Monday, 20 January 2020

Books I Want to Buy and Why #16: 2020 Releases!

It's my birthday today! And since it's the 20th, why not talk about the 2020 releases that I'm treating myself to as a birthday gift? I love a good number pattern, I wish there were 20 books but I only have eight...



A Longer Fall by Charlaine Harris
Internationally bestselling Charlaine Harris is at her best here, building a compelling world of this alternate history of the United States, where magic is an acknowledged but despised power.

I didn't really enjoy the first book in this series when I read it but I love Charlaine Harris's writing style and honestly, I can't stop thinking about An Easy Death so maybe A Longer Fall will surprise me!
14th January

Tender is the Flesh by Agustina Bazterrica
It all happened so quickly. First, animals became infected with the virus and their meat became poisonous. Then, governments initiated the Transition. Now, 'special meat' - human meat - is legal.
One of my most common arguments I have with a friend of mine is whether or not human meat, given freely in the zombie apocalypse, would be vegan. So, even though it doesn't sound like this meat is being given voluntarily,  I'm really looking forward to this. I wonder what happened to all the plant-protein like lentils and beans...
6th February

A Witch in Time by Constance Sayers
A young witch is cursed to relive a doomed love affair through many lifetimes, as both troubled muse and frustrated artist, in this haunting debut novel.
Witches have been my jam for a while now and this one is a time-travel romance set in 19th Century France, 30's Hollywood, 70's LA and present-day Washington! I've never found a time-travel novel that's worked for me but I have high hopes for this one.
11th February

My Dark Vanessa by Kate Elizabeth Russell
An era-defining novel about the relationship between a fifteen-year-old girl and her teacher. 

All he did was fall in love with me and the world turned him into a monster.
I don't tend to read many issue books as I can find them a bit stressful, but I found Lolita by Vladamir Nabokov fascinating, and this is dealing with a similar topic from the victim's perspective. I think it's a must-read debut.
31st March

Would Like to Meet by Rachel Winters
Long-suffering assistant Evie Summers will lose her job unless she can convince her film agency's biggest and most difficult client, Ezra Chester, to finish the script for a Hollywood romcom. The catch? He hasn't started writing it.I heard about this one from V.V. James' Instagram post, yeah, V.V. James who wrote one of my favourite books of last year. She described it as a rom-com with Nora Ephron energy... Sign me up!
30th April 

Six Tudor Queens: Katheryn Howard, The Tainted Queen by Alison Weir
Acclaimed, bestselling historian Alison Weir draws on extensive research to recount one of the most tragic tales in English history - that of a lively, sweet but neglected girl, used by powerful men for their own gain.
I've been reading this series since 2016 and although I have a proof, I'm definitely going to buy the hardcover. I have for the past four books and I'm really enjoying this so far! Look for a review in the future.
14th May

The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes by Suzanne Collins
The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes will revisit the world of Panem sixty-four years before the events of The Hunger Games, starting on the morning of the reaping of the Tenth Hunger Games.
Way back when I first started talking about books on this blog, I read The Hunger Games trilogy, and boy, those old reviews are rough. But they were the first books after years of not enjoying reading that I really loved and I'm so excited to see more of the world.
19th May

Cemetery Boys by Aiden Thomas
A trans boy determined to prove his gender to his conservative Latinx family summons a ghost who refuses to leave in Aiden Thomas's paranormal YA debut Cemetery Boys. 
This has a trans main character, a gay romance, and ghosts. That could literally be a list of things I want to read more of in 2020, so June has never seemed to far away!
9th June

What books are you looking forward to in 2020? Don't forget to enter my giveaway to win a pre-order!

Wednesday, 15 January 2020

Book Review: A Messy Affair by Elizabeth Mundy!

For the past two weeks, I've been poorly as all heck. Much like a character in the book, I've been "surrounded by piles of crumpled white tissues, littering the room as though it were a graveyard for doves". Just add a selection of lukewarm cups of tea and ice lolly wrappers, and that's been my life. I set this scene to tell you that A Messy Affair by Elizabeth Mundy* has been wonderful company.




The only way is murder...

Lena Szarka, a Hungarian cleaner working in London, is forced to brush up on her detective skills for a third time when her cousin Sarika is plunged into danger.

Sarika and her reality TV star boyfriend Terry both receive threatening notes. When Terry stops calling, Lena assumes he's lost interest. Until he turns up. Dead. Lena knows she must act fast to keep her cousin from the same fate.

Scrubbing her way through the grubby world of reality television, online dating and betrayed lovers, Lena finds it harder than she thought to discern what's real - and what's just for the cameras.


I've read my fair share of reality TV books written by various cast members of Jersey Shore, so I was immediately intrigued when I read the blurb for Elizabeth Mundy's third Lena Szarka cosy crime novel. Although Made in Chelsea has never been my reality TV show of choice, I recognised enough to enjoy the commentary on these slightly tragic public figures. And I actually enjoyed this murder storyline more than the art thievery of the last book (review here), although I'm not really sure what that says about me...

While I did think I knew who the murderer was, with only a few wobbles in my certainty, boy was I wrong! A Messy Affair is another example of Mundy's fantastic plotting. Everything connects. Whatever is introduced to the story, no matter how seemingly random, is brought back in later. Red herrings are my least favourite part of any crime story and Mundy makes sure that everything has a place in the overall story. Twists and turns galore!

