Saturday, 19 October 2019

Required Reading Haul Again!

It's been almost two years since my first Required Reading haul and here I am again! I found a great deal from a fellow student wanting to declutter and thought, since I'm always interested in what books other universities study, that this might be interesting to do again.



The module I've decided on is Literature in Transition: from 1800 to the Present and I started last week which is why it's been a bit quiet on the blog!



The 'Realities' texts are: Bleak House by Charles Dickens, which I already had. London Labour and the London Poor by Henry Mayhew which my mother is really excited for me to read. I know nothing about Henry Thoreau's Walden so that'll be fun. And Mill on the Floss by George Eliot which I've actually already read and absolutely adored. I love looking at the contexts within a book is written so I'm really looking forward to learning more about one of my favourite books!



'Movements' includes: the play Playboy of the Western World by J.M. SyngeShort Stories by Katherine MansfieldThe Good Soldier by Ford Maddox Ford which I have since found two copies I already owned on my shelves, the poems Four Quartets by T. S. EliotBetween the Acts by Virginia Woolf and Good Morning, Midnight by Jean Rhys.



And finally 'Futures', which collects books published in the last 80 or so years. This includes: Under Milk Wood by Dylan ThomasThe Complete Cosmicomics by Italo CalivinoOranges are Not the Only Fruit by Jeanette Winterson which I read on audiobook and unfortunately didn't get along with, Season of Migration to the North by Tayib SalehStuff Happens by David Hare and Unaccustomed Earth by Jhumpa Lahiri.

Have you read any of these? Anything I should be looking forward to?

Sunday, 22 September 2019

#Hallowreadathon 6!

It's my favourite time of year again. The leaves are turning orange, there are little black kittens scampering around as I type and pumpkin spice is being added to every food you can imagine. This is the sixth year I'm doing my little readathon and I'd be thrilled if you spent some time reading with me this holiday! The Hallowreadathon will run for 48 hours, from the 30th to the 31st of October and there are a few challenges too if you feel like creeping up your TBR.



1. Read a book with witches!
There are a lot of really great books about witches coming out lately and I'm hyped about this publishing trend. Whether it's fiction or a how-to guide, there's a lot to choose from and a perfect way to honour Samhain!

2. Read a book with black on the cover!
In honour of bats, cats and rats, pick up a book with black somewhere on its cover.

3. Read two books!
It can happen! We can do it!

I'll be tweeting the whole two days with the #Hallowreadathon hashtag (you can follow me here) and I'll be giving away a book and some halloween candy to a random person who uses the hashtag over the weekend.

See you October 31st!

Monday, 19 August 2019

Books I Read in December!

December was a really good reading month for me considering that I'm usually so busy with Christmas stuff that I never get any reading done. However, it was also the beginning of a huge reading/ blogging slump that lead to me not reading anything in January and only getting around to talking about these books in August! I'm catching up, I swear! Anyway, the books...





Kitty in the Underworld by Carrie Vaughn
I took a massive break in the middle of reading this and the book as a whole struggled to hold my attention, unfortunately. I love the world and the characters but this instalment just wasn’t for me.
Although, as always, I was a big fan of the literature references Kitty makes in this series; in this book, H.G. Wells; The Island of Dr Moreau. In an urban fantasy book, these are the things that remind me that this is 'our world', just with werewolves and vampires and such.


Face Off by Brenda Novak
I know that Brenda Novak mostly writes romances, but she knows how to write a thriller. I’ve enjoyed this series from the word Go (review of the first book here and the second book here) and this was, what I thought, a thrilling conclusion. Only to find out there’s another book coming. It was like all those times you finish a series and wish for another book, only to immediately find out that it's happening. If you like true crime but want a bit more of a story, or you just like crime books in general but the usual suspects are getting a bit too similar, the Evelyn Talbot series should be your next read.
Waterstones | Amazon | The Book People | Book DepositoryThe Works


