By the end of the day, July will be over and we’ll be one month closer to the end of the year. I know 2020 was the longest year in history but 2021 really isn’t wasting any time. The end of July also means the end of short month titles. From here on out, it’s long names to spell out. I’m pretty concerned that I won’t manage it but I’ll do what I can. Hopefully, I can just get through with audiobooks and graphic novels.
One of the best things about my Spell the Month reading challenge is that I’m reading way more books that I’d never have known about. Having to search out certain letters is opening my eyes to titles I’d have never have thought about picking up. This is one of those books. I’m not a real YA fan anyway but a YA romance? Definitely not my usual kind of book. I thought I’d take the chance to step out of my comfort zone while also finding an easy read for the letter Y. Whatever the actual story was like, I could at least be confident that it wouldn’t take a long time to read.
I wasn’t entirely sure whether I would finish this in time or not. I’d had a slow end to the week and had let my reading go. Thankfully, it was a pretty quick read and I got the majority of it done on Sunday. I forget that YA novels don’t take as long to read as the books I usually read. Mostly because it doesn’t have that literary fiction desire to complicate things. It did take a bit longer because I was so careful not to ruin the gorgeous stencilled edges of this book. It’s such a beautiful thing and I need it to say as pristine as possible.
Now that Henry Cavill has played Sherlock Holmes, does that mean that Benedict Cumberbatch or Robert Downey Jr. are going to play Superman? It would only be the fair thing to do. Although, they’d have to play him as a side character in another person’s film. For Cavill is mere a bit player in Netflix’s adaptation of Nancy Springer’s YA series about his younger sister. It has garnered an awful lot of attention thanks to the fact that Stranger Thing‘s Millie Bobby Brown has been cast in the main role. Brown has become quite the darling since she became Eleven. There was little doubt that people would rave about his film but how much of it is about her rather than the film? I guess I had to find out for myself.
I’ll be the first person to admit that I’m far too stubborn about certain things. I’ve discussed it before and I’m sure it will come up again. When it comes to certain topics, I’m sticking to my guns regardless. One of those things is YA fiction. I’ve had such terrible experiences when reading YA fiction that I now avoid it at all costs. I’m not going to say that it’s bad but it’s not for me. And it’s not just books. Whenever I see another adaptation of a Young Adult novel, I just roll my eyes and ignore it.I rarely give them a chance because I just assume it won’t appeal to me. Although, I’m also someone who is something of a glutton for punishment. I’ve given plenty of YA fiction a chance. That’s the reason I’ve been disappointed so often. So, why not films? I decided to give one a chance as it really was the best companion for Dating Amber this week.
It was announced recently that the sequel to Ready Player One will be released on November this year. I can’t say that I’m too excited by the news. I found the book really annoying and thought the film was kind of dull. I think it’s a problem with all novels that rely too heavily on their pop culture references. For one thing, I think it shows a lack of imagination and writing ability. For another, I think it’s a really lazy way of getting your readers onside. It’s using nostalgia to create engagement instead of a captivating story or developed characters. I’d go so far as to say that Ernest Cline’s YA novel made me quite angry. So angry that I’ve really stopped trusting any book that uses popular culture to draw people in. Which means that Slay wasn’t a natural choice for me to start reading. It’s a YA novel about an online video game and it’s really pushing the Black Panther connection. Writer Brittney Morris was inspired by the movie to write her first novel. Something she apparently accomplished in 11 days. But would it read like an 11-day long composition or would it actually make up for the wounds left by Cline? There was only one way to find out.
I must have first read this book just after it was published but, honestly, I don’t remember much about it. I don’t think I really paid attention to it. I was a bad reader in those days. There are plenty of books series that I started but didn’t really take in. I think I was just reading for the sake of it. So, I never really had that great awakening thanks to Malorie Blackman. It’s a book that I always wanted to read again and give a better go. It also helped that the BBC adaptation was coming out and I didn’t want to watch it until I’d reread it. Of course, it got pushed back thanks to my ever-increasing TBR but the recent Black Lives Matters protests have pushed all books about race to the top. I figured this would be a relevant and quick read. As anyone who has ever read my review of The Power will know, I’m not always a fan of role reversal narratives. A lot of the time, they can be a bit cringe and heavy-handed. But this is one of those books that everyone loves. I went in expecting to enjoy it.
It’s been a really long time since I last posted a Friday Favourites list. To be honest, the series was getting tough and I was bored with it. I couldn’t think of interesting ideas and it was taking me too long to write them. So, I decided to scrap it. I was intending to come up with something different to post but it never happened. In light of the recent protests surrounding race discrimination, I decided to bring it back to life once again. I know that I don’t have a particularly big platform or that I have the ability to influence someone’s decisions. However, I have been lucky enough to be born with a privilege that many people don’t have. I have a voice and I need to use it. Last week, I posted a few suggestions for ways people could learn more about the things that the Black Lives Matter movement is marching for. To learn more about the systemic racism that exists in our society. It should not be up to black people to tell us what to do or how to do it. They’ve been doing the work for us for too long. So, I did something. I wanted to know what I had missed and what I needed to know. And, to help people in the same boat, I thought I’d share it. Hopefully, it can give other people some ideas.
In my time writing this blog, I have been lucky enough to meet a lot of great new people. I’ve been introduced to some fantastic writers and been given opportunities to read some amazing books. One of the greatest of these new connections has been with Alexis Marie Chute. Back in January 2018, I was given the chance to help reveal the cover of her first novel, Above the Star. Since then, I’ve had the chance to read every book in the series and loved each of them. The final book in the trilogy, Inside the Sun, came out in April. Unfortunately, the Covid-19 pandemic caused disruption to the book tour. When Alexis Marie rearranged the tour to be a virtual one, I jumped at the chance to become one of the stops. I sometimes feel a bit uncomfortable recommending books to people because I think it’s quite a personal thing. Our tastes are all so different and I don’t ever like forcing my opinions on people. But, I’m incredibly passionate about this trilogy. If you’re looking for something to start up during quarantine, The 8th Island Trilogy could definitely be the one for you.
I’m not the kind of book blogger who desperately tries to get free stuff. I’m in a lucky enough position to be able to buy books for myself or, if I need to, I still have access to a library. That said, I like helping out authors who ask me to help out. Promoting your book is a huge job so if I can help out then I will. One of the best things to come out of my blog in the last few years is being able to work with writers. Alexis Marie Chute first approached me to help reveal the cover of the first book in her YA trilogy Above the Star. I was beyond grateful for the opportunity and agreed without a second thought. The book sounded incredible and I was excited to introduce my followers to it. Since then, I’ve had the pleasure of reading and helping to promote the books on social media. I loved the first book and was super excited to read the second book, Below the Moon. So, when I also offered the chance to get a copy, the final book became one of my most anticipated books of 2020.