Reviewing the Geek Girl series by Holly Smale!

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Review: Forever Geek by Holly Smale

32288152Forever Geek (Geek Girl #6) by Holly Smale
Genre: Contemporary
Publisher: HarperCollins
Pages: 400
Format: ARC e-book
Rating: ★★★★
Series: All That Glitters (#4) | Head Over Heels (#5)
Note: We received this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

This is it. We’ve been waiting for a whole year, and it’s finally time to finish our beloved Geek Girl series. To say that we were overjoyed to receive this is an understatement. Geek Girl is one of the books that we’re always recommending, and the fact that we’ve re-read the whole series (some of the books multiple times) proves its staying power as one of our favourite series of all time. Forever Geek had a lot of hype to live up to and a lot of expectations to fulfil and both things we think Holly Smale did perfectly. We dare you to find a Harriet fan who isn’t going to be satisfied by all that unfolds in this final book! So, on to the review! Continue reading “Review: Forever Geek by Holly Smale”

Review: Sunny Side Up by Holly Smale

27209626Sunny Side Up (Geek Girl #4.5) by Holly Smale
Genre: 
Contemporary
Published by: HarperCollins
Pages: 224
Format: ARC e-book
Rating: ★★★★
Note: We received this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. 

Another Geek Girl book, you say? This is the best news ever! Sunny Side Up is the second Geek Girl special, and takes place between All That Glitters and Head Over Heels. In the first short story collection, All Wrapped Up, we got to see more of Harriet and Nick’s relationship outside of the modelling world. In this one, however, we jump head first into Harriet’s modelling adventures as she conquers Paris Fashion Week! Here’s everything we loved about Sunny Side Up, and why it’s one of the best short stories around!  Continue reading “Review: Sunny Side Up by Holly Smale”

A Chat With Holly Smale!

What follows in a transcript for the video we posted on our channel, when we got our Geek Girl books signed by Holly Smale! (Be warned: if you have not read Head Over Heelsyou may find some of the conversation spoiler-y!)

Transcript:

Sarah: I did have to fangirl when you talked about Shakespeare

Holly Smale: How could anyone not love dinosaurs and Shakespeare?

Maddie: Write them in. Retelling!

S: That’s your next project

HS: That’s it. Hamlet but with a T-Rex!

*

HS: Did you have a good time, yeah?

Bee: Yeah, yeah, it was amazing! How are Nick and Harriet going to end? I feel so betrayed. We have already read ‘Head Over Heel’s because we got a review copy and I’m so torn, like, I love where this is going but…Nick?

HS: All I’m gonna say is that I’ve known for a long time what the story’s going to be and how it’s going to end so I’m doing it very carefully knowing what the end is. I think that everyone will be happy. But, it’s about the journey. I mean, that’s what books are.

B: I love the character development. You can see how Harriet becomes more and more mature and it’s like: this is great!

HS: Yeah, she does and that’s the thing. It’s really about Harriet developing, and also and what’s most important is that, with Nick and Harriet, it’s not enough to just love someone, you have to love yourself, to be strong enough, to be in a relationship and Harriet’s growing and it’s not unrelated that Nick can’t be there for all of it. She had to grow alone. She has to be strong enough to be in a relationship.

B: I love how we don’t know everything about their relationship, as well, because the timeline is quite jumpy but we don’t need to know.

Anna: Look at this smile. This is an author having a reader get exactly what she’s trying to do.

HS: I had someone go ‘I’ve missed a book’ and I was like ‘what one have you missed?’, I gave her the lineage and she was like ‘oh, no I haven’t, why is there five months missing?’ and I was like ‘that’s what I’m having fun with!’

B: If Harriet says she doesn’t want to remember it, we don’t need to know.

HS: And also, it’s part of the joy of an unreliable narrator. She fills you in on parts of it, then doesn’t fill you in and lies and pretends and fakes it and it’s what you do in real life, because you black out thing you don’t want to know and it also gives you the opportunity to do flashbacks to show you the story very organically, rather than A to Z, here you go, this is what it is, which I love doing. It feels more real to me, and the fact that their relationship is and the fact that everyone is so gunning for it, it makes me think that everyone else feels it’s real too.

B: I think ‘Head Over Heels is probably my favourite.’

HS: Really?! Everyone’s saying that.

B: It’s amazing!

HS: I was so nervous.

B: We can see Harriet mature and her friendships make me feel for her so much because having friends is what she’s always dreamed of.

