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.

ARC REVIEW: FORESHADOW by Nova Ren Suma, Emily X.R. Pan, et al.

This is my first time reviewing a short story anthology, and only my fifth time reading one (my former favourite being Slasher Girls and Monster Boys), so I’m honestly not entirely sure how to go about this! BUT I know that I loved the collection and wanted to share my thoughts with you, so here we go:

*Thank you to Algonquin Young Readers for the e-ARC of this wonderful collection*

Foreshadow is an anthology of short stories by thirteen incredible, diverse and lesser-known Young Adult authors, introduced by a variety of famous names. Each story is followed by a short essay by Nova Ren Suma or Emily X. R. Pan about a theme, motif or technique used within, and each essay is followed by a writing prompt on a similar theme.

I adored this collection. When I first heard about it, I was instantly obsessed, and when I started reading, that didn’t change at all. The range in these stories means that there is at least one in the collection that everyone will love, and I found myself constantly surprised by the genre variance from one tale to the next. It’s consistent in the way that each story resonates with the reader, but uses an incredible array of settings, genres and voices to achieve this. It is easy to see how every single author used their own personality to shape their contribution to this collection and it was fascinating to become so invested in thirteen different plots in such a short space of time.

I do have to admit that a couple of the stories weren’t my favourite, but the entire concept of this collection completely made up for it. I found that, even if a specific story wasn’t for me, I connected with the characters anyway and looked forward to the analysis that followed. Plus, whether I loved them all or not, I can easily say that every story in this book is edited to perfection. A few of my favourites (that were 5/5 reads easily) were ESCAPE, SOLACE, GLOW and BREAK, all of which have inspired me to check out the authors in the hope that they have something else I can read immediately.

This beautiful collection showcases the diversity that Young Adult Fiction has to offer, as well as the depth that can be achieved in a short story, which is interesting for all readers, but especially for aspiring authors. This collection made me want to open up a new document and start writing after every single story, and I haven’t read anything powerful enough to inspire me like that in a long time.  I would recommend this to anyone who is looking for a diverse and thought-provoking collection of stories by up-and-coming new authors, but would argue that it’s essential reading for anyone who wants to be inspired to begin (or continue) their own writing journey.

RATING: 5/5

Side note: this collection was originally a digital anthology, published at foreshadowya.com, where there are additional stories and content warnings for everything included in this collection!

Foreshadow comes out on October 20th 2020.