Friday, June 17, 2016

Maybelline Color Shows Jelly Tints Ombre Sunset Nails

Hello! So the Maybelline Color Show Jelly Tints are perfect for jelly sandwich nail art, which I showed earlier this week by giving it a go myself. But when looking at the shades Edgy Tangy and Grapefruity I thought they would be perfect for a sunset ombre nail look so I decided to give it a go.

Maybelline Color Show Jelly Tints Ombre Nail Art. Sunset looking nail look using Edgy Tangy and Grapefruity

Maybelline Color Show Jelly Tints Ombre Nail Art. Sunset looking nail look using Edgy Tangy and Grapefruity

I used it over bare nails, sponging the colours on with a cosmetic sponge with a slight overlap of the colours so they’d blend nicely. I’d like to try it again both using a white polish as a base coat and also using the Edgy Tangy as a base coat, just to help build it up better. It takes a lot of sponging to get it looking nice because the colours are so sheer. But I do like the look! It reminds me of a Tequila Sunrise!

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

2016 Book Releases I’m Looking Forward To Part 2

Hello! So back in January I mentioned a few books I’m looking forward to this year. And nearly all that I mentioned are already out (and I’ve read most of them too!) because there wasn’t a lot of details for books released from June onwards. The past month or two more books have been announced so I’m going to write about them now! No doubt a few more will pop up come September time, if there’s enough of them I’ll do a third post. Some of these I mention below might be out already but I did hear about them before they came out.

The Trespasser by Tana French

the trespasser

Once I get my hands on Grunt by Mary Roach, the book I was most anticipating in my January post (and I should have my hands on it by the time this goes up!), this will be the next book I’ll be most excited about! When I finished The Secret Place in March I was sad there was no more Tana French books for me to read! Book number 6 in the Dublin Murder Squad, The Trespasser will follow Detective Antoinette Conway, who we saw in The Secret Place when she teamed up with Detective Stephen Moran. I can’t wait for it, I enjoyed Antoinette in The Secret Place, she intrigued me and I’m looking forward to seeing her narrate the story. Also this is the first female protagonist since Cassie Maddox in book 2 The Likeness so that’s another reason I’m looking forward to this one. 22nd September


Empire of Storms by Sarah J Maas

empire of storms

After writing my post in January I couldn’t BELIEVE I forgot to add this one in! Especially since I loved Queen of Shadows last year I don’t know how it slipped my mind to look up this book, especially since I knew book 5 would be coming out! So much went down in Queen of Shadows that just blew my mind and I have no doubt this will be great too. September 6th




Paradise Lodge by Nina Stibbe

paradise lodge

I’m a big fan of Nina Stibbe, both of her memoir Love, Nina and her first fiction book Man at the Helm which I read in 2014. Paradise Lodge sees the return of Lizzie Vogel, the narrator in Man at the Helm. Lizzie is now 15 years old and working in an old person’s home. I liked Lizzie’s voice in Man at the Helm so I’m looking forward to checking this one out. June 2nd




Where Am I Now? True Stories of Girlhood and Accidental Fame by Mara Wilson

where am I now mara wilson

If you don’t recognise the name Mara Wilson then you’ll probably recognise her face. Or at least her face as a child, as she was the young girl in Mrs Doubtfire and Matilda. Mara no longer acts but she writes and she’s very funny on Twitter too. I’ve read the first chapter of this from the Buzz Books Autumn/Winter 2016 and I really like it so I’m interested in reading the rest! September 15th




Saga Volume 6 by Brian K Vaughan and Fiona Staples

saga volume 6

I was late on the Saga bandwagon but I read Volumes 1-5 in April and was very happy to find out that book 6 is out soon. I’ve been enjoying this space opera with all the crazy characters and after reading A Long Way to a Lonely Planet by Becky Chambers last month, I’ve had a greater understanding and love of books set in space! July 5th





Precious and Grace by Alexander McCall Smith

precious & grace

These books from the No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency series come out pretty much every year but for the past 2 or 3 years I haven’t actually heard about the book until it’s been released, they’ve snuck up on me! This year I’ve found out that book 17 will be out September 1st.





