Friday 30 June 2017

Geekerella by Ashley Poston

GeekerellaPart romance, part love letter to nerd culture, and all totally adorbs, Geekerella is a fairy tale for anyone who believes in the magic of fandom. Geek girl Elle Wittimer lives and breathes Starfield, the classic sci-fi series she grew up watching with her late father. So when she sees a cosplay contest for a new Starfield movie, she has to enter. The prize? An invitation to the ExcelsiCon Cosplay Ball, and a meet-and-greet with the actor slated to play Federation Prince Carmindor in the reboot. With savings from her gig at the Magic Pumpkin food truck (and her dad’s old costume), Elle’s determined to win…unless her stepsisters get there first.

Teen actor Darien Freeman used to live for cons—before he was famous. Now they’re nothing but autographs and awkward meet-and-greets. Playing Carmindor is all he’s ever wanted, but the Starfield fandom has written him off as just another dumb heartthrob. As ExcelsiCon draws near, Darien feels more and more like a fake—until he meets a girl who shows him otherwise.

Elle has inherited her love of cult classic TV show Starfield from her dad - her parents met at a con, they cosplayed the main couple from the show, and then Elle used to watch it with her dad after her mum died. But when her dad then died, her step-mother bans it from the house, makes all of their memorabilia disappear and insults Elle and her dad for enjoying that stupid show. 

I thought with a nerdy Cinderella re-telling, the fairy tale elements would be stretched or unlikely. But right from the off, you could see the recognisable traits in a modern and believable setting. Elle just wants to enjoy her favourite show and hope that the reboot movie doesn't crush her soul, or that Darien would ruin her beloved Starfield. Darien, meanwhile, desperately wants to do Carmindor justice, having been a huge fan all his life too. 

I could tell this was going to be good because there were references to Doctor Who, Star Trek and Firefly in first few pages! It really was a love letter to nerd life - there was no fan-bashing (although some great comments about excessive fans, ambushing or stalking their - for want of a better word - prize), it was all about the community of cons and how you meet and recognise familiar faces and make a family in those who love something you do. 

I adored this whole story, from Elle and her desperate need to escape but also do her dad proud, to Darien and his catapult to fame and fortune. It was funny and quirky and so damn sweet, especially seeing not just Elle but one of her step-sisters stand up to the "evil step-mother". It really was a story about being true to you and not letting fear or someone else's expectations get in your way.

Published 4th April 2017 by Quirk Books.

Tuesday 27 June 2017

Top Ten Books of the Year So Far!

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

There is no way I could put these in any actual order of favourites so they are in order I read them. I've also kept it exclusive to 2017 releases, just to keep from going mental.

Unconventional1 - Unconventional by Maggie Harcourt
What can I say about this book that I haven't already gushed over? It was a brilliant love letter to cons and nerd life and falling in love with someone exceptional.

2 - Wing Jones by Katherine Webber
There was so many amazing things about this book, but what I look back on is two main things: the adorable romance and the incredible diversity.

3 - The Scarecrow Queen by Melinda Salisbury
The epic finale to Mel's Sin Eater's Daughter trilogy took my breath away and scared me beyond belief! Which I'm sure was her desired effect.

4 - The Upside of Unrequited by Becky Albertalli
Again, great love story - actually a few of them - and great diversity. Just all around smooshiness in this book, which is my favourite thing ever.

Doing It!: Let's Talk About Sex5 - Doing It! by Hannah Witton
I adore Hannah's YouTube videos and her voice is funny and refreshing and sometimes embarrassingly honest. Chock full of information that sex-ed just didn't get to or bother with.

6 - Truth of Dare by Non Pratt
I just wrote my review for this book last week and I still can't find the words for how incredible Non's teenage characters are. Both were just brilliant and so funny and lifelike that I wanted to smack and hug them both at various intervals. 

7 - Geekerella by Ashley Poston
When Dimple Met RishiAnother love letter to geek life! I'm sensing a theme here... This one was a Cinderella retelling, which I thought might be a stretch but actually worked perfectly. So cute and can definitely see myself re-reading every year.

8 - When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon
This is everyone's favourite book of the year and I am no exception! Funny, cute and all kinds of adorkable.

Ok, so my list is only 8 books long - I'm still happy with that! My reading has been really weird this year so these 8 amazing books from the 50-odd I've read so far, I'm counting that as a win.

Friday 23 June 2017

Truth or Dare by Non Pratt

Truth or Dare

How far is too far when it comes to the people you love? Claire Casey hates being the centre of attention. But if it means getting Sef Malik to notice her, it’s a risk she’s happy to take. Sef is prepared to do anything to help his recently disabled brother. But this means putting Claire’s love – and life – on the line. Because when you're willing to risk everything, what is there left to lose?

