Friday, 12 January 2018

The Fandom by Anna Day

The FandomCosplay ready, Violet and her friends are at Comic-Con.

They can’t wait to meet the fandom of mega movie, The Gallows Dance. What they’re not expecting is to be catapulted by freak accident into their favourite world – for real. Fuelled by love, guilt and fear, can the friends put the plot back on track and get out? The fate of the story is in their hands ...

A fast-paced, genre-flipping YA fantasy adventure from a brand new author, writing in homage to the best YA fiction.

It is every fangirl's dream to fall into their favourite book but Violet soon realises that the dangers are a lot closer when she's really there. When she and her friends crash through some sort of hole in space and time and land in The Gallows Dance, Violet has to fill the protagonist Rose's shoes and continue the story.

Honestly, I was sort of conflicted going in to this; it was news to me how the story came about, partnered with the Big Idea Competition but I didn't let that deter me. I figured it can't be that different from fanfiction! As a contemporary inside a dystopian, it was well aware of the stereotypes and the characters didn't want to fall into them, but they also made fun of the tropes and famous names - it was a little strange. None the less, pretty good world-building, as she had to establish both home and inside-the-book structure and all the characters were interesting to read about. Violet I could identify with straight away and her relationship with younger brother Nate was incredibly similar to me and my brother; I got a little annoyed with how many times she referred to Kate's "soft Liverpool accent" but Kate was awesome, like the resident sceptic. Alice was pretty awful and I struggled to understand why they were even friends but shared history is important, I guess.

I could also see how it was going to veer off the "canon" of the original story, the original being that Rose fell in love with Willow and her death sparked the revolution. But right away, Willow was two-dimensional and annoying, which was the point so it worked. And Ash was utterly adorable, maybe the typical puppy-dog, other side of the love triangle, but it was fascinating the way this crash gave him a better backstory.

It was a very twisty plot, as the "canon" is dragging them along but their very presence is ruining the original storyline. Some of the reveals and surprises were quite clever and I really enjoyed the twists and hiccups as the canon must be completed. However, I could see the hole right away - the hints were obvious but even then, I wasn't sure if it was all just a coma dream or not - kept me on my toes!

All in all, I really liked it: it wasn't really heavy or complicated to read, the world was typical dystopian but that was the point, and the characters made the story funny and very enjoyable. Maybe just don't expect too much but still a good story.

Published 4th January 2018 by Chicken House. Thank you to the publisher for my copy in exchange for an honest review.

Tuesday, 9 January 2018

Ten Books I Meant to Read in 2017 But Promise to Read This Year!

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish.

In no particular order, this is the list of shame - the list of books that I wanted so bad but haven't read yet.

1 - Now I Rise by Kiersten White
2 - Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls
3 - Whisper to Me by Nick Lake
4 - Artemis by Andy Weir
5 - Moxie by Jennifer Mathieu
6 - The House of Secrets by Sarra Manning
7 - The One We Fell in Love With by Paige Toon
8 - Genuine Fraud by E Lockhart
9 - The Cuckoo's Calling by Robert Galbraith
10 - History Is All You Left Me by Adam Silvera

I mean, what can I say? My reading went all over the place in October when I went back to university (did I mention that? I think I mentioned that - hehe) so my TBR slowly grew without me having a chance to make a dent. This holiday has sort of helped, although so far I've only read a couple but am hoping to get further before my next reading list comes through. 

So this list I will try to get through in January, or at least some of it. Wish me luck - and let me know what books you neglected in 2017 but want to read this year!

Monday, 11 December 2017

Christmas TBR

As this year draws to a close and term is finishing - this week in fact - I'm planning what books I can read over the holiday that have nothing to do with university! Don't think I'm being a bad student, I've finished all my set texts for the term and don't get my new list until January - so my Christmas break with be filled with the books I've been ignoring for the last few months.

Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls
Artemis by Andy Weir
How Not To Disappear by Clare Furniss
The Savages by Matt Whyman
Juniper Lemon's Happiness Index by Julie Israel

Moxie by Jennifer Mathieu
The One We Fell in Love With by Paige Toon

Review books:
Genuine Fraud by E Lockhart
The Fandom by Anna Day

Now, I'm obviously not going to read all of them. I have two full weeks off from work - yay for term-time only contract! And three weeks off from university, although obviously I have essays to write, but I'm hoping to put a serious dent in my TBR before I have to ignore it again next term. 

Are there any books I've listed that you think I should put first? Or check out my TBR on Goodreads and let me know if I've missed anything incredible - which, let's be honest, I probably have but I can't read everything!

Friday, 24 November 2017

Mini-reviews: Murder on the Orient Express and The Big Sleep

Murder on the Orient Express (Hercule Poirot, #10)Everyone knows Agatha Christie - the queen of crime fiction, and that is exactly why I'm reading Murder on the Orient Express, for the Crime part of my MA. This was my first Christie, and despite knowing the gist of what her stories entailed, it still surprised me. I really liked this, Poirot is a bit full of himself but a good detective - methodical and logical, especially in the face of a strange case like this. A lot of you have probably seen the movie by now (although I haven't) so the story, and maybe even the murder, isn't a surprise but I adored it. A very good introduction to Christie and the Golden Age of Detectives.

The Big Sleep (Philip Marlowe, #1)My tutor said in this week's seminar that Chandler is to American crime fiction that Christie is to British. And I can certainly see that! Admittedly, a lot went over my head, maybe that was just the way I read it, but I loved the old gang warfare, the guns and the racketeers - maybe not the way women are portrayed as basically sluts and/or things but Marlowe had a surprisingly strong moral compass (for a PI!). The plot itself is pretty convoluted, with a series of killings to cover up the previous secret, and two sisters who run around this town as if its their playground. A very different style of crime fiction to Christie but just as iconic.

