Tuesday 30 June 2015

Blast From the Past: Jane Eyre


Originally published in 1847 by Smith, Elder and Company
(under the pseudonym Currer Bell)

My edition: the beautiful (and rather hefty) Penguin Clothbound Classics hardback.

What’s it about?
Orphaned into the household of her Aunt Reed at Gateshead, subject the the cruel regime at Lowood charity school, Jane Eyre nonetheless emerges unbroken in spirit and integrity. How she takes up the post of governess at Thornfield Hall, meets and loves Mr Rochester and discovers the impediment in their unlawful marriage are elements in a story that transcends melodrama to portray a women’s passionate search for a wider and richer life than that traditionally accorded for her sex in Victorian society.

Why now?
Well, I should have read it in my first year of university and I didn’t. Now I feel that that was a grave slight and I need to rectify it. And Stacey from Pretty Books told me she loved it.

The verdict:
Well, I actually should have read this for one of my core modules at uni, but I think I only managed a few chapters, and after reading it now, I know that I never would have made it all the way through. I struggled with Jane Eyre for most of the novel.

Though Charlotte Bronte’s writing is beautiful, it’s also quite dense. It took me a long time to read and I ended up having to make myself read on my Kindle as I tend to read quicker that way and so I could make myself read 10% at a time to get through it. It wasn’t until I reached about 60/70% where Jane finds out about Bertha that I became properly involved and that was mostly because of Jane herself.

She really is a character before her time. She refuses to accept injustice put upon her by her aunt and cousins; she values passion, intelligence and fairness; and most significantly, she won’t marry Rochester until they are on equal footing. When he has power over her and is above her in society, Jane struggles with what will become of their relationship, but after the horrific fire at Thornfield and Rochester is a very different man, she enters into a marriage with a partner, not a master. Before, Rochester was manipulative and really quite messed up, but Jane gaining independence and Rochester becoming injured helped them both into a position where they could work together, where they needed each other. It wasn’t until then that I bought into their love story at all. It had seemed to master and servant to me before that.

She’s also narrating the novel in direct address which I adore. I was so glad to see that the famous line, ‘Reader, I married him’ was far from the only time that she addresses the reader. Then at the end of the novel when she relates that’s she’s telling her story ten years from the end of the story, I really felt like I had been at the receiving end of being told a story by a friend. It was lovely.

So, yes. I struggled with Jane Eyre but finishing it felt like a real accomplishment and I’m really glad I did it. It was worth it to meet Jane, to be honest!

Still not convinced?
- John Green’s Crash Course Literature video (again): Reader, It’s Jane Eyre
- Jane is a heroine way before her time.
- You totally want to actually read all those super famous quotes, right? (Or is that just me?)

Sophie 

Monday 29 June 2015

The Baby, Lisa Drakeford

Pages: 219
Publisher: Chicken House
Release Date: 2nd July 2015
Edition: UK paperback, review copy

It’s Olivia’s seventeenth birthday party. That last thing she expects to see when she stumbles into the bathroom is her best mate Nicola giving birth on the floor. How could she, when Nicola had no idea this was coming either? She’s so not ready to be a mum, and she needs Olivia’s help. But Olivia has her own problems – a controlling problems, Jonty, and lonely little sister, Alice, for starters. And then there’s their friend Ben, with secrets of their own.

The party to end all parties has started something epic…

When I first heard about The Baby I was a little worried that it would try and be too much like Non Pratt’s Trouble, but Lisa Drakeford’s debut stood strong and I really enjoyed it.

Now, I’m a huge fan of split narratives and The Baby takes that a step further. The novel is split between five perspectives: Olivia, Nicola, Alice, Jonty and Ben, but they only have one section each, telling the story consecutively in close up third person. It was a really cool structure. I enjoyed feeling like each of the characters had their own little story within the overall arc; it was refreshing. At first I had assumed that Nicola’s would stand out among the others being the mother of the unexpected baby, but they each held strong in their own way. All five characters were complex and flawed in an incredibly warm and relatable way, event Jonty who I really hated from the first few perspectives. But it was Alice who was my favourite.

