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Top Ten Tuesday – Bookish Merch I’d Like to Own

Hello all! Happy Tuesday! The Top Ten Tuesday posts can be found here over on That Artsy Reader Girl’s blog. This weeks prompt: Bookish merch I want. This’ll be tough to cut down to just ten things…


  1. Draco Malfoy’s wand
    I already own a wand – Luna Lovegood’s – and I do really want to own Draco’s as I would have two of my favourites! But I have absolutely nowhere to put another wand…
  2. Six of Crows character cards
    Whenever Leigh Bardugo does signings, she has playing cards of the official Kevin Wada art that she gives out. I, of course, have never been to a signing, but would absolutely love to have a full set of these cards to display on my shelf.
  3. More bookish candles
    Who can resist more candles?! Not me, clearly… I really want some more of different book characters – a Victor Vale one would be brilliant, wouldn’t it?
  4. Map of Ketterdam
    Ketter-damn more like. I want this on my wall, how cool would it look?!
  5. Bookish pin badges
    I can never refuse a good pin badge, but one related to a book? How could I resist?? I have quite a few already, but it would be great to have a wider range of Six of Crows ones.
  6. Graphic novel prints
    I would love to decorate with lots of prints from my favourite graphic novels. Some art from Saga would be amazing, and I don’t think I’d be able to resist having art from some of Tillie Walden’s books on display!
  7. A replica Nimbus 2001
    I’ve seen this, and believe it when I say I stood at that glass cabinet and watched it fly up and down for ages. I want this just to mount to my wall and stare at.
  8. Straight Outta Ketterdam
    I need this because it makes me laugh so much. It’s so cool?!
  9. Themed tote bags
    Six of Crows, Vicious, Shades of Magic, I don’t care what the theme is. If it’s themed on one of my favourite books, I want the tote bag.
  10. No Mourners, No Funerals tapestry
    Where the hell would I put it? I don’t know. But it’d look damn good on a wall.

I want all the bookish merch…give it all to me… Anything I’ve missed that you think I’d love? Let me know!

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BOOK REVIEW: Heartstopper

In case you don’t already know, I have such a fondness for graphic novels. They are a beautiful combination of art and story, and it’s always great to find a brand new favourite. When Alice Oseman, one of my favourite UKYA authors, decided to start a Kickstarter campaign to transform her webcomic Heartstopper into a printed volume, there was an amazing response. Heartstopper had a goal of £9,000 and was funded within hours, with a whopping £58,925 raised to bring this webcomic to life. I backed the project alongside many others, and am so thrilled to have it on my bookshelf.


Charlie, a highly-strung, openly gay over-thinker, and Nick, a cheerful, soft-hearted rugby player, meet at a British all-boys grammar school. Friendship blooms quickly, but could there be something more…?

Heartstopper is honestly such a joy to have read. It’s brilliantly British (yes, I laughed at the ‘cheeky Nando’s’ joke), lighthearted and covers such a sweet blossoming romance. Charlie is openly gay and has managed to move past the bullying he received once he came out – although his anxiety over this still threatens him constantly. Nick starts off thinking he’s straight, but after meeting Charlie and spending time with him (developing quite the crush) he’s starting to wonder whether there’s more to his sexuality than he first thought.

It’s really lovely to read such an uplifting book about an LGBT+ relationship. Of course it has its ups and downs – Nick and Charlie are only just discovering that they like each other, so there are bound to be crossed wires. But it’s a relief to not have such a harrowing story focused on traumatic events. It’s also brilliant to have some bisexual representation in the form of Nick. There is a scene that resonates with me where he’s desperately googling things to try and understand what’s going on in his head and his heart, which I think many young LGBT+ people will understand entirely. Nick and Charlie’s relationship is wonderful to watch grow, and there shared shy moments and close scenes will have any readers heart fluttering.

The novel is illustrated with Alice’s unique style, and is peppered with quirky little illustrations in the speech bubbles to show what tone characters are responding in. As with all of her books, there are some really lovable characters and there are ones that you can’t help but dislike (Harry, I’m looking at you…). The whole book leaves you with such a warm feeling inside – despite ending on a sadder cliffhanger which you’ll need volume 2 to ease your mind – but it’s a book that I will be constantly revisiting and rereading, and is one that I’m thrilled to have on my shelf.

