Nina and Hanne are one of my OTPs and they deserve all the waffles in the world. So I thought I’d try and stitch them!
As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, I got into cross-stitch over lockdown and have kept it up ever since. I’ve been really enjoying the total range of things you can make – you can find my other cross-stitches of fanfics, book covers, characters and favourite quotes here. Like I said, a range!
One of the first pieces I made was one of the crows, and I’ve always wanted to revisit the Grishaverse. It’s truly my favourite fantasy world and I love how many new fans it’s gained since the tv show. People seem really encouraged to read the books after watching it. Is that how you got into the series?
I love how neat this turned out (mainly because I’m the least neat person ever). You’ve got the ice court, Nina in her crazy Fjerdan outfit, with Hanne and Trassel. That’s a wolf, I promise! I added a bow for all the stereotypes that this couple managed to break; the logo and my favourite quote. You can find my full review of Rule Of Wolves here.
What do you think! Are there any crafts or hobbies you’ve been enjoying recently? Have you read Rule of Wolves? Let me know in the comments!
This is one of my favourite weekly tags, so many people do it that it’s really fun! In July, every book I read was 5 stars. Maybe I was being too liberal, but it was a brilliant selection. Sadly, I just don’t have time to review them all, but I’d still love to share my thoughts (and hopefully get some of your thoughts) on them. So I’m going to use this tag to do some mini reviews!
Wednesday is hosted over at Taking On A World Of Words, go and check out their site! If you’ve had a go at this tag, feel free to link your post in the comments. And here’s what I’ve been up to these past weeks!
What I Finished Recently
After nearly two years of excited anticipation, I finally read Any Way The Wind Blows by Rainbow Rowell. I didmanage to review this, and you can find my (spoiler free) review here!
New favorite book? Ahhhh A Gentleman’s Guide To Vice And Virtue by Mackenzie Lee was so entertaining. Some of the character development and plot was predictable, in the best possible way. Everything you wanted to happen, happened. However, other bits that were totally unexpected and I was hooked. IT WAS SO GOOD!
I have literally no complaints about A Good Girls Guide To Murder by Holly Jackson. None. I was literally skim reading it at the end to try and find out who did it, it was absolutely engrossing. The characters were brilliant, while I was scared that Pippa would be a book smart cringey nerd, she was a really competent and interesting character.
What I’m Currently Reading
Have you ever read something that is just… badly written? There’s no other way of phrasing it. I was intrigued by the premise of Guard Your Heart by Sue Divin, about the impact of the Troubles 18 years afterwards on a teenage romance. But it currently feels more like a tourist guidebook than a novel.
I’m also listening to 1984 by George Orwell on Spotify (slowly working my way through the free audiobooks…). It’s absolutely amazing. It’s reminding me why people read classics, why I read classics, why books become classics. 1984 fully deserves to go down in the history books and I am blown away by how this terrifying reality can be so easily compared to various historic (and present) scenarios.
There’s also a David Bowie album that was nearly the 1984 musical, if you need any more incentive to read it! I’m getting very excited seeing the meaning behind these songs I love.
What I Want To Read Next
I HAVE SO MANY BOOKS TO READ! It’s very exciting (and hard to know what to read next). I think I’ll probably go for To Kill A Mockingbird soon, because I really want to watch the film. What other reason could there be for reading a book?
My favourite posts of the month (or there abouts)
I’ve seen so many amazing posts this month, but some of my favourite and most creative ones had to be…
Words cannot express how much I love these characters. But I will try.
Name: Any Way The Wind Blows
Author: Rainbow Rowell
Published: 6th July 2021
Any Way the Wind Blows takes the gang back to England, back to Watford, and back to their families for their longest and most emotionally wrenching adventure yet.
For Simon, that means deciding whether he still wants to be part of the World of Mages — and if he doesn’t, what does that mean for his relationship with Baz? Meanwhile Baz is bouncing between two family crises and not finding any time to talk to anyone about his newfound vampire knowledge. Penelope would love to help, but she’s smuggled a cursed American Normal into London, and now she isn’t sure what to do with him. And Agatha? Well, Agatha Wellbelove has had enough.
This book is a finale. It tells secrets and answers questions and lays ghosts to rest.
