Hi everyone! So, I’m a huge animal lover. Before I left uni, I was in the process of applying for a voluntary role with the RSPCA, an animal rescue organisation. But since all this lockdown stuff happened, I’ve obviously been unable to help them out. So instead I’ve decided to raise some money for them from here at home! Just because we’re all in lockdown does not mean there isn’t tons of work to be done – animals always need helping and saving. In fact, they need us now more than ever.
What I’ve done is form my own kind of readathon challenge. Throughout July, I plan to read at least 10 books, cover to cover. I’m taking donations, but if you’re interested in joining, you can! Just contact me and I can add you to the team.
My goal is £250. If you can donate anything at all, I’d be so thankful! Or as I said, you can join in, or even just share it with your friends and family. You can find all the information here. I’ll also be posting updates on my fundraising campaign through GoFundMe, and probably through the BookMarked newsletter, too. (Feel free to subscribe here!)
At a time like this, I think we all need to be whisked away into another world. This book is perfect for that!
January Scaller is “a perfectly unique specimen”. In other words, she’s not white, but she’s not entirely coloured, either. Her father is a dark-skinned man from somewhere far away – January doesn’t know where – and her mother is no longer around. While her father travels the world for work, rarely returning home to her, January lives with the man who hired her father and practically saved their lives. His name is Mr Locke. He is wealthy, white, and the nearest thing January has to family most of the time.
One day January finds a book titled The Ten Thousand Doors. As she reads, she discovers the amazing truths about the world around her – and the thousands of others – as well as herself.
But January isn’t the only one who knows about the Doors to other worlds. It turns out the people closest to her already knew – and some of them aren’t happy about her finding out.
So January spends time in a mental asylum, is attacked by a man-slash-vampire, almost loses her beloved dog, and ends up travelling to places she could have only dreamt of.
This was a truly magical book. It had a sort of Inkheart-like vibe to me in some ways, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. There were twists and turns, beautiful imagery and emotional moments and development.
As this was a sort of historical fiction novel, there was a lot of emphasis on race inequality. Sadly, this feels all too relevant right now. The difference between how January is treated when she’s with Mr Locke – wealthy, upstanding, and most importantly, white – compared to when she’s alone is shocking. But of course, it’s real. And it’s still happening to some extent today.
Anyway, I really liked this book. It took a little while for me to get into it, though, so I’m giving it 4 stars. Definitely worth a read!
Something I did not realise from the cover of this book is that it’s actually a thriller/horror. It’s not exactly scary, but there are some creepy elements and emotional moments around the last half of the novel.
The book is set in a not-so-distant future where humans have, to put it frankly, ruined the earth. In order for nature to begin to recover, ‘Virgin Zones’ have been set up – areas where nature is left to thrive, and where it’s illegal for any person to enter. But of course, people still do. Some of these people are a particular type of thrill-seekers, racing across these wild zones. Our protagonist, Jenn, is a member of a group of these travellers. Along with her father, boyfriend, and a few other friends, she sets out to cross Eden, the first Virgin Zone, with little more than a compass and some energy bars.
But Jenn another motive, too. Her mother – who left her and her father years ago, and only contacts Jenn to show her the Zones she’s crossed – has gone missing. And she was last seen crossing into Eden.
It turns out Jenn isn’t the only member of the group with ulterior motives, though. Legends of a mysterious, almost magical orchid have been spreading from various Zones. It’s believed that these ghost orchids have healing powers, possibly even immortality. And one of Jenn’s companions is hoping to find one.
What he doesn’t know is that the orchids are the centre of Eden. The centre of the horror, the fear, everything. And She – the very spirit of nature itself – will do anything to protect them.
The group face numerous hurdles, hunted by beasts working together in unnatural ways. As they find more and more corpses in odd states, their own group begins to dwindle.
I found this really interesting, not least because the whole setting is so plausible. The atmosphere gradually becomes tenser and tenser, as Jenn’s hunt for her mother well and truly comes to an end.
While I did enjoy this, I felt something was missing. I’m not sure what it is exactly, but I didn’t really click with Jenn, or feel her emotions all that much. 3.5 stars!