My favourite thing about series is that you get to really know the characters. I really liked Lena and Sarika's personalities when I read the last book and they continued to be wonderful as I got to know them more. While they grow and are changed by the events that have happened in previous books, they also stay the same at the core. No unrealistic personality shifts here. And fingers crossed for more Mrs Kingston in the next book, I love the retired investigative journalist!

Everything I enjoyed in the last book; the writing, the diversity, the cleaning inspiration, it was all here again. I would've liked a little more of discussion in regards to the sex work storyline, but this is a light-hearted read, maybe not the place for deep-diving into the way immigrants are treated in the sex industry.

You can find A Messy Affair here! Or if you want to go back to the start; the first book, In Strangers' Houses is here and the second, A Clean Canvas is here!

"Cleaning is the best time to solve crimes, It frees up your mind to new possibilities."

Do you watch reality TV? Would you read a book about it (plus murder)?

Sunday, 12 January 2020

Books I Read in 2019!

2019 was the year of the reading/ blogging slump for me. My average rating was 3.1 stars! So rather than going into 2020 with a year of reading wrap-ups weighing me down, (except February and March which is here), I'm just going to let it go. You can see everything I read on this Twitter thread and I'll be doing some reviews in the next couple months but lets just wrap-up with some stats!



In 2019 I read 50 books, and according to Goodreads, that figured out at 15,017 pages. The longest being Bleak House by Charles Dickens at 1036 pages, and one star! That was required reading

I only rated 4 books as 
I rated 7 books as 
I rated 13 books as 
I rated 9 books as 
And only 1 book as 



I normally do a top three of the year but since I only rated 4 books as five stars? They're my top four! Sanctuary by V.V. James (review here), Maresi by Maria Turtschaninoff (review here), Regeneration by Pat Barker and Blackberry and Wild Rose by Sonia Velton!

What were your favourite reads of 2019?

Friday, 22 November 2019

Books I Read in February & March!

I didn't finish a single book in January, which is actually the first month in five years that I haven't. 2019 in general has been a slow year for reading and blogging, but I finished seven books in February in March and some of them were pretty good! And some of them weren't for me, so lets talk about that!



Date With Death by Julia Chapman
This was one of the few books I bought last year but I actually ended up listening to the audiobook from the library for this one! It had all the makings of a good cosy crime; a small town, a few brutal murders, a tall, dark and mysterious gentleman and a main character with an interesting job (a dating agency!) but in the end, this wasn't for me. I just can’t quite put my finger on it, but I didn't click with the main character and that's a really important part of cosy crime for me.

Don’t Look Back by Jennifer L. Armentrout*
This was a good YA thriller, which is not a genre that seems to excel when aimed at that age. However, the only take away I had from it was that there were a lot of opinions on therapy and mental health that didn't feel good. In fact, there are at least six terrible takes that I noted on how embarrassed and angry the main character is when her family thinks she needs help (after she gets amnesia and her friend goes missing). I was truly surprised when I found out that this was only published five years ago because it all seemed very early-2000s. It was a shame because the actually thriller aspect was well thought out and pretty clever.


Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit by Jeanette Winterson 
This is required reading for my university module and while I didn't enjoy it, I can see why we're studying it. It's a strange mix of life-writing and fiction, and I did find the perspective of being a gay woman with a very religious upbringing quite interesting.


City of Bones by Cassandra Clare
Cassandra Clare co-wrote my favourite middle-grade books; the Magisterium series, so I was pretty willing to give her original solo series a try. I did and this was quite a fun romp into the 2000s, and it is very 2000s, complete with shaming a girl for wearing a thong. I think if I read it as a teen, I probably would've loved it, but I'm 25 now and without nostalgia, this was just alright. I thought it would appeal to me more since I love urban fantasy but hey, not everything is for everyone.
I was initially interested in continuing the series, especially because they do apparently get better, but I think I'm going to wrap it up and unhaul the three books I have. I'd rather continue series that I really want to read.
"If there was such a thing as terminal literalism, you'd have died in childhood."


Regeneration by Pat Barker
I'm going to have to do a full blog post on this one as it is a truly incredible book. A fictionalised account of real people in WWI dealing with shell-shock. I wanted to pick this up and read it again the second I finished, and I still want to re-read months later!


Been Here All Along by Sandy Hall
I found this while trawling Amazon for more books like Autoboyography by Christina Lauren because I needed more M/M romance in my life. This appealed and luckily I didn't have any kind of book buying ban on myself this year because I don't think I'd have got out of my slump without it!
It's a very cute, 200-page fluff-fest. I just wish there was more depth to it. I think the main issue for me, apart from how short it is, was that the narrative is split between four characters and chapters were often split between two or three of them. It was a lot of flipping from one point of view to another.
On the other hand, there is an openly bisexual character, with mentions of pansexuality and how sexuality can be a spectrum, which I really appreciated in a book aimed at younger teens. And it was dang cute.
"-If your life were a teen comedy, tonight would be your night. It would be the climax of your young life."


Fun Home by Alison Bechdel
This is a book that has been on my radar for a couple years, I even mentioned it in a blog post way back in 2015! In the end though, I'm glad I didn't buy it and just borrowed it from my library because it just didn't end up being what I expected. Despite the name being a pun, the funeral home aspect barely played into the narrative. It was an interesting read but I'm not going to search it out again.



Have you read any of these? What did you think?

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