Carry On was conceived as a book about Chosen One stories; Any Way the Wind Blows is an ending about endings. About catharsis and closure, and how we choose to move on from the traumas and triumphs that try to define us.
If you’ve missed my other rants, Carry On is oneof my favourite books. I’ve poured my heart into these characters since I first lost myself in the series (Carry On, then Wayward Son, then this one) and I could hardly believe that my most anticipated read of the last two years was finally in my hands.
In other words, expectations were high.
Any Way The Wind Blows was promising us a lot, and when reviewing a book I like to hold blurbs accountable. To start, the book certainly ‘takes the gang back to England’. Whilst Wayward Son had expanded the World Of Mages internationally, this delved into the engineering of the world, answering loopholes I could otherwise see being debated on Reddit forums in years to come. There’s a circular structure about the whole series, and even the settings of this final book, which I thought fitted in with the idea of ‘catharsis and closure’. It weaves references from previous books and chapters that make you smile in recognition.
Next: ‘It lays ghosts to rest’. Tick! Lady Salisbury gives me LIFE. Then, it certainly gave Simon and Baz time to sort out their relationship. My biggest irritation the first time I read Carry On was the point of view switches during what feels like the best scenes. I was worried that would happen again, but we had 60 pages purely of Simon and Baz’s povs and I loved it.
“I thought we had the sort of love that you can’t set down or walk away from. An undying fire. The love you hear about in the old stories.
No one told Simon Snow the old stories.”
– ANY WAY THE WIND BLOWS
When you’ve got so much expectation riding on a book, and you really don’t want it to be bad, it can be easier to gloss over anything that doesn’t satisfy you. Especially when you spent lots of money on the fancy Waterstones version. I think Any Way The Wind Blows will be criticised for will be a) not being necessary and b) having a weak plot – both things that I’ve considered.
But, a) I think it was necessary. If not just so Wayward Son’s cliffhanger ending could be resolved (Rowell did not need to do us that dirty!). We also got Shepard’s last name! I’ve always had a soft spot for Agatha and I liked seeing her get her own ending, even if it felt a bit like a convenience . This book was necessary because it tied up a lot of loose ends, loopholes (have to save those Reddit communities the pain) and gave the characters time to sort themselves out.
But did it tie all the loose ends? From the blurb, I got the impression that there would be much more explanation into vampires; into everything we learned from Wayward Son. Any Way The Wind Blows is certainly the ‘longest adventure yet’ but in reference to b) having a weak plot… it can seem like a little happens in nearly 600 pages. Some of the scenes feel repetitive. Carry On is 500 pages and AWTWB seems pale in plot comparison.
However, I actually prefer Wayward Son over Carry On. It’s close. Carry On is better the first time around, but Wayward Son is the type of book you can read over and over and find new details each time. Sometimes that means they aren’t as well received because people don’t want to read them again.s I think this finale is similar, more quietly groundbreaking.
I guess you shouldn’t have reread a book to get the best experience – but I think that’s how this series works. I’ll always love it for such a different take on the Chosen One story; showing how every Harry Potter character should be crippled with PTSD (and ridiculously queer); and how the apex of a story isn’t always this massive moment. What comes after that apex too. Every book is devastating, funny, romantic break down of sexual, class and cultural identity. But if you were looking for a plot-twisty, swashbuckling adventure in AWTWB, you might be disappointed. It’s quieter than that.
Before reading, make sure you check the Trigger Warnings because it unpacks a range. Another thing to keep in mind: the characters are getting older so AWTWB veers away slightly from Young Adult. If you want more of my ramblings about this gorgeous series, check out my review of Fangirl here, my soundtrack for if Carry On was a movie here and my initial thoughts on the AWTWB cover here.
Have you read this? Read any others in the series? Got any other thoughts on it? Let me know in the comments!
I’m steadily crawling my way through my blog-tag backlog and I landed on this gem! I was tagged in it many months ago by the lovely Madeline over at The Bookish Mutant, and as someone who doesn’t know a lot about astrology, I thought it would be fun to give it a go. You can find her brilliant take on it here. Are you a fan of astrology? Read any of these books? Let me know in the comments!
Tag at least 5 bloggers and provide links to their blogs.
Name your Zodiac sign!
Don’t forget to add #ItsAZodiacThing tag.
