What I’ve Been Reading | Week 8

Hello everyone! Welcome back to my weekly reading wrap up which I’ve now officially moved to Mondays. This week was a small one book-wise but I did face, battle and defeat the dreaded flu so I’m letting myself off easy!

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The Year I Met You by Cecelia Ahern

Jasmine’s life revolves around her job and her sister so when she finds herself jobless and stuck on garden leave for a year she doesn’t know what to do with herself.

The Year I Met You has a really interesting narrative style and genuinely compelling characters. I loved the focus and deep study of so many different relationships within one life and the profound differences in the impact they each make. As always Cecelia Ahern’s writing is fluid and beautiful and her characters so layered they feel remarkably real.

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Everything Leads to You by Nina Lacour

Emi is finally finishing high high school and can focus on doing what she loves, set design for films. She’s talented, driven and has been given her brother’s apartment for the summer so long as she fulfils his one request: she must do something epic.

I literally just finished Everything Leads To You five minutes ago and I’ve already been struck down by every bookworm’s nemesis, the book hang-over. I adored every page, every character, every twist, every detail of this book and wish there were a thousand more pages. It was one of the first times I’ve ever read a YA book about a lesbian character that wasn’t doom, gloom and oh wow doesn’t coming out suck. Emi’s sexuality is handled perfectly and for the first time I could read about someone like me without feeling too aware of how we’re different. As a total lover of contemporary fiction I’ve always wanted a book that I could fully delve into without the awkward disconnect of ‘yes I’m sure he is dreamy but I just don’t care‘.

Emi’s relationships feel real, her passion almost tangible and her flaws realistic and relate-able. She’s talented but not perfect, gifted but still learning. The book handles tough themes with care and a soft touch, it’s never harsh or too painful but always resonates. It discusses privilege, race and class seamlessly.  I could go on and on forever but I’d hate to spoil it so I’ll leave it at this: this is one of my favourite books I’ve ever read.

What have you been reading? Let me know!

Meg

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Mermaid Thingamabooks

One of my biggest, most consuming fears is a heart-stopping, spine-tingling fear of water. As a kid I loved the sea, for a while we lived on the coast and I was completely infatuated with the ocean. I watched The Little Mermaid (and the sequel which I obsessed over and am now scared to watch in case it sucks) on a loop and dreamed of being brave enough to travel and see all of the weird and wonderful things hiding down there. But as I got older a major fear started growing. I felt it starting and developing, getting bigger and darker. Soon I couldn’t even really look at large bodies of water, boats made me want to throw up and hide under my bed and bridges were completely out of the question. I can’t even watch underwater scenes on screen without my chest starting to cave in on itself. While I’ve been assured that it’s a pretty standard effect of my strange little brand of anxiety I absolutely hate it. Aquariums? Nope. Driving close to a river? Nope. Titanic? Literally shut the hell up oh my gosh.

But besides the shaking and dizziness and chest-caving-in-feeling there is one ocean-related thing that not even the worst panic attack has been able to crack my love for. Mermaids.

I love mermaids. I love the cute ones and the evil ones and the lure-men-to-their-death ones. Mermaids are cool.

I love mermaids so much that I  have a whole wishlist of just mermaid related books. Yep. They range from kids books to YA love stories to mermaid mythology so I thought today I would share some of them with you!

The Tail of Emily Windsnap

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This is the first in a middle-grade series about a girl who has lived most of her life on a boat but never in the water. When she decides to learn to swim she discovers why her mother has kept her from the ocean her whole life. Spoiler alert: she’s a mermaid.

Every Emily Windsnap book is absolutely stunning and they sound like so much fun! I’m determined to read them all, I definitely would have swooned over this series when I was younger.

Mermaids: The Myths, Legends and Lore

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This had the potential to be a total cover buy because the second I saw it I NEEDED it. But it also sounds like a really interesting read that studies the mermaid lore of lots of different cultures.

This one is at the tippy-top of my wishlist!

