My June TBR Hopefuls!

After how hectic the end of May was, I thought I’d be a little more down low for June and only put 10 books onto my tbr (yes… I’m aware that’s still a lot. This was as low as I could get it!) A couple audiobooks, one non-fiction, and a load of fantasy. Perfect!

My tbr video is already up if you’d rather consume this in video form!

Not included in the 10 is The Three Musketeers by Alexandre Dumas, which I’m reading one chapter a day of. I’m carrying on with it in June and I’m actually hoping to finish it this month! We’ll have to wait and see.

Then, the TBR jar returned this month! And from that I’m picking up The Muse by Jessie Burton. This is a historical fiction set between the 1960s and 1930s that follows art, or more accurately, one painting. This was gifted to me by my little sister back in 2016 and I really do need to get around to it!

Because I’m one of the co-hosts for MiddleEarthAThon I really should have read the Lord of the Rings… and I haven’t. So I’m wanting to listen to the audiobook of The Fellowship of the Ring by J.R.R. Tolkein! One of the most well known high fantasy books, and it’s a wee bit shameful I’ve not read it yet 😂

And for my second audiobook, Plain Bad Heroines by Emily M. Danforth. This is an LGBTQ+ gothic historical fiction, and I really know basically nothing else. But my friend Lizzie enjoyed it (from LizzieIsElf) so why not! It’s a long audiobook, just under 20 hours, so I’ll most likely start this one after reading LotR.

Rivers of London by Ben Aaronovitch is a longstanding fantasy series that I’ve seen around for a few years now, it follows a detective around a magical version of our London. I love a good mystery, as well as a fantasy, so I’m hoping this combination really works for me.

Vox by Christina Dalcher is a dystopian where women can only speak 100 words a day. Any more and they get hit with 1000 volts of electricity. I enjoy concepts like these, but I am wary of it being “women” who are impacted by this. How does this then impact trans women, or non-binary folk, or trans men? I’m not expecting this book to be aware enough to cover this topic but I’ll be super pleasantly surprised if it does.

Another social commentary kind of book, 84k by Claire North. This is set in a world where each life has a monetary value, and if you can afford the price you can do whatever you like. Including murder. Our main character doesn’t care, until someone they love has their life bought.

Hannah from LadetteM sent me The Atlas Six by Olivie Blake when she was unhauling it. She really didn’t vibe with it, but I also enjoyed Addie LaRue, which Hannah hated sooooo I thought it was worth giving a shot to a fantasy world where only 5 people will get a place in this society each year.

For my non-fiction of the month I’m going for Minnesota’s Geologist by Sue Leaf, which was a present from Kari from Kar-ing for Books who lives in the state and knows I’m always down to learn about geology! I’m super excited for this one and have been for a while.

The Goldsboro GSFF box for May gave us The Collarbound by Rebecca Zahabi, this is advertised as a magical, brink-of-war setting and I really do enjoy political fantasy and have had fantastic success with previous GSFF books so I’m excited for this one!

And finally is the Illumicrate book from the May box which is Book of Night by Holly Black. I’ve never been interested in Black’s books before, but this one has a woman who is fantastic with explosives and I am totally here for that. I just hope it’s a good one!

And that’s my June TBR! Let me know if you’ve read any of these books and what you thought of them. And let me know one book that’s on your TBR, I’m always here to add more books to the list!

The Five, a review

The Five by Hallie Rubenhold is a non-fiction book about the women who were murdered by Jack the Ripper. Instead of focusing on the murderer, however, we focus on the women. Their lives. Their histories. And how they ended up in the slums of London.

Hallie Rubenhold is a historian, so this is very well researched, with endless references at the end of the book (which I love!) and I can’t even imagine just how many hours went into researching this book.

Mary Ann Nichols. Annie Chapman. Elizabeth Stride. Catherine Eddowes. Mary Jane Kelly.

These are the women who came from middle class comfort, from the slums, from Sweden, with families that loved them, or being totally alone in the world.

