Monday, 15 July 2019

Bookish Birthday Haul

Ah, the ageing process. Not something I actively enjoy celebrating, but it can't be avoided. What makes it just that tiny bit easier is the only thing I ever ask for when my birthday rolls around: bookish gifts! This year, I was gifted some absolutely gorgeous book-related things, so I figured I'd do a mini haul. (Basically, I'm writing up absolutely anything I can for the blog this month because I'm taking part in Camp NaNoWriMo and don't have much time to read, hence the lack of reviews. Oops.) Here are the lovely things I got for my birthday last month!

First up is the absolutely gorgeous book of Your Name that I got from my wonderful bestie Rachel from Rachel's Really Random Reviews. When I tell you I nearly CRIED. It might be one of my favourite presents ever. In case you don't follow my Twitter and have managed to avoid me repeatedly talking about Your Name, I adore the anime. It's one of my favourite films because it's just so damn clever. I'm beyond excited to relive the story on the page! 

The second book to enter my new life as a 27yo is this ridiculously pretty edition of Fangirl from my gorgeous friend Jasmine! Fangirl is one of my all time favourite books and I already own two different versions of it, but I've always wanted to get my hands on the pink hardback because LOOK AT IT. Jasmine is an absolute darling for bringing this edition into my life. A Fangirl reread is on the horizon!

In news that will surprise absolutely no one, the rest of my bookish gifts were Harry Potter related. I'm a simple person to please. Throw anything Harry Potter at me and I'll be forever happy. My first HP goodie is a hardback edition of Chamber of Secrets that I actually persuaded Rachel to pick up for me at the charity shop she volunteers in. Let me explain: the copies of Harry Potter that I have are the same battered copies I've had since I started reading them as child. I only have hardbacks from Order of the Phoenix onwards, so I've been trying to rebuy them in hardback via charity shops. My old edition of CoS is quite literally falling apart (pages have fallen out, it's very tragic). She also got me some socks because I live for socks.

Thanking the Primark Gods (and my parents) for this cute pot with the Hogwarts crest! The succulent is fake because I have enough real ones to take care of. Really, I don't have any space left on my windowsill. Showing my Hufflepuff pride, I also got this cute pin!

Another gift from Jasmine is this absolutely gorgeous Hogwarts notebook. There's nothing I love more than a fresh notebook, especially ones this pretty. Look at the gold edges. I'm in LOVE.

My last two presents are sleep related. For those of you who don't know, I was diagnosed with insomnia last year and my quality of sleep is generally terrible, to say the least. I actively seek out anything to make nighttime a little easier on my poor self. Here's to hoping the nightshirt and Hedwig help me get some sleep!

I'm so in love with the bookish gifts I received this year! They certainly help the ageing process feel a little less daunting. I have plenty of book and blog related goals for the next year of my life. I just hope I can tick a few of them off my list.

What bookish gifts are on your wishlist?

Friday, 12 July 2019

REVIEW: The Paper & Hearts Society by Lucy Powrie

Pages: 355
Format: eGalley
Publisher: Hachette Children's
Release Date: 13th June 2019
Genre: Contemporary
Source: NetGalley
TW: bullying, panic attacks
Buy The Book: Book Depository 
Tabby Brown is tired of trying to fit in. She doesn't want to go to parties - in fact, she would much rather snuggle up on the sofa with her favourite book.

It's like she hasn't found her people ...

Then Tabby joins a club that promises to celebrate books. What could go wrong? EVERYTHING - especially when making new friends brings out an AWKWARD BUZZING feeling all over her body.

But Olivia, Cassie, Henry and Ed have something that makes Tabby come back. Maybe it's the Austen-themed fancy-dress parties, or Ed's fluffy cat Mrs Simpkins, or could it be Henry himself ...

Can Tabby let her weird out AND live THE BEST BOOKISH LIFE POSSIBLE?

