Tuesday 20 November 2018

Top Ten Authors I'm Thankful For

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish and now lives at That Artsy Reader Girl

This week's prompt is based on Thanksgiving which, as a Brit, I do not celebrate but has inspired me to talk about the authors I'm thankful for and whom I always go to if I need a boost. As usual, this list is not in any particular order and feel free to tell me in the comments if any of these writers are on your list, or if not then who is.

1 - Sarra Manning - her books always perk me up, they are funny and heartfelt and swoony.

2 - Keris Stainton - I can rely on Keris to make me laugh and my heart burst with happiness.

3 - JK Rowling - the queen herself, obviously!

4 - Jeaniene Frost - her Night Huntress series is one of my all-time favourite series, featuring one of the best couples in fiction: Cat and Bones.

5 - Holly Bourne - clever, sometimes makes me cry, always makes me think

6 - Lucy Ivison and Tom Ellen - I still giggle to think about the condom incident in Freshers!

7 - Lauren James - who knew time travel could be so romantic?

8 - Sarah J Maas - despite the controversy, I still adore her books, and her characters are always just stunning

9 - Rachel Caine - her Morganville series got me through university. Plus vampires will always be my favourite.

10 - Meg Cabot - one of my teen-years favourites, I credit the Mediator series with my love of paranormal stories.

Friday 19 October 2018

Mini reviews: Scythe, The Invitation, Open Road Summer

Scythe (Arc of a Scythe #1)Scythe
A dark, gripping and witty thriller in which the only thing humanity has control over is death.

In a world where disease, war and crime have been eliminated, the only way to die is to be randomly killed ("gleaned") by professional scythes. Citra and Rowan are teenagers who have been selected to be scythes' apprentices, and despite wanting nothing to do with the vocation, they must learn the art of killing and understand the necessity of what they do.

Only one of them will be chosen as a scythe's apprentice and as Citra and Rowan come up against a terrifyingly corrupt Scythedom, it becomes clear that the winning apprentice's first task will be to glean the loser.

This book… man, this book! Right from the off, this has such an interesting concept and was handled wonderfully. Where death is no longer a natural part of life, particular humans have to glean to control the populace and these people are trained in the art of killing, as well as history and philosophy. I just adored this world, it was fascinating to see how humanity could evolve to deal with a world where death just wasn’t a thing. In this post-Mortal world, where life wasn’t limited, things like art, theatre and literature didn’t have the same effect because without an impending ending, passion seemed to not exist. Plus everything from security to the building of new architecture was handled by the super computer/AI called the Thunderhead. Citra and Rowan are handpicked and thrown head first into training to kill as well as all the politics and regulations that monitor the Scythedom, and I loved every minute of it!

Thank you to the publisher for my copy in exchange for an honest review.

The Invitation
The InvitationWhen Piper James unexpectedly gets a message from her insanely hot teenage crush Rob Kingsford, inviting her to their school reunion, her heart flips. She hasn’t seen Rob in eight years – and he’s always been the one who got away.

Throw in some old friends (and frenemies), a sister on the edge of a meltdown and a few too many cosmos and you have all the ingredients for a real night to remember… Will Piper and Rob finally get together, the second time around?

Like all of Keris’ novels, this is a rom-com movie in a book, with all of the cuteness and giggles that come with it. Piper is a girl who knows she has weight issues but over the years has embraced her size, put the negative comments down and is now very happy in her new life in London. All this positivity is tested when she is invited to her school reunion and is faced with not only her former bullies but also her lost love, Rob. I really enjoyed this, it was easy to read and to fall in love with Piper and Rob and all their miscommunications, mis-timings and just overall adorable love story. You really feel for Piper, with her body confidence issues being tested, her desire to leave her old life behind but ultimately being drawn back into her home town, and her general attitude to life was lovely and aspirational. Yet another hit from Keris!

Thank you to the publisher and Netgalley for my copy in exchange for an honest review.

Open Road Summer
Open Road SummerAfter breaking up with her bad-news boyfriend, Reagan O’Neill is ready to leave her rebellious ways behind. . . and her best friend, country superstar Lilah Montgomery, is nursing a broken heart of her own. Fortunately, Lilah’s 24-city tour is about to kick off, offering a perfect opportunity for a girls-only summer of break-up ballads and healing hearts.

But when Matt Finch joins the tour as its opening act, his boy-next-door charm proves difficult for Reagan to resist, despite her vow to live a drama-free existence.

