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Hi All!

I just thought I’d switch things up by starting up my own site and share a bit more with you guys than I do on my bookstagram and Tumblr!

For those of you who don’t know me, my name is Seher and I’m a reader based in Pakistan! I read just about everything I can get my hands on! That being said I adore fantasy and poetry! I used to post exclusively on Instagram, but now I’ve decided to try and maintain my own blog!

If you prefer Instagram, that’s all good! I’ve linked that below! And if you prefer getting your reviews and giveaways on Tumblr and Twitter, those will be here too!

I’m also using this as a more creative space, so you’ll also get plenty of tarot card posts, restaurant reviews (from Islamabad), and pictures of the sky after it rains! I’ll also be posting my writing update, which is something I’m trying to get back into!

This is The Girl Who Reads in chaos mode!

I maintain two tumblr accounts! Which does sound like a bit much, but both serve for different moods!

My book tumblr lets me post more content than I can on my bookstagram, so you’ll find more posts here (in the future) and more excerpts, etc!

https://bookstagramofmine.tumblr.com/

My poetry tumblr is a mood. Things that I love are posted there!

https://www.tumblr.com/blog/alliwanttodoiscollectpoetry

You can also find me on twitter (where I generally just cry and complain about life)

I listen to music on Deezer! I know its not spotify, but I just love the Flow button!

I have a lot of badges from all the sites I usually review on and now you have to see them because this is the first time I’ve had a place to put them! 🙂

100 Book Reviews
Reviews Published
Professional Reader

And last but not least, my google reviews!

  • Lord of the Fly Fest by Goldy Moldvasky

    Lord of the Fly Fest by Goldy Moldvasky

    Thank you, TBR and Beyond Tours, for the chance to be on the book tour for Lord of the Fly Fest by Goldy Moldvasky

    Y U DO THIS NetGalley? 

    Firstly, I need to acknowledge that while I got the book from NetGalley via a widget sent by TBR and Beyond Tours, I couldn’t find the book on my kindle despite downloading it in time! This is the second time I’ve noticed something off with NetGalley.

    It sent me The Killing Code by Ellie Marney as The Killing Code by James Patterson, which is so odd. 

    Either way, I bought the ebook, and I have no regrets!

     

    Side note

    TBR and Beyond tours, Random Things Tours, and The Write Reads have all been good for my NetGalley feedback ratio. I miss NetGalley deadlines, but a tour gives me more structure. When TBR and Beyond Tours give me a widget, I know I’ll have a review up and running by that date. Random Things Tours gives me deadlines for books I have approvals for, so it’s a good way of getting through books.

    Housekeeping:

    Lord of the Fly Fest came out on the 30th of August. It’s 317 pages long and is published by Henry Holt and Co.. This is not a debut novel; the author Goldy Moldavsky has published several other books, one of which is The Mary Shelly Club, which I think everyone can remember from bookstagram last year.

    Incidentally, her other book, Kill the Boy Band, is on sale for $1.99, which I got because of the title.

    Review:

    Lord of the Fly Fest is written for Netflix, and I wouldn’t be surprised if it was picked up. I loved that the author thought Fyre Fest, but what if everyone decided to pretend. I guess influencers are good at pretending that everything is fine and that they’re living their best lives while the world falls apart.

    And there we have Rafi. She’s the person doing her best to be an intellectual because it’s a podcast, but you also get the sense that Rafi also really wishes did have more influence. She is trying hard to get sponsorships for her podcast while choosing a medium where she can put her thoughts out without putting her face out there. Rafi also plays the sane person on the island; she’s the one who wants to get help ASAP and tries to calm people down. However, when she doesn’t have enough followers to be considered significant, she’s shunted to the side and given plenty of time to think about how River killed his first girlfriend.

    As Peggy puts it, Ravi is a little obsessed and knows more about River than his actual fans, and for most of the book, you get the sense that she may just be into him. As the book progresses, you can see Rafi breaking down and doing her best to survive. Towards the end, she also cracks and engages in the same behavior that she looked down on!

    I loved all the characters! As I said, this is a Netflix show in the making! Everything is slightly ridiculously over the top and a caricature of what we think influencers are like in person. River’s real story was so ridiculous! I loved the two guys who wanted to sue Banana Republic! I also really loved Greer, Sierra, and Jack and how Sierra was the sanest one of the lot of them. Goldy Moldvasky’s inclusion of Hella Badid was also one of the things that made me love the book!

    At one point I literally put the book down and cast people as characters. Of course, Hella Badid will be played by Bella Hadid in my production!

    Basically, if you like pop culture, you’ll like this book!

