Currently Reading, Current TBR, and #FinishAthon

This month seems to be the month I have started 500 books and finished none! I can’t quite believe it. I’ve always been the type of reader that cannot be reading more than one book at once. When I studied at University, it felt like I had all the time in the world to read but also absolutely none, simply because all I could do was read my course books. I wasn’t one of those who could flick because de Beauviour and the latest thriller. I couldn’t dismay at Dickens and then devour a YA. I had to focus on whatever I was reading at the time and just promise those books waiting on my shelves that I would get to them at some point.

During Lockdown, I have really got into bookclubs. Which has been utterly fantastic! I have discovered so many books I may not have read otherwise, but it does also mean that I seem to be halfway through a lot of books. Today I thought I’d share the books I am currently reading (as marked on GoodReads), those I plan on reading next, as well as my plans for FinishAthon which is happening next week.

Currently Reading:

Emma by Jane Austen – This is probably the book I am giving most of my attention to at the moment. I have a gorgeous bookishly edition of this classic, and to be honest the fact I pick it up so much is because it is so pretty. I’m reading this Jessica’s Let’s get classical book club read for July and am really enjoying it. I think the fact I am reading it alongside the audiobook is helping because then you truly get a sense of Jane Austen’s sarcasm and humour. I have to say that Emma is not a character I particularly like at the moment, her calculating, manipulative, and down right arrogant actions meaning I am less than impressed, but I’m excited to see if there’s a redemption arc there somwhere.

The Empire of Gold by S.S. Chakraborty – The final enstallment of the City of Brass series is one I cannot wait to finish. I am also listening to this on audiobook, and am wishing that I had read the other two with the audiobook too as it has completely transformed my reading experience. I went with the audiobook for completely frivolous reasons, in that I have the other two in paperback and couldn’t stomach having the final book in a different format, but at the same time couldn’t wait to read it. If you are yet to explore this series, I cannot recommend it enough – and now will recomend the audiobook with even more enthusiasm.

The next two books – Tales of Mystery and Imagination by Edgar Allan Poe and The Call of Cthulhu and Other Weird Stories by HP Lovecraft – are books I need to finish ideally this month because I am using them as part of my lesson planning for September. With my A Level class, we are looking at the evolution of Gothic Fiction and Horror and these are two collections of short stories that promise to be creepy and utterly tantalizing. I have marked off which tales I think hold potential and am slowly working my way through the collections. I know I haven’t got that many left of Poe but have only just started Lovecraft so have quite a bit of reading ahead of me.

The Man in the High Castle by Philip K. Dick – This is one of those reads that you start reading and then get sidetracked and now we’re months later and you had no idea that it was still marked as ‘currently reading’. I picked this book for my OWLS back in April and just never finished it. I think I picked something up to replace it but honestly who knows at this stage. I have had this on my shelves for quite sometime and know I should sit down and actually finish it at some point, but to be honest I have absolutely no idea when.

Current TBR

I am currently in the process of looking to move and, although I am staying at my parents at the moment thanks to the joys of shared accomdation with strangers and a global pandemic, have been packing up my childhood bedroom. This is the first I have actually considered all the books I own as this tends to be where the books that don’t quite make the cut stay rather than coming with me (probably a good time to mention that there are still at least 30 books waiting for me in previously mentioned shared accomdation) and are now actually boxed up after a proper sort through. I did have to take a moment of reflection to realise I have two boxes of kitchen supplies and five (!) boxes of books. I think I have my priorites straight.

Therefore my current TBR is actually made up of the books I have bought after said boxing up and those I kept out because I know I want to get round to them soon. There is quite a mix here and I can’t wait to dive into each.

  • City of Girls by Elizabeth Gilbert
  • European Travel for the Monstrous Gentlewoman by Theodora Goss
  • The Foundling by Stacey Halls
  • The Phonebox at the Edge of the World by Laura Imai Messina
  • The Children of Jocasta by Natalie Haynes
  • Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia
  • Girl, Woman, Other by Bernardine Evaristo

#FinishtAthon

#FinishAthon is a week long readathon happening from Monday 27th July to Sunday 2nd August, with the ‘focus on finishing the MANY books that have sat unfinished for far too long’. It is hosted by the wonderful Tazmyn at teabooksandtazmyn on Youtube, and can be found on twitter and instagram using the hashtag #FinishAthon . My aim to have finished at least two books off my ‘currently reading’ list within that week. Fingers crossed!

And there we have it! Those are the books I’m planning on working through over the next couple of weeks. What book are you hoping to finish soon and will you be taking part in #FinishAthon.

Sequels and Finales – Sunday Stack #13

I am an absolute sucker for a series and, whilst I love that first book that makes you fall in love with the world and want to plunge yourself in further, there is nothing quite like revisiting a world you already adore.

