Reviews

All the Bad Apples

“The day after the funeral all our mourning clothes hung out on the line like sleeping bats. ‘This will be really embarrassing,’ I kept saying to my family, ‘when she shows up at the door in a week or two.’

When Deena’s wild and mysterious sister Mandy disappears – presumed dead – her family are heartbroken. But Mandy has always been troubled. It’s just another bad thing to happen to Deena’s family. Only Deena refuses to believe it’s true.

And then the letters start arriving. Letters from Mandy, claiming that their family’s blighted history is not just bad luck or bad decisions – but a curse, handed down through the generations. Mandy has gone in search of the curse’s roots, and now Deena must find her. What they find will heal their family’s rotten past – or rip it apart forever.”

I had no idea what to expect when I dove into All the Bad Apples, but I shouldn’t have worried: I enjoyed this immensely.

All the Bad Apples is a magical story full of atmosphere, mystery, and a twisted sense of whimsy. This book is about women, shame, and family while also being a comment on the punishment that the world dishes out to girls who aren’t “nice and normal.” It is so relevant.

Deena in particular is a great female main character. She felt whole and fleshed out, and wielded so much agency and power for a young girl. I love that she develops over the story in more than one way; sexuality, religion, strength. She was a different character at the end of the book than she was at the beginning and that development felt so reasonable and empathetic.

I also loved the background of Ireland for this particular story. The story is so woven into the culture and identity of its setting. I lived in Ireland for a short time, and the intensity of religion and community shown in this book felt very real to me. All the Bad Apples is a story that digs deeply into how the history of a place and a culture can gradually change and twist the views of thousands of people. Very interested to read.

Overall, I just really enjoyed this. I loved the Irish setting, I loved the descriptive and beautiful writing style, I loved the diverse cast in race, sexuality, gender. This book is angry in all the best ways, almost cathartic in the ways that so many women and girls are feeling frustration right now. If you’re looking for something mysterious and atmospheric, and also a little different, this may be the book for you.

Look for this one on shelves on August 27th!

Moïra Fowley-Doyle is half-French, half-Irish and made of equal parts feminism, whimsy and Doc Martens. She lives in Dublin where she writes magic realism, reads tarot cards and raises witch babies.

Moïra’s first novel, The Accident Season, was shortlisted for the 2015 Waterstones Children’s Book Prize & the North East Teen Book Awards, nominated for the Carnegie Medal & won the inaugural School Library Association of Ireland Great Reads Award. It received two starred reviews & sold in ten territories. Her second novel, Spellbook of the Lost and Found, was published in summer 2017, received a starred review from School Library Journal and was shortlisted for the Irish Book Awards.

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Enter to win 1 of 15 copies of Crown of Coral and Pearl by Mara Ruthorford!

Giveaway is open to US residents and ends 9/2/2019.

Enter through this Rafflecopter form and may the odds be ever in your favor!

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Book Tour, Reviews

Crown of Coral and Pearl

Today, I’m excited to introduce you to Crown of Coral and Pearl by Mara Rutherford! I really enjoyed this twist on the mermaid/sea-inspired YA fantasy, and I was lucky enough to join the tour to tell you about it! Let’s get to it.

For generations, the princes of Ilara have married the most beautiful maidens from the ocean village of Varenia. But though every girl longs to be chosen as the next princess, the cost of becoming royalty is higher than any of them could ever imagine…

Nor once dreamed of seeing the wondrous wealth and beauty of Ilara, the kingdom that’s ruled her village for as long as anyone can remember. But when a childhood accident left her with a permanent scar, it became clear that her identical twin sister, Zadie, would likely be chosen to marry the Crown Prince—while Nor remained behind, unable to ever set foot on land.

