Reading Groups

A while ago now, I did a group read along for The Familiars by Stacey Halls. It was such a good experience! It was amazing and exciting to read the same book at the same pace with a group of others. I really appreciated being able to talk about what has happened, the characters and also see from other perspectives.

I am currently reading Rainbow Milk for a read-along. We are on day two of the reading (at the time of writing this) so we haven’t got through a lot of the book but I love Norman Alonso’s journey from Jamica to the England in 1958 and his experience being part of the Windrush generation. I find his perspective so engrossing and loved reading about his love for gardening. The character perspective has changed in the second section of the book and is set in 2002 so I’m sad that Norman’s perspective hasn’t continued but we will see how I get on with this book!


Do you like to take part in book clubs/ read-alongs?


Thanks for reading,

Charlon ♦︎

April Wrap-up

April was definitely my slowest reading month. I was in a bit of a slump trying to read the A Court of Thorns and Roses series and honestly I’m happy that I just stopped and focused on stand-alone books instead. I read 6 books in total in april- let’s talk about my highlights!


This Is Going to Hurt by Adam Kay

★★★★★

I loved this book! I was hesitant to read it because I knew that if it had anything to do with c****r in there that I would be really upset. I knew I’d end up crying and it happened but I really wanted this insight into hospitals, what goes on and what the doctors and nurses and all the staff think and feel. I’ve always had the upmost respect for people who work in roles caring for others and this insight was very valuable to me. It reaffirmed how much respect doctors deserve and I think it’s brilliant that it also took a political stance against how the government berate and underpay doctors and anyone in this profession.


The Familiars by Stacey Hall

★★★★★

I read this for a group read-along and it made the reading experience so much better being able to chat in a group about it. I wanted to read ahead so many times! The chapters ended on cliffhangers and the book was everything gothic, female lead, fiesty and action-packed. I surprise myself every time I read out of my ‘comfort zone’ and wish I would venture out of it more often because whenever I read anything like a thriller, historical or fantasy book I have the best time.


What were your favourite reads in April?


Thanks for reading,

Charlon ♦︎

Reading Slumps

Through this 3rd UK lockdown, I’ve been reading so, so much! I was on such a roll. I have loved working less and reading more and I will honestly be sad when I have to work full time again and go out and socialise.

When I started reading the A Court of Thorns and Roses series, I was excited to be reading a fantasy and really liked the main character. This series is all over bookstagram and I was dying to read it but… I got to the third book and gave up. I just didn’t want to read. I think it’s because the books were so big and it was taking up a lot of my time to get through them when all the while I was thinking ‘I could have read 3 other books by now’. Which is a shame, and I am by no means slamming the ACOTAR series at all, it has been so many people’s favourite series and I can appreciate its good elements but I just want to read other books.

Sidenote: Why does this sound like a break-up?

I just don’t think series reads are for me. I feel bad that I haven’t finished the series but I want to read a few stand-alone books before I consider going back to it.

I was so kindly gifted books for my birthday off my family and this definitely sparked my interst in reading again. I also went to Waterstones and picked up a few books and was so excited to start them. I am currently reading Sharks in the Time of Saviours which has pulled me in with its unique premise: Gods are alive in Hawaii and Nainoa is blessed by them. The experience of being back in a bookshop and finding this peculiar book has been enough for me to dive back into reading.


How have you got out of a reading slump before?


Happy reading,

Charlon

Intagram Inspired TBR

Since joining bookstagram I have seen so many amazing book accounts and posts!

I now have a huge list of books I want to read but a few have stood out for me. So let’s have a look at the books that Instagram has inspired me to buy!


Heartless by Marissa Meyer

Recommendation by @elliesbookshelf_ on Instagram

I was drawn to this recommendation because Alice in Wonderland is such a popular story and I love The Queen of Hearts as a character so this retelling of her life is a must read for me! I love the simplistic cover with the red foil against paper white. I think the fact that the cover is simplistic is because The Queen of Hearts is so widely known and needs no obvious introduction. I can’t wait to read this book!


Deeds Not Words by Helen Prankhurst

Recommendation by @carasbooklist on Instagram

I havent’t read up on feminism since university. I was so clued up about it then but unfortunately I haven’t made time to read a more up-to-date piece on the topic. I was drawn to this because Cara described it as essays on the topics of politics, money, identity, violence, culture and power. The author is also related to the suffragette Emmeline Prankhurst. I think this is the exact type of book I’ve been looking for!


This Is Going To Hurt by Adam Kay

I can’t pin this recommendation down to one person in particular because this is all over my Instagram.

I was hesitant to read this because I didn’t want to cry but I want to know what goes on in a hospital from a doctor’s perspective. From experience of my mum being looked after in hospital, I have a deep appreciation for what all hospital staff do day to day and wanted to know more.