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Lorali first caught my attention because the character’s names are Lorali and Rory and I am Gimore Girls trash through and through. But it also sounds like a really fun, unique read. Lorali is a mermaid who has washed up on a beach in the UK and found that it isn’t all beauty and fairytales. It promises mermaid royalty, pirates and little bit of punk and that sounds like everything I could ever want in a book.

You can see the rest of my mermaid-y wishlist (all 20!) here!

If you know of any I should add to my list please let me know!

Meg

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What I’ve Been Reading | Week 6 & 7

 

Hi everyone!

It’s been a little while and for that I sincerely apologize. A nasty flu pretty much shut my whole house down for a little while and we were all forced to surrender ourselves to snotty tissues, lemsip and an intense amount of soup. So, since I have two weeks of reading to fill you in on I’m gonna get started!

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BETWEEN THE LINES BY JODI PICOULT AND SAMANTHA VAN LEER

Having finished Between the Lines I feel pretty much the same as I did the last time I mentioned it, it was a cute fluffy read but relied too heavily on tropes. The love interest Oliver had a whole bunch of borderline creepy moments that made me not only uncomfortable but anxious for what the acceptance and romanticism of his behavior would tell younger readers. The end was surprising and clever but a little rushed and definitely had the potential to have much more of an emotional impact. The cute little doodles dotted here and there were a pretty nice touch though.

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HOW HARD CAN LOVE BE BY HOLLY BOURNE

I was pretty desperate to read this once I finished Am I Normal Yet?, which I loved. This one is about Amber who is very tall, a bit more than a bit bitter, drunk a little too often and off to America to see the mother who abandoned her when she needed her the most. I adored this book. I love Amber, I love her friends, I love her perspective and her feminism. I love Holly Bourne’s writing and I love the wit, care and love with which she handles the very real struggles of her characters. My only real issue with Am I Normal Yet? was that the feminism wasn’t as inclusive as it could and should be but I was so happy to see that this installment rectifies that and teaches even more excellent feminist ideology. I really wish these books had been around when I was still in school, I would have learned so much!

GHOST WORLD BY DANIEL CLOWES

During my indiemoviegirl faze I was a big fan of the film adaption of Ghost World. The graphic novel has been sitting on my shelf for a year now so I thought I’d finally give it a go and…it didn’t go well. Actually, that’s an understatement, I hated it. I hated the characterization, the inauthentic teen-girl voice, the writing and the cruelty. The art is nice but it’s the only positive I could find.

EDWARD SCISSORHANDS VOL 2: WHOLE AGAIN BY KATE LETH AND DREW RAUSCH

This one is a whole other story! I loved volume 1, I adore Kate Leth and I full-on swooned over this volume. The writing is on point, the characters are diverse and genuinely interesting, sexuality and gender-expression are casually and perfectly incorporated. I really can’t recommend this run enough.

THE YEAR I MET YOU BY CECELIA AHERN

The Year I Met You is about a woman named Jasmine who has just lost her job, found herself unable to work for a year and about to lose the plot. She’s hurt, frustrated and a little bitter. This is one of Cecelia Ahern’s more reality-based books and while it’s definitely a little slow it’s a captivating and insightful character study full of layered, flawed, diverse and fully realized characters.

TAKE IT AS A COMPLIMENT BY MARIA STOIAN

Take It As A Compliment is one of the best things I’ve read in quite a while. It’s a graphic novel that tells different people’s experiences of sexual harassment and assault. We see people of different gender-identity and sexuality tell their stories and all are given weight and importance, from cat-calling to rape. It’s devastating, harrowing and incredibly powerful. Obviously it comes with trigger warnings galore but if this is something you can read, you should.

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FURIOUSLY HAPPY BY JENNY LAWSON

I started listening to Furiously Happy because lately I’ve feeling a whole lot of furious and not so much happy and I needed something to cheer me up without acting like everything is cheery and peppy and ok. I picked the perfect book. It’s a genuinely funny book about sad things. It’s ruthlessly honest about how difficult and exhausting living with mental illness is but it’s one of the funniest books I’ve ever come across and I’m incredibly glad I found it when I did, it’s been brightening my days so much.

