Top Ten Tuesday #290

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Hi everyone! I hope you’ve all had a good week since I last did one of these: I spent the last couple of days watching the new series of The Crown and I have to say, I think it was my favourite one yet! Gillian Anderson and Emma Corrin were both brilliant as Margaret Thatcher and Princess Diana and where the third series had a couple of episodes that I thought fell a little flat, I really enjoyed every episode of this new series. On a slight downer, it looks like Stirling might be going into a local lockdown at the end of this week, so that’s not great, I’m just hoping it won’t be for more than a couple of weeks!

Anyway, as it’s Tuesday, I have another Top Ten Tuesday for you all (my 290th, we’re on the homestretch to 300 now guys!), courtesy of Jana at That Artsy Reader Girl. This week we’re talking Characters We’d Name A Pet After. I feel like a lot of fantasy names would probably make better pet names that human names as naming your pet something a little out there is less weird than your using a fantasy character’s name for your child. So here we go, some characters I’d name a pet after and which pet I’d choose:

  1. Arya-Game of Thrones-George RR Matin-Cat

I actually know of someone who has a dog called Arya but I think Arya would make a great cat name too. Arya actually strikes me as more of a cat in personality than a dog, independent, does what she wants when she wants etc. I’d imagine Arya would be a black cat or a black and white cat. 

2. Valkyrie-Skulduggery Pleasant-Derek Landy-Dog

I think Valkyrie would be a great name for a big fluffy dog, like a German Shepherd or maybe a husky? Given that Valkyrie is from Norse mythology, and Norway is a pretty cold country, it makes sense that a dog called Valkyrie would be a big fluffy one.

3. Lila-Shades of Magic Trilogy-VE Schwab-Cat

Again, Lila’s personality just strikes me as far more cat like than dog-like. I feel like a cat called Lila would probably be some kind of oriental cat as they’re quite outgoing cats who like a lot of attention. It would also definitely have to be a cat that had heterochromia (different coloured eyes). 

4. Celaena-Throne of Glass series-Sarah J Maas-Cat

Celaena would make a great cat name also, though I will admit, this one mostly comes from Shanna Alderliesten’s cat who is a gorgeous Bengal cat who also has name and it so suits her!

5. Nikolai-Grishaverse books-Leigh Bardugo-Dog

I know Nikolai in the books is described as a fox, but I think his name would make a great dog name. I’m not sure if a dog is necessarily the best fit for Nikolai’s personality, but I can’t help but picture an Irish Setter called Nikolai, they have such gorgeous red coats.

6. Kaz-Grishaverse books-Leigh Bardugo-Cat

Kaz is a black cat. 100% Kaz would be a black cat, it suits his character down to the ground and I think Kaz is a great name for a cat.

7. Tibby-The Sisterhood of The Traveling Pants series-Ann Brashares-Cat

This may be slightly because my family had a cat called Tabby, which is very similar, but I think Tibby is a great name for a tabby cat. 

8. Artemis-Artemis Fowl series-Eoin Colfer-Horse

I think Artemis would be a great name for a horse, in fact in general I really like the idea of naming horses after Greek gods and goddesses, and given that Artemis is the Goddess of The Hunt and horses are often used in hunting, it seems like a fitting name. I feel like Artemis would be a dapple grey mare. 

9. Sherlock-Sherlock Holmes stories-Arthur Conan Doyle-Dog

Sherlock just sounds like the perfect dog name doesn’t it? I will admit, I do have a friend with dogs called Sherlock and Watson, so a little bias may have gone into this decision, but nonetheless, Sherlock is a great name for a dog. 

10. Monty-Montague Siblings series-Mackenzi Lee-Dog

If I had a dog called Monty, he would definitely be a yellow labrador, Monty is one of those names that just sounds like it would fit a dog and I love labradors, having one of my own! 

So there we go, those are the fictional characters I’d name pets after! I will admit my top names I’ve considered for my own future dogs (Arthur and Merlin) did not make the list, but I would definitely use any of these names for pets as well. Would you choose any of these names for a pet? What names made your list this week? Let me know in the comments!

I’ll be back with another Top Ten Tuesday next week, the annual Thanksgiving one. I’ll be honest, I always struggle to come up with ideas for these that I haven’t done before, Thanksgiving isn’t a thing in the UK and let’s face it, it’s hard to find things to be thankful for in 2020. I can’t really think of a bookish one for this year, so instead I’m going to talk about my Top Ten Favourite Thanksgiving TV Episodes. 

#RockMyTBR October Update (2020)

Hi everyone! So since I last did one of these, England’s gone back into lockdown, I’ve temporarily moved back up to Stirling and the coronavirus nightmare seems to be never ending. On the upside, being back in Stirling has been nice, even if the weather this time of year is never great. I hope that wherever you guys are in the world, in lockdown or not, that you are staying safe and doing well.

For anyone who is new to my blog over the past month, #RockMyTBR is a challenge originated by Sarah K at The YA Book Traveler. The challenge is pretty straightforward, you pick a list of backlist books from your TBR (books not published in the year that you’re reading them) and read them over the course of a year. I always do 12 books, one for each month, and then every month I post an update of all the books I’ve been reading (not just the challenge ones). In October I read 3 books, so slightly down on September, but I still feel well on track to finish my Goodreads Challenge by the end of the year, so I’m not too worried about it. Here’s what I read in October:

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Men Who Hate Women-Laura Bates

This was my audiobook read for October. I’m not usually a non-fiction reader, but I have been trying to include more non-fiction in my reading over the last couple of years as I do love learning new things. Laura Bates’ latest book delves into the world of online misogyny and I was shocked and appalled by some of the things she uncovered in her research. It’s definitely a tough read, but very insightful and I look forward to reading more of her back catalogue. I read this one from 5th-29th October. Here is my review of it:

https://jjbookblog.wordpress.com/2020/11/07/men-who-hate-women-review-audiobook/

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The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue by VE Schwab:

My Netgalley read for October and my most anticipated read of the year. I’m happy to say Addie lived up to all expectations, a beautifully written, haunting story about art, history and what it means to be remembered. It was a little slow in places but on the whole I was really captivated by it. I read this one from 22nd September-1st November (She’s designed to be read slowly!). Here is my review of it:

https://jjbookblog.wordpress.com/2020/11/09/the-invisible-life-of-addie-larue/

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The Devouring Gray-Christine Lynn Herman

My October #RockMyTBR read after I swapped Tunnel of Bones in for September. I was kind of disappointed by this one, I was expecting a brilliantly spooky Halloween read, and it wasn’t quite spooky enough for me. The characters also fell flat and it was far too slow paced for my liking. I read this one from 7th October-5th November. Here is my review of it:

https://jjbookblog.wordpress.com/2020/11/12/the-devouring-gray-the-devouring-gray-1/

So that’s what I read in October, here’s what I have coming up for what’s left of November (since once again, this is later than usual). The eagle eyed among you may notice that I don’t have a challenge book on my list, that is because I DNF’ed Assassin’s Apprentice after not being able to get into it, so I’ll be finishing my #RockMyTBR Challenge on 11 this year.

