Tuesday, 18 September 2018

Bookish pins for your autumn jacket

The weather in the UK is turning a bit cooler now and for me it's the perfect temperature to bring out my fave denim jacket complete with cute pins to add that extra bit of individuality. Here are some of my top pics for book related pins!

book themed enamel pins

1. Not Your Babe, The Handmaid's Tale pin £5.62 by ImBookishandBakewell. I love that The Handmaid's Tale is getting more publicity due to the TV series and this pin is instantly recognisable. Nolite te bastardes carborundorum! 
2. The Hitchhiker's Guide To the Galaxy pin £10.99 by The Literary Gift Company. They have a lot of really cool book cover pins including some of my personal faves, Alice in Wonderland and Dracula too, there is one that will suit all readers.
3. Always pin £7 by Fable and Black. The simplicity of this one is gorgeous, and only hardcore Potter fans will pick up on the reference. 
4. Looking for Rhysand pin £5.62, another one by ImBookishandBakewell! The play on the Hello I'm sticker is super cute, and for anyone who has read the Court of Thorns and Roses series will totally relate to this. Rhysand forever <3
5. Bookshop pin £7.00 by Fable and Black. The colours on this are adorable and go with my pink denim jacket perfectly. There is also a really nice library pin too if you wanted a collection of bookish building pins.
6. Sherbert Lemon pin £10.06 by BunceandBean. Another very cute Harry Potter pin. I wish Honeydukes was real, although I'm not actually a fan of sherbert lemons!
7. Who needs boys with this many books and cats pin £7 by Punky Pins. Honestly this is me all over and I'm pretty sure many of you can relate to this.
8. Books and coffee pin £12.62 by DustandPages. Seriously, coffee, cats and books is my ultimate jam. Or maybe a glass of wine.... This pin would work so well on a shirt collar to add a unique touch. Love it!

Ah man, I love autumn, such a good excuse to snuggle up under a blanket with a good book and a pumpkin spice latte! 

Saturday, 15 September 2018

5 books every senior school should have

We are well into September now which for most 11-18 year olds in the UK that they are heading back to school or are already there. One of my best friends is an English teacher at a senior school and I love donating YA books to her classroom to provide them with a variety of books to read, especially if they convey an important message that the students may relate to. Here are my top five books that cover a variety of topics that I think schools should have available to students.

books that are important in YA1. The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
Important for: racial awareness
Starr Carter witnessed her childhood friend shot by a policeman. He was unarmed and giving Starr a lift home after a party but that is not how it is betrayed afterwards by the police and media. Having always living between two worlds, residing in a poor area but attending a good prep school, the shooting truly awakens Starr to all the problems there are to do with race and she soon realises how she has been acting like two different people in her different situations.
This is an incredibly important read to do with the black lives matter movement and raising awareness, unsurprisingly this was a break out hit of 2017 and is being turned into a film.

books that are important in YA
2. The Art of Being Normal by Lisa Williamson
Important for: LGBT - trans
School is a tough place when you are sixteen years old and David Piper knows this all too well. Everyone at school thinks he is gay and treat him like an outsider, but to David this is preferable to everyone than knowing the real truth, which is that we wants to be a girl.
Leo is new to the school this year and he and David strike up an unlikely friendship, seeing as Leo just wants to keep as low a profile as possible which is unlikely when David is around, but Leo has his own secrets too.
Many teenagers will know by school if they are questioning their gender, or if they are trans etc, this book covers it very well and will hopefully by helpful to any who are questioning or looking for a way to express themselves.

