So, I swear I’ve been possessed this entire month because nothing else explains the fact that after reading hardly any books this year, I read 18 books this month?! I’d like to think it’s a combination of the Reading Rush, Pride Book Club and pure boredom. I’m super proud of myself and am hoping this continues for the rest of the year. I’ve found some new favourites, did some crying and have almost wanted to throw some books through the window. But anyway, here is what I read this month – Continue reading “Angharad’s July 2019 Wrap Up”
So we have done a post featuring books on feminist fiction that Becky and I actually put together when we were last together so now I thought I’d post an updated list, so to speak. These are all books, mostly non-fiction that were written by some amazing, diverse women so hopefully you find something you want to pick up this month!
Little Leaders: Bold Women in Black History
by Vashti Harrison
Essentially a children’s picture book, this non-fiction book tells the story of forty different black women in American history and how they broke boundaries and inspired change. Featuring some well-known people but focussing more on the lesser-known, Vashti Harrison gives these forgotten but inspirational women a voice. Released December 5th.
by 404 Ink
A collection of essays, interviews and accounts on what it is like to be a woman in the 21st century. Everything from people, politics, pressure and punk and most frighteningly, living in Trump’s America – women share their experiences on sexual assault, racism, pregnancy, contraception and everything in between.
by Naomi Alderman
A sci-fi, dystopian novel that is based on a world in which women can inflict pain with a flick of their fingers. What would happen if the tables were turned? Would women use this power for good or evil? Based on the lives of four women, this thriller explores how their world changes with this newfound power and gender rolls being flipped on their head. Also delving into complicated discussions such as systemic oppression, power, rape culture, gender, and religion.
In Order to Live: A North Korea Girl’s Journey to Freedom
by Yeonmi Park
Written by human rights activist, Yeonmi, her memoir tells the story of her escape from North Korea with her mother in 2007 at the age of thirteen. After two years, she arrived in South Korea and set on becoming ‘free’ but in order to do so, she had to face her past of being sold into slave marriages, finding her missing sister and bringing publicity to the horrors of her former home. This is her survival story.
by Margot Lee Shetterly
Now a movie but originally a novel, this book tells the story of a group of female mathematicians known as the ‘human computers’ who by providing and calculating the right science and numbers, made astronauts able to enter space. These are the women who were forgotten when Neil Armstrong was made a hero. These African-American women were the brightest minds of their generation and this is their untold story.
200 Women: Who Will Change The Way You See the World
by Ruth Hobday
Two hundred everyday women are asked a series of questions in this non-fiction biography. All from different backgrounds, races, sexualities and gender identities, these women answer questions such as ‘what really matters to you?’ and ‘what would you change in the world if you could?’ Each interview is accompanied by a portrait of these inspirational women – human right activists, actors and advocates and the people behind the scenes.
Why God is a Woman
by Nin Andrews
A collection of poetry written about a magical island where women rule (think Themyscira) and men are the lesser sex. It also tells the story of a young boy who after being exiled for not agreeing with their sexist laws, looks back with nostalgia for the place he called home.
by Leni Zumas
A sci-fi novel set in an America where abortion is once again illegal and IVF is banned. In a small town in Oregon, five very different women learn to live in a world with these restrictions surrounding motherhood, identity and freedom. One of the women, Gin, brings these women together when she is arrested and put on trial on a modern-day witch hunt.
So that’s our featured books and hopefully you’ll find something you like or maybe a gift for this Christmas.
Lots of Love,
So now we’ve entered the month of November, we have been brainstorming on different kinds of blog posts we can do coming up to Christmas. Although I’ve got my birthday first, I’ve still got into the festive spirit by researching some bookish gift ideas for friends and family. Although the obvious thing to buy a bookworm would be an actual book, sometimes it’s hard to know which one so at least some of these gifts can cater to lovers of all genres.
1. For the Aspiring WritersOk, so technically these first two items would appeal more to the aspiring writer but seeing as this is also the month of NaNoWriMo, I thought I would definitely add these after seeing them in my local Waterstones. Ready, Set, Novel! is designed to help with the dreaded writer’s block. It guides you through the process of writing – everything from forming your novel’s plot and setting the scene and creating your characters. It is designed to include lists, Q+As and even mind maps so you can pick and choose what activities you complete. 642 Things to Write About is another list-style journal designed to help you find inspiration by writing down prompts such as ‘fixing the plot to the worst movie you’ve ever seen’ and ‘writing a love letter to the person you dislike.’ With a new prompt on each page, it is definitely designed to help you get ideas for your projects.