The book is in the form of diary entries filled with funny, heartwarming and tragic stories of all the patients Kay has met along his career. There is also political commentary throughout the book, the fact that the staff have to pay for their own parking (which has been a huge dispute in the news lately) and how severely underpaid the staff are. One line from the book I will take with me forever; ‘next time the government takes its pickaxe to the NHS, don’t just accept what the politicialns try to feed you. Think about the toll the jobtakes on every healthcare professional’. I think now more than ever we need to pay attention to this statment.


What has Instagram inspired you to read?

Happy reading,

Charlon ♦︎

Book Review: Starling Days by Rowan Hisayo Buchanan


Rating: ★★★☆☆

Genre: General Fiction

Source: Watertones purchase


What Is It About?

I was originally drawn to this book because the synopsis said it was about a love triangle split between New York and London. I love books set in cities so I was immediately drawn to this. The book also covers Mina’s deep depression, and the effects it has on her life.

What I Thought

I kept plodding along with this thinking that it was going to amount to some big revelation or that something significant was going to happen but nothing ever did. The characters just plodded along, and although this is probably a commentary on how Mina lives her life dealing with depression, I just found it quite mundane to read. I thought Mina’s husband dealt with her depression atrociously and it was awful to read. One minute he wouldn’t leave her alone and the next he was across the world ignoring her messages when she needed him. I couldn’t understand what the book was trying to convey and I really struggled with it. This book is essentially a glimpse into the character’s lives rather than a strong storyline or plot that it implied with a love triangle in the synopsis.

I think this book was good in that the author didn’t ‘cure’ Mina’s depression. Recently, I have seen a lot of critique on books such as The Midnight Library where it is argued that depression is over-simlplified in this book and that just a change in perspective can make someone happy again, which is of course not the case.

I didn’t connect with this book overall, I think the characters were unlikeable and were shitty to each other and ulitimately I thought it was going to be a lot different to what it was.

The author’s writing is undeniably beautiful and parts of this book were stunning but if youre looking for something that glamorises cities and features a love triangle, this isn’t it.


Have you read this book? What did you think?

Happy reading,

Charlon ♦︎

Recommendations From Friends ♡

I’ve been given good book recommendations from 2 of my friends lately and wanted to showcase them on here!

It is so, so lovely to share experiences with books. There’s nothing like lending books, recommending them and bonding over them. I am lucky to have friends who love to read and who have different reading tastes to me.

I never want to stick to one genre/theme with books but I think it is difficult to buy books from genres you’re not drawn to. I often find that reading a synopsis puts me off a lot of books, but when someone close to you has said they loved a particular book and tells you their personal experience with it, it is more appealing. I definitely rely on my friends (and now Bookstagram accounts) to tell me about books from other genres whch they loved.


My friend, Amy, sent me some recommendations after seeing my Bookstagram account which was so kind and I always love her recommendations, she has the best taste from books to films to TV shows!

My Best Friend’s Exorcism by Grady Hendrix ★★★★★

I’ve already read this book, I couldn’t resist this cover and wanted to read it straight away. It’s oversized, looks live a video and was so perfect! It is set in the ’80s in a highschool and is centred around music, frienship and the supernatural. I loved this book! I usually like books around heavier topics but I always want recommendations because I would never usually go for a book like this but had the best experience reading it.

I’ve yet to buy a few more recommended to me from Amy but they will be on the way next month!


Ellie recommended me this next book! I lent Ellie Selected Poems by Silvia Plath and got this in return.

The Graduate by Charles Webb

I have yet to read this book. It is a bout a graduate called Benjamin who’s life is laid out for him but he wants more. He ends up having an affair with a family friend and which runs into a few complications to say the leasr. It sounds dramatic, I like the premise and I always trust Ellie’s recommendations! I can’t wait to start this book.


Have you been recommended any good books lately?

Thanks for reading,

Charlon ♦︎

Book Review: Blood Orange by Harriet Tyce

Rating: ★★★★☆

Genre: Thriller

Source: My lovely boyfriend bought this for me as a gift!


Synopsis

Alison is in a loveless marriage, she’s a ‘bad’ mother and is having an affair with her workmate… what could possibly go wrong?

What I thought

Initially, I found this storyline very different. The author played on traditional nuclear family roles; the father was a stay-at-home dad and the mother worked as a prosecutor, was working a lot and was pushed out of activities with her child because the father said she was doing everything wrong. I couldn’t tell what was going to happen in this story for the longest time. In one respect, this meant that there was a lot of filler in the book, I believe the first half could have been more condensed, but I did still find it interesting and never wanted to give up with it.

