Saturday 30 November 2013

Blogger Interview: Lucy (Queen of Contemporary)

Welcome to something new at So Many Books, So Little Time! The other night I was struggling to think up interview questions for authors and offhandly thought that it’d be so much easier to interview my blogging friends. A few seconds later I (metaphorically) slapped myself on the forehead and sent out a probing tweet. The response was positive so I have a series of interviews with some of the best book bloggers around for your reading pleasure. Enjoy!


Tell us a little about you and your blog

My name is Lucy and I’m the blogger behind Queen of Contemporary and Project UKYA. I also booktube (book YouTube, if you didn’t know!) at thebumblingbibliophile. You’ll most likely find me curled up in a very untidy chair, reading or plotting super secret ideas.

What inspired you to start up Queen of Contemporary?

I have to thank my friend for inspiring me to blog. Her mum is friends with one of the fab authors behind Girls Heart Books and she handed out bookmarks for Girls Heart Books one day at school. After visiting the blog every day for a month or two, I stumbled across their page with links to other blogs. I then found more and decided to start my own!

How long have you been blogging?

I’ve been blogging at Queen of Contemporary since April 2012, although it was first named Read, Write, Sleep, Eat! I’ve always loved creating websites, since I was around nine, but I’d never taken anything as seriously until I started my blog. I’ve been blogging at Project UKYA since September 2013.


Do you remember what the first book you reviewed was?

The first book I ever reviewed was when I was 8, and it was Best Friends by Jacqueline Wilson. It was for school and I still have a copy of the review somewhere. It makes me giggle to read it back! I think the first review I wrote for a blog was either Fallen by Lauren Kate or Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater.

What’s been the highlight of your blogging career so far?

Hmmmm…This is a hard one! So many amazing things have happened since I started blogging. The best decision I ever made was to hit the ‘sign up’ button on Blogger. To have people know me before I’ve even met them properly is so weird. Also, meeting so many amazing people, like authors and bloggers. I consider so many of them some of my best friends.

Your biggest book-related starstruck moment?

I got to interview Holly Smale and Andy Robb at the Bath Children’s Literature Festival and it was recorded. My face is a picture, because I really couldn’t believe it!


You juggle so many different projects, both blog-based and booktubing. How you do plan for each of them and keep everything fresh and organised?

Simple answer: I don’t. I am one of the most disorganised people you will meet. My mum will even back me up on that. I’m going to be honest here and tell you that I am addicted. I can’t stop planning events and projects, and every one has to be bigger and better than the last. It’s sometimes a big problem because I put so much pressure on myself. It’s quite unhealthy! That’s taken a lot for me to write that…

If you could only continue with one, would you be a book blogger or a booktuber?

I thought this would be hard for me to answer, but it’s really not. I would choose book blogging hands down. I love writing and reading, so add them together and it’s perfect. I love both, obviously, but blogging is my ultimate love.

Is there one contemporary YA novel that you’d recommend to everyone and anyone, regardless of genre preferences, age etc.?

A VERY predictable answer if you know me and you all may be fed up of me talking about this book, but it’s a no-brainer to me: Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell. It’s my favourite book of all time and I don’t think I’ll ever stop talking about it. It’s perfect for anyone who has an obsession or loves reading and writing. It also has a very swoony guy: BONUS!

Thank you so much for having me, Sophie! I’ve loved answering all of your great questions!

Thanks you so much, lovely Lucy! Queen of Contemporary is one of my favourite blogs and Project UKYA is a wonderful celebration of some of the best, and most underrated, YA out there. This girl is going to go FAR.


Thursday 28 November 2013

5 Books I Wish My Little Sister Would Read

I’m always pushing books on my sister. Ones I tell her to read, ones I tell her to buy, ones I tell her to stop judging a give a go anyway. Sometimes they’re for a particular reason; a lesson I want her to learn, but mostly, they’re just excellent reads. Here are the five books I most want my little (she’s nearly 17, so not exactly little, but whatever...) sister to read:

Beauty Queens, Libba Bray
My sister has actually bought this, she’s just intimidated by the length. Beauty Queens changed my perspective on many things to do with being a girl in the 21st Century and opened my eyes to ways we are oppressed that I didn’t even realise. She also made points about the social roles of a woman and the ridiculous ideals of female beauty, all wrapped up in a hilarious, addictive and engaging desert island story. The woman’s a genius.

Graceling, Kristin Cashore
Kristen Cashore is another that made me look at women and feminism in another light. Katsa isn’t your typical heroine; she knows what she wants and who she is and falling in love only strengthens that. She isn’t compromised in the slightest. She’s the type of heroine you want people to see as their role model. Oh, man, now I want to re-read Graceling...

How to Love, Katie Cotugno
This is my favourite book of 2013 so far. I fell unexpectedly head over heels for Reena and Sawyer’s story and I’m telling everyone to read it, regardless of genre preferences. It’s beautiful, heart-achey, realistic and hopeful. I it. Now.

How I Live Now, Meg Rosoff
Meg Rosoff’s debut is quite possibly my favourite book. It opened my eyes to the sheer possibilities of novels. There are no rules for Rosoff in her fiction and no subject is too much to handle. I’d never read anything like it, and I still haven’t. I just wish my sister would take my word for it and dive in...

Junk, Melvin Burgess
I think everyone should read this book. It’s as simple as that really. Shocking, controversial and beautifully written; it changed YA in so many respects and I regard it as a classic. Junk is a book that is still being banned, seventeen years after publication, and that in itself makes it worth a look, right? Anything that stirs up idiots who like to ban books for such a long time is obviously an important read.