The Muse by Jessie Burton

the muse jessie burton

Jessie Burton’s debut novel The Miniaturist was a big hit, I read it last year and really enjoyed it. From what I can gather, The Muse follows two women from different eras that have a mysterious link. In 1960s London, Caribbean immigrant Odelle is hired by an art gallery and discovers a painting from Isaac Robles. Olive Schloss is the daughter of a Viennese Jewish art dealer father and English heiress mother. She follows her parents out to Spain in 1930s and Teresa, a housekeeper, and her half brother Isaac Robles. I saw a video from Pan Macmillian on their YouTube account where Jessie Burton reads an extract, which you can watch if you click here. July 26th


American Monsters by Derek Landy

American Monsters Derek Landy

This is book 3 in the Demon Road trilogy. I read book one Demon Road in March and I read the 2nd book Desolation Road in April after it came out. This book is due out in August, which is awful quick after book 2, so I’m taking it with a pinch of salt at the moment, but it would be great to finish the series this year! August 25th





A Closed and Common Orbit by Becky Chambers

A closed and common orbit

I read Becky Chambers’ first book A Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet last month for the Rick O’Shea Book Club and LOVED it! So I was pleased to here her next month is out later this year. While Goodreads has this listed as book 2 in the series, I read an interview by Becky Chambers where she says it’s not a direct sequel but does feature one or two characters from the first book. I’m looking forward to returning to this world from the book one and just finishing out more about it! October 20th



Geek Feminist Revolution by Kameron Hurley

geek feminist revolution

I’ve read a few books about feminism this year so I was interested when I saw this book of essays by science fiction author Kameron Hurley. The book will talk about feminism, geek culture and Hurley’s experiences of writing science fiction novels. May 31st






Shrill: Notes From a Loud Woman by Lindy West


I’ll admit, I don’t actually know a lot about Lindy West, I was drawn in by the book cover, which I featured in my Book Covers post. Judging by what I’ve read about the book, Shrill is a bunch of essays where West writes about her life and how she changed from someone quiet to a loud and proud feminist and it’s promised to be a funny read. May 17th





Trainwreck: The Women We Love to Hate, Mock, and Fear and Why by Sady Doyle

trainwreck sady doyle

Last year I read So You’ve Been Publically Shamed by Jon Ronson and it struck a chord at how easy it is these days to shame and judge people. Trainwreck sounds like a similar concept, but instead it focuses in on women throughout the ages who have been judged for ‘misbehaving’, such as Britney Spears in her 2007 melt down and the public decline of Amy Winehouse that resulted in her death. Another book with a feminist outlook I think this will be fascinating! September 20th for Kindle, October 7th for hardcover.


Pretty Iconic by Sali Hughes

I have no picture for the cover of this but it’s a follow up to Pretty Honest by Sali Hughes, who is a fantastic beauty journalist. I’m guessing the book is about Iconic beauty items, so I expect to see Chanel No. 5 in there! October 6th


Poison City by Paul Crilley

poison city paul crilley

 Poison City is the first in a new series by Paul Crilley about a South African policeman calld Gideon Tau who works for the Delphic Division, which deals with occult investigation. His sidekick is a mean drunk dog. I first heard about this when Elizabeth from Books and Pieces mentioned it and it reminds me of the Rivers of London series, so I want to give this a go! August 11th




Speaking of the Rivers of London series, books 6 The Hanging Tree which I mentioned in January (and last year’s 2nd book release post) has been pushed back not once but twice since I wrote the post in January. I hope it does come out by the end of the year as I’ve been dying to read it, I finally have a glimpse into how Game of Thrones fans feel like! Also the post in January mentioned a few books that are still to be released such as the new Allie Brosh book (of Hyperbole and a Half fame) and the first book in Marissa Meyer’s new series so if you want to learn more about them read the first post by clicking here. I’m still waiting to here if there will be a new Robert Galbraith, it could still be announced! Like I said, if there’s enough to write another post in a few month’s time then I will, otherwise my next one will be January 2017 for the 2017 releases.