Seasons of War-Derek Landy

I had this down for October, but The Devouring Gray took me far longer to read than I thought it would so I didn’t get around to it. I’m about seven chapters in now and loving being back with Skulduggery and Valkyrie. If any year needed a Skulduggery adventure, 2020 is definitely it!

The Book Of Two Ways-Jodi Picoult

One of my Netgalley reads for this month, I’m about 40% of the way through and I’m liking it so far although the chapters are CHUNKY, so I’m moving through it slower than I’d like.

Kingdom of The Wicked-Keri Maniscalco

My other planned Netgalley read for the month, I have a bit of a backlog from October because Addie took me longer than I was expecting to finish. I’m really looking forward to this one, it sounds so good.

A Song of Wraiths and Ruin-Roseanne A.Brown

My Audiobook read for November, I’m really enjoying it so far, it’s so well paced, things are ticking along really nicely and I’m nearing halfway through the book now and I love all the West African cultural influences, particularly the food descriptions!

Slightly less books on my TBR for this month than I’ve had previously but since I seem to have been finishing around 3-4 books a month since September, I thought I’d set my TBR at something manageable rather than overreaching for November. How are everyone’s Goodreads Challenges’ going? I’m on 41 out of 50 now, so I think I should be able to make 50 before the end of the year. Whatever happens, I’m definitely going to beat my previous all time high of 42 from last year, so I’m very happy about that. Let me know in the comments how you guys are getting on!

The Devouring Gray (The Devouring Gray #1)

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Book: The Devouring Gray (The Devouring Gray #1)

Author: Christine Lynn Herman

BECHDEL TEST: PASS-Augusta and May discuss the town in their card reading.

Content Warnings: Loss of a loved one, death, murder, depictions of grief and trauma, violence, abandonment, talk of rituals and self-sacrifice, assault, attempted filicide, kidnapping, emotional/abuse neglect, animal death (though resurrected after), gore, depictions of a cult

This one is another book that I wasn’t initially intending on reading this year, but after not feeling in the mood for Sherwood in September, and swapping it out for Tunnel of Bones, I needed a new book for my October #RockMyTBR read and it seemed like the perfect time of year for this one. Sadly it wasn’t quite as creepy as I’d hoped, and the incredibly slow pace meant I felt quite bogged down by it for most of the month, and didn’t enjoy it as much as I’d have liked. Here is a short synopsis of the book:

Branches and stones, daggers and bones,
They locked the Beast away.


After the death of her sister, seventeen-year-old Violet Saunders finds herself dragged to Four Paths, New York. Violet may be a newcomer, but she soon learns her mother isn’t: They belong to one of the revered founding families of the town, where stone bells hang above every doorway and danger lurks in the depths of the woods.

Justin Hawthorne’s bloodline has protected Four Paths for generations from the Gray—a lifeless dimension that imprisons a brutal monster. After Justin fails to inherit his family’s powers, his mother is determined to keep this humiliation a secret. But Justin can’t let go of the future he was promised and the town he swore to protect.

Ever since Harper Carlisle lost her hand to an accident that left her stranded in the Gray for days, she has vowed revenge on the person who abandoned her: Justin Hawthorne. There are ripples of dissent in Four Paths, and Harper seizes an opportunity to take down the Hawthornes and change her destiny-to what extent, even she doesn’t yet know.

The Gray is growing stronger every day, and its victims are piling up. When Violet accidentally unleashes the monster, all three must band together with the other Founders to unearth the dark truths behind their families’ abilities—before the Gray devours them all.
 

I should start with my biggest issue with this book, which seems to be an ongoing issue from this year, which is PACING. THIS BOOK WAS SO SLOW, EVERYTHING MOVED AT A SNAILS PACE. Plus you had my own personal nemesis, lengthy chapters so between the action moving so slowly and the chapters being like 30 pages long, it took me like a day each to get through one chapter! A slow buildup is fine, but not when it takes most of the book for any real action to happen.

The constant POV changes within chapters was also pretty jarring. I mean this might be largely a personal thing, but I generally prefer when multiple POVS keep to one character per chapter. I have liked books that have done POV switches mid-chapter in the past sometimes, but it just felt very clumsily done here and I found it a little tricky to follow whose perspective it was all the time.

I was expecting it to be creepier? The concept is super cool, the founder powers are super cool, I was expecting this really great atmospheric read. However, I didn’t find that the author really created that eerie atmosphere and I have to put that down to the writing style. Herman’s writing is very straightforward and to the point and it didn’t really seem to fit the tone she was going for with the book? Had there been more eerie descriptions, then I think I would have maybe felt the atmosphere a bit more but it all felt a little bland to me.

The characters are also somewhere where the book fell down a little for me. Had the characters been super memorable, even though the book itself was slow I probably would have enjoyed this one a little more. As it is, it felt like none of the characters really expanded much beyond one or two characteristics: Justin is the hometown hero, Violet is the goth new girl who plays piano, Isaac is moody and reads books and Harper likes swordfighting. I didn’t feel like any of them were really developed enough for me to root for them. Augusta Hawthorne, Justin’s mother, actually seemed like the most interesting of the bunch, I would totally have read a whole book about her.

This book does okay for some representation and not so much for others. There is a lot of bisexual representation in here, with Violet, Isaac, Augusta Hawthorne (Justin’s mother) and Juniper Saunders, Violet’s mother all being bisexual which I thought was great. It’s also really cool that Augusta and Juniper had a past relationship as you don’t often get to hear about adults in previous f/f relationships in books. Harper also has a missing limb, and whilst I can’t speak to the quality of the disabled representation, there was nothing that stuck out as obviously offensive or hurtful.

Then we get to where this book falls down: POC. Near everyone in this book is painfully white. And we know this because Herman takes pains to point out everyone’s skin colour when they’re introduced. There’s nothing wrong with this, I appreciate authors tackling the assumption of whiteness on page, but it’s very clumsily done as she only tells you the character’s skin colour and nothing else about them and also it really highlights the lack of diversity in this book. It’s 2019 and just because it’s a small town, doesn’t mean all the main characters have to be white?

There’s a lot of clumsy exposition when it comes to the town’s history, and even then there was a lot that I still didn’t get. Like why are the Sullivans known as “daggers”? Their power seems to be reducing things to ash, surely it would make more sense if they were ashes? I also didn’t really get how the Founders protected the town, the patrols didn’t really seem to be doing anything, and their powers didn’t seem like they were massively helpful for protection. We never find out how exactly the Beast came to Four Paths in the first place either. I also don’t understand why the people in Four Paths don’t just leave? I mean as far as I’m aware, there’s nothing stopping them from leaving town, and if I knew there was a Beast in my town that could kill me, then I would definitely go! Do the Founders have extended family that live elsewhere? Things like the rituals and the Deck of Omens were super cool but there were a lot of aspects of the worldbuilding that didn’t seem massively well thought out.

