Review: Lola Offline by Nicola Doherty

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

Let’s get this out of the way first: if you LOVED Anna and the French Kiss, particularly the international Parisian boarding school and Etienne as the irresistible, popular love interest, you’ll LOVE Lola Offline. It has both of these things, though Etienne comes in the form of Tariq. Same guy, without the whole cheating-on-his-girlfriend thing. So, in the end, a better and more racially diverse alternative. (Perfect!)

Lola Offline is about a girl that wants to escape her identity. Delilah moves to Paris and changes her name to run away from a social media scandal, where she posted something  completely inappropriate without stressing the fact she was being ironic. When the Internet gets mad, there’s no going back. Lola hopes that the boarding school and new group of friends will never find out what she did.

Like that was going to happen. Her Twitter footprint is online forever, whether or not see is and you get a scene very reminiscent of Janice and Kady’s in Mean Girls when Lola’s identity and globally recognised mistake is unearthed by Vee, the girl who’s extremely mad at the world.

My favourite character was, without a doubt, Fletcher. She so could have easily been the Regina George of the school: blonde, pretty, popular. But Vee seems to think that about her, getting very antsy when Lola suggests being her friend when Fletcher has done nothing wrong. She’s the sweetest girl ever, and I really appreciated that her character defied the stereotype that would have been dumped on her if this was, say, a teen movie.

Tariq and Lola’s relationship was a slow burn, but not because he had a girlfriend, but because for most of the second half, Lola thinks he’s gay. That would be fine, besides the fact that she bases this opinion on the fact that he got over his girlfriend quickly, has a good sense of style and ‘baked brownies’. Brownies?? Since when have delicious baked goods been a sexuality signifier? It was so ridiculous, I couldn’t help but laugh.

Another great thing, though, was how clued in the book was to social media and the consequences. Sometimes it could read a little like a high school assembly about the dangers of putting yourself online, but the comments it did make about permanence and how everything you say affects your future were poignant, nonetheless.

Overall, Lola Offline struggled for me to make it’s own splash, as I could constantly think of things that may have been inspirations, or where I’d seen similar plot threads before. BUT, the things it did mimic in some way are sure to appeal to fans of those things, and I’m sure someone that’s just looking for a cute, social-media orientated romance will really like this book.

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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 “The GBBO Book Tag!”

Award: The Book Fangirling Blog Award

We were nominated by Kellie at Book Delights, so a huge thank you to Kellie! Fandoms are definitely something that Bee and I are apart of, but it doesn’t take over our lives as much as it could. So, let’s have fun answering her great questions.

The Rules

  • Thank the blogger who nominated you.
  • Answer the questions they set for you.
  • Set some new questions and nominate five more bloggers.

Questions

1. Which fandom do you think creates the best (subjectively) fanart/fanfiction/gifs…?

We’ve been following the eighth season of RuPaul’s Drag Race and seeing all the fanart of the queens has been AMAZING! Drag Queens make such great models for fanart because of their intense costume and makeup, personal favourite artists being: Chad Sell and dariendoodles!

And, more longstanding, the Percy Jackson fandom has always been on point with their fanarts, see Viria if you want to cry your heart out over the beauty.

2. How many fandoms do you identify yourself with? What fandoms are they?

SO MANY. At the moment, our current fandoms are Steven Universe (life-changingly adorable. (Those new episodes, though!)) and Victorious, because we’re discovering old Nickelodeon shows from 2008 and it’s the best thing ever!

3. Do you have any fandom items? If you do, what is your favourite item?

We have a lot of Harry Potter merch, from t-shirts and figurines to actual wands from the Warner Brother Studios, but our favourite things are probably all the dolls we have that assert us as part of the Mattel fandom.

4. Favourite OTP from your favourite fandom?

All time favourite fandom? Oh my goodness, how can anyone decide this? We did a video of our favourite couples, so turn to that to get to know us a little better! Currently, Cat and Robbie from Victorious are fuelling my happiness. (And the fact that they turn up in Ariana’s One Last Time video makes my life complete.)

5. What book (series)/fandom/tv series/anything will you remain a fangirl for until the very end?

Once Upon A Time. No matter how bad people say the writing is, or the trajectory of the character’s fates, we’ll remain in Storybrooke forever, or at least until Rumbelle get their happy ending! Similar things can be said for the Pretty Little Liars fandom. As long as the baes all end up together by the end of season seven, you can count us both as satisfied fans!

