Biblioshelf Musings – The Violent Season by Sara Walters

Hey Bibliofriends!

This week’s Biblioshelf Musings are about The Violent Season by Sara Walters. I first heard about this book through the SourceBooks Fire newsletter. They included a brief sampler and after reading the blurb and the first chapter or so I requested an eARC through Netgalley which was thankfully approved!
Huge thanks to NetGalley, Sara Walters and the publishers SourceBooks Fire for providing me with a complimentary e-ARC in exchange for this honest review.


Book: The Violent Season by Sara Walters
Genre: YA / Thriller
Publication Date: October 5th 2021
Publisher: SourceBooks Fire
Pages: 320
Rating: 📚📚📚📖

Synopsis (from Goodreads)

An unputdownable debut about a town marred by violence, a girl ruined by grief, and the harsh reality about what makes people decide to hurt each other. The Violent Season is a searing, unforgettable, and thrilling novel that belongs on shelf with Sadie and Girl in Pieces.

Every November, the people in Wolf Ridge are overwhelmed with a hunger for violence–at least that’s the town rumor. Last fall Wyatt Green’s mother was brutally murdered, convincing Wyatt that this yearning isn’t morbid urban legend, but rather a palpable force infecting her neighbors.

This year, Wyatt fears the call of violence has spread to her best friend Cash–who also happens to be the guy she can’t stop wanting no matter how much he hurts her. At the same time, she’s drawn to Cash’s nemesis Porter, now that they’re partners on an ambitious project for lit class. When Wyatt pulls away from Cash, and spends more time with Porter, she learns secrets about both of them she can’t forget.

And as the truth about her mother’s death begins to emerge from the shadows, Wyatt is faced with a series of hard realities about the people she trusts the most, rethinking everything she believes about what makes people decide to hurt each other.

My Musings

When I first heard about this book, it sounded like an eclectic mix of The Purge mixed with a science-fiction worthy violence-virus which infected a town each November leaving a lot of devastation in it’s wake. In truth, the main focus of this book is really about the emotions and trauma we feel when we experience pain, hurt and suffering at the hands of the people we love, or even ourselves.

This novel definitely earns it’s place amongst the thriller section of the YA genre. We are led on a spiral of events and revelations which keep twisting and turning as the novel progresses. I kept coming up with little theories about who did what or which characters I could trust but then as the plot got deeper I found myself constantly changing my mind! The pace kept me on my toes right up until the very final pages and the ending left me with with a haunting sense of foreboding which is perfectly in-keeping with the upcoming spooky season.

As the leading character, the story is told through Wyatt’s perspective and everything that happens in the story we witness simultaneously through her eyes, emotions and actions. This made her narrative particularly powerful to me as the pain and suffering she experiences comes across so raw, brutal and honest. Some of the things that her character went through made me feel for her and at times I just had to stop and think about how some of these things are the harsh reality of life for people all over the world.

In places, you experience the flip-flopping of Wyatt’s personas – from that tough-girl stance of self-belief and personal empowerment, to the crippling feelings of anxiety and doubt that you put on yourself when you’re facing inner turmoil. Walters’ writing really communicated those feelings of suffering strongly enough to make me consciously feel them.

In some ways, Wyatt almost takes on the role of unreliable narrator too, which may seem odd given that I’ve just described her perspective as brutally honest – however… Wyatt’s recollection of her Mother’s death is hazy and some parts of it have been blocked out of her mind completely. As she gradually begins to remember more and and reconnect those lost memories, we also start to find out how she genuinely believes that there is some strange and mysterious sickness causing the season of violence each November. On the one hand you want to believe her, but then on the other hand – some part of you starts to doubt whether she’s not just creating a false narrative because she can’t bear the actual reality of the truth. The depth of Wyatt’s character is so wide that I think it’s the part of this book that I liked the most.

The relationship between Wyatt and Cash takes many turns during the course of the plot. I feel it’s safe to say that this is an extremely harmful relationship which comes with several trigger warnings. This is countered slightly through Wyatt’s reconnection with Porter who, although has secrets of his own, forms as the counter to Cash.

The Violent Season is a powerful standalone thriller which transforms an urban legend into the harrowing reality of just how deeply grief, trauma and violence can affect a person, especially when it is dealt out by the ones we love the most.

Why Should I Read This?

For a slightly unreliable yet brutally honest main character who transports you from her deepest pit of pain to a place of self-love and empowerment.
For the nod to Great Gatsby in the middle of the book.
For an interesting concept of how violence can be construed as a sickness.

Read a sampler:

You can read an excerpt of this book here: https://read.sourcebooks.com/fire-a-violent-season-excerpt

Find out more about this book here:

Amazon | Waterstones | Goodreads | Author’s Website

Connect with me here:

Twitter | Goodreads | Book Sloth: @thebiblioshelf |Email: thebiblioshelf@gmail.com

The Wrap – September 2021

Howdy Bibliofriends!

September definitely felt like a ‘blink and you’ll miss it moment’ – seriously where has that month gone?! Although the pace was fast, looking back on it there were actually so many things that happened: the return of the Magical Readathon, starting my new job at a new school and our first stable yard Open Day (post-pandemic restrictions). Overall, this September seems to be the most positive month I’ve had in ages filled with lots of wonderful times! ☺️

We’re off to see the James Bond film tonight and I’m so excited!! I also have a new Audible subscription so please send recs of audiobooks as I’m totally procrastinating on what to get with my 2 free credits – HELP! 😂🙈

Life Update

Starting at my new school has been so wonderful and such a breath of fresh air after all of the work related problems from the past couple of years. I am actually loving my job again and it’s brought about a whole new energy which I’ve really been missing. Even friends have commented and said I seem like a much more positive person nowadays! 😂 I guess it’s pretty amazing what a change of scenery and a reduction of toxicity can do for your personality!

