Paperback Pals – Tika

Paperback Pals

Hello my lovelies and welcome to the first post in a new series for my blog! I am so incredibly excited for this adventure! Paperback Pals is a series where I will be interviewing some of my favourite Bookstagramers, bloggers and bookish/fandom businesses! So I hope you will love getting to know some of my favourites better and maybe even find someone new to fangirl with! ❤

So, are you ready for the first instalment in my bookish community interview series?? I am so excited for today’s interviewee! She is funny, loyal and has a killer accent! Ready or not its time to meet my dear friend Tika!!

Name: Tika MacPhee

Country: Scotland

Instagram: @mybestfriendsarefictional

Twitter: @mbfaf 

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Check out Tika’s original post here.

divider 1Q: What made you start your bookstagram?

A: I just wanted to share my love of reading with other like minded people. I’d been following a couple of bookstagrammers for a while and decided to bite the bullet and make my own; I think my family were probably pleased not to have their Instagram feeds clogged up with book photos after that!

My response: Aw Tika I love that you were sharing your love for books on your personals but decided to reach out to people who understood the obsession! 

Q: Since starting what has come to be your favourite thing about bookstagram?

A: Interacting with my followers and chatting with the friends I’ve made; also buddy reading!

My response: I am yet to join a buddy read yet! maybe we can do one sometime?? 

Q: What book, series or author started your obsession with reading and all things bookish?

A: I can’t remember which one I read first, but either Garth Nix’s Sabriel or Northern Lights by Philip Pullman. I’m also a first generation Potterhead, and with being 11 when it was released, I could really imagine being at Hogwarts with them all.

My Response: I can just imagine how much more magical it would have been to grow up with the characters and fell like one of them! That is really awesome!

Q: Where is your favourite place to read and why?

A: In the bath, because it’s about the only place I get peace. I only read paperbacks in the bath though don’t worry, and I’ve yet to drop one in.

My Response: hahah well I am glad you find peace somewhere! I have tried to read in the bath a few times but it just makes me too anxious that I will drop it in! 

Q: Do you have any unpopular bookish opinions? What are they?

A: Not too sure of its unpopular or not, but I don’t really enjoy any of the classics. I dnf Wuthering Heights and disliked Catcher in the Rye.

My response: I think this is unpopular with some people but I am right there with you! I am yet to completely finish one classic! 

Q: Do you have any advice to those who want to start out in the bookstagram community?

A: Interact, whether it’s with your own followers or other accounts, just put yourself out there – and try not to forget that it’s just for fun.

My response: Great advice Tika! I think being willing to get involved and communicate and make connections is really important! 

Q: To finish off what is your most anticipated upcoming release?

A: This is so hard, but I’m going to choose Call Down the Hawk. Maggie Stiefvater is my favourite author, and I can’t wait To return to The Barns and Ronan.

My response: I am yet to finish The Raven Boys series so this one wasn’t on my radar yet! Ronan was my favourite though. Let's Chat!Do you share any bookish traits with Tika? Where is your favourite place to read and why? Remember to reach out if you would like to be involved in this series! Until next time, happy watching and reading! 

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Review: The Dysasters By P. C. and Kristin Cast

42653040Title: The Dysasters

Author: P. C. & Kirstin Cast

Genre: YA Fantasy

Publisher: Pan Macmillan Australia

Publication date: 26 February 2019

Rating: DNF 1/5

Synopsis from Pan Macmillan Australia: 

P. C. and Kristin Cast, the #1 New York Times bestselling authors of the House of Night phenomenon, return to the scene with The Dysasters – the first action-packed novel in a new paranormal fantasy series.

Adoptive daughter of a gifted scientist, Foster Stewart doesn’t live a ‘normal’ life, (not that she’d want to). But controlling cloud formations and seeing airwaves aren’t things most eighteen-year-olds can do.

Small town star quarterback and quintessential dreamy boy next door, Tate “Nighthawk” Taylor has never thought about his “extra” abilities. Sure, his night vision comes in handy during games, but who wouldn’t want that extra edge?