Let me know what you’ve been reading!

Meg

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Bookish Wish List

This morning didn’t exactly go to plan. Instead of productivity and a trip to the secondhand bookstore I ended up with a raging headache, a mini panic attack and a lot of free time. I don’t know about you but when I’m feeling down there’s only one thing to do: waste hours and hours looking at all of the cute stuff I can’t have! Here are some of the adorable bookish things I’ve had heart-eyes for this morning.

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Archive Got the Power Dress | Modcloth

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Mermaid for Each Other Bookends | Modcloth (Photo Credit)

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Bookish Throw Pillows | BookWorm Boutique

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Wall Tapestry | Bookworm Boutique

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The Restricted Section – Harry Potter Inspired Candle | The Melting Library

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Peter Pan Locket | MalteseMagpi

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Unicorns: The Myths, Legends & Lore | Book Depository

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Just Read mug | Evie Seo

Meg

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What I’ve Been Reading | Week 5

This weeks wrap up is going to have a looong intro, you’ve been warned!

To anyone who doesn’t live in my cute little house this week would have seemed completely unremarkable. But if you were to look a little closer you’d see that this week might have been the most remarkable thanks to a lot of little seemingly-unremarkable but actually extremely remarkable things. This week I pushed myself to my very limits and found out something pretty unexpected: they’re a lot further than I thought.

My puppy, George, has changed my life so much it’s hard to believe he’s only been here a few months. When we first got him I could barely take him out to pee without panicking but as the weeks went on and I fell more and more in love with that tiny ginger face everything got easier and easier. I could take him out to pee then I could take him to the end of our lane then to the end of the next lane then all the way down our sweet little estate. As he grew and needed to go farther I grew and learned that I could do it for him. Then this week arrived and brought a new challenge, could I do it without him? While he was off at his puppy group (they go to forests and beaches and play together it’s adorable) I did something I haven’t done in months.

I went out alone.

It was terrifying, I shook a lot and forgot how lungs are supposed to work a couple of times but I did it. I made it all the way to my favourite coffee place then my latte and I camped out in the bookshop until my nerves had calmed enough to walk home. I did it. When George came home we both passed out on the couch for an hour or two, entirely tuckered.

I left the house alone twice more this week, going further each time. It’s been difficult and exhausting but I did it. And of course, books helped!

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51TgWSjAtOLEverytime I left the house I listened to an audiobook the whole time, it gave me something to focus on when oxygen and gravity were being elusive and wonky. The book I’ve been listening to is The Sword of Shannara by Terry Brooks and oh my goodness I love it.

I’ve been completely addicted to the show The Shannara Chronicles and haven’t been able to get my hands on the books but I’m actually a little glad because the audiobook is wonderful. It’s so immersive, the fast paced story is completely captivating and the world is one of the most interesting I’ve come across.

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Yep, I’m still reading Outlander.

I’ve been trudging my my way through this book for weeks but after a little break last week I actually made some progress over the last few days. Miraculous, I know.

I’m now half way through and have developed an overwhelming need to protect Jamie. After hating Frank so much I’m genuinely enjoying learning more about Jamie, he’s a wonderful character. The history is really interesting and I’m liking Claire more and more so there’s hope yet!

new.png513Cj5dTxWL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_ With a high fantasy audiobook and the beast that is Outlander on the go I felt like I needed something light, fluffy and easy to turn to when my brain just needed to chill for a while. So I’ve been reading Between the Lines by Jodi Picoult and Samantha Van Leer. The premise of the book is a lot of fun, what if the characters in books kept on living their lives after you closed the book? And what if you fell in love with one of them?

It’s a light YA read that is a little trope-y and a tad too cringey here and there but had I read it as a 14 year old I would have been obsessed.

So that’s what I’ve been reading this week! If you missed last week’s January wrap up you can see that here.

What have you been reading this week?

