Tuesday, 25 April 2017

Top Ten Book Turn-Offs

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and The Bookish.

1 - Love triangles 
These are the bane of my reading existence. I believe that you cannot be in love with more than one person at a time; love yes but in love? No. So when Bella is confused over Edward and Jacob, I want to slap her upside the head. 

2 - Complicated magical worlds 
Sometimes they work and I love them but if I don't get invested or have a basic understanding early on, I can't be bothered. Case in point: Kate Daniel's Magic Bites series, gave up after 20 pages because there was so many creatures and magic rules set out that I lost track.

3 - Sports
I don't do sports. Not in real life, not in reading. My idea of exercise is holding the book above my head, so I don't really want to read about football teams, cheer-leading or rugby. The one exception being Wing Jones, which was amazing and I loved it.

4 - Motorcycle gangs 
Read one, from one of my favourite authors, and the sexism hurt. Not sure I want to try another.

5 - Mary-Sue protagonists 
You know the ones, the ones that whine, that complain about boys, think there are plain looking but are never short of dates. This is the reason I only lasted 13 pages into the Vampire Diaries because Elena was bloody awful.

6 - Instalove
You can't be in love with that guy, you literally bumped into him ten minutes ago! Stop swooning about his eyes or his hair or his arms and actually talk to him, you nutcase! 

7 - Psychological thrillers
I can read these but definitely not often, they creep the bejesus out of me! Also, is it better or worse knowing that there's a twist coming?

8 - Violence
Not completely, I love a good stabby book about assassins as much as the next person, but violence for violence's sake? No thanks, that's just mean and gruesome. 

I think that's actually it! I'm sure there are more but these are the general ones. Please let me know if you share any of these turn offs or if there are any you would have added. 

Friday, 14 April 2017

Windfall by Jennifer E Smith

WindfallAlice doesn’t believe in luck—at least, not the good kind. But she does believe in love, and for some time now, she’s been pining for her best friend, Teddy. On his eighteenth birthday—just when it seems they might be on the brink of something—she buys him a lottery ticket on a lark. To their astonishment, he wins $140 million, and in an instant, everything changes. 

At first, it seems like a dream come true, especially since the two of them are no strangers to misfortune. As a kid, Alice won the worst kind of lottery possible when her parents died just over a year apart from each other. And Teddy’s father abandoned his family not long after that, leaving them to grapple with his gambling debts. Through it all, Teddy and Alice have leaned on each other. But now, as they negotiate the ripple effects of Teddy’s newfound wealth, a gulf opens between them. And soon, the money starts to feel like more of a curse than a windfall. 

As they try to find their way back to each other, Alice learns more about herself than she ever could have imagined . . . and about the unexpected ways in which luck and love sometimes intersect.


When Alice buys her best friend a lottery ticket for his birthday, the last thing they expect to happen is for it to win. But it does and all of a sudden, Teddy has a fortune. I absolutely adore Smith's books, they are simply beautiful but with hidden depths. And in this case, it was all about the happiness that money can't buy.

Alice is still dealing with the death of her parents when she was little, still coming to terms with her definition of "orphan", and now that she's 18, she's not sure whether to follow her parents' dream of Stanford or her own heart. Alice was taken in by her dad's brother and his family, growing up alongside Leo, her cousin. They and Teddy are an inseparable trio. 

Teddy has also had his share of bad luck: his dad liked to gamble and after he lost too much, he left Teddy and his mum with his debt and unable to afford their apartment. Teddy has always been self-conscious of his background so when he literally hits the jackpot, he (understandably) goes a little nuts buying all the things he's always wanted, from a sports car to a pinball machine. 

Like I said, Smith's stories tend to have hidden depths and the happiness that comes from winning the lottery is soon tainted when Teddy isn't doing anything responsible with it, at least in Alice's opinion. Things are complicated with the fact that Alice has a huge crush on Teddy but the money has created a wedge between them. I really liked seeing how things progressed, from Teddy going through the five stages of shopping, to Alice coming to grips with her identity of the girl with the dead parents. 

Luck mingled with fate, happiness with charity, money with gambling, everything interlinked and it took time and some serious maturity for things to finally settle down between Teddy, Alice and Leo. All in all, a surprisingly heart-warming story about responsibility, to your family and yourself, and love before material things. 

Published 4th May 2017 by Pan Macmillan. Thank you to the publisher and Netgalley for my copy in exchange for an honest review.

Tuesday, 11 April 2017

Top Ten Most Unique Books I've Ever Read

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish.

I didn't do the original post from 2014 so I'm being boring and sticking to the basics. So here is my list of the most unique books I've read, be it in format, characters or plot. 

1 - Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff
Written in different formats, from IM's to transcripts, this is one of my favourite books of all time and it is definitely unique in its story-telling and incredible plot.

