I Don’t Like Books. Never. Ever. The End. by Emma Perry and Sharon Davey
Read before: No
Ownership: It was a cheer up gift from my best friend.
Spoiler free review: No. Due to it being short and illustrated, this may contain spoilers.
With a title like that, I couldn’t resist adding the book to my wishlist and I assume that is why it was what Nikki sent me. This is the story of a girl called Mabel who keeps getting books as gifts, all the time. And her response is that she doesn’t like them so could people please stop gifting her more books?
However, she still uses the books, to make towers of books, as sleds, as coasters, whatever you can imagine that is not reading the book, she’s probably done it to the book and used it for it! Very creative book uses, but still she does not read them, until one night the books have had enough!
And as she explores stories and falls from book into book without actually getting the full story but just her interest piequed, she decides maybe she might just try reading one, just the one, maybe she doesn’t dislike books that much?
You can imagine where this goes so I’ll leave it there but needless to say I had a lot of fun reading this and the illustrations make it even better, starting from the many alternative book uses t the stories Mabel is missing out on. It was a good cheer up gift and I can recommend it is a funny story or a book to read aoud to kids and let them even try some of the safer alternative book uses for a giggle or something.
Recommended for kids who don’t like books, and those that do, and anyone that may not be a kid but that loves books and illustrations and fun short stories.
Raven Child and the Snow Witch by Linda Sunderland and Daniel Egneus
Anya lives with her mother and father in the shadow of the icy glacier where the Snow-Witch reigns. Every spring, Anya’s mother journeys to the glacier to pick the blue gentian flowers that grow there. But this time, she does not return. She has been captured by the Snow-Witch and imprisoned in the ice. Anya and her father set off with the ravens to rescue her. It’s a treacherous journey, and there is no knowing what they will find…
You can see it, but the snow is all glittery and delightful and all through the book there is glittery snow in it and it is gorgeous and just made my heart happy (even though in general I am not a fan of glitter, but somehow it fit so well in here). And of course, there is a fox in this story, which is probably a big part of why I got it, but also the title sounded great and the story seemed sweet.
The illustrations aren’t over defined, they’re more “blocky” but that gives it a very personal flavour and it also goes well with the whole snowy crafty theme of the book and it is good.
Anya loves where she lives and loves her mother and father, but when her mother goes out to pick flowers, she has a dream and suddenly wakes up. She feels like her mother spoke to her through the dream about being imprisoned by the Snow Witch.
So both Anya and her father set off (this made me fall for this book, the father was involved, he was part of the adventure!) and as they make their way towards the town closer to where mother has gone and disappeared, Anya rescues a Raven and a Fox.
It is a lovely adventure and there’s an IT vs Meg Murray kind of moment (and I liked that) and in general I liked it. When it came to an end I wished for a little more but it still was a good short read.
Definitely try this one out as it is gorgeous and will make you smile as you read it. I would also recommend (for older readers, but still MG) The Wolf Wilder by Katherine Rundell.
Bri and Mari are cousins, and growing up, also best friends and soul mates. But over the teenage years they lose touch, and their lives develop in somewhat opposite directions. While Bri travels the world, hikes crazy mountains and make new friends, Mari chooses a more shallow path; that of a social media influencer. Cooking pretend (photo suitable) meals, dating a pretend (social media hot-shot) boyfriend, she’s lost touch not only with Bri, but also with their common dreams of future adventures. But then suddenly, everything changes. Bri loosing her step on a steep climb, and Mari receiving her diary and backpack on what would’ve been their shared eighteenth birthday, sets Mari off in a new direction. One of hiking, exploring, and in a way recapturing the relationship with her now gone cousin. This is a story about getting lost on trails, and finding oneself when trying to get on the right way back.
Starting this book, I really thought I was going to love it. The cousin friendship, the growing apart, the mountain climbing and cute illustrations and handwritten passages from Bri’s diary – I just knew I was in for a treat. The story set off well, with Mari taking on the erratic landscape, while leaving everything she knew behind.
Then, however, nothing much happened. Sure, she climbed some more mountains. Made some friends (and there’s a love story in there too). Found out some things about Bri. But pretty fast, there was nothing more to the story than depictions of blisters, beautiful sunsets and quotes about finding oneself.
I really liked the concept of this book, but ironically enough, Mari’s journey towards finding her true self is plotted with the typical kind of shallow quotes that she wanted to get away from when leaving the influencer life behind. It is however a cute, easy read and pleasant feel good story, and if that’s what you’re looking for, The Other Side of Lost is a good option.
