Anthology Review: Return to Wonderland

Hello everybody! Today, I`m going to be reviewing the Return to Wonderland, which I read last month and really enjoyed, even though I`ve not read the original book. Onto the post!


<!–more–>

Acorn, Biscuits and Treacle by Peter Bunzl– this is about a boy named Pig, who has his life changed when he rescues three girls from a treacle well. Pig was a lovely protagonist, and I also liked the three sisters. I loved the frog footman too; what a cool character. The reveal at the end was great, as was the ending in general, and I thought this was a super enjoyable way to kick off the anthology.

The Queen of Hearts and the Unwritten Rule by Pamela Butchart– this focuses on the Queen of Hearts, and specifically the tourist industry that has sprouted in Wonderland following Alice`s rather famous trip down the rabbit hole. I really liked the humour of this, particularly the way it gently mocks modern culture. However, I found the constant cap locks really distracting, which unfortunately affected my enjoyment of this quite a bit. I have nothing against cap locks (I do it all the time myself, so I`d be a hypocrite if I did), but I didn`t see the point of them here- it didn`t feel like they were being used for a reason, such as for emphasis.

The Sensible Hatter by Maz Evans– this sees the Mad Hatter try to be more sensible after people criticise him for his silliness. It`s so entertaining, just as I`d expect from Maz (the writer of the brilliant Who Let the Gods Out quartet), and absolutely hilarious. It also has a really lovely message about how friends should love you for who you are and not who they want you to be.

The Missing Book by Swapna Haddow- I LOVED this one, which was super unexpected for me as I`ve not read from the author before, nor had I even really heard of her. It is about the Mock Turtle and the library he has set up within Wonderland- specifically a book appearing unexpectedly on its Missing Book shelf. The Mock Turtle`s narrative voice is absolutely glorious- he is so vain and yet also utterly lovable, and it just made this ridiculously fun to read. The ending was so clever and unexpected too.

Honour Roll by Patrice Lawrence– this is about a family of hedgehogs who have been (or one day will be) croquet balls for the Queen of Hearts. Honour, who is the hedgehog who narrates our story, was such a sweetheart and I loved reading her diary entries a lot. I was also a big fan of the excellent puns within the family naming system, and the really excellent worldbuilding that explains why hedgehogs are used as the balls.

The Tweedle Twins and the Case of the Colossal Crow by Chris Smith– This is about the Tweedle Twins facing off against some of their biggest fears. I thought the setting was really fun and captured the wackiness you`d expect from Wonderland. I also loved the hilarious relationship between the twins, and the great side characters. It also has a lovely message on the theme of fears.

Ina Out of Wonderland by Robin Stevens– this is set outwith Wonderland, in Oxford University, and even though I`ve never been and don`t know the place very well, I feel kind of like I have and do now because Robin paints such a vivid picture of it. The story itself is so clever and interesting, and I loved it, which is no surprise given that Robin is one of my absolute favourite writers- it`s about Alice`s older sister Ina, who is now “too old” for Wonderland and must find a way to protect Alice from its dangers. Other than the setting that I`ve already mentioned, my favourite part of this was Ina herself. My heart both ached for how abandoned she feels and also burst with love over how wonderful she was- she is so clever and calculating (in a way not unlike the Honourable Daisy Wells…) but for such compassionate reasons. The portrayal of Lewis Carroll is absolutely fascinating as well.

Plum Cakes at Dawn by Lauren St John– This tells the story of a visit the Dormouse makes to the Night Court, where he observes a trial. I really liked the humour and the courtroom setting- I always forget how much I enjoy a good courtroom scene when I`ve not seen or read any in a while! I also really liked the way Lauren St John`s usual environmentally conscious mindset was threaded in in a way that felt very natural.

The Knave of Hearts by Lisa Thompson– I can`t tell you much at all about the plot of this or I`ll give the entire thing away, so it`s about the Knave of Hearts, who is a very unreliable narrator. It`s brilliantly paced with a great reveal, and the narrative voice is super entertaining.

