If you have followed me for a while, you would know I read multiple books at the same time. My ‘currently reading’ on the sidebar usually has at least 3 books on there. I often get questioned about ‘how’ I manage to read multiple books at the same time, even from my family members like to read. It’s a bit like Marmite you either love reading multiple books or hate reading multiple books, and I love it.

Doesn’t it get confusing?

No I rarely get books confused because I’m normally reading different genres of books with very different plots. For example, one book may be an epic fantasy, the second a YA contemporary and the third a historical fiction.

It also means I get to read a wider range of books, as I would normally just read fantasy constantly. By reading multiple books I know I can’t start three epic fantasy series at the same time as then it will start getting confusing.

Different formats at different times

I have eBooks on my phone Kindle app and my actual Kindle. I also purchase a lot of paperback and hardback books. I normally use my phone in my everyday life. If I have a spare 20 minutes I can read some of my book on my phone. When I want some downtime, I normally read a paperback or hardback book. And before bed I’ll use my Kindle as it’s easier to read with low lighting.

I’m normally reading the same book on my phone and my Kindle. But with paper books I normally switch depending on my mood.

Changing moods

I can read all day, but usually I need to change which books i’m reading in that day. Sometimes I’m in the mood for something I have to really think about, so I read a more complex book. Sometimes I want a lighter read. Sometimes I just want to read a specific genre. Sometimes I’m just not in the mood for a genre. It’s very much a pick and mix when it come’s to which book I’ll pick up.

 

What do you do? Do you read just one book at a time? or multiple?

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All That Remains is a dystopian horror following Kyle, Tim and Sara 13 years after the apocalypse. After finding young girl Kaylee, they need to get to Oak Ridge to protect themselves and maybe save the world.

All That Remains

There’s normal reanimated human zombies, but also other monster like creatures that roam the earth. All That Remains is able to describe the monsters, make them horrifying, yet not interrupt the plotline to do so. In previous books I’ve been pulled out of a tense moment because there’s too much description, but Barrera is able to bypass that problem.

There’s varying themes of hope and morality within the book. All four of our characters experience hope, and lose hope throughout the book. Whether it’s hope to find more people, hope that cities are inhabitable or just hope for survival. Because of this focus, I felt attached to the characters. Even when they were being pessimistic, they still didn’t give up.

Morality is a fine line in this new world. You must kill to survive at times, but is it the right thing to do? If you kill a bad person does it make you just as bad? One of the lines mentioned that right is nothing but a direction anymore which I think is relevant to the book as a whole.

As we get to see the point of views of both Sara and Kyle you do feel attached to them. The characters are extremely likable, even when they’re not being the best they can be. They don’t consciously make bad decisions which puts them in danger, which makes me route for them more. Although problems do arise due to accidents or it’s out of their control.

Sara in particular is a great character. She shows both mental and physical strength by not only surviving 13 years but also with her mental fight with ‘the walking cancer’. The walking cancer is a monster that no one has ever seen before. It’s a new, worse monster in the world, and the main bulk of the book is spent running and hiding from it.  Due to Sara being a scanner she can sense and also connect/talk with the monster.

The plague-like spread of zombies and natural disasters mirrors that Kyle is ill throughout the book. It’s implied that it’s a cancerous tumor, most likely in the brain due to headaches and blackouts. As the situation for the group gets worse, the illness gets worse. I think Barrera was definitely trying to show the similarities. There’s also a underlying message of having hope throughout which I think is an important takeaway.

Overall this was the apocalyptic dystopian I was looking for when reading A Mathematical State of Grace and The Undying.

I received All That Remains* by Al Barrera as an e-book from the publisher via Netgalley. This is an unbiased and honest review.

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Family, adventure and magic. A perfect combination for this middle grade book. The House of Mountfathom is set in Ireland during times of unrest. The Driochta, always peacekeepers, must choose a side to survive.

The House of Mountfathom

My favourite aspect was how alive the house felt as it was so full of magic. The House of Mountfathom seemed like another member of the family almost like it had a mind of it’s own. There was so much time given to explaining the house, magic and family though, that it reduced the actual plot to the second half of the book.

The House of Mountfathom has a strong focus on family. The Mountfathom family are the protagonists of the book. The Order of Driochta are another kind of family. There’s no romance subplot which was a big plus point for me.

Another thing was that the house was in Ireland. I cant think off the top of my head another book I’ve read based in Ireland. The introduction of both historical aspects and folklore was great. There’s also a distinct discussion about class systems. The ‘big houses’ aka the upper class in Ireland are in trouble, including the Mountfathom house, even though they’re trying to keep the peace.

A problem I had was the format seemed odd, I assume it would be best in a printed book. My kindle seemed to push everything together and it was difficult to discern between chapters. The illustrations would have also worked much better within a book. Since this was an e-ARC though, I wouldn’t take that into account.

Another problem is the book doesn’t seem quite finished. Understandable as Nigel McDowell passed away in February. Although the ambiguous ending does give something towards the mysterious aspect of the book as a whole.