This summer, Reagan and Lilah will navigate the ups and downs of fame and friendship as they come to see that giving your heart to the right person is always a risk worth taking. A fresh new voice in contemporary romance, Emery Lord’s gorgeous writing hits all the right notes.

A story about best friends and road trips will always be a hit with me, and Open Road Summer was no different! After a tough few months, Reagan wants to leave her old life and troubles behind when she accompanies her best friend on tour. This girls-only bonding time is ruined soon by the arrival of another country singer, Matt Finch, who joins the tour to squish rumours spreading about Lilah’s hometown boyfriend. Much like Lord’s other novels, this was full of heartfelt emotions and tough situations. Poor Reagan, she has had a heck of a life! She wants to move past her troublesome ex-boyfriend and the police record that he dragged her into, and by having some quality time with her bestie and maybe even snuggling up with Matt, she can grow as a person and better her photography skills. I did like this, it wasn’t the tale of best friendship I thought it was going to be but rather a story of personal growth and growing up.

Thank you to the publisher and Netgalley for my copy in exchange for an honest review.

Wednesday 3 October 2018

Life Update

Hello! Wow, it has been way too long! So, I've got some news, but how are you? Good, good. Oh, my news is that I've finished my Masters! Yes, my dissertation is written and all handed in. I'm glad I did it, but man am I glad it's over! 

Yep, Masters is complete and now my life - that is, my reading and bookish life - can go back to normal! Obviously, I haven't been reading as much as I normally do, I'm so behind on my reading challenge and I haven't had a chance to write a review for months. But all of that will change! 

Upcoming reviews that you have to look forward to are:
- Scythe by Neal Shusterman
- The Invitation by Keris Stainton
- Open Road Summer by Emery Lord
- The Plus One by Sophia Money-Coutts
- Don't Stop Thinking About Tomorrow by Siobhan Curham

Plus, discussions, Friday reads, top tens and whatever else I feel like writing! I'm so glad I'm back and will see you all soon for said reviews!

Tuesday 24 July 2018

Books That Hold Memories

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish and now lives at That Artsy Reader Girl.

This week's theme is "books with sensory memories", such as books you remember reading while on holiday or while eating, or whatever. I'm going with books that I distinctly remember reading at a pivotal time in my life, like a big holiday or during an interview - if that doesn't quite make sense, I'm going to explain the whole situation after each book. And, as usual, this list is not in any particular order. Ok, let's go!

1 - The Exact Opposite of Okay by Laura Stevens - I was reading this earlier in the year while on a study trip to Krakow and Berlin. I started it during the second half of the week and distinctly remember reading it to distract myself on the plane journey home. By the way, great book!

2 - It Only Happens In The Movies by Holly Bourne - I couldn't work on my essay for university before I finished this book, and even then, I was seriously distracted by how much I adored the ending!

3 - Lady Audley's Secret by Mary Elizabeth Braddon - my first book for my MA course, I was surprised by how much I loved this, and I can remember reading this on my lunch breaks at work, to finish it before we discussed it in class.

4 - Freshers by Tom Ellen and Lucy Ivison - I laughed out loud while reading this on the sofa, scaring my mother who was trying to watch TV!

5 - We Should All Be Feminists by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie - borrowed from the library, I read this the day I got it, on the train home from work. I can remember because it was surprisingly sunny for January and my seat on the train was bright and hot.

6 - We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson - again, borrowed from work, I remember reading this on my lunch break and having a great conversation with a colleague about Merricat.

7 - Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson - my first classic of 2016 and my second book of that year, I read this on my fiance's bed and read bits aloud to him, whether he liked it or not!

8 - The Duff by Kody Keplinger - I know I was reading this when I was interviewed for a job at Waterstones because my soon-to-be manager asked me about it!

9 - The Moment Collector by Jodi Lynn Anderon - can't remember the story but do remember I was reading this at the same time I had an interview to be a local school's librarian because I had it in my bag and read some while I was waiting for my lift home. Didn't get the job, by the way.

10 - Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins - read in the rented cottage while on holiday in the Dordogne. Beautiful weather, great family holiday, also (randomly) can remember watching the London Olympics while on holiday there too!

Monday 9 July 2018

Top Books of the Year So Far!

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish and now lives at That Artsy Reader Girl.