2. For the Candle Lovers
1. Two Candle Thieves 2. Meraki Candles 3. Hearth & Hammer
4. Book and Glow 5. Alchemy & Ink 6. Wick and Fable
So for those who didn’t know, as well as being book bloggers, Becky and I also own our own bookish candle business called Two Candle Thieves (nothing wrong with a bit of self-promotion.) However, we understand that our candles won’t be for everyone and you may be looking for some bookish candles this Christmas so we have decided to put together a list of our other favourite shops. Of course, there are many more out there but we’ve listed some based in the UK, USA and Europe. Some of these shops (as well as our own) are on a small hiatus but make sure you stay up to date with their products as I guarantee you won’t be disappointed. I do believe all of these candles are Soy based, making them vegan friendly.
3. For Between the Pages
1. TemporaryPlaces 2. Hey Atlas 3. MyBookMark
4. FictionTeaDesigns 5. Ink & Wonder
We couldn’t make this post without including some bookmarks and yes, you can find them anywhere and everywhere but these are some shops that we come across often on social media and we think they deserve all the attention. These bookmarks cover all price ranges and once again, we’ve picked International shops so shipping won’t be a problem. The amount of work and detail these artists put in really do make all the difference and amongst these shops, you will find bookmarks for every fandom. So get marking!
4. For the Book Protectors
Photo by @dragonflyreads
Despite the fact I haven’t yet invested in one of these myself, I have seen them all over Instagram and seen people receive and love theirs so I had to include them. Meet Benita Botello, otherwise known as Book Beau, the designer that creates mini pockets to keep your books and eReaders safe on your travels. They come in so many different designs and are very affordable despite having high-quality materials. We believe these would make an excellent gift (also making it so your friends have no excuse for returning borrowed books in bad condition!)
Website | Instagram
5. For the Bookish Statement Makers
Right – Punky Pins // Left – Literary Emporium
Recently I’ve started adding pins and badges to my leather bag and so of course, I’ve been on the hunt for some bookish ones. These are both UK based shops but they are very affordable. Although Punky Pins specialises in pins (hence the name!) Literary Emporium also sells a wide range of bookish items such as clothing, jewellery and much more.
6. For the Tea Drinkers
Like I could be British and do any gift idea post without adding some tea but this isn’t just any tea, it’s bookish tea! Bookish Teas is a Literary Inspired Tea Shop based in Germany and its creator, Zilan focuses on organic and eco-friendly mixes. You can find tea based on books such as ACOTAR, Six of Crows, The Raven Cycle and many more. Also the blend is customisable – delicious both hot and cold! Riddles Tea Shoppe is a company based in the US and as well as selling tea blends, also creates pins, bookmarks and art prints! As you can tell from the name of the shop, you will find teas based on the magical world of Harry Potter as well as Game of Thrones and others!
And that is it! We hope you find something you like, either for yourself or for a friend and family and all that’s left to say is, happy spending!
Lots of Love,
So it’s time for another set of mini reviews! This time we are focusing on contemporary because for some reason my last three reads have been in this genre despite me not normally visiting it a lot. These are all recent releases (bar one which isn’t released yet) so I’m sure everybody is talking about them but here are my thoughts anyway!
When I was accepted for this on Netgalley, I must admit I shrieked before quickly downloading it and reading it in one sitting (until 2am!) It has all the features of a typical coming-of-age contemporary novel – our protagonist is wondering where to go in life and is also getting closer to her long-term crush. However, Maya Aziz is an Indian-American Muslim and this #ownvoices novel explores the horrific world of Islamophobia and the effect terrorists have on their community. After a local terrorist attack, it is revealed that the supposed bomber was a fellow Muslim with the same surname as Maya and her family – therefore, they are subjected to racism, abuse and violence despite not having any connections. It was shocking and uncomfortable but in all the right ways. It explored the act of terror attacks through the eyes of a teenage Muslim girl which is something I haven’t read before. Maya’s resilience really shone through in this novel, not just through the hate that she endures but also standing up against her parents to pursue her love of filmmaking. This book isn’t released until January 16th, 2018 but I’d definitely recommend picking it up as soon as you’re able to.