3. Moxie by Jennifer Mathieu
books that are important in YAImportant for: Feminism
Moxie girls fight back! Vivian Carter is fed up with the guys on the football squad getting away with everything, including sexist comments and games that are essentially sexual harassment so when she see's her mums old zines from the '90s, Vivian decides to take inspiration from them and create her own zine to call out the awful behaviour of guys and inspire girls to get together and take action against it.
We all know school is full of cliques so Vivian was surprised to see just how many girls reacted to her zine and the new friendships that are formed.
After reading this book I immediately gave this to my thirteen year old cousin to read. This is a great introduction to feminism for teens and so inspiring, females should not have to get used to cat calls and abuse and it's important we stick together.

books that are important in YA4. Simon vs The Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli
Important for: LGBT - gay
Simon is sixteen years old and he is gay. He knows it, but no one else does until Martin, a guy from school threatens to leak his emails that Simon has been writing to an unknown student who is also gay which would instantly out him, unless Simon can get Martin a date with Simon's friend, Abby.
This book is really funny and sweet, and is another one that now has a movie adaptation of it. It's great for anyone who is looking to come out about their sexuality and also a nice little reminder to be careful what you put online and about internet security!

books that are important in YA5. Finding Audrey by Sophie Kinsella
Important for: Mental health awareness
I first started getting anxiety and depression when I was studying for a levels so this is one I can really relate to and I think mental illness is something that is typically related with older people so it's important that teenagers are aware of it.
Audrey has anxiety, because of that she is on medication and struggles to do things many people would consider normal, such as going to Starbucks with a boy, until she meets her brothers friend Linus. She likes him so much that she works through the scary thoughts until things start to seem achievable.
This book really shows how difficult it can be to live with anxiety and the ups and downs on the road to recovery. With many mental illnesses there is no magic cure and it quite often it never goes away. All of this is covered in Finding Audrey, along with medication and the importance of it alongside therapy when it's really needed, something that is quite often swept under the rug.
My Finding Audrey review.

Many of these books have a bit of controversy around them as they cover quite deep topics, but that is why I love them and think it's good for school kids to challenge themselves by reading something that may either help them, or help them understand what other people are going through. What books would you add to this list?

Monday, 10 September 2018

Book Review | We Sold Our Souls by Grady Hendrix

book review we sold our souls a horror bookMy Rating: 7/10
Published: September 18th 2018
Pages: 336
Genre: Horror, fiction
Amazon | Goodreads | Book Depository

'In the 1990s, heavy metal band Dürt Würk was poised for breakout success -- but then lead singer Terry Hunt embarked on a solo career and rocketed to stardom as Koffin, leaving his fellow bandmates to rot in rural Pennsylvania.

Two decades later, former guitarist Kris Pulaski works as the night manager of a Best Western - she's tired, broke, and unhappy. Everything changes when she discovers a shocking secret from her heavy metal past: Turns out that Terry's meteoric rise to success may have come at the price of Kris's very soul.

This revelation prompts Kris to hit the road, reunite with the rest of her bandmates, and confront the man who ruined her life. It's a journey that will take her from the Pennsylvania rust belt to a Satanic rehab center and finally to a Las Vegas music festival that's darker than any Mordor Tolkien could imagine. A furious power ballad about never giving up, even in the face of overwhelming odds, We Sold Our Souls is an epic journey into the heart of a conspiracy-crazed, paranoid country that seems to have lost its very soul...where only a girl with a guitar can save us all.'

When I saw this book being described as a paranormal horror with plenty of pop culture I knew I had to pick this up. If you didn't know, paranormal horror is one of my favourite genres and I have previously read Grady Hendrix's My Best Friend's Exorcism so I knew that I liked his writing style, We Sold Our Souls didn't disappoint!

I really enjoyed the plot, it was slightly ridiculous and over the top in the same way metal music can be, but it was also incredibly interesting as it drew a lot of parallels to real life which will really make you think. Grady Hendrix is very clever in his writing and there is one scene that is so claustrophobic my chest was incredibly tight the whole time I was reading it, the suspence and atmosphere he creates is fantastic. I do wish there were more scenes like this though, filled with suspence and terror because for a horror book I did find this slightly light on the scares.  

My only complaint with the writing is that there is a second character who I personally feel was not featured enough. I related way more to the second character but I feel like she wasn't featured enough in order to make the proper impact that was intended. I also very much preferred this character to Kris. I found Kris to be quite unlikeable as a character.

If you are a fan of metal (seriously this book is jam packed with band references) or horror you should 100% pick this up, even if you aren't I think you would still enjoy this book as it's thought provoking and quite fun. Be warned though, it is slightly gory in some parts so not for the weak stomached! 

