Viperthon – A Special April TBR!

Title image credit: Viperthon

Long time followers will know that I absolutely adore the Isles of Storm and Sorrow books by Bex Hogan, Viper and Venom are out already and the final book, Vulture, releases this month. To celebrate a special readathon has been set up!

This is the first time that I have taken part in a readathon and I was hesitant given how slow my reading has been since going back to work full time, but the wonderful thing about this readathon is that you can use one book to cover 2 prompts if you want. This makes this readathon more manageable and I really hope I can make it. I’ve also taken the plunge and joined The Storygraph as there is a group especially for it on there!

So what’s it about?

“The aim: to visit as many of the islands as you can in the month of April. Choose to visit as many of the islands as you wish over the course of the month. Once you’ve read a book to hit a prompt, you gain the items from that island. You can earn yourself a place on the new crew of the Viper dependent on how many items you collect”. 
The Prompts and the books I hope to read are:
The first Isle: The King’s Isle – A book that features royalty
The Second Isle: Fallow Isle – A story where a character has to “grow” as a person
The Third Isle: Black Isle – A book with a black cover
The Forth Isle: The Floral Isle – A character that has a floral name
The Fifth Isle: Mist Isle – A book that involves a secret/something hidden
The Sixth Isle: Rock Isle – A character has to face something challenging
The Seventh Isle: Shadow Isle – A book about fear/featuring one of your fears
The Eighth Isle: Snow Isle – A book set somewhere cold
The Ninth Isle: A book about siblings/family
The Tenth Isle: Fire Isle – A book with fire on the cover/in the title
The Eleventh Isle: Song Isle –  A book that strongly features music in some way
The Twelfth Isle: The Jewel of the West – A book that features magic
The Viper – A book with a snake on the cover
This is a lot for me to read in one month but it’s helped by the fact that Saga is a Graphic Novel and Gemina will be on Audio, my hindrance will be trying to get my copy of Crown of Talons, as Waterstones has held that as a collect from store since lockdown started!

But I’m looking forward to taking part so much, wish me luck!

It’s time to have an honest talk about Bookstagram

Two days ago I logged into twitter and the first post I saw was from someone saying they were quitting bookstagram because it was too competitive. This made me sad and has played on my mind ever since. I’m usually very protective over bookstagram, I know many people feel it’s a toxic environment but I had always found it a fun, community place to be. I love looking at pictures of pretty books and discovering new editions and more importantly, friends.

But over recent weeks I’ve seen a rise in culture that does make me sad. The background of bookstagram has for a large part been to get the follows. Big follower count means big publishers will send you arcs, right? Companies will send you free stuff as a rep as your reach is huge? But whilst previously that way of approaching bookstagram sat happily alongside those who were just in it for the pictures, this last week or so my feed is just full of “follow trains” and “shout for shout out” posts – it feels like the need for follower counts over content has grown more than ever.

Lets talk about engagement groups. They fall into 2 factions, the “likes” groups where you simply scroll down a list and like everyone else’s post (regardless of whether you actually do), or groups where you like and also comment. When these were set up they were a way for people to help beat Instagram’s algorithm and get their posts seen by more people. In reality, has that led to bookstagrammer fatigue? Personally, yes. Whilst I have cut down on the amount of engagement groups I’m part of, by the time I’ve liked over 200 posts and made 20 comments, I’m done. What does this mean? Well it meas that I’m essentially dropping my posts doing my engagement and that’s it. I’m not talking with anyone, I’m not scrolling my feed for fun and to legitimately like a picture I actually like, or answer a question of the day that I’m interested in. In short I’m no longer connecting with people in the way I was a couple of years ago.

