the world and each other. I love this book so much that I struggle to talk about it. That’s when you know I loved a read!

Then another great read was The River and the Book by Alison Croggon, my first reads from this author since The Pellinor Series (you know, that one that’s in my handle). This is not an own-voices book, but that is literally the only downside. It’s a beautifully written book that tackles white saviourism and it’s a real short read too. One I’d definitely recommend picking up!

Then I read the behemoth that is The Collected Poems of Robert Burns which clocks in at 600 pages. This was for a Mary Shelley A Thon prompt to read a poem/collection of poetry and this was the best choice because it was gifted to me by the readathon host Caitlyn! (from Mad Cheshire Rabbit) This is definitely not one I’d recommend generally to everyone, because there are some duds in this collection, but there are also some fantastic works and I think you should look Burns up and read a few.

The Drowned Woods by Emily Lloyd-Jones was the Illumicrate read for August and it was… fine? There wasn’t anything particularly wrong with this YA fantasy, but it also wasn’t a standout. Not one I’ll recommend or remember, but it’s fine. Read my full review linked above for more details.

Then I finished my non-fiction for the month, Timefulness by Marcia Bjornerud. This one was fantastic, having super interesting and unique discussions on geology, the physical makeup of our planet, and how we can learn to think more about timeframes past our existence. But. There’s ableism right at the end and I just can’t recommend a book after that. Check out my full review of this one coming in a few days (or available on my blog now if you’re reading this in mid September 22 onwards).

For my first MiddleEarthAThon read, a shiny book, I went for Demon Road by Derek Landy which is the first book in a YA Urban Fantasy trilogy. This is the same author of the Skulduggery Pleasant series and unfortunately it doesn’t quite live up to that high bar. It was enjoyable enough though and I’m curious, so I’ll be carrying on with the series.

All The Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr works for both readathons. For MiddleEarthAThon it’s (one of) the oldest book on my tbr, and for Mary Shelley A Thon it counts for both a book outside of your comfort zone and a tbr vet. This. This book was fantastic, amazing, and a 5* read! I had the smallest of issues with how travel was portrayed but other than that – perfection! Another favourite of the year.

And my final read was most of The Penguin Complete Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. This entire collection was 1122 pages so I didn’t manage to read it all before the month was up, but I did manage it in the one week of the MiddleEarthAThon, and in August I read a fair few of the short stories. I’ll mention this one more in my September wrap up but this was a 4* read and just as fun as I remember Sherlock stories being.

And that’s everything I managed to read last month! It totalled 3944 pages, and so much of that was during the MiddleEarthAThon!!

Did you get any five star reads last month? The Final Strife and All The Light We Cannot See are both amazing and I’m so glad that I picked them up!!

The Drowned Woods by Emily Lloyd-Jones, a review

The Drowned Woods by Emily Lloyd-Jones is a Welsh folklore inspired fantasy read that came in an Illumicrate box. It follows a young woman who is the last living water diviner, someone who can find and control water.

The Drowned Woods by Emily Lloyd-Jones

Our water diviner, Mer, is captured by the prince of her kingdom and bound into his service. Through him she has caused the death of many people, as he poisoned the water sources that she found under his orders. She escaped the prince and was living a life on the run until Mer’s old handler found her, and suggested a way to bring down the prince and free the kingdom from his rule.

Firstly, Emily Lloyd-Jones is an American. I assume with her surname there is Welsh heritage there, but she is from Oregon, USA, and that does mean this is not an own voices story. Lloyd-Jones has written Welsh based/inspired stories before that Welsh readers haven’t exactly… loved the representation inside. Given that this came in a British (clearly English) book box, I’m disappointed that Illumicrate once again chose an American author. But as I don’t know enough about Wales I can’t speak to whether this book badly represents the country or not. I recommend finding own voices reviewers to confirm that aspect.

