April Wrap up and May TBR

the raven cycle book stack with sword in the stars book cover

So April has absolutely flown by, and now we are into May…..I turn 30 this month!! But it’s okay because I won’t be forced to grow up…although I am getting tired and can’t see a thing without my glasses!

So I haven’t managed to read much at all this month as I’ve been spending time in front of the TV screen instead. I’ve finished re-watching all six seasons of LOST (an amazing show that’s stood the test of time, go check it out if you haven’t already) I’ve also (probably along with a massive amount of the book community) watched Leigh Bardugo’s Shadow & Bone on Netflix which is EXCELLENT. I have only read the Six of Crows duology and not the Shadow & Bone series, but I enjoyed seeing the Crows on screen, even i I wish they had more plot from the book in it…Season 2 anyone!?

Lastly, I’ve been playing Oddworld: Soulstorm on PS5, I’ve been playing Abe and Oddworld games since I was six years old and I could talk about or play them all day! I’m not a very skilled gamer but I don’t care, I have fun!

So book – wise, I have read 4 books and started one more, I’ve also bought 3 and was gifted one!

Finished re-reading The Raven Cycle by Maggie Stiefvater – the fourth time maybe?

Read The Sword in The Stars by Cori McCarthy and Amy Rose Capetta (to complete the Once & Future duology)

Started Cute Mutants Vol. 4 by SJ Whitby

the raven boys book tattoo bee tattoo ley lines flowers
My Raven Cycle Tattoo


Big plans for May! I’m going to finish Cute Mutants Vol. 4, and then start The Once and Future Witches by Alix E. Harrow whilst I wait for Mister Impossible by Maggie Stiefvater which is out on May 18th. Then after that I’ll be reading Last Night at the Telegraph Club by Malinda Lo for a group read.
Who knows..I may even get to start the Truly Devious series I bought this month..

the once and future witches books cover

The Luminous Dead By Caitlin Starling

This book was a pick for a group read in March so it was good for me to read something that wasn’t my usual genre – I found The Luminous Dead to be tense and creepy, but I couldn’t put this down and it was a really enjoyable read!

the luminous dead caitlin starling book cover

I would describe The Luminous Dead as psychological fiction mixed with sci-fi. It follows Gyre as she goes on a caving mission with just Em as her only company, as the voice in her headset as her handler / minder. The book builds a claustrophobic atmosphere and gives you a real sense of isolation. The plot takes place pretty much entirely in the cave, but the book focuses on character development between the two women as one is constantly keeping secrets and withholding info, and the other is strong, determined, and a little impulsive. The pair are often clashing and face moral dilemmas and need to work together.

There are a few twists here and there, along with some very tense moments, and a constant feeling of urgency to get the assignment over with and just GET THE HELL OUT OF THERE. I found that it was easy to get pulled in to the story and the setting, I was very impressed with the writing managing to take me somewhere I have no experience of and holding my attention throughout. Definitely going to take a look at Caitlin Starling’s other work!

Cute Mutants Book Tag

Back in December, I read Cute Mutants by SJ Whitby for the first time. It’s an incredibly unique, fun, inclusive, fast paced superqueero set of stories. To celebrate the release of Cute Mutants Volume 4: The Sisterhood of Evil Mutants on April 6th, the wonderful Art at Inkandplasma has put together this great Cute Mutants book tag with Finn (evidentlybookish) and Andee (mousereads). Please feel free to join in if you wish, I always love hearing about favourite books.

Read below for the fun character prompts and what my picks were!

You can find the images/graphics on the link here, if you wish to use them (please give credit) thanks!

Dylan aka Chatterbox: A book featuring a character who can be a little bit mean but a lot loveable.

For this one I’m going to pick Ronan Lynch from The Raven Cycle, and The Dreamer Trilogy. In the first book of The Raven Cycle he does appear to be a bit mean. He has his guard up and I get the feeling he only has a few people he really cares about. He also has a lot of money and handful of problems so I can see why he can be defensive and standoffish and appear hard to relate to at first. He’s not always cold though as he is a total softie for animals, and through out the books the reader gets to know him more and see him warm towards others and we warm towards him. He’s magical, funny, creative, fiercely loyal towards those he is close to, and I want the best for him!

