Monday, July 24, 2017

April Reads 2017

So it’s been a while since I’ve done a reading wrap up post. I wasn’t in the mood for posting much to be honest and then it turned into months instead of weeks before I got around to posting again. I’m hoping to get back into a routine and catching up on what I’ve read over the past few months will hopefully help!

April Reads

A-Force Presents Volume One by Various Artists

a-force presents volume 1 with Black Widow, She-Hulk, Thor, Captain Marvel, Ms Marvel and The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl graphic novel comic book
This is actually a bit different to what I thought it was going to be. I thought it was a series called A-Force, which does exist, but it’s actually the first edition for 6 different female Marvel comics. There’s Black Widow, She-Hulk, Thor, Captain Marvel, Ms Marvel and The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl. I was aware of most of these characters but it was interesting to read some of the other comics and see different styles. My favourites out of this were She-Hulk, Ms Marvel and Squirrel Girl. I didn’t mind this Captain Marvel either, it’s a new reboot from the one I read earlier this year so I might actually pick up this one as I preferred it to the other one I read (which I have no intention of continuing to read). This would be good to pick up if you’re new to comics and what to try a few different things before committing to a series but if you regularly read comics then you don’t really need this.

Am I Normal Yet? by Holly Bourne
Am I Normal Yet? by Holly Bourne book one in the spinsters club
This is the first book in Bourne’s Spinster Club trilogy and I’d heard lots of great things before picking this up. There’s 3 girls in the Spinsters Club, Evie, Amber and Lottie, and this book is from Evie’s point of view. Evie is 16 and has OCD. She’s slowly coming off her medication and wants nothing more than to be a ‘normal’ teenager. Evie is thrilled she’s making new friends and catching the eyes of boys but every day is a constant struggle for her and she tries desperately to keep the bad thoughts at bay, all while keep her condition secret. Relapse is on the horizon but can Evie keep it all together?

Bourne does a great job in this book talking about mental health and the different ways to manage conditions and relapses. The other amazing thing about this series is the female friendships and the feminism, these girls become great friends and it’s so awesome to see these girls support each other. And for feminism to be a normal, empowering thing that the girls talk about. The books reminded me of the fun tone of the Louise Rennison books, with a bit more of a serious side to things but never feeling preachy or too heavy. Bourne nails the humour and conservations of teenage girls, it had me laughing out loud at times! The only downside I found was the feminism at times wasn’t very inclusive to trans women and it lacks intersectionality but I don’t think it takes away too much from the story. This book is great for teenagers (I see a lot of people say they wish it was around when they were a teenager and I’ve got to agree) and adults who appreciate YA novels.

Lumberjanes Volume 4 by Noelle Stevenson, Shannon Watters, Grace Ellis , Maarta Laiho, Aubrey Aiese, Brooke A. Allen

lumberjanes volume 4 graphic novel noelle stevenson After being slightly let down by Volume 3, Lumberjanes Volume 4 was just so refreshing to read! All the girls are in the same storyline again (in Vol 3, there was two stories going on) and it’s just so much fun to see them all together again. And for the drawing style to be back to normal! If you were disappointed by 3 and not sure if you want to continue on with the series, you should pick up Volume 4 as it should make you happy again!

Let The Dead Speak by Jane Casey
Let the Dead Speak by Jane Casey book 7 in Maeve Kerrigan series
I flew through books two to six in March in order to get this one and couldn't wait to get stuck in. Reading the other books so quickly together meant I had built up a relationship with Maeve and Josh and was dying to know how things worked out from the ending of book 6.

The book opens with Maeve being promoted, meaning she has a rookie to look out for and mentor. This added something new to the whole work dynamic and shook things up a bit but there's not a lot you can do to keep Derwent away from Maeve! The murder the team is investigating isn't a simple one. 18 year old Chloe has returned home early from being at her father's, only to find her mother gone and the house covered with blood. With no body and no leads, it's a tricky case. Chloe stays at best friend's Bethany's house and everyone in that house is trying to protect and silence Chloe, which frustrates Maeve. Dodgy characters crop up everywhere and all Maeve needs is for one person to break their silence and she'll have a lead.
Casey does a great job of writing these books, I'm always left guessing about who was behind the crime. The real reason I come back though is because of the Maeve and Josh dynamic, it's always interesting to see how they're getting on. I am warming more and more to Derwent but he's so tiring at times! Though this time around, it was Maeve that was tiring. After all they went through at the end of book 6, she STILL doesn't feel like she can trust Derwent and I was really let down and disappointed by that, it feels like Maeve hasn't grown up from first few books if she really still thinks like that. I think this is part of the reason this book felt a bit off for me compared to the others, the other reasons being the new role Maeve is in and the strangeness of the plot (there being no body to investigate). I did still enjoy the book though, like I said Casey is a fantastic storyteller and it kept me gripped, I couldn't put it down. I do encourage anyone wanting to read the Maeve series to start at the beginning though, you can jump in where ever you want but there are background stories and character developments so it's well worth reading the entire series. [NetGalley]

The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl Volume One Squirrel Power by Ryan North and Erica Henderson
The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl Volume One Marvel Comic Book Graphic Novel
I had been hoping to read Squirrel Girl for a while but it wasn’t available in my library network. Luckily by April the two library networks here had combined and I was able to order this. Good thing too because reading A-Force Presents Volume One really had me wanting to read this more!