A Quiet Kind of Thunder2 - The Upside of Unrequited by Becky Albertalli
Every character is diverse in some way: Molly has anxiety, her twin sister is gay, their parents are gay, the love interest is a Jewish nerd - ok so that's not the best example but still! It has the most amazingly eclectic cast and all of them were brilliant. 

3 - A Quiet Kind of Thunder by Sara Barnard
Not only is it an amazingly realistic teenage love story, it's also all about communication because Rhys is deaf and Steffi has selective mutism so they talk through sign language.

4 - The Next Together by Lauren James
This is simultaneously about time travel and reincarnation as Katherine and Matthew are reborn across the centuries to fall in love and make the world a better place. Another one of my favourite love stories, as well as really clever use of different time periods, history, and multiple perspectives. 

5 - Nimona by Noelle Stevenson
A graphic novel written from the perspective of the bad guy? I am all over this one! Clever, funny and beautiful illustrations.

The Sin Eater’s Daughter (The Sin Eater’s Daughter, #1)6 - Seed by Lisa Heathfield
It's set in a cult. A cult! How wonderful and creepy it is to live in a cult but not knowing until Pearl meets Ellis, a boy from the outside.

7 - The Sin Eater's Daughter by Melinda Salisbury
I haven't found another book that writes fairy tale-type stories like this. It is beautifully dark and scary and the bad guy makes my skin crawl, but the world building and characters are just incredible.

One8 - The Book Thief by Markus Zusak 
Narrated by Death, we see Liesel, the book thief, grow up in Nazi Germany. Everyone should know this book, it is amazing and sad and so cleverly written.

9 - One by Sarah Crossan
Written in verse, this tells of conjoined twins as they grow up and have to deal with bullying, prejudices and medical bills.

10 - Girl Up by Laura Bates
Partly handbook on how to grow up female, partly feminist manifesto on how much it sucks sometimes to grow up female. But all brilliant writing, funny anecdotes and lovely drawings of dancing vaginas. 

Friday, 7 April 2017

Into The Fire by Jeaniene Frost

Into the Fire (Night Prince, #4)In the wrong hands, love can be a deadly weapon.

For nearly six hundred years, Vlad Tepesh cared for nothing, so he had nothing to lose. His brutal reputation ensured that all but the most foolhardy stayed away. Now falling in love with Leila has put him at the mercy of his passions. And one adversary has found a devastating way to use Vlad’s new bride against him.

A powerful spell links Leila to the necromancer Mircea. If he suffers or dies, so does she. Magic is forbidden to vampires, so Vlad and Leila enlist an unlikely guide as they search for a way to break the spell. But an ancient enemy lies in wait, capable of turning Vlad and Leila’s closest friends against them…and finally tearing the lovers apart forever.


The Night Prince book four very much felt like a finale, the story was all about wrapping things up and lying lose ends. For our power couple, it meant that the hunt for Mircea now has a extra desperate edge: he himself has been kidnapped by necromancers and is being used to test Vlad's love for Leila.

Ian, the lovable rogue, is roped into helping Vlad and Leila navigate the magical underworld, which included some experiments with glamours and magical disguises. Those were hilarious, and there was even a little Buffy reference sneaked in there, which made me very happy. 

On this "magical journey", we learnt some real details about the origin of Leila's powers, which was pretty damn cool. Leila and her sister go to the reservation they used to live on before their mother died and discover some familial traits that come from the Cherokee part of their bloodline. I would have loved more details but we got the information necessary to whoop some Mircea butt.

As much as I loved it, and all of Frost's books, I did have some minor issues with it - the drama wasn't all there, the sexiness was definitely absent - but it was still funny, clever, dramatic and full of great vampire and/or magical characters. And it actually felt like a happy ending, even though parts were rushed or brushed off. Vlad might not have completely learned his lesson about keeping secrets from his wife, and Leila is still getting over some serious PTSD, but the worst is finally over and they can be a normal couple - well, as much as they can be.

Published 28th February 2017 by Avon.

Tuesday, 4 April 2017

Top Ten Merch for a Harry Potter Fan

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish.

The theme this week is a fandom freebie and I've decided to use it to highlight some of the (great) Harry Potter merchandise I've got along with some I desperately want. P.S - in creating this post, I went through my box of HP stuff and remembered how much of a nerd I was, I badgered my parents to buy me anything and everything HP related! You'll see.


1 - Pop Vinyls

I adore Pops, they are so damn cute and I have a growing collection. But my HP one's sit proudly on my HP shelf (yes, I have one of those), where I have Harry in Quidditch gear as well as Ron, Hermione and Luna. I desperately want Draco Malfoy and Hagrid.

