Favourite Romance & Contemporary Books

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Whether you celebrate or not, it’s nice to spend some time reflecting on those we care for deeply.

With that being said I decided it’s also a perfect time to list some of my favourite romance and contempoarary stories. As an aside from Valentine’s Day, I usually find myself reading more romantic stories during the summer months. These are just a few of the books I’ve enjoyed.

These are only some of the books that I’ve enjoyed from the contamporary/ Romance Genre. All featuring adorable couples that I abslutely love, so if you are in the mood for a fluffy read, I would definitely recommend all of these stories!

I hope you have a wonderful Valentine’s Day! Send me any of your favourite Romance and Contampary reads, I’d love to read more!!

January Book Haul 2020

So I have definitely stuck to buying less books in January than what I read in December… Yay! Here are the books I grabbed!

Angel Mage
by Garth Nix

Hardcover

More than a century has passed since Liliath crept into the empty sarcophagus of Saint Marguerite, fleeing the Fall of Ystara. But she emerges from her magical sleep still beautiful, looking no more than nineteen, and once again renews her single-minded quest to be united with her lover, Palleniel, the archangel of Ystara.

A seemingly impossible quest, but Liliath is one of the greatest practitioners of angelic magic to have ever lived, summoning angels and forcing them to do her bidding.

Liliath knew that most of the inhabitants of Ystara died from the Ash Blood plague or were transformed into beastlings, and she herself led the survivors who fled into neighboring Sarance. Now she learns that angels shun the Ystaran’s descendants. If they are touched by angelic magic, their blood will turn to ash. They are known as Refusers, and can only live the most lowly lives.

But Liliath cares nothing for the descendants of her people, save how they can serve her. It is four young Sarancians who hold her interest: Simeon, a studious doctor-in-training; Henri, a dedicated fortune hunter; Agnez, an adventurous musketeer cadet; and Dorotea, an icon-maker and scholar of angelic magic. They are the key to her quest.

The four feel a strange kinship from the moment they meet, but do not know why, or suspect their importance. All become pawns in Liliath’s grand scheme to fulfill her destiny and be united with the love of her life. No matter the cost to everyone else.

Aphrodite Made Me Do It
by Trista Mateer

Paperback

Bestselling and award-winning author Trista Mateer takes an imaginative approach to self-care in this new poetry and prose collection, Aphrodite Made Me Do It. In this empowering retelling, she uses the mythology of the goddess to weave a common thread through the past and present. By the end of this book, Aphrodite make you believe in the possibility of your own healing.

Children of Virtue and Vengeance
by Tomi Adeyemi

Hardcover

After battling the impossible, Zélie and Amari have finally succeeded in bringing magic back to the land of Orïsha. But the ritual was more powerful than they could’ve imagined, reigniting the powers of not only the maji, but of nobles with magic ancestry, too.

Now, Zélie struggles to unite the maji in an Orïsha where the enemy is just as powerful as they are. But when the monarchy and military unite to keep control of Orïsha, Zélie must fight to secure Amari’s right to the throne and protect the new maji from the monarchy’s wrath.

With civil war looming on the horizon, Zélie finds herself at a breaking point: she must discover a way to bring the kingdom together or watch as Orïsha tears itself apart.

Come Tumbling Down
by Seanan McGuire

Hardcover

When Jack left Eleanor West’s School for Wayward Children she was carrying the body of her deliciously deranged sister–whom she had recently murdered in a fit of righteous justice–back to their home on the Moors.

But death in their adopted world isn’t always as permanent as it is here, and when Jack is herself carried back into the school, it becomes clear that something has happened to her. Something terrible. Something of which only the maddest of scientists could conceive. Something only her friends are equipped to help her overcome.

Eleanor West’s “No Quests” rule is about to be broken.

Again.

Macbeth
Adapted by Gareth Hinds

Paperback

Shakespeare’s classic story of dark ambition, madness, and murder springs to life in a masterful new graphic novel by Gareth Hinds.

Set against the moody backdrop of eleventh-century Scotland, Gareth Hinds’s captivating, richly illustrated interpretation takes readers into the claustrophobic mind of a man driven mad by ambition.An evil seed takes root in the mind of Macbeth, a general in the king’s army, when three witches tell him he will one day be king. At the urging of his wife, he resolves to take the throne by the most direct path: a dagger in the heart of King Duncan. But “blood will have blood,” and when others grow suspicious of his sudden rise to power, is Macbeth prepared to commit more murders to keep the crown?

