Tuesday, 12 October 2021

Review on The Peculiar Tale of the Tentacle Boy

 




Marina Minnow loves to tell stories. The only problem is her friends never believe her, even when the stories are true! Living in a small seaside town means Marina rarely has adventures of her own, that is until she explores the old abandoned pier and finds William, a boy who has tentacles for hair and crab claws for hands! When Marina tells her new friends about William, they think he is just another one of her stories, but that all changes when William washes up on the beach. Marina must do her best to help William find the fisherman who looked after him before mysteriously disappearing and help him fit in. However, not everyone is ready to welcome him with open arms, and his very life could end up in jeopardy if he stays.

I was originally meant to be on the blog tour for this book, but unfortunately, I wasn’t able to take part due to a family emergency. However, even though this is super late, I still wanted to review this book as I adored it! The book follows Marina, a young girl who loves to tell stories. Growing up in a small fishing village, there really isn’t much for Marina to do, but when she meets William everything changes. I adored Richard’s writing style, as even when nothing much was happening in the book, the writing still managed to make it interesting.

 I loved the way each character had a completely unique personality, as these little quirks made each and every character interesting, and made me want to know more about them even if they were just a side character. I loved how these personalities and traits made us aware of which characters were good and which were bad. For example, Harold was made unlikable from the start, as he smelled horribly of fish due to constantly putting fish oil in his hair that attracted seagulls to him. The seagulls constantly pecking at his scalp was a funny addition that I think children would enjoy reading. It’s important to make both the plot and characters interesting in middle-grade books, and I think Richard achieved that perfectly.

 I loved how the book was equally character and plot-driven, as we’re interested in William’s character, but also in the adventure Marina and William go on in an attempt to uncover the truth. I loved how it was a bit of a whodunnit, as the main plot focused on finding out who abandoned William as a baby, along with finding out the identity of the fisherman who saved William and took care of him. I actually figured out who the fisherman was quite early on in the book, but I was surprised at the revelation of who had abandoned William in the first place. I loved how the book went back in time to explain the events leading up to William’s abandonment, as it gave us a good idea of the villains' motives. I won’t give away who it is, but they were such a great villain, and I absolutely despised them! I loved the stand-off between the villain and the children towards the end of the book, as it was super suspenseful and I just couldn’t put the book down until it had been resolved!

 I have to talk about the setting of the book, as I absolutely loved that it was set in a little seaside town in England. I adore visiting the coast, but as I live about an hour away from the closest beach I, unfortunately, don’t get to visit as much as I’d like. Merlington seemed like such a cute and cozy place to live and it honestly made me consider packing up and moving to work on the coast as a fishmonger. Even though seaside towns can seem a little sleepy especially once summer is over, it was hilarious how over-exaggerated this was, especially with literally every adult being either a fishmonger, a fisher, or a teacher who seemed to not teach the children about anything other than fish. It’s assumed all the children will stay in the town when they grow up and follow in the footsteps of their parents, so I loved how Marina’s plans were to defy this and do something else. As Marina loves telling stories it’s implied that she would rather be an author, so I loved how her plans went against what was expected of her. 

 The plot involving William actually reminded me of Edward Scissorhands, as he was locked away for looking different and was shunned by society when he tried to interact and fit in with others. I loved the message that it’s ok to be different and that if someone doesn’t accept you for who you are that’s their problem, not yours. I loved that William had a family to support him and look after him, and how they treated him with kindness and respect despite not fully understanding what he was or where he had come from. Marina’s friendship with William was adorable, and I loved how he accepted her stories rather than doing nothing but accuse her of making them up. 

 I overall loved this book, and thought it gave a positive message that it’s ok to be different. I wouldn’t recommend it for particularly young children as there is some violence towards William that younger children could find upsetting, but I think it would be perfect for any child who is confident reading at this level without assistance. I recommend this book to children and adults alike, and I would love to read more of Richard’s books in the future!












Saturday, 28 August 2021

Review on Against All God's

 




Elliot only has one more chaos stone to find. The problem is that without the Olympians around to guide him, Elliot plans on handing them straight over to Thanatos in exchange for his mothers soul. Meanwhile, the God’s are preparing for the inevitable war with Thanatos and his demons, where they will be severely outnumbered. Will Elliot make the right decision, or will Thanatos succeed in his plans of ruling the world?