What does that mean for content then? Again, personally, it means that my content isn’t up to the standard I would like. I feel that I have to post daily, because I still have to comply with the rules of the engagement group whether I post or not. So, I may as well chuck something up there because it then validates the engagement that I’m doing in return. At the end of a long day at work with zero natural light isn’t the best environment to get creative in, but it doesn’t matter if it’s bad because at least 200 people have to like it, right? My feed makes me sad because I look at these “just for the sake of it” posts against the ones that I have had time and light and creativity to make and it’s a stark comparison which you can see here:

Which lead on to follows. Follow for follow has always been a big part of any social media outlet, but it feels like it has become aggressively ruthless with instagram at the moment. So. Many. Follow Trains. I did one as an experiment last week and guess what?  The majority of those that I followed from it didn’t bother to follow me back and most of those who did had unfollowed within days. Genuine interactions I have had include, someone liking 50 of my posts, so I thanked them in a DM and invited them to follow me as they obviously like my content – within minutes I was blocked. People who are not even mutuals DM’ing me to ask me to give “their friend” a shout out in my stories. Following for love of content and connection feels like it has disappeared. Followers have long since failed to be an issue for me and I’m used to the fluctuation in my count from those who unfollow when I don’t follow back. I’ve become more selective about the kind of content I want to see in my feed. If you post mainly contemporary romance I’m not really going to be bothered no matter how pretty a picture you create. But I can see how that can be so disheartening for people who are just starting out.

So yes, I can see why people who are new to bookstagram feel the way they do and I do feel desperately sad for people who want to create beautiful content but feel disheartened that their content won’t get seen. I can also understand why people are wary of someone with 16k followers following them, if they are only following 150 people in return. In my experience, it’s pretty much a foregone conclusion that they wont be following you for long. We can sit back and blame the algorithm as much as we like, but we also have to factor human nature into it too. I know that will be an unpopular view to take, but I have seen so much selfishness recently and also an element of brazen ruthlessness. I’ve looked at bookstagram with fresh eyes this week and I feel like I can’t be as protective of it as I once was, however, there are still many, many pockets of people who are just in it for the love of books and I’m glad to be part of some of those. Writing this post has resolved my into leaving my engagement groups as it will take the pressure off and I can then go back to creating the content that I feel happy with, when I’m feeling happy enough to do it. It also means that I can go back to liking posts in my feed as I will have the time to, and hopefully make some new bookish friends along the way.

Bookish Ramblings: WWW Wednesday

Its that time of the week again! I’ve been trying to be much more present with my blogging and have managed a whopping 3 reviews this week – I feel refreshed with blogging at the moment so I am making the most of it!

What have I just finished reading?

At the weekend I finished up my buddy read of Piranesi by Susanna Clarke, it was a story that I really enjoyed, sadly the ending didn’t quite come up to scratch for me, but it was otherwise amazing book which had me guessing throughout!

What I am currently reading?

I’m still struggling through City of Brass sadly, it has periods where I’m completely absorbed by it but other times when I just really struggle to pick it back up. I’m trying to get through at least a couple of chapters a day to hopefully get it finished this month.

What I am reading next?

Next I am reading one that has been on my TBR for a long time which is Wicked Fox by Kat Cho, it’s a fairyloot pick which I’m always nervous about as one of the reasons I cancelled my Sub was because I didn’t really enjoy the same books as the team. But I have it and I don’t want to donate it without giving it a chance!


Bookish Ramblings: WWW Wednesday

I’m hoping to try and make this more of a feature as I try and make good on my promise to myself that I will be more present with my blogging and WWW Wednesdays were always a great way to catch you all up with my reading!

What was my last read?

Well that would be Fable by Adrienne Young which I absolutely adored as you can tell by my 5 star review that I posted yesterday! Such an amazing book that was relentless in its storytelling with wonderful characters that I totally fell in love with!

What am I currently reading?

I’m currently reading, City of Brass by S.A Chakraborty, It’s tough going because I have to make do with the paperback for which the font is miniscule but the story is fantastic and i’m really enjoying it – it’s not how I though it would be, which is a really lovely surprise!

What will I read next?

