Girl Made of Stars by Ashley Herring Blake

Thank you to HMH Teen and Netgalley for sending me a copy in exchange for an honest review.

Content warnings: rape, sexual harassment, repressed memories, homophobia, victim blaming. I mean like everything really.

If you’re planning on reading this book I want you to look at the list of warnings and maybe look into more in depth warnings if you’re worried because it’s really heavy. A lot happens in this book and whilst I think it’s an important book I hope everyone who reads it knows that it deals with some things that could be very triggering. Even this review, don’t read it if you’re worried it’ll affect you.

Mara’s biggest problem in life is that her ex has moved on and they’re not the close friends they used to be. Until Mara’s twin brother is accused of rape, and Mara struggles with believing the victim, her friend, over her brother who she has been close to all her life. She has to come to terms with her morals versus her family and when some repressed memories start coming to the surface it gets even worse.

I feel weird saying I loved this book because it’s such a rough book. Every page felt like a punch in the gut and I’ve never dealt with rape and/or sexual harassment. Whilst there is so many things in this book that can be triggering they are dealt with so well and I think that’s such a testament to Blake’s skill.

Mara is a very strong main character, her voice is so human and believable through the whole thing. For such rough topics it could really be a struggle for the author in making a character like Mara and keeping her voice one of a teenager, it could’ve gone too young or too old for her age but it didn’t. Please be so aware that Mara is a survivor of sexual abuse herself and she goes through suppressed memories of this. I didn’t know this before reading and whilst I’m not a survivor it shocked me. So again, be careful.

Mara’w ex Charlie is genderqueer and there’s a fair bit of discussion about it in the book, which I really wanted to point out because I haven’t seen too many people mention it. I keep seeing people say this is an f/f book, which it isn’t. I can’t speak for the representation but I could tell Blake had done her research.

I think because of the content this book will stay with me for a long time. I almost want to reread it but I don’t know if I want to put myself through that again. I want everyone to read it but I think for a good few people it could be emotionally harmful.

Girl Made of Stars comes out on the 15th!

Amazon | Book Depository

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Circe by Madeline Miller

Thank you to Bloomsbury for sending me an ARC in exchange for an honest review!

Content warnings: rape, sexual abuse, sex, I think homophobia, awful parents

Ugh this book. I don’t know how to talk about this because I had such high expectations because The Song of Achilles was so good, and objectively this book was really good but it didn’t connect.

Circe is the daughter of a Titan and she is born with yellow skin making her an outcast in her own family. She seeks solace in mortals but they always let her down and she ends up banished to an island.

The thing is with this book is that it tells all of the legends of Circe but the way it’s done at times it felt a lot more like an anthology than a straight story. As it strings the stories together there’s a lot of passing of time glossed over which is fair because no one wants to read that. That isn’t to stay I didn’t like the style it was just a bit odd.

I think that the style was part of my disconnect with the novel however. I couldn’t get a grasp over how I felt enough before it moved onto the next tale.

Circe is an amazing character. Her story is that of an ancient feminist who does what she wants without a care towards men. But she also struggled with the age old heterosexual problem of not needing a man but wanting a man. However for some reason I just couldn’t gel with her character. I should’ve adored her she is everything I want in a character but it just want happening.

Miller’s writing is fantastic once again. It’s somehow flowery and literal at the same time. I could really feel and imagine every aspect she was trying to convey.

I may try to read this again someday maybe when I’m a little older, that being said I would still recommend it as it is different from every Greek mythology fiction book I’ve read.

Amazon | Book Depository

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Poison Study by Maria V. Snyder

Content warning: talk of rape, poisoning (obv), death, slavery

Poison Study was a book I did not expect to like as much as I did.

Yelena is a prisoner sentenced to death for killing her former master, but she is rescued from that fate by being offered the chance to be the rulers food taster. She must learn all the poisons available in her world so as to do her job correctly, but the man in charge of her has poisoned her with something that cannot be cured. This means that to stay alive Yelena must remain his charge and not try to run so she continues to receive the medicine for this poison.

I was so intrigued by this series after finishing it that I went and got the box set from The Works for like £18 or something to that effect. If you don’t know what The Works is, its this shop in the UK that carried craft items, games and books at really good discounted rates all brand new. I’ve got a couple of box sets from them for ridiculous prices as well as some really cheap hardbacks. Check it out if you’re ever near one well worth it.

There’s a lot of twists in this story that I didn’t see coming, and I’m pretty good at guessing what’s going to happen next so I was pleasantly surprised.

I don’t know what to make of Valek, Yelena’s master. As a character I like him, he’s really cunning and smart and actually pretty loyal to Yelena when you’re led to believe he really shouldn’t be. But there is flirtation and romantic feelings between them, which I’m really not sure about because liked I said he’s her master or whatever, he poisoned here and I’m fairly certain he’s a bit older than her. But I’ll leave my judgement on this until the second book because even though the concept of them together weirds me out when reading it I didn’t feel uncomfortable. So I’ll see how it’s dealt with. But be aware that that is there.