    About the Author:

    Goldy Moldavsky was born in Lima, Peru, and grew up in Brooklyn, where she still lives. Her novels include the New York Times bestseller, KILL THE BOY BAND, NO GOOD DEED (Scholastic), and THE MARY SHELLEY CLUB (Henry Holt). Her books have appeared on numerous Best-Books lists and have been translated to other languages. Her love of 80s movies, 90s boy bands, and horror flicks hugely influences her work. She can be found on Twitter and Instagram @goldywrites.

    She is represented byJenny Bent at the Bent Agency.

    Blurb:

    One of Us Is Lying meets Lord of the Flies meets Fyre Fest in this wickedly addictive and funny YA thriller.

    Rafi Francisco needs something really special to put her true crime podcast on the map. She sets her sights on River Stone, the hearthrob musician who rose to stardom after the mysterious disappearance of his girlfriend. Rafi lands herself a ticket to the exclusive Fly Fest, where River will be the headliner.

    But when Rafi arrives on the Caribbean island location of Fly Fest with hundreds of other influencers and (very minor) celebrities, they quickly discover that the dream trip is more of a nightmare. And it’s not just confronting beauty gurus-gone-wild and spotty WiFi. Soon, Rafi goes from fighting for an interview to fighting for her life. And, as she gets closer to River, she discovers that he might be hiding even darker secrets than she suspected…

    Content Warning: violence, missing persons, and bodily functions

  • Thoughts on Delphi by Clare Pollard

    I’m still trying to wrap my head around Delphi and figure out how I feel about the book.

    There are many things to unpack here, and I don’t know where to start. But hey, I’ll run it through my Grammarly editor so it won’t be too hard for someone to read. If anyone does.

    Are you there, sweetheart? Do you know me? Is this microphone live?

    Richard Siken – Litany in Which Certain Things Are Crossed Out

    Our narrator is a professor who lives with her husband, Jason, and their child Xander, somewhere in the UK. We get to see the inner workings of her mind as the pandemic takes over their lives. 

    That’s a terrible summary. I don’t know how to summarise it.

    Delphi is my first pandemic novel. I’ve been avoiding those at all costs. This one snuck past my radar because I like collecting Greek mythology-inspired books. I didn’t read the blurb before I started the book. I was just in this mood because I was weirded out by thinking I would be leaving so many of my books behind. So I picked up a pandemic novel, and according to bookly, I read it in an hour and 12 minutes. This is less a review and more like me just talking about the things that occurred to me while I was reading it.

    I think I stuck around with Delphi because of the references to Greek mythology and how cleverly the chapters were named. They were all after the different methods one could use to tell the future. I was sure shufflemancy was a joke, but it turns out it’s not, and Googlemancy is. But I also bought tarot cards during the pandemic, downloaded moonly and co-star to understand how the planets impacted me and thought about getting a crystal ball and runes.

    Like the narrator, it was all just a game and something to explore until I pulled out my cards to help me figure out if my boyfriend and I were going to make it or not. Yup. That was me. I was trying to make sense of things, wondering if something would happen while living vicariously through incredibly toxic characters in bitlife. Was the world ever going to open up again? Tarot cards were also a way to delve back into something spiritual without seeming to get into religion. I’m still not, but acknowledging that I wanted something more was hard, and it took some time to get there.

    Beyond that, I also felt more like Jason than the narrator herself. I feel like I’d be that half-checked-out partner, but I’m also unmarried and don’t have kids, so what’s wrong with me? Do I just think I’ll be a terrible spouse?

    I should forget the tarot cards and probably just go to the therapist. 

    That’s why I liked this book; it’s got that weird undertone of nothingness, where there isn’t really time unless it’s punctured by political events. You’re just horrified by Trump and Boris Johnson and the rest of the idiots who let this get out of hand. There’s twitter and screen time, the worry that your kids aren’t developing right and the sense that one partner is doing more.

    I liked how the guardian put it; it’s less about covid and more about historical moments. That does really tie in with the references that the author used.

    If you liked this, you’d also appreciate the art of resilience, which is about the Aeneid, although I have no idea why they changed the title for the US. It’s called The Art of Resilience: The Lessons of Aeneas on amazon UK but called Starting from Scratch: The Life Changing Lessons of Aeneas on Amazon US. The former is a fascinating title which invokes One Art by Elizabeth Bishop. The latter version makes it sound like a self-help book, which it most certainly isn’t and is a horrible category to put that in. It’s bad marketing and I think someone needs to be in trouble for it.

