Tuesday, 30 June 2015

Top Ten Tuesday | Best Books of 2015 (So Far!)

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature created at The Broke and the Bookish. Each week you compile a list of ten books which coincide with that week's theme. You can find everything you need to know about joining in here!

This week's theme is 'Top Ten Books I've Read So Far in 2015'. I didn't know if I was going to get to ten at first because, while I read plenty, there are only a few books each year that really, really stick with me. Or at least that's always been the case before. This year, however, has been a great reading year so, and I hope it continues that way!

Burial Rites by Hannah Kent: This was the very first book I finished this year, and it's just stunning. If you're a fan of quiet, emotionally bruising historical fiction then this novel is most definitely worth checking out. It's gorgeous. (You can check out my review here!)

Rat Queens, Vol.1: Sass and Sorcery by Kurtis J. Wiebe and Roc Upchurch: This graphic novel is a miracle. It's like someone took everything I ever wanted to see in a high fantasy story, gift-wrapped it and then handed it to me. It's fun and funny and fantastic - read it! (You can check out my review here!)

My Life as a White Trash Zombie by Diana Rowland: This book was such a pleasant surprise. I expected to like it, but I didn't expect to love it. And I loved it. Angel is such a refreshing heroine in the world of urban fantasy, and I love her. (You can check out my review here!)

Fairest by Marissa Meyer: I'm sure I wasn't the only one who was disappointed when Winter's release date was pushed back to November, though I'd much rather wait for a book Marissa Meyer is happy with, and I was a little wary of a prequel starring Levana for the simple reason that I very rarely come across villain stories that I like. I'm not interested in villains with sob stories; give me villains who just relish being unforgivably villainous. That being said, I thought Levana's story was fantastic. It was so twisted and believable, and while it made me empathise with her a little it didn't make me dislike her any less, which is just what I want from a villain's story. (You can check out my review here!)

Signal to Noise by Silvia Moreno-Garcia: Probably my favourite book of 2015, I just fell head over heels in love with it. I wasn't alive in the '80s, but this book is one of the only books I've read that's reminded me of how it felt to be a teenager. I found reading this book so emotional, in a wonderful way, and I can't recommend it enough. Also it's witchcraft with '80s music in Mexico City, how could you not want to read it? (You can check out my review here!)

We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson: After reading The Haunting of Hill House last year I wanted to pick up some more Jackson, and We Have Always Lived in the Castle was the one that most appealed to me. I just loved it. There's something about Jackson's writing style that creeps under my skin and takes root there, and I love that.

American Vampire, Vol.3 by Scott Snyder, Rafael Albuquerque and Sean Murphy: I've really gotten into this series this year, and I just loved Volume 3. I loved both of the stories, I loved the characters... I just loved it! (You can check out my review here!)

Jane Eyre's Sisters: How Women Live and Write the Heroine's Story by Jody Gentian Bower: This was my first non-fiction read in a long time, and I bloody loved it. If you're a fan of heroines, you'll enjoy this book, and if you're a fan of the way stories are written, you'll enjoy this book. For any students out there who are currently writing essays or dissertations around heroines and women writers then this book would be great for you, but it's an enjoyable read as much as it has the possibility to be an academic one. As a reader I enjoyed this, and as a writer I found it really useful!

How To Be a Heroine by Samantha Ellis: Jane Eyre's Sisters whet my appetite for more non-fiction, and as I already owned How To Be a Heroine and it was also about heroines I decided to pick it up. Whereas Jane Eyre's Sisters focuses more on how we write heroines, How To Be a Heroine focused on how we read them. It's a delightful book. (You can check out my review here!)

To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee: I didn't pick this book up for the longest time because so many people told me to read it, and I'm always wary of hype; books are never as good as you want them to be when you hype them up. Then this month I decided to pick it up and went into it with no expectations whatsoever, and I really enjoyed it. Some books really are beloved classics for a reason, and this is one such book. I'm so glad to finally have it under my belt.

