Bookish Ramblings June Wrap Up

June has felt like the longest month for me, I’ve hardly posted to the blog, I’ve lost my review writing mojo and I’m honestly just tired of it all, yes I’ve reached that time of year where I’ve become disillusioned with blogging – it will pass, it always does but sometimes it’s hard to see past the fog you know? June started out in a bad way, an unfortunate exchange on Twitter – totally unsolicited in my inbox, shook me. I replied flippantly but then looked into things and realised I was in the wrong with my response – but then calling people out in a DM isn’t always wise either. The thing is that whilst well meaning, be kind, sometimes gets forgotten, and you never know what issues other people may have. This exchange sent me into a panic attack, I cried and then having spoken to my husband, decided to deactivate my twitter account for a couple of weeks to regroup.  When I returned to Twitter, I was met with a wave of cancel culture and book tour company drama – It’s made Twitter a difficult place to be around and I’m struggling to find anything positive – I know that I have to re-assess some authors, thankfully hardly any of them appear on my shelf.

I’ve not read as much as I’ve wanted and I’ve really struggled to articulate my feelings in reviews, I just feel pretty sad at the moment and I know that will unfairly reflect on anything I write, I started reading A Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes this week and honestly it’s the first book all month that I’ve found myself desperately wanting to pick back up, I’m hoping that this will be the turning point!

But June hasn’t been all bad, things have been good personally, we’ve had some amazing family days, an especially glorious one at the beach, we’ve finally been able to get our fence fixed so we’ve been able to use our garden and make it look inviting again. Mr Paperbacks got a promotion which is so well deserved and the money we’ve saved on childcare during lockdown, means that we’ve been able to finally buy a new computer as our 10 year old work horse is ready to be put out to pasture. Now we’re focusing on making Biba’s room more grown up and I played my first ever game of D&D yesterday! I’m really hoping that all the positivity we’ve had this last week will reflect on my blogging moving into July!

So what about my reads this month, sadly no 5 stars for me this month, but I’ve had some close one’s!

My 4 and 4.5 reads
My 3 Star Reads

My Unrated Reads

Honestly I feel really bad putting these next to each other as they are unrated for 2 completed different reasons. Why I’m no longer talking to White People about Race is probably one of the most important books I’ve ever read – It’s given me a whole new understanding about a number of issues that are at the front of the worlds hearts at the moment. I’ve already started using what I have learnt to educate others and will continue to do so. I don’t have a rating system for non fiction as this is the first I’ve read in about a decade, if not more and part of me feels like it’s a little in bad taste to stick a shiny star on something which tackles such serious issues.

Once and Future just wasn’t the book for me at all, I should have DNF’d it but I kept reading because it was a gift and I was hoping that it would get better but it sadly didn’t grab me the way I wanted it to.

So that’s my June, It’s a much longer wrap up than usual so I’m sorry for rambling! I’m now heading off to put together my reads for July!

Bookish Ramblings: WWW Wednesday

Hey everyone, I can’t believe it’s been two weeks since I last wrote a blog post! I’ve been struggling a lot the past couple of weeks, I had to disconnect from social media outlets for a little while (I’m looking at you twitter) and I’ve even struggled to post on Instagram. I’ve left some engagement groups on the platform to just get back to posting for me, because honestly I felt like I was just logging into IG to do admin rather than enjoy content.  I’m still not back to feeling fully part of things but i wanted to post today and say a huge thank you to everyone who has been stopping by in that time! I’m back to a WWW Wednesday today for a mid month catch up with where my reading is at!

Whilst the WWW tag isn’t new, I’ve picked it up from the lovely Jemma at Fantastic Books and Where to Find Them! 

What am I currently Reading

I’m currently reading Vengeful by V.E Schwab, this is my monthly buddy read with @vegan_shiftworker – you’ve guessed it, we read Vicious last month! We couldn’t wait to dive back into the characters and we’re absolutely loving it, it’s so hard to put down at the end of our nightly chapters!

What did I Recently Finish Reading

In support of #BLM I featured black authors throughout my instagram last week, I changed up my set tbr to read Kingdom of Souls by Rena Barron, I’m so glad I did because it was a fantastic book and I’m so cross with myself that it’s been sat on my shelf for so long. The only bonus of taking a bit of time to get to a book is that there’s less time to wait until the next one comes out! I also wanted to spend some time educating myself about black lives matter, I saw a number of books being circulated as ones to read to help understand the issues but I chose to read Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People About Race by Reni Eddo-Lodge. Honestly it’s the most eye opening book I think I’ve ever read, I’ve already adjusted my viewpoints of a number of issues and fully understand white privilege. I will continue to educate and White Fragility is next on my list.

What do I Think I’ll Read Next

I’ve tried hard to avoid spoilers, although I’ve fallen foul of one, so it’s time to read Aurora Burning so I can join in with discussions rather than running and hiding from them!  I adored Aurora Rising last year and I love a rag tag team and with mention of a heist again too I really can’t wait to jump back into this universe!