    Clare Pollard also did some excellent self-marketing because I picked up her other book, Ovid’s Heroines, which she quotes in this one. I loved the little translation and overall I really liked how Clare Pollard writes so that should count as a review for someone who is still here. I also loved the reference to Christa Wolf’s Cassandra. It’s one of the best trojan war books I’ve read, which doesn’t get enough recognition because of the flow of thought style.

  • Book Review: The Killing Code by Ellie Marney

    Book Review: The Killing Code by Ellie Marney

    Thank you TBR and Beyond Tours for the chance to read and review The Killing Code by Ellie Marney!

    The Killing Code is a september release (it came out on the 20th) and is published by Little Brown Books. It’s 385 pages long and is a YA historical mystery.

    Review for The Killing Code

    The Killing Code reads really well! It’s fast-paced, exciting, and set in the middle of a war. We have three things going on simultaneously, Kit’s secret, some romance, and the murders of young women employed by the government. 

    Despite being for the war effort, this facility also seems to be a  woman’s haven. There is the freedom to work with other like-minded women, talk, even if some of them resent that for them, and dream about something better after the war.

    While Ellie Marney wrote an excellent book, it’s closer to three and a half stars than four for me. Someone with so much experience should have been able to pick up on certain things. For instance, while I loved Kit and Moya overall, sometimes I felt like Kit was snapped into becoming super flirty with Moya when the rest of the time, she came off pretty shy. I couldn’t understand how her personality flipped in those moments. I also loved Violet and Dottie as characters, but I felt like Violet was used to superficially exploring race issues in the US. I think Violet was the only black girl we interacted with in the book, which is odd. Even worse when you realize that Moya was a supervisor who could have tried to at least foster more significant interaction between these units. 

    On the plus side, Raffi was fun, and I loved that he was quick to understand why Kit wasn’t dancing. After Kit first suspected and dismissed, who she thought the killer was, I was sure it was that guy. Many misogynists hide like this, and we find out far too late. I did like how well researched the book was and Kit’s secret. That added an absorbing layer to their actions and the risks involved.

    About Ellie Marney

    Ellie Marney is a New York Times bestselling and multi-award-winning crime author who has gone behind the scenes at the Westminster Mortuary in London and interviewed forensic and technical specialists around the world in pursuit of just the right details for her brand of pulse-pounding thrillers.

    Her titles include The Killing CodeNone Shall Sleep, the Every trilogy, No LimitsWhite Night and the Circus Hearts series. She has lived in Indonesia, India and Singapore, and is now based in Australia with her partner and their four sons. 

    Ellie has been involved in the creation of the national campaign called #LoveOzYA to promote and advocate for Australian YA literature. She contributed to the critically-acclaimed Begin End Begin: A #LoveOzYA Anthology, and co-runs the popular #LoveOzYAbookclub online. She also co-coordinates an online info-sharing group for Australian women self-publishers. She teaches writing and publishing through Writers Victoria, advocates for Australian women’s writing as a Stella Ambassador in schools, and is a regular speaker at festivals and events.

    Blurb for The Killing Code

    Virginia, 1943: World War II is raging in Europe and on the Pacific front when Kit Sutherland is recruited to help the war effort as a codebreaker at Arlington Hall, a former girls’ college now serving as the site of a secret US Signal Intelligence facility. But Kit is soon involved in another kind of fight: government girls are being brutally murdered in Washington DC, and when Kit stumbles onto a bloody homicide scene, she is drawn into the hunt for the killer.
     
    To find the man responsible for the gruesome murders and bring him to justice, Kit joins forces with other female codebreakers at Arlington Hall—gossip queen Dottie Crockford, sharp-tongued intelligence maven Moya Kershaw, and cleverly resourceful Violet DuLac from the segregated codebreaking unit. But as the girls begin to work together and develop friendships—and romance—that they never expected, two things begin to come clear: the murderer they’re hunting is closing in on them…and Kit is hiding a dangerous secret.

    Further Reading: The Woman Who Smashed Codes by Jason Fagone

    Ellie Marney did a lot of research while writing this book and she shares a whole list of books one could go on to read after The Killing Code. I personally want to recommend The Woman Who Smashed Codes by Jason Fagone. I have yet to finish it, but I’ve been listening to the audiobook on and off and it’s a fantastic book recognising a woman whose contributions were ignored at the time and still forgotten now.

    Alternatively, also great for when your parents tell you that you can’t do anything with a degree in literature.

    Blurb

    In 1916, at the height of World War I, brilliant Shakespeare expert Elizebeth Smith went to work for an eccentric tycoon on his estate outside Chicago. The tycoon had close ties to the U.S. government, and he soon asked Elizebeth to apply her language skills to an exciting new venture: code-breaking. There she met the man who would become her husband, groundbreaking cryptologist William Friedman. Though she and Friedman are in many ways the “Adam and Eve” of the NSA, Elizebeth’s story, incredibly, has never been told.