Alice is an incredibly clever eleven year old and she’s heartbreakingly lonely. Being different in year seven is tough and she just can’t seem to figure out how you make a friend. She spends her lunch and break times in the library, knows the best way to avoid the horrible girls in her school when walking through the hallways and she just doesn’t understand what’s going on with her big sister (Olivia) and all her friends who usually flood her house. The blunt honesty in her narration and speech was refreshing and funny and so open in comparison to the rest of the narrators.

Next to Alice, it was Nicola who I felt for the most. She’s seventeen and suddenly a mum and her mum has made it clear that this is her decision and she’s on her own. The way she was judged by people on the streets, her old school friends and her mum is heartbreaking. She’s very lucky to have the best friends that she does. I hated that it was her that had to face everything while the father got off mostly scot free: it’s always the girl that’s the slut, the irresponsible one, the one that messed up and it’s so, so unfair. It takes two to tango after all. I won’t spoil anything for you, but I was pleased to see the dad eventually taking responsibility and getting stuck in as much as he was able. It definitely changed the way I viewed him for the better.

With an unexpected twist, a fascinating structure and genuine, interesting characters, The Baby is a solid debut and I’ll be looking out for more from Lisa Drakeford.

Thanks to Chicken House and Riot Communications for the review copy.

Sophie 

Sunday 28 June 2015

Letterbox Love #94

Letterbox Love is a way to show you all of the lovely, lovely books I’ve gotten in the post, bought and everything else over the last week. Summaries are taken from the cover, or Amazon/NetGalley/Goodreads in the case of e-books, unless otherwise stated. Hosted by Narratively Speaking.

For review:

Emmy & Oliver, Robin Benway (paperback)

‘Oliver’s absence split us wide open, dividing our neighbourhood along a fault line strong enough to cause an earthquake. An earthquake would have been better. At least during an earthquake, you understand why you’re shaking.’

Emmy and Oliver were going to be best friends forever, or maybe even more, before their futures were ripped apart. But now Oliver is back, and he’s not the skinny boy-next-door that used to be Emmy’s best friend. Now he’s the boy who got kidnapped. A stranger – a totally hot stranger! – with a whole history that Emmy knows nothing about.

But is their story still meant to be? Or are their hearts like the pieces of two different puzzles – impossible to fit together?

I’ve heard some wonderful pre-pub things about this from the US so I’m excited! Thanks S&S.

This is One Moment, Mila Gray (e-proof)

A forbidden romance.
A wounded Marine who thinks he’s beyond saving.
A girl who’s determined to prove him wrong.

Didi Monroe’s waited her whole life for the type of romance you see in the movies, so when Hollywood heartthrob Zac Ridgemont sweeps her off her feet, Didi believes she might finally have met the one.

While Zac’s away filming for the summer, Didi begins her internship at a military hospital in California. There she meets wounded Marine Noel Walker. Frustrated on the outside and broken on the inside, Walker’s a pain in the ass patient who refuses all help.

Yet Did can’t help but be drawn to him, and though he’s strictly out of bounds it soon becomes impossible to ignore the sparks flying between them.

As the attraction simmers into dangerous territory, Didi finds herself falling hard for a man she knows is going to break her heart. Because Walker doesn’t believe in love or happy ever afters. So what possible future can there be?

Then tragedy hits, shattering both their worlds, and Didi is forced to choose between fighting for love and merely falling for the illusion of it.

I love Sarah/Mila’s books so I’m super excited for this. Thanks NetGalley and Macmillan!

Bought:

The Queen of the Tearling, Erika Johansen (ebook)

Kelsea Glynn in the sole heir to the throne of Tearling but has been raised in secret after her mother – a monarch as vain as she was foolish – was murdered for ruining her kingdom. For 18 years, the Tearling has been ruled by Kelsea’s uncle in the role of Regent however he is but the debauched puppet of the Red Queen, the sorceress tyrant of neighbouring realm of Mortmesme. On Kelsea’s nineteenth birthday, the tattered remains of her mother’s guard – each pledged to defend the queen to the death – arrive to bring this most un-regal woman out of hiding…

And so begins her journey back to her kingdom’s heart, to claim the throne, win the heart of her people, overturn her mother’s legacy and redeem the Tearling from the forces of corruption and dark magic that are threatening to destroy it. But Kelsea’s story is not just about her learning the true nature of her inheritance – it’s about a heroine who must learn to acknowledge and live with the realities of coming of age in all its insecurities and attractions, alongside the ethical dilemmas of ruling justly and fairly while simply trying to stay alive…

I’ve wanted to read this for ages! It’s finally time.