Today, I’ve chosen to go with sequels, which I think are my favourite part in any series. The world is no longer new and confusing, but at the same time not chaotic and too ‘heavy’ like you find in epic, dramatic finales. I always find that the second read in a series is where the story develops, where you get a better feel for who that characters are and, more often that not, get your heart absolutely destroyed. For this stack, I picked three sequels from three series that I absolutely adore – all of which left me completely emotionally ruined.

Flambards: The Edge of the Cloud by K.M. Peyton.

Flambards was, I think, probably my favourite series growing up. It’s one of the few series that I can remember having an absolutely profound affect on me and one that I reread and reread, to the extent that every book in this series had a cover that is barely hanging on! This series follows Christina Parsons, an orphan who is basically ferried around her different family members. As the series opens, she is sent to Flambards to live with her mother’s half-brother who runs a hunting lodge and is generally horrible, as is his oldest son Mark, both of who plan to marry Mark to Christina to use her wealth to rejuvinate Flambards which is falling apart. In book two, Christina runs away with the youngest son, William, who refuses to follow his family’s obsession with horses and instead is enamoured with machines, particularly planes. This book also follows the opening of WW1, and – God – let me tell you I am already tearing up thinking about this read. William is my favourite character, and this book is probably one of my favourites of all time. I just cannot express how much this series means to me!

The City of Brass: The Kingdom of Copper by S.A. Chakraborty

This is a series I have been discovering over lockdown and am absolutely obsessed! The magical world of djinn and the awful politics that surround the city of Daevabad is completely intoxicating and I am racing towards the end. In this read, we get to explore more of Nahri and Ali’s relationship, and the world of secrets that this court has created absolutely destroyed me. I cried continuously whilst reading this, and need to finish the finale, just in the hope that I can have some sort of emotional recovery.

The Dark Artifices: The Lord of Shadows by Cassandra Clare.

For me, this was the best book in this series. Whilst I really enjoyed the Dark Artifices as a whole, I feel like I had several issues with the finale, particularly the downfall of Annabel, who I felt like was more complicated than the painted ‘baddie’ she became. The sequel in this series, however, is much more character driven, and focuses much more on the relationships between characters. For me, this is where Clare shines, and this book completely took my breath away. It wasn’t grand. It wasn’t far fetched. But it felt so much more tangible and credible. I almost wish that the series had ended with this read, just because I felt a bit deflated with the finale – not to say I didn’t enjoy it, just that I didn’t love it to the extent that I did this one.

And there we have it! What sequels or finales did you absolutely adore and would put in your stack?

‘Evil Roots: Killer Tales of the Botanical Gothic’ edited by Daisy Butcher ~ Book Review

I absolutely adore Gothic Fiction. I think it is one of the most influential and innovative literary movements of all time, and I am always simply astounded by the sheer genius in these stories. I picked up this collection of Gothic stories after reading ‘The Strange Case of the Alchemist’s Daughter’ by Theodora Goss, a thrilling mystery set in Victorian Britain, reimagining famous literary figures, from Doctor Jekyll’s daughter to the imfamous Sherlock Holmes. Having read (and adored) this, I wanted to read the original texts that some of these characters came from, particularly those which I hadn’t heard of before. One character in particular who intrigued me was Beatrice, a reimagined version of Rappaccini’s Daughter, originally written by Nataniel Hawthorne. Whilst trailing the internet to try and find a version of this short stories, I came across Butcher’s anthology of other Gothic Tales, all associated with Nature. I thought this was particularly interesting, especially when we consider the Gothic Fiction is often more intricately twinned with the supernatural than to what is growing at the bottom of our gardens!

Having bought it and then having it face the fate all too common for our bookcases – laying to the wayside, forgotten – I finally picked this up, actually for work. As this academic year comes to the close, it’s time to start turning attention to September. My particular challenge was finding texts for my A Level class to study for their coursework. I already knew I wanted to start with the Gothic, especially as it is such a brilliant springboard into so many other wonderful genres, and found my attention brought back to this little gem – and what a gem it is! There was no a single story in the collection that did not have me hooked and mystified, and every story was one I hadn’t heard of before. Butcher has picked utterly fantastic stories, ranging from the 19th century Gothic canon to the modern 20th century reimaginings. My favourites were: the tragic and heartbreaking ‘Rappaccini’s Daughter’ by Nathaniel Hawthorne; the horrifying ‘Carnivorine’ by Lucy H. Hooper; and the mystifying tale of madness in scientific pursuit that was Emma Vane’s ‘The Moaning Lily’.

If you’re looking for something that will enthral you and is like absolutely nothing you have read before, look no further than this read!

