Thursday, 18 February 2021

Review: Spacehopper by Helen Fisher

 

Publication Date: February 4th 2021

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Source: Copy for review

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Blurb: 

They say those we love never truly leave us, and I’ve found that to be true. But not in the way you might expect. In fact, none of this is what you’d expect.

I’ve been visiting my mother who died when I was eight.
And I’m talking about flesh and blood, tea-and-biscuits-on-the-table visiting here.

Right now, you probably think I’m going mad.
Let me explain…


Although Faye is happy with her life, the loss of her mother as a child weighs on her mind even more now that she is a mother herself. So she is amazed when, in an extraordinary turn of events, she finds herself back in her childhood home in the 1970s. Faced with the chance to finally seek answers to her questions – but away from her own family – how much is she willing to give up for another moment with her mother?

A huge thank you to the Kaleidoscope tours on Instagram for allowing me to take part in their bookstagram tour for this book. 

First of all, I just want to talk about how striking this cover is. It is so beautiful yet subtle. Showing that sometimes less is definitely more in book cover design. I really love how it ties into the story and how it looks on my shelf. 

One of the things I enjoyed most about this novel has to be its characters. From our main characters Faye who not only gives us an insight into the tired working mother running a family of small children while also maintaining a relationship with her husband, we also get to see so many other wild and vibrant characters. From Faye's husband who is training to become a vicar and dealing with his faith, to Faye's friend Louis who is hilarious and wild. Louis was one of my favourite characters in the novel as he is so much fun, a wonderful friend to Faye and also there to keep her grounded and delve out some truthful advice. 
Louis was also a wonderful character to read about as he gave such deep insight into life as a blind man, and also a gay man. Reading the novel we see so many instances where people intentionally, and unintentionally, belittle or insult Louis as a result of his disability. When in a cafe, the waitress asks Faye what Louis wants instead of addressing him. The second hand rage we feel as Louis deals with these instances also goes to teach the reader how to not interact with blind people and not view them as just their disability. Louis was one of the best characters I've read in a long while and I would adore to read a novel just about him...hint hint Helen Fisher! 

Monday, 1 February 2021

Review: Last One To Die by Cynthia Murphy


 Publication Date: January 7th 2021

Publisher: Scholastic Publishing

Source: Review Copy for Tour

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Blurb: 

Young, brunette women are being attacked in the city of London.

16-year-old, Irish-born Niamh has just arrived for the summer, and quickly discovers that the girls being attacked look frighteningly similar to her.

Determined to make it through her Drama Course, Niamh is placed at the Victorian Museum to put her drama skills to the test, and there she meets Tommy: he’s kind, fun, attentive, and really hot! . . . Nonetheless, there's something eerie about the museum.

As the two strands of present-day serial attacker and sinister Victorian history start to collide, Niamh realises that things are not as they seem. Will she be next?

Thank you so much to the publisher and Kaleidoscope tours for sending me a copy of this book in exchange for my review. 

This book came to me at the perfect time as I have been loving YA thriller novels lately, especially after devouring some of Karen McManus's book. Last One to Die had me hooked to the underlying suspenseful plot while also having moments of fun, great friendship and drama school antics. 

One thing I really enjoyed about this novel was our main characters passion for acing and drama. Niamh has come from Ireland to London to enroll in a summer course to potentially pursue her dream of acting at the school in the future. I love reading books where the main character has a passion for something, Niamh's passion leapt from the page and made me warm to her. 

The characters in the book were very well written and fun. My favourite character was definitely Niamh's friend Jess. Jess was such a bright and three dimensional character, she immediately welcomed Niamh into her friendship. Their friendship really brought a fun and refreshing break from the murder suspense aspect of the novel. 

Sunday, 8 November 2020

Review: Sorta Of Like A Rockstar by Matthew Quick

 

Publication Date: January 2014
Publisher: Headline Publishing
Source: Borrowed from library 

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Blurb: 

Amber Appleton has a lot to be thankful for.
OR
Amber Appleton has never had it easy.
Both are true. On the one hand, she's got the best friends a seventeen-year-old could ask for and a loyal dog, Bobby Big Boy. On the other, her mum frequently has too much to drink, Amber's never quite sure where her next meal will come from and ever since her mum's latest boyfriend kicked them out, Amber and her mum have been living in the back of a school bus.
Amber has always found it easy to be upbeat, to find the light in the darkest of situations. Until, that is, an unimaginable tragedy occurs. Forced to rethink her way of life, can Amber remain a rock star of hope?
This is the story of a very special teenager, whose faith and hope is tested to the limit.

This book was one I had not heard of until the Netflix movie adaptation was announced. When I then looked into it more it sounded great so I requested a copy from my library asap. What was a fast paced and often heartfelt read, just didn't hit the mark with me that I had anticipated. 