You can either do the zodiac book tag /the zodiac musictag or both of them. Graphics for separate tags should be given at the end.
ARIES: A wild and powerful book, compelling from start to finish. Every page intoxicated your heart with incredible imagery.
Wilder Girls by Rory Power was certainly wild enough and the power behind the description knocks you off your feet. Find my review here.
TAURUS: A heart-wrenching story of a forbidden love that could tear a family apart
Ahhhh – as much as I’m loving all these oddly specific prompts, I’m struggling for this one? I guess I’m currently listening to the audiobook of The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater and the whole kiss your true love and they will die thing seems pretty forbidden, don’t you think?
CANCER:A bittersweet book that spoke to your sensitive heart (woo my sign)
The only thing that immediately jumps to mind is The Perks Of Being A Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky. It’s the very definition of bittersweet.
GEMINI: A book that is cheeky, quippy, and witty
EVERY LEIGH BARDUGO BOOK EVER *chef’s kiss*
I’ve been slowly getting everyone in my friendship group hooked on the Grishaverse, and it’s a very satisfying experience to know that you’re the reason they now love some books. Tell your friends what you’re reading! Or tell me in the comments!
LEO: A book with drama, love, fancy wear, and hope
That pretty much sums up the Night Circus by Erin Morgernstern! Check out my review here.
VIRGO:A tender story of self-love, self-determination, self-discovery, perseverance,romance, friendship, and family
The Shadowhunters universe? Maybe? Surprisingly, the more I think about it, it actually ticks all of them. What do you think?
SCORPIO: A book with a good plot twist. A book that is psychologically thrilling and emotionally chilling, and haunted you from the first page to the last.
I finally got around to reading We Were Liars and OOOOHH THAT PLOT TWIST! I’ve been recommending it to everyone since (and I mean everyone… my English teacher said she’ll try it one day).
LIBRA: A book that has a remarkably refreshing and frank outlook on life. One of the realest books you’ve ever read.
It wasn’t my favourite but The Versions Of Us by Laura Barnett really makes you think. Find my review here.
SAGITTARIUS: An adventurous, summer read
Now that summer has rolled around, I will be doing the three pieces of flipping art that just encapsulate summer for me…
Listening to the Talking Heads
Watching Call Me By Your Name (The plot is a bit dodgy, but the vibe is immaculate.)
Doing my customary reread of Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets Of The Universe by Benjamin Alire Saenz
I can’t believe we’re getting a sequel. You can find my review here.
CAPRICORN: A book that has everything to do with friendship
Floored by Sara Barnard, Holly Bourne, Tanya Byrne, Non Pratt, Melinda Salisbury, Lisa Williamson, Eleanor Wood (phew) is based on such a unique idea and really makes you think. All the characters are like your best friends. Find my review (and attempt to cross-stitch the cover) here.
PISCES: A book that bewitched and enchanted you with its lyrical words, and transmuted your imaginative mind
I haven’t gone back in a while, but the entire of the Folk Of The Air series by Holly Black made me fall in love with fey adventures. Find my review of The Cruel Prince here.
AQUARIUS: A quirky and unique book
Probably the most out there book I’ve ever read is Pet by Awaeke Emezi. You can find my review here. It’s utterly beautiful.
This is not posted on a Wednesday and 7 days into July. Your eyes deceive you.
Happy Pride Month! I can’t believe I can’t say that again for another year, but I’ve had a great time while it lasted. Even if it’s just capitalism, it’s so nice seeing rainbows everywhere. Finally, I’ve finished all my exams and the weather has started to actually heat up… to about 18 degrees. (But this is England, so that’s about as good as you’re going to get.) What more could you want?
A few weeks ago, the amazing blogger Sassy Library Fox nominated me for their original tag, Sassy Saturday. You can check out the original here. I thought it would be a perfect way to finish off the month!
S – Series you loved this month
Now that the second season is on Netflix, I finally started Feel Good. I’d heard a lot of praise for it before but I can’t stress how funny and moving it is… and how involved I am in these characters now. I loved Charlotte Ritchie in Ghosts, so if you enjoyed Feel Good I’d highly recommend you check that out too! (Ex horrible histories stans where are you at?).
