Hi! I’m Jammy and I created itsrainingcatsandpaperbacks on the advice of my sister to put my love for books out into the online world. It’s a long story of how we got to this point, but in the short version, we got onto the topic of books and I mentioned that I wanted to invest in a career that involved books.
I rediscovered my love for reading last year through BookTube, and I decided to document my progress on my personal Instagram. The first book I read was The Near Witch by VE Schwab (and this was the first book I’d read from her which sparked my love for her writing). Watching BookTube videos inspired me to start writing reviews, and after reading 17 books in a matter of months, it motivated and inspired me to carry on into 2020.
Between the 1st January and 31st July 2020, I had read 57 books, surpassing my original goal of reading 24 books in 12 months. That is an achievement I’m proud of!
My reading taste is varied; so far I’ve read Adult Fantasy, Young Adult Fantasy, Dystopian, Mystery, Contemporary, Paranormal Fantasy , Middle Grade and Graphic Novels . Right now I’ve found a love for Dark MC Contemporary Romance, thanks to an amazing friend of mine for introducing me to Tillie Cole (Instagram @authortilliecole ). Her writing is so compelling and, despite writing about difficult topics that are emotional and incredibly hard to read, Tillie just pulls you in to her world; it’s like you’ve fallen down the rabbit hole into Wonderland, into a paradise. Her books are so addictive… I strongly recommend her books. I lost my Tillie Cole virginity to Sick Fux (warning: Tillie’s Cole’s books are recommended for 18+ years due to sensitive content).
So that’s my reading journey so far. I hope to update all of the books I’ve read this year into some future posts, but if you did want to take a peak, my reviews are included on my personal Instagram account (https://www.instagram.com/xjammydodgerx/).
Feel free to say hi in the comments and let me know if you have any suggestions on what to read next!
Star rating: 5 stars Started: 11th October 2020 Finished: 16th October 2020
THIS WAS PERFECTION.
This was one of my anticipated releases for 2020 and it was definitely worth the wait. The cover of this book is just so beautiful and eerie and the blurb was giving me dark Halloween vibes that I decided to save it for this month. I am so glad I did!
This is a paranormal fiction. We follow different perspectives of all of the main characters – Harriet, Felix, Kasper, Rima, and Leah which are written in 3rd person – and they’re all ghosts! As the story goes on we find out what happened to them for them to become ghosts, but there is another character we’re following (this is written in 2nd person) and it is never explicitly said who this character is, but there are a lot of hints throughout the book. I guessed half way through it was a certain someone, but then about 150 pages from the end I was proven wrong. It wasn’t until the end that I found out who it was and I was shocked! The way Lauren James has written these parts is like you’re sitting down with someone, a best friend or family member, and you’re both watching a movie. Every now and then that person will lean next to you to whisper little hints and secrets about the story because they’ve seen it before. That’s what it felt like when reading the secret narrator’s parts, and it was written so well. Reading this book reminded me a lot of Kate Alice Marshall’s Rules for Vanishing with the paranormal aspect, the dark storyline, and following different perspectives of the main characters (that was a fantastic book and came joint first for my Book of the Year in 2019* – definitely worth reading, especially for Halloween).
Anyway, going back to the characters, Lauren James has written Harriet as a morally grey character and I absolutely loved this. I think books with morally grey characters are the best because you don’t know whether to love them or hate them. Personally I didn’t like Harriet (which I’m guessing was the point), but Lauren James was so good with her writing, I was hooked when I was reading Harriet’s perspective; the scenes that happen in the end… I ended up feeling sorry for Harriet despite the horrible things she did. I won’t go into further detail than that so I don’t spoil anything.
There is also LGBTQ+ rep in this (which I loved), and it involves a very cute bit of romance, but the majority of the book is action-packed, and there are bombshells after bombshells in this book! Just when you think you’ve guessed the whole story, Lauren James just throws something else into the mix and you find yourself staring at the pages with your mouth wide open and just gasping “WHAAAAAT?!”
