I can't believe it's already time for Episode Two of the Turn The Page podcast, our new, monthly podcast where we talk about our latest reads, book news and bookish events.
First of all, Sophie and I would like to thank everyone who listened to and got in touch with us about Episode One, your feedback was fantastic and we're so glad you enjoyed our first episode.
We have also recently launched a YouTube channel so that you can listen to the podcast there if you prefer.
In this episode, we talk about Pride Month, the Summer #ReadWithPride challenge and discuss our very first Turn The Page book club book, Hour of the Bees.
Here's a little of what you can expect:
On our monthly book club book:
I was immersed in it and I didn't even realize how quickly I was reading it, and then all of a sudden I was at the end.
On our favourite pride books:
At the end of the book, I hated it. I absolutely hated it, and I almost didn't finish it, but you must finish it.
Listen to the podcast below, feel free to comment and tune in again on the 2nd Tuesday of each month for the latest episode! Subscribe on your favourite podcast platform here!
Happy listening and happy reading!
1. We did experience a few minor technical issues while recording this podcast so we apologies for any inconsistencies.
2. At around 11-12 minutes into the podcast, I accidentally named the wrong title of a book. The book I was talking about was not Project Hero (although that book was also great), the book I'd meant to reference was Charlie Sunshine (that's what I get for not adding it to Goodreads!)
Read the transcript:
Kayleigh: You're listening to Turn The Page, a bookish podcast about all things fantasy, YA, LGBT, and romance. We'll be talking about our favorite books, the latest book news and events, and our monthly book club. And now over to our hosts, Kayleigh, and Sophie.
Hello, and welcome to the Turn The Page podcast. I'm Kayleigh and I run the My Endless Shelf book blog, and I'm joined by my lovely cohost and sister, Sophie. Hi Sophie, how are you?
Sophie: I'm really well, thank you and yourself?
Kayleigh: I'm really well, thank you. How have you been since we last spoke? Anything exciting happened?
Sophie: No, not really. My work holiday finished.
Kayleigh: Ah, no more paid reading time.
Sophie: Yeah, I know, and in the last episode we talked about how I'd really got back into my reading and I was enjoying it so much and I found lots of time to do stuff, even though it was a bit strange. And in the hope to carry that on, it's just not happened. It's just, it's horrible how having a job just gets in the way of living the best life that you possibly could. So, yeah, feeling a little, I mean, it's nice to get back to a little bit of normality though, so I'm hoping once my brain has calmed down and I can actually think normally again, then I'll get back to my reading and enjoy it still.
Kayleigh: Yeah, that's good. I mean, I know for me, sometimes when my brain's all over the place, I try and pick something that makes me feel better. I usually re-read stuff when I'm feeling a bit low.
Sophie: Well that’s the thing, normally, if I'm feeling a bit low and I'm struggling to get into something, I'll switch to Audible. As I've said before, I'm a massive fan because it's like being told a bedtime story all the time. But yeah, obviously with being at work, I can't really listen, and then when I get home and I put it on, I tend to just fall asleep, which kind of defeats the point of reading.
Kayleigh: Yeah, I've been doing that too, I put it on and I set a sleep timer for like an hour and within 15 minutes I'm fast asleep and it's really annoying because I am actually interested in the story and it doesn't reflect the book at all or the narrator, it's just the fact that I’m exhausted.
Sophie: Yeah. Yeah.
Kayleigh: Oh dear.
Sophie: So, what about you? Anything exciting for you lately?
Kayleigh: No. Um, no, just work. I went to the beach today. That was probably the most exciting thing that's happened to me all month. Surprisingly though, I know last month I said that I was doing really badly in terms of my reading and my Goodreads challenge, specifically. But actually, I think our podcast kind of spurred me on a bit and I've read, for me, quite a decent amount this month.
Sophie: Yeah. So, we've had like a switch, haven’t we?
Kayleigh: Yeah, because I've read quite, well, a few, not loads, but a few different books and it's been a nice change for me, and I've been really enjoying them as well.
Sophie: Well, let me tell you, this month is my month. You've had yours now.
Kayleigh: No, you're not taking July. No, I'm on a streak, you’re not allowed to have it.
Sophie: Yeah, that's what I thought and then work happened.
Kayleigh: Yeah, work gets in the way. But anyway, before we talk about anything else, I just wanted, for anybody who wasn't here last month, just to let them know that, Turn The Page is a bookish podcast. We just chat about fantasy books, YA, LGBT, and romance. We talk about our favorite books, any book news or events that's caught our eye and, obviously, our new monthly book club. And we'll be talking about our very first book club book later on.
Kayleigh: Well talk about that a bit later. This podcast runs on the second Tuesday of every month and we will also be adding something a little bit new, which will be on the Friday after the podcast goes live. So, the second Tuesday the podcast goes live, and the second Friday we will be doing a live Twitter chat at 7:00 PM UK time about our monthly book. So, everybody can get in touch and just have a chat about what they did and didn't like about that month’s book.
Okay. Yeah. So yeah, I wanted to ask you, so you said you hadn't been reading a lot this month, so what have you read, other than our monthly book club book, which we'll talk about later?
Sophie: Yeah, I'm actually really looking forward to talking about that.
So, I have been reading a book called The Bone Houses by Emily Lloyd-Jones.
Kayleigh: Yes, I think you mentioned that actually last month as well.
Sophie: I did, and again, I only chose it because the cover is so pretty, which I'm hoping to do a really nice bookstagram photo when I do my review for it as well.
Kayleigh: Yes, and just so everyone knows our book of the month, this month, the cover is very pretty.
Sophie: Yes, it is. But yeah, I think the reason that it's taken, one of the reasons that it's taken me so long to read this is because I'm enjoying it so much. It's set in-
Kayleigh: Oh, you just don't want it to end?
Sophie: No, no, I really don't. Like, whatever I read, instead of like reading on, I'll close the book and I'm like no, no that'll do. Because I'll be nearly finished otherwise.
Kayleigh: Yeah, I've had so many books I've read where I just don't want it to end.
Sophie: Yeah, that’s the thing-
Kayleigh: You almost stall yourself from finishing it.