It is no secret that I am a HUGE fan of Holly Bourne so as soon as I saw this book, I dived on it. Quite literally. Bourne’s previous series (The Spinster Club) remains in my all time top favourites and the one thing I concluded after reading them is that her books should be required reading in secondary schools and after reading her newest release, I stand by that statement even more. Holly takes the idea of a cliche, romance, contemporary novel and turns it on its head by being a brave author! She writes girls who talk about periods, she writes girls who are feminists and proud, she writes girls who don’t compete against each other. In this book, our main character, Audrey and her friend, Alice even have a discussion about losing your virginity and how it isn’t supposed to hurt (which it isn’t!) and how there shouldn’t be a lot of blood (there shouldn’t) and it should be pleasurable for the girl just as much as the guy! I will even admit now that I had no sex-ed classes in school (we had ten minutes of dildo throwing and that was it) so if I had come across this book when I was a young teen, it would have blown my mind because I didn’t know this stuff!! Adding to all this, the story was amazing, the humour was bang on as normal and I just think this is super important for younger teens!
I must admit that I wasn’t going to pick this book up but after seeing it getting a few high reviews (and it being half price in my local bookshop) I thought I’d give John Green another chance. I didn’t know anything about this book and I just hoped it wasn’t all about turtles (but of course the title is another ‘metaphor.’) Despite everything, this book for me was pretty run of the mill and as ever, John Green’s teenagers continue to have very unrealistic conversations. I’m not saying teenagers can’t have deep and meaningful conversations, but all of his characters speak the same and therefore, merge into one. Another disappointment was the ‘plot.’ It is pretty much a mystery/missing person case that gets forgotten about for most of the novel. Maybe it’s because I’m a huge fan of crime cases, both real and fictional, but it just all seemed unnecessary to me. However, the one thing that stood out to me was the mental illness rep. Our main character, Aza (yes there’s a meaning behind her name), has an OCD and anxiety disorder and also displays self-harm tendencies so beware of trigger warnings. Aza experiences a lot of invasive thoughts that I found to be very realistic as I live with mental illness myself. Overall, I have a lot more thoughts about this book but I’ll keep this to the mini review it is supposed to be.
Have you read any of these? If so, what were your thoughts?
Let us know in the comments!
Lots of Love,
“Few things leave a deeper mark on a reader than the first book that finds its way into his heart.”
After the first part of this post was a hit (much to our surprise!) and bloggers have since contacted us asking if they could take part if we made a second post, we have decided to go for it! Just like before, we’ve asked book bloggers and authors to tell us one book that has changed or influenced their lives in some way, a few reasons why and we will also provide a link to their blog/websites. We hope you enjoy!
Mud Vein by Tarryn Fisher evoked emotions and feelings I didn’t even know my bodywas capable of. On top of the beautiful story, important topics, and being one of the most lyrically written books I’ve ever read, this book taught me how important it is to balance your darkness but remembering to still let your light in, even if you need someone to help you let it in. Mud Vein is not a love story, but it is a story about love and all the dark parts of love that people don’t like to talk about. Yet, those dark parts we harbor inside of us are still valid, and important, and life changing.
The book that changed my life was Looking For Alaska by John Green because I’ve never felt more understood by a story. It asks major questions I’ve often wondered about myself and really assured me that I wasn’t alone in my thoughts and feelings.
I really hate reading novels when I was in high school but when my bff told me to read I read it. And now all I want to read is to collect and read all the books out there. So the book made me the reader that I am today. I recommend it cause the story has moral lessons and it is good for people who have bffs. The book also teach you how important friends are.
The book The Border changed my life-or more accurately, how I view my life. It’s about teens who illegally immigrate to the US. Nothing is more important than empathy. I will never again look at an immigrant-legal or otherwise- in the same way.