Which books made your list?

Monday, 29 June 2015

Review | American Vampire, Vol.4 by Scott Snyder, Rafael Albuquerque and Jordi Bernett

by Scott Snyder, Rafael Albuquerque and Jordi Bernett

My Rating:

AMERICAN VAMPIRE flashes back to two very distinct points in American history. The first tale comes from the early 1800's with the "The Beast in the Cave" featuring art by the legendary Jordi Bernet (Torpedo, JONAH HEX). Learn about the original American Vampire, Skinner Sweet, and his involvement in the brutal Indian Wars, and an ancient evil hidden in the heart of the Old West. Plus, more about the man Skinner used to call his best friend - James Book!The second tale comes straight from 1950s America, where AMERICAN VAMPIRE is terrorizing the suburbs with hot rods, teenyboppers and fangs! "Death Race" focuses on ferocious new vampire hunter Travis Kidd - but what is his connection to Skinner Sweet? As the story comes to a violent end, a sworn enemy's identity is finally revealed, and lots of blood is spilled!

Considering how much I enjoyed Volume 3 (reviewed here!) of American Vampire I was bound to pick up the next instalment as soon as I could afford to - I love graphic novels and I'm happy to pay a little more for them than I would for any other book, but when you need to catch up on a series and buy three at once it gets pretty pricy pretty fast!

A part of me was hesitant to pick up Volume 4 because I loved Volume 3 so much, I was worried I'd somehow find this volume hugely disappointing because it wasn't the previous one, but I ended up enjoying it quite a lot. After the sheer awesome that was the previous volume, I think Snyder's decision to take a break from those characters was wise; instead our first story in this volume shows us James Book and Skinner Sweet in their youth - it was nice to see a pre-vampire Skinner and a not-dead Book! - the second took us to the '50s and introduced another new character: Travis Kidd, and the third showed us something of Calvin Poole and the racial tensions in mid-20th century America, with just a brief glimpse of Pearl and Henry.

My favourite story in this volume would have to be Travis Kidd's, which surprised me. I was a little wary going in that Travis was going to be a very typical character; a Skinner Sweet in miniature, only with less fangs. Instead he was an interesting character with an interesting set of wooden teeth, and I loved the James Dean, rebel without a cause vibe to his story which really suited the era it was set in. I look forward to seeing what he gets up to next.

I'm still not entirely sure how I feel about the first story which explored the history between Book and Skinner. I feel like too many enemy stories start out with two guys who were 'once like brothers', so I was a little disappointed Snyder decided to go down that route for these two, but having said that the two of them once being like family does make their inevitable war against one another all the more bittersweet.

I would like to see more of Mimiteh in future, a Native American vampire who seems like a cool, but lethal, lady. I'd love to know if she and Skinner have ever crossed paths.

I liked the way Calvin's story played around with prejudice, and also introduced us to what seems to be a new species of vampire. Snyder just keeps on expanding this world he's created, and I love how his imagination works.

My main criticism of this volume, and the reason I didn't rate it as highly as the previous, was simply because there weren't enough ladies in it for me. I wasn't too keen on the fate of Piper, Travis's 'girlfriend', and there were times when I felt Mimiteh was rather sexualised, but that could just be me being very picky. Pearl and Felicia usually have quite a bit of 'screen time', so I suppose it's only fair the boys get some, too!

I'm still loving this series, and I'm looking forward to seeing what happens in the next volume!

Friday, 26 June 2015

Don't Judge a Book by its Author

Prepare yourself for a little rant: this is something I've been wanting to get off my chest for a while.

We all have our favourite authors. These are those rare breeds of writers whose books we'll always buy regardless of what they're about because we're certain it's going to be amazing, but of course that isn't always the case. I have a few favourite authors myself - I'd like to read as much of Mira Grant/Seanan McGuire's work as possible and I love a lot of Neil Gaiman's stuff - but for the most part I've never been the kind of reader who will blindly buy something purely because it has that author's name attached to it.