2 - Jewellery 

The obvious ones for any HP fan is the Deathly Hallows necklace and the Time Turner, of which I now have both. From a lovely seller on Etsy, I also bought book-themed necklaces with a quote from Hermione on one, and the Marauders Map on the other. 


3 - Jewellery part 2
Officially Licensed Hermione Granger Wand Necklace With Ollivanders Wand Box! - Wizarding Wares
Hermione's wand as a necklace. This is something I talked about my Dream Loot Crate post last week and seriously, next pay day, I'm going for it, it is glorious!

4 - Stationary
This is a new addition to my notebook collection - I couldn't resist!

5 - Mug
It had an accident with the dishwasher but it still works and it holds the greatest amount of hot chocolate.

6 - Banner
A gift from one of my best friend's Sophie - she knows me so well!

7 - Wand

Voice activated, which doesn't work but I love it anyway. 

Side note: this is the photo I was talking about, this is all the cards, stationary, badges, toys, stickers and games I collected when I was a kid. The bag I used for primary school, the cards along the bottom are from Chocolate Frogs, remember those? That's a Mirror of Erised pencil case, a Book of Spells, a colouring pad, a sticker book, Top Trumps, House badges (don't ask me why I don't have Hufflepuff, I don't think I ever found one)... and I'm realising I am a huge dork and I am so proud of younger Anya for saving all of this!

 I know that's only seven but I'm going to stop because honestly, I have tears in my eyes from this trip down memory lane. Harry Potter has been a part of my life since I was 10 and all of the merch and stuff that came with it has allowed me to revel in this fantastic world for so long. 

Let me know if there's any Harry Potter related merch you are proud of, or if there's anything you desperately want!

Sunday, 2 April 2017

Weekly Highlights: the 'April TBR' edition































Weekly Highlights is a feature borrowed from Faye of A Daydreamer's Thoughts, where I get to highlight my posts of the week, show you my new books and talk about bookish things!

March was a funny month for me - reading took a back seat while I panicked and fought for my job (restructures are the worst). Luckily, I got it - yay! - but getting back into the book world has been a struggle. Please bear with me as I try to get excited about books again, but good for me I have a few really good-looking releases coming up!

On The Blog
Review of The Scarecrow Queen by Melinda Salisbury 
Review of The Upside of Unrequited by Becky Albertalli
Discussion: Dream Loot Crate

Currently Reading
Into The Fire - book four and the finale in Jeaniene Frost's Night Prince series - details below.


On My Bookshelf
One Italian Summer
One Italian Summer by Keris Stainton
It's been a year since Milly, Elyse and Leonie's dad died, and a year since their last trip to Rome. Summer's here again, and once again they are heading with their mum to Italy - but what's it going to be like going without Dad? Rome still holds its familiar charms - the sun is still as warm, the gelato as delicious, the people as welcoming. But nothing is quite as it once was ... 

With grief still raw for all of them, Milly is facing the additional awfulness of having to see Luke again - gorgeous, gorgeous Luke, who she had a fling with last year, and who she made a total fool of herself with - or so she thinks. What's going to happen this time? What's more, things between Milly, her sisters and their mum are rocky - Leonie is being tempestuous and unpredictable, Elyse is caught up with her new boyfriend, and Milly feels like she just doesn't know how she fits in any more. 

Over one Italian summer, can Milly find a way back to the life she once had?



Didn't even realise that Keris had a new book coming out so when I spotted this on Netgalley, I was all over it! Thank you Hot Key!

Into The Fire by Jeaniene Frost
Into the Fire (Night Prince, #4)In the wrong hands, love can be a deadly weapon.
For nearly six hundred years, Vlad Tepesh cared for nothing, so he had nothing to lose. His brutal reputation ensured that all but the most foolhardy stayed away. Now falling in love with Leila has put him at the mercy of his passions. And one adversary has found a devastating way to use Vlad’s new bride against him.

A powerful spell links Leila to the necromancer Mircea. If he suffers or dies, so does she. Magic is forbidden to vampires, so Vlad and Leila enlist an unlikely guide as they search for a way to break the spell. But an ancient enemy lies in wait, capable of turning Vlad and Leila’s closest friends against them…and finally tearing the lovers apart forever.
 



I adore Frost's books and cannot wait to find out what happens in Vlad's finale.

The Island at the End of EverythingThe Island At The End of Everything by Kiran Milwood Hargrave
Ami lives with her mother on an island where the sea is as blue as the sky. It’s all she knows and loves, but the arrival of malicious government official Mr Zamora changes her world forever: her island is to be made into a colony for lepers. Taken from her mother and banished across the sea, Ami faces an uncertain future in an orphanage. There she meets a honey-eyed girl named for butterflies, and together they discover a secret that will lead her on an adventure home. Ami must go back to the island of no return, but will she make it in time?