Final thought: Heartstopper? More like Heartlifter. 5/5

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The Power of The Hate U Give

I’m not quite over The Hate U Give. I really need to see it again, just to watch the incredible performances. Watching the film brought up some personal thoughts and feelings that have always been in the back of my mind, but the strength of Starr’s story has given me a thought to speak.

I was fourteen years old when my father got pulled over by a police officer. He was driving myself and two friends home after a party. We were driving safely, with the music up and singing along. Then the blue and red flashing lights came from behind. My dad pulled over. We were doing nothing wrong. Yet the fear was still there. Heart in my throat, clinging to my friends hands as my dad was asked to get out of the car. He had a discussion with the officer. The officer scanned his license. After about five minutes, the officer let him get back in the car.

One of my friends got it – she knew why I was scared, why I was gripping her hand hard enough to turn my knuckles white. The other friend didn’t understand, and didn’t see what the big deal was. We waited until they left until my dad drove on. My friends were dropped home, and when I got home my dad sat me down. He talked about how some police officers consider him a thief because they looked at his fancy car and at the colour of his skin and couldn’t dream that a black man would own an Audi unless he stole it. I was fourteen. That the same had been considered of my uncles. That is an everlasting memory on my mind – the fear, the distrust, the anger. After seeing The Hate U Give, that memory came flooding back.

The Hate U Give is a powerful film. It doesn’t shy away from the stereotypes black people are constantly painted with. It doesn’t hide what it thinks about the disgraceful crimes of police officers against unarmed black men – a crime statistic which is constantly on the rise. While reading the book – and watching the film – I came to realise the scary thought that for many families this is non-fiction. There are young black boys being gunned down for looking threatening to cops, and the cop gets off with paid leave and a smack on the wrists. The Hate U Give is a reality for some that we cannot ignore. Angie Thomas hasn’t shied away from the situation that is going on in America, and has chosen to write a strong novel that holds up the truth to societies face.

While watching, I realised how many of the white teenagers in the cinema were uninterested, but when the mum of a group of three answered her phone mid film it’s no surprise. When the parents are disinterested, the children will learn this and copy the pattern. If you’re reading this blog post and are about to go and watch The Hate U Give, pay attention to it. Listen to the messages it is putting across. Learn something from it. Understand it. Because nothing will change until people understand that these are real life situations being reflected in the form of a film.

In the current climate we live in, I am considerably more wary than I was when I was a teenager. And I notice far more now. Old white men have crossed the street when I’ve walked along the pavement with my hands in the pockets of my hoodie. Neighbours have confused my dad with the other black man living on our road. People have asked me whether I know the answer to a question based on my skin colour. Many times I wonder to myself: ‘am I the token brown friend some people have?’ If you’re reading this and you cannot count a single person in your group of friends that is brown other than me, rectify your situation.

If you take one thing away from this blog post, take away the fact that The Hate U Give is a scary reflection of some lives, and that power comes from speaking your truth and refusing to be silent on the wrongdoings of the world.


Books to read after The Hate U Give:

Dear Martin by Nic Stone
Anger Is A Gift by Mark Oshiro
Ghost Boys by Jewell Parker Rhodes
Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi
Long Way Down by Jason Reynolds
Orangeboy by Patrice Lawrence
Tyler Johnson Was Here by Jay Coles
The 57 Bus by Dashka Slater
The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo
Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People About Race by Reni Eddo-Lodge
Brit(ish) by Afua Hirsch

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Top Ten Tuesday – Backlist books I want to read

Hello all! Happy Tuesday! I’m participating in a new set of posts on my blog, the Top Ten Tuesday posts! Every week there is a new prompt for a list of top tens, found here over on That Artsy Reader Girl’s blog. This’ll be a regular thing on my blog, so look out for top ten lists every week.

This weeks prompt is…’Backlist Books I Want to Read’. A backlist is a list of books not in the current season of publishing, so most of these books aren’t going through the hype cycle of Twitter or are older. Open your Goodreads so you can add any titles you see here to your TBR!