    In The Woman Who Smashed Codes, Jason Fagone chronicles the life of this extraordinary woman, who played an integral role in our nation’s history for forty years. After World War I, Smith used her talents to catch gangsters and smugglers during Prohibition, then accepted a covert mission to discover and expose Nazi spy rings that were spreading like wildfire across South America, advancing ever closer to the United States. As World War II raged, Elizebeth fought a highly classified battle of wits against Hitler’s Reich, cracking multiple versions of the Enigma machine used by German spies. Meanwhile, inside an Army vault in Washington, William worked furiously to break Purple, the Japanese version of Enigma—and eventually succeeded, at a terrible cost to his personal life.

    Fagone unveils America’s code-breaking history through the prism of Smith’s life, bringing into focus the unforgettable events and colorful personalities that would help shape modern intelligence. Blending the lively pace and compelling detail that are the hallmarks of Erik Larson’s bestsellers with the atmosphere and intensity of The Imitation Game, The Woman Who Smashed Codes is page-turning popular history at its finest.

  • The House with the Golden Door by Elodie Harper

    The House with the Golden Door by Elodie Harper

    Book review with Turn the Page Tours!

    Thank you!

    Thank you Turn the Page Tours, for the chance to read and review The House with the Golden Door by Elodie Harper. I also want to thank them for their patience, because I managed to mix up my tour date and I’m very late!

    Also a shout out to NetGalley for having helped facilitate this! What would the internet be like if we didn’t have NetGalley for our arcs!

    Housekeeping

    The House with the Golden Door is the second book in the Wolf Den Trilogy by Elodie Harper and the sequel to The Wolf Den. The series follows the life of the slave Amara as she works in a brothel and tries to survive. While the first book is about her time in the brothel, this sequel continues with her life as a concubine to Rufus, who purchased her freedom.

    The book is 454 pages long and was published by Union Square & Co. on the 6th of September 6. Amazon broadly places it under the historical fiction and historical romance categories.

    Review

    Not gonna lie to you; at one point, I wanted to put the book down just because I was so worried for Amara and didn’t know if I could handle it. Elodie Harper doesn’t fall into the trap of having a first book that’s better than the second.

    I’m not good at writing spoiler-free reviews, so if you need a rating (four out of five stars) and want to switch over to someone else on tour, now would be the time!

    There are many things Elodie Harper does really well in this book! The PTSD and how Amara is tormented by dreams and past events. The weird dynamic with Felix, whom she hates but also wants to conquer and be respected by. The change in dynamics between her and the other women from the brothel. The way people don’t have the privilege of being good all the time; how survival means looking out for yourself more than anything. I was also heartbroken to see what happened between the women, who for so long protected each other!

    Some parts of this were odd to me, and I don’t know how I feel about them in this book, which is why it’s at 4 stars instead of five.

    Amara does some idiotic things in this book. She purchases her friend for significantly more than she can afford without telling the man she’s very dependent on and her relationship with Philos. Both of these things were stupid and reckless, and I didn’t like Philos. I don’t like that he just assumed Amara knew everything instead of telling her something about the contract she had with Rufus and her child’s status.

    I’m looking forward to the third book and how the series ends! I would love to see novellas based on some of the other women to get an even better sense of who they are and how they came to be (just dropping a hint, Elodie!).

    About Elodie Harper

    Elodie Harper is a journalist and prize-winning writer. She is currently a reporter and presenter at ITV News, and before that worked as a producer for Channel 4 News. Elodie studied Latin poetry both in the original and in translation as part of her English Literature degree at Oxford, instilling a lifelong interest in the ancient world. The Wolf Den, the first in a trilogy of novels about the lives of women in ancient Pompeii, was a number one London Times bestseller. Elodie lives in the UK. You can visit her at elodieharper.com and find her @ElodieLHarper.

  • Giveaway & Review: The Last Book You’ll Ever Read by Cullen Bunn

    Giveaway & Review: The Last Book You’ll Ever Read by Cullen Bunn
    The Last Book You’ll Ever Read - Tour banner

    Thank you, Rockstar Book Tours, for the chance to read and review The Last Book You’ll Ever Read (the complete series) by Cullen Bunn, Vlad Popov, and Leila Leiz!

    For the book tour, we read all 8 comic books (a grand total of 192 pages), around 24 pages a book! The series is available on Amazon for $17.92 (all of them) and was published by Vault Comics. They’re available via Comixology on amazon, so they’ll be super friendly to read on the kindle app!