Friday, 7 September 2018

20 Questions Book Tag

I haven't done a book tag in forever, seriously it's been a couple of years, so when I saw this one on the lovely Jenny in Nervland's blog I thought it would be fun to do and also great for anyone new to my blog to get a sense of who I am as a reader. So here we go, the 20 questions book tag!

Anything over five, I think four is ideal, and for me trilogies are different to series. Harry Potter is still king to me though and that was seven....
I hate them in stand alone books, I know it's meant to be a good literary trick or whatever but to me it feels a bit like a cop out. In a series though it is totally fine, but if there is too much time between books I often end up forgetting how they end anyway!
3. HARDCOPY OR PAPERBACK? If you follow me on Twitter then you will know the answer to this already but I HATE hardbacks. I read on my train commute or when I'm flying (which is stupidly often) and to have so much space taken up by a big bulky hardback, eurgh. And they are heavy! Unless it's a collectors edition or for display, paperbacks all the way.  
The Harry Potter series, specifically The Philosophers Stone. The first time Harry visits Diagon Alley is just so magical. 
I had to go on my Goodreads for this. I have quite a few low rated titles but I think I will go for Friend Request as this was my most recent low rated read. It's a thriller that has great write ups everywhere but I was not a fan, found it obvious and the plot line tedious. 
Undecided. Sometimes they can be interesting, but often they just feel like they are added in for the sake of it and I'm really not a fan of cheating which love triangles often involve! 
I'll Be Gone in the Dark by Michelle McNamara. It's a really fantastic book of a journalist looking into the Golden Gate killer, an unsolved serial killer case. Sadly the author died only a few months before they uncovered who the Golden Gate killer really is. 
We Sold our Souls by Grady Hendrix. Fun fact, I tend to be a one book on the go kind of girl, although I read one and listen to one on Audible....
This is Going to Hurt by Adam Kay. It's incredible and I think everyone should read it. My review is here: This is Going to Hurt review.
I studied Doctor Faustus by Christopher Marlowe, does that count? It was written between 1589 and 1592!
We Sold Our Souls is an advanced reader copy, it's so new it's not even out!
I would say J.K Rowling because of the Harry Potter series, but I didn't like her other book. This is a tough one, I'm going to say Neal Shusterman because I have enjoyed all the series I have read by him. 
I buy just because I'm super impulsive and Amazon has next day delivery.... I love doing book swaps with my friends though. 
Carry On by Rainbow Rowell. I loved Fangirl like fangirled hard over it, but Carry On which is the fan fiction featured in Fangirl was just not my thing and it seemed like everyone else loved it. 
I own so many cute bookmarks and I love them, but I normally end up dogearing because I can never find a bookmark when I need it.
Harry Potter
I like to listen to instrumental music when reading because I hate silence, if the music has lyrics though my mind can wonder. 
If it's done well, multiple point of views. I don't think it's something that is pulled off well that often so lets say one to be safe!
If it's short I can do one sitting, but typically multiple days as I'm easily distracted.
Oh there is so many, I'm a sucker for a pretty cover, but the most recent one is Kitchen by Banana Yoshimoto. It has Kitchen in the title and it's bright pink, all my fave things. 

Wednesday, 5 September 2018

Book Review | This is Going to Hurt: Secrets of a Junior Doctor by Adam Kay

a book review of this is going to hurt
My Rating: 10/10
Published: September 7th 2017
Pages: 256
Genre: Nonfiction, Memoir
Amazon | Goodreads | Book Depository

Adam Kay was a junior doctor for six years before an incident happened that made him reevaluate his career which ultimately lead to him leaving his position. During his time as a junior doctor however, he kept a diary of all of this training which luckily for everyone, he turned into This is Going to Hurt.

This is Going to Hurt follows Adam's career as a junior doctor as he worked his way through the ranks at different hospital placements, including his years when he decided on his specialism as an obstetrician and gynaecologist, or as it is lovingly referred to in the book,  brats and twats.

Long time readers of my blog will probably be shocked to see that I actually read something that is nonfiction, and that I loved it so much. This was recommended to me by a bunch of reader friends whose opinions I value highly, so me being the sheep that I am had to pick it up, and I fricking loved it. I'm talking top 3 books I've read this year loved it.