HS: Honesty, there’s so much of me in her and I was someone that struggled with people at school like, as an adult, I’m surrounded now by people – I’m lucky I’ve met people that love me for me but the urge to clinge and to really force things is always there and when I was writing it, I thought this is how I’ve reacted to having that past so I’m going to give it to Harriet. That, like, ‘I’ve got what I want, I’ve got what I’ve always wanted and now I’m going to keep it, whatever it takes.’

B: Definitely gave me flashbacks to my secondary school experience like ‘I was Harriet!’

HS: Harriet is supposed to be a real person, and she reacts to things. You don’t just go ‘I’ve had this horrible thing happen to me, but la la la la la’, you’re over it but you have echoes back to it, so it’s just about showing someone psychologically processing. Not just that, but heartbreak, friendship, everything. Identity.

B: And Toby as well, he’s a real fave!

HS: Aww, I love him. You’ve read book five, yeah?

B: Yeah.

HS: I had the Rin intention from the beginning of book two.

B: It’s the only way it could have gone!

HS: Exactly! And I had that intention. Everyone was like ‘Oh, is Toby going to get with Harriet?’ and I’m like ‘Wait for it!’ I’m gonna give him something better than Harriet, I’m going to give him someone who actually thinks he is the king. I just think he deserves that and Rin would think he’s a king because he’s a boy Harriet.

B: I think that’s an excellent thing, that Rin comes back as well, because she’s such a beautiful secondary character that she needs to be more prominent.

M: Spin off series!

HS: I had a question yesterday at my event and they were like (they hadn’t read five) ‘is Rin coming back? She’s my favourite character’ so I was able to go ‘Yes!’ She was so special to me, there was no way I was just going to wipe her out. And that’s what’s lovely about series is that you can fall in love with characters and then go ‘I can bring them back!’ but then at the same time, it’s sad, because unless you want to write the same story again and again and again, which you don’t want to do, you can’t have them all having equal weight in every story, so you have to sit down and go ‘OK, in this book, Nat won’t be as prominent, but in the next book she’ll be a lot more prominent.’ For instance, in Book Five she takes very much a background but guiding role, more of the Annabelle thing, whereas in book six, she’s going to be very prominent. It’s going to be Nat’s main role in the book. Out of the series, it will be Six that will be Nat’s book.

B: Is Book Six going to be the last book?

HS: It is the last.

M: Sad noises.

HS: I’ll be tying everything up by this time next year and then obviously in the future, I’d love to come back and do Harriet a bit older.

M: Harriet at 27, Harriet at 53.

HS: Adrian Mole style, you know? I would love that, and I’ve already got ideas for it, but it needs, first of all, for me to do something else so that I’m not just Geek Girl forever, but also it needs time for Harriet to actually get older. So it’s not like ‘Oh by the way, it’s six months later but now she’s twenty!’ I need that time.

S: You need to take a break to write Shakespeare and dinosaurs.

HS: Yes, yes! Hamlet with a T-Rex, that’s what I’m going to be writing.

*

M: I’d like to say that Annabelle and Richard are my favourite characters in the whole thing. They’re so lovely.

HS: I love them!

M: I love that they’re such prominent parents as well because parents are something that’s just invisible in YA.

HS: Yeah, I did that on purpose, because parents are important you know!

M: And when you were saying about the gender balance in raising children and I really liked how Richard was always there and Annabelle was the lawyer mum

HS: It was really important to me to show that parents don’t have to be ‘MUM’, ‘DAD’, the stereotypical roles. They can be loving, they can be fulfilling different roles and also showing a romance between adults rather than just teenagers to show that the love story isn’t just Nick and Harriet and Nick and Jasper- Nick and Jasper! That would be another story!

B: Fanfiction!

HS: But, it’s showing this adult love which is established and is decades old and has it’s own pattern. I think it’s nice to show that life doesn’t stop, that love doesn’t stop when you hit teenage years.

M: It definitely added the term ‘maverick’ to my dictionary. The amount of times it came up in the first book, I was like ‘this is going to be used now!’

HS: Richard is basically my dad. My dad is a self-declared maverick.

B: He’s adorable. Richard is adorable.

HS: He’s adorable. My dad is an idiot but he is adorable.

M: We like exactly the same things about these books, so when she was talking I was like ‘yeah, yeah!’

HS: You know what, I know this sounds arrogant, but I love these books. I love, LOVE them. I read them and I go ‘God, they’re good!’ But, I love the characters and they do what I want them to do. I wanted an adult parenting team that show the love element, but also a man that wasn’t afraid to be feminine, and a woman that was more masculine and showing this journey as a teenager gets older and more experienced but also making mistakes and being quite childish at times, and love coming in and out and having to deal with that, so it’s not just a love story because that’s not enough.