I loved Hargrave's first book and am really looking forward to more of her beautiful writing. Thank you Chicken House!


Caraval by Stephanie Garber
Caraval (Caraval, #1)Scarlett has never left the tiny island where she and her beloved sister, Tella, live with their powerful, and cruel, father. Now Scarlett’s father has arranged a marriage for her, and Scarlett thinks her dreams of seeing Caraval, the far-away, once-a-year performance where the audience participates in the show, are over.

But this year, Scarlett’s long-dreamt of invitation finally arrives. With the help of a mysterious sailor, Tella whisks Scarlett away to the show. Only, as soon as they arrive, Tella is kidnapped by Caraval’s mastermind organizer, Legend. It turns out that this season’s Caraval revolves around Tella, and whoever finds her first is the winner.

Scarlett has been told that everything that happens during Caraval is only an elaborate performance. But she nevertheless becomes enmeshed in a game of love, heartbreak, and magic with the other players in the game. And whether Caraval is real or not, she must find Tella before the five nights of the game are over, a dangerous domino effect of consequences is set off, and her sister disappears forever.



Went on an ebook shopping spree to get me out of this reading slump, so along with Caraval, I also bought Welcome to Night Vale by Joseph Fink, The Deal by Elle Kennedy, and All Fired Up by Elle Kennedy and Vivan Arend.


April TBR
First up are all my review books, those mentioned above as well as Windfall and The Circus. I think that's all I'll be able to read, like I said I've been in a weird reading place for a while now so I'm not putting too much pressure on myself. Let me know what you're planning to read this month and if there's any of these books you're also excited for!

Friday, 31 March 2017

King's Cage by Victoria Aveyard

King's Cage (Red Queen, #3)Mare Barrow is a prisoner, powerless without her lightning, tormented by her lethal mistakes. She lives at the mercy of a boy she once loved, a boy made of lies and betrayal. Now a king, Maven Calore continues weaving his dead mother's web in an attempt to maintain control over his country—and his prisoner.

As Mare bears the weight of Silent Stone in the palace, her once-ragtag band of newbloods and Reds continue organizing, training, and expanding. They prepare for war, no longer able to linger in the shadows. And Cal, the exiled prince with his own claim on Mare's heart, will stop at nothing to bring her back.

When blood turns on blood, and ability on ability, there may be no one left to put out the fire—leaving Norta as Mare knows it to burn all the way down.


The third instalment started off pretty slowly; Mare is a prisoner, paraded and used as a puppet for Maven's amusement. Mare is showing signs of PTSD and the longer she is prisoner, the more she seems to show Stockholm Syndrome, being glad to the smallest acts of kindness from Maven. I had forgotten how twisted Maven was, but peeking behind the mask and seeing his weaknesses made the black and white seem grey. It's not his fault that his mother was insane and messed with his head, but now that she's gone, it is entirely Maven's decision to continue acting like her puppet.

Like I said, the book started off slowly, there didn't seem to be a whole lot of plot, which is why it took me so long to read it. However, the character development, especially on Mare and Maven's side, was brilliant and terrifying. While Mare was with Maven in the palace, we had odd chapters from Cameron's perspective, to see what's happening back at camp, and then later on from Evangeline, which was utterly bizarre. Honestly, I couldn't remember Cameron at all, I had no idea who this person was, which ruined things for me a little bit, but the pieces came back together (albeit slowly).

I really enjoyed this, even though it felt so long. The villain dissection with Maven was quite spectacular, even made me feel sorry for him, and Mare went through a lot for the cause, which made up for the whining she was doing in the previous book. The last third made the book for me, the action finally picked up and although there's a long way to go, it felt like the Guard was actually getting somewhere in there fight against the Silvers. Plus, Cal and Mare reached a good point in their relationship, until the last second when someone (Cal) did something stupid, but we'll have to find out the repercussions of that in book four!

Published 7th February 2017 by Harper Teen. Thank you to the publisher and Netgalley for my copy in exchange for an honest review.

Tuesday, 28 March 2017

Top Ten Authors I Can't Believe I've Met

A.k.a ten times Anya very nearly made a fool of herself in front of her favourite people. Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish.

Am I Normal Yet? (The Spinster Club, #1)1 - CJ Skuse - I've actually met CJ quite a few times now, twice at YALC and once at my local library. It's gotten to the point where she remembers me, which is both amazing and so sweet! 

2 - Holly Bourne - met Holly twice, both times at YALC, where I was able to get all of her books signed

3 - Rainbow Rowell - the first YALC, at the end of a very long queue, got Attachments and Fangirl signed.