Some readers will buy something without really knowing what it's about, only knowing that they like that author, and that's fine! In many ways I admire their dedication to show their love and respect and admiration for the author of their choice, but what irritates me are the reviews that come afterwards.

Not 'Harry Potter and the Casual Vacancy'
The best example I can think of is the response J.K. Rowling's The Casual Vacancy received upon its release. I haven't read The Casual Vacancy because the premise doesn't really interest me, and it definitely didn't interest me upon its initial release. I will get around to it at some point now because I have a copy which my parents picked up for me when I was ill, knowing how fond I am of J.K. Rowling, but it's not my priority.

I saw a LOT of Harry Potter fans immediately buying this book, and then being somehow surprised that The Casual Vacancy was nothing like Harry Potter. Because of course it wasn't, and Rowling never said it would be.

The Casual Vacancy has ended up getting some pretty shoddy ratings that, to me, seem completely unfair because they're ratings given by people who didn't really seem to acknowledge what the book was about. All that seemed to matter was that it had Rowling's name attached to it.

I'm sure I'm generalising a lot here; there are plenty of people who didn't buy The Casual Vacancy, and then there are plenty of people who bought it because the premise did interest them and it was a story they wanted to read. This is something I've seen happen a few times, however, and it's always grated on my nerves.

If you love an author, that's great, but if you read all of their books expecting them to be just like one book/series then you're always going to set yourself up for disappointment, and you're probably hindering the author more than helping them with a negative review.

What are your thoughts?

Thursday, 25 June 2015

From Screen to Page #1

Welcome to the very first instalment of From Screen to Page! If you're wondering what the hell I'm talking about you can find my announcement for this little series here. This series was supposed to start back in February, and then it just sort of... didn't. Oops!

When it comes to historical films most people who aren't big fans of history or historical fiction have usually seen Shakespeare In Love. In many ways it's a rom-com with costumes, and with a cast like that it's no surprise that so many people enjoy watching it.

For any of you who haven't seen the film, Shakespeare In Love tells the story of, you guessed it, Shakespeare and his fictional affair with a young woman named Viola de Lesseps who longs to be an actress in a time when women were not allowed to perform on the stage. In true Shakespearean fashion, she disguises herself as a man so that she can perform and becomes Shakespeare's most convincing Juliet, as well as the inspiration for Viola in Twelfth Night.

In terms of period films it's not one of my favourites - I'm not a big fan of any films or books in which Shakespeare himself is a character, I'm not entirely sure why - but it is a pretty good film. If you're a fan of the film, there's a book I think you just might like!

Maeve Haran's The Lady and the Poet isn't entirely unlike Shakespeare In Love. There are three big differences: firstly, the writer in question is John Donne, not Shakespeare; secondly, our leading lady, Anne More, was real as was her relationship with Donne; and thirdly, The Lady and the Poet is a little more serious than Shakespeare In Love.

At their heart, however, both of them tell the story of an Early Modern writer and his great love. Donne is most famous for his rather saucy poetry - his most famous poem is 'The Flea' - and he lived a very dramatic life. He was a Catholic during the reign of Elizabeth I, and while we might argue that the Catholics were safer under Elizabeth than the Protestants were under Mary, they were never really 'safe'.

He was appointed chief secretary to Sir Thomas Egerton, the Lord Keeper of the Great Seal, and subsequently fell in love with his niece, Anne. They married against the wishes of Egerton and Anne's father George More, who just so happened to be the lieutenant of the Tower. Oh dear...

The marriage ruined his career and landed him in Fleet Prison, but thankfully he was only there a short time when his marriage to Anne was proven valid. It was during this time he wrote the famous words: John Donne. Anne Donne. Un-done.