I plan to read All the Tides of Fate by Adelyn Grace next, as All the Stars and Teeth was one of my favourite reads of 2020 and I can’t wait to find out how it all concludes!

Bookish Ramblings: February TBR

I’m trying more than ever this month to be present and feel part of the book blogging world again, and what better way then to start with but a monthly Tbr post!

Piranesi by Susanna Clarke

I treated myself to the wonderful Waterstones edition for my birthday last year and it’s my pick with @shamelessmoodreader for our monthly buddy read!

Piranesi’s house is no ordinary building: its rooms are infinite, its corridors endless, its walls are lined with thousands upon thousands of statues, each one different from all the others. Within the labyrinth of halls an ocean is imprisoned; waves thunder up staircases, rooms are flooded in an instant. But Piranesi is not afraid; he understands the tides as he understands the pattern of the labyrinth itself. He lives to explore the house.
There is one other person in the house—a man called The Other, who visits Piranesi twice a week and asks for help with research into A Great and Secret Knowledge. But as Piranesi explores, evidence emerges of another person, and a terrible truth begins to unravel, revealing a world beyond the one Piranesi has always known.

All the Tides of Fate by Adelyn Grace

All the Stars and Teeth was one of my favourite books of 2020 and I can’t wait to find out what happens in the conclusion as it was left so brilliantly at the conclusion of book one! It also fulfils my bookish resolution to try and either finish or continue a started series each month!

Through blood and sacrifice, Amora Montara has conquered a rebellion and taken her rightful place as queen of Visidia. Now, with the islands in turmoil and the people questioning her authority, Amora cannot allow anyone to see her weaknesses.
No one can know about the curse in her bloodline. No one can know that she’s lost her magic. No one can know the truth about the boy who holds the missing half of her soul.
To save herself and Visidia, Amora embarks on a desperate quest for a mythical artifact that could fix everything―but it comes at a terrible cost. As she tries to balance her loyalty to her people, her crew, and the desires of her heart, Amora will soon discover that the power to rule might destroy her.

Wicked Fox by Kat Cho

Another bookish resolution is to try and clear at least one really long standing book of my tbr each month and this is my pic for February. I famously don’t tend to get on with Fairyloot picks (and unfortunately many of those on my tbr the longest have that issue) but I’m going to give it a try and hope that the teen romance aspect is ok!

Eighteen-year-old Gu Miyoung has a secret–she’s a gumiho, a nine-tailed fox who must devour the energy of men in order to survive. Because so few believe in the old tales anymore, and with so many evil men no one will miss, the modern city of Seoul is the perfect place to hide and hunt.
But after feeding one full moon, Miyoung crosses paths with Jihoon, a human boy, being attacked by a goblin deep in the forest. Against her better judgment, she violates the rules of survival to rescue the boy, losing her fox bead–her gumiho soul–in the process.
Jihoon knows Miyoung is more than just a beautiful girl–he saw her nine tails the night she saved his life. His grandmother used to tell him stories of the gumiho, of their power and the danger they pose to humans. He’s drawn to her anyway.
With murderous forces lurking in the background, Miyoung and Jihoon develop a tenuous friendship that blossoms into something more. But when a young shaman tries to reunite Miyoung with her bead, the consequences are disastrous . . . forcing Miyoung to choose between her immortal life and Jihoon’s

This is a list that I will try and add maybe one or two more too but it’s a good start point!


Six For Sunday: Clever Characters

I’ve decided to try and dip back into #sixforsunday this month! If you’ve not heard of the prompt before, it was started by Steph at A Little but a Lot blog and each week you simply have to pick six books that fit the prompt! All of September’s prompts are about celebrating characters and today I’m talking about my favourite clever characters. I suppose to start with I’m going to say that I’m taking a book smarts approach to the characters that I’ve chosen for the prompt today, more deviously clever characters will get their turn!

