Review: If I Was Your Girl by Meredith Russo

29470648If I Was Your Girl by Meredith Russo
Genre: Contemporary, Romance, LGBT+
Published by: Usborne
Pages: 290
Format: Paperback
Rating: ★★★★★

I was so desperate to read this book and I have been ever since it came out, but it was just one of those things where it was on a deal at Waterstones (buy one get one half price) and there wasn’t another book that I wanted! By the time there was If I Was Your Girl had been taken out of the offer, and I resolved that I’d have to find it in a library somewhere. THEN the next round of Zoella’s Book Club was announced and you’ll never guess which was the first book on the list?! And because I bought it when it was the featured book, it was half price! So sometimes waiting for the deals really does pay off! So, I’ve been hyped about this book for a really long time and I’m so happy I’ve finally got to read it because I LOVED it.

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Winter Recommendations!

Blogmas wouldn’t be Blogmas without a few Winter/ Christmas recommendations! Just like in previous years, the list contains a few Christmassy books and a few that are perfect to read in the cold season! This year’s list is probably the most diverse we’ve compiled, so let’s get to it!
Here are this year’s picks:

Orbiting Jupiter by Gary D. Schmidt

This book shares the same cross between middle grade and adult fiction that Wonder by R. J. Palacio has. It’s a book that everyone can enjoy! It’s the story of miscreant by who’s taken in by a family that live on a farm and their compassion is what helps this boy reconnect his past. It deals with some heavy issues, like teenage pregnancy, in an incredibly sensitive manner. It’s one of those books that you don’t think much of when you begin, but once you get dragged into the story you won’t be able to stop thinking about it! Bad weather and frozen lakes play a big part in the story making it a perfect book for the season.

Outlander by Diana Gabaldon

Maddie and I started the year by watching the first episode of the TV, then we found out Outlander was going to be one of the books we had to read for university. So, we halted watching the show and decided to read the book first! This series is one to sink your teeth into, it has the perfect mix of character and plot driven arcs and the romantic scenes are interspersed with politics and fighting. We loved the intrigue and the historical setting, and adore how level-headed Claire is, even in a completely new situation. The TV show has run it’s second season, and I do believe more is in the works, so if you like to watch adaptations along with reading the main text, this is an incredible series to begin over he Christmas holidays. Also, the book series is still on going and all of the books are extremely long, so if you love Outlander, there’s still so much more to read!

Dorothy Must Die by Danielle Paige

Without fail, The Wizard of Oz is always on at Christmas. So is Oliver Twist, but until a YA adaptation of that is written, I can only recommend this marvellously unique retelling where Dorothy is a witch with a capital B and must be taken down at all costs, otherwise Oz will be corrupt forever and ever. This isn’t the Oz you know and put up with because your granddad refuses to change the channel (not speaking from experience or anything.) It’s feisty and gritty and the Wicked Witch of the West isn’t the only evil lurking around. Although I think the blurb lures you in under the false pretences of an epic quest, there are still lots of epic things going on that are worthy of your attention! If you like Percy Jackson, retellings or villains, this is your perfect Christmas in book form.

I’ll Be Home For Christmasa UKYA anthology

We reviewed this on Day 2 of Blogmas and it’s the perfect read for anyone wanted to boost the number of UKYA authors they’ve read in 2016. It’s also a great introduction to authors you may not have heard of, or a juicy extra from one of your favourites. There’s something in here for everyone, including a ghost story, a refugee, astronauts, LGBT+ visibility and plenty of Christmas romance. A bonus for this book is the £1 of every sale goes to the Crisis charity that helps the homeless over the holiday season, so by investing in some great stories, you’re doing a good dead as well!

Twelve Days of Dash & Lily  by R. Cohn and D. Levithan

This list wouldn’t be complete without a contemporary centred around our favourite time of year. Dash and Lily’s Book of Dares made it to a previous list, and the sequel earns its spot as another jovial and unexpectedly quirky story of the Christmas couple, a year later. David Leviathan and Rachel Cohn have done it again, crafting a story around hilarious situations and drama that is guaranteed to keep you occupied until Christmas dinner is on the table. Note: this book can also be appreciated as a stand alone, even if you haven’t read the first book! It’s never too late to get on board Dash and Lily’s romance, huzzah!