Matthew Quick wrote one of my favourite, and underrated, novels Forgive Me Leonard Peacock. So that fueled my high hopes for this novel. Although I did very much enjoy the book, its main character and felt it dealt with difficult topics such as grief well, I just didn't feel myself loving it. 

Wednesday, 4 November 2020

Announcement: Book Bloggers Secret Santa!






Hi everyone! So Christmas is fast approaching and I really enjoy hosting the Book Bloggers Secret Santa every year so I can't wait to do it again!


I really love the book blogging community and feel that this is the perfect way to help make friends with bloggers, increase that sense of community and also fill you with that warm fuzzy feeling you get when you give someone a gift you know they will love! 

This year I'm opening the Secret Santa to Booktubers too! As this year I started my own Booktube channel (here) I wanted to embrace them too 

Saturday, 24 October 2020

Review: Midnight Sun by Stephenie Meyer

 

Publication Date: August 4th 2020

Publisher: Atom Books

Series: Twilight #0.5

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Blurb: 

When Edward Cullen and Bella Swan met in Twilight, an iconic love story was born. But until now, fans have heard only Bella's side of the story. At last, readers can experience Edward's version in the long-awaited companion novel, Midnight Sun.

This unforgettable tale as told through Edward's eyes takes on a new and decidedly dark twist. Meeting Bella is both the most unnerving and intriguing event he has experienced in all his years as a vampire. As we learn more fascinating details about Edward's past and the complexity of his inner thoughts, we understand why this is the defining struggle of his life. How can he justify following his heart if it means leading Bella into danger?

As you guys probably know, and can assume, I was a big Twilight fan when I was 13/14. A big BIG Twilight fan. So when I heard that this book was coming out, I mean c'mon who didn't lose their shit at seeing that timer countdown on Smeyers website. I pre-ordered this straight away. 

Though let me start off by saying that even when I was 14, ten years ago, and was a huge Twilight fan..I was never really very interested i reading Midnight Sun. The whole thing of just re-reading Twilight but from Edwards perspective just didn't appeal to me that much.

So I did go into this book curious to see if I'd be surprised by realising that this book would actually contain lots of new scenes and be way better than I had expected... I sadly wasn't proven wrong. 

This book really was just Twilight again. I was a little disappointed but I also know that how can she re-do the story and change what she is basing this book off. Reading the same plot again in full was very boring. I really had hoped it would't be but oh boy it was. 

Another thing that kinda surprised me was how much my opinions of characters had changed from when I first read the series ten years ago. To many of you that wont come as some surprise, as in ten years the way you view the world and the people in it changes a lot as you turn from teenager to adult. But for me I thought I would have some different views, but not that my views would be changed entirely. 
For example, when reading the series years ago, I was hugely in love with Edward. Like massively. Now reading Midnight Sun, I realise how awful Edward is. He controls Bella, gaslights her, makes comments to make her feel bad and overall just hates women. Edward Cullen really hates women. It's crazy. 
He also makes constant reference to him being a monster and being so overly dramatic. He is so filled with self loathing and emo-drama that as a teen I probably read as "broody, emotional" boy but now I read as pathetic and manipulative. 

Wednesday, 5 August 2020

Review: Chelsea High by Jenny Oliver



Publication Date: May 2020
Publisher: Electric Monkey
Source: Review Copy from publisher

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Blurb: 
Norah Whittaker’s upbringing has been charmingly unconventional: she’s grown up on a houseboat spending her days fishing, cherry picking and helping her mum out at her vintage market stall. As well as laughing at her chaotic dad. But when her dad’s latest get-rich plan ends up getting him arrested, everything changes.

Grandparents (incredibly rich ones) that Norah never knew had existed enroll her at exclusive Chelsea High. There are polo lessons, ski trips and parties photographed by Tatler, not to mention Coco Summers, Instagram sensation, who is determined to make Norah feel utterly unwelcome. Luckily there is also handsome Ezra who is cast opposite her in the school play.

But is he enough to persuade Norah that she belongs?

A big thank you to Electric Monkey for inviting me on the blog / bookstagram tour for this book! I hadn't heard of this book before but having been in a little bit of a reading slump, and reading lots of contemporary earlier in the summer, Chelsea High sounded perfect for me!

Chelsea High centers around Norah, a teenage girl whose life has been turned upside down by her father losing the money that their fellow inhabitants on their island invested into his movie. As her dad begins to be prosecuted, Norah must leave the safety of her island community to move to London where she is introduced to rich grandparents she has never met, who enroll her in the prestigious Chelsea High

I really liked Norah as a character. She was very authentic, goofy, funny and the reader could really feel her emotions coming through the page as she tried to deal with all the ups and downs happening in her life. I really enjoyed her relationship with her grandparents, watching that blossom and grow was lovely. The romantic aspect of the novel, with Ezra, was something I felt wasn't fleshed out in the best way. I felt it was semi rushed and there wasn't an awful lot of development and growth for what I look for in a romance. I prefer a slow burn, but I am looking forward to how they progress in the next novel. 

Tuesday, 23 June 2020

Review: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes by Suzanne Collins

Publication Date: May 19th 2020
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Source: Own

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Blurb: 
It is the morning of the reaping that will kick off the tenth annual Hunger Games. In the Capital, eighteen-year-old Coriolanus Snow is preparing for his one shot at glory as a mentor in the Games. The once-mighty house of Snow has fallen on hard times, its fate hanging on the slender chance that Coriolanus will be able to out-charm, outwit, and outmaneuver his fellow students to mentor the winning tribute.

The odds are against him. He's been given the humiliating assignment of mentoring the female tribute from District 12, the lowest of the low. Their fates are now completely intertwined -- every choice Coriolanus makes could lead to favor or failure, triumph or ruin. Inside the arena, it will be a fight to the death. Outside the arena, Coriolanus starts to feel for his doomed tribute... and must weigh his need to follow the rules against his desire to survive no matter what it takes.
 



 Okay so..if you've not heard of this book, you've been living under a rock. (P.s check out my reading vlog for this book on my booktube channel). 

This book is a prequel to the hunger games trilogy, following president snow as a teenager growing up in the capitol in the times of the 10th hunger games. 

Coriolanus Snow in this novel is young, poor and hungry to prove himself so he can then provide for his struggling family. Coriolanus enlists as a mentor in the hunger games in the hopes of achieving a scholarship to university. He is paired up with the District 12 tribute, traveller and singer Lucy Gray Baird. 
Lucy Gray is a louder than life, cunning but charming character. Her positive outlook on life counteracts Coriolanus's negative. Combined with Coriolanus's ambition to succeed in the games with his tribute, he and Lucy work to make her chances the best they can be in the games. 

Although I feel that there was supposed to be some desire for the reader to enjoy the "romance" between Lucy and Coriolanus but I did not. At all. 
The relationship between them begins as a way for Coriolanus to better himself and bring glory back to his family name. Therefore his whole reasoning for their relationship to succeed, is for his gain. Every move in their relationship, is a game of chess to Coriolanus where he must keep moving forward to win. 
The power imbalance in their relationship also made me very uncomfortable throughout the novel. Coriolanus is coming from a position of power, even though he is poor- he is capital poor, not district poor. He also comes from an education and a life of more resources available to him than Lucy could dream of. The power imbalance therefore makes their relationship non-equal. Coriolanus has this albeit invisible upper hand in their relationship. Therefore I could not support the relationship at all. It made me very uneasy. 

A character that I really enjoyed in the novel was Sejanus. He was a great character- the biggest cinnamon roll in the book but also at the same time, he could be a little yikes. Sejanus was definitely that guy who sees all the wrong in the world and wants to be the one to make a change, but ends up going about things in the wrong way. He was definitely the "Gale" of the book - since I know people have been comparing Lucy to Katniss

Sejanus was my favourite character in the entire book. His friendship with Coriolanus, which was begrudgingly accepted by Coriolanus who viewed it as a way to exploit Sejanus's much richer family assets, was actually sweet. You could see Sejanus just wanted to do right, to have a friend and live in a good world. 
Sejanus and Coriolanus was definitely the ship of the book for me...no question. They fit together so well, Sejanus was clearly in love with Coriolanus and especially in the beginning of the book when Sejanus comments that Coriolanus keeps "saving him" and Coriolanus says "I can't help it". 
Tbh, I really wanted Sejanus and Coriolanus to be a couple but hey ho, at least we got to read like 1 sentence about a gay couple...representation I guess? 
Side note: Sejanus's mother- what a fantastic warm character. I loved her. 

This book really did so great in showing us the beginnings and origins of the games as we know them. We see that even though it is the 10th games, there is still a "new" atmosphere around the games as they are still experimenting and trying out new things. I found the capital mentor & tribute dynamic interesting. 
One of the most captivating parts were definitely the scenes with Dr. Gaul as she experiments and tries to find even more evil torture methods for the tributes. She is so creepy and terrifying. 

I really enjoyed the references to the hunger games books, or what we would typically know from those books- like the Katniss flower popping up, familiar names like Heavensbee, Crane etc., 
Also Tigris in the novel was interesting, I never realized she was Snows cousin. 

Although there was so much I enjoyed about the book, I did feel my attention waning at times. Not so much full on boredom, but more just reading through some parts so I could get to a more exciting part if that makes sense? I definitely felt there were exciting scenes, and not so exciting scenes, with some feeling a little dragged out. 

Overall I very much enjoyed this book. If you are a big hunger games fan like I was, then I really think that reading this book will add to your enjoyment of the series and not detract. Really interesting character and political driven novel by such an amazing author. I would absolutely love if someday Suzanne Collins released short stories on each of the tributes we are familiar with, such as Johanna Mason or Finnick Odair on their experiences in the games and the affect on their lives afterwards. 
Check out my reading vlog for The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes on my booktube channel here!