The book that changed my life is It Ends With Us by Colleen Hoover. It changed my perspective in life in a whole different level. Her book tells about bravery, loving and accepting yourself. Actually mosts of Colleen Hoover has a big impact in my life but It Ends With Us stands out.
Book of Ernest Cline, Ready Player One has changed my life. Because it shows me the things that 80s do have good year and songs and games that are too good to reminisce and bring back. Be flood with oldies tracks and play the classics, fundamental to what modern improvements we had right now. Though, the virtual reality thing that portrays in the book is the best scifi idea I want to be realistically invented in the near future. You should read this if you got a knack in classic games and 80s songs.
My book is Reasons to Stay Alive by Matt Haig, it helps me because it made me realise that I’m not alone in suffering with mental health. It gave me hope that it does get better, and the light at the end of the tunnel exists! It also has some beautiful quotes in that I remember on every tough day.
The book that changed my life was When Breath Becomes Air. I know most bookworms are absolutely in love with this book because of the gorgeous and captivating writing style, and it was definitely why I dropped a few tears here and there whilst reading it. But I could personally relate to Dr. Kalanithi’s struggle when he was trying to find answers and life meaning in Literature but could only find them in Medicine. I’ve just started out university and this book was a main factor in changing my mind about working in the medical field.
The book that changed my life was Dragon Rider by Cornelia Funke: and the reason it changed my life was because it was the reason I got into fantasy and more advanced books, basically.
Warbreaker by Brandon Sanderson – 1. the book was available for free on Wattpad, because the author wanted to try and release a book, hoping it’d entice readers to check out his other works. In my case, it worked. Not only did I enjoy that book – and many others by him – but I also learned quite a bit about writing from looking at his revised drafts with notes (available in his website) 2. It was also the first time I saw a quote that equally scared and soothed me. “You see, the great thing about madness is that it’s all in your head.” For someone struggling with mental health problems, this was a reminder that I was in control. I’d recommend it because it’s an epic tale of two sisters, magic, adventure and love.
The book that changed my life was An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir, and the Ember series as a whole. I owe a lot to Ember, It was the book that got me back into reading after way too long of falling out of love with it. After hearing about this book, I immediately fell in love with the story and the characters, I was obsessed, and I still am. I’m also so thankful for it because it introduced me to the YA blogging and instagram community, where I have met so many amazing people. I really could never thank Sabaa Tahir enough for her amazing series that continue to inspire me.
The chronicles of St Mary’s series by Jodi Taylor. Just one damn thing after another. The book is about a strong female character who becomes a kickass tea-loving time traveller and historian. I think everyone needs to read this series because it’s under appreciated and I just really need more people to fan girl over it with.
Though many books have been influential in my life, Uprooted has probably had the biggest impact in my reading because it was the first fantasy novel that completely enchanted me with its magic and writing, and made me discover many more incredible fantasies. It’s a very special book and I wouldn’t be reading a lot of fantasy right now had I not read that book.
And that’s all for this feature! We have loved receiving these from our blogger friends and hope to do a few more of these posts in the future! Let us know if you want to be involved but for now, we hope you like this edition and find something you like!
Lots of Love,
Angharad & Becky @
“Bad fates do not always follow those who deserve them.”
I have never been one for fairytale stories. I spent my childhood years reading both the Goosebumps series (seriously what happened to those books??) and any crime thriller that my mother brought home from the library and because of this, my knowledge of them is shaky. I just know majority of them take place in the woods. However, when I found out that my favourite author was writing a collection of fairytales with the ‘dark’ edge only Leigh Bardugo can create and they take place in the Grishaverse, I preordered the hell out of it. I was not disappointed.
The collection is split into six tales and each is paired with its own beautiful, amazing illustrations – both as page decorations and a final art spread at the end of each story. Despite loving them all, my favourite would have to be a tie between Ayama and the Thorn Wood & When Water Sang Fire and my least favourite was Little Knife. Like Leigh states in her author’s note, these stories are loosely based on the fairytales that we all know but despite their dark tones, they are more realistic – the idea that the prince isn’t always the good guy and what makes a monster a monster? Another theme that I found to be very strong throughout these tales was Leigh’s feminist beliefs. This book was full of so many diverse and complex female characters and female friendships. Classic tales such as The Little Mermaid and The Nutcracker are turned on their heads and reimagined in new and spectacular ways and despite being short stories, they were still full of twists and turns and you never knew who was going to be the hero or villain of the story. What was constant, however, was the message that each story contained. You can just imagine our beloved Grisha characters reading these stories as children and growing up with their messages instilled.