4 - Sarra Manning - at YALC last year (are you sensing a pattern?) where I had a lovely chat with her and got Adorkable and London Belongs To Us signed.

Throne of Glass (Throne of Glass, #1)5 - Sarah J Maas - at Bath's Children Lit Fest last October, I went with Alyce, and I took Throne of Glass and A Court of Thorns and Roses to get signed. She'd hurt her wrist so her husband was using a stamp for some of the books, which was adorable and I told him so.

6 - Moira Young - I went with Sophie to her book launch in Bath Waterstones for Rebel Heart a few years ago. I talked to her and other book people and had a lot of fun. 

7 - Rachel Caine - another event with Sophie, this time in Bristol for the latest Morganville book, I think it was Fall of Night. We made a day of it, went shopping and had dinner.

8 - Liz Kessler - had a lovely chat with her at the book launch at YALC for Haunt Me, where I got my ARC signed. Didn't stay for very long, it had been a long day and we were exhausted! Lots of fun though.

Remix9 - Non Pratt - I think this only just counts - a couple of fellow bloggers and I got into a chat with her while at YALC last year, just while we were standing at the Barrington Stoke stall. I did get her to sign my tote bag and she was completely charming, considering we sort of ambushed her.

10 - Lucy Saxon - once at YALC, where she was dressed as Celaena from ToG, and once at Bath Kid Lit Fest, where she hosted the Sarah J Maas event. Incidentally, she was a great host, as a fellow fangirl, she asked great questions about Sarah's writing and characters.

Friday, 24 March 2017

Dream Loot Crate

Loot Crate is a subscription box company that sends out monthly boxes full of gifts and geeky goodness, so when I learned about the project where I could design my dream crate - what I would like to have appear through the letter box - I jumped at the chance to get creative and so wild!

Now, because I am primarily a book nerd, I have designed my dream crate around an upcoming release that I am really excited for: Wonder Woman by Leigh Bardugo. And with a book like that, what could my theme possibly be other than "Heroines"?


Wonder Woman: Warbringer (DC Icons, #1)

Loot Crate boxes typically have a few items that include a figurine, a household item, a comic book and a t-shirt. So that's where I started. The book was done, all sorted, but I couldn't decide on what other heroines I wanted to highlight. Marvel and DC are obvious choices and lo and behold:

The Mighty Heroines of Marvel blanket, Captain Marvel mug, Wonder Woman print. I think that covers a few good choices of women to aspire to!

I had to get some other fandoms in there so I found Hermione Granger's wand as a necklace, an Emma Swan pop vinyl and Rey's cuff bracelet.



The images I've used are real items for sale and I think can be found on a few different sites - these are just for ideas and to demonstrate what I had in mind.

Some other ideas but I couldn't find anything specific were: the X-men, the Scarlet Witch, the Black Widow, Agent Carter (all from Marvel), Merida from Disney's Brave, Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Daenerys from Game of Thrones. As this is make-believe, I could go mad and say I'd like to include Dany's dragons, Buffy's stakes (and maybe Giles' library), Storm's mutant powers or at least her keys to the School, Peggy Carter's wardrobe... this could go on for a while!

Thank you to Loot Crate for inspiring me to create this post and let me know if there's anything you'd like in a Crate.

Wednesday, 22 March 2017

The Upside of Unrequited by Becky Albertalli

The Upside of UnrequitedSeventeen-year-old Molly Peskin-Suso knows all about unrequited love-she's lived through it twenty-six times. She crushes hard and crushes often, but always in secret. Because no matter how many times her twin sister, Cassie, tells her to woman up, Molly can't stomach the idea of rejection. So she's careful. Fat girls always have to be careful.

Then a cute new girl enters Cassie's orbit, and for the first time ever, Molly's cynical twin is a lovesick mess. Meanwhile, Molly's totally not dying of loneliness-except for the part where she is.


Luckily, Cassie's new girlfriend comes with a cute hipster-boy sidekick. Will is funny, flirtatious, and just might be perfect crush material. Maybe more than crush material. And if Molly can win him over, she'll get her first kiss and she'll get her twin back.

There's only one problem: Molly's coworker, Reid. He's an awkward Tolkien superfan, and there's absolutely no way Molly could fall for him. Right?


I loved her first book, and this was just as funny and as diverse, and I loved it. We are dropped right into Molly's world of weirdness, with her much braver twin sister, her supportive mums, her best friends and her new job that puts her in the path of Reid. 

I saw so much of myself in Molly - maybe not so much in the ridiculous amount of crushes, but definitely the fear of putting yourself out there and being the complete opposite of confident with your body. Molly has had a total of 26 crushes, spanning the years and the types, but it's only now that she thinks maybe she could put herself out there and actually tell them she likes them. 