Then Zadie is gravely injured, and Nor is sent to Ilara in her place. To Nor’s dismay, her future husband, Prince Ceren, is as forbidding and cold as his home—a castle carved into a mountain and devoid of sunlight. And as she grows closer to Ceren’s brother, the charming Prince Talin, Nor uncovers startling truths about a failing royal bloodline, a murdered queen… and a plot to destroy the home she was once so eager to leave.

In order to save her people, Nor must learn to negotiate the treacherous protocols of a court where lies reign and obsession rules. But discovering her own formidable strength may be the one move that costs her everything: the crown, Varenia and Zadie.”

I wasn’t sure what to expect when I picked up Crown of Coral and Pearl by Mara Rutherford. Would it be the standard YA fantasy fare? Would it feel repetitive? But no, I enjoyed this new addition to the mermaid-inspired fantasy trend and if you enjoy this genre I think you will too.

The best thing about Crown of Coral and Pearl is that it is, at its core, a beautiful little novel in so many ways. The easy flow of the writing, the thought and detail in all the descriptions, and even in the culture of the people in this book. Beauty itself is a sort of theme in this book, one of the kingdoms in which it takes place even values beauty above all else, drawing fascinating questions about what kind of world that builds. This book was gorgeous, I felt like I could see and feel every luxurious detail, and I loved how this concept was woven into the story. Very smart.

Overall, the world-builing in general was a fascinating piece of this book. Each kingdom felt full and lived in, and the issues they faced felt real and layered in complexity. I especially found the politics and relationship between the two kingdoms to be so interesting and could have read a lot longer on these topics alone. I was swept up into this world so well and that is one of the things I appreciate most about reading.

Another thing Coral and Pearl does so well is in showcasing its tough, feminine, relatable main character, in Nor. I found all of the characters in this book interesting, but her most of all. Nor is clever, compassionate, driven, and a great female character. Most of all, I loved the incredibly close but surprisingly difficult relationship between Nor and her twin sister. Watching that relationship develop over the events of the book, in both victories and struggles, was an interesting dynamic considering how close their ties are. Even the villain of this story drew so much empathy and depth of feeling.

My only detractor is that the romance in this book didn’t quite work for me. Overall, it didn’t take away from the overall story but it just…didn’t need it? It seemed too quick and more like infatuation than anything else, so I struggled to root for this facet of the story as much as I did the others. Nor is such a strong character that it was frustrating to see her make certian choices for a romance that felt somewhat out of character. One of the central themes of this book is that beauty is more than just a physical state, its something deeper, and yet for the life of me I couldn’t see any other factor but physical attraction here haha. But hey, that’s valid too, I guess.

Overall, I enjoyed this. It could use a little polishing when it comes to the romance and maybe the ending, but it was a solid debut into the crowded field of YA fantasy novels right now. I am loving this sea-inspired trend, it’s hitting all my nostalgic Little Mermaid buttons, and this just fit right in. Crown of Coral and Pearl was well-paced, interesting all the way through, and set on a great premise. Would definitely recommend.

Keep an eye out for this one in stores on August 27th!

Mara Rutherford began her writing career as a journalist but quickly discovered she far preferred fantasy to reality. Originally from California, Mara has since lived all over the world, from Russia to Peru, along with her Marine-turned-diplomat husband and two sons. A triplet born on Leap Day, Mara holds a Master’s degree in Cultural Studies from the University of London and would rather study the folklore of her next post than the language (which she has found is a lot more fun but not nearly as useful). She is a former Pitch Wars mentee and three-time mentor. Her debut YA fantasy, CORAL AND PEARL, will release from Harlequin Teen in Fall 2019.

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Enter to win 1 of 15 copies of Crown of Coral and Pearl by Mara Ruthorford!

Giveaway is open to US residents and ends 9/2/2019.

Enter through this Rafflecopter form and may the odds be ever in your favor!

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Book Blog Hop

Time to Hop!

One of the things I’ve been trying to do a lot of since starting this blog is check out other awesome book review blogs and get involved in some of the weekly challenges and prompts they use.

