Category Archives: monthly roundup

June Round-Up

I read 13 books in June, 8 of which were YA. I did DNF quite a lot of books, so I feel like I’ve been in a bit of a slump. However, I did read some lovely books too. Here are the reviews!

Any marked with a * were received from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. All links to the Book Depository.

Everybody Rise by Stephanie Clifford*    23605009

If you’re a fan of Prep, you might want to read this book. It’s set a couple of years after graduation, when a girl who rejects her upper class heritage finds that she needs to insinuate herself back into the world of polo matches and lake house weekend parties for work. She struggles to reconcile her own disdain for the world, with her determination to get ahead at work.
It’s full of rich details of NYC bankers and blue blood supermodels, and it was a really interesting read. It was a little too long for my taste, but for most fans of these kind of books, like The Secret History, that probably isn’t a bad point.
22392935This Side of Home by Renée Watson

About a pair of young black twins, and how they resolve the different ways they treat their race. This is an important, educational and uplifting read.

Poorly Drawn Lines: Good Ideas and Amazing Stories by Reza Farazmand*24611872

I’m a huge fan of this webcomic. The book is a compilation of them all, with a few new extras, and some short prose pieces. I would have liked it if it was twice as long, to be honest.

Really fun, and original.

21392427

Sedition by Katharine Grant

Well, that was brilliantly, ridiculously mad. This book is the exact definition of a wild ride from start to finish.

Uprooted by Naomi Novik*25068467

I’m kind of obsessed with this book. The Dragon is the grumpiest, most problematic fave I’ve had in a while. He’s angry about EVERYTHING, and it just makes me want to pat him gently on the head while he hisses at me like a cat. THE DRAGON!! Ahem. And, the rest of the book was good too.

The plot is very reminiscent of Beauty and the Beast, which is not a criticism at all because somehow this story NEVER GETS OLD. I want all the young girls wandering around cavernous empty castles in gold encrusted ballgowns, stealing books from libraries and 25022128discovering magic. MORE.  In summary: this book is great, READ IT. It’s long and delicious and has come fantastic worldbuilding, and I loved it all.

Inferno by Catherine Doyle

Reviewed in my June Favourites here.

Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon*18692431

A lovely story filled with beautifully drawn graphics, with memorable characters and an interesting concept. I did guess the plot twist very early on, but still a worthwhile read.

Online bits and bobs

This month I also filmed a video with the lovely Lucy the Reader, which was super fun and silly. Thank you so much to Lucy for having me!

I also did an interview with Marci Lyn Curtis, a guest post on researching for historical fiction for Beth Reekles’ Writing Wednesday series.

Also: my old school wrote about my book, Louise O’Neill mentioned TNT in the Guardian, and most excitingly, people have started reviewing TNT. Here are some of my favourite reviews:

More than just a hobbit said:

The couple themselves are sweet without being too adorable, honest without being too gritty. Katherine is a feisty, comical character that will appeal to teens and her chemistry with Matthew feels comfortingly real. I feel like they really existed, and I loved their banter!

I didn’t want this book to end, I paced myself so as not to read it too quickly and waste the magic, but to be honest I could have read it in one sitting (though my mind may have exploded!).

Sofia at The Reading Fangirl said:

Katherine and Matthew were amazing lead characters. I loved how different they were in each time period but also how similar they were. I honestly could not pick my favourite Katherine and Matthew because I loved them all so dearly and I didn’t want any of them to get hurt. They really are the leaders of this book and without these two main characters, it would really fall apart.

Ayesha at Twins turn pages said:

As for the characters, I fell in love with them. Katherine had a very witty sense of humour and she was utterly hilarious, I just wanted to be best friends with her! Matthew was just so adorable and nerdy and he definitely pulled at my heart strings. I found myself always rooting for them to get together and fall in love no matter what they had experienced or despite their backgrounds. They both felt like real people that I could relate to.

So I’m a very, very happy author right now! Thank you to everyone who has reviewed the book so far. ❤

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May Round-Up

I tend to just post my book reviews on Goodreads, because I review quite frequently, but I think I’m going to start compiling them all into a monthly segment on my blog too. Here are my May reviews! I read 15 books in May, 8 of which were YA.

Any marked with a * were received from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. All links to the Book Depository.

Under the Lights (Daylight Falls #2) by Dahlia Adler*22719283

This book is the follow up to Behind the Scenes, a straight contemporary romance about teenagers involved in the Hollywood celebrity world.

The story is divided between Josh and Vanessa, two teenage actors who are both struggling to reconcile their fame with growing up. Despite the rare situation the characters find themselves in, I think there will be a lot of modern teenagers to relate to. Both have to face their own goals compared to their parents’ expectations of them, and make huge decisions about their future at a very young age – all on top of Vanessa’s struggles with her sexuality.

I really enjoyed the love story between Brianna and Vanessa, it was very sweet and enjoyable. I’ve not read many LGBT books that use the teenage TV show style melodramatic plotlines in their romance/drama/angst. It was a refreshing take on common tropes; full of misunderstandings and unnecessary jealously and accidental flirtations. I think it’s going to appeal hugely to younger teenagers, and it’s the perfect book for fans of the first book who weren’t necessarily expecting an LGBT follow-up.

I did find the Josh scenes dragging a little – his journey wasn’t entirely satisfactory to me – but I did enjoy his character. He was really well written, and the book perfectly captured the kind of terrible teenage boy we all know and love to hate. It was nice to find a romance-less storyline for a protagonist too, which are still pretty rare in YA.

Overall this was a lovely, easy read. I would recommend it for fans of the first book, and Everything Leads to You.

The Anatomy of Curiosity by Maggie Stiefvater, Brenna Yovanoff and Tessa Gratton*25016375

As a writer, I’m always a bit unnerved to read about other writers’ methods. It unnerves me a bit, in case I suddenly discover that I’ve been doing it Wrong all along. However, I really enjoyed this book. It takes three short stories by writers who work closely together, and they discuss their methods, as well as annotating their writing with a kind of ‘DVD Commentary’ of footnotes about their writing methods.
It was interesting, and I suspect quite useful for an amateur writer. As well as that, Stiefvater’s short story was incredible. I could have read a full length book of it.

The Heir (The Selection #4) by Kiera Cass*22918050

I tore through the original trilogy in a matter of days, so I was interested to see how it was followed up. The Heir is about the daughter of the original Selection couple, when she starts her own Selection. I loved the character – she’s a no nonsense, getting stuff done heir to the throne, who reminded me a lot of Princess Ellimere in the Old Kingdom trilogy.
However, despite that I didn’t find this sequel as captivating as the first. Maybe the concept has lost interest for me, but it didn’t make me want to rush through it all in hours. It was slower and more plotty, which I liked, but that was it.
I found the characters confusing, too – a lot of new people popped up and I couldn’t work out who they were, or who their parents were, or even if I was supposed to know them already. It made it difficult to invest in the setup.
However, it was well written – often better written that The Selection itself. A follow up with a lot of potential.

Resistance is Futile by Jenny Colgan*23503575

I absolutely loved this book! As a female scientist, it’s incredibly refreshing to read a book about someone like me – especially as Connie isn’t a genius, she’s a normal, relatable protagonist, who happens to be good at maths.
As for Luke, oh my god. What an incredible character. He’s so adorably awkward and sweet and completely original. I fell in love completely with the story, the characters, and the world of RESISTANCE IS FUTILE.
I wish it had been twice as long, because I never want to stop reading this story.
Amazing!

One by Sarah Crossan*25366338

Painful and important and needed. This tells the story of conjoined twins. It’s written in verse, which I only recently discovered when I read 5 to 1, and really enjoyed. It makes for very quick reading, but seems to get inside my head a lot more than a prose novel.
I felt everything that Grace and Tippi felt, and ached for them, and it took me a while to recover from this read.

The Potion Diaries by Amy Alward*23344222

A really sweet, funny and fast paced fantasy story that is perfect for younger teenagers. A very unique take on magic, with writing that made me laugh out loud more than once, and a brilliant amount of diversity. The main character was extremely likeable, as was the love interest. The storyline had the perfect set up for a mix of different adventure scenarios that was taken full advantage of. A really great read!

The Wolf Wilder by Katherine Rundell*23257157

This book makes me feel ten years old again. Every time I read a Katherine Rundell book I wonder why I ever spend time reading anything else. Her writing style is so unique and stunning I could probably recognise it from one sentence. Every word is a treasure, and her concepts are so original and different reading her books is like a breath of fresh air.
Loved it.

House of Windows by Alexia Casale23524522

A detailed, delicious visit to the unique and often bizarre world of Cambridge University. This book is a brilliant character study of Nick, a fifteen year old undergraduate, as he struggles to reconcile his family life with university, his past, and learning how to make friends with people much older than you.

Nick is a difficult character in a lot of ways, and his emotional journey hits you all the harder for how slowly his background is revealed. I’m going to be thinking about him and his found family and wishing them well for a long time.

A stunning read from an expert writer, whose prose will have you rereading lines over and over.

Aurora by Kim Stanley Robinson*23197269

This completely blew my mind. The concepts and science are awe-inspiring. I found the prose style hard to read (it’s written from the POV of a computer, so it’s very jarringly Not Normal) but I can forgive that for the amount of research that went into this. I’m going to be thinking about Iris and Aurora for a very long time.

I highly recommend this for anyone curious about deep space travel – the stuff that comes after the journey. The stuff that happens to the descendent of the orignal voyagers, the ones who never chose to be in space at all.

My bookish New Years Resolutions

  • I will get more bookshelves, so I don’t have to doublestack my books:image
  • I will read more non-fiction, starting with:image
  • I will decrease my to-read pile, which is….taking over my bedroom. image
  • I will finish reading all of the Bailey’s Women’s Prize for Fiction winnersimage
  • I will only buy books if I plan to read them within the next month.
  • I will organise my bookshelves by colour:image
  • I will try to review over half of the books I read on goodreads.
  • I will stop reading multiple books at once. image
  • I will write at least 2 new novels.
  • I will read more UKYA for lucythereader‘s #readUKYA challenge.

What are your new years resolutions? And if any of the books in my to-read pile are your faves, let me know and I’ll read them next!

My own book THE NEXT TOGETHER, a reincarnation romance, comes out in 2015. You can add it on goodreads, preorder on amazon, or you can subscribe to my mailing list for updates nearer the time here