For the first time in about two years we were able to hold our annual Open Day at the stable yard I’m a part of. It was so nice to have visitors around the yard again and show them our fabulous horses and facilities. So far, this is our best season yet as we’ve had more winners already than ever before with the biggest part of the jumps racing season still ahead of us. The good vibes are in full flow at the minute, long may it continue!

I was so happy to see the return of the Magical Readathon hosted by Book Roast! I loved it back in it’s HP form but G has really pulled out all of the stops to make this bigger, better and more unique than ever before. You can read my original TBR below or scroll down to the What I’ve Been Reading section to find out more!

The rest of this Wrap Post follows my usual format (Past Reads, Current Reads, Upcoming Reads, Films/TV, Music/Podcasts, Pokemon Go) so feel free to skip any irrelevant parts!


What I’ve Been Reading

Having a readathon definitely helps my drive and determination to try and plough through the books – I think is probably my best reading month of the year so far. Despite only needing to fulfil two prompts to ‘pass’ the readathon, I always try to pick something for every prompt just in case I change my mind on the book I want to read, I’m such a mood reader at times! I’m going to write a proper wrap post for the Magical Readathon soon to go back over the prompts and challenges etc. but for now, here’s what I read in September:

Red, White and Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
This book was so much fun and the perfect ‘end of school holidays’ distraction that I needed!

Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
I finally started the Percy Jackson series! Greek mythology is one of my favourites so I can’t believe it took me this long to get around to it. I loved the way Riordan blended ancient Gods and contemporary worlds together. I can’t wait to read the rest of the series!

Kafka on the Shore by Haruki Murakami
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
It took me ages to finish this behemoth of an audiobook (clocking in at 19hrs long) and I’ve decided audio is definitely the way forward for me in terms of reading more of Murakami’s works. I much preferred Kafka to The Wind Up Bird Chronicle as I think I had a bit more of an understanding as to what was actually happening! Nakata’s character was adorable and the loved the speculative, magical-realism element the book had.

The Violent Season by Sara Walters (eARC)
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
The Violent Season comes out into the world next week! I was fortunate to get an eARC of it via Netgalley. The story revolves around a sleepy little town called Wolf Ridge where every November a strange sickness takes over the town’s residents and it turns into the season of violence (hence the title). I thought it would have paranormal / The Purge style vibes but this wasn’t quite the case. It was still an enjoyable read though. Review to come next week!

You and Me on Vacation by Emily Henry
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
I think this was probably my favourite read of the whole month! I listened to it on audio with narration by Julia Whelan and it had me both laughing and crying at different points! Sometimes a book just comes along for you at the right time and it becomes everything you needed in that moment – You and Me on Vacation was exactly that. I’m turning into such a fan of Emily Henry’s writing, she creates some endearing characters and storylines. You can check out my spoiler-free review here.

Never Have I Ever by Isabel Yap
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Never Have I Ever is a short story collection from Isabel Yap and is based on Filipino folktales, myths and legends. I first came across the book on the Book Riot SFF Yeah! podcast and remember having to wait weeks for it to arrive from Bookshop.org as it had to be ordered direct from the supplier. I’ve always been intrigued by mythologies and tales from different cultures. Yap has a superb writing style which mixes threads from fantasy, speculative and magical-realism genres with contemporary vibes for modern readers. It’s a remarkable anthology and definitely got me in the spooky Halloween spirit!

#CurrentlyReading

As it was only £4.99, I completely caved and purchased the audiobook of Midnight Sun by Stephanie Meyer. I was determined not to continue anything to do with the Twilight series as I read it so long ago but curiosity (and my love of bargains!) got the better of me! I can’t believe it’s over 24 hours long and I must confess that I’ve had to crank the speed up to 1.5x because Edward’s narration is a little drawn out in places. I’m loving the background into the Cullen family so far.

In a bid to try and ‘read it before you see it’ I’ve recently started Dune by Frank Herbert in the hope I can finish it before the film comes out in cinemas later this month. At over 500 pages and tilted more into the Sci-Fi part of the SFF genre, I was a little apprehensive at first but now I’m about 200 pages in and loving it. Now I have majorly high expectations for the movie! 😂

Upcoming Reads

My book haul this month is making me so excited about my upcoming reads! I got the Illumicrate edition of Empire of the Vampire by Jay Kristoff which is so stunning – the sprayed edges, the pearlescent hardback… it’s so gorgeous I almost don’t want to read it. (if that makes any sense?!)

I’ve also got some pretty cool ARCs on Netgalley and the release dates are fast looming so I’m keen to make my way through those pretty soon:
Midnight in Everwood by M.A. Kuzniar – publication date: 28th October
The Grimrose Girls by Laura Pohl – publication date: 2nd November
Swashbucklers by Dan Hanks – publication date: 9th November
A Three Dog Problem by SJ Bennett (Book 2 of the HM the Queen Investigates sereis) – publication date 11th November

What I’ve Been Watching

TV this month has been all about Grey’s Anatomy (again!) – it’s one of my all-time favourite series so I’ve been binging my backlog including Seasons 14, 15 and 16 and I’m now trying to rapidly make my way through Season 17 before it disappears from Sky later this month. Season 16, episode 16 (Leave a Light On) had me bawling my eyes out! In one way I’m so angry and gutted that the storyline had to go in that direction but what the writers did with it was so sentimental and just felt so right for that particular character that even though I don’t like it, it’s pretty perfect really.

