Reading Year in Review: 2017

We got to do some pretty amazing things this year, all thanks to reading. Here are some of our bookish highlights of 2017! Continue reading “Reading Year in Review: 2017”

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Review: One of Us is Lying by Karen M. McManus

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

There’s always a lot of pressure that can come along with a Breakfast Club reference. It’s literally right there on the cover: ‘a geek, a jock, a criminal, a princess’. And although the characters from the 80s classic were way more than their cliched labels suggested, I wondered if Bronwyn, Cooper, Nate and Addy would prove that there is no box to be put in. I couldn’t be more pleased to say that the characters are what make this book amazing and you all know I love a good murder mystery, so that’s saying something. Continue reading “Review: One of Us is Lying by Karen M. McManus”

Review: The One Memory of Flora Banks by Emily Barr

30849412The One Memory of Flora Banks by Emily Barr
Genre: Contemporary
Published by: Penguin
Pages: 320
Format: ARC e-book
Rating: ★★★★
Note: We received this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

On the cover of a sampler I received of this book, is the little sticker ‘The YA Debut of 2017′. That’s a big claim to make and a lot to live up to, but I definitely see how The One Memory of Flora Banks lives up to that claim, after finishing the whole thing and needing to sit in silence for a second to absorb what I’d just read. It was powerful, it was special and one I can’t wait for other people to read! Continue reading “Review: The One Memory of Flora Banks by Emily Barr”

Winter Recommendations!

Blogmas wouldn’t be Blogmas without a few Winter/ Christmas recommendations! Just like in previous years, the list contains a few Christmassy books and a few that are perfect to read in the cold season! This year’s list is probably the most diverse we’ve compiled, so let’s get to it!
Here are this year’s picks:

Orbiting Jupiter by Gary D. Schmidt

This book shares the same cross between middle grade and adult fiction that Wonder by R. J. Palacio has. It’s a book that everyone can enjoy! It’s the story of miscreant by who’s taken in by a family that live on a farm and their compassion is what helps this boy reconnect his past. It deals with some heavy issues, like teenage pregnancy, in an incredibly sensitive manner. It’s one of those books that you don’t think much of when you begin, but once you get dragged into the story you won’t be able to stop thinking about it! Bad weather and frozen lakes play a big part in the story making it a perfect book for the season.

Outlander by Diana Gabaldon

Maddie and I started the year by watching the first episode of the TV, then we found out Outlander was going to be one of the books we had to read for university. So, we halted watching the show and decided to read the book first! This series is one to sink your teeth into, it has the perfect mix of character and plot driven arcs and the romantic scenes are interspersed with politics and fighting. We loved the intrigue and the historical setting, and adore how level-headed Claire is, even in a completely new situation. The TV show has run it’s second season, and I do believe more is in the works, so if you like to watch adaptations along with reading the main text, this is an incredible series to begin over he Christmas holidays. Also, the book series is still on going and all of the books are extremely long, so if you love Outlander, there’s still so much more to read!

Dorothy Must Die by Danielle Paige

Without fail, The Wizard of Oz is always on at Christmas. So is Oliver Twist, but until a YA adaptation of that is written, I can only recommend this marvellously unique retelling where Dorothy is a witch with a capital B and must be taken down at all costs, otherwise Oz will be corrupt forever and ever. This isn’t the Oz you know and put up with because your granddad refuses to change the channel (not speaking from experience or anything.) It’s feisty and gritty and the Wicked Witch of the West isn’t the only evil lurking around. Although I think the blurb lures you in under the false pretences of an epic quest, there are still lots of epic things going on that are worthy of your attention! If you like Percy Jackson, retellings or villains, this is your perfect Christmas in book form.

I’ll Be Home For Christmasa UKYA anthology

We reviewed this on Day 2 of Blogmas and it’s the perfect read for anyone wanted to boost the number of UKYA authors they’ve read in 2016. It’s also a great introduction to authors you may not have heard of, or a juicy extra from one of your favourites. There’s something in here for everyone, including a ghost story, a refugee, astronauts, LGBT+ visibility and plenty of Christmas romance. A bonus for this book is the £1 of every sale goes to the Crisis charity that helps the homeless over the holiday season, so by investing in some great stories, you’re doing a good dead as well!

Twelve Days of Dash & Lily  by R. Cohn and D. Levithan

This list wouldn’t be complete without a contemporary centred around our favourite time of year. Dash and Lily’s Book of Dares made it to a previous list, and the sequel earns its spot as another jovial and unexpectedly quirky story of the Christmas couple, a year later. David Leviathan and Rachel Cohn have done it again, crafting a story around hilarious situations and drama that is guaranteed to keep you occupied until Christmas dinner is on the table. Note: this book can also be appreciated as a stand alone, even if you haven’t read the first book! It’s never too late to get on board Dash and Lily’s romance, huzzah!

If you want to look at our recommendations from previous years just click the dates!

2014 | 2015

Five Books That Non-Readers Should Read!

Whether reading is your favourite hobby, or just something you do on holiday, there are so many amazing books that deserve to be read. We thought we’d set out the really stand-out stories that demand attention that might give you some inspiration on what to read next, or what books would make the perfect gift this Christmas! While all these books are YA and in the contemporary genre, we’ve made sure to pick as diverse a selection as possible, so there’s something here for everyone!

Continue reading “Five Books That Non-Readers Should Read!”

