The Mid-Year Book Freakout Tag!

So this post was originally going to be a June wrap-up but after writing and rewriting the post about five times, I decided that I’m just not up to it. However, I managed to read thirteen books – eight physical and five eBooks (because I finally bought a Kobo!) I haven’t been tagged to do this but I’ve seen it all over Booktube and the wonderful Taryn’s blog so I thought I’d give it a shot anyway. 

1. THE BEST BOOK YOU’VE READ SO FAR IN 2017?
This was so difficult as I’ve hit the halfway mark with my reading challenge (50 out of 100 books!) so I’ve had to choose two. From the start of the year, my favourite has to be The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas and my most recent favourite is Ragdoll by Daniel Cole. Both completely different – one a YA contemporary and the other a Crime Thriller but both have stayed with me to this day.

2. YOUR FAVOURITE SEQUEL OF 2017

Try and stop me using this book for the answer to every question though. This is the final book in the Shades of Magic series by V.E. Schwab and woah, didn’t it half end with a bang. This series has just been magical and diverse and funny and Lila and Rhy will forever be two of my favourite characters. I miss this world all the time! 
3. A NEW RELEASE YOU HAVEN’T READ BUT WANT TO


I have wanted this book from the second it was announced and now that it is finally out, I’ve got a TBR the size of a small child so I can’t get to it yet. However, it is getting amazing reviews so I may have to bump it up further. It is an incredibly diverse sci-fi novel which is exactly up my street so I encourage you guys to check it out too!


4. MOST ANTICIPATED RELEASE FOR THE SECOND HALF OF THE YEAR


Yes, I am SO excited for Warcross by Marie Lu and 27 Hours by Tristina Wright but I would be lying if I didn’t say this amazing book right here wasn’t what I was most excited for. Not only is this a Wonder Woman story but it’s also written by one of my all time favourite authors. There’s a 99.9% I had a heart attack when it was announced. It will be released on August 29th!



5. YOUR BIGGEST DISAPPOINTMENT

A lot of books were a disappointment this year but I think you have to choose one that you had high hopes for and for me, it was Flame in the Mist. I didn’t watch a lot of Disney movies when I was younger but the one I loved above all else was Mulan and to hear this was a retelling made me so happy. Although the book wasn’t terrible, it has problems with cultural and historical inaccuracies and bi-erasure. 

6. BIGGEST SURPRISE OF THE YEAR


This was a surprise for me because the one genre I’ve never really read has been memoirs/non-fiction. However, I picked this up because of the blurb and the fact that it was being sold for very cheap in a local supermarket. When I finished this book, I probably cried for about ten minutes and immediately started researching other popular memoirs on Goodreads. It surprised me how much I was invested in a story that was real life and I also come away with a line that stays with me to this day – “I can’t go on. I’ll go on.”



7. FAVE NEW TO YOU OR DEBUT AUTHOR

Ok, for this I’m going to choose Seanan McGuire who I discovered after reading Every Heart a Doorway. I just instantly fell in love with not just her twisted take on fairytales but also her imaginative and diverse writing. Definitely an author I’m going to keep up to date with.


8. YOUR NEW FICTIONAL CRUSH

I don’t really develop crushes on characters and if I do, I haven’t developed one this year but one of my newest loves is definitely Jessica from Not Your Sidekick. I just think she’s amazing and the hero of her own story and just somebody I’d want in my life so she’s getting this trophy. Sorry, Abby.

9. NEW FAVOURITE CHARACTER

 

I’m going to have to choose Molly from The Upside of Unrequited. She has just managed to stand out for me – she’s kind, very good at baking and is an avid fan of Pinterest. I think she’s just somebody you’d love to have as a friend. She’s written brilliantly, has amazing humour and is just a character I missed as soon as I finished the book.


10. A BOOK THAT MADE YOU CRY

I think 99.9% of people who read this book got tears. I’m not kidding. This book isn’t fun to read. It’s heavy and heartbreaking and be aware of triggers for pretty much everything – suicide, self-harm, abuse. There’s nothing ‘little’ about A Little Life so don’t go into this expecting a light-hearted read. 

