Book Reviews

1.5 STAR REVIEW: Dumplin’ by Julie Murphy

I tried really hard to find the positives whilst reading this book, but I truly struggled. It got to the point where I had to stop myself from detesting it every time I picked it up, which is definitely not something I look for! I must disclaim, these are my own opinions and my own interpretation of my reading experience. If you enjoyed it, that’s great! It just wasn’t for me and really rubbed me the wrong way, so please no hate! Reading is subjective and we can all get along without bitter disagreements.

I was expecting a book full of body positivity and confidence, a book I wish I’d had as a teen but that’s not the feeling I got coming away from it. There was also a lot of judgement towards other people and their bodies from the main character Willowdean, which to me felt counterproductive? Willowdean truly was a horrible character, and her personality (not her appearance as she continuously assumed in the book) made her an ugly person on the inside.

I honestly did not understand the romance as there was so little chemistry between them, and Willowdean probably only liked him because he was tall and athletic… she even pushed away another love interest, who coincidentally had a similar body-type to her? Now I understand if there’s little chemistry, but this other love interest was so nice it felt like Willowdean was deliberately trying to not get close to him because of this strange fascination about Bo. Especially as she mentioned the lack of chemistry between her and Mitch, but there was so little chemisty between her and Bo?

She also treated her best friend awfully. Immediately hated and bitched about this new friend that her best friend made at work, she straight away assumed the worst from her and spoke back-handedly at her, assumed that Callie was staring at her body in the swimsuit (which I highly doubt was happening). There was no need for girl-hate and I despise it whenever I see it. When the other girls wanted to join the pageant to make a statement, Willowdean kept causing a fuss and throwing a tantrum, stating she was doing it because ‘there’s no reason she shouldn’t’.

Willowdean was also so disrespectful towards her mother and her passion. It appears that she only entered the pageant to make a mockery of her mum’s career and the other girls entering, instead of ‘there’s no reason she shouldn’t’. I saw her mother as being caring, encouraging healthy eating is not a sign of her mother not being proud of her, it’s TO BE HEALTHIER.

Another small point, Willowdean referenced her mother’s other job as ‘just wiping old peoples bums’, as someone who works in a hospital and looks after ill, elderly people, this comment really hit a nerve and showed Willowdean as the immature and ungrateful person that she was.

On a good note though, I loved the side characters, so much so that I would’ve loved this book if we focused more on them and completely removed Willowdean. Millie was much more of a positive character that Willowdean could ever dream to be. She knew that her body type was not typical for a beauty pageant, but she still dove in head-first and gave it her all with such immense enthusiasm and strength. I did also like the Dolly Parton references, and the scene at the drag show was really lovely.

Overall, this book was less of a ‘body positivity’ message and more of a temper tantrum from an overweight character. I’m all for body positivity, but if you need to push other people’s body types down in order to feel better about your own, that’s going in the wrong and dangerous direction.

Read-a-thons

Buzzword Readathon Round 2 [2019] TBR!

Hey guys! It just so happens that two readathons I highly anticipated ended up falling upon the same week, so here we are with another readathon TBR and a LOT of reading I need to do! Luckily this one has less rules so I can technically read one book and I would’ve completed it, but alas, I chose a few books because I cannot make up my damn mind on what I want to read.

The idea for this readathon is that we read books that include the ‘Buzzword’ within the title or series name. The Buzzword for this round is Lie, and it could be any forms of that word i.e. LIE, LIAR, LIES, LYING, LIED. The hosts for the readathon are BooksandLala and myreadingisodd, and it will be running from 14th – 20th January. There are no reading challenges, just the main aim of reading books with the buzzword! There is also a Twitter account to stay up-to-date on all the jazz.

Below is my TBR for the readathon:

 

36385827The Last Time I Lied – Riley Sager

ADULT; MYSTERY;THRILLER

Pages: 368

Goodreads

*also the Readathon buddy-read*

 

 

 

 

23592175The Lie Tree – Frances Hardinge

YOUNG ADULT; FANTASY; MYSTERY; HISTORICAL;

Pages: 410

Goodreads

 

 

 

 

40389728All The Beautiful Lies – Peter Swanson

ADULT; MYSTERY; THRILLER

Pages: 309

Goodreads

 

 

 

 

So are any of you also participating in the Buzzword Readathon? If so, what are you planning on reading? Have you read any of these books, and what did you think of them? I’d love to know!

 

THANKS FOR READING!

 

Abbie xxxx

Read-a-thons

Winter Biannual Bibliothon 2019 TBR!

It’s the first readathon of 2019, and it’s the next round of the Biannual Bibliothon! Twice a year we are treated to a bunch of video, blog, Instagram and reading challenges, as well as giveaways!