Oh and something else that really surprised me – there were some really gory scenes in this book! One of the characters gets in trouble and a bit of their body gets torn away, and because they’re ghosts, if they get hurt by another ghost they don’t heal. So that character had to walk around with a body part missing! There was also talk of murder; that part was shocking to the story for sure. The book definitely gets darker as the story goes on (this was another aspect that reminded me of Rules For Vanishing).
Overall, it was a fantastic read and I really enjoyed this book. It will be joining some other 5 star nominees that I have for my Book of the Year for 2020. I have read so many good books this year though…I wonder which one will be number 1?
*in case you’re wondering, Rules For Vanishing came joint first with VE Schwab’s Vicious.
Star rating: 4.5 stars Started: 8th October 2020 Finished: 10th October 2020
WOW! This book was soooooo good! This is definitely the kind of book to read during Autumn/Halloween with the dark and witchy vibes. I believe it is a stand-alone and it does work as one, however, the ending of this book is dropped on a cliff-hanger that strongly suggests there is going to be a sequel to this (and I really hope there is!)
There is a lot of stuff going on in this book; Irish folklore and beliefs, Religion (I believe it’d Christian), OCD and Anxiety rep, and LGBTQ+ rep (female/female relationship) and Latimer has written this beautifully so that you can follow along easily, and the fact that there are a lot of short chapters makes it easier to keep reading. There were some slow bits in the book, but, it was worth it because things really picked up in the last 50-100 pages or so.
We follow five different perspectives in this book (it’s weird that I’ve read two books like this back to back, however, Latimer has written this extremely well); we follow the perspectives of Dayna, Meiner, Samuel, Dubh and Cora. While reading this, Dubh reminded me a lot of Raphael from Tillie Cole’s A Deadly Virtues series (just a very very very tame and mild version) with his impulse to kill. Samuel is the kind of guy who should belong with the BAU in Criminal Minds – he and Reid would get along quite well together. The love triangle between Dayna, Meiner and Cora was surprisingly well done (usually I find books with a love triangle boring because they’re so repetitive but I really liked this one). Without giving too much away of the plot, one of these characters betrays everyone and I was extremely surprised at how and why. Like I said, the book was left on such a good cliff-hanger…as soon as I finished the last word I was so disappointed because I wanted more!
I really enjoyed reading this, it was so much fun, and I will probably re-read it again at some point. I would love for there to be a sequel to this!
Star rating: 4 stars Started: 2nd October 2020 Finished: 7th October 2020
First of all, I’d just like to draw your attention to the cover of this book – how beautiful is this cover?! I fell in love in with it straight away and knew this was going to be an amazing book…and it was.
This book is about four sisters who share the same father but are born to different mothers. We see the perspectives of all the sisters – Goldie, Bea, Scarlet and Liyana. We also see another perspective from one of the characters called Leo. So in total, we are following five characters in this book; we’re following their lives and how they are all connected to each other.
The front of the cover says ‘four sisters. three will live. one will die.’ From the outset, you know this is going to be a heart-breaking book (it is) so even though part of the plot has been given away to you, you don’t know who, how or when this is going to happen. The fact that we’re following five different perspectives increases your curiousity (fair warning, this book is really slow for the majority of the book, so be patient) and the way it’s written as well…a round of applause to Menna Van Praag for writing such an immaculate book. Not only are we reading five different perspectives of the characters, but it’s written in 1st, 2nd and 3rd person; we as the reader also become part of the story (so in fact there are six perspectives) and I adored this part.
The book is also broken into two parts – the first part takes up 98% of the book and the second part is just a few pages long! The chapters are named and not numbered. There are two different timelines – the present, and the past from 10 years ago – and the story jumps back and forth between the timelines. This book is basically The Time Traveller’s Wife (jumping back and forth with timelines) and The Robber Bride (multiple perspectives) mashed into one. In addition to this, there are stories within the story – Menna writes entries of fairy-tales like Goldilocks and Red Riding Hood, but with a Brothers’ Grimm twist. I think The Sisters Grimm should be the kind of book you’d study at University for your English Literature course and you could analyse the hell out of this book – there are so many literary techniques that have been used, and Menna Van Praag’s writing is so addictive, you just can’t help but read on, despite being confused as hell!
