What’s Hot Right Now? Recent(ish) Releases I’m Loving This Summer Season!

orangutan list

Somehow, we’ve made it to summer (which, wow, really is an achievement this year, isn’t it? 😉) And for me, that usually means going somewhere hot and chilling with a book… but this year it means staying put and chilling with a book 😉 Thank goodness books still exist! To celebrate the fact *we’ve still got books* I thought I’d spotlight some more recently released books that’ll be fun to check out this season:

with the fire on high

With Fire on High– starting with the hottest of the hot, I can’t talk about recent releases that I loved without mentioning this bad boy. If food and romance aren’t enough to give you summery vibes, well this also has a travel aspect to feed your wanderlust!

heartstopper 1

Heartstopper– cutesy romances and summer go hand in hand (at least in my book) and you can’t really go wrong with this fun graphic novel series.

american royals

American Royals– I don’t know about you, but I’m craving a little DRAMA. And this alternative history about royal Washingtons has that in spades.

what the wind knows

What the Wind Knows– a time travelling romance set in Ireland? Sign me up! This is the kind of escapist book that’s perfect for a summer stuck in doors.

stranger on the beach

Stranger on the Beach– of course, if you want something a little edgier, then this thriller has you covered. Stalk towards this with caution however- it’s way twistier than you might expect.

the guest list

Guest List– taking a trip to a location wedding, you’ll get more than you bargained for with this invite.

unhoneymooners

Unhoneymooners– with quite a bit less murder (yet with some characters you may want to throttle) this fun hate-to-love rom com is a delight for the summer months.

bride test

The Bride Test– this unconventional love story definitely gave me the *warm fuzzy feelings*.

call it what you want

Call it What You Want– I was genuinely surprised by how much I liked the character development in this contemporary. Reminiscent of Robin Hood, Kemmerer’s story has a lot more going for it than meets the eye.

bookish and the beast

Bookish and the Beast– and finally, this Beauty and the Beast retelling is just so. much. fun. I could happily recommend any one of the Once Upon a Con stories for fans of contemporary YA, but this is my favourite so far!

That’s all for now! Have you checked any of these out? Do you have any recent summer reads you’d like to shout about? Let me know in the comments!

Books I’d Love to See Adapted and Ones I’m Excited For!

orangutan list

After months and months of (trying to) watch my way through Netflix, I’ve found myself thinking *a lot* about all the books I’d LOVE to see adapted (and all the ones that are in the works that I wish were available now!!).

However, even with some of my favourites recently being made, and done well (ie His Dark Materials), I’ve seen so many flops over the years that I’m still a little cautious about certain books being made into movies and shows. Some books may very well be better left as books. So, to be clear, this list isn’t just my favourite books in the world– these are just some of the stories I think could work:

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Shadow and Bone– starting off with one of my most anticipated adaptations, I’ve been eagerly watching announcements as this has gone into development and been bouncing off the walls with every casting. It’s safe to say I *cannot wait* to see how it turns out!

a darker shade of magic

A Darker Shade of Magic– and this is another one we will hopefully get to see, Schwab’s fascinating world and characters would *definitely* be suited to an adaptation!

Throne_of_Glass_UK

Throne of Glass– while I’ve not loved every part of this saga, I do still think this would make for such a fun fantasy TV show. Though I haven’t heard anything in a while, there have been rumours over the years… so who knows?

illuminae

Illuminae– another one that may very well be in the works- and it would be a good decision if they tried it out! Yes, there would be parts of the books that would be lost in translation if it was adapted, but I think if they tried to capture the unusual style of the books in a visual it’d be very special indeed. Besides, space opera’s make for great movies. On that note…

Red Rising Pierce Browns

Red Rising– BLOODYDAMN, this would make for an amazing adaptation!  I mean, who wouldn’t want to see (what is effectively) Romans fighting it out in space?! Plus, there’s so much content to mine and complex themes, you could have a brilliant series on your hands (if done right). And the rumourmill says it’s in the works as well…

skyward

Skyward– if film goers are craving DRAMA and EXCELLENT CHARACTERS, then ye gods, you cannot go wrong with Sanderson’s Skyward. This would make for an absolutely STELLAR blockbuster! Aside from the brilliant twists and turns that’ll keep audiences on the edge of their seats, this also has one of the most likeable mcs that anyone could get behind!