If you want to look at our recommendations from previous years just click the dates!

2014 | 2015

Review: Clover Moon by Jacqueline Wilson

28501489Clover Moon by Jacqueline Wilson
Genre: 
Historical, Middle Grade
Publisher: Doubleday Childrens
Pages: 400
Format: e-book
Rating: ★★★★
Note: We received this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

After reading and loving the Hetty Feather series, we were both super excited to dive into Jacqueline Wilson’s latest Victorian historical adventure, that even promises a cameo from Hetty herself. This year, we’ve been rediscovering our old favourite Jacqueline Wilson books, along with keeping ourselves up to date with all the releases that came out the decade we stopped reading. It’s so exciting to read the most recently release, and Clover has worked her way into our hearts just as Hetty did. Continue reading

Review: I’ll Be Home For Christmas UKYA Anthology!

31114205I’ll Be Home For Christmas, an anthology by UKYA authors
Genre: Contemporary
Publisher: Stripes Publishing
Pages: 384
Format: e-book
Rating: Each story rated individually!
Note: We received this book in exchange for on honest review. 

After reading  Stephanie Perkins’ Winter and Summer anthologies, it’s about time to have one full of wonderful UKYA authors! There are a few here, like Katy Cannon and Holly Bourne that we were really looking out for, but anthologies are always an exciting opportunity to discover new authors too.

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Five Books That Non-Readers Should Read!

Whether reading is your favourite hobby, or just something you do on holiday, there are so many amazing books that deserve to be read. We thought we’d set out the really stand-out stories that demand attention that might give you some inspiration on what to read next, or what books would make the perfect gift this Christmas! While all these books are YA and in the contemporary genre, we’ve made sure to pick as diverse a selection as possible, so there’s something here for everyone!

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Worlds Collide Tour: Meeting Rainbow Rowell and Leigh Bardugo!

img_6195In October, it was announced that Leigh Bardugo, author of the Grisha Trilogy and Six of Crows Duology, with Rainbow Rowell, author of Fangirl and Carry On, would be coming on a UK tour, Worlds Collide! There were only going to be four stops to this tour, and luckily we were close enough to one of the venues to attend (although because of super bad traffic, the journey took five hours?!)

Bee is a huge fan of Leigh Bardugo, and we’d met her almost exactly a year before when she was first promoting Six of Crows. We thought it would be really poetic to see her again a year later, when the series was finished and we were so much more confident than we had been in 2015. It also gave Bee a chance to have the rest of the trilogy signed that she missed out on last year. And, it’s no secret that we were the biggest fans of Fangirl, being twins studying Creative Writing and all…there was a lot of hype, and that kept us going when the traffic was at a stand still.

Tphoto-1he event took place in the Manchester Central Library, and was our first event not held at a Waterstone’s, so we were a little concerned we wouldn’t know where to go, but the long queue was clue enough for where we needed to be. Because we didn’t need to pick up copies of either author’s books, we managed to head straight to the seats and find a pair in the front row.

The format of the event was different to anything we’d seen before. Rather than having an interviewer prompting them with questions, Rainbow and Leigh led their own discussion, first telling us about how they first met. It turns out that when Rainbow was writing Carry On, Leigh was writing Six of Crows, and both books were going to have a character called Baz. Of course, in Leigh’s final product, the leader of the crows is Kaz, but it was still fun to hear about this little conflict at the beginning of their relationship.

They went on to discuss the stereotype ideas they had about each other’s writing, but how they really did fall in love with what they ended up reading, so the moral is always don’t judge a book by its genre, or the author’s slightly kooky name.

Unlike any other event, they then took it in turns to help each other act out scenes from their books. Rainbow performed the scene in Carry On where Simon is trying to make Baz admit he’s a vampire, Bella Swan style, and Leigh chose the scene in Crooked Kingdom where Nina is teases Matthias about what ‘barbarian’ means. It was beyond interesting to hear the scenes in the author’s voices, as that’s not something you get to experience often, and definitely helped to illuminate the vibe both authors wanted those scenes to have. The words really came alive, and it made me appreciate scenes I normally wouldn’t pay too much attention too as moments of development between characters.

