Review of XX by Rian Hughes

At Jodrell Bank Observatory in England, a radio telescope has detected a mysterious signal of extraterrestrial origin—a message that may be the first communication from an interstellar civilization. Has humanity made first contact? Is the signal itself a form of alien life? Could it be a threat? If so, how will the people of Earth respond?

Jack Fenwick, artificial intelligence expert, believes that he and his associates at tech startup Intelligencia can interpret the message a find a way to step into the realm the signal encodes. What they find is a complex alien network beyond anything mankind has imagined. 

Drawing on Dada, punk and the modernist movements of the twentieth century, XX is assembled from redacted NASA reports, artwork, magazine articles, secret transcripts and a novel within a novel. Deconstructing layout and language in order to explore how idea propagate, acclaimed designer and artist Rian Hughes’s debut novel presents a compelling vision of humanity’s unique place in the universe, and a realistic depiction of what might happen in the wake of the biggest scientific discovery in human history. 

Having finished XX this morning I feel a sense of bewilderment and also weirdly, relief that I have made it to the end of nearly 1000 pages. 

XX had all the makings of my new favourite book, the premise is phenomenal and I really enjoy mixed media formats and graphic novels. I started out a little lost but immediately absorbed, I had easily sunk 200 pages without even realising. I loved the backstories of the characters, especially Harriet, learning how they came to be together to unpick this potentially world changing discovery. I also loved Dana and the conspiracy theory sections about what she experienced. The early snippets of wiki entries, interviews and magazine articles were frighteningly true to life with the kind of xenophobia that parts of humanity turn to when they don’t want to just accept that they are scared about what they don’t understand.

The DEMn were fantastically realised, I loved Girl 21 and her tweet style communication the most, her # conveying so much more in a couple of words than any of the others could in several pages, but XX themself I found impossible at times. The science is super-sciency and very in depth, I would presume that there is a high degree of fact and research but who knows! It sounded like it knew what it was talking about although I did feel very lost at times. I did however very much enjoy the use of patterns and how the most seemingly innocuous of breadcrumbs led to an exciting chase across the landmarks of London. I think the reasons why these pattern chasing sections stood out so much was due to the fact that quite a high proportion of the story takes place in a single room.

Downsides for me however though were the huge swathes of exposition which meant the actual story got lost, the use of font for XX’s sections was impossible to read and left me feeling disorientated and I was unimpressed with the comments about using a Burka as a disguise to escape and the use of word rohypnol to explain a lost passage of time. I also hate the fact that for parts of the story XX succeeded in making me just feel stupid

Ultimately for me XX was an amazing story idea which became lost in its need to be something it’s not. At half the size this could have been a really decent fast paced sci-fi thriller, but design is what makes Hughes intrinsically Hughes but sadly this is where it just didn’t work. These were initially the parts I looked forward to for their uniqueness and I wanted to try and unpick the pattern, by the end though i looked forward to them for the very reason that it was a quick way to get through 20 pages.

I feel conflicted because what it did well was done amazingly well but the rest was just too much for me.

Thank you to Black Crow PR and Picador for sending me a copy for review, its a book that I’m glad I read even if my experience fell short of what many others found to be a 5 star read.

3*

Review of Fireborn: Twelve and the Frozen Forest by Aisling Fowler

Twelve gave up her name and identity to train in the art of hunting them–so she says. The truth is much more deadly: she trains to take revenge on those who took her family from her.

But when Twelve’s new home is attacked, she’ll find herself on an unexpected journey, where her hidden past is inescapably intertwined with her destiny–and the very fate of her world.

Fireborn is a fantastic middle grade fantasy that ticks all the right boxes.  It is full of adventure and just the right amount of peril along with a good old battle between good and evil.

Twelve is a great protagonist and as we explore her story we discover that it’s not surprising that she has built up such a tough exterior, although underneath she has a great loss to deal with and explains her arrival at the Lodge.  When a child goes missing it’s understandable that because of her loss, Twelve wants to be the one who goes out to find them. Whats unexpected are  her travelling companions. Dog, a powerful lodge guardian having their first feeling of freedom for many years, and a few others like her but who have very different reasons for tagging along.

As the reluctant allies journey on, they are confronted with all sorts of magical and monster filled challenges, like they are going through trials and at each turn they must learn to trust just a little more, even when confronted with their most terrible truths. I really loved this way of writing their quest and it gave them all the opportunity to shine in their own way.

The action was brilliantly written, so fast paced and filled with great imagery as the young team put into action all they have learnt about their craft and each other. I think I probably read the last half of the book non stop, it was so exciting!