Lazlo Strange from Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor

Everyone’s favourite library lover

Luvian Fen from State of Sorrow by Melinda Salisbury

Never embark on a political campaign without him

Catarina Agatta from This Mortal Coil by Emily Suvada

Coder, hacker, ultimate self sacrificing problem solver

Kady Grant from Illuminae by Jay Kristoff and Aimee Kaufman

Kicking ass with a tablet device and a crazy AI

Cress Darnel from Cress (The Lunar Chronicles) by Marissa Meyer

Game winner

Mitch Turner from Vicious by V.E. Schwab

Not just the muscle

Bookish Ramblings: September TBR

Hey everyone, so the first of September is here and it’s time for me to tell you all about the books I’m going to be reading this month! I’m terrible as always for buying and requesting stupid amounts of books, I might get to a long standing TBR book this month but we’ll see!

Seven Devils by Laura Lam and Elizabeth May

I have the gorgeous Illumicrate version of this book and this will be my monthly buddy read with @shamelessmoodreader, it sounds like it’s going to tick all my boxes so fingers crossed!

When Eris faked her death, she thought she had left her old life as the heir to the galaxy’s most ruthless empire behind. But her recruitment by the Novantaen Resistance, an organization opposed to the empire’s voracious expansion, throws her right back into the fray.
Eris has been assigned a new mission: to infiltrate a spaceship ferrying deadly cargo and return the intelligence gathered to the Resistance. But her partner for the mission, mechanic and hotshot pilot Cloelia, bears an old grudge against Eris, making an already difficult infiltration even more complicated.
When they find the ship, they discover more than they bargained for: three fugitives with firsthand knowledge of the corrupt empire’s inner workings.
Together, these women possess the knowledge and capabilities to bring the empire to its knees. But the clock is ticking: the new heir to the empire plans to disrupt a peace summit with the only remaining alien empire, ensuring the empire’s continued expansion. If they can find a way to stop him, they will save the galaxy. If they can’t, millions may die.

Punching the Air by Ibi Zoboi and Yusef Salaam

This book was kindly gifted to my by Harper Collins publishers, it’s written in prose and is going to be a very difficult but very important read as I continue to educate myself about BLM.

The story that I thought
was my life
didn’t start on the day
I was born
Amal Shahid has always been an artist and a poet. But even in a diverse art school, he’s seen as disruptive and unmotivated by a biased system. Then one fateful night, an altercation in a gentrifying neighborhood escalates into tragedy. “Boys just being boys” turns out to be true only when those boys are white.
The story that I think
will be my life
starts today
Suddenly, at just sixteen years old, Amal’s bright future is upended: he is convicted of a crime he didn’t commit and sent to prison. Despair and rage almost sink him until he turns to the refuge of his words, his art. This never should have been his story. But can he change it?
With spellbinding lyricism, award-winning author Ibi Zoboi and prison reform activist Yusef Salaam tell a moving and deeply profound story about how one boy is able to maintain his humanity and fight for the truth, in a system designed to strip him of both.

The Bone Witch by Rin Chupeco

I have to admit that this was not on my radar at all until it was picked as the monthly read for my book club! Looking forward to this as it’s a book that may have otherwise passed me by.

In the captivating start to a new, darkly lyrical fantasy series, Tea can raise the dead, but resurrection comes at a price.When Tea accidentally resurrects her brother from the dead, she learns she is different from the other witches in her family. Her gift for necromancy means that she’s a bone witch, a title that makes her feared and ostracized by her community. But Tea finds solace and guidance with an older, wiser bone witch, who takes Tea and her brother to another land for training.In her new home, Tea puts all her energy into becoming an asha-one who can wield elemental magic. But dark forces are approaching quickly, and in the face of danger, Tea will have to overcome her obstacles and make a powerful choice.

You Again by Debra Jo Immergut

Kindly gifted to me by Titan books I was really intrigued by this premise, feels like it’s in thriller territory and it’s a short read so i’m hoping for a fast paced read!