renegades

Renegades– for me, Marissa Meyer’s books are *totally* translatable into TV/film. And none more so than her take on superheroes. And yes, I know that genre is pretty oversaturated right now, but I’d see this as being something that could satisfy a different demographic from the mainstream Marvel/DC movies. (But you know, if this isn’t possible, I wouldn’t say no to the Lunar Chronicles instead)

diviners

Diviners– I’ve been loving the performative element of these books, which makes them so entertaining as audiobooks… which makes me think, why not make this into a TV show? I think they’re a little too dense to have them be a film, but you could really go to town with the fascinating world building, characters and spooky atmosphere.

wicked deep

Wicked Deep– speaking of spooky, this standalone could easily grip viewers with its unique story. Netflix has apparently got the rights to this one, so *fingers crossed* they do something good with it!

to kill a kingdom

To Kill a Kingdom– I’d love to see more movies partially set under water and I think this Little Mermaid retelling absolutely has enough excitement to make for an awesome movie.

night circus

Night Circus– this one is a bit more of a risk, because it’s such a brilliantly written book and a film might not capture its magical atmosphere. That said, if done right, this would be a visual treat.

the secret history

Secret History– I’m kind of amazed this has never been adapted, cos it’d be so. damn. good. With a captivating cast of characters and a great plot, I completely see this being made one day (I hope).

with the fire on high

With the Fire on High– yeah I can’t shut up about this book lately, sue me. I love contemporary movies and could easily stuff this list with a whole bunch that could work- however none of them have the *special sauce* that this one does. I think this goes the extra mile and would be especially moving.

eliza and her monsters

Eliza and Her Monsters– like, I said I love contemporaries that get made into movies, so I could easily say “just do them all!!” This one is at the top of the list for me, because, with its focus on mental health and internet culture, it’s got a bit more going on than a standard YA romance. Plus, if it was done in a stylised way, with some element of animation, it would be especially cool.

guards-guards

And a BIG *BONUS*: Discworld– well, obviously. Yes, I know some of these books have already been adapted; yes, I know that there have been little pieces of optimistic news here and there. BUT GUYS I’M SO IMPATIENT!!

And though I have a ton more, I think I’d better leave it there for now! Do you guys agree with any of the books on this list? Do you have any personal faves you’re dying to see adapted? Let me know in the comments!

Mid Year Resolutions for 2020!

2020 resolutions

Well hello there! Looks like we’ve made it to midway through the year… which wouldn’t be a shocker if it was any other year than 2020 😉 (why didn’t the Incas warn us about this one?!) Anyhoo, it’s time to talk about my resolutions and how I’ve been neglecting doing with them. Last year, I decided to start the tradition of going through my resolutions at the midway point, so that I could stay a bit more focused… but this year’s going to be a little different (pahahaha you can say that again!) Usually I get very into point scoring and grading my performance- however this year I just know that the goals I set are no longer realistic. I’m doing a lot more mood reading (well, even more than normal) so I haven’t been paying much attention to hitting targets. And, just in general, with everything going on, I’m trying to go a easy on myself. That said, I do still want to look at where my head was at in January, before I knew what this year had in store and see how I’ve been getting on.

number 1

READ MORE NON FIC!

 

With 15/10 so far, I’m smashing this one out of the park! And I’ve even managed some of the ones that were on my TBR, like Wild Swans and Art of War. In any other year, I would consider readjusting this goal, but I just don’t want to put that kind of pressure on myself and just gonna mark this as done.

Current score: 15/10

number 2

READ MORE CHALLENGING BOOKS!

Annnd this is where the goals get tricky. I have only read 1 of these (Art of War) and have to be honest with myself that I’m unlikely to get anywhere near 10 this year- frankly, feeling like I want to read more relaxing books in (the blazing inferno) that is the year 2020, I’d be happy if I even ticked one more book off this list. Despite that, I’m not changing the goal, because, who knows, my mood could change towards the end of the year? Plus, I can say it’s “aspirational” (like buying a pair of jeans that would never fit… which is a terrible idea btw- don’t do that to yourself!)

