Friday, 24 June 2016

The Brain Behind The Blog #2: Swissbookworm


Hey everyone! It's time for my second interview in The Brain Behind The Blog feature. Today I'm pleased to welcome the fabulous Yasmine from Swissbookworm

You and Your Blog
How long have you been blogging, and what was it that inspired you to get started? 
I started my blog in January 2016, so I'm still kind of a newbie in the blogging world. My love for books totally got me hooked on a lot of book blogs and I wanted to create a space that's my own where I can share my opinion on books and all things related to that subject with those who are interested in hearing (or rather reading) it. 

What is the best part about blogging for you?
Besides having my own 'website' it's having the possibility to meet new people and talk about things you love with them. I've met so many awesome bloggers on the internet in the past few months. It's a really great feeling when you can just talk about books all the time and people will join the conversation without hesitation.

Have you had any blogging disasters?
The biggest disaster would be myself because the past two months I've been struggling with posting book reviews and joining my favourite memes and things like that because of work. 

What has been your favourite blogging memory?
The moment my blog went public the very first time. It was all so new and I just plunged into this new world without even thinking it through. My layout was a disaster, I didn't really think about what I was writing in my reviews and I was just very unprepared. But the feeling of witnessing the 'birth' of my blog will always be one of my favourite memories.

What do you hope to achieve with your blog in the future?
I'd love to interact with more people and get more people to read reviews. But that means that I first have to be happy with what I write and I'm just not quite there yet. 

You and Books
What appeals to you when searching for new books to read? 
The summary has to be convincing. If I don't like the idea of the plot, then I won't like reading it either, so it has to leave an instant impression on me.

Are there any genres that you avoid?
Horror, Thriller and I rather avoid crime novels as well.

What book would you say has had the biggest impact on your life?
The entire Harry Potter series. I grew up with it and I'm your typical Potterhead. I will never stop loving these books and it has become a lifestyle for me. Without Harry Potter in my life I would only be an empty shell of the real me.

What book are you currently anticipating?
The Harry Potter and the Cursed Child Screen Play and also Gemina are my top two anticipations at the moment. There are still so many great books coming out this year I wouldn't even know where I should start. 

Tell us who your favourite fictional characters are!
Ughh, I don't even know where I should start and who I should mention. Definitely on the list (which is endless, by the way) are Hermione Granger, Percy Jackson, Will Carstairs (The Infernal Devices), Levi (Fangirl), Kady Grant (Illuminae), ... the list goes on and on, but I thought I'd make a stop here before I can't stop myself anymore.

All About You
What are your hobbies? (Besides books and blogging, of course.)
I'm a dancer and I'm in training to become a professional one :) I probably won't be able to make a living of it, but I'll give it my best shot. I'm a very sportif person in general, so count me in in all things sports. Also I like to game and visit comic shops frequently.

What are three goals you’d like to achieve in the next few years?
1. I want to get my bachelor at university in computer science. 2. I want to move out. 3. I want to learn Russian. (not necessarily in that order, though)

If you could travel back in time to chat to a person in history, who would it be?
Mary Stuart - Queen of Scotts. I'm fascinated by her story and I've read a lot of books about her and I'm a big fan of Reign (although I've only discovered the series a short while ago).

This or That
Coffee or Tea? Coffee (but when I'm in my healthy mode: Tea)
Library or Bookshop? Bookshop! (I've got this obsession with having to own all the books I read)
Summer or Winter? Summer with at least 30 degrees celcius :)
Sunrise or Sunset? Sunrise (you've still got the entire day ahead of you)
Cats or Dogs? Dogs! (One day I'll either have a Husky or a Labrador Retriever)
Facebook or Twitter? Twitter :) 

Where can readers find you?
Twitter: _Swissbookworm_
Instagram: Swissbookworm

A huge thanks to Yasmine for taking part and for her awesome answers! Be sure to check out her fabulous blog. I'm currently looking for a blogger to be interviewed for the August feature, so if you'd like to take part, please get in touch via email: queenofteenfiction@hotmail.com!