Told in two halves, between Claire and Sef, and sort of before and after, we see how both of them grow closer together but also grow as an internet sensation.

Claire has just started volunteering at the local hospital, reading to patients. Her first and main one is Kam, who had a terrible accident that left him in a coma for days. When she bumps into Sef, Kam's younger brother, they are both desperate to do something to help. Only problem is that he needs thousands of pounds to continue with his care and they only have 6 months to raise it.

Both clever and sad, Sef and Claire use the power of social media to raise awareness of their cause but get increasing drastic and dangerous as their deadline looms. I loved the use of YouTube and the under belly of the internet, as they encounter trolls, bullying and dangerous suggestions for dares. It was also lovely and diverse, as Claire's best friend is asexual and Sef's family is... argh, I can't remember but basically non-white (there was a great line about where he's from: "Britain, duh") which also opens them up to nasty comments, both in person and online.

Even though they are trying desperately to raise money for Kam's care, lots of other little issues crop up without feeling overbearing. Things like family, love and sexuality, but also racism, body confidence and disability, both Claire and Sef had to deal with as they get more out of control and reckless in their attempts to raise money. 

All in all, this was a fantastic book, an amazing story about love and sacrifice that had my heart in my throat and/or tears in my eyes. Non has once again proven she can write realistic but brilliant teenagers from all walks of life.

Published 1st June 2017 by Walker. Thank you to the publisher for my copy in exchange for an honest review.

Tuesday 20 June 2017

Top Ten Series I Would Start If Not For Other Things

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

This week's theme is something we all have in common: a list of series that we said we were going to read but somehow haven't yet. For whatever reason, the intention is there but the physical books haven't reached our hands yet. I did this list a few years back and a few of them are still on today's list. Whoops!

Across the Universe (Across the Universe, #1)1 - Across the Universe by Beth Revis
This is one from the previous list and I really have no idea why I haven't picked this up, I mean it's set in space!

2 - Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi
Another one from the previous list and again, I have no good reason for not reading it yet. Shame on me.

3 - Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead
Argh, why have I not read this yet? Honestly, I think this might have passed me by and now my tastes are different, I won't like it.

4 - Blue by Lisa Glass
Heard great things about this series but I cannot find it anyway physically, and honestly, as a non-sporty person, will a book about surfing put me off? Still want to read it though, especially in this heat!

Giant Days, Vol. 1 (Giant Days, #1)5 - Giant Days by John Allison
Whoo, a graphic novel made the list! This is one book that I am desperate to get my hands on, it's a graphic novel set in university, and the only reason I haven't read it yet is because my comic book shop don't have it in stock!

6 - The Assassin's Curse by Cassandra Rose Clarke
Just a duology but another that I haven't been able to spy in bookshelves so never remember to buy it. Want to though, it's assassins and pirates, I'm happy!

7 - Wool by Hugh Howey
This is one that is supposed to be for fans of The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet, but it's such a big series! I mean, it's only 3 books but all are over 500 pages!

8 - Defiance by CJ Redwine
Rivers of London (Peter Grant, #1)We have a copy of this in the library where I work and every time I tidy that area, I eye it up but haven't picked it up yet. I don't know why, maybe I'm just not really feeling dystopians at the moment, but some day!

9 - Rivers of London by Ben Aaronvitch
A friend of mine hails these books and they sounds incredible but once again, I fail at picking up books! Even though they sound right up my alley, I mean it's magic in London, come on!

10 - Soulless by Gail Carriger
This is definitely more my speed with magic in regency times but it's not something I come across on bookshelves very often so I haven't had a chance to pick it up yet. 

Friday 16 June 2017

Flight of a Starling by Lisa Heathfield

Flight of a StarlingRita and Lo, sisters and best friends, have spent their lives on the wing – flying through the air in their trapeze act, never staying in one place for long. Behind the greasepaint and the glitter, they know that the true magic is the family they travel with.

Until Lo meets a boy. Suddenly, she wants nothing more than to stay still. And as secrets start to tear apart the close-knit circus community, how far will Lo go to keep her feet on the ground?

Heathfield's third novel tells of two sisters who are used to sharing everything - until Lo falls for a flattie. Living in a travelling circus, the girls can't get attached or do more than flirt with the locals. But in one little town, a local lad has caught Lo's eye and makes her realise that there is more to life than the circus.