Dr. Bea approves
If you’re in for more wild life adventures, Wild by Cheryl Strayed or Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer might be your next read.
A dark standalone YA fantasy about a band of mercenary girls in search of female glory.
Frey, Ovie, Juniper, and Runa are the Boneless Mercies—girls hired to kill quickly, quietly, and mercifully. But Frey is weary of the death trade and, having been raised on the heroic sagas of her people, dreams of a bigger life.
When she hears of an unstoppable monster ravaging a nearby town, Frey decides this is the Mercies’ one chance out. The fame and fortune of bringing down such a beast would ensure a new future for all the Mercies. In fact, her actions may change the story arc of women everywhere.
It took me a little to get into this book. Mostly because it starts with a death and that is an interesting way of starting (it reminded me a little of palliative care). However, once I got more familiar with the world and what being a Mercy meant, then it became easier to follow.
It is like a lyrical epic quest story and there was beauty about that, as it was also intriguing to learn about all the ways of seeing the world that each “group” had. A witches war, the quicks, and so many others that made me want to know more about each of them.
Another interesting thing was the way relationships exist here and how things just flow and happen. There’s a lack of judgement that was strange and magical to read, and it was interesting to see that woven intot he tale. You never know for sure what is going on.
I also loved the actual monster fight, but not a lot to say since I do not want to spoil it, but it had a thing I liked and didn’t like and it was refreshing to see.
Reading The Boneless Mercies. I haven’t read such a lyrical feminist adventure in a while (combined, I have read one or the other) and it was good to read. I am not entirely sure what kind of book fits with it so hard to suggest something else. Maybe Fallible Justice, even if it is a little different in style (it is urban fantasy rather than just fantasy).
Growing up in her sleepy Cornish village dreaming of being a writer, sixteen-year-old Lou has always wondered about the grand Cardew house which has stood empty for years. And when the owners arrive for the summer – a handsome, dashing brother and sister – Lou is quite swept off her feet and into a world of moonlit cocktail parties and glamour beyond her wildest dreams.
But, as she grows closer to the Cardews, is she abandoning her own ambitions… And is there something darker lurking at the heart of the Cardew family?
A gorgeously dreamy coming-of-age romance set against a stunning Gatsby-esque backdrop, this is perfect for fans of I Capture the Castle and Eva Ibbotson.
Reader, I have a confession to make.
I do not like The Great Gatsby.
And with that preamble, let me tell you that despite being labelled as a The Great Gatsby for teenagers/young adults, this book is not to be compared with Gatsby. Why? Because it is SO much better.
There is a lot of focus on family, familiar love, specially between siblings, and each relationship is written with care. It shows and it is part of what shines in this book. The characters are endearing even if they aren’t always good.
And as much as there is romance in the book, it isn’t the only thing. The story flows, and it makes you swing and dance with it, it takes you on a journey that you don’t want to stop. And when you reach the end you want to cry of joy.
Read this book, regardless of your love/hate/neutral for The Great Gatsby. I also recommend trying some of Eva Ibbotson’s books. They’re the same kind of lovely.
YALC (Young Adult Literature Convention) was a treat. I am still (a week later) very happy and full of books!
I’ll do a quick wrap up (or attempt to) as the pictures will speak for themselves (so many books).
I brought back 108 books. Some I had taken with me to get signed (about 30 of them which still means I managed to acquire 78 books during 3 days).
Several authors remember me, I also seem to be quite good at being found.
I shocked publishers with my Waterstones receipt (it had to be unfolded for a few times, and had SO many books!)
There were a lot of goodies, and I was very happy with all the posts. (Someone suggested an artists alley and I have to say I’d love that!)
Our book squad is the very best and I love them all to pieces. There were a lot of times when they managed to get books signed for me, or reminded me of something or simple saved me in some way. I can’t thank you all lovely ladies enough.
I said “Oh, sorry, I am dead” while laying spread out on my back on the floor to Jason Momoa (it was Sunday and I was exhausted, hypermobility was NOT happy with me).
I also managed to walk in between Jason and his bodyguard and be completely oblivious to that (everyone later went like “but like didn’t you notice?! you did it!”).
Managed to meet so many lovely people, thanks to all you lovelies that stopped me and introduced yourselves!
Queue strangers to friends is the best of the best. Specially after you keep meeting the same people on different queues.