I loved this book. So so much. We really delve deep into these women’s lives and the lives of their families. We learn exactly how all of them ended up living in their destitute situations and how they were making their living.

These women are often all portrayed as prostitutes and sex workers. Of course there is nothing at all wrong with this, but in Rubenhold’s research she could only find evidence that one of the women worked in this profession. It seems as though the Victorian’s couldn’t imagine a women living in the slums and not being “morally reprehensible” and so they decided that they all must be prostitutes.

Whilst in the modern day we know (or at least I hope you do) that there is nothing wrong with being a sex worker, it’s simply factually incorrect to state that this was these five women’s linking factor. That isn’t why they were murdered. They were women who unfortunately were deemed as easy targets. They weren’t able to find a bed for the night. They were homeless on the streets.

As you can see, I’m pretty passionate about this after having read this book. And I read this months ago! I really do recommend that you pick this up. It reads very well so should be perfectly accessible to those who aren’t keen on non-fiction books usually and is utterly fascinating to just learn about the day to day life of various women in this time period.

CAWPILE isn’t the best measure for non-fiction books (or at least it wasn’t in 2021, G has updated it for 2022) so I just wrote in the scores to give this book a 5 star rating! But I did make a note to give “enjoyment” a 10/10 score.

This is a fantastic read and in my opinion totally worth the hype that it suddenly got all over bookstagram. I hope you do pick this up and I hope you enjoy it!

Goodreads Monday #2

Goodreads Monday is hosted by Lauren’s Page Turners and all you need to do is show off a book from your TBR that you’re excited to read!

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The Big Over Easy by Jasper Fforde

I’ve listened to the first five books in the Thursday Next series by Jasper Fforde and absolutely loved them! This is a tangent series, set in the world of fairy tales, and I just had to pick it up and see if I like other works by Fforde! I 100% recommend the Thursday Next series if you like books about books and fantasy worlds, and for this book? Check out the synopsis below!:

Dead bodies never look like this.

It’s Easter in Reading – a bad time for eggs – and the shattered, tuxedo-clad corpse of local businessman Humpty Stuyvesant Van Dumpty III has been found lying beneath a wall in a shabby part of town. Humpty was one of life’s good guys – so who would want him knocked off? And is it a coincidence that his ex-wife has just met with a sticky end down at the local biscuit factory?

A hardened cop on the mean streets of the Thames Valley’s most dangerous precinct, DI Jack Spratt has seen it all, and something tells him this is going to be a tough case to crack…

This tag is just reminding me of the potentially amazing books I have on my tbr that I need to get to!!

I’ve had this book HOW LONG?!

Which books have you had on your tbr the longest? These are the books that have been sat unread on your shelves for the longest time, looking out at you balefully wishing to be read… don’t you feel guilty???

Well apparently I don’t! Cause I’ve had books on my tbr since…. well see this is the issue. It’s been so long that I don’t know! And I’m not talking about 2015 here. I’m talking about 2009 or earlier…

FOR SOME OF THEM I HAVE AN EXCUSE!!! Specifically for two. Cathy’s Ring and Cathy’s Key by Stewart, Weismann, and Brigg. The reason I can get a rough date of 2009 is that I got these two when I was on holiday in the US. And while I was there I didn’t have a smart phone or access to the internet (it was 2009… of course I didn’t) so I didn’t realise that these were books 2 and 3 in a series. And I’ve not been able to get my mitts on book 1… UNTIL NOW! My July haul includes the first book in this series (and damn was I excited!) So I can finally read these ones!

There are others however. Wormwood by GP Taylor is one that I don’t know how it’s there, I don’t know what it’s about, but I do know I haven’t read it. Not cause I remember that. No just cause the spine is so stiff it clearly hasn’t been opened before… yes that is how I know.

We also have The Eagle of the Ninth Chronicles by Rosemary Sutcliff which I read the first book of in this bind up but never got around to the other two.