Clearly their marriage was a passionate one, as during sixteen years of marriage Anne bore John twelve children. Twelve. Anne died five days after the still-birth of their twelfth child, and John mourned her deeply, writing his 17th Holy Sonnet:

Since she whom I loved hath paid her last debt
To Nature, and to hers, and my good is dead,
And her soul early into heaven ravishèd,
Wholly on heavenly things my mind is set.
Here the admiring her my mind did whet
To seek thee, God; so streams do show the head;
But though I have found thee, and thou my thirst hast fed,
A holy thirsty dropsy melts me yet.
But why should I beg more love, whenas thou
Dost woo my soul, for hers offering all thine:
And dost not only fear lest I allow
My love to saints and angels, things divine,
But in thy tender jealousy dost doubt
Lest the world, flesh, yea, devil put thee out.

Even if you're not inclined to read The Lady and the Poet, there's no denying that the true story that inspired it is just as romantic as anything penned by Shakespeare. Perhaps even more so.

So if you like Shakespeare In Love, why not check out The Lady and the Poet?

Wednesday, 24 June 2015

Review | Lumberjanes, Vol.1 by Noelle Stevenson, Grace Ellis and Brooke Allen

by Noelle Stevenson, Grace Ellis and Brooke Allen

My Rating: 

At Miss Qiunzilla Thiskwin Penniquiqul Thistle Crumpet's camp for hard-core lady-types, things are not what they seem. Three-eyed foxes. Secret caves. Anagrams. Luckily, Jo, April, Mal, Molly, and Ripley are five rad, butt-kicking best pals determined to have an awesome summer together... And they're not gonna let a magical quest or an array of supernatural critters get in their way! The mystery keeps getting bigger, and it all begins here. 

Maybe it's just me, but lately I haven't really been wowed by anything I've read. As soon as I learned about Lumberjanes I wanted to get my hands on a copy of it; the idea of a summer camp in which a group of teenage girls fight monsters sounded right up my street, so I preordered it, and after I fell in love with Rat Queens and Ms. Marvel earlier this year I was eager to pick up another graphic novel full of ladies!

Sadly, I was a little disappointed with this one. That doesn't mean I didn't like it, because I did. More than anything I thought this was very cute; the art was cute, the characters were cute, and the sense of humour was very cute. It didn't make me laugh in the way Rat Queens does, but I'd be a big fat liar if I said it didn't coax the odd grin out of me. Plus, if I'm being honest, it was quite nice to sit back with a graphic novel where the whole world wasn't in danger.

In fact Lumberjanes, for me, felt very reminiscent of some of the fun animes I watched during my teens, such as School Rumble and Ouran High School Host Club; entertaining, lively stories that bordered on silly but managed not to go overboard by adding in dashes of tragic backstory or issues that brought the characters tumbling into our reality. Lumberjanes is no different. Yes, the humour is gloriously cheesy and there are monsters, but it's also another wonderfully diverse series including POC and LGBT* characters, and that always makes me happy.

I was just expecting something more from it. I wanted it to completely surprise me like Rat Queens did, which might well be why it didn't. I didn't find the characters as memorable as the ladies in Rat Queens; despite all of them looking completely different, I struggled to distinguish them from one another and still probably couldn't tell you even one of their names. I think a lot of this has to do with all of them sharing the same sense of humour, which was a very fun sense of humour, but it didn't make it any easier to tell them apart. I felt very much like these were characters rather than living, breathing people.

However, this is only the first volume and there's certainly a lot of potential for some great character development. Perhaps I'm just being a little hard on it!

So Lumberjanes didn't blow me away, but I did enjoy it and I will be carrying on with the series, and if you prefer your stories to be more playful than end-of-the-world epic then this is a series for you!

Monday, 22 June 2015

Mini Reviews | Misfits, Foxes + Witches

I'm back today with some mini reviews of some recent reads. You can find my last lot of mini reviews here!