Any of these tickle your fancy? Or maybe you’ve read one of them already? Let me know by leaving a comment below!

Monday, June 13, 2016

Jelly Sandwich Nail Art with Maybelline Color Show Jelly Tints

Hello! The other day I showed my swatches of the new Maybelline Color Show collection, the Jelly Tints. I mentioned that I wanted to do some Jelly Sandwich nail art so off I went! I used the Fuchsianista shade, a lovely raspberry pink.

Maybelline Color Show Jelly Tints in Fuchsianista Jelly Sandwich Nail Art with Essence Party Never Ends nail varnish

Maybelline Color Show Jelly Tints in Fuchsianista Jelly Sandwich Nail Art with Essence Party Never Ends nail varnish


Maybelline Color Show Jelly Tints in Fuchsianista Jelly Sandwich Nail Art with Essence Party Never Ends nail varnishMaybelline Color Show Jelly Tints in Fuchsianista Jelly Sandwich Nail Art with Essence Party Never Ends nail varnish

Maybelline Color Show Jelly Tints in Fuchsianista Jelly Sandwich Nail Art with Essence Party Never Ends nail varnish

I used a macro lens for my iPhone to take the last shot, which I love! To do this Jelly Sandwich I did one layer of the Jelly Tint, one layer of Essence Effect Party Jewels in Party Never Ends, another layer of the Jelly Tint, another layer of the Essence polish and then a final layer of the Jelly Tint. Doing it in thin layers helps the multidimensional effect. I LOVED staring at my nails when I had this one and I got a few compliments too! I can’t wait to try more sandwich looks with different glitter polishes with different shapes and sizes. And to try it matte as well, glitter nails look so pretty when mattified!

Friday, June 10, 2016

Maybelline Color Show Jelly Tints Swatches

Hello! Last month I showed a beauty haul featuring the latest Color Show collections.

Maybelline Color Show Nail Polish Jelly Tints collection in Berry Merry, Grapefruity, Edgy Tangy and Fuchsianista

They’re Jelly Tints, so the polishes are sheer. I thought they were going to be like the OPI Sheer Tints but when I compared them the Sheer Tints are a lot more sheer so I think these are supposed to be more like the OPI Color Paints, sheer but buildable. From left to right above are Grapefruity, Berry Merry, Fuchsianista and Edgy Tangy.

Maybelline Color Show Nail Polish Jelly Tints collection in Berry Merry

Maybelline Color Show Nail Polish Jelly Tints collection in Berry Merry

This is Berry Merry, I love blackcurranty shade that isn’t as deep as it looks in the bottle. I used 3 coats and I can’t wait to wear this when the weather is more autumny as it’s beautiful.

Maybelline Color Show Nail Polish Jelly Tints collection Fuchsianista

Maybelline Color Show Nail Polish Jelly Tints collection in Fuchsianista

Next is Fuchsianista, a gorgeous raspberry shade. I’m a sucker for raspberry shades, I have a cardigan that this colour which I love. Again I used 3 coats.

Maybelline Color Show Nail Polish Jelly Tints collection in Edgy Tangy

Maybelline Color Show Nail Polish Jelly Tints collection in Edgy Tangy

Next is Edgy Tangy, a zesty orange shade. As with the others I used 3 coats but it pretty sheer. I think this will be perfect for layering over other shades to change the colour.

Maybelline Color Show Nail Polish Jelly Tints collection in Grapefruity

Maybelline Color Show Nail Polish Jelly Tints collection in Grapefruity

Finally there’s Grapefruity, which is just like its name, a grapefruit shade. This is the perfect shade for summer, it’s like a jelly polish equivalent of neon shades. As with the 3 above this is 3 coats.

I really love this collection, I like jelly finish polishes and really want to try more ‘jelly sandwich’ nail art. I tried my first one a 3 years ago which you can find here. Then I tried it for a Valentine’s Day look this year. But other than that I haven’t really tried it, despite wanting to and saving quite a few looks on Pinterest. The only gripe I have with this collection is the colours are quite samey. Instead of 3 pinky-purpley shades, a different colour tone might have been nice like a blue or green. But I do think the 3 shades above are different enough. It seems like these jelly tint nail polishes are all the rage now as Barry M have brought out a similar range called Lolly Gloss. The magpie in me want to get them as well!