I was glad that the romance in this was limited, but it did seem awfully convenient that all four of the main characters have their pairs. JUST FOR ONCE COULD WE PLEASE HAVE A YA BOOK WHERE ONE OF THE CHARACTERS IS SINGLE AND DOESN’T HAVE A LOVE INTEREST??? I mean I could kind of see Isaac and Violet bonding given their shared understanding of grief (though it’s so freaking obvious that he likes Justin) but Harper and Justin? They have way too many communication issues and given their history it seems unlikely that they would ever be able to have a healthy relationship.

I think Herman was trying to establish a “squad goals” dynamic, but it didn’t really work because the four main characters spend most of the book apart, working on their own issues, so when they come together at the end, it doesn’t really feel earned because we haven’t been able to see the building of their friendship.

There were a lot of kind of contrived conveniences about Stephen Saunders and the resolution to Augusta’s memory wiping towards the end of the book that seemed to be mostly there as plot devices.

All of the founders seemed to live in some kind of manor except Harper (well and I guess Isaac, but I’m imagining that his family had a large house when they were alive) which seemed a little odd to me, is everyone in this town super rich?

I had to look up the whole Garbage Plate thing as well as it’s not something I’d heard of before, and it sounds gross! Why anyone would want to eat macaroni with chips, baked beans, meat and bread together is beyond me but then it’s not something we tend to eat in the UK.

The parents in this book are all pretty terrible, Augusta is controlling, Juniper is emotionally distant & Harper’s dad is part of a creepy cult (how no one could tell that cult was up to no good is beyond me), none of them are examples as model parents, though I can’t remember the last time I read a YA book where parents were so integral to the plot so I guess props for that even if they are awful?

Darn that ending, I was pretty certain I probably wouldn’t read the sequel to this book until the end. Now I really need to know what happens because that ending was mean!

My Rating: 3/5

My next review will be of Jodi Picoult’s latest release, The Book Of Two Ways.

Top Ten Tuesday #289

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Hi everyone! I hope you’ve all had a good week since I last did one of these, as I said last week, I’m back up in Stirling and I’ve definitely been enjoying the quiet time by myself, it’s something that’s been in short supply this year!

Anyway, it’s Tuesday, so I have another Top Ten Tuesday for you all courtesy of Jana at That Artsy Reader Girl. This week I’m talking about Song Titles That Would Make Great Book Titles (I switched the original topic around as I thought this way would be more fun). So I’ve scrolled through my IPod for songs, and chosen 10 that I think would make interesting stories, plus tried to imagine a little what those books would be about:

  1. She Used To Be Mine-Waitress Soundtrack

Definitely sounds like it could be a book right? But I don’t imagine a traditional contemporary romance for this one, since the song, from the show Waitress is all about Jenna trying to find herself again after years in an abusive marriage, I picture a book with the same title being along a similar theme: the story of a woman coming out of an abusive relationship and trying to rediscover the person she was before.

2. Always Remember Us This Way-A Star Is Born (2018) Soundtrack

This definitely seems like it would be something in the vein of The Fault In Our Stars, could be YA or Adult, but I imagine the story would be of a couple where one partner has a terminal illness (I’d go with the guy since these kinds of stories do seem to trend towards having the woman die), and it follows them on their last summer together trying to cram in all the experiences they can before he dies.

3. Back To December-Taylor Swift

Okay my idea for this one really has nothing to do with the story of the song, but I think Back To December would be a perfect title for one of those holiday themed short story anthologies!

4. Goodbye Until Tomorrow-The Last Five Years

Okay, I originally had a happy story idea in mind for this one but then I came up with a morbidly sad one that I liked better, so I’m going with that. This story would start with a couple going on their first date, and they really like each other but the guy dies in a car crash on his way home. The rest of the story would follow the girl’s ideas of different scenarios of what might have happened had they had more time together.

5. As Long As You’re Mine-Wicked Soundtrack

As Long As You’re Mine definitely gives me the vibes of a story about a secret affair, something kind of in the vein of Normal People where the two main characters are hiding their relationship from everyone for some reason and it’s inevitable that it’s not going to last.

6. Our Last Summer-Mamma Mia Soundtrack

This one is an easy one, I feel like this would be a group of friends who are about to go their separate ways for University having one last big summer adventure together travelling around Europe (I did initially think of a romantic scenario for this one, but I feel like a lot of these ideas have been based around couples and I wanted to have one that wasn’t!).

7. Learning How To Lose You-Nashville Season 5 Soundtrack

Because apparently I love some grief, I have another sad idea for this one, this I feel would be something in the vein of PS I Love You where the main character is having to learn to move on after their partner’s death.

8. The Last Great American Dynasty-Taylor Swift

Honestly any of the songs of folklore would make a great book since they’re all kind of like mini stories, but I had a great idea for this one: an heiress runs away from the family fortune and this book follows her adventures as she causes all kinds of embarrassment for her family.

9. Burn With You-Lea Michele

I feel like this one would follow a couple after a really messy breakup where they’re both out to get revenge on each other and destroy each other’s lives: think something like the movie The Break-Up with Jennifer Aniston and Vince Vaughn, where they breakup and neither of them wants to give up their shared apartment so they both try and make each other miserable.

10. You’re Timeless To Me-Hairspray

I love the idea of this one being kind of a love story through the ages, it would start with an elderly couple and would flashback through their lives together.

I realised that most of these are romance based stories which is very weird for me, but what can I say, it’s very difficult to find songs that aren’t based around some kind of love story! Do you like any of these songs? What songs do you think would make good books? Let me know in the comments!

I’ll be back with another Top Ten Tuesday next week, this time we’re going to be talking about Characters I’d Name A Pet After, which should be a fun one! 

 

The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue

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Book: The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue

Author: VE Schwab

Published By: Titan Books

Publication Date: 6th October (oops!)

Format: e-book

BECHDEL TEST: Pass-Addie and Sam talk about art.

Content warnings: Grief, depression, anxiety, substance abuse, attempted sexual assualt, attempted suicide, loss of a loved one, war, starvation, sex work, forced marriage, emotional abuse, mentions of cancer in the past, vomiting, mind control, drugging without consent

Thank you to Netgalley UK and Titan Books for allowing me to read this book early, it in no way affected my opinion of this book.