So after just over an hour of chatter and a Q&A, the signing portion started. We were in the fourth group to be called forward, and you can probably guess the lines were Disney World long. We got chatting to some super lovely ladies, Nabilah and Charlie, about the event and the books and just about anything and that made time fly. So much time had flown in fact that that the library turned off all the lights and we were all cloaked in darkness for fifteen minutes before they were turned back on, saving us from the terror of flash photography.

photo-2Getting to tell Rainbow how much Fangirl meant to us, and how accurate we thought she’d represented twins was amazing and a highlight of the event. Seeing Leigh again was cute too, she was just as quirky and hilarious as before. And although we didn’t get more than a few minutes with each author, we got to say everything we wanted, and the interaction was definitely worth it!

cardsLeigh was also giving away badges and playing cards with the Crows on them: we managed to get my favourite, Inej and Bee’s favourite, Nina by trading Kaz with Nabilah (thank you!!) and overall, we couldn’t stop smiling when we walked away.

So, although we had one heck of a journey to get there, the atmosphere of Worlds Collide fans and aspiring writers was great, as always and the value of signed books will always be worth travelling for! It felt like a once in a lifetime opportunity, and one we were so glad to take!

Review: Trouble is a Friend of Mine by Stephanie Tromly

troubleTrouble is a Friend of Mine by Stephanie Tromly
Genre: 
Mystery, Contemporary
Publisher: Hot Key Books
Pages: 295
Format: Paperback
Rating: ★★★.5

I’ve had this book on my shelf for a while, and that’s mostly because the Goodreads reviews shout that there needs to be a sequel. This can only mean there’s one heck of a cliffhanger, and I wasn’t ready to be unsatisfied…until I found out there’s a sequel, coming out in the week!

So, I was ready to dive into Trouble is a Friend of Mine, safe in the knowledge I could jump right over to the second book straight after. No guesses what I’m reading now.

Advertised as a mix between Sherlock and Veronica Mars, I was on board from the word GO, so let’s talk about this mad, hilarious story and why the sequel is a must. Continue reading

Review: The Secret City by C. J Daugherty and Carina Rozenfeld

cover94392-mediumThe Secret City by C.J. Daugherty and Carina Rozenfeld
Genre: Urban Fantasy, Romance
Publisher: Atom
Pages: 365
Format: ARC e-book
Rating: ★★★
Series: The Secret Fire (The Alchemy Chronicles #1)

This is the second, and I presume final book in The Alchemy Chronicles. I feel very lucky that I got to read them one after the other, instead of waiting the year for The Secret City to come out, because I was completely engrossed with the first book. It was action packed and incredibly well paced, so I was genuinely excited to get around to this book. The acknowledgements of book one also seemed to suggest that there was only one more book in the series, and if there’s anything that’s going to make me want to read a sequel more, it’s knowing that it’s the second of a duology rather than the middle book of a trilogy! I mean, really, I’m glad that this is the end, because it definitely feels like a story told in two parts, where book one sets up all the action and conflict, introducing us to the world, and book two is resolving the issues and ramping up the tension just a few more notches before the end!

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Review: RoseBlood by A. G. Howard

28818314RoseBlood by A. G. Howard
Genre: 
Retelling
Published by: Amulet Books
Pages: 432
Format: ARC e-book
Rating: ★★.5
Note: We received this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

RoseBlood, if you can’t tell from the magnificent cover, is a retelling of Phantom of the Opera. Now, I’ll admit that I haven’t read the book or seen the musical, so the whole retelling element was a bit lost on me, but I did still manage to piece the story together, and gain some understanding of what Phantom is all about. From the off, then, this is a book for both lovers of Phantom, and complete newbies, like me! There was something quite Beauty and the Beast about the story too, so if that’s your cup of tea, you’ll totally love RoseBlood. 
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Review: The Secret Fire by C. J. Daugherty and Carina Rozenfeld

22911719The Secret Fire by C. J. Daugherty
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Publisher: Atom
Pages: 415
Format: Paperback
Rating: ★★★.5

I picked up The Secret Fire when I saw C.J. Daughter speak about Feminism in YA with Holly Bourne and Holly Smale. It was an absolutely incredible event, and though C.J was mostly talking about her Night School series (which I was reading at the time and wasn’t really enjoying) I really wanted to read this one, and I am overjoyed to say that I really liked it!

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