From the moment Foster and Tate collide, their worlds spiral and a deadly tornado forces them to work together, fully awakening their not-so-natural ability – the power to control air.

As they each deal with the tragic loss of loved ones, they’re caught by another devastating discovery – they are the first in a group of teens genetically manipulated before birth to bond with the elements, and worse… they’re being hunted.

Now, Foster and Tate must fight to control their abilities as they learn of their past, how they came to be, who’s following them, and what tomorrow will bring…


*Thank you to Pan Macmillan Australia for sending me a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review*Review2

Ok this review is going to be a little saltier than my regular ones. I just don’t even really know where to start. This book put me in a reading slump almost every time I picked it up! Hence why this review is so late and why I am now so behind on my review books and haven’t read a page of anything in over 2 weeks! I am just so disappointed. I went into this expecting to really enjoy it as I am 1. a sucker for YA fantasy and 2. a huge sucker for elemental magic! This book sounded like such a cool concept and idea but unfortunately, in my opinion, it just did not deliver.

Although this read was a DNF for me I am giving it 1 star still instead of zero because it did have a handful of likeable qualities for me. Firstly as I have already said the idea/concept was a good one, just poorly executed. I also really enjoyed the illustrations throughout the book, every few pages had a comic style insert. Which I thought was a cool and unique idea. I also like that the first main character was tough and didn’t take crap from anyone. But that is where the positives ended for me.

The two main issues for me with this book were the pacing and the character choices/development. The best way I can describe the pacing of this book is like it was the reverse of normal storytelling pacing. Less than 50 pages in there is a big event that results in the destruction of nearly an entire town yet then for the next 200 odd pages nearly nothing happens it feels slow and boring and a little anticlimactic after the dramatic start.

The other issue I have is something I tend to feel about a lot of Cast’s books is that many of the characters feel forced and like the authours are trying to hard to be diverse and put every possible character type/personality etc into the story. Now do not come for me, I am a huge advocate for diverse books and love reads that people can find a little of themselves in and relate to. But when this is done well! When the characters feel like real people and their race, gender and or sexuality feels genuine and real. If that makes any sense. Basically, I don’t think you need to have every type of person represented in your book in order for it to be diverse and when you do try to put that much in, it can feel forced. Which concerns me in terms of how the representation feels to those the characters are meant to be representing.

In conclusion, this book is the first book I have DNF in a very long time. I tried so hard, pushed through for months until finally with only about 70 pages left I just couldn’t waste any more of my time and energy on it. A cool concept that was poorly executed and weirdly paced. This read just was not for me! Let's Chat!

Have you read this one? What did you think of it? What element would you like to control if you could control one? Let me know in the comments below! Until next time happy watching and reading! 

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November wrap up

Wrap up

Reading:

This month was a very slow reading month for me! I have been slumping hard and have been lacking the motivation to read, I hope it changes soon! 😦 As I read a dismal 1.5 books this month!

  • It Ends with Us by Colleen Hoover. This is an adult contemporary  book. This book was very emotional and sparked my discussion about trigger warnings. My rating is 4/5.
  • Lisette’s pairs Notebook by Catherine Bateson. This is a YA contemporary, I am currently only about half way through. I actually won this book as a part of a prize pack from Allen and Unwin Australia. It is pretty cutesie so far about a 3/5.

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Watching:

So my reading may have been dismal this month but thanks to that I had a really good watching month. I managed to watch quite a few different things and I really enjoyed them all! 🙂

Movies:

  • The Christmas Chronicles. Yes I have started watching Christmas movies already. And you know what? I loved this one! A solid 5/5.

TV:

  • Charmed (original), most of season 1.
  • Riverdale, season 2 and season 3 so far.
  • The chilling adventures of Sabrina , some of season 1.
  • The Bold type, season 1 & 2.
  • The Last ship, season 1 and 2.