Sophie  

Friday 26 June 2015

The Potion Diaries, Amy Alward

Pages: 342
Publisher: Simon and Schuster
Release Date: 2nd July 2015
Edition: UK paperback, review copy

When Nova’s princess (more Kate Middleton than Rapunzel!) is poisoned by her own love potion, the city’s alchemists are entered into a Wilde Hunt – a deadly quest to find a cure. It’s the chance of a lifetime for Sam’s alchemist family, who have been mixing magic potions for generations…but can Sam save their crumbling reputation?

Sam must choose whether to work with or against her best friends, Anita or Arjun, and finds herself thrown towards Zain, heir to the ZoroAster synthetic potions corporation, and her arch enemy. He also happens to be the bot most likely to marry the princess…

With the nation’s media watching her every move, Sam overcomes incredible dangers and impossible dilemmas in order to hunt down the ingredients in order to hunt down the ingredients. Tricky. Can Sam save the now dangerously powerful princess by winning the contest? And just how close are she and Zain willing to get in the meantine?

It took me a little while to get into The Potion Diaries and connect with the characters properly, but I did end up really enjoying it.

I found the setting of a fantasy world intermingled with the modern twenty-first century with added tech and gadgets a little strange for quite a while. It’s such a strange combination and not one I’ve come across before and I just couldn’t get used to it; it took me at least half of the book to become comfortable with it, to be honest. I did eventually come to really enjoy the mythology of Sam’s world. I loved that not everyone had magic, but those that did had different affinity levels for it and used an object that was particular to them to channel it and control the raw power. Those with magic are called Talented and those without are just ordinary. Sam is ordinary.

With a dual narration between Sam, an alchemist from a famous mixing family, and Evelyn, Nova’s princess, we get to see both sides of the coin. Sam had a lot more chapters than Evelyn and I was glad as I really liked her; she was what made me carry on with the novel when I was struggling with the world set up. I love her need for learning and books and research as well as the interesting family history of the Kemis. Their reputation as world-class alchemists and mixers is failing in a world overtaken by synthetic ingredients and huge, industrial laboratories. I loved having the idea of old skills and legendary businesses failing in a modern world as it’s been happening for years now, and particularly to those taking over family businesses now, and it’s rarely talked about so openly in literature.

With the Wilde Hunt, Sam has the opportunity to raise some money to restore their shop and the good name of the Kemis. I really loved the quest for the unknown ingredients of the banned and dangerous love potion. The story took a turn for the adventurous and high octane, leaving a blazing trail of betrayals, miscommunications and near-death experiences. But most of all, I loved that Sam openly admitted that even though she was doing this, it wasn’t her forte, it wasn’t her comfort zone. She preferred her library and burying her head in research and potions. She even thought in terms of potions while was really cool. It was so nice to see a heroine praised for her intelligence and strength outside of the physical which you rarely see in any kind of fantasy. She doesn’t have secret ninja skills or a revelatory past, she is just skilled in her area and manages to apply that to other things to scrape by.

Amy Alward’s debut is a sweet, fun read full of adventure that’s perfect for younger teens and those taking their first forays into fantasy.

Thanks to S&S for the review copy.

Sophie     

Thursday 25 June 2015

My Latest Bookish Events!

I’ve been to some really lovely bookish events lately so I thought I’d share a little about them!


First up is an author event at Bloomsbury with Sarah Crossan (The Weight of Water, Breathe, One) and Jenny McLachlan (Flirty Dancing, Love Bomb) where the lovely Daphne of Winged Reviews moderated a chat about friendship, family and first love. We had a chance to mingle in the conservatory area of the Bloomsbury offices before and after listening to the authors talk and get to ask them questions ourselves. There were books to grab, goodie bags (above), delicious sweet treats and a chance to get our books signed.