Money Heist is back!! I can’t believe I got to the end of the 5th episode and then have to wait another few months for the second part of the season! Another cliffhanger/resolution/ending which made me grab the tissues. I get so sucked in to these TV programmes! 😂

Has anyone seen The Chair on Netflix with Sandra Oh? It’s on my watchlist but I haven’t started it yet.

Cinema movies this month have been:
Free Guy (LOVED IT!)
Respect – Aretha Franklin biopic (I never knew how turbulent her life was)
Shang Chi and the Ten Rings (the dragon scenes were epic)
The Many Saints of Newark (Sopranos prequel film)

Pokemon Go Update

I’ve definitely lost a bit of interest in the game since school started again. I basically leave my house at 7.15am and don’t return until 6.30pm so with the nights drawing in and the weather definitely turning more autumnal by the second, I’m not able to get out and play as much as I used to. The Fashion Week event was quite fun but it was a real sprint to the line to make sure I found all of the Fashion Challengers to battle for the Timed Research. I did manage to get a hundo Chansey and a hundo Furfrou out of it though.

September’s Shiny Haul
Lugia (finally!)
Oshawott (and all it’s evolutions on Comm Day)
Galarian Meowth (spotlight hour – I was so happy to see this guy!)

My Trainer Code: If any fellow Pogo players want to add me, my trainer code is: 8327 7170 2277


And that’s a wrap! How was your September? Are you heading into Autumn or is your weather still sunny and warm? I’m totally feeling the spooky vibes of Halloween and the witching season so feel free to send some bookish recommendations my way! What are you all looking forward to reading in October?

As always, drop me a comment to chat! ☺️

T xx

The Seven Deadly Sins Book Tag

Happy Thursday Bibliofriends,

The weekend is almost upon us which means it’s time for another little Book Tag! I found this Seven Deadly Sins tag over at What’s That Mark’s Reading!? and as a fan of all things fairly strange and occult, I knew I had to take a little pop at it.


GREED: What is the most expensive book you own? What is the least expensive book you own? 

Most expensive: I have no idea what my most expensive book is! As an Illumicrate and FairyLoot subscriber I’ve been getting a lot of signed first editions and special editions of books so it may be one of those. I also have a First Edition of a Harry Potter book but I don’t think it’s one of the ones that are worth thousands.

Least expensive: I have a number of paperbacks that neither eBay, Music Magpie or Ziffit wants to pay for so I guess at the moment they’re the least expensive ones!

GLUTTONY: What book(s) have you shamelessly devoured many times? 

The Harry Potter books – I can just keep rereading them and never get bored of them!

SLOTH: What book or series have you neglected out of sheer laziness? 

I don’t think I’ve ever neglected a book or series out of laziness. Actually, I lie – I have kind of neglected She Who Became the Sun as I just found the pace to be a little slow. I’m hoping to pick it up again soon though, it’s definitely a book I want to finish.  

PRIDE: What book(s) do you bring up when you want to sound like an intellectual reader? 

I think I turn to the non-fiction when I want to sound intelligent so it’ll probably be Atomic Habits by James Clear. It was full of so many practical tips about how to encourage building up positive habits to make your lifestyle more effective. I have a little review here.

LUST: What attributes do you find most attractive in your characters? 

I adore those complex, morally-grey type characters when you can’t work out whether they’re a hero or villain. That’s why Severus Snape is one of my all-time favourite literary characters, I even have a book called The Great Snape Debate which came out before the finale of the books – one side argued for the hero, the flipside argued for the villain. Those complexities and depth seem to add mysticism and depth which outright heroes just don’t quite conjure up for me.

ENVY: What books would you most like to receive as a gift? 

I literally adore any bookish gift. I think it’s really nice when friends pick out a book for you that they think you’ll really like and may not have bought for yourself. You can find completely undiscovered treasures that way. My Nan once bought me a copy of The Shadow of the Wind as a gift and I had never heard of the book or the author – Zafon immediately became one of favourite authors and I own multiple copies of his works.

WRATH: What author do you have a love-hate relationship with?

I don’t think I can really answer this one?! Perhaps maybe Murakami, his works are so ingenious and enchanting. I love all of their peculiar curiosities but I do find them pretty damn difficult to read and understand! 😂


That’s a wrap! What are your favourite Deadly Sins? Consider yourself TAGGED if you fancy like giving this one a go.

As always, drop me a comment below to chat!
T xx

Biblioshelf Musings – You and Me on Vacation by Emily Henry

Hello Bibliofriends!

This week’s Biblioshelf Musings is You and Me on Vacation (People We Meet On Vacation) by Emily Henry.

I remember falling head over heels with Beach Read when it first came out. Emily’s writing style and main characters had me swept so far away on that Lake Michigan beach, that when the audiobook for You and Me on Vacation was on iBooks for £4.99 I just had to hit that download button!


Book: You and Me on Vacation by Emily Henry (Audiobook narrated by: Julia Whelan)
Genre: Fiction (Contemporary / Romance)
Publication Date: May 2021
Publisher: Penguin Audio
Pages: 368 (Audiobook: 10hr 45min)
Rating: 📚📚📚📚📚

Synopsis (from Goodreads)

Poppy and Alex. Alex and Poppy. They have nothing in common. She’s a wild child; he wears khakis. She has insatiable wanderlust; he prefers to stay home with a book. And somehow, ever since a fateful car share home from college many years ago, they are the very best of friends. For most of the year they live far apart—she’s in New York City, and he’s in their small hometown—but every summer, for a decade, they have taken one glorious week of vacation together.

Until two years ago, when they ruined everything. They haven’t spoken since.

