Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Irish Authors Month TBR 2017

Hello! So once again I’ve decided to read Irish authors only for the month of March, it’s something I’ve done 2 out of the 3 previous years (2014 and 2016). I read Irish authors all through the year but I enjoy dedicating March to just Irish authors (and I chose March due to Paddy’s Day in case you’re wondering). I try to read authors I haven’t read before but there will be more of a mix this year.

Stack of books containing Knights of the Borrowed Dark by Dave Rudden, Miss Emily by Nuala O’Connor, The Lonely Life of Biddy Weir by Lesley Allen, The Hurley Maker’s Son by Patrick Deeley, Holding by Graham Norton, Sisters and Lies by Bernice Barrington, Solar Bones by Mike McCormack and Woman in the Making by Rory O’Neill

These are some of the books I own by Irish authors that I’m hoping to read, From the top down we have Knights of the Borrowed Dark by Dave Rudden, Miss Emily by Nuala O’Connor, The Lonely Life of Biddy Weir by Lesley Allen, The Hurley Maker’s Son by Patrick Deeley, Holding by Graham Norton, Sisters and Lies by Bernice Barrington, Solar Bones by Mike McCormack and Woman in the Making by Rory O’Neill. I’ve shown most of these on here before for one reason or another (like my 2016 TBR post). I’m looking forward to reading through some of my own books as I can be really bad at forgetting to read what I own and being click happy on NetGalley. Or getting stacks of books from the library. Though speaking of NetGalley and the library I do have some books from those places also on my TBR for the month! Most of these are part of a series though.


The Blood Miracles by Lisa McInerney, American Monsters by Derek Landy, The Reckoning by Jane Casey, The Forever Court by Dave Rudden and The Gathering by Anne Enright

The Blood Miracles by Lisa McInerney is the follow up book to The Glorious Heresies. American Monsters by Derek Landy is the final book in the Demon Road trilogy. I’ve requested The Reckoning by Jane Casey from the library, the 2nd book in the Maeve Kerrigan series. I read the first one last March and have really been meaning to pick up book two. The Forever Court by Dave Rudden is the follow up book to Knights of the Borrowed Dark, so I can get stuck straight in if I love that one! And finally The Gathering by Anne Enright is an audiobook I borrowed from library in 2014, the first time I did this all Irish March challenge.

Obviously I can’t get through all these books in the month, it would be too much. The three I’m most looking forward to are Holding, Knights of the Borrowed Dark and The Blood Miracles. There’s only two non-fiction books so I might go to the library if I’m not feeling any of these, but I do want to try to stick to the books I have as much as I can.

If you’ve read any of the above please let me know below! I’d love to hear your thoughts and it could push the book further up the list. And if you decide to read any Irish authors this month let me know who you’re reading.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Under Rose-Tainted Skies by Louise Gornall Book Review

under rose-tainted skies

Norah is 17 and lives in constant fear. She has agoraphobia, anxiety and OCD. Leaving the house is near impossible for, she only ever leaves to go to counselling and even then it causes her great distress. Norah has learned to cope but when her Mum goes away for what should be a standard business trip and ends up away from the house much longer than anticipated, Norah must learn to tackle some of her problems. Added to this is her new next door neighbour Luke, who keeps trying to talk to Norah. Norah wants to be friends with Luke, but doesn't want to tell him about her conditions in case it scares him away. Can Norah deal with all these new problems while tackling her usual ones or will they be too much for her?

First off, let me just say what a beautiful cover this is! The watercolour is so pretty. Gornall does a great job of explaining Norah's conditions and showing us how they effect her in different ways: physically, mentally, emotionally and the impacts on her life. The story isn't autobiographical but the author also has agoraphobia and the fact that she knows what it like to go through these things means it feels very realistic when we read Norah going through these things. Not only is this book a good way to show what it's like to suffer from mental health problems like this but it's also good at showing how it impacts the lives of other people, like carers and romantic partners. I loved the relationship between Norah and her mother. I liked the character of Luke, he was sweet but not perfect which was good. I did like the character of Norah but at times she annoyed me, it had nothing to do with her mental health though, I think it was just every now and again her turn of phrase just annoyed me. I did find myself rooting for her though, especially towards the end. I was afraid that the story might wrap up all too conveniently but without giving it away, it doesn't end like that. But it IS a satisfactory ending. If you're looking for a contemporary YA book that deals with mental health issues in a realistic, believable way, then this is the book for you.