Thursday, 16 June 2016

REVIEW: Not If I See You First by Eric Lindstrom

Pages: 416
Format: Paperback
Publisher: HarperCollins Children's
Genre: Contemporary, Realistic
Release Date: May 5th 2016
Buy The Book: Book Depository

The Rules:

Don't deceive me. Ever. Especially using my blindness. Especially in public.

Don't help me unless I ask. Otherwise you're just getting in my way or bothering me.

Don't be weird. Seriously, other than having my eyes closed all the time, I'm just like you only smarter.

Parker Grant doesn't need 20/20 vision to see right through you. That's why she created the Rules: Don't treat her any differently just because she's blind, and never take advantage. There will be no second chances. Just ask Scott Kilpatrick, the boy who broke her heart.

When Scott suddenly reappears in her life after being gone for years, Parker knows there's only one way to react-shun him so hard it hurts. She has enough on her mind already, like trying out for the track team (that's right, her eyes don't work but her legs still do), doling out tough-love advice to her painfully naive classmates, and giving herself gold stars for every day she hasn't cried since her dad's death three months ago. But avoiding her past quickly proves impossible, and the more Parker learns about what really happened--both with Scott, and her dad--the more she starts to question if things are always as they seem. Maybe, just maybe, some Rules are meant to be broken.

My Thoughts:
I’m always looking for books that break the mould and tell a refreshing, important story. Not If I See You First is definitely one of those books. Following Parker, who lost her sight in an accident which claimed the life of her mother, we see how her life changes after the death of her father. Parker now has to live with her aunt’s family, who have moved into the house so that she doesn’t have to leave. Also, her high school has merged with another one in the same town, bringing Parker face to face with her former best friend and, for a short while, boyfriend Scott. 

I adored everything about Parker. She was cynical and honest and believable and utterly hilarious, basically everything I want in a character. This isn’t a story about a blind girl, this is a story about a girl who just happens to be blind. Parker doesn’t let her lack of sight define her or hold her back, and this story focuses a lot on her love of running and how she learns to not let her blindness stop her from being the best she can be. 

This story explores Parker’s relationships with her friends, old and new. What I especially found interesting was the variation of different personalities in this friendship group. Parker and Sarah have been best friends since they were kids, and still stick by each other even now. Then there is Faith, who has also been friends with the girls for years, but has changed as she’s grown older. Faith is in a different social circle now, a more popular one, but still has a strong bond of friendship with Parker regardless. This is something I really appreciated because in a lot of stories, Faith could have easily been written as the cliché ‘bitchy’ character, but that wasn’t the case in this book. 

The rocky relationship between Parker and Scott was interesting to see unfold, and I was rooting for them to sort out the mess between them throughout the book. Parker also finds herself a romantic interest in Jason, a fellow runner at school. I enjoyed the romance in this story because it didn’t overpower the plot. Whilst a lot of contemporaries focus heavily on romance, it was only a small part of Parker’s overall story, and not the majority of it. 

Not If I See You First is a moving story that deals with grief and acceptance in a beautiful way. The characters were fun and interesting, and the plot left me hugely satisfied. Parker’s journey is as important as it is entertaining and I’m very much looking forward to the stories Eric Lindstrom plans to tell in the future. 

Royal Rating:


Saturday, 11 June 2016

REVIEW: Breathing Water by S. R. Atkinson

Series: Siren Anthology #1
Pages: 406
Format: Paperback
Genre: Fantasy
Release Date: May 28th 2015
Buy The Book: Amazon UK - Amazon

Returning to the ocean could mean returning home, returning to the unlikely friends and family who filled Santi's childhood, and returning to the magic little girls only dream of. But it could also mean returning to the devastation and death she witnessed six years ago. Now at eighteen, with the mysteries of the ocean a distant memory, Santi must overcome her fears to find out what became of her beloved friend Rogan, his family, and an entire world of mythical creatures. But will she find the ocean as welcoming as when she was a child?