11. A BOOK THAT MADE YOU HAPPY
This trilogy is bound to make anyone happy. It’s light-hearted, fun and just generally cute. Lara Jean is a likeable and relatable character, there is a strong family dynamic especially between the Song sisters and the story lines are typical coming-of-age issues. They are just books you can fly through in one sitting and just have your heart warmed by its contents.


12. FAVE BOOK TO MOVIE ADAPTATION YOU’VE SEEN THIS YEAR

I haven’t actually seen one? I’m not the hugest fan of book to movie adaptations anyway but there’s none I can think of this year.


13. FAVE BOOK POST PUBLISHED THIS YEAR
I’m super proud of a lot of posts we’ve made this year, especially our diverse recommendations but my favourite has to be our post featuring books with bisexual characters which you can find here. We’ve since posted a part II here.


14. MOST BEAUTIFUL BOOK YOU’VE BOUGHT/RECEIVED

So my initial choice would have been The Tiger’s Daughter because I fell in love with that cover art as soon as I saw it but I don’t technically own it as I read the ARC from Netgalley. So if I had to choose one I do own, I’d choose the Russian fairytale The Bear and the Nightingale. Like most books, this has different editions but each one manages to be stunning! 



15. WHAT ARE SOME BOOKS YOU NEED TO READ BEFORE THE END OF THE YEAR?


So, in reality, the answer to this question would be the entirety of my TBR which is, no exaggeration, the size of a fridge but these are the five that have already been released and that I want to get around to reading ASAP. I’ve got some fantasy, crime thriller, sci-fi and contemporary so I think this is a good mix.

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And that’s the tag. I tag everybody who reads this to do this tag, whether it’s on their blog or Youtube channel. Especially the bloggers who are just starting out! I’m happy with the way my reading is going this year – I have delved into the world of non-fiction and gone back to my favourite genre growing up which was crime fiction. Can’t wait to see what the rest of the year brings in terms of reading!
Love Angharad @

Mini Reviews (June 2017)

I’ve been struggling with writing reviews lately. Although I can have a lot of thoughts about a book, sometimes I find it difficult to express them all in review form. Sometimes I feel as though I don’t have anything exciting to say but still want you guys to hear my opinions. So I’ve come up with a new idea of creating posts that feature my latest reads, including some mini reviews. The good, the bad and the overall rather than including the synopsis, background, etc. So without further ado, here are my latest four reads and what I thought about them in a few sentences.
Goodreads | Book Depository

The Couple Next Door by Shari Lapena

This may be weird to admit, but the first book genre I fell in love with as a child was crime thrillers purely because that is what my mother read so the house was full of them! I picked this book up on a whim in Brighton train station and completed it during the journey. Although it was addictive (as most crime-thrillers are) and I did read it in one sitting, the big reveal/ending/plot-twist kind of fell flat for me and it’s something I called from the beginning. However, considering this is a debut novel, I think there is definitely potential for the author’s future works.
Goodreads | Book Depository
One Of Us Is Lying by Karen M. McManus

So this book is marketed as being like The Breakfast Club but with murder and for those who may not know, that is one of my favourite movies and I love a good murder mystery. This book had huge pros such as the relationship that forms between the members of the ‘Murder Squad,’ especially between ‘Queen Bee’ Addy and the ‘Brains,’ Bronwyn. However, I didn’t like the addition of somebody’s sexuality being a spoiler and once again, the big reveal just made me feel unsatisfied and felt very rushed. I wanted a huge twist. However, loved the Breakfast Club vibes and the characters themselves. Overall, a three star read for me.
Goodreads
The Tiger’s Daughter by K. Arsenault Rivera


To say I loved this book is an understatement. After being accepted for it on Netgalley (god bless) and finishing it within a day with tears in my eyes, I’ve since been trying my hardest to get a physical ARC copy just so I can hold it. No lies. Beautiful, atmospheric, full of magic and mythology but the standout is the relationship between Shefali and Shizuka, the two girls who were destined to spend their lives together. I felt as though I went on the journey with the two girls, their love came bounding off the pages to the point that I could feel like I was intruding. This book comes out on October 3rd and I would encourage you all to preorder because it is worth it.