The side characters are also great, Ari and Janco are absolute sweethearts and at times felt like comic relief. And the villains really felt dark and scary at times and I appreciate a good villain.

I’m intrigued to see where the second book goes in terms of world building as this book didn’t have as much in it as I’d like for a series starter, but that is because the majority of it is within castle walls.

Amazon | Book Depository

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July Wrap Up

So I am home from Asia and have written a couple posts about Japan and Korea and the rest will be up eventually. Sadly I was back to work and it’s crazy busy because it’s the height of summer and everyone wants to come to Skye, I blame Outlander.

I start uni in August which is so scary because it’s a whole new course with people I don’t know and it’s completely out of my comfort zone but I’m super excited at the same time. I saw my flat a couple weeks ago and it’s so pretty and I’m going to love living there I think.

I’ve been super out of the blogging community because I have a lot going on with work but if there’s a post you feel didn’t get enough hits or you just want me to read leave me a comment.

I’m getting closer to 500 followers and I’ll be doing a giveaway when I hit that!

Books I read this month:

Mature Content by Megan Erickson and Satino Hassell
Glutton for Pleasure by Alisha Rai
Trade Me by Courtney Milan
The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue by Mackenzi Lee
Gemina by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff
Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli (reread)
Hold Me by Courtney Milan
So Right by Rebekah Weatherspoon
The Distance Between Us by Kasie West
The Epic Crush of Genie Lo by F.C. Yee
The One Memory of Flora Banks by Emily Barr
Flame in the Mist by Renee Ahdieh

Books I reviewed this month:
When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon
The Shadow Queen by C.J. Redwine
See You In The Cosmos by Jack Cheng
Always and Forever, Lara Jean by Jenny Han
Haven by Rebekah Weatherspoon
Winger by Andrew Smith
Tash Hearts Tolstoy by Kathryn Ormsbee

Books I bought this month:

Trade Me by Courtney Milan
Hold Me by Courtney Milan
Prom Queen Perfect by Clarisse David
The Upside of Unrequited by Becky Albertalli
So Right by Rebekah Weatherspoon
The Awakening of Ren Crowne by Anne Zoelle
Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard
Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie
Lyrebird by Cecelia Ahern
Ship of Magic by Robin Hobb
Seed by Lisa Heathfield
Persuading Austen by Brigid Coady

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When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon

Thank you to netgalley and Hodder and Stoughton for sending me a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Safe to say this was one of my most anticipated reads of the year I was constantly pestering publishers for an arc because I just could not wait. 

Dimple wants to be a computer something and is so jazzed when her parents agree for her to go to a camp at San Francisco for the summer when they’ve shown no interest in her studies prior to this. However Dimple finds out that her mother had an ulterior motive and is hoping she will spend time with a boy that she’s set her up with who thinks that Dimple is going to be his wife. 

I adored that they had it the opposite of stereotypes of a het relationship. The girl not wanting any commitment because she wants to go to uni and the guy being so set on getting married was different to the cultural norm. 

This book was super sweet and I loved the majority of my time reading it, however the ending did feel quite rushed compared to the rest of the book. It kind of felt like Menon realised she needed to start wrapping it up and panicked. 

There was a lot of racism dealt with in this book and you got to see what it’s like for Indian Americans. I could never understand what it’s like for them as a white woman but I felt like this brought me pretty close to it. 

I loved how the book explored familial bonds, as well as racism and young love between to Indian Americans, Dimple was so caught up in her own goals that she struggled to see how proud of her her mother really was. She just thought that her mum wanted her to get married and live a quiet life and as the novel goes on you see Dimple learning that that’s simply not the case. 

Now if you don’t like instalove you might not like this book, but I always remember when I read YA with instalove how when I was a teen I would crush on people without even having a conversation with them so it doesn’t ever bother me when I read fast feelings in YA because that’s what teens are like. 

If you want a sweet diverse summer contemporary by an own voices author then this is the book for you. Who wouldn’t want that though? 

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Wayfarer by Alexandra Bracken

Thank you to netgalley and Hachette Children’s Group for sending me a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

So Passenger was one of the first books I reviewed on my blog last year and I really liked it so when Wayfarer popped up on netgalley I was so quick to request it.

I felt like Wayfarer was definitely better than Passenger, but maybe thats because there’s a lot more of the time travelling world in it. Where the first book was getting to grips with the world and showing the reader what could happen the second book was a lot more fast paced and showed so much more of the time travelling aspect and the chases through time aspect that was originally advertised.

The main thing that I really liked about this book was that we got to know Etta and Nicholas away from each other. They were very reliant on each other in the first novel and yes there was insta-love, but in this book they spend the majority of it apart. We get to see how they tick in the time travel setting without each other there.

I liked how Bracken still continued with the world building in this novel. Things were introduced slowly, but not too slowly in that you were bored, and it built on previously explained things. There were times where I was a bit confused but that might have been my concentration levels rather than the actual novel. The little parts in each time period were well developed for the short amount of novel space they had and I got a good idea of the setting of each place without being overwhelmed.