The Bad Boy of Athens: Classics from the Greeks to Game of Thrones
by Daniel Mendelsohn

Hardcover

Mendelsohn takes the classical costumes off figures like Virgil and Sappho, Homer and Horace … He writes about things so clearly they come to feel like some of the most important things you have ever been told.’ Sebastian Barry

Over the past three decades, Daniel Mendelsohn’s essays and reviews have earned him a reputation as ‘our most irresistible literary critic’ (New York Times). This striking new collection exemplifies the way in which Mendelsohn – a classicist by training – uses the classics as a lens to think about urgent contemporary debates.

There is much to surprise here. Mendelsohn invokes the automatons featured in Homer’s epics to help explain the AI films Ex Machina and Her, and perceives how Ted Hughes sought redemption by translating a play of Euripides (the ‘bad boy of Athens’) about a wayward husband whose wife returns from the dead. There are essays on Sappho’s sexuality and the feminism of Game of Thrones; on how Virgil’s Aeneid prefigures post-World War II history and why we are still obsessed with the Titanic; on Patrick Leigh Fermor’s final journey, Karl Ove Knausgaard’s autofiction and the plays of Tom Stoppard, Tennessee Williams, and Noël Coward. The collection ends with a poignant account of the author’s boyhood correspondence with the historical novelist Mary Renault, which inspired his ambition to become a writer.

In The Bad Boy of Athens, Mendelsohn provokes and dazzles with erudition, emotion and tart wit while his essays dance across eras, cultures and genres. This is a provocative collection which sees today’s master of popular criticism using the ancient past to reach into the very heart of modern culture.

The Secret History
by Donna Tartt

Paperback

Under the influence of their charismatic classics professor, a group of clever, eccentric misfits at an elite New England college discover a way of thinking and living that is a world away from the humdrum existence of their contemporaries. But when they go beyond the boundaries of normal morality they slip gradually from obsession to corruption and betrayal, and at last – inexorably – into evil.

When We Were Vikings
by Andrew David Macdonald

Paperback

A heart-swelling debut for fans of The Silver Linings Playbook and The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time.

Sometimes life isn’t as simple as heroes and villains.

For Zelda, a twenty-one-year-old Viking enthusiast who lives with her older brother, Gert, life is best lived with some basic rules:

1. A smile means “thank you for doing something small that I liked.”
2. Fist bumps and dabs = respect.
3. Strange people are not appreciated in her home.
4. Tomatoes must go in the middle of the sandwich and not get the bread wet.
5. Sometimes the most important things don’t fit on lists.

But when Zelda finds out that Gert has resorted to some questionable—and dangerous—methods to make enough money to keep them afloat, Zelda decides to launch her own quest. Her mission: to be legendary. It isn’t long before Zelda finds herself in a battle that tests the reach of her heroism, her love for her brother, and the depth of her Viking strength.

When We Were Vikings is an uplifting debut about an unlikely heroine whose journey will leave you wanting to embark on a quest of your own, because after all…

We are all legends of our own making.

We Used to be Friends
by Amy Spalding

Hardcover

Two best friends grow up—and grow apart—in this innovative contemporary YA novel
 
Told in dual timelines—half of the chapters moving forward in time and half moving backward—We Used to Be Friends explores the most traumatic breakup of all: that of childhood besties. At the start of their senior year in high school, James (a girl with a boy’s name) and Kat are inseparable, but by graduation, they’re no longer friends. James prepares to head off to college as she reflects on the dissolution of her friendship with Kat while, in alternating chapters, Kat thinks about being newly in love with her first girlfriend and having a future that feels wide open. Over the course of senior year, Kat wants nothing more than James to continue to be her steady rock, as James worries that everything she believes about love and her future is a lie when her high-school sweetheart parents announce they’re getting a divorce. Funny, honest, and full of heart, We Used to Be Friends tells of the pains of growing up and growing apart.

The Witch Doesn’t Burn in This One by Amanda Lovelace

The Witch Doesn’t Burn in This One
by Amanda Lovelace
#2 in the Women are Some Kind of Magic Poetry Collection

Publisher: Andrew McMeel Publishing
Date: 2018
Pages: 192
Fiction/Non-Fiction: Non fiction
Genre: Poetry
Days to Read: 1
Purchase Locations: Amazon & Kindle Book Depository Booktopia Dymocks QBD Scribd

The witch: supernaturally powerful, inscrutably independent, and now—indestructible. These moving, relatable poems encourage resilience and embolden women to take control of their own stories. Enemies try to judge, oppress, and marginalize her, but the witch doesn’t burn in this one.

In Amanda Lovelace’s second collection in the Women are some Kind of Magic Series we explore Amanda Lovelace’s experiences after those in ‘The Princess Saves Herself in This One’. Her poems are beautiful and lyrical.

