The Ultimate Blog Post

Friday, May 12, 2023

I have thought about writing this post for a long time - it has floated up in my psyche occasionally, on and off, for months now. Honestly, I probably needed to write it a bit sooner, but I just wasn’t ready yet.

I started this blog back in something like 2011 (I am choosing not to go back and check… I don’t really want to ^^;), and I was so excited to be receiving books for review, taking part in book judging and prizes, and starting to talk to other people online about books. As the years have gone on, I’ve dabbled in lots of different roads of book promotion and content - YouTube, Instagram… But I always kept this blog, too, because it was actually my preferred form of gushing about books for a lot of that time.

I also began writing about my chronic illnesses - the things I experience, and suggestions for other spoonies who might be feeling a little lost and confused about how to just *exist* whilst also being chronically ill. I wrote about tea that I was trying, kpop, nature, and my life in general. In many ways, this blog holds a huge chunk of myself - me in my twenties, mostly, and all the things I experienced.

But so much has changed. I’ve changed a lot, too, which is maybe the most surprising thing. Or perhaps I should say that I finally understand myself enough to realise that this blog just doesn’t fit who I am anymore. It shows a part of me that I have moved on from, and now I feel like I need to take the last plunge.

I’m going to stop reviewing books - I’ve been getting less of them to review, anyway, over the years, and I just find that I don’t have the passion for it anymore. A couple of years ago I gave myself permission to not write anything about books I was reading that *weren’t* review books, and for some I don’t even give a star rating. Ultimately, when I’m reading something to review it, it changes my reading experience. And it’s not a feeling I enjoy anymore. 

I still love books and reading and literature in general - oh my goodness, yes, I do. I still read a lot, even when I’m not able to review things or post about them on here or on social media. Books are such a huge part of my identity, and I think that’s why this post has been so hard to approach - this decision, too. Who am I if I don’t review books? Who am I if I don’t receive books to review, contact publishers, look through catalogues, think about whether I want to make a booktube video, or a bookstagram post? It’s honestly terrifying for me to think about.

A part of me does know that I’ve been somewhat moving away from that identity for years now, and that, to be honest, people will probably always think of me as ‘bookish’ even if I’m not doing anything other than reading what I want to read. But, another part of my identity - being sick - kind of warps things a little bit. You see, people tend to ask you this really difficult and awkward question when you first meet them: ‘what do you do for a living?’ or something along those lines. And I don’t work - I *can’t* work. And a lot of people cannot or will not understand that. So it’s always been nice to have that in my back pocket - ‘oh, I review books that publishers send me’. It changes the look of shock and horror on people’s faces (‘how do I relate to this *sick* person who *doesn’t work*?’) to one of relief, and often a small return of confidence (‘oh we can talk about books! so they *do* do something with themselves’). And I am still a recovering people pleaser and hate making people uncomfortable, even if, actually, the discomfort is all their own making and nothing to do with me, really.

But to take that away… It scares me. But I’m still going to do it. I’ve realised that this is not the life I want for myself, and I’ve started to wonder what my life will look like if I don’t have that pressure there of ‘I have all these books waiting for me to review them, and all these emails waiting for a response, and I *don’t want to read any of it*’. A lot of people might think that I don’t need to be putting so much weight on this decision, or writing such a long blog post to explain it all out. Maybe they’ll think that I can just review books still, keep accepting them, but just put less emphasis on it in my life? That’s what *they* would do. (Maybe? I don’t know. These hypothetical people are ones that might just exist in my head XD) And I just don’t think I work that way - not anymore, anyway. My illnesses take up a lot of my life, and any energy I have to spare is often spent on doing chores or maintaining relationships. So to have that extra strain, even if it’s quite small, is just too much. I don’t want to do it anymore. Or, not like this, anyway.

What does that mean for this blog? This will be my last post. I’m going to probably leave it here, as I don’t think I have the energy to delete all the posts I’ve made. I hope past-me hasn’t given out horrible advice in any of the posts… I will also be privating my YouTube videos again (there are only a couple available to watch right now, so I’ll probably private those, I’m not sure yet.). I may even be deleting my bookstagram account. Social media is sometimes helpful to me, but lately I’ve just really needed to not be on there very much at all. Like the review books I have left to read, it just takes up some mental real estate that I can’t afford to be doing without.

What’s next for me? Honestly… I’m not entirely sure. I’ll extricate myself from the little bookish home I’ve set up on the internet, probably. I’ll keep reading, but only what I want to be reading now, and I might have a shelf clear-out. I’ll watch and see what this means for me, how it feels. I’m going to figure out what I want to be doing with any extra energy I have, and I’m going to take steps towards doing it. I may start a new blog - one that reflects who I am now a little bit better.

Either way, if you read this post, and you’ve enjoyed my reviews or posts in the past, I just want to say thank you. I haven’t had many commenters on my posts, but lots of views. The most popular posts still surprise me. It feels weird to say this but - thanks for lurking. It has meant a lot. I might catch you on some other part of the internet.

Love to all who read.