Lolly Willowes by Sylvia Townsend Warner

Lolly Willowes is essentially about a spinster who, after years of being used as a babysitter for her various nieces and nephews, makes a pact with Satan and becomes a witch. Y'know, just your classic modern classic storyline. For the most part I did enjoy this book; I thought Laura was a charming protagonist, and while some parts of the story were quite sad other parts were fantastically funny, but I didn't like it as much as I'd hoped I would. The book just got a little too weird for me near the end, which is saying something; I quite like weird books, but this one took such a turn that it suddenly felt like I was reading a different book.

My rating: 

Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli

Unfortunately I didn't like this one very much. I found my copy of Stargirl in a local charity shop a few years ago for only 99p, and I decided to pick it up because it had been one of those books I'd seen everywhere as a pre-teen. Stargirl basically tells the story of Stargirl, the new girl at school, and how the rest of the school reacts to her... herness. The main character (whose name I've already forgotten) ends up falling for her, and I'm not going to bother explaining the rest because I'm already bored thinking about it.

I can totally see why this is often read in school, and I got what it was saying, but Stargirl was such a Manic Pixie Dream Girl and I'm really not a fan of that trope. If I'd read it when I was younger I think I might have liked it more, but I just feel like Spinelli went a bit too far trying to make Stargirl 'quirky' and 'unique'.

My rating: 

Jane, the Fox & Me by Fanny Britt and Isabelle Arsenault

I was dying to get my hands on this graphic novel as soon as I saw it, and eventually decided to treat myself. I thought it was a beautiful little story, and parts of it, for me, were very emotional because it hit so close to home. Essentially this is a story about a young girl, Hélène, who is being bullied by girls who used to be her friends; in particular they make fun of her appearance and she has terrible body confidence and self-esteem issues. She starts reading Jane Eyre, and Jane helps her. I thought the art style was lovely, and I particularly loved how the sections in the real world were very muted but the sections in which Hélène was reading Jane Eyre were brightly coloured. The only reason this missed out on five stars was because it didn't blow me away, but I think that might be my own fault as I was expecting rather a lot from it!

My rating: 

Have you read any of these? What have you been reading recently?

Friday, 19 June 2015

TBR | Modern Classics

I've come to terms with the fact that my TBR's never going to be small, but it's certainly much larger than I'd like it to be; no matter how much I read it never seems to be enough!

When it comes to classics I always felt most at home in the Victorian period. When I was at university I loved learning about 19th century literature most - Victorian Gothic is so much fun, plus it's during the 19th century that we first got children's literature and detective fiction! - but in recent years I've begun to appreciate modern classics much more, and I've become particularly fond of fiction written during the early 20th century and the '50s.

Anyway, here are some modern classics I'd like to cross off my TBR this year!

by Margaret Atwood

Offred is a Handmaid in the Republic of Gilead. She has only one function: to breed. If she deviates, she will, like dissenters, be hanged at the wall or sent out to die slowly of radiation sickness. But even a repressive state cannot obliterate desire - neither Offred's nor that of the two men on which her future hangs.

by Shirley Jackson

When the Halloran clan gathers at the family home for a funeral, no one is surprised when the somewhat peculiar Aunt Fanny wanders off into the secret garden. But then she returns to report an astonishing vision of an apocalypse from which only the Hallorans and their hangers-on will be spared, and the family finds itself engulfed in growing madness, fear, and violence as they prepare for a terrible new world.

by Daphne du Maurier

Her mother's dying request takes Mary Yellan on a sad journey across the bleak moorland of Cornwall to reach Jamaica Inn, the home of her Aunt Patience. With the coachman's warning echoing in her memory, Mary arrives at a dismal place to find Patience a changed woman, cowering from her overbearing husband, Joss Merlyn. 