  1. Good Omens by Neil Gaiman & Terry Pratchett.
    Well okay, this one sort of is going through the Twitter hype cycle, but only because it’s being made into a TV show! I’ve read only a few of Gaiman’s works, but can’t wait to read this too!
  2. Holes by Louis Sachar
    Yes…I know…I haven’t read Holes. I own it, but I have yet to read it! It’ll happen, I promise!
  3. The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness
    I’ve read a few Ness books, but have not yet read this trilogy. It’s gritty dystopian, set in a town where people can hear all your thoughts – which sounds like a nightmare – so I’m intrigued about this one!
  4. This Savage Song by V.E. Schwab.
    I’ve read most of Schwab’s works, but haven’t yet read this series. I know I’ll love it though, because when have I not loved one of her books?!
  5. Levithan Wakes by James A. Corey
    This was one of my first purchases when I worked at Waterstones, and I still have yet to dive in and read it. It’s sci-fi too, which is not usually my sort of thing but I’m intrigued!
  6. The Sellout by Paul Beatty
    A satirical and humorous book that won the Man Booker prize in 2016, The Sellout is something that sounds like the perfect sort of book for me – it’s been on my shelf for a while…
  7. Siege and Storm/Ruin and Rising by Leigh Bardugo
    I know…I know. How can it be that I still haven’t finished the Grishaverse trilogy? Well, I got bored halfway through book two…I know I have to read this in order to read King of Scars next year though so I’ll be finishing them!
  8. Daughter of Smoke & Bone by Laini Taylor
    A fantasy series that I know I’ll love but haven’t read yet?! Oops…
  9. All Of The Above by Juno Dawson
    I bought this at a signing earlier in the year and have yet to read it. I love Juno’s work, so just know I’ll love this too once I get to it!
  10. The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams
    I love the film of this! It’s so much fun and so detailed, so I really need to read the book and enjoy it so much more.

There you have it – ten backlist books I want to read! Did I give you any ideas for books you want to read?

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The Books that Made Me ‘Me’

Guess who’s back? After a brief hiatus – during which I got a new job and cut a ton of my hair off – the blog is back and raring to go. I’ve missed it quite a lot. Never fear – I would never abandon it! Life has just been rather busy currently.

Today I thought I’d give you an insight into the books that have made me who I am today. These are the books that made me a reader from a young age, the books that got me back into reading, and the books that I just cannot live without. So snuggle in and learn a bit more about me!


Alfie picture books

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I’ve mentioned many times before on this blog about the books my parents used to read me when I was little, and I really think that those books are the ones that start a love of books. I used to adore the Shirley Hughes books, but it was her Alfie series that truly had me captured. The books capture the day-to-day life of a little boy named Alfie and his sister Annie-Rose. They would get up to all sorts of things – collecting shells at the beach, going to birthday parties and going to visit their grandparents. The books would also cover topics like shyness, sharing, sibling jealousy and much more. They were a fantastic series and I still love them today – they were always a go-to recommendation when I was a bookseller.

A Series of Unfortunate Events

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This series gave me a love for slightly quirky, darker books. I remember getting the first book and flying through it, and after that asking for a new one for every birthday and Christmas. It was a sad moment when I got the last book in the series, aptly named The End as I knew it was all over. These books gave me a passion to read the next book in the series, and I was obsessed with Violet, Klaus and Sunny. I remember wanting to tie my hair up in a ribbon like Violet whenever I was thinking, or trying to expand my vocabulary just like Klaus. I stupidly gave my entire set to my cousin when I was a teenager and thought I would never read them again. Recently, I’ve found hardback editions of books 1-5 (with book 5 being a first edition) so I’ve got them tucked on my bookshelf safely.

Harry Potter

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It would be rather stupid not to mention Harry Potter. I have so many fond memories from reading this series as a kid; playing pretend Quidditch in the playground as our favourite characters, listening to our teacher read one of the books and do every single voice so well, snatching the parcel out of the delivery driver’s hands and not being able to put the final book down. Harry Potter has a special place in many readers hearts, and it has one in mine too.