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Blog:

I am pretty pleased with what I managed to get out on the blog during November. Mostly because of my discussion post. I don’t know why but I don’t come up with discussion posts easily and sometimes when I do I think maybe no one else will find them interesting. But I was really happy with how this one turned out and the discussion it started!

Posts: 

Tag: The Mid Autumn festival tag

Review: It Ends With US by Colleen Hoover

Discussion: The importance of trigger warnings

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Life:

I am still busy planning my wedding! We are less than 3 months out now so everything is getting down to the fine details and I am very excited and anxious for everything to go right.  We finally sent out the invitations and now I am just stressfully running around trying to make sure I don’t forget anything!  Work has also been pretty stressful lately as we have been low on staff. But on the up side we will have new staff to help out in the new year and I got my first ever promotion!! Look at me being and adult and stuff! 🙂

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How did I go on my goals for November:

  • Read at least 4 books.  HAHA what a absolute fail! Fingers crossed for better luck in December!
  • Post on my blog at least 4-6 times. – So I might not have reached the amount of posts I wanted to but I am actually pretty proud of the content so I would call that a win!
  • Finalise all things wedding related. – Again not everything is done but we have been making heaps of progress lately so another win!
  • Reach out/ get involved with more publishers/ companies I love. (not sure how realistic or how I will go about this! But we shall see!) – I have recently been given some amazing advice and support from some amazing bookstagram friends in the whole working with publishers and putting yourself out there thing. So I am excited to try to put it into action and see where it goes!
  • Comment more on other blogs/ bookstagram & interact more in general. – I have definitely worked really hard on this one! So goal completed but it is something I intend to keep up!
  • Drink more water/ eat healthier!  – Like always I tried and failed haha there is always December right?
  • Try to stress less and relax more. – HAHA with the wedding and work I think not!

December Goals:

  • Read at least 4 books
  • Post at least 4 times on the blog. And start to make plans for the blog for next year!
  • Keep working on trying to make more bookish connections and putting myself out there.
  • Drink more water/ eat healthier!
  • Enjoy the holidays with my family and at least for those days try not to stress!

Let's Chat!

How did November treat you guys? Favourite book you read this month? Anything you are excited to read in December? Any goals for December? As always, happy reading and watching!

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Discussion: The importance of trigger warnings

Discussion

I wanted to discuss the idea of trigger warnings after my latest book review. I reviewed the book It Ends with Us by Colleen Hoover. You can see the review here for reference. The Goodreads synopsis for this book has a very basic warning about the content which reads “This book contains graphic scenes and very sensitive subject matter”. However, my paperback version of the book has no content or trigger warnings what so ever.

I mention in my review that I had no clue what to expect going into the book and based on the blurb I had assumed the book would be a love triangle. Was there romance? Yes, but just as the Goodreads synopsis suggests the book mainly revolved around much heavier subject matter of domestic abuse and homelessness. Neither of which are directly mentioned in any way in the blurb. And this is essentially what has prompted this discussion for me. As even I a person who fortunately has no personal experience with either issue was left emotionally raw at the end of the book. Which lead me to contemplate how much worse I would feel and what I would need to try to deal with if I had experienced either of those things in my past.

These thoughts were further pushed on when a reader Jillian (who I am unable to link to at this time) commented on my review. She mentioned that Hoover has actually received backlash multiple times over the years for not putting trigger warnings on many of her books. This was not something I was aware of and it shocked me. It makes me wonder how many other books and authors have had similar issues. Why is this something that is allowed to happen? Especially on matters that could severely emotionally hurt someone, or event mentally hurt a person. Is it a fear of ruining the experience of the story for others? As in, is it treated by some as a spoiler if there is a warning for certain content?

