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28 April 2017

Book Beginnings #39

For Book Beginnings, Rose City Reader invites us to share the first sentence (or so) of the book you are reading, along with your initial thoughts about the sentence, impressions of the book, or anything else the opener inspires.

For Friday 56, Freda's Voice asks you to turn to Page 56 in your book or 56% on your e-reader and pick a sentence. This is my first time

I am currently reading Tennis Shoes by Noel Streatfeild.
The Heaths lived at Tulse Hill. Their father was a doctor. He had not meant to be a doctor. He would have liked to have been a soldier; but in an accident he was shot through the leg.
I feel that this start is pretty typical of the author so I'm excited to continue. I am just starting this as I type, so I don't have any thoughts beyond anticipation and hope that it will be as good as the magnificent Ballet Shoes.
It was no good. She always dropped the third ball.
Honestly, I know nothing that's happening in this scene. I picked the first line at 56% on my kindle. But I can't wait to get properly stuck in.

27 April 2017

Review: The State of Grace by Rachael Lucas

Sometimes I feel like everyone else was handed a copy of the rules for life and mine got lost.

Grace has Asperger's and her own way of looking at the world. She's got a horse and a best friend who understand her, and that's pretty much all she needs. But when Grace kisses Gabe and things start to change at home, the world doesn't make much sense to her any more. Suddenly everything threatens to fall apart, and it's up to Grace to fix it on her own.

Whip-smart, hilarious and unapologetically honest, The State of Grace by Rachael Lucas is a heart-warming story of one girl trying to work out where she fits in, and whether she even wants to.

Source: Purchase

5 Words: Family, friends, growing-up, first-love, control.

It took me about five chapters to settle into this book, there was something about the style that took me some time to get into. But once I was in that was me, and I couldn't put it down, I couldn't stop turning the pages.

I loved Grace and her relationship with her sister and her mother, and how it wasn't all sunshine and fluffy white clouds. Evie (booooooo) comes into their lives and just astonishingly awful, a big dark cloud that sets in motion so many little bad things. I loved Grace and her relationship with her friends, especially Anna. I loved Grace and her relationship with her horse and the people at the stables (even though I'm not a fan of horses).

Although not a huge amount happens in the story itself, it feels like an awful lot happens as you're reading. Grace goes through so many little things, so many little moments of her and her life are presented, and as a whole you feel like you've gone on an adventure by the time you finish.

This was a quick read that had me smiling and raging and laughing and shocked... It made me feel so much.
Friendship is a weird sort of thing when you think about it.

25 April 2017

Top Ten Tuesday #87

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish and is a chance for everyone to get to know fellow bloggers and share lists. I love lists. Every week is a different list.

This week is Top Ten Things That Will Make Me Instantly NOT Want To Read A Book.

  • Hype
    Sometimes if a book is really super hyped it puts me off - what if I'm disappointed?
  • Ugly Cover
    I can't help it, I'm shallow and like pretty things.
  • Badly Behaving Author
    Sometimes an author will say or do something and I'm like NOPE. Sometimes it's not even a big, bad thing.
  • Sci-Fi
    The thing is, I actually like sci-fi, I just think that I don't. It's like it's ingrained in my head that I don't like it even when dystopian fiction is my auto-buy.
  • Time Travel
    I just over think it to the extent that I don't enjoy the story itself. I think I've only liked one or two time travel stories and I've tried hundreds.

  • All 5 Star Reviews
    I get that some books are awesome and amazing, but if a book only has five star reviews then I'm instantly suspicious. Not everyone likes everything.
  • Cookie Cutter Fantasy
    After a while, reading the same thing again is just boring and predictable. I want a different take, something unique!
  • Religion
    I actually love books that explore religion, but when it's preachy and shoved down my throat then no thanks.
  • Spoilers
    When a book hasn't been out for a month and there are spoilers everywhere I probably won't bother. And yes, I'm looking at you Sarah J Maas and Leigh Bardugo fandoms because they are the worst at this.
  • Pretty Dresses
    I love the look of those books with the great big beautiful dresses on the cover, but honestly? 90% of the time I am disappointed when I actually pick it up, so generally I just look at the pretty and move on.

21 April 2017

Book Beginnings #38

For Book Beginnings, Rose City Reader invites us to share the first sentence (or so) of the book you are reading, along with your initial thoughts about the sentence, impressions of the book, or anything else the opener inspires.

