Books We’re Taking on Holiday!

It’s going to be a holiday of tomes! Since we’re going to be spending 85% of this holiday reading, we decided that the physical books we took had to be over 400 pages, and preferably a book we both haven’t read (there are two exceptions, though!) I mean, isn’t that the best thing about going on holiday when your sister has the exact same bookish taste as you? Sharing books!

A lot of these books have been on our shelves unread for a seriously long time, and what better time to read them than practically stranding yourself on a desert island with them? Okay, so maybe substitute ‘stranding yourself’ with ‘going willingly’ and desert island with ‘really nice hotel.’

I’ll Give You The Sun by Jandy Nelson

Bee: This was my individual pick. We both have e-editions of The Sky is Everywhere from that time it was free to download, so this is the holiday where I’ll read Jandy Nelson. I’ve heard nothing but good things – admittedly quite a while ago because the hype for this author has more than died down, but maybe if we like these books enough we’ll be able to inject some life back into the excitement surrounding this author!

Inkheart and Inkspell by Cornelia Funke

Bee: I read 50 pages of Inkheart from by secondary school library almost ten years ago(!) and I’ve been meaning to pick it up again ever since! Now, Inkspell is for Maddie who has re-read Inkheart more times than I can count, but has never made it to picking up the sequel. Hopefully, I can persuade her to not put it off any longer!

Afterworlds by Scott Westerfeld

Maddie: It’s finally time! This book really excites me at the moment because Bee and I are working on a joint project and doing a lot of prep for July Camp Nanowrimo, so reading about a girl that’s having her NaNo novel published is all the inspiration I need. The format of the two stories, the one Darcy wrote and the one she’s living, also sounds like it’ll keep me interested the whole way through. I wonder if I’ll like one more than the other…

The Host by Stephanie Meyer

Maddie: This is the tome-iest of tomes that I’m taking with me, and one that screams summer, along with sci-fi utopia and love triangle. I absolutely love the film and I’m so pumped to read it in novel form, and see how the sister-like relationship between Melanie and Wanda develops, and whether it’ll play a bigger role in the books.

Opal Plumstead by Jacqueline Wilson

Maddie: Last summer, Bee and I went around collecting every Jacqueline Wilson book we could find, from a charity shop, a library or a supermarket – they were all in our hands. Opal Plumstead is one of the more recent releases, with a slightly YA feel as it focuses on a teenage girl who works at a sweet factory as she becomes more involved in the suffragette movement in the early 20th century. I really want to get into some more historical fiction as well, so…

All the Things a Bright Girl Can Do by Sally Nicholls

Bee: This is another suffragette book, but with the addition of an F/F romance! We heard about this at the Anderson Press YA Book Bunch and the buzz was permeable! While one of us reading Opal, the other can dive into this to keep the girl power vibe going.

The Museum of Heartbreak by Meg Leder

Maddie: It’s always good to have a shorter book on hard (much shorter at under 300 pages!) for when we’re in the airport and don’t feel like doing any heavy lifting. To spice up this TBR, let’s read about a very drawn out break up in the vein of Hello, Goodbye and Everything in Between by Jennifer E. Smith!

So, that’s all of the physical books that will be making their way into our suitcases and touching Bavarian soil! We’ve also got a whole bunch on our Kindles to look forward to, so hopefully, this holiday reading schedule will be a complete success!

Review: Flame in the Mist by Renee Ahdieh

After hearing so much hype about Renee Ahdieh’s The Wrath & The Dawn duology on booktube (plus, I’m obsessed with the new UK covers!) I decided it was about time that I read something by her! Flame in the Mist is her latest release which Goodreads calls ‘Mulan meets Throne of Glass.’ I’ve also heard a few people say that it’s a mash-up retelling of Mulan and 47 Ronin, and on both occasions, ‘Mulan’ is the only thing I’m interested in, so I was looking forward to some cross-dressing shenanigans. However, as you’ll already noticed by my star-rating, I found myself a little disappointed. I think this was mostly because I’d read another ‘Mulan’ mash-up retelling recently – though this time it’s ‘Mulan meets Pitch Perfect’ – in Riley Redgate’s Noteworthywhich was A++

Continue reading “Review: Flame in the Mist by Renee Ahdieh”

Review: Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

All I’ve ever heard about this book is how cool the format is, with all the mixed media and unusual-ness. Theory: Due to the format, no one sees how DULL the plot is. Seriously, this was a slog of a read. It used every science fiction cliche in the book. I was just waiting for the ‘We’re running out of oxygen!’ trope, but no dice. (There are still two books to go, so can someone else tell me if this happens? I’m sure as heck not continuing on with the series.)