Fruits Basket

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Fruits Basket came at a time that I hadn’t read for a long time. I had fallen a little out of love with books, and at the time there was hardly a huge section of teenage books that we are lucky to have today. There wasn’t much that interested me. I remember so vividly how I came to find Fruits Basket. I was out shopping with a couple of friends and their mum and we were in a shop when I spotted a spinner of books. I’d not seen manga books before, with their bright covers featuring cartoon characters and the way they read right-to-left. I picked up the first volume of Fruits Basket, intrigued by its story of a young girl who discovers a family curse linked to the Zodiac, and read the entire thing once I got home. I devoured it. I bought the next volume and devoured that too. It opened me up to a whole new world of different books – and started my love for manga and graphic novels. Without it, I wouldn’t have got back in to reading and I wouldn’t have had a creative kick.

Twilight

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Yeah, I know. Twilight captured everybody when it came out – vampires and werewolves? ‘Yes please!’ my friends and I screamed. We ended up running to bookshops to buy it as our library had such a huge waiting list and none of us wanted to have to wait. We were desperate to read the book. And I was obsessed. Ridiculously obsessed. My best friend bought us all t-shirts that represented what ‘teams’ we were on – Team Jasper for those interested – and me and my group of friends ended up assigning ourselves character names because we were that hooked. Twilight was a huge part of my reading life, and just because it’s cringy doesn’t mean I’m not going to give it credit!

Fangirl

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I may not really like Fangirl now – it’s awkward and the main character is rather annoying – but I have to admit that it opened me up to seeing a whole world of contemporary books that I didn’t really know existed. It was interesting to read something about fandom at the time when I was an obsessive young adult. It made me aware of a lot more books out there.

Six of Crows

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What? You thought you’d escaped a list without hearing me bang on about Six of Crows? Yeah right… I read Six of Crows last August and although that isn’t a huge time for a book to mean so much to me, it really has impacted my life. It’s the only book duology that I own more than two copies of (three sets of the books and the collectors edition – shoot me), and I really don’t know what it is that captured me about it, but it’s left a lasting impression on me.


So there you have it – some of the books that made me the person I am today! Some of them are series, some of them are standalone, but all of them have made some sort of impact on who I am today, both as a person and a reader. What books made you the reader you are today? I’d love to hear your thoughts!

In fact… I’ll tag some people here! There’s no obligation to do it, but I’d love to hear more books that built people I know!

Tagging: Kate @ Reading Through Infinity, Hollie @ Hollieeblog, Charlotte @ Charlottesomewhere, Louise @ Book Murmuration and Sarah @ Sarah Withers Blogs

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BOOK REVIEW: The Lady’s Guide to Petticoat’s & Piracy

In July, I was reading a super secret proof. It was so secret that I was asked by the publisher to keep it a secret until they were offering the proof out for their blogging mailing list. I was thrilled and honoured to receive this book, especially as I loved the first one. Any idea as to what it is yet? Oh, alright I’ll tell you! It was…….

The Lady’s Guide to Petticoats and Piracy!

I want to give a huge shout out to Shrina at Harper 360 who very kindly sent me this proof! I still can’t get over it, and I also can’t get over how good this book was!


Felicity Montague is through with pretending she prefers society parties to books about bone setting—or that she’s not smarter than most people she knows, or that she cares about anything more than her dream of becoming a doctor. A year after an accidentally whirlwind tour of Europe, which she spent evading highwaymen and pirates with her brother Monty, Felicity has returned to England with two goals in mind—avoid the marriage proposal of Callum Doyle, a lovestruck suitor from Edinburgh; and enroll in medical school. However, her intellect and passion will never be enough in the eyes of the administrators, who see men as the sole guardians of science.

But then a small window of hope opens. Doctor Alexander Platt, an eccentric physician that Felicity idolises, is looking for research assistants, and Felicity is sure that someone as forward thinking as her hero would be willing to take her on. However, Platt is in Germany, preparing to wed Felicity’s estranged childhood friend Johanna. Not only is Felicity reluctant to opening old wounds, she also has no money to make the trip.

Luckily, a mysterious young woman is willing to pay Felicity’s way, so long as she’s allowed to travel with Felicity disguised as her maid. In spite of her suspicions, Felicity agrees, but once the girl’s true motives are revealed, Felicity becomes part of a perilous quest that will lead her from the German countryside to the promenades of Zurich to secrets lurking beneath the Atlantic.