Reading speed has been bad for me this year because I've been prioritising my university reads, and so it turns out I don't have a full top ten list! I've read loads of great books so far this year, lots that have pushed me out of my comfort zone, but these are my top five, most memorable books:

1 - The Start of Me and You by Emery Lord
2 - World War Z by Max Brooks
3 - Obsidio by Aime Kaufman and Jay Kristoff
4 - The Hero at the Fall by Alwyn Hamilton
5 - The Exact Opposite of Okay by Laura Stevens

Let me know what's on your list, what books have really stood out for you this year!

Tuesday 26 June 2018

Top Ten Series I Might Finish At Some Point (Maybe...)

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish and now lives at That Artsy Reader Girl. As usual, this list is in no particular order.

1 - Talon by Julie Kagawa - read three books
2 - Blackcoat Rebellion by Aimee Carter - read two books of trilogy
3 - Dark Elements by Jennifer L Armentrout - read two books
4 - The Rain by Virginia Bergin - read book one
5 - The Winner's Curse by Marie Rutkoski - read two books
6 - Lois Lane by Gwenda Bond - read two books
7 - The Great Library by Rachel Caine - read book one
8 - Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard - read three books 
9 - The Immortals by Alyson Noel - read two books
10 - Geek Girl by Holly Smale - read four books

Geez, this is terrible, I didn't realise there were so many! For pretty much all of these series, I haven't intentionally given up on them, it's just been so long since I read the previous book, I didn't want to read the next one confused and I don't have time to re-read. That makes it ok, right? 

Oh, apart from The Immortals, those books were just awful.

Let me know what series you've practically given up on, so I don't feel as bad!

Tuesday 12 June 2018

Top Ten Books that Inspire Me to Travel

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish and now lives at That Artsy Reader Girl.

I actually struggled with this topic and so only reached 7. Let me know if there are any books that inspire you to travel, whether that's realistically or not! As usual, this list is not any specific order.

1 - Amy and Roger's Epic Detour by Morgan Matson - there's nothing like a road trip story to make me want to travel!

2 - One Italian Summer by Keris Stainton - the family goes to Italy, to their regular holiday town, the year after the father passed and while the memories can be painful, having a place that beautiful to remember him by must be special.

3 - Moonlight Dreamers by Siobhan Curham - four girls, four parts of London, tied together by their dreams for more, Siobhan does a great job in describing the city and making me wish for more time to explore every hidden corner.

4 - Passenger by Alexandra Bracken - exploring all corners of the Earth in multiple time periods, if that doesn't make you want to travel then I give up!

5 - Love Song by Sophie Bennett - the band reconnects by spending time in the English countryside, just breathing in nature and enjoying each other's company. What more could you ask for?

6 - Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon - when a girl risks her life to travel to Hawaii with her love, you can't not want to join her and her brave spirit!

7 - How to be Bad by E Lockhart, Lauren Myracle, Sarah Mlynowski - a road trip with three very different girls, crashing house parties and making friends with a stuffed alligator. 

Wednesday 6 June 2018

Min reviews: The Exact Opposite of Okay and Sam & Ilsa's Last Hurrah

The Exact Opposite of Okay by Laura Steven
Izzy O'Neill here! Impoverished orphan, aspiring comedian and Slut Extraordinaire, if the gossip sites are anything to go by . . .

Izzy never expected to be eighteen and internationally reviled. But when explicit photos involving her, a politician's son and a garden bench are published online, the trolls set out to take her apart. Armed with best friend Ajita and a metric ton of nachos, she tries to laugh it off - but as the daily slut-shaming intensifies, she soon learns the way the world treats teenage girls is not okay. It's the Exact Opposite of Okay.

This book basically broke the book community when it was announced and released, and for good reason! It was funny, cringe-worthy, adorable, clever and so damn good! It dealt with, and beautifully, by the way, themes like slut-shaming, teenage sexuality, male entitlement, the friend-zone (ha, social construct!) and friendship. Izzy is my new heroine, she had such a great voice, so charming and self-deprecating, yet completely lovable. The things she had to deal with were quite rage-inducing - the whole situation was such bullshit and I hope it teaches plenty of young women, and men, how to act and not act when it comes to discussing sex, sexuality and relationships. 

Thank you to the publisher and Netgalley for my copy in exchange for an honest review.

