A little bit of everything

Tomorrow it’s June – how? And that means the first day of Marvel-a-thon! I’m crazy excited as this is my first readathon for a while and I’m finding my way back to books after a long break.

After much internal debate I signed up. I joined team Shang Chi, led by the lovely Liv in Bookland, and although I don’t have a TBR planned, I think I’ve picked my first book.

And honestly I have missed my book babes, the excitement of new stories, and a good readathon to kick my butt to read with more focus.

I’m hoping that pushing myself to be more involved will prepare me a bit for YALC. I just had a weekend away and the tolerance I had built up pre-Covid has long dissipated as apparent by the severe meltdown I had upon returning home. As someone with ADHD, Autism, anxiety, depression, and chronic pain issues, I can tend to spiral. Books, the book community, and book events have been a huge part of my coping and distraction but my absence the past 2 years meant I disconnected with everyone and everything. I really want to reconnect with the people I love and make more friends. I guess say hi or drop me a message if you also want a weird bookish nerdy friend or if I lost you and you miss me too?

I’m also trying to work through some personal issues (I hate seeing my face and hearing my voice) and get booktok and booktube underway.

S.T.A.G.S

At the prestigious and historic St Aidan the Great School, Greer MacDonald, scholarship student feels like an outsider. She spends her first term being ignored by everyone, including Jesus – Greer’s roommate not the deity, although it could be argued he ignores her too.

St Aidan’s might be run by The Abbot and the Friars, but its the Medieval’s who are really in charge. The school prefects, a group of upper sixth students, Henry de Walencourt, Cookson, Piers, Esme, Charlotte, and Lara. The ones who set the trends and standards the rest of the student body aspire to, even forging technology as “Savage”.

As the term ends Greer gets an invitation to spend the holiday weekend at Longcross Hall, for “huntin’, shootin’, fishin'” with The Medieval’s. At her roommates nudging, Greer accepts, she;s finally being accepted at S.T.A.G.S and by the most influential group in school.

After having her case vetted by Esme and a torturously long and quiet drive with Perfect, the head groundsman, Greer arrives at Longcross to find she isn’t the only guest. The other invitees are Chanel – a new money tech heiress, and Shafeen – a boy with all the advantages and upbringing of The Medieval’s but has never been accepted by them due to his heritage.

Greer is convinced that this is when her time at S.T.A.G.S will turn around.

Day 1, huntin’. A morning of explaining how the hunt works, of selecting a stag and setting the stage. Lunch is a luxurious affair before the final act of killing and the ritual that come along with it are complete. Greer notices that Chanel has been separated from the group. As they look for her, Greer is reminded of the hunt, right down to locating Chanel by the sound of the baying hounds.

But that was an accident. And Chanel is only scared because she was already terrified of the dogs.

Day 2, shootin’. Greer and Chanel opt to sit out the mornings shoot and head out to meet the shooting party for lunch. It seems the only shooter to rival Henry is Shafeen and after lunch the competition intensifies. Right up until Shafeen is shot.

Two accidents can’t be anything more than a coincidence, can it?

Huntin’. Shooting’. Only fishin’ is left.

The mornings fishing goes well, with Greer landing her first catch. What happens after lunch will change all their lives, and expose an old Order to the Savage world.

Greer transforms from the lonely underprivileged student to a girl who thinks she could be one of the chosen, to someone willing to fight for her survival and that of her friends and take down an insane hunting party of untouchable aristocrats. Chanel becomes Nel, her own person and not the coached model of the people she tried to fit in with. Shafeen opens up, allowing some behind the walls that were built to protect him from the systemic racism that he has faced his whole life, along with the perfectly paced story made it hard to put down.

I loved S.T.A.G.S and am re reading the series before the release of book 5, H.A.W.K.S

M. A. Bennett can be found on twitter and Instagram. Books 1-4 of the S.T.A.G.S series are already available from Hot Key Books, H.A.W.K.S is to be released July 7th 2022

Nettle and Bone

Marra is the third daughter of the King and Queen of a small kingdom caught in the constant threat of invasion from the Northern and Southern Kingdoms. She sees her eldest sister marry a prince and unite them with a powerful ally and protector.

Except mere months later her sister is returned home, dead. No longer bound and protected by a larger kingdom, the second sister is soon married to her sisters widowed Prince. But not all Princes are Charming.