A – Author you discovered
Did you know that The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater is on Spotify? For free! As is Boyfriend Material by Alexis Hall (another book I’d been meaning to read forever). I did not know this, so was ridiculously excited when I discovered the Raven Boys audiobook. I’m in love with Will Patton’s voice and whilst I don’t normally do audiobooks, it’s just perfect.
I’m about half way through, utterly intrigued and can’t wait to see where it goes!
S – Song you couldn’t get enough of
I did a presentation on the Punk Movement for school, so I ended up doing a deep dive into some of the classics. For research! My favourite so far is Personality Crisis by the New York Dolls -I’ve had it stuck in my head for weeks.
S – Surprise – Something that totally caught you off guard
HOW LONG 700 PAGES ACTUALLY IS. To all the other veterans of The Priory Of The Orange Tree, I now join your ranks. It took me about 2 weeks (of intense reading) but whilst it was absurdly long, and I kind of get PTSD looking at the cover, IT WAS WORTH IT.
Sabran and Ead, and Jannart and Niclays have my entire heart.
Y – Your fave blog post of another blogger
I loved The Bookish Mutant’s June Wrap Up – I liked not stacking up the amount of books I’ve read this month and just enjoying them, but MADELINE READ 20! Which blows my mind, and definitely deserves a big shout out.
I spent most of this month rereading Carry On and Wayward Son, and tackling Priory! But I also tried Truth Witch by Susan Dennard, and really liked it.
No pressure at all! You can do it now, save it for later in the month, for a July Wrap Up or just not at all 🙂
For cynical twenty-three-year-old August, moving to New York City is supposed to prove her right: that things like magic and cinematic love stories don’t exist, and the only smart way to go through life is alone. She can’t imagine how waiting tables at a 24-hour pancake diner and moving in with too many weird roommates could possibly change that. And there’s certainly no chance of her subway commute being anything more than a daily trudge through boredom and electrical failures.
But then, there’s this gorgeous girl on the train.
Jane. Dazzling, charming, mysterious, impossible Jane. Jane with her rough edges and swoopy hair and soft smile, showing up in a leather jacket to save August’s day when she needed it most. August’s subway crush becomes the best part of her day, but pretty soon, she discovers there’s one big problem: Jane doesn’t just look like an old school punk rocker. She’s literally displaced in time from the 1970s, and August is going to have to use everything she tried to leave in her own past to help her. Maybe it’s time to start believing in some things, after all.
One Last Stop came out during my exam week (I’d had it on preorder for nearly a year) and I read it immediately. Was I really tired from staying up all night reading? Possibly. But was it worth it? Hell yes.
This is everything I’ve ever wanted from a book. You’ve got LGBTQ+ history, 70’s punk rockers, a sapphic relationship, flipping time travel wrapped up in the most beautiful, whimsical writing. I will never be able to do it justice. Every word Casey McQuiston wrote was beautifully crafted and so cinematically constructed that you have the most vivid picture in your head. McQuiston adds all these tiny details to characters that you never see again and they build up a massive picture of all these different people. One of my favourite parts of the book was Jane retelling her memories; there was this one quote about a boy in bright red shorts watching the rain from his balcony that I just can’t forget.
It’s hazy but she remembers Jane telling her about drag shows she used to go to in the ’70s, the balls, how queens would go hungry for weeks to buy gowns, the shimmering nightclubs that sometimes felt like the only safe places.
She lets Jane’s memories transpose over here, now, like double exposed film, two different generations of messy, loud, brave and scared and brave again people stomping their feet and waving hands with bitten nails, all the things they share and all the things they don’t, the things she has that people like Jane smashed windows and spat blood for.
– I AM IN LOVE WITH THIS BOOK
Then the characters! One Last Stop is the very definition of the found family trope and I’m running out of ways to say that I love them all. There was so many different kinds of LGBTQ+ representation and Niko is the omnipotent psychic I never knew I needed in my life. I’m so excited for all the fan art! August is so interesting; I like that she doesn’t take all these crazy things in her stride but also the entire book isn’t just her freaking out. There are multiple well developed side plots, it wasn’t just all about Jane. Although I would have been more than fine with that too.