Monday, June 6, 2016

Battle of Essence Rose Gold Polishes! I Love Trends in Rose Beats VS Beauty Blogger Secrets in Hello Beautiful

Hello! Last month I spoke about how much I love rose gold nail polishes and showed swatches from Catrice’s Go For Gold! Just after buying that Catrice polish, I saw delighted to see Essence had their own rose gold polish out too so I snapped it up. It’s part of the I Love Trends The Metals collection and it’s called Rose Beats.

 Essence Cosmetics Rose Gold nail polish I Love Trends The Metals in Rose Beats

 Essence Cosmetics Rose Gold nail polish I Love Trends The Metals in Rose Beats

 Essence Cosmetics Rose Gold nail polish I Love Trends The Metals in Rose Beats

When I was in Penney’s at the beginning of the week, I saw there was a new limited edition stand. It’s called Beauty Bloggers’ Secrets and has a make up palette and nail polish by 4 different beauty bloggers, each with a colour theme they’ve picked. You can see the collection by clicking on this link. I was instantly drawn to the rose gold polish called Hello Beautiful! by Beauty Palmira.

Essence Cosmetics Rose Gold nail polish Bloggers' Beauty Secrets in Hello Beautiful! by Beauty Palmira

Essence Cosmetics Rose Gold nail polish Bloggers' Beauty Secrets in Hello Beautiful! by Beauty Palmira

Essence Cosmetics Rose Gold nail polish Bloggers' Beauty Secrets in Hello Beautiful! by Beauty Palmira

I bought the second polish because I love rose gold polishes, but also so I could compare the two of them, to see if there was any similarities between the two.

A comparison of two Essence Cosmetics Rose Gold nail polishes I Love Trends The Metals in Rose Beats and Bloggers' Beauty Secrets in Hello Beautiful! by Beauty Palmira

A comparison of two Essence Cosmetics Rose Gold nail polishes I Love Trends The Metals in Rose Beats and Bloggers' Beauty Secrets in Hello Beautiful! by Beauty Palmira

As you can see there is a difference! The Hello Beautiful! reminds me of the Catrice one, it’s pinkier. The Rose Beats is more copper, and originally when I had compared it to the Catrice polish, I prefered the Catrice one. But after applying it and seeing it next to the pinkier Hello Beautiful!, I think I prefer the Rose Beats! I’m really enjoying the more copper tones in this beautiful sunshine. I will say though the formula isn’t as good as Hello Beautiful! For my swatches I used one coat on Hello Beautiful and had to use two for Rose Beats as it was quite sheer on my first application. As with most metallic polishes they shows up imperfections and brush strokes but both are just so pretty I don’t mind that!

Friday, June 3, 2016

May Reads 2016 Part 2

Hello! I did part 1 of what I read in May in this post, containing the short stories and graphic novels I read. This post is for the other books I read as well as my monthly stats.

May Reads

The Idiot Brain by Dean Burnett

the idiot brain

If you've ever wondered why the brain acts like it does under certain circumstances, then this is the book for you! You can tell reading this book that Burnett knows his stuff but it's his way of writing that makes this book readable and enjoyable. He has a humorous tone which helps counteract the scientific terms. While this type of topic is usually right up my alley, I found that it took me a long to read this. It wasn't down to how it was written though, I'm not sure what it was that made me so hesitant to pick it up. I think it's just my mindset at the moment. It might have been because I've read a lot of pop science books on neuroscience and was already aware of some of the content in here. I ended up starting this as an ebook from NetGalley but getting it out from library to finish. Having the physical copy helped me finish it (I wonder what that says about my brain?!). It is a solid book though, one I'd recommend for anyone interested in exploring this content more. [NetGalley]


