Tuesday, 30 April 2019

Magical Readathon Wrap-Up

Grade Achieved: E
Career Path: Magizoologist

The Magical Readathon is hosted by Book Roast.

I kinda got a bit distracted reading books that didn't fit any of the prompts, so I didn't quite make it to an O grade. So close! I did manage to get all the O.W.L.s required for the magizoologist career, so I'll be looking forward to taking my N.E.W.T.s later in the year.

O.W.L.s Passed:

Care of Magical Creatures* - Land animal on the cover

A Boy and His Dog at the End of the World by C.A. Fletcher ☆☆☆☆

A low conflict post-apocalyptic tale that isn't quite as straightforward as it seems. Read my full review.

Herbology* - Plant on the cover

Be Prepared by Vera Brosgol ☆☆☆☆

Adorable fictionalised graphic memoir about Russian summer camp. Had me chuckling all the way through.

Potions* - Next Ingredient: Sequel

The House of Binding Thorns by Aliette de Bodard ☆☆☆☆

If you haven't read The House of Shattered Wings, head over to my review to find out more bout this unique urban fantasy set in an alternate Paris ruled by fallen angels. The second book in this series focuses of House Hawthorn, and I loved how this plays out, with me wanting the villain to be OK by the end. I can't wait for the third book which is out this summer!

Charms* - Age Line: Read an adult work

The Water Cure by Sophie Mackintosh ☆☆☆

I'm not sure I was in the right mood for this depressing tale of sisters who have been brought up in isolation, led to believe men are literally toxic.

History of Magic - Published at least 10 years ago

The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein ☆☆

Not what I was expecting, I didn't really like the direction this went in. Read my full review.

Transfiguration - Sprayed edges OR red cover

Other Words for Smoke by Sarah Maria Griffin ☆☆☆☆☆

Beautifully written and deliciously creepy, I loved this supernatural, Irish coming of age tale. Read my full review.

Divination - Set in the future

Last Ones Left Alive by Sarah Davis-Goff ☆☆☆☆

Honestly, why am I reading so many end-of-the-world books where everyone's been living on an island? They are starting to blur together but I liked this one, set a long time after the skrake (zombies) have taken over Ireland. Another sad one!

Arithmancy - Work written by more than one author

Dry by Neal + Jarrod Shusterman ☆☆☆☆

California's water supply is cut off without notice. How far will people go to get water? This tells the tale of two teenagers, one the son of a prepper, as well as other viewpoints. Gripping climate fiction and you know I love some cli-fi.

*Needed for career path

Thursday, 25 April 2019

On My Radar: May

I'm sure each month there are even more books that land on my wishlist. Here you'll find a mix of genres hitting the shelves in May.

As always, these are books I haven't read so inclusion is not an endorsement. Quoted dates are based on the UK print editions unless otherwise specified, books may have had earlier digital only or US releases,


Alien: Echo by Mira Grant (US)
Wicked Saints by Emily A. Duncan


Toffee by Sarah Crossan
Nocturna by Maya Motayne
Faber & Faber: The Untold Story by Toby Faber
The Heavens by Sandra Newman
My So-Called Bollywood Life by Nisha Sharma
The Furies by Katie Lowe
A Thousand Ships by Natalie Haynes
Tiger by Polly Clark
Underland: A Deep Time Journey by Robert Macfarlane


Aurora Rising by Amie Kaufman + Jay Kristoff
The Farm by Joanne Ramos
Keep This to Yourself by Tom Ryan (US)


Finale by Stephanie Garber


The Plague Stones by James Brogden
The Candle and the Flame by Nafiza Azad (US)
We Hunt the Flame by Hafsah Faizal (US)
The Lost Coast by Amy Rose Capetta (US)
The Things She's Seen by Ambelin + Ezekiel Kwaymullina (US)
There's Something About Sweetie by Sandhya Menon


Love from A to Z by S. K. Ali (US)


Frankissstein by Jeanette Winterson
These Witches Don't Burn by Isabel Sterling (US)


Superior by Angela Saini
Stay Sexy and Don't Get Murdered by Georgia Hardstark + Karen Kilgariff
Meat Market by Juno Dawson
The Passengers by John Marrs
Salt Slow by Julia Armfield
Birthday by Meredith Russo
Field Notes on Love by Jennifer E. Smith
The Arsonist by Chloe Hooper

Wednesday, 24 April 2019

They Both Die at the End

Mateo Torrez and Rufus Emeterio are strangers but both receive a call from Death Cast in the early hours of 5th September. The call is to tell them some bad news, they are going to die today. Mateo is all alone, his father in a coma. Rufus is on the run from the police. They're both in need of a friend... Luckily for them, there's an app for that, Last Friend.