Before I start, I just want to say that I did actually devour this story through NetGalley in the run up to its release, but I’ve only just been able to sit down and write my review because of how hectic life got. I could really do with my own book club that goes on exciting adventures at the moment! But please know that I flew through this story very quickly because I COULD NOT PUT IT DOWN.

We join Tabby as she starts a new chapter in her life, moving to a different town to be with her grandma. Whilst she’s trying to start afresh, the girl who bullied her at her old school continues to find ways to torment her. Being the book lover that she is, one of the first things Tabby does in town is head to the library. It's there that she comes across the advert for a book club. Hoping to get her grandma off her case about finding something to do over the summer, Tabby decides to give it a try.

Tabby is the perfect lead for a YA story. She's exactly the type of character that teen readers will be able to relate to, and she's experiencing things that countless people her age will have to deal with or may be faced with in the future. In a time when we can never really shut ourselves off from the online world, it's so important for authors to explore how bullies can target victims through social media. It also helps to show them that there is always a way forward, even when it feels hopeless.

Though she's having a hard time, Tabby gets to meet such wonderful characters through the book club that eventually becomes The Paper & Hearts Society. What I love most about these characters is how different they are, and yet they still manage to form a perfect team. Their readings tastes are also different, but it doesn’t matter in the slightest because they still love sharing stories and bonding through their love of words.

  • BOOK RECOMMENDATIONS! I could quite literally scream for hours on end about how much I love the concept of this story being based around a book club. It gives us so much fantastic and relatable content. But the absolute best part is that thanks to the characters all being major bookworms, and the fact that Lucy Powrie is of course a book blogging Queen, we get SO MANY MENTIONS OF BOOKS!!! The YA recommendations that are effortlessly slipped in here are truly iconic. I’m going to be hunting a few of them down in my local library, that’s for sure. 
  • PERFECTLY YA. I’ve said this before many times, but it’s so important that a YA book is actually YA. As someone who is now closer to 30 than I am 20 (hahahahahahahaha *cries*), I believe anyone should be able to read whatever books they want, no matter the target age range. But it’s so important that YA still remains aimed at the actual target audience. This is a book that teenagers will definitely be able to find parts of themselves in. Whilst I’m still able to enjoy it, I’m so grateful that this book wasn’t written with me in mind.
  • THE BEST BOOKISH ROADTRIP. This has to be one of my favourite roadtrips I’ve read in a story, simply because it’s any book lover’s dream. The gang visit so many places of note when it comes to literature. I may be extra jealous of the visit to Shakespeare’s house because I did actually have to opportunity to visit it when I was in high school but couldn’t afford the fee at the time. DAMN YOU, BILLY. 
  • Also throwing this out there: MAIN CHARACTER WITH GLASSES!!! As someone who has been in glasses since the age of three and will be for the rest of my life, I always seek out characters with glasses, especially ladies. There are always more male leads with glasses than there are female…
Genuinely, I could write out a list of 100 things I loved about this book, but we’d be here all day. The only tiny issue I had was that I rooted for the side pairing more than the main pairing, but I know that the sequel follows them a little more, so I am ridiculously excited. These characters are all super adorable and I cannot wait to see what they get up to next. Bring on the next bookish adventure!

Royal Rating:

Thursday, 6 June 2019

REVIEW: Alex in Wonderland by Simon James Green

Pages: 387
Format: Paperback
Publisher: Scholastic
Genre: Humour, Contemporary
Release Date: 6th June 2019
Source: Gifted copy by publisher
Buy The Book: Book Depository

In the town of Newsands, painfully shy Alex is abandoned by his two best friends for the summer. But he unexpectedly lands a part-time job at Wonderland, a run-down amusement arcade on the seafront, where he gets to know the other teen misfits who work there. Alex starts to come out of his shell, and even starts to develop feelings for co-worker Ben... who, as Alex's bad luck would have it, has a girlfriend.

Then as debtors close in on Wonderland and mysterious, threatening notes start to appear, Alex and his new friends take it on themselves to save their declining employer. But, like everything in Wonderland, nothing is quite what it seems...