Sam and Ilsa's Last Hurrah by David Levithan and Rachel Cohn
Sam and Ilsa Kehlmann have spent most of their high school years throwing dinner parties, and now they’ve prepared their final blowout, just before graduation. The rules for the twins are simple: they each get to invite three guests, and the other twin doesn’t know who’s coming until the guests show up at the door. With Sam and Ilsa, the sibling revelry is always tempered with a large dose of sibling rivalry, and tonight is no exception.

One night. One apartment. Eight people. What could possibly go wrong? Oh, we all know the answer is plenty. But plenty also goes right – in rather surprising ways.

Unfortunately, this missed its mark with me. I was never really sure whether I was supposed to feel sorry for the twins; they both came across as "poor little rich kids", which got old fast. The story was one of those one-day moments, and I think that did work - everything was smushed in there, all the drama and tantrums, and that was kinda the point. The whole group had one last evening together and the twins wanted to go out with a bang, but for me, the characters didn't work. All of them were too weird and wacky, and I get that this is New York but really, how can two people pick just a few others and end up with ex's, bitches and the socially-awkward ventriloquist that talks through his sock puppet? It was all really annoying and pretentious and unfortunately did not get any better.

Thank you to the publisher and Netgalley for my copy in exchange for an honest review.

Friday 4 May 2018

Top Ten Books I Loved But Will Never Re-read

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish, and now lives at That Artsy Reader Girl. As usual, these are not in any particular order.

Edit: made a whoopsy and messed up the scheduling so have this post really late!

1 - Broken Harbour by Tana French - read for university, I think this is one of those 'it's not the same when you know what's going to happen' sort of stories.

2 - Like Other Girls by Claire Hennessy - a great book, a fantastic story but one of those subjects that, of course, deserves more attention but makes it difficult to read about

3 - The Island at the End of Everything by Karen Millwood Hargrave - maybe a little young for me but still a moving story and one I will happily recommend, just not re-read.

4 - I Capture The Castle by Dodie Smith - a classic growing-up story but a little dated, obviously. Loved it, glad I read it, but don't need to read again.

5 - The Lost and the Found by Cat Clarke - as with most of Clarke's books, they hit you hard, right in the feels, and although amazing I'm not sure I can go through that again!

6 - Never Evers by Tom Ellen and Lucy Ivison - I adore their books, would quite happily re-read Freshers again and again, but this one was a little young for me.

7 - We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson - loved it but think this is another 'can only read it once' kind of books.

8 - Severed Heads, Broken Hearts by Robyn Scheider - although I love a good contemporary, they do tend to follow the same lines and I don't really feel the need to pick this up again.

9 - All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven - similar to Cat Clarke, this was a stunning story but with a gut-wrenching ending that I'm not sure I could handle again.

10 - The Perfectionists by Sara Shepard - this is becoming a thing with crime stories, apparently: it's not the same, reading them when you know what's going to happen but this duology was great fun.

Tuesday 1 May 2018

Books I'd Slay A Lion to Get Early (But Not Really Because Animals are Precious)

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish and now lives at That Artsy Reader Girl.

Kinda struggled with this one because my studying means I've lost touch a little with the book world and also literally cannot afford to get excited about new books!

1 - How Do You Like Me Now? by Holly Bourne - due 14th June - will happily devour anything and everything written by this woman.

2 - The Surface Breaks by Louise O'Neill - due 3rd May - ok, so I really don't have very much longer to wait for this one but chances are I'm not going to be able to read it for months anyway.

3 - When the Curtain Falls by Carrie Hope Fletcher - due 12th July - I adore Carrie's videos and her writing style, and this one, about ghosts in a theatre, is right up my alley!

4 - Floored by Sara Barnard, etc. - due 12th July - a collaborative novel with all of my favourite authors? Yes please!

5 - Listen to Your Heart by Kasie West - due 29th May - I love Kasie West, her books are the epitome of a good summer rom-com and her latest sounds great.

6 - I Was Born For This by Alice Oseman - due 3rd May - not long now!

And that's about it! Like I said, so out of touch with new and upcoming releases so if there's something I missed that you think I should have my eye on, please let me know!

Tuesday 3 April 2018

Characters that Made the Book (Less Awful)

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish and now lives at That Artsy Reader Girl. I think I probably need a little disclaimer here: none of these books were actually bad, they are just way down on my favourites list. And as per usual, this is not in any particular order.

1 - Ash from The Fandom by Anna Day - in the "original" Gallows Dance, Ash is the puppy-love character, the cute-ish boy in the background but not the main love interest. But when Violet and her friends highjack the story, Ash comes front and centre and really shines.

