Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

So my first read of 2016 was “Fangirl” by Rainbow Rowell. I don’t know why this wasn’t my first review!

When I worked at Target, I remember seeing this book on the shelf and picking it up and storing away in my memory bank for later. Though I wanted to purchase it, there was no way I could because I was actually trying to get rid of a load of books and save money for grad school. Then I got a new job and had even less time to read (6 AM to 6:30 PM days, anyone?) and spent every available moment Skyping with my husband-to-be, so I didn’t read much then, either. Anything I read had to be on my kindle because I couldn’t take many books overseas with me.

Then I got here and had loads of university reading and a dissertation to do, and NOW I finally have the free time to read it! I’ve waited three years to read this book!

It was definitely worth the wait. I haven’t had a chance to read any of Rainbow Rowell’s other stuff, but I have been converted.

fangirlSynopsis from Amazon:

Cath and Wren are identical twins, and until recently they did absolutely everything together. Now they’re off to university and Wren’s decided she doesn’t want to be one half of a pair any more – she wants to dance, meet boys, go to parties and let loose. It’s not so easy for Cath. She’s horribly shy and has always buried herself in the fan fiction she writes, where she always knows exactly what to say and can write a romance far more intense than anything she’s experienced in real life.

Without Wren Cath is completely on her own and totally outside her comfort zone. She’s got a surly room-mate with a charming, always-around boyfriend, a fiction-writing professor who thinks fan fiction is the end of the civilized world, a handsome classmate who only wants to talk about words . . . And she can’t stop worrying about her dad, who’s loving and fragile and has never really been alone.

Now Cath has to decide whether she’s ready to open her heart to new people and new experiences, and she’s realizing that there’s more to learn about love than she ever thought possible . . . Continue reading

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January Book Haul

I have to say, since I delved into reading for pleasure again, I have been piling up the books! I think I went a little overboard. I couldn’t resist, though, with all of the credit I got from Amazon through December, and all the good sales in January!

So, here’s what I picked up this month:

Hush, Hush, Crescendo, and Silence by Rebecca Fitzpatrick

The Sin-Eaters Daughter by Melinda Salisbury

Me and Mr. J by Rachel McIntyre

Just One Day by Gayle Foreman

Fallen Grace by Mary Hooper

The Bride’s Farewell by Meg Rosoff Continue reading

Throwback Thursday Read 28/1/2016

Another weekly feature I’m going to try to keep up with is Throwback Thursday. Now, you may be familiar with this on Facebook or Instagram: people often post pictures of themselves from years earlier.

As I’ve explored the bookstagram and blogging community, I’ve noticed that there is a huge emphasis on new releases and current series. Now, there’s nothing wrong with that, but what about discovering a new (old) favorite? So, the aim of this weekly post will be to explore some of my favorite YA novels that were published pre-2000.

The first one I will be featuring will actually be the one that kind of tuned me into YA novels: Both Sides of Time by Caroline B. Cooney.

bothsidesSynopsis from Amazon:

Imagine changing centuries–and making things worse, not better, on both sides of time.

Imagine being involved in two love triangles in two different centuries. What if, no matter which direction you travel in time, you must abandon someone you love?

Meet 15-year-old Annie Lockwood, a romantic living in the wrong century. When she travels back a hundred years and lands in 1895–a time when privileged young ladies wear magnificent gowns, attend elegant parties, and are courted by handsome gentlemen–Annie at last finds romance. But she is a trespasser in time. Will she choose to stay in the past? Will she be allowed to? Continue reading

Waiting on Wednesday! 27/01/16

So a feature that I am going to try to participate in every week is “Waiting On Wednesday”, where I will spotlight an upcoming release that I absolutely cannot wait to get my hands on!

Tyranny-2-420x634One collection that I am desperate to get my hands on is A Tyranny of Petticoats! This anthology will feature 15 stories of badass women from a collection of YA authors.

The description from Amazon is as follows:

Crisscross America — on dogsleds and ships, stagecoaches and trains — from pirate ships off the coast of the Carolinas to the peace, love, and protests of 1960s Chicago. Join fifteen of today’s most talented writers of young adult literature on a thrill ride through history with American girls charting their own course. They are monsters and mediums, bodyguards and barkeeps, screenwriters and schoolteachers, heiresses and hobos. They’re making their own way in often-hostile lands, using every weapon in their arsenals, facing down murderers and marriage proposals. And they all have a story to tell.

This is due to be released on 8 March 2016.

I can’t wait for this because I absolutely love anthologies – one of my favorite reads from high school was an anthology titled “Fearless Girls, Wise Women & Beloved Sisters: Heroines in Folktales from Around the World” edited by Kathleen Ragan. I think I checked that book out at least five times. I think a nice thing about anthologies is that if you don’t appreciate one story, there will always be a another one! In a collection of 15 stories, there will surely be a favorite.

One of the included authors, Marissa Meyer, has posted a blog about the book release including a gorgeous illustrated timeline and information about book signings here.

What is a release that you are waiting for? What can you absolutely not wait to feast your eyes on?

 

Would you Rather…? Book Tag!

I saw my lovely fellow Bookaholic Alliance blogger Demmi Writist post this on her blog which you should really check out, and I decided to give it a try for myself!

1. Read only series or standalones?

Ooooh, hm. As much as I love series (the Harry Potter series is my Bible), right now standalones are much better for me. I haven’t been able to really get stuck into a series and the last one I read (Throne of Glass) felt like it was dragging on.