Euphoria by Lily King

euphoria lily king

Euphoria is based on some events in the life of anthropologist Margaret Mead. Nell and Fen are on their way home from a rocky honeymoon in New Guinea studying indigineous tribes, their most recent study being of the Mumbanyo, a barbaric violent tribe and left adruptly at Nell’s request. Fen, already jealous of his wife’s successful book about natives on Solomon Island, resents having to leave as he had just found out about a totemic flute and wants to learn more about it. Before leaving the area the couple meets Bankson, a British anthropologist studying another tribe in the area. Bankson is isolated and lonely, having recently tried to drown himself in the river. He jumps at the chance to spend time with Fen and Nell and encourages them to find another local tribe (the Tams) to study. He’s intrigued by this couple and goes to visit them from time to time, falling in love with Nell as time goes on. The book was a slow burner, it’s narrated by Bankson and I found it a chore to pick up at the beginning (it’s a book club book and I wasn’t that interested in it before I started), but then diary entries from Nell at scattered throughout, giving a different perspective, got me sucked in and made me want to read it. I felt sorry for Nell, I hated Fen and thought how he treated Nell was horrible. I liked the setting with the different tribes and their nuances, it was something different for me. What surprised me most is how close to Margaret Mead’s story this book was! It sent me in a Wikipedia clicking frenzy. If I had known how close to the story it was, I might have preferred to read a biography and then read this fictionalised account. Also, everytime I picked up this book I had Euphoria by Loreen, who won the Eurovision with this song, stuck in my head on a loop! It’s still a fun song.


Gut: The Inside Story of Our Body’s Most Underrated Organ by Giulia Enders

gut guilia enders

Gut is about our digestive system, the every day workings of it and how changes can affect our entire body. It’s very informative but if you’re scared of scientific jargon and terminology, then fear not! This book is perfect, as it’s very easy to read. Or rather should I say listen to as I listened to the book after getting it cheap as an Audible Daily Deal. The narrator brought out the humour in the writing perfectly. Having read Gulp by Mary Roach, a very similar book, there was some overlap but there was new to me information in this book, such as how the gut might be linked to mental health and weight problems. I did prefer Roach’s book but that’s because I prefer her writing style but this is still a good book. Especially as Enders has a medical background and you can tell she really has a passion when it comes to learning about the human body.


Vinegar Girl by Anne Tyler

vinegar girl

Before I say anything, can I just say how much I LOVE this cover! I know I mentioned it in my Book Covers post but I just have to say it again.

Vingear Girl is a retelling of The Taming of the Shrew. While I have yet to read the original Shakespeare text, I am familiar with it in other forms. Kate is a 29 year old blunt, tactless preschool assistant who lives with her autoimmune research scientist father and 15 year old airhead sister Bunny. Kate runs the house for her father and sister after dropping out of college and her only real pleasure in life is gardening. So when her father cooks up this scheme that Kate should marry his research assistant Pyotr so he can get a green card Kate is livid.

While I did like the novel, there was bits I wished were different. I think it's a bit difficult to translate the idea that a shrewish woman can be tamed and domesticated by marriage into modern times. It think instead the book is more 'The Softening of the Shrew' than taming. I wanted Kate to be a bit more acidic, especially when she gave her big speech near the end. I felt the pairing of Kate and Pyotr lacked a bit of chemistry, there was some there but I felt more banter or wit should have been shown as they're both clearly smart people. I think if their relationship showed a bit more passion, a hate-can-be-close-to-love kind of fire then I'd believe the ending a bit more. I did like the family dynamic Tyler created, I especially liked the way she wrote Bunny, who comes across as a big airhead with her sentences ending, like, in questions marks? But who actually is smarter beneath it all. Overall it wasn't a bad take on the story, though it's possibly more enjoyable if you don't know the source text. I am looking forward to reading more Hogarth Shakespeare as I love the idea of the series! [NetGalley]


The Long Way to a Small Angry Planet by Becky Chambers


I don't really read sci-fi, Well, I guess I do as I read dystopian and that falls under the sci-fi umbrella. I don't read a lot of books set in space, in the past few years I can only think of Ready Player One and Armada by Ernest Cline, Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer and Saga (which I only read in April).