Today I’m going to be taking part in the Book Blogger Hop! This is currently active over at Ramblings of a Coffee Addicted Writer and bloggers all over the sphere get involved to answer the prompt, visit some of the other responses, and make new connections!

This week’s prompt comes from Billy @ Coffee Addicted Writer and they asked:  “Do you read historical fiction?

And my answer is: Yeah, I do!

Historical Fiction isn’t my most read genre, as I tend toward Sci-Fi/Fantasy, but I still really enjoy it.

I love when the two genres crossover, especially. The Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon is one of my particular favorites. I’ll be with this one until the end and definitely recommend if this genre-fusion interests you. Je suis prest.

I’ve had good luck in Adult and YA fiction too! Code Name Verity, a YA historical fiction novel set in WWII, is one of my favorite books that I never miss an opportunity to recommend or talk about. That book made me feel impossible joy and deep sadness, all while making me appreciate what it means to be human. WOAH, I know I just got really deep on y’all for a second, but that’s just how much I love that book. Go read it!

A few more of my Historical Fiction favorites!

  • Daisy Jones & The Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid
  • The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid
  • The Red Tent by Anita Diamant
  • Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys
  • The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah
WWW

It’s “What are you reading?” Wednesday!

I’ve seen a lot of bookish memes and list ideas here on the book-blogging circuit, and I wish I could do all of them! One of my favorites has been a trend of bloggers posting their current reads on Wednesdays.

This week I’ll be taking inspiration from Taking On a World of Words, and trying out their “WWW Wednesday!”

The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

What I’m currently reading:

A Court of Wings and Ruin by Sarah J Maas

Wow, this series. I read ACOTAR years ago and didn’t love it, but only finally picked this series back up after much coaxing and cajoling. I’m really enjoying it now. The second and (so far) third books have had so much more of all the things I wanted in the first, dark and complicated topics and emotions, old magic, and a wide and diverse cast of characters. I am definitely looking forward to getting some vengeance in this last installment of the trilogy.

Whisper Network by Chandler Baker

I just started this but it sounds so good! This one has been all over the internet, snagging a spot in Reese Witherspoon’s book club as well as being one of the most talked about books in adult fiction right now. I’ve heard it compared to Big Little Lies and also that its a cathartic read for those of us watching the growth of the #MeToo movement today. I really like it so far and I can’t wait to finish. I’ll definitely be reviewing this title, so keep an eye out!

What I’ve recently finished:

Growing Things by Paul Tremblay

This was…very interesting. Growing Things is a collection of short horror stories and I found it very hit or miss, depending on the story. I’ve read and enjoyed both of Tremblay’s novels and this definitely had his signature style and grit. I’m not a big short story reader in general, but I found myself easily drawn into these little microcosms of scary stories. Every one was wildly different and my feelings about them were too, but overall I enjoyed this. If you’re a horror fan, check this out.

Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo

So it begins! I’ll be doing a feature on this, I think, but I am officially starting my Grishaverse re-read! I’ve been trying to read King of Scars, the newest installment in this world, for months but haven’t been able to get it into my TBR, so I started toying with the idea of reading the whole series again to build up to it. I didn’t love or hate the Grisha trilogy the first time I read it, though I LOVED the Six of Crows duology, so I’m hoping that I’ll be able to merge those two feelings and worlds this time around. This will also be my first time adding Language of Thorns into that lineup. Looking forward to it!

Born a Crime by Trevor Noah

I’ve read this book so many times but it had been a while before this reread. I recommended this to a friend in my book club the other day and just talking about it made me feel the urge to read it again. Noah’s memoir is funny, touching, smart, observant, and feels like listening to a friend. I particularly love the audio of this book and I highly recommend it to anyone. This book is excellent.

