Books I Read during my Scribd Free Trial!

Scribd is a digital library subscription service, a little like Netflix for books. It claims unlimited and what that actually means that if you read/listen to a lot, your access to certain options is limited until your next month. It also means unlimited within the collection they have, which is quite a bit, but not everything. You also get Mubi, the curated movie subscription service and FarFaria, a kids book service included. And it does a free 30 day trial. So I gave it a go and thought it’d be fun to go over what I read while trying out the service.



A Boy Worth Knowing by Jennifer Cosgrove
This has been on my wish list since I read Autoboyography a year ago and desperately searched for something similar. M/M romance? In high school? With GHOSTS? All a thumbs up from me so I was really excited to see this on Scribd in eBook form.

As for the book? The internal monologue could’ve done with some editing, I read it very fast so I picked up on a lot of little repetitive phrases, but the realism of a teenager telling themselves off inside their head was on point. I loved boys showing emotions, the importance of explicit consent, and as someone who spent a lot of my school time worrying about my attendance, I really loved the aunt encouraging taking a mental health day.

It was a sweet, fluffy, slightly paranormal romance and I would’ve loved it if it wasn’t for: “-I wouldn’t risk that. Not on the word of a junkie ghost.” That was just incredibly disappointing to read, I really hate that term for one, and for another this was a complete throwaway line and the drug abuse of the character was more a plot point to get to his death.

You by Caroline Kepnes

This was one of those rare occasions when the adaptation was as good/ better. I’ve never felt the need to read this after marathoning the show in one day last Boxing Day while completely ignoring my family, but I saw the audiobook and decided to listen to it. The narrator is incredibly good, similar in tone to Penn Badgley who plays Joe in the show, and creepy. I haven’t been so spooked by an audiobook since I listened to It.

I like a unreliable narrator but it can wear after a while because Joe felt frantic for the entire book. I found myself feeling physically stressed so I probably won’t read the sequel but I loved season 2 of You. I think maybe reading this physically might calm the pace.

Small Kingdoms & Other Stories by Charlaine Harris
I was really excited going into this as it was a short story collection of an interesting new character (at least for me) from Charlaine Harris. A high school principal with a shady past? Totally different from what I’ve read from Harris before and I loved it. The stories were short enough that I could get through one while I was winding down for bed and long enough that I really got a feel for the world and a satisfying story-arc.

Plus, Harris’s writing just works for me. Physical or audio, novel or short story (my least favourite format), I love her style and this was no exception.

After Dead by Charlaine Harris
This is the exception, however. I get that she did this ‘for the fans’ who wanted to know what came next but I am so glad I never bought this. The audiobook for this is 47 minutes. For comparison, the first Sookie Stackhouse book is nine and a half hours. And I know it’s not a novel but that is shockingly short.

This should’ve been published online for free, like Charlaine Harris has mentioned that she wanted to, not have the RRP of £8.99. Or it would’ve been a great blog tour! Think about fifty-ish blogs all posting one characters future and keen readers popping around, finding blogs they love that have the same taste as them! Although I’d feel sorry for whoever got the character who ‘contracted ghonnorea’ and that’s it!? This is both a missed opportunity and a disappointing cash grab.

This is tough to really review because I enjoyed the novella and some of the interviews, skipped the timeline for the books because I’m currently re-reading them, and found the fan club section a little weird. I don’t think this is by any means necessary reading, but I could see that it had, at least, more content than After Dead.

And finally a full novel. I dived back into Harris with my heart open and this paid off. This is her second novel and a standalone so I was blown away by how many things changed and how many stayed the same when it came to her characters and her story structure, still the same old Southern charm I loved but a bit less detective-y than I expected. I prefer it when the main character has a big impact on how the case is resolved, but this would’ve ended up the same way without her input.

I will say though, for something written 36 years ago in 1984? This was surprisingly progressive about rape culture! So overall, it was okay but not something I’m clamouring to read again.

If you want two free months, here’s a link! Or if you don’t want to give them your card details, here’s one month free!

Have you read any of these? Are you a Scribd subscriber?