Sophie: Yeah, so I'm putting it down and then I'm reflecting on all the good parts and like the main character, she's just so fiery and sarcastic and funny, even in such a dark and grim situation.
Sophie: And I think for me, as well, because it's set in like ancient Wales and it goes on to talk about the slate mines and stuff like that. Now, I've actually been to those while I was on a holiday a couple of years back.
Kayleigh: Ah, that’s really cool.
Sophie: So, when it's talking about how it is, like, you can hear the water dripping and you can hear bits of rock falling off and hitting other bits of clay and slate and stuff like that, I'm just so immersed in it. So, I've got the full setting laid out in my mind, and I don't know if that's another reason that I'm enjoying it so much. And there's also like the best goat in the entire world.
Kayleigh: Yes. I keep hearing about this goat.
Sophie: Yeah, no, it's just so good. So, yeah, I'm nearly finished it and I can't wait to write my review.
Kayleigh: That's really cool.
Sophie: Even just talking about it, I'm just grinning like an idiot, because I'm just really enjoying it.
Kayleigh: That's really good. I know you've been talking to me a lot about it, but not giving away too much, which is really cool because I know-
Oh, sorry. Go on.
Sophie: I don't want to give too much away because, obviously, I've got my review to write for it and I don't want to ruin it for anybody else.
Kayleigh: Yeah, and you're making me want to read it though as well, because I don't really read horror, but you've said it's not really a horror.
Sophie: It’s not. I think, because of the sarcastic wit of the main character, and obviously her little sister, she's got a lot of sister and she's quite funny as well. Because she loves this goat and-
Kayleigh: Isn’t it funny though how sometimes animals and characters like that can actually really, really make a story.
Sophie: Yeah, yeah.
Kayleigh: There’s a series I really love, which is the Spellslinger Series by Sebastien de Castell. And my favorite character in that is a talking cat, a talking squirrel cat, named Reichis.
And he's so witty and funny and just insane and really rude and blood thirsty. And he just, he makes the book for me.
Sophie: Yeah. I mean, in this book it's about zombies basically.
Kayleigh: Ah, okay.
Sophie: And obviously, that doesn't appeal to me whatsoever, I don't like zombies, I just don't see the point in them.
But then, reading this book, it's just, I don't know, there's a quote that I saved, just to give you a bit of an inkling of like the sarcastic-ness and basically these zombies have got somebody in the village and, the main character is like, "well, it could have been a bandit, or maybe one of the guys chickens got hold of a blade, but I don't think so."
Do you know what I mean? It's just little comments like that.
Kayleigh: Yeah, just quite quirky. Yeah, I like that, it sounds good. So, I'm really looking forward to your review. So, other than that, I think you said you hadn't read anything else, had you, apart from our book of the month?
Sophie: No, I haven't. I haven't.
Kayleigh: No, okay.
Sophie: I think, because it takes me so long to choose something, as well.
Kayleigh: Yeah, which makes perfect sense.
Sophie: Yeah. I mean, there are quite a few that I'm excited to read, which I think we'll go into a bit later on.
Kayleigh: Yeah. Cool. I mean, my month book wise was a bit up and down really. I finished Lies We Tell Ourselves, which I was talking about last month. It was a difficult book to read. The subject matter was really, it was just really, really hard to read. But I did, at the same time, really enjoy it, but for very different reasons, and this is probably making no sense so go and read the review.
I think I was a little bit more coherent in the actual review. Because I enjoyed it, but also didn't enjoy what was happening.
Yeah, exactly. Yeah. So, that was a bit of a tricky one. And then I read, The Queen of Nothing by Holly Black, which was the last book in the Folk of the Air trilogy.
Sophie: Yeah, I remember, you’ve been reading that for a while, haven’t you?
Kayleigh: Yeah, the book itself took me ages to read and I don't know whether that was just me being busy and not committing to it, or whether it was that after, you know, after I'd finished it, I kind of felt a bit disappointed.
So, because I really did enjoy the trilogy for the first two books, and then with this one, I just felt disappointed by the ending. I mean, I don't know whether it's just that I didn't want it to finish, but at the same time, I just felt that it was too neat. So, from this series, you haven't read it, I know, but I've come to expect sort of shocks and twists, and it's not going to be a happy ending, kind of what you expected from Game of Thrones, if that makes sense, you know it's not going to work out well. And the ending just kind of fell flat for me. It just felt like half of the characters who I expected to be vicious and to actually add some danger and stuff to the plot, did nothing. And it just felt really almost rushed, just like, oh, I've got to get this tied up and finished and that's it, and it's done.
And I know I'm going to have a very different opinion from other people. So, if anyone's listening who’s like, you’re talking rubbish, no, it was amazing, please let me know, because I do want to hear from other people and get your opinion too. But for me, I just felt like the characters had just been a bit dulled down and just, they'd lost the essence of what had been built up in the previous two books, and I just felt like it just wasn't there. It just felt, for me, that there was no substance there. I mean, I did enjoy being back in the world, because I did enjoy the world that had been created over the past two books, and the pace was fine. It was just, yeah, I just didn't love it as much as I wish that I had really.
And that's sad when you come to the end of a trilogy and the end of the series. Yeah. Because you become invested in it and you're invested in the characters and you want things to happen in a certain way. I suppose as readers, we don't always get what we want. Yeah. Because it's not up to us, but yeah. So, it was a bit of a difficult one, that one.
And then, as well as that, I read a book called, Project Hero, which was an LGBT romance book, and that was really good, actually. It had really good, or at least I felt, for me, it was really good epilepsy representation, which was nice to see, because I haven't really read any books with epileptic characters, not that I know of, not that I can recall. And it was really nice, I felt that the author handled it in a really nice way, and it was a really nice, slow burn story with no, sort of, no drama.
And it was just really nice. It was nice to read that in between a lot of the other fantasy stuff that I've been reading. So, it was a nice little sort of soft, cute little intermission if that makes sense.
Sophie: Yeah. Yeah.
Kayleigh: Yeah, and then the only other thing is that I'm reading at the moment, I got an ARC from NetGalley of A Deadly Education by Naomi Novik.