As you can tell, I've been reading these as part of my course and so have been analysing them critically as literature in history, rather than just as a good story. I've been really enjoying reading these different types of stories, genres and styles I wouldn't normally pick up. Let me know if you like this classic crime sort of books or if you've watched/liked the Murder on the Orient Express movie!

Sunday, 5 November 2017

Weekly Highlights: the 'November TBR' edition

Weekly Highlights is a feature borrowed from Faye of A Daydreamer's Thoughts, where I get to highlight my posts of the week, show you my new books and talk about bookish things!

Just another little update for you, mostly just to say I haven't dropped off the face of the Earth, I'm still here - stressing about word counts and referencing and reading my books on time. 

University is going pretty well - I'm deep into essay-writing now, I've got two on the horizon and am frantically planning and writing and hoping it all makes sense! Because of my workload, I have had to quit one of my part-time jobs though, which was ridiculously sad. I've worked in this public library for a little over two years and I am sorry to have to leave but I could tell my brain was going to melt if I had to continue juggling two jobs and a masters.

On The Blog
One lonely post in October: October TBR and Life Update

Currently Reading
Collected Ghost Stories by MR James - some are better than others but for the most part I'm enjoying them. Definitely the right time of year for it!

On My Bookshelf
I got two books for my birthday in mid-October, which were both from my fiancee and both I asked for. They were: It Only Happens in the Movies by Holly Bourne, which I have already read and bloody loved, and The Start of Me and You by Emery Lord, which I am super excited for because I adore her books.

I also got a few ebooks, which I have no idea when I'm going to read but they are there just in case! Both from Netgalley, I received: Genuine Fraud by E Lockhart, and Love, Hate and Other Filters by Samira Ahmed. I'm really excited about both of them, and thank you to the publishers and Netgalley for sending them my way - just got to fit them in around all my uni reading!

November TBR
The uni books I'm studying this month, and still need to read, are: Murder of the Orient Express by Agatha Christie, The Big Sleep by Raymond Chandler, Let The Right One In by John Ajvide Lindqvist. Then in December we will be studying Deep Water by Patricia Highsmith, Poppet by Mo Hayder and Broken Harbour by Tana French.

Friday, 13 October 2017

October TBR and Life Update

Let's just breeze past the fact that it's practically halfway through the month and I'm only just posting a TBR - I've been super busy, ok? My work/life/study balance has been turned upside down the past couple of weeks and everything has been hectic, I'm basically just working and sleeping. Hence the radio silence - I'm sorry!

Anyway, I started my masters at the beginning of October and since then, all I've read, and am planning on reading, is set texts. To recap, so far this month I have read: Lady Audley's Secret by Mary Elizabeth Braddon, After Supper Ghost Stories by Jerome K Jerome, A Flock of Shadows edited by Claire Houguez and Nightmare Abbey by Thomas Love Peacock.

For the rest of the month, I'm going to be studying (and therefore reading): Lady of the Shroud by Bram Stoker and Speedy Death by Gladys Mitchell. Then I've got to get started on the first ones of November, which is The Face in the Glass by Mary Elizabeth Braddon and Collected Ghost Stories by MR James.

This is turning into a super fun-filled blog post!

Right, life update: like I said, I feel like I'm ever so slightly drowning in books and reading prep and essay planning. Why did I think going back to university was a good idea? Oh yeah, because I love books, even when the enormous pile of them next to my bed is trying to kill me!

All I wanted to say was I am still around, just a heck of a lot less! I hope you can understand that my studies have to take priority and even though I miss you all so much, just everything online really, I barely have time to take a breath!

Let me know what you're reading this month, what exciting books you're looking forward to, and if you could study anything what would it be? (Oh and can anyone guess what subject/genre I'm studying?)

Wednesday, 27 September 2017

There's Someone Inside Your House by Stephanie Perkins

There's Someone Inside Your House

One-by-one, the students of Osborne High are dying in a series of gruesome murders, each with increasing and grotesque flair. As the terror grows closer and the hunt intensifies for the killer, the dark secrets among them must finally be confronted.

International bestselling author Stephanie Perkins returns with a fresh take on the classic teen slasher story that’s fun, quick-witted, and completely impossible to put down.

I have to say I only picked this up because I really like Perkins' writing style and characters. Obviously it's very different from her other books and I'm not sure it quite hit the mark. I liked it, it's not my usual genre, but even I could tell it was standard high school slasher. Oh, and I do have to mention definite trigger warnings for gore, as well as severe hazing/mentions of suicide. 

Makani was a decent protagonist - her Hawaiian culture was very important to her and very obviously out of place in her new home. She had been shipped over by divorcing parents to her grandmother's, partly so she wasn't involved in the separation and partly so she could have a new start after some horrible incident at her old school. This was mentioned a lot and left me speculating more and more bizarre things that could have happened, but when it was finally revealed - yes it was horrific - it was a little bit of a let down. Her love interest, Olly, was the typical tortured, shy goth boy but he got some very good development and he really was quite sweet. 

Overall I liked it, but didn't always feel like a horror story - the crimes were gruesome and there was, for the most part, that sense of someone looking over your shoulder. But it was also very character driven and a surprising amount of romance - which I like in a story but I can understand why others didn't appreciate it. 

Published 26th September 2017 by Dutton Books for Young People. Thank you to the publisher and Netgalley for my copy in exchange for an honest review.