    Review

    Our main character, Olivia, achieves what every writer wants; for their book to cause mass rioting. I’m kidding, but not really. But as the comic progresses, Olivia, hailed and reviled as a prophet, realizes that her book may not have been as original as she initially thought!

    I loved how this book played with the concept that the Abrahamic religions center on; the idea of a text being revealed. I also loved that Olivia edited out sections from the book before publishing it! As we get to more series, we’ll see the consequences of that editing; perhaps we already do with some people able to resist the effects of the book.

    The comic book does lean into a lot of horror tropes. Olivia and the bodyguard start hooking up, and we see a lot of her breasts, etc. That being said, the comic book was pretty, and if you like supernatural horror, then you’ll enjoy this.

    Giveaway:

    2 winners will receive a finished copy off the Rush.
    US only.

    Excerpt

    About the book:

    Blurb

    Read this book at your own peril.


    Olivia Kade wrote the book that ended the world. Now she needs someone who won’t read it.


    Civilization is a lie. Hidden deep in our genes is the truth. And it is slowly clawing its way to the
    surface. Olivia Kade knows the truth, and she has become the prophet of the coming collapse.
    Her book, SATYR, is an international bestseller, and it is being blamed for acts of senseless
    violence and bloodshed all over the world. Olivia’s own life is in danger from those who have
    read her work. Determined to conduct a book tour, she hires security professional Connor
    Wilson to act as her bodyguard. She only has one requirement: he cannot read her work.


    John Carpenter’s In the Mouth of Madness meets Chuck Palahniuk’s Lullaby in this terrifyingly
    dangerous tale of the descent of humankind where reality and fantasy collide.


    Collects the entire smash 8-issue series.

  • The Rake Mistake by Erica Hadley

    The Rake Mistake by Erica Hadley

    Thank you, NetGalley and WebMotion, for the chance to read and review The Rake Mistake by Erica Ridley.

    I read a lot of regency romance and thought that one way or another, The Rake Mistake would fit in that category. I was wrong! It’s a charming prequel heist novella that makes a very interesting standalone.

    While the book builds up to a heist, I loved getting to know Phillipa and her family dynamics in this one. I also think publishing this is fantastic from a marketing perspective! Not only will we get these great little heist stories featuring each woman from the heist club (I hope), but the books also tie into The Wild Wynchesters series, which is more of a romance novel series. As a whole the story was really fun to read and perfect for when you’re in the mood to just be entertained!

    I gave the book three out of five stars. A lot of the stuff was a little unbelievable to me. You can tell me that’s stupid of me because the whole point of reading a book like this is to tell reality to bugger off. I think it was the animals and the amount of stuff I had to take in with the Wynchesters. If you read this after reading The Wild Wynchesters, you probably won’t have this problem. I also didn’t care for the ending; I know it’s supposed to be happy ever after, but I would have found it more interesting if things with the rake and all the women had been more intense.

    My last problem is with the cover. I wasn’t expecting a cover like The Wild Wynchesters, but this one is not my favorite. It just seemed very low-budget to me. I don’t know if the publishers will approve me again after that last comment. That being said, I want to acknowledge that I was drawn to this cover because we have evident diversity on it!

    Overall, this is a lovely prequel novella that whets your appetite for other books by Erica Ridley.

  • Beguiled by Cyla Panin ~ TBR and Beyond Tours

    Beguiled by Cyla Panin ~ TBR and Beyond Tours

    Thank you TBR and Beyond Tours and NetGalley for the chance to Beguiled by Cyla Panin.

    Be careful what you wish for is a saying as old as time. It’s about being content with what we have and not being tricked out of that. 

    Ella is desperate. A money lender wants her to pay back with more than just cash. She’s barely getting by and her one client chooses to pay her later. She goes to the washerwoman spirit called the Bean-Nighe. The Bean-Night grants every wish but at a price, and Ella has no idea what she’s really paid with. 

    As a whole Cyla Panin is a good writer. The plot is interesting; Ella is not just desperate for money, but she also desperately needs love and affection; to the point where she will close her eyes and blind herself to facts around her. How did she meet Callum that day? Why does no one comment on her changing appearance? 

    I was frustrated with Ella at the start, I couldn’t understand why she would bargain for so little, but I realised that was Cyla Panin’s very clever way of showing us how so many people, despite their talent and hard work, live in poverty even then; they truly have no idea of the worth of their work; and which of us would ever pay them fairly?

    While I thought Beguiled was an interesting read, I feel like the ending was too chaotic for my personal taste. That being said, it’s a 4 star read and there are certain things that I really liked, but can’t say because that’ll spoil everything! If you read Rosamand Hodge and her books Cruel Beauty and Gilded Ashes, I feel like you’ll love this too.