My Thoughts:
In case you hadn’t guessed by the cover, this book is about mermaids, or as they’re known in this world, Serras. Santiago is a human, known as a Crural to Serras, who learned how to breathe underwater from her childhood best friend, Rogan, who is a Serra. Since then, Santi split her time between land and water, with Serras accepting her as part of their community. But when Sirens attack the Serras in a brutal fight, Santi has to return to the surface for her own safety. Six years later, at the age of eighteen, Santi finally decides it’s time to return to the water and find her friend, but she is captured before she has the chance to reunite with him.

Breathing Water starts off following Santi in third person, and then suddenly switches to first person to tell the story of a character named Nephira. From then on we split our time between these two characters, and I have to say that it was Nephira that sucked me into this story. For some reason, I didn’t connect with Santi and there wasn’t much about her that really stood out to me, but Nephira’s story had me completely hooked.

Nephira was taken by Crurals and kept in captivity by a Tullus, a Roman King. Her chapters are her accounts of what happened whilst she was trapped and the consequences of her time spent on the surface. Learning about her experience was heart-breaking and the storytelling throughout these chapters were the best parts of this book for me. 

I enjoyed finding out about Santi’s past and her memories with Rogan, but I felt like I didn’t really know much about who Santi was as a person. I don’t know why I didn’t connect with her side of the story as much as I did Nephira, but since this is the first in a series, I’m hoping I’ll get to know and appreciate Santi more in the next book. 

The world-building in this story was fascinating and I loved learning the mythology about the Serras and the Sirens. It was convincing and believable, and every aspect of it was well thought out. There were definitely a few twists regarding the Sirens that I hadn’t expected! I felt like there was a lot to learn too quickly at times, but things were explained clearly so I wasn’t left confused. However, I did find some of the chapters to be a little too long. I’m a reader who has a preference for short, sharp chapters though, so that’s probably just me being fussy! 

This is an interesting start to this series and I’m definitely looking forward to discovering more about the Serras and their history. There’s a lot of potential for great mythology in a series like this and I hope to learn more of it! I definitely want to get to know Santi and Rogan more. As main characters, I want to be rooting for them, which I didn’t find myself doing much of throughout this book. But I’m keen to see where this story goes. 

Royal Rating:

 

Wednesday, 8 June 2016

9 Series I've Never Finished

 
You guys probably know how easy it is to lose a book in the never-ending mountain of eternal doom that is the TBR pile. Even books we’re highly anticipating can sometimes get left forgotten when life is busy and there’s so much to read. Here are some of the series that I started, but never got round to finishing for some reason or another. 

1. Matched Trilogy by Ally Condie


I bought Matched on the very day it was released because I was so excited about it, and it was probably the book that kick-started my dystopia phase (yup, this was the book that made me pick up The Hunger Games). But by the time the sequel hit shelves, I was bored. Not specifically of this series, but of dystopia in general. From the end of 2010 right through 2011, I wanted ALL THE DYSTOPIA. So when Crossed came out, I was already growing tired of the genre, and I’d read other dystopian stories that had way more interesting characters than Cassia and Ky. If I’m completely honest, this is a series that I probably won’t revisit.

2. Legend Trilogy by Marie Lu

Okay, so before you all start yelling at me, I HAVE NO IDEA WHY I STOPPED READING THIS TRILOGY. I adored Legend, I really did. Even though I’d read approximately one zillion other dystopian books by the time I got to this one, I loved everything about it, especially June and Day. I pre-ordered Prodigy and got it on release day. I’ll admit I was a little pissed off that the cover designs had changed because IS THERE ANYTHING MORE ANNOYING THAN THIS:


Honestly, I was excited to read it. But then I had so many other books to read and review at the time, and I also had piles of assignments to do, so the book fell to the bottom of the pile, and somehow I completely forgot to pick it up. Still years later I haven’t managed to read it because I’ve simply moved on to other books. This is a trilogy I am still determined to finish though, so one day Prodigy will finally leave my shelf – I promise! 