How the Cheshire Cat Got His Smile by Piers Torday– this is the origin story of the Cheshire Cat, who lived with a scientist and his daughter, and it was probably the most disappointing of the anthology for me. I really liked the Cheshire Cat himself, but otherwise I didn`t really find anything else that memorable or enjoyable.

The Caterpillar and the Moth Rumour by Amy Wilson– This is beautiful- Amy Wilson`s trademark lyrical writing works so well for the Caterpillar`s story, which is about him having to confront the past he`s run away to Wonderland to escape. It was so intriguing, and I loved both the build-up and the big reveal. I also loved the way other Wonderland characters were written into this, particularly the Dormouse and the Cheshire Cat. A gorgeous, uplifting end to this anthology.


Have you read this anthology? Which story was your favourite? If you`ve not read it, which do you like the sound of most? I`d love to hear in the comments!

Amy x

Advertisements

The Book Snob Tag

Hello everybody! Today, I’m going to be doing the Book Snob Tag, which I found on Lily’s blog and knew I had to do. Onto the post!


<!–more–>

Adaptation Snob: Do you always read the book before you see the movie?

No, I don’t. I’ve still not read the book of Brooklyn, which is one of my favourite films, and I probably won’t if I’m honest. I don’t like snobbery around this at ALL; books aren’t inherently, automatically better than films.

Format Snob: You can only choose 1 format in which to read books for the rest of your life. Which one do you choose: physical books, ebooks, or audiobooks?

I only read physical books anyway, so it’s a pretty easy choice for me here. Although I do want to try an audio book to see how I do with it, I find it harder to take in information audibly, particularly since I’m hard of hearing.

Ship Snob: Would you date or marry a non-reader?

Yeah, definitely. I mean, they’d have to be supportive of the fact that I love reading (my list of post ideas for if I get a partner is tragically long) but I wouldn’t rule out the possible love of my life just because they don’t read as much as I do.

Genre Snob: You have to ditch one genre – never to be read again for the rest of your life. Which one do you ditch?

Dystopia! I barely read any anyway so it wouldn’t change my reading that much at all.

Uber Genre Snob: You can only choose to read from one genre for the rest of your life. Which genre do you choose?

I’d quite like to steal Lily’s answer and just have the MG and YA sections please. If I can’t, probably fantasy because lots of fantasies have mystery plots too so I’d be getting both my faves. And you get contemporary-set fantasy too so I’d still be reading some contemporary too…

Community Snob: Which genre do you think receives the most snobbery from the bookish community?

Middle grade books without doubt, and it REALLY winds me up. You know the GIF of Anger from Inside Out’s head exploding? That’s me when I see yet another review saying “I’d have liked this if I was 8, but I’m not, so 2 stars.”. There’s a valid place for criticism of MG books, and if I don’t like one then I say so. But there’s a big difference between that and slating it solely because it’s middle grade.

Snobbery Recipient: Have you ever been snubbed for something that you have been reading or for reading in general?

Not that I can remember. I don’t tend to tell that many people offline exactly what I read, and those I trust enough to tell anything about my reading are good enough humans that they aren’t weird about it. A really lovely example of this is my French teacher from last year, who I often chatted about books with even though we read completely different things a lot of the time, and neither of us judged the other for what they read (she even said she liked the sound of We Won an Island and Robin Stevens! And as you’ll know if you read my reviews post for last month’s books, I loved the Girl You Left Behind, which she both recommended and bought me a copy of when I left school)


What would your answers to these be? Which ones do we agree and disagree on? I’d love to hear in the comments!

Amy x

Top Ten Tuesday: Favourite Tropes

Hello everybody! Today, I’m taking part in Top Ten Tuesday, for which today’s theme is our favourite tropes. I always get very mixed up about what’s a trope and what’s a cliché, so fair warning that there’s a good chance some of these aren’t actually tropes. Onto the post!


Fake dating– I LOVE fake dating. It is easily my favourite romance trope ever, and I know it’s unrealistic but I do not care. It is SO fun. I love watching the couple catch feels, even though they’re trying to pretend they don’t *actually* care. To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before is an amazing one for this!