I am in no way exaggerating when I say that this was my most anticipated book of this year. I’ve been excited for this book for a long time now, since I first heard VE Schwab talk about it and have eagerly snapped up every little snippet that she’s posted on Instagram since. So it’s safe to say that my expectations for this one were super high, and I’m thankful that they were met and then some. It didn’t meet the heights of A Darker Shade of Magic, Vengeful and A Conjuring of Light, but it’s definitely up there with my favourite Schwab books. It’s going to be a hard one to review without going into spoilers, but I’ll give it my best! Here is a short synopsis of the book:

France, 1714: in a moment of desperation, a young woman makes a Faustian bargain to live forever-and is cursed to be forgotten by everyone she meets.

Thus begins the extraordinary life of Addie LaRue, and a dazzling adventure that will play out across centuries and continents, across history and art, as a young woman learns how far she will go to leave her mark on the world.

But everything changes when, after nearly 300 years, Addie stumbles across a young man in a hidden bookstore, and he remembers her name.

In the vein of The Time Traveler’s Wife and Life After Life, The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue is New York Times bestselling author V. E. Schwab’s #1 New York Times Bestselling Author genre-defying tour de force.

I feel like I have to start off with the writing on this one, because it’s definitely the most noticeable thing about this book. It’s quite different to the way Schwab writes in any of her other books, she definitely leans into the description more here but it works so well. I’m not usually one for description but the writing in this book is SO BEAUTIFUL. You know when you read a book and you’re just in absolute awe and wish you could write something as gorgeous as that? Yeah, that’s the writing in this book for me.

I will admit, it is a very slow paced book, which is not usually what I like, but this is the kind of story where a fast pace just wouldn’t have worked. By it’s very nature, the story is a slow unspooling of hundreds of years of history. There were some places where I’d have liked things to move a little faster, but for the most part, the slow pace didn’t bother me and things picked up quite nicely when Addie met Henry. It did help that though there are a lot of chapters, they are all pretty short. 

This is definitely a character drawn story rather than a plot one. The plot can be a little thin in places, it does feel like a series of unconnected snapshots in places but again, as soon as the two main characters meet, things improve on that front. Plus, thankfully the characters are really strong. I definitely connected more to Henry than Addie, he felt more grounded and I loved seeing a softer and more sensitive male character being cast as the love interest as I so often read about these brash alpha male leads. Basically if you like cinnamon roll characters, you will love Henry. I could also relate a lot to Henry’s struggle with figuring out what he wanted to do in life and his feeling like time is moving too fast sometimes, as those are definitely feelings I’ve had in the past too.

I did like Addie’s character, her stubborn determination, her ability to find joy even when her life seems so bleak, her need for adventure and longing to escape from her small town, all of those aspects of her character I loved. However, due to the nature of her curse, she does have a tendency to be quite self absorbed and selfish and she did feel kind of aloof and disconnected in places. I have to admit for someone who longs for adventure, Addie certainly moves very slowly through the world and stays in places for a very long time, though I guess that makes sense for someone who has never been further than her small village in her entire life! 

However that is the beauty of Schwab’s characters, they are always flawed, Henry also has flaws, I can’t say too much about this because it’s actually a spoiler for a certain plot thread in the book, but I thought Schwab made a really interesting choice in the way she showed Henry’s flaws through this particular plot thread (I’m sorry, I know that’s super vague, but I literally can’t say more than that without dropping a massive spoiler). 

Luc is the villain in this book, and as with all of Schwab’s villains, he’s incredibly morally grey. It’s easy to see why Addie is captivated with him, he’s certainly charming and mysterious, but she definitely doesn’t shy away from his less palatable aspects either, he has serious anger issues and is very emotionally manipulative. 

THE EMOTION IN THIS BOOK WAS EVERYTHING. Schwab definitely leans hard into the emotional beats of this story and it paid off: over the course of 483 pages, I felt ALL THE THINGS.

I loved that the entire main cast of this book was LGBTQIA+ and that it’s so casually done, it’s just a fact, it’s not a big deal, it’s just another aspect of their identities. Henry is pansexual, Addie is bisexual (it’s not confirmed on page that’s she’s pan, so I’m going with bi, as opposed to Henry who makes a statement on page that confirms his pansexuality), Bea is lesbian and Robbie is gay. It’s basically everyone is gay here vibes in a book!

Having said that, there is definitely a lack of acknowledgment of POC in this book. Bea is the only POC character confirmed on page, and this does seem like an oversight, especially given that Addie lives through the height of colonialism, it feels like that should definitely have been acknowledged in the text. All of the places she visits are Western as well, it would have been nice if Schwab had ventured a little further afield than Europe and the US.

I love how honestly Schwab explores Henry’s mental health in this book, she mentioned in her Waterstones event for this book that she drew on her own experiences for this and you could definitely tell, his struggles felt so raw and real and I loved that she didn’t shy away from exploring that.

Okay, so the romance. Schwab has said that this is the closest thing to a love story she has ever written and to some extent that’s true, but of course because it’s Schwab, things are not as simple as that. 

First we have Luc and Addie. The dynamic between Luc and Addie is very interesting, they certainly have this kind of cat and mouse thing going on as he tries to get her to surrender and she consistently refuses. They definitely have an attraction, but this is not a healthy relationship and Schwab definitely reinforces that. Addie is essentially emotionally manipulated by the Darkness for 300 years, their relationship is based on him wanting to own her, to possess her, to be the only thing in her life. I would definitely say that their dynamic has some of the hallmarks of emotional abuse, and I think that’s what Schwab was trying to go for: it’s reinforced over and over again that Luc looks as her as a prize to win, that he gave her no other option but him and she says several times, “This isn’t love”. So if you’re looking for a romantic love story based on mutual respect, you will not find it in Addie and Luc!

The other romance is Addie and Henry and whilst I did like them together, their relationship definitely felt very one sided. Henry actually seemed to genuinely like her and care about her, whereas Addie really seemed to only care about the fact that he could remember her. That’s probably quite cynical of me, but I genuinely felt like Henry deserved better than someone who didn’t really seem to care all that much about what he brought to a relationship, more the mere fact that he remembered her. That could just be me being cynical though!

This book is all about the small moments. There are some plot twists (though most are quite easily worked out), but for the most part it’s about the small moments that make up a life, the first time seeing the sea, a visit to the opera (that bit particularly got to me as it reminded me how much I miss theatre) and in any other book, I so would not care, but Schwab has this way of making the small moments feel monumental.

Obviously in the e-ARC that I read, the art that’s interspersed between the part dividers isn’t there, but I got a finished copy as well and WOW. They really went above and beyond with the art for this book so if you can get a physical copy, I would! Art is so important in this book, it’s basically Addie’s reason for being, how she survives alone in the world for 300 years and that really struck a chord with me. I’ve really relied on art to get me through this pandemic, be it music, TV, film, theatre (livestreamed for the most part), books, it’s all those things that have kept me going and this book really draws on that feeling of how important art can be for survival.