There are many trigger warnings for this poetry collection, to see the complete list of trigger warnings you can easily find it online or in the front cover of each of her books.

The poetry within ‘The Witch Doesn’t Burn in this one’ explores so heavier topics that may be difficult for some readers. It is clear that in writing this she hopes not only to heal herself but make others feel heard and valid.

Personally I definitely found some of her poems more confronting than others and its probably nor something I would read a second time, however I can understand the necessity of it.

‘Even those we love
the most
can be poison to
our souls’

Overall I found ‘The Witch Doesn’t Burn in This One’ to be an experience in someones self expression and healing. I felt as though she was reaching out to others whom had had similar experiences in the hopes that women can band together and be magic.


Ease of reading: 6/10
Quality of Writing: 8/10
Overall: 3.5/5

Love Her Wild by Atticus

Love Her Wild
By Atticus
First book in the Poetry Collection of Atticus

Publisher: Atria Books
Date: 2017
Pages: 225
Fiction/Non-Fiction: Non Fiction
Genre:  Poetry
Days to Read: 1
Purchase Locations: Amazon & Kindle Book Depository Booktopia Dymocks QBD Scribd

Love Her Wild is a collection of new and beloved poems from Atticus, the young writer who has captured the hearts and minds of hundreds of thousands of avid followers on his Instagram account.

In Love Her Wild, Atticus captures what is both raw and relatable about the smallest and the grandest moments in life: the first glimpse of a new love in Paris; skinny dipping on a summer’s night; the irrepressible exuberance of the female spirit; or drinking whiskey in the desert watching the rising sun. With honesty, poignancy, and romantic flair, Atticus distills the most exhilarating highs and the heartbreaking lows of life and love into a few perfectly evocative lines, ensuring that his words will become etched in your mind—and will awaken your sense of adventure.

Love Her Wild is the first of the Atticus Poetry collection that I picked up. These books are a complete experience with gorgeous images to accompany many beautiful words. I was blown away by the utter cerebral experience. The combination made the poetry even more engaging and something that felt like a moment in time spent completely encapsulated.

There were so many different poems I felt a connection with. I had so many notes from this book which is something I love about poetry. Some things just resinate with you and all readers will find something for them within the pages.

‘I think its Beautiful
The way you sparkle
when you talk about
the things you love’

Overall the modern poetry of Atticus is something that anyone can take away a piece of. The stunning imagery that go along with the words of the poems makes me want to flip through this book all the time.


Ease of reading: 8/10
Quality of Writing: 8/10
Overall: 4.5/5

2019 Reading Challenge Wrap Up

During 2019 I decided to take part in the 2019 Reading Challenge created by The Perks of Being Noura.

To sum it up the challenge is a list of 52 prompts to read throughout 2019.

Of these 50 prompts I managed to read 50 of them! Madness. The only two that I had trouble fulfilling is prompt 26 and prompt 30. I was able to complete all the rest though which makes me still feel as though I completed the challenge. Here are the books I read for each prompt…

It definitely looks like a lot more books than it felt like when I was reading them!

Sparks of Phoenix by Najwa Zebian

Sparks of Phoenix
by Najwa Zebian

Publisher: Andrews McMeel Publishing
Date: 2019
Pages: 240
Fiction/Non-Fiction: Non Fiction
Genre:  Poetry
Days to Read: 1
Purchase Locations: Amazon and Kindle Audible Book Depository Booktopia Dymocks QBD

In Sparks of Phoenix—Najwa Zebian’s third book of poetry—she takes her readers on a powerful journey of healing.

As the phoenix emerges from its ashes, Zebian emerges ablaze in these pages, not only as a survivor of abuse, but as a teacher and healer for all those who have struggled to understand, reclaim, and rise above a history of pain. The book is divided into six chapters, and six stages of healing: Falling, Burning to Ashes, Sparks of Phoenix, Rising, Soaring, and finally, A New Chapter, which demonstrates a healthy response to new love as the result of authentic healing. With her characteristic vulnerability, courage, and softness, Zebian seeks to empower those who have been made to feel ashamed, silenced, or afraid; she urges them, through gentle advice and personal revelation, to raise their voices, rise up, and soar.

Ok, so honestly if you have seen any of my other reviews on poetry, I have absolutely no idea what I am doing. On that, for this review I want to talk about some versus that really stuck with me.

Najwa’s piece on sensitivity is amazing. It really resonated with me, as a sensitive person it felt like someone got it. It begins with ‘Your sensitivity is not a sign of weakness.’ I felt like that opening really captured my attention to the piece.

Honestly the positivity I felt while reading the second half of this book of poetry was real. There were so many times where Najwa Zebian was talking about kindness and remembering to stay kind and being tired as well as the importance of continuing with your goals.