I’ll admit, it was a lot to take in and I got lost so many times in this book; I didn’t feel a strong connection with the book (despite the fact that it’s magnificent) and I feel so bad because it just feels like a book I’m supposed to fall in love with, but that’s the reason why I’ve given it four stars. If I had felt a connection then it would have been five stars, but, I don’t know, I feel like I’m definitely missing something. I would still recommend the book though, mainly because of the writing, the literary techniques and just the thoughts behind the story. So good and so magical!
Star rating: 3 stars Started: 1st October 2020 Finished: 2nd October 2020
This was one of my most anticipated reads of 2020, and the premise sounded awesome. It’s a young adult fantasy with LGBT rep; there is a classic love triangle for the romance part of the story; and there are witches and magic in this world.
The book is written from two perspectives – Lina and Eva. Lina is an ordinary islander and Eva is the Witch Queen; in this world they live on an island, and for some reason the island is sinking. To prevent this, the Witch Queen must provide a sacrifice to the tide to calm the waves; the Witch Queen must fall in love with the sacrifice because the tide feeds on her sorrow. The Witch Queen ends up choosing a boy Lina loves, and Lina is set on freeing him and helping him escape from the Witch Queen. However, it goes wrong, and Lina ends up trading her life for his. During her captivity, Lina and Eva begin to fall for each other. They then have to choose if they want to save themselves and each other, and let the island sink, or to go through with the sacrifice and save the island, but forever be heartbroken at their loss.
When you start reading the book, you’re immediately thrown into the story – it’s like you’ve just turned the TV on and you’ve entered into the middle of an episode of a series and you can’t rewind it, so you just sit there and try to follow along and guess what’s happened previously. That’s what it was like with this book, so it didn’t have a great start. Unfortunately, it didn’t improve.
Recently, I’ve noticed that I’ve developed a taste for character driven books – I feel more of a connection (obviously) than when reading plot driven books. This is strange because I used to love plot driven books when I was younger, so I think I’ve outgrown these kind of books. (If you like plot driven books, then The Dark Tide might be of interest to you.) For me though, there wasn’t a lot of character development; I didn’t get to know the characters enough to care about them. Also, I felt like the story was rushed and there wasn’t any chance to explain the magical system in this world and the rules/structure of the world either. I also found the book quite repetitive – every now and then, we would be reminded that the Queen had to fall in love with the sacrifice. In my head I was thinking, ‘okay…I get it…you don’t have to keep reminding me…’ I think I was about 40-50 pages in when I started to get bored with the book, which was really upsetting because I was really looking forward to this. It just didn’t live up to my expectations.
This was still a good and quick read, and I loved the fact that there was LGBT rep in this, but, the character development was lacking and I feel that is the most important part to a good book. I feel like this had a lot of potential; if we were able to learn more about all of the characters’ backstories and their relationships with one another, then this could have been a high 4 star rating.
Star rating: 4.5 stars Started: 30th September 2020 Finished: 1st October 2020
This book made me feel a lot of things while reading it, and there were parts that I found hard to read because I was just so angry with some of the characters and the way black people were being discriminated against in the book. Brittney Morris has done a fantastic job at educating readers and giving a peak into Black culture and Black History.
The main character, Kiera, (also known as Kix and Emerald) created a VR game called SLAY; it’s available to all black people so that it is a safe haven for them to be themselves and to escape from the bitter reality that they live in where they’re constantly marginalised. Kiera had developed and maintained the game for three years and it reached to over 500,000 online players and it had become such a popular game. While reading the book you get to see two sides of Kiera – her life in the real world, and being at school with her friends and boyfriend and family, and the other side of her as Emerald, the developer of SLAY and the Queen of her game. (That was one of the heart-breaking parts to read in this book; the fact that we still live in a world where it’s black people vs white people – in my view, it doesn’t matter what skin colour you are or your culture and when you’re from, we’re all human beings and are equal to each other.)
Unfortunately things get out of hand, and someone is murdered in real life over the feud of stealing some coins that the other player won from their opponent in the game. The media take a hold of the story and everything spirals into a heated discussion about how the game is racist and exclusionist, and how dangerous it is. This was the part that riled me up while reading it; things are twisted in the media and everyone blames the game and its developer for the death of the young boy that played SLAY. I had to put the book down at this point because I just wanted to scream and say that you can’t blame the game or the developers – it’s the people who play the game and the actions they choose to take that you should be blaming. I’m getting annoyed at it just by typing this part of the review.