So the love interests. Technically we met Will first but as he was the friend of the girl Molly was pushing towards her twin Cassie, all Molly noticed was he was hipster hot. Then we met Reid, the geeky and sweet boy who works in the shop with her. I was rooting for Reid from the get-go. Molly never really seemed all that interested in Will, it was more like an acknowledgement that he was attractive. Not to mention there was plenty of mixed messages with Will, between being too drunk or too worried.

When Cassie gets together with Mina, not only is it super adorable, but it also marks the end of an era with Molly and Cassie. They have always been each other's first call but this is the sucky part of growing up, that it's not like it was when you're young; first loves and getting older changes the relationships you have, especially with siblings and parents. And it did take some adjusting but Molly's anxiety makes her see things as worse than they are, so there is some harsh and bitter fights for a time. Ah, family.

Now, I can't not mention all of the diversity! Multiple homosexual characters, pansexual love interest (for Cassie), anxious protagonist (who happened to be fat and love food - but no body shaming!), black characters, bisexual characters, Jewish characters - and then a same-sex wedding! All of this squished just effortlessly into a heartwarming coming of age story that also discusses love, sex, feminism, inequality with racism and sexism, and mental health. A great story that has just about everything, and one that has sky-rocketed to the top of my favourites. 

Published 11th April 2017 by Penguin. Thank you to the publisher and Netgalley for my copy in exchange for an honest review.

Tuesday, 21 March 2017

Top Ten Books to Read The Day Away

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and The Bookish.

Some books you just can't put down, and I have a little list of some of my favourite books to curl up with and spend the day reading (preferably in bed, with a cup of tea). These are in no particular order. 

1 - The Upside of Unrequited by Becky Albertalli
A perfect and lovely contemporary with lots of diversity and hilarious characters, I did read this one super quickly anyway, just because I couldn't stop! By the way, my review of this will be going up tomorrow so check back to hear more thoughts!

Illuminae (The Illuminae Files, #1)
2 - Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff
Told in various formats, from transcripts to drawings, this is one of my favourite books ever and I would be perfectly happy to re-read the whole thing in one go - all 600 pages - and get some more AIDAN.

3 - A Quiet Kind of Thunder by Sara Barnard 
Another rom-com but with a diverse twist - Rhys is hard of hearing and Steffi has selective mutism. One of the greatest love stories I've ever read. 

4 - London Belongs To Us by Sarra Manning
So funny, as per usual from Manning, and set over 24 hours spanning the city of London.

5 - Radio Silence by Alice Oseman
An incredible book with hilarious and relatable characters, Oseman just gets what it's like being a teenager.

6 - The Next Together by Lauren James
Carry OnSo many time periods, so little time! Time travelling, super computers, a love story that defies it all - what's not to love? 

7 - Carry On by Rainbow Rowell
Over 500 pages and I read it in two days the first time, I'd love to curl up and re-read this magical tale.


8 - Everything Everything by Nicola Yoon 
Originally read it in a day, it was so easy to read and so damn sweet, I'd love to read it again. Ironic to spend a day in bed reading about a girl who can't to go outside? Probably.

Cinder (The Lunar Chronicles, #1)9 - Cinder by Marissa Meyer
Do I even need to say anything? Come on, it's Cinder! Who wouldn't want to spend a day reading about this bad ass cyborg?


10 - I'll Give You The Sun by Jandy Nelson
Told between two twins, past and present, this is a beautiful and heartbreaking story about love and family. Definitely one to read all in one go and let the emotions wash over you.

Let me know if there are any books you'd love to spend the day reading, if you agree with my choices or think there any I should have considered.

Friday, 17 March 2017

Guest Post: Moondust's Gemma Fowler


Moondust

Fed up with reality? Create your own.

I have a very low tolerance of reality. I think it’s the reason I wanted to become a writer. It’s definitely the reason I chose to write sci-fi and fantasy stories. Why write about this familiar old world when you can escape into your very own?

World-building is my absolute favourite thing to do. I’m filled with glee at the prospect of building and crafting a detailed alternative society with its own quirks and traditions, and then setting about slowly destroying it. *evil laugh*

The world I built for Moondust is a reflection of our own: a future Earth that feels familiar and strange at the same time. I wanted to tackle issues that we might actually face one day – like the energy crisis – but I also wanted the United Earth to have an otherworldly quality, a style, for want of a better word.

Colour is a huge part of Moondust’s world. Lunar Inc’s ‘rainbow’ was one of the first things I had in my head. Before the story, before Aggie, I imagined a colossal lunar base covered in bright, bold, intimidating colours under an oppressive black sky. I used that feeling to test characters and scenes as I got down to writing. If a person or a setting wasn’t in keeping with Moondust’s rainbow feel, it (or they) didn’t make the cut.