Favourite Retellings – Sunday Stack #12

Hey lovelies and another happy Sunday! I’m back again with another Sunday stack to share with you today. The prompt from this week was ‘Favourite Retellings’ and I had so much fun finding the reads for this post. I am such a sucker for a retelling. I have picked a range of Retellings from a range of different eras so there should be a little something for everyone here today.

This prompt came from my ‘Sunday Stack’ challenge that I run over on my bookstagram. I have had so much fun creating this over lockdown and have absolutely adored everyone’s posts. It’s welcome to all and I’d love to see your stacks too. Don’t forget to tag me if you do take part so I can appreciate all your recommendations! I’ll leave the prompts at the bottom of this post for you to check out.

Chain of Gold by Cassandra Clare.

Cassandra Clare must be a writer than defined my childhood. What I love about the Shadowhunter world is that it has grown up with me, and that can certainly be said for this latest series. Chain of Gold has clear elements of a retelling for Great Expectations, with the mysterious Grace Blackthorn a clear adaptation of the cruel temptress Estella. I absolutely adored the little nods to this Dickens tale, especially when combined with the 1900s backdrop and Shadowhunter politics that I’m obsessed with.

Welcome to Edwardian London, a time of electric lights and long shadows, the celebration of artistic beauty and the wild pursuit of pleasure, with demons waiting in the dark. For years there has been peace in the Shadowhunter world. James and Lucie Herondale, children of the famous Will and Tessa, have grown up in an idyll with their loving friends and family, listening to stories of good defeating evil and love conquering all. But everything changes when the Blackthorn and Carstairs families come to London…and so does a remorseless and inescapable plague.

James Herondale longs for a great love, and thinks he has found it in the beautiful, mysterious Grace Blackthorn. Cordelia Carstairs is desperate to become a hero, save her family from ruin, and keep her secret love for James hidden. When disaster strikes the Shadowhunters, James, Cordelia and their friends are plunged into a wild adventure which will reveal dark and incredible powers, and the true cruel price of being a hero…and falling in love. Good Reads

The Deathless Girls by Kiran Millwood Hargrave.

This is one of the best Retellings I have ever read. It was so dark and beautiful that I don’t think I have stopped singing its praises since I read it! The Deathless Girls is a Dracula retelling but focused on Dracula’s wives, three women who have so often been forgotten and pushed aside. This dark and twisting tale is steeped in folklore and the supernatural. I devoured it in a day and can’t wait to reread it.

They say the thirst of blood is like a madness – they must sate it. Even with their own kin.

On the eve of her divining, the day she’ll discover her fate, seventeen-year-old Lil and her twin sister Kizzy are captured and enslaved by the cruel Boyar Valcar, taken far away from their beloved traveller community.

Forced to work in the harsh and unwelcoming castle kitchens, Lil is comforted when she meets Mira, a fellow slave who she feels drawn to in a way she doesn’t understand. But she also learns about the Dragon, a mysterious and terrifying figure of myth and legend who takes girls as gifts.

They may not have had their divining day, but the girls will still discover their fate… Good Reads

The Strange Case of the Alchemist’s Daughter by Theodora Goss

I adore the Victorian period, particularly the Gothic. In this retelling, Goss creates a twisting and thrilling investigations, all centered around dark and devious investigations, creating monsters and hideous experiments. Including many famous figures from Victorian Gothic novels, this was one of my favourite reads of last month. I had so much fun reading it and can’t wait for the rest of the series.

Mary Jekyll, alone and penniless following her parents’ death, is curious about the secrets of her father’s mysterious past. One clue in particular hints that Edward Hyde, her father’s former friend and a murderer, may be nearby, and there is a reward for information leading to his capture…a reward that would solve all of her immediate financial woes.

But her hunt leads her to Hyde’s daughter, Diana, a feral child left to be raised by nuns. With the assistance of Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson, Mary continues her search for the elusive Hyde, and soon befriends more women, all of whom have been created through terrifying experimentation: Beatrice Rappaccini, Catherin Moreau, and Justine Frankenstein.

When their investigations lead them to the discovery of a secret society of immoral and power-crazed scientists, the horrors of their past return. Now it is up to the monsters to finally triumph over the monstrous. – Good Reads

Circe by Madeline Miller

I’m an absolute sucker for Greek mythology and this book is the one that kicked it off for me. I first read this novel last year through the audiobook on audible and it was wonderful. I fell in love with the magic and the power of Circe as a character. I reread Circe last month as part of Tazmyn’s (from teabooksandtazmyn on YouTube) Patreon book club and fell in love with it even more!

In the house of Helios, god of the sun and mightiest of the Titans, a daughter is born. But Circe is a strange child—not powerful, like her father, nor viciously alluring like her mother. Turning to the world of mortals for companionship, she discovers that she does possess power—the power of witchcraft, which can transform rivals into monsters and menace the gods themselves.