Anyway, justice is served and the ending of the book is so emotional and heart-warming and I’m so happy for Keira and for what happens. It’s not often that you can come across a book that can have such a massive impact on you, and I’m lucky enough to have found one that has to add to my collection. Hats off to Brittney Morris for creating a marvellous read!
5 stars Started: 26th September 2020 Finished: 27th September 2020
I’m taking part in a readalong (hosted by Ashleigh from A Frolic through Fiction and Beth from Booksnest on YouTube) called #TolkienALong. So between September and December we’re reading The Hobbit and the Lord of the Rings trilogy (which works out as one book per month). I decided to take part in this because I have never read the books before (I know…it’s bad, and after reading/listening to the audio book I’m kicking myself thinking ‘why didn’t I read these sooner?!’) But I’ve seen the films and absolutely adore them; so it’s not like I’m going into the story completely blind.
I didn’t know what I was expecting when I decided to read The Hobbit, but I certainly didn’t expect it to be flawless. J.R.R Tolkien is an absolute master at story telling; I felt like I was sat on the floor of Tolkien’s study next to a fire place, listening to him telling a story of a Hobbit and his unexpected adventure. Not only did Tolkien create a magnificent world, but he included his characters’ cultures with their songs, riddles and poems; it was magnificently written. Even if you haven’t seen the films, you can still picture everything perfectly from his descriptions. The writing was so light hearted, and I especially loved the way he addressed the reader with his personal comments, as if this story really did happen and you really were sat with Tolkien, hooked onto every word. I didn’t expect illustrations either that showed maps of Middle Earth, and Bilbo’s Hobbit Hole (the films are so accurate!)
I also listened to the audio for this, and the narrator is Andy Serkis (Gollum himself). This was the best part of all! I had accidentally bought the audible narration for the e-book, and I was so surprised and absolutely delighted to hear Andy’s voice. He matched the voices of all the characters splendidly…especially Gollum (of course). Andy Serkis is just wonderful with his narration; it made the experience that more special and enjoyable. If you’re gonna read this book then listen to the audio too! I strongly recommend it!
Favourite quote: “If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world.”
E-Read Star rating: 5 stars Started: 13th September 2020 Finished: 19th September 2020
If normal life didn’t get in the way then I would have read this book in one sitting. Holy Moly this book was good! This was a recommendation from a booktuber I follow (Becca and The Books) and I’m so glad I decided to purchase this book on Kindle.
The book is an adult paranormal fantasy – it’s a world full of Fae and other creatures, and Fortuna Sworn is a Nightmare (type of species). She is the last of her kind, and her brother has been snatched by the Fae who live underground in the Earth, right under the real world of humans, and Fortuna vows to release him from their clutches. She is then approached by a Faerie who says he knows how to find her brother and is willing to help her on one condition. This condition changes Fortuna’s life – for better or worse, we don’t know – but she will do anything to find and help her brother.
Right from the outset, we have determination and a sense of danger of what Fortuna is about to embark upon. The rest that follows just gets better and better; the story is so gripping, the world-building is so beautiful, and the characters…they’re the best part. Not only do you love the ‘good guys’ but the ‘bad guys’ too. And that ending – wow! KJ Sutton is good with her cliff-hangers – the revelation at the very end, the last sentence of the book, just blew my mind, and I flipped the page on my Kindle only to find out the words on the next page said ‘End of Book One’. It was a blow to the chest and I screamed in annoyance! I purchased the sequel immediately on my Kindle (it was only £3, and I think the first was probably £3 too). Sadly, I have other books to read on my TBR for Bookoplathon (TBR game and book marathon I’m taking part in, hosted by Becca from Becca and the Books) so I won’t be able to read the next book, Restless Slumber just yet. I’ll probably add it to next month’s TBR, or, if I manage to read the rest of my books in September with some time left, I’ll read it then. Either way, I’m definitely continuing the series!