I adored this story, I thought it was beautifully simplistic in its passion for a normal life. I reminded me of Seed in the theme of exploring a different world, a different normal, but more subtle as of course the circus needs their audience. This need for a different normal was driven by Lo, the younger sister, as she starts to daydream about having a garden and a steady home, possibly with Dean. But her family means so much to her that she couldn't abandon them. 

The narrative still had Heathfield's signature beautiful writing, especially as she describes the trapeze and that sense of freedom when they preform. In fact the descriptions of the magic of the circus were incredible. But it wouldn't be a Heathfield novel without a twist and this time it was a doozy! The ending really made me cry, not just because it was sad (it was) but because it was so powerful. The whole story was, and it was amazing.

Published 29th June 2017 by Electric Monkey. Thank you to the publisher and Netgalley for my copy in exchange for an honest review.

Tuesday 13 June 2017

It's A Father's Day Special!

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

This was a surprisingly difficult topic; it turns out that there are even less good fathers than there is good mothers in the books I read! I did find a few great examples and this list will not be any particular order.

Because You'll Never Meet Me (Because You'll Never Meet Me #1)1 - Mr Farber and Dr Auburn-Stache in Because You'll Never Meet Me
My first choice is a twofer, as they are in the same book. First, Moritz's adopted father is incredible because he rescued a little boy with weird abilities and a broken heart from his awful mother. Second, the doctor acts not only as healer for Ollie but also friend and only link to the outside world. They are both men who did not father these boys but look after them as if they had.

2 - Dad in One Italian Summer
Even though he's recently died, the girls' father is still such a huge part of their family, especially on their first family holiday to Italy since he passed.

3 - Art in Fangirl
Single parenting twin girls through their mother leaving and then puberty can be no easy feat. But Art manages it. Although there are times when the girls seem to be doing most of the looking after, they are a tight knit family.

4 - Tom in The Last Beginning
I talked about Jen parenting Clove when Katherine and Matthew are off being stuck in time or prison or whatever, and the same stands for Tom, Matthew's brother. He really steps up for the family and Clove, and is a great dad full of good advice and programming skills.
Pride and Prejudice

5 - Mr Bennet in Pride and Prejudice
He might not say much but Mr Bennet is the strong structure at the heart of his family, staying calm in the face of his wife's hysterics and his daughters' drama.

6 - Arthur Weasley in Harry Potter
I can't not mention Mr Weasley! Not only is he a great dad to his huge family but also to Harry, and even Hermione and the rest of the Order. He does good work and is passionate about his job and about doing good with the Order.

7 - Hans Hubermann in The Book Thief
TroubleHerr Hubermann is kind and brave for taking in little Leisel but also protecting a friend's son, a Jew, from raids. He teaches Leisel how to read and write, he plays one wicked accordion and is willing to go against the Nazis, in small ways.

8 - Aaron in Trouble
This adorable lad is willing to say he is Hannah's baby daddy, to help her and save her face from admitting who the baby really belongs to.

Friday 9 June 2017

Remembrance by Meg Cabot

All Susannah Simon wants is to make a good impression at her first job since graduating from college (and since becoming engaged to Dr. Jesse de Silva). But when she’s hired as a guidance counselor at her alma mater, she stumbles across a decade-old murder, and soon ancient history isn’t all that’s coming back to haunt her. Old ghosts as well as new ones are coming out of the woodwork, some to test her, some to vex her, and it isn’t only because she’s a mediator, gifted with second sight.

What happens when old ghosts come back to haunt you?
If you’re a mediator, you might have to kick a little ass.

From a sophomore haunted by the murderous specter of a child to ghosts of a very different kind—including Paul Slater, Suze’s ex, who shows up to make a bargain Suze is certain must have come from the Devil himself—Suze isn’t sure she’ll make it through the semester, let alone to her wedding night. Suze is used to striking first and asking questions later. But what happens when ghosts from her past—including one she found nearly impossible to resist—strike first?

I adored the Mediator series, it was so very funny and what originally drew me to paranormal books, so I was beyond excited to see how Suze had grown up. This time around, nearly ten years later, Suze has another ghost to wrangle, this time of a little girl clinging to her best friend, harming anyone who would hurt her, all the while trying to keep her job and plan her wedding to the gorgeous and very much alive Jesse de Silva.

Jesse was as cool and kind and handsome as I remember! Being bought back from the dead has clearly done wonders for him! Training to be a doctor, what he wanted to be if his father hadn't stopped him, Jesse had embraced modern life and his future with Suze. I mean, he still has old-fashioned values pertaining to certain intimacies that drives Suze bonkers, but apart from that, their life together is shaping up quite nicely. Until the devil returns.