Threatened, Zeus banishes her to a deserted island, where she hones her occult craft, tames wild beasts and crosses paths with many of the most famous figures in all of mythology, including the Minotaur, Daedalus and his doomed son Icarus, the murderous Medea, and, of course, wily Odysseus.

But there is danger, too, for a woman who stands alone, and Circe unwittingly draws the wrath of both men and gods, ultimately finding herself pitted against one of the most terrifying and vengeful of the Olympians. To protect what she loves most, Circe must summon all her strength and choose, once and for all, whether she belongs with the gods she is born from, or the mortals she has come to love. – Good Reads

I will add a trigger warning for sexual assault for this read so that you are fully aware.

The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller

Man, I love this book. I do nothing but gush about it. This book broke me emotionally! A heartbreakingly beautiful retelling of Achilles, this book may just be one of my favourites for the year. Focused of Achilles and his relationship with Patroclus, this is a wonderful tale of companionship, loyalty, and destiny. You can read my full thoughts here.

Greece in the age of heroes. Patroclus, an awkward young prince, has been exiled to the court of King Peleus and his perfect son Achilles. By all rights their paths should never cross, but Achilles takes the shamed prince as his friend, and as they grow into young men skilled in the arts of war and medicine their bond blossoms into something deeper – despite the displeasure of Achilles’ mother Thetis, a cruel sea goddess. But then word comes that Helen of Sparta has been kidnapped. Torn between love and fear for his friend, Patroclus journeys with Achilles to Troy, little knowing that the years that follow will test everything they hold dear. – Good Reads

And there with have it! I hope this post has given you lots of recommendations to go away and enjoy. What are some of your favourite retellings?

And here are the prompts is you want to take part or have a sneaky peak at what next week’s post will be.

The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennet

The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennet is a beautiful and heartbreaking account about race, identity, individualism, and survival. I went into this book thinking it would be one thing, and finished it having read a completely different books. I laughed, I smiled, and I weeped. This is, without doubt, one of the books that I will look back on at the end of the year and will be so thankful I read it.

The Vignes twin sisters will always be identical. But after growing up together in a small, southern black community and running away at age sixteen, it’s not just the shape of their daily lives that is different as adults, it’s everything: their families, their communities, their racial identities. Ten years later, one sister lives with her black daughter in the same southern town she once tried to escape. The other secretly passes for white, and her white husband knows nothing of her past. Still, even separated by so many miles and just as many lies, the fates of the twins remain intertwined. What will happen to the next generation, when their own daughters’ storylines intersect?Good Reads

For me, what makes this book so utterly stunning is the characters. This narrative is so character driven that you can’t help but feel utterly devoted to them. As we follow Desiree as she is forced to return to Mallard, the small town she fled with her sister years ago, her determination and strength to provide a safe space for her daughter is utterly heroic. I found Desiree such a phenomenal character, especially considering she was always kept in the shadows growing up in comparison to Stella. She was the unreliable one, the reckless one, the one everyone expected to cause trouble. Yet in the end, she’s the one who hands by everyone, sacrificing herself to be there for others.

The narrative spans generations, meaning we witness Stella and Desiree as they grow up and eventually escape, as well as looking at how their decisions regarding their identity in turn affects their daughters. Because of the way the omniscient narrative works you spend time within each character’s consciousness, it was fascinating to see each character’s interpretation of themselves and those that surround them. This was often so beautiful because you were witness to the doubt that creeps within them, and how unnecessary it was.

The concept of ‘becoming white’ and ‘escaping blackness’ was harrowing and heartbreaking, especially because both were only possible with the ‘white’ perception of identity. There was the suggestion that only to a white society were such ideas essential and dishonest, a performance rather that something integral to a person. A huge discussion within this novel is the idea of honesty and illusion, and I found the paranoia that consumes Stella completely harrowing.

This novel is tragic but so completely important. I was astounded by its beauty and speechless as it’s honesty. If your looking for your next read, look no further than this powerful novel.

Favourite June Reads ~ Sunday Stack #11

Hello lovelies and welcome to the first #sundaystack post of July. If you aren’t aware, each week I’ve been running a #sundaystack series over on my bookstagram and here and I have been absolutely loving it. It has been so much fun to design over lockdown and something that I am determined to continue. It has also been wonderful to see so many people getting involved as well and I have definitely been taking done loads of recommendations, much to the resentment of my TBR. I will leave the prompts below should you wish to take part. If you do, make sure to tag me so I can check them out ☺️

This month I read I read 8 books, which isn’t quite as impressive as last month, but I’m still happy with it. July was a MONTH so that fact I got any reading down is impressive. I was meant to be taking part in the MakeYourMythtaker readathon but, to be honest, the month got away from me and I really needed to be a mood reader. It was also a very mixed month, with books I adored and books that I just couldn’t get on with. I’m hoping that this month with the TotallySpiesathon is much more successful!