Current score: 1/10

number 3

READ MORE POETRY!

Well this is another fail- I haven’t even read one. Again, I don’t see this changing drastically by the end of the year and I’m not going to worry too much about it.

Current score: 0/5

number 4

READ MORE PLAYS!

Well I want to read 5… and I’ve managed to read 2 so far. Not too bad, but still more to do! Unlike the last two, I’m eager to complete this goal! On the positive side, I’ve enjoyed speaking to my mum about the plays I’ve read so far and which ones to try next- I’d say this is shaping up to be a pretty good resolution all around 🙂

Current score: 2/5

number 5

DO SOME REREADING!

Hobbit_cover

Ermm I’ve only reread the Hobbit so far this year… and it wasn’t even one I was hoping to do this year. That said, I have been thinking that the books I fancy rereading this year feel more like autumnal reads (this could just be a massive excuse though 😉). Either way, I’ve still got a lot to do with this goal.

Current score: 1/5

Non Bookish

number 6

DO MORE ART!

painting

Well this was a poorly defined goal (as I said back when I made it) sooo I’ve no idea if I can count this one as done? I’ve been doing plenty of fun doodling… but not much else. From now on, I think the best way to keep track of this goal based on how many times a week I pick up a pencil/paintbrush. 1-2 times a week would be good (especially since I want to keep this kind of casual). Still, this doesn’t help me give myself a score- I’m gonna be generous and go with…

Current score: 3/5

number 7

Do more yoga!

yoga

Finally another one I’ve completed! I made it through three whole yoga challenges!!! (and we’re only midway through the year) This is one of the few goals I want to expand on- I’d like to add that *for extra credit* I’d like to do either another 2 challenges OR simply do yoga every day for 30 days again!

Current score: 5/5

number 8

START A NEW WRITING PROJECT!

writing

YES! RESULT! I’m getting off to a great start with my new project and loving every second. I’ve written a plan and started working on the first chapter. This is another one I’m going to expand on for the end of the year. I’d simply like to add more to this project. Plus in terms of writing goals, for some serious extra credit I have another secret goal.

Current score: 5/5

number 9

SORT THROUGH BOX OF STUFF

Well, I’ve cleared half the box and can’t decide whether to be proud or dismayed. Of all my goals, this should’ve been the easiest to achieve in lockdown… and yet I can’t think of anything I’d like to do less! Sooo I’m gonna say I have done half (but also I don’t really care tremendously when this gets done right now).

Current score: 2/5

So far… 29/55

So (surprisingly) I’m over halfway done!

That said, I doubt I’ll be making much progress on the ones left… but we’ll see how I do for extra credit!

And that’s all for now? Did you set any goals this year? Have you stuck to them or have they changed since January? Let me know where you’re at in the comments!

Bloggers Who Deserve More Attention #7

orangutan list

Hello all! I’m really excited to be doing another one of these posts today, because there are just so many bloggers who deserve more attention, and this crop has some exceptional talent! Let’s just jump into it!

Holly @Nut Free Nerd– Many of you may already know Holly’s brilliant blog- but if you, theny you’re in for a real treat! I really enjoy her takes on classics and like getting great recs on all kinds of lit fic. That’s why I LOVE her unique takes on the TTT meme- her one lately on Opening Lines in Classic Novels that Feel Very Relevant was amazing, but you can check out a few more here. Holly also has some great posts on classic recs for every month. Her taste is so sophisticated and brings books I’d never heard of to my attention 😊 And besides all her fun posts and lists, she also writes reviews in such a unique way, addressing them as a letter to the book itself!

Words and Nocturnes– this is a great place to go for thoughtful posts on books, comics and movies (lately she had some really interesting thoughts on comics in particular). She always piques my interest in a great many unusual books. Aside from her lovely insights into literature, she also talks about her writing journey.

Samantha @Bookish Villainy– I love Bookish Villainy’s thorough reviews and fun posts. Recently, I especially enjoyed her list on Books to Escape in While Social Distancing. I also appreciated her thoughtful take on How Minimalism Both My Book Collection and My Reading Experience, where she talked about decluttering books and what we can take from minimalism (even if we’re not minimalists).