Our Questions: 
1. What fandom would you recommend to others?

2. What fandoms have you been part of for the longest and the shortest amount of time?

3. Do you contribute to your fandoms with fanfiction, art, gifs, etc. or do you just support and appreciate it?

4. What’s your all-time favourite fandom?

5. Do you have any head-canons, or only follow the canon?

If you like the sound of this tag, we tag YOU to do it!

Reviews: World Book Day Books for Older Readers

Both of these stories were available for £1 on World Book Day, March 3rd, and are still available as e-editions. 

26365537Kindred Spirits by Rainbow Rowell
Genre: Romance
Published by: Pan Macmillan
Pages: 63
Rating: ★★★

This was a classic Rainbow Rowell story in that the romance was adorable, and follows the same kind of fangirl culture, similar to Fangirl itself. Elena, our protagonist, decides to camp out in front of the movie theatre a few days before the release of Star Wars: The Force Awakens. She’s already bought a ticket online, but it’s the ritual of devotion to the franchise, no matter how unnecessary. Gabe and Troy are the only other people in the line.  Not only is this a romance story, but a story about being a fan of something, and how we need to show the world we like something, especially online. Gabe even has this little speech about nerd/geek culture and how it’s cool to be part of a fandom nowadays. We could both talk for a long time about fandom culture, so we won’t, but just know it sparks some interesting thought.

The scenario was really unique and the characters were witty. It was something you could enjoy for an hour, and be sucked in by.

The one thing that niggled at us both was the convenience of the relationship between Elena and Gabe. It turned out that they both knew of each other before the line, as if that would make up for the shortness of the story. It just felt a bit incomplete.

9781471405679Spot The Difference by Juno Dawson
Genre: Contemporary
Published by: Hot Key Books
Pages: 84
Rating: ★★★★

This book was really refreshing because the main character, Avery, had acne. I’ve never seen that dealt with as a serious topic in a book before, which seems ridiculous because a lot of teenagers suffer from it, and if not from full blown acne, then definitely from the odd pimple or two. The plot revolves around Avery getting some treatment for her spots and becoming beautiful as they disappear. Because of this, she is accepted by the most popular crowd (which really brings to light how superficial popularity is in high school.) While this is happening, there’s an election for head boy and head girl, and Avery is persuaded to go for it.

There were some really lovely messages in this book, about loving the skin you’re in, and being true to yourself, and having loyalty to the people who have been with you through thick and thin. Although the story line could be predictable (because the adoption to the popular crowd is a trope) the characters and their actions were believable, so we didn’t mind.

This story could be read by every person in secondary school, because the characters feel a little ageless. They could be in Year Seven or Year Eleven, and the same dynamic would apply.

Overall, Spot the Difference worked excellently in a small number of pages. It could have been a much longer book, but it was just really concise and wonderful. We loved the humour and the positivity about being yourself, so this was definitely a favourite of the WBD books we’ve read.

 

September Wrap-Up

This month hasn’t be amazing, reading wise! We started university on the 20th September, and even before getting here we were both struck by the dreaded Reading Slump! We managed to read 8 books each, which is still an incredible number, especially given the circumstances, but, unfortunately, it’s not our usual standard.

University has radically changed our reading habits. We’re still reading a lot, but it isn’t exactly the YA we love! There’s a lot of critical essays to devour, so YA has been put on hold and therefore reviews may be few and far between! However, because we’ve started to properly settle in now, we’re hoping to find some time to get back into a regular reading routine. The Creative Writing side of our degree really encourages you to keep reading what you love and to keep up to date with contemporary fiction. If anything, I’ll be using this as my excuse to buy Six of Crows! Also, you never truly realise how expensive books are until you’re a poor student that has to wait until Christmas to get new releases.

Phew! University is tough, and even more of our time has been spent working on our side blog Maddie & Bee, because we’ve been working on our web series, which should hopefully be released sometime this week!

T5W: Favourite Series Ending

This week, we discuss how we feel about our favourite series coming to an end, and what made them all so perfect, because there’s nothing we love more than a good happily ever after!

