Mid-Year Book Freak Out Tag!

This was a video that we wanted to do back in July but never got round to, and then the longer we left it the less ‘mid-year’ it became! But since we really like the survery-style questions, here it is. We were tagged Liv The Book Nerd (thereby giving us the perfect opportunity to do this!

Q  U  E  S  T  I  O  N  S

253224491. Best book you’ve read so far in 2016.
This is a super hard question, because there were some amazing books that came out in the beginning of the year that seem so far away at this point! One of many is Radio Silence by Alice Oseman! Solitaire was our favourite book of 2015, so it’s no surprise that Radio Silence will be somewhere on that TOP list of 2016! We actually got to meet Alice, along with her book writing BFF Lauren James(!), in March – here’s a video chronicalling it!

2. The best sequel you’ve read so far in 2016.
Maddie: How Hard Can Love Be? by Holly Bourne.
Bee: The Rose Society by Marie Lu

3. New release you haven’t read yet, but want to.
Maddie & Bee: If I Was Your Girl by Meredith Russo

anticipatedfallreleases4. Most anticipated release for the second half of the year.
We have a whole video of anticipated releases for Fall-Winter!

5. Biggest disappointment.
Maddie: Lady Midnight by Cassandra Clare
Bee: The Raven Boys by Maggie Steifvater

6. Biggest surprise.
Maddie& Bee: The Naturals by Jennifer Lynn Barnes – we picked it up from the library on a whim with zero expectations and we both ending up really enjoying it!

7. Favourite new author. (Debut or new to you)
Maddie: Jeff Zentner, author of The Serpent King. It was one of the first books I read this year, and this authors debut, but I loved it and will now read everything he writes…probably.
Bee: V.E. Schwab – we even got to meet her this year! We filmed her entire talk and when she signed our books. She was sooo lovely!

287560538. Newest fictional crush.
Maddie: Tim from The Boy Most Likely To by Huntley Fitzpatrick
Bee: It’s been a bit of a disappointing year crush-wise, but if I had to pick: Alucard from A Gathering Of Shadows.

9. Newest favourite character.
Maddie& Bee: Just about every character in Wonder by R. J. Palacio.

10. Book that made you cry.
Maddie: I almost thought I hadn’t cried at any book this year (because it’s seriously not often I do) but then Bee reminded me I had an actual sobbing fest over The Serpent King.
Bee: Counting by 7s by Holly Goldberg Sloane.

11. Book that made you happy.
Maddie: Spot The Difference by Juno Dawson. Our friend Carys, when she went to YALC, even queued up to meet her so she could get a copy signed and dedicated to give us!
Bee: Sunny Side Up by Holly Smale. Harriet Manners never fails to make me smile!

12. Most beautiful book you’ve bought so far this year (or received)

13. What books do you need to read by the end of the year?
Maddie: Bloodlines by Richelle Mead! It’s going to be the series I read this winter, and I’m really hyped for it!
Bee: Asides from university assigned reading…I would love to have at least started the Falling Kingdoms series by Morgan Rhodes! I’ve been saying I want to read it practically since January!

The GBBO Book Tag!

We were tagged by Aoife at Fred Weasley Died Laughing to do the GBBO book tag, created by ReadingWithJack and what better time to do it than the week Bake Off is back on air!

1. CAKE: The cake has sunk in the middle. Pick a book that didn’t rise to your expectations.
Bee: Across the Universe by Beth Revis. It turned out to be one of the most predictable and boring read!
Maddie: Anything I’ve read this year by E. Lockhart: How to be Bad and the Ruby Oliver series. Nothing has been as cool and plot twist-y as We Were Liars!

2. BISCUITS: Once you’ve eaten one, you’re hungry for more and each time you eat another, they get more and more delicious. Pick a book series or trilogy that got progressively better.
Bee: The second half of the Study Series by Maria V Snyder. I love the original trilogy, but the fourth book kind of let me down. But, Night Study really pulled it back to a kick ass continuation!
Maddie: Am I Normal Yet? by Holly Bourne – Each book got progressively more feminist and filled with girl power, two of my favourite things! Continue reading

Review: Holding Up The Universe by Jennifer Niven

28671039Holding Up The Universe by Jennifer Niven
Genre: Contemporary
Published by: Knopf Books for Young Readers
Pages: 400
Format: ARC e-book
Rating: ★★★★
More: All The Bright Places
Note: We received this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Holding Up The Universe was definitely a book I was tentative to read. After really not liking All The Bright Places and seeing the kind of horrific first blurb this book had on Goodreads, it felt like a bad choice of reading material. BUT, second chances are always deserved and Netgalley did a much better job of summarising the plot without any negative connotations. So, let’s talk about it!