Review: Heartless by Marissa Meyer

31458203Heartless by Marissa Meyer
Genre: 
Fairy Tale Retelling
Published by: Macmillan Children’s Books
Pages: 460
Format: ARC e-book
Rating: ★
Note: 
We received this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

It’s no secret that fairy tale retellings are my favourite genre, and The Lunar Chronicles is my favourite series of all time. Marissa Meyer was a goddess when it came to weaving so many well-loved fairy tales together in this sci-fi universe and I couldn’t have loved it more. So, Heartless, obviously, made my list of most anticipated releases of 2016. I was so excited to see her tackle another fairy story, even if Wonderland and I don’t really get along. Marissa Meyer had also proved that she knows how to write a prequel, before-the-villain story with Fairest, so my expectations were high, and I was satisfied…eventually.  Continue reading “Review: Heartless by Marissa Meyer”

No Reading in November?

It’s pretty obvious that our blog has been a little inactive this month. We’re two weeks into November and nothing bookish whatsoever has appeared! But, that’s all because of one thing: NaNoWriMo!

This month, Bee and I are both attempting to write 50,000 words of our current, individual YA projects. We’re almost on target for achieving the goal, and both have over 20,000 words down so far. It’s a big deal, and takes a lot of time that I’d usually spend reading out of my day, but it’s worth it.

We studying English Literature and Creative Writing at university. Writing essays and short pieces that fit our class briefs has become second nature to us, but it has meant we’ve sacrificed working on our own projects to do what’s demanded.

NaNoWriMo is so great because it gives you an excuse to make time for writing what you love, but in order to maintain our work schedules, we’ve had to sadly sacrifice reading as much as we’d like to in order to write.

And that’s not a bad thing. We’ll both have written whole novels by the time December rolls around! Speaking of which…

As per tradition, Bee and I will be participating in Blogmas. That means you can expect a post on Heart Full Of Books, every day for twenty five days, up until Christmas.We’re really excited to put time aside to give our blog some love, and anytime we’re not writing, reading for class or sleeping we plan to spend preparing to make this year’s Blogmas the best one yet!

If you’d like to check our progress on NaNoWriMo, check out our pages:
Maddie: here, and Bee: here!

If you want to see what we plan to read when NaNoWriMo is over and we can get back to the sweet world of books, check out our December TBR video!

Love, Maddie and Bee XOX

Waiting For The Right Moment To Read

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Every time a new book gets added to my TBR, I’m desperate to read it AT THAT SECOND. But, chances are, I’ve already got at least one book on the go and don’t want to divide my attention by reading it. Of course, if this is a book by Holly Smale, then I’ll pause whatever I’m doing (even if it’s sleep) and start reading straight away.

That’s an exception.

Most of the time, books on my TBR stay there for at least a month before I read them, because I’m waiting for the right time, and some may argue that there is no right time to read something. For me, there definitely is, and my example is: Noughts and Crosses by Malorie Blackman. 

I first picked this book up in 2008. I was 11. It was from my school’s library, and it was over 300 pages, which was longer than any book I was reading at that age. I started it immediately (because this was back in the days when I didn’t know that young adult fiction existed, let alone TBR piles).

I read 70 pages. I gave up.

This month, I only just finished it. Eight years later!! And, boy, am I glad I delayed reading it that long. Even when I was 11, I loved reading the ‘Acknowledgements’ pages of books. BUT, I accidentally flipped to the last page of the story instead, and spoiled the fates of Sephy and Callum forever. Over eight years, I’ve never been able to forget the ending, and I thought it was about time I found out how the characters got there.

It was a great book. Really, really great. Would I have understood how complexly it deals with race and terrorism eight years ago?

No.

I feel like, consciously or not, my 11-year-old self did my 18-year-old self a favour. It’s like she knew I won’t completely get it, so put it down because it was the wrong moment to read it. Now I’ve read it with a better understanding of the world and how unjust it is, I was able to better appreciate and love the book more.

So, I guess the moral of the story is, delay reading books for as long as you want. You never know, you might end up thanking yourself for it one day, because books have a tendency to have more impact if you read them when you’re actually ready for them!

Reading Slumps: You WILL Read Again!

I’ve been in a bit of a reading slump for about two months. September was not a good reading month for me, and that was mainly because I was moving out, to go to university, and that happened mid-month. I didn’t read a lot before and I certainly haven’t read anything YA since I got here.

I had three books on the go, ‘The Last Ever After’ (I know, that’s been festering on the list for far too long!), ‘The Bone Season’ (part of a read-along that shrivelled up because we both weren’t liking the book!) and ‘The Last Sacrifice’ (to complete my finishing series goals.) I’ve read about fifty pages of them collectively in the last month. It wasn’t looking great.

But now, something’s changed.

I feel like I can see the light at the end of the tunnel! After being away from reading for so long, I finally want to return to the wonderful land of finishing books and wrap ups and discussions. I thought I’d be in this reading slump for…well, three years, up until my uni course is over. BUT, I can safely say, after a month here, I’m ready to dive straight back in the deep end.

I NEED to read. I think it’s really affecting my mental health, not reading. I feel happier when I do, more productive, more…ME! I’ve got books I want to review, books I need to read for review and books I want to read for the pure pleasure of reading. I’m unbelievably excited about wanting to read, I’m procrastinating from doing so by writing this blog post!! (‘Carry On’ is waiting for me as soon as I press ‘Publish’!)

But, I wanted to write this to let anyone know, who may be going through a reading slump and thinking that they’ll never feel inspiration or desire to read again, you will. Give yourself all the time you need to not read. Sometimes, absence makes the heart grow fonder, and that’s certainly the case with me. I’ve been away too long, and now I want to curl up with a good book.

Speaking of which, excuse me to go and do just that!

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!