Dani aka Marvellous: A book that caused you pain.

Clockwork Princess from The Infernal Devices trilogy of the Shadowhunter series. Cassandra Clare can write stories and characters that can break your heart like no one else.

Alyse aka Moodring: A book featuring monster girls.

I’m going to have to pick Cute Mutants here. Alyse is one of my favourite characters from this book and her super power is so cool and imaginative. This book is full of fierce and powerful characters that can go full monster at times but also be soft babies.

Emma aka Goddess: A book featuring a superpower you’d love to have.

Picking Cute Mutants AGAIN because I love Dylan’s power and all that comes with it. Talking and communicating with objects? It’d be useful and hilarious at the same time.

Lou aka Glowstick: A book with great trans rep

I’m not trans so can’t really speak for whether the rep is good or bad, but I can recommend Cemetery Boys by Aidan Thomas as an own voices story with a good trans character. The book does discuss the main character Yadriel’s identity as a trans boy but it’s not the whole main deal of the story.

Bianca aka Wraith: A book with a character you’d go to hell and back for

It’s been a while since I’ve read the Strange The Dreamer duology, but I immediately thought of the character Lazlo Strange for this prompt, because he is such a good soul, a hero, and he deserves the absolute best. I think there is a bit of Lazlo Strange in every one of us which is what makes him so wonderful to read about.

Onimaru: A book with a character much cooler than you.

I’ve recently read Once & Future by A.R Capetta and Cory McCarthy and I absolutely loved it and would definitely recommend it to fans of Cute Mutants. The main character, Ari, is the newest reincarnation of King Arthur and she is so much cooler than me. She has a powerful magical mythical SWORD, a magician as her sidekick, and a band of amazing friends around her, and a spaceship! Def much cooler than me.

Pillow: A book featuring your favourite fictional relationship

Can I just say if you have not read Cute Mutants yet then you need to because I love Pillow so much!!!!! And you will too! But for my favourite fictional relationship (I have many) I am going to pick Gansey and Blue from The Raven Cycle because they are complete opposites at first…but they do say opposites attract! I really enjoyed the way they came together in the series and the effect the two of them have on each other.

Batty: A book with a secondary character/sidekick you can’t help but love

I’m going to say Batty and Onimaru from Cute Mutants because Batty is what made me force my friend to read this series and we both fell in love with Onimaru together as well.

Pear: A book with a family dynamic you love

Found family is the best family so I will have to pick The Foxhole Court / All For The Game series by Nora Sakavic for this one. Those who have read it will know why. Lots of books have groups and teams where characters will ride and die for each other, but this series explores why, along with discussing boundaries and how bonds can break and be repaired.

And that’s it! Here are the prompts if you wish to take part too!

Dylan aka Chatterbox: A book featuring a character who can be a little bit mean but a lot loveable.

Dani aka Marvellous: A book that caused you pain.

Alyse aka Moodring: A book featuring monster girls.

Emma aka Goddess: A book featuring a superpower you’d love to have.

Lou aka Glowstick: A book with great trans rep. 

Bianca aka Wraith: A book with a character you’d go to hell and back for. 

Onimaru: A book with a character much cooler than you.

Pillow: A book featuring your favourite fictional relationship.

Batty: A book with a secondary character/sidekick you can’t help but love.

Pear: A book with a family dynamic you love.

March Wrap Up

So March has flown by! The UK has been in and out of lockdown for a whole year now. We are currently in our longest one since November but things are just starting to ease with people being allowed to socialise outdoors in groups of up to 6, and shops should open mid April.

So I have been working, and when not working I’ve been re-watching LOST -my all time favourite show, watching Schitt’s Creek, and reading. I’ve read 6 books this month, all physical editions this time. I bought 3 books which I’ve read already, and DNF’d one book. March has been a good months for reads, read on to see which were my first 5 star books of 2021, which book was sadly abandoned, and which book took me out of my comfort zone.

Chain of Iron By Cassandra Claire
chain of iron book cover book review

First up was Chain of Iron, second in The Last Hours series from the growing Shadowhunter Universe. I had a couple of days off so took a long weekend and devoured this one. It was classic Cassie to be honest, nothing new, but still enjoyable. I liked it more than what I thought I would.