Separate from the representation issues however, this is a fun, basic, little read. It’s a sweet book, and quite a quick one to get through meaning that I’ll recommend this YA fantasy to any teens who ask. I adore the little Corgi that features through the book, definitely the best character ๐Ÿ˜‰ but a lot of the other characters fell flat, despite the attempts at development and at adding in depth. We do get LGBTQ+ representation in here, which is always great, but even then the relationships portrayed felt quite flat and one dimensional.

This book has one of the most “fairytale” endings I’ve read in a long while, especially as an adult. Not everything goes right, but the characters end mostly happy and with that uptick of “the world is getting better”. This was marketed as “standard” YA but I definitely feel as though it leans towards younger YA instead. Nothing wrong with that at all (some of my favourites are in that bracket) but it did mean I went in with the wrong expectations.

The plot is the most interesting thing about this book, and it did show a lot of promise. But? The twist at the end was just… so unrealistic for how she had portrayed the characters so far? There wasn’t enough character depth to justify the choices that they made, and not enough weight given.

On CAWPILE I rated this: Characters: 6, Atmosphere: 7, Writing: 6, Plot: 7, Intrigue: 7, Logic: 6, Enjoyment: 7, giving an average of 6.57 and a 3.5* rating.

Highlight here for trigger warnings: character death (on-page), child/spouse death, suicide, drowning, slavery, torture/branding, severe injury, violence, poison, guilt, self-loathing.

This is definitely a fun read, I wouldn’t want to put anyone off reading it. Just be aware what you’re going into. A fun, basic fantasy read that won’t stick in the mind but will be a bit of fun whilst you read it.

Have you read The Drowned Woods or anything else by Emily Lloyd-Jones? I’d love to hear what you think of her writing!

My September TBR!

At this very beginning of September I’ve been finishing off my reads for the MiddleEarthAThon, so that has delayed me starting my actual tbr. It’s also tempting a slump because WOW I read a lot ๐Ÿ˜‚ but that’s why this tbr is a little late.

Ironically, my video version wasn’t late – so if you’d rather see this in video form then check it out!

But now onto the list version of my tbr! I do have one “secret” book on my tbr, that you folks won’t find out about until mid-October at the earliest. I really need to get reading on that one!

Babel by R.F. Kuang is one of the most hyped books of this month and I’m so excited to dive into this diverse dark academia. I’ve not read anything by Kuang yet (The Poppy War is on my tbr still) and so I really hope I enjoy her writing style – I have hope! This one was, of course, from my Illumicrate subscription.

My Goldsboro GSFF subscription brought me Lost in Time by A.G. Riddle and it’s definitely something very different to what I usually pick up! A man is sent back to the time of the dinosaurs as a punishment but he has to get back to the modern day. Sounds wild and I’m here for it.

Then for the Middle Grade Magic readathon which is taking place from the 1st to the 11th September I’m wanting to read two books. One is Raybearer by Jordan Ifueko which I’m wanting to read via audiobook, a YA high fantasy, magical, queer read. Always here for that and I’ve heard wonderful things. The other book is The Throne of Fire by Rick Riordan, the second book in his Ancient Egyptian series The Kane Chronicles. This is one of the few middle grades that I have a physical copy of so it was the obvious choice.

And then I have four books on my general tbr, along with a fifth for my tbr jar pick.

Tales of the City by Armistead Maupin is a piece of classic LGBTQ+ literature that was gifted to me by my uncle (who runs this amazing page called On This Gay Day) and I’ve been meaning to read for a while!

Then one that I keep hearing amazing things about, The Strange Case of the Alchemist’s Daughter by Theodora Goss. Now that I’ve read more gothic literature, I’m excited to dive into this book that utilises both those tropes as well as the famous characters from these books, and I’ve heard the communication style is unique.

It’s been a while since I read a dystopian so I’m finally going to pick up Raging Star by Moira Young and finish the Blood Red Road trilogy. I’ve had this on my tbr for so long now that it’s slightly ridiculous. Time to finally read it!