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Audiobooks to Listen to while Playing Animal Crossing!

Animal Crossing came out yesterday and I am so so so glad. And I love listening to audiobooks while I play Animal Crossing. There is nothing better than watering your flowers, fishing and bug catching with a gentle story being told in the background. I tend to go for more relaxed audiobooks, nothing too complicated or full of action that might ruin the Animal Crossing ~vibes~ for me. So here are my recommendations, and a few I plan to listen to!



If you have a pig villager, or a hankering for pastoral mischief, look no further than The Blandings Castle series by P.G. Wodehouse. I cannot recommend a series more for listening while playing Animal Crossing because the stakes are very very low and every book follows a similar plotline of someone impersonating someone else and something nefarious to do with the pig. I’ve read eight or nine of these now and they’re always read by very posh older gentlemen in very soothing tones.

If your luck ran out and your island is full of smug and snooty villagers, then I think you can’t go wrong with a Jane Austen. Personally, I think Emma is a great pick if you’re surrounded by gossips, and the new movie is out this year.

If you’re in the Northern Hemisphere and are taken by the Spring vibes and the sound of water, Three Men in a Boat by Jerome K. Jerome is the story of, you guessed it, three men (and a dog) in a boat taking a holiday down the river Thames. I just listened to this in February and recommend both unabridged and abridged (which is on Spotify, read by Hugh Laurie).

If you feel like leaning into the oddity of being the only humanoid on an island of talking animals, look to further than the Discworld books by Terry Pratchett. I really recommend the witches branch of this series, starting with Equal Rites, but Lianne has a great video breaking down the vast universe and all the best starting points. Oddball characters, magic, fantasy lands, I didn’t really like the first book which I read physically but they shine in audiobook format.

Personally, I just started Lady Susan by Jane Austen but it’s pretty short and two and a half hours is nothing when it comes to Animal Crossing. I’m really tempted to go back and listen to the Sookie Stackhouse books by Charlaine Harris on audiobook as I’ve been slowly re-reading them since I finished my first read of my favourite waitresses tales.

If you are looking to load up on audiobooks, consider Libro.fm as they’re currently doing a deal where you get two books for the price of one and all the money goes to your local bookstore! Or you can get a free book using my link. Libro is a great alternative to Audible!

And what will I be listening to?
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2020: The Year of No Star-Ratings

Hindsight is 20/20 as they always say, and let me tell you, I’ve been trying to figure out how to turn that into some kind of personal challenge for 2020 for ages. In the end, the answer was easy and the eagle-eyed among you might have noticed in my January reading wrap-up… I don’t want to give star-ratings for books for a full year and see how it changes my reading and blogging.

There are a couple of reasons why I want to do this:

1. For the past few years, star ratings have gotten harder and harder to give. I’ll finish a book and be overthinking about if I should rate a book three or four, did I like it as much as X which I gave four stars, but it didn’t teach me anything like Y which I gave three. What was originally an impulse decision based on how much I enjoyed a book has become overly-complicated.

2. I’m trying to be less negative. I started book blogging to boost books I loved and lately I feel like I’ve become a real grump. I’ve become too critical to the point where I’m not enjoying reading as much because my brain is too busy thinking about star-ratings and reviews. Maybe it’s the English Literature degree, but I need to re-evaluate a lot of things in 2020 and I think taking away this small thing will help with that.

3. My average star rating in 2019 was three stars. That’s terrible. And I read some good books in 2020! I want to focus more on the books and less on the numbers, so I hope this will help! I’ve always liked star ratings, I’ve never understood why some people don’t use them, but they’ve stopped working for me and I’m ready to try something new.

The only time I’m going to rate a book is if it belongs on my six-star shelf and I know it in my bones. If a book changes my life, my sheets and cleans the litter box, it’ll get this rating.

What do you think of star ratings? Do you use them all the time?
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Books I Read in January!

After a rough 2019, I was ready for a good January and the stack of books by my bed that I really wanted to read. I ended up reading four books; one short story, a play and two 2020-release novels. The old seasonal depression caught me at the end of the month but I can actually say I enjoyed everything I read in January!