The Library At Mount Char by Scott Hawkins
the library at mount char by scott hawkins

I decided to read The Library At Mount Char after seeing a tweet on Twitter by Maggie Stiefvater where she asked for suggestions / recommendations of the most weirdest books people have read. Lots of people commented this title, so I picked it up because I thought I wanted to try something weird. OMG it was disturbing and weird. But…it became my first five star read of 2021 because of how original, bizzare, darkly funny and disturbing it was. I have linked my review here…just be wary of this book, it’s adult urban fantasy and it’s full of potentially triggering content.

A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness

I think I missed the big deal with A Monster Calls. I found it really sad but not overly engaging, I felt it was a little bit “young” for me, but perhaps I wasn’t ready to deal with this kind of story about illness and sadness.

Once & Future by Amy Rose Capetta and Cori McCarthy
Once and Future book cover book review

Another 5 Star read this month! I am asking myself why I waited so long to read Once & Future? I’d recommend this book to everyone. It’s a sci-fi / fantasy/ futuristic retelling or continuation of the King Arthur myth. It’s also very queer! It follows Ari who is the next King Arthur and she meets Merlin the Magician (who is aging backwards!?) who needs to train her and get her “on the nearest throne” – his words. The second installment in the duology I think will follow the search for the holy grail however I have not read it yet. It was a good ending, but I love the characters so I want to get back to them soon, so I need to pick up the sequel!

I really enjoyed how fast paced this was and how it still managed to have twists and turns even though I am familiar with the King Arthur story. I’m not a huge sci -fi fan but I found it wasn’t too “heavy” and was easy to get in to. I haven’t written a review yet because…reasons, but I will because this book deserves it!

The Luminous Dead by Caitlin Starling
the luminous dead

If you would have told me I’d read a Sci-Fi book which is just about one person in a cave and the voice of her handler / minder, finish it in a day, and give it a solid 4 stars .. well I’d be like, no that’s not me? But it was aha. This was a pick for a group read for the March book for The Queer Book Crew. I’ll write a review soon, but I enjoyed this piece of psychological fiction very, very much.

The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater

Last but not least, I have started re reading The Raven Cycle and finished The Raven Boys yesterday. I usually re read it once a year but couldn’t wait until April or May which is when I usually do! I think its because it’s a comfort read, and things are very strange at the moment, my anxiety and OCD is on the rise again and I find comfort in this series. I have treated myself to the beautiful hard copy as my paperback is getting a bit battered. This series is my reminder to find beauty where I can, magic in the mundane, and just the general good in the people close to you. I find something new about each character in each read. It makes me look at the world like magic could be possible if you just know where to look. I also love The Raven Boys in general as I just love how it talks about trees and the woods. The first in the series is just very clever as there is so much foreshadowing.

April TBR

I have no plans for April really, I’ll probably finish re reading all four books in The Raven Cycle, and then the newest Cute Mutants book is out soon, AND then if there is any time left, I might pick up Sword In The Stars which is the sequel to Once & Future. I also felt like re reading The Host by Stephenie Meyer (re reads are preferable when I’m feeling anxious)

I’m just looking forward to May when Mister Impossible by Maggie Stiefvater comes out (Ronan Lynch in The Dreamer Trilogy #2)

The Library at Mount Char by Scott Hawkins

Ok, so, I had never heard of this book before until I saw a tweet on Twitter by Maggie Stiefvater asking what people would say was their most weirdest read.

After scrolling through for a bit I noticed that the title The Library at Mount Char kept popping up, and I was in the mood for something different, so I checked out some reviews on Goodreads briefly. Most of them were the same; “bizzare” “weird” “strange” “wild” were the words that I kept seeing. Most people commented on how they didn’t know how they would be able to write a review, or even describe the book. This made me excited and I didn’t know exactly what I was going in for, which made reading it all the more fun. I just have to try and write about it spoiler free and hopefully recommend it to anyone who’s reading my posts, because it’s been my favourite book so far this year and I’d love someone to be surprised by it the way I was. It was very captivating, chaotic, and twisted.