The second half of the book was so intense. I never caught on to how much Alison’s husband and lover were so filled with hatred. They were very twisted characters and I will say there is a trigger warning for SA and R in this book. I honestly felt like I was watching a television show rather than reading a book it was intense and messed up in places.

The book is well written, the plot came together so well and mirrored a murder case that Alison was working on. This is definitely not my usual read but it was entertaining to say the least!


Thanks for reading,

Charlon ♦︎

Book review: Gods of Jade and Shadow by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

Rating: ★★★☆☆

Genre: Fantasy

Source: Waterstones listing


Synopsis

Casiopea and her mother are servants in their own family home, with the loss of her father who dreamt of stars and wrote poetry, they are under Casiopea’s grandfather’s control. He has a secret past in helping the ancient Mayan god of death Yacub- Kamé with a quest to entrap his brother, Hun-Kamé, the true ruler of Xibalba (the underworld), to a lifetime locked in a treasure chest. Casiopea unwittingly frees Hun-Kamé and is tethered to him, she is becoming more godly and he is becoming more human. They go on a magical journey to save the world from Yacub-Kamé, who wants to increase his power by sacrificing humanity. Can they regain him his throne and give Casiopea a life of wonder even the stars would be jealous of?

What I Thought

I really liked the premise of this book, Casiopea was at war with her cousin and with him being a man, he had the respect of the family and she was blamed for everything. She had a lot of strength and sass from the offset and I was so excited for her journey. When we met Hun-Kamé it was amazing, they left Yucatán and started an adventure. As the story went on, I couldn’t help but think it was slow and missed a lot of opportunity for more magic. When we met Loray, the devil, he handed over what Casiopea and Hun-Kamé sought, they moved on to the next place and the next person and the same situation happened, their encounters seemed brief. I wanted to get lost in the mythology of this, I think I definitely amped it up in my mind when in reality it was more of a tale of adventure. I haven’t read a lot of mythology fiction before and I thought it would be a lot more fantastical and dripped in magic.

For the first time in my reading history, I was really into the romance element of this book. I usually hate romance storylines, but the story here was a more will-they-won’t-they storyline and I stuck with this book mainly to see this out because it was a really lovely element to the book.

What I Appreciated

Learning more about Mayan mythology was amazing, I had only ever read Greek mythology before and was excited to meet these gods. There was a lot of travelling around Mexico in this story, I loved to learn more about the cities and the culture. If I wasn’t so scared of flying this is somewhere where I would love to visit!

It was very interesting how the main characters were linked together, the brothers were at war with each other and Casiopea was at war with her cousin. As the story progressed, Hun-Kamé became more human, Casiopea was turning into a goddess, there was a pull between humanity and diety and a duality betweeen love and hate which was amazing to read.


Overall, the premise of this book was good but I felt frustrated a lot of the time reading this because I was greedy and just wanted so much more magic. I would highly recommend this book if you like adventures and Mayan mythology!

Thanks for reading,

Charlon ♦︎

Bookstagram

I decided to delve deeper into the world of books and follow bookstagram accounts over on instagram!

These accounts are absolutely stunning, I want to be involed so decided to post a few pictures myself and everyone has been so welcoming, I can’t believe how nice everyone is, it’s so lovely. I feel like I’m part of a huge book club and have already got a handful of book recommendations and I am really inspired to read more fantasy and thriller novels.


Has anyone else on here got a Bookstagram? I’d love to follow!

Thanks for reading,

Charlon ♦︎


https://www.instagram.com/charlonsbookcorner/

My First Month on WordPress

I’m so happy that I’ve joined WordPress. I feel like I’m now part of a fantastic book community and each day I’m so inspired by book blogger posts! I have always tried to get my friends to read the same books, to discuss them and love the same characters. I feel like I’ve joined a huge book club and I’m made up!

Especially with lockdown, I have been reading so much more and am loving the escapism books provide. I work as a barista and in these very quiet months I have been working alone so I’ve been able to read all day at work. I can’t imagine having customers sat in the shop again and not being able to read, it is a weird thought.

It’s been so exciting to learn something new with WordPress, to have something to work on that I already love so much and not worry about what I’ll do in my spare time. I feel like I’m taking my reading hobby to a whole new and exciting level. I feel so much more motivated in life at such a difficult time in all our lives, I can’t explain the joy this blog is bringing me.

I love to read other blogger’s reviews, TBRs and general book thoughts. I wish I had joined so much earlier! I’m in awe at all your blogs and your writings.

Thank you to everyone who has read my reviews so far, you are giving my poor friends and family a well deserved break from my talking! 😂

Thanks for reading,

Charlon ♦︎

Featured image credit: Dollar Gill on unsplash.com