And so far, I am really enjoying that. It's really, really good, or at least, well, I think it's really good. I mean, I'm enjoying it, but at the same time I don’t know why I’m enjoying it.
So, the pace is really good, and I really like the main character, I think she's really cool. And I think particularly the creatures and the setting in it are really cool.
But yeah, I'm still a bit unsure where it's going, and it's going to be a series because on Goodreads it says that it's book number one. But I'm interested to see where the author is going to take the character and take what's happening and how that's going to go on from there. But, at the moment, it's really cool.
It's a cool fantasy. It's slightly reminiscent of Nevernight, for me, because it's a sort of a magic school setting. I know, Nevernight isn't a magic school, as such, but you know, similar type of thing. And, you know, I do think everything in it is really cool. Particularly, there's a library in it, I think it's very well done. I think the whole idea of the school is satin sort of a void. And this void sort of makes the school behave in different ways. And I'm not going to give anything more away than that, but it is, so far, really interesting. So, I'm excited to see how that turns out. Yeah.
Kayleigh: So, yeah. Other thing we wanted to talk about is, we dropped the ball last month. It was our first podcast, so I'm hoping people will take it easy on us. But we completely didn't mention the fact that it was Pride month, which is really stupid of us.
Sophie: Yeah. I’ve already said though, you know what my brain is like for forgetting things.
Kayleigh: Yeah. Mine too, apparently.
Yeah. But to be fair, last month, you made notes and I winged it. And then this month, as we talked about, me and Sophie had a chat before the podcast, and we found out that I've done notes and Sophie's winging it this week.
Sophie: Yes, very much so.
Kayleigh: Yeah. We're balancing each other out on being prepared. So, yeah, so, we wanted to talk about Pride Month and, obviously, Pride Month has already happened, but we can always talk about our favorite pride books whenever we want to.
Sophie: Yeah, I have quite a few.
Kayleigh: Oh, sorry. Well, one really cool thing that's happening that I did want to mention, from the 26th of June, so it’s already started, right through to the 30th of August, is the Read With Pride, summer reading challenge, which is being run by BKMRK, and in partnership with Lucy the reader. So, if you just go on Twitter and go on #readwithpride, you'll find everything. And it's a challenge to read as many different pride books throughout the month as, well, throughout summer as possible.
And what I thought was really cool is, when I was looking at the poster for it, is we've read a fair few of the books on there and we've got some reviews actually. So, there's the Heartstopper books by Alice Oseman. We've got the reviews on My Endless Shelf. The Deathless Girls, which you read last month and did a review for, that's on there as well. Alex In Wonderland, which was my favorite book, I think, last year. I absolutely loved that book; it was so much fun.
Sophie: Yeah, I remember you talking quite a lot about that.
Kayleigh: Yeah, and I went to the beach just after reading that actually, the same beach I went to today, we went and played in the arcade and it just made it amazing. And it was really sad today that we couldn't go in the arcade because of COVID. So, yeah. And Proud, which is a compilation by some really fantastic authors, I think it was a review of that as well. And, obviously, Simon versus the Homosapiens Agenda, which we both love.
Sophie: Yeah, that is one of my favorites.
Kayleigh: Yeah, and the Black Flamingo by Dean Atta is on my TBR, that's one I really want to read. So yeah, so there are really some cool book suggestions on the summer reading challenge.
So again, just #readwithpride and you'll find the poster and all the stuff for that, if you want to take part. But yeah. So, let's talk about our favorite, some of our favorite, LGBT books and authors. Do you want to go first?
Sophie: Yeah, sure. Okay, so as you've already mentioned, Love, Simon or Simon Versus the Homosapiens Agenda, was one of my favorites. Just-
Kayleigh: And we went to see that at the cinema together.
Sophie: We did, we were so excited with the film to come out. And, just for the record, we are terrible for making plans because we said after that, we were going to make it a regular thing.
Kayleigh: Yeah, to go to the cinema, and we haven’t been once.
Sophie: It never happened.
Kayleigh: Yeah, since Love, Simon came out we haven't been out together to the cinema one. That’s really bad.
Sophie: But yeah, I like that because, obviously, even though it's set-in modern-day time, it still goes in to explain that there's that struggle there.
Sophie: Do you know what I mean? And it is a big thing, and, obviously, sometimes you think that it's a bigger thing than it actually is. So, once you've said it and it's out in the open, it's all done and everybody else is like, oh, so, it's all right. Do you know what I mean? And you think like well. I don't know, it just gives you an insight into how people think, I suppose.
Kayleigh: Yeah. Love, Simon, yeah, it was a big thing for me that book, and the movie. It really changed a lot of things. Yeah, it was really good, and I think it was for a lot of people as well. It was a big, powerful movement really in the LGBTQ community, and it's done a lot of good, I think.
Or at least I hope so. I mean, from my opinion, it has.
Sophie: I think so, because I think it's quite popular now, and it was when it came out and, obviously, because they've made the film version as well.
Sophie: And it was on at the cinema and it was really, really popular. So...
Kayleigh: Yeah, and I think it was really relatable as well. Like, even though I am, I'm not going to say how much older I am than the main character, but yeah, it still really resonated and yeah, it meant a lot that that did. Yeah.
To be honest, Becky Abertalli's books in general. The upside of unrequited, which I don't think you've read. I was reading that, and it just felt like it was written for me, if that makes sense.
Yeah, it was just one of those moments where you're reading a book and you just think, is this my life?
Sophie: I mean, I did also read, which I think you read, Leah on the Offbeat.
Kayleigh: Leah on the Offbeat, yeah. Yeah, I listened to that on Audible.
Sophie: Yeah, I didn't actually like it that much. I didn’t like how rude she was.
Kayleigh: Yeah, I fell out of love with Leah a bit-
Sophie: She was just so mean to her mum and that struck a nerve with me because I love my mom.
Kayleigh: Yeah, it did the same with me. She started off as a lovable character and then, for me, she slowly just turned into somebody who I just couldn't like anymore, which really upset me because I really wanted it to be good, if that made sense. I really wanted to love the book.
Sophie: Yeah, I was the same.
Kayleigh: But yeah, I know what you mean. Anymore?
Sophie: Yeah, another one of my favorites is The Wicked Cometh.