The Suffragettes 

This book is not only about the amazing Suffragettes, our ancestors who fought for women to have a voice but it was also a £1 and it’s so cute, it’s literally pocket size. This book is filled (I say filled, it’s around 40 pages long) with news articles, speech transcripts, propaganda and memorabilia from the years of the Suffragettes. It isn’t anything special and probably doesn’t tell you anything you don’t already know but it is still an informative read, especially for those who want a basic understanding of what these women faced. 


What have you guys read lately and what has been your favourite?
Love from Angharad @

May Wrap Up II

* Becky’s Reads *

So I felt as though this was quite a slow reading month for me (mostly because I had my final deadlines for my degree, got into a bit of a slump and somehow spent four weeks finishing one book?) but I definitely read some books that I really enjoyed throughout May!




The Ship Beyond Time by Heidi Heilig


Although it took me almost a month to read this (I’m not exactly sure what happened there?) I really loved this book and I think I’d even say that I preferred it to the first one! I have always loved both mythology and history, so a world that includes them both is absolutely perfect for me. The world-building was absolutely lush, to the extent that I could almost smell the sea breeze purely from descriptions, or imagine that I was walking through the streets of modern-day New York (a city that I’ve never visited). 




To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han

So as it’s coming up to the summer, I was in the mood for a light contemporary read and after hearing about this series, I thought it would be perfect. It’s a quick read with important family dynamics, a diverse main character (Korean/American) and a whole lot of baking goodness. I quickly finished the rest of the series within a few days and I can safely say that I recommend it. 




Flame in the Mist by Renee Ahdieh

This book was definitely a mixed bag for me. The first half of the book took me a while to get into, I wasn’t too invested with the plot or the romance but then the second half definitely improved to the point I gave this book four stars. However, since reading it, we have read some mixed reviews from Own Voice readers such as problems with bi-erasure and inaccuracies with Japanese history. We will be posting a full review soon!




When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon

Although this was a fast read, I really enjoyed it! It has a diverse cast, it is really lighthearted, cute and fun but at the same time touched on important issues. Dimple wasn’t a typical YA contemporary protagonist and I loved learning about all of the Indian traditions. I’m just excited for whatever this amazing author releases next!



A Court of Wings and Ruin by Sarah J. Maas

Although I thought ACOWAR wrapped up the trilogy really well (I definitely cried more than once) for the most part I was so happy with how things turned out, there are a couple of issues that needed discussing with this book (such as biphobia and ace phobia.) However, without overlooking these issues, I did really enjoy ACOWAR and have loved this series so much as a whole. I think in the future, Sarah J. Maas definitely needs to focus on bringing more diversity to her worlds and stop describing penises as ‘velvet steel.’
So that was my reading month! I’m looking forward to the month of June (and not just because I’m going on holiday.) What was your favourite read this month?
Love Becky @

Our May Wrap Up!

* Angharad’s Reads *

So after months and months of not doing a wrap-up and being caught up with our new business, we’ve decided to stop abandoning this blog (yay!) Although I’m behind on my reading challenge at the moment, I read more books this month than I thought I did! Some let me down but I also found another all time favourite so it was worth it. So without further ado, here’s the books I read this month and what I thought about them. 

A Dance with Dragons 2: After the Feast by George R.R. Martin

So I’ve finally caught up with the ASOIAF series! This isn’t a quick read series or even a happy series (it has more death than a graveyard) but the amount of magic and world building in these books is hard to beat. I don’t watch the show anymore but these books more than make up for it! The unfortunate thing about catching up is that I now have to wait like everyone else for the next book. Wish me luck.