Alex needs a job for the summer and accidentally lands himself working at Wonderland, the local arcade that’s been a part of Newsands for as long as he can remember. Making unexpected friends and falling for a boy who may or may not have a girlfriend, Alex starts his path to accepting his awkwardness and finding a place to belong. As a huge fan of Simon’s Noah series, I was hugely excited to delve into this book and I had good reason to be. Alex in Wonderland is easily one of my favourites from this year so far.

Words really can’t describe how much love I have in my heart for Alex Button. I’m always a sucker for an awkward character, so I was almost guaranteed to love him from the start. Despite being ridiculously unlucky, he’s the sweetest person in the world. The situations he finds himself in had me crying with laughter.

The characters that Alex meets at Wonderland are brilliant. They each have their own stand-out personality that shines through. Something I always love in YA books is when the main character discovers a group of very different people and somehow, they become like a family. That’s exactly what I was given in this book. Alex is at a point in his life when he needs new people and it’s an absolute joy to watch him find that. CAN I PLEASE WORK AT WONDERLAND AND HAVE FRIENDS LIKE BEN AND EFIA?

  • HILARIOUS MOMENTS. There’s just so many of them. Simon James Green has never once failed to make me laugh out loud in his books. Yet I still haven’t learned to stop reading them on public transport…
  • FRIENDSHIPS TO ENVY. Do you know what I’d give to be a part of the Wonderland team? They’re all so fun and bursting with energy. Even the characters we didn’t get to know as much were just as fascinating as our main trio.  
  • CUTE ROMANCE. Alex and Ben are THE SWEETEST. They are the actual definition of a cute summer romance. Though we mainly follow Alex, it was a joy to see Ben learn to open up over the course of the story as well.
  • PERFECT SETTING. Wonderland sounds exactly like the sort of place you’d find me wandering into at my local waterfront. I cannot resist a penny pusher machine. I’m also a complete sucker for a run-down local business that’s been there for longer than the characters have been alive. My favourite kind of book setting.
  • A MYSTERY? Something not-so-pleasant is happening at Wonderland and I was suspicious of almost every character at one point or another whilst trying to figure out who was behind it.

Not only is this book adorable and guaranteed to make you smile, it’s also the perfect read for Pride Month! Whilst there's a cute mix of romance and humour, Alex is a super relatable character and I just know plenty of people will be able to see a little bit of themselves in him. Between the lines, there's a story about finding your people and embracing your quirks. If you try too hard to fit in, it's never going to happen. No matter who you are or what wild situations you find yourself in, there's always people who will appreciate you for who you are. I’m grateful for the plenty of laughs that this book gave me. If you’re in need of a fun read for summer, then please give this one a try!

Royal Rating:

Tuesday, 14 May 2019

Pokemon Go Book Tag!

Hello, fellow bookworms! Since Detective Pikachu is finally in theatres and Pokemon is everywhere again, I thought I'd use this time to do a tag that I didn't get the chance to do back when Pokemon Go was released. I wasn't tagged to do this by anyone, I just really like Pokemon. And books. COMBINED. The Pokemon Go book tag was originally created by the wonderful Read at Midnight, who also created the gorgeous graphics used in this post!

I'm that cliche person who has to say Harry Potter because it's very true for me. Before my mum shoved her copies into my hands, I hated strongly disliked reading. It was the worst hour of the school week when I had to go into the library. That's how different my world was before Harry Potter. THERE WAS AN ACTUAL TIME WHEN I CRIED TEARS OF DESPAIR OVER THE SIGHT OF A LIBRARY RATHER THAN TEARS OF JOY. WHO EVEN WAS I?

For this one, I have to say To Kill A Mockingbird. When I studied it at school, I didn't appreciate a single page, simply because I was forced to read it and was extremely stressed over the fact that I would be tested on it. But after my GCSEs were over and done with, I realised how truly incredible the story is.