“Your beauty is not a tax you are required to pay in oder to take up space in this world. You deserve to be here.”

That’s one of the many lines I’d marked as really good while reading this book. As the synopsis supplies, Felicity is off on an adventure of her own without having to worry about her brother or his boyfriend. What speaks volumes in this book is Felicity’s determination. She is forever determined to prove herself worthy of becoming a doctor, and no man, obstacle, pirate or mythical creature will get in her way. Yep, you read that right.

Like the first book, The Lady’s Guide to Petticoats & Piracy weaves in mythical elements with historical fiction, but does it in a way that perfectly pairs up with the setting without jarring the flow of the book. The mythical creatures in this book match so well to their surroundings and the events of the book that it’s a wonder they didn’t actually exist in the first place. They are woven in so cleverly, and it’s a delight to be able to read such a nice merging of two genres effortlessly.

Felicity is a wonderful character; hard, determined, focused. She is not shy to speak her mind and to let others know what she thinks is foolish. I still love her, even with her flaws too. Like Monty, she doesn’t seem to realise the effect her words have on others, especially when it comes to her once best friend Johanna. The pair have drifted apart after many years and differences, yet Johanna is still the person she was as a child deep down. Where Felicity doesn’t mind a bit of dirt on her dresses and prefers sturdy boots to pretty shoes, Johanna would rather be seen in huge frills and drinking tea with her friends. The growth of these characters’ acceptance towards each other is a beautiful display. What starts out as coldness between the two blossoms into understanding that they can like their different things and still both be strong, independent and bold young women.

Sim is another brilliant character, introduced as a newcomer to Scipio’s pirate crew. Without spoiling too much, she is a vital character linked to the mythical creatures we meet further along in the book. Sim is also determined like Felicity, but is far more ruthless and cunning. She’s a great balance of moral darkness for Felicity, and every move she makes gets questioned. Felicity also has discussions with Sim about having no interest in kissing, marriage or anything else related to those activities, and it’s nice to read about a YA character like this! Felicity’s asexuality was hinted at in the first novel, so it’s great to get some clarification on it in her own book.

This book and the first in the series does make me love a bit of historical fiction, and I love the setting and language, which was done so well. As I read I could feel the cold snow make me shiver, or the uncomfortable travelling Felicity did. It was great to be so sucked into this book world, so I’d definitely be up for hearing some more recommendations of something similar!

Final thoughts: A thrilling and deeply personal quest for Felicity and co. 5/5

P.S. Monty and Percy are back in this one, and Monty is just as excellent as before! Don’t say you haven’t been warned…

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#SixForSunday – Favourite Book Bloggers

Happy Sunday everyone! Today on the #SixForSunday post, I’ll be talking about some of my all-time favourite bloggers! Make sure to go and check them out and give them some love!


WatchingSparks – One of my all time favourite bloggers, Helen’s blog is wonderful! Full of passionate reviews, she’s definitely one to follow! Helen is also such a lovely, amazing and kind person so don’t forget to follow her on Twitter too.

HollieBlog – Hollie’s blog (helpfully named HollieBlog) is absolutely AMAZING! She’s recently reworked it into a brand new theme and just scrolling through it is a treat for the eyes. Follow her for reviews and stunning photos.

Reading Through Infinity – Kate’s blog is as wonderful as she is. She posts fabulous reviews, monthly wrap ups and is a huge fan of V.E. Schwab so if you love any of her books, Kate is the person to talk to!

Charlotte, Somewhere – Charlotte’s blog is brilliant. She posts lots of reviews – including fantastic mini reviews of books – and has recently been sharing some of her blog with her son who has been writing his own bookish thoughts!

Fantastic Book Dragon – Nicola’s blog is usually featured on lots of blog tours – it’s always great to see her reviews on them! She also chooses a book of the month that gets featured at the top of her blog – it’s a fab idea!

Northern Plunder – Lauren’s blog is full of brilliant variation. She reviews books, comics and sometimes even video games, and will sometimes post reviews on books she’s marked as DNF (Did Not Finish).


There you have it – six of my all time favourite bloggers! Make sure you jump over to their pages and give them a well-deserved follow!