I liked the pace of this book, the action and the lulls where we get to see more about the characters and their personalities. Elizabeth from Books and Pieces put it well when she said she liked the small intricacies of life in space, that we get to find out about food and fuel and brushing teeth,small things likes that, that it wasn't all about war and fighting. I loved the aliens and the other planets they land on, all their differences. What I'd change is a better explanation of the world and the different aliens etc. I found it hard to distinguish who were of human descent and who wasn't. I would have liked a cheat sheet or glossary somewhere that explained these things better. I felt at the beginning these terms were all mentioned but without any proper explanation or back story as to how the universe got like that. I think a reread might help clear everything up in my head though!


Soulless by Gail Carriger


I’ve read Gail Carriger’s Finishing School series, about a floating girls school that teaches you to be a lady and a spy. The Parasol Protectorate series is set in the same world and stars Alexia Tarabotti, spinster, half Italian and has no soul. When rove vampires and loner werewolves start disappering, and strange new vampires are being created without the hives’ acknowledgement. Alexia is attacked by one of these vampires and soon the Bureau of Unnatural Registration (and Lord Maccon) are involved. I loved this book, I love the Victorian steampunk supernatural vibe. I definitely clicked with this series more than the Finishing School one, probably because this is for adults (and there is some adult content in here, despite being set in prim Victorian times!). I’ve wanted to read this for a while and after seeing Elizabeth from Books and Pieces say how much she loved it, I downloaded it on Audible which was lots of fun! Looking forward to reading the rest of the series.


When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi

when breath becomes air

This book is split into four parts. A foreword by Abraham Verghese, Paul Kalanithi writing about his life from childhood and all through education and residency until he discovers his diagnosis, then writing about how his life changed after and all staged of treatment and then a epilogue written by Paul's wife Lucy as he died before he finished the book.

As well as writing about his life, Paul reflects on his relationship with death, while being a doctor and then while being the patient. I enjoy reading books about about death and people's attitudes towards death, the more we talk about it the less of a taboo it'll be. Paul writes beautifully but I connected a lot more with Lucy's writing, I preferred her tone. The book is poetic and poignant and I cried during the epilogue, but I felt it lacked a bit for me. I liked it but I didn't love it. It’s possible it was just too hyped and I expected more. Still a solid read and an important addition to death positive literature.


One by Sarah Crossan

one sarah crossan

One is the story of 16 year old conjoined twins Tippi and Grace, as told by Grace. With their family going through a rough patch (their father was let go from his job and has started drinking a lot), they no longer can be home schooled and must go to a school for the first time. How will they fit in and will they make friends? I enjoyed this book, it's written in free verse which took me some time to get into but I started to enjoy it as I read on. I read this as an ebook but looked at the physical copy in a shop after reading this and I think I would have got into the free verse a lot faster with a physical copy.

The book deals with a lot of issues like family troubles, identity (how people see Grace and Tippi as a unit, as individuals, how their younger sister Dragon even has her identity tied to them), usual teenage angst of fitting in, finding friends and having crushes on boys. I did guess how it was going to end early on in the book and as I read on I knew I was right, but I enjoyed the book regardless. I felt like I didn't entirely gel with Grace at times, I think I would have liked to have some Tippi chapters too. Because the book is about their own self identity, I felt like we didn't get to know Tippi as herself, just through the eyes of Grace. Nonetheless this is an interesting sweet read, I can definitely see why it's been nominated for so many prizes. In fact, while writing this review I just found out that it won The Bookseller’s YA Book Prize 2016. [NetGalley]


May Stats

Number of Books Read- 15

Ratio fiction to non-fiction- 12:3

Number of eBooks- 6 (Summer Days and Summer Nights, The Idiot Brain, Vinegar Girl, A Long Way to a Small Angry Planet, When Breath Becomes Air, One)

Number of Books Borrowed from Library- 8 (Trouble, The Idiot Brain, Chicken With Plums, Euphoria, Skim, Blankets, The Gigantic Beard That Was Evil, Fun Home)

Audiobooks- 2 (Gut, Soulless)


Book Riot Challenge Completed

Read a Book That Is Set in the Middle East- Chicken With Plums

And that was May! I’m now at 17/24 books for the Book Riot Read Harder challenge, the ones left are the hardest. My total read books this year is 70, which sounds impressive (and I guess it is) but a good chunk of those are graphic novels and short stories. Still, not bad considering I set my goal to be 90 this year!