I received this e-book free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. I’m not required to post a review on here and all thoughts are my own

Sunday, February 19, 2017

January 2017 Wrap Up

Hello! So I used to do a post every month talking about some of the things I got up to and was enjoying the month before. I stopped after I moved as I wasn’t getting up to much but I think I want to try and start it again, feel excited about things again!

Celebrating- New Year’s Eve in London! While I didn’t get up to much on the night itself, I really enjoyed being the city around that time and all the excitement, as well as spending time with family and friends.

Watching- Harry Potter and the Cursed Child! It was amazing, I saw it New Year’s Day and what a way to kick off the year. If you get a chance to go, go see it! I know some people are mixed on the story but the production is incredible. Thanks to my brother for buying the ticket for me!

harry potter

Socialising- Quite a bit actually! I got to see friends and family in London, Manchester and back home too. It’s been great to catch up with friends I haven’t seen a while, everything has been pretty relaxed and nothing too hectic.

Eating- Five Guys! I got to go with my friend Sarah from Cashmere and Clouds when I stayed with her in Manchester. It’s only the second time I’ve ever been but I really wanted to try that soda machine again!

Buying- Books mainly! I bought a big stack of books (and ebooks too) which you can see in my Book Haul post. I also bought some nail polish too (Stuffed by Nine Zero Lacquer, OPI Sunrise..Bedtime! from the OPI Breakfast at Tiffany’s collection and Cirque Polish in Halcyon) and bought some beautiful yarn from Sarah’s Etsy shop Yellow Door Yarn. It’s so pretty and just my favourite shade!


Doing- Ice skating. My family goes every winter when the rinks are up and after missing it last year I’m glad I got to go this year. I’d love to try skating on an empty rink though, I’m always so scared I’ll get knocked over!

Subscribing- To Hannah Witton on YouTube. I’d seen her before in videos with Leena Norms but I had never checked out her own videos before. I love her openess on subjects like sex and I’m really enjoying her Hormone Diaries series about coming off the Pill.

Knitting- I was working on three projects in January. I finished off a purple ribbed scarf for my boyfriend, started a puffin hat for myself and started my 2017 scarf. I plan on knitting a different colour for every day of the year. I’ve fallen behind this month on that but I’ve kept track of the colours for every day and will catch up! I tried going to a local knitting group but after 30 minutes no one had shown up (or at least there was no one knitting when I was there so I didn't think the group was there). It was disappointing but I might try again soon.


Reading- I read a good few books in January, which you can check out in my January Reads wrap up post.
january reads

And that's January! Unusually busy month but that's mainly because I was away at the beginning of the month. I do need to take more pictures though when I'm out and about. How was your January? Let me know in the comments below!

Monday, February 6, 2017

January Reads 2017

First reading round up post of the year! I usually get a nice amount of books read in January which is true for this year as well. Except towards the end when I lost my interest in reading. So far in February I haven’t finished anything which is quite rare for me. Hopefully my mojo will pick up and I guess we’ll find out if that happens next month but for now, January!

January Reads

Paper Girls Volume 2 by Brian K Vaughan and Cliff Chiang

Paper Girls volume 2 by Brian K Vaughan graphic novel

So when it came to picking my top 5 graphic novels for last year I debated whether to chose Saga or Paper Girls (both by Brian K Vaughan) and chose Saga but Paper Girls was fantastic, I really liked it. I finally got a chance to read the second volume which I liked but didn’t love. I love the colours used but the plot just didn’t interest me as much as the first. I am looking forward to the next on though as it’s such fun. While I haven’t seen Stranger Things, I’ve heard a lot of people say that if you’re a fan of stranger things then you’ll enjoy this.




