books · discussions · Uncategorized

LitCrawl Recap!

I went to a literature festival a few weeks ago, and I thought that it would be fun to do a whole recap on Virtually Read! This was the first proper book festival I’ve been to—at school we used to have a writing and mountain festival which was cool but a bit random, and I’ve obviously gone to some bookish events, but this was a proper festival. I was going to do lots of things anyway, but then I won some competition on their facebook page and got four tickets to the paid events which was cool. It was sort of at a terrible time (the weekend before I had two exams) but I was pretty over studying at that point anyway, so it was okay.

Continue reading “LitCrawl Recap!”

books · shanti · tags

The School Book Tag

Hi Virtually Readers! I’m quite excited right now because I finally have break (for like 6 days, but it’s still break) And the incredible Holly@Nut Free Nerd tagged us for the School Book Tag so I’m going to do that (after having a small fight with Shar about who does tags–sorry, Shar) I’m still in school, so I might mix it up a bit to match the classes I actually take. We’ll see.

1. Math; a book that left your head spinning

I mean, I feel like this question is a bit unfair to maths. But the intensity of The Future Collection by BethRevis (a bunch of creepy sci fi short stories) definitely got to me.

2. English; a book with beautiful expression

There are so many! But I really loved the poetry of only the sea keeps, a poetry collection about the 2004 tsunami, and the nuance and detail of Crimson Bound, a dark, edgy, lovely Red Riding Hood retelling.

3. Physics Psychology; a scientifically minded character

I really loved learning about the science of Wanda from The Host. She’s a great traveller and very curious.

4. Chemistry; Your favourite literary couple

I love a lot of couples, so I always find these superlatvie questions hard. But Evie and Ollie from Am I Normal Yet? have a really great tension and relationship (though they take a long time to get together)

5. Biology; Your favourite character

Again, this is the kind of question which it’s always so hard to answer. I really like Daisy’s  (from Revived) spunk and curiousity. Beneath her weird home life (she’s died many times) she just wants to be a good friend, and is struggling to figure out what that means. Bonus points to another character who comes back to life: Wren, from Reboot. (These aren’t necesserily my favourite characters, but just two I like)

6. French Hindi: A book from another language

I really love Fire and The Key, which were translated from Swedish. Witches, friendship, death, apocalypse, magic, and high school; what combination could be better, right?

7. Art; a book you judged by its cover

I got the hardcover edition of Out of the Easy because it was the same price, and so pretty. I love that muted gree colour, and think the visual elements are totally intriguing too.

8. History; The last historical book you read

I read Tom Standages’ An Edible History of Humanity a few weeks ago, and loved how it used one lense to look at so much important, fascinating stuff.

9. Geography; a literary destination you’d like to visit

I’ve got to say Tortall, from Tamora Pierce’s Protector of the Small, Song of the Lioness, Immortals, and Beka Cooper series. There’s going to be a new book about Numair and I’m thrilled.

10. Drama; a book with a lot of overdramatic hype

Our Chemical Hearts. I was so excited for this one because SCHOOL NEWSPAPER is something that’s really important to me (though sometimes I’m not sure why haha) but it was ultimately disappointing. I also watched The Breakfast Club a few days ago because it’s so famous that I thought I should; but found it dreadful, and loathed the general experience (which I could rant about for a long time, but I’ll spare you)

I tag….

Eli @ The Silver Words

Sophia @ Ravens and Writing Desks

Marie @ Drizzle and Hurricane Books

What is/was your favourite subject at school (Geography and history and english for me)? And are there any books that you’ve learnt a lot from?

books · features · shanti · writing

YA Found Poetry

Hi Virtually readers! So this is a sort of random post, but I was in the mood for it. Have you ever heard of blackout poetry? It’s basically where you have a page and cross out all words except the ones in the title. So today I’m doing that except I’m just taking random words and phrases from YA books and turning them into poetry. Each book (there are three) was published in the last five years by a major publisher (but none are from 2016 or 2017, and they’re all different) and is pretty popular. You have to try to guess the book. Hint: the title of the poem will in some way relate to the title of the book.


  1. Fragile Beauty

She wasn’t hungry

A small box

Her heart twisted

She couldn’t approach


Bewilderment and desire and fear

You need protection

Kissing her again


Don’t control you

Every time you touch me

A cruel sound


It was perfect

Everything she wanted

Didn’t seem to care


Good progress

A good queen

A plan


Those bodies were her fault

  1. Remaining Ashes

Obsidian eyes

Shadows and claws

Rare gift



Iron figurines

The whispers died


They might have valuable information

Still gruesome

So vital


Burnt yourself out

That much magic

Cut open and broken


Usual vitriolic dislike


curled up in the corner


deadlier than poison


wildfire in her mind

  1. Tender Monstrous Skeletons.

It should end with one too

Neither disappointing nor magical

A shared secret

Pestilence is free.