Caitlin Althea– Caitlin has a range of fun lists and tags (lately she reacted to some *spicy* twitter takes and it was a highly entertaining read!). More recently, she also had an excellent discussion on bloghopping– which I highly recommend checking out- I really liked her candour there! Plus, she has an awesome selection of favourite posts for the month!

Witty and Sarcastic Book Club– oh my goodness Witty and Sarcastic has such amazing insight and recommendations into books- she even introduced me to my favourite book of the year so far, with her incredible review of Ten Thousand Doors of January! Exploring so many different genres and honest opinions on books, you’ll be sure to find countless ways to grow your TBR over there. And, in case that wasn’t enough, she’s also super generous and friendly on Twitter, always sharing the blogger love!

Macey @Brine and Books– aside from being super friendly, Macey writes intricate musing on books. I very much enjoy her takes on loads of classics- both the unfamiliar and familiar. Plus, she has such great diary-like entries catching up with her month and some excellent creative writing too.

Wakinguponthewrongsideof50– stepping away from the books for a moment, this is a really stimulating blog on a whole range of topics. I struggle to pin it down to just one thing, because it could/should simply be defined as ***life***. What I love about Waking Up On the Wrong Side of Fifty is how well-reasoned she always is.

Amanda @The Below Average Blog– don’t let the name fool you- this blog is way above average. Amanda writes in such an entertaining way and her blog is so full of personality. She covers so many different topics- from books to movies to video games (and occasionally her bird Froley). I particularly love to hear her thoughts on geeky pop culture- like Game of Thrones and Star Wars.

Sophie @Sophie’s Corner– Sophie is extremely multi-talented. Her blog is full of entertaining posts and tags on books, writing and crafts. And when I say multi-talented, I mean it (guys, she made her own wedding dress and looked stunning!!)

Sam @Modern Witch’s Bookshelf– Sam is someone I’ve been following for ages, because she has such stellar content 😊 Not only does she have intriguing insights into books in a great many genres and age categories, she also always seems to make reading fun and sociable (check out her post on Bookopoly!)

And lastly, just for some light-hearted fun I thought I’d share something I found on Instagram: Army Men Around the House– enjoy!

Bloggers Who Deserve More Attention #1

Bloggers Who Deserve More Attention #2

Bloggers Who Deserve More Attention #3

Bloggers Who Deserve More Attention #4

Bloggers Who Deserve More Attention #5

Bloggers Who Deserve More Attention #6

Of course, there are loads more bloggers who deserve *all the attention*- so who do you think I should be looking out for? And do you know any of these bloggers? Will you be checking them out? Let me know in the comments!

Finales that disappointed me

orangutan list

We all know what it’s like: the first flushes of love as we fall for a new series, waiting with baited breath for the next instalment, feeling our heart pound as we near the end… only to feel nothing but an anti-climax. Nothing is more disappointing to a bookworm than a series ender we didn’t love. For me, whether I love a series for eternity can come down to those final pages- so, it’s a lot of pressure, but it’s gotta be made to count. As much as I’ve raved about series endings I enjoy– and more than once!- there are unfortunately plenty that have let me down:

kingdom of ash book cover

Kingdom of Ash– so I’m going to start with one that was far from terrible. In fact, I even enjoyed it for the most part when I read it and had some satisfaction when I finished. AND YET oddly enough when I look back on this, I’m disappointed with how it turned out. Because *spoiler alert* this is the kind of story where all the main characters wear plot armour and only expendable characters die. Despite all the explosions, there was no fireworks and consequently no spark for me. It relied on a series of “eh whatever” plot conveniences that have niggled away at me over time. It leaves me with an empty feeling when I think about it. I will say this could just be a case of me outgrowing a series- yet I can’t help but feel a pang when I think of this series. As much as I devoted time to it, I’ve no desire to reread it and have since unhauled my books… and to me, that’s immensely disappointing.

queen of air and darkness book

Queen of Air and Darkness– this was another book I liked less and less over time AND is another book that put me off a series. In this case, I blame the book. It was just designed to bridge the gap between this and another (clearly more important) series. It was slow and exhaustingly repetitive and made the entire series redundant. I’m annoyed that I ever wasted my time on it.