Which leads me to ask, in which case is a blanket warning like the one Goodreads has used enough or a happy medium? As this essentially warns people of potentially difficult subject matter without spoiling anything in my opinion. It gives people with triggers an opportunity to think twice and even look up what the difficult or sensitive subject matter could be, in order to make and educated decision on whether or not to read the novel in question. I think this should be something to be considered for all books that deal with triggering issues. However, some people may not think that this is enough. Should we have more specific warnings? And if so where do we draw the line?

I think this is a matter that really needs to be considered by authors, the publishing industry and readers alike. I mean things that are aired on TV and in the movies are required to firstly give a maturity rating. Which essentially books also do by placing the reads into children’s, MG, YA, NA and Adult. But TV and films also need to mention what makes the content possibly troubling e.g. coarse language, violence, sex scenes and drug use. Which lets the viewer decide if they are comfortable watching something that may involve these things. This clearly is something that books are not required to have. Although I do know that some do. The back of some of Sarah J. Maas books for example include a warning about content that is of a sexual nature. So, it is clearly possible to give some kind of a warning for those that may need it. So why isn’t this required? This is potentially an issue that will have many varying opinions and may be multi-faceted, but I personally believe that it is something that needs to be discussed and looked into further. Let's Chat!What are your opinions on trigger warnings? Do you think at the least books should be required to have content warnings like TV and movies? Is a blanket statement about heavy content enough? Or do the warnings need to be more specific? Discuss with me below! 

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Review: One small thing by Erin Watt

39934900Title: One small thing

Author: Erin Watt

Genre: YA Contemporary

Publisher: HQ young adult

Publication date: June 2018

Rating: 3/5

Synopsis from Goodreads: Beth’s life hasn’t been the same since her sister died. Her parents try to lock her down, believing they can keep her safe by monitoring her every move. When Beth sneaks out to a party one night and meets the new guy in town, Chase, she’s thrilled to make a secret friend. It seems a small thing, just for her.

Only Beth doesn’t know how big her secret really is…

Fresh out of juvie and determined to start his life over, Chase has demons to face and much to atone for, including his part in the night Beth’s sister died. Beth, who has more reason than anyone to despise him, is willing to give him a second chance. A forbidden romance is the last thing either of them planned for senior year, but the more time they spend together, the deeper their feelings get.

Now Beth has a choice to make—follow the rules, or risk tearing everything apart…again.Review2

This book was actually one of my most anticipated books of the year. What Tamika? A non-fantasy read was one of your most anticipated this year?! Yep that’s right. I absolutely loved When it’s real by Watt. It was such a cute, quick, fun read. So, I was hoping to get the same kind of feelings out of this read. As although I love fantasy reads I also love romances and reads that give me all the cute loved up feels. This book however was not like that. At least not in such a black and white way.

Although the synopsis hints at some traumatic past events I possibly naively thought that this would not have such a huge effect on the content and themes of the book. The first little part of this book looks like it is going to be a cute, awkward, teenage love. Party and mysterious guy included. However shortly after thing’s get much more complicated. Almost all of the relationships between the characters in this book are defined or effected by the death of the MC’s sister.

Because of this the story deals with some pretty heavy themes and ideas. Including, Death, the loss of a child, dealing with and or suppressing grief, abusive relationships and rape. So, if any of those are triggers in any way for you I would carefully consider whether or not to read this book. Death is a concept I often struggle with and is my biggest fear, so that issue was a little hard for me to read about. However, I really liked the way the book dealt with a lot of the issues. It forced me to consider my own beliefs and morals in terms of how the characters reacted and related to certain things. The romance side of things was not missing all together either and although it was done in a way that made me question if it was right, it was enough to keep me drawn in and feel more comfortable with the story.

Overall, I enjoyed this book for bringing to light certain things as well as the cute romantic moments. However, some of the themes were hard for me personally to read and process. I was also not overly satisfied with the ending of the book, it felt a bit rushed and lack lustre to me. Therefore, this book is a solid 3/5.

Let's Chat!Have you read this book? What were your opinions? Where you expecting something a little different? Do you like Erin Watt’s other books? Let me know in the comments below! Until next time happy watching and reading! 

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