3 DNF’s (did not finish) in August

Reading tastes are like a wave, they come and go, they morph and evolve. And you know what readers, this is okay! In my opinion, it can mean that you are growing as a person 🌱 What you may have enjoyed a month, 6 months or a year ago is now different. It can also mean that your environment or situational experiences at the current time of your book selection just didn’t correlate with your feelings at the time. And again, this is okay! Books draw you in at different times of your life – that’s why I find it hard to let go of them πŸ˜‰πŸ“š

Legendborn by Tracey Deonn

At the moment, this YA Fantasy isn’t for me. Myself and a lovely friend were planning on marathoning this book for the month of September but sadly, it’s not gripping me.

I give a book 100 pages before sinking my teeth in and settling in for the reading ride. I gave this 111 and still wasn’t feeling connected. The magical language, environment and events of the first 100 pages lost me… I will give it another go soon.

Last Night by Mhairi McFarlane

I was looking for a romance book, then it turned sad! REAL QUICK! This isn’t a bad thing and I can see that the book has potential. I’ve laughed and been left thinking about some scenes throughout this book but again, it wasn’t giving me the feels I was looking for.

DNF’ed for now. I purchased this on Kindle when it was on sale, therefore I am not overly upset about setting it aside. It will stay on the Kindle until it jumps out to me again.

Careless by Kirsty Capes

Now, now, now – this book is temporarily on hold but I am determined to finish it! A debut novel with stunning reviews, young adult challenges and first person fictional experience of the foster care system in the UK. These are all topics that interest me, yet at the moment I’m looking for something with quick, fast-paced and immediately immersive writing. This has beautiful lyrical writing that I want to savour. I’m sadly just not wanting that in my reading this month therefore, Careless is staying very close to my bedside and ready to resume next month πŸ“š

For the love of Beth O’Leary

August 2021

Contemporary romance is a favoured genre of mine – if it’s done well! One of my favourite authors to recommend in the bookshop is Beth O’Leary. She is an English author who can bring spice, relationship pining and romance into the perfect novel! In my eyes, I believe she can do no wrong. Let’s go through her titles and why I’d recommend each one πŸ“š

The Flatshare – published in April of 2019

OHH how the relationship of Tiffy and Leon spun my reading and had me up until all hours of the morning laughing, gushy and desperate for more!

Tiffy and Leon share a flat. Tiffy and Leon share a bed. Tiffy and Leon have never met… until one day they do and my gosh it is funny! One of them may be exiting the bathroom naked while the other may entering. A towel is nearly dropped and a horrific initial meeting starts a whirlwind of events.

Tiffy works during the day and Leon works night shift, therefore they never cross paths. They leave food in the fridge for each other, bottles of wine out and post it notes on the fridge, keeping one another up to date on their personal lives and work. This book is gushy and romantically wholesome but still has depth. That’s what I really like about Beth’s writing. She hits topics of mental health, unhealthy romantic relationships and disconnection from family members, yet they aren’t pushed on you as the reader or felt overdone. This is my favourite of her novels.

The Switch – published in April of 2020

Okay I want you to think of the old school Lindsey Lohan movie, Freaky Friday. Remember how they switches lives and suddenly had to figure out how to navigate a different lifestyle, generation and technology. That’s ‘The Switch’ all over – but replace the body swapping with a Grandma and her Granddaughter swapping lives for a couple of months.

Leena Cotton is made to take a two-month sabbatical after blowing a big presentation at work. She decides to escape to her grandmother Eileen’s house for some overdue rest and relaxation – or so she thinks. Eileen is newly single and about to turn eighty. She’d like a second chance at love, but her tiny Yorkshire village doesn’t offer many eligible gentlemen. I mean there is her grumpy next door neighbour but her is far from an eligible bachelor. Leena decides to set Eileen off on an adventure to London, go enjoy the city lights, shop and maybe even her on a dating app or two. This warming and funny swap of lives throws you into fits of laughter. Grandma gets her sexy pizazz back and Leena has a group of oldies in the Yorkshire village setting her up with a single school teacher. I would re-read ‘The Switch’ in a heartbeat!

The Road Trip – published in April of 2021

Now … The Road Trip is going to be up there with one of my favourite books of 2021 thus far. After loving her two previous novels, I was and am at the point now that whatever Beth O’Leary writes – I will automatically purchase and read. I had higher expectations for this novel as I had seen it hyped everywhere and it defiantly did not disappoint.

Picture a Mini Cooper. A wedding in Scotland. A road trip. Then imagine a whirlwind romance in Europe that developed into a two year relationship to then end traumatically. That previous couple haven’t spoken in over a year and they are now suck in this tiny car together road tripping to a mutual friend’s wedding. You’ve also got the ‘trouble-maker’ friend who contributed to the couple breaking up in the first place. Then you’ve got a new mother with an express breast pump, trying to bottle milk on the way to a wedding, all while her sexual desires and fantasies are overtaking her every normal thought (hilarious)! Lastly, you’ve got this random guy/friend of the bride who hitched a ride and nobody really knows who he is or how he got invited. These 5 fabulous characters in a Mini Cooper spells disaster!

The quick witted humour, flicking back and forward in time periods, dramatic relationship building and streamy scenes really made this novel a ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ 5 star read for me. I was lucky enough to read an advanced copy and desperately continue to recommend this to all my regular readers who want to pull an all nighter, laugh so hard you frighten the people around you and crave that buzzing feeling of old flames lighting back up again.

The No-Show – possible date of publication in April of 2022

By now, I think you’ve probably gathered that I am excited, highly anticipating and cannot WAIT for the publication for Beth O’Leary’s next novel. The No-Show follows three women, three dates and one missing man …

Extract from Good Reads:

“8.52. Siobhan’s been looking forward to her breakfast date with Joseph. She was surprised when he suggested it – she normally sees him late at night in her hotel room. Breakfast with Joseph on Valentine’s Day surely means something … so where is he?

14.43. Miranda’s hoping that a Valentine’s Day lunch with Carter will be the perfect way to celebrate her new job. It’s a fresh start and a sign that her grown-up life is finally falling into place: she’s been dating Carter for five months now and things are getting serious. But why hasn’t he shown up?

18.30. Joseph Carter agreed to be Jane’s fake boyfriend at a colleague’s engagement party. They’ve not known each other long but their friendship is fast becoming the brightest part of her new life in Winchester. Joseph promised to save Jane tonight. But he’s not here…

Meet Joseph Carter. That is, if you can find him.”

3 Memoirs on my 2021 TBR

What is a Memoir you ask? A Memoir is a historical account of a person or groups personal knowledge, predominantly written in a narrative style.

I resonate with memoirs that are from a female perspective. I enjoy reading about themes of mental health, work place hierarchy challenges, feminist POV’s and outcomes or changed life paths due to a particular experience or conflict. Here are 3 Memoirs that I would like to read by the end of 2021.

Emotional Female by Yumiko Kadota

“I never thought I would say this, but I broke. I give up. I am done. I am handing back my dream of becoming a surgeon.” In February of 2019, Yumiko blogged about her experiences as a trainee in the health system and she opened with these words. Talking all things Asian heritage and educational expectations she experienced growing up, male domination in particular health fields and being called ’emotional’ or ‘too confident’ about her work, Yumiko couldn’t take it any more. Her mental health deteriorated and so did her goal of practicing as a Plastic Surgeon.

I listened to Yumiko on an ABC Conversations Podcast and her story sounds incredibly important.

The Mother Wound by Amani Haydar

‘Gripping, transcendent, tender and, at times, infuriating. With a daughter’s heart and a lawyer’s mind, Amani Haydar maps the territory that connects the wars we fight abroad to the wars we endure in our homes.’ Jess Hill (Author of See What You Made Me Do)

I initially learned of ‘The Mother Wound’ via social media. I could not take my eyes off the cover for one but then I discovered what it was really about. Domestic violence, as I agree with the words of Jess Hill’s Stella Prize book ‘See What You Made Me Do’, a national emergency. In Amani’s memoir, she reflects on what kind of mother she hopes to be when her life experiences are scarred by the horrific murder of her mother – at the hands of her father. Deep diving into witnessing and living with coercive control growing up, as well as reflecting on her parents emotional relationship, Amani sounds like an incredibly strong human being.