Book Review || Miss Penny Dreadful and the Midnight Kittens by Allison Rushby

Wednesday, November 9, 2022


Miss Penny Dreadful and the Midnight Kittens
Allison Rushby
Illustrated by Bronte Rose Marando
3rd August 2022

This was a lovely little book, with cute illustrations, following Miss Penny Dreadful as she goes on an adventure with her aunt and Jones, her aunt's monkey. I'm not really sure I have much more to say than that, but I'll give it a go.

I appreciate the note at the end about people in the Victorian era and their treatment of animals and also people who they considered 'different' (ie. because of race, disability, culture), as, within the context of the story, it helped that certain things were explained a little bit. I didn't really find the text overly Victorian, though, but it did have the air of it and that made it rather lovely to read at the same time as some Charles Dickens (I am taking part in The Mega Dickens Readalong).

I am really having trouble writing about this one because, honestly, though I enjoyed reading it, and I think I will definitely pick up the next one, it started to leave my brain a little after I finished it. It was a fun romp, and Penny is an interesting character, and I'm intrigued to see where the series goes, but past that I'm afraid I don't have much to say. I would recommend any parents considering this for their kids just give it a quick read - if your kids are bothered by taxidermied animals in any way, perhaps skip this one.

6/10 kittens frolicking in top hats and bonnets.

{I received a review copy of this book from Walker Books in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and feelings are my own. Thank you!}

Book Review || Issunboshi by Ryan Lang

Wednesday, November 2, 2022


Ryan Lang
25th October 2022

I was not very familiar with the tale of Issunboshi (the one-inch samurai) prior to reading this graphic novel retelling, though I recognised the name Issun from playing Okami and Okamiden which feature a very small warrior of that name - I guess a hearkening back to the folktale that was only explored a little bit within the game, as it was mostly focused on the tale of Shiranui.

Anyway. This was a pretty good retelling as far as I can tell from my limited experience, and the art was really gorgeous. It honestly looked vaguely familiar whilst I was reading it, and it was only upon finishing it that I found out that Ryan Lang has contributed to things like Wreck-It Ralph and Moana, and then things kind of slotted into place. I feel like I could go on about the art a bit - it looks so gorgeous and polished, and the expressions on people's faces really come across beautifully. More than half of a graphic novel or manga for me is in the artistic interpretation, and this one really hit the mark for me.

I will say I didn't feel like I had enough time to really get to know or relate to the characters very much, but I still enjoyed my time with this. It felt very much like it was adhering to the  'Hero's Journey' template, and so did feel a tiny bit rushed in places - it might have worked as a multi-volume series to get that journey and growth really evident on-page, but these things are not always possible. Overall, it was a lovely one-sitting read - adventurous, funny in places, and sweet in others. I definitely recommend.

8/10 tiny samurai with big dreams~

{I received a review ecopy of this book from NetGalley/Oni Press in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and feelings are my own. Thank you!!}

Book Review || Into the Riverlands by Nghi Vo

Wednesday, October 26, 2022


Into the Riverlands
{The Singing Hills Cycle #3}
Nghi Vo
25th October 2022

Okay, I'm taking a moment to gather my thoughts on this, but it's a bit difficult because I keep getting distracted by this gorgeous cover. All the covers for this series are gorgeous, honestly. But just... look at those blues and greens! Wow.

*ahem* I digress.

The Singing Hills Cycle books are a collection of novellas, this being the third one, released by Tordotcom, written by Nghi Vo. That's everything you need to know to read them - go forth! But honestly, I love these books so much. The main character, Chih, is a cleric who travels around collecting stories with the help of their wonderful bird companion, Almost Brilliant. Each book follows Chih and Almost Brilliant to a new area and, thus, a new story. 

Into the Riverlands follows the formula as well, but each one is so different that the only connecting thread seems to be Chih themselves, which I adore. It feels like I'm getting to know Chih as well as getting to know new characters with each instalment, and the overarching story of Chih plus the smaller stories interwoven in are all absolute experiences in themselves. I'm having trouble describing the experience of reading these books, because they're so small and yet they explore things like gender, political unrest, race, magic, desire, fear, and even martial arts prowess. I feel like I never know what I'm going to get with each new novella, and I will probably go back and reread these years later and find so much more and wonder how I didn't notice that before.

I firmly believe that readers should go into these books with a curiosity of whether they are for them, without too much knowledge beforehand (and this might possibly be partly because I have trouble explaining what they're about properly). Just give these a go and see. I did, and I feel a little overwhelmed with the experience, but in a good way.

I feel like this review made little sense, but the tl;dr is: this latest instalment in the series is brilliant, I loved it, I would like more please if possible thank you.

10/10 heixins with excellent memories.

{I received a review ecopy of this book from NetGalley/Macmillan-Tor/Forge in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and feelings are my own. Thank you!!}

Book Review || Atlas of Abandoned Places by Oliver Smith

Saturday, October 22, 2022


Atlas of Abandoned Places
Oliver Smith
11th October 2022

This book is an extremely unique combination of exactly what it says on the tin and also oh my goodness what an amazing and sad and somehow also hopeful experience. I put off reviewing this for far too long simply because I didn't know how to describe the unique blend of joy and sadness and wonder that I gained from sitting down and reading a few sections from it. (As opposed to my putting off reviewing things simply because ADHD and chronic illness and bad memory... *ahem*.) But here I am, and I'll do my best.