Breaking_Dawn_cover

Breaking Dawn– as much as I will say I think people are too harsh about Twilight, this book was a trashfire. Aside from all the long-winded and anti-climactic elements, this book has a grown man fall in love with a baby?!?! WHO SIGNED OFF ON THAT IDEA?! Ugh, even all these years later, I still wish I could get that ending out of my head. I rue the day teenage me ever picked up a book on sparkly vampires, because I should’ve known it was only going to be downhill from there.

Harry Potter and the deathly hallows

Deathly Hallows– yep, I was one of those teens that was disappointed with this ending. Largely because I didn’t like the copycat elements from Aslan in Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (…plus a whole bunch of other complaints over the years, which made me develop a complicated relationship with Harry Potter). Now, while I still don’t think it’s the perfect ending, I will say I have (just about) reconciled with my old mate Harry Potter. I think I can get on the same page with this ending now… but I’ll never love it.

shadow study

Shadow Study– I loved where the poison study series started, however hated where it ended up. It went from something startlingly unique to just another generic fantasy- and I can’t quite forgive it for that.

final warning maximum ride

The Final Warning– another series that took off and soared to great heights… before ultimately getting shot down and tumbling to its doom. I get the feeling the author had no idea where it was heading- cos this was just blatantly bizarre. Oh, and in this case, I found out this wasn’t the *final* finale… but let’s be real, I’m never going to read on.

ashes to ashes

Ashes to Ashes– another waste of a series where I felt like the promises were left unfulfilled. Unlike the endings I’ve complained about for being too kind, by contrast I felt this was far too much of a punishing end.

inkdeath

Inkdeath– I loved the concept of Inkheart, but this was just not an ending I enjoyed. Fortunately, unlike a lot of the other books on this list, the first book can be enjoyed in its own right as a standalone.

immortal reign

Immortal Reign– this was wayyy too easy an ending. I know it sounds callous (cos it is) but I prefer my endings to feel like they count and this didn’t.

our dark duet

Our Dark Duet– it’s not just super long series that I’ve dedicated my time to that can disappoint- this duology held a lot of promise in the concept, but I did not like where this went. I particularly disliked the shift in villains. Above all, it felt rushed and unsatisfying.

queen of ruin

Queen of Ruin– ditto with this duology. The more I look back on this, the more frustrated I am that this took such a strong start and let it fizzle out. Somehow this simultaneously managed to be both stuffed with fluff and cut to the quick too fast. Worst of all, the character work was lacking. It decidedly ruined the series for me.

And that’s all for now- thankfully! Have you read any of these? Do you agree or disagree? And what series disappointed you by the end? Let me know in the comments!

Series I can’t bring myself to finish and books I cannot bring myself to start!

orangutan list

A long while ago, I saw a fantastic post by Ali over on I Wuv Books about series she cannot bring herself to finish. I was inspired to follow in her footsteps… Only, I have to admit, I don’t have so many open-ended series. It’s not just because I’m a series finisher- but because I’m getting happier to quit series I’m not loving. So, in order that this list has a little more substance, I decided to include books I’m scared to start as well. Time to take it away:

shepherd's crown

Discworld– starting with the big confession (and the big reason I wanted to make this post): I cannot bring myself to finish Discworld. Guys, I basically have Shepherd’s Crown and a couple of others left… and I can’t do it. I’m not emotionally ready for it to be over! In fact, I’ve made up my mind to reread my favourites before I pick up the last one.

final-empire

Mistborn– so, I *loved* Final Empire when I read it a few years back… then instantly heard the second one wasn’t as good. I hesitated to pick it up (partly cos I’d just had an emotionally scarring experience with a different series, where the second one let me down, and the third still wasn’t out…) Now it’s been *ages* and I can’t believe I haven’t finished this series- even though I hear from no end of sources that it ends well! (and I own the rest!) Again, I don’t want to make excuses, but I would rather to reread the first one before making my way to the end.

secret commonwealth

Secret of the Commonwealth– this is another where I’ve heard *not such great things* about it. Plus, the final one isn’t out yet, which makes me slow off the mark (…not that this excuses me much, since I’ve owned this book close to a year now and it’s my very last unread physical book).