The Embassy of Cambodia by Zadie Smith
I always like to start the year with a short book that I think I can learn from so I can go in with a new perspective. The Embassy of Cambodia was perfect for that. It’s focus was on modern-day slavery which isn’t something I’ve ever read a book about.
It’s a short story, which I normally shy away from because I find they can feel quite unbalanced, but it felt complete and easy to read even while dealing with a serious topic. The characters were quickly formed and felt real, which makes the plot all the more affecting.
This was also my first Zadie Smith and I’m definitely going to read more.
Waterstones | Amazon

The Playboy of the Western World by J. M. Synge
This is required reading for my current university module and it was a bit of a weird one because reading plays is such a different experience to other fiction. I think I’d enjoy it if I saw it performed. It’s a fun study for sure as it had a massive backlash from audiences at the time! I’m currently writing an essay on it so we’ll see if I still like it in 1500 words…
Waterstones | Amazon | Book Depository

A Messy Affair by Elizabeth Mundy*
You can read my full book review here!
Waterstones | Amazon | Book Depository

Six Tudor Queens: Katheryn Howard, The Tainted Queen by Alison Weir*
I’ve got a full review of this coming sooner the release date!
WaterstonesAmazon | Book Depository

Have you read any of these? What did you read in January?

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My Februwitchy TBR!

My wonderful friend Asha is hosting a month-long readathon; Februwitchy (you can read all about it here) and I, of course, needed to join. Mainly because I love witches but also because I bought a lot of witchy books for my Hallowreadathon, which Asha helped host, and never got around to reading them! I don’t normally do TBRs because I’m a huge mood reader but I think I’ve covered all my bases with this one…

If I feel like romance; The Witches of Cambridge by Menna Van Praag and Practical Magic by Alice Hoffman both blend magic with love. I’ve wanted to read more romance lately and I think these will help me dip my feet in with a familiar urban fantasy feel.

Both The Witch’s Daughter by Paula Brackston and The Secret History of Witches by Louisa Morgan are a blend of historical fiction and romance ending up in modern day (from what I can gather from blurbs) and if you search for witch-y books, I guarantee any list will include both of these so I want to get into at least one of these chunks.

If I feel like a historical fiction book that is more on the side of history, Her Kind by Niamh Boyce* is about the 14th century Kilkenny witch trials in Ireland. I don’t think I’ve read much of this time period before so I’m looking forward to learning more about it.

Hex Life, edited by Christopher Golden and Rachel Autumn Deering was a Secret Santa gift from Kate and I think it’s going to be the star of this readathon for me because if I can just read one of the eighteen stories every day, then I’ll finish this in no time. I love discovering new authors as well so this might end up making my TBR longer…

And if I feel like YA, I’ve got How to Hang a Witch by Adriana Mather, a birthday present from the wonderful Mols. Naondel and Maresi: Red Mantle by Maria Turtshaninoff which have been intimidating me ever since I read the first incredible book in this series, so I need the readathon themed push! And Perfectly Preventable Deaths by Deirdre Sullivan was a book I bought last year because I was seeing Maria and Deirdre at the Edinburgh Book Festival but never dived into it. For shame!

What are you reading in February? Anything witch-y?
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Books I Want to Buy and Why #16: 2020 Releases!

It’s my birthday today! And since it’s the 20th, why not talk about the 2020 releases that I’m treating myself to as a birthday gift? I love a good number pattern, I wish there were 20 books but I only have eight…

A Longer Fall by Charlaine Harris
Internationally bestselling Charlaine Harris is at her best here, building a compelling world of this alternate history of the United States, where magic is an acknowledged but despised power.

I didn’t really enjoy the first book in this series when I read it but I love Charlaine Harris’s writing style and honestly, I can’t stop thinking about An Easy Death so maybe A Longer Fall will surprise me!
14th January

Tender is the Flesh by Agustina Bazterrica
It all happened so quickly. First, animals became infected with the virus and their meat became poisonous. Then, governments initiated the Transition. Now, ‘special meat’ – human meat – is legal.