I CAN’T BELIEVE THIS IS THE LAST BOOK! I’ve loved this series and I’m honestly going to miss Elliot, Virgo and all the crazy Olympians. Elliot’s journey finally comes to an end after collecting all four Chaos Stones and handing them over to Thanatos in exchange for his mum’s soul. However, Elliot soon realises he has made a huge mistake, and after reuniting with the Olympians, decides he must take Thanatos down once and for all. I loved how action packed this book was, and how it took us through practically every emotion you could think of. There was plenty of humour of course, but there was also suspense, relief, sadness, forgiveness and so much more. This book made me laugh, cry and throw the book across the room (metaphorically of course I don’t actually hurt books!)

 I have no idea where to start talking about this book so first I’m going to focus on the characters.Elliot goes through a lot in this book, and after losing his mum his plan it to take Thanatos up on his offer. Elliot practically goes through the stages of grief, but finally comes to accept that bringing his mum back would only cause her more suffering. As Elliot has been pretty selfish in the past, I loved that he put his mum first despite it causing him pain. I thought the series perfectly showed Elliot’s grief, and how he was eventually able to see a light at the end of the tunnel.

 One thing I was extremely happy about was we got Hermes back! The last book left a big Hermes shaped hole, so I was so happy we had him back to his old antics. Honestly I almost cried when Elliot was reunited with Hermes and Virgo. He was in such a vulnerable position and having his two best friends come to rescue him just when he needed them was heartwarming. I adore how important the friendships in this series are, and how despite pretending they don’t care about each other, Elliot and Virgo are constantly trying to save each other.

 I loved that we finally got to meet Elliot’s dad! SPOILER ALERT! The man who we believe to be Elliot’s dad in book three turns out to be Nyx in disguise, so in this book we have to drop all of our anger and hatred towards Elliot’s dad and give him a clean slate, and it turns out he’s actually a pretty nice guy! Dave Hooper spends the majority of the book searching for Elliot, who unbeknownst to him is busy trying to save the world. Dave Hooper is nothing like what we believed him to be, and I loved that he was able to get a second chance after coming out of jail. We seem to be living in a world of cancel culture, where people aren’t given the chance to learn from their mistakes and become a better person from them. I think that if someone is willing to admit what they did was wrong and work hard to redeem themselves, they should be given a second chance… I mean maybe not if they murdered someone but you get the idea! 

I’ve mentioned this series perfectly combining fantasy and reality before, but something I loved was how it was difficult to tell if the main villain was Thanatos or Mrs Porshley Plum. They both posed a huge threat to Elliot’s wellbeing in two very different ways, and although Thanatos was the bigger threat on a wider scale, I think I actually hated Porshley Plum more.Honestly she reminded me of Umbridge, and I think we can all agree that we hated Umbridge more than we hated Voldemort! She was completely selfish and self absorbed, and used others for her own gain. Even though I wasn’t the biggest fan of Mr Boil, he at least realised what a horrible person Patricia was, and did the right thing by helping Elliot regain his house. Even though Mr Boil had treated Elliot horribly in the past, Elliot helps him to keep his job at the school. I loved how kindhearted Elliot was, and how a big part of this book was about forgiveness and becoming a better person. 

 I overall loved this series and although I’m sad it’s over, I think it ended perfectly and gave us an insight of what Elliot’s future would be like. Although Elliot sadly lost his mother, he gained some great friends. I loved how the God’s were practically like an extended family, and even though the God’s were leaving, it was heavily implied that they would regularly visit Elliot. I loved that Elliot finally had the chance to be a normal kid after having years of his childhood taken from him. I highly recommend this series for anyone looking for a distraction from the current crisis, as it really does take you on a journey. I hope anyone who decides to read this series ends up loving it as much as I did!









Saturday, 24 July 2021

Review on Stella



 
Stella Callahan has always been fascinated with astronomy. Growing up in the small town of Torrance, she has always been able to gaze at the stars. However, on the night a comet flew over her town, Stella’s mother mysteriously goes missing. Years later, the same thing happens to Stella’s dad during a meteor shower, where she witnesses him being engulfed in light before disappearing. Stella’s love for astronomy soon turns into a fear of even being out at night, but after moving away for college, Stella is drawn back to her home town where she discovers the terrifying truth.

I’ll admit I’ve been ignoring quite a few review requests lately, but when I read Josh’s request his book immediately piqued my interest! I’ve loved astronomy since I was young, so I always love anything to do with stars and planets. Stella is a novella set in a small town in Indiana, where Stella lives in a farmhouse with her dad and her dog. However, Stella’s life is drastically changed when she witnesses her dad disappear in a ball of light during a meteor shower.

 I will admit the book wasn’t what I was expecting, as I thought it would involve aliens, different planets, and Stella discovering her parents had been teleported somewhere by an alien lifeform. I was pretty disappointed that this wasn’t the case, and Stella stayed in her hometown for the majority of the book, with a chapter set in a city where she attended college. Honestly, it’s my fault for going in with certain expectations, but I couldn’t help be disappointed it wasn’t the great Sci-Fi adventure I’d been expecting.