Affected by the Inn's brooding power, Mary is thwarted in her attention to reform her aunt, and unwillingly drawn into the dark deeds of Joss and his accomplices. And, as she struggles with events beyond her control, Mary is further thrown by her feelings for a man she dare not trust...

by John Wyndham

David Storm's father doesn't approve of Angus Morton's unusually large horses, calling them blasphemies against nature. Little does he realise that his own son, and his son's cousin Rosalind and their friends, have their own secret aberration which would label them as mutants. But as David and Rosalind grow older it becomes more difficult to conceal their differences from the village elders. Soon they face a choice: wait for eventual discovery, or flee to the terrifying and mutable Badlands....

Tuesday, 16 June 2015

Top Ten Tuesday | Summer TBR!

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature created at The Broke and the Bookish. Each week you compile a list of ten books which coincide with that week's theme. You can find everything you need to know about joining in here!

I'm travelling from South Wales to North England with work today, so I won't get around to leaving my own comments and replies until tomorrow - I promise I'm not just being rude!

I'm not a fan of setting myself TBRs, but I do love seasonal TBRs! This is the first time... ever, really, where I haven't had a free summer. I'm working now, I'm not in school or university anymore, so I don't know if I'll have plenty of time to read, but I'm hoping I will because I've actually found myself reading more since finishing uni.

Summer at Little Beach Street Bakery by Jenny Colgan: With a title like that, how could I not put this book on my summer TBR? Colgan's books are so much fun, and I love a bit of light reading during the hot summer months.

Jamaica Inn by Daphne du Maurier: If you've been following my blog for a while you'll know I fell in love with Daphne du Maurier last year when I read both Frenchman's Creek (reviewed here!) and Rebecca. I've been meaning to read Jamaica Inn for a while, and a story centered around smuggling on the Cornish coast sounds like a really fun summer read.

The Little Stranger by Sarah Waters: This book is set during the post-WWII summer in a decaying Georgian mansion. It sounds gloriously atmospheric, and I'm looking forward to crossing it off my TBR this summer.

Past Perfect by Leila Sales: As a history nut, I'm totally up for reading a story about a girl spending her summer working at a village dedicated to Colonial Reenactment.

Lumberjanes, Vol.1 by Noelle Stevenson, Grace Ellis and Brooke Allen: A group of girls fighting monsters at summer camp? Yes please!

Ms. Marvel, Vol.3: Crushed by G. Willow Wilson, Takeshi Miyazawa, Mark Waid and Humberto Ramos: Due to be released in a week, I've already pre-ordered my copy of this. I can't wait to see what Kamala gets up to next!

Rebel Heart by Moira Young: I really, really need to continue with the Dust Lands trilogy, and with a post-apocalyptic desert for a setting I think this'll make for a pretty good read during the summer months. 

Raging Star by Moira Young: I'd like to finish this trilogy over the summer - it's been long enough since I started it!

The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan: It's time to confess: I still haven't read this series. Much like Lumberjanes, though, Percy gets sent to summer camp, which sounds like an ideal setting for a summer read! I love Greek mythology, too, so it's about time I read this series.

Beauty Queens by Libba Bray: I have another confession: I have yet to read anything by Libba Bray. I'm dying to read her Gemma Doyle trilogy and her Diviners series, but this book sounds like so much fun, too, and definitely a good read for summer!

Which books made your list?

Monday, 15 June 2015

Review | How To Be a Heroine by Samantha Ellis

by Samantha Ellis

My Rating: 

While debating literature’s greatest heroines with her best friend, thirtysomething playwright Samantha Ellis has a revelation—her whole life, she's been trying to be Cathy Earnshaw of Wuthering Heights when she should have been trying to be Jane Eyre.

With this discovery, she embarks on a retrospective look at the literary ladies—the characters and the writers—whom she has loved since childhood. From early obsessions with the March sisters to her later idolization of Sylvia Plath, Ellis evaluates how her heroines stack up today. And, just as she excavates the stories of her favorite characters, Ellis also shares a frank, often humorous account of her own life growing up in a tight-knit Iraqi Jewish community in London. Here a life-long reader explores how heroines shape all our lives.