Abigail Willard first spots her from the back of a New York cab: the spitting image of Abby herself at age twenty-two—right down to the silver platforms and raspberry coat she wore as a young artist with a taste for wildness. But the real Abby is now forty-six and married, with a corporate job and two kids. As the girl vanishes into a rainy night, Abby is left shaken. Was this merely a hallucinatory side effect of working-mom stress? A message of sorts, sent to remind her of passions and dreams tossed aside? Or something more dangerous?
As weeks go by, Abby continues to spot her double around her old New York haunts—and soon, despite her better instincts, Abby finds herself tailing her look-alike. She is dogged by a nagging suspicion that there is a deeper mystery to figure out, one rooted far in her past. All the while, Abby’s life starts to slip from her control: her marriage hits major turbulence, her teenage son drifts into a radical movement that portends a dark coming era. When her elusive double presents her with a dangerous proposition, Abby must decide how much she values the life she’s built, and how deeply she knows herself. 

The Midnight Howl by Benjamin Read and Laura Trinder

Kindly gifted to Biba and I from Chicken House books, I’m loving that she’s receiving books in the post too! The follow up to The Midnight Hour, we’re excited to have this as our bedtime read!

They must have come from under beds, out of mirrors, up from caves, and down from attics, all out of the darkness and into the moonlight. They were the Night Folk, and this was their world.
Now that Emily knows that her blood ties her to The Midnight Hour, she feels more connected to this frozen pocket of time than ever. But not only does she have to come to terms with her new identity as a Pooka, her parents also had to go and have another baby. And how weird is that? Life is feeling frustrating from all angles…
But when Emily begins to encounter strange happenings within The Midnight Hour, her worst fears are confirmed: there is a hole in the Hour and it is leaking magic. Whoever is going through it is making the tear worse and worse, posing a threat to the survival of the whole world. With Emily’s parents distracted with the new baby, it’s up to Emily to find the hole and help fix it.

Bookish Ramblings: August Wrap Up!

I’m happy to say that August was a good reading month for me! After several months of barely getting through books and feeling disappointed with hyped reads i have to admit I was starting to wonder if it was just me, but I have had several books this month to restore my faith in reading! I think the main difference this month is because I’ve had time. Although being at home is nothing new, being at home and not having to both work and occupy the kids, is. We also went on a short break for a few days where I got several books finished. I’m making great progress on Priory of the Orange tree too, I’ve been reading on Audio book and the narrator is great, I have about 3 hours left and I’m really hoping that I’ll get it smashed in September, but that’s a post for tomorrow!

So here are my August reads!

My 5 Star Reads

This makes me smile so much, I’ve barely scraped together a single five star review over the last couple of months! I still have to get reviews up for a couple of these so check back over the next week or two to find out why I loved this so much!

My 4 Star Reads (Well 4.5 really)

This sadly missed out on a 5 star because of just how rushed the ending felt, I read this as a group read and I know many others felt the same, the book is outstanding though just be prepared for it to be over in a blink!

My 3 Star Reads

I also read Children of Time by Adrian Tchaicovsky this month but it was a 2 star read, for me it fell flat in the middle section and just couldn’t recover, because of my rating I won’t be reviewing on the blog, but I have left some thoughts on my Goodreads.

Now I have to start thinking about what I’m going to read in September, usually I have it all planned out already but I honestly have no idea other than Seven Devils at the moment, check back tomorrow to see if I finally managed to make up my mind!

Happy reading!

Bookish Ramblings: WWW Wednesday

Hey everyone, it feels like despite my good intentions the current heat wave in the UK has really taken a toll on my ability to do pretty much anything of use. I know our temperatures are low in comparison to many countries but the UK just isn’t set up for heat, we don’t have air conditioning in our homes and the heat we get is humid and sticky and gross. I’m hoping hard for thunderstorms tonight!