3. Percy Jackson Series by Rick Riordan 

 
Yeah, this series. I started reading these books back when the movie for The Lightning Thief came out. I got to two books before I drifted away from the series. It wasn’t a conscious decision to stop reading them, I actually really enjoyed them, but life was busy and I didn’t have much reading time. When I finally had the free time to get back to my books again, I had a bunch of new reads I wanted to try, so this series got pushed aside. This is probably the series I regret not continuing the most. I see so many readers talking about how fantastic Riordan’s books are and it makes me so mad at myself! I plan to get reading this series again over the summer. The downside is that now I’m so far behind, there is an intimidating number of books set in this world to catch up on.

4. The Maze Runner Series by James Dashner   


I still can’t believe I haven’t finished this series yet. I read the first book from my library a few years ago and then forgot to continue with the series. So then last year I bought the boxset with the intent to carry on, but it still hasn’t happened. I am determined to get them finished though. I’ve also banned myself from watching the film adaptations of the first two until I’ve read the books, and oh boy do I want to see those films (Dylan O’Brien, hello).

5. The Selection Series by Keira Cass


I read The Selection when it first came out and really enjoyed it. There were a few things that I found a little irritating, but overall it was a strong start to a series. But then when the second book was released, I just couldn’t be bothered? Whilst I liked the concept of the story, the characters weren’t exciting enough to really keep me hooked during the wait for the sequel. Maybe I’d be better off binge-reading the entire series now that they’re all out in the world. There are some series that can keep me eager for the next book, no matter how long the wait, and then there are some that fizzle out once I’ve read the first book.

6. Bloodlines Series by Richelle Mead


I loved the Vampire Academy series, and I loved Adrian, so it was an easy decision to start reading this spin-off series. Surprisingly, I actually enjoyed this series more than Vampire Academy. So why did I stop reading, you ask? I’m going to blame my library for this one. I read the first three books and wanted to start book four, but my library didn’t have it in stock. They said they’d be getting a copy soon, so I figured I’d read it then, but guess who got distracted by other books in the meantime and completely forgot about this series? Yup, me. For the record, the rest of the series is now in my library, but I just haven’t found the time to get back to it yet. 

7. Heist Society Series by Ally Carter


Gallagher Girls is probably one of my all-time favourite series. It was so unique and fascinating, and the characters were all amazing. So I decided to pick up Heist Society thinking I’d like it just as much. I didn’t. I don’t really know why I didn’t enjoy it, maybe it was characters, maybe I felt the plot was lacking that special touch that Gallagher Girls had, I can’t remember, but it didn’t interest me the way I wanted it to. I bought the first two books at the same time, thinking I’d love the first one enough to continue, but I didn’t. I only got through sixty pages of Uncommon Criminals before I stopped. 

8. Abandon Trilogy by Meg Cabot


Oh boy do I feel bad about this one. Really, really bad. Meg Cabot is one of my all-time favourite authors and her books mean a lot to me, but this is her only YA series that I haven’t managed to finish. I think my problem here was the huge wait for the books to be released in the UK. I bought Abandon from US because it didn’t even have a release date over here for a while. Then I was lucky enough to win an ARC of Underworld, again from the US. But then the wait for the final book, Awaken, was absolutely torturous because the UK was so behind on releasing this series, and at the time I couldn’t afford to have the book shipped over from the US. So this is another series that kinda fizzled out whilst I waited for it. I will re-read the first two books at some point and finally finish this trilogy! 