It is taking place from 12th – 18th January and has 7 reading challenges. We can double-up on challenges but no more. This rounds hosts are MissSassyKassie, Little Book Owl, Brittni’s Book Find, The Booktube Girl, Little Red Reader, Zarriah Rose, and Dylanisreviewing. In order to keep up-to-date on the action and any reading sprints, there are Twitter and Instagram accounts, and also their YouTube channel. The live show for the group book takes place on 19th January on their YouTube channel!

Below are the reading challenges and also my TBR:

 

~~CHALLENGES~~
Read the group book
Read a host’s 5 star book
A book with a cover you don’t like
An adult book
Your favourite genre in your least favourite format (or vice versa)
Read a book that got you into reading
An author you’ve never read from

 

 

37569318Empress of All Seasons – Emiko Jean

YOUNG ADULT; FANTASY

Challenges: Read the group book, read your favourite genre in your least favourite format.

Pages: 384

Goodreads

 

 

 

31931941Eliza and Her Monsters – Francesca Zappia

YOUNG ADULT; CONTEMPORARY; MENTAL HEALTH; ROMANCE

Challenges: Read a host’s 5 star pick, An author you’ve never read from.

Pages: 405

Goodreads

 

 

 

464164Harry Potter and The Prisoner of Azkaban – J. K. Rowling

CHILDREN; FANTASY; MAGIC; ADVENTURE

Challenges: Read a book that got you into reading.

Pages: 317

Goodreads

 

 

 

 

43305952Fire and Heist – Sarah Beth Durst

YOUNG ADULT; FANTASY; DRAGONS

Challenges: A book with a cover you don’t like.

Pages: 290

Goodreads

 

 

 

 

13455462The Alchemist – Paulo Coelho

ADULT; CLASSIC; FANTASY; PHILOSOPHY

Challenges: An adult book.

Pages: 177

Goodreads

 

 

 

So those are the books I’m planning to read for the Winter Biannual Bibliothon 2019! Are any of you participating in this readathon? If so, what books are you reading? Are you also participating in the blog/instagram/video challenges? What are your reading plans for the rest of January? I’d love to know!

 

THANKS FOR READING!

 

Abbie xxxx

5 Star Predictions

5 Star Predictions for 2019

It’s the new year, and I have a long list of books I’ve been meaning to read and aim to get to in 2019. So I wanted to create a list of books that I predict will be 5 stars! I know that every book I pick up, I want to love… but it’s more likely that books are rated 3 or 4 stars, and it actually is quite difficult to try and predict what books you’re gonna LOVE. I was able to guess correctly last year when I read The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo for a readathon prompt ‘a book you predict will be 5 stars’, and ever since then I’ve had the idea to try and predict some more 5 star reads! Here are the main one I can think of!

 

 

254938531/ The Bear and The Nightingale – Katherine Arden

HISTORICAL FICTION; FANTASY; RUSSIAN FOLKLORE

I have had this on my shelf for a very long time, because the hype built around this series is crazy. My main reason for buying this was because of the stunning hardcover edition which I fell in love with! Since then, I have heard nothing but good things about this book. Seriously, not one bad review from people I follow. It promises to be very atmospheric and set in the Russian wilderness which sounds incredible. I heard it is heavily based on old Russian fairy tales/folk-lore and it’s one of my favourite storylines/tropes. I just have a good feeling about this book and the trilogy.

 

 

 

2/ Dread Nation – Justina Ireland30223025

HISTORICAL FICTION; HORROR; ZOMBIES; FANTASY

This book only recently came onto my radar when I attempted Lala’s readathon of her favourite books and I saw this was featured in her favourite book recommendations. It promises to be gory and in a historic and atmospheric setting which are things I love in books. Pitched as an alternative-history zombie sci-fi where a Zombie apocalypse ends the Civil War and black people are free but become subject to a system that places them as trained zombie fighters to protect white people. It’s set on or around the same time as the American Civil War which is apart of history I studied and love and I find the added fantastical/horror elements really interesting. Highly anticipated but also trying not to hype it up too much in my mind!

 

 

 

380879123/ Vicious – V. E. Schwab

ADULT; FANTASY; SCIENCE FICTION; PARANORMAL

One of the main reasons this is on my list is because everything V. E. Schwab writes is like gold to me. The premise of self-made ‘superheroes’ and the grey area of good vs evil power sounds so interesting! It promises to show the dark side of power and villains, I really feel like this is the dark villain book I’ve been waiting for. So many Booktubers, whose opinions I trust and are similar to mine, have loved this book so I can’t see a reason why I wouldn’t fall in love with the book and this story. I have enough faith that I will love this that I got the exclusive editions of Vicious and Vengeful… let’s hope that’s a good sign!