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

May Reads 2016 Part 1- Graphic Novels and Short Stories

Hello! Last month I split my monthly reading round up into two parts. Part 1 was about graphic novels and short stories, part 2 was everything else I read. And this month I’ve read a lot of graphic novels again so I’ve decided to split my post.

May Reads

Summer Days and Summer Nights by Stephanie Perkins

summer days and summer nights by  Stephanie Perkins , Leigh Bardugo , Francesca Lia Block, Libba Bray, Cassandra Clare, Brandy Colbert , Tim Federle, Lev Grossman, Nina LaCour, Veronica Roth, Jon Skovron, Jennifer E. Smith. My True Love Gave to Me follow up set of short stories

At Christmas time I read My True Love Gave to Me so I was excited to summer version of the book was coming out, I put it in my 2016 Anticipated Books. The title is Summer Days and Summer Nights, I LOVED the nod to Grease! As with My True Love Gave to Me, Summer Days and Summer Nights is a collection of young adult short stories set in summer by various authors (all different to the winter book, except Stephanie Perkins). It's a nice book to pick up to get you in the mood for summer, or at least the dreamy hazy YA version of summer! I wasn't a fan of all the stories but like with MTLGTM I was ok with this. There was still plenty I enjoyed and I love the fact that a book like this gives you a chance to explore new authors and see if you enjoy their style. My favourite stories were Last Night at the Cinegore by Libba Bray, Good Luck and Farewell by Brandy Colbert, A Thousand Ways This Could All Go Wrong by Jennifer L. Smith and The Map of Tiny Perfect Things by Lev Grossman. As with MTLGTM, I read this book in order but you can read it in whatever order you want, that's the fun of a book of short stories. A light fun way to kick off summer! (P.S. If you were a fan of Marigold and North in My True Love Gave To Me, you get to see them again here as Stephanie Perkin's story centres around them!) [NetGalley]


Trouble by Mark Millar and Terry Dodson

trouble mark millar and terry dodson marvel comic book graphic novelI spotted this on the shelf at my library and it intrigued me. Trouble is the story of friends Mary and May who go to work one summer in the 60s at a fancy resort for the rich. Here they meet other people their age up for fun and frolics on their time off. Mary and May get involved with brothers Richard and Ben and it’s not long til there’s plenty of sex and scandals! This book reminded me a bit of Dirty Dancing, of what the workers get up to when they want to blow off steam. While I liked the drawing style, I wasn’t a massive fan of the story. At the end, if you pay attention you’ll piece together what this book implies about a famous Marvel superhero which caused controversy when it came out. I take it with a grain of salt, it was interesting idea but nothing amazing.


Chicken With Plums by Marjane Satrapi

chicken with plums by marjane satrapi, author of Persepolis. Set in Iran

Nasser Ali Khan is a celebrated tar player, in a desperate search for a new tar after his is broken. Unable to find one that makes the same beautiful sound as his previous one, he decides life is not worth living and goes to bed to die. The book follows the next 8 days while he waits, telling us what happened each day, what fragments of his past Khan thinks about that day and sometimes flashforwards of what’s yet to come for some of the family members. I enjoyed the setting, 1950s Iran. I always enjoy Satrapi writing about this setting and I love her drawing style. It’s a beautiful tale about love, family, politics and passions.