Love triangles– judge me if you like, but I LOVE a good love triangle. Love them. Especially if both options are viable and wonderful, because then I will be agonising over who I’m rooting for. My favourite recently is in TV, not books, and it was in Cable Girls (I am Team Carlos, but only just). My favourite bookish one is probably the Blood for Blood trilogy (and I am Team Luca by a MILE)

Pen pals– this is one I especially love in romance, but I’ll take it in really any genre- the Princess who Flew with Dragons (which I’ve just finished) had some letters in it which I really liked. Simon vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda obviously takes the crown for this one, but both the Flatshare and Our Stop do it in a very cute way too. And if you want something darker that uses epistolary format, Ketchup Clouds is the one for you.

Mythology is part of the real world– think Percy Jackson, Aru Shah, the Who Let the Gods Out quartet etc. I love stories where mythological characters are real and part of our world, largely because it’s often a great source of humour. I really must read Oh My Gods soon, because I think it’ll be RIGHT up my alley.

The murder victim isn’t really dead– I don’t know if this technically counts as a trope, but give me a mystery where they’ve been solving the wrong person’s murder and I will be delighted. I obviously can’t give examples of this one, or I’ll spoil the books for you massively, but I really do love this reveal.

We’re all trapped in *insert secluded location here* and someone’s dead/creepy stuff is going down– I think this may be known as a country house mystery, but I’m not 100% sure. I much prefer this to a locked room murder (I do like locked room a LOT too, but they really confuse me at the same time so I never quite grasp how they were done, no matter how hard I try). Robin Stevens’ Arsenic for Tea does this one BRILLIANTLY. I very much want to read a few Ruth Wares that sound like they’ll do this too (the Death of Mrs Westaway/the Turn of Key)

Talking/human-like animals– if you know me, this one will be no surprise to you. I LOVE animal companions in books almost always, and talking ones are SO fun. Some recent talking faves include Nicki Thornton’s Nightshade, Everdark’s Bartholomew and Willow Moss and the Lost Day’s Oswin.

Human/animal friendships– following on from this, give me all of the human and animal friendships please. They make me cry, but I love them all the same. Charlotte’s Web is wonderful for this, as are the Elephant Thief/The Great Animal Escapade and my favourite book of 2019 so far I, Cosmo.

Politics in books– I love it when characters are political, especially campaigns. Nothing dystopian, I’m not one for “let’s overthrow the oppressive government” plots like Hunger Games, but give me West Wing-esque stuff and I’ll be delighted. The Sorrow duology and Vote for Effie are my mosy common recommendations to people who also enjoy this in their fiction!

Film references– I don’t know if this is a trope, but it’s something I love to see in books! Tell Me How You Really Feel is a really fun recent example, and I love how many Disney references there are in the Alex Sparrow books. Beth Garrod does it really well too, and there are so many others that it’d take me all day to list them! I also love music references, but I see them less often which is why films got this spot on the list.


What are your favourite tropes? Do we share any? Do you have any recommendations for me? I’d love to hear in the comments!

Amy x

2019 Films I’ve Not Seen Yet but Want To

Hello everybody! I couldn’t decide what my post for the day you’re reading this on should be, and then I remembered that I did a post very similar to this one at this time last year, and decided to steal past me’s idea to do again, because I really enjoyed writing that AND because I could think of loads of films that could be part of it. Onto the post!


Continue reading “2019 Films I’ve Not Seen Yet but Want To”

My Thoughts on Day and Age

Hello everybody! Today, I’m going to be talking about Day and Age, the Killers’ 3rd album, which is probably the one I’ve had the most mixed feelings on from them so far. Onto the post!


Continue reading “My Thoughts on Day and Age”

The Addicted to Books Tag

Hello everybody! Today, I’m going to be doing the Addicted to Books tag, which I’ve not been tagged for but have fancied giving a go since I saw Aoife’s post. Onto the post!


Continue reading “The Addicted to Books Tag”

July Reviews 2019

Hello everybody! Today, I`m going to be reviewing the books in July that I haven`t already told you about elsewhere and don`t have plans to tell you about in separate posts (there was also one I DNF early on that isn’t here), and there are quite a few! Onto the post!


Continue reading “July Reviews 2019”