2. Read only female or male authors?

I think I would read only female authors. I have found that I prefer the female voice over the male voice, although some of my favorite books are by male authors. I continually find myself gravitating towards female authors, though.

3. Shop at Barnes and Noble or Amazon?

I miss Barnes and Noble! I wish we had them here in the UK! I used to really love Barnes and Noble, but right now I am going to go with Amazon. My favorite section at Barnes and Noble used to be the Bargain book section, and I would pick up loooooads of books and notebooks and journals and kits, and Waterstones doesn’t really have a bargain book section! It makes me so sad. So, I have to say Amazon. Continue reading

The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

ncircusToday I will be reviewing The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern, a book that I have always lusted after reading but didn’t have the opportunity to until my mother-in-law was cleaning out a cabinet and saw it and said “Oh, I think you’d like this!” I was so excited that I finally had the chance to read it! I vaguely knew that it was about two rival magicians, and there was a circus, but not much else.

Before you dive in, I must let you know: the narrative is non-linear and concerns several different characters. For two chapters you may read about Marco, another chapter will throw you fifteen years ahead and will concern Bailey, then you will travel back and read about Celia for another three, then a clockmaker for another one, so you must pay attention to the chapter headings! Don’t be like me and have to skip back a few chapters just to reorient yourself. Though, don’t let this deter you! All of the characters are easily recognizable.

So, this book. This book is beautifully crafted! It is like a giant chess game. Each chapter is a piece moving, and you begin to see how the previous moves effect the final outcome. Though this book concerns Celia and Marco and the magic competition they are in, the real main character is the circus itself. Continue reading

The Willoughby Book Club – Review of Service

Today I am going to be reviewing The Willoughby Book Club! The Willoughy Book Club is a service that you can subscribe to that will tailor reads to your preferences, and send a selection they think you will love every month.

I first learned about The Willoughby Book Club from my husband, who told me to expect a package in the post. He had purchased it for me because I just completed writing a 16,000-word dissertation and received my Master’s Degree. It was such an amazing gift as I had just done an intensive year of reading, neglecting any sort of reading for pleasure.

From what I understand, he told them what kind of books I liked (he said I liked fantastical, magical type stuff with an element of fairy tale, but that I also loved historical fiction, and classics like Jane Eyre) and included a message, and it was up to them to choose the books! He got me a three-month subscription, which meant that I would receive a hand-chosen book at the beginning of the next three months. Continue reading

See Me by Wendy Higgins

So, I had some free digital credit from Amazon because I’m a prime member and I choose to not rush delivery – I think it works out more beneficial as it’s like I’m getting £3 back for everything I order, and I ordered LOADS over Christmas. Anywho, I’m not here to try to convince you to choose No Rush Delivery. Anyway, I had some credit sitting in my account that needed to be used this month, so I was going through all the YA offers in the Kindle store – that’s how I came across The Paper Magician series (which I enjoyed) and this was one in a group of about ten I picked.

Can you tell I’m trying to avoid talking about it? Is it obvious?

I made it through the first 35% of the book and I didn’t want to finish it. But I told myself I would. I did it for you, dear readers.

I put on my rose-colored glasses and decided to read it like a parody. It just kept reminding me of the stuff I wrote in high school or middle school. Continue reading

The Throne of Glass Series by Sarah J. Maas

WARNING: THIS REVIEW CONTAINS SPOILERS

I first came across this series because I was researching Sarah J. Maas’ other series – A Court of Thorns and Roses, because I was in dire need of a fairy tale retelling. But that’s another blog entry. I did read that her inspiration for this book, though, was a scene in Disney’s Cinderella.

I really enjoyed the first book, Throne of Glass. The premise was very Hunger Games-y. I’ve seen it described as Hunger Games-meets-Game of Thrones, but you don’t really get too much into that until book 3 and 4. It’s entertaining. It has Fae, magic, witches, dragons, assassins, fight-to-the-death competitions, and barriers between worlds. When you’re reading, you can tell the author was influenced heavily by other authors and media sources, and it’s kind of fun to pick out where the influence is (I was able to spot blatant swipes from Neil Gaiman and the film Ever After). It was an easy, fun read. I made it through it in two days. Continue reading

Ripley’s Believe It or Not Museum – London, UK

Very often, my husband and I find ourselves wondering what to do with our time off. Too much time stuck in the house is profitable for neither of us – I get grumpy and he gets antsy. Most of the time we debate the pros and cons of various destinations for about two hours before finally giving up for the day and deciding to marathon Bob’s Burgers, or we just end up doing the same old things – going to one of the various town centers around us and looking in the same shops and getting a coffee. While this isn’t bad, it gets boring after a while. We leave near one of the world’s leading destinations – it should be more exciting!

Our savior? Southwest Trains has had a promotion on for the past year – 2 for 1 entry on attractions if you travel by rail, which we do. This has been amazing – especially as both of us are penny pinchers. We’ve been able to visit Kew Gardens, the London Zoo, and the London Dungeons, all for the price of one entry. Other places one can visit are some of the royal palaces (Kensington, the Tower of London, and Hampton Court Palace), Madame Tussauds, Westminster Abbey, Thorpe Park, various walks and tours, and there are even some 2 for 1 restaurant offers!

Today we cracked open their promotional pamphlet and my eye was immediately drawn to Ripley’s. I loved the Ripley’s comics growing up – the Sunday comics were one of the highlights of my week, and Ripley’s was one I always had to read. My husband was receptive and we were off! Straight to Waterloo and then the 139 bus to Piccadilly Circus, and it’s right next to all of the large screens. Continue reading