Review: The Fandom by Anna Day

The Fandom was a strange mix of dystopian satire, Inkheart, and a convention book. While I was relieved to find that the characters get transported into the world of their favourite book within the first 50 pages, I knew from the very beginning that this wasn’t going to be for me.

The premise sounded amazing. I wouldn’t have picked it up otherwise. But the opening chapter featured Violet reciting the plot of ‘The Gallow’s Dance’ to her English class as a presentation on plots. First of all, I had to suspend my disbelief that this class would actually happen and I was surprised no one in the audience shouted SPOILERS! This should have been a dead giveaway that the world building wasn’t going to work how I expected.

But nothing quite compares to how deeply I despised the quote-unquote friendship between Violet and Alice. For one, Violet and Katie are straight up bitchy towards her. They literally laugh when someone makes fun of her all ‘she deserved it, about time someone shot her down!’ and that kind of rivalry and competition between friends is not what I’m about. This kind of behaviour does not warrant the term ‘friendship.’ They break friends and make up so many times in this book, I couldn’t keep track.

While they were transported into the world of ‘the book’ there was an awful lot of movie references. Violet kept referring to a script, which made me wonder why it wasn’t just a film franchise to begin with. I really liked the moments where the script format was used – it was very cleverly done – and I wish there had been a bit more like it too.

I also wished that the book had leant more into the dystopian satire aspect, as all the characters were self-aware in the fictional world that the love interest had a silly name, and there was always a rebel group fighting against the government. It could’ve done something really interesting with setting up expectations, but the plot ended up being a pretty conventional for urban fantasy/dystopian fiction.

There’s not great consistency when it comes to the dramatic irony. Basically, Violet has to live out the life of the main female character in ‘The Gallow’s Dance’ so she knows exactly what she has to do, but there’s not really any sense of foreboding. (Apart from the whole ‘I will hang in four days’ line, which I swear was repeated OVER and OVER again to NO effect.) The whole magic system was underdeveloped too. And I had a lot of questions. Not only in the fictional world turned reality, but about how they ended up in the fictional world to begin with.

As for the writing, it was very repetitive. Day kept stressing that even though Nate was 14 he was more like a 5 year old, and I couldn’t help thinking, why not just make him five years old then?? It was supposed to add emotional impact, but I just kept getting annoyed that Violet was infantilising her brother.

The ending was far too twee, and I’m not sure whether to expect a sequel. I’m not sure how the stakes would change, but I feel like there’s still more of the fictional world to explore. Since we the reader were told the plot of the book in the very first chapter, nothing really came as a surprise…I’m disappointed that I wasn’t more impressed with this book, as it seemed like an absolute dream.

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Review: The Names They Gave Us by Emery Lord

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

This book completely took my by surprise, and it is easily one of the best contemporaries I’ve read all year. Actually, let’s be honest: one of the best contemporaries I’ve read ever. I haven’t been touched this much by friendship, family and faith since the Clearwater Crossing series, which is an old one from the 90s but one of my all time favourites due to it’s absolutely beautiful complex characters and range of emotion. Emery Lord managed to pack the punch of a 20 book series into 380 glorious pages. The Names They Gave Us has a beating heart at its core and I was fully blown away.

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Review: Legion by Julie Kagawa

Series: Talon (#1) | Rogue (#2) | Soldier (#3)
Note: We received the book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review

This is the fourth book in the Talon series, and it picks up immediately after the events of Soldier. I was pumped to pick this instalment up because, honestly, I just wanted to see what else Talon had up their sleeves. We have been building up to something big, I know that this book was going to be an explosion.

I feel like it’s also funny to mention that I’ve been thinking this whole time about dragons transforming into humans and how awkward that must be, and how does it work an all that, THEN I realised that that’s literally the premise to the old Disney channel show ‘American Dragon.’ I completely forgot that they turned into dragons in that too, so as soon as I started imagining Legion as a YA version of ‘American Dragon’ I was golden.

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Review: Dreadnought by April Daniels

30279514Dreadnought by April Daniels
Genre: Adventure, LGBT+
Publisher: Diversion Publishers
Pages: 276
Format: e-book
Rating: ★★★
Note: We received this book from the publishers in exchange for an honest review.

So, we’d heard a few good things about this book on Goodreads from reviewers that were getting early copies, which is also a good sign!  Dreadnought is the story of Daniel who wants more than anything to have a body that reflects how she feels inside. Then he witnesses the death of major superhero, Dreadnought, and his powers are transferred to Daniel who’s body transforms so she can start living as Danielle!

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Review: The Upside of Unrequited by Becky Albertali

32596757The Upside of Unrequited by Becky Albertali
Genre: Contemporary, Romance
Publisher: Penguin
Pages: 300
Format: ARC e-book
Rating: ★★★★

Simon Versus the Homo Sapiens Agenda was one of my favourite books of 2015! We recommended it in our Romances for Valentine’s day video because it’s light-hearted and cute, so when I got the chance to read Becky Albertali’s next book, of course, I leapt at the chance!

This was also one of my most anticipated releases of this year, and I think a lot of people are going to be using it as their choice for ‘under represented body type’ in the Diversity Bingo!

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Review: Caraval by Stephanie Garber

30964236Caraval by Stephanie Garber
Genre: Fantasy
Published by: Hodder & Stoughton
Pages: 416
Format: ARC e-book
Rating: ★★★★.5
Note: We received this book from he publishers in exchange for an honest review. 

So today I have the pleasure of reviewing one of my most anticipated releases of the year: CARAVAL!  I knew this was going to excellent as it was being advertised as The Night Circus meets Laini Taylor…I mean? YES PLEASE! Caraval is a truly magical story full of twists and turns that will make you question whether it is all a game or if hearts and lives are really at stake. And the best bit is (drum roll please) at the centre of the story is THE LOVE OF SISTERS. That’s right, I’m going to go ahead and add Frozen to the pitch too. This is the story of one sister doing absolutely all she can to save her sister from herself.

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Review:The Edge of Everything by Jeff Giles

31170713The Edge of Everything by Jeff Giles
Genre: Supernatural, Contemporary, Romance
Published by: Bloomsbury Children’s
Pages: 400
Format: ARC e-book
Rating: ★★★
Note: I received a copy of this book from the publishers in exchange for an honest review. 

Okay, so this book has a lot of hype. And by a lot, I mean A LOT. Seriously, scroll down the Goodreads page and all you’ll see is five star reviews! People are getting excited about this, so why didn’t I feel the magic? Maybe partly because I was switching from reading an e-book copy and listening to it on the text-to-speech function, but that doesn’t sound quite right. The Edge of Everything covers a great deal of things. If you didn’t think that a supernatural boyfriend was enough, then you have a girl’s quest to recover her father’s body, a boy’s struggle to get out of a binding service, and a family dealing with a shady past. And the best bit is they all link together!

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Review: Cell 7 by Kerry Drewery

29864658Cell 7 by Kerry Drewery
Genre:
Dystopian
Published by:
Hot Key Books
Pages:
400
Format:
ARC e-book
Rating: ★★★

I absolutely adore the tagline, ‘Behind bars. For your entertainment.’ It’s such an exciting premise! (Here’s a plot summary: Martha has killed a high profile celebrity, and she will be tried in the Cells, where the public will vote over seven days whether or not they think she’s ‘guilty’ or ‘innocent.’ But there’s something she isn’t mentioning and the people that love her and getting increasingly more concerned as it looks like the vote isn’t going to save Martha. It’s going to kill her.) This book has received quite a lot of hype already and it comes highly recommended by a few blogger friends. So, let’s get onto what I made of it!

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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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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.