Overall, I think I never fell in love with fairytales because they never seemed real enough – even to my young mind. As we all unfortunately learn, life isn’t a fairytale, the bad guy isn’t always the bad guy and the hero isn’t always what they seem and this little collection that I will cherish for years to come just shows that. These stories cater to the people who look just that bit deeper into these stories and see the darkness that peeks from within. What if the children didn’t wander from the path and find danger but actually find solace? What if the monster was actually the victim and the prince only thought of his greed? What happened to the girls who chose their own destiny over those that were decided for them? All of these questions are answered within the pages of The Language of Thorns and they are all brought to life by Sara Kipin’s illustrations. Truly a full five stars from me.
Unlike Angharad, I have always absolutely adored fairytales (although, especially these days, I do tend to root for the villain – even when I know what’s going to happen to them). Leigh states in her author’s note that the six stories in The Language of Thorns are inspired by fairytales that are known around the world, but turned on their heads – and I have to say, I was way more invested in Leigh’s versions of these classic tales.
My favourites were also Amaya and the Thorn Wood – a story which took inspiration from Beauty and the Beast and to an extent, A Thousand and One Nights, it focused on the ideas behind what makes someone a monster; and When Water Sang Fire, an absolutely enchanting story inspired by The Little Mermaid (and also a sort of origin story for one of my favourite villains – and featuring another of my favourite villains, but I won’t say any more on that). I also really liked The Too Clever Fox and The Witch of Duva (a retelling of Hansel and Gretel) which both included clever twists that I definitely didn’t anticipate.
I would say that the underlying theme throughout all six stories is definitely the idea of what makes a villain evil, what makes them monstrous, and it was definitely all about looking beyond outward appearances to the monster hidden beneath the princely face or the seemingly caring father figure. The stories in The Language of Thorns are how fairytales should be written in a feminist world that understands that happy endings aren’t all that they seem, that the hero of the story isn’t always beautiful, and that those who are called monstrous are often not the ones you need to fear. I absolutely adored this anthology of fairytales set in one of my favourite fictional worlds, and honestly would opt to read these to my future children over the classics that they’re based around.
What did you think of this collection?
Let us know in the comments!
To play along you just had to answer the following three questions:
What did you recently finish reading?
What are you currently reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?
I was kindly sent I Danced With Sorrow through email but its very talented author, Alicia Wright. It is a collection of short-verse poetry split into five sections that explore heartbreak, abuse and finally, liberation and is very reminiscent of Milk and Honey and Salt. Some were short and to the point and raw and others flowed lyrically and they all came together, almost like a tale. I’d definitely recommend this collection of poetry either if you are new to the genre or a frequent reader of it. It is clear that Alicia put her heart and soul into this book and I’m honoured to have been given the chance to read it.
I must admit that Sleeping Beauties was both a cover-buy (I got the exclusive edition from Tescos that also has an engraved front cover) and the fact that it was written by Stephen King. Despite not having a read a lot of his books, there’s a reason everybody knows his name and this time he is joined by his son. This is a very loose retelling of the Sleeping Beauty tale – in this world, an epidemic is causing women to fall asleep and enter cocoon-like states. This book is filled with characters and luckily, isn’t just about men running about being men but also about all these different types of women – criminals, mothers, police officers. I’m about half way through so far and despite it being a huge block of a book (700+ pages,) it is incredibly enthralling.
Yes, you may be wondering what decade I’m in to have Fahrenheit 451 as my next read and where have I been for the past few years but I just haven’t got around to it. However, lately my local Waterstones has had a display dedicated to this book so I just went for it. I probably don’t have to tell you guys the synopsis of this classic but it just tells the story of a fireman whose job it is to burn books as they are forbidden in this world. My idea of hell, thank you very much. I’m sure I’ll love it as much as everybody else does so I’m super excited to get into it.
What are you guys currently reading? Let me know in the comments.
Lots of love,