For Friday 56, Freda's Voice asks you to turn to Page 56 in your book or 56% on your e-reader and pick a sentence. This is my first time

I am currently reading Crimson & Bone by Marina Fiorato.
They called it the Bridge of Sighs, because it barely passed a night without suicide. That night was no different.
What an opening line. Already I can sense the atmosphere building, the setting coming to life. I can't put in to words how excited I am to get properly into this story as Marina Fiorato is an excellent historical writer with a beautiful narrative style.
From her very earliest days she was at work for her father on the streets of the East End.
I tried to pick the vaguest quote on this page, as I really don't want to give anything away, but I think it perfectly captures Annie and her life and her struggles. This book is a stunner and promises to be a beautifully written tale of a desperately hidden past creeping up to threaten her.

20 April 2017

Release Day Review & Guestpost: Becoming Betty by Eleanor Wood

Lizzie Brown's life is one big to-do list: 
1. Start college
2. Become cool
3. Decide wtf to do with her life

So when she meets Viv, the crazy, beautiful lead singer in a band, she thinks she's on her way to achieving number two on her list. And when Viv asks her to be the bass player in the band, there's only one problem - Lizzie can't play a single note. And that she's nowhere near cool enough (ok, two problems). And that she has a huge crush on the guitarist (ok, three), who happens to be Viv's boyfriend (ok, this is a terrible idea).

But Viv won't take no for an answer, and decides that a makeover is the answer to everything. Boring Lizzie Brown is going to become Betty Brown the Bass Player and there's nothing Lizzie can do about it...

Source: Review Consideration | Purchase

5 Words: Music, friendship, family, change, growing-up.

Yep, she's done it again.

This is exactly the book I wish I'd had when I was sixteen. At times when I was reading I forgot I was reading about Lizzie and thought I was reading about myself. As much as I saw myself in the main character, it was still easy to escape into this story.

I loved how there were friendships that changed. I loved that first, desperate day at college. The whole book came to life as I read, played out in my head like I was watching it on TV.

Something Eleanor Wood does really well is writing about how actions have consequences. Whatever her characters do, right or wrong, there are repercussions within the story. It adds extra depth to the whole story, and makes her characters all the more human.
Behind Becoming Betty 
When I wrote Becoming Betty, the main theme I had in my head was: GIRLS DOING STUFF! Sounds very basic, I know… 
I was conscious that in my first book My Secret Rockstar Boyfriend, the heroine Tuesday (although she is super cool, and a blogger and a writer and a “do-er”) – she spends the entire story idolising a boy in a band, instead of being in a band herself. The whole book was about music, but from the point of view of being a fan rather than a musician. 
So, of course the logical next step was to write a book about girls in bands. It is very loosely inspired by the time I was in a (terrible) band when I was younger. Like Betty, I learned to play bass because it was known for being the easiest instrument. Unfortunately, I did not uncover any great hidden talent. However, I did have a brilliant time and learned to play a few songs on the bass (although mostly my friends and I sat around and drank tea and talked about how amazing our band was going to be at some unspecified point in the future). If we had spent that time actually practising, who knows where we’d be now?! 
Funnily enough, after I had written the book, I heard the term ‘girl band lit’ mentioned for the first time. During a Twitter chat about #boybandlit someone (actually the brilliant Chris Russell!) suggested that somebody needed to start writing ‘girlband lit’! It was only then it occurred to me, that’s exactly what I have written! 
While I was writing the book, I was really inspired by a few books about young girls in bands. Personally, I think these are fascinating reads whether you’re a fan of the music or not… 

Clothes, Clothes, Clothes. Music, Music, Music. Boys, Boys, Boys. by Viv Albertine

Isn’t that the greatest title ever? It’s a quote from the author’s mum, shouted during an argument: ‘all you ever think about is…!’ Viv Albertine was in The Slits, a girl band in London in the 70s. None of them knew how to play, they just made it up as they went along, then became an important band on the punk scene. Viv Albertine is the coolest. I love this book so much, I named one of my main characters after her. 

Hunger Makes Me a Modern Girl by Carrie Brownstein

Not only was Carrie Brownstein in the amazing band Sleater Kinney – she then had a total career change when the band broke up and now writes the comedy show Portlandia. She also volunteers for a rescue dog charity. She is wonderful and inspiring. 

Paradoxical Undressing by Kristin Hersh

This memoir covers a year in Kristin’s life, when she was still a teenager. That year was a dramatic time to say the least: her band the Throwing Muses got signed, she was misdiagnosed with schizophrenia and she had a baby. This woman is amazing and her book is beautiful.

18 April 2017

Top Ten Tuesday #86

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish and is a chance for everyone to get to know fellow bloggers and share lists. I love lists. Every week is a different list.

This week is Top Ten Things That Will Make Me Instantly Want To Read A Book.

OK let's do this.