Doreen Green is starting college but she’s not your ordinary college students, she’s Squirrel Girl! She had a big squirrel tail she hides, can talk to Squirrels and squirrel best friend, Tippy. This series is super fun and silly, I love Squirrel Girl and how sassy and confident she is and the drawing style is right up my alley too. It had me laughing out loud at times! This comic is perfect for all ages really, there’s something for everyone. A genuine delight!

Fever Dream by Samanta Schweblin
Fever Dream by Samanta Schweblin
Amanda is dying in hospital. David, a little boy, sits next to her. He is not her son, but he is there to ask her questions about how she landed in hospital. From there we go back to the beginning of the story and start to work out what’s happened, something that is difficult as Amanda is disorientated at times. It’s a creepy short read, not like anything I’d ever read before. I did a full review post here which you can check out if you’d like to learn more about the book. [NetGalley]

When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon
When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon YA novel
Dimple Shah knows exactly what she wants to do the summer before starting college: go on this kick ass web developers summer programme. She wants to win the prize to meet her idol. The fact that it would get her away from her Mamma and her obsession with finding Dimple the perfect Indian husband. So she’s delighted when her parents allow her to go. Rishi Patel is also going on this programe, to meet the girl his parents are hoping to be his potential future wife. He’s excited to meet her but their first meeting doesn’t go to plan. Mainly because Dimple has NO idea who Rishi is and throws an iced drink in face! Will they get to know each other over the summer? Or will Dimple’s stubborness prevent her from warming to Rishi?

There has been a lot of hype around this book so I was excited to read it. I flew through it in two days because it was just so cute! I liked the characters, I’ve seen a lot of reviews complaining about Dimple but I thought she was strong, knew her own mind but yet grew too as the novel went on. Rishi is the perfect gentleman and is very sweet. I love that we get to see another point of view in this book when it comes to culture, it’s so refreshing to see diverse stories. This book has everything the perfect YA romance needs, a good plot, strong characters, humour and plenty of cute moments. Perfect summer comtemporary! [NetGalley]

The Other Half of Happiness by Ayisha Malik
The Other Half of Happiness by Ayisha Malik, sequel to Sofia Khan is Not Obliged
This is the follow up to Sofia Khan is Not Obliged so I was very excited to read this as I adored the first book. It picks up at the end of the first book, so I don’t want to give a lot away. But this is a lot heavier than the first book, Sofia deals with a lot more stuff in this book. I loved coming back to these characters and this world, that was a joy. I have mixed feelings overall about the book though. A lot is packed in for one novel, almost too much really and it’s certainly an emotional rollercoaster. But Malik’s humour prevents it from being too much of a downer at times. Overall I enjoyed most of it but it’s just so different to Sofia Khan is Not Obliged that I felt disappointed too. It’s not a bad book, but seeing as the other half of happiness is sadness, there’s plenty in this book. [Book sent by publishers]

Ms Marvel Volume 5 Super Famous by G. Willow Wilson, Takeshi Miyazawa, Adrian Alphona, Nico Leon
Ms Marvel Volume 5 Super Famous G. Willow Wilson Marvel comic book graphic novel
I ordered book 4 and 5 together, thinking they would arrive at the same time but 4 took forever to get to me from the library! Because Volume 5 started a new storyline, I decided to read it before Volume 4 and continue on. Ms Marvel is now super famous (if the title of the volume didn’t give that away) and is also now an Avenger! This however means that Kamala has a lot more things to juggle and we see her being stretched thin, trying to keep up with every part of her life. I really enjoyed this volume, I had no complaints. As always, Ms Marvel is funny, kick ass and just generally awesome!

How Hard Can Love Be? by Holly Bourne
How Hard Can Love Be? Holly Bourne book 2 in Spinsters Club

I didn’t want to hold off reading The Spinster’s Club, so I got stuck into book two, which is Amber’s book. Amber is off to California for the summer, to spend time with her mother (and her stupid new husband), while also working in their summer camp for children as a camp leader. Not everything is hunky dory however. Amber’s Mum is completely different and doesn’t seem to prioritise Amber at all. Then there’s Kyle, the walking and talking All American perfect prom king cliche. All the girls fancy him, including Amber, but being very tall, very ginger and very awkward isn’t going to attract him, right?

As with Bourne’s other books, this one mixes the fun with the serious. Here we deal with alcoholism and abandoment and all that goes with that. Amber is dying to connect with her mother, who just doesn’t seem all that interested in her and it breaks your heart a bit. Bourne does such a good job at giving these characters dimmension, they’re flawed and that just makes them feel so much more real (as does the fact that the teenagers in these book talk and act like teenagers, swearing and drinking and generally rebelling). There’s plenty of humour throughout the books and the theme of strong female friendships is also here. We don’t get to see a lot of Evie or Lottie but they do make appearances in emails and video calls and Amber also makes friends with some of the other camp leaders. The romance is cute too without being too sappy. If you want a summer comtemporary with a bit of a bite, then this is perfect to pick up and read!