What I read in July:

Rival Queens: The Betrayal of Mary, Queen of Scots by Kate Williams – ⭐️⭐️⭐️

The City of Brass by S.A. Chakraborty – ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Circe by Madeline Miller- ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

We Cast a Shadow by Maurice Carlos Ruffin – ⭐️⭐️

The Black Flamingo by Dean Atta – ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

The Strange Cade of the Alchemist’s Daughter by Theodora Goss – ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

The Kingdom of Copper by S.A. Chakraborty – ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

But what about my favourites? For this stack, I’ve picked four books that blew me away in particular this month, including two that I’m hoping to continue into the future with!

The Black Flamingo by Dean Atta

I absolutely adored this read! I’m not usually into prose or poetry but there is something so utterly astounding about this that I couldn’t help but become obsessed with it. And the author also gushed about my review which was just MAD! This book is heartbreakingly beautiful in every possible way and if you still haven’t read it yet, please do.

The Kingdom of Copper by S.A Chakraborty

This is the second book in the City of Brass series, the first of which I also read this month. And boy-oh-boy did I love this! I don’t think I’ve ever been so connected to so many characters as quickly as I did with these books. I picked Kingdom of Copper for this stack because I think it was one of the best sequels I have ever read! It didn’t feel like a copy of the first but truly a book within its own right. I can’t wait to enjoy the finale and find out what happens!

Circe by Madeline Miller

This was a reread for me and I’m so glad that I picked this up this month. I picked this up as part of Tazmyn’s (at teabooksandtazmyn over on youtube ) Patreon bookclub and fell in love with it all over again. I think this is the book that made me fall in love with Greek mythology Retellings, something I have been obsessively drawn to ever since. Circe is such a phenomenal character and Miller’s writing style just leaves me astounded. Also, a little shout out to this bookclub but it’s one of the loveliest groups I’ve ever been part of, the group Instagram chat filled with bookish loveliness and fluffy pets. If you’re looking for a good bookclub to join, I cannot recommend this one enough.

The Strange Case of the Alchemist’s Daughter by Theodora Goss

Continuing with Patreon book clubs, I picked this one up for Jean’s (over at Jeansbookishthoughts in Youtube) and have to say it completely surprised me. This is a historical fiction come retelling come murder investigation and left me completely hooked. I loved how much fun this reads was, and the interweaving of famous literary characters as they are dropped into the narratives as suspects and victims. I cannot wait to continue with this series, and have even got my mum hooked!

And there we have it! Whilst June wasn’t the best reading month I’ve had, it did see me finding some new favourites, revisiting old ones, and even completing my Goodreads challenge. What was your favourite read of the month?

Totally Spiesathon TBR

How is it that we’re in July? This year is really something! After seemingly stretching on forever it now seems to be racing by. Today I have a fun TBR to share with you for an amazing readathon that is taking place this entire month.

I know that July is already going to be a hectic month for readathons, with a plethora of prompts and challenges. However, what I particularly like about the Totally Spiesathon (other than it being the one I committed to first right at the beginning of June) is that it is essentially a game. I loved the playfulness of it and the prompts are so broad and challenging that I couldn’t wait to give them a go. It has already got me turning towards books I might not have picked up before and revisiting books I fell in love with and swore to read, only to be forgotten on my shelves.

This readathon was designed by Noura over at The Perks of being Noura and requires a dice. Simply, you work your way around the game board, completing the prompts that you land on. I have signed up to be on Team Clover, who was my absolute icon whilst I obsessively watched the series as a child.

The aim of the game is to keep making your way through the board and completing the prompts you land on. I was tempted to just roll and pick as I go, but basically got so excited I got ahead of myself! So I have rolled for my first four reads and am planning on seeing where I go from there.

I’ll pop the prompts next to the books to give you some ideas if you’re stumbling.

Rolled 6: SPY GLADIATORS- try a book with Greek/ Roman Mythology or set in those times

For this prompt I picked A Thousand Ships by Natalie Haynes. Recently I have been on such a Greek retelling splurge and I am absolutely here for it. This is another Troy retelling and I can’t wait to dive straight in.

This was never the story of one woman, or two. It was the story of all of them…

In the middle of the night, Creusa wakes to find her beloved Troy engulfed in flames. Ten seemingly endless years of brutal conflict between the Greeks and the Trojans are over, and the Greeks are victorious. Over the next few hours, the only life she has ever known will turn to ash . . .