Skim by Mariko Tamaki and Jillian Tamaki

skim by mariko tamaki and jillian tamaki, graphic novel set in early 90s in canada

Kimberly Keiko Cameron, a.k.a. Skim, is a bit of a misfit at her all girls private school. Bi-racial, not skinny, wannabe Wiccan goth with only one real friend, Skim is trying to ‘find herself’. After developing a crush one her female teacher, this adds another piece of the puzzle Kim is trying to figure out. When the ex-boyfriend of one of the popular girls takes his own life, the school is mourning and in an effort to perk things up, the popular crowds start a club called Girls Celebrate Life! As the story goes on, Kim sinks more into a state of depression and melancholy and drifts apart from her friend. The drawing style and colour palette of the book really help to add to this melancholy. While the book tackles plenty of issues, nothing is ever too preachy and it all just seems like a teenager going through normal things teenage girls go through. I wasn’t overly keen on how the crush on the teacher went and I didn’t find the book breath-taking or amazing, but I did think it was a solid representation of the emotions of a teenage girl, a decent coming of age story set in the early 90s.


Blankets by Craig Thompson

blankets by craig thompson graphic novel memoir

Blankets is a massive graphic memoir by Craig Thompson, over 500 pages. Craig and Phil are two brothers living in the countryside of Wisconsin who as young boys shared a bed and hated it. They come from a very religious family and this crops up a lot in the book, with the boys going away at Christmas to Christian youth camps. Here Craig meets Raina and falls in love, going to visit her for two weeks. During the journey Craig battles with his feelings with Raina and his relationship with God and religion. This book is stunning, the drawings are beautiful. The book is so sad at times, the guilt and shame Craig battles with as he tries to figure out what kind of adult he wants to be and how God fits in in this life. Other things add to this guilt and shame and the book is very sad at times. I did love seeing how the relationship between the brothers develops during the book, how they fight, how they play, drift apart as teenagers but support each other. I loved the scene where Craig asks to see Phil’s drawings. I can see why people love this and while I enjoyed it, I think I might have preferred it as two books.


The Gigantic Beard That Was Evil by Stephen Collins

Gigantic Beard That Was Evil by stephen collins graphic novel

The island of Here is very neat and tidy, everything and everyone is in order. No chaos here please! Beyond the sea is There, where chaos and disorder reign and no one from Here has every been to There and lived to tell the tale. As a result, the people of Here fear There. Dave is a prime example of Here, all presentable (bald, except for that one hair on his chin), goes to work and spends his evenings sketching and listening to The Bangles. Until one day when that single hair on Dave’s face starts to grow along with more and a giant unstoppable beard takes over Dave’s life, as well as the island of Here. I thought it was a fun story, you could read into story and the hidden meanings to what happens or you can just read it as simply an evil beard that takes over the island!


Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic by Alison Bechdel

fun home: a family tragicomic by alison bechdel, graphic memoir novel

Fun Home is the story of Alison Bechdel and her relationship with her father. As a child, this relationship was mixed, often tense as her dad sees his kids as people to help him do work in his beloved fixer-upper grand house and their funeral home (which is where the title Fun Home comes), his often shifting mood and not letting Alison wear what she wants. But there are times of happiness too, with Alison sharing her love of books with her father. When Alison goes to college and comes out as a lesbian, her coming out is overshadowed when her mother informs her that Alison’s father is gay too. Weeks after this revelation, Bruce Bechdel is hit by a truck and dies. Alison is left coming to terms with her own sexuality, her father’s sexuality, her father’s suspicious death (accident or suicide?) and Alison’s relationship with her father over the years. Bechdel uses literary classics like Ulysses by James Joyce, Proust and the works and life of F. Scott Fitzgerald to draw compares to her story, bringing back in the love of books. This was another book I liked but didn’t love, which I felt was the overall theme of all the graphic novels this month (except Trouble, which I thought was just ok). I just felt like I didn’t resonate with me, but I can see how others would love this and why it’s in the list of essential graphic novels to read. It is well worth checking out (and if you think the name Bechdel is familiar, it might be because you’ve heard of the Bechdel Test for woman in films, which Alison created. It goes as follows: does the film have at least 2 woman characters? If so, do these woman ever talk? And is this conversation about something other than a man? To read more about it you can click here for the Wikipedia link).


Stats and roundout for the month to follow in the next post with the rest of the reviews. Hopefully it’ll be up soon. Do you like these posts broken up like this? Or would you rather the entire month in one post? Let me know below!

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