What are your WWW’s? Let me know!!

Review of Vampire Hearts (Dark Origins #1) by Katie M. John

Alexander had loved Lydia, but then he’d nearly killed her. This is his vampire curse. His dark origin.
Now, he is forced to run from the human world and everything he knows. Newly emerged, and terrified of his increasing powers, there is only one place that can save him, Bathory Academy; home to the descendants of history’s most infamous vampires. A place where legends become truth.
Thrust into the luxurious and magical world of the vampire, Alexander soon learns that some students will stop at nothing to claim the future throne of the vampire realm… or to secure their own immortality.
But Alexander isn’t interested in crowns and thrones, he just wants the answer to one question.
Does he still have a heart, or is he now a monster, fated to destroy anyone he ever loves?

Vampire Hearts was an out of comfort zone read for me, whilst I love a great fantasy, paranormal just doesn’t hold the sway.  However, I was completely drawn in by the blurb of this book and I am so happy I took the plunge.  Vampire Hearts is an outstanding read!

From the moment you walk through the doors into the sumptuous surroundings of the Bathory Academy, you are immersed into the decadent world. I have to say that as it’s a genre that I don’t often read, I found myself very much identifying with Alexander as he traversed not only his new surroundings but also a whole new etiquette and lore. Finely balanced social networks and heirarchies leave his head spinning, so far removed from the “normal” life he left behind.  I loved how his story unfolded throughout the book, the author very cleverly balancing story arc and necessary information so it never felt overwhelming for a first book establishing a series.

Alexander finds himself thrown in with the Monarchy, those descended from the royal bloodlines, including the Bathory sisters themselves, Scarlett and Charlotte. With an instant connection to Scarlett he must battle the ever watchful eye of her boyfriend Byron, who just happens to by a descendant of Jack the Ripper!  All the characters are wonderfully written and realised, I’m so excited to find out more about their stories in future books.

Vampire hearts is pitched at an upper YA/NA range and the start of more adult themes is growing, I like that is a real feel of a slow burn though with the characters, which is always my favourite! Plot wise there is a ton going on, having established the main players we are quickly introduced to the big bad of the series, the mysterious “Saints” and as the plot unfolds and we learn more about students and teachers at the Academy many of whom have more going on than first meets the eye and some more dangerous than others.

It’s rare that I will have the chance to finish a book in a day any more, but Vampire Hearts was one that I just could not put down, there are no moments that drag or feel over complicated and if, like me, you’re pretty new to the vampire genre, there is nothing to fear! It’s a wonderful and rich world that has been created and I can’t wait to find out more in book 2!


Vampire Hearts is out now and available via Amazon

Review of Hope Island by Tim Major

Workaholic TV news producer Nina Scaife is determined to fight for her daughter, Laurie, after her partner Rob walks out on her. She takes Laurie to visit Rob’s parents on the beautiful but remote Hope Island, to prove to her that they are still a family. But Rob’s parents are wary of Nina, and the islanders are acting strangely. And as Nina struggles to reconnect with Laurie, the silent island children begin to lure her daughter away.
Meanwhile, Nina tries to resist the scoop as she is drawn to a local artists’ commune, the recently unearthed archaeological site on their land, and the dead body on the beach…

Firstly, thank you to Titan books and Negalley for a review copy of Hope Island, I went into this off the back of Snakeskins, Tim Major’s previous released through Titan which I loved. Whilst Hope Island does have some similar themes, it is a very different kind of tale.

For me, the blurb belies the story a little and whilst indeed all the happenings mentioned are, well happening, this is very much an Introspective piece for our protagonist Nina for the most part. As a reader we are with her throughout and a lot of the story is her inner monologue as she struggles to come to terms with the breakdown of her relationship, her desire to reconnect with her daughter all whilst being on an island reminiscent of The Wicker Man. I have to say that Nina is a character that I deeply connected with, having myself had to return to work full time whilst my partner took the primary childcare role, I felt that I understood her and was able to empathise with her feelings of inadequacy and being out of her depth, she is written in a sensitive way and clearly either a lot of time was spent on research or the author is remarkably astute in this area. On an Island sceptical of outsiders I enjoyed her relationship with Marie the most, it felt very honest and gave a much needed outlet away from Nina’s mind and a greater understanding of her situation when she actually voiced it to another. I felt that the reactions and temperament of Marie’s baby, Niall, were very well played in the sense of the bigger picture.

The book is not all about a woman in crisis though, it is clear from the opening page that Hope Island, for all it’s idyllic beauty, is an island with a secret. It has a very sinister and almost stifling feel, its inhabitants are closed and eerily silent, fertile ground for a journalist who just can’t leave the job behind. The artists commune feels out of place on the island and it’s like it’s tolerated rather than embraced as it is the cause of bringing yet further strangers to the island. They are an affable bunch though and I liked the eclectic mix of characters. The silence of the children gets you in the gut, their presence is oppressive whenever they appear and I was constantly holding my breath at those times. The culmination comes quickly, the reveals were sudden and devastating and the story felt like it took an about turn and indeed the writing style felt very different as the tale took more of an existential feel. Honestly I felt that the end was a little bit rushed and it all became a little muddled in my mind. When the attention was on Laurie the story had huge pace and felt like a thriller, however when the attention flipped back to Nina I started to feel less and less immersed in the story. It is a clever ending though and the islands secrets are incredibly imaginative.