The Princess Saves Herself in this One by Amanda Lovelace

I have wanted to pick up this book of poetry for ages and then a miracle happened when I won a copy in a giveaway! I follow Amanda on Twitter and she seems like the most beautiful person so I just knew this would come across in her book. Her poems are raw and real, heartbreaking but beautiful. As the title suggests, this is the story of a princess who saves herself, a damsel who becomes queen, a girl who picks herself up. I also loved the size of this book as poetry books can definitely be too sparse. 
P.S. I Still Love You & Always and Forever, Lara Jean by Jenny Han

The second and third instalment in the Lara Jean trilogy. I read the first book in April after hearing about it being a cute little contemporary with a Korean American protagonist and it didn’t disappoint. They are your typical coming-of-age stories but with beautiful scenes between Lara and her family as she deals with future plans and a more than complicated love life. I would definitely recommend this series as they are quick and perfect for the summer. 

Idiot Verse by Keaton Henson

For those who didn’t know, Keaton Henson is a very talented singer/songwriter who also happens to do a bit of art and poetry on the side. When I heard about this book, I ordered it immediately and finished it in just a few minutes (it’s very short and a few pages are dedicated to his own illustrations.) Despite being a huge fan of his, unfortunately this book of poetry just didn’t resonate with me but don’t let this put you off as I believe poetry is subjective and others may love it! Plus, look at that cover art.
Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel

I am a HUGE sucker for post apocalyptic stories even though they have been done almost to death (har har.) This book has been on my shelves for about a year and the other day I decided to pick it up and ended up reading it in one sitting and it has become a new favourite of mine. This isn’t an action-packed novel, it hardly even has a plot but it is about the characters and how they have survived and kept going since the world ‘ended.’ It shows how humanity rebuilds and how nature reclaims its domain and this is everything I’ve been looking for in a book.

A Jarful of Moonlight by Nazanin Mirsadeghi

We were sent this small book of poetry in exchange for an honest review.  The book is split into five parts with a small poem on each page but by the end, they come together to form a story of love, heartbreak and grief. For me, my end review is a bit of a mixed bag. Some poems resonated with me, some didn’t and some reminded me of poems I’ve read before, either by other authors or on Tumblr. Our full review here!



Flame in the Mist by Renee Ahdieh 

I have been highly anticipating this read since hearing about it and the reason for that is because as a person who didn’t watch a lot of disney films as a child, the one I loved more than anything with Mulan. And what’s this? A Mulan retelling! Unfortunately, for reasons that will be discussed in a future review, I was left disappointed. Although it was very atmospheric and I enjoyed the main character, there were problems with bi-erasure amongst other things. However, if I could rate the book on cover alone it would be a full five stars.



Girl A

This is a memoir written by the victim who stopped the infamous Rochdale sex ring. Remaining anonymous, ‘Hannah’ tells the story of the abuse she, and other young girls, suffered at the hands of older men which for many years was ignored by social services and the police force. I decided to pick this up after watching the BBC drama, Three Girls and even after finishing it, I feel it is a book I can’t rate. It’s harrowing, it’s difficult and it’s a story that never should have to be told, especially by a young girl. 








So that is all my reads for the month of May. It was a mixed month but I read a lot more than I thought I did and I’m looking forward to June as I have a few books I’m so excited for. 
What did you guys read? What was your favourite?
Love Angharad @

A Jarful for Moonlight by Nazanin Mirsadeghi



Huge thanks to Bahar Books Publishing for this copy.
 
 
A Jarful of Moonlight is a collection of short love poems. For me, poetry books can be hit or miss but that is only because poetry is subjective, it either makes you feel something or it doesn’t. However, I am always open-minded. The book is split into five parts with a small poem on each page but by the end, they come together to form a story of love, heartbreak and grief. 
For me, my end review is a bit of a mixed bag. Some poems resonated with me, some didn’t and some reminded me of poems I’ve read before, either by other authors or on Tumblr. I don’t know if Nazanin was heavily inspired by other works but I saw a lot of familiarity. I read the book in around ten minutes but it is easily a book you can pick up again or use to mark your favourite poems. I would recommend this collection if you’re a fan of love poems in general or Milk and Honey by Rupi Kaur and Salt by Nayyirah Waheed. 
 