The devastating consequences of the fall of Troy stretch from Mount Olympus to Mount Ida, from the citadel of Troy to the distant Greek islands, and across oceans and sky in between. These are the stories of the women embroiled in that legendary war and its terrible aftermath, as well as the feud and the fatal decisions that started it all… Good Reads

Rolled 5: A book that starts with C

For this prompt I picked up Crushed by Kate Hamer. I don’t know much about this other than I believe it is a YA retelling of Macbeth … maybe? Regardless, that cover is stunning!

Phoebe stands on Pulteney Bridge, tights gashed from toe to thigh. The shock of mangled metal and blood-stained walls flashes through her mind as she tries to cover her face so she won’t be recognised. It wouldn’t do to be spotted looking like this. She’s missing a shoe. She feels sick.

Phoebe thought murder and murder happened. Thoughts are just thoughts, they said. Now she knows they were wrong.

At home, Phoebe arranges the scissors and knives so they point toward her mother’s room. She is exhausted, making sure there’s no trace of herself – not a single hair, not even her scent – left anywhere in the house. She must not let her thoughts unravel, because if they do, there’s no telling who might be caught in the crossfire, and Phoebe will have to live with the consequences.Good Reads

Rolled 2: Truth or Scare! Pick some books from your shelf that you haven’t read yet and randomise your next read.

For this I picked Upright Women Wanted by Sarah Gailey. This is a feminist queer western and if that doesn’t make you want to read it I don’t know what will!

“That girl’s got more wrong notions than a barn owl’s got mean looks.”

Esther is a stowaway. She’s hidden herself away in the Librarian’s book wagon in an attempt to escape the marriage her father has arranged for her–a marriage to the man who was previously engaged to her best friend. Her best friend who she was in love with. Her best friend who was just executed for possession of resistance propaganda.

The future American Southwest is full of bandits, fascists, and queer librarian spies on horseback trying to do the right thing. – Good Reads

Rolled 3 (taking me to round 2): Read a book by an Author of colour.

For this I picked a read that has been on my shelf for a while now, Girl, Woman, Other by Bernardine Eravisto. I have heard so many wonderful things about this that I know it is going to be so illuminating and fantastic.

Teeming with life and crackling with energy — a love song to modern Britain and black womanhood

Girl, Woman, Other follows the lives and struggles of twelve very different characters. Mostly women, black and British, they tell the stories of their families, friends and lovers, across the country and through the years.

Joyfully polyphonic and vibrantly contemporary, this is a gloriously new kind of history, a novel of our times: celebratory, ever-dynamic and utterly irresistible. Good Reads

I can’t wait to get stuck in with this readathon and check out these amazing books. What reading plans do you have for this month?

Summer Reads ~ Sunday Stack # 10

Hello lovelies! It has been an absolute scorcher here in the UK for the last couple of days, so this feels like the perfect time to start talking about Summer Reads.

For me, Summer Reads are always contemporaries. They are also nice ‘easy’ comfort reads that you can lose yourself in whilst you soak in the sun. They are about life and love and are simply wonderful.

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid.

Although I didn’t read this in the summer, I do feel like this is the perfect summer read. I devoured this is a matter of days and the heart wrenching writing style and beautifully crafted characters left me completely hooked. You can read my full thoughts here.

Aging and reclusive Hollywood movie icon Evelyn Hugo is finally ready to tell the truth about her glamorous and scandalous life.

When she chooses unknown magazine reporter Monique Grant for the job, no one in the journalism community is more astounded than Monique herself. Why her? Why now? Monique is not exactly on top of the world. Her husband, David, has left her, and her career has stagnated. Regardless of why Evelyn has chosen her to write her biography, Monique is determined to use this opportunity to jumpstart her career.

Summoned to Evelyn’s Upper East Side apartment, Monique listens as Evelyn unfurls her story: from making her way to Los Angeles in the 1950s to her decision to leave show business in the late 80s, and, of course, the seven husbands along the way. As Evelyn’s life unfolds—revealing a ruthless ambition, an unexpected friendship, and a great forbidden love—Monique begins to feel a very a real connection to the actress. But as Evelyn’s story catches up with the present, it becomes clear that her life intersects with Monique’s own in tragic and irreversible ways.Good Reads

The Keeper of Lost Things by Ruth Hogan.

This is a book which, again, is so beautiful and it made me feel every emotion under the sun. I instantly feel in love with each of the characters and spent the majority of the book trying to piece everything together.

Anthony Peardew is the keeper of lost things. Forty years ago, he carelessly lost a keepsake from his beloved fiancée, Therese. That very same day, she died unexpectedly. Brokenhearted, Anthony sought consolation in rescuing lost objects—the things others have dropped, misplaced, or accidentally left behind—and writing stories about them. Now, in the twilight of his life, Anthony worries that he has not fully discharged his duty to reconcile all the lost things with their owners. As the end nears, he bequeaths his secret life’s mission to his unsuspecting assistant, Laura, leaving her his house and and all its lost treasures, including an irritable ghost.