As fortune would have it

Luteous gold with vertical slit pupils

Unlike the other bidders

It isn’t becoming

And use it. And use it.

Something else. Something else.

Ambassadress of teeth.

Mint leaves

You don’t know everything


A passage of dull black stone.

She was caught

Voice lifted in hope

That vivid searching


Nothing at all had happened

Repelled by his hands

Plan. Plan. She had a plan


Fragile in his fist

What am I not?

Its bright and shining madness

Do you still want to know who you are?

Eyes filled with tears

Doubt her guilt

A resurrectionst

I came here for you.

Her angel had gone


So, this was fun. Do you have any guesses which books the poems came from? And do you ever dabble in poetry? 

book review · shanti

Mini Reviews Part Infinity

That title, by the way, is because I don’t want to go back and count. I’m currently travelling so this is a scheduled post, but I’ve been reading a fair amount recently and writing not very many reviews (hopefully that’ll change… we’ll see? September threw me off with schoolwork and laptop issues and so on) So here are a bunch of mini reviews. Enjoy!

Poisoned Apples by Christine Heppermann (4.5 stars)
This is the sort of book that it’s dishonest to mark as ‘finished’. It stays with you. It reminds you of who you are and who you want to be. The poems are exquisite, some funny, some obscure, but all worthwhile. They take a few reads. I love the photos, too. I don’t agree with everything in this book, and it does bother me that it so clearly has a white suburban American audience (look at the photos). I’m not white or suburban or American, and the eating disorder poems felt so distant. However, overall, this is an utterly real collection. The fairytale theme isn’t in every poem, but it’s as if Heppermann is reminding readers that everyone’s life is a fairytale: full of mistakes and beauty and ugliness. Excellent poetry=go read it!DSC05331.JPG

The Wee Free Men by Terry Pratchett (4.5 stars)

This is my second time reading this book, and I’ve upgraded the rating one star. It’s fast paced, funny, clever, magical, and shows girls as strong people. That’s what we need so much; that’s what we need most of all. I love Tiffany as a character. I love her adventure. I love her Nac Mac Feegles. I love the ordinariness. I love that this book exists, and I think everyone should read it. (full series review to come hopefully!)

The Circle by Sara Elfgren and Mats Strandberg (2.5 stars)

DSC05334.JPGI felt guilty about this book and the sequel sitting on my shelf, so I reread the first one to refresh myself and I had thoughts. I didn’t enjoy reading it, but it’s not exactly a bad book. I though that the witchiness was TOO witchy if that’s possible: it’s very bloody, verging on satanic, and there was extraneous swearing which always bothers me and it was so long and convoluted. The writing was fairly mediocre, but that could be the translation. I did still like the portrayal of female friendship, and seeing past boundaries, and trusting the right people-particularly yourself. It’s far from perfect, but I’m a little invested in the Circles adventures, and worried for the characters (see: bloody) and I’m going to keep reading sooner or later.

Da Vinci’s Tiger by L.M. Elliott (3.5 stars)
This was a pretty decent book. (3.5 stars) I liked the character of Ginevera, and the exploration of culture and poetry of the time. It’s clearly exquisitely researched, and that shows through. However, the themes of women’s power were a bit frustrating, the romance unnecessary (though the platonic love is interesting on it’s own) and I felt that Elliot was really hitting the reader over the head with it. I would have loved a bigger exploration of Ginevra and Luigi’s relationship as well. Still, interesting, informative historical fiction, which is worth a read if you’re interested in Da Vinci and his work.

A Hat Full of Sky by Terry Pratchett (4 stars)


Tiffany Aching is at it again. She’s now a witch in training, and is learning the craft from a mountain witch. Even as she goes through the trials that always accompany new friends, she is pursued by a monster. I loved how funny this book was, the focus of friendship, the idea that witches do what no-one else want’s to do, and it is that which is immensely valuable. The Nac Mac Feegles, too, are a wonderful creation: They’re funny and crass, and silly, and all-around wonderful. It’s also excellent to see Discworld favourite Granny Weatherwax in this installment.  It’s funny and fast and excellently executed, and is totally triumphant.

What books have you been reading lately? Any new obsessions, or more unusual books, like poetry? Tell me in the comments!