Kayleigh: Oh, okay, I haven’t read that.
Sophie: It’s kind of got a thriller-y twist to it. The ending completely blew my head off. I read this a while ago actually. It was set in the year 1831. Okay.
Kayleigh: So, you seem to be leaning towards more historical stuff as well lately, don’t you?
Sophie: Yeah. And like, obviously, how this was set out, obviously it's set in London, and you've got poor people that start disappearing from London. And then, I'm trying to think, because it's really long time ago when I read it. There's a character called Hester and she's desperate to escape the slums, and she actually gets run over by a member of this aristocratic family. And so, obviously, she gets taken to their house and they look after her and kind of make her better again. And that's where we meet Rebecca, who is also a member of this family, and their relationship just grows.
And it's like, I don't know, it's just really good. It just gives you like butterflies all the way through. And then they discover the twist and then it gets dangerous. And then, at the end of the book, I hated it. I absolutely hated it, and I almost didn't finish it, but you must finish it.
Sophie: Because I thought that the author was horrible in what she'd done, because she got you to love these people and be like, oh, they’re so cute together and all this. And then, I don't want to give too much away, but-
Kayleigh: Yeah, I'll never forgive Adam Silvera for that, which I know we talked about last month, as well, but in They Both Die at the End, yeah, I'll never forgive him for that. Ever. He's an amazing author, but I can’t forgive him.
Sophie: Well, anyway, after reading up to a certain point in this book, I didn't want to read anymore because I was just like, you’ve just ruined the whole book for me. But yeah, if you are going to read it, read it till the end. Okay, and that’s all I’ll say on it.
Kayleigh: Yeah, see, when I read The Lies We Tell Ourselves last month, that's an LGBT book and I wasn't happy with the relationship in it for multiple reasons. I just didn't feel...
So, obviously, it's a book about racism and one of the characters is extremely racist throughout the entire book. And she starts to sort of make some changes and become aware of what she's doing and what impact her actions and her words have. And her, and the main character have, obviously, a love interest with each other, and I just don't feel that she ever becomes worthy of the main character, if that makes sense. I don't think that she is redeemable. There are things that she does where I think it gets to a point where she shouldn't be forgiven, if that makes sense, by the main character, or at least not at that point, not at the point where her mindset is, because it hasn't changed that much. And so, it really bothered me because I really wanted a better person for the main character.
But yeah, no, I've got so many. I mean, we both love TJ Klune, who, again, we talked about last month, and probably will every month, because his books are phenomenal.
Sophie: Yeah, I think if I was feeling really, really down and upset, The Lightning Struck Heart would be the book that I'd go to.
Kayleigh: Yeah, and I re-read that recently and it's just amazing. But one of his books that was really, I think it might be the book of his, that really, really just blew me away was, The Bones Beneath Our Skin, which you haven't read, I don’t think?
Sophie: No, I haven't, it is on my to-do list though.
Kayleigh: Yeah, and it's a Sci-Fi, which I don't normally go in for, but the way it was done was just phenomenal, and I couldn't put it down. And when I finished it, I was just reeling from the ending. And it was just amazing, the love story, the connection, the other relationships in it, which again, I won't go into, because I don't want to spoil anything, but it was just perfection. I loved every single minute of it.
And at the moment I'm listening to The House in the Cerulean Sea, which is still an LGBT book, but it's actually, I didn't realize this, but I think it's for a younger audience as well. So, I think it might be what I think American's call middle-grade.
Sophie: Ah, okay.
Kayleigh: Which is just below YA, I think, I'm not a hundred percent sure, but yeah. So, I'm listening to that at the moment, and so far, that's really good and everyone's raving about it, which is great. Because I know we've been reading TJ Klune stuff for ages and now, more and more people are raving about his books, and that's really, really great. I'm really excited because he's got a new one as well coming out soon about queer superheroes, which sounds really fun. And I can't wait for that as well.
Sophie: I hope the same narrator does the book on Audible, because I tend to listen to those books on Audible.
Kayleigh: Michael Leslie?
Kayleigh: Yeah, do you know, I don't know. I heard something recently about the narrator of the new ones, but I'm not sure whether it is, I think it might be actually, I think it might be Michael Lesley who’s doing the superhero one. He's definitely not doing The House in the Cerulean Sea, because I'm listening to that and it's not him, but I think he's doing the superhero one, which I think is called The Extraordinaries. So, yeah, and that's out this month, so that's one to watch out for definitely. Yeah.
I think, for me as well, I really liked The Gentleman's Guide to Vice and Virtue, and I read it, and then I listened to it on Audible and hands down, the Audible version, is my favorite. And it might be even my favorite audiobook to date because it's read by, well, it's narrated by, you know Tom Riddle from Harry Potter?
Kayleigh: And I’ve forgot his name, but the actor who plays Tom Riddle in The Chamber of Secrets. So, when he comes out of the diary, that's who narrates this book and he is perfect. And it’s hilarious, but at the same time, it's really heartfelt and really moving and it's just awesome. And I love that. Really, really love that.
Kayleigh: But, yeah, and then one on my list to read is The Priory of the Orange Tree by Samantha Shannon.
Sophie: I’ve seen that.
Kayleigh: Yeah, but it’s absolutely enormous.
Sophie: I know, that’s the only thing that’s put me off buying it.
Kayleigh: To be honest, I’m tempted to keep it by my bedside just in case anybody ever breaks in. Because it would make the perfect murder weapon. But yeah, it's huge, and that's the only thing that's put me off reading it just yet, because I know I haven't got the time for that kind of page-length commitment.
Sophie: Yeah, that’s the same for me.
Kayleigh: But yeah, so, right. So, maybe we should talk about our book club now.
Kayleigh: So, our book club book that we chose for June was, Hour of the Bees by Lindsay Eager, and we both started this at a similar time. You started it just before I did, and I remember specifically. You read the first chapter-
Sophie: I read up to chapter two.
Kayleigh: Yeah, and then you asked me if I had started it and I said, no. But then that same night I started it, and I think I read the first four or five chapters. And I messaged you back and I said something like, oh, this is great, I'm really enjoying it. And you got back and said, oh really? I’m not.