What I think I’ll read next:

Sorcery of Thorns by Margaret Rogerson

I’m really looking forward to starting this one, eeeeeveryone I know who’s read it has loved it. Does that mean my expectations are high? Oh, they are so high. But I’m hoping this lives up to the hype. I’ve been really digging YA fantasy lately so I’m optimistic!

The Good Luck Girls by Charlotte Nicole Davis

This is one of my most anticipated novels, I’m so excited to read this. I won this ARC from BookishFirst and it looks so good. Lauded as “Westworld meets A Handmaid’s Tale,” I could not be more eager or excited to see what that looks like. This book looks feminist AF! And hopefully it’s an amazing story too. I’ll report back when I’m done!

What are you reading this week?? Leave a comment letting me know!

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Top 10 Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday

Top 10 Tuesday was created by The Broke and The Bookish in June 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together.

This week’s topic asks us to list our “Book Characters that I’d love to be besties with!”

Haha this was an interesting question! After all, not every character I would love to be friends with would be open to being friends with me too. I might get stabbed! (I do love stabby characters.) Instead, I tried to pick characters that might mesh well with my personality or vice versa, characters that I could “realistically” see getting along with. This was so much fun.

Harry Dresden

From Jim Butcher’s The Dresden Files, and my favorite series, it makes me happy to think that we actually have a lot in common. We’re both introverts who prefer paperbacks over parties, we both love our animals and treat them like members of the family, and we both value our friends above all else, loyal to a fault. I don’t know how much help I’d be with all of the crazy things he gets himself into, but I’d definitely be there to commiserate and buy him a beer at Mac’s.

Rhysand and The Inner Circle

From A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J Maas, I loved the vibe of this misfit group of friends. I would love to be a part of it. The intense loyalty and love they have for each other, the diversity in backgrounds and experiences, the lack of judgement, the acceptance of all oddities, these are only some of the wonderful things I feel this friend group offers. They may all be misfits, they may all be a little bit broken, but- hey, so are we all, right? I feel like I would fit right in.

Hermione Granger

I feel like my girl Hermione is going to make a lot of lists this week! From Harry Potter by JK Rowling, I had to include her. We have too much in common. Love to read, love homework, compulsively takes too many classes, loves her friends fiercely- we’d have a lot to bond over. I feel like she could also use a few more gal pals to balance out the boys too.

Ginny Weasely

I almost included Ginny and Hermione on the same point, since they’re from the same book, but I didn’t. I would also love to be friends with Ginny, but I feel like we would have a very different relationship. Ginny is bolder, says what she wants and means, feels loudly and isn’t afraid to confront a problem. I feel like she could teach me a lot and challenge me in ways that friends are supposed to challenge each other. Plus, I could go watch all of her Quidditch games!

Ian & Jenny Fraser

Hahaha this one would be so interesting. From the Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon, Ian and Jenny have been book “friends” of mine for a long time and definitely made this list easy. Though I do have to say that I think it would be much easier to befriend Ian than Jenny, but hopefully if I start there he’ll put in a good word for me. I would love to visit Lallybroch and see their family and way of life, be taken care of in the firm, matter-of-fact way that Jenny does. Their relationship dynamic is somehow so soothing to me and I can imagine a lot of happy moments in their home as a friend.

Warren Smith & Kyle Brooks

From one of my favorite series of books, The Mercy Thompson series by Patricia Briggs, Warren and Kyle are #relationshipgoals. They are one of my favorite couples to ship and I would love to go hang out with the two of them. Warren is warm and calming, while Kyle is provocative and sarcastic, and I love them both. Every time I read that scene in Blood Bound where they’re watching Queen of the Damned with Stefan and Mercy, I just want to hop into the scene and join them. Weekly movie nights at Warren and Kyle’s house!

Anna Cornick

Another character from Patricia Briggs, this time from the companion series to Mercy Thompson, the Alpha and Omega series. Anna is musical, creative, kind, introverted, and works hard to soothe, comfort, and support her friends. I think we have a lot in common and I would love to have a friend like her.