 After overcoming the initial disappointment that this book wasn’t going where I had expected it to go, I did start to enjoy it for what it was, and it made me wonder if not aliens, then what had taken Stella’s father? The big reveal only comes in the final few pages of the book, and despite there being foreshadowing near the start of the book, it managed to slip past me completely as I wasn’t expecting it at all! I loved the plot twist and even though it wasn’t aliens, I loved that it was still something out of the ordinary. However I felt as if I ended up with more questions than answers, and I really wanted to know more about Stella’s neighbors, and what Stella decided to do with her life. 

 The characters felt a little two-dimensional, but at less than 100 pages, it’s understandable that the characters were never fully developed. I didn’t care for the characters or find them interesting, but the story was mostly plot-driven, and was interesting enough for me to not mind too much. I loved seeing how Stella coped with the loss of her father and the interesting side effects of her becoming terrified of the stars and being outside at night. It was interesting to find out that Astrophobia is actually a real thing that people can suffer from, usually as a response to watching too many Sci-Fi movies. As a meteor could potentially wipe out all life it’s actually not that strange of a fear! 

 Even though the book wasn’t what I was expecting, I did enjoy it, and only wish it had been a little longer! I'm a little torn on how to rate this one as it wasn't quite 4 stars, so I'd probably actually give it a 3.5. I felt it had the potential to delve a little deeper and even be made into a full-length novel, as a few things seemed a little too rushed. I loved Josh’s writing style and brilliant plot twists, and I would love to read more from him in the future!




Saturday, 10 July 2021

Review on Hani and Ishu's Guide to Fake Dating

 



 
Hani Khan is one of the most popular girls in school. She’s friendly to everyone and has two best friends she’s known since she was an infant. However, when Hani comes out as bisexual, her friends don’t believe her. To try to prove herself, she pretends she is dating Ishu, a girl who seems to have time for nothing but studying. Ishu’s main goal is to become head girl, but without Hani’s popularity, that will be impossible. Hani and Ishu decide to pretend to be dating each other until they both achieve their goals, but as they become closer and start to understand each other, the fake dating starts to feel a little too real.


I absolutely adored the idea behind this book! Fake dating is one of my favourite tropes, and the fact this book is sapphic made me even more excited to read it! I will admit this is a trope I’ve seen countless times, but most of the time it’s between a straight couple so I loved how having two girls fake dating gave this overused trope a new lease of life. I thought this part of the book was adorable, and I loved seeing how the two girls navigated their feelings for each other and went through all the ups and downs of their first relationship. 

 I loved the soft cute parts of this book, but along with that, the girls faced some real issues such as homophobia, Islamophobia, and racism. The majority of this came from Hani’s best friends, Aisling and Dee. Rather than full-on attacks, the girls were constantly throwing microaggressions at Hani while gaslighting her into thinking she should just accept it. Even though I was rooting for Hani to drop her horrible friends, I also found myself relating to her. When I was around Hani’s age I had friends similar to this who would throw homophobic and racist remarks around, but as I’d been friends with them for so long and had no other friends, I would usually not speak up. It’s often difficult to speak up when you’re young, and no one wants to believe that the friends they grew up with are actually horrible people, so although I was frustrated that Hani dealt with them and changed things about herself to please them, I also saw how difficult it was for her to stand up for herself. I loved that she was eventually able to find the confidence to stand up for herself and Ishu, as standing up to toxic friends can take even more courage than standing up to bullies. 

 Hani and Ishu’s relationship with each other was the complete opposite of this. Although both girls are Bengali, that’s where their similarities stopped. The girls had vastly different personalities, with Hani being popular but quiet and docile, and Ishu being studious, unpopular, and unafraid to speak her mind. Hani is also Muslim while Ishu isn’t. I loved how accepting the girls were of each other, and how Ishu knew her boundaries when it came to Hani’s faith and didn’t try to force her way into Muslim spaces the way Hani’s friends forced themselves into Bengali spaces. I think it’s important to know the boundaries of your friends who may have a different culture, religion or sexuality to you, and only enter these spaces if they invite you. Whereas Hani’s friends made her feel like she had to change who she was to fit in with them, Ishu allowed her to express who she really was.