I loved how wholesome the book felt though, despite the often grim surroundings the friendships shone through in a beautiful depiction of found family, forgiveness and acceptance. I would highly recommend Fireborn to any young reader or indeed any reader, including those like myself who are perhaps quite wide of the target audience! I’m passing this onto my 10 year old daughter to read next and I hope she loves it as much as I did!

Blog Tour Spotlight: Kate in Waiting by Becky Albertalli

Hello everyong, today is my turn on the Kate in Waiting blog tour from The Write Reads in conjunction with Penguin! Today I’m spotlighting the book and author alongside of some links to some early reviews coming in from the tour so far!

From bestselling YA rom-com queen Becky Albertalli (author of Love, Simon) comes a new novel about daring to step out of the shadows and into the spotlight in love, life and theatre.

[PRINCIPAL CAST LIST]
Kate Garfield
Anderson Walker

Best friends, and contrary to popular belief, not co-dependent. Examples:

Carpooling to and from theatre rehearsals? Environmentally sound and efficient.
Consulting each other on every single life decision? Basic good judgment.
Pining for the same guys from afar? Shared crushes are more fun anyway.

But when Kate and Andy’s latest long-distance crush shows up at their school, everything goes off-script.

Enter Stage Left: Matt Olsson

He is talented and sweet, and Kate likes him. She really likes him. The only problem? So does Anderson.

Turns out, communal crushes aren’t so fun when real feelings are involved. This one might even bring the curtains down on Kate and Anderson’s friendship…

 

Becky Albertalli is the author of the acclaimed novels Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda (film: Love, Simon), The Upside of Unrequited, and Leah on the Offbeat. She is also the co-author of What If It’s Us with Adam Silvera. A former clinical psychologist who specialized in working with children and teens, Becky lives with her family in Atlanta. You can visit her online at www.beckyalbertalli.com.

Twitter: @beckyalbertalli

Website: https://beckyalbertalli.com/

 

 

Check out some of the early reviews coming in from the Tour!

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The Critiques of a Fangirl

Narratess

The Romance Bloke

Review of What Beauty There Is by Cory Anderson

Winter. The sky is dark. It is cold enough to crack bones.
Jack Morton has nothing left. Except his younger brother, Matty, who he’d do anything for. Even die for. Now with their mother gone, and their funds quickly dwindling, Jack needs to make a choice: lose his brother to foster care, or find the drug money that sent his father to prison. He chooses the money.
Ava Bardem lives in isolation, a life of silence. For seventeen years her father has controlled her fate. He has taught her to love no one. Trust no one. Now Victor Bardem is stalking the same money as Jack. When he picks up Jack’s trail, Ava must make her own wrenching choice: remain silent or help the brothers survive.
Choices. They come at a price.
 

I’m not crying, you’re crying.

Wow, what a book. Honestly What Beauty There Is, left me in pieces. I’m ashamed to say I initially passed on an opportunity to review this because I just felt it would be too sad for me, I was correct in the assumption that it was sad, but so very very wrong that it wouldn’t be for me. Thank you so much to The Write Reads Tours and Penguin Platform for sending me and absolutely stunning proof to review.

It’s fair to say that What Beauty There Is, is one rare gem of a book, a book that has the capacity to consume your emotions and then spit them straight back out at your feet. It’s bleak, its cold, it’s devastating but it’s also hugely compelling. Cory Anderson has a wonderful way with words, her simplistic, unpretentious style packing more emotion into just a few simple words than some authors spend paragraphs getting to. I honestly felt like I was there, having to wrap myself up tighter in my blanket even though I was in no way cold, the snow and chill wind took on a whole life of its own, becoming as big as any character.

But these characters, oh my. Jack is everything, a young carer with so much on his shoulders – I instantly wanted to bundle him in a huge hug and take care of him the way he deserved to be taken care of. Again Cory Anderson’s writing is phenomenal with his characterisation, I’m usually really bad at reading characters as the age they are but subtlety is woven through the pages reminding me constantly that Jack is just 17, yet he endures. I’m truly welling up remembering all that he went through, and it was frighteningly realistic at every turn. This could be any family fallen on exceptionally hard times. Adorable Matty, wise beyond his years as Jack tries desperately to help him hold on to his childhood, and Ava a shining beacon of goodness who’s intimated history is perhaps most harrowing of all. Yet, they all endure. I also challenge any reader to name a villain as horrifying as Bardem, cold, calculated, brutal and truly without humanity, he just needed to appear on the page to fill me with dread without needing to say a word.