The past and the present timelines were done really well, they’re interwoven really neatly and the switching didn’t feel clumsy at all (not that I’m surprised by that, Vengeful showed just how masterful Schwab is at switching between different points in time). I loved all of the flashbacks to the past, honestly I could read a whole different book just about everything that Addie did in the past (petition for a book about Addie as a spy in WWII PLEASE!). 

Schwab does so well with the side characters in this, there are a lot of people who are only a fleeting part of Addie’s story, but even if they are only there for a chapter, you feel their impact throughout the book and how they’ve shaped Addie, it definitely feels like they all could have their own stories.

I like the way that certain objects recur throughout the book, the bird, the leather jacket, the ring, it’s cool how certain objects in Addie’s life have particular significance to her story.

I’m not usually a fan of fabulism, but I thought the way Schwab used it here with Luc worked really well.

The way faith plays into this is very interesting, there’s a definite juxtaposition between Catholicism and Paganism which I thought was cool. Henry is also Jewish (though not practicing) and it’s one of very few times I’ve read a book with a Jewish main character where the book wasn’t about the Holocaust, so that was great (and I have to admit, I feel a bit silly for not realising before now that her family is Jewish!). 

I do wish there was more dialogue, this book is very heavy on the description and very light on the dialogue and I will always at heart be a dialogue lover (and Schwab does dialogue so well) so I would have liked a bit more, especially to break up some of the more chunky passages. Where there is dialogue, it’s great though, especially some of the witty exchanges between Addie and Luc.

I love how Schwab approached female pleasure in this book, Addie’s sexuality is explored in a wonderful way. She mentions female masturbation, which is something you HARDLY EVER SEE in books (I can count on the fingers of one hand books that have mentioned it, in fact I think this may only be the second I’ve read). I also loved how consent was emphasised in the book, it’s super sexy and makes the sex scenes so much nicer to read (they are few and far between don’t worry if it’s not your thing). 

Schwab does explore how being a woman makes it harder for Addie to move through the world, which I appreciated as it would have seemed strange if she hadn’t acknowledged that given the time period Addie comes from. Like I said before it does miss the mark on race though, there’s no acknowledgement of how being a white woman makes it easier for Addie to move invisibly through the world that it might have been for a Black woman with the same curse.

Addie does also have a slight tendency of “not like other girls” about her when she looks down on her friend for wanting to be a wife and mother. Fair enough highlight how women had less choices in the 18th century, but I didn’t love how Schwab portrayed Isabelle’s choice as obviously the wrong one just because it wasn’t what Addie wanted. 

There is less worldbuilding than in Schwab’s other novels but that’s largely as this one is set in our world. She definitely seemed to have thought through all of the logistics of the curse though, everything had an explanation (barring one small exception that I thought she could have explained better). I would have liked it if I’d had a slightly better sense of place in the past chapters though, Schwab does bring in some historical people, but I would have liked a few more historical details in the past chapters to really establish the point that Addie is in time.

I loved the bookstore Henry works at, The Last Word, and especially the shop cat Book, it reminded me of second hand bookshop that my Nana used to take me to when I was younger that had a shop dog, a Border Collie!

I LOVED THE ENDING SO MUCH. It definitely hit me with all the emotions but I thought it was a really perfect way to wrap everything up and it definitely did feel like a self contained story, though there are things I would still love if Schwab explored further in the future.

Overall this was a really fantastic book, it’s beautifully written, it’s incredibly emotional and though the plot could be a little thin in places, it has wonderfully lively characters that you’ll just fall in love with. Schwab’s adult books are always fantastic and I can’t wait to see what she does next!

My Rating: 4.5/5 (just didn’t quite make the 5, if the plot had been slightly stronger it probably would have).

My next review will be of The Devouring Gray by Christine Lynn Herman, my October #RockMyTBR book. Thanks for bearing with me whilst I’ve been catching up on my slight review backlog from October, I finished everything in kind of a rush in the last few days of October/first few days of November, so I’ve been a tad behind! 

 

Men Who Hate Women Review (Audiobook)

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Book: Men Who Hate Women

Author: Laura Bates

Format: Audiobook

Narrator: Laura Bates

BECHDEL TEST: N/A, non-fiction

Content Warnings: Mentions of sexual violence, assault and abuse, online harassment, murder and terrorist violence.

I’ve been meaning to read one of Laura Bates’ books for ages, my sister got me Everyday Sexism for Christmas a couple of years ago (I still haven’t read it, I will soon!) and I’ve seen quite a few of her articles in The Guardian, but till now I’d never read one of her books. Back in September, I attended a virtual event she did in support of this book and thought it sounded like an interesting read. It definitely was, but it’s certainly not an easy one either, Laura was certainly very brave going undercover in these communities that hate women so violently! Here is a short synopsis of the book:

An explosive book examining the rise of secretive, extremist communities who despise women. In this ground-breaking investigation, Laura Bates traces the roots of misogyny across a complex spider’s web of groups extending from Men’s Rights Activists and Pick up Artists to “Men Going their Own Way” trolls and the Incel movement, in the name of which some men have committed terrorist acts.

Drawing parallels with other extremist movements around the world, Bates seeks to understand what attracts men to the movement, how it grooms and radicalizes boys, how it operates, and what can be done to stop it. Most urgently of all, she traces the pathways this extreme ideology has taken from the darkest corners of the internet to emerge covertly in our mainstream media, our playgrounds, and our parliament. Going undercover online and off, Bates provides the first, comprehensive look at this hitherto under-the-radar phenomenon, including fascinating interviews with trolls, former incels, the academics studying this movement, and the men fighting back.

First off, I really enjoyed the narration for this one, I’ve not read many books where authors narrate their own work (this tends to be more of a standard for non-fiction than fiction) and I really liked that, Laura explains everything in a way that is very succinct and easy to understand.

I learned so much from this book! I’d heard of both incels and men’s rights activists before and knew of some of the mass attacks that Laura spoke about in the incel chapters but there was definitely still a lot I didn’t know. I’d never really heard of Pick Up Artists as an organised group, and I had no idea that Men Going Their Own Way was even a thing. It was also horrifying to learn that Incels originally started as an innocent project to help foster a community of single people who were lonely, that was started by a WOMAN and has become so twisted by men who have co-opted it in the years since. I also had no idea the extent of some of these communities, I had definitely assumed that Incels were a far smaller community than they actually are! I’d also never heard of Gamergate before this.

It is very western focused, the cases talked about tend to be from the UK, US, Canada, Australia and New Zealand but this is pretty understandable, trying to cover the entire world of online misogyny would have been a pretty mammoth task.

I did appreciate that she looked at the intersections of race and gender in her discussions of these groups, as so often extreme misogyny and racism are inextricably linked, so it definitely would have been disingenuous if she had only focused on gender without considering how race plays into these communities as well.

