Posted in adult fiction, contemporary, review

Queenie – Candice Carty-Williams

“Turns out the sadness that silence from the person you love brings can be temporarily erased by the dull thrill of attention from strangers.”


Blurb: “Queenie Jenkins is a 25-year-old Jamaican British woman living in London, straddling two cultures and slotting neatly into neither. She works at a national newspaper, where she’s constantly forced to compare herself to her white middle class peers. After a messy break up from her long-term white boyfriend, Queenie seeks comfort in all the wrong places…including several hazardous men who do a good job of occupying brain space and a bad job of affirming self-worth. As Queenie careens from one questionable decision to another, she finds herself wondering, “What are you doing? Why are you doing it? Who do you want to be?”

Trigger warnings: sexual assault and violence, domestic abuse, racism, panic attacks.

I found out about this book through listening to the author on an episode of the Mostly Lit podcast and what initially attracted me to it was the fact that it follows a black woman in her mid-twenties. More often than not there’s a gap in this area of the market so I jumped at the chance to read it.

Queenie opens with the protagonist, of the same name, getting a smear test. Instantly relatable to any person with a vagina at this age. Very quickly it becomes clear that this character is facing several crossroads the main one being that her relationship with her white boyfriend, Tom, has fallen apart after an encounter with his racist family. Queenie can be a very difficult character to like as she spirals and willingly puts herself in a lot of dark and troubling situations; rejecting any attempts at help laid out in front of her. She enters worrying territory and doesn’t really begin to accept or process what she did and what she let happen until her body begins to feel the effects. She is called out by many characters in the text, and eventually seeks therapy, but there was something about the unexpected routes that has left me wondering whether I actually enjoyed this book by the end of it.

The audiobook, narrated by Shvorne Marks, was great because she used different voices for the characters and breathed so much personality into the side characters. I’d love to listen to more audiobooks narrated by her.

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Posted in adult fiction, review

Deception – Roald Dahl

“Why do we lie? Why do we deceive those we love most? What do we fear revealing?”



Blurb: “Here, among many others, you’ll read about how to get away with the perfect murder, the old man whose wages end in a most disturbing payment, how revenge is sweeter when it is carried out by someone else and the card sharp so good at cheating he does something surprising with his life.”

When I was a child, Roald Dahl was a permanent fixture in my reading life. I have so many vivid memories of reading his books and watching the film adaptation of Matilda so much that I ended up breaking the VHS tape. The most vivid of these memories is a time when I had a copy of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory which had an extra chapter added to it but for the sake of keeping “secrets” the words on the page were backwards and you had to use a mirror to read it.  Deception is one book in a four part collection of Roald Dahl’s adult fiction exploring different vices: Deception, Lust, Cruelty and Madness. Now that I am twenty three years old (at the date of this post) it seems only right to make the transition from his children’s works to the adult ones.

Deception is pretty self-explanatory. It’s a book of ten short stories exploring the different ways people can deceive others and what their reasons may be for doing so. My favourite stories were: My Lady Love, My Dove which is about a couple that rent out rooms in their house but hide microphones in them in the hopes of hiding out saucy details only to end up on the other side of it and Vengeance is Mind Inc which tells the tale of two men who decide to create a company in which they will carry out violent crimes on specific journalists etc who slander various people in the papers.

From this collection I learnt that there’s a vast number of ways you can be deceptive and I really liked how the stories had no real sense of closure. There was no redemption of those who chose to be deceptive.

If you’re a Roald Dahl fan, these collections are worth looking into but they’re very different to what you’ll be used to.

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Posted in contemporary, review, romance

The Curious Charms Of Arthur Pepper – Phaedra Patrick

“Would she want you to be sad?”

“No. But it’s hard.”

arthur pepper

Blurb: “Sixty-nine-year-old Arthur Pepper lives a simple life. He gets out of bed at precisely 7:30am, just as he did when his wife, Miriam, was alive. He dresses in the same grey slacks and mustard sweater vest, waters his plant, Frederica, and heads out to his garden. But on the one-year anniversary of Miriam’s death, something changes. Sorting through Miriam’s possessions, Arthur finds an exquisite gold charm bracelet he’s never seen before. What follows is a surprising and unforgettable odyssey that takes Arthur from London to Paris and as far as India in an epic quest to find out the truth about his wife’s secret life before they met – a journey that leads him to find hope, healing and self-discovery in the most unexpected places.”

*This book was sent to me by the publisher in exchange for an honest review*

Arthur Pepper is a man in his late sixties who is very much stuck in a rut. He gets up at the same time every day, eats breakfast at the same time every day, and constantly waters his plant. It’s coming up to the one year anniversary of his wife Miriam’s death and he struggles to separate his perceived memories from how she actually was, for example, he pictures her in certain clothes then goes through her wardrobes and thinks “Miriam would never wear this” even though she clearly did.

One day he finds a box and inside is a charm bracelet that he’s never seen before. Examining the charms he discovered that the elephant charm is engraved with the word “ayah” and a number. Research reveals that “ayah” is Indian for nurse and he calls the number. The phone is answered by a Mr Mehra who says Miriam was his child carer when he was a young boy and mistakes he made led to her leaving and he gave her the charm as an apology. Arthur never knew she had ever been to India let alone worked there so he finds himself wondering what stories the other charms hold. He finds links between the tiger charms and a lord living at Graystock Manor and so Arthur’s quest to discover more of his wife’s secret life continues.