Sometimes there are no other words: I LOVE IT I LOVE IT I LOVE IT. One Last Stop is funny and sexy and heartwarming – and clever! So, so clever. The mystery kept me hooked throughout the entire thing, enough to feel satisfied when I work something out a little before the characters but also having no idea how it will end. Like I said before, I just can’t do it justice. If you enjoy mysteries and rom-coms and the most poetry you can squeeze out of a train, read this now! You won’t regret it.
As always, this great tag was originally created by The Broke and the Bookishbut is now hosted over at That Artsy Reader Girl. Today’s prompt is all about my most anticipated reads of the second of half of 2021. Now I’m not the best at keeping up with new releases, but there are SO many books coming out/ that have came out in summer 2021 that I had to give it a try. Are you looking forward to any of these? Have you got any more recommendations? Let me know in the comments!
This looks absolutely incredible.
SEVEN DAYS BABY!
I can’t believe I can finally say that.
Did I buy this after looking at the cover only to realise that it was the American one? Possibly. You can see the (less impressive) British one here! But the blurb makes me ridiculously excited.
This was everything I’ve ever wanted from a book. Just… perfection. Not that I’d expect anything less from McQuiston, but my review comes out on Friday so keep an eye out!
Ahhh it’s refreshing to have all the characters act the way you want them to for once!
This book was nothing like I’d expected. It’s a queer retelling of Grease (I’m hooked already!) but I hadn’t really thought about how that would play into Ollie and Will’s relationship. The book had a strong message from a toxic relationship (I guess it was Grease) but I felt the ending sort of underpinnedit. However, I warmed up to their relationship and loved Ollie’s character so much. Bass players unite!
“But if they keep accidentally ripping your heart out over and over again, doesn’t mean they’re terrible people, but it probably means you’re better off getting to a distance where they can’t keep doing that. Accidentally or not.”
– ONLY MOSTLY DEVASTATED
Another reason why I found it so unexpected was how insightful Only Mostly Devastated was. Near the end, there was a beautiful exploration of death in what I’d thought was a light rom-com. There was also a big focus on friendship which I always love, the references were on point and the side characters were well developed.
I’d be interested to see anyone else’s take on her, but I did the biggest 180 on a character that I’ve ever done for Lara. The joy of character development! Originally, her whole plot point appeared to be something that I despise – I still don’t like her but it’s impressive writing to make you totally reconsider her character? Or maybe I just like anyone who says they’re ‘bi as f***’ numerous times.
Rating: 5 out of 5.
Sometimes it’s really drags but other times it’s the most beautiful thing I’ve ever read.
Did I really know what this book was about? I’d been waiting to read Wilder Girls forever, but I have to admit I’d just seen that gorgeous cover and added it to my WTR pile. (Also it’s one of those books with one line on the back as a blurb). So, it might have been one of the best surprises of this year when it turned out to be a queer, feminist horror story about a school for girls struggling to survive a killer disease. I’ve developed an apprehension for books about pandemics, but Wilder Girls was like nothing I’ve read before, or ever will again.
My favourite part? The group dynamic. I’m in love with Byatt and Hetty and Reese’s relationship and watching Reese open up. Some of Byatt’s narration was more like prose and it was absolutely gorgeous; I found her’s more interesting (and horror-esque) than the other narration. I spent the start of the book hoping for more from the horror side, even if it is a YA book, but the conspiracy pulled it through. The writing was as wild as the setting. Whilst some fell flat and were too abstract, some lines literally took my breath away.
“I think I’d been looking for it all my life,a storm in my body to match the one in my head.”
– WILDER GIRLS
However, it was a bit boring quite character focused. I’d step back and think that not a lot had happened. I was so hooked for the final reveal and the ending was addictive (it didn’t disappoint) but it felt like it dragged a lot for such a short book. I have qualms about the actual ending, as in the last 10 or so pages. It’s difficult to discuss without giving any spoilers but I thought that it was unnecessary and felt too cliff hanger-y for a stand-alone.
But, I felt empowered reading this. (I guess if you know that queer feminists can survive a killer virus then you can survive 2021). Wilder Girls grows in my opinion the more I think about it – it was nothing like I’d expected in some bad ways and some good ways. It’sa gory and feminist twisted and very cool book. I’m not going to forget about it easily.