Paul is back in Suze's life and she is not happy about it. I don't know how I feel about the fact that he hasn't changed much; when he was a teenager and all moody and self-obsessed, we could blame hormones, but as a mid-20 year old, he's just obnoxious and dangerously narcissistic. When he says that he'll help Suze with the so-called demon living inside Jesse but only if she sleeps with him, I practically shouted at the book. That's blackmail and not to mention a horrible thing to do! Paul really needs some help learning a little empathy.

I'm not going to talk about the plot too much, because in true Cabot fashion, the two sides of the story intertwine a bit. Plus I really wouldn't want to spoilt anything! I will say, however, that it definitely lives up to the rest of the series. I could tell how much time had passed, and although Suze still had her sarcastic voice and liked to punch first, talk later, she had definitely grown up. She was training to be a child psychologist, meaning she could help the living and the dead better, and for that I was beyond proud of her.

This was such a great read, both new and nostalgic, and full of Cabot's trademark wit and drama. A great ending to what will always be one of favourite series.

Published 2nd February 2016 by William Morrow Paperbacks.

Tuesday 6 June 2017

A Few Books to be Welcomed to My TBR

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

This week's theme is books of a certain genre that we've recently added to our TBR. So I thought I'd talk about the great contemporary books that are on my TBR or my wishlist - because summer reading, for me, is all about the realistic stories.

1 - The Crash by Lisa Drakeford
Coming out in July, I do already have a copy (Thanks Chicken House!) so luckily I don't have to wait long to read it! Another multiple-perspectives story, this time with a darker twist as the five teens tell of the time a car crashed through a living room window. 

2 - Geekerella by Ashley Poston
I've heard great things about this story, despite its strange cover, so I picked up a copy this past weekend and am really excited about a modern nerdy Cinderella re-telling.

Truth or Dare3 - Truth of Dare by Non Pratt
I'm actually reading this at the moment but I couldn't not have it on this list, as it is a great example of not only contemporary YA but also UKYA.

4 - The Girl's Guide to Summer by Sarah Mlynowski
I adored Sarah's past books, they are so refreshingly funny and light hearted and perfect for a sunny day. Unfortunately we don't have a lot of those over here so I'll have to settle by reading about them in a backpacking trip through Europe.

5 - True Love at the Lonely Hearts Bookshop by Annie Darling
The long-awaited sequel/companion novel to The Little Bookshop of Lonely Hearts. This time following Verity's story on the path to true love, this will be the perfect fluffy rom-com to make me smile.
When Dimple Met Rishi

6 - When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon 
This is going to be on all of my wishlists until I finally get my hands on it!

7 - Becoming Betty by Eleanor Wood
I'm hoping that Eleanor's new book will be on a similar vein to her previous book My Secret Rockstar Boyfriend, because that was hilarious. Anyway, her new one is all about starting afresh for college and discovering music and reinventing yourself - sounds great.

8 - No Filter by Orlagh Collins
Coming out in July, this sounds kinda similar to Katie McGarry's novels and I love hers so I've got high hopes! Basically, after Emerald's mother is found unconscious in the bathroom, Emerald is shipped off to Ireland to her grandmother's, where she meets and falls for Liam. Only problem is, does she share the secrets she is running from and so used to hiding?

Sunday 4 June 2017

Weekly Highlights: the 'June 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!

May seemed really busy to me; work was hectic, reading once again took a back seat but at least the month ended with a week off for half term! 

On The Blog
Review of One Italian Summer by Keris Stainton
Review of The Circus by Olivia Levez
Review of Because You'll Never Meet Me by Leah Thomas
Review of A Court of Wings and Ruin by Sarah J Maas

Currently Reading
Flight of a Starling by Lisa Heathfield - at time of writing, I'm not quite half way through but already it seems a different feel to her other books, in a good way.

On My Bookshelf
Truth or DareTruth or Dare by Non Pratt
How far is too far when it comes to the people you love? Claire Casey hates being the centre of attention. But if it means getting Sef Malik to notice her, it’s a risk she’s happy to take. Sef is prepared to do anything to help his recently disabled brother. But this means putting Claire’s love – and life – on the line. Because when you're willing to risk everything, what is there left to lose?

The Waking Land by Callie Bates
The Waking LandIt's been fourteen years, since King Antoine took Elanna hostage. Fourteen years since her father's rebellion failed. Fourteen years spent being raised by the man who condemned her people to misery. A man she's come to love as a father.

Now 20, Elanna is about to be taken prisoner once again... but this time by her father's mysterious righthand man.

Her father wants to reignite his rebellion, this time using Elanna as figurehead. He will tell his followers she is the legendary Wildegarde reborn, a sorceress who could make the very earth tremble.