Despite my reservations at the start, because I don’t normally read Fae-related books, the blurb and cover on this book promised an amazing story and it delivered! It is now on my list of top favourite books; KJ Sutton has sucked me into her world, and I’m looking forward to finding out what happens next.
I strongly recommend you give this book a read – it is so so good!
Star Rating: 5 stars Started: 10th September 2020 Finished: 13th September 2020
Oh. My. God. This book was absolutely amazing!
This is the fourth instalment in the Hades Hangmen series; I’m not going to into detail of the story because I don’t want to spoil anything, but I strongly recommend that you read the Hades Hangmen series because it ismind-blowing and so addictive. The series follows a group of bikers who are part of the one-percenters of motorbike clubs, and in each book we follow the perspectives of the different members of the group (so far we’ve been introduced to Styx – It Ain’t Me Babe, Ky – Heart Recaptured, and Flame – Souls Unfractured). In Deep Redemption, we’re following Rider’s story.
Rider isn’t my favourite character of everyone I’ve met in the series so far, so when I found out this book follows him, I was quite reluctant to read it (if read the previous ones, you’ll understand why). I even thought about skipping the book, but when I was talking to my friend who introduced to me to Tillie Cole’s books (the first one I read was Sick Fux – again, another book I strongly recommend you read), my friend encouraged me to read the book because there’s a lot that Rider goes through and I will see him in a different light. Plus, I can’t ‘skip’ a book written by Tillie Cole – that’s insane!
So I read it… and I didn’t expect to love it so much. Rider still isn’t one of my favourite characters, but I do see him in a new light, and I found myself forgiving him for what happened in the previous books. Tillie Cole is just so good…I cried. I cried so much in this book (both happy and sad tears). She manages to make your heart swell with happiness and then slowly tear it apart over and over again throughout the whole book in a vicious cycle. There is so much that goes on with Rider, emotionally and physically…it just blew my mind. And not only do we follow Rider’s perspective, but we also find out certain things about other members of the Hades Hangmen which I loved so much, and again, I cried a lot.
When I started this book, I read about 50 pages, and then I didn’t pick it up again until the 12th. When I did pick it up again, it was at around half 10 at night; I couldn’t put the book down and ended up finishing it at 4am this morning! For a while now, I’ve been finding it difficult to stay up until the early hours in the morning (I’ve been failing massively at the 24 hour readathons!) so the fact that I stayed up until 4am without feeling tired and completely hooked on this book is saying something.
I really, really recommend you read the Hades Hangmen series – it’s just perfect.
WARNING: scenes of mental and physical abuse, rape, and murder.
I pledge myself to the Fallen.
There are no words to describe how I feel right now after reading Raphael. Tillie Cole is a Goddess; her writing is immaculate and takes a hold on you like no other author does.
Who knew you could fall in love with Seven killers? That’s how amazing Tillie Cole is; she writes character driven books and they’re so intense that you feel every emotion you can think of in one book. You feel completely attached to these characters, no matter their flaws or complicated minds and natures, and you wholeheartedly fall in love with them…so much that it feels like your black heart could burst.
Raphael is the sequel to The Fallen: Genesis (you must read the prequel first) and follows a man who has the desire to kill by strangulation. Consumed by the memories of his past where he was tortured and abused as a boy, killing and death is the only peace he knows. Until Maria.
Maria is his ultimate fantasy and he must have her for his own; the fantasy of her thigh length hair wrapped around her pretty neck, and Raphael strangling the life out of her so that he can put her in a coffin and balm her so that she can stay by his side for the rest of his days. As they spend their time together, they show small pieces of themselves and their past to each other and heal each other from their tortured pasts. I love Raphael and Maria together; they’re perfect for each other.
I adored this book and I soaked every single word of Tillie’s writing. Tillie has also announced that she will be writing another book for the Fallen series that has been long awaited by her adoring fans, and I cannot wait to read the next one.
If your heart is as black as the Tillie Cole community, then I strongly recommend you read the Fallen series (and any other book by Tillie Cole for that matter…you will not be disappointed).
Star rating: 5 stars Started: 5th September 2020 Finished: 6th September 2020
TRIGGER WARNINGS: references to mental abuse, drug abuse, sexual assault, suicide, racism and animal abuse.