 I loved how Ishu taught Hani what it was really like to have a friend who cared for her. For most of her life, Hani didn’t realise how horribly her friends were treating her, which often happens when you’ve never known any different. I think we’ve all dealt with toxic friends at some point, and it’s not until you meet a friend who actually cares about you that you’re able to see this toxic behaviour. It’s a process to be able to drop friends who are treating you badly and takes a lot of courage, but in the end, you have to do what’s best for you and get rid of the people in your life who are making you feel bad, or who won’t accept you for who you are.

 There was a good mixture of important topics and cute romance, and I think the romance helped to break it up a little. This book was literally full of my favourite tropes, from fake dating, friends to lovers, slow burn romance, and even the one bed trope! Honestly I can never hate a book that includes the one bed trope. The relationship between the girls progressed naturally, and I loved how it took time for them to warm up to each other. Any kind of relationship takes time to form, which is honestly why I hate instalove so much, so I loved how although it wasn’t quite my favourite trope of enemies to lovers, there was still a lot of development. I loved that the girls having clashing personalities ended up being beneficial to them both, as Ishu’s no-nonsense attitude eventually helped Hani to stand up to her friends, while Hani’s caring personality helped Ishu to see things from her sisters point of view, and realise she was in fact not trying to sabotage her. I loved how they were able to help each other with their problems and accept their differences. 

 I just want to quickly talk about a subplot I loved, which was Ishu’s relationship with Nik, her older sister. Ishu goes through some family drama when Nik disappoints their parents by announcing she is dropping out of med school to get married. Ishu’s parents are strict and want Ishu to follow in her sisters footsteps, which ends up being the whole cause for Ishu wanting to be head girl. Although Ishu initially agrees with her parents, she comes to see that Nik is unhappy and only went to med school because it was what their parents wanted. It’s only natural to want to please your parents, but at the end of the day it’s your life not theirs, and the most important thing to do is what makes you happy. I loved that with the help of Nik, Ishu realised this and set herself on her own path rather than the one her parents had laid out for her. I was a little disappointed that Nik wasn’t able to solve things with her parents, but at the same time, it showed us that life doesn’t always go to plan, and it’s pretty unlikely that we’ll always be able to fix every problem in our lives. Not everyone is going to accept your life choices, and if what you decide is what makes you happy, then that’s what should be focused on rather than people’s opinions. Nik’s parents really didn’t seem like bad people and seemed to be on the fence about Nik’s decisions, so it would be nice if they eventually did come around, but even if they never did, Nik still has her sister on her side.

 This book wasn’t exactly the cute feel-good story I was expecting it to be, but I did enjoy it and felt it dealt with all the themes it covered well. I wouldn’t recommend it if all you’re looking for is a sweet sapphic romance, as there are some pretty important themes that could potentially be upsetting. Something I absolutely loved was that it gave content warnings on the front page, so you knew what you were getting into. I know content warnings seem to be a bit of a divided topic in the book community, but I personally feel like people not getting triggered is far more important than these warnings being potential “spoilers”. As long as you feel like you can handle the topics I’ve mentioned then I definitely recommend this book!








Tuesday, 1 June 2021

Pride Month TBR

 



 
 
HAPPY PRIDE MONTH EVERYONE!! For this month, I have decided to only read and blog about LGBTQ+ books. Even though I love reading LGBTQ+ books, I tend to not read as many as I would like to, so this month I’m going to try to get through as many as possible! I’m probably going to add to my TBR if I can read quickly enough, but for now, I thought I’d share four books that I’m definitely planning on reading and reviewing this month.

Heartstopper 


So I keep collecting these graphic novels but am yet to start them! I think everyone already knows about these books as they’re pretty popular and are soon to be turned into a series, but in case you don’t, they follow Nick and Charlie, two boys who we first meet in Alice’s novel Solitaire. Although they weren’t main characters in Solitaire, I still loved reading about them so I’m looking forward to finding out more about them, and seeing what happened to them before Solitaire. These graphic novels seem so sweet and I actually haven’t read a graphic novel in a while, so I’m looking forward to finally getting round to reading it! I do own up to volume 3 of these books, so I might possibly read more than just the first volume this month.

 Loveless


I did want to read books from a variety of authors, but honestly, I’m just going to have to read Loveless. As I’m asexual myself, I was so excited when I found out about this book! There really isn’t enough ace representation in YA, so I’m looking forward to reading about a character who is like me. I feel as if I’ll really relate to Georgia, as like her, I love reading romance fanfics, but don’t really want a relationship of my own. I’m honestly still questioning if I’m aroace, as I’ve had crushes on people of all genders but feel awkward in an actual romantic relationship. As I’ve only ever read a couple of books with ace rep, I’m looking forward to reading this one!