I was definitely impressed at the lengths Bates went to to research these communities, I would never have been as brave as she was! The one part that particularly struck me was when she talked about going to a Men’s Rights Activists meeting who had specifically used her in their advertising, incredibly brave to go into a meeting of people who you already know are going to hate you.

The story of the pregnant journalist who ended up having to give up her job because of death threats she received after writing a tongue in cheek article about ways men ruined her year really hit hard for me, I’ve never really worried to much about being threatened because of stories I write, but it did remind me that it can be dangerous to be a journalist even if you’re not actively working in a war zone or something like that. The description of Bates talking about her sexual assault in front of a group of teenagers and them not believing her was quite emotional as well, as was when she described her ordeal trying to report online trolls the police.

As Bates comes from a journalist perspective as well, it was interesting for me to see how she spoke about the media and the role that they play in perpetuating the extreme misogyny agenda, it’s definitely something I want to see how I can help to change as I enter the industry.

From the title, it might seem that Bates is focused on attacking men, but this could not be further from the truth. A lot of her book, as well as talking about the ways these groups hurt women, talks about the damage that they do to men as well, particularly impressionable young men and how they manipulate them for their own gain.

The chapters are quite long, I might have separated them down into smaller sections within the overall topics as 90 minute to 2 hour chapters is quite a lot to listen to in one go. I did particularly like how each section had interviews with people from the groups/who were affected by the groups talked about, it really helped illustrate Bates’ arguments.

I would never have thought of incel attacks as terrorism before and this book certainly made me wonder why: they’re based on an extreme ideology that involves violence and intimidation towards a particular group, if these attacks were carried out by anyone other than white man, they would certainly be considered terrorist actions.

The interview with Ben Hurst at the end was also an interesting addition, it was cool to hear more about the process that Bates went through writing the book and her thoughts on certain topics after its completion.

Overall this was a really enlightening, interesting read and I learned a lot, though it’s definitely not an easy book to read. I definitely look forward to reading more of Bates’ work in the future, will have to push Everyday Sexism up the reading list!

My Rating: 5/5

My next review will be of my latest Netgalley read, The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue by VE Schwab, one of my most anticipated reads of the year. I’m hoping to post it tomorrow, if not Monday, because I’m already done, so I just need to write up the review.

Top Ten Tuesday #288

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Hi all! I hope you’ve all had a good week since I last did one of these: I’ve had a bit of a whirlwind the last few days! I met up with my friend Hannah on Saturday which was lovely, we had a really good catchup, which obviously involved a lot of talking about books! 

However the news of the national lockdown in England has meant a very swift change of plans, and I’m heading back up to Stirling tomorrow for the next month or so in the hopes that having more space will help my mental health in what is sure to be a challenging winter.

Anyway, enough of the downer that is the pandemic, as it’s Tuesday, I have another Top Ten Tuesday for you all courtesy of Jana at That Artsy Reader Girl. This week we’re talking about our Non-Bookish Hobbies. I deliberately didn’t include writing on this list, as though it’s not reading, a lot of the writing I do is still book related (whether it be writing books or talking about books here), plus, I do also intend for it to be my job so including it as a hobby didn’t really feel right! 

  1. Horse riding

I’ve mentioned this plenty of times on the blog before, but since it is one of my biggest hobbies outside of books, it was worth mentioning again. I’ve been riding for over sixteen years now and it’s a massive part of my life, I’ve always loved horses, and particularly this year, being able to get out in the fresh air for a ride (since the first lockdown was eased) has been a real lifesaver. I’m going to miss it a lot over the next month! Being part of the Equestrian Club at University was also a great way to meet people and I loved my lessons and helping out with competitions whilst I was there. 

2. Trampolining

Another hobby I’ve had since childhood, I started trampolining at about 11, I think after there were some summer sessions at my future secondary school, I was immediately hooked and continued for the next twelve years. I was part of the Trampolining Club at my Uni as well, which was also a fantastic way of meeting people at Uni. I haven’t really been able to do any since I left as it’s a harder hobby to keep up once you’re an adult than riding is, but I definitely want to look into places I can do it again once things are a little more settled with the pandemic!

3. Running

I swear these first three hobbies are going to make me sound like I’m a lot more into sports than I actually am! Running is a great stress reliever for me, I first took it up during my A-Levels as a way to get out during revision, and this year in particular it has been really important for me to get my weekly run in as over lockdown it was the only exercise I could really do!

4. Watching movies/TV

I’ll admit, I’ve been doing more of this than I even I like to over the course of this year, but I do enjoy bingeing a few boxsets on Netflix or watching a cheesy romantic comedy. Usually I prefer it to be a relaxation after a long day of actually doing something rather than the only thing I’m able to do! Having said that, TV and films have been a great comfort as well over this period, especially things like Bake-Off and now Strictly which are providing real joy in an otherwise dark time.

5. Listening to music/podcasts

This is kind of a cheat as I tend to do both of these things whilst reading, but I’m including it since it is technically a separate hobby, I just like to combine them into one! I’ve always loved listening to music, but I only really found podcasts in the last couple of years and they’ve quickly become one of my favourite things as they’re a great way to explore my interests and learn new things (my current cycle of podcasts is a pretty good indicator of my interests: they include feminism (The Guilty Feminist), musicals (The Hamilcast), History (Stuff You Missed In History Class) and mythology and folklore (Myths and Legends).

6. Ice Skating

This isn’t a particularly frequent hobby, I tend to only do it around Christmas, but I wanted to include it anyway as it’s one of my favourite activities around the holidays. I love wrapping up all warm and cosy and going skating with family or friends.

7. Shopping

Granted I’ve not been doing much of this this year, at least not in person and online isn’t quite the same! Book shopping is obviously my favourite kind of shopping, but I do enjoy clothes shopping as well, I’ve had some great times with my friends picking out ugly outifts for each other to try on!

8. Hanging out with friends

I wouldn’t necessarily count this as a hobby, but hanging out with my friends and just talking is honestly one of my favourite things to do. We can talk for hours and hours and it feels like no time at all has passed. This is the thing that definitely hit me hardest about the first lockdown, as videochatting, no matter how many people try to extol the virtues of it is just not the same. Is it better than nothing? Sure. But the amount of difference I felt in my general mood once I was allowed to see my friends again over the summer? It made so much difference and I’m going to miss being able to see them so much over the next month.

9. Travelling

I love travelling so much and it definitely really hurts that I’m not going to be able to for the forseeable future, though of course it’s understandable. I have serious wanderlust, being able to go to different places and see different things is something I love to do, especially when I go with my friends because we always have so much fun.

So there we go, one less than usual this week, but I didn’t want to force it. What hobbies do you enjoy outside of reading? Do we share any? Let me know in the comments!

I’ll be back with another Top Ten Tuesday next week, this time we’re going to be talking about Book Titles Which Would Make Great Song Titles, but I actually think it would be more fun to do it the other way round and talk about Song Titles I Think Would Make Great Book Titles so that’s what I’m going to do!

