Review: The Disappearances by Emily Bain Murphy

Another book I received in a subscription box is “The Disappearances” by Emily Bain Murphy. I always do my best to try to use the clues the companies give to guess the books that will be included, but I was absolutely surprised by this choice! I was very delighted with the surprise, and I was so excited when I found out it was set in the 1940’s! I have been reading too much contemporary fiction recently and got really burnt out, and this was just the change I needed.

First, a synopsis from Amazon…

35529075Every seven years something disappears in the remote town of Sterling: people’s reflections, the stars in the sky, the ability to dream. Aila realises that her mother may be to blame for the curse. But some mysteries are buried very deep and some secrets want to stay hidden – and one young woman’s desire to uncover the truth may not be enough to save Sterling from the past.

A beautifully told story of love, loss and finding the truth – no matter how difficult that may be.

So, the official synopsis doesn’t provide much information, so I’ll clue you in to the set-up for the series:

The year is 1942, and Aila’s mother has just died. She and her younger brother Miles are being sent to live with her mother’s best friend in a small town so their father can go fight in the war. Before she leaves, she comes across a volume of Shakespeare that her mother had scribbled over, as well as a letter to a mysterious individual accompanied by  a  ring. When Aila and Miles arrive in Sterling, they realize that the town is very odd: people don’t have reflections, some things don’t get wet when it rains, they can’t see the stars, they cease to dream, and all the color seems to leave their paints and crayons when they try to use them. The whole town believes that these Disappearances are linked to Aila’s mother, and she and her brother are ostracized. Continue reading

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Review: One of Us is Lying by Karen M. McManus

I subscribed to Book Box Club a few months ago, and the very first book I received was One of Us is Lying by Karen M. McManus. It was the featured volume in their “Schoolroom Scandals” box. To be honest, I probably wouldn’t have picked it up if I hadn’t been sent it, but I enjoyed it very much!

Before I get too far into it, though, here is the synopsis from Amazon…

32887579Five students go to detention. Only four leave alive. For fans of Gossip Girl and Pretty Little Liars, this is the perfect high school thriller.

Yale hopeful Bronwyn has never publicly broken a rule.

Sports star Cooper only knows what he’s doing in the baseball diamond.

Bad body Nate is one misstep away from a life of crime.

Prom queen Addy is holding together the cracks in her perfect life.

And outsider Simon, creator of the notorious gossip app at Bayview High, won’t ever talk about any of them again.

He dies 24 hours before he could post their deepest secrets online. Investigators conclude it’s no accident. All of them are suspects.

Everyone has secrets, right?

What really matters is how far you’ll go to protect them.

Continue reading

Post-YALC thoughts and tips!

So, this year I had the incredible opportunity to attend the Young Adult Literature Convention, part of London Film & Comic Con. I was really really nervous and excited as I had never attended a convention before, but I was really looking forward to seeing some of my favorite authors!

To be honest, I had no idea what to expect. I knew that there were going to be a few exhibitors that I was really looking forward to, and LFCC published a schedule of talks, workshops, activities, and booksignings about two weeks before the events. This made it very easy to plan my day, however, I had a few hiccups (which I will explain later).

First off, I thought the venue was excellent. YALC had its own devoted entrance and floor with stairs and lifts taking you straight to the floor. It was spacious and roomy, and even had a small reading area and cafe! There was also plenty of open floor space, which lots of people took advantage of to sit and eat their packed lunches. The floor had its own toilets as well, though I understand that some people had some trouble accessing the disabled toilets, which were sectioned off as part of a VIP area =( Continue reading

Review: Because You Love to Hate Me

So I recently finished “Because You Love To Hate Me”, an anthology of short stories about villiany by some popular YA authors and BookTubers. It took me AGES to get through! I just haven’t had much time to read lately.

Anyway, as with any anthology, I liked some stories much better than others. Before I go into that too much, here is a synopsis from Amazon

becauseIn this unique YA anthology, thirteen acclaimed, bestselling authors team up with thirteen influential BookTubers to reimagine fairy tales from the oft-misunderstood villains’ points of view.

These fractured, unconventional spins on classics like “Medusa,” Sherlock Holmes, and “Jack and the Beanstalk” provide a behind-the-curtain look at villains’ acts of vengeance, defiance, and rage–and the pain, heartbreak, and sorrow that spurned them on. No fairy tale will ever seem quite the same again!