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Review: Broken Hearts & Revenge Series by Katie Finn

Broken Hearts, Fences, and Other Thing to Mend, Revenge, Ice Cream and Other Thing Best Served Cold and Hearts Fingers and Other Things to Cross by Katie Finn
Genre: Contemporary, Summer, Romance, Revenge
Published by: Square Fish
Pages: 342, 400, 320 respectively
Rating: ★★.5
More by Katie Finn: Top 8 | What’s Your Status? | Unfriended

The Broken Hearts & Revenge trilogy follows Gemma, who used to be best friends with Hallie until she spread a rumour that destroyed Hallie’s mother Karen’s career and her dad’s chance at happiness. After five years she returns to the Hamptons, where Hallie lives, and uses a fake identity to try and rebuild their friendship, because grudges can’t last forever, right?

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Review: The Geography of You and Me by Jennifer E. Smith

18295852The Geography of You and Me by Jennifer E. Smith
Genre: Contemporary, Romance
Published by: Headline
Pages: 337
Format: Paperback
Rating: ★★
More: The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight | Hello, Goodbye, and Everything In Between

I almost always only give Jennifer E. Smith’s books 2 stars, and yet they’re fun and quick to read that never stops me from picking up her next book. The Geography of You and Me was no different! It’s about a girl and boy who get trapped in an elevator together and fall in love pretty much instantly. Nothing about this story was particularly surprising but that’s what I’ve come to expect from these sugary sweet contemporaries.

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Review: Cherry by Lindsey Rosin

30168148Cherry by Lindsey Rosin
Genre: Contemporary, Romance
Published by: Hot Key Books
Pages: 288
Format: ARC e-book
Rating: ★★★
Note: We received this book from the publishers in exchange for an honest review. 

This is the story of four friends who decide that before they graduate high school they MUST lose their virginity. They call it ‘The Sex Pact’. The premise in general – the whole we need to have sex by a deadline thing – was the main issue we had with this book. But there are so many pros that make this a real must-read for teenage girls who don’t want to feel ashamed for enjoying sex or don’t feel comfortable talking about sexual content with their own friends. It’s going to give you a dialogue to help understand how you might be feeling about sex, and that in itself is a wonderful thing.

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Review: The Raven Boys by Maggie Steifvater

17675462The Raven Boys by Maggie Steifvater
Genre: Supernatural
Published by: Scholastic
Pages: 419
Format: Paperback
Rating: ★★
Series: The Dream Thieves (#2) | Blue Lily, Lily Blue (#3)

The Raven Boys is one of those seriously popular books that I still haven’t read. Maddie has read the first three books and now with the recent(ish) release of the season finale, I feel a lot of people are talking about it again. So, I decided to pick it up, mainly because the idea of psychics really drew me in as I’m writing a sort of magical-realism witch story at the moment. As I was reading I kept thinking ‘Oh gosh I’ve got another three of these to go.’ Then, I realised I could just abandon the series even if I couldn’t DNF the book. I mean, everyone told me that nothing really happens but I wasn’t entirely sure to what extent nothing happens. And let me to you: Nothing Happens. (apart from right at the very end when it’s like whaaaat? I’ve skim read too much by now, how did we get here? I’ll have to fill in the blanks myself.)

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Bee’s ARC August TBR

Maddie and I have received some very exciting upcoming releases over the past few weeks and ARC August is apparently a thing, so I thought I would take the time to share them with you! #ARCAugust is hosted by Read.Sleep.Repeat and it sounds like a super fun way of trying to tackle your ARC TBR pile!

How To Keep A Boy From Kissing You by Tara Eglington

This is probably the ARC I am least excited for in my collection. I really enjoy the whole ‘sweet 16 and never been kissed’ element – it’s what I adore about Kisses For Lula by Samantha Mackintosh, which is one of my all-time favourite underrated contemporaries – but it’s the exact opposite. Instead of wanting to be kissed, Aurora Skye (such a fictional name!) wants to stay that way. Then there’s a boy…of course there is, right?…and he’s basically perfect for her, but she’s stubborn and doesn’t need him (YES!) but then they get thrown together in their school production of Much Ado About Nothing and we’ve all seen that Suite Life of Zack and Cody episode. We know how this is going to go. I really hope that it’s going to defy my expectations, and work through some of the tropes in interesting ways, but we’ll see…

The Form of Things Unknown by Robin Bridges

I read Dreaming of Antigonealso by this author, earlier on in the year, and there was a blurb for her second book at the end and I remember in intrigued me enough to want to read it too! This book also happens to include the characters taking part in Shakespeare! Except this time, it’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream. So I hope it’s going to be a bit surreal, lyrical and emotionally hard hitting. It seems like it’s going to be a bitter sweet story with a bit of discord, so I’m actually looking forward to it. I think the opposing Shakespeare plays also perfectly sum up the tone that these books will have, so the comparison will be interesting too.