Sophie: Yeah, no, I thought we were going to have such mixed opinions on this book, because, obviously, I love bees and it was one of the things that drew me to it. And obviously, because of the description on the back, obviously working with the vulnerable and older adults and things like that, in a care home, it was kind of up my street. So, I was really looking forward to it, but I must say, the first two chapters did not sell it to me whatsoever. And I thought, this is going to be horrendous to get through.
Kayleigh: Yeah. And they didn't for me either. The first two, I thought, oh I'm going to have to say that I can't do it, I can't read it because I’m just not connecting with anything, it's not my kind of thing, and I don't know if I'm going to be able to do it. But I'm so glad I pushed on.
Sophie: Yeah. So, it was kind of you that, when obviously I said to you didn’t I, you know, how far are you? And you were like, chapter three or four.
And I was like, oh, so it gets much better then in a short space of time? And you were like, yeah.
Kayleigh: And I just kept saying, read it, read it.
Sophie: Yeah, so that kind of pushed me-
Kayleigh: It did, and I don't know if it was for you, but for me, it got better. I don't know if you got to it at the same point, but for me it was, as soon as Serge started telling his story for the first time, it was at that point, then, I was like, right, I'm completely invested in this, I need to find out what is happening and what has happened, and I’m in this now.
Sophie: Yeah, when I first started it, like, obviously, because the genre of it is supposed to be magical realism-
Kayleigh: Well, I didn’t know this because I purposefully avoided finding anything out. So, I hadn't added it on Goodreads. I hadn't even looked for it. I just thought, no, I like the cover and I like the synopsis, we'll just jump in and we'll go for it and we'll see what happens. So, I didn't realize that it was meant to be magical realism or anything else until after I'd read it and then I went on Goodreads to add that I'd read it afterwards.
Sophie: See, I kind of did that first, and I don't know if that's what set my mind, or what, because I knew that, and then, obviously, the first two chapters, I just found it was, there was no realistic setting there whatsoever. I mean, you’ve got a 12-year-old girl who’s got the narrative mind of somebody that may as well be 34. Do you know what I mean?
Kayleigh: Yeah. Yeah.
Sophie: I've never, ever met a 12-year-old that would describe a desert as being alive and breathing or, like this quote, "Finally, the bee carries itself away until it's lace thin wings are camouflage against the beginnings of a sunset."
I mean, the details in there were absolutely beautiful, but I just don’t think that they were for a 12-year-old.
Kayleigh: Yeah, and that threw me as well, when I found out how old she was, my brain instantly went, what? Because I had, from the way she was speaking at the beginning, I automatically assumed that she was older. So, yeah. Oh, sorry.
Sophie: But then, as you go through a little bit more, and obviously she sees her granddad then you think, well, all she’s bothered about, now this is more realistic, like obviously, she's bothered about the fact that she can't spend summer with her friends and she's stuck here and she's got to babysit this ill old man that she doesn't know. And that annoyed me, as well, because then I was like, you're just a self-obsessed kid, you don't care about your family-
Kayleigh: No, you see, I actually, took her side on that, because I got really angry with the parents, because I just thought, what parent would leave a 12-year-old child alone with the grandfather she's never met who has severe dementia, and a baby? And I was like, what parents are these, why are they doing that?
Sophie: See, I was annoyed with them all in general, at first.
Kayleigh: Yeah, I know they were struggling with grief and stuff, and I get that. It just didn't sit well that they were fine to leave her alone, being 12, with a man that she hadn't met, who had severe dementia. And then, you know, certain things happen that won't spoil for anyone, but you know, certain things happen that could have been avoided if the parent just took the proper responsibility and didn't leave it up to the 12-year-old.
Sophie: I was more annoyed that, which obviously it goes into explain in the book, and obviously we won't give anything away, but like, your family's your family, do you know what I mean? And I think for the relationship that we've got with our granddad, trying to imagine not seeing them ever in your life, do you know what I mean? Or from the parents' point of view, like, they haven't seen him for 12 years, and I just think, these are horrible people, they’re so nasty, what horrible people to put in a book. Do you know what I mean? And then as soon as, like you said, he starts talking and telling the story-
Kayleigh: Yeah, and then you understand why, you understand why they haven't been back, and you understand why they left in the first place. And yeah, it was really heartbreaking, but it all did make sense, and then it started to click together. And then everyone didn't seem as bad, if that makes sense.
Kayleigh: I was still really angry that they left a 12-year-old alone with those responsibilities. But, yeah.
Sophie: Yeah. Especially when you go further into the book as well.
Sophie: Obviously, she gets more to deal with, and you just think, that's not fair.
Kayleigh: Yeah, exactly.
Yeah. But overall, though I did really enjoy it and I loved how, from the second he started to tell his story, all of a sudden the magic and the mystery just sort of slammed straight in, and it really built up really quickly. And like I said, I was immersed in it and I didn't even realize how quickly I was reading it, and then all of a sudden, I was at the end. And I was sort of like, I don't want it to finish, which is what you were saying about The Bone Houses. But I was actually, this doesn't happen very often, but I was completely happy with how it ended.
Sophie: Yeah. Yeah. I was as well.
Kayleigh: And that doesn't usually happen for me because I usually get to the end and I’m, like, oh no, I really wanted more or, oh no, that shouldn't have happened. Or if it's a cliffhanger and you’re just like, oh, what's going to happen next? But with that, I was just completely satisfied. I thought, you know what, that's perfect. For what's happened, that's the perfect ending.
Sophie: Yeah. Yeah, no, I was really happy with it. But saying, for how quickly you read it, obviously, I started reading it before you, and then I left it. And it was only, when was it? When did I say I finished it? It was last week, wasn't it?
Kayleigh: Yeah, it wasn’t long ago.
Sophie: And I think I'd gone from chapter two to finishing the book in three or four days, bearing in mind that I was at work that week as well.