And there must be some other, super old tbr veterans floating around that I’m forgetting right now (and that’s not even including ones from 2016… 5 years ago… still unread…) but I’m going to end on the big one.

I have an almost unknown book, Pompeii by Salvatore Nappo which is a non-fiction. I’ll let you guess the topic. This was gifted to me when we lived in Italy….

IN 1999

That is 22 years ago. Twenty two years folks. I’d like to see another 24 year old reader beat that!!! 😂

I did actually have 3 books all together from that time, but I’ve read the other two earlier on this year thankfully, so now there’s only one left!

How many tbr vets do you have? Are they as old as mine? Let me know in the comments!!!

August 2021 TBR

So this is probably a mistake…. I struggled with my reading in July. Partly because of burnout and partly cause I was just super busy (I was away for over a week and did NO reading, oops?). And yet here I am with a MASSIVE tbr for August. I’m totally expecting to crash and burn with this, but at least I’ll have a lot of options to mood read from!

You might’ve seen my post about August readathons earlier in July (click here if you wanna refresh your memory) so you should already be prepped for the HUGE tbr I’m about to drop on you!

First things first we have Kingdom of the Wicked by Derek Landy for the Dead Famous Readalong which is a reread for me. I’ve been going through the Skulduggery books again this year and really enjoying the process!

For Kayla from Booksandlala’s Buzzwordathon the prompt is “time of day” for August. One of the books on my tbr already has “clock” in the title, and honestly I think I’m just running with that.

Then we have the Mary Shelley-A-Thon hosted by Caitlyn from Mad Cheshire Rabbit. Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte is my main book for this readathon which covers a lot of prompts, which are “an author born in 1818/1831”, “a book I keep saying I’ll get to”, “and set in the late 1700s/early 1800s”, but I’d also like to get around to Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare which is for the prompt “set in a country the author isn’t from”.

Next up is the Royal Readathon: Sidekicks which is what I’ve based the foundation of my tbr on. Sorcerer to the Crown by Zen Cho is for a book featuring a dragon and a book with death, This Savage Song by V.E. Schwab for a book about music, Clockwork Angel again! This time for a cheesy book. The Throne of Fire by Rick Riordan for a middle grade book, a book on mythology, and a colourful cover. Guards! Guards! by Terry Pratchet is my pick for a humourous book, a book with greed, and one under 300 pages.

And last but never least is All the World’s a Page which is Olivia Savannah’s readathon in August! There are SO MANY prompts for this readathon that Olivia says herself that you don’t need to aim for them all! I’m basically just fitting in the other books into these prompts so I won’t go through these again.

And then FOR SOME REASON I also want to read my chapters of War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy, as well as Such a Fun Age by Kiley Reid, No Place to Hide by Glenn Greenwald, and also Smiler’s Fair by Rebecca Levene. For some reason I’ve added these onto an already huge tbr so other than War and Peace these will be riiiiiight at the bottom of the list! And last, but by no means least. I started and didn’t finish Prodigy by Marie Lu last month. So now I need to read that as well…. god damn it. I’ve not even pulled my tbr jar pick yet!!!

What do you want to read this month? Is your tbr as stupidly big as mine? Let me know!!

First Lines Friday #22

It’s time for another First Lines Friday! Hosted by Wandering Words!!

What if, instead of judging a book by its cover or its author, we judged the book by its opening lines?

Here is how it works:

– Pick a book and open to the first page.

– Copy the first few lines without revealing which book it is.

– Reveal the book!

So… do these first lines entice you?

I have just returned from a visit to my landlord – the solitary neighbour that I shall be troubled with. This is certainly a beautiful country! In all England, I do not believe that I could have fixed on a situation so completely removed from the stir of society.

Scroll down to reveal the book!

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A shorter quote today but the next section mentioned Heathcliff by name and that’s just too easy! This was gifted to me by the wonderful Caitlyn from Mad Cheshire Rabbit as it’s one of her favourite classics, so I’ll have to get around to it sometime soon! She also gifted me Frankenstein which I’ve read already and really enjoyed, so I’m hopeful for this. But I’ve heard people say you either like Wuthering Heights or Jane Eyre and I adored Jane Eyre… buuuuuttt I’m hoping I buck the trend. Have you read this English classic?