One of my most common arguments I have with a friend of mine is whether or not human meat, given freely in the zombie apocalypse, would be vegan. So, even though it doesn’t sound like this meat is being given voluntarily,  I’m really looking forward to this. I wonder what happened to all the plant-protein like lentils and beans…
6th February

A Witch in Time by Constance Sayers
A young witch is cursed to relive a doomed love affair through many lifetimes, as both troubled muse and frustrated artist, in this haunting debut novel.
Witches have been my jam for a while now and this one is a time-travel romance set in 19th Century France, 30’s Hollywood, 70’s LA and present-day Washington! I’ve never found a time-travel novel that’s worked for me but I have high hopes for this one.
11th February

My Dark Vanessa by Kate Elizabeth Russell
An era-defining novel about the relationship between a fifteen-year-old girl and her teacher. 

All he did was fall in love with me and the world turned him into a monster.
I don’t tend to read many issue books as I can find them a bit stressful, but I found Lolita by Vladamir Nabokov fascinating, and this is dealing with a similar topic from the victim’s perspective. I think it’s a must-read debut.
31st March

Would Like to Meet by Rachel Winters
Long-suffering assistant Evie Summers will lose her job unless she can convince her film agency’s biggest and most difficult client, Ezra Chester, to finish the script for a Hollywood romcom. The catch? He hasn’t started writing it.I heard about this one from V.V. James’ Instagram post, yeah, V.V. James who wrote one of my favourite books of last year. She described it as a rom-com with Nora Ephron energy… Sign me up!
30th April 

Six Tudor Queens: Katheryn Howard, The Tainted Queen by Alison Weir

Acclaimed, bestselling historian Alison Weir draws on extensive research to recount one of the most tragic tales in English history – that of a lively, sweet but neglected girl, used by powerful men for their own gain.
I’ve been reading this series since 2016 and although I have a proof, I’m definitely going to buy the hardcover. I have for the past four books and I’m really enjoying this so far! Look for a review in the future.

14th May

The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes by Suzanne Collins
The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes will revisit the world of Panem sixty-four years before the events of The Hunger Games, starting on the morning of the reaping of the Tenth Hunger Games.
Way back when I first started talking about books on this blog, I read The Hunger Games trilogy, and boy, those old reviews are rough. But they were the first books after years of not enjoying reading that I really loved and I’m so excited to see more of the world.
19th May

Cemetery Boys by Aiden Thomas
A trans boy determined to prove his gender to his conservative Latinx family summons a ghost who refuses to leave in Aiden Thomas’s paranormal YA debut Cemetery Boys. 

This has a trans main character, a gay romance, and ghosts. That could literally be a list of things I want to read more of in 2020, so June has never seemed to far away!
9th June

What books are you looking forward to in 2020? Don’t forget to enter my giveaway to win a pre-order!
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Book Review: A Messy Affair by Elizabeth Mundy!

For the past two weeks, I’ve been poorly as all heck. Much like a character in the book, I’ve been “surrounded by piles of crumpled white tissues, littering the room as though it were a graveyard for doves”. Just add a selection of lukewarm cups of tea and ice lolly wrappers, and that’s been my life. I set this scene to tell you that A Messy Affair by Elizabeth Mundy* has been wonderful company.


The only way is murder…

Lena Szarka, a Hungarian cleaner working in London, is forced to brush up on her detective skills for a third time when her cousin Sarika is plunged into danger.

Sarika and her reality TV star boyfriend Terry both receive threatening notes. When Terry stops calling, Lena assumes he’s lost interest. Until he turns up. Dead. Lena knows she must act fast to keep her cousin from the same fate.

Scrubbing her way through the grubby world of reality television, online dating and betrayed lovers, Lena finds it harder than she thought to discern what’s real – and what’s just for the cameras.