goldenhand

Goldenhand– this is a bit of an unusual one, because here Garth Nix resurrected one of *my all time favourite* series. I *adore* Abhorsen, so I would love to savour this addition. Yet, it’s also been such a long while that I think a reread refresher would be helpful! (and also thoroughly enjoyable 😉)

last kingdom

Last Kingdom– I’m really torn about continuing with this series- because while I liked reading the first couple of books, I do feel like I’m enjoying the TV series more and don’t want to read spoilery content. That said, I would like to at least catch up to where the show is at. Plus, what if Netflix cancels it? Then I’ll definitely want to read on!

princess bride

Princess Bride– gosh I love the movie so much, even though I’ve owned the kindle edition for *ages*, and even though the idea of not liking it is inconceivable… I’m still scared to pick it up!

gardens of the moon

The Gardens of the Moon– for this one, it just comes down to the fact that there’s SO MUCH HYPE. I’ve been burned by older fantasy series before and I’m worried I won’t enjoy it… but even more worrying is if I love it, because then there’s a helluva lot of books to get through! #BookwormProblems- amiright?! 😉

And that’s all I’ve got for now! Do you have any series you’re scared to start or finish? Or just books you’ve been putting on the backburner? Let me know in the comments!

Summery Romance Recommendations! Lots of Fun and Fluffy Reads!

orangutan list

Yes, it’s summer (I know, I can’t believe it either!) so that means I’m whipping out some romance books and looking to catch me some sun! (which, fortunately, has its hat on and is coming out to play- even in the UK!)

unhoneymooners

Unhoneymooners– who doesn’t like a bit of hate to love? This book was a trip on a number of levels and had me thoroughly entertained!

worst best man

Worst Best Man– another book I read not long ago, this also features enemies to lovers. And boy does this couple have reasons to dislike each other… which makes it all the more fun!

When Dimple Met Rishi

When Dimple Met Rishi– this is in the hate-to-love vein, since it starts out as quite a one-sided affair. But it certainly heats up over the course of the book!

ps i like you

PS I Like You– this book relied pretty heavily on miscommunication, but let me say this clearly: I really liked this book. It left me with a big, dopey smile on my face.

Sisterhood_of_the_Traveling_Pants_book_cover

Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants– an old ’un, but a good ’un! If you’re craving summery feels, with all kinds of relationships, then this is the series for you! Plus it’ll feed your wanderlust- and on that note…

love and gelato

Love and Gelato– a sweet, summery read set in Italy- this has all the right ingredients for a top-notch romance!

with the fire on high

With Fire on High– speaking of delicious reads, I read this recently and couldn’t get enough of it! I practically devoured this unique contemporary about an aspiring chef!

the boy who steals houses

The Boy Who Steals Houses– as with the last one, this leans a little away from romance, focusing more on family… (luckily though there is still some love in the air and ach-gosh-darn it’s so adorable!!)

second chance summer

Second Chance Summer– I know, I know, I’ve mentioned this book so many times before… that’s just cos it’s such a fab summer’s read! Just make sure you have some tissues handy! And with that in mind…

song-of-achilles

Song of Achilles– oh boy this’ll make you weep. While perhaps not as obviously summery as the other books on this list, I do feel the setting of Ancient Greece and Troy gives it that summer feel. Plus, the romance gets a little heated 😉

heartstopper 1

Heartstopper– and finally ending on something super-cute to cleanse the palate. These graphic novels are a light and delightful romance read!

And that’s all I’ve got for now! Have you read any of these? Do you plan to? And do you have any romance recommendations for me? I’m dying to hear them, so let me know in the comments!

Great books I don’t talk about often- a slightly summery edition!

orangutan list

I don’t know about you, but I tend to go on a lot about the same old favourites again and again, because, well, they’re my favourites. Yet this means I often don’t talk about all the other books I enjoyed. This was one of those Top Ten Tuesday topics that I missed… and am deciding to do months later, cos why not? 😉 It should never be too late to revisit a topic or books you enjoyed- and with that in mind, let’s get right into my first choice:

brideshead revisited

Brideshead Revisited– it’s been a while since I paid a call to Brideshead and that was remiss of me. A nostalgic read, much of the story takes place over a single summer before the onset of war. The novel has a note of both indulgence and impending tragedy.