Blurb from the book;

Carloyn knows she’s a little bit…odd. But she figures that’s only natural when she’s spent her life locked away in an infinite Library, forced to study at the feet of the man who might be God. She’s seen her share of terrible things in those years, even died a few times herself.

Steve tried hard to be an ordinary guy, and he’s been doing a pretty good job at it-until Carolyn shows up in his life with a tempting offer, a pair of red rubber galoshes, and exactly $327,000. Soon, he finds himself swept up in a war waged on a scale he can barely comprehend, as powerful forces battle for control of the Library and the future of the universe itself.

Brilliantly plotted, blackly funny, truly epic in scope-and featuring a cast of characters that includes a tutu-clad psychopath, a malevolent iceberg, and a lion named after an atomic bomb-The Library at Mount Char is the year’s most ambitious and acclaimed fantasy debut and a ride like none you’ve ever been on before.

I have never really read anything quite like this (possibly American Gods by Neil Gaiman which I wasn’t a big fan of, but only slightly) it’s so unique in the choices it makes and the places it goes to. There are shocks throughout and it was one of those books where you get that fear because it seems to be ending but theres still 100 pages left.

If you are thinking about reading this, be aware it is one of those books that’s not exactly linear and it does move between certain situations and time points, but it holds your attention and it all eventually starts to make sense. You might be confused at first, but you’re also going to be dragged in. Honestly, the whole “what the hell is going on” is part of the fun.

For me, although I enjoyed the book hugely, most of time it was accompanied by a feeling of unease and that something unpleasant was always around the corner. I don’t read a lot of horror type books so I don’t know if this is a common thing, but it was a plus for me, because I kept reading because I wanted to know if my hunch was right, and if not, well then I needed to keep reading because I wanted to figure it all out!

I would recommend this to anyone who wants to read something original. Scott Hawkins has shown himself to be a storyteller. The Library at Mount Char is not just an interesting story, it’s also presented to the reader in an entertaining way. I think urban fantasy fans, people that enjoy horror books, and readers that like books with dark themes and dark humor would all enjoy this.

Lastly, I have to mention this book is dark and disturbing in parts and you have got to be aware of the content. It’s not going to be everyones cup of tea. It will be tough to the more sensitive reader. It has violence towards adults and children. There is abuse, death, torture. There is animal injury and violence. However I didn’t find it to be gratuitous.

The Lost Coast by A.R Capetta

the lost coast ar cppetta book cover

That moment when you realise you’ve found a book that is what you’ve been looking to read for ages.. Great feeling isn’t it? The Lost Coast by A.R Capetta (Once & Future) is a magical book, and I wanted to read it slowly so as not to miss a thing. It does such a good job of combining story, atmosphere, characters, and lyrical prose all wrapped up in a beautiful standalone romantic mystery novel under 400 pages.

The Lost Coast is about Danny, who finds herself drawn to the town of Tempest, California, and it turns out she was actually summoned there by a group of friends who believe she has what they need to find their missing friend Imogen. Danny arriving there is the result of their last attempt at a spell. This group of queer witches are known as The Grays, and for someone like Danny, she’s starting to feel she has actually found her place and somewhere she belongs. They teach her about magic but also guide her to what her own talents and gifts might be. Whilst figuring this out, she is also aware of her growing attraction towards one of the Grays but isn’t sure if her feelings will be returned. Their search for Imogen steers in different directions and there is a building eerie sense of something wrong.

The Lost Coast is certainly queer and uses the term on-page. Its diverse cast includes a lesbian character, bi characters, a non-binary character, and there is also some ace representation as well. The rep is what stands out for me, there are things in each character I can relate to, plus it’s always good to see more queer characters in the books we read. These characters are confident in their own identities and sexuality and encourage discussion about it – “So, what word fits in a way that makes you happy at this very moment?” I think part of their ability to be themselves is why Danny is so drawn to the group as she is finding people who understand her whilst also feeling free to be their true selves. They seem comfortable in their own skin. It’s been weeks since I finished this book and I’m already looking forward to reading it again as it left me with such a warm, fuzzy, positive feeling.