I really enjoyed how McDowell described the hows of magic. The first part of the book follows Luke as he grows up and learns magic. The five principles are distinct in how Luke learns them. I would compare The House of Mountfathom to Lemony Snicket and Neil Gaiman’s Coraline. It was a bit dark and creepy in places. Full of intrigue and magic.

I received The House of Mountfathom* by Nigel McDowell as an e-book from the publisher via Netgalley. This is an unbiased and honest review.

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The Undying is an apocalyptic thriller and was sold as similar to The Walking Dead. Jeanie and Ben, two American tourists must get to the Arc de Triomphe as it’s, supposedly, a rescue point. On the way, they find two of their friends and a newly born baby.

The Undying (The Undying, #1)

The Undying could have been so good. The premise was what made me want to read it. I really did want to like it. I thought it would help me get over the awful apocalyptic book that is A Mathematical State of Grace. Unfortunately They Undying just didn’t live up to my expectations.

I enjoyed the first chapter, we were straight into the aftermath of an apocalyptic zombie style event. Unfortunately, the second chapter skipped back to before it occurred. I switched off a bit because I knew something bad was going to happen and I just really wanted it to start straight away. The characters introduced in the second chapter, were glaringly obviously missing in the first. Jeanie and the baby are clearly going to survive because they’re present in the first chapter.

I really enjoyed learning about the zombies, as much as our characters could when on the run. The zombies could get into your head slightly, they fed off emotions which was unique. They’re also not The Walking Dead style zombies, they can be quick and they evolve and get stronger as the apocalypse goes on.

Zou Zou, our resident Parisian was a walking stereotype. Plus, the characters kept speaking French. But in the middle of English sentences. I couldn’t immerse myself in this world because I had to stop and try and translate the characters. I took French at GCSE, and I was struggling. Anyone who doesn’t know any French would not be able to read The Undying properly.

As we follow Jeanie through her first day of the apocalypse, it flashes back to her losing her father to cancer. There’s a slight analogy between the horrible things happening to Jeanie and the loss of her father. I understand there’s a message trying to be conveyed. I just wasn’t convinced to care about Jeanie, so I just didn’t feel for her the way I think I was meant to.

The baby in the story is an odd plot device. Even the other characters think Jeanie is stupid for taking the baby with them. The baby is meant to give Jeanie a reason to continue fighting and moving forward. But, it felt quite flat and a stupid decision made purely for plot furthering. I would have suggested the baby being Jeanie’s or Zou Zou’s to make it feel more genuine. I think making it a family relation or a close friend’s child would have made it more obvious that Jeanie had to take the baby.

The zombies or moribund were amazingly written. Unfortunately all the effort seemed to be towards making the perfect horror zombie. Therefore the characters and plot suffered. It would have worked so much better if the book didn’t start at the end. We could have learnt to love characters and actually felt something when we lost them. The thriller aspect could have been improved upon if I thought the main character was actually at risk of dying.

I received The Undying* by Ethan Reid as an e-book from the publisher via Netgalley. This is an unbiased and honest review.

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Why did you start blogging?

This is so different to everyone I know but I started blogging because I want a career in marketing. I did work experience at a digital agency and learnt about copywriting, SEO, affiliates etc and I realised how much I could expand my knowledge on these by blogging. It’s also a great online portfolio for when I apply for jobs as it shows I can be creative, I’m good at time management and I can self motivate.

What do you love about blogging?

I love the fact I have my own space to write about anything I want. I used to think I had to write about certain topics and stick to those topics. But since I’ve been branching out a lot I love writing posts again.

What do you hate about blogging?

I hate writers block and the guilt of not posting afterwards. I know I shouldn’t feel guilty because no one will actually hold it against me, but I do!

How has your blog changed since you started?

I originally had a separate blog for all my books posts, but I decided to combine them as I wanted my own domain and having one website is cheaper. I also decided that I didn’t care if my blog was a bit different and had books and beauty.

When I started I also wanted to do outfit posts, but I always wear the same things so… decided that it wasn’t for me. It was a learning curve because I wanted to be like all the bloggers I followed, but I live a very different life and so I developed the blog around me a lot more.

How are you trying to improve your blog?

I’m currently scheduling and writing in advance to try and make it a lot more consistent with content. I’m also working on better photos as I have re-fallen in love with my camera.

How do you get your inspiration for posts?

I read a lot of other blogs, watch YouTube videos, talk on Twitter and I jot down anything I think would work as a blog post.

What do you do outside of blogging?

I’m at Uni, although I will be going on a placement year at EA in July! Super excited for that. I read a lot, I’ve actually started writing as an extra creative outlet and of course I binge watch Netflix.

What piece of advice would you give a new blogger?

From my experience I would say be true to yourself, dont force yourself to post about things you dont want to. Also always be genuine, kind and engage with people because there’s so many bloggers who are there to help you and be friends.

 

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