I don't usually read nonfiction, and even when I do I usually lean towards books about history, but lately I've been on a real nonfiction kick ever since I read Jane Eyre's Sisters: How Women Live and Write the Heroine's Story by Jody Gentian Bower. I'd had my copy of How To Be a Heroine for a while after being told about it by one of my friends, and as I was thirsting for more nonfiction I decided to pick it up. I devoured it.

This was my very first memoir, and if I'm being honest memoirs don't usually interest me, but I loved that Samantha Ellis created a timeline with the books she'd read and the heroines that had most shaped her, for better or for worse. This is both a memoir and literary criticism, and as someone who is eternally fascinated by heroines I was hooked. Ellis's style is so readable and conversational; so much so that while I was reading it I felt as though she was sitting opposite me and chatting to me over a cup of coffee. I closed this book feeling like I'd just caught up with an old friend, which was a lovely feeling.

While exploring these heroines, of all ages and nationalities, she made me want to reread some of my old favourites, too, to see if I thought differently about them now that I'm a little older. After all, our heroines never really stop teaching us new lessons, we just have to be open to learning them.

The only reason this book missed out on a full five stars was because I was a little disappointed that there was no mention of Anne Bronte in the Jane Eyre chapter, but I have learned that Ellis is currently writing a book about Anne Bronte that I definitely want to read!

Whether you feel comfortable with nonfiction or not, if you're a lover of literature, and a lover of heroines in particular, I highly, highly recommend checking this one out!

Friday, 12 June 2015

Stories & Songs #6

I'm back with another installment of Stories & Songs. As always, you can find all the songs mentioned in this playlist!

by Gayle Forman

Imagine Dragons

I am a head case
I am the colour of boom
That's never arriving
At you are the opera
Always on time and in tune
And I am the colour of boom

by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

"Miss Missing You"
Fall Out Boy

Baby, you were my picket fence
I miss missing you now and then
Chlorine kissed summer skin
I miss missing you now and then
Sometimes before it gets better
The darkness gets bigger
The person that you’d take a bullet for is behind the trigger
We’re fading fast
I miss missing you now and then

by Maggie Stiefvater

"Don't Carry it All"
The Decemberists

There a wreath of trillium and ivy
Laid upon the body of a boy
Lazy will the loam come from its hiding
Return this quiet searcher to soil

So raise a glass to turnings of the season
And watch it as it arcs towards the sun
And you must bear your neighbour's burden within reason
And your labours will be born when all is done

And nobody, nobody knows
Let the yoke fall from our shoulders
Don't carry it all, don't carry it all
We are all our hands and holders
Beneath this bold and brilliant sun
And this I swear to all, and this I swear to all

by Leila Sales

"Last Year's Troubles"
Suzanne Vega

Last year's troubles are so old fashioned
The robber on the highway, the pirate on the seas
Maybe it's the clothing that's so entertaining
The earrings and swashbuckling blouses that please

Here we have heroes of times that have passed now
but nobody these days has that kind of chin
Over there the petticoats of ladies of virtue
You can hardly tell them from the petticoats of sin 

by Neil Gaiman

"Take Me to Church"

If I'm a pagan of the good times
My lover's the sunlight
To keep the Goddess on my side
She demands a sacrifice

Drain the whole sea
Get something shiny
Something meaty for the main course
That's a fine-looking high horse
What you got in the stable?
We've a lot of starving faithful

That looks tasty
That looks plenty
This is hungry work

Take me to church
I'll worship like a dog at the shrine of your lies
I'll tell you my sins so you can sharpen your knife
Offer me my deathless death
Good God, let me give you my life

Tuesday, 9 June 2015

Top Ten Tuesday | Even More Anticipated 2015 Reads

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature created at The Broke and the Bookish. Each week you compile a list of ten books which coincide with that week's theme. You can find everything you need to know about joining in here!