The other week, I was browsing Twitter in the evening while on holiday and came across a few friends saying they had managed to snag tickets for something called #AskPaperTowns. After a quick Google I discovered that it was a Q&A with John Green that was going to be hosted in Leicester Square for the press tour for the Paper Towns movie. I was luckily enough to grab two of the first-come-first-served tickets for me and my little sister.

To my utter delight, when we were queueing we discovered that the Q&A would be hosted by YouTubers Dan and Phil whom we both love. We got a sneak peek at 20 minutes of the film (it looks amazing – I can’t wait to see the full thing!) and then there were surprise appearances from Nat Wolff and Cara Delevingne who play Q and Margo in the adaptation. It was easily one of the best events I’ve been to in a really long time – a wonderful evening.


Last but definitely not least, last Saturday I was invited up to Walker Books for their #WalkerFictionFest where we heard about all of their upcoming releases, got to hear readings from the three lovely attending authors – Katie Everson (Drop), Lauren James (The Next Together) and Zoe Marriott (Frail Human Heart) – be taken through the design process for the covers, ask some questions and get the chance to mingle and chat with the authors, publishers and other bloggers and booktubers. The perfect way to spend a Saturday morning, even if I did have to get up at the crack of dawn…

Here’s to more fab book events in 2015!

Sophie 

Wednesday 24 June 2015

The Accident Season, Moira Fowley-Doyle

Pages: 288
Publisher: Corgi
Release Date: 2nd July 2015
Edition: UK proof, review copy

It’s the accident season, the same time every year. Bones break, skin tears, bruises bloom.

The accident season has been part of seventeen-year-old Cara’s life for as long as she can remember. Towards the end of October, foreshadowed by the deaths of many relatives before them, Cara’s family becomes inexplicably accident prone. They banish knives to locked drawers, cover sharp table edges with padding, switch off electrical items – but injuries follow wherever they go, and the accident season becomes an ever-growing obsession and fear.

But why are they cursed? And how can they break free?

All I’ve been hearing about The Accident Season is how beautifully written, tense and surprising it is and it is all of that.

Right from the off, there’s a sense of doom lingering over The Accident Season and it builds and builds throughout the novel until I was so tense and worried for Cara, Sam, Alice and Bea that my flight soared by. But the tension doesn’t only come from the end of October looming and the final, and worst, accidents of the accident season to come. Cara and Sam are ex-stepsiblings but they certainly don’t feel that way.

I loved the relationship between Cara and Sam. I loved the torment over their feelings, the denial, the confusion, the torment and occasionally, the utter refusal to accept them. Relationships like this, ones bound up in family ties and elements of the forbidden, miscommunications and jumping to conclusions, are my favourite to read and The Accident Season was full of them. But it wasn’t just romantic relationships, it was friendships and familial ones too which is always brilliant to read.

As Cara and the guys fell deeper into the mysteries of Elsie and began to question the accident season and everything they had been taught and believed for years, the novel began to feel a little like a dream. There was a sort of haze over the characters and Cara’s thoughts became beautifully jumbled, only intensifying to a breathtaking level at their Halloween masquerade (which I totally want to go to). It was sometimes hard to tell what real and what was imagined and I was completely swept up in it. The reader is carried to a shocking revelation and though I had started to have suspicions, the full extent still took me by surprise.

The Accident Season is a beautifully told tale of damaged, wanting kids growing up, falling in love and having their eyes opened to the sometimes horrible parts of life. A gorgeous debut.   

Thanks to RHCP for the review copy.

Sophie

Tuesday 23 June 2015

Books I Couldn't Finish (5)

I used to finish ever book I started, whether I was enjoying it or not. But life is short. I’ve realised that I don’t have time for books I’m not full involved in any longer so if I don’t like something or don’t connect with it as much as I want to, I’ll put it aside. It still makes me feel guilty though, especially if I received them for review so I still want to talk about them, explain why I didn’t like them. Here are the most recent books I DNF-ed.