This is quite difficult because the books I've read that ended up eventually being everywhere, I've still enjoyed despite their popularity. Like The Hunger Games, for example. I've either continued to like much-loved books or I haven't read them at all! I did lose interest in the Divergent series, though. It was because I got tired of the story as opposed to it being everywhere, but let's ignore that for the purpose of this question.

I think I'm going with an author in general for this and that author is Sarah Dessen! I adored her books when I was in high school but looking back, they all had similar tropes. I haven't read any of her stories in a long time but I still hold This Lullaby quite close to my heart, despite it's predictability.

I haven't touched a Sarah J. Maas book yet because I wouldn't know where to start or whether it'd be something I'd even enjoy. Maybe one day I'll get there...

God, there have been MANY. Most Cassandra Clare books keep me up at night. But the most recent one was More Happy Than Not, when I ended up reaching Part Zero at 1am and knew there was no way I'd be putting it down. My former night-owl self is no longer allowed to read into the early hours though, thanks to my good old friend, clinical insomnia.

We all know I'm not going to pick just one here. So here's a shoutout to a select few of my fave fictional couples: Snowbaz (Carry On), Pynch (The Raven Cycle), Kaz/Inej (Six of Crows), Suze/Jesse (The Mediator Series), Andreil (All For The Game), Malec (TMI).

Six of Crows is definitely one of those books that doesn't give you much of a chance to breathe. These poor kids are always in danger. I feared for them constantly when I was reading the two books! There's also plenty of action.

This is kind of a love/hate relationship with the spin-offs, but I'm going for The Mortal Instruments. I complain every single time Cassie announces a new series set within the Shadow World because I'm so :) goddamn :) tired :) and these characters need a BREAK. But. I'm also a complete hypocrite because no matter what, I'll still end up reading it and I'm guaranteed to fall in love with a new set of characters. HOW AM I STILL DRAGGED IN? WHAT DOES CASSIE DO THAT OTHER AUTHORS DON'T???? WITCHCRAFT. 

I was unsure whether or not to put this one here, but I'm gonna. I'm going with Carry On by Rainbow Rowell. It is by far one of my most cherished books. I reread it every year. I love the characters like I love no others. But it was a book that surprised me because believe it or not, I didn't know whether I'd actually enjoy it when it was announced! Shocking, I know. Considering I literally don't shut up about it. I was a huge fan of Rainbow anyway, but when Carry On was announced, I didn't know if it'd work, so I didn't actually get my hopes up beforehand. But then I read it and it surpassed every expectation I could have possibly had and now whenever someone asks me for my favourite books, Carry On is right at the top. 

I'm not going to call this overhyped because that sounds mean, but I'm super excited to start reading the Shades of Magic trilogy by V. E. Schwab because I've heard so many good things about these books! A friend of mine literally gave me an extra copy of the first book that she had so that I could finally read it. Fingers crossed I enjoy it as much as I hope I will.

This is an easy one for me because there is a particular edition that I've wanted for years and I still! don't! own! it! And it is the pastel pink hardback edition of Fangirl! I mean, I have two different versions of Fangirl already, my original copy and the fanart edition that I was lucky enough to come across in a charity shop, but it is one of my favourite books of all time, so I'm allowed to want as many versions of it as possible. Not a collector's edition,  but I also want the American paperback of Carry On because it's beautiful and I'm super sad we don't have that cover in the UK. 

I'm already halfway through this one because I was granted a copy by the NetGalley faeries, but it's The Paper & Hearts Society by Lucy Powrie, known to us bloggers as the Queen of Contemporary! It makes my heart warm to see a fellow blogger who I've followed for years finally getting to publish her own book. 

I, um, have quite a few. Some of them being Maggie Stiefvater, Rainbow Rowell, Cassandra Clare, and Simon James Green. There's plenty more, but you don't want to be here all day. 