This week we're talking about the remaining upcoming 2015 releases we're looking forward to!

Winter by Marissa Meyer: I need it. I need it now.

Ms. Marvel, Vol.3: Crushed by G. Willow Wilson, Takeshi Miyazawa, Mark Waid and Humberto Ramos: This one's actually due to be released later this month - hooray! - and I'm looking forward to continuing with the series. Kamala Khan's adorable.

The Rest of Us Just Live Here by Patrick Ness: I'm rather ashamed to admit that I still haven't read anything by Patrick Ness, but I love the premise of this story and as someone who isn't a big fan of the common tropes in YA I think this will be very tongue-in-cheek and a lot of fun!

The Dinosaur Lords by Victor Milán: This has dinosaurs in it. That's all I need to know to make me want to read it.

Radiance by Catherynne M. Valente: I also have yet to read any Valente despite the fact that I've heard nothing but wonderful things about her prose. I love the alternate history/sci-fi/golden age of Hollywood feel to this one, and I think it'll be a really interesting read.

Dumplin' by Julie Murphy: I'm all for reading more books about body positivity, and this one sounds fabulous.

Chimera by Mira Grant: First of all, how great is that cover? Second of all, I think we all know by now how much I love Mira Grant. This is the third and final book in her Parasitology trilogy; I recently bought myself the first two books in the series so I can read it this year.

Song of the Sea Maid by Rebecca Mascull: I love historical fiction starring heroines who want to make a name for themselves in the field of science, and I don't think I've read any historical fiction with Portugal as a setting yet.

The Curse of Jacob Tracy by Holly Messinger: I love books involving ghosts and mediums and spiritualists, especially when those books are set during the 19th century, so I'm looking forward to this debut!

The Sparrow Sisters by Ellen Hendrick: I have a weakness for witches.

Which books made your list?

Monday, 8 June 2015

#TBRTakedown Readathon | Wrap-Up!

Last week I took part in Shannon @ Leaning Lights's TBRTakedown Readathon. I managed to finish three books in total, which I'm pretty pleased with!

by Sylvia Townsend Warner

Lolly Willowes is a twenty-eight-year-old spinster when her adored father dies, leaving her dependent upon her brothers and their wives. After twenty years of self-effacement as a maiden aunt, she decides to break free and moves to a small Bedfordshire village. Here, happy and unfettered, she enjoys her new existence nagged only by the sense of a secret she has yet to discover. That secret - and her vocation - is witchcraft, and with her cat and a pact with the Devil, Lolly Willowes is finally free. 

My Rating: 

by Samantha Ellis

While debating literature’s greatest heroines with her best friend, thirtysomething playwright Samantha Ellis has a revelation—her whole life, she's been trying to be Cathy Earnshaw of Wuthering Heights when she should have been trying to be Jane Eyre.

With this discovery, she embarks on a retrospective look at the literary ladies—the characters and the writers—whom she has loved since childhood. From early obsessions with the March sisters to her later idolization of Sylvia Plath, Ellis evaluates how her heroines stack up today. And, just as she excavates the stories of her favorite characters, Ellis also shares a frank, often humorous account of her own life growing up in a tight-knit Iraqi Jewish community in London. Here a life-long reader explores how heroines shape all our lives.

My Rating: 

by Jerry Spinelli

From the day she arrives at quiet Mica High in a burst of color and sound, hallways hum “Stargirl.” She captures Leo Borlock’s heart with one smile. She sparks a school-spirit revolution with one cheer. The students of Mica High are enchanted. Until they are not. Leo urges her to become the very thing that can destroy her - normal.

My Rating: 

As I'm sure you can tell by my ratings, How To Be a Heroine was the best thing I read last week, and probably one of the best things I've read this year. I've been on a real non-fiction kick lately, and I'm on the lookout for more!

Did you take part in the readathon last week? What did you read?