I think I would’ve liked this even more had the end been different. It was kind of satisfying because it just ended with all the ends tied together, but it kind of left me feeling a bit like “oh of course it just all came together really nicely”. I’m not going to spoil anything but if anyone else had read it and felt like this please let me know so I can discuss it.

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From the Stars by C.S. Wilde

I was sent this novel by the author in an exchange for an honest review, so thank you C.S.Wilde!

James falls in love with this girl he works with at his office job, Miriam. They start to hang out then she tells him her secret: she’s an alien. Things begin to become complicated between them

I’ll be completely honest and say that this book wasn’t my cup of tea, there was a bit too much romance and not enough sci-fi for me, but that’s just me.

One thing I liked was that the aliens had both human and their alien names, I often find with sci-fi books that they’re either given human names, which isn’t really realistic or they have just alien names and you can’t pronounce it to save yourself.

The book shows a lot of potential, it was fast paced and engaging. I just found it hard to believe at times. I liked James, he was a character that I understood. He was happy to just be friends with Miriam if that’s what needed to happen. Whereas I found myself getting annoyed by Miriam a lot, she felt less like an alien and more like a self-aware robot sometimes.

I would also say it felt quite short, the book itself is short but it could have been fleshed out in places and though the pacing was fast I feel like some of the speed could’ve been sacrificed to add more to immersion and connection with the characters.

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The Blogger Aesthetic Award

Thank you to The Orangutan Librarian and Lauren for the tag!

THE RULES:

  • Collect any number of images that you feel represent you as a person—your personality, aspirations, favourite things, anything at all that makes you you.
  • Put your chosen images together into a collage of whatever size and shape you find pleasing.
  • Share your masterpiece with everyone, in all the places.
  • Maybe nominate other bloggers as a way to tell them, “Hey, you, I think you’re awesome, and we should celebrate that awesomeness.”
  • Share these rules (and maybe the below tips, if you’re feeling helpful).

TIPS:

  • Find inspiration by spending (minimum) three hours scrolling through aesthetic Tumblr posts relevant to you.
  • Two great places to hunt for pictures are Pinterest and WeHeartIt. Pinterest requires an account; WeHeartIt does not.
  • PicMonkey’s collage editor is free to use and doesn’t require an account, heck yes. YouTube has plenty of tutorials on how to use it; I watched this one (which begins with tips on how to find decent photos).

PicMonkey Collage.jpg

  • I have a golden retriever named Lia, she is my one true love, I wish I could spend all day every day with her.
  • All Time Low are my favourite band and I’ve been to see them about 23 times, this photo is one of the times I went to see them. In general I just love live music.
  • Legend of Zelda is and always will be my favourite game franchise, my dad used to play Ocarina when I was little and I would watch him play it, completely entranced and also a bit scared and I continued to do that with every new release until I was old enough to play it. I picked a picture of Breath of the Wild because it just came out and it’s all I’ve been doing for the past week.
  • I come from the Isle of Skye and it was difficult for me to find a picture that wasn’t heavily edited so here is a pic of the Old Man of Storr.
  • I’m pansexual, in case you didn’t know, and it’s a very important part of my identity.
  • I’ve spent the majority of my new adult life living in Glasgow for Uni and it’s where I’ve met most of my closest friends and has came to be like a second home.
  • I’m a mathematician, I love maths a lot.
  • I go to every home Scotland rugby game that I can. My dad was a rugby player and rugby has just always been part of my life growing up so naturally I found a love for it.
  • I feel in love with kpop a few years ago and Girl’s Generation were the first group I discovered so whilst I enjoy many groups these days they will always be near and dear to my heart.

I tag:

Fadwa
Megan
Raven
Cassie

Celebrating the Little Things Tag

Thank you to Ines for the tag!

Who was your very first follower (if you can find them?) Tag them and give them a shout out! 

Raven and Beez!


What was the last milestone you reached?

Milestone by WP standards or by my own, because I hit 350 followers last week. No idea what my last WP milestone was.


What was the very first post you posted on your blog? Share it with us!

Captive Prince review!


Who was your most recent follower? Tag them and give them a shout out!

 


What was the last post you posted and who was the very first person who took their time to click the like button? Give them a shout out!

My February Wrap Up!


Do you have any bloggers you’re friends with? Give them a shout out.

I’m friends with quite a few, too many to give a shout out for fear that I’d forget someone, or they’d be thinking in their head “she’s not my friend lol wtf”. Don’t you just love anxiety?


Who originally created the last meme or tag you participated in? Give them a shout out!

I last did the 2016 Year in Review tag, which was created by A Booktube BookA Booktube Book


How many months have you been blogging for?

Coming up 1 year!


Have you any social media related to your blog?

Twitter
Goodreads
Instagram


Last but not least …. just say thanks to all your followers.

Thanks for following me everyone. I never thought I would get 100 followers let alone 360+, I just wanted to try something new to keep me reading I didn’t think I would last this long.

I tag:

Lauren
Larkin
Laura
Syc
Salmah