    Blurb:

    Ella is a 17-year-old weaver whose entire livelihood depends on her loom. She dreams of opening her own shop, but when her father died in debtor’s prison, she had to support herself by taking whatever clients she could get. In order to buy her supplies she goes into debt of her own, and when her loom breaks, Ella realizes she needs more help than a repairperson can give her. She, like everyone, has heard about the old washerwoman spirit called the Bean-Nighe who will grant any one wish—for a price.
     
    But Ella is desperate, so she asks the Bean-Nighe to fix her loom. And it works. The loom is fixed, and she creates beautiful pieces she could have never imagined before. All she has to do is feed the loom a drop of blood each time she weaves—a small price to pay for such magnificent silks. And when she brings two bolts to a rich client, she meets a mysterious young man named Callum and bargains for an invitation to his exclusive party. At that party, he’s so mesmerized by her talent, he offers Ella a place to live and patronage for her art. It seems like Ella’s fortune is finally turning for the better . . . until she begins to notice the loom taking more from her than she offered.
      
    As she becomes entangled in the lives of the city’s rich, swept into Callum’s allure, and trapped by the Bean-Nighe’s magic, Ella must figure out a way to secure her future while she still has a future at all.

    About the Author

    Cyla Panin is an MG, YA and Adult Author who prefers to look at the world through a dusting of magic.

    After spending most of her childhood wanting to escape into the wonderful worlds her favourite authors created, she’s now using her own words to craft magical places. When not writing, Cyla can be found playing dinosaurs with her two young boys, watching swashbuckling and/or period TV shows with her husband, and, of course, reading.

    Her YA debut, STALKING SHADOWS came out with Amulet, Abrams Fall 2021. She is represented by Chloe Seager of the Madeleine Milburn Literary, TV, and film agency.

  • On the Subject of Unmentionable Things by Julia Walton ~ Book Tour Review

    Thank you TBR and Beyond Tours for the chance to read and review a really great young adult book that tackles an important topic without making it cringy or dull. 

    Why I picked this up

    Which of us has ever had a really informative talk with our parents? What we know, generally speaking, comes from pop culture, things we google in secret and porn. I live in a country where we ask if a woman is married to check if she’s sexually active or not. For me, the talk was just about periods and just that this happens to a woman as she grows older. I was then accidentally given a book on teen health that everyone thought would convince me to eat healthier and lose weight but instead answered the other question that plagued my mind; can a guy pee inside you when you’re having sex?

    Shout out: R U a Teenage Health Freak?

    (Incidentally, my grandmother hid teenage health freak after discovering what it was about. I did recover the book later and hid it in the back of my shelf.)

    Sex education is still a controversial topic in most places. For some reason, people think it will involve showing young kids porn and encouraging kids to do it, and not as we will tell young people that STDs are a real thing, you can get pregnant the very first time, and what is good touch and bad touch. Let’s not even get into the joy of sex. It can be about pleasure and not just something for men to thirst for and women to put up with.

    So when the sign-ups for On The Subject of Unmentionable Things went around, I was curious. This could either be really good or really bad, and I’m happy to say it fell into the first category.

    Book Review

    I had a brilliant professor in my freshmen year. She was a labor historian in Pakistan. I may not remember her exact words, but she talked about people who commented on why she was researching labor in Pakistan and not women because she was a woman. Her answer was, simply put, because I’m interested in labor. 

    I thought of this because On The Subject of Unmentionable Things reminds us that a woman’s interests are political. A woman’s choice to study something not directly related to women is political. And we have Phoebe right here writing a blog and managing a Twitter page on the most political thing of them all; sex. She writes about sex not from a place of fear or because she’s having loads and thinking about facts turns her on; she writes about it because the human body, and sex, are fascinating things. You can be incredibly interested in them for no reason than that.

    Julia Walton’s book was excellent. She touches on subjects that impact many of us; misinformation, fear-mongering, racism, sexism, homophobia, and how people can just be assholes without making this book feel preachy or boring. She writes well and has a plot, and I’m disappointed with Random House for not marketing this book better because she only has 3 reviews on amazon.

    Phoebe has friends who don’t know the truth, parents trying to figure out how to manage their business and political preferences, people whose loyalty is up for rent, and a trump like woman who wants to make her town great again. 

    You get where the author leans politically, and I love that about her. This is not her first book on teens, but her third. She seems to genuinely care about younger readers because while this book didn’t hold back, it wasn’t a graphic read. Phoebe does get slut shamed; the town is vandalized; she is stolen from. And yet you have a character that comes through with dignity and self-respect. Julia Walton writes about a character more mature than most of the older ones, a reminder that only the young can run. 