Featuring writing from . . .

Authors: Renée Ahdieh, Ameriie, Soman Chainani, Susan Dennard, Sarah Enni, Marissa Meyer, Cindy Pon, Victoria Schwab, Samantha Shannon, Adam Silvera, Andrew Smith, April Genevieve Tucholke, and Nicola Yoon

BookTubers: Benjamin Alderson (Benjaminoftomes), Sasha Alsberg (abookutopia), Whitney Atkinson (WhittyNovels), Tina Burke (ChristinaReadsYA blog and TheLushables), Catriona Feeney (LittleBookOwl), Jesse George (JessetheReader), Zoë Herdt (readbyzoe), Samantha Lane (Thoughts on Tomes), Sophia Lee (thebookbasement), Raeleen Lemay (padfootandprongs07), Regan Perusse (PeruseProject), Christine Riccio (polandbananasBOOKS), and Steph Sinclair & Kat Kennedy (Cuddlebuggery blog and channel). Continue reading

Service Review: Book Box Club

A few months ago, I was overloaded on working overtime and I figured I may as well treat myself — I had been wanting a book subscription box for a while, and I was combing instagram eagerly every month to see the books and contents of all the different boxes as they arrived with their subscribers. I eventually decided that Book Box Club was the best pick for me.

First, let me explain a little bit about the subscription service. You can sign up month-to-month, with the option of skipping a month if the theme isn’t for you, or you can buy a subscription block of 3-months, or 6-months.

What drew me to this service is that they don’t stick with a particular genre. They may send out a fantasy book one month, a contemporary one the next, and a historical one next month. I like the variety and I feel like it makes the box more of a surprise.

So, what do they include in their boxes?

Continue reading

Landline by Rainbow Rowell

Okay, another book that was not what I thought!!

I really need to stop imagining things so vividly when I read their synopsis.

So, I mentioned that I got on a RR kick and read a few books of hers in a row. I think I have almost everything now — minus a short story (or two), and I’m saving Carry On for when I have a good few days off in a row.

landlineBefore I dive into this, though, the synopsis from Amazon:

What advice would you give the younger you…and would you listen?

As far as time machines go, a magic telephone is pretty useless. TV writer Georgie McCool can’t actually visit the past; all she can do is call it, and hope it picks up. Is she going crazy or is this a chance to make things right with her husband, Neal?

Maybe she can fix the things in their past that seem unfixable in the present. Maybe this stupid phone is giving her a chance to start over…if that’s what she wants…

A heart-wrenching – and hilarious – take on fate, time, television and true love, Landline asks if two people are ever really on the same path, or whether love just means finding someone who will keep meeting you halfway.

So, I’ll make this clear — this is NOT a YA book. It’s about a woman in her mid-30’s who is faced with the possible break-up of her marriage.

I knew *that* going in. What I didn’t expect was the connection into the past. The synopsis — especially the first line of it — makes it seem like Georgie would be speaking to herself in the past.

She doesn’t.

Let me start from the beginning.

Georgie is a television writer for a somewhat successful show. However, she has been working on a script for a television series that would be HERS. She receives a green light from an interested party and is enthusiastic to throw herself into her project — but it means that she will have to miss Christmas with her husband and children. Her husband, Neil, takes the children to his mother’s house for Christmas and Georgie is left at home wondering if she made the right decision.

Every single time she tries to call her husband, though, she cannot get through to him. His phone is either off, busy, or he’s not in. When she calls from her old landline phone at her mother’s house, though, she speaks to him. But it’s not HER Neil — it’s Neil from when they were dating. So her Neil, but past Neil.

Speaking to past Neil helps her reconnect with why she fell for him in the first place.

It’s very sweet, but very frustrating to go through the situation with Georgie. You identify with her — you sympathize with her — you understand why she wants to have her own series so bad and stop working on the crap series that she’s on, and you understand that she only has this one chance — but you also get so frustrated that she isn’t spending Christmas with her husband and children. (Or maybe it’s just me — I haven’t been able to spend the last two Christmases with my family =( sigh)

A few entertaining things happen along the way — her sister has a crush on the pizza delivery driver and orders pizza all the time, and Georgie’s mother has a pregnant pug who is due to give birth at any moment.

Overall, it was enjoyable. Rowell is an excellent writer and I could definitely sympathize with her characters.

Have you read this book? Did you have the same misconception I did? What did you think?

 

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