A Tragic Kind of Wonderful by Eric Lindstrom

a tragic kind of wonderful Eric Lindstrom YA novel about a bipolar girl

This is a YA novel that centres around teenager Mel, who is trying to cope with numerous things in her life along with trying to manage her bipolar disorder. I enjoyed this book, I have a full review that you can check out here. [NetGalley]







It’s All Absolutely Fine by Ruby Elliot

it's all absolutely fine by rub elliot graphic novel

Ruby Elliot writes and draws about her own experiences with depression, eating disorder, self harm that has a perfect mix of seriousness and humour. Ruby is so open and honest about her experiences. I laughed out loud several times reading this. If you liked Hyperbole and a Half, then you'll enjoy this book [NetGalley]






Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi

homegoing by yaa gyasi

Homegoing is a beautiful but heart wrenching debut novel that I just absolutely loved. We are introduced to two half sisters in Ghana, one who marries a slave trader and another who is sold as a slave bound for the South of America. We follow their descendants for several generations and see how their lives unfold. It was a tough read at times as Gyasi doesn’t shy away from terrible issues like rape, slavery and drug addiction but it’s so rich and incredible. I have a full review which you can check out here. [NetGalley]





The Secret Lives of the Amir Sisters by Nadiya Hussain

the secret lives of the amir sisters by nadiya hussain winner of the great british bake off gbbo

The Secret Lives of the Amir Sisters centres around 4 sisters, the only Muslim family in a small English village. Each one is different and have their own struggles. Fatima is the oldest, almost 30 and still living at home. Working as a hand model, when's she's not trying for the umpteenth time to pass her driving test, she spends her time locked in her room, eating squeezy tube cheese and trying to figure out who she really is. Farah is happily married but desperately wants to be a mother. She barely talks to her twin sister Bubblee, who's living in London determined to make it as an artist. Mae is 16 and the youngest feels like her family don't listen to her. Which is fine, because she has thousands of followers on YouTube and social media who are happy to listen to her. They're all overshadowed by their only brother Jay, who is useless but their parents put him on a pedestal being the only son. When a tragedy strikes the family, we see all the secrets tumble out and everyone's relationships are tested. Will the family fall apart or will the sisters be able to pull together and put their differences aside?

I enjoyed reading this book, coming from a big family myself I like family sagas and seeing all the different dynamics between characters. I felt like it was a bit slow in the beginning but sometimes I don't mind this when it's a family saga as it gives you a chance to find out more about the characters. I do think it was a bit cliched at times but there are plenty of other books and genres I read and enjoy that rely on cliches and tropes. It didn't make me enjoy the book any less. What I particularly liked about the book is that it's giving you an insight to a family structure and culture that doesn’t really get a big spotlight in popular fiction. I was drawn to this book as I read Sofia Khan is Not Obliged by Ayisha Malik, about a young Muslim woman living in London, and I was interested in reading more books that feature Muslim characters (side note: I was happy to see Ayisha's name crop up at the beginning of this book as it states Nadiya wrote this book with the help of Ayisha). A light and easy read [NetGalley]


The Mystery of the Painted Dragon by Katherine Woodfine

the mystery of the painted dragon by katherine woodfine, book 3 in the sinclair mystery series

Another fun mystery from Sophie and friends in the Sinclair series! I enjoy this middle grade detective mystery series, it reminds me of reading Enid Blyton as a child. I think this is great for boys and girls aged 9-14, but older people will certainly enjoy it too [NetGalley]






Eat Sweat Play by Anna Kessel

eat sweat play how sport can change our lives by anna kessel

So I first heard about this book from Leena Norms. I was intrigued but didn’t put it on my TBR straight away. However when I saw one of the categories for the 2017 Book Riot Read Harder Challenge was to do with sport, this is the first book that came to mind. And I’m so glad I read it! Kessel tackles women and sport from so many different aspects, such as why girls tend to hate sports in school, sports and periods, sports and pregnancy and why watching sports is very much seen as a guy thing. I loved how in the first chapter people such as Serena Williams, the Gladiators from the 90s TV show and Sporty Spice were all mentioned, it helped pique my interest. The chapters on periods and pregnancy just opened my eyes to the sexism in the industry and how taboo it still is to mention these things. It reminded me of the Olympics last year when Chinese diver Fu Yuanhui mentioned how her performance had been hindered a bit as she was so tired because of her period and how shocked some people were that she mentioned it. This made me think about sports in a different way and inspired me to try and have a more genuine interest in women’s sports. I watched the first Women’s Six Nations game with Ireland against Scotland on Friday and loved it so hoping I can watch it more in the future. This book should be read by men and women. It’s a great non-fiction book as it’s so well researched, the author has passion which comes through but it’s not dense and heavy and it’s easy to read.