Oh. My. Goodness. What an amazing book!
This book was everything I wanted and more. There was mystery, intrigue, a main plot with a sub plot that had it’s own sub plot and at least three plot twists that I didn’t see coming at all! Normally I’m good with these types of things and guessing ‘whodunnit’, but this book kept me guessing and guessing until the very end, and even when I thought it was over, something else happened and completely shocked me. Holly Jackson has done so well with this and I really, really recommend you take the time to read this book. I could have easily had read it one sitting if I hadn’t been so tired last night (not been well this week).
First, I’m just going to summarise what the book is about without giving too much away;
Five years ago, a teenage girl named Andie Bell, went missing and she was never found, the police presumed her dead because they couldn’t find her body and had high suspicions that it was her boyfriend, Sal Singh, who killed her. A couple of days later, Sal committed suicide after sending a ‘confession text’ to his Dad, saying that he killed Andie. For five years, everyone in the town of Little Kilton marginalised the Singh family thinking that Sal was guilty of murder. Everyone except Pippa Fitz-Amobi.
Pippa, the main character, is a student who is in her final year of college and is completing an ‘Extended Project Qualification’ (which is very similar to a dissertation in my opinion) about this police case from five years ago. Something never sat right with her, and she refused to believe that Sal would do something like that, because Sal was an honest and kind person and it wasn’t in his nature to commit murder. She uses the EPQ (Extended Project Qualification) to uncover the mystery of Andie Bell and Sal Singh, despite endless warnings throughout the book. Not only does she uncover this mystery, but she uncovers heart-breaking truths about the people around her she’s supposed to trust and love, and the story takes an amazing turn, and then when you think it’s over, it turns again, then when you’ve finished the book, you’re left sitting on your sofa with your mind blown.
Next, I’m going to talk about the writing style and how this is different to anything like you may have read in the past;
It’s written in both first and third person and the way Holly Jackson has done this is incredible! For the parts written in first person, we’re following Pippa and her investigation through the notes she makes on her project; we see Pippa’s ‘entry logs’ on her thoughts of the investigation, we see her questioning each bit of information she comes across to show us where she’s drawing her theories from and what the possible outcomes are, and we see primary sources that she’s gathered (phone interviews, screenshots of emails, maps, and even photographs taken from her phone of evidence she’s collected). Reading these parts reminded me of when I was completing my Dissertation for my Degree, and I fully appreciated how accurate Holly Jackson was with these bits. For the parts written in third person, we are of course the spectator watching Pippa’s life in her real world. Having different ways of entering both Pippa’s life and her inner monologue showed us how different these worlds are – there are a couple of chapters where Pippa and her family are just doing something together and it is so normal, and then the next chapter is Pippa returning to her project and how abnormal that was, because the more her investigations progressed, the more she was going down a dark and dangerous road.
Third, I’m going to talk about the characters.
I felt such a connection to every single character in this book, even Pippa’s dog, Barney! Holly Jackson did an amazing job with coming up with characters who seemed so normal on the outside but were so complex on the inside. She touched on so many modern issues; racism, cyber bullying, sexual assault, drug abuse and mental abuse. Each of these characters represented these issues, and again, I can’t talk too much without giving anything away, but this is a kind of book that really makes you think and reminds you of your morals;
A negative comment to someone, no matter how small, could have a detriment effect on them and change their entire personality into something they’re not, so be mindful of what you say and think before you speak.
Be careful when you’re at social gatherings; someone could spike your drink or take advantage of you when you’re drunk.
Remember that it doesn’t matter what colour skin we have or where we’re from, we’re all human and we should treat each other with respect.
No matter what, trust your gut. Even if everyone around you is warning you not to do something or stay way from something, if you feel in your gut something isn’t right, don’t ignore it.
Don’t be afraid to be curious.
I absolutely fell in love with this book; I laughed, I cried, I gasped (a lot) and I found it so hard to put this book down. As I said before, I haven’t been feeling well this week, so I did have to stop so I could sleep, but I would have gladly read this book in one sitting. Holly Jackson is an incredible writer, and I will definitely have a look into buying more of her books!