 

 

 

4/ The Poppy War – R. F. Kuang 35887181

ADULT; FANTASY; MILITARY; HISTORICAL FICTION; CHINA

I suddenly caught wind of this book when a Booktuber who rarely rates books higher than 4 stars gave this a rave review, and I knew then that I had to read it. The story is something I haven’t heard before, and it focuses on China and it’s history which I am very interested in. From what I’ve heard, it doesn’t have any of the tropes that I dislike in books, and it seems to be very gritty and dark, which I just can’t get enough of! The only reason I haven’t picked this up is because it is over 500 pages and I am frickin’ scared… I might try and pick it up around the release of the sequel, and perhaps the reviews of the second book will be more of a push for me to pick it up..? I hope so!

 

 

313516895/ Girl Made of Stars – Ashley Herring Blake

YOUNG ADULT; CONTEMPORARY; LGBT; SOCIAL ISSUES

It is very strange for me to put a YA contemporary into my 5 star predictions. But what I’ve heard about this book, sounds right up my alley. I love books that focus on a tough topic, especially ones of social importance right now. And this book is heavily focused on rape culture about a girl who’s brother is accused of sexually assaulting her best friends, and the difficult position it put her in; does she believe her brother, or her best friend? From what I’ve heard, the issues of rape culture are handled and dealt with extremely well and I have heard a lot of praise on the messages within the book. So it has a lot of promise to be a new favourite. Hopefully it will deliver!

 

 

 

191618526/ The Fifth Season – N. K. Jemisin

ADULT; FANTASY; SCIENCE FICTION; DYSTOPIA

I grew out of dystopians a few years ago when I was disappointed with the Divergent series, but I have heard that this series is a dystopian like no other and throws all dystopian tropes out of the window. Let’s just say that alone had me sold! It sounds like a fantasy series I would love and one which is so incredibly unique. A woman has to travel back to her home, which is now inhabitable, to find her husband who killed her son and has hold of her daughter. There are also mixes of fantasy, where supernatural beings can control the tremors and earth movements. It all sounds so interesting! I have been warned about the second person narrative in the first half, so hopefully that has prepared me and it would not put me off!

 

 

 

225153357/ The Picture of Dorian Gray – Oscar Wilde

CLASSIC; LITERATURE; GOTHIC; HORROR; FANTASY

I must be insane for including a classic as a 5 star prediction. I love the premise of this story, and even those who don’t read classics so often (like me) have loved it! It’s such an intriguing premise – a man has a portrait done, and all the marks of age and imperfections are shown upon this portrait instead of him, so he can ‘preserve’ his beauty. Of course this goes wrong in some aspect and consider me interested! I also heard that the writing does not feel as dense and dry as a lot of classic literature. So I have high hopes! If I can’t enjoy this classic, then I might struggle to pick up anymore afterwards… so no pressure…

 

 

 

359003878/ Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine – Gail Honeyman

ADULT; CONTEMPORARY; 

Again… Another contemporary! I have this on my list because the main character sounds so damn relatable. She’s socially awkward, introverted, and doesn’t fit into standard social norms. I have heard that the writing is divine and the story is so uplifting and entertaining, I feel that I will enjoy this so much! Reviews I’ve heard mention the words ‘hilarious’ and ‘heart-breaking’… two words that seem to draw me to books when included together. Apparently there is mental health rep which is a plus, and I’m not sure how true this is, but apparently the guy/girl relationship is platonic? It is this point I believe that would either make or break this book being 5 stars or not.

 

So those are the books I anticipate the most to become 5 stars reads for me! Have you read any of these? Which ones would you say I should prioritise above the others? What are your 5 star predictions? I’d love to know!

 

THANKS FOR READING!

Abbie xxxx

 

 

 

 

 

 

TBR's

JANUARY TBR [2019]

Here’s the first TBR of the year! I have already been planning out the books I want to start the year off with, so this selection was quite easy to make. I decided to stick with my usual TBR set-up which was to have books organised in priority, but this year I’ve decided to put down 3 books for each sets of priority to give myself a bit more of a choice. It’s always interesting to see which of those books I ended up reading at the end of the month!

 

 

The Bear and The Nightingale – Katherine Arden

Vicious – V. E. Schwab

Empress of All Seasons – Emiko Jean

Prisoner of Azkaban – J. K. Rowling

Eliza and Her Monsters – Francesca Zappia

Dumplin’ – Julie Murphy

The Last Time I Lied – Riley Sagar

Daisy Miller & The Turning of the Shrew – Henry James

The Lie Tree – Frances Hodgsen

 


~~EXTRAS~~

Girl Made of Stars – Ashley Herring Blake

Northern Lights – Phillip Pullman

The Lover’s Dictionary – David Levithan

 


 

 

So what are you guys planning to read to kick-start the new year? Have you read any of these books, and if so, any you would recommend? Any thoughts on them? I’d love to know!

 

THANKS FOR READING!

