Top 5: Anticipated Releases II

It has been a while since I last posted on here… Oops! At the end of November I lost focus on my blog due to assignments deadlines; come December I had decided to attempt Vlogmas on my YouTube channel and during the latter half of December I went home for Christmas break, during which I also didn’t get round to doing anything YouTube-y. Since then and until last week, I’ve been busy writing a beast of an essay.

Now, that’s been handed in, and I have returned from my unplanned hiatus! I’m not sure what day I’ll try to upload every week, but I’ll definitely try to post something each week from now on!

Excuses aside, back in July, I wrote a Top 5-post on Anticipated Releases. Here is another list, with some more exciting books that’ll be released between now and May!

 dumplin1. Dumplin’ by Julie Murphy (28 January 2016)

Willowdean has always been at home in her own skin. Her thoughts on having the ultimate bikini body? Put a bikini on your body. With her all-American-beauty best friend, Ellen, by her side, things have always worked until Will takes a job at Harpy’s, the local fast-food joint. There she meets Private School Bo, a hot former jock. Will isn’t surprised to find herself attracted to Bo. But she is surprised when he seems to like her back. Instead of finding new heights of self-assurance in her relationship with Bo, Will starts to doubt herself. So she sets out to take back her confidence by doing the most horrifying thing she can imagine: entering the Miss Teen Blue Bonnet Pageant-along with several other unlikely candidates-to show the world that she deserves to be up there as much as any twiggy girl does. Along the way, she’ll shock the hell out of Clover City-and maybe herself most of all.

This book just sounds like a whole lot of fun: body positivity, pageants, trying to figure oneself out, and a spot of romance. Dumplin’ has been getting really good reviews so far, and I can’t wait to find out for myself whether I like it as much as I think I will (though that might actually take a while, because it appears to be released in hardback first – and I tend to find those too expensive… Eventually I’ll get round to it!).

2. The Wicked + The Divine, vol. 3: Commercial Suicide by Kieron Gillen (11 February 2016)wickeddivinevol3

After the detonation of FANDEMONIUM the gods-as-pop-stars of THE WICKED + THE DIVINE try living in the long dark shadow.

The Wicked + The Divine is one of the first graphic novels I laid my eyes on – after recommendation by a friend – and I loved it. It’s got such fantastic art, the story is fascinating and it ends on a huge cliff-hanger. I read Volume 2, Fandemonium, last summer and was just as enthralled as by the first volume – and it had just as much of a cliff-hanger as the first one. I’m very excited for the release of Volume 3, so I can finally find out what happens next.

radiosilence3. Radio Silence by Alice Oseman (25 February 2016)

Frances has always been a study machine with one goal, elite university. Nothing will stand in her way […] But when Frances meets Aled, the shy genius behind her favourite podcast, she discovers a new freedom. He unlocks the door to Real Frances and for the first time she experiences true friendship, unafraid to be herself. Then the podcast goes viral and the fragile trust between them is broken. Caught between who she was and who she longs to be, Frances’ dreams come crashing down. Suffocating with guilt, she knows that she has to confront her past… She has to confess why Carys disappeared…

Meanwhile at uni, Aled is alone, fighting even darker secrets.

I read Alice’s debut novel, Solitaire, sometime last year – mostly out of curiosity about what a published book, written by someone my age, might be like. I didn’t like it all that much, which perhaps was largely down to the protagonist, or perhaps I just didn’t like the plot that much: I’m not sure. Who knows – I might give it another shot in the future. However, I am very interested in Radio Silence: story-wise it sounds more like something I’d be interested in, and I would also like to read something else by Alice and see whether I feel any different about it than her debut.

4. A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas (3 May 2016)acourtofmistandfury

Feyre survived Amarantha’s clutches to return to the Spring Court–but at a steep cost. Though she now has the powers of the High Fae, her heart remains human, and it can’t forget the terrible deeds she performed to save Tamlin’s people. Nor has Feyre forgotten her bargain with Rhysand, High Lord of the feared Night Court. As Feyre navigates its dark web of politics, passion, and dazzling power, a greater evil looms–and she might be key to stopping it. But only if she can harness her harrowing gifts, heal her fractured soul, and decide how she wishes to shape her future–and the future of a world cleaved in two.

This was to be expected, right? Last year I first read Sarah’s work, and I was immediately hooked. I didn’t love A Court of Thorns and Roses quite as much as I do the Throne of Glass series, but I am excited about this sequel to ACOTAR nonetheless!

 

thecrown5. The Crown by Kiera Cass

Twenty years have passed since the events of The One, and America and Maxon’s daughter is the first princess to hold a Selection of her own. Princess Eadlyn didn’t think she would find a real partner among the Selection’s thirty-five suitors, let alone true love. But sometimes the heart has a way of surprising you…and now Eadlyn must make a choice that feels more difficult—and more important—than she ever expected.

To be honest, I have quite mixed feelings about The Selection series: I didn’t love the first three books, but found them somehow quite addictive. The Heir, which followed Eadlyn for the first time, I liked more: possible because America was constantly getting on my nerves in the first three. Despite my mixed feelings, I’m interested in reading The Crown, which will be the final instalment in this series. I’ve gotten this far – might as well see it through ‘till the end!

 

Those are all the books for today: as per usual, let me know what books you’re excited about and whether you’re planning on picking any of these up!