Yes, this is a shining example of a great cat and mouse thriller, but it is so much more than that. I couldn’t put it down, the chapters rolling gloriously together, the narrative flowed like a river approaching a waterfall, gaining speed until I was pulled over the edge and into the frozen world below, where my heart broke. Emotional, powerful and raw, this is a book that will stay with me and one that I highly recommend you find time to read.

5*

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: Stay at Home Book Tag!

Its been a long old while since I’ve done a book tag and this is one that I saw doing the rounds during the first look down.  Considering that we’re all locked down again, and I’m sat on the sofa whilst my son watches a you tube video of someone playing a mario game that he already has, it felt like as good a time as any!

Laying in Bed – A Book you Could/Have Read in a Day

Last month Titan books kindly sent me a copy of Fable by Adrienne Young to review, I had heard nothing but great things about it and honestly it lived up to all my hopes, although it spread overnight it was most definitely devoured within 24 hours!

Snacking – A Guilty Pleasure Book

I personally don’t think that any book should be a “guilty pleasure” read what you want, love reading what you want and stuff what anyone else things about it.

Netflix – A Series you Want to Start

The Bone Season is a series that I have been wanting to start for ages, I brought the HB of book one last year but it was a second hand seller and the book came is shocking condition (yes I got a refund) and it’s kind of put me off. Samantha Shannon posted a “in theory” post on twitter a couple of weeks ago to gain interest in a reprint of the the hardbacks and the Illumicrate creators liked it so I’m super excited that some pretty edition re-prints might come soon!

Deep Clean – Been on Your TBR for Ages

Empress of all Seasons for some reason just never calls out to me to be picked up, I am trying to make sure that at least one stalwart of my TBR gets read each month this year and hopefully I’ll get to this one soon. I think it’s partly because its a subscription box pick and I have such a terrible relationship with most of the surprise books, maybe this one will surprise me!

Animal Crossing – A Book you Recently Bought Because of Hype

City of Brass is a book that I see everywhere, the hardback is like gold dust and special edition sales went through the roof. I was sad not to be able to get a HB copy so settled for the PB instead. Boy was I happy that I didn’t fork out a packet for it. I actually finally finished today and I found it to be huge disappointment – I’m not a fan of authors who leave the action to the last few chapters and honestly after over 400 pages of tiny font to get to it I was not impressed.

Productivity – A Book you Learned From or had an Impact on You

Punching the Air impacted upon me so much, it’s very rare that I read poetry but this was just so powerful, I was in tears reading for most of it. If you’ve not heard about the Exonerated Five, then do yourself a favour and find out about the huge injustice of it all.

Facetime – A Book you were Gifted

What happens when your reading buddy finds out that you have never read a graphic novel? Luckily for me @shamelessmoodreader send me a copy of book one from her favourite series! I really, really enjoyed Saga and I’ve recently finished part 2, now to pick up book 3!

Self Care – What is One Thing you Have Done Recently to Look After Yourself

Honestly, not a lot.

Bonus – Name a Book Coming out Soon

If there is one book that I am totally hyped about for this year it’s Vulture by Bex Hogan. Its the conclusion to her Isles of Storms and Sorrows trilogy and after she completely destroyed me at the end of book 2, I’m finally ready to find out how it ends!

Review of Legendborn by Tracy Deonn

After her mother dies in an accident, sixteen-year-old Bree Matthews wants nothing to do with her family memories or childhood home. A residential program for bright high schoolers at UNC–Chapel Hill seems like the perfect escape—until Bree witnesses a magical attack her very first night on campus.
A flying demon feeding on human energies.
A secret society of so called “Legendborn” students that hunt the creatures down.
And a mysterious teenage mage who calls himself a “Merlin” and who attempts—and fails—to wipe Bree’s memory of everything she saw.
The mage’s failure unlocks Bree’s own unique magic and a buried memory with a hidden connection: the night her mother died, another Merlin was at the hospital. Now that Bree knows there’s more to her mother’s death than what’s on the police report, she’ll do whatever it takes to find out the truth, even if that means infiltrating the Legendborn as one of their initiates.
She recruits Nick, a self-exiled Legendborn with his own grudge against the group, and their reluctant partnership pulls them deeper into the society’s secrets—and closer to each other. But when the Legendborn reveal themselves as the descendants of King Arthur’s knights and explain that a magical war is coming, Bree has to decide how far she’ll go for the truth and whether she should use her magic to take the society down—or join the fight.
 