Kayleigh: Yeah, it was a few hours and then that was it, it was done, and I was like, I could read that again. And the thing with it, as well, is it just stayed with me and its stayed with me ever since. So, I started writing my review for it when I finished it, and then I just finished the review today and I can still remember it as clearly today as I did the day I finished it, and that was a few weeks ago now. Yeah, I just really enjoyed it. I think it was a great choice for our first book, because it was surprising. It did surprise me how much I enjoyed it. So, I hope anybody who listened enjoyed it too. If you did, or didn't, you can join us on Friday for our very first live Twitter chat, where we'll be talking all about the book. So, you just need to use #TTPbookchat, and that'll be at 7:00 PM UK time. You can join us, live on Twitter, to chat about Hour of the Bees and then we'll have a review live on the blog shortly after as well. Okie dokie.
Sophie: Can I just say, as well, going into, just on about the book again, obviously going into like the magical realism thing, I kind of realized, how that came about. I don't think it was supposed to focus so much on the 12-year-old girl, as such, and how she describes stuff, but more so the realistic manner that the elderly with dementia treated.
Sophie: Do you know what I mean? Because, like I said, I've worked with them firsthand, so I know exactly what family are like.
Kayleigh: Yeah, and we probably should have said actually, just as a trigger warning, it does obviously deal with some heavy themes. So, that is something to bear in mind before you do read the book.
Kayleigh: Which, like I said, we didn't realize before we read it, actually.
Sophie: Yeah. But I thought it was really good. Really, really good.
Kayleigh: Yeah. Yeah, no, I loved it, and I thought it was a great read, and actually, speaking of magical realism, that takes us perfectly into our book of the month for July, which, because I have looked at this one on Goodreads because I didn't know what it was when you suggested it to me, so I kind of had to look it up a little bit. So, we've gone for The Ten Thousand Doors of January by, and I'm going to get this wrong, I think it's Alex, but it could be Alix, Alix E. Harrow.
Yeah. So, The Ten Thousand Doors of January, and that is a fantasy, historical fiction, magical realism, young adult. It's all there.
Sophie: It’s got a bit of everything there.
Kayleigh: Well, it says young adult, but it also says adult, so we will see. But it's been very well rated, and the synopsis sounds really, really cool. And again, I seem to be running with this theme of bees and keys and doors, ever since I read The Starless Sea, at the beginning of the year, we then went to Hour of the Bees, and now we're on The Ten Thousand Doors of January. I think it's just going to continue.
Sophie: Yeah. But, to be fair, I chose this one.
Kayleigh: Yes, you did. Yeah. I put a couple of suggestions forward, but when you suggested that and I read the synopsis, I was just instantly like, yes, we've got to read this.
Sophie: Yeah, I just thought it sounded really good and obviously, I like bees and keys and doors and locks and anything weird and wonderful.
Kayleigh: Yes, and, as we said earlier, the cover is stunning. It's really beautiful and annoyingly, I'm buying it on Kindle and not hardback, but I really can imagine that I'm going to end up with the hardback because it’s really pretty.
Sophie: Yeah, I think I am as well, but I don't know if it’s because it’s not in stock at the moment, but this one is like £20.93.
Kayleigh: Yeah, which is a little bit pricey, isn’t it, I suppose?
Sophie: But I know it does say its unavailable, so...
Kayleigh: So, yeah. So, I'm going to get that on Kindle and you, actually, are going to be listening to it on Audible. So, it will be interesting to see if our opinions differ, as well, based on reading it and listening to it. So, I'm interested to see how that one plays out. So, yeah. So, July's book of the month, book club book is The Ten Thousand Doors of January.
So, if you would like to read that with us, just grab a copy, read it through July and we'll be chatting about it next month, which will be the second Tuesday of August, and that's when we'll be talking about that. And again, we'll be doing a Twitter chat afterwards, as well. Okie dokie.
Sophie: Sounds good.
Kayleigh: So, yeah, it does actually, and I'm really looking forward to it.
So, usually, well, last month we talked about a couple of news items and events, but we've already talked about #ReadWithPride, which is the main thing that I want to do is discuss this month. So, is there anything else you wanted to add in terms of bookish news or things going on?
Sophie: Not that I can think of, again I struggle to find-
Kayleigh: No, the only thing for me is I’m just excited, oh, sorry-
Sophie: No, it's all right. I struggle to find, I don't know if, like I said last time, whether it's because I'm just oblivious to everything, unless it hits me in the face.
Kayleigh: I really need to start throwing more bookish things at you, don't I?
Sophie: It takes me, what, six months to realize that my next favorite book has come out and I've missed it for six months, do you know what I mean?
Kayleigh: Yeah, I do that so much. Somebody told me actually that you can get, on Goodreads, they're supposed to message you when a book that you've added to your want to read is out. But, for some reason, I never seem to get those.
Sophie: I signed up to that because I can remember it, and I thought, oh, I'll never miss a book coming out again in my life, and low and behold, I’ve not had an email. So-
Kayleigh: Yeah, no me neither, but actually, talking about Goodreads, one thing that I could talk about is, I started to use, well, I heard on Twitter, people talking about a book app called Book Sloth, which is supposed to be, or at least, what I'd read, was that it was supposed to be similar to Goodreads, but with some key differences.
So, I downloaded it because I just wanted to have a look, and it's been around for a while, it's not new, but it seems that it's garnered a lot of popularity very recently. So, when you go onto it, it looks great. It's really pretty, everything's in colour and you can see just, you know, full color book covers, and it looks really, really nice.
And it's supposed to give you personalized recommendations. So, when you sign up, you put in things that you like, you rate, obviously, books that you've read, but you also put in particular things about books that you like. So, whether you like the characters more, or whether you like world-building more or plot more, or things like that.
Sophie: Okay, so it goes into a lot more detail of recommendations then?
Kayleigh: Yeah, and then it will just give you recommendations, and the recommendations that have been coming through for me so far actually looked great and I'm really excited, but, and this is a big but, actually, I'm having loads of usability issues. And now, if anybody's listening and you use Book Sloth, and you love it, please get in touch and let me know where I'm going wrong because, for me, I just find it really slow and it keeps crashing. And even when I'm logged in, sometimes, it'll log me out and say, you've got to log back in. So, at the minute I'm finding it a bit buggy. Now, I don't know if that's because they've had this massive influx of new users and it's kind of a bit demanding on their system and they’re trying to figure it out. So, in which case, we'll give them the benefit of the doubt and I'll keep trying. So, at the moment I'm just finding it a bit difficult to use in terms of Goodreads, well, sorry, compared to Goodreads, but it is interesting because it does look really nice and it's really visually appealing. Because Goodreads can look a bit old fashioned and a bit cumbersome, almost, to sort of get yourself around, and you can still add books sort of as you've read them or you want to read them.