Poppy has everything she should want, but she’s stuck in a rut. When someone asks when she was last truly happy, she knows, without a doubt, it was on that ill-fated, final trip with Alex. And so, she decides to convince her best friend to take one more vacation together—lay everything on the table, make it all right. Miraculously, he agrees.

Now she has a week to fix everything. If only she can get around the one big truth that has always stood quietly in the middle of their seemingly perfect relationship. What could possibly go wrong?

My Musings

Sometimes we all need a little respite in the form of some contemporary romance and You And Me On Vacation brought me that respite in buckets. Reader, this book ‘speaks to me’ 😉 – on so many levels!

As a girl who reads predominantly SFF, I don’t know what kind of bookish chemical equations Emily Henry conjures up but she’s fast becoming a part of the romance genre that I actually like. From the realistic characters and the wish-you-were-here locations, to the plot lines that just keep me begging for more – I ate up every single word that Alex and Poppy gave me in this audiobook.

As far as two main characters go, Poppy and Alex’s friendship was so believable. They’re the BFFs that often get mistaken for a real-life couple and that throws the usual obstacles in their way with families and prospective partners. They are so genuine together and I found both characters extremely likeable. I enjoyed the way we found out about each friend’s history from the other friend’s perspective. It really allows you to see them through each other’s eyes. They just get each other! Their nuances, quirks, likes, pet hates… they are so completely in-sync with each other’s existence whilst at the same time both appearing to be completely blind to what is right in front of them. I must admit, I did find myself wondering whether I skipped the bit of the audiobook where they initially friend-zoned each other but ultimately this didn’t really matter as the novel went on. As an English Teacher and aspiring writer, Alex reminded me slightly of Gus from Beach Read so I liked the continuity of literary-loving characters throughout Henry’s books.

The structuring of the story was quite well done. With constant flashbacks to previous summers and the trips Poppy and Alex had taken, interspersed with the up-to-date ‘this summer’ happenings – we get a breadcrumb trail of clues to try and work out what the catastrophic event that caused these two steadfast friends to go their separate ways. All the time this happened, I kept internally screaming to myself, “what the hell happened in Croatia?!” I enjoyed trying to piece together the story in my head and whilst some things were entirely predictable, the anecdotes from each summer trip were filled with little twists and comedy moments.

As a travel enthusiast whose trip to Peru was kiboshed by the pandemic, Poppy and Alex’s trips to different destinations across the world helped me to fill up that little travel void ever so slightly. This shift in setting destination was definitely an element of the story which I thoroughly enjoyed.

All in all, You and Me on Vacation gave me everything I was looking for, hence the 5* rating – for me, it’s faultless. On some small level, Poppy and Alex’s story is a little relatable to my life – their predicaments were ones I could relate to and find solace in, which is probably why it resonated with me so much. Yes, some parts of the story are predictable and at times inevitable, but the journey to the ending wasn’t a straightforward path. The resolution was uplifting and satisfying whilst remaining both practical yet realistic (compared to the usual happily ever afters you sometimes get).

If you loved Beach Read, enjoy travelling the world through literary characters, or you’re just looking for a soul-clenching, heartwarming story of true love and devotion then give You and Me on Vacation a go – it just might ‘speak to you’ too.

Why Should I Read This?

For the breadcrumb plot line of summer flashbacks.
For the chemistry and charisma between two loveable main characters.
For the Flannery O’Conner side stories! 😸

Find out more about this book here:

Amazon | Waterstones | Bookshop.org | Goodreads | Author’s Website |

Connect with me here:

Twitter | Goodreads | Book Sloth: @thebiblioshelf | Email: thebiblioshelf@gmail.com

The Pride and Prejudice Book Tag!

Hi Bibliofriends,

I was browsing for tags the other day and came across this fun Pride and Prejudice Book Tag over on Elaine Howlin’s blog. Pride and Prejudice is one of my favourites of all the Classics – the story is just so timeless and beautiful. I knew I had to do this tag as soon as I read the character-based reading prompts.

A few little pleasantries:

  • Thank those who tagged you.
  • Link back to the creator of the tag (Emma @TurnAnotherPage)
  • Tag as many people as you want
  • Have fun!

The Bennet Sisters: A Mixed Bag
A book or series with an eclectic cast of characters

I think the Illuminae Files has got such a mix of different personalities and traits amongst its characters – there’s a little someone for everyone in that trilogy I think!

Charlotte Lucas: The Best Friend
A dependable book/series, tv show or film you can always turn to

Wow so many! It would have to be a toss-up between Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings, Greys Anatomy, Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Friends.

Mr Darcy: The Unexpected Surprise
A book or series that you didn’t originally like but grew to love.

This is such a tough one! I guess I could say Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel – it was so difficult to read and understand the narration style at first but by the end I was so blown away by Cromwell’s characterisation.

Lady Catherine de Bourg: The Intimidating Aristocrat
A book or series that intimidates you

Les Misérables by Victor Hugo – I’m determined to read it one day (along with War and Peace and Anna Karenina by Tolstoy) but the sheer size of it really overwhelms me and I keep putting it off to read a shorter book!

Mr Bingley: Honest Yet Easily Led
A character you think deserves a lot of love

Eleanor from Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman. Her character lives under such sad circumstances that she deserves lots of love.

Mr Collins: Awkward and a little socially inept.
What hyped or popular book/series have you not yet read?