This book is funny, full on snorting on a busy train and cackling out loud funny. I raced through this book so quickly and laughed at it so much that even my husband, who is not a reader wants to give this a go. Adam Kay has gone on to be a comedy writer since leaving the NHS and the comedic tone of this book is a perfect juxtaposition to the dark undercurrent of the book.

Filled with many anecdotes of funny incidents that happened on the job, such as when one young man decided to put a small wax candle in his penis and light it for his girlfriends birthday resulting in wax dripping down to his bladder.... Did I mention this book isn't really great for those who are squeamish? As you can imagine though, working in the obstetrician ward and delivering babies all day can be greatly rewarding, and at times completely devastating, all of which is covered in this book making it heartwarming and heartbreaking on so many levels.

To those outside the UK, this book is a great read regardless, but to those in the UK this book will be a particularly special read as it reveals much more of what junior doctors have to go through, the awful hours, abuse, lack of personal life and low pay. The fact that it all got so much that Adam Kay had to resign makes it especially awful as it is abundantly clear throughout the book how much passion he had for medicine and helping people. Junior doctors really are being pushed to the limit and it's incredibly worrying for the future of our NHS. Here is to hoping that people pick up this incredibly witty and well written book and it helps fuel the argument around junior doctors! 

Monday, 3 September 2018

August 2018 book haul

books A Man Called Ove Murakami Toil & Trouble Kitchen The Nakano Thrift Shop

August typically for me is a month where I do the least reading, mainly in part due to the fact that I work in events and my biggest event of the year (gamescom) takes place in August, so not am I only working non stop throughout the 5 day event, the build up is also incredibly busy and stressful. Despite this I thought it would be a great idea to purchase loads of books, especially as I knew I would be taking my kindle with me to gamescom so I went ham on kindle books just in case I had time to read. I didn't have time.... Anyway, here is what I bought:
  • A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman - I'm sure most of you have heard of A Man Called Ove as it was a New York Times best seller and was even turned into a film in Sweden. It's about a seemingly typical grumpy old man who hates the world, and what happens when a young family with children move in next door. Last month I read Beartown by Fredrik Backman and absolutely adored it and have had the biggest book hangover since so I am hoping A Man Called Ove will help me get over that as this looks like it's set be equally emotional and captivating. 
  • After Dark by Murakami - You will notice this month that I have picked up a lot of translated texts, it's a mini challenge I have set myself and Murakami is a king amongst Japanese fiction writers. After Dark is one of his shorter novels so I thought it would be a great intro to his works. It focuses on two sisters and the blurb starts off by letting us know that Mari is sipping coffee and reading her book at midnight in a diner (sounds like my ideal friend) whilst her sister Eri lies in a deep sleep that has lasted for two months. Seems juicy!
  • Toil & Trouble - This is cheating a bit as I actually got this in the post on the 1st day of September, but I'm still including it in August's book haul. It includes fifteen short stories all about women embracing their powers after years of witches being feared and scorned. Short stories + witches is like a dream combination to me and I can't wait to dig in on dark nights.
  • The Nakano Thrift Shop by Hiromi Kawakami - My husband and I have spent a lot of time at Nakano Broadway in Tokyo so when I saw this in Foyles, coupled with the bright pink cover it was pretty much an instabuy for me. Hitomi starts to work at a thrift store filled with bric-a-brac, although she is convinced their is hidden treasure in there and that all the objects have a story. She also believes the cast of curious people who also work there have equally interesting stories. This book has been described as charming and heart-warming and I can't wait to read a book that is set in an area so near to my heart.
  • Kitchen by Banana Yoshimoto - Another translated text. This one caught my eye in a Waterstones, mainly because of the cover but the description o won me over. It's a tale about two mothers, transsexuality, bereavement, kitchens, love and tragedy in contemporary Japan. I have a few friends also reading this at the same time as me and I always love having someone to discuss books with after reading them. 
  • Three Things About Elsie by Joanna Cannon (Kindle) - This was on my recommended list on Amazon because I bought Elinor Oliphant is Completely Fine (fantastic book) and I wanted something along those lines. Florence is 84 years old and has taken a fall. Whilst she is lying waiting for help on her kitchen floor she begins to think about her new neighbor who looks like a man she used to know and it's bought up memories Elsie thought she had long forgotten...
  • Mr Penumbra's 24 hour bookstore by Robin Sloan (Kindle) - Robin Sloan wrote Sourdough which was one of my favorite reads from last year, so when I saw he had wrote a book about a quirky, mysterious bookstore of course it piqued my interest. To be honest I didn't completely read the blurb before going in, and now I have read the book it is quite different to what I was expecting so I will definitely try to get a review of this up soon!
Did you pick up anything this month? Do any of the books I got this month interest you? Or have any international authors you would recommend, let me know I love to hear from you! 