persepolis

Persepolis– okay, other than the climate of Iran, this doesn’t have much that relates to summer, BUT this memoir set around the revolution and its aftermath is such a powerful book and I definitely don’t talk about it enough!

summer that melted everything

Summer That Melted Everything– another historical setting, this time focusing on the AIDs crisis, the novel has elements of magical realism and an unusual plot. Also, the writing is *on fire*.

summer of impossible things

Summer of Impossible Things– another magical realism story with exquisite prose, this tells the story of leaping across time to save someone you love.

astonishing colour of after

The Astonishing Colour of After– I will admit, this has very rich, purple prose. Yet there is a lot that is *astonishing* about this summery read, as it evokes strong feelings of grief. Plus, it strongly ties culture to character development and world building- which I loved!

bridge to terabithia

Bridge to Terabithia– another book about loss, this is phenomenally moving and great for both children and adults. Also, the imaginative world of Terabithia and the evocative feel of childhood in the story gives me strong summer vibes.

list of cages

List of Cages– I don’t know why, but contemporaries just work for me in the summer. Plus, I’m genuinely surprised I haven’t mentioned this book much before! This was an emotional and beautiful book.

aristotle and dante discover the secrets of the universe

Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe– another beautiful book that I can’t believe I don’t talk about more (I’m actually really shocked about it- cos I’ve not even mentioned it once before). Lyrically written, this coming of age romance definitely gets heated. And it doesn’t hurt that a lot of this takes place in summer- which makes it perfect for this list 😉

what if it's us

What If It’s Us– rom coms also really work for me in summer- and this book is a great one for that! With some fantastic characterisation from both authors and some strong subplots, this delivers on some showstopping cuteness! I will admit this does have a tinge of sadness to it- yet ultimately, I was happy with the ending.

nomad partridge

Nomad– I wanted to end on a more joyous note, which is why I chose this comedic parody of a celebrity going on a ramble… which it’s absolutely the weather for!

And that’s all for now! I’ll definitely come back to this topic- I have so many more to talk about! But for now- I want to know, have you read any of these? Did you enjoy them? And do you also forget to talk about some of the great books you’ve read? Let me know in the comments!

The Very Best Books About Books and Stories Within Stories

orangutan list

One of my absolute favourite tropes in books is stories within stories and today I’m gonna share some of my faves!

NeverendingStory1997Edition

The Neverending Story– I don’t talk about how much I *love* this book often enough. This fantasy does more than take the reader on a journey through a story- it brings life to the idea of falling in love with reading.

fahrenheit-451

Fahrenheit 451– starting with a sizzling read about how books can set you free, this is easily one of the most powerful books I’ve ever read.

guernsey literary and potato peel pie society

Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society– this heartfelt story tells of how books can bring people together in the darkest times.

book thief

The Book Thief– clue’s in the title 😉 One thing I love about this book (and there’s a lot to love) is how it shows the redemptive power of books. What starts as book thievery soon becomes so much more- it becomes a reversal of the quote: “Where they burn books, they will, in the end, burn human beings too”.

shadow of the wind

Shadow of the Wind– this is more than a mystery- it’s a mystery that revolves around a book. A love affair with a book that starts in the Cemetery of Forgotten Books, this is an utterly unique tale that’s perfect for any reader.

broken things

Broken Things– likewise, this is a mystery. Yet, in this case it’s a fundamentally personal story of how you can be bonded through a shared narrative and how you can grow up with an idea. The book itself is woven so tightly with the fictional novel that you’ll scarcely know where one begins and the other ends.

hazel wood

Hazel Wood– another case of a fictional collection of stories, here we get to explore these complex gothic fairy tales. Though written for this book, the Hinterland stories have their own authenticity. They are, in their own right, cleverly constructed and rich in meaning.

ten thousand doors of january

Ten Thousand Doors of January- here, the book within the book has a special purpose. It opens up worlds within worlds. What’s special here is how it adds another layer to an already layered tale. Ultimately, these stories mean more than you might first realise.

eliza and her monsters

Eliza and Her Monsters– I’m changing things up with a web comic that marries fantasy and reality. Eliza is a special book for many reasons- not least the fun illustrations. What I really liked was how this comic allows more themes to enter the story- including mental health awareness and how the internet can collide with the outside world.

radio silence

Radio Silence– in this generation defining book, the fictional show brings thematic depths and creates conflict. It’s a brilliant way to use a story within a story.

words in deep blue

Words in Deep Blue– I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: this is so much more than a regular contemporary. Using references to books, characters grow and connect within the story… leading us to connect with them in turn.

reading lolita in tehran

Bonus: Reading Lolita in Tehran– thinking of other books that bring people together, this memoir talks about a book club in Tehran. I read this recently and really liked both the analyses and how the books can intersect with life experience.