So many! The Poppy War series, The Daevabad series, An Ember in the Ashes series, Nevernight, Shades of Magic, These Violent Delights… the list is endless – and these books are all sat on my shelves right now! 🙈

The Gardiners: Steady Voices of Reason
A character from any book, film, or tv series that you would turn to for advice

Jacqueline Carlylefrom The Bold Type TV series – I absolutely LOVE that show (I should probably have put it in my Charlotte Lucas list)!When I was looking for a new job I used to joke with my friends that I was looking for my own Jacqueline Carlyle to work for! 😂

Mr Wickham: The Deceiver
A book that did not reach your expectations

The Serpent and Dove series – I feel like it was massively hyped but I just couldn’t really connect with any of the characters.

Georgiana Darcy: Shy and Naive but Friendly
An under-hyped or represented book that you really love

I loved The Immortal City by Amy Kuivalainen which is the first book in The Magicians of Venice series. It’s like a fantasy version of Dan Brown and I found it fascinating.

Colonel Foster’s Regiment: Sure to liven up any party!
What book or series would you always recommend?

I always find it hard to recommend books to people because my reading tastes are quite varied and can be different to many of my friends. I would champion anything written by Carlos Ruiz Zafón; Ready Player One by Ernest Cline and The Life and Death of Addie LaRue by V.E. Schwab – they’re all some of my all-time favourites.


If you love Pride and Prejudice and Book Tags then consider yourself tagged! 🤓

As always, drop me a comment to chat!
T xx

Biblioshelf Musings – Black Flamingo by Dean Atta

Hello Bibliofriends!

This week’s Biblioshelf Musings is Black Flamingo by Dean Atta.
I heard so many amazing things about this book and when I heard that it was a novel in verse form, I knew I definitely had to read it!


Book: Black Flamingo by Dean Atta
Genre: YA
Publication Date: 8th August 2019
Publisher: Hodder Children’s Books
Pages: 368
Rating: 📚📚📚📚

Synopsis (from Goodreads)

This is not about being ready, it’s not even about being fierce, or fearless, IT’S ABOUT BEING FREE.

Michael waits in the stage wings, wearing a pink wig, pink fluffy coat and black heels.

One more step will see him illuminated by spotlight.

He has been on a journey of bravery to get here, and he is almost ready to show himself to the world in bold colours …

Can he emerge as The Black Flamingo?

My Musings

The Black Flamingo is such a fantastic book. I’m a teeny-weeny bit obsessed with flamingos so I found the title itself incredibly intriguing – I just can’t believe it took me this long to actually get around to reading it! The verse structure was one of my favourite things about this book and is (in part) one of the contributing factors to its uniqueness. It really emphasised the poetic nature of Atta’s writing and complimented the pieces of poetry, written by the character Michael, which were dotted throughout parts of the story. Those poems really helped to express Mikey’s raw feelings and added a more private perspective of his character’s inner mindset – almost like a stream of consciousness. The illustrations also made it a brilliantly immersive read.

The coming of age element and transformation of the Michael’s character as he goes through the different stages in his life was poignantly written. His journey is fraught with obstacles and questions which he asks himself – mistakes he makes, stereotypes others put on him before he can really find out who he truly is and where he belongs. This raised awareness of many themes including race, poverty, lgbtqia+ and all of the chaos that comes with surviving high school, university and entering the real world.

The drag show towards the end of the story and Mikey’s transformation into the black flamingo is a real ‘butterfly coming out the cocoon’ moment. It has a real celebratory feel and the pride of the main character just leaps off he page as Mikey owns the stage with his feathers. The Fierce poem was a particular highlight as it speaks to everyone and is so relevant to all people regardless of their gender/racial status – we all want to be that little bit fiercer just like the idols he writes about in his poem. Incorporated into Mikey’s show was a whole host of real-world people and influencers who have contributed to the lgbtqia+ movement and the attention and awareness raised here was such a touching tribute.

I really enjoyed how Black Flamingo felt autobiographical but still retained the magic of fiction and poetry combined. It reminded me of a fantastic stage musical I once saw called Everyone’s Talkin’ About Jamie – the songs were so catchy and the whole storyline was incredibly uplifting.

Overall I loved everything about this book. From the message it conveys to the way it has been and all of the high heels, stardust and feathers in between – the Black Flamingo really is one multi-faceted gem of a read!


Find out more about this book here:

Amazon | Waterstones | Bookshop.org | Goodreads |

Connect with me here:

Twitter | Goodreads | Book Sloth: @thebiblioshelf | Email: thebiblioshelf@gmail.com

#Friday56 – The Hawthorne Legacy

Happy FriYAY Bibliofriends!

This week’s Friday 56 comes from The Hawthorne Legacy by Jennifer Lynn Barnes (book two of The Inheritance Games trilogy). I love this series so much! It’s so bingeworthy and full of thrills, secrets, puzzles and family drama!

Hosted by Freda’s Voice, the Friday 56 is a weekly bookish prompt. It’s quite easy to do and could cover no end of different books and genres so seems great if you’re looking for a quick snippet to discover something new!

Rules:

*Grab a book, any book.
*Turn to page 56 or 56% in your eReader (If you have to improvise, that’s ok.)
*Find any sentence, (or few, just don’t spoil it)
*Post it.
*Add your (url) post here in Linky. Add the post url, not your blog url.
*It’s that simple.


It took ten minutes for our search to hit pay dirt: a remote control taped to the bookshelf, behind one of the leather-bound books. I peeled off the tape and got a better look at the remote, which had only one button.

The Hawthorne Legacy by Jennifer Lynn Barnes

You can check out my full, spoiler-free reviews of The Inheritance Games here and The Hawthorne Legacy here.