 

AND HAPPY NEW YEAR!!

Abbie xxxx

Uncategorized

Books Which Have Been on my TBR the Longest!

After my 2019 reading goals post, I mentioned that I wish to read some of the books that I’ve had on my TBR the longest. I officially started my Goodreads page on 8th August 2016, and there are some books which I added on that day which are still sitting there… safe to say that I need to read some of these! Here is the list of those books that I added to my TBR on the first day.


Catch-22 by Joseph Heller
The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho
War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy
Far From the Madding Crowd by Thomas Hardy
Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen
The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde
Emma by Jane Austen
The Giver by Lois Lowry
The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinback
Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen
Mansfield Park by Jane Austen
In a Dark, Dark Wood by Ruth Ware
The Kite Runner by Khalid Hosseini
Persuasion by Jane Austen
All The Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr
A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini
The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas by John Boyne
Atonement by Ian McEwan
11/22/63 by Stephen King
Lilac Girls by Martha Hall Kelly
Truly Madly Guilty by Liane Moriarty
Dark Places by Gillian Flynn

So lets see if I actually manage to read any of these books! I do want to make it a priority to get this list down, and many of these also double up with some of my other reading goals and also challenges for the year long reading challenges I’m trying to get through! So fingers crossed!

 

So which of these books have you read? Any you recommend that I prioritise? Are there many books that have been on your TBR’s for a silly amount of time like me? And if so, what are your plans to try and reduce that? I’d love to know!

 

THANKS FOR READING!!

Abbie xxxx

Uncategorized

2019 Reading Goals!

I’m not even going to attempt to review my reading goals for 2018, I know for certain that I only finished one, and that was the Goodreads Reading Challenge of 70 books. But I’m more motivated than ever to go for it next year, and will also set more reasonable goals for myself, so here goes!


1/ Read 70 books.

I’m gonna keep my Goodreads goal the same as last year, I felt it matched my reading pace quite well and still gave me a good feeling when I surpassed it. It’s a good number to meet and still realistic! Even though I always try to read more than my goal, just reaching 70 would still feel like an achievement if I didn’t complete anything else (prime example was the last year!)

2/ Read more non-fiction.

I have a ton of non-fiction on my TBR which I’m excited to get to, but non-fiction always feels intimidating. They always take a lot longer to read than a standard fiction novel. But I’m gonna set myself the target of 10 non-fiction books, which already sounds daunting, but I’m gonna try my damn hardest!

3/ Read books that have been on my TBR the longest.

I’m going to create a post which shows the books which have been on my TBR the longest, i.e. since I started my Goodreads page. There’s quite a few (22 to be exact on 8th August 2016 – the day I officially created my Goodreads page) so if I can narrow that list by 50% I’d be happy.

4/ Participate in 5 readathons.

I’m pretty certain that I had easily completed this goal last year, so I’ve added it again to this year as I just love participating in readathons! I’ve stuck at 5 to cover the majority of the big events, i.e. Summer, Haloween, Valentine’s Day, Christmas, Cramathon etc. So I still want to spread out my readathons throughout the year again, but to be honest, I’ve participated in almost all the readathons I had seen announced the past year, so I’m positive I’ll continue doing that!

5/ Focus on reading Thomas Hardy and Jane Austen.

This slightly correlates with goal #3 because there’s quite a few Hardy and Austen books that have been on my TBR since the beginning, I just want more of a focus on these authors as they are closest to home (Dorset/Hampshire) and I feel I need to have read at least the majority of their books. I had a goal similar to this last year which was to read all their works, and that was I bit too much of a push. So my focus is just to read ‘more’ of them.

6/ Complete 4 series.

I had this goal last year, and failed big time. I’m still in the middle of the Lunar Chronicles which I wanted to finish this year. There are a large number of series I want to read/re-read next year, which I will put into a separate post as I already have a list of those I’m eager to get to. I am also including duologies in this list, to give me a bit of a chance!

7/ Go back to monthly wrap-ups.

I started the year quite strongly in my wrap-ups of every 5 books, and that did take off the pressure of monthly TBR’s. but I easily lost track of the books I read and it was harder to catch-up after a while. So I’m gonna attempt monthly wrap-up’s and hopefully stick to a good routine of TBR’s and wrap-ups.

8/ Complete Popsugar Reading Challenge OR 52 Books Around the Year Challenge.

I might be setting my sights too high perhaps? But I have spent a fair bit of time researching and there’s a lot of books I’m anticipating which fit into the year long challenges. I will also be doubling up with some of them so I’m not forcing myself to read a book for each of the prompts. Doubling up makes it feel more fun and more feasible, so I might stand a better chance of completing!


So what are your reading plans for 2019? Any similar to these? I’d love to know!

THANKS FOR READING!!

Abbie xxxx