The Edge of Everything by Jeff Giles

The cover and the title seem like completely different stories. Am I the only one who feels this way? I see the cover and think mystery thriller with dystopian elements. I hear the title and think summer contemporary romance probably written by Jennifer E. Smith. The Edge of Everything was a popular ARC at BEA and I think that was the only reason why I requested it. It’s about a girl and her brother struggling through a snowstorm, and I think that also reminded me of Cassie and Sam from The Fifth Wave and I wanted to have that connection to a sibling relationship again. Unfortunately, and surprisingly, I think the romance is going to be pretty high in this one, considering the tag line is ‘For the perfect love what would you be willing to lose?’

Iron Cast by Destiny Soria

This is a story set in the early 1900s where there’s a club where people can be entertained by illusions. Things go wrong, best friends are sacrificed, lies are told. That kind of thing. I hope this is going to be the kind of story where I’m completely immersed in the world and engrossed by the story. I want to be swept away by these characters and their magic. Maybe with some Night Circus vibes, but it also feels like a hit BBC drama.

The Secret City by C.J. Daugherty

I picked up the first book in this series when I met C.J at the Feminism in YA event in March. I’ve seen the book trailer and it looks like it’s going to be the next City of Bones. I can’t wait to read the first one, and I’m glad to have the second book on hand so I can jump on it immediately!

And I Darken by Kiersten White

This is one of those ARCS that’s been gathering pixellated dust on our to read shelf. I’ve tried to pick it up before and never gotten very far through. August is the month I will read this gender bend Vlad the Impaler! It’s got a really strong concept and I love female lead fantasies, and hopefully this will be no exceptions. I’m exception a lot of Action and Adventure, so we’ll see. I’ve seen some really positive reviews on GR people saying it’s dark and enticing. So I can’t wait!

The Best Possible Answer by E. Katherine Kottaras

This is the book that I am most excited for! It’s a contemporary about an over-achieving girl who’s set to go to an Ivy League university until her boyfriend leaks racy photos of her online. Then she gets a job at a community pool and makes more friends and puts her life back together, and I can’t even contain my excitement for this books, which is why it’s probably going to be one of the last I read this month. I love everything about the concept, and I think it’s going to be a real story packed full of my favourite thing: CHARACTER DEVELOPMENT! It sounds like something I’ll really enjoy, and to find a new author to follow would be incredible.

Review: The Program by Suzanne Young

11366397The Program by Suzanne Young
Genre: Dystopian, Sci-fi, Romance
Published by: Simon Pulse
Pages: 403
Format: e-book
Rating: ★★
Series: The Treatment (#2)

I started to read this book because I’d recently finished the currently available 2 seasons of iZombie on Netflix. I LOVE iZombie, it’s just incredible and I couldn’t recommend it enough. After all the medical sci-fi, I decided it was finally time to read The Program which has been on my TBR for ages. In short, it definitely reminds me of YA from 2013. It’s a little too romance heavy and insta-love is a real issue. I was really intrigued by the first 50 or so pages, but after procrastinating from continuing for almost two months (due to BTAT2016 and university reading) I was losing hope. I finished it…eventually, though! Here are my thoughts:

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Review: The Deviants by C. J. Skuse

23126437The Deviants by C.J. Skuse
Genre: Contemporary, Mystery
Published by: Mira Ink
Pages: 320
Format: ARC e-book
Rating: ★★★★
Note: I received this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Now, I have read a LOT of YA mystery/thriller kinds of stories, but when I read the blurb for this one, I just couldn’t resist; the mystery pulled me in! Although, I wouldn’t recommend reading the Goodreads blurb, because I think it gives a little too much away, so here’s mine instead: The Deviants follows five teenagers who used to be best friends until everyone’s favourite older sister Jessica died. Years later the fearless five find themselves back together, playing their old tricks and seeking revenge. But Ella, the narrator, is hiding something from the rest of her friends, including her boyfriend Max. If they knew the truth it would surely rip them apart, because it seems like she has an explanation for Jess’s death, and no one is going to like it.

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