And there's also a nice little, sort of, chat feed as well, where you can talk to other people, which for me, I suppose it sets off a little bit of wariness on, who are you talking to? Because it's not limited to your friends, because you don't, well, I don't know if you do have friends on there, I haven't actually looked, but I think it's open to anyone on the platform.
Sophie: See, I must admit, I quite like that about stuff. Because I am, as we know, very socially awkward.
Kayleigh: Yeah. Sorry, I don’t mean that I agree. I just mean, yes, that's your opinion of yourself. I think you're fine.
Sophie: You know what I'm like, and even online, like on Twitter or Facebook, I won't comment on stuff because I'm a bit like wary of-
Kayleigh: Yeah, I do remember when we went to the NYALitFest, and we went up to the authors to get the book signed, and the authors tried to talk to you and you didn't speak back.
Sophie: No, and then I panicked when we met, what's her name, Alexandra Christo, is it? And she asked me how I was, and then I just randomly was like, I really like your pens, because she'd got glittery pens.
And then I was like, oh my God, just get the book and go.
Kayleigh: Yeah, and then I felt really bad because I had like a really, really good 10-15-minute chat with Sally Green, and then realized you were just standing behind me, not doing anything. So, I felt really bad.
Sophie: Yeah, I’m so socially awkward. So, yeah, I find it hard to connect with people in real life and on the internet. So yeah, I think if didn’t have-
Kayleigh: I think I do more online, actually, because I always worry that what I say is going to come out wrong or it's going to be like misconstrued, if that makes sense. Yeah. And I do it in real life and I think it is a slight social anxiety thing. So, I'll talk to people and then hours later I'll be like, replaying everything I said thinking, did I sound like a crazy person, or am I okay?
Sophie: Yeah, I do that.
Kayleigh: So, yeah.
Sophie: But yeah, so I think the fact that you can talk to people without having them as a friend, for me, would be like, I don’t know, appealing, a bit more relaxed, like.
Kayleigh: Yeah, that makes sense though. Yeah.
Sophie: You don’t have to be approved to start a conversation with someone, do you know what I mean?
Kayleigh: Yeah. Well, there you go, you download that, and we can both give it a try and see what we think. Yeah, although it is a bit overwhelming at the thought of adding in all the books I've ever read onto it, do you know what I mean?
Because I think on Goodreads, there's like, I don't even know how many I’ve got that I’ve read. It's like 1000. Yeah, it's over a thousand anyway, which isn't loads, but it's, yeah. And I don't know what to do, like, the prospect of adding all of those onto Book Sloth is just not appealing at all.
So, yeah, we'll see how I get on with that. But yeah, so, what about upcoming books? Is there anything you're excited for or what are you planning to read next, other than our book of the month?
Sophie: There’s quite a few, actually, I won't list all of them because that's like majority of my bookshelf, but I bought one not long ago, which I think I showed you. It's called The Library of the Unwritten.
Kayleigh: Yes, you did. You did show me that. Yep.
Sophie: Which intrigues me-
Kayleigh: You suggested that for this month as well, but I just veered a bit more towards the Ten Thousand Doors of January. Yeah.
Sophie: But yeah, sorry, it intrigues me quite a bit.
Sophie: Because obviously it's about a library and you've got these unwritten, unfinished books.
Kayleigh: Sorry. You just reworded the title.
Sophie: Yeah, I did. Yeah, I don't really know what it's about. Again, this is me winging it. I chose it because it sounded really cool and there's like a little devil figure on the front cover and...
Kayleigh: That's cool. Yeah.
Sophie: So. that's it. I'll read it and then let you all know what I think. And hopefully I'll do a much better job of describing what it's about.
Kayleigh: Yeah, that's cool actually, because last month, see, again, we've switched because last month you were like, yeah, I'm really excited for these. And I was like, actually, I've done no research, and I don't know what I'm excited for. And I promised you that I would. And actually, I have, because I put out a call on Twitter and asked for some book recommendations and I was recommended, The Rage of Dragons, which sounds really, really cool.
Sophie: I actually think I've heard of that.
Kayleigh: Yeah, it's by Evan Winter, and it's the first in a fantasy series and it's sort of made out like, so it’s like Game of Throne meets Gladiator is what the synopsis says, but it sounds really epic and it sounds really cool and I'm really, really looking forward to it. And I did say that I wanted to try and read more books by authors of colour and Evan Winter is, so I just wanted to add that intimate TBR and it does sound really cool, and I'm really excited to read that and to see what happens in that.
So, that was a good one because it was nice to get a recommendation from a fellow Twitter person, a fellow tweeter.
And then, my partner and our friend, Matt won't leave me alone until I finally finish, Dark Dawn. They keep pestering me and telling me that I have to read it, and I don’t know why I haven’t.
Sophie: I need to re-read Nevernight because yeah-
Kayleigh: Well, I just don't know why I haven't read Darkdawn because I loved Nevernight, loved Godsgrave, read Godsgrave, and I finished it before I went to see Jay Kristoff in Manchester to get the copy of Darkdawn, and then I never read Darkdawn. I don't know why. So yeah, I need to pull my finger out and read that.
Sophie: I think, again, sometimes when you've enjoyed a series so much, like I was saying before, you don’t want to finish it, so you put off reading it.
Kayleigh: Yeah. I don’t want it to end. Yeah. I do worry about the endings to series, and yeah, I am kind of worried about it.
Sophie: I did it with the Throne of Glass series. I read all of them, and I've had Kingdom of Ash on my shelf since it came out and I’ve just not read it.
Kayleigh: Yeah, I've done exactly the same. I've read all the way up to Tower of Dawn. So, I've got Tower of Dawn and Kingdom of Ash left, and it's been a couple of years now since I read the one before Tower of Dawn, and I still haven't finished the series because I just don't want to.