If you haven’t finished these series yet, then we suggest not reading the explanations as they are pretty spoiler ridden!

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1. City of Heavenly Fire

This series pretty much ended happily for everyone didn’t it? Clary and Jace finally getting to be together, Simon and Isabelle finally admitted they were more than just casual friends and of course Jocelyn and Luke making their vows…the only bad thing about this book was how it completely ruined the end of ‘The Infernal Devices’ series. It should have had a spoiler warning!

2. Anna and the French Kiss

We chose ‘Anna’ because, even though we liked ‘Isla and the Happily Ever After’ the least of the companion series, the happily ever after than Anna and Etienne get is the most beautiful thing ever. I need a short story of their wedding and their family and them just growing old together, please.

3. Champion

 Although slightly bittersweet, I love a good ambiguous ending every now and again! Day and June went through such a hard time in this trilogy, and even though I may have wanted them to have the perfect ending where they’re definitely together forever and ever, I thought it was a perfect and completely realistic ending after everything that had taken place.

requiemislaIllusionists

4. Requiem

A controversial choice is always good to throw into the mix. The Delirium trilogy by Lauren Oliver ended slightly ambiguously. Did Lena end up with Alex or Julian? Would everything be OK in the end or not? Was the society better with or without love? I think that’s what made the ending so successful – I had questions. In hindsight, Requiem ended differently to any other girl vs government book, and that is what makes it a favourite!

5. The Illusionists

The ending to the ‘Fearsome Dreamer’ duology completely threw me for a loop. I can’t believe how it ended! There were so many twists and turns in the plot (not to mention the space-time continuum) it was like the whole world had been turned upside down! ‘The Illusionists’ makes it to the list for pure originality and being completely unexpected *applause for Laure Eve*

T5W: Most Frustrating Characters

This week, we discuss the characters that make us want to jump inside books and shake their shoulders! There are quite a few (unfortunately) so let’s get to it!

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1. Tris Prior

Tris, overall, is an excellent character. She’s strong, she’s determined and she’s practically capable of anything. But, there’s one thing she’s not capable of: communication! Actually talking things out with Tobias is her downfall. They’re so willing to sacrifice themselves for each other, which is endearing, but frustrating when they won’t tell each other what’s going on!

2. Prince Kai

It seemed like the lovely prince was the only one out of the loop in The Lunar Chronicles. Scarlet knew about Cinder. Cress knew about Cinder, Levana knew about Cinder…everyone on Earth and the moon knew her identity. Having to read Kai’s chapters in the books was frustrating because I just wanted to dive into the council room and catch him up on all the action. Thank goodness he’s part of the team at the end of ‘Cress’, otherwise I don’t know how I would have coped.

3. Sydney Sage

Don’t get me wrong I love Sydney! She’s intelligent and sticks to her morals no matter what other people tell her. She’s also really good at evaluating right from wrong, but how she handles the Adrian situation had me ripping my hair out! I know you come from a background that pretty much hates vampires, but you shouldn’t care about that if you love one! Sometimes she just needed to listen to her heart instead of her head.

the selectionThe Darkest Minds23264825
4. America Singer

Girl’s got two really sweet guys wanting to be her boyfriend/husband/prince. She spends most of the books in regretful turmoil over each, and struggles to come to a conclusion until the final book. America needed to accept her fate much sooner, and to stop comparing herself to the other contestants for Maxon’s heart! He was looking at her all along!

5. Wells Jaha/ Ruby / Juliette

All three of these characters are classified as juvenile delinquents. All three of these characters share the same weakness: they’ll classify themselves as monsters. Whether it’s because they’re keeping a secret or hiding their powers, Wells from ‘The 100’, Ruby from ‘The Darkest Minds’ and Juliette from ‘Shatter Me’ all have what I like to call ‘The Monster Complex’. If they only realised the potential they held, I would be much less frustrated with them. Embrace the power, guys. Please.

T5W: Books I’d Save In A Fire

For any book-lover, this is the worst case scenario! It’s like asking a mother to chose between the children: its impossible to pick the ones you love the most. I think it would almost be easier to answer the opposite question, as I definitely know which books I’d leave for kindling. But, there are definitely some books on my shelves that I couldn’t imagine leaving behind:

cresslove lies and lemon piesmark of athena
1. The Mark of Athena by Rick Riordan

This is by far my favourite of ‘The Heroes of Olympus’ series – where the gang are all together for the first time! (And who wouldn’t love the moment when Annabeth and Percy are reunited? They’re just precious.) Although ‘The House of Hades’ is beautiful, I don’t think I could live through the cliffhanger a second time. That’s why Annabeth’s solo quest is my first save!