I’ve read my fair share of reality TV books written by various cast members of Jersey Shore, so I was immediately intrigued when I read the blurb for Elizabeth Mundy’s third Lena Szarka cosy crime novel. Although Made in Chelsea has never been my reality TV show of choice, I recognised enough to enjoy the commentary on these slightly tragic public figures. And I actually enjoyed this murder storyline more than the art thievery of the last book (review here), although I’m not really sure what that says about me…

While I did think I knew who the murderer was, with only a few wobbles in my certainty, boy was I wrong! A Messy Affair is another example of Mundy’s fantastic plotting. Everything connects. Whatever is introduced to the story, no matter how seemingly random, is brought back in later. Red herrings are my least favourite part of any crime story and Mundy makes sure that everything has a place in the overall story. Twists and turns galore!

My favourite thing about series is that you get to really know the characters. I really liked Lena and Sarika’s personalities when I read the last book and they continued to be wonderful as I got to know them more. While they grow and are changed by the events that have happened in previous books, they also stay the same at the core. No unrealistic personality shifts here. And fingers crossed for more Mrs Kingston in the next book, I love the retired investigative journalist!

Everything I enjoyed in the last book; the writing, the diversity, the cleaning inspiration, it was all here again. I would’ve liked a little more of discussion in regards to the sex work storyline, but this is a light-hearted read, maybe not the place for deep-diving into the way immigrants are treated in the sex industry.

You can find A Messy Affair here! Or if you want to go back to the start; the first book, In Strangers’ Houses is here and the second, A Clean Canvas is here!


“Cleaning is the best time to solve crimes, It frees up your mind to new possibilities.”

Do you watch reality TV? Would you read a book about it (plus murder)?
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Books I Read in 2019!

2019 was the year of the reading/ blogging slump for me. My average rating was 3.1 stars! So rather than going into 2020 with a year of reading wrap-ups weighing me down, (except February and March which is here), I’m just going to let it go. You can see everything I read on this Twitter thread and I’ll be doing some reviews in the next couple months but lets just wrap-up with some stats!

In 2019 I read 50 books, and according to Goodreads, that figured out at 15,017 pages. The longest being Bleak House by Charles Dickens at 1036 pages, and one star! That was required reading

I only rated 4 books as 
I rated 7 books as 
I rated 13 books as 
I rated 9 books as 
And only 1 book as 

I normally do a top three of the year but since I only rated 4 books as five stars? They’re my top four! Sanctuary by V.V. James (review here), Maresi by Maria Turtschaninoff (review here), Regeneration by Pat Barker and Blackberry and Wild Rose by Sonia Velton!

What were your favourite reads of 2019?
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Books I Read in February & March!

I didn’t finish a single book in January, which is actually the first month in five years that I haven’t. 2019 in general has been a slow year for reading and blogging, but I finished seven books in February in March and some of them were pretty good! And some of them weren’t for me, so lets talk about that!

Date With Death by Julia Chapman

This was one of the few books I bought last year but I actually ended up listening to the audiobook from the library for this one! It had all the makings of a good cosy crime; a small town, a few brutal murders, a tall, dark and mysterious gentleman and a main character with an interesting job (a dating agency!) but in the end, this wasn’t for me. I just can’t quite put my finger on it, but I didn’t click with the main character and that’s a really important part of cosy crime for me.

Don’t Look Back by Jennifer L. Armentrout*

This was a good YA thriller, which is not a genre that seems to excel when aimed at that age. However, the only take away I had from it was that there were a lot of opinions on therapy and mental health that didn’t feel good. In fact, there are at least six terrible takes that I noted on how embarrassed and angry the main character is when her family thinks she needs help (after she gets amnesia and her friend goes missing). I was truly surprised when I found out that this was only published five years ago because it all seemed very early-2000s. It was a shame because the actually thriller aspect was well thought out and pretty clever.



Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit by Jeanette Winterson 
This is required reading for my university module and while I didn’t enjoy it, I can see why we’re studying it. It’s a strange mix of life-writing and fiction, and I did find the perspective of being a gay woman with a very religious upbringing quite interesting.