“I’ve found the heart of another secret: the Grays are always touching and kissing each other because so many before us couldn’t. Each kiss carries the weight of so many kisses that never were. Every touch is an invisible battle won.”

Did I mention this book is unapologetically queer? I love how The Lost Coast has such a nice way of portraying intimacy and attraction. Before coming to Tempest, one of Danny’s main pastimes was kissing girls and whilst this was frowned upon by her mother, Danny wasn’t ashamed of it. The Grays kiss each other and touch each other because they are close and feel they are able to do so. The book does include a sex scene and it is good to see characters feeling comfortable with sex and their bodies as it gives off a sex-positive message.

I have seen reviews comparing The Lost Coast to The Raven Cycle which is one of my most favourite book series, and I can see why such comments are made. There are similarities like making magic, the found family trope, the continuous trips to the woods, and the sense of “otherness” surrounding the trees etc, but for me, that’s where it ends. Plus, The Lost Coast is a stand-alone so I don’t think it’s fair to compare it to a series.

“The trees keep us company as we ride. They keep our secrets, and we never have to ask. …Maybe that’s why girls like us are always in the woods.”

When it comes to writing, the story felt more character-based than plot-based, however, there is still a sense of the mystery running through it that forms the base of the story, but overall I felt like the focus was on the prose and atmosphere. I love looking at trees and like the feeling of being on a good walk in the woods. I can see the woods from my window and The Lost Coast just made me want to put my shoes on and walk out into nature. I adore the writing in this and because of that, I think I’ll look at other books by A.R Capetta. The story is told in a non-linear fashion but each chapter tells you who’s point of view it is from and which point in time. I feel this writing choice works really well at giving insights into the characters. It helped the town of Tempest feel like an important character in its own right, the trees feel like a character, and the ravens are a character (they get their own short chapters and viewpoint). I enjoyed the difference in chapters between The Grays which are narrated in the third person, and Danny’s chapters which are in the first person from her point of view. It was easy to get into the swing of things after a few chapters.

It’s definitely a whimsical and imaginative read, and some readers may find it slightly weird at the end, but if you think you like the sound of this then I’d absolutely recommend it. I think if you enjoy contemporary fantasy, queer stories, and dreamy writing, then you can’t go wrong with The Lost Coast. I would really love more people to pick up and shout about this book. It’s a beautiful, beautiful, book. I think it’s really about finding your place or your people and the real difference and hope that can bring to a person.

Review also shared with The Nerd Daily

Sheets / Delicates Graphic Novels

I’m so pleased to share the piece I have written for The Nerd Daily about Brenna Thummler’s lovely graphic novels Sheets, and its sequel Delicates. I read Sheets a while back and the sequel called Delicates is out this month. I’ve been singing Sheets’ praises all over my Instagram because I just love the cover and the artwork and it’s such a sweet story.

So yes, I have to admit that Sheets was a complete cover buy for me because I couldn’t resist those eyes on the cute cover! The illustrations are beautiful and I really like the choice of the pink, purple, and blue colour palette, combines with the softer, pastel style tones as they are easy on the eye and really peaceful and readable.

Please check out my full review on The Nerd Daily by clicking the link to the full article here

February Wrap Up and March TBR

book reading wrap up pile and kindle with book covers

Happy February! Didn’t that go fast? It did for me anyway. February was COLD! So this was the excuse I needed to just read at the weekends instead of doing anything. I read 8 books this month; 4 physical books, and 4 on a kindle. 3 of them were graphic novels, and 2 of them were ARCs. It’s looking like the UK is going to start lifting it’s lockdown gradually and opening places up and allowing us to actually see people we don’t live with!! So maybe my next monthly wrap ups will be shorter as I’ll probably be reading less and hopefully seeing friends!

Red, White and Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston
red white and royal bule book kindle cover

My first book of February wasn’t my favourite, but that’s ok because others were much better. I’m really sorry to say I wasn’t a huge fan of Red, White, and Royal Blue. I think deep down I knew it was overhyped and I’d be a bit disappointed. I don’t want to write bad reviews as I’d rather shout about books I liked, so I haven’t done a full review but lets just say I just couldn’t get with they style, couldn’t work out what it was trying to be, and found it a bit daft.