2. Love, Lies and Lemon Pies by Katy Cannon

This is my favourite contemporary – I could re-read it multiple times and never get bored. There’s something about this book that takes me back to my days of reading solely Cathy Cassidy books, whilst equally giving me the same feeling that ‘Anna and the French Kiss’ left me with. I hadn’t read a book that dealt with family orientated issues in a long time, so this one was a real stand out for me.

3. Cress by Marissa Meyer

I’d save cutie ‘Cress’ for the same reason as ‘The Mark of Athena’. I love when teams come together, but I also love a good fake-boyfriend plot. I really think that the ‘Lunar Chronicles’ has everything you could possibly want from a series: romance, adventure, threat and more romance.

paper townsAnnaFrenchKiss
4. Paper Towns by John Green

My favourite of his works. It’s been a while since I read ‘Paper Towns’ and I definitely think a re-read is necessary before the movie is released. This book really sparked my love of road-trips and fuelled my love of a good mystery.

5. Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins

No doubt the best of the companion series, Miss Perkins knows how to put a good romance together. I wish there was less confusion between Anna and Etienne and Etienne’s insignificant girlfriend (I didn’t like her so much I’ve forgotten her name.) However, Anna really sparked my interest in contemporary books, so it would be a crime to leave her behind.

It might be surprising that ‘Inkheart’ didn’t make this list, but I do have four copies. One of them is bound to escape the flames. (I only hope it’s one of the English editions!) Plus, Bee’s got a copy of ‘Fangirl’, so we’d be set on that front.

T5W: Friendship Groups

There’s nothing better than reading a book where the protagonist is surrounded by a great group of friends – friends that support them in whatever they do but also challenge them to do things they wouldn’t be able to do alone. Here are our top five picks for friendship groups we’d love to be a part of!

since you've been gonei'd tell you i love youdeathly hallows
1. Emily, Frank, Dawn and Collins from ‘Since You’ve Been Gone’
What was brilliant about this friendship was that it only really culminated over the summer. As readers, we got to experience Emily discovering new friends, whilst still surviving Sloane’s absence. This book is the perfect example of friendship – if everyone is willing to skinny-dip, then you know you’re friends for life!

2. Cammie, Bex, Liz and Macy from ‘The Gallagher Girls’
All four friends bring something distinctly different to this group; Bex has her beauty, Liz has her brains and Macy has her daring personality (not to mention her father’s money!) Again, if someone is willing to bug the house of the guy you like, there’s nothing they wouldn’t do for you!

3. Harry, Ron and Hermione from ‘Harry Potter’
There’s no way this golden trio couldn’t be mentioned! I loved watching their friendship grow as the series progressed and how supportive Ron and Hermione were of Harry, even when he was being a little bit of a douche-canoe. They’re consistent dedication to helping each other, and the rest of the magical universe for that matter, should be admired.

blood of olympus cinder

4. Percy, Annabeth, Jason, Piper, Leo, Frank and Hazel from ‘Heroes of Olympus’
Why I loved ‘Mark of Athena’ the most out of the whole series was the friendship and teamwork that arose from the seven halfbloods living in the Argo II. Each character could easily mix with any of the other six. Although, if I was to join this group, I might end up feeling like the ninth wheel (as Leo is already spoken for.) Rick really seems to care about his characters finding love. Aww!

5. Cinder, Iko, Scarlett, Wolf, Cress and Thorne from ‘The Lunar Chronicles’
Again, a similar problem would arise from being part of this friendship group – everyone’s part of a couple! (Don’t tell me Cress and Thorne aren’t a proper thing yet. Just wait for ‘Winter’ and I know they WILL be!) What’s special about this group is the diversity, in both gender, age and ability…..and the degree to which they can be classified as human, of course. Cress is a cutie, Scarlett is kick-ass and I bet Thorne would be able to keep everyone entertained, even if the world is being crippled by disease.