M: What was your favourite modeling adventure in the books, so far, because obviously she’s got Australia to go?

HS: Do you know what, one of my favourite things is thinking up her shoots. I am the most selfish writer; I’ll just do whatever I feel like. I love elephants, so the elephant shoot was pretty amazing and I only did it because I love elephants so much, I was like, ‘I’m doing an elephant shoot not matter what anyone says!’

M: It makes sense!

HS: Well, I’ve washed an elephant in a pool, so I’ve done it, so I know what it’s like to stroke an elephant and cuddle it, so I love that. I loved the Japanese ones.

M: Oh gosh, that one in the pool.

B: Harriet with the lights in the water.

M: I can so imagine it.

B: I can picture it. I need to draw it! It’s so gorgeous.

HS: And in the glass box, with all of the dolls. It’s such a fun job because I get to go ‘what’s the most fun, weird, wacky thing’ and I never did any of the shoots that she actually does because mine were weird in another way and I like making them up so once I had to dress up like a raspberry. In Geek Drama, I made her dress up like a carrot, so I do tweak it. But, I did some really wacky stuff, and I go through Vogue and I go like ‘why is a woman standing in an elevator, I don’t know.’

HS: [about Geek Drama] What’s so fun about it is getting to come at it from Harriet’s perspective, because she’s so dry, and so sarcastic, and being able to slam Shakespeare while also adoring him. Being able to go, I personally think Hamlet is a complete idiot, but I love Hamlet the play.

HS: I just love my job and I’m going to be so sad when [Geek Girl] finishes.

M: I absolutely love when Harriet’s doing the shoots, when she’s trying to do what they want her to do, and they’re like ‘no, no, that’s not it’ and when she’s being herself that’s when they really love her. I think that’s a really lovely message, that you’ve got to be yourself, and that’s what people will enjoy more than trying to be someone that you’re not.

HS: Yeah, exactly. And, it comes across in pictures, you know. The really good models are models that are able to relax and show something through the pictures, not just standing there woodenly, which is what I did, which is why I was rubbish. I had two facial expressions and it was this or this.

M: That with a smile!

HS: Just really, really, really happy and scared.

S: Was the pout not a thing?

HS: Oh, I didn’t know how to pout. Everyone else was pouting and I was going like this. Everyone was like ‘you look like a little owl!’ Also, again, showing a variety of models, showing that models come from every background and every type of person. You get thick ones, you get smart ones, you get nice ones, you get bitchy ones. They’re so many types of people and you can’t just stereotype, like ‘this model’s going to be a bitch and stupid,’ you know?

M: Harriet’s definitely not a stereotype and that’s what’s so wonderful about her! We literally promote it to everyone: read Geek Girl, it’s the best thing!

B: On our channel, it’s like every other video. It’s always relevant.

M: Now whenever we say Geek Girl people are like ‘shh!’

HS: No, no, you tell ‘em to ‘SHHH!’ Keep talking!

B: Thank you!

Review: Head Over Heels by Holly Smale

26094860Head Over Heels (Geek Girl #5) by Holly Smale
Genre: Contemporary, FUN
Published by: HarperCollins
Pages: 416
Format: ARC e-book
Rating: ★★★★★
Series: All That Glitters (Geek Girl #4)
Note: We received this book from the publishers in exchange for an honest review. 

Head Over Heels is one of our most anticipated releases of 2016, and if you known us, even just a little bit, you know we LOVE the Geek Girl series. It’s one of the best things to come into existence because I think there’s a Harriet Manners in all of us. She’s such a relatable and funny character, you can’t help but fall head over heels for her. SO, we had great expectations for the fifth book, and BOY were they met! Let’s fangirl about it! Continue reading “Review: Head Over Heels by Holly Smale”

Christmas Recommendations!

It’s that time of year again to recommend books that are perfect to read this season!

‘Love, Lies and Mince Pies’ by Katy Cannon
This is a companion short story to ‘Love, Lies and Lemon Pies’ which was one of my top 14 books of 2014! The story focuses on Jasper, a secondary character in the both ‘Love, Lies…’ and ‘Secrets, Schemes and Sewing Machines’. I absolutely love that another story has been added to this series, and think it’s the perfect book to get you in the Christmassy mood! Sign up to Katy Cannon’s newsletter to receive the story for FREE on the 8th of December: here

‘Murder On The Orient Express’ by Agatha Christie
A good old murder mystery is great for this time of year – you can snuggle up and get enthralled by an intriguing crime. This mystery in particular is especially Christmassy because the murder takes place on a train that’s been snowed in. Talk about a chilling atmosphere!