Failure to Communicate by Kaia Sonderby is my last book before the jar and this is a sci-fi read that has autistic representation that I’ve been told is wonderful. It’s also an indie-published novel which I always love supporting!

And then for the jar. I went through the jar with Caitlyn from Mad Cheshire Rabbit and added and removed some entries – from the newly refreshed jar I picked out……

The Never Tilting World by Rin Chupeco! (which was gifted to me by Kari from Kar-ing for Books) This is a sci-fi fantasy read where the planet has stopped rotating. One half is freezing and the other is boiling – but the two must work together. I’m excited to try out this one.

And that’s my tbr. As always it’s far too big but fingers crossed I can get through all these reads and that I enjoy most of them, we’ll have to wait and see ๐Ÿ˜‰

What are you most excited to read in September? I’m assuming for most of you the answer will be Babel! I’m super excited for that one too!!

Back Into Reading! My July wrap up and stats!

I’ve had a big dip in my reading lately. Life came up on me and so reading had to take a back seat, but by the end of the month I seem to have gotten back into my stride. Despite that, I did “only” manage 7 books (I was averaging around 13 books before, 7 books is still a great number!).

I read 2410 pages this month, with 18 hours of audiobook listening. Which is the most I’ve done in any month so far. Despite that, I read mostly physical books, 6 in fact. With only the 1 audiobook (The Fellowship of the Ring). And surprising nobody, 4 out of the 7 books were fantasy!

I started out the month by reading Pompeii by Salvatore Nappo. This is a guide book to Pompeii that was published in 1998 and gifted to my family then. None of us ever got around to reading it, and seeing as I was in Pompeii last month now seemed like a good time! Despite it being a little old the information in here was still mostly accurate (what’s been excavated being the most inaccurate – obviously) and super interesting.

Then I finished Rivers of London by Ben Arronovitch and I couldn’t stop thinking about this book after I finished it! A Met Police PC discovers the occult and supernatural and ends up joining the department of the Met that deals with magical crimes. I did have a few issues with this book, but honestly I can’t get it out of my head and I’m definitely carrying on with the series.

Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen was my next read. This is my fourth book by her (if you include Lady Susan) and yet again I really enjoyed it! I like how it played on the gothic tropes and made fun of them a little whilst also advocating for reading and having some great quotes. I don’t know why I like her books so much, because I wouldn’t think of picking them up if they were contemporary now. But I’m not complaining!

A translated piece of fiction from Japan, The Travelling Cat Chronicles by Hiro Arikawa made me sob. Honestly my face was not fit for public consumption. Christ. I was red as a tomato and sniffling like a child who just finished throwing a tantrum. This book is so beautiful, and so heartwrenching. I don’t want to tell you much, because it’s learning about the events themselves that give the impact of the book. But the general plot is that it’s a road trip across Japan with this man and his cat, as he tries to find a new home for the cat. 5 stars!

Goldsboro did it once again with their amazing GSFF box pick, Ordinary Monsters by J.M. Miro. Think Peculiar Children but for adults. The magic system in here was amazing, I loved the conversation about taking children from their homes and their loved ones. I loved each and every side plot in here and wish that we could have them all fleshed out. It was just an amazing experience and this is another 5 star read for me. Read it.

Unfortunately, my next book wasn’t so great, and that’s Book of Night by Holly Black. This was the Illumicrate book for last month, but because I wasn’t reading this month’s book (cause it’s racist) I thought I’d catch up on my missed reading from my holidays with this one. It’s fine? The magic is interesting but I just couldn’t get along with Black’s writing style. And given this is supposed to be an adult title it felt incredibly YA.