Building a world is so much more than the words and scenes that make it into the final edit. You need to colour your world in other ways, give it its own history and culture. I didn’t realise this would lead to mood boards and maps and logos for things that readers will probably never encounter (well, maybe you don’t have to do the logos, but I did).

For example, I can tell you that Seb’s favourite band is called Sonic Nugget and they sound like kitchen utensils being thrown down a spiral staircase. The frozen custard brand that Aggie and Seb love so much is called Pluto’s, and they serve their desserts upside down to show how thick the mixture is (something I stole from a real frozen custard place called Ted Drewes in St Louis).

Keeping track of all these details can make your brain feel like it’s in a blender.  So I created my own ‘Lunarpedia’, documenting the history of the United Earth, of FALL, and of Lunar Inc. I’ve written the word count of Moondust over again just to fill in the blanks in a complex history of a world that only exists in my head. How awesome (and exhausting) is that?

The United Earth, Aggie and the Lunar Inc. base lived in my head until March 2nd, when Moondust finally made it out into the world. Creating a world is good, but sharing it with readers is just amazing.

Mood board alert! You can check out my Moondust boards on Pinterest here:

Gemma Fowler is the author of Moondust, out now, priced £6.99.

Find out more about Moondust here or follow Gemma on Twitter.

Tuesday, 14 March 2017

Top Ten Books On My Spring TBR

Welcome to another Top Ten Tuesday, created by The Broke and The Bookish, where this week I will be listing the books on my Spring TBR. The list will be split into two: one for books I already own, and one for books that I do not but plan to as soon as humanly possible. 

WindfallAlready own:
Windfall by Jennifer E Smith - another review book, this time from Pan Macmillan, I am ridiculously excited about this, I have loved all of her previous books and this one is coming out early May. 

The Circus by Olivia Levez - an early review copy from Rock The Boat, I really liked Olivia's first book and this one actually sounds even better.

Replica by Lauren Oliver - picked up in a charity shop before Christmas, I would like to tackle this monster soon.

Suicide Squad: Kicked in the Teeth by Adam Glass - I know, I've been saying I'm going to read this for months but this time I actually mean it!

Desperately want in my hands:
Doing It by Hannah Witton - I've been watching Hannah's YouTube channel avidly for a while now and I am so excited to read her book, all about sex and relationships. This is coming out 6th April.

Into the Fire (Night Prince, #4)Into The Fire by Jeaniene Frost - the finale of the Night Prince series, I've been holding my breath for this for over a year and it's just come out but I'm poor and can't buy a copy yet and that makes me unbelievably sad. But soon!

The Wicked and the Divine vol 3 by Kieron Gillen - I'm really enjoying this graphic novel series, slowly plodding my way through them. 

Burn for Me by Ilona Andrews - I've seen loads of great reviews for Ilona's books and I can't believe I haven't read any yet! I plan on starting with her latest series. 

The Deal by Elle Kennedy - just something I've had my eye on for a while, a fresh NA contemporary that looks very funny and hot. 

Wires and Nerves by Marissa Meyer - published late January in the States, I don't think it's being published over here (or not yet) but a side story about Iko? I am all over that!

Friday, 10 March 2017

The Scarecrow Queen by Melinda Salisbury


The Scarecrow Queen (The Sin Eater’s Daughter, #3)

The final battle is coming . . .

As the Sleeping Prince tightens his hold on Lormere and Tregellan, the net closes in on the ragged band of rebels trying desperately to defeat him. Twylla and Errin are separated, isolated, and running out of time. The final battle is coming, and Aurek will stop at nothing to keep the throne forever . . .


Warning: spoilers for previous books, and possibly some minor ones for book three.

This is the epic finale, one that I've been waiting eagerly for, and it did not disappoint. Told in joint perspectives between Twylla and Errin, we see the multiple angles planning for the war, with Errin in the castle and Twylla on the front lines. All these characters, the girls especially, have grown so much, seen so much that has changed them and they've had to change with it, and I' so happy with their ending. 

Errin is being held captive at the castle by Aurek, who has a little doll of her that he uses to control her. Silas is being forced to make the Elixir and Lief is Aurek's right-hand man, hunting down resistance. Meanwhile, Twylla is on the run and trying to find help to overpower Aurek's rule. Not a great start to the revolution but Twylla becomes the symbol of hope when she used to be for death, and it's a great turn around and development for her character. I just loved to see her face her fears and become the leader that everyone knew she could be.

We also see the return of Merek, the supposedly dead prince, who helps Errin escape and joins the rebellion - I can remember liking Merek in book one and he really comes into his own here; as the rightful king, he has that natural leadership and power but wants what is best of his people. He also wants Twylla, which was utterly adorable, as they both have bigger concerns but their attraction was electric. 