‘The Fifth Wave’ by Rick Yancey

During the Christmas season, it’s easy to get caught reading a lot of cute contemporaries, but something we love to do is dip into a completely different genre. Over Christmas last year we were reading ‘Divergent’ and this year, the two books in ‘The Fifth Wave’ really caught our attention. It’s also perfect prep for the movie’s release in January 2016!

‘My True Love Gave to Me’ edited by Stephanie Perkins
But speaking of cute contemporaries, nothing can quite beat them at this time of year. What’s great about short stories is they can be read in one sitting, and having twelve different romances to read really is a gift this Christmas!

‘All Wrapped Up’ by Holly Smale
Geek girl? Check. Romance? Check. Christmas themed? Check. ‘All Wrapped Up’ has it all, so much so that Bee and I couldn’t wait until December to read it! Get to experience the beautiful and funny first date of Nick and Harriet, a couple ready to take the modelling industry by storm!

‘Sweetly’ by Jackson Pearce
And, because I couldn’t help it, I’m going to throw a fairy tale retelling in there! ‘Sweetly’ retells Hansel and Gretel in a slightly ominous and mysterious way. Twins Ansel and Gretchen go and live with a sweet-shop owner, Sophia, out in the woods, in a town where girls go missing, and not everything is as it seems…

Top Series I Can’t Wait To Complete!

head over heelswinter queen of shadows
Winter (The Lunar Chronicles #4) by Marissa Meyer

Oh my goodness, oh my goodness, oh my goodness. Does this even need explanation? The Lunar Chronicles is one of my favourite series, and I love any opportunity to read a fairy tale retelling. I can’t wait to see how everyone’s stories end, and hopefully, I’ll have another OTP to add to my list by the final page of this book! (Also, that cover though. The apple looks magnificent.)

Head Over Heels (Geek Girl #5) by Holly Smale

Both Bee and I have always been huge Holly Smale fans from the very beginning. ‘Geek Girl’ spoke to me in a way no other book had. I can’t believe that a few years later, Harriet’s had five different adventures, and is possibly about to have her last? I hope this series goes on forever, literally. ‘Head Over Heels’ is going to be such a treat.

Queen Of Shadows (Throne Of Glass #4) by Sarah J. Maas

After not being that impressed by ‘Heir of Fire’, I can’t say this book is at the top of the list. BUT, I’m still interested enough in the series to read on. Well, that was before Bee read it and I think it’s fair to say that hate isn’t a strong word when it comes to her review. Maybe I’ll delay reading this one for a bit in that case…

17378527 TWKCoverUK22019274

The Raven King (The Raven Cycle Quartet #4) by Maggie Steifvater

The series finale! Ahhh! I’ve had mixed feelings about this series. I thought it was progressing too slowly and not enough was happening, but really, all the other books were building up to this moment. Gainsey’s fate was sealed from the very first book…I just hope Maggie Steifvater has some tricks up her sleeve so she doesn’t break too many hearts!

The Winner’s Kiss (The Winner’s Trilogy #3) by Marie Rutkowski

This has been one of the most intriguing and successful trilogies I’ve read. I’m not really a huge fan of high fantasy, and this gave me a beautiful taster into the genre. Hopefully, Kestrel will discover her heart in the final book and all will be OK. I think ‘The Winner’s Kiss’ is a very promising title indeed!

Revenge, Ice Cream and Other Things Best Served Cold (Broken Hearts & Revenge #2) by Katie Finn

Bee loves Morgan Matson, not matter what name she’s writing under. Although this series isn’t her favourite of Katie Finn’s books, she’s still going to read the heck out of it. (and let’s be honest, nothing can beat her beloved ‘Amy and Roger’s Epic Detour’!)

Review: Geek Girl – All That Glitters by Holly Smale

all that glittersGeek Girl: All That Glitters by Holly Smale
Genre: Contemporary, Humour
Published by: HarperCollins
Pages: 430
Format: ARC E-Book
Rating: ★★★.5
Where to Find: Goodreads | Amazon

The fourth book in the Geek Girl series maintained the same level of humour and fun that the other three books in the series uphold! ‘All That Glitters’ took Harriet on a new adventure: being a Sixth Form student! (Such a nice change from the plethora of secondary school settings out there!)

Harriet’s venture into sixth form shouldn’t dissuade a younger reader from continuing the series – she’s still the same geeky, bubbly girl she was in secondary. Although, we were expecting Harriet’s voice to mature as she became a young adult, we’re sure this will happen in the subsequent books, as she went through some major character development by the end of the book.

Continue reading “Review: Geek Girl – All That Glitters by Holly Smale”