Saturday, 1 September 2018

My most anticipated Autumn 2018 releases

As a self declared basic bitch, you know that I love me some Autumn/Fall. Pumpkin spice lattes, ankle boots, cozy pyjamas, and of course, perfect weather for staying inside and reading a book. So here are my most anticipated books coming out this Autumn.

Autumn fall releases books
City of Ghosts by Victoria Schwab
Out now

I'm a big fan of Victoria Schwab's books, the Shades of Magic trilogy is one of my favourites so when I heard that she was releasing a book about ghost hunters, well of course it piqued my interest.
City of Ghosts main character is Cassidy Blake and her parents are ghost hunters with their own reality TV show, but Cass can actually see ghosts and talk to them, her best friend is even a ghost.
For the new TV season her parents and Cass head to Scotland (hello yes perfect setting) and there Cass finds out that not all ghosts are friendly, and not all people who can talk to ghosts like she can want to keep them around either.

Autumn fall releases booksDry by Neal Shusterman & Jarrod Shusterman
Release Date: October 4th

Neal Shusterman is another one of my favourite authors. I read Scythe and Thunder Head this year and they are definitely in my top 5 reads of the year. Neal writes dystopian fiction incredibly, it's also very realistic and Dry looks like it will follow this trend too.
Dry is about a city in the middle of a draught so people are trying to be more concsious with their water, no watering the law, don't fill up a pool, don't spend too long in the shower etc.
Before long the water dries out and a quiet suburban street turns into a war zone.

Autumn fall releases books

The Corset by Laura Purcell
Release Date: September 20th

The Silent Companions was one of my top reads from 2017. Seriously if you like a good creepy horror book you definitely need to check it out. The Silent companions was Laura Purcell's first book so I'm very excited to see that she has a new one coming out so soon and it once again sounds suitably spooky and supernatural.
The Corset follows two young women, Dorothea is wealthy and beautiful and Ruth is awaiting trial for murder. They cross paths when one Dorothea does some charity work at the prison Ruth is residing at. Things take an unusual turn when Ruth insists her crimes are due to a supernatural power,

Autumn fall releases booksA Spark of Light by Jodi Picoult
Release Date: October 30th

I've never read a book by Jodi Picoult, but I have heard nothing but good things. Her books are apparently beautifully written and she writes about very emotive and serious topics.
A Spark of Light is no exception to this. Set at a women's health clinic, a gunman bursts in unexpectedly and takes open fire. Hugh McElroy, a police hostage negotiator is rushed to the scene but upon arrival he finds out that his fifteen year old daughter is inside the clinic. This sounds intense and enthralling and has catapulted itself right up my to be read list.

Autumn fall releases booksThe Curses by Laure Eve
Release Date: September 6th

Last up on my list is The Curses, which is a sequel to The Graces (my review here) which I read and really enjoyed last year!
The Graces are a mystical family who everyone wants to be friends with. In the first book in the series, River is a girl who is obsessed with the Grace family and wants to get to know them and their secrets. In the follow up book The Curses it seems like we follow the Grace family more closely in the aftermath of what happens in the first book. I do love me a good sequel!

So there we have five releases I am very excited for. I've also just learnt that Starbucks are releasing a maple latte which would be a perfect accompaniment to any reading session. What books are you excited about this upcoming season?