 

Legendborn is 100% the reason why I choose to never DNF a book. I’m not going to lie, this was so hard to get into, I found the opening chapters trite and full of high school/College cliche’s, honestly I struggled to bring myself to pick it back up. However the payoff for pushing through this opening section was nothing short of huge and I’m glad I carried on. The world building does start off a little clumsy, there is just so much information to absorb with regard to magic, the concept of legendborn and onceborn, and then every branch and facet of the Order, vassells, pages, scions…. you get the picture. However, it does click into place and I became utterly swept up in it all. The mythology is very well thought out and researched, I adored the addition of the Welsh, leading back to the original land of King Arthur. So often the other members of the round table get forgotten in retellings, but each line is considered and every Page must chose a path, I found this to be a really refreshing and compelling take on the myth. I loved the Buffy vibe with many of the creatures and the way they are fought too. Once past the opening, the school setting pretty much falls away and we are in a wonderful world of old magic, imposing buildings and impressive grounds, much of the action takes place at night, adding to the atmospheric feel.

 

Bree is such an amazingly complex character, whilst she could easily have been whiny and full of self pity, her ability to recognise the changes in herself from before and after her devastating loss is astute, she rarely holds back when it comes to challenging the bigoted colonial and very white Legendborn Order, yet in a parallel to what we see in the real world, she finds herself often coming to the attention of the police and faculty heads, when her white counterparts get to walk away.  Her time with Patricia is some of the most compelling of the book, especially with her help in identifying and summarising the two magic systems in play. The way the second is discovered is pretty heartbreaking but it fits in significantly with the way that race is put forward. As Bree finds herself able to discover more about her own history and magic, the history of a school and secret society built on slavery is well woven into the pages and mirrors both the magics and the way they are formed and wielded. Selwyn sadly is a walking YA cliche, however his character as a Merlin is brilliantly brought into the 21st century. Nick as a love interest really fell flat.  William is really the only other character with depth and I think that is because he was written with great humour and I wish that Alice had more time to shine as her banter with Bree was brilliant.

 

I did struggle with the short time period in which everything occurs, whilst the writing reflects a feeling of a large passing of time, there are occasions when I was reminded that only a night or a few days had passed, which pulled me away from the story a bit and pulled the believability of some relationships to the limit. But ultimately this is a great story that really pulled me in with its creativity and amazing protagonist, the final battle is brilliantly written and left me with my heart pounding and just in awe at how the pieces slotted together. Now that the groundwork has been laid, I just know that the next in the series will hit the ground running and I am totally here for it!

 

4.5*

Review of Flight of the Spark by Evelyn Puerto

Duty. Desire. Destiny.
How far would you go to be safe… to be free…to be loved?

Iskra doesn’t question the rules. The rules are there to keep her safe from those who are deemed unsafe or unfair. Anyone who breaks the rules is taken, never to be heard from again. But that’s the price everyone gladly pays for peace and safety. And no one wants to live like the Riskers–barbarians who reject order and justice, and could kill or be killed at any moment.
When a friend is taken because of Iskra, the guilt forces her to do the unthinkable: seek out the Riskers. Iskra’s quest to save her friend quickly entangles her fate with a cryptic prophecy and a young Risker named Xico, who ensnares her heart and is willing to put it all on the line to win her.
With every risk Iskra takes, the closer she gets to true freedom. But every choice carries a consequence. The choices she makes set events she never imagined into motion, and the price of her freedom could very well be her life and the life of the man she loves.

 

Flight of the Spark ended up being a very unexpected book for me, from the cover I thought I was in for a magic heavy, high fantasy, however, it was very much a dystopian world albeit in a medieval setting. It was an easy world to get into with great descriptive world building that painted a vivid picture of the area. I loved the opening stages, Iskra is wonderfully naive and but also horribly controlled by fear. Her inquisitive nature, however, leads to the perfect story arc for her. As I discovered more about the village and those that are tasked with keeping its inhabitants safe, the more it made sense that she was so easily pulled further and further into the arms of the Risker’s. The two area’s could not be more different and made for a nice juxtapose, between the bleak village and the hard but colourful Risker life, it gave great light and dark to the story. The school elements really allowed for the backstory to be creatively woven in across several lessons, which meant the the author cleverly avoided an infodump. I think I would have liked to have understood sooner though why the villagers and the Riskers were not allowed to mix, because I was always questioning why Iskra felt she had to always return to the village up until that point.

 

The magic system was simple and understated in this opening book, more of an ideology, those who are able to wield do so sparingly and with subtlety. I hope that it gets the chance to shine later in the series as I liked the way the foundation was laid for it.. The relationship for the most part is very sweet but does have a Romeo and Juliet undertone, I liked how the romance was able to develop slowly and didn’t dominate the story, which was complex at times and also pretty dark in places. There’s a side story that I would have loved to have explored further with regard to the Taken, but events overtook that section quickly and it probably would have pulled too far away from the fast pace of Iskra’s arc to return to it. There are many fast paced and a few slightly chilling moments woven through which really had me turning the pages! As a stylistic point, I liked how the inner monologue was denoted by italics so I always knew where I was with the narrative.