What I read last

At the weekend I finished The Starless Sea by Erin Morgenstern, I have so many mixed feelings about this book. The writing was beautiful and the story was unique and captivating, but for some reason it felt like a slog to get through. I felt like I was wading through the honey of the story and I felt like no matter how much I read I felt like I didn’t make a dent. Ultimately I did enjoy it, it’s just going to be a tough one to review fully!

What I’m reading now

True to form I’m reading 3 at the moment, Dangerous Remedy by Kat Dunn in hardback, Priory of the Orange Tree by Samantha Shannon on audio, and All the Stars and Teeth by Adalyn Grace on kindle. Dangerous Remedy isn’t really capturing me the way I was hoping, Priory I’m glad that I got on audio as I have now passed where I stopped on the physical copy and I’m really enjoying the story. All the Stars and Teeth I’m loving so far!!

What I’m reading next

At the end of this week, I’m taking part in my first readalong with Tandem Collective and the book is Cinderella is Dead by Kalynn Bayron, my copy is on it’s way and hopefully will arrive in time for the start on Friday!

Bookish Ramblings: August Tbr

Last month I managed to only read one of my 3 reads, I signed up to too many reviews and one of my reads was significantly longer than I anticipated! I’m sticking to just 3 for this month again as I think any more is totally unrealistic!

Dangerous Remedy by Kat Dunn

I managed to grab this early – Forbidden Planet sent their signed editions out last month, I know that it’s Paris again and I’m mindful that I read The Court of Miracles last month but I’ve been so excited for this release that I just don’t care that it’s a similar setting!

Camille, a revolutionary’s daughter, leads a band of outcasts – a runaway girl, a deserter, an aristocrat in hiding. As the Battalion des Mortes they cheat death, saving those about to meet a bloody end at the blade of Madame La Guillotine. But their latest rescue is not what she seems. The girl’s no aristocrat, but her dark and disturbing powers means both the Royalists and the Revolutionaries want her. But who and what is she?
In these dangerous days, no one can be trusted, everyone is to be feared. As Camille learns the truth, she’s forced to choose between loyalty to those she loves and the future.

Raybearer by Jordan Ifueko

I’m signed up to the Instagram tour for this book through Darkroom Tours, I’ve also signed up for the Tandem Collective read along notes for a bit of extra fun with this one!

Tarisai has always longed for the warmth of a family. She was raised in isolation by a mysterious, often absent mother known only as The Lady. The Lady sends her to the capital of the global empire of Aritsar to compete with other children to be chosen as one of the Crown Prince’s Council of 11. If she’s picked, she’ll be joined with the other Council members through the Ray, a bond deeper than blood.
That closeness is irresistible to Tarisai, who has always wanted to belong somewhere. But The Lady has other ideas, including a magical wish that Tarisai is compelled to obey: Kill the Crown Prince once she gains his trust. Tarisai won’t stand by and become someone’s pawn—but is she strong enough to choose a different path for herself?

Children of Time by Adrian Tchaikovsky

An absolute power house of my tbr finally gets it’s time! This one will definitely be reached this month as it’s my monthly buddy read with @shamelessmoodreader I’m actually looking forward to reading an adult sci-fi, dare I say I think I need a break from YA.

A race for survival among the stars… Humanity’s last survivors escaped earth’s ruins to find a new home. But when they find it, can their desperation overcome its dangers?
The last remnants of the human race left a dying Earth, desperate to find a new home among the stars. Following in the footsteps of their ancestors, they discover the greatest treasure of the past age—a world terraformed and prepared for human life.
But all is not right in this new Eden. In the long years since the planet was abandoned, the work of its architects has borne disastrous fruit. The planet is not waiting for them, pristine and unoccupied. New masters have turned it from a refuge into mankind’s worst nightmare.
Now two civilizations are on a collision course, both testing the boundaries of what they will do to survive. As the fate of humanity hangs in the balance, who are the true heirs of this new Earth?