Snapdragon By Kat Leyh
snapdragon graphic novel

A cute but slightly spooky and imaginative story, with characters that say a big F*** Y** to gender roles and age roles. Heartwarming, quirky, and nicely illustrated graphic novel. Great for readers of all ages, animal lovers, witches in training, anyone really.

The Lost Coast by A.R Capetta
The Lost Coast Book

I loved this one! The Lost Coast is magical, and I felt best devoured slowly. I think it was a good pick for February’s Queer Book Crew group read as the rep was wonderfully queer! The cast includes a lesbian character, bi characters, a non binary character, and there is also some ace rep as well. Plus it revolves around my favourite things.. The woods, trees, and magic! I was getting The Raven Cycle vibes from this!
It felt more character based than plot based, however there is still a sense of the mystery running through it that forms the base of the story, but over all I felt like the focus was on the prose and atmosphere. Which is great, because I love me some good prose!
I already can’t wait to read it again – see my full review here.

The Deepest Breath by Meg Grehan
the deepest breath book

I picked this ARC up after enjoying Meg Grehan’s other book – The Space Between (I really should get to writing about that because it was wonderful) You can check out my review for The Deepest Breath here In short – it’s a novel in verse about 11 year old Stevie who is experiencing her first crush which is a lovely thing, but also feelings of anxiety and worry which are not so lovely. She is a curious girl with a thirst for knowledge and her latest interest is the ocean so the book has lots of imagery to do with the ocean and bits about sea creatures. Meg Grehan portrays complex thoughts and emotions in a way I can really relate to.

My Dark Vanessa by Kate Elizabeth Russell
my dark vanessa book

My, my, where do I start with My Dark Vanessa? Enjoy is not the right word but it was an excellent, compelling, thought provoking read. If you can handle disturbing content and like reading psychological fiction then please check out my review of My Dark Vanessa to find out more. There has been so much marketing for this and I feel like the book is everywhere I look. I think the writing is good but the subject matter will not be for everyone and it does get dark so I think people need to be informed before they read.

Sheets and Delicates Graphic Novels by Brenna Thummler
sheets delicates brenna thummler

Sheets and Delicates are two wonderful graphic novels. Delicates is released March 24th this year and I was lucky enough to review an ARC which I’ll be able to post soon and can’t wait to share! I have to admit that Sheets was a complete cover buy, I couldn’t resist those eyes on the cute cover! The illustrations are beautiful and I really like the choice of the pink, purple, and blue colour pallete, and the softer, pastel style tones as they are easy on the eye and really peaceful and readable. Wendell the Ghost is adorable. He has escaped on a train out of Ghost Town and finds himself in 13 year old Marjorie Glatt’s laundrette. Sheets is an emotional novel, dealing with grief and loss, but Wendell the Ghost adds a bit of light hearted humour. Delicates is also very emotional and moving, and the themes include loneliness, friendship, and communication. I’d say these are excellent books for teens because of the issues they raise and how they are handled.

The Midnight Library by Matt Haig
the midnight library

The Midnight Library was nice, but I wasn’t blown away by it, but from all the praise I expected a big 5 star read. I will probably write a review at some point. It follows Nora Seed who after a suicide attempt ends up in a purgatory style library that is filled with infinite possibilities of alternate lives she might have had that she then gets to try. It talks a lot about regrets which did get me thinking and get me down, but it also tries to be positive about life, so there is a balance and its not 100% depressing. It could be pretty triggering for some people though I would think. Overall I liked it and thought it was well done, and a very interesting concept. I wouldn’t want to spoil the ending only to say it was a little convenient and the feminist in me didn’t like it!

March TBR

For March I don’t have any plans apart from reading the next installment in The Last Hours series (Shadowhunters) as I have pre-ordered it, and then I’ll read whatever the Queer Book Crew choose for their group read!

Chain of Iron (Shadowhunters, The Last Hours #2)

The Library At Mount Char by Scott Hawkins – I bought The Library At Mount Char earlier this month after reading a Twitter thread about weird bizarre books so I might read this too.