9. The Twilight Saga by Stephanie Meyer


Guys, I tried, I really did. But I’m afraid to say that this series definitely wasn’t for me. In fact, I didn’t even get through the entirety of the first book. The characters didn’t appeal to me, and neither did the plot. This might be a series that gets better with each book, I don’t know, but will I try reading it again in the future? Probably not.

You want to yell at me now, don’t you? Do you think I desperately need to give one of these series another chance? Are there any series that you haven’t managed to finish? Let me know in the comments!

Thursday, 2 June 2016

REVIEW: You Know Me Well by Nina LaCour and David Levithan

Pages: 256
Format: Paperback
Publisher: Macmillan Children's Books
Genre: Contemporary Romance, Realistic Fiction
Release Date: June 2nd 2016
Buy The Book: Book Depository

Who knows you well? Your best friend? Your boyfriend or girlfriend? A stranger you meet on a crazy night? No one, really?

Mark and Kate have sat next to each other for an entire year, but have never spoken. For whatever reason, their paths outside of class have never crossed.

That is until Kate spots Mark miles away from home, out in the city for a wild, unexpected night. Kate is lost, having just run away from a chance to finally meet the girl she has been in love with from afar. Mark, meanwhile, is in love with his best friend Ryan, who may or may not feel the same way.

When Kate and Mark meet up, little do they know how important they will become to each other -- and how, in a very short time, they will know each other better than any of the people who are supposed to know them more.

Told in alternating points of view by Nina LaCour and David Levithan, the best-selling author of Every Day and co-author of Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist (with Rachel Cohn) and Will Grayson, Will Grayson (with John Green), You Know Me Well is a deeply honest story about navigating the joys and heartaches of first love, one truth at a time.

My Thoughts:
Okay, so let me start by shouting from the rooftops that I LOVE THIS BOOK VERY VERY VERY MUCH.

You know when you read a blurb and already you just get the feeling that you’re going to completely love the story? You Know Me Well was one of those books for me. I knew I had to read it, I went in with high expectations, and I really wasn’t disappointed. It’s become one of my favourite reads from this year so far. 

This book is a dual narrative and it joins our two main characters, Mark and Kate, on a night out at the very start of Pride Week. The pair have sat next to each other in a class all year but have never spoken to each other before this night. Mark is in love with his best friend, Ryan, and has been for a long time. Katie, or Kate as she prefers to be known, stumbles into the same club as the two boys after her nerves have her running away from a meeting with the girl of her dreams. After she and Mark recognise each other, the pair end up becoming fast friends, and the story follows them throughout the remainder of Pride Week as they try to come to terms with what’s going on in their lives. 

I can’t even begin to tell you how much I love these two characters. They’re perfect. Don’t get me started on their friendship, I could talk about them all day, they’re just made for each other. They had me literally crying with laughter at times. It was great to see these two characters who knew nothing about each other simply click straight away without question, and any scene they shared was pure gold. 

Kate and Mark both have their own relationship crisis’ going on. Kate has been waiting to meet Violet for a long time. Violet is the cousin of Kate’s best friend and has been the one thought that Kate turns to in order to calm her anxieties about college and her future. But Kate is panicking about finally getting to know her, and her instinct when she panics is to run. Meanwhile Ryan is on his journey to accepting who he is and starts to build a relationship with someone who isn’t Mark, and since Mark is crazy in love with him, he finds it difficult to see Ryan with another guy.  

Both of these relationships are very different, but so brilliantly written. Kate is learning how to love whilst Mark is learning how to fall out of it. Both have beautifully touching moments that pulled at the heartstrings for completely different reasons, and I loved getting to see the characters learning to work through their situations. 

Whilst this book is packed full of humour, there are definitely some painful punches thrown in. One chapter I could be crying with laughter and then the next I’d be just plain crying. I also have to quickly mention the poems that feature in this story! There are poems read out during one particular scene and oh my gosh, THE EMOTIONS. Truly beautiful. 