Drop me a comment below or connect with me here:

Twitter | Goodreads | Book Sloth: @thebiblioshelf |Email: thebiblioshelf@gmail.com

The Harry Potter Book Tag

Happy ThursTAG Bibliofriends,

All the September ‘back-to-school-ness’ always has me thinking about Harry Potter and Hogwarts so when I saw this book tag on Lou’s Book Stuff I was just itching to have a go myself! I have no idea who created this Tag and I’m sure there’s so many versions of HP tags out there as well but thanks to the creator!

I love this series so much! I’ve lost count of how many different editions I have of each book and if I ever had a time turner I’d be using it for constant rereads!


What house are you in?

Definite Ravenclaw – every single sorting activity I have ever done (through all those Pottermore variations…) have been Ravenclaw!

What is your Patronus?

My patronus is a nebulung cat, which I find so surprising because *whispers* I don’t actually like cats…
Although reading my patronus description actually makes things make sense as in my day-to-day life I am a teacher!

A nebelung cat patronus appears for witches and wizards of amazing souls. They are very friendly and are high achievers. These witches and wizards always strive to be better than they were yesterday and challenge others to do the same. For them you can never stop learning, helping, teaching, or seeing new things. They are loyal and hard working individuals.

What is your wand?

Cypress wood with a phoenix feather core, 10 ¾” and hard flexibility

Rarest core type, one of the least popular woods and a hard flexibility… 😂 Yep, sounds about right! 🙈

What would your Boggart be?

I have no idea what my boggart would be – it would probably change each and every day from spiders, to loneliness, to Pennywise… who knows what the hell could be coming out of that wardrobe! 😂

What position would you play in Quidditch?

Can I be the referee or a commentator? I’m really not very athletic so there’s no way I’m catching that snitch, whacking a bludger or throwing a quaffle through a small hoop whilst clinging onto a broomstick for dear life!

Would you be a pure-blood, half-blood, or muggle born?

My family is so different so it’d probably be half-blood.

What job would you like to have after leaving Hogwarts?

Professor… at Hogwarts! If I ever succeed in running through that brick wall at Kings Cross and actually making it to Hogwarts don’t think for a second I’m leaving!

Which of the Deathly Hallows would you choose?

Invisibility Cloak so I could hide away all day reading somewhere without being disturbed. The wand would just be too scary as people would constantly try to take it from you and the idea of the resurrection stone completely freaks me out (another one to add to the boggart list!).

Favourite book?

The Half Blood Prince – It feels like the deep breath before the plunge and the way that last part ends felt like the biggest cliffhanger of the whole series. I really liked the character development of the Half Blood Prince himself as well! 😉

Least favourite book?

Probably Goblet of Fire – it just feels like a middle ground place where we’re on the cusp of waiting for the inevitable and it took many, many pages to get there…

Favourite Film?

Either Philosopher’s Stone (magical introduction and wonder) or Deathly Hallows Part 2 (heartstopping conclusion to everything!).

Least favourite film?

Again probably the first two for the same reasons as the books.

Favourite character?

It has to be Snape – hero / anti-hero / morally grey?
His character arc is so wide and complex that he’s definitely one of my favourite literary characters of all time.

Least favourite/most hated character?

Percy Weasley – I just find him incredibly annoying.

Favourite teacher?

I really liked Lupin’s teaching style – it’s one of the few times we actually saw them having fun whilst learning. 

Least favourite teacher at Hogwarts?

I don’t think I could cope with having Professor Trelawney as teacher.

Do you have any unpopular opinions about the series?

I loved Chamber of Secrets and many people seem to hate it so perhaps that’s my unpopular opinion…

Oh… and BRING BACK THE ORIGINAL POTTERMORE! I never made it to the end! 😭🙈


I had so much fun reliving some of my favourite (and least favourite!) Potter moments with this book tag! Consider yourself ‘tagged’ if you’re a fellow Potterhead! I’d love to read your answers!

As always, feel free to drop me a comment to chat!

T xx

Biblioshelf Musings – The Hawthorne Legacy by Jennifer Lynn Barnes

Hello Bibliofriends!

This week’s Biblioshelf Musings is The Hawthorne Legacy by Jennifer Lynn Barnes.
The Hawthorne Legacy is the second book in the thrillingly exciting The Inheritance Games trilogy where we followed the twists and turns of Avery’s story as she embarked upon a treasure-hunt style mission to claim a billion dollar inheritance left to her by a mysterious stranger. Secret passageways, puzzles and riddles had me binging this book in just one day so when the sequel came up for grabs on NetGalley nothing would stop me from hitting that request button!

Advance warning, there may be spoilers for book one ahead! If you wanted to go back to the beginning, you can check out my spoiler-free review of The Inheritance Games (Book One) here.

Thank you to the publishers Penguin Random House Children’s UK, the author and NetGalley for providing me with a complimentary e-ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.


Book: The Hawthorne Legacy by Jennifer Lynn Barnes
Series: The Inheritance Games (Book #2)
Genre: Mystery / YA
Publication Date: 9th September 2021
Publisher: Penguin Random House Children’s
Pages: 368
Rating: 📚📚📚📚

Synopsis (from Goodreads)

Intrigue, riches, and romance abound in this thrilling sequel to the New York Times bestselling The Inheritance Games perfect for fans of Karen McManus and Holly Jackson.

The Inheritance Games ended with a bombshell, and now heiress Avery Grambs has to pick up the pieces and find the man who might hold the answers to all of her questions – including why Tobias Hawthorne left his entire fortune to Avery, a virtual stranger, rather than to his own daughters or grandsons.

As the mystery grows and the plot thickens, Grayson and Jameson, the enigmatic and magnetic Hawthorne grandsons, continue to pull Avery in different directions. And there are threats lurking around every corner, as adversaries emerge who will stop at nothing to see Avery out of the picture – by any means necessary.