Leah Burke

From Leah On the Offbeat by Becky Albertalli, I feel like we would have a lot to talk about. She’s a grumpy, overweight, bisexual teen and my HS self would have had so much to talk about with Leah. AND she could bring her adorable girlfriend, Abby (who I totally ship), to hang out with us. We have a lot of common and a lot that is different but that might work in our favor. As a bonus, I feel like I could give Leah some social tips that might help her come off less…prickly. She gets so withdrawn and surly when she’s upset and I’ve been there, I feel like we could help each other and have a lot of fun along the way.

Stella Lane

From The Kiss Quotient by Helen Hoang. Stella probably has better things to do than hang out with me, her fancy job, sexy boyfriend, and meticulous routine, but we also have so much in common. I would love to hang out with her late at night with a bottle of wine, talking about our struggles and victories with dating and relationships and sensory issues. I feel like she could also help me organize my closet. Where are you, Stella??

Theodora Sanderson/Crain

From The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson, Theodora is a sarcastic, takes-no-shit, badass and I could definitely use a friend like her. She isn’t afraid of haunted houses or ghosts, she says what she means, and she enjoys an adventure. I think she would be a good influence on me haha. I will say, I love the book and the show, and either Theo would be a fantastic friend. In my mind they’ve just merged into one amazing multi-Theo.

This was a hard one!

Who are some characters you’d like to be friends with?? Any on the list here?

If you participated in TTT this week too, drop a link in the comments below!

Reviews

Wilder Girls

“We don’t get to choose what hurts us.”

It’s been eighteen months since the Raxter School for Girls was put under quarantine. Since the Tox hit and pulled Hetty’s life out from under her.

It started slow. First the teachers died one by one. Then it began to infect the students, turning their bodies strange and foreign. Now, cut off from the rest of the world and left to fend for themselves on their island home, the girls don’t dare wander outside the school’s fence, where the Tox has made the woods wild and dangerous. They wait for the cure they were promised as the Tox seeps into everything.

But when Byatt goes missing, Hetty will do anything to find her, even if it means breaking quarantine and braving the horrors that lie beyond the fence. And when she does, Hetty learns that there’s more to their story, to their life at Raxter, than she could have ever thought true. (Goodreads)


“Did I like this??” That is the question I’ve been asking myself since I finished Wilder Girls by Rory Power. There is a lot to consider, despite this little book’s size and I had a very interesting journey while reading it. I went back and forth on this question for almost all of the book before finally deciding…it just wasn’t for me.

First, let me say that there is a lot to appreciate in this book. The atmosphere and descriptive world-building were strange and beautiful, the characters were tough, Queer, young women, even the element of “wtf?” suspense in this novel were wonderfully enjoyable. For a debut novel, this was so creative and original and I genuinely look forward to seeing what else Power writes in the coming years.

But for me personally…this was a big miss. And because my expectations were so high, also a big disappointment. To be fair, some of that is my doing, so I don’t completely blame Wilder Girls for this review, but I wanted to like it so much that it’s still a bummer.

I came to Wilder Girls knowing almost nothing about it except for the synopsis and that it was widely anticipated. I was one of those anticipators! As it turns out, there was one fact that would have been very helpful for me to know about this book before I read it: It’s a semi-retelling of William Golding’s Lord of the Flies. Now, there is absolutely nothing wrong with this, unless you’re like me and you hated Lord of the Flies. The ugliness and brutality, in both character and style, just never felt like stress-free entertainment to me, and Wilder Girls felt the same in some ways. My feelings throughout this book made a lot more sense to me when I learned that fact.

I can’t hold a book accountable JUST because I hated its inspiratory predecessor, but it didn’t help things for Wilder Girls. There was something about the emotional style of this book that held me up more than anything else. I don’t know if it was unintentional or a choice by the author, but for most of the book I felt as if I were a cool, casual observer to what was going on. Instead of enmeshed and engaged and actively feeling. I tend to read with my emotions first, so this kind of style gets tiring very quickly. I wanted to feel more and be sucked further into this world, of which there was so much to explore, but for most of the book I felt kept at arms’ length.