Goldie Vance Volume One by Hope Larson and Brittany Williams

Goldie Vance Volume One graphic novel

I first saw this when Rincey from Rincey Reads mentiond it in a video. Goldie is a sassy smart 16 year old who lives in a Florida resort hotel with her father. She works part time as a valet but really she wants to be a detective and often sticks her oar in to help the in-hotel detective. This was super fun, it has a great Nancy Drew in the 50s/60s vibe, I loved the characters, drawing style and colour scheme. It’s good clean fun, the volume ends at the end of the story line arc so there’s no cliff hangers which is cool and I’m looking forward to continuing this series! [NetGalley]




Three Dark Crowns by Kendare Blake

three dark crowns by kendare blake

On the island of Fennbirn, every generation a set of triplet girls are born and each one are equal heirs that possess different gifts. They are separated at a young age and raised by different families who possess the same gift as them, hoping to nuture and train them up in their gift so that when they turn 16, they’ll be skilled enough to fight against the other sisters and win the throne. The 3 sisters in this book are Katharine (poisoner who can ingest deadly poisons without harm), Mirabella (an elementalist, who can control the elements) and Arsinoe (naturalist, who can grow beautiful flowers and control animals). The stories starts a few months before they turn 16 and we see the POV of each sister as the chapters alternate between them. This book was a bit slow at the beginning, there’s a lot of characters to get your head around and concentrates on world building. But I quite liked this as sometimes book 2 is all about building up plots and I find it can ruin the momentum. At first I was a fan of Katharine and didn’t want the story to switch to the other sisters but I got hooked into their stories too and loved them all by the end. The action ramps up towards the last 30% of this book and I’m hoping it’ll keep going in book 2. Overall I really liked this and I can’t wait to pick up book two later this year.


If I Was Your Girl by Meredith Russo

If I Was Your Girl by Meredith Russo

I mentioned this book in my book haul post, it’s about a trans girls and is written by a trans woman author. Amanda is 18 and has moved to live with her father and finish off her final year of school. She’s torn between keeping to herself to keep her secret (and self) safe and living her true life and allowing herself to have friends and fall for a boy. I read this book really quickly one weekend and it’s so important to have visibility for trans characters and trans writers. It’s a great contemporary YA read for covering trans issues from different angles.




Captain Marvel Volume One: In Pursuit of Flight by Kelly Sue DeConnick, Dexter Soy, Emma Rios, Richard Elson, Karl Kesel and Al Barrionuevo

captain marvel in pursuit of flight volume one

With the Captain Marvel film due out next year I wanted to read some of her comics and chose this place to start from. I wasn’t bowled away by this, I only found it ok as I wasn’t a massive fan of the artwork and the storyline was confusing at first to me. I would continue the story though and give it a chance but alas it doesn’t seem to be in the library!






January Stats

Number of Books Read- 11

Ratio fiction to non-fiction- 9:2

Number of eBooks- 7 (A Tragic Kind of Wonderful, It’s All Absolutely Fine, Homegoing, The Secret Lives of the Amir Sisters, The Mystery of the Painted Dragon, Goldie Vance and If I Was Your Girl )

Number of Books Borrowed from Library- 2 (Captain Marvel and Eat, Sweat, Play)


Book Riot Read Harder Challenge 2017 Checklist

Read a book about sport- Eat, Sweat, Play

Read a book that is set more than 5000 miles away from your location- A Tragic Kind of Wonderful

Read a fantasy novel- Three Dark Crowns

Read a YA or middle grade novel by an author who identifies as LGBTQ+ – If I Was Your Girl

Read a superhero comic with a female lead- Captain Marvel

Read a book wherein all point-of-view characters are people of colour- Homegoing

6 out of 24 challenges down. I was going to mark off two more but decided against it. For the debut novel, I was going to have The Secret Lives of the Amir Sisters but because it’s written with someone’s help, I decided against it. For the all ages comic I was going to pick Goldie Vance but I felt it might more be YA and when I looked at how other people had labelled it they went more YA than all ages.

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