Sophie: No, I’m the same.
Kayleigh: I brought the collectors addition of Throne of Glass and I just keep looking at it on the shelf because it's so pretty and I'm just like, do you know what, I should just read that again. Just read it again. It's fine. Just do that, and I'll just keep putting off the ending.
But yeah, books that I’m looking forward to that are new books. So, I've already mentioned the Extraordinaries by TJ Klune, which is out on the 14th of July.
And then there's The Friend Scheme by Cale Dietrich. Now, I loved his first book, which was The Love Interest, which was a weird kind of Sci-Fi YA, and it was really cool, and I really liked how different it was. I hadn't read anything like that before. So, it's got like robots and cool things in, and I hadn't read anything like it before, and that was really cool. So, he's bringing out a new book, which, I don't think they're related actually, even though the covers look kind of similar, but yeah, he’s bringing out a new book called The Friend Scheme on the 28th of July. So, I’m really looking forward to that.
And then, the only other one that I had, that I want to read is Camp by Lev A.C. Rosen, I think, which is out already. It's just, yeah, it is available now but it's out of stock. So, that's why I haven't picked that up yet. But yeah, those are the ones I'm looking forward to for next month.
Sophie: Well, that sounds good.
Kayleigh: Yeah, and it should be good. Yeah. So, anything else you wanted to add?
Sophie: I also wanted to read, I don't know if you can remember, last year we both had, or did we, I don't know actually, I had a Fairy Loot box for my birthday in November.
Kayleigh: Okay. Is this the traitorous one that you had that I didn’t?
Sophie: It was a present for my birthday.
Kayleigh: That doesn't matter.
Sophie: But yeah, we've got the book Skyward.
Kayleigh: Yeah, you did. I didn’t.
Sophie: Well, I really want to read that one. It's been sat on my shelf for a while.
Kayleigh: I’m not sour at all.
Sophie: No, of course not.
Kayleigh: Yeah, that's by, is it Brandon? Brandon Sanderson?
Sophie: Yes, it is. Yeah, but there's a second one coming out, if it's not already come out, which it might've done.
Kayleigh: I was going to say, I think it has actually, I think I saw that in Waterstones before the lockdown.
Sophie: There we go, this is exactly what I'm telling you.
Kayleigh: It may be out. I could be talking about another one of his books, but yeah-
Sophie: Yeah. It was probably out six months ago, and I've missed it. But yeah, I'm really looking forward to reading Skyward, which I’ve been looking forward to reading since last year.
Kayleigh: Yeah, and you'll have to let me know what that's like, because I don't read Sci-Fi a lot, but then I keep finding these Sci-Fi things that I do actually like.
Sophie: Yeah, generally speaking Sci-Fi doesn't really appeal to me.
Kayleigh: Yeah, it doesn't to me on a general level, but I wonder if that's from being a kid and like, no offense to my dad and all the other trekkies, but not really liking Star Trek, and no offense to my partner, but not really liking Star Wars, and please don't everybody hate me for that. It just never really did anything for me, but then I've read some amazing Sci-Fi series and other books that I just fell in love with.
Sophie: Yeah, I don't mind Star Wars. I only recently watched them for the first time in my life during lockdown, actually.
Kayleigh: Yeah, and you had to ask me which order to watch them in and I'm probably the worst person to tell you.
Sophie: I figured it out in the end.
Kayleigh: Well, they are numbered, so that was my reasoning.
Sophie: No, you have to watch them in a different order apparently, but then Google was no help because there were like three or four different orders to watch them in.
But yeah, they weren't that bad, but I just see it as Star Wars-y things should stay in Star Wars-y things, so.
Sophie: Sci-Fi never really appealed to me, but yeah.
Kayleigh: Weird though, because you were a Doctor Who fan, as well. So-
Sophie: No, I thought that was you.
Kayleigh: No. Well, I liked the first couple of seasons, you know, from Christopher Eccleston to David's Tennant but it was when I was really young. Yeah, I tried to re-watch them recently and yeah, it didn't. Well, yeah, I didn’t enjoy it much. So yeah, overall, Sci-Fi is not really a go, but you know, we keep finding these cool books that do make it cool. So, yeah.
Sophie: But, apart from that, I think that's all I've got on my, and obviously, The Lies We Tell Ourselves, which you've just read, which is one that I was looking forward to reading.
Kayleigh: Yeah, and like I said with that, it was very, very good, but at the same time, I just felt it was really difficult to read and there were just, you know, difficult things in it. So, yeah, just go into it, obviously with the understanding that it's not going to be pleasant and nice. Yeah, exactly. Exactly. Because it's just, it is a difficult subject matter, so, yeah.
Yeah. So, you know, I've had a great chat with you today, I hope you have to.
Sophie: Yeah, it’s been really good.
Kayleigh: And I'm really looking forward to the Ten Thousand Doors of January, which is our July book club read. And again, we do the podcast on the second Tuesday of every month and we will be doing, this month we'll be doing a live Twitter chat on the Friday after the podcast at 7:00 PM UK time, and you can join that using the #TTPbookchat, and we'll be talking about Hour of the Bee's this month. So, everybody can get in touch and tell us what you think, whether you agree with us, that we thought it was really cool, or whether you didn’t. So, let us know.
Sophie: Yes, or like us, if you have mixed opinions where you liked it or didn't like it, and then, throughout the book your opinions changed.
Kayleigh: Yeah, exactly, and I think that's a really great thing about books actually, as well, is obviously, you can start off not liking something and that can turn out better, or you can start off loving something and you can end up hating it.
So, I think that's a good note to finish on. So, thank you for joining us, and we will see you next month.
Sophie: See you later.
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About Kayleigh (She/Her)
Book addict, film mad, music lover, business owner, writer and mum (not necessarily in that order), living in the UK.
About Sophie (She/Her)
Sophie loves books (obviously). She has a passion for photography and spotting wildlife, and is interested in anything made with passion and creativity.
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5 Stars - AMAZING!!
4.5 Stars - Almost perfect!
4 Stars - I really loved it
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3 Stars - I liked it
(I don't typically review books that I rate below 3 stars)
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