Talking of queueing, I still don’t get the British and their love for queues. Several times I asked “what are you queueing for” and the reply was “I don’t know”.
Suitcases and totebags for the win!
The moon dress (which is actually Knit Anele’s dress) got a lot of compliments, but also, it was SO comfortable (same with the boots, custom made and I loved them, like walking on clouds).
Have a look at all the books (bought, ARCs/proofs won, free books, signed books)
Last but not least, a big shout out to the Book Box Club girls. It is through their idea of having a Clubhouse to chat about the book, that I met my best friend. But not only that, from it our book squad was born.
I had always dreamed of having a group of friends that understood me, that were there in the thick and the thin, that had my back (and for whom I could be there when they needed me), and it was just a dream.
Kate and Libby, through Book Box Club, made that dream become reality and I have no words to say how grateful I am for this, for the box, for the books, for the friendships, for our squad. Each lady in the picture below is worth infinity times their weight in gold.
Nell Crane has always been an outsider. In a city devastated by an epidemic, where survivors are all missing parts—an arm, a leg, an eye—her father is the famed scientist who created the biomechanical limbs everyone now uses. But Nell is the only one whose mechanical piece is on the inside: her heart. Since the childhood operation, she has ticked. Like a clock, like a bomb. As her community rebuilds, everyone is expected to contribute to the society’s good . . . but how can Nell live up to her father’s revolutionary idea when she has none of her own?
Then she finds a mannequin hand while salvaging on the beach—the first boy’s hand she’s ever held—and inspiration strikes. Can Nell build her own companion in a world that fears advanced technology? The deeper she sinks into this plan, the more she learns about her city—and her father, who is hiding secret experiments of his own.
This is kind of a futuristic post-apocalyptic world, and it has a slight dystopian vibe so it was very interesting. It also has an asexual main character, which made it refreshing (yes, there is romance in the book but it is not the purpose and there is so much going on).
Nell is an outsider and it is hard for her to relate to people, but there is a lot of pressure on her for being the child of those with revolutionary ideas and with a ticking heart that gives away your emotions and your changes of breath. It is interesting to see all of this as I lived some of a similar pressure (not to the dregreee Nell does).
Without spoilers, I absolutely loved the twists and turns and they surprised me a little (maybe not there and then because in the back of my head I had some slight suspicions but I thought “nah, this isn’t it”) and it is great.
All in all I was pleased with it despite a few complications but where I lost some of the interest at times but still good and interesting.
This book was part of November’s Book Box Club and we just had the Clubhouse meeting last week.
The Memory Trees by Kali Wallace
I struggled with this book. It was a slow-burn, the prose was beautiful but it left me with so many questions and the ending just made me wonder what happened next. I don’t mind books that leave me some questions, but this one left me wanting to know so much more as if there was a next book and I don’t think there is meant to be another one.
However, the way it portrays mental illness is impressive and it was a wonderful thing to read in that sense. And it has a very ethereal feel to it that makes it hard to place.
Also, one of my favourite things is that there isn’t a “forced” romance between characters. It was very refreshing to not have to deal with that aspect of a book when it wasn’t necessary.
This book has a very distinctive feel like The Disappearances. So if you liked this one, then definitely recommend you read The Disappearances or the other way around. The orchard was a delightful place, even if there was a lot going on.
This book came in LitJoy Crate alongside The Last Namsara as it was a “great companion book”. And I devoured The Last Namsara but had put this one on my bookcase and forgotten a little about it.
The Complete Book of Dragons: A Guide to Dragon Species by Cressida Cowell
This guide is a must-have for fans of the New York Timesbestselling How to Train Your Dragon series that inspired the hit movie and TV show. This gift book features all of the dragon species from the series plus brand-new ones created just for this book, with color illustrations of each and every one!
This was fun to read, in the same style of all the other “How to Train Your Dragon” books, this one is full of annotations and scribbles. It is full of different kinds of dragons which are somewhat categorised by their habitat and some by how dangerous they are.
It includes the coloured illustrations, the writing about them, some rating of how fearsome (fear factor) the dragon is, size, etc. It was fun to read and it went quite quickly, but I think as fun as it is, if you haven’t really read anything about the series, this book may not be as enjoyable as it is when you actually have, as some of the references or anecdotes are related to other books.
You read the whole series, this is a fun one, because it is geared for younger readers but it is a delight to read as an adult and both Hiccup and Toothless make for a very interesting team. If you haven’t read it, you can start with the first book, How to Train your Dragon. You’re in for a ride for sure with the whole series. Enjoy!