 
 
 
Goodreads | Amazon
 
 
 

 

 
To conclude, I am assuming this is the author’s first collection of poetry and because of this, I would give it around 3 stars! It is always hard to rate poetry as your experiences with it may be the complete opposite from somebody else’s. However, for me, only one or two poems stuck out to me. It’s clear that Nazanin is a gifted poet and her poems easily depict the feeling of love and self-discovery. I hope she continues to bare her soul to us through her poetry and I would definitely pick it up. 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Love,

Two Candle Thieves

So if you are a fan of our blog, not only are you the bee’s knees but you also may have been wondering where we’ve been. Well, Becky and I (pretty much on a whim) decided to start up our own bookish candle business! Yes, there are quite a few out there but we are still building up our name and hoping to distinguish ourselves from the others out there (who are amazing because we now know how much work goes into it!!) During a conversation in which we both realised we hadn’t seen a bookish candle dedicated to Inej from the Six of Crows duology, Two Candle Thieves was born. I had made candles in the past myself and Becky is good at the ol’ Photoshop so it was us against the world of wax. Despite only having our shop since February this year, it has received so much praise, support and sales that we are overwhelmed every single day. We only use natural products (vegan-friendly) and at the moment, our candles come in 190ml jars! We also use our own photos for our labels. So without further ado, here are some photos of our current products and links to where you can find us.
Our Welcome to Weep candle inspired by Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor. This has scents of bergamot, green tea, lemon, raspberry and more. Found here.

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Our Blood Shrike candle inspired by Helene Aquilla from The Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir. This has scents of amber, vanilla and cloves. Found here.
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Our True Story candle dedicated to Karou from A Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor. This has scents of fresh roses, cedar wood and cinnamon. Found here.
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Our Stars Eternal/Night Triumphant candles are sold as a pair and limited stock. Dedicated to Feyre and Rhysand from A Court of Wings and Ruin by Sarah J. Maas. Stars has scents of jasmine, pine and amber. Night has scents of sea breeze, citrus and lavender. 
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Our High Lady & High Lord of the Night Court candle inspired by A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas has hints of lilac, jasmine and sea breeze which will transport you straight to Velaris. Found here.
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Our Thief at Sea candle inspired by Lila Bard from the Shades of Magic trilogy by V.E. Schwab. This has scents of freshly cut roses, sea breeze and gunpowder to transport you alongside our favourite cross-dressing pirate. Found here.
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Our White Wolf candle inspired by Adelina from the Young Elites trilogy by Marie Lu. As well as having scents of dark fruits, jasmine and sea breeze, this candle’s label also features a photo of my husky, Jayden! Found here. 
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The candle that started it all! The Wraith is inspired by Inej Ghafa from the Six of Crows duology. It has scents of warm cinnamon, burning amber and fresh breeze. Found here.

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Our Liesl & the Goblin Grove candle is inspired by Wintersong by S. Jae-Jones. It has scents of pine, snow and citrusy Goblin fruits. Found here.
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And that is our shop! We have a lot more candles planned for the future, including one inspired by the Lara Jean trilogy and the women of A Song of Ice and Fire! If you go to our shop, you will also see that our newest venture is vinyl stickers which are only £1! So once again, thank you all so much for the support and we hope you love our candles as much as we do! 
Love,

Diverse Recs: Books with Trans Characters

Goodreads | Book Depository


If I Was Your Girl by Meredith Russo

We follow the story of Amanda, a transgender girl who goes to live with her father. She falls in love, makes new friends and learns to love the body she should have been born with. The novel switches between present day and flashbacks all the way through Amanda’s childhood to her attempted suicide and finally, her transition. This is a YA contemporary with all our much-loved themes but having it told by a transgender woman makes the story so much more relevant.