Luckily my final book puts things on an upspin with The Fellowship of the Ring by J.R.R. Tolkein finally being on my read shelves! I listened to this via audiobook, which was a fantastic experience, and I’m so mad that I didn’t pick these books up sooner! I need to read the next two! I’m so glad Lizzie is hosting the MiddleEarthAThon to kick me into gear to read these!

And those are my reads! I seem to be getting back into my books now, fingers crossed (touch wood, and every other superstition available), and I’m looking forward to all the new stories I can get to next month! If you’d like to see how my balancing of the books went in July? Well you’ll have to subscribe to my BookTube channel so you get notified when that video comes out! (soon!)

What’s your favourite read of July? Mine has to be a tie between The Travelling Cat Chronicles, and Ordinary Monsters!

2 Readathons, 2 Book Boxes – My August ’22 TBR!

It’s tbr time again! This month I’m going to be taking part in two readathons, as well as wanting to read my book box choices and starting up the tbr jar again! Let’s start with the books that aren’t for any prompts.

The Final Strife by Saara El-Arifi is the Goldsboro GSFF book. This is apparently the first book in a trilogy, a high fantasy with Lesbian rep and the praises of Samantha Shannon. Simply just being the Goldsboro book would’ve been enough for me to be excited but with all those other points? So excited to dive in!

The Illumicrate book for this month is The Drowned Woods by Emily Lloyd-Jones which is a Welsh based mythologically inspired read with faries and fae. I’m usually not a big fan of fae, but I actually really enjoy them when in a Celtic and native British setting so I’m hopeful for this one. It’s only 350 pages so I may as well give it a shot!

Then, my tbr jar book. Yup, I brought it back! And this time I pulled out Fire by Kristin Cashore, the second book in the Graceling series. I’m really excited to continue on with these books because Graceling was such a fun read. I’ve been told that this isn’t a direct sequel, but is within the same world, so I’m really curious!

Now onto the two readathons I’m taking part in this month! The first I’ll mention is one that’s covering the whole of August, and that is the Mary-Shelley-A-Thon hosted by Caitlyn from Mad Cheshire Rabbit. This is in celebration of Shelley’s birthday on the 31st of August, and so of course the prompts were all inspired by her! The second is taking place from the 28th August until the 2nd September, and this is the MiddleEarthAThon, this one celebrating the new Lord of the Rings series coming out on the 2nd. Neither of these require you to have read things in their respective areas before you join them, so please do consider joining us!

Mathilda by Mary Shelley is a short story, according to Goodreads it’s 79 pages. I picked this one for the prompt of reading something by Shelley, as I don’t own anything unread by her and thought that I may as well go for something short if I’m adding another book!

Then for the prompt of reading a poem or poetry collection, I’m using The Complete Poems of Robert Burns. I’m hoping I can read the whole thing this month. But if not as long as I read one it technically counts for the prompt so I’m all good!

This next book hits two Mary-Shelley-A-Thon prompts and one MiddleEarthAThon prompt. The book is All The Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr, a historical fiction set in WWII France following a blind girl trying to survive Nazi occupation. For Shelley the prompts are a book outside of your comfort zone and a tbr veteran. I’ve had this book since 2016 and I really don’t get on as much with historical fiction anymore. For MiddleEarth it’s the oldest book on my tbr.

Then Demon Road by Derek Landy is my pick for the shiny book, the whole cover is so bright! This is by the same author as Skulduggery Pleasant and I’m nervous, because I’ve heard mixed reviews, but I’m excited to dive in myself.

The last book I’ve put on my tbr is the biggest, at 1100+ pages, and that’s The Complete Sherlock Holmes Collection by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. This is for the short story collection prompt, and because this one is so big (and I only have a week to read both it and the other two books – which are both 500+ pages) I’ll count the prompt as complete as long as I read a minimum of 5 stories. But I’m going to try and read them all!

And that’s my tbr! Definitely a challenging one, specifically at the end of the month, but I’m excited to dive into all of these and enjoy some new worlds and stories! What’s one book on your tbr for this month?