The Alex Crow, Andrew Smith

I was so disappointed with The Alex Crow. I adored Grasshopper Jungle and Winger and I couldn’t wait for another strange and original novel from Andrew Smith, but I really struggled to even read the 3% that I did – yes, 3%... The timeline was jumping all over the place and I didn’t know where or when I was and it just didn’t give me the opportunity to care about the story or the characters. It was also just weird weird rather than the insanely good weird of Grasshopper Jungle. I won’t be going back to this, but I will carry on reading Andrew Smith’s novels – that’s how good Grasshopper Jungle is.

The Game of Love and Death, Martha Brockenbrough

Now, I really don’t know why I felt the need to put this one down. It’s set in 1920s Chicago with a POC girl working on planes against the backdrop of a game of pawns between Love and Death. I thought the writing and the tone of the prose was beautiful, but I just couldn’t do it. I put it back on my TBR shelf and I definitely plan on picking it back up again as I think I was probably just in the wrong mood for it at the time. I’m very fussy when it comes to historical novels!

Cleo, Lucy Coats

I actually persevered with Cleo for a while – I didn’t DNF until 69%. I’m a huge fan of Ancient Egypt and I find the politics and mythology of that time fascinating so I was expecting to love Cleo. Sadly, I actually found myself completely ambivalent towards Cleo and her mission for about half of the novel and then that just switched to annoyance. There was a heap of instalove and I just couldn’t connect with Cleo. I don’t honestly feel like she had much of a personality, let alone the teenage version of a legendary queen of Egypt. I also found her interactions with her body servant Charm really irritating – the pet names they used for each other had me grinding my teeth. I would actually have been much more interested in Charm’s story!

Sophie 

Monday 22 June 2015

Lorali, Laura Dockrill

Pages: 337
Publisher: Hot Key Books
Release Date: 2nd July 2015
Edition: UK signed proof, review copy

Other Titles by this Author: Darcy Burdock, Hi So Much, Sorry About Me, Oh Obviously

Colourful, raw, brave, rich and fantastical - this mermaid tale is not for the faint-hearted.

Looking after a naked girl he found washed up under Hastings pier isn’t exactly how Rory imagined spending his sixteenth birthday. But more surprising than finding her in the first place is discovering where she has come from.

Lorali is running not just from the sea, not just from her position as princess, but her entire destiny. Lorali has rejected life as a mermaid, and become a human.

But along with Lorali’s arrival, and the freak weather suddenly battering the coast, more strange visitors begin appearing in Rory’s bemused Sussex town. With beautifully coiffed hair, sharp-collared shirts and a pirate ship shaped like a Tudor house, the Abelgare boys are a mystery all of their own. What are they really up to? Can Rory protect Lorali? And who from? And where does she really belong, anyway?

Lorali is easily one of the most beautiful and original books I’ve read this year. I loved it.

With chapters from the perspectives of Rory, Lorali and The Sea and a blend of prose and poetry, Laura Dockrill has really created something unique. There are mermaids, sirens, pirates, particularly evil pirates and complicated families. I loved the world that began off the coast of Hastings. The Mer of the Whirl and their world are described in the most wonderful way; the palace at the bottom of the ocean, the salvaging of worthy humans who meet a watery grave, the Mer’s tapestries, the interference of the sea in the lives of everyone. I fell head over heels in love with The Sea’s chapters – they blew me away.

I also really loved the way that the secret world of Lorali and her family was brought into 2015. I don’t want to spoil anything, but the Whirl suddenly becomes general knowledge to the walkers (humans) and it changes. The power and influence of the media on trends and fads and the effect on teenagers was blunt and open, but it also wasn’t shocking. The negative effects of the media are just taken in our stride now and that’s scary.

Lorali is a beautiful, beautiful novel about love, life and identity. You should all go out and buy a copy as soon as it’s released.

Thanks to Hot Key Books for the review copy.

Sophie 

Sunday 21 June 2015

Letterbox Love #93

Letterbox Love is a way to show you all of the lovely, lovely books I’ve gotten in the post, bought and everything else over the last week. Summaries are taken from the cover, or Amazon/NetGalley/Goodreads in the case of e-books, unless otherwise stated. Hosted by Narratively Speaking.