I really found something within the pages of Sparks of Phoenix and left my time with the book feeling positive and focused on my goals.


Ease of reading: 7/10
Quality of Writing: 7/10
Stars: 3.5/5

Review: ‘The Mermaid’s Voice Returns in This One’ By Amanda Lovelace

‘The Mermaid’s Voice Returns in This One’

By Amanda Lovelace

Book 3 in the Women are some kind of Magic Collection

Publisher:Andrews McMeel Publishing
Date: 2019
Pages: 191
Fiction/Non-Fiction: Non Fiction
Genre:  Poetry
Days to Read: 1
Purchase Locations: Amazon & Kindle Book Depository Booktopia Dymocks

Goodreads Choice Award-winning poet and USA TODAY bestselling author Amanda Lovelace presents the mermaid’s voice returns in this one — the third and final installment in her “women are some kind of magic” series, featuring a foreword from Lang Leav and 13 guest poems from leading voices in poetry such as Nikita Gill, KY Robinson, and Orion Carloto.

The mermaid is known for her siren song, luring bedroom-eyed sailors to their demise. However, beneath these misguided myths are tales of escapism and healing, which Lovelace weaves throughout this empowering collection of poetry, taking you on a journey from the sea to the stars. They tried to silence her once and for all, but the mermaid’s voice returns in this one.

After absolutely LOVING ‘The Princess Saves Herself in This One’ I knew I needed to pick up more of Amanda Lovelace’s writing. Now, I know what you are thinking, ‘why did you read the first in the collection and then the third? what about number 2?’ I’m going to be honest here, I did not realise that ‘The Mermaid’s Voice Returns In this One’ was the 3rd collection. But here we are…

I loved collection 3 just as much as the first collection. I was truly ready to dive headfirst into everything and just consume all of Lovelace’s writing. I started highlighting the things that really stuck with me in ‘The Princess Saves Herself in This One’ and I continued in ‘The Mermaid’s Voice Returns In This One’ and I highlighted even more, I felt like I could connect with so many moments throughout the collection.

There are references and Ode’s to many classic literature writers which I absolutely love. It had me rereading the poems in search of the connections.

‘The Mermaid’s Voice Returns in This One’ is a fantastic conclusion to some raw and deep poetry collections.

Ease of reading: 9/10
Quality of Writing: 10/10
Stars: 5/5

Review: ‘The Princess Saves Herself in This One’ By Amanda Lovelace

‘The Princess Saves Herself in This One’

By Amanda Lovelace

Publisher: CreateSpace
Date: 2016
Pages: 295
Fiction/Non-Fiction: Non Fiction
Genre:  Poetry
Days to Read: 1
Purchase Locations: Amazon & Kindle Book Depository Booktopia Dymocks QBD

“Ah, life- the thing that happens to us while we’re off somewhere else blowing on dandelions & wishing ourselves into the pages of our favorite fairy tales.”

A poetry collection divided into four different parts: the princess, the damsel, the queen, & you. the princess, the damsel, & the queen piece together the life of the author in three stages, while you serves as a note to the reader & all of humankind. Explores life & all of its love, loss, grief, healing, empowerment, & inspirations.

Like I said when I reviewed ‘Milk and Honey’ By Rupi Kaur, I am not pretending to be someone who ‘gets poetry’ or an authority on it. I just like to share what I enjoy and wow did I really get into ‘The Princess Saves Herself in This One’ By Amanda Loveloace.

I picked up this book after Britt from Brittney the Bibliophile spoke a about it in one of her vlogs. I don’t even thing she had read the book but everything that I read the Britt raves about I love, so why not give it a go. I am so glad I did.

Amanda Lovelace’s love of Harry Potter already had me before I’d even begun really experiencing her writing. Her dedication is to The Boy Who Lived and I was honestly close to tears at that point. Now I cannot pretend that I have had experiences similar to those that Lovelace speaks about in her poetry, especially the difficulties of her childhood, but her writing and use of the princess, the damsel and the queen was something that made her lines resonate with me.

Her specific poem that references Harry Potter is one that really hit home for me, I read that along with some of the others in ‘The Queen’ to my partner and I was almost crying reading them aloud. Something about experiencing them a second time, a loud, made them more real.

Throughout her poetry Lovelace also references her love of books and their help in letting her escape. This is really something that I personally connect with and “The pagebound girl” is a phrase that will resonate with me forever.

I would recommend ‘The Princess Saves Herself in This One’ is a collection I would recommend to anyone, however there are definitely trigger warnings, which Lovelace addresses before even beginning to tell her story.


Ease of reading: 10/10
Stars: 4/5