    About the author:

    JULIA WALTON is the award-winning author ofWords on Bathroom Walls(now adapted to a major motion picture!) andJust Our Luck. Her third novel,On the Subject of Unmentionable Things,is set for release on August 23, 2022. She received an MFA in creative writing from Chapman University and a BA in History from UC Irvine. Julia lives with her husband and children in Huntington Beach, CA.

  • Jinnistan: Scary stories to tell over chai by Ayesha Muzaffar

    Jinnistan

    If you aren’t in the mood to deal with mediocre, stay away.

    I used to follow Abu’s Jinns on Instagram. I don’t know when I stopped or why, but I do know that it was nice to see an Instagram story of Jinnistan get published. When I walked into Saeed Book Bank a few days ago and saw it stocked there, I knew I had to try it even though I’ve avoided jinn stories in all forms; after all, if you tell them, they’ll also come to listen in.

    If you aren’t from Pakistan, this may not have significance to you. Abu’s Jinns was an Instagram page, which is now private, which posted jinn stories in its captions. You weren’t there for any picture. Ayesha Muzaffar (the page owner) made the stories feel real. You weren’t there for some beautifully edited caption that made your heart; you were there for a story that sounded like something a friend would tell you.

    This isn’t a book of happy endings; most stories are gruesome; people disappear and die in terrible ways. But some are ordinary; sometimes you need to apologize, and sometimes you need to say hello. Many stories focus on human greed and cruelty, where people miss out on being gentle. Some are scary for the sake of it.

    I wanted to love Jinnistan the way I loved Abu’s Jinns. I couldn’t. While the author is a good storyteller, and I don’t want to be on a campsite next to her, as a book, this could have been much better written. When you’re writing a book with extensive use of roman Urdu it’s already a bit of a challenge. The author was mostly able to overcome this by ensuring her stories stayed conversational, even though there were lapses in that which felt forced.

    I think the author could have avoided many of these problems had she re-read her book out loud a month after writing it and before publishing it. Things just needed to be cleaned up. In one story, that I read out loud to my cousin, I realized that the paragraphs were utterly messed up, and it wasn’t a printing issue.

    Long story short, I think Abu’s Jinns was a great thing to have on Instagram. However, it didn’t need to be turned into a book. Stories work on different mediums and platforms, and Abu’s Jinns worked. If you loved Abu’s Jinns, I recommend you stay away from this book. If you haven’t had any experience with that, the book is a 3-star read.

    Places to buy this:

    If you’re based in Pakistan you can get the book at Saeed Book Bank (where I got my copy) and Liberty books. If you’re based globally, I’m adding the amazon link down below:

  • September TBR – Book Tour edition

    So every so often I make a list of books that I really want to finish in a month. Usually they’re like 40+ and I hardly ever read them all. It’s like I can’t stand some of them and then I put myself in a bad spot.

    Well, this last month I’ve DNFed like 10 books and its been so much fun. I’ve read 217 books this year and I don’t need to race against the clock to finish 300 for the year.

    But here is my booklist for September, based on just the tours I’m going to be a part of!

    Let me know if you’re on any of these tours with me!

    The Dragons Promise by Elizabeth Lim – 4th September

    Is there someone who wouldn’t want to be on tour for this book? Six Crimson Cranes was a wonderful book, the kind that we don’t get often so I’m really excited about the sequel!

    I’m on tour for this with TBR and Beyond Tours, who always supply me with fantastic YA reads!

    I’m going to be posting my review for this on the 4th of September!

    Blurb:

    Princess Shiori made a deathbed promise to return the dragon’s pearl to its rightful owner, but keeping that promise is more dangerous than she ever imagined.

    She must journey to the kingdom of dragons, navigate political intrigue among humans and dragons alike, fend off thieves who covet the pearl for themselves and will go to any lengths to get it, all while cultivating the appearance of a perfect princess to dissuade those who would see her burned at the stake for the magic that runs in her blood.

    The pearl itself is no ordinary cargo; it thrums with malevolent power, jumping to Shiori’s aid one minute, and betraying her the next—threatening to shatter her family and sever the thread of fate that binds her to her true love, Takkan. It will take every ounce of strength Shiori can muster to defend the life and the love she’s fought so hard to win. 

    The Last Book You’ll Ever Read by Cullen Bunn – 5th September

    I love being on a tour with Rockstar Book Tours! It was the first place I ever did a book tour with and we always have a great giveaway!