As I was on holiday last week, this is the last two weeks’ worth of books. I got some lovelies!

For review:

Lying Out Loud, Kody Keplinger (e-proof)

Revisit Hamilton High in this must read for fans of The DUFF – co-starring Bianca and Wesley.

Sonny Ardmore is an excellent liar. She lies her dad about being in prison. She lies about her mom kicking her out. And she lies about sneaking into her best friend’s house every night because she has nowhere else to go.

Amy Rush might be the only person Sonny shares everything with – secrets, clothes, even a nemesis named Ryder Cross.

Ryder’s the new kid at Hamilton High and everything Sonny and Amy can’t stand – a prep-school snob. But Ryder has a weakness: Amy. So when Ryder emails Amy asking her out, the friends see it as a prank opportunity not to be missed.

But without meaning to, Sonny ends up talking to Ryder all night online. And to her horror, she realises she might actually ‘like’ him. Only there’s one small catch: he thinks he’s been talking to Amy. So Sonny comes up with an elaborate scheme to help Ryder realise that she’s the girl he’s really wanted all along. Can Sonny lie her way to the truth, or will all her lies end up costing her both Ryder and Amy?

Yay! Can’t wait to get stuck in – thanks Hodder and NetGalley!

Lair of Dreams, Libba Bray (e-proof)

After a supernatural showdown with a serial killer, Evie O’Neill has outed herself as a Diviner. Now that the worlds knows of her ability to ‘read’ objects, and therefore, read the past, she has become a media darling, earning the title, ‘America’s Sweetheart Seer’. But not everyone is so accepting of the Diviners’ abilities…

Meanwhile, mysterious deaths have been turning up in the city, victims of an unknown sleeping sickness. Can the Diviners descend into the dreamworld and catch a killer?

Finally! This has been a long time coming. Thanks Little Brown and NetGalley!

The Princess Diaries, Meg Cabot (paperback)

‘You’re not Mia Thermopolis any more, honey,’ Dad said.

‘I’m not?’ I said, blinking, ‘Then who am I?’

‘You’re Amelia Mignonette Grimaldi Thermopolis Renaldo, Princess of Genovia.’

A princess?? Me???

Yeah, right.

I have a confession to make – I’ve never read this series before… Thanks Macmillan! It’s definitely time to read this.

Beyond Clueless, Linas Alsenas (proof)

Marty Sullivan has just started high school, which is difficult enough but even worse when it’s a new school with new people. A private school. A Catholic school. A private, Catholic, single-sex school. And to make matters more depressing, her best friend, Jimmy, is attending a public high-school in a different town. But there’s a silver lining: Jimmy, to no one’s surprise, has come out of the closet, and he’s found himself a new group of friends: Derek, his boyfriend; Kirby, who has five boyfriends on the Internet; and Oliver…whom Marty would be all over if not for the fact that he’s gay.

And with her new friend Xiang, Marty discovers that school is not as bad as she was expecting, especially when she learns the fall musical will be Into the Woods! And part of the cast will be boys! At rehearsal, she quickly falls for Felix, the tall, dark, and handsome hunk that all the girls are swooning over. And he likes her too! But all is not as it seems with Felix, and everyone can see that – except for Marty. Her misperceptions cause a rift between her and her friends, especially Oliver. Will she be able to repair the damage?

This sounds like a lot of fun! Thanks Amulet!

The Lost and the Found, Cat Clarke (proof)

LOST.
When six-year-old Laurel Logan was abducted, the only witness was her younger sister. Faith’s childhood was dominated by Laurel’s disappearance – from her parents’ broken marriage and the constant media attention to dealing with so-called friends who only ever wanted to talk about her sister.

FOUND.
Thirteen years later, a young woman is found in the garden of the Logans’ old house, disorientated and clutching the teddy bear Laurel was last seen with. Laurel is home, safe and sound. Faith always dreamed of getting her sister back, without ever truly believing it would happen. But a disturbing series of events leaves Faith increasingly isolated and paranoid, and before long she begins to wonder if everything that’s lost can be found again…

Yay! I love Cat’s books – thanks Quercus!