Jo Talks Books: On Problems With “Book Boyfriends” and Adult YA Readers

Hi everyone! I hope you’ve all been doing well since my last one of these, it’s hard not to feel a little dread as the darkness and the cold sinks in and the prospect of potential winter lockdowns looms, but I’m trying my best to focus on the good stuff (mostly books).

So there was a lot of discussion last month, or maybe it was the beginning of this month, honestly what is time anymore? Anyway, there was a lot of discussion on Book Twitter after a popular YouTuber released a video talking about books that she felt turned on by after a few of them were YA books about gay teenagers. There are obviously people much more suited than me to be talking about the sexualisation of m/m relationships, so that’s not what I’m going to be talking about today, but the response to that video did get me thinking about the concept of “book boyfriends” and all the problems with that when a large proportion of the online book community are adults.

I’m sure we’ve all heard of, or even perhaps used the term “book boyfriend” in the past to describe fictional characters that we’d like to date, were they real (or were we fictional). There’s nothing inherently wrong with the concept of having a crush on a fictional character, it’s a pretty harmless thing.

Obviously, I don’t think that when adult readers talk about “book boyfriends” from YA books, that they mean they would want to date an actual teenager. I know when I’ve talked about it in the past, I’ve definitely more meant, “in the context of if I was still a teenager, or if the fictional character was my age”.

But as I’ve got older, I’ve definitely found myself with more of an uneasiness with adults discussing their book boyfriends from YA books mostly because as a 24 year old, when I read about 16 year olds now, my immediate reaction is definitely less, “ooh I’d definitely date this guy if he were real” and more “god I’m old, you are a child” when I remember that it’s been eight years since I was that age. That’s not to say that I don’t find certain traits in fictional male characters attractive, but I’m definitely very much aware of the age gap between myself and the characters I’m reading about now.

Like I said at the start, I assume (and very much hope) that when adults talk about their book boyfriends, they do not mean that they would want to date an actual teenager, because I think we can all agree, that’s gross. But there’s still definitely something uncomfortable and slightly weird about grown women referring to underage boys as “boyfriends”.

I do think part of the issue stems from YA characters reading as older than they are actually meant to be in some cases. Take a book like Six of Crows, where the main characters definitely read more as they’re in their early twenties than sixteen. I can definitely see how when reading a book with characters that don’t act like teens, it can be easy to picture them as older and therefore describing them as a boyfriend wouldn’t seem like such a stretch. This is connected to a larger issue: because publishing has seen how much YA appeals to adult readers and adults have more spending power than teens, so stories that tend towards the more mature end of YA/with characters that feel more like adults have become more and more common (but that could probably be another discussion post in itself).

I also think that YA authors may have a little to answer for in this issue. Not that they write with the intention of adults sexualising their teen characters, but you do often see YA authors on Twitter talking about their own book boyfriends from other YA books and I think this does proliferate the issue: because if the adults who are writing YA books are talking about how “sexy” male characters are, then it encourages adult readers to do the same thing.

I also think the line between YA and adult is increasingly blurred: I’ll admit, I only really started feeling like I was a lot older than the characters I was reading about when I was about 22/23, so for a few years I was in a strange place where I was technically an adult but didn’t really feel massively older than the characters I was reading about. One of the reasons a lot of adults in their early twenties still relate to YA is because they can relate a lot more to the issues faced in those books than in adult books with older protagonists and I feel like that also feeds into the way that “book boyfriends” are perceived by older readers.

There’s also a wider issue here in terms of how teen characters are presented in wider media. In TV shows and films, teen characters are often portrayed by older actors, including in adaptations of books (for example, in The Hunger Games, Jennifer Lawrence was four years older than Katniss’ age in the books). Obviously books are a different medium to film, but I think the same issues apply here, because a lot of the “teenagers” we see on screen are actually older adults, I think perceptions of fictional teenagers can be somewhat warped because we are fed images of teens that don’t actually reflect reality.

So how do we tackle these issues? I definitely think adults not using the term “book boyfriend” (or girlfriend) would be a start. I don’t think it’s harming anyone to have a fictional crush, but perhaps “book boyfriends” should not be as popular fandom discourse as it is.

But I also think this issue is connected to a wider issue in publishing: the lack of a specific NA category leaves younger adult readers stuck between categories, where they aren’t teenagers anymore but might not necessarily feel that adult fiction reflects where they are in life. This leads authors writing to YA characters that feel like adults because publishing wants to appeal to adult readers and then leaves the very audience they’re meant to reflect out. I think if there was a wider range for both teens and adults (books that skew toward the younger end of YA, and books that appeal to the younger end of YA) then it might resolve the issue, as there wouldn’t be a need for YA characters that read like adults.

I also think adult readers and authors need to be more responsible in terms of talking about “book boyfriends”. We don’t want to make teenagers feel uncomfortable or unwelcome in the community, and we need to make sure that teenagers in YA fiction are not sexualised. Changing the dialogue around book boyfriends would go a long way to dealing with the problems, we should leave “book boyfriends” to teenagers rather than adults. Obviously we can enjoy YA fiction but I definitely think we need to recognise our place in it: and that involves YA authors not describing YA characters in other books as book boyfriends.

But ultimately, the change required is a societal one. We need to show the reality of teenagers rather than the fantasy in all forms of media, and I think if that happened, reactions to teenage characters would be closer to “You’re a child” than “I’d like to date you”.

What do you think? Is there a problem with adults talking about book boyfriends from YA books? How do we solve this problem? Let me know what you think in the comments!

I’m not really sure what I’m going to talk about next month so I guess you’ll find out then! In the meantime, I’ll have another Book Vs Movie post up for you guys tomorrow.

Top Ten Tuesday #287

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Hi everyone! I hope you’ve all had a good week since I last did one of these, I’ve been up in Stirling for the past week, I’ve not really been doing anything but it’s been so nice to have a change of scenery!

Anyway, since it’s Tuesday, I have a Top Ten Tuesday for you all, courtesy of Jana at That Artsy Reader Girl. This week is our annual Halloween freebie, the bane of my existence because after five years of Halloween topics, it’s very difficult to come up with new ideas! Still I did manage to come up with one, I’ll be sharing my Top Ten Spooky Book Covers:

  1. Ninth House-Leigh Bardugo
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Everyone remember the great Book Snake trend which seemed to be everywhere last year. Well this is one of those. Honestly I still don’t really know what the snake had to do with the book even after reading it, but the colours and the snake definitely make it a spooky cover!

2. Frozen Charlotte-Alex Bell

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Maybe I’ve watched too much Pretty Little Liars, but dolls are definitely super creepy, especially the ones on this cover! I’m not usually a horror fan but this story about sadistic dolls who convince people to do terrible things was definitely creepy in a great way.