First Lines Friday #21

It’s time for another First Lines Friday! Hosted by Wandering Words!!

What if, instead of judging a book by its cover or its author, we judged the book by its opening lines?

Here is how it works:

– Pick a book and open to the first page.

– Copy the first few lines without revealing which book it is.

– Reveal the book!

So… do these first lines entice you?

Thirty-two hours of my life are missing.
My best friend, Lydia, tells me to imagine those hours like old clothes in the back of a dark closet. Shut my eyes. Open the door. Move things around. Search.
The things I do remember, I’d rather not. Four freckles. Eyes that aren’t black but blue, wife open, two inches from mine. Insects gnawing into a smooth, soft cheek. The grit of the earth in my teeth. Those parts, I remember.

Scroll down to reveal the book!

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Black-Eyed Susans: Amazon.co.uk: Heaberlin, Julia: 9780718181338: Books
Black Eyed Susans by Julia Heaberlin

Another book I’ve owned for a while! This one was gifted to be by my lovely boyfriend at the beginning of our relationship. I was so eager to read it but didn’t want to spend the money, so he grabbed me it. And yet here I am, 4 years later, and I’ve still not read it. I randomly went off of thrillers, I don’t know why and I’m not sure how to get myself interested in them again. So for now this sits at the back of my shelf in shame.

The Song Rising – a review

I finally caught up with the main series!! And then The Mask Falling came out lol, but I still really enjoyed The Song Rising to the point where it ended up on my favourite books of 2020! So far I’ve read one book from this series each year which has been a nice progression. If you want to check out my review of The Bone Season (book 1) or The Mime Order (book 2) then click on the respective links. This book took me a little while to get through, a good month and a half, and exactly like the first 2 in the series I gave this 5*s and I adored it so so much!!!

From this point on there will be spoilers for book #1 and #2. No spoilers for The Song Rising though. You have been warned!!!

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The Song Rising by Samantha Shannon


We start this book after Paige has become the Mime Queen, after her betrayal and defeat of Jaxon she now rules over the underbelly of London. Controlling this rabble is difficult enough without the government coming after her. And does she really think Jaxon is going to take his humiliation gracefully?

With twists, turns and deception throughout, we get to explore more of ScionBritain than in previous books as well as delving more into their impact on the world as a whole. The Senshields that can detect those with clairvoyant powers have become stronger and more dangerous for the underworld, forcing them to go into hiding. Paige has to find a way to overcome this and set her populace free, as being hemmed in isn’t going to end well for any of them. In hunting for this solution Paige is exposed to more of what is happening outside of her immediate boarders. There’s so much more to Scion than she had ever imagined.

We also learn quite a bit more about Paige’s past specifically in this book, something which provides context for the world’s view of Scion and that I found incredibly interesting. I’m really excited to see how this world view develops in book 4.

This book didn’t end on such a dramatic note as the last one, but more so looking out towards the future and what lays there. I’m so excited to pick up the Mask Falling but also so nervous because once I do that’s it! I’ve got to wait years for another book! And I don’t want to have that wait sitting there staring at me! Have you read The Mask Falling? Should I just pick it up?

First Lines Friday #19

It’s time for another First Lines Friday! Hosted by Wandering Words!!

What if, instead of judging a book by its cover or its author, we judged the book by its opening lines?

Here is how it works:

– Pick a book and open to the first page.

– Copy the first few lines without revealing which book it is.

– Reveal the book!

So… do these first lines entice you?

The narrows remind me of August nights in the South. They remind me of old rocks and places where the light can’t reach.

They remind me of smoke – the stale, settled kind – and of storms and damp earth.

Most of all, Da, they remind me of you.

Scroll down to reveal the book!