But what no one knows is that magic really does flow through Elanna's veins. Now she must decide which side she's on, and whether she'll use her powers for mercy... or revenge.

Both of these are from Illumicrate and both I'm really looking forward to! Non's books are always great and The Waking Land sounds different and magical.

The Girl's Guide to Summer by Sarah Mlynowski
The Girl's Guide to SummerSydney Aarons is leaving her Manhattan townhouse for a summer backpacking around Europe with her best friend, Leela. They're visiting London, France, Italy, Switzerland and everywhere in between - it's going to be the trip of a lifetime.

BUT... The trip gets off to a bad start when Leela's ex-boyfriend shows up on their flight out of JFK. When they touch down in London, Leela Instagrams their every move in the hope Matt will come and find them... Which he does, along with the most gorgeous guy Sydney has ever seen.

Will Sydney's summer fling last the distance? And what will happen when they all head home?

I adore Sarah's books and even though the formatting on this version was a bitch to download, I'm really excited to be laughing at her characters and stories again. Thank you Netgalley and Orchard Books!

The Crash by Lisa Drakeford
The CrashBest friends Sophie and Tye are watching TV when a car crashes through the living room wall. The driver and passenger are twins, Harry and Gemma. Next door neighbour, eleven-year-old Issy, witnesses the accident. In the aftermath, Tye is thrown into a coma, Gemma’s dark past begins to haunt the present, and Sophie starts to fall for Harry – but how can she, when he was the driver who nearly killed her best friend? And Issy, meanwhile, hides a terrible secret... 

I really liked her first book The Baby so I'm looking forward to her mix of characters with something a bit darker. Thank you Chicken House!

City of Saints & ThievesCity of Saints and Thieves by Natalie C Anderson
Street-thief Tina breaks in to the luxurious house where her mother was killed to steal from Mr. Greyhill and nail him for her mother’s murder. She is caught red-handed.

Saved by Mr. Greyhill’s gorgeous son, Michael, the pair set in motion a cascade of dangerous events that lead them deeper into the mystery, and reveal dark and shocking secrets from Tina’s past.

Tina and her mother fled the Congo years ago as refugees, trading the uncertain danger of their besieged village for a new, safer life in the bustling Kenyan metropolis. The corruption and politics of the Congo, and the gangster world of Sangui City, are behind Tina’s mother’s downfall. Is Tina tough enough to find the truth and bring the killer to justice?

A little something different, I wanted to read about a different place in the world and the Congo is pretty new to me. Thank you Oneworld!

June TBR
Definitely starting with Truth or Dare! Also this month I need to read my review books, starting with A Girl's Guide to Summer and City of Saints and Thieves. Let me know what you're planning on reading this month!

Friday 2 June 2017

A Court of Wings and Ruin by Sarah J Maas

A Court of Wings and Ruin (A Court of Thorns and Roses, #3)

Feyre has returned to the Spring Court, determined to gather information on Tamlin’s manoeuvrings and the invading king threatening to bring Prythian to its knees. But to do so she must play a deadly game of deceit—and one slip may spell doom not only for Feyre, but for her world as well. As war bears down upon them all, Feyre must decide who to trust amongst the dazzling and lethal High Lords—and hunt for allies in unexpected places.

Before we start, this is going to be short, because if you want to read this then you would have by now, and it will also be full of spoilers, as it is the third book in a series.

Ok, let's go! With all the drama around SJM's characters, worlds, whitewashing and flighty females, I can see how she tried to address and correct these issues in this book. Feyre and Rhys were still going strong and was, in my opinion, a great example of a healthy relationship. After what Tamlin did to her, Rhys clearly states that he views and wants to treat Feyre as an equal. Yes, he wants to protect and shield her, but if she wants to do something then he's not going to stop her just because he thinks it's too dangerous. 

We see much more of the world in this instalment, with a congregation of the Courts to deal with the Hybern issue. Here, we see different skin colours, different powers and varying sexuality's at play. Not only did I really appreciate the diversity but also the banter was legendary! Anyway, back to the world-building, we also saw elements of different mythologies as folk tales and legends for the magical explanations. 

There was a lot to love in this book, as I was quite worried going in! The tension was building throughout most of the story, as Hybern's forces were gathering, allies weren't forming and the Wall between the Fae and human world was weakening. All this accumulated into the epic battle finale, where I definitely cried on two occasions! I think as a conclusion for Rhys and Feyre's story, I really liked it. A lot of loose threads were tied up but enough left open for other character's stories to be explored. 

Published 2nd May 2017 by Bloomsbury.