3. Skulduggery Pleasant series-Derek Landy

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I’ve used the final book cover as an example here, but the entire series has spooky covers given that one of the main characters is a walking, talking, magical skeleton!

4. House of Ash-Hope Cook

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I mean what isn’t spooky about this cover? The minimalist effects work very well, your attention is immediately drawn to the hand in the flames! It’s not my favourite book ever, but if you’re wanting a creepy little haunted house story for Halloween then this one might do the trick.

5. Knife Edge (Young Sherlock Holmes #6)-Andrew Lane 18463770

I was so sad that they changed the covers on these books because these original ones were so much better than the weird stock image covers they changed them to! The cover of this one with the skeletal hand is definitely very spooky, and the book lives up to it: Sherlock is based in an old manor house in Ireland and investigating a psychic, so there’s a lot of seances and communicating with the dead and murders of course!

6. Unwind-Neal Shusterman

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The dark background with the pop of colour works really well, and the small glimpses of a human face within the DNA helix definitely adds the creep factor to this cover. The book itself is probably one of the most chilling I’ve ever read, a world where children can be signed away by their parents to be literally torn apart.

7. The Steel Prince #4-VE Schwab

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This is probably my favourite of all of Schwab’s comic covers, the skeletal hand with the mechanical heart would be fitting for a horror story, though of course that’s not what this is! I still need to get around to reading the rest of The Steel Prince comics, I’ve only read the first four, though I have all of them!

8. Not Even Bones-Rebecca Schaeffer

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I’m not sure this cover does justice to some of the truly horrifying things that happen in this book, but it’s not as if you could put a human dissection on the cover! The little drops of blood alongside the scalpel and the minimalist effects make the cover quite effective though, hinting at the gore inside the book.

9. The Devouring Gray-Christine Lynn Herman

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I’ll admit, being more than halfway through this book, I don’t think it lives up to its spooky cover! Still the cover certainly creates an atmosphere, with the mist and the tress and the road to nowhere.

10. The Dreadful Tale of Prosper Redding-Alexandra Bracken

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The UK cover definitely feels more spooky than the US one, at least to me! The old gilded mirror, the smoke, the black and white colours, definitely highlight that this is going to be a spooky tale. I haven’t actually read this one yet, but I’m looking forward to it.

So there we go, some spooky covers for your Halloween viewing! Have you read any of these? Did you enjoy them? What topic did you choose for your Halloween freebie? Let me know in the comments!

I’ll be back next week with another Top Ten Tuesday. We’re supposed to be talking Non-Bookish Hobbies, but honestly I don’t have all that many hobbies? I might still do it, but I may come up with another topic if I can’t think of much to say!

Top Ten Tuesday #286

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Hi everyone! I hope you’ve all had a good week since I last did one of these. I had a great time at The Last Five Years last week, it was so lovely to be back in a theatre, the show was amazing and it all felt really safe. It was so nice to just forget about everything going on for a few hours and be absorbed in a really amazing show (the music has been stuck in my head for the past week!). I’m up in Stirling now for a couple of weeks, just for a break from home, obviously haven’t got any real plans whilst I’m here!

Anyway, as it’s Tuesday, I have another Top Ten Tuesday for you all, courtesy of Jana at That Artsy Reader Girl. This week we’re talking Books I Read Because Someone Recommended Them To Me. I’ll be honest, I’m usually the one doing the recommending rather than getting them, but I did manage to come up with a list of ten books that were recommended to me, so I guess I get them more than I thought! So here we go:

  1. Percy Jackson and The Olympians-Rick Riordan

I was recommended the Percy Jackson series by a girl I made friends with after I moved schools in Year 9. I borrowed the first book from the library and then she lent me the rest (honestly I’m pretty sure I ran through them quicker than she could get them to me). That friendship didn’t last past school, but it did form the basis of my friendship with Hannah (who was also new in the same year) and we’re still friends ten years later!

2. Children of Blood and Bone-Tomi Adeyemi

This one was actually a bookseller recommendation, not something I get very often because I generally go in knowing what I want, but this one was definitely a success as I ended up really enjoying the book.

3. The Magician’s Guild-Trudi Canavan

This one was recommended to me by my friend Nicola, and to my shame, I haven’t actually read it yet! It’s on the list, the list is just very, very, long!

4. A Darker Shade of Magic-VE Schwab

I didn’t really get one specific recommendation, this one was just around the blogosphere a lot back in 2015 when I really started to get more involved with the community and as it was one I was seeing around a lot I figured I really had to try it. Of course it ended up being one of my favourite books and I’m now completely obsessed with VE Schwab’s work, so congratulations guys: you created a monster!

5. Everyday Sexism-Laura Bates

My sister recommended this one to me, and got it for me for Christmas a couple of years ago. I actually still haven’t read this one, but since I’ve been really enjoying her latest release, Men Who Hate Women, it’s definitely one I want to get to soon.

6. The Diviners-Libba Bray

My friend Nicola recommended this one to me, and I sped through the first three audiobooks last year before reading the final one when it came out earlier this year. It’s safe to say this recommendation was definitely a success, if you’re wanting a spooky paranormal historical fantasy for your October reading this year, I definitely recommend this one (and do the audio if you can, the narrator is amazing!).

7. Cinderella Is Dead-Kalynn Bayron

Again, I don’t have a specific person that I got this recommendation from, it was on a lot of lists of Black author recommendations earlier in the year which led to me requesting it from Netgalley. I ended up really enjoying it, so another successful recommendation for the blogosphere!

8. The Hunger Games-Suzanne Collins

This was a recommendation from my sister (or at least I borrowed it from her, so I have to assume she recommended it to me, I don’t actually remember!) and of course I loved it, I read this one in like a week and proceeded to race through the other two books in the trilogy over my Easter holidays in 2012.

9. An Ember In The Ashes-Sabaa Tahir

Another recommendation from Nicola, I have to admit that I didn’t enjoy this one as much as The Diviners, it felt kind of flat and I didn’t really love any of the characters. Having said that, I didn’t fall in love with The Diviners till the second book in the series, so I’m hoping the same will be true for this series and I’ll enjoy future books more.

10. Unwind-Neal Shusterman

This was actually an Amazon recommendation, which is not somewhere I usually get my book recommendations! But anyway, it came up in the “Recommended For You” section, I thought it looked interesting and ended up buying it. I ended up really enjoying it and the rest of the other books in the series, so dare I say it? Amazon actually did something right here.

So there we go, those are some Books That Have Been Recommended To Me. Have you read any of these? Did you enjoy them? Where do you get most of your book recommendations? Let me know in the comments!

I’ll be back next week with our annual Halloween Freebie. I have to admit, it gets harder and harder for me to think of topics for this every year because I’m not a big Halloween fan and it seems like there are only so many things you can do! Since cover topics always seem to be a popular one though, I think I’ll do Top Ten Spooky Book Covers.