I Knew You Were Trouble, Paige Toon (e-proof)

Life as the undercover daughter of a rock god isn’t going to be easy. How will Jessie adjust to her boring old life again after spending her summer living it up with her dad in LA? With tough decisions ahead (and not just choosing between two hot boys), can she cope juggling her two very different lives?

Summer may be over, but Jessie’s story is just beginning…

Yay, more Paige Toon!






Frenchman’s Creek, Daphne Du Maurier (paperback)

Lady Dona St Columb with the shallowness of life at the Restoration Court. Despite always being at the heart of the court intrigue, there is a secret Dona who longs for freedom and honest love, even if it is spiced with danger. She leaves London for Navron, her Cornish estate, seeking peace and solitude. But she finds that Navron is being used as a base by a pirate – a Frenchman who, like Dona, would gamble his life for a moment’s joy. Her passion and thirst for adventure have never been more aroused, and together they embark upon a quest rife with danger and glory.

How beautiful are the new YA editions?! Look out for a blog tour stop next month! Thanks Virago.

Another Day, David Levithan (e-proof)

Eagerly anticipated companion novel to the internationally acclaimed bestselling totle Every Day.

Every day is the same for Rhiannon. She has convinced herself that she deserves her distant, moody boyfriend, Justin. She knows the rules: Don’t be needy. Avoid upsetting him. Never get your hopes up.

Then, out of the blue, they share a perfect day together – perfect, that is, until Justin doesn’t remember anything about it. Confused, and yearning for another day as great as that one, Rhiannon starts to question everything. And that’s when a stranger tells her that the Justin she spent that time with…wasn’t Justin at all.

I’m really curious about reading this story from the other side. Thanks Egmont and NetGalley!

On Wednesday I got to go to an event at Bloomsbury with Sarah Crossan and Jenny McLachlan and we were lucky enough to get a goodie bag each. Here’s what was in them:


And then on Saturday morning, I spent my Sunday morning at #WalkerFictionFest! It was a brilliant blogger event and Zoe Marriott, Lauren James and Katie Everson. It was a brilliant morning and it was officially the best goodie bag I’ve ever been given!


Bought:

Stone Mattress: Nine Tales, Margaret Atwood (e-book)

A recently widowed fantasy writer is guided through a stormy winter evening by the voice of her late husband. And elderly lady with Charles Bonnett’s syndrome comes to terms with the little people she keeps selling, while a newly-formed populist group gathers to burn down her retirement residence. A woman born with a genetic abnormality is mistaken for a vampire. And a crime committed long ago is revenged in the Arctic via a 1.9 billion year old stromalite.

In these nine tales, Margaret Atwood ventures into the shadowland earlier explored by fabulists and concoctors of dark yarns such as Robert Louis Stevenson, Daphne du Maurier and Arthur Conan Doyle – and also by herself, in her award-winning Alias Grace. In Stone Mattress, Margaret Atwood is at the top of her darkly humorous and seriously playful game.

I think it’s about time to finally read some Atwood.

Hold Still, Nina Lacour (hardcover)

Dear Caitlin, there are so many things that I want so badly to tell you but I just can’t.

That night Ingrid told Caitlin, I’ll go wherever you go. But by dawn Ingrid, and her promise, were gone, and Caitlin was alone. Ingrid’s suicide immobilises Caitlin, leaving her unsure of her place in a new life she recognises. A life without the art, the laughter, the music, the joy that she shared with her best friend.

But Ingrid left something behind. Devastating and hopeful, playful and hopeless. In words and drawings, Ingrid documented a painful farewell in her journal – just for Caitlin. Journeying through Ingrid’s final days, Caitlin fights back through unspeakable loss to find renewed hope.

A breakthrough new voice in fiction, Nina LaCour brings the changing seasons of Caitlin’s first year without Ingrid to the page with indelible emotion and honesty.

After falling in love with Everything Leads to You during the #LGBTReathon, I knew I had to get Nina LaCour’s first two novels.

More Happy Than Not, Adam Silvera (hardcover)

Adam Silvera’s extraordinary debut confronts race, class, and sexuality during one charged near-future summer in the Bronx.