2 - Abel from Defy The Stars by Claudia Gray - technically a robot, Abel has more humanity in him than most of the humans do in this space war. 

3 - Cath from Heartless by Marissa Meyer - from what I can remember, Cath was a fairly two-dimensional character, but she did love to bake and that's the kind of person I can support!

4 - Asher from The Fixer by Jennifer Lynn Barnes - the comic relief with a sharp mind in this political drama for teenagers was just incredibly funny and a welcome change from all the seriousness. 

5 - Arin from The Winner's Cuse by Marie Rutkoski - even though I didn't ship his relationship with Kestral, he was still a really interesting character in a really interesting and well-set up world.

An extra, because I can:
Tric from Nevernight by Jay Kristoff - definitely a favourite book of mine, and of course Mia is equally incredible but Tric completely stole my heart!

Second disclaimer: I know it's supposed to be ten and I've technically done 6 - let's just go with it because I am tired and it's honestly been a really shitty week and I couldn't think beyond these 5/6. 

Tuesday 20 March 2018

Top Books on my Spring TBR

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish and now lives at That Artsy Reader Girl.

I've already talked about my March TBR, to be found here if you're interested, but as I am off for two weeks at Easter as well as going on a study trip to Poland and Germany, I'm going to get a lot of reading done - and not all of it set texts!

1 - The Third Man by Graham Greene
2 - Wormwood by Poppy Z Brite
3 - And the Ass Saw the Angel by Nick Cave

4 - Obsidio by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff
5 - Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman
6 - Scythe by Neal Shusterman
7 - The Exact Opposite of Okay by Laura Steven
8 - Sam and Ilsa's Last Hurrah by Rachel Cohn and Daivd Levithan
9 - Moxie by Jennifer Mathieu
10 - Genuine Fraud by E Lockhart

Obviously if I can get ahead of my university reading then I will prioritise that but while I have time off, I'm going to catch up on my TBR. Plus I'm only taking my kindle on my trip so can finally catch up on the e-books I've been collecting for months!

Let me know what's on your Spring-time TBR or if there's any books you're waiting for!

Friday 2 March 2018

March TBR

To make up for a ridiculous absence, here is my very boring TBR for the month of March which is, of course, all university books because I don't have room in my head or my life for anything else!

Currently Reading: Zombie Apocalypse! by Stephen Jones

To read and be studied in March:
The Devil Rides Out by Dennis Wheatley
Fat White Vampire Blues by Andrew Fox
Pig Island by Mo Hayder
Rosanna by Maj Sjowall and Per Wahloo
The Buenos Aires Quintet by Manuel Vazquez Montalban

It might not look like a lot for one month - normally, five books in one month is easy for me - but because of the content and the writing styles, it takes a lot more of my brain power to concentrate and way more will power to pick them up in the first place!

Anyway, if you're interested, I'm reading The Devil Rides Out and comparing it to the film of the same title; Vampire Blues and Pig Island we will be looking at the deviant body; and the last two are for Latin-American crime. Oh, and my current read and my last read, World War Z, is for the Gothic body of zombies and apocalyptic fictions. I do love my course, even though the amount of reading is stressing me out at the moment.

Tuesday 27 February 2018

Books I Could Re-read Forever and Ever

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish, and now lives at That Artsy Reader Girl.

In no particular order, here is a list of ten books or series that I could quite happily re-read and never get bored. In fact, most of them I have read a few times already!
Halfway to the Grave (Night Huntress, #1)
1 - Halfway to the Grave by Jeaniene Frost - this is one I always reach for in times of turmoil or upset. It always makes me happy and laugh and I especially enjoy remembering how Cat and Bones' relationship started.

2 - Harry Potter by JK Rowling - this might be an easy one and maybe a cop-out but I've recently re-read the entire series, this time on audio-book with the amazing Stephen Fry, and not only did I forget a lot of little details, I fell completely in love with the series again.

3 - Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell - read twice since publication, I still hold the belief that it is a perfect story of growing up and leaving home.

4 - Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins - another one I've read twice since publication, this story just makes me gooey and happy.
The Diamond of Drury Lane (Cat Royal, #1)
5 - The Diamond of Drury Lane by Julia Golding - the Cat Royal series was my favourite thing ever when I was younger and Cat is just the best young heroine I could have hoped for when I was an unsure pre-teen.