What Became of My (Wishful) Summer Reading List

At the start of the summer I uploaded this post, in which I told you all about the books I hoped to read between July and September. The summer has now come to an end (both weather-wise and freedom from uni-wise) and I’m back to tell you which of those books I actually managed to read, as well as the ones I read that weren’t even on the list.

First up: the books from the list that I’ve actually read;

  1. The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde
  2. A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas
  3. Vicious by V. E. Schwab
  4. The Year I Met You by Cecelia Ahern
  5. Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor
  6. Lying Out Loud by Kody Keplinger
  7. Northern Lights by Philip Pullman

So, that’s about half of the list I managed to read. Not too bad, but still, I really would have liked to read the others as well.

Now for the books that weren’t on the list:

  1. Only Ever Yours by Louise O’Neill
  2. The Next Together by Lauren James
  3. The Tinderbox by Hans Christian Andersen (Penguin 80th Anniversary Edition)
  4. Famous Five: Five on a Treasure Island by Enid Blyton
  5. Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon
  6. The Wicked + The Divine, vol 2: Fandemonium by Kieron Gillen
  7. The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe by C. S. Lewis
  8. The Tale of Jemima Puddle-Duck by Beatrix Potter
  9. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by J. K. Rowling, narrated by Jim Dale
  10. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by J. K. Rowling, narrated by Jim Dale*
  11. Swallows and Amazons by Arthur Ransome*

Overall, I’d say it’s been pretty good going – though I must add some of those books were tiny and both Harry Potter books were audiobooks. But still! I consumed a very decent amount of texts and some of the texts above are for my children’s literature module this semester (the ones by Lewis, Ransome, Pullman and Blyton).

I have written/filmed reviews of the following books in case you’re interested: The Picture of Dorian Gray, A Court of Thorns and Roses, Lying Out Loud, Only Ever Yours, The Next Together, Everything, Everything, and will soon have some sort of collective review going up on some of the children’s books I’m reading for uni!

Let me know what you’ve read this summer in the comments!

Love,

Christa

*Technically I haven’t finished the starred books just yet, but I’m sure I will have by the end of this week!

The Riot Club

the riot club

This review, written by me, was first published in Newcastle University’s newspaper, The Courier, and has been slightly altered for the purpose of this blog post.

Based on Laura Wade’s play Posh, The Riot Club is about ten students at the University of Oxford who have been carefully selected to join an age old, prestigious and slightly infamous club, which is speculated to be based on Oxford University’s real Bullingdon Club.

Alistair Ryle (Sam Claflin) and Miles Richards (Max Irons) are two freshers at the university who have been chosen to become The Riot Club’s newest members. From the moment Alistair and Miles meet they become unspoken rivals. Throughout the film each character shows their good and bad sides as they get more involved with the club, making it difficult for the audience to choose who they empathize with and who they want to do better than the other.

Overall, I thought the film was really impressive: the convincing acting of all cast members creates a foreboding atmosphere that lures the watcher right in. I had one main issue with the film: instead of showing several big events that then lead to the ‘big scene’ where things traditionally go wrong – after which traditionally the problem is resolved and the characters learn and become better people – there are only a few events leading up to the ‘big scene’, which is then stretched out and used to its full extent. As a whole, the film is quite static: there are not very many different settings. However, after discovering that the film was based on a play, this structure makes a lot more sense to me, allowing me to appreciate it more. Wade, who also wrote the screenplay for the film, appears to have decided to maintain the story’s original theatrical structure and use of sets. It is a somewhat unusual way of giving form to a medium like film and one that certainly wouldn’t work for every film but I feel like for The Riot Club, it does work.

I must add: if you are someone who does not like the flat-out portrayal of violence, you might want to skip this film as it does not shy away from the monstrosity of a drunken fight.

This film is great if you enjoy watching films that are intriguing, shocking, yet realistic and that makes you question how far someone would go to belong.

Love,

Christa

Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon

Everything, Everything

Pinched the image off Nicola‘s website!

Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon will be published by Penguin Random House Children’s on the 27th of August, 2015 (and on the 3rd of September in the UK). I received an ARC from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review, so here goes!

Everything, Everything tells the story of Madeline Whittier: an eighteen-year old girl, who was raised by her single mother, and is allergic. To everything. Madeline is comfortable living in her squeaky-clean, decontaminated, sterile bubble, being tended to by her nurse, Carla, and her mother. Then, she hears new neighbours moving in, and discovers amongst them is a boy her age. Noticing her, he gives her his email address and soon the two are getting to know each other online – and in doing so, they’re threatening to break Madeline’s bubble of health.

From what I’ve seen on booktube, Everything, Everything has received a lot of buzz and love already, which is mainly what made me curious about it too (because I will never be able to help myself and always want to read the books that people are loving so much) – thanks to Netgalley I had the opportunity to read it.

Yoon’s debut novel is a YA Contemporary, and reads very much like one: it’s a quick read, but at the same time enticing, sweet, and… nice. I enjoyed reading it, and I would recommend it if you’re on the look-out for a contemporary YA novel with a sweet romance and a plot that doesn’t merely revolve around that romance, but I’m, unfortunately, not as head-over-heels in love with this book as so many people seem to be.

There are a few things that I didn’t like that much about it. First of which, is that I guess the plot twist soon after I’d started reading it. It was a good twