Top 5: Side Relationships!

Before you wonder, this Top 5 Wednesday topic is not about your favourite relationship that had a side piece, like I first thought ūüėā No one wants to promote disloyalty in relationships, for sure! This topic is all about your favourite couples that never got the spotlight. We’re big fans of secondary characters, and love it even more when they get their happily ever after. BUT, this week also meant that I had to delve back into the 2013-2014 archives of my reading tastes because secondary characters are only usually granted well developed relationships in series with three books or over, and seeing as I’ve managed to complete a measly two series this year, I was limited for choice. So, get ready for some oldies but goodies! Continue reading “Top 5: Side Relationships!”

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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!”

Top 5: Books as Event Themes!

Maddie: Neither Bee or I are really¬†party people. The closest we’ve got to a book party is listening to Hailee Steinfeld while we read. ¬†This Top Five Wednesday theme encourages us to think outside the box to create the perfect themed¬†get-together and a couple of books instantly jump to mind!

First,¬†To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before¬†by Jenny Han.¬†I’m not suggesting that we all sit around and write letters to past crushes, but can you imagine the aesthetic of the party? It would be¬†pastel confetti, tea dresses and homemade baked goods galore. We’d make each of the sisters’ favourite cookies and then play the ninja-warrior-hide-and-seek-tag game from the second book. Now¬†that’s¬†the kind of party I’d attend in a heartbeat.

Next,¬†Percy Jackson and the Olympians¬†by Rick Riordan.¬†Everyone would be claimed by their godly parent, when they arrived, with a fun personality quiz. Then we’d play Capture the Flag. (I just like parties with games, okay?) If there was some real planning involved, we’d stage a quest to find…something. Or go in a maze.

Continue reading “Top 5: Books as Event Themes!”

Top 5: Books To Relieve Exam Stress

In three days time, Bee and I will be sitting our first exam of the year. Thankfully, it’s only one of two, and it’ll all be over the day before our birthday. (Talk about the best present ever!) It’s safe to say that when I pick up a book after doing a practice paper, I want to be as far away from¬†Middlemarch¬†and¬†Joseph Andrews¬†as possible. Here are a list of books that are like a comfort blanket – all my stress falls away as soon as I’m with these stories.

Continue reading “Top 5: Books To Relieve Exam Stress”

Top 5: Authors We Want to Read More From!

In order to bring some life back to this blog, (it’s exam revision time and that means that all blogging motivation is¬†zapped¬†right out of our system by evil flashcards and quote tests), we thought it might be time again to participate in the classic weekly ‘Top X No.’ posts! This week’s is all about authors you’ve read marvellous books from already and want to devour more…not a hard list to make when there’s so many books on our TBR that fit the bill!

Richelle Mead
Maddie: I’ve been meaning to pick up the¬†Bloodlines¬†series for the last…forever. When did I finish¬†Vampire Academy?¬†*checks Goodreads* November 2015?! Oh wow. Yep, Bloodlines¬†needs to be my next series to conquer. The whole six book thing is a little off-putting, but if I’ve done it once, I’ll do it again, and I absolutely love how much voice Richelle Mead manages to give her characters. They really leap off the page!

Victoria Schwab
Maddie: This fabulous woman keeps coming out with new books and I’m tripping over the little V TBR pile I have.¬†This Savage Song, Vicious, A Conjuring of Light…all books I’m itching to get round to, especially because¬†Our Dark Duet¬†is coming soon and there’s nothing sweeter than finishing a series. Two is¬†way¬†more manageable than six! (You hear that, Richelle Mead?)

Josephine Angelini
Bee: Maddie has already read the¬†Starcrossed¬†series, and we own all three of the¬†World¬†Walker¬†books so it’s about time I got round to them.¬†Starcrossed¬†comes with a glowing recommendation (if I’m willing to put up with some angsty romance!) and¬†World Walker¬†is all about witches, my favourite of all the supernatural beings and a total buzzword.

Cat Clarke
B & M: Between us, we’ve almost managed to read all of Cat Clarke’s books, and already have our hands on¬†Girlhood,¬†her next release, but we’d both really like to read the ones we’re missing. For Maddie, that’s¬†The Lost and Found,¬†about a girl who’s sister went missing when they were kids and has suddenly returned to a media frenzy around the family. And for Bee, that’s¬†Undone,¬†about a girl dealing with the loss of her best friend to suicide. Heavy stuff, but from what we’ve already read, it’s guaranteed to be good!

Nina LaCour
B & M: The only thing we’ve both read from this author was her short story in the¬†Summer Days and Summer Nights¬†collection, edited by Stephanie Perkins. But, that little taster was enough to have us hungry for more, especially because her most recent release¬†We Are Okay¬†has been getting a lot of praise, and it’s focused on a college-student which is awesome because finding YA set out of high school is¬†almost impossible. Nina La Cour’s first book¬†Everything Leads to You¬†is also on our radar because of the lesbian protagonist (and the set designing career) because we can’t get enough of diverse books!

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.

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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.

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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:

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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.

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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!

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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.

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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.