City of Bones by Cassandra Clare
Cassandra Clare co-wrote my favourite middle-grade books; the Magisterium series, so I was pretty willing to give her original solo series a try. I did and this was quite a fun romp into the 2000s, and it is very 2000s, complete with shaming a girl for wearing a thong. I think if I read it as a teen, I probably would’ve loved it, but I’m 25 now and without nostalgia, this was just alright. I thought it would appeal to me more since I love urban fantasy but hey, not everything is for everyone.
I was initially interested in continuing the series, especially because they do apparently get better, but I think I’m going to wrap it up and unhaul the three books I have. I’d rather continue series that I really want to read.
“If there was such a thing as terminal literalism, you’d have died in childhood.”

Regeneration by Pat Barker
I’m going to have to do a full blog post on this one as it is a truly incredible book. A fictionalised account of real people in WWI dealing with shell-shock. I wanted to pick this up and read it again the second I finished, and I still want to re-read months later!



Been Here All Along by Sandy Hall
I found this while trawling Amazon for more books like Autoboyography by Christina Lauren because I needed more M/M romance in my life. This appealed and luckily I didn’t have any kind of book buying ban on myself this year because I don’t think I’d have got out of my slump without it!
It’s a very cute, 200-page fluff-fest. I just wish there was more depth to it. I think the main issue for me, apart from how short it is, was that the narrative is split between four characters and chapters were often split between two or three of them. It was a lot of flipping from one point of view to another.
On the other hand, there is an openly bisexual character, with mentions of pansexuality and how sexuality can be a spectrum, which I really appreciated in a book aimed at younger teens. And it was dang cute.
“-If your life were a teen comedy, tonight would be your night. It would be the climax of your young life.”



Fun Home by Alison Bechdel
This is a book that has been on my radar for a couple years, I even mentioned it in a blog post way back in 2015! In the end though, I’m glad I didn’t buy it and just borrowed it from my library because it just didn’t end up being what I expected. Despite the name being a pun, the funeral home aspect barely played into the narrative. It was an interesting read but I’m not going to search it out again.



Have you read any of these? What did you think?
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My Hallowreadathon TBR!

The nights darken, the sweets are ready for the trick-or-treaters and the sixth Hallowreadathon approaches. So I’ve piled up truly too many books that fit the challenges so I have lots to choose from! Hopefully if you’re taking part, this might give you a few last minute ideas. Don’t forget to follow the official Twitter and use the #Hallowreadathon to be in with a chance of winning a spooky care package!

1. Read a book with witches!

This challenge was inspired by the amount of amazing witch books on my TBR and I absolutely wanted an excuse to buy some off my wishlist. I’ve covered my bases with adult fantasy books; Practical Magic by Alice HoffmanA Secret History of Witches by Louisa MorganThe Witches of Cambridge by Menna van Praag and The Witches Daughter by Paula Brackston. A couple young adult; Perfectly Preventable Deaths by Deirdre Sullivan (I met her at the Edinburgh Lit Festival and really loved her talk about the book) and Undead Girl Gang by Lily Anderson. And even a historical reimagining with Her Kind by Niamh Boyce*.


Honourable mentions of books about witches that I’ve read and enjoyed: Maresi by Maria Turtschaninoff (my review here), Sanctuary by V.V. James(my review here) and Equal Rites by Terry Pratchett.



2. Read a book with black on the cover!
When I picked this challenge I didn’t realise that pretty much every book has black on the cover! So I scanned my shelves for books that were almost all black on the cover. These are the ones that stick out and gave me a halloween vibe! Again I’ve got some young adult books; The Return by Jennifer L. Armentrout* and Once & Future by Amy Rose Capetta and Cori McCarthy. As well as some adult: The Last Namsara by Kristen Ciccarelli*, Fallible Justice by Laura Laakso, Murder by the Minister by Helen Cox* and The Craftsman by Sharon J. Bolton*. All suitably spooky in my opinion!

3. Read two books!
I always add some shorter books to my TBR for readathons because I’m not a particularly quick reader and two book in two days, especially weekdays, is a lot! I apparently read a lot of witch books as a kid and I’m very tempted to re-read some of my old favourites! So I have a separate pile of these like; Witch Child by Celia Rees, Gobbolino the Witch’s Cat by Ursula Moray Williams and Which Witch? by Eva Ibbotson.

What will you be reading this Halloween?
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