But no matter what choices we make - solo or together - our finish line remains the same … No matter how we choose to live, we both die at the end.

They Both Die at the End plays on the idea that you should live every day as if it's your last. What would you do if you knew you were going to die today?

We might like to pretend that if we had one last day, we'd do something amazing, but Adam Silvera is fairly realistic about what is possible, especially for two teenagers. They say their goodbyes where they can and go to experiences designed for Deckers. A differentiation is made between Deckers who have been ill for some time and those like Rufus and Mateo who had no idea their end was imminent.

Mateo and Rufus would probably never have been friends without Last Friend. Rufus is a foster kid and from what we know of Mateo, he doesn't have to worry about money or safety. But they have both lost family. It's about friendship and preparing for death, sharing in the grief. It's a message to live each day as much as you can, because you never know when that day will be your last.

I want us to have history, something longer than the small window of time we're actually sharing.

It's intentionally vague about how Death Cast works. You have to just go with the flow and imagine it as a Final Destination scenario; when it's time, it's time and you can't cheat fate. A little of the wider implications are explored, but I kept having questions about it all. Is it really better to know you're going to die? You get to say your goodbyes, but also your final moments must be tainted by that knowledge. Has reckless behaviour increased because people feel they are immortal if they don't get the call? What about mass-casualty events... Do they not want to try and stop something if there are indications that hundreds of people are going to die in one place?

It was a bit too convenient that both teenagers already had had a lot of experience with untimely deaths. Poor Lydia, losing both her boyfriend and best friend so young.

Even knowing the ending didn't make it any less heart-breaking.

POPSUGAR Reading Challenge: 24. A book that takes place in a single day

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Book Source: Borrowed from library

Tuesday, 23 April 2019

A Boy and His Dog at the End of the World

Disclosure: I received a copy of this book free of charge for review purposes only. Receipt of a book does not guarantee a review or endorsement. My reviews are my honest opinion and are not biased for the purpose of personal gain.

When people stop reproducing, the population got older and older, until there was barely anyone left. A few outliers continued to have babies, living in isolated corners of the world. Griz's family is one such group. When one of their dogs is stolen, Griz sets off without thinking to bring back Jess.

We're out here on the wrong side of a dying world trying to piece together the story of what's happened from the torn fragments that we can only snatch at as they flutter past us in the wind.

By removing humans with a whimper, rather than a bang, it is easier to create a low-conflict world in which to explore what Britain looks like without us. I loved the familiar locations made unfamiliar through decades of neglect. The story is told through Griz's journal, writing to a person from the past who lived in the world before The Gelding. I liked the references to classic post-apocalyptic fiction and you can tell the author is a fan of this sub-genre. And I do agree with Griz's view of The Road.

Griz's journey starts in the Uists, two islands off the west coast of Scotland, but continues south east, via Blackpool's ruined amusements and Birmingham's concrete bridges of wonder. It's a reminder how we take things for granted, how Griz sees things for the first time and thinks how amazing they are, when they might be things we use every day but ignore.

Of course, Griz is not the only person roaming Britain. There's the dog thief for starters, and others who are doing what they can to survive. Not everyone left will speak the same language, and some will have nefarious plans to get the world back on track. But mostly, Britain is empty and being reclaimed by nature.

You might wonder why dogs are so valuable when they must be roaming free in packs by now? But something also happened to the dogs, maybe the same as humans or maybe humans did it to the dogs. Breeding bitches are rare, and so worth stealing. Griz does take Jip on the journey, their male dog, who proves how good a companion a dog can be to a human living wild. That's why we domesticated them in the first place. The theft of Jess is somewhat of a foreshadow too.

If we're not loyal to the things we love, what's the point? That's like not having a memory. That's when we stop being human.

It's a book that purposefully leads the reader astray. I can see it an experiment to see what the reader will assume, but I'm not convinced that works when you are told what to think in the first place. Would I have viewed things differently had I been told something from the outset? I'm not so sure for myself, but then again I do know that people make certain judgements.

A Boy and His Dog at the End of the World is published by Orbit and will be available in hardback and ebook editions from 25th April 2019. Thanks go to the publisher for providing a copy for review.

ATY: 11. A book related to one of the 12 Chinese Zodiac Animals

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