 You’re the One That I Want


 I’m so excited to read this one! Simon is one of my favourite authors and his books never fail to make me laugh, and this one sounds amazing. It follows Freddie, a boy who has a reputation of being the “nice guy”. Freddie is tired of being constantly left out. He wants to attend all the parties his peers go to and find a boyfriend. Freddie decides to turn his social life around by joining in with his school production of Grease. Freddie finally has the attention he was craving, but is changing your whole personality really the best thing to do? As this book isn’t being published for a couple more days I’ll probably choose this as my second read so I have time to go buy it. Thanks past me for not spending the whole of your Waterstones gift card! 

 Hani and Ishu’s Guide to Fake Dating



Fake dating is an overdone trope, but it’s a trope that I always love. I loved To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before, and Hani and Ishu is giving me similar vibes! This one follows Hani, a girl who is popular, but who is invalidated by her friends who don’t believe her when she comes out as bisexual. To try to prove her sexuality, she pretends she is dating Ishu, a smart unpopular girl who is hoping to become head girl. The problem is the head girl must be elected, and Ishu’s lack of popularity means she won’t have a chance without Hani’s help. Despite doing this for their own personal gains, the two girls end up developing feelings for each other. This books honestly sounds adorable, and I love that it has both Asian and bi girl rep! I’m looking forward to diving into this one. 



 
As I’m quite a slow reader, these are all the books I’m putting on my “definitely will read this month” list, but there are so many more I want to read! I’d love to find the time to read a book focusing on a transgender character too, as I realise my current TBR doesn’t cover a trans story, so if you have any recommendations I would love to hear them! I’d love to know what LGBTQ+ you’re planning on reading this month. Feel free to leave a comment or tweet me with any recommendations you have. 

 I hope you all have a wonderful pride month! 

Monday, 31 May 2021

Review on Boy in a White Room

 

 
 
When fifteen year old Manuel wakes up in an empty white room, he has no idea where he is, who he is, or how he got there. He remembers nothing about his past life and has no idea how to escape. Manuel soon discovers he has internet access, and it doesn’t take him long to figure out the truth, or at least what the people who put him here want him to believe is the truth. After being told one lie after another, Manuel eventually comes close to learning who he really is, and what he must do to escape both the white room and those trying to use him.

I got sent this book from Chicken House a little while ago, and as I was looking for an interesting and quick read I thought I’d pick it up! The book follows Manuel, a boy who wakes up in a white room with his memories wiped. Manuel soon discovers that he is actually trapped in a simulation, as his body had been severely damaged after an attempted murder which resulted in the death of his mother. A man who claims to be Manuel’s father informs him that his body will never recover, and he has built a simulation of Middle Earth for Manuel to live in, but Manuel is determined to stay in reality. 

I thought the Middle Earth simulation was interesting and although I realise copyright issues probably meant only a tiny portion of the book was able to be set there, I was interested in how vast it was, as we end up seeing only The Shire and Rivendell. As a huge fan of Lord of the Rings, I would actually love to escape reality and live in this world, so I honestly don’t think I’d have the willpower to remain in the real world like Manuel did! This part of the book reminded me of Sword Art Online, as Manuel being trapped inside a simulated world reminded me of the SAO kids being trapped inside a video game with no way to escape. I loved all the different locations inside the simulation and how they were so advanced that Manuel had no way to tell if it was a simulation or the real world.

 Manuel discovers eyestream, a social media platform where users stream their daily lives. While browsing Manuel notices a girl who he thinks he recognises, which sends him on a whole journey of finding out the truth. I actually loved eyestream, as although it’s meant to come across as futuristic, it’s actually quite similar to TikTok streamers. It’s pretty easy to come across these types of streams on TikTok, as I’ve come across all sorts of things from truck drivers driving through the night to people filming as they walk around Disneyworld. As the book was first published in 2017 before TikTok existed, I found it interesting that this kind of thing had become normal just a few years later.

 I loved how we were kept guessing about what was real and what was a lie. The truth starts to slowly unravel when Manuel gets the opportunity to talk to Julia, the girl who he recognised from eyestream. I love that we slowly start to see that something isn’t right, and that Manuel’s “dad” is actually lying to him. We learn everything as Manuel learns it, and are kept guessing as to what the truth actually is. I really wasn’t expecting the plot twist at the end of the book at all, and was taken completely by surprise! It also made me wonder if this was the real truth, as there were so many layers of deception it was impossible to trust anything by the end!

 This was an exciting and action-packed book that had me guessing until the very end! I’ve been taking quite a long time to get through books lately, but I flew through this one in just two days. I’m hoping the sequel will eventually be translated and published in English, as I would love to know what happens to Manuel next. I recommend this book to all lovers of Sci-Fi and thrillers!