Kady and Ezra were so 2-D. I’ve seen both of their characters before, in similar scenarios but executed so much better (see ‘Soldier Girls’ by Michael Grant). Oh, and Kady has pink hair, by the way. Just in case you didn’t get that she was a badass and could star in her own anime. *rolls eyes*

The romance was a limp slice of cheese. I couldn’t buy into it at all, as most of the romance happened before the novel began and what did they really connect to each other over? Just saying ‘I love you’ over and over again isn’t enough to convince me. And then we get the most contrived ‘sike, we got you’ ending that destroyed any speck of emotional resonance all for the sake of a sequel.

Let me run through some MORE of the worst moments:
1. Over 500 years into the future and people still use ‘:P’ instead of emojis? C’mon.
2. why why why would anything EVER be justified to the centre?? It’s hard to read and should be preserved for middle grade poetry ONLY.
3. The boys use the phrase ‘chum’ to refer to each other in the beginning and then this is quickly dropped and everyone acts like they didn’t just try and make chum a thing. It’s not a thing.
4. People are still amazed by keyboard art. Well, just wait until they realise if you type in 01134 into a calculator and turn it upside down it spells ‘hello’
5. The AI has a poetic voice? I think this just made the centre justification even worse and I know this is supposed to be quirky and different – wow, a none robotic AI – but that doesn’t mean it wasn’t odd.
6. Kady’s humour was one note.
7. Ezra’s humour was one note.
8. I know they’d been in a relationship before but why is no one screaming ‘insta-love’?
9. Is it just me that finds white writing on a black background kind of difficult to read?
10. Unipedia pages? REALLY? This is the most obvious info dump I’ve ever seen! And it’s not even disguised!

This has just solidified that sci-fi is not for me. At least not like this.

Review: Nemesis by Brendan Reichs

Note: We received this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. 

I wish I’d paid more attention to the Goodreads page before diving head first into the story, because that would have a) cleared up the genre and b) told me that this was the first in a series. Nemesis starts off as an unassuming contemporary with a mystery twist where Min finds herself being murdered every other year and waking up in the forest the next day like nothing happened. There’s also a thread about a potential apocalypse with asteroids threatening to wipe out the planet. Then things get a little crazy when Min starts to get the feeling that this is all a government conspiracy. (Hm, I wonder how she worked that out? Was it the psychiatric evaluations every other year or…?) Suddenly, Nemesis turns fill-on Lord of the Flies and logic is thrown out the window.

Continue reading “Review: Nemesis by Brendan Reichs”

Summer Reading Recommendations!

Today’s Top Five Wednesday is all about your favourite books to read over the summer. So, basically, your favourite contemporary books. If you don’t pick up at least one YA romance in the next four months, you’re a monster (I’m sorry, fantasy loving friends!)

The Names They Gave Us by Emory Lord – In a summery read, you’re looking for a sweet, flawed main character, diversity (of course, that’s criteria for all books!), a slow-burning romance, a conflict that strikes just the right level of melancholy without ruining the cute vibe and preferably adorable kids. The Names They Gave Us gives you all of this and more. I haven’t read a better contemporary since my last Morgan Matson read, so this comes this more than a glowing recommendation. It’s a glowing command to read it (please?)

Proof of Forever by Lexa Hillyer – Following the summer camp theme, this tells the story of four friends reuniting after a long time apart and sharing a time-travelling adventure to when they first got to know each other. Missing pieces of that summer together fall into place and it’s an absolutely heart-warming and heart-wrenching story of friendship and being there for each other no matter what. Definitely pick this one up if you want to feel glittery, for lack of a better word!

Continue reading “Summer Reading Recommendations!”

Review: Contagion by Teri Terry

Note: I received this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Teri Terry is one of my favourite writers. I’ve read everything she’s written bar the sequel to Dangerous Minds. Contagion is the start of a new series, and since Slated is one of my all time favourite dystopian stories, there was a lot to live up to. And what’s the number one thing we always end up saying about high expectations? It’s pretty much our motto… Continue reading “Review: Contagion by Teri Terry”

Review: Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher

Note: I received this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. 

This is probably THE MOST topical book to read about right now. After the release of the TV show, and all the problems that came with it (seriously, research the well-deserved uproar about the representation of depression and suicide) this book has been getting a lot more attention. And yes, I was desperate to read it to see how it all matched up, and nervous, too, that the portrayal would be potentially triggering or harmful. You can’t avoid it. While I’m sure the message of the book isn’t to condone revenge suicide, or suggest that bullying others is the best response to being bullied yourself, I was so aware that those are things you could take away from it. Keeping all that in mind, here are my thoughts.  Continue reading “Review: Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher”