Wishing everyone happy holidays. The blog is on hiatus from now until next year, with potential surprise post, but overall, I am wishing you a good time with your family or yourself, and that it is time to reflect and to be and rest.
Welcome to my stop on the Cytonic blog tour, if you are here to check on Spin, I mean Spensa, then you are in the right place.
Today I have a little treat for you, a giveaway. If you follow Gollancz account and me on Twitter then retweet the giveaway tweet, you’re in for a chance to win a copy of Cytonic, and complete your set!
So what are we finding out about the story after all the amazing stuff Spensa has already managed to do? Here is a quick summary of what to expect in the book.
Spensa’s life as a Defiant Defense Force pilot has been far from ordinary. She proved herself one of the best starfighters in the human enclave of Detritus and she saved her people from extermination at the hands of the Krell—the enigmatic alien species that has been holding them captive for decades. What’s more, she traveled light-years from home as an undercover spy to infiltrate the Superiority, where she learned of the galaxy beyond her small, desolate planet home.
Now, the Superiority—the governing galactic alliance bent on dominating all human life—has started a galaxy-wide war. And Spensa’s seen the weapons they plan to use to end it: the Delvers. Ancient, mysterious alien forces that can wipe out entire planetary systems in an instant. Spensa knows that no matter how many pilots the DDF has, there is no defeating this predator.
Except that Spensa is Cytonic. She faced down a Delver and saw something eerily familiar about it. And maybe, if she’s able to figure out what she is, she could be more than just another pilot in this unfolding war. She could save the galaxy.
The only way she can discover what she really is, though, is to leave behind all she knows and enter the Nowhere. A place from which few ever return.
To have courage means facing fear. And this mission is terrifying.
watch me disappear
as you claim to be,
do, know, see
more than me
(who cares that
i shared my love for it,
showed you a vulnerability)
watch me disappear
as you ignore my words
and blank my actions
i am invisible
(not worth your attention now
but if we rewind the film
it wasn’t that way before)
watch me disappear
you got what you needed
climbed the ladder up
above where i am
(go, be special, be famous
walk all over me,
who cares, right?)
watch me disappear
steal my victories
make them yours
watch me disappear
or rather, not,
since i don’t exist anymore
Sometimes out of bad things, good things happen and you get an interesting poem. At first, I re-read this poem and couldn’t remember the exact reason I wrote it and had a certain type of feelings, then shared it with a friend who did remember the original times exactly and then it was like seeing it in a whole new light. In my friend’s words: “it is a surprise what beauty can come out of the terrible things”. Not wrong, not wrong at all…
Subscription box: Book Box Club
Theme/Month: Stranger Than Fiction, August 2021
Ownership: Subscribed on their 12 boxes option. If you are interested in purchasing a Book Box Club subscription, you can do it on their website.
Book Box Club is a young adult subscription box, the unique thing is the Clubhouse where you can chat to the author a month (or so) after the box was shipped and ask questions and just chat around. It also includes several goodies and usually the choice of book is one that is unique and not in other book boxes so very few chances of duplicate books and a lot of new reads discovery power.
A double book box for August and it was definitely full of items. Starting from top centre and the theme card:
- Theme card.
- Splinters of sunshine promo
- A water bottle with measures to check how much you’ve had already.
- Time Lord tea
- Lightbulb clips, love funky clips so this was really nice
- Tote bag with a quote about how strange we all are.
- The Upper wOrld pin
- Clubhouse invite
- The Upper World which is an intriguing book with an interesting concept.
- and the second book being Every Line of You, also quite interesting.
Overall, a lot of content and items, probably my favourite was the light bulb paper clips because they are cute but it is a hard choice since it was all cute and for a double book box, it did really well.
Today I am doing a review of multiple titles because it felt right to bundle them together.
Nagata Kabi has a very interesting set of manga at hand with My Lesbian Experience with Loneliness and the follow-up stories. They are very much a reflection on her life and the challenges she encounters. The very first one talks about how she feels lonely even in company and also trying to discover her identity. Her making this into a manga and sharing it gives her the opportunity to be more “successful” and to have a career, but then she struggles with further mental and more books happen.
The books are intense and very honest about her perception of things as they go, but as you read more and more and get through the volumes she also self reflects on her previous works and how she may have got some things wrong and misunderstood things.
Part of it focuses on her sexuality and the loneliness she feels, that she feels like she cannot cope on her own. It also focuses on the concept of adulthood and what this implies, what success may be conceptualised as, and that sometimes we assume someone has it together but they do not .
The set also explores health and burnout, and other health issues, but overall there is a big focus on mental health and on figuring life out. I found I partly wanted to rush through it but also there was a lot to ponder and reflect on and at times it hit hard and made me ponder my past or decisions. It does have an interesting viewpoint and gives some insight I hadn’t expected to find in this manga and collection of them and I want to keep on reading on how her life goes on and does.
Payback’s a Witch by Lana Harper
Read before: No
Ownership: Bought for myself
This book was slightly outside of my usual reads, but it sounded like a good change from those usual reads. And I am glad I did.
In Payback’s a Witch you meet Emmy who is on her way back to her home town where magic is real and she is about to venture into her past. She is convinced she left Thistle Grove for good and she has a great life where she is, but the pull of magic and the memories will do a number on her. And it is not only that but the chance to gain revenge on Gareth Blackmoore, the heir to the most powerful magical family in town.
She pairs up with her best friend Linden, and also with Talia, both also heirs to the other magical families, and when they realise they all want to get that sweet revenge, chaos turns interesting.
The book overall was really sassy and with awesome witchy vibes. It leans heavily on cliches, and preconceptions of magic types, but then it turns them don’t their head at times or adds an interesting spin on it to make it its own thing and it was so nice to read. It felt a little like one does when you read a cosy murder mystery, even if there was no murder or mystery in this book particularly. And there is some romance happening here and there, alongside a lot of self-discovery and loads of revenge and payback.
I thoroughly enjoyed it and then even had to share it with friends because it left a good fluffy feel and the revenge and payback vibes were awesome, alongside some of the discoveries in the story. If you like witchy vibes, friendship, romance, and a fun adventure of a contest happening in the background, then this is the book for you.
Subscription box: YumeTwins
Theme/Month: Magical Level-Up!, November 2021
Ownership: One off purchase since I really enjoy the contents but it becomes too much for me on a monthly basis. I am not as cutesy and cuddly as the box is, so I pick and choose the ones I cannot resist.
Yume Twins is a monthly subscription box focused on the kawaii and cute of life. It is focused on fandoms and makes sure to include a lot of items from a variety of them. They are a favourite and you can see reviews of their boxes from even as far back as 2018 because they are always good quality.
So after the Magical Girl theme tempted me too much and I couldn’t resist it, here are the contents of it:
- Underneath everything, there is a small blanket from Sakura CardCaptor, it is relatively small but it fits comfortably over a lap or to warm your feet.
- Sailor Moon set of cards
- Ghibli stationery set which is cute
- Tiny round Sanrio figurine, you got a random one from a selection of potential options.
- Coffin of notes, at first it surprised me and felt odd but I think they are cute and in a nice little tin.
- A squishable super soft magical cat pillow which I adore
As usual, the cutness of this wins a lot and I am very happy with everything that came in the box. No complaints, so if you’re into cute boxes, this is a lovely one. Shipping is fast, and reliable.
Kindness (A User’s Guide) by Ali Catterall and Kitty Collins
Read before: No
Ownership: The publisher did a giveaway of the books for Kindness Day and I got one
I am really bad with dates and remembering what day is meant to be what, so when I found out it was kindness day and there was this little book to be a “guide” I decided to give it a go. If you ever read Chicken Soup for Children/Teens, this is a more adult and less fun kinda book. It tries hard to be fun and it is presented in a very cute way with quotes and little tips, which were nice to read. But the stories had a very small font and not all of them had a little tip at the end. At first, I was interested to read a variety of them but slowly some became very focused on things that had happened in the UK or US and nowhere else, and I felt like there were missed opportunities of kindness.
It does explore things like the Japanese Skilled Veteran Corps or the meaning of ubuntu, but it would have also been really interesting to read about more recent acts of kindness, like the one included of Marcus Rashford. I felt like it had a lot of room for more unknown acts of kindness, the kind done less by rich or famous people and more the kind one does every day to that make people famous.
Still, some were new stories of kindness for me and I enjoyed those, I just wish there had been more of those. But overall it is a nice collection of stories and I will be passing it on to a friend because as soon as I saw it I already knew I had to pass on the favour and pass on the kindness.
I do think this book will be right for others and it will be a comforting book for many, it just wasn’t exactly what I hoped for with a title like this. But nevertheless, it is a kind book with lots of stories.
The Fire Fox by Alexandra Page and Stef Murphy
Read before: No
Ownership: Preordered because it was my kind of book.
Book with foxes? Check! Book with a little bit of grief? Check! Illustrated? Check!
The Fire Fox is a lovely book with soft dreamy artwork that fits the story, and it is a lovely heartwarming, hope inspiring story. The story is about Freya and her mum going to a little cabin in the woods to get away since her dad has passed. This has made the colour leak a little away from their lives. But then Freya meets a magical fox in the snow that she befriends and follows into the forest. The trek around the area and is just beautiful to read, and I recommend it as a good night story, or to talk about grief and hope.
I also really like that it is inspired in the concept of fire foxes that spark the Northern Lights, which is a cute concept and I ended up reading up on that too.
Subscription box: Illumicrate
Theme/Month: Dark Academia, August 2021
Ownership: Subscribed on their 6 boxes option. If you are interested in purchasing an Illumicrate subscription, you can do it on their website.
Illumicrate is a book subscription box, it usually features fantasy and sci-fi but not exclusively young adult, sometimes it features adult too. It usually contains a new release, a pin and several bookish goodies.
Being someone who enjoys some dark academia books, this box sounded right up my street, but was it? Starting from the book on the left and going clockwise:
- The Devil Makes Three, with a stunning cover and sprayed edges
- First collectible teacup and saucer, this won my heart because the artwork is Mucha style, a goddess and it is about tea…
- A reading journal, very fancy hardcover
- Dark Academia page tabs to mark things int he book to your academic delight.
- Monthly pin, which looks very interesting.
- A Guid to Secret Societies ceramic book pot, which is quite pretty.
- Academic and bookish washi tape to help with he reading journal.
Honestly if they had included a fountain pen and some tea, this would’ve been the perfect box, and so aesthetically and thematically pleasing. But even without those items it is a very good box and fighting for the spot of favourite box of the year from Illumicrate.