With nonstop action, aspirational jet-setting, family intrigue, swoonworthy romance, and billions of dollars hanging in the balance, The Hawthorne Legacy will thrill Jennifer Lynn Barnes fans and new readers alike.

My Musings

The Inheritance Games is quickly becoming my most binge-worthy reading series of all time! I was initially drawn to it through my love of treasure hunts, puzzles and riddles and devoured the first book in just one sitting. Unravelling all of the clues and passageways was a major part of the reading thrill for me and whilst there were still trap doors and hidden messages in abundance, The Hawthorne Legacy allows the family saga and character development to take center stage.

After having so many secrets spilled, you could definitely be forgiven for pondering where on earth this series could go next – well panic not as Jennifer Lynn Barnes has found the fictional supply of cornflour for this one as the plot just gets thicker and thicker!

Billion-dollar inheritance aside, Avery’s character is still on one hell of a journey – there’s the ongoing media training and confidence aspect of being thrust into the limelight, her increasingly complicated relationship with sister Libby, the resurfacing of her long-gone father, the quest to find the mysterious homeless guy she played chess with and of course, who could forget her Mum’s ‘I have a secret’? (which ends up blowing up a major plot line) – that’s without even getting started on mentioning those four particular Hawthorne grandsons…!

Enter: Max! Her character was light relief and added buckets of humour with her non-sweary mannerisms and attempts to help Avery filter through her variety of thoughts and problems. I loved her presence in this novel.

As for the romance element – I’m torn! I’m mainly here for the secrets and intrigue, so I was grateful that Avery’s romantic relationships didn’t dominate the plot. There is still enough here to keep it interesting and mystifying but it seems like the strangest of love triangles which keeps flip-flopping round and my verdict is still out on who I’m really rooting for. I genuinely can’t make up my mind whether I’m Team Jameson or Team Grayson and I’m convinced it could still all change yet again in the final book!

Now that a large proportion of Hawthorne HQ has been explored, I was curious to wonder where all of the sleuthing would come from this time round. I was so happy to see the treasure-hunting taking off in previously unseen wings and even jet-setting locations. Those elements were by far my favourite parts of the novel! Invisible ink, curious objects, numerical codes… all of the same features I adored in the first instalment were so cleverly intertwined into the plot. Some of which were brilliantly guessworthy and many more twists which kept me revising my theories left, right and center.

If you enjoyed The Inheritance Games then you’re absolutely going to need and love continuing this incredible series!
But reader, a little word of warning…
…Arm yourself with your reading tennis racket for this one because the secrets, action, drama and reveals keep pinging at you so thick and fast, you won’t dare to put this book down!

Now, when can I get hands on The Final Gambit…?


Find out more about this book here:

NetGalley | Publisher Website | Amazon | Waterstones | Bookshop.org | Goodreads | Author’s Twitter: @jenlynnbarnes | Author’s Website

Connect with me here:

Twitter | Goodreads | Book Sloth: @thebiblioshelf | Email: thebiblioshelf@gmail.com

The Wrap – August 2021

Howdy Bibliofriends!

“August slipped away like a moment in time…” – wow, where have those holidays gone and how is it September already?! Looking back now it feels like it disappeared in the blink of an eye although actually feel like I reached the perfect balance of relaxation and recreation to prepare for the forthcoming month!

Life Update

It was really nice to get back into reading and blogging again Summer – it’s definitely been my most active month for a while. I spent a majority of my holidays by the sea in Cornwall. We had some beautifully warm weather and sunny days. Where we are there is a main beach where all the tourists congregate but if you walk about a kilometre further up you discover a little secret beach which I literally had to myself every single day bar the rare dog-walking local ambling past. It was bliss!

Away from Cornwall I managed to catch up with some wonderful friends; we had an indulgent afternoon tea that was filled with all sorts of goodies and even a cheeseboard! I felt like such a Snorlax afterwards. I went to the races a few times with our stable yard which in turn led to seeing UB40 perform. But by far, my highlight of the entire month was our DB BBQ. DB is one of my racehorses and in amazing style he managed to win his hat-trick race (his third back-to-back win) on a day when two of the other yard’s horses also achieved the same feat so it was a treble of trebles! The whole of our syndicate got together to celebrate and it was a night filled with fabulous food, friendship and fizz. We each got mugs with our lovely horse on it and I came away with a stunning framed picture of one of his wins which now takes pride of place in my Office.

As August drew to a close I prepared myself for starting my new job at a brand new school – unloading my car I just couldn’t help but look around in awe at the school settings and the disbelief that I actually get to work there! I’m finally feeling super excited and positive about starting work again and I can’t wait to meet my new class! Wish me luck for September though, I know it’s going to be such hard work! 😂🙈

The rest of this Wrap Post follows my usual format (Past Reads, Current Reads, Upcoming Reads, Films/TV, Music/Podcasts, Pokemon Go) so feel free to skip any irrelevant parts!


What I’ve Been Reading

August felt like I got my reading mojo back (slightly!) – I read 4 books in total and although I’m still 6 books behind my reading goal schedule, August’s progress has been the best since about March. Here’s what I read in August:

Troubled Blood by Robert Galbraith (Strike #5)
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
I love the Strike novels. The plot just feels so well crafted and by the time I think I’ve finally figured out whodunnit, there will be a red herring or twist in the tale to make me have to rethink everything! This was edge-of-my-seat, page-turning crime and I loved every minute of it!