 

The book for the most part read like a teen novel for me but there is a lot of violence and whilst the intimate moments are fade to black, the underage aspect didn’t sit well with me. The point that Iskra was just 15 was drilled so heavily home to drive certain aspects of the story forward that the author was left with no choice in order to get the rest of the story where it needed to go. I also felt that the earlier part of the story was bogged down a little with a huge cast of side characters who didn’t really add anything to the story. I was also often left struggling to keep track of every new name and area, this was also compounded by the fact that days of the week, seasons, even the moon all had their own new identity too and it felt name overloaded at times.

 

However, it remained a captivating read throughout and one that I found myself eager to pick back up, I’m intrigued as to where the story will head next, given the devastating cliffhanger and revelation! My thanks to the Author for providing a finished copy for review.

 

4*

Bookish Ramblings: WWW Wednesday

Hey everyone, I’ve seen the WWW tag around a lot but I’ve not taken part before, I think it’s because it feels to similar to the #fivethingsfriday that I often do. I’ve kind of shied away from that tag recently and honestly I’ve shied away from blogging generally because I feel like i’m not that relevant at the moment. This is something that happens to me a lot with the blog, and mental health awareness week often makes this issue rear it’s head. But for today I’m feeling upbeat, the sun is shining, I’m not at work and I’m feeling rested and recharged!

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 Hope Island by Tim Major, this is a gifted Arc from Titan Books. I enjoyed Major’s earlier work, Snakeskins, and already he has managed to capture that same bleak eeriness. Nina is certainly a flawed protagonist but she has already endeared herself to me and it feels like the story is already ramping up to some paranormal/psychological game.

What did I Recently Finish Reading

Earlier in the week I finished reading 2 books, firstly The Binding by Bridget Collins. I did really enjoy this book even though it wasn’t entirely what I was expecting. First of all I found it really surprising to have a male protagonist, I’m not sure why this is, but it threw me, Emmett and Lucian are amazing though! I did struggle with the POV change part way through which led to me being confused about who was speaking, but that’s just me! I also finished Looking Glass by Christina Henry, it was a novella collection and it was a real mixed bag but generally enjoyable.

What do I Think I’ll Read Next

As regular readers will know, I set myself a monthly TBR and my final pick for May is Once and Future by Amy Rose Capetta and Cori McCarthy. This is the last obvious retelling on my shelf, I have mixed feelings about retellings at the moment, I kind of feel I have had my fill of them. But I’ve not read a King Arthur one recently and this one is set in space so all fingers point to it being an enjoyable one!

 

Bookish Ramblings: Five Things Friday

Picking up again with a #fivethingsfriday – lockdown edition volume 2.  Honestly, I have never lost my shit as much as I have done this week. We are all cooped up mainly in the one room, the kids seem incapable of playing in their rooms, I get that they feel uncertain and want to be with us but when we’re both working, trying to offer educational content to their day and not letting them stay on screens it’s getting pretty tough – I’m starting to understand how it must have felt in the big brother house.

New to my Queue

So this is going to be a first in that I have bought no new books this week – save for free ones that help teach phonics. I’m expecting new releases next week but they were due to be delivered to store via Waterstones and I’ve not had the promised email about delivery rearrangements so I’m not sure when I’ll get them. But I’m hopeful that it will be ok and I’ll have a couple of new books to show you next friday!

Favourite Book This Week

This week I finished reading Ascent which is the 7th book in Bethany Adam’s Return of the Elves series, it had a bit of a different feel to the most recent books but I still loved it and it was a great change up for the characters.

When I Wasn’t Reading

When I’ve not been reading and not battling with the kids, I have been playing Animal Crossing still. In case I didn’t say previously I have named my island Starfall after the ACOTAR series and I was super chuffed to have designed my Island flag with the night court insignia. (I know the pic is super blurry but I used my phone to photograph my switch lol) I’m moving slowly with other things and I know that a lot of friends have got really far already but honestly, it’s not that kind of game – I’m just glad I have the queen that is Isabelle with me now!

Pic of the Week

So on Sunday I made the effort to tidy out my second bookcase. I have my lovely wooden one that I use for all my IG pics and then I have one in my bedroom where things just get shoved every which way they can. So I pulled it apart and sorted it all out and now I’m incredibly happy with it and it was just in time for a shelfie sunday!

Looking Ahead

Again I’m not sure what the following week will bring, hopefully a new level of patience for me and more clarity about the weeks ahead.