The Leteo Institute’s revolutionary memory-relief procedure seems too good to be true to Aaron Soto – miracle cure-alls don’t tend to pop up in the Bronx projects. Aaron could never forget how he’s grown up poor, how his friends aren’t there for him, or how his father committed suicide in their one-bedroom apartment. Aaron has the support of his patient girlfriend, if not necessarily his distant brother and overworked mother, but it’s not enough.

Then Thomas shows up. He has a sweet movie-watching setup on his roof, and he doesn’t mind Aaron’s obsession with a popular fantasy series. There are nicknames, inside jokes. Most importantly, Thomas doesn’t mind talking about Aaron’ past. But Aaron’s newfound happiness isn’t welcome on his block. Since he can’t stay away from Thomas or suddenly stop being gay, Aaron must turn to Leteo to straighten himself out, even if it means forgetting who he is.

I’m so looking forward to this!

The Wrath and the Dawn, Renee Ahdieh (hardback)

One Life to One Dawn.

In a land ruled by a murderous boy-king, each dawn brings heartache to a new family. Khalid, the eighteen-year-old Caliph of Khorasan, is a monster. Each night he takes a new bride only to have a silk cord wrapped around her throat come morning. When sixteen-year-old Shahrzad’s dearest friend falls victim to Khalid, Shahrzad vows vengeance and volunteers to be his next bride. Shahrzad is determined not only to stay alive, but to end the caliph’s reign of terror once and for all.

Night after night, Shahrzad beguiles Khalid, weaving stories that enchant, ensuring her survival, though she knows each dawn could be her last. But something she never expected begins to happen: Khalid is nothing like what she’d imagined him to be. This monster is a boy with a tormented heart. Incredibly, Shahrzad finds herself falling in love. How is this possible? It’s an unforgivable betrayal. Still, Shahrzad has come to understand all is not as it seems in this palace of marble and stone. She resolves to uncover whatever secrets lurk and, despite her love, be ready to take Khalid’s life as retribution for the many lives he’s stolen. Can their love survive this world of stories and secrets?

Inspired by A Thousand and One Night, The Wrath and the Dawn is a sumptuous and enthralling read from beginning to end.

I’ve heard amazing things about this! I can’t wait.

Sophie 

Friday 19 June 2015

Darcy Burdock: Oh, Obviously, Laura Dockrill

Pages: 372
Publisher: Corgi
Release Date: 4th June 2015
Edition: UK paperback, review copy

Other Titles by this Author: Darcy Burdock, Hi So Much, Sorry About Me

My name is Darcy.
I see the extraordinary in the everyday and the wonder in the wold around me. This is my fourth book and I’m facing some of life’s biggest most important questions.

Will my horrid strict witchy granny make my life a misery for ever?

Will Pork the cat’s real owner turn up and take him away?

Will I survive wearing the world’s most TERRIBLE pyjamas to the school sleepover?

I was so happy when Darcy’s fourth adventure popped through my letterbox that I read it that very afternoon. And I loved Oh, Obviously.

Darcy’s drama of the moment is the impending school sleepover turned talent contest for charity. And the worst thing? She has no suitable pyjamas! Hers are all covered in crazy patterns and slogans and they’re just so loud. Darcy has a bit of a crisis about how bright and clashing her wardrobe comes across to others: to her there’s nothing better than clashing her favourite colours and the best patterns and wearing her personality on her body, but she’s beginning to have her doubts. There must be so many girls her age that get their personality knocked out of them by fears like this – I’m so glad that Darcy is surrounded by people who love her and are just as mad.

I love how Laura Dockrill manages to instil important messages about being yourself and inner strength and dealing with death and grief with such aplomb. It’s subtle and worked into Darcy’s own realisations effortlessly. Everyone could learn a lesson or two from Darcy Burdock. Even though she has a few moments when the Angrosaurus rears its head, she channels her feelings and the events in her daily life into wonderful stories are weaved into the narrative. I wish I thought like her!

I could read about Darcy and her stories for ever and never get bored. Bring on book five!

Thanks to RHCP for the review copy!

Sophie