    Blurb:

    Civilization is a lie. Hidden deep in our genes is the truth. And it is slowly clawing its way to the surface. Olivia Kade knows the truth, and she has become the prophet of the coming collapse. Her book, SATYR, is an international bestseller, and it is being blamed for acts of senseless violence and bloodshed all over the world. Olivia’s own life is in danger from those who have read her work. Determined to conduct a book tour, she hires security professional Connor Wilson to act as her bodyguard. She only has one requirement: he cannot read her work.

    Lessons by Ian McEwan – 14th September

    Random Things Tours has given some of my favourite books, so how could I not sign up for a tour with them!

    Blurb:

    While the world is still counting the cost of the Second World War and the Iron Curtain has descended, young Roland Baines’s life is turned upside down. Stranded at boarding school, his vulnerability attracts his piano teacher, Miriam Cornell, leaving scars as well as a memory of love that will never fade.

    Twenty-five years later, as the radiation from the Chernobyl disaster spreads across Europe, Roland’s wife mysteriously vanishes and he is forced to confront the reality of his rootless existence and look for answers in his family history.

    From the fall of the Berlin Wall to the Covid pandemic and climate change, Roland sometimes rides with the tide of history but more often struggles against it. Haunted by lost opportunities, he seeks solace through every possible means ­- literature, travel, friendship, drugs, politics, sex and love.

    His journey raises important questions. Can we take full charge of the course of our lives without damage to others? How do global events beyond our control shape us and our memories? What role do chance and contingency play in our existence? And what can we learn from the traumas of the past? contingency play in our existence? And what can we learn from the traumas of the past?

    The House with the Golden Door by Elodie Harper – 14th September

    This is my first tour with Turn the Page Tours and I’m fairly excited! I’m currently reading The Wolf Den, which I picked up because it falls under the ancient Greece category, which is my favourite thing!

    Blurb:

    Amara has escaped her life as a slave in the Wolf Den, the city’s most notorious brothel, but now her survival depends on the affections of her patron: a man she might not know as well as she once thought. At night in the home he bought for her, the house with the golden door, Amara’s dreams are haunted by her past. She longs for her sisterhood of friends—the women at the brothel she was forced to leave behind—and worse, finds herself pursued by the cruel and vindictive man who once owned her. To be truly free, she will need to be as ruthless as he is. Amara knows her existence in Pompeii is subject to Venus, the goddess of love. Yet finding love may prove to be the most dangerous act of all. This is the second installment in Elodie Harper’s acclaimed Wolf Den Trilogy, which reimagines the lives of women long overlooked.

    The Killing Code by Ellie Marney – 22nd September

    This is also a tour with TBR and Beyond Tours!

    Blurb:

    Virginia, 1943: World War II is raging in Europe and on the Pacific front when Kit Sutherland is recruited to help the war effort as a codebreaker at Arlington Hall, a former girls’ college now serving as the site of a secret US Signal Intelligence facility. But Kit is soon involved in another kind of fight: government girls are being brutally murdered in Washington DC, and when Kit stumbles onto a bloody homicide scene, she is drawn into the hunt for the killer.
     
    To find the man responsible for the gruesome murders and bring him to justice, Kit joins forces with other female codebreakers at Arlington Hall—gossip queen Dottie Crockford, sharp-tongued intelligence maven Moya Kershaw, and cleverly resourceful Violet DuLac from the segregated codebreaking unit. But as the girls begin to work together and develop friendships—and romance—that they never expected, two things begin to come clear: the murderer they’re hunting is closing in on them…and Kit is hiding a dangerous secret.

    Lord of the Fly Fest by Goldy Moldavsky – 23rd September

    So is it a bit obvious that I really like TBR and Beyond Tours?

    Blurb:

    Rafi Francisco needs a splashy case to put her true crime podcast on the map. She sets her sights on River Stone, the hearthrob musician who rose to stardom after the mysterious disappearance of his girlfriend. Rafi somehow scores a ticket to the exclusive Fly Fest, where River will be the headliner—and her starmaking interview.

    But when Rafi arrives on the Caribbean island location of Fly Fest with hundreds of other influencers, they quickly discover that the promised dream getaway is more of a nightmare. Soon, Rafi goes from fighting for an interview to fighting for her life as she has to confront beauty gurus—gone—wild and spotty WiFi. And, as she gets closer to River, she discovers that he might be hiding even darker secrets than she suspected.

    I’ve done tours with over 30 book tour organisers and I’m so excited to be on tour with some of my favourite ones in September! To be fair, there are loads of my favourite tour organisers not here, for instance Love Book Tours, Hidden Hollow Book tours, The Write Reads, MTMC, BOMM or Sapphire Ink Book Tours, but I hope I get the chance next month!