This book is amazing - to flip through, to sit down and read a couple of sections, to read from cover to cover. The layout is really well done - giving you about a page and a half of text about each location, maps for geographical visualisation (a very poor suit of mine), and photos that somehow communicate so much by themselves, but are near-devastating in combination with the text. Each entry is literally what it says on the cover - places that have been abandoned for various reasons. Some of them are being turned into new things as we speak, but many of them are too dangerous/too emotionally volatile/too forgotten to be touched by anyone other than those who deliberately seek them out.

I never knew what I was going to get next with this book - some were simply, for the most part, what they appeared to be: train stations abandoned because the line became too expensive, or didn't make sense for the route, or ships left to deteriorate and become homes for other creatures (both flora and fauna) due to a salvaging business going bankrupt. But then you'd turn the page and learn about a hideaway that Hitler once used, an airplane graveyard, or a town that can only be driven past due to dangerous asbestos fibres. I expected to be intrigued by this book, I didn't expect to be blown away by it and travel through a whole load of emotions whilst reading it.

This is fascinating stuff, and I think I'm going to push it on a few people to read. I think it has something to say about humans and how we take up space.

10/10 views through a decaying dome ceiling.

{I received a review copy of this book from Hachette in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and feelings are my own. Thank you!!}

Book Review || Foul Lady Fortune by Chloe Gong

Thursday, October 20, 2022


Foul Lady Fortune
{Foul Lady Fortune #1}
Chloe Gong
27th September 2022

Okay, let me admit, right away, that I wasn't sure if I was going to like this, but I wanted to give it a go because it sounded so good. I tried Gong's first book, These Violent Delights, around the time that it came out and, despite adoring the first twenty pages or so, just slowly lost interest in it. The writing was wonderful, I just didn't really fall in love with any of the characters. And damn, was I sad about that, because the writing was really just so gorgeous. And the setting, too. But I'm mostly a character-driven kind of reader, so it was unfortunately a no-go for me.

Let me tell you, this book changed all that. I may even go back and give Gong's other books another shot, because I absolutely adored my time with this. The premise is flipping brilliant, the setting clearly evoked, and the characters? I adore them. And I also don't always trust them. And yet I still adore them. Rosalind is so interesting and felt so real, her emotions felt actually present to me, and her struggles with herself and the decisions she has made in the past, too. Orion is charming and suave, and yet also so fully-formed and just... ugh I'm running out of adjectives and descriptors. The background characters are also brilliant, and I loved the trans rep, and AHHH. Basically, the characters were amazing.

I am so stoked that this is going to be a series - maybe another duology? Not sure - and that there's a short story coming out next year. I was so immersed in this book whenever I was reading it, and thinking about the characters and what was happening, and trying to puzzle things out when I wasn't reading. An awesome read with a breath-taking pace.

10/10 hairpins with secret poison coating them. (Yes, I liked it.)

{I received a review copy of this book from Hachette in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and feelings are my own. Thank you!!}

Book Review || Six Crimson Cranes by Elizabeth Lim

Wednesday, September 7, 2022


Six Crimson Cranes
{Six Crimson Cranes #1}
Elizabeth Lim
13th July 2021

Ever since I read Daughter of the Forest by Juliet Marillier, I have been somewhat intrigued by the story of the Wild Swans. So, when this was announced and subsequently released, I was excited, if a little apprehensive.

And then I proceeded to not get to it for over a year. (awkward.) And I am kicking myself a little bit for that, because I really enjoyed this. I loved the painting of the characters, I loved that Shiori was kind of a selfish, wilful brat to start with, I loved how her brothers were actually brothers - not necessarily the paragon of care that you sometimes see in novels. I appreciate the slow-burn style of the romance and also in some cases the friendships. The reveals were fantastic and, though I don't really feel like I have quite enough to find the villain's motivation truly believable (I don't super understand it), I still believe that they are a villain and absolutely ready to do villainous deeds.

The banter in this story between Shiori and Kiki was actually fantastic, and had me snorting on occasion. And the somewhat-resolution towards the end had me welling up a little bit, though I kind of felt like parts of that were a little rushed in a way, and we were jumping into the preparation for the sequel quite fast, too.

And herein lies another place to kick myself - I have the sequel, and I very much want to read it, but I know that if I try now my poor ND brain will just reject it outright. (Also, turns out, your chronic illnesses taking over for a few months means that you get kind of behind on review books - who knew?) I really hope to be able to get to it soon, though, as I am super intrigued by where Elizabeth Lim is taking the story, and I want to know more about the possible romantic entanglements that are being hinted at.

8/10 lovely not-humans-transformed cranes, flying in the sky. (with much beak clacking.)

{I received a review copy of this book from Hachette in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and feelings are my own.}

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