Goodreads | Book Depository

Dreadnought by April Daniels

Dreadnought is the first book in the Nemesis series by April Daniels. We follow the story of Danielle, a superhero who just happens to be transgender. This is a world where superheroes are a part of everyday life and when Danny is confronted by a dying Dreadnought, one of the world’s best superheroes, it isn’t long until her life is completely changed when with his dying breath, he gives her his powers and changes her from the boy she was born into the girl she has always been. Faced with her new appearance and blossoming superpowers, Danielle is drawn into the world of heroes and villains alongside her fellow class-member/masked vigilante, Sarah/Calamity as they work together to stop Utopia, a super-villain hell bent on controlling the world. 






Goodreads | Amazon


When the Moon Was Ours by Anna-Marie McLemore


This beautiful magic-realism story follows the story of a lost girl who has roses growing from her wrists and Sam, a transgender boy with a Pakistani heritage whose culture is explored through his paintings. Sam and his mother have always followed the practice of Bacha posh, the cultural practice in Afghanistan and Pakistan of families without sons picking one of their daughters to live and behave as a boy, in order to accept his identity. Although this book is heavily metaphorical and magical, it still manages to deal with many intense issues – such as gender and race. Overall, this is the story of the friendship between Sam and Miel.





Goodreads | Amazon



George by Alex Gino

A middle-grade novel incorporating what it means to be transgender and how it is manifested in children. When people look at George, they see a boy but inside, she knows she’s not. Despite the heavy issues, this book being narrated by 10 year old George allows it to remain a lighthearted and heartwarming, especially George’s blossoming friendship with Kelly who accepts her without question. Female pronouns are used throughout the entire book and during one scene, George renames herself as Melissa and from that point on, that is her name. I think it’s so important to have a middle-grade novel that focuses on the positivity of a trans character and the acceptance that should always be in their lives.








Goodreads | Amazon


Peter Darling by Austin Chant

Beautiful cover? Check. Beautiful story? Check. Own Voices? Check. Diversity? Double check. Just checks everywhere for this amazing retelling of Peter Pan. Despite (unfortunately) being quite short, this story definitely packs a punch as we follow the story of Pan who returns to Neverland after resigning to live his life as Wendy Darling. However, growing up has only fuelled his true identity as a boy. Coming back to the Lost Boys who have now become men and his old rival, Captain Hook isn’t what Pan expected. What is extra unexpected is the attraction he now feels towards Hook leaving a new question, who the real villain is. This book is cute and fun and Pan and Hook could have been SO toxic but Austin nailed it. Definitely pick up this adorable retelling!







Goodreads | Book Depository


Every Heart a Doorway by Seanan McGuire

This young-adult fantasy novella is packed full of diversity despite being so small. Our main character is asexual (whose identity is confirmed and discussed), there is a trans boy whose identity is discussed in a wonderful and fascinating way and there are also secondary characters, one of Japanese descent and the other is Latino. This story takes place in a home for ‘wayward children’ and all is seemingly normal, except for the disappearing children who end up in magical lands. Heartbreakingly beautiful, reminiscent of Narnia and yet jam-packed with diversity. Despite the trans character being a secondary character, his identity is still treated with respect so we thought it was worthy to mention in this list. Also, the sequel Down Among the Sticks and Bones is out in June!



Goodreads | Book Depository





Not Your Sidekick by C.B. Lee

Upon delving into the world of book Twitter, you will probably come across this novel almost immediately. A superhero story packed with diverse characters including a bisexual Chinese-Vietnamese main character, a lesbian love interest and a trans boy called Bells whose identity is only confirmed when he is casually asked about his binder. The best news? The sequel, Not Your Villain, gives us Bells as our main character! This series is set in a world where superpowers are the norm but who is to say that they are more powerful than their sidekicks? This book is fun, full of the good kind of tropes but most of all, full of diversity. Also, who wouldn’t want that cover on their shelves?






Lots of love,
Angharad @