And that’s all for now! What are your favourite stories within stories? What books within books have a special meaning for you? Let me know in the comments!

Worst Bookish Theories Ever!

orangutan list

I’ve read and seen and heard a lot of daft theories over the years. In fact, way back when, I had a whole diatribe against people who say “read between the lines” to defend their shitty not-so-well-substantiated literary theories. Now, I’m quite open-minded about theories in general- but there are a few over the years that I think are beyond ridiculous. Today I thought I’d share some of the most bonkers ones!

bran night king

Bran was a time travelling Night King- to me, this one’s just funny. Aside from just *why* it’s not logical cos the books exist and the Night King’s not a character there. But whatever, I guess for this one you can believe what you want, even if I personally find it a bit silly.

goblins harry potter

J K Rowling is an anti-Semite because the goblins were clearly a symbol for *the Jews*- holyshitholyshitholyshit!!! It’s good I don’t have the provenance of this opinion anymore cos the funny thing is Rowling wasn’t the one being a raging anti-Semite here. The person who saw goblin + bank in a book and added that up to = the Jews is the one being Anti-Semitic. (And yes, there’s a whole bunch of bad Harry Potter theories, but to me this is the worst).

ball pride and prejudice

Darcy and Elizabeth were never in love/never fall in love– someone once had a whole argument with me about this. Look, you’re free to not enjoy their love story and you don’t have to like the book… but they literally confess their love to each other and get married! You have to literally go against canon to believe this!

mercutio

Romeo and Juliet is a comedy– this came from someone trying to be clever (while sounding like an idiot). Again, some interpretation here is valid: after all it’s a tragedy with comic elements. But to take it to the extreme and call it a comedy (when, spoiler alert, they both die in the end) is just ridiculous. Maybe don’t waste everyone’s time with this argument.

shakespeare2

Shakespeare wasn’t Shakespeare– technically this is more of a conspiracy theory than a literary theory, but it’s a very popular one. Unfortunately, some of those people are famous and get a lot of attention for it. As Krysta discussed recently in her review for Contested Will, this is a view often rooted in classism (after all, how could an uneducated actor write these plays?). Yet, having seen people argue all sorts of things for the provenance of Shakespeare, I’d say that this tells you a lot more about the conspiracy theorist than the (if you’re classist, you’ll assume it was a powerful rich guy; if you’re a little too into feminism, you’ll say it was a woman; maybe if you’re too into “Death of the Author”, then you’ll say it was a composite of people… etcetera etcetera… I’ve seen them all!). To me, it’s far from the most important thing about Shakespeare, I just get very suspicious of the people who give this ahistorical point of view credence.

Joanna Baillie

Joanna Baillie wasn’t popular or beloved or remembered because of sexism– nope- she’s just bad. I dare you to read one of her works. Go on- test this theory for yourself. Look, I get where this theory is coming from: there are hidden gems out there that could be included in canon. That said, not everything fits into this vein. Just because Bailey is a woman, doesn’t mean she was overlooked for no good reason (incidentally, there were just fewer literate and educated people, let alone women, so it’s stands to reason that the talent pool was smaller). And even if you don’t agree with me about the quality of her works, the same logic applies: just because something isn’t popular or remembered doesn’t mean there was some nefarious plot. Ultimately, while everyone wants to find the next John Donne, likelihood, all you’re getting is the next George Herbert (and if you’re response to that is who? my point is exactly).

Okay- I obviously don’t agree with these theories- but see if you can convince me otherwise… (or feel to chime in if you think they’re bad too 😉) What bad literary theories have you heard? Let me know in the comments!