Happy Pride Month! I was nominated for this tag yonks ago by the lovely Allyover at Ally Writes Things. It’s their original tag and has some brilliant prompts – you can check out their post here. I’d been meaning to do some LGBTQ+ recommendations for pride month and thought this would be a great tag to adapt! All my recs have LGBTQ+ main characters or relationship (although that’s not necessarily required for the tag) and are mostly Young Adult. Do you have any more you would add? Let me know in the comments!
Give at least one recommendation for each of the prompts below
If you don’t have a recommendation, talk about a book you want to read
Tag as many people as you want!
A book about friendship
After being on my WTR pile since the dawn of time, I finally read Wilder Girls by Rory Power and IT WAS AMAZING. The female friendships in it are superbly written and I especially loved them as something I hadn’t really seen before in horror.
I should have my review out later this week!
A fast-paced book
Clap When You Land by Elizabeth Acevedo was a gorgeous prose book that had me hooked from the first page. Even if it also broke my heart. You can find my review here!
A diverse romance
The Lies We Tell Ourselves by Robin Talley was the story of two girls on opposite sides of the battle for civil rights in 1950s America. I’d love to read some of Robin Talley’s other books because I fell in love with her writing style. If you enjoy historical fiction, it’s the book for you and you can find my review here.
An underrated memoir
Ahhh I couldn’t think of one for this one! (I’m not that big a fan of memoirs). I’ve left it for anyone who is using mine as a template for the tag.
A nonfiction other than a memoir
What’s The T by Juno Dawson: I loved this book. It’s so informative, but is really funny and engaging at the same time.
A book with fewer than 10,000 ratings on Goodreads
The Falling In Love Montage by Ciara Smyth only has 6,000 ratings on Goodreads which is a disgrace. I think it was only published recently, but it deserves all the love it can get. I’d 1000% recommend!
A book with an LGBTQ+ protagonist
All of these! Also, the photos include my favourite LGBTQ+ books that I couldn’t include. What are some of yours? This photo is some of my favourite sapphic books. Find my reviews here:
I’m currently reading The Priory of the Orange Tree by Samantha Shannon and should also have a review coming out (not funny) very soon! Well, as soon as I finish it. And it’s humungous. However, it’s fantastic and encapsulates everything I adore about high fantasy.
A translated book
Can you believe, I’ve never read a translated book? This is something I’d love to do but have never really researched properly. Do you have any recommendations?
Book you want everyone to read
I will never stop recommending I Wish You All The Best by Mason Deaver. It tackles gender, sexuality and mental health in a really honest way. You can find my review here.
A short story collection
I’ve wanted to read the short story collection Pride forever. It’s that book that I always see when I’m checking out at the bookshop and think Ahhh I should have got that! I’ll read it one day…
A book by a trans or non-binary author
Pet by non-binary author Akwaeke Emezi is like nothing I’ve ever read. I can’t even describe it. It was powerful and strange and magical, and you can find my review here.
No pressure! You don’t in any way have to include only LGBTQ+ books for your tag. And if this a tag that you’d like to try but I haven’t nominated you, feel free to let me know in the comments and I’ll add your site to the list!
Have you ever had a super clear image of how something or someone looks in a book? I’m just now realising… how strange that is.
This might not make any sense. But the other day I challenged myself to rearrange some of the furniture in my mental layout of Hogwarts and I just hit a blank. There are four beds in a semi circle around a fire in Harry’s room and you can’t convince me (I can’t convince myself) otherwise. But other people will undeniably have a totally different image in their head. That’s baffling – and pretty cool.
It’s the same thing with characters. One of the biggest reasons that fans dislike book adaptations is because the actors don’t match with the characters in their head. But it’s the strangest thing to talk to fellow readers about what they think a character looks like and get totally different descriptions. All from the same words.
And I think that that’s pretty amazing! You can tell that a book has really strong imagery and character building when you can picture them in your mind. Rereading definitely helps reinforce your perception of a world – part of the reason why Hogwarts will never get an interior design renovation in my head. Do you think it would change with your age, on a reread? I wonder what other things influences how you perceive a world? Acquaintances; things you’re attracted to; maybe characteristics that you yourself have that you’d want the character to have (or avoid). I think the order you read the book and watch the adaptation would definitely play a part. What do you think? Have you ever totally changed your interpretation of a character or a world after watching it? ( I feel like you can never go back…). Let me know in the comments!