Meg

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The Coffee Book Tag

Coffee and reading are two of my biggest weaknesses. Put them together and that’s that, nothing can drag me away. So I thought it would be fun to do the coffee book tag, let me know if you do it too!

black coffeeOutlander-blue-cover-198x300A series that’s tough to get into but has hardcore fans

Outlander and I have been battling for a few weeks now and so far, I hate to admit, I’m definitely not winning. But the hardcore love people have for this book has kept me reading and as I’m sneaking up on the halfway mark I’m starting to maybe possibly understand that love a little. Maybe.

peppermintHarry01englishA book that gets more popular during the winter

Kind of has to be Harry Potter, doesn’t it?

hot chocolatebook-review-a-series-of-unfortunate-events-a--L-w32TvXWhat is your favorite children’s book?

This one is tough since there wasn’t a day of my childhood that wasn’t full of books. I loved so many books so passionately but one series that had a major impact on me was A Series of Unfortunate Events. I still love it so much, hence the name of this blog!

double espressoness-1A book that kept you on the edge of your seat from start to finish

Not just The Never of Never Letting Go but the entire Chaos Walking series completely took over my life from the very first page. The world, characters and story are so gripping and unpredictable.I could read these books over and over and still be on the very edge of my seat the entire time.

starbucks416TWMc56dL._SX326_BO1,204,203,200_A book you see everywhere

It seems like everyone is smitten with Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell. I haven’t read any of her books and to be honest I’m not too sure why, especially since the adorable Fangirl illustrations are by Noelle Stevenson who I adore

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Into+the+Forest+CoverA book you were expecting more from

I did really like this book, the characters are compelling and the story is definitely interesting but I found it weirdly hard to connect to. I know it was beautiful but I just didn’t love it like I thought I would.

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245e75af-a474-46db-84fb-9be1e9106e61-bestSizeAvailableA book or series that was both bitter and sweet but ultimately satisfying

Am I Normal Yet? is about a teenage girl dealing with her mental illness and working hard on her recovery. Parts of it were pretty tough to read but they came in equal measure with the sweetest, cutest and loveliest parts.

So that’s the coffee book tag! I’m planning on doing a comic tag soon so let me know if there are any you’d like to see and I’ll check them out.

Meg

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A Bookish Day in Derry

I love where I live more than I ever thought possible. Moving here was a desperate sleep deprived at 5am decision but remains one of the best we’ve ever made. So much has improved so drastically and the things that couldn’t be fixed so easily now actually have a chance. There’s only one problem with this beautiful little town…a devastating lack of bookshops.

We have two small and under-stocked newsagent type book shops that I’m super grateful for but I miss that bookshop feel. The smell, the quiet and the comfort. I could spend all day in a bookshop, which is saying a lot considering how little I leave the house!

Recently our very best bestie bean Weezy came to visit for the weekend and we went on an adventure to Derry. Derry is only 20 or so minutes from my town but I’d never been before so I wasn’t sure what to expect. Turns out Derry is pretty great, it’s a lovely city with an absolute ton of cool antique and vintage shops, gorgeous architecture and bookshops so cute you’d move in if they’d let you. My anxiety makes new places difficult and I get very stressed very easily but the little city had such a friendly feeling and warm atmosphere that I was able to really enjoy myself.

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The first bookshop we visited was called Foyle Books and was in the cuter-than-you-can-even-imagine craft village. Every inch of every wall was covered in books and the floor was scattered with boxes that held even more. The shelves were so high that the tops shelves were just a blur to tiny 5-foot-nothing me!

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The next bookshop was called Little Acorns and it might be the most adorable one I’ve ever set foot in. It takes up one big corner of The Yellow Yard, a shop that has everything you never knew you needed like eclectic old records, bright yellow type-writers and old fur coats. It was full to the brim, practically overflowing with new and old books, bookish gifts and art. The kids section was covered in twinkling fairy lights and so full of colour I imagine one glance would brighten even the grumpiest of grumps.

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We popped into the gigantic Easons and Primark too and I picked up a couple of books I didn’t need and a pair of very sparkly shoes I definitely didn’t need.

If you want to see more of our bookish day in Derry it’s all in my new video!

Meg

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