The Stay at Home Book Tag

I don’t know if blogging slumps are a thing but, if so, I have fallen into one. I’ve read very few books in November so far, so I don’t have a review that I can post right now, and I’ve been struggling so much to come up with any other type of content! Suggestions and advice very gratefully accepted.

That being said, I have a lot of free time on my hands and a 24/7 urge to talk about books to anyone who will listen. So… as I sit at home, trying to figure out what I can do today that doesn’t involve leaving the house, here’s a very relevant tag that I found whilst panic-scrolling through Google this morning: The Stay at Home Book Tag

Laying in Bed – a book you read in a day

Threadneedle by Cari Thomas. This book is so long and literally took me the entire day to get through, but it was 100% worth it. I dedicated a solid 9 hours to sitting and getting sucked into the world of witches, vengeance and betrayal and didn’t even consider putting it down. After my introductory I don’t have a review to post spiel, I actually do have a review of this one, but I’ll be posting next year since it publishes in May. You can probably guess my rating already…

Snacking – a guilty pleasure book

Starry Eyes by Jenn Bennett. All of Jenn Bennett’s books are adorable, easy-to-read YA romances that, although not the most complex books I’ve ever read, are too cute not to read. This one is about a girl who ends up abandoned in the woods with the boy who broke her heart, which is total guilty pleasure book stuff. I would absolutely recommend it. Bonus points: it also taught me how to protect myself from bears if I’m ever stuck in the woods so… there’s that.

Netflix- a series you want to start

Shatter Me by Taherah Mafi! I’ve completely lost track of how many books are in this series (I own four but I think there are six? I don’t know) but it’s been on my TBR for longer than I can remember. I’m slowly working through the embarrassingly long list of books I own but haven’t read, and this one is definitely going to be one of the next ones I get around to (I hope).

Deep Clean – a book that has been on your TBR for ages

So many books. The first one that comes to mind is Arabesque by Aprilynne Pike. I read the Wings series when I was way younger and, from what I can gather, this is about the same characters, ten years in the future. I’ve had this book on my wishlist for years and finally got it this year, so this one is definitely up there on my priority TBR list.

Animal Crossing – a book you recently bought because of hype

I haven’t bought it yet, but I’m so close to buying These Violent Delights by Chloe Gong. My entire twitter timeline yesterday was talking about it and I’ve seen it popping up everywhere for weeks, so I can’t imagine I’m going to be able to hold off buying it for much longer…

Productivity – a book you learned from or had an impact of you

Foreshadow by Nova Ren Suma and Emily X.R. Pan. This book is a gorgeous collection of short stories by lesser-known authors, with each story followed by an essay about a writing technique that was used within that story. The stories themselves were really enjoyable, but I especially loved that after every story, prompt or essay, I desperately wanted to put their suggestions into practice and write something myself.

Facetime – a book you were gifted

Another book that I got as a result of Twitter hype- Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno Garcia. I got this book for my birthday and am currently just over half-way through. It’s a style of horror that I haven’t read a lot of (more The Yellow Wallpaper than IT) and I’m really enjoying it so far.

Self Care – what is one thing that you have done recently to look after yourself?

I’ve been on more walks in the past few months than I’ve been on in my entire life. Sometimes I just blast music too loudly and other times I listen to audiobooks, but it’s definitely been a good way to clear my head after being stuck in my flat 24/7.

BONUS – name a book coming out soon

The first book that comes to mind is The Cousins by Karen McManus. From what I remember, this book is coming out the first week in December and I preordered it during a book haul I ordered from bookshop.org last month. I probably have unfairly high hopes for this book after One of Us is Lying, but I’m really excited to get into this as soon as it comes through my letterbox.

Book Review: Skyhunter by Marie Lu

I wasn’t sure whether or not to review this because I completely gave up on being impartial about Marie Lu’s books about 6 years ago- but in the end, I couldn’t keep my thoughts to myself. Surprise, surprise, this is not going to be a balanced review. It is instead going to be a short summary, followed by a post full of fangirling. You’ve been warned.