Everything was pulled together, all the different story lines tied up, as well as a somewhat hopeful new start for the kingdom. Salisbury's writing just flowed, I had actually forgotten how good her writing was but I fell right back into it, her almost lyrical descriptions and beyond complicated and dark characters. It was the perfect ending to this story.

Published 2nd March 2017 by Scholastic.

Sunday, 5 March 2017

Weekly Highlights: the 'March TBR' edition


Weekly Highlights is a feature borrowed from Faye of A Daydreamer's Thoughts, where I get to highlight my posts of the week, show you my new books and talk about bookish things!

March already! Thank god, it's getting warmer and brighter! I haven't been all that good with blogging and reading recently, too many things happening in my personal life that is taking up all my brain power. Hopefully, it won't last much longer but that's why I haven't been around that much. Anyway, here's to a better reading month ahead!


On The Blog
Review of Heartless by Marissa Meyer
Review of Unconventional by Maggie Harcourt
Discussion: Top Hate-to-Love Stories
Review of Wing Jones by Katherine Webber
Review of Moondust by Gemma Fowler

Currently Reading
The Scarecrow Queen by Melinda Salisbury - it's taking me a while, my mind just isn't in the mood for reading at the moment, but it is very good!

On My Bookshelf
The CircusThe Circus by Olivia Levez
Why would a girl who has everything want to run away and never be found?

Willow has staged runaways ever since she was a little girl. She has everything a young person should want: a rich daddy, clothes, money, a pony and a place at a prestigious boarding school. In reality, she has everything except the thing she really wants: a father who cares enough to find her.

Aged sixteen, on the eve of her father’s wedding, she ruins the bride’s dress and escapes through a window, determined never to return. Her missing mother was a circus performer, and Willow wants to follow in her footsteps. But the performers she meets don’t want her. When her last bit of money is stolen by Suze, another runaway girl she thought she could trust, Willow becomes really homeless. Then Suze comes tumbling back into her life and a desperate Willow has to decide whether to trust her all over again . . .

So begins their frightening, exhilarating odyssey though hunger, performance, desperation and dreams. Will they both survive and will Willow make it to the circus of her imagining?

An unsolicited review copy that appeared on my doorstep, I am none the less really excited because I enjoyed Olivia's first book and this one sounds very entertaining. Thank you One World!

King's Cage by Victoria Aveyard
King's Cage (Red Queen, #3)Mare Barrow is a prisoner, powerless without her lightning, tormented by her lethal mistakes. She lives at the mercy of a boy she once loved, a boy made of lies and betrayal. Now a king, Maven Calore continues weaving his dead mother's web in an attempt to maintain control over his country—and his prisoner.

As Mare bears the weight of Silent Stone in the palace, her once-ragtag band of newbloods and Reds continue organizing, training, and expanding. They prepare for war, no longer able to linger in the shadows. And Cal, the exiled prince with his own claim on Mare's heart, will stop at nothing to bring her back.

When blood turns on blood, and ability on ability, there may be no one left to put out the fire—leaving Norta as Mare knows it to burn all the way down.


It took me too long to realise that book three was on Netgalley but once I did, I snapped it up! Details are foggy on previous books but I can't wait to see what in store for Mare next. Thank you Harper and Netgalley!

WindfallWindfall by Jennifer E Smith
Alice doesn’t believe in luck—at least, not the good kind. But she does believe in love, and for some time now, she’s been pining for her best friend, Teddy. On his eighteenth birthday—just when it seems they might be on the brink of something—she buys him a lottery ticket on a lark. To their astonishment, he wins $140 million, and in an instant, everything changes. 

At first, it seems like a dream come true, especially since the two of them are no strangers to misfortune. As a kid, Alice won the worst kind of lottery possible when her parents died just over a year apart from each other. And Teddy’s father abandoned his family not long after that, leaving them to grapple with his gambling debts. Through it all, Teddy and Alice have leaned on each other. But now, as they negotiate the ripple effects of Teddy’s newfound wealth, a gulf opens between them. And soon, the money starts to feel like more of a curse than a windfall. 

As they try to find their way back to each other, Alice learns more about herself than she ever could have imagined . . . and about the unexpected ways in which luck and love sometimes intersect.

This past month I bought Traitor to the Throne by Alwyn Hamilton and The Scarecrow Queen by Melinda Salisbury. And from the library, I borrowed Spectacles by Sue Perkins and Feminist Fight Club by Jessica Bennett. 

March TBR
Library books are first, obviously, I never return late. I would like to read The King's Cage, before I get spoiled. And as for review books, The Upside of Unrequited by Becky Albertalli is due out early April. Let me know what you're planning on reading this month.