*READ* Heartsick by Jessie Stephens

‘Heartbreak does not seem to be a brand of grief we respect. And so we are left in the middle of the ocean, floating in a dinghy with no anchor, while the world waits for us to be okay again.’ (except from Heartsick)

I was recommended this book by a dear friend who had read the short story type memoir herself. Jessie Stephens actually focused in on three seperate stories and allowed the people to tell share their individual experiences in a narrative type retelling. You would not believe that these three people were strangers as their experiences, traumas and whole body reaction to the feeling of heartbreak are all so similar. We all at some point on our lives feel heart sick, it’s a form of grief yet we don’t socially accept or recognise its impact. Here is my GoodReads review:

“I was undecided if this was the type of book that would grip me. We learn about three different stories about being in love, the high, the heartbreak, the grief, the up and down challenges of relationships and that burnt feeling you get after being let down over and over again. The disjointedness of each biographical recount actually reads so well and you can only lend a piece of your heart out to each person in this book. I feel understood, I am resonating with some stories, feelings and experiences. I really think this is a universal read for all human beings” – Mel (⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ 5/5)

5 Reasons to read YA Fantasy

August, 2021

Throne of Glass | Sarah J. Maas

I am not shy to admit that I really enjoy reading Young Adult Fantasy. Give me the snug season of winter, a love triangle, action packed scenes, steamy romance, betrayal and plot twists … I’m transported and I love it 😍

Let me give you 5 reasons to try a YA fantasy novel and maybe even a series…

Fantastic world building is one of the most magical, imaginative and enjoyable experiences in reading. You are seeing a new world forming in front of your eyes for the first time. Once it is there, it stays in the memory bank forever and it only continues to grow. Your heart and mind will be invested for a long time!

The Prison Healer by Lynette Noni - Penguin Books Australia

I would highly recommend for ‘world building and reading experience’, Throne of Glass by Sarah J Maas.

Climactic plot structure and twists. Following characters in their fictional, magical world can become addictive and you get let in on their inside secrets. It is feels as if you’re ahead of all the other characters by knowing the plans, plots and perspectives that will determine our main character’s next action move. You’re drip fed this information which keeps you just wanting more twists.

Lady Midnight (The Dark Artifices, #1) by Cassandra Clare

For ‘plot twist’, I loved and would recommend, The Prison Healer by Lynette Noni.

Character intricacy and growth. I believe there is a misconception that young adult novels don’t hold depth. Trust me when I say that most young adult books will hit hard topics and important topics that broaden the minds of adolescence and provide them with more scope for their imagination and future lives ahead of them. Character growth is always such a pivotal aspect because as a book series continues to be published, the reader their self is growing up. They are reading these books and developing as they go – just like the characters.

A Court of Thorns and Roses, A Court of Thorns and Roses Book 1 by Sarah J.  Maas | 9781526605399 | Booktopia

Prepare to be mind blown for ‘character growth’ in Cassandra Clare’s, Dark Artifices trilogy. (Actually, anything Cassandra Clare .. let’s be honest here)

Steamy Romance. If you want to be pining over character relationships, disagreements, political matchings, hot hott HOTTT sexy scenes and (mostly) happy endings – tell me again why you haven’t tried YA fantasy? πŸ˜‰ Nothing makes a YA fantasy novel more juicy, immersive and swoon-worthy than a fantastical relationship between fae, shapeshifters or witches. I know this can sound a little silly and immature but once you’re hooked, you’re in hook-line-and-sinker my friends.

Ruined, Ruined Series : Book 1 by Amy Tintera | 9781760290641 | Booktopia

No one does it better than Sarah J Mass, in the A Court of Thorns and Roses series.

Fast-paced and unputdownable. When you start – you won’t be able to stop. Time and time again I give recommendations in the bookshop of book one in a YA Fantasy trilogy or series. Within the next 5-7 days, the customer is back desperate for the second book and telling me that I have crushed their plans for the weekend because this book is all they can think about. Almost always, YA Fantasy will move very quickly through character introduction, physical character qualities and dialogue. This creates a straight-into-it feeling in the first few chapters. There may be a raid, or an attack, a capture or an explosive discussion. You get straight into the world and connecting with how the character feels which leaves you wanting to know what’s going to happen next. And next. And next.

Unputdownable trilogies I would recommend are, Ruined by Amy Tintera & A Curse so Dark and Lonely by Brigid Kemmerer.

Comment down below if you have read any of these titles and more YA Fantasy suggestions πŸ›‘πŸ“š