Recovering from a bad divorce, Laura, in some ways, is one of Anthony’s lost things. But when the lonely woman moves into his mansion, her life begins to change. She finds a new friend in the neighbor’s quirky daughter, Sunshine, and a welcome distraction in Freddy, the rugged gardener. As the dark cloud engulfing her lifts, Laura, accompanied by her new companions, sets out to realize Anthony’s last wish: reuniting his cherished lost objects with their owners.

Long ago, Eunice found a trinket on the London pavement and kept it through the years. Now, with her own end drawing near, she has lost something precious—a tragic twist of fate that forces her to break a promise she once made.

As the Keeper of Lost Objects, Laura holds the key to Anthony and Eunice’s redemption. But can she unlock the past and make the connections that will lay their spirits to rest?Good Reads

The Summer We Ran Away by Jenny Oliver

I’m yet to read this, having picked it up only recently in my local supermarket for on £2.50 – £2.50!!!- but everything about it screamed summer to me.

Julia’s perfect life is in crisis.

As the founder of the Cedar Terrace Whatsapp group, she’s constantly chivvying the neighbours to action, as well as dealing with a kitchen extension, leaning-in at work, and dealing with Imposter Syndrome and her family…

But when she accidentally Whatsapps her neighbours a secret letter to an agony aunt she inadvertently confesses to a secret crush. While she loves her husband, Adam, she spends most of her time fantasising about the married father-of-two who lives opposite, timing her evening runs to coincide with his dog walks, finding reasons to pop over and chat and sometimes she catches him looking in a way that suggests he might quite like her too.

Julia is horror-struck as the little blue ticks appear on the Whatsapp message. Then left dangling as it’s met with widespread silence and a couple of embarrassed emojis.

When the neighbours know exactly what you’re thinking, there’s only one thing to do. Run away. Good Reads

Where the light gets in by Lucy Dillon

I will warn you, this read broke me. But there was something so utterly delightful in the way it broke me that it is one of the few books I have reread on multiple occasions. It also features my favourite Dillon feature – dogs! You can read my full thoughts here

‘You know those cracks in your heart, Lorna, where things didn’t work out, but you picked yourself up and carried on? That’s where the fear gets out. And where the light gets in.’

It was Betty, defiant to the end, who sent Lorna back to Longhampton. If Lorna’s learned one thing from Betty it’s that courage is something you paint on like red lipstick, even when you’re panicking inside. And right now, with the keys to the town’s gallery in her hand, Lorna feels about as courageous as Betty’s anxious little dachshund, trembling beside her.

Lorna’s come home to Longhampton to fulfil a long-held dream, but she knows, deep down, there are ghosts she needs to lay to rest first. This is where her tight-knit family shattered into silent pieces. It’s where her unspoken fears about herself took root and where her own secret, complicated love began. It’s not exactly a fresh start.

But as Lorna – and the little dog – tentatively open their cracked hearts to old friends and new ones, facing hard truths and fresh promises, something surprisingly beautiful begins to grow around the gallery, something so inspirational even Lorna couldn’t have predicted the light it lets into her world . . .

Something to tell you by Lucy Diamond

Along with Dillon, another auto buy author of mine is Lucy Diamond. What I love about these authors is that they perfectly encapsulate life as it truly is. So often contemporaries put in tinted glasses and everything revolves around love, so much that sometimes I find myself sitting there going … really?

What makes this read truly special is that it is about every definition of love – romantic, familial, friendship. I just adored this and absolutely every character Diamond created. You can read my full thoughts here.

When Frankie stumbles upon an unopened letter from her late mother, she’s delighted to have one last message from her . . . until she reads the contents and discovers the truth about her birth. Brimming with questions, she travels to York to seek further answers from the Mortimer family, but her appearance sends shockwaves through them all.

Meanwhile, Robyn Mortimer has problems of her own. Her husband John has become distant, and a chance remark from a friend leads Robyn to wonder exactly what he’s not been saying. Dare she find out more?

As for Bunny, she fell head over heels in love with Dave Mortimer when she first arrived in town, but now it seems her past is catching up with her. She can’t help wondering if he’ll still feel the same way about her if he discovers who she really is – and what she did.

As secrets tumble out and loyalties are tested, the Mortimers have to face up to some difficult decisions. With love, betrayal and dramatic revelations in the mix, this is one summer they’ll never forget.

So there you have it! I hope this post has got you ready to enjoy the summer.

As it is the last Sunday stack of the month, I can also introduce the prompts for July, which I am so excited to share. If you weren’t aware, I run this #sundaystack challenge across both my blog and my bookstagram and it is absolutely open to all. If you do take part make sure you tag me in them so I can share them with the world!