So there you are, the five books I wish my little sister would read.

Which books would you want your little sister/daughter/niece to read? Do you disagree with any of my choices?


Tuesday 26 November 2013

TBR Tuesday: How to Be a Woman - Caitlin Moran

Like everyone, I have shelves full of books I’ve bought or gotten review that I’ve never quite got around to reading. Inspired by the booktuber Katytastic, I wrote out a selection of them and popped them in a glass jar. Tada! A TBR Jar! Now my monthly Blast From the Past feature will be melded with TBR Tuesday’s and will depend on what I pluck from the jar.

For November’s slot, my sister pulled out...

How to Be a Woman, Caitlin Moran

PAGES: 309
RELEASE DATE: 1st March 2012
PUBLISHER: Ebury Press
EDITION: UK paperback, second hand purchase
SHELF LIFE: about a year

The Chronicles of Narmo, Moranthology

It’s a good time to be a woman: we have the vote and the Pill, and we haven’t been burnt as witches since 1727. However, a few nagging questions do remain...

Why are we supposed to get Brazilians? Should we use Botox? Do men secretly hate us? And why does everyone ask you when you’re going to have a baby?

Part memoir, part rant, Caitlin Moran answers the questions that every modern woman is asking.


How to Be a Woman was a little different to what I was anticipating. After reading her novel, The Chronicles of Narmo, I had certain expectations, though I couldn’t tell you what they were, and this was just wholly different.

I loved how Moran began each chapter with an anecdote from her life, all chronological, and used them to discuss ideas of womanhood, femininity and the social reaction to being a woman. I have to admit that a few of the 80s references went straight over my head, but she weave the story narratives together effortlessly. For me, this also gave her arguments and ideas grounding, substance and feeling, even though most of them weren’t ideas that were new or revelatory to me.

That being said, I read How to Be a Woman really quite quickly for a style and an author that I’m not used to. Moran’s writing is engaging, brash and honest and she’s instantly likable, though I’d definitely be too intimidated to say hello if I ever met her! I expected her writing to be laugh-out-loud funny as well, but though it was amusing, I never once laughed properly. The humour seemed more cringe-inducing, tongue in cheek to me; she’s very witty and intelligent and that came out in a drier sense of humour to me.

My favourite element of How to Be a Woman was definitely Caitlin Moran’s overarching conclusions about herself and feminism: she doesn’t actually wants to be a ‘woman’ as they are traditionally defined, she wants to be normal. And to her, feminism is simply people being polite and fair to each other. That’s something I can get behind, right there. And something that other people, especially people scared of the word and its implications can agree is a good thing, something to be worked for.

How to Be a Woman is an important book in many ways. It catapulted the plight of women all over the world into the mainstream, with humour, wit and boldness. Moran’s arguments touched the minds and hearts of both men and women in all situations and that can’t be taken lightly. She’s started the discussion again, maybe even awakened the waves...

Definitely not! It’s a wonderfully brash, bold and important novel. As Caitlin said throughout How to Be a Woman, feminism is more relevant than ever in a scary amount of ways.


Monday 25 November 2013

Daylighters: The Morganville Vampires - Rachel Caine

Pages: 446
Publisher: Allison and Busby
Release Date: 5th November 2013
Edition: UK paperback, purchased copy

Something drastic has happened in Morganville while Claire Danvers and her friends were away. The town looks cleaner and happier than they’ve ever seen it before, but when their incoming group is arrested and separated – vampires from humans 0 they realise that the changes definitely aren’t for the better.

It seems that an organisation called the Daylight Foundation has offered the population of Morganville something they’ve never had: hope of a vampire-free future. And while it sounds like salvation – even for the vampires themselves – the truth is far more sinister and deadly.

Now, Claire, Shane and Eve need to find a way to break their friends out of Daylighter custody, before the vampires of Morganville meet their untimely end...

The heart-stopping finale to the number one bestselling series.

The fifteenth and final book in the epic Morganville Vampires series has finally arrived. I wanted it to go out with a bang, and boy, did it!

After the massive cliffhanger at the end of Ghost Town, leaving the future of Morganville in the balance, Daylighters had a lot to sort out to end this series with everything wrapped up. I really should know by now that it’ll get much, much worse before it gets better for Claire and the gang. Because, wow, did things get bad. There were moments when I’d look at how much I had left of the book and marvel at the possibility of everything being resolved in time.

As the novel went on, it really began to feel like an ending. Ideas that had been thrown around by Shane and Claire over the last few books were cemented, lines were drawn, allies made and Amelie took the crown and it made me so happy, but so, so sad as well. I’ve followed these characters for such a long time and fallen so in love with them that I can’t quite get my head around the fact that there won’t be any more about them! By the end of Daylighters, Morganville is on its way back to its former glory and everything is as peaceful as a town run by vampires can be. I loved the ending and I’d be happy for them to stay that way, no more death, danger or trauma, and yet, I still want more. I think there’d be more scope for this world Rachel Caine has created, even in a spin-off series. I’m just not reading to leave Morganville, Claire, Shane, Eve, Michael, Myrnin, Oliver and Amelie behind yet.

Though I didn’t read for about a week when I was halfway through Daylighters, Rachel Caine still had me on the edge of my seat with her non-stop adventure, high octane adventure and emotional intensity. A perfect ending to a perfect series.