I expect that to be the sole focus of this book but I received a lot more than I bargained for. In addition to the charm plot line, the subplots create more depth. You learn about Arthur’s estranged children, Dan and Lucy, and why they are just that. The characters Arthur meets who are linked to the charms are just so well written that they stand as potentially real people with their own complexities. They didn’t feel like they were just there as part of a series of events and left a lasting impact.

I found Arthur selfish at times such as a moment of reflection where the prose shows he never asked his wife about her life before they met because he “never expected her to have one” but he’s a man who had his life toppled over so I could cut him a bit of slack. He throws his routine out of the window and ventures places he’s terrified of going to, pushes his boundaries just to learn more about the woman he loved. This leads him to reconcile with his family, grow as a person but most importantly, let his wife go.

The Curious Charms Of Arthur Pepper is an absolute delight that you don’t want to miss.

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Posted in book tag, discussion

Bookish Questions

I found a list of book-related questions so thought I’d answer them on this blog.

Author You’ve read The Most

I first thought of J.K.Rowling but then realised it’s actually Cassandra Clare as she’s written more books. I’ve read all her shadowhunter chronicles apart from the newest e-book series following Simon.

Best Sequel Ever

Sequels are very hit and miss in my opinion and pretty much everything I’ve been reading lately is a series. The one that really comes to mind is “Insurgent” by Veronica Roth.

Currently reading

A Clash of Kings by George R.R Martin
The Coldest Girl In Coldtown by Holly Black

Drink of choice while reading

I don’t really drink while I read. I’m afraid of spilling them and damaging my books.But if I’m reading in a coffee shop it’s normally hot chocolate.

E-Reader or Physical Book

I own a kindle and it’s one of the handiest things I own. It makes reading on the go a lot easier as it takes up less space but I adore physical books. The books I buy on my kindle are ones I’m not sure if I’ll like, so they don’t take up space if I end up giving up on them. Or if I’m not too hyped about them. The ones I’m really excited for/ are by authors I love, I get in physical copy.

Fictional Character You Probably Would Have Actually Dated In High School

Jace from The Mortal Instruments series. He’s a badass. Younger me would love him. 

Glad You Gave This Book A Chance

Four: A Divergent Collection by Veronica Roth. Four is my least favourite character from the Divergent series so I was unsure as to whether I would like this, given it was a book of short stories about him. But I trusted Veronica and it was well placed. I actually really enjoyed it and liked learning the writing process behind Four and Divergent which were provided in the introduction. 

Hidden Gem Book

This Book Is Gay by James Dawson. I don’t often read non-fiction. But this Young Adult book is basically a gay to all things gender & Sexuality. It’s really informative and a book I wish had been around when I was a teenager. 

Important Moment In Your reading Life

I have two important moments.

Peter Pan: The first time I read this book I was blown away by the world that had been created and the beauty of the story. I remember thinking “wow I want to write something like that” and thus I became  writer.

City of Bones: This book helped me realise that while I was fluttering around in writing Young Adult, my writing home was Young Adult Fantasy. This book made it clear that’s the genre of writing I want to pursue. 

Just Finished

All The Bright Places by Jennifer Niven

Kind of books you won’t read

I tend to avoid non-fiction and the romance books. I’m not opposed to reading adult fiction as I love Giovanna Fletcher & Cecelia Ahern but I don’t actively go to those sections in a bookstore. 

Longest Book You’ve Read

City of Heavenly Fire by Cassandra Clare

Major book hangover because of…

All The Bright Places by Jennifer Niven

Number of Bookcases You Own

I actually don’t own any bookshelves. I just have piles of books on my floor at the moment because I’ve run out of space. I should really invest in a bookcase.

One Book You’ve read Multiple Times

Harry Potter & The Half Blood Prince by J.K.Rowling.
It’s my favourite in the series.

Preferred Place To Read

I like reading in bed or on a sofa. As long as I have a blanket to keep me snug. 

Quote that inspires you/ gives you all the feels from a book you’ve read

“To die will be an awfully big adventure” – J.M.Barrie. (Peter Pan)

Reading Regret

Don’t Even Think About It by Sarah Mlynowski. My boyfriend got it me as a birthday present so I felt bad when I really didn’t like it. The only reason I finished reading it was because it counted towards the 2015 reading challenge. 

Series you started and need to finish

The Mara Dyer series by Michelle Hodkin

Three of your all-time favourite books

Peter Pan by J.M.Barrie
Great Expectations by Charles Dickens
City of Glass by Cassandra Clare

Unapologetic fangirl/fanboy for:

Harry Potter & Divergent

Very excited for this release more than all the others

A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J Maas

Worst bookish habit

I have a habit of talking to the characters while I’m reading like “YOU IDIOT WHY DID YOU DO THAT? WAS THAT SMART? NO!” I do this even when there are other people in the room. Sometimes it accidently slips out when I’m reading in public.

X marks the spot: Start at the top of the left of your shelf and pick the 27th book

I did this with my piles of books. The result was Billy and Me by Giovanna Fletcher

Latest Bookish Purchase

I’ve bought a few books so far this month:

Crown of Midnight by Sarah J Maas
The Colour of Magic by Terry Pratchett
Vanishing Girls by Lauren Oliver
The Art of Being Normal by Lisa Williamson
Hook’s Daughter by Heidi Schulz 

ZZZZZZZZZ-Snatcher book: last book that kept you up WAY late

Miss Peregrine’s Home for Perculiar Children by Ransom Riggs
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