  • A pretty cover, extra points for shiny and sparkly.
  • An interesting blurb that doesn't give the whole plot away
  • #SundayYA because it ROCKS and has the best books/authors/PEOPLE ever
  • A friend recommends it because bookish friends are the best
  • A bookseller recommends it because they know their stuff
  • An author I've read before, even if I haven't loved them..?
  • Upcoming TV/Film adaptation because I want to have read it first (usually)
  • Character named Cora, who doesn't love reading their name on page?
  • EVERYONE is talking about it EVERYWHERE
  • IDK I just saw it and thought why not?

12 April 2017

SundayYAthon at Easter

The amazing Rachel, the brains behind #SundayYA, is hosting another #SundayYAthon and I couldn't be more excited. This readathon runs from Thursday 13th April to Monday 17th April, and if you pop on the hashtag there is all sorts of fun and bookish chat.

Reading List

So here is my reading list! I'm aiming for four books over the weekend because I have to adult (boo) but hopefully I can squeeze a bonus one in there too and read one per day. And (surprise) they're all UKYA. Check back throughout the readathon as I'll be reviewing as I read.

❤ Becoming Betty by Eleanor Wood
 Cell 7 by Kerry Drewery
 Contagion by Teri Terry
❤ My Name is Victoria by Lucy Worsley

If you're taking part too, leave your links below and I'll add them on to my lovely Table of TBRs so I can keep checking back on your progress and chat books ❤

How Did I Do?

I ended up not having enough time to actually read very much over the weekend, but I still managed to get through three fabulous books which I would recommend to everyone. I didn't manage to pick up Cell 7 and I was a bit gutted because it has been on my TBR for ages, so I'm going to make it one of my next reads anyway.

Since I was short on time, I tried a few different techniques to get some reading done. The one I found worked best was setting a timer and doing a reading sprint, challenging myself to read an extra page each time I did it.

3 books
1168 pages

Keep an eye out over the next couple of weeks as I review the titles I have read.

07 April 2017

Book Beginnings #37

For Book Beginnings, Rose City Reader invites us to share the first sentence (or so) of the book you are reading, along with your initial thoughts about the sentence, impressions of the book, or anything else the opener inspires.

For Friday 56, Freda's Voice asks you to turn to Page 56 in your book or 56% on your e-reader and pick a sentence. This is my first time

I am currently reading Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor.
On the second Sabbat of Twelthmoon, in the city of Weep, a girl fell from the sky.
It's definitely off to an intriguing start. Who is this girl, why did she fall from the sky, how does one fall from the sky..?

I am just starting this now and have read only the prologue, and I had forgotten how much I loved Laini Taylor's writing. I feel like this author's writing can take a while to get used to, but once you're in you're hooked.
Without his books, Lazlo felt as though a vital link to his dream had been cut. The Unseen City has never seemed more distant, or more out of reach.
Books ❤

If it mentions books then it's gotta be good, right?

There has been so much hype around this book, it is everywhere, and I'm sure it will not disappoint.

05 April 2017

CORA AND THE REREADS: Flawed by Cecelia Ahern

CORA AND THE REREADS is where I reread and review a book.

Sometimes a book is so awesome you have to pick it up again. Sometimes you feel like a different person than you were when you first read it. Sometimes you just need to read that book again.

Celestine North lives a perfect life. She’s a model daughter and sister, she’s well-liked by her classmates and teachers, and she’s dating the impossibly charming Art Crevan.

But then Celestine encounters a situation in which she makes an instinctive decision. She breaks a rule and now faces life-changing repercussions. She could be imprisoned. She could be branded. She could be found FLAWED.

In this stunning novel, bestselling author Cecelia Ahern depicts a society in which perfection is paramount and mistakes are punished. And where one young woman decides to take a stand that could cost her everything.

Source: Review Consideration | Purchase

5 Words: Crime, punishment, family, revenge, justice.

5 More Words: Power, hate, love, hope, prejudice.

I've said it before and I'll say it again: This book is like Marmite. You'll either love it or you hate it.

I hate Marmite.

I love this book.

This is actually the third time I have read this book. The first time I finished it I flipped right back to the start and read it again. This time I'm refreshing my memory before Perfect comes out and seeing if it's everything I remember. Reader? It is everything and more.

One of the things that struck me most about Flawed when I first read it was that it was written with passion and real conviction behind the message. On rereading this was even more evident. Flawed does not pull any punches, it is vicious and shocking, so much so that even on rereading I had to put it down and step away, shaking, to calm myself.

There is one scene about 1/3 through this book that makes me feel physically sick, like I can't catch my breath, that makes me tremble in fear and anger and repulsion. It is brutal. But it is integral to the plot, the turning point that changes everything. And I could not stop reading.