My Dark Vanessa by Kate Elizabeth Russell

I’ve recently read My Dark Vanessa and it is lingering around. I would advise caution as it contains disturbing content. Though its a very compelling book, it’s also a disturbing piece of psychological fiction. The book is told through past and present day Vanessa Wye as she explores her relationship with her former English teacher Jacob Strane, who began abusing her when she was fifteen and he was forty two. In the present day and now thirty two, and still in contact with Strane, Vanessa is forced to reevaluate their “relationship” as Strane is accused by other girls of abuse as part of the growing me-too movement.

I’d like to add that until I was over halfway through this book, I wasn’t aware of the controversy surrounding the alleged plagiarism (relating to Wendy Oritz’s Excavation). The below article from Slate highlights it here; I believe there is still work to be done about amplifying other voices in publishing, and the fact My Dark Vanessa is a work of fiction receiving a seven figure book deal and huge publicity doesn’t sit that rightly with me.

So, on to the story. There is no other word for it. Strane is most certainly a pedophile and this is not a love story, even though Vanessa herself says she needs it to be. At times, Vanessa is both a frustrating and unreliable narrator, she is blinded by the abuse from Strane and he really does a number on her. By the middle of the book, Vanessa in her early twenties reads the same as present day Vanessa, which I believe might be intentional as she just can’t move on or let herself get past Strane. It’s upsetting because you can tell she does not want this, but it’s as if she craves or needs the attention. And it’s all very messed up and disturbing in how the characters tend to romanticise this abuse. The book does romanticise Vladimir Nabokov’s Lolita a little too much. It includes a number of references throughout. I have read some of Lolita a long time ago, but other readers may not have, and one shouldn’t have to have read one book to get a full insight of another.

I disagree with some reviews I have read that say the book is too long, as I felt the length was ok. The ending may have felt slightly rushed, but there is no real ending, and I guess that’s the point – recovery has no time scale.

Whilst it was a welcome change of pace and style from my most recent reads, it’s quite graphic in places, and overall, I guess just really sad. I wouldn’t use the word recommend or enjoyable, but if you can handle this kind of content, then it’s not a bad read.

Content Warning: So much… but includes; Pedophilia, Sexual Abuse, Child Abuse, Grooming, Gaslighting, Drugs

Support and further info;

Me Too Movement – https://metoomvmt.org/

Links to support and help – https://www.mind.org.uk/information-support/guides-to-support-and-services/abuse/sexual-abuse/

The Deepest Breath by Meg Grehan

the deepest reath book by Meg Grehan cover

Last year I read a beautiful novel in verse by Meg Grehan called The Space Between which was about a girl who has anxiety and couldn’t go outside, and how she ended up meeting a girl and her dog and a relationship formed between them. I could really relate to what was being said and a lot of the thoughts and feelings and themes.

Last weekend, I read a book from NetGalley which is another novel in verse by Meg, but this time about a younger character and more aimed towards younger readers. The Deepest Breath is a good book for middle grade or to read with someone else, as some scenes could maybe be a little scary for young ones (because of the character’s nightmares) .

So The Deepest Breath follows Stevie, an eleven year old who wants to consume knowledge and feels the need to know everything. Her latest obsession is the sea and the ocean, so there is a lot about sea creatures and marine life in the book which will appeal to kids and readers who have an interest in that. Stevie feels the more informed she is, the more she can protect those around her. It also explores how she feels about her growing feelings towards her friend Chloe, as she may be experiencing her first “crush”.

Once again, I could relate to feelings of anxiety and uncertainty, and I also really felt for Stevie’s feelings of worry about her parent. This felt personal to me and emotional. These types of feelings are expressed well through the choice of verse. I think that the choice of writing style for The Deepest Breath means the book is not an overly long story, and can be read in one or two sittings, or multiple times if necessary. Other themes I felt ran strong through the book included friendship, trust, and curiosity. It felt sad in parts but mostly positive, sensitive, and it wraps up with a nice warm ending.

This is a book that could open up a dialogue with young people about mental health and feelings and same sex relationships which can only be a positive thing. People today need to see themselves represented in the books they read and if that is having a special interest or hobby, an inquiring, active mind, confusing thoughts, worry, and same sex crushes – then that can be found in The Deepest Breath.

I received a copy of this book from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.