This cool, almost detached perspective against the backdrop of this wild, organic, ugly, beautiful world did have its fascinating moments. The bizarre speculative science and mutations in this story also felt somewhat reminiscent of Annihilation by Jeff VanderMeer, another organic science thriller I read this year. If you liked the Southern Reach trilogy, you may enjoy this YA take on a similar vibe.

Overall, there were a few other struggles for me in Wilder girls: I didn’t click well with the characters, I didn’t understand some of their motivations, and it was often kinda gross. But I could’ve lived with all of that, especially balanced with the book’s positives, if it weren’t for the ending. I’ll try to say as little as possible, which is really hard when reviewing endings, but it didn’t work for me. It almost felt like a sci-fi dystopian “slice of life” novel, in that I did not get any of the answers I wanted. I like answers.

In the end, I’m glad that I read Wilder Girls. Whatever struggles I had, I always wanted to know what was going to happen next. I’m still left wanting to know. I started this one with big expectations and, sure, it let me down. But I also think this is a beautiful, little novel in its own– weird, gross way. Wilder Girls was gritty, dark, bizarre, and wildly creative for all of its more grisly flaws. Read it for yourself and decide.

I want to know what YOU thought of Wilder Girls!

Did you know it was a retelling? Did you like the open end? What did you think of the book??

Leave me a comment letting me know

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Book Blog Hop

Time to Hop!

One of the things I’ve been trying to do a lot of since starting this blog is check out other awesome book review blogs and get involved in some of the weekly challenges and prompts they use.

Today I’m going to be taking part in the Book Blogger Hop! This is currently active over at Ramblings of a Coffee Addicted Writer and bloggers all over the sphere get involved to answer the prompt, visit some of the other responses, and make new connections!

This week’s prompt comes from Elizabeth @ Silver’s Reviews and they asked:  “What authors do you always read or recommend?”

And my answer is: A few of them! I did a post a few months ago on my Auto-Buy Authors, but not all of them are what I would consider books that I recommend to “everyone.”

The authors off the top of my head that I find myself recommending the most often are– Jenny Lawson, Brene Brown, Taylor Jenkins Reid, Riley Sager. For SF/F lovers its Jim Butcher and Patricia Briggs and Jay Kristoff.

Who’s your “go-to recommendation?” Leave a comment and recommendation for me below!

Book Tour, Reviews

The Killing Gene

One of my favorite things as a reader, and a reviewer, is picking up a book that I’m skeptical about…and then being totally wrong. It’s the best.

That’s what happened for me with The Killing Gene, by E.M. Davey.

I was sent a request to review this by Duckworth publishing and am very excited to be participating in their #SummerReads tour for this book!

For more information on the tour, and to follow along, I’ll post a schedule at the end of this post that you can use.

And in the meantime, please enjoy my review of The Killing Gene by E.M. Davey.

When a young archaeologist goes missing in the Congo basin, Professor Randolph Harkness and troubled tearaway Ross McCartney go in search of her only to stumble upon a conspiracy to conceal ancient horrors lost to the passage of time.

Evading spies and trained killers, can they expose this cover-up in time or will they be buried with it? An unputdownable thriller The Killing Gene reveals the story of our species, the paradox of the modern mind and our innate predilection for murder…

I stumbled upon this book without knowing anything about it. And I enjoyed it a lot. The Killing Gene is a thrilling, fast-paced, well-researched piece of adventure fiction and it was a lot of fun to read.

The best thing about this book is hands-down the pace at which it carries itself. The writing is detailed, polished, and easy to read, carrying the plot with just the right amount of support. I kept reading almost compulsively. Because the chapters are short, every time I would finish one I would think to myself “It won’t take long to just read one more.” And then it was over somehow! That’s how they get you!