Sent off to a convent, Marra sees her sister only a few times over the years, but this is enough. She knows that what she has to do.

Kill the Prince.

Marra seeks out the dust wife, a grave yard tender who speaks to the dead, for help. To gain what she needs to kill the Prince she must first complete three impossible tasks.

Nettle and Bone has all the elements of the perfect fairy tale, a Princess, a dust wife, a fairy godmother, a knight in shining armour (ok, a disgraced former knight), and a chicken.

I was so excited to be given the chance to review T. Kingfisher’s Nettle and Bone – thanks to Titan Books, and complete my own impossible tasks. Beautifully written, flawed and lovable characters, and adventure, Nettle and Bone is a delight to read. Putting it down is harder than catching moonlight in a clay pot.

Complete three impossible tasks, kill a prince, curse a kingdom

Nettle and Bone is released April 26th 2022, from Titan Books. T. Kingfisher can be found at Red Wombat Studio and on twitter

Back with a bang, it’s readathon time

This year has been a wild ride so far. But I’m trying to get back into the swing of things.

So It’s readathon time and June had two tempting ones for me. Panemathon and Make your Mythtaker.

Panemathon is the District inspired Hunger Games readathon, volunteering as tribute to represent your district and reading a book for each district.

Make you Mythtaker is a 4 step path to create your character. One of 16 in 4 classes of myth based roles. I have chosen the Warrior path, specifically that of Viking.

With that in mind, I have planned a TBR that covers both and that, hopefully, I complete.

District 1 – Read A 5 Star Prediction. Seafire.

District 2 – Read A Book That Features A Weapon, Armor Or Shield On The Cover.The hunger games.

District 3 – Read A Sci-Fi Book. Divergent.

District 4 – Read A Book Set By The Sea, On The Sea Or Under The Sea. The mermaid.

District 5 – Read An E-Book, Audiobook OR Read A Book During The Night. The ballad of songbirds and snakes.

District 6 – Read A Book Set Outside Of Your Own Country Or World. Insurgent m.

District 7 – Read A Book Set In Nature Or Features Nature On The Cover.

Group Read (Worth DOUBLE Points!): Bone Crier’s Moon By Kathryn Purdie. Naturally this will be my pick.

District 8 – Read A Book Featuring More Than 3 Colours On The Cover. The Shadow between us.

District 9 – Read A Book That Begins With “G.” Good omens.

District 10 – Read A Book With An Animal As A Featured Character Or An Animal On The Cover. Mockingjay.

District 11 – Read A Book That Showcases A Strong Sense Of Friendship. One of us is next.

District 12 – Read A Book With The Word “Fire” In The Title Or Displayed On The Cover. Catching fire.

Viking path

The first prompt is to read a book set in a cold place. For this I have chosen The Mermaid.

Prompt 2 is a book with a weapon in the cover, for me this is The Hunger Games.

For the third challenge, a book featuring a journey I will read Catching Fire.

My finally step will be an Overhyped book. Or a book you have seen a lot of chat and excitement for. The book I have chosen is Seafire as it’s 1 I have seen a lot of love for.

And a weekend of fun

Not to be overshadowed by World Book Week and International Women’s Day, Saturday had 2 events planned.

The first was the Forbidden Planet book signing by V. E. Schwab. Meaning I, of course, picked up the FP grey edition of The Near Witch (or the Dull London version in Lila Bard terms). I even got Tiny Satan’s copy of City of Ghosts personalised (in an attempt to retain my crown as his best mum).

Complete with gorgeous hidden art under the stunning dust cover, pretty green endpaper maps and a matching ribbon bookmark

A quick stop for lunch then off to Piccadilly Waterstones and the Conversation with Melinda Salisbury and Samantha Shannon.

First lets talk about the beauty of the stage setting and theme for the evening. All the plant based Vespus inspired decor and drink embellishment was fantastic. Oh and how about cupcakes? Yes please!

After discussing powers, nature based disasters, rebellion and royalty, friendships, and the desire to see nature rise up in its inherent savagery and take over the world, was book signing and cupcakes in the queue. Naturally we made sure to get one State of Sorrow and one Song of Sorrow for science (and photos).

Samantha Shannon and her beast of a beauty The Priory of the Orange Tree, Melinda Salisbury and that sprayed edged Song of Sorrow