LISTEN. I HAVE LITERALLY BEEN WAITING ON THIS BOOK FOREVER AND I STILL DON'T EVEN KNOW IF IT'S EVER GOING TO BE RELEASED AT THIS POINT. And that book is the sequel to The Rithmatist by Brandon Sanderson. Oh boy, am I TIRED. When I first read this book back in 2015, it ended up in my Top Ten list of books for that whole year because I loved it so much. And at that point it had already been out for two years because it was released later in the UK. So this book has generally been around since 2013. It is 2019 aND WE STILL DON'T HAVE A SEQUEL. BRANDON, PLEASE. I AM BEGGING YOU. Don't make me write it myself.

I hope you guys have enjoyed this tag! I don't have any fellow blogger friends to tag (bloggers, please be my friend) other than Rachel @ Rachel's Really Random Reviews, who is my best friend in real life so is legally obliged to do everything I tag her in. If you've already done this tag or are planning to, please link me to your posts so I can give them a read! Also, what's your favourite Pokemon? Mine is always a tie between Jigglypuff, Charmander, and Snorlax. Let me know yours in the comments! 

Saturday, 4 May 2019

REVIEW: The Words That Fly Between Us by Sarah Carroll

Pages: 208
Format: ARC Paperback
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Children's
Release Date: 2nd May 2019
Genre: Contemporary
Source: Gifted from publisher
Buy The Book: Book Depository - A Great Read

Lucy’s father is a successful lawyer making a killing on the property market. She and her mother want for nothing. Nothing, that is, that can be bought.

But money cannot buy Lucy the words she needs. The words to stand up to her bully of a father. The words to inspire her mother to do something about the family life that is suffocating them both. The words to become the person she wants to be.

Then Lucy finds something else: An escape route...
Soon she discovers that every building on her row is connected, through the attic, to the next. As she explores the inner lives of those who live on her street, Lucy realises that she is not the only one to suffer in silence. She also sees ways she can help some, and ways to punish those that deserve it.

But as the mighty fall, Lucy is forced to realise that while she can affect the lives of others from the safety of the attic, she will need to climb down to face her own fears.

We join Lucy during her final summer before starting a new school. Her life is seemingly the one that girls her age would dream of having. But inside, her world is crumbling. Her father is mixed up in things he shouldn’t be after biting off more than he can chew in his work, her mother is unhappy with their homelife, and Lucy is left confused and scared about what their future might hold. All she wants is for things to go back to how they were a few years previously.

The one place Lucy has to herself, to collect her thoughts, is the attic that no one else uses. The attic above her house is connected to all the houses on the street. Over the course of the story, Lucy begins to collect secrets from those who live around her.

Lucy is one of those characters who you can’t help but root for. Even when she was making decisions that weren’t quite right, she always questioned whether she should be doing it. Her learning curve is an important one. Though she ends up in situations that invade other characters’ privacy, she works through her emotions to do what’s best.

There are plenty of interesting characters who we meet during Lucy’s journey, even if it’s briefly or from afar. Getting to see the variety of people around her shows us exactly how complex people can be. Nothing is ever what it seems from the outside, and that’s something that Lucy begins to understand by the end of the story.

  • Her friendship with Megan. They’re tested throughout the book and faced with difficult situations together.
  • The dark side of Lucy’s father. He’s the type of character who always gets his way and I loved how the story shows that winning doesn’t always mean being the best person.
  • Lucy’s art. Despite being talented, she’s constantly told by her father that her artistic abilities aren’t a real talent. Her learning to accept that she’s good and that she wants art to be her future is such an inspiring part of the story.
  • Lucy and her mother. I adored their relationship. Though the household can turn toxic because of the situations that Lucy’s father brings home, Lucy and her mother are a solid team.

    This book is the perfect mixture of relatable, in-depth characters, and a plot with slightly dark and sinister tones. There are mysteries to be figured out and Lucy’s adventures through the attic are as thrilling as they are nerve-wracking. I read this is one sitting, which says a lot about how addictive the story is, given the fact that I’ve been in a huge reading slump for months! Lucy is one of those characters who will stay with me for a while.

    Royal Rating:
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