Ms Marvel Volume 6 Civil War II by G. Willow Wilson, Takeshi Miyazawa, Adrian Alphona
Ms Marvel Volume 6 Civil War II Marvel commic book graphic novel
As you can tell by the title, all is not well with Ms Marvel! We see the events of Civil War II bleed into this edition and Ms Marvel is not too happy with her namesake, Captain Marvel!
I had to read over a run down about what happened in this volume to refresh my mind as I couldn’t remind. I wasn’t blown away by this one, I did like it but it wasn’t all that memorable.  I did like the flashback scenes though of Kamala’s family in Pakistan and seeing the all the generations that came before Kamala. I think I need to reread this but I will continue on with the series when Volume 7 comes out.

Constable Colgan’s Connectoscope: How One Thing Leads to Another by Stevyn Colgan
Constable Colgan's Connectoscope by Stevyn Colgan
I read Colgan’s first book, Joined Up Thinking, a few years ago and enjoyed it. In it, each chapter would begin and end with the same sentence. Between then was a number of facts that eventually leads back to the first fact. Think 6 degrees of separation but if that was a circle and you get the idea. This book is similar and I was reading it for ages. It was something that I read in between books, reading a chapter or two as a pallette refresher or picking up when I was beginning to lose my reading mojo but wanted to try continue reading. Colgan is a QI elf too which is just a bonus in my eyes and I’ll be picking up other books by him too as I do enjoy reading fact books every now and again. My favourite fact from this book is that in Japan the Teletubbies are called Antenna Babies!

April Stats
Number of Books Read- 12
Ratio fiction to non-fiction- 11:1
Number of eBooks- 4 (Let The Dead Speak, Fever Dream, When Dimple Met Rishi and Constable Colgan’s Connectoscope)
Number of Books Borrowed from Library- 6 (Am I Normal Yet?, Lumberjanes Vol 4, The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl Vol 1, Ms Marvel Volumes 5 & 6 and How Hard Can Love Be?)

Book Riot Read Harder Challenge 2017 Checklist
Read a book set in Central or South America written by a Central or South American author- Fever Dream
Read a book set within 100 miles or your location- The Blood Miracles

Overall this was a good month in terms of the amount I read but not for non-fiction or for the amount of Book Riot challenges I completed. But there’s still plenty of time for that!
My favourites for this month were probably both Holly Bourne books, Squirrel Girl and When Dimple Met Rishi. Clearly I was in the mood for YA books!
If you’ve read any of these books or have questions, leave a comment below.

Monday, July 17, 2017

2017 BookTubeAThon Challenges and TBR

It’s that time of year again! The BookTubeAThon! If you don’t know what that is, it’s a week long readathon, hosted by YouTuber Ariel Bissett and starts on 24th July. There’s various reading, vlogging and Instagram challenges and all sorts of other things to make this interesting. This will be the 5th year running and I’ve done it every year, with varying success. The 1st and 3rd year I was successful and completed every challenge and the 2nd and 4th year I wasn’t successful. So I’m hoping this year will continue the trend of good and bad year and I’ll be able to complete all the challenges.

Speaking of challenges, the video above outlines what the reading challenges are this year. Here they are:
  1. Read a book with a person on the cover. It can be a full person, just a body part, a photo or a drawing.
  2. Read a hyped book. Seeing as this is the BookTubeAThon, a book big on BookTube would probably be a good pick but it can be any hyped book.
  3. Finish a book in one day
  4. Read about a character that is very different to you
  5. Finish a book completely outdoors. This can be done in chunks throughout the week but the book needs to be read outdoors.
  6. Read a book you bought because of the cover
  7. Read seven books. This has always been the 7th challenge since the first BookTubeAThon
If you want to double or triple up on challenges for one book, that’s perfectly fine. For example, if you find a hyped book that you bought because of the cover and it has a person on the cover, it can tick off all those challenges. I tend to stick to one book for each challenge though, I find it more challenging for me and also it means I’ll be able to get 7 books read.

BookTubeAThon 2017 TBR

booktubeathon 2017 TBR

The Color Purple- Book with person on the cover
A Court of Thorns and Roses- A hyped book
Dear Lupin- A book in one day
HHhH- A book with a character different to you
Lumberjanes Volume 5- Read a book outside
The Sun is Also a Star/Juniper Lemon’s Happiness Index- A book you bought because of the cover
Heartless- A book with a person on the cover/ a book in one day (back up)
Northern Lights- Seven books in seven days

I picked a nice mix of books, some of these tick off Book Riot Read Harder challenges which is partly why I’m reading them. Depending on my mood, I might not pick up my first choices for these and I might not pick up any of these! I’m going to try not to read too many graphic novels for this week though. I could easily read one for each challenge but there’s so many novels I want to read too that I’m only picking a graphic novel for the reading outside challenge. The less time outdoors, the better!

I'm looking forward to the Instagram challenges, I did a few last year and hopefully I'll be able to do more this year. I might participate in the Twitter sprints more as well.
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