Skyhunter is the story of Talin, a specially-trained soldier, or Striker, for her struggling nation, Mara. Set far, far into the future, after the collapse of the world as we know it, Mara is the only land that remains un-colonised by the ever-growing Federation, and Talin is one of many, fighting on the front lines to defend from the oncoming attack, from humans, technological human experiments and ghosts, which are monstrous beings trained to obey the Federation’s every command.

When a presumed Federation soldier wanders into their territory, all but Talin are happy to watch him suffer for their actions, but Talin feels a strange connection that forces her to risk her own life for him. When he is later paired up as her partner, she discovers that there is more to him than meets the eye, and that he may become the key to their survival and a vital look into the Federation’s plans.

There are elements of Legend and Warcross in this book that were impossible for me to ignore. Marie Lu is incredible at writing dystopia, especially dystopia surrounding technology and world domination, and this book was really no different. The characters were as instantly fascinating as any of her books and I found myself loving and hating exactly who I was supposed to. Talin is a fierce, incredibly well-developed protagonist, suffering from a lot of internal struggle about her duties, her heart and her sense of belonging, and Red is an intriguing, unique and equally powerful character to read. Jeran as well, a close friend, a fierce soldier and a very useful translator for Red and Talin, was a particular favourite character of mine. I loved seeing him develop as the story went on, after finding myself particularly invested in him from the very beginning.

This story is fast-paced, exciting and completely immersive. I got sucked in so quickly to the world of Mara and the Federation that I completely forgot the outside world, caring only about their story and their survival. The technology Marie Lu invents is believable, the world is so detailed that it’s impossible not to find yourself in the story with them, and the characters are the kind that you want to keep in your mind forever.

Rather than recommending this book, I urge you to read it. Or read Warcross, or The Young Elites, or Legend, or The Kingdom of Back (which I also *cough* reviewed, here). Marie Lu’s books are incomparable: inclusive, diverse, thrilling, immersive and incredibly original. This book has further solidified her status as my favourite author of all time, and I can only hope that, if you take my advice and read it, you’ll see exactly what I mean.

Rating: 5/5 (obviously…)

Book Review: Kpop Confidential by Stephen Lee

And… here we have another kpop/YA book review! At the same time as I received my ARC of Shine by Jessica Jung, I also received a finished copy of Kpop Confidential, so I am adoring the theme of my autumn reading so far.

Anyway- thank you so much to Chicken House for sending me a copy of this book!

Kpop Confidential follows a fifteen year-old Korean-American girl named Candace who, on a whim, enters a global competition to become a trainee at S.A.Y Entertainment in Korea, and suddenly finds herself being swept up into the not-so-glamorous lifestyle of a celebrity-in-training.

After a begrudging acceptance from her parents, Candace leaves behind her life in the United States for a summer, with the ultimatum that she will either end the summer as a debuted kpop idol or back as a high school student in New Jersey. She is rapidly inducted into a world of no social media, brutal dieting, dating bans and torturous hours of training.

As she faces the struggles of falling in love when dating is strictly prohibited, living in a dorm with the meanest girl in training, and not being able to dance when trying to debut in a dancing idol group, Candace has to commit wholeheartedly to her new trainee lifestyle and forget that there is anything at all outside the walls of her training HQ.

This book has a protagonist who, somewhat unwillingly, finds herself stepping on some toes to get to the top, an entertaining love triangle (with, in my opinion, an obvious favourite…) and some very strong friendships that were incredibly refreshing to read about against the backdrop of all the trainee backstabbing and blackmail.

I really enjoyed this book. Perhaps because of the fifteen year old protagonist, it seemed a little younger than a lot of the YA I’ve read lately, but it was still a cute, easy read with enough drama to keep me turning the pages throughout. Without spoiling anything, I loved the direction that the story ended up going in and found myself satisfied with this book from start to finish. I would definitely recommend to kpop lovers, YA lovers and anyone looking for a whirlwind of a story about dedication, passion, drama and friendship.

Rating: 4/5