6 - The Host by Stephanie Meyer - goodness, another one I've read twice since publication! At least! Whenever I pick it up, I skip the first few chapters and start from when Wanderer finds the caves; the slow burn of the growing relationship with Ian makes me happy and the surprisingly clever critique of what makes us human makes me think.

7 - The End of the World as We Know It by Iva-Marie Palmer - read all the way back in 2014, I can remember loving this for its originality and its humour, and would love to re-read it with my developed critical hat on.

8 - Unsticky by Sarra Manning - one of my favourite of Sarra's adult contemporaries, I re-read this for the romance and the sex scene, to be honest. Grace and Vaughn is one of my favourite couples to read because of the banter (same with Cat and Bones, come to think of it!).
The Screaming Staircase (Lockwood & Co., #1)
9 - The Screaming Staircase by Jonathan Stroud - along with the rest of the series, I would love to read them back to back, as I read them too far apart as the later books were being published. Lockwood is my hero and I would quite happily just read about him and his crew of ghost-hunters forever.

10 - The Mediator series by Meg Cabot - another of my favourite series from pre-teen and teenage years, I have read the whole series through twice and could easily do it again and again because Suze is incredible and witty, and Jesse is another hero worthy of the page-time.

Friday 9 February 2018

Love, Hate and Other Filters by Samira Ahmed

Love, Hate & Other FiltersFirst love, first heartbreak, first brush with prejudice . . .
A romantic, searing and relevant debut about Islamophobia and how it affects the normal life of a teenage girl.

"I don't want something . . . expected. I want to go to film school and be the first Indian American to win an Oscar, and then I can meet the One and fall in big, heart-bursting love, and we'll travel the world, my camera ready to capture our adventures." My cheeks flush; I know I'm blushing, but I can't bring myself to shut up. "Oh, my God. I want my future life to be a cheesy romantic comedy."
He shakes his head. "No," he says. "You want it to be an epic."

Maya Aziz dreams of being a film maker in New York. Her family have other ideas. They want her to be a dutiful daughter who wears gold jewellery and high heels and trains to be a doctor. But jewellery and heels are so uncomfortable...

She's also caught between the guy she SHOULD like and the guy she DOES like. But she doesn't want to let Kareem down and things with Phil would never work out anyway. Would they?

Then a suicide bomber who shares her last name strikes in a city hundreds of miles away and everything changes . . .

I have mixed feelings about this book. I really wanted to like it, just based on its completely original premise and diverse representation of Muslim teens living in this permanently fearful environment in their own homes. Yet, the whole premise the impact a suicide bomber has on her life wasn't as big a plot-point as I expected. It was done really well, I think, just in the way it explored how these big global political actions can affect individual families, but I kind of wanted more.

Maya was interesting - I adored her ambition to be a film maker, it's completely original and adorable, and her independent attitude was spot-on for most teenagers. But she was super rude to her parents. I get that they came from different places, not only the generational gap but also the literal place of America versus India in terms of teenage rebellion, independence and dating expectations, but Maya was pretty flippant with them, didn't even really attempt to understand where they were coming from or try to converse and compromise. She mostly came across as very superficial, in her taste in boys and her apparent disregard for her religion and disrespect for her parents. I wanted to like her, and I definitely felt for her when the bullying got bad, but she was mostly kinda annoying.

There wasn't as much on the Muslim part of her life as I'd expected - there was one joke about eating pork, and maybe a couple of mentions of praying with her parents but apart from that - diddly squat! There was a lot on the Indian part of her upbringing, which I adored learning about.

I also didn't entirely believe in the romance - Maya was obviously infatuated but based on nothing other than his pretty face and we learn very little about Phil, well some stuff about his family and it was all so typically Mid-west/small town that... meh. Phil also made a pretty big whoopsie just after the bomber attack, not really sure whether he was supposed to support or ignore Maya - I mean, really?

Wow, turns out I had way more to say than I thought! All in all, definitely a book to try for yourself - there was parts I loved and felt so happy they were included, especially in a YA novel, but there were parts I didn't understand the point of, or even wanted more from. An author to watch and definitely a topic more books could do with tackling.

Published 16th January 2018 by Hot Key Books. Thank you to the publisher and Netgalley for my copy in exchange for an honest review.

Tuesday 6 February 2018

Books I've Had on my TBR for the Longest Time

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and The Bookish, and now lives at That Artsy Reader Girl.