Empress of All Seasons by Emiko Jean*
I said it when I finished this and I say it again now, Empress of All Seasons is YA fantasy at its best. It's diverse, original and wasn’t dragged out into the trilogy format that packs young adult shelves.
I loved the Asian inspired mythology, I haven't read much of it before and I want to search out more. There was ladies being badass and boys being gentle which I love. The pacing wasn’t the best but I think this one is worth pushing through, I might re-read it via audiobook and see how that is.
"-our bodies are not ornaments; they are instruments."
Waterstones | Amazon | The Book People | Book Depository


Six Tudor Queens: Anna of Kleve, Queen of Secrets by Alison Weir*
I have never, and probably will never shut up about this series. After being a little disappointed with the third book, this one brought me back around and I'll be writing a full review.
Waterstones | Amazon | The Book People | Book Depository


Blood Orange by Harriet Tyce*
I rarely read books as quickly as I read Blood Orange. I flew through this and actually no longer have my copy as I leant it to a friend who was getting bored of the usual thrillers. This isn't a normal thriller, it's flawed characters doing flawed things with a dash of blackmail and murder. I imagine that people who get stressed when characters do the wrong thing would absolutely hate this one but when I let that go and just let the story happen, I was gripped.
Waterstones | Amazon | The Book People | Book DepositoryThe Works


Have you read any of these?

Monday, 12 August 2019

Book Review: Maresi by Maria Turtschaninoff!

I bought Maresi after booking to go to a panel that Maria Turtschaninoff was on about Feminist Fantasy at the Edinburgh International Book Festival (more on this in a later post). Since that talk was yesterday, it seemed like a good a time as any to post my review of this incredible story.



Maresi came to the Red Abbey when she was thirteen, in the Hunger Winter. Before then, she had only heard rumours of its existence in secret folk tales. In a world where girls aren't allowed to learn or do as they please, an island inhabited solely by women sounded like a fantasy. But now Maresi is here, and she knows it is real. She is safe.

Then one day Jai tangled fair hair, clothes stiff with dirt, scars on her back arrives on a ship. She has fled to the island to escape terrible danger and unimaginable cruelty. And the men who hurt her will stop at nothing to find her.

Now the women and girls of the Red Abbey must use all their powers and ancient knowledge to combat the forces that wish to destroy them. And Maresi, haunted by her own nightmares, must confront her very deepest, darkest fears.


The main thing that I took away after finishing this was how rarely I see first-person past-tense written in the style of a diary/ memoir. We're introduced to Maresi by Maresi herself on the first page, she tells the reader who she is, that she isn't a storyteller but that she has been told that her first person account is important and she wants to record it while her memories are still fresh. She'll occasionally break the fourth wall by talking about the fact that she's in the 'now' and writing about the past but it isn't overused and actually helped me get into the story more.

Even now as I write, my hand trembles in memory of the terror, and I hope my words are still legible.

I loved the female-based mythology that was at the centre of the book. There's the Maiden, the Mother and the Crone and it's all really well thought out. I didn't know quite how to word this until Maria herself talked about it but it was really refreshing that these three aspects were all valued and honoured rather than just the youth. Even though it's a young adult novel with a teenage main character, a lot of the other characters in the Abbey are older and not stereotypical old women.

I also loved the value given to reading and knowledge. Y'all know I love a book where characters read! The girls at the Abbey can go out and take the knowledge they learned there to other communities, a little like missionaries, so they're taught a whole host of things like medicine, farming, animal care and architecture. There's a really great balance of traditionally masculine and feminine work being done on the exclusively female island.

I originally gave this four stars because it did take me a little bit to get into. The pacing for the first half was very slow, maybe because it's a translation, maybe because the background information needed to be laid out much like a non-fiction book by our narrator before the action. However, while writing this review, I feel like I appreciate this book so much more now I can see the wood through the trees. It's worth pushing through if slow-pacing is something that makes you put a book down, because Maresi is the young adult book that you want young adults reading, but that they'll actually enjoy as well!

Coming to the Abbey and learning to read was like opening up a big window and being flooded with light and warmth.

You can buy Maresi from The Book DepositoryWaterstonesAmazon or The Book People!

Have you read Maresi? What's your favourite feminist fantasy book?

Blog design by aleelilydesigns