I’m so excited for next month’s prompts and I can’t wait to see what recommendations I get from all your posts ☺️

My Life in Books Tag

Today’s post is a bit of a fun one as I complete the ‘My Life in Books Tag’ which I was tagged in by Ellie @ Eleanorsophiewrites . So sit back and enjoy some bookish nonsense!

Find a book for each of your Initials:

Let me just tell you – this is very tricky when you have an obscure Welsh name and hardly any books begin with ‘E’ ‘O’ or ‘N’

B – Bone China by Laura Purcell

R – Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier

O – The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton

N – Noonday by Pat Barker

W – Winterwood by Shea Ernshaw

E – The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid (Not sure to what extent this qualifies for ‘E’ but there’s one there!)

N – No Night is too Long by Barbara Vine

Count your age along your bookshelf:

‘The Little Stranger’ by Sarah Waters – The only Sarah Waters’ novel I haven’t read … I believe.

Pick a book set in your City/Country

I’ve picked The Canterbury Tales by Geoffrey Chaucer as it was the closest I could find to my village.

Pick a book that has your favourite colour on it

I’m not sure I have a favourite colour by the cover of The Corset by Laura Purcell has to be one of my favourites. Laura Purcell is – by the way – the absolute QUEEN of Victorian Historical Fictions, especially those featuring Ghosts and you should go read her complete collection right now.

Which book do you have the fondest memories of?

Probably The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton. It is one of the first books I studied and fell absolutely in love with it as both a book and a work of literature.

Which book did you have the most difficulty reading?

If I think of the books I have read recently, probably We Cast a Shadow by Maurice Carlos Ruffin. Although I found the discussion interesting and educating, the writing style was so stagnated that I wanted to literally anything else but read.

Which Book On Your TBR Pile Will Give You The Most Achievement When You Finish It?

Probably The Priory of the Orange Tree by Samantha Shannon. I listened to this on audiobook when it first came out and fell in love with it. I’ve now bought the paperback and cannot wait to dive back in, though the size is quite intimidating. When I do return though, I know it will be instantly satisfying.

I’m Tagging:

Clara ~ TheLifeofClara

Amy ~ Read.Dream.Live

And absolutely anyone else who would like to take part!

Would You Rather Bookish Edition Tag

Today I have a lovely, fun book tag for you! The equally lovely Amy from Read.Dream.Live tagged me in this a while ago and I am only shamefully getting to it now … but what IS time in lockdown anyway?!?

Would you rather have to read the last chapter of every new book first, or never read the last chapter?

Definitely read the last chapter first. Imagine never knowing how a book would end?! That sounds like torture.

Would you rather have someone ruin the ending of a book for you or never finish a book you were reading?

Again, ruin the ending. I suppose it’s a left over benefit from studying Literature, but I often ended up reading a book knowing full well what was going to happen, and it’s never been an issue for me. There’s still little bits, moments, and nuances which will take you by suprise.

Would you rather lose your place or get a paper cut every time you read a book?

I am so squeamish which would mean I have to go with losing my place.

Would you rather be friends with Hermione Granger or Matilda?

Hermione Granger, easily. Can I admit that I have always found Matilda completely annoying *hides*.

Would you rather wait five years for the final installment in a series or get it now, but must read every spoiler before you can start reading it?

Oooh, this is a tricky one. I think wait the five years. I feel like I’m quite accustomed to having to wait now, and there’s nothing to say you can’t reread the series when you inevitably forget everything that happens.

Would you rather reread your least favorite book monthly or never be able to read your favorite book again?

Probably never read by favourite book again. I don’t often reread books, even favourites, but I cannot stand reading a book I hate.

Would you rather read in an isolated cabin that was infested with spiders or in a noisy coffee shop with bad music?

Noisy coffe shop with bad music. Always go with coffee.

Would you rather have the ability to read minds, but never be able to read another book or live as you are now and keep reading?

Live as you are now and keep reading. I feel like I’m much to anxious, paranoid, and insecure to have the ability to read minds. That actually sounds terrifying.

Would you rather read a novel based on a true story of someone you know or a fictional novel where a character is based on you?

Again, I don’t think I could deal with a book based on me. I would end up reading into everything too much!

Would you rather have a book where anything you write in it becomes true or have a book that contains all the knowledge in the universe?

Ooooh! I think I’d like all the knowledge of the universe. I’m not sure I could be trusted with the power of the first option. Plus, who doesn’t want to know everything?!

Would you rather read a great book FULL of typos or a terrible book?

As a teacher, I am absolutely fine with Typos. In fact, reading past terrible spelling and awful syntax I think is now a super power of mine. Plus, if a book is terrible, why would you want to read it?