I love how reading this again meant that I saw it in a slightly different light. By the end of the book the words Flawed and Perfect had completely deconstructed and redefined. Right from the off, the word Flawed is used a lot. In fact, it's used over 300 times. This repetition first enforces the original meaning, then makes it meaningless, then turns it on its head. It is powerfully written.

If you have not read this book, what are you waiting for? It was so good that I had to put it down.

I love stuff like this, so I took the test:
The Guild has judged you FLAWED with a morality score of 50%

04 April 2017

Top Ten Tuesday #85

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish and is a chance for everyone to get to know fellow bloggers and share lists. I love lists. Every week is a different list.

This week is Top Ten Fandoms I'm A Part Of.

I'm going to do five fandoms I just can't escape, and five fiction fandoms I've jumped on. Because sometimes I'm just fandom trash, OK?

Fandoms I Just Can't Escape
  • Harry Potter - duh!
  • iZombie
  • Beauty and the Beast
  • Throne of Glass
  • Six of Crows

Fictional Fandoms I've Jumped On
  • Locked - Famous in Love by Rebecca Serle
  • Fire & Lights - Songs About A Girl by Chris Russell
  • Starfield - Geekerella by Ashley Poston
  • The Keep - This Beats Perfect by Rebecca Denton
  • Straker - Waiting for Callback by Perdita and Honor Cargill

03 April 2017

Blog Tour: Review & Giveaway: Geekerella by Ashley Poston

Have you ever read a book about a fictional fandom and wanted so badly to be part of that fandom? Even though it doesn't exist? Geekerella by Ashley Poston so perfectly captures the feelings and emotions and passions of fandom that I couldn't help but get caught up, and it's an excellent story to boot.

Geekerella by Ashley Poston coverAdd to Goodreads button
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 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. But when she disappears at midnight, will he ever be able to find her again?

Part 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.

Source: Giveaway | Review Consideration | Blog Tour

5 Words: Fame, family, fandom, fun, friendship.

Well yes, I am now part of another fictional fandom. Starfield sounds amazing, I want it be real.

It was pretty obvious straight off the bat that this was a Cinderella retelling. The title is a bit of a hint after all. But the story itself adds its own fantastic twist to the tale. This is a fun and quirky story, with such enthusiastic characters that you can't help but want to join the fandom yourself. And you start googling for fanfiction and where to watch the series online before you remember that it's not real... Whoops.

I loved Ella and how feisty she was, how determined and sure of herself. I love how passionate she was and that she was completely unashamed about it. I was a little unsure about Darien at first, because I could hear Ella's judgement running round my head, but by the second part I was smitten.

If you have even the tiniest bit of geek in you, you will love this.

Favorite Self-Rescuing Princesses

by Ashley Poston 
I’m a sucker for Grand Romantic Gestures. But the whole idea that men are the ones who come riding in on white steeds to save the princess? Nah. I love seeing fearless ladies slaying dragons. Princesses should not just be badges of courage awarded to the bravest of men—they should be at the head of the charge, brandishing their own courage with the steely sharpness of swords. 
And here are a few of my favorite self-rescuing princesses: 
1. Princess Leia from Star Wars. I came a little late to the Star Wars ‘verse, since I was born and raised a Trekkie, but once I found Leia, my world changed. 
2. Kestrel from The Winner Curse. Kestrel will always be a favourite when I think of ladies who use their brain instead of their brawn. If there was ever a Great Book War, I’d want to be on her and Hermione’s side. 
3. Dennaleia and Amaranthine from Of Fire and Stars. Two bad-ass heroines falling in love? Be still my bloody, beating heart. 
4. Wonder Woman. Because she’s a frickin’ Amazonian princess and she slays—in everything she does. 
5. Anna from Frozen. She’s goofy, she makes honest mistakes, and she loves her sister unconditionally—I don’t think there’s a brighter badge of courage. 
6. Cinder from Cinder by Marissa Meyer. I think this might be a spoiler…? 
7. The Princess Saves Herself In This One by Amanda Lovelace. Okay, not quite a self-rescuing princess, but it’s a must-read. Trust me. 
8. Elisa from The Girl of Fire and Thorns by Rae Carson. BECAUSE HI I AM SO HERE FOR PLUS-SIZED PRINCESSES WHO KICK BUTT, TAKE NAMES, AND OVERTHROW EMPIRES. Yes, capslock necessary. 
9. Aly from Trickster’s Choice by Tamora Pierce. Okay so Aly isn’t a princess BUT… The daughter of Alanna the Lioness of Tortall, she has a lot to live up to—and trust me, she totally does. One of the most resourceful, exquisitely-written heroines I’ve ever read. 

What are some of your favourite self-rescuing princesses?

This is a UK only giveaway, you could win a copy of Geekerella and a special Geekerella scented candle (which smells amazing).