This is such an honest and poignant story with a wonderful selection of characters to adore. I had so many emotions reading the final few chapters and I was left with a very happy heart. David Levithan and Nina LaCour are a match made in YA heaven and I definitely wouldn’t say no to any further collaborations between them. 

Royal Rating:

 

Monday, 30 May 2016

BLOG TOUR: The Museum of Heartbreak by Meg Leder Review!

Today I'm excited to be the first stop on the blog tour for The Museum of Heartbreak by Meg Leder! Check out my thoughts on the story below!

Pages: 256
Format: Paperback
Publisher: Scholastic
Genre: Contemporary
Release Date: June 7th 2016
Buy The Book: Book Depository

In this ode to all the things we gain and lose and gain again, seventeen-year-old Penelope Marx curates her own mini-museum to deal with all the heartbreaks of love, friendship, and growing up.

Welcome to the Museum of Heartbreak.

Well, actually, to Penelope Marx’s personal museum. The one she creates after coming face to face with the devastating, lonely-making butt-kicking phenomenon known as heartbreak.

Heartbreak comes in all forms: There’s Keats, the charmingly handsome new guy who couldn’t be more perfect for her. There’s possibly the worst person in the world, Cherisse, whose mission in life is to make Penelope miserable. There’s Penelope’s increasingly distant best friend Audrey. And then there’s Penelope’s other best friend, the equal-parts-infuriating-and-yet-somehow-amazing Eph, who has been all kinds of confusing lately.

But sometimes the biggest heartbreak of all is learning to let go of that wondrous time before you ever knew things could be broken.

My Thoughts:
We’re always given contemporary stories that show the protagonist finally getting that cute person they’ve been crushing on. But what happens when you get your crush, and they’re not what you built them up to be in your head? That’s exactly the issue Penelope is faced with in The Museum of Heartbreak.

Penelope meets new guy Keats and is immediately attracted to him. After going to his party and surprisingly managing to connect with him, the pair start to date. However, Penelope’s relationships with her best friends are changing drastically. There’s Ephraim, who she’s known since she was little, who’s been her closest friend since then, who’s now started acting strange when he’s with her, complicating her feelings. And then there’s Audrey, who’s increasingly becoming closer friends with Cherisse, Penelope’s archenemies and Keats’ childhood friend. 

The plot of this story is featured around Penelope collecting items that have brought her to where she is in her life now, to form what becomes her own Museum. At the start of each chapter, there is a cute little sketch of the item and a bit of information about it. I really enjoyed the way the story was built upon this idea and these items. 

So the characters in this book, I love them. A lot. We’re treated to a range of different personalities that collide in the best possible way throughout the story. Penelope herself is full of wit, and her narration of the story had me giggling a lot. She has been best friends with Ephraim and Audrey for a long time, but as their social trio begins to change, we get to see her meet new friends. Grace and Miles are different to the others, but Penelope feels instantly drawn to them and I adored watching their friendship develop. The two of them made a fantastic addition to the story! 

We also get to see how Penelope grows and develops over the course of the story. We witness her realisations with her and can’t help but root for her to find the happiness she deserves. The changing of her relationship with Ephraim is believable and filled with emotion, and even though us readers can see what is happening between them, Penelope is blind to it for a while, so it’s great when she finally starts to see that their friendship could be more. 

I also thought her friendship with Audrey was an important one, showing that yes, we change and drift apart from friends we were once inseparable with, but that’s okay. What matters is making the most out of the here and now, and it was touching to see Penelope and Audrey work that out together. 

The story has great pacing throughout and there was never a dull moment. The way the writing demonstrates the changing of relationships at a crucial time in a young person’s life is honest and relatable. Not to mention there’s some brilliant humour and well-built chemistry between the characters. I utterly adored visiting Penelope’s very own Museum of Heartbreak!

Royal Rating:





  

Be sure to check out the other awesome blogs taking part in the tour this week!

  
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...