Moreover, this book was so well researched. I really felt that the author understood his subject matter the best that he could and that he translated that understanding to the audience well. Somewhat reminiscent of the feeling I get when reading Dan Brown’s books, The Killing Gene is rife with complex and fascinating theories that dip into history, culture, and science, among others. I feel like I learned some things while reading and I love getting that feeling from a book.

The plot was fun and unpredictable, and just “over the top” enough, in my opinion. I think that it uses the formula well, applying traditional choices when it made sense but then turning things on their heads at the next turn. This kind of writing kept the book interesting. I struggled with the Old Testament references, finding them a little heavy-handed, but it didn’t stop me from enjoying the heart-stopping twists and turns on this adventure.

Finally, I enjoyed the characters in this book. Sometimes, with books like these in Historical Adventure, there is a tendency to place all knowledge, competency, and merit on the MC and not on the surrounding characters, or even cultures, that the book also talks about. I didn’t find this problem so much with The Killing Gene and it was a genuine breath of fresh air. Davey’s characters felt likable and relatable. I especially enjoyed McCartney and the complexity of writing a character with a life-changing diagnosis. He continually walked that line of endearing and reckless and I found that to be every entertaining, aware storytelling.

This book was so out of my normal reading comfort zone. I love adventure and thrillers and I used to read books like this ALL the time, but started getting away from the formula as I got older. This was one reason that I accepted the opportunity to review this book, I was excited to dive back into a known/unknown area of reading for a while! And guys, I wasn’t disappointed in the least. If you love the sound of adventure and running through the jungle and danger around every turn, this might be the book for you.


E.M. DAVEY is a journalist at Global Witness specializing in undercover investigative journalism into international corruption and environmental crime, which gives him the opportunity to travel to far-flung and unusual places. His novels incorporate real-world experiences and meticulous research, blurring the lines between reality and fiction. He has taught creative writing with the Wilbur & Niso Smith foundation and is the author of three novels: Foretold by Thunder (Duckworth 2015), The Napoleon Complex (Duckworth 2016) and The Killing Gene (Duckworth 2019). He grew up in Bristol and now lives in Kent. 

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What do you think? Sound interesting? Leave a comment letting me know what you think!

Thanks for stopping by! See you tomorrow! x — A

WWW

It’s “What are you reading?” Wednesday!

Ohhh man, friends. It has been one hell of a week.

I’ve been meaning, but my schedule’s been lighter than usual. Between my birthday and being ill this week and some other unforeseen life hurdles I am exhausted.

But I’m here! Honestly it’ll be good for me to check in and take inventory on what I’ve been reading lately, and I want to hear from you too!

WWW Wednesday is a book meme that comes from Taking On a World of Words.

The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

What I’m currently reading:

The Turn of the Key by Ruth Ware

This is the Summer release that I’ve been waiting for! I hopped on this book on its recent release day and haven’t been disappointed. I’ve read almost all of Ruth Ware’s books and most of them have been really enjoyable. Turn of the Key is just what I wanted and expected from Ware’s signature mystery/thriller style: super eerie, scarily relatable, and a wild tangle of theories. I’m about halfway finished with this one and at the part I’m at now (“creeeaaak”) I can’t put it down. I’m sufficiently creeped and happy. I’ll report back when its finished!

What I’ve recently finished:

A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J Maas

I’m going to be writing a longer feature about this journey, but this was a turn-around for me! I read this the month it came out, a few years ago, and it was okay but…didn’t call to me further than that. And then it blew up to beloved proportions in the book community. So many of my book friends and fam have begged, cajoled, bargained, and needled me to try this one out again and…hell, I liked it. Was it perfect? No, but I liked it a lot more than the first time around, and I’m definitely going to try the sequel (which I’m assured is the best). Here’s to second chances!

Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein

In contrast to second chances, this is one of my all time favorite books. And what’s ironic about it being one of my favorites is that its also a war book. (Or…kinda.) Code Name Verity is a YA historical fiction novel that has one of the most beautiful, underrated, cry-worthy female friendships that I’ve ever read. I would recommend this book to anyone, adult or YA, because I think this one crosses that border so well. And, regardless, it is just such a beautiful, heart-breaking, worthy story. I don’t know how to properly express my love for this book, just trust me and add this one to your list.

What I think I’ll read next:

A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J Maas

This is the sequel to A Court of Thorns and Roses, above. Enough said. I think I’m going to start this one next but I’ve been in a mood-reading groove lately so we’ll see how I feel after I finish my current read. This looks good. I’m intrigued by the part of this world that we get to explore in the second volume and I hope that it pulls me deeper into the series. Fingers crossed!

Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng

I know next to nothing about this one, other than the fact that it has great reviews and that its an Adult Contemporary. My book club is reading this one this month and so I’m hopping on the train! I kind of like diving into books unknown every once in a while, so I’m looking forward to whatever surprises it has in store. Have you read this one?

Leave a comment and tell me what you’re reading this week!

Love it? Hate it? Recommend it??

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Reviews

Daisy Jones & The Six

“I had absolutely no interest in being somebody else’s muse. I am not a muse. I am the somebody. End of f*cking story.”

Everyone knows Daisy Jones & The Six, but nobody knows the reason behind their split at the absolute height of their popularity . . . until now.

I take back anything I’ve said before, this book has been my biggest surprise of 2019.

I loved Daisy Jones & The Six. I can’t even describe how much I loved this book, its hands down one of my favorites of the year. I can’t stop telling people about it. Your turn!

This book is written like a great segment of VH1’s “Behind the Music,” so much so that I could visualize huge parts of it like I was watching it on a screen. I am absolutely crazy about the format, which I thought at first might be a struggle for me. Nope! The interview/stream of thought writing format is so compelling, in physical or audio form. I listened to the audio myself and I was blown away by how quickly I was swept up into this story. The full cast did a great job of really immersing you in their lives and story and if you have a chance I definitely recommend listening to this one.

I liked so much about this book. The characters were raw and real and flawed and gut-wrenchingly honest. And they evolved over time, which had a mesmerizing effect of shrinking years into an afternoon. I could have listened to hours and hours more of this novel and not even noticed it was long. Every single one of them, lead singer or bass, told a gritty and compelling story that I could not turn off.

Now, I don’t know about you but I wasn’t sure if Daisy Jones & The Six was a real band or not when I started this haha. I know, I know! But I hadn’t read anything by Taylor Jenkins Reid at that time (how?!) and the book was marketed so well as a “behind-the-scenes, groupie memoir” that I totally bought it. The funny thing is, as much as it is fiction, it felt so real and tangible to me that I almost kind of believe it again. That’s what kind of book it was.

This novel is beautiful from start to finish. I don’t know how to describe the feeling exactly, but there was something so incredibly beautiful about the shades and facets of humanity that this book shines a light on. Humor, love, betrayal, compromise, ugliness, self-sacrifice, determination, empowerment, music, I felt and related to so many human moments in this book that it felt less like a book and more like an experience.

I recommend Daisy Jones & The Six whole-heartedly and with enthusiasm. If I could I’d buy a copy for every person I love, even the ones who say that this wouldn’t be their type of book. Yeah, I once thought that too, and now I’m so glad that I took a step out of my usual reading zone and experienced this great story. You’re all in for one hell of a ride with this one, but I hope you enjoy it as much as I did!

“Music can dig, you know? It can take a shovel to your chest and just start digging until you hit something.”

“Don’t count yourself out this early…you’re all sorts of things you don’t even know yet.”

Read and loved this book too?? Let me know in the comments!

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