Hope Island is a wonderful slow burn story that will catch you out when you least expect it and a great follow up to Snakeskins.


Hope Island is currently available to pre-order and is released on 8th June through Titan Books


Bookish Ramblings: June TBR

Going into June feeling so much more positive about things! Little man went back to school today and for us it was the right choice, he was so happy and can’t wait to go back! Looking forward to so many of this months reads too, as two are from my 2020 most anticipated list, so carry on reading to find out what June’s picks are!

The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes by Suzanne Collins

I feel like I have to boost this one up the Tbr to avoid spoilers for it. I’ve seen both a lot of a love and lot of hate for this book around and I know that Snow was an unpopular choice. Lets face it, we were all after a Mags back story weren’t we? But I’m going in with an open mind that I’m going to enjoy it because it would be silly not to!

It is the morning of the reaping that will kick off the 10th annual Hunger Games. In the Capitol, 18-year-old Coriolanus Snow is preparing for his one shot at glory as a mentor in the Games. The once-mighty house of Snow has fallen on hard times, its fate hanging on the slender chance that Coriolanus will be able to out charm, outwit, and outmaneuver his fellow students to mentor the winning tribute.
The odds are against him. He’s been given the humiliating assignment of mentoring the female tribute from District 12, the lowest of the low. Their fates are now completely intertwined – every choice Coriolanus makes could lead to favor or failure, triumph or ruin. Inside the arena, it will be a fight to the death. Outside the arena, Coriolanus starts to feel for his doomed tribute… and must weigh his need to follow the rules against his desire to survive no matter what it takes

Aurora Burning by Jay Kristoff and Amie Kaufman

Another that I’ve been dodging spoilers for but I know it’s going to break my heart all over again. Squad 312 are such a wonderful bunch of misfits I can’t wait to get back into their universe and honestly they had me at heist!

First, the bad news: an ancient evil—you know, your standard consume-all-life-in-the-galaxy deal—is about to be unleashed. The good news? Squad 312 is standing by to save the day. They’ve just got to take care of a few small distractions first.
Like the clan of gremps who’d like to rearrange their favorite faces.
And the cadre of illegit GIA agents with creepy flowers where their eyes used to be, who’ll stop at nothing to get their hands on Auri.
Then there’s Kal’s long-lost sister, who’s not exactly happy to see her baby brother, and has a Syldrathi army at her back. With half the known galaxy on their tails, Squad 312 has never felt so wanted.
When they learn the Hadfield has been found, it’s time to come out of hiding. Two centuries ago, the colony ship vanished, leaving Auri as its sole survivor. Now, its black box might be what saves them. But time is short, and if Auri can’t learn to master her powers as a Trigger, the squad and all their admirers are going to be deader than the Great Ultrasaur of Abraaxis IV.
Shocking revelations, bank heists, mysterious gifts, inappropriately tight bodysuits, and an epic firefight will determine the fate of the Aurora Legion’s most unforgettable heroes—and maybe the rest of the galaxy as well.

Vengeful by V.E. Schwab

In May I buddy read Vicious and we both loved it so it seemed a no brainer to move onto Vengeful this month! I’m excited to find out how the story continues after that ending!

Sydney once had Serena—beloved sister, betrayed enemy, powerful ally. But now she is alone, except for her thrice-dead dog, Dol, and then there’s Victor, who thinks Sydney doesn’t know about his most recent act of vengeance.
Victor himself is under the radar these days—being buried and re-animated can strike concern even if one has superhuman powers. But despite his own worries, his anger remains. And Eli Ever still has yet to pay for the evil he has done.

Girls of Storm and Shadow by Natasha Ngan

Even though it deals with some tough issues, I loved Girls of Paper and Fire, I managed to grab the Fairyloot edition of this with the redesigned Icey cover – I love it! I’ve heard there’s a bit of a a love triangle in this one though so I hope I enjoy it just as much!

Lei, the naive country girl who became a royal courtesan, is now known as the Moonchosen, the commoner who managed to do what no one else could. But slaying the cruel Demon King wasn’t the end of the plan—it’s just the beginning. Now Lei and her warrior love Wren must travel the kingdom to gain support from the far-flung rebel clans. The journey is made even more treacherous thanks to a heavy bounty on Lei’s head, as well as insidious doubts that threaten to tear Lei and Wren apart from within.
Meanwhile, an evil plot to eliminate the rebel uprising is taking shape, fueled by dark magic and vengeance. Will Lei succeed in her quest to overthrow the monarchy and protect her love for Wren, or will she fall victim to the sinister magic that seeks to destroy her?



I also have some Netgalley books to get through