If you’d like to have a handy dragon guide, you can find it here.
Disclaimer: There is an Amazon Associates link, but if you choose to use them and buy from them, know that you’re just helping me buy more books and feed my reading needs. Book synopsis is from Good Reads.
Before I go into this review, I want to give some background which will help you understand my opinions. I have been gaming since Where is Carmen San Diego (insert 8-bit music) and programming/coding for around 15-20 years. And as part of my job I look at code and logs and software and find the problems so they can be fixed (and also apply fixes, depending on how it will take to fix it and how familiar I am with the system). So you can see where this is going and how the review will pan out. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.
I love the hardcover with it’s colours (the Funko’s are lead ladies of two game franchises, Emily from Bioshock Infinite and Emily from Dishonored).
Warcross by Marie Lu
For the millions who log in every day, Warcross isn’t just a game—it’s a way of life. The obsession started ten years ago and its fan base now spans the globe, some eager to escape from reality and others hoping to make a profit. Struggling to make ends meet, teenage hacker Emika Chen works as a bounty hunter, tracking down players who bet on the game illegally. But the bounty hunting world is a competitive one, and survival has not been easy. Needing to make some quick cash, Emika takes a risk and hacks into the opening game of the international Warcross Championships—only to accidentally glitch herself into the action and become an overnight sensation.
Convinced she’s going to be arrested, Emika is shocked when instead she gets a call from the game’s creator, the elusive young billionaire Hideo Tanaka, with an irresistible offer. He needs a spy on the inside of this year’s tournament in order to uncover a security problem . . . and he wants Emika for the job. With no time to lose, Emika’s whisked off to Tokyo and thrust into a world of fame and fortune that she’s only dreamed of. But soon her investigation uncovers a sinister plot, with major consequences for the entire Warcross empire.
I really found very interesting the concept of Warcross (the game). I am not sure how popular it’d be and how it’d pan out (as I know that VR is considered to be just a niche market and not to go as much as expected), but I’d totally give it a go and play and enjoy it. This appealed to my gamer side very very much.
Another thing I found interesting was the way poverty and being on the brink was described, it felt real (as I have been in struggles like that) and it was well done. And if we’re on well done bits, the team work and the diversity of the characters was good. I love the fact that the cast is diverse but it is subtle, they don’t stick out (for me, diversity has always been around and no one has ever stuck out so this is the best portrayal, were it is normal to be from wherever and look however you do).
And now the side I wasn’t too keen on. When Emika finds the first error with Hideo, I totally get it, the whole search for something out of the pattern. I do that, see things from afar and then zoom in. However, my problem is that unless Hideo coded every single bit of code for Warcross (which I doubt, as he has a company and he mentions having programmers or something of the kind), the code would not be smooth. Software is made by several programmers each with a different style of programming and as such, the code becomes a mash of different patterns and sometimes a pattern is broken by a fix added by a different person to someone else’s code. [Please excuse the teacher mode here]. So impressing Hideo with finding the errors so easily felt like a snowflake moment (and this was made even more snowflake after you realise there are other bounty hunters doing the same thing, why isn’t Hideo impressed as much by them, from Emika’s point of view the other bounty hunters totally hide from her and she doesn’t realise they are in the same boat until later).
The romance was also probably not my favourite part. It felt forced and I wasn’t really buying it. Which probably led me to figure out a lot of the plot twists and to have the Chekhov gun feeling for the “biggest twist”. I did guess easily who Zero was.
In the end, I did like the book but not enough to be super crazy about it. I read it expecting it to fail a little on the coding/hacking side, but that is normal after you’ve been involved in things too long.
I’d still read the next books as I am intrigued by “Zero” and the choices made and I’d recommend it for a relatively easy read. The writing was easy to read and it flowed so I didn’t feel like it was chopped or struggled with it.
As expected, I’d recommend Ready Player One because it is good. I’d also recommend watching Summer Wars, somehow it reminds me of this and probably reading Paprika (and watching the film) as they all have this interesting flavour on technology. Each one has a unique point of view of it, though probably Summer Wars is the closest to Warcross in a way.
If you’d like to read the book, you can find it here.
Disclaimer: There is an Amazon Associates link, but if you choose to use them and buy from them, know that you’re just helping me buy more books and feed my reading needs. Book synopsis is from Good Reads.