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The Archived eBook: Schwab, V.E.: Amazon.co.uk: Kindle Store
The Archived by V.E. Schwab

This start seems… a lot more normal than I was expecting. Why was I expecting to be diving straight into fantasy? I guess because I’ve only read ADSOM (A Darker Shade of Magic) by Schwab. This has been on my shelves for over 2 years now. I got it Christmas 2018 in a bind up of this and The Unbound, the second book in the series. I’m not sure whether it’s because the book is so big that’s been putting me off, or if it’s something else. Either way, I need to get around to this at some point.

War and Peace Mini Review – Book 2

We’ve finished another chapter!! This is up a wee bit late in comparison to when the events happened, but on the 10th February me and Olivia officially finished Book 2 of War and Peace! This was a shorter chapter than the last, only coming in at 70 pages compared to the previous books 85. But that 15 pages? Wow, it felt like it was so much shorter!! How odd!

So far me and Olivia are having pretty similar views on the book, in that we both didn’t enjoy this war focus chapter as much as we enjoyed the peace based one. Whilst the focus on individuals works when we’re learning about society politics during peace times, with it allowing the reader to see the nuances between different points of view and political strategies, during war it just lost me. Often the individual we’re following has no clue what is happening on a wider scale, different parties on the same side are bad at communicating with one another and being in the middle of a battle is just disorientating. Whilst all of these reasons are why I didn’t enjoy these chapters as much as the last book, I do have to say that they show, in my opinion, a really well grasped concept of war during these times. The reason I’m confused and don’t know what is going on is because the individual’s we’re following would have been and it seems to be an accurate representation of war. I did also like that when some big positive news is reported to those as the very top of command, with the rider believing he is of great import, it’s a bit of a reality check when he realises that on a grand scale their win at their battle means little to the campaign and that even when we do get to comprehend what is going on with the troops we’re following that doesn’t mean we understand anything about the larger battle taking place.

Continuing from that, what I did also find very interesting in this chapter was the soldier’s viewpoints on war throughout. Prior to being in any battles they all seem very eager to get into the fighting, wanting to prove themselves for the glory of Russia and believing it to be quite poetic. When they’re in the battle, however, for many of them that goes completely out of the window as the realities of war sink in. I also enjoyed how each character has a different point of view on war after their battle is over. Some seem to have genuinely enjoyed themselves, this is mostly the upperclassmen who were on horseback and commanding people around. Whereas those on the ground seem to fall into either re-glorifying war after the battle has ended in a manner which seems very much like a PTSD reaction, burying reality deep down in order to carry on, or they’re coming face to face with its realities and wishing that they were back home where they were safe and scared with how the war is going to continue.

From this book my favourite three characters were Rostov, Tushin, and Andrew. Andrew is Prince Andrew, one of those we met in book 1 who has moved to the battlefield. Whilst in Russian high society he seemed reserved, uncomfortable and like he just wants to sink into the background, here on the battlefield he seems vibrant and full of life. The world of commanding battles seems to do him good and he is strong, thoughtful and much happier with his life. Rostov is a general foot soldier we follow. To compare to the peaceful chapters, he’s the war chapters Pierre. We love him! We don’t know him as well as a person, because we’ve only seen him as a soldier, but he also seems like a good man, peaceful and caring, and one we’re looking forward to following in future chapters. Lastly there’s Tushin. Staff Captain Tushin leads a group of men within the Russian army (no I don’t know the proper term and no I’m not going to look it up. We were calling him Mr T in our messages just be glad I checked his name!). He seems to really care for his men and was solidly holding ground without any of the help that should’ve been provided to him. In fact he made the French believe the majority of the Russian forces were with him and his guns! (they were most certainly not).

Overall, on reflection I quite enjoyed this war book, but during the reading itself it wasn’t as enjoyable as the peace book that came before. Next up we’re returning to Moscow and to Pierre and I’m very excited! After the developments at the end of book 1 his life is going to be quite dramatically changed and I’m looking forward to seeing how he handles all of this!