Memo Pad: July Wrap Up

I think I should just start pretending I mean to post my monthly wrap ups in the next month rather than keep saying it’s late. What do you think?

Anyway. What happened in July? I’m asking myself that question because at this point I can’t remember!

Writing wise, I managed to get the first two chapters of my new contemporary fantasy rough drafted. It was a lot less than I’d planned originally. I had wanted to get four or five done. BUT having finished my intense revision of my scifi and going through a move it was, in the end, more than I expected. I also started writing up my second round revision plan for my scifi based on feedback which I’m currently doing but I’ll tell you about that in my August wrap up.

Life wise, it’s been hectic. I’m STILL going through the house move. It’s been six weeks since we sold and moved out of our house and we still haven’t completed or moved IN to our new one. There seemed to be a new problem everyday BUT we finally have a moving in date which is this month. So hopefully when you hear from me in my next wrap up I’ll be talking to you from there! (Although I don’t know how long it’ll take to sort out Internet so that wrap up might be late for a good reason!)

But onto my reading for July. It was a pretty mixed month. I read some books I LOVED, but a lot of books didn’t quite work for me for various reasons. It happens, I guess.

(Links, as always, go to the books goodreads page)

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Mini Reviews July: Novellas, Superheroes, & Autistic Rebels

My reading has been a bit all over the place, but I’ve finally reviewed the last book I read last month, along with a couple novellas, a short story and also two books for this post! And as usual for these mini review posts I’m going to dive right in.

Waking up the Sun by Laura Bailo ***** (Review Copy)

A quiet stakes sweet m/m fantasy romance novella that was an easy and cosy read. Lander enters the forest near where he lives on a dare but when he turns around the tree line is nowhere in sight. Trapped inside the magical forest that refuses to let him leave he meets Yban who is keeping secrets about the creatures living there. I did think the start where Lander was getting lost felt a bit…. Meandering. I didn’t really feel the intense emotions he was feeling while it was happening that would have made it more interesting. But once he meets Yban this novella becomes such a heartwarming and fluffy read that I really enjoyed. The slower softer pace of them getting to know each other was really well done and it has great discussions about Landers anxiety and Yban being demisexual (it’s always great when it’s stated explicitly in the text). I also loved how Lander was aware of his thoughts and anxiety in general. He knows how to look after himself, he was clever even in the midst of a stressful situation and he stood up for himself too.

Rep: m/m, anxiety and panic attacks, demisexual, trans female side character.

TW: bullying, transphobia

The Test by Sylvian Neuvel *****

This sounded like a really interesting novella. Idir is taking the British citizenship test when the questions turn much more real than he expected. It’s not really a new concept and it was very black mirror in the way it shone a light on choices and morality. I love things that analyse society and the choices we make in different situations. BUT, considering it did shine a light on so many issues, I really don’t think it did enough to get its message across. There were all kinds of bigoted language and scenarios that are kind of just assumed to be wrong as a given but never truly refuted. The novella simply wasn’t long enough to do what it tried. I did love the characters but I just feel like it didn’t go deep enough to cover any of the topics it tried to bring up which left it feeling shallow and underwhelming and rather like it was reciting research in parts (albeit interesting research!). I don’t mind ideas that aren’t original. No idea is original. But as much as it was a quick and interesting read, it wasn’t as well executed as I would have liked.

TW: can I just say all of them? There’s mentions of transphobia, sexism, racism, graphic violence,

Green Toes by Avery Flinders *****

This is such a brilliant contemporary fantasy short story. It’s about a bi woman who moves out of the small farming village she lived in having broken up with a boyfriend she loved to find herself and a place where the whole of her (queer identify included) fits. Also, she has magic gardening boots. I loved the fact this story brought to light the problem with the lack of queer spaces outside of the nightclub/drinking scene and how hard it is to find your people without it. I loved Terri, the nonbinary person she meets and falls for. But it’s not just about Terri and falling in love. It’s about found family, friends and finding a place to belong and feel whole. I also loved the set up Terri has living with her two favourite people. Screw social conventions. Be happy and be Queer.

Rep: MC is a bisexual woman, love interest is nonbinary. Other queer side characters.

Underdogs by Chris Bonnello***** (Review Copy)

This is a difficult book to review because the premise is a bunch of neurodivergent teens are the only free citizens and rebels left after the UK has been taken over by clones. Which sounds awesome and I loved that there were multiple autistic characters as well as other conditions (adhd, downs, anxiety, mutism) that would be the heroes and have adventures. which happened but I didn’t like where some of the rep went (killing off a certain character felt very problematic) and the phrasing used to discuss certain issues left me quite uncomfortable. I also didn’t feel the chemistry between Ewan and Charlie, who we’re told are best friends, until the latter part of the book and as someone whose favourite part of books is the relationship between characters I just felt like it lacked the emotion for me to connect with. Having said that it is an action packed adventure. And if you go in looking for a fun exciting read, especially in the second half, you won’t be disappointed.