Can You Sign My Tentacle? by Brandon O’Brien
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
If you’re looking for a weird Sci-Fi, Poetry, Comptemporary fusion then look no further than this book! I received an eARC of this Carribbean author’s work from Netgalley. It takes Lovecraft and modern hip-hop influences and turns them completely upside down. I went into it on a bit of a whim but it was incredible and seriously made me consider the power of writing and imagination to send a message and challenge ideals without resorting to cancel culture. You can read my spoiler-free review here.

Six Crimson Cranes by Elizabeth Lim
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
This was a delightful Fairytale retelling of The Wild Swans. I was blown away by the magical world Lim created and can’t wait to read more of her writing. Check out my review here.

The Hawthorne Legacy by Jennifer Lynn Barnes (The Inheritance Games #2)
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Puzzles, secrets, invisible ink and a whole heap of family drama… I adore this series of books and have literally devoured each read in just a day! After the ending of The Inheritance Games, I had no idea where the sequel would go but I was SO HERE FOR IT! I couldn’t believe it when I got my ARC request accepted on Netgalley and now I’m left twiddling my thumbs until the final installation of this gripping trilogy. My review is up next week so swing back to check it out!

#CurrentlyReading

I’m still going with my Kafka On The Shore audiobook by Murakami – I have about three hours left but I’m finally starting to pull together some little threads about what I think is going on! Perseverance has definitely been the key with this read!

For now I have parked She Who Became The Sun by Shelley Parker-Chan. I’ve heard great things about it so I’m determined that it will not become a DNF (I’ve only ever done that once before!), but I found it so hard to get into a reading rhythm and found myself just abandoning it and turning to TV – so for now, to keep my reading motivations on track, it’s on the bench. Anyone else ever feel that way with this book or is it just me?

I have FINALLY started my Rick Riordan reading journey with Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief! I haven’t even seen the films so I’m completely unspoiled. I only picked it up last night but I’m already halfway through. I can’t believe it’s taken me this long to discover Camp Half-Blood, I love it!

Upcoming Reads

This month I am taking part in the Magical Readathon hosted by G (Book Roast). I loved this so much in it’s previous format with the Harry Potter OWLs/NEWTs theme but this time around it’s back… refreshed, rebranded, with it’s own unique magical world created specifically for readathon purposes! It’s like the readathon of all readathons and always helps me tick off my reading goals. G has put so much work into this, it’s epic! She’s epic!!
You can read my TBR for it here.

What I’ve Been Watching

Far too much TV in August to be honest but it was the holidays, so who cares?!

I have discovered the absolute joy that is Outer Banks on Netflix. If you’ve been following me for a little while you will know that treasure hunting is practically my favourite trope in the whole wide world. Hence why this treasure-hunting, mystery teen drama set in the Outer Banks of North Carolina and the Bahamas was one of my favourite summer binges!

Greys Anatomy has long been one of my favourite TV shows until I somehow stopped watching it around Season 13 – probably as everything moved to streaming services and my broadband signal back then was so poor I couldn’t even watch a YouTube vid without it buffering! For some reason I just seemed to ‘remember’ that it was on Disney + now so I steamrollered my way through Seasons 13, 14 and 15 – I’m forcing myself to take a little break before launching back into Season 16 but I don’t think I can really wait that long before curiosity eventually kills the cat! 🙈

I caught the second season of the French programme Lupin on Netflix. Assan is a the main character who fashions his escapades on the French literary character Arsene Lupin, a gentleman burglar and master of disguise, from the novels by Maurice Leblanc. I liked that it wasn’t a terribly long series and answered the big cliffhanger of a twist from season one. I’m not sure whether there’ll be a third season but the storyline kind of feels resolved for me know so who knows whether it’ll be back.

My friend recommended Sex/Life to me so I watched that on Netflix. Isabella Summers, the Machine part of Florence + the Machine, did the music for it so that also pulled me in (FATM are my all-time favourite band!). It was an interesting series although I got a little annoyed in the end by Billie’s character and the very, very final scene was a bit of a WTF moment! Love triangles irritate me slightly as I always end up changing my mind about who should end up with who – I know that’s kind of the point but I procrastinate enough in my own life, I don’t need to be overwhelmed by it in other people’s too! 😂

It’s been a bit of a quiet month at the cinema but I did manage to catch:

  • The Suicide Squad – I’ve decided I’m definitely a Marvel girl – the DC movies just don’t keep me entertained enough.
  • The Courier – This was an interesting film that was definitely worth the watch and whilst I appreciated the storyline (based on real events) I don’t think it’s one I’ll need to watch again.
  • Don’t Breathe 2 – This was an entirely different film to its predecessor and was more violence than horror. I enjoyed the story they created with the blind man’s character as it gave the film a little more depth than the first one.
  • Snake Eyes: G.I. Joe Origins – A fun film but a little longer than it needed to be.

What I’ve Been Listening to

Not much other than my audiobook of Kafka on the Shore by Haruki Murakami.

Pokemon Go Update

Eevee Community Day was the best event of the month – and not just because Eevee is one of my favourite Pokemons, it definitely helped in me completing the Eevee shiny dex! My favourite wild shiny catch was Clefairy! I wasn’t really paying full attention as I was walking to the cinema but when I caught sight of those shiny green ears I could have squealed!

August’s Shiny Haul
Kabuto
Eevee x 11
Clefairy
Caterpie

My Trainer Code: If any fellow Pogo players want to add me, my trainer code is: 8327 7170 2277


And that’s a wrap! How are you all doing? What are you looking forward to this September – are you taking part in Magical Readathon or any other Readathons? How are you doing with your 2021 reading goals now that we’re in the final quarter of the year?

As always, drop me a comment to chat! ☺️

T xx