This is a fairly easy topic for me - I weed my TBR every now and then, and I've worked really hard to get my TBR down to 18 physical books and 11 ebooks. So here are just my top five books that have been on my TBR for a ridiculous time!

1 - The Summer Book by Tove Jansson - added December 2016
This was a Christmas present, something that my grandparents thought I'd enjoy but honestly, I'm probably not gonna read it.

2 - Graceling by Kristin Cashore - added July 2016
Bough in the library sale, basically I haven't had a chance to pick this up - either because I've favoured other books ahead of this or because I went off fantasy for a while.

3 - A Darker Shade of Magic by VE Schwab - added March 2016
Bought in kindle sale, really should read it but am honestly slightly daunted because its VE Schwab! What if I don't like it?

4 - The Novice by Taran Matharu - added March 2016
Again, haven't picked it up because I kind of went off reading fantasy so still it sits.

5 - The Invisible Library by Genevieve Cogman - added July 2015
Um... I don't think I have a reason for leaving this for so long! Awkward. I remember I bought it in the kindle sale because a colleague said it was good. But then I've seen mixed reviews and just haven't braved it.

What are some of yours? Are any of your TBR pile gathering dust or do you do better than that? Let me know!

Tuesday 30 January 2018

Books I Can't Believe I Read!

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish and now lives at That Artsy Reader Girl.

I've left off university course books because obviously they are not books I would normally pick up but I read them for a reason.

1 - One Night Stand by JS Cooper - books like this, I'm almost ashamed to admit to reading; not because they are about sex, which no-one should be ashamed to read about, but because they are basically just about sex! Barely a plot, badly edited, just something fun and doesn't require much thinking.

2 - What A Girl Wants by Lindsey Kelk - not that this was particularly bad, it wasn't. I just carried on with it even after nothing made sense and I realised it was book two in a series.
We Should All Be Feminists

3 - We Should All Be Feminists by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie - I think with this one, it's more a case of 'I can't believe it took me so long to read'. I really got into feminism and what it meant, both generally and personally, at university and I only read this last year.

4 - Legacy of Lies by Jillian David - I said it in my review: I thought it was going to be a great Western slash supernatural story and it wasn't! It was so disappointing, really, in terms of magical elements and the romance was rushed. I only finished it because it was a review book.

5 - Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier - when I read it, I was barely into classics and I was surprised at how much I adored it!

Paper Butterflies
6 - Paper Butterflies by Lisa Heathfield - horrible. So good, but just a awful story, made me sick at times but so damn good!

7 - Undone by Cat Clarke - as much as I love her writing and her stories, they are all so awful and sad that I do have to force myself to read them! Chilling and clever, that's how I'd describe Clarke's books, they definitely stay with you.

It's the End of the World As We Know It8 - It's the End of the World As We Know It by Saci Lloyd - seriously strange, I struggled with this one and once again, only persevered because it was a review book.

9 - Anomaly by Krista McGee - I'm not sure why I expected a book picked up in a Christian gift shop wouldn't be about religion finding its place in a dystopian world but still... pretty weird, badly paced and just not for me.

10 - Darkness Falls by Jessica Sorenson - even though I read this nearly four years ago, I can distinctly remember wanting to DNF it on multiple occasions. I kinda wish I hadn't bothered, as now I can't even remember the basic premise!

Tuesday 23 January 2018

Top Books I Know I Loved But Can't Remember Any More!

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish, and now lives at That Artsy Reader Girl.

1 - Blood Red Road by Moira Young
2 - Undead by Kirsty McKay
3 - This Is What Happy Looks Like by Jennifer E Smith
4 - Velveteen by Daniel Marks
5 - How To Love by Katie Cotugno
6 - Acid by Emma Pass
7 - Riot by Sarah Mussi
8 - Pawn by Aimee Carter
9 - Dangerous Boys by Abigal Haas
10 - The Oathbreaker's Shadow by Amy McCulloch

Not only can I barely remember anything about these books - which is a shame, because I do remember loving them - for some I couldn't even remember the author! What I do know is, I definitely enjoyed them all, and count a few of them as favourites, and really I could do with re-reading them! 

To be fair, most of these I read years ago, so no wonder I can't remember much details!

What are some of yours? Do you almost instantly forget once you pick up the next book, or can you hold on to details for months? And how annoying is it when the former happens but you need to wait a year for the sequel? 

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!