Not Your Sidekick by CB Lee *****

I’m going to be completely upfront here and say the only reason this isn’t a 5 star is because I REALLY don’t get on well with 3rd person present tense. It feels removed and like I’m reading stage direction rather than something I can really sink into. Having said that, the actual story and characters here are AWESOME and anyone who isn’t so ridiculously fussy about writing style should go read this book. Jess, the daughter of the towns local superheroes, is desperate to come into her own powers and not end up a disappointment. But when she’s offered an internship at the base of the local villain’s company she finds out there’s something very wrong going on with the hero villain system they’re forced to live in. I loved Jess, I loved how diverse all the characters were and how easily they all fit. I loved her growing relationship with the girl she has a crush on. I loved her family, her friends, the questions of morality about whether the good guys are really the good guys (throw all the books that do this to me. It’s my favourite trope). I even loved how predictable the twists were because they were meant to be and they just added to the fun of this book. It’s a super diverse superhero story where the superheroes aren’t as good as they seem.

Rep: Jess is a QPOC (specifically her and her family are Asian American and she’s bisexual which are Ownvoices) its f/f. One of her best friends (and the MC in the next book) is a trans guy.

Have you read any of these and if so, what did you think? And if not are you planning to?

Memo Pad: June Wrap Up

June left. A while ago. Life has been super hectic (I was going to say here but I don’t really have a here right now!) we packed up and moved out of the house I’ve lived in my whole life. (Bye London!). Moved in temporally with my aunt. Visited the place we are going to live on holiday for a week and are now back living with my aunt…. I’m tired. I mean my parents are tired and they’re not chronically ill so I’m…. Very?…tired.

All that to say. Yes. This June wrap up post is two weeks late! it’s been pretty difficult to think enough to actually write reviews but I have been managing to read (and not much else!).

In writing related news I sent my YA Scifi out for feedback at the end of May and planned to start writing my next wip over June and July while I was waiting and receiving feedback. But. Um. Well. It’s now been over a month since I’ve written/edited anything. Partially because I’m too exhausted to function as previously mentioned but also because my anxiety is ridiculously high and my brain won’t settle (which again is partially because of the move but partially because FEEDBACK = always anxiety inducing!). I have done a little final planning of the small things like naming places and minor characters. I’ve also figured out where the first chapter starts but that’s it. We’ll see if I get anything done by the July wrap up but I doubt it. My brain comes first after all.

BUT onto the books for June! I read 7 fiction books (2 of them novellas) which isn’t as much compared with what I’ve been reading in the last few months (although still amazing compared to before this year) but I’ve read a few nonfiction books which I don’t tend to review or count on this blog so I actually have read a lot. You’ll get the summary of my mini reviews and I also have two full reviews of my fav book of the month and a,,,, not so good reading experience.

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Mid-Year Book Freak Out!

AKA a mash up of the Mid Year Book freak out tag and a rundown of the best 5* reads of 2019 because what are rules?

I’ve had an amazing year of reading this year so far. The most books I have ever read in a year was 68 but I have already managed to read 58. In just half a year?!?! So I have easily beaten my reading challenge of 52 (I usually set it at a number I know I can reach because I don’t like pressure!). A lot of these books were amazing. So amazing in fact that I only managed to narrow it down to 12 best books for my super quick rundown (Someone save me when it comes to doing my end of year one!)

I’m going to jump straight into it. Partially because I don’t want to bore you when you could be reading about amazing books and partially because I am on holiday and it is sunny outside…. But stick around for the quickfire freakout tag questions at the end and do let me know what you think of these books in the comments!

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Top Ten Tuesdays: 2019 Most Anticipated releases July-Dec

Top 10 Tuesdays is a book tag currently hosted over at That Artsy Reader Girl. There’s a new topic each week and this weeks is Anticipated releases for the second half of the year. Yet again, I have failed to narrow it down to 10 (There are too many amazing books, it’s not even my fault!) but I put in a good effort and this list is just 15 of the books I am MOST looking forward to before the year is out.

There’s a mix of adult and YA, SFF and Contemporay, and as always, most of them are queer. Happy Pride everyone!!

Links go to the books goodreads pages so you can add them and the cover and pub dates are correct as far as I am aware.,,,,

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Memo Pad: May Wrap Up

May was such a busy month for me which is why this post is a couple of days late. But before that I just want to say hello June! It’s my birthday month which is exciting. It’s also pride month so happy pride everyone. It’s also also officially summer in my books (sorry southern hemisphere people).

But back to May. Okay. So first off I had excellent news. My short story is going to be published. I got the acceptance email a couple of weeks ago and I’m super happy! I don’t have any details. It’ll take a while (hello publishing industry) but at some point my work will be published.

In other writerly news, I finished up my latest edit for my YA Scifi and I’ve foisted it off on beta readers which means I’m done with it for two months and I get a much needed rest! Which is the main reason this post is late. I couldn’t bring myself to do ANYTHING for a few days. Working for 3 months straight on that revision killed my motivation to do things!

I did however read a bunch of amazing books in May (8 books) although I had a reading slump at the end there – also caused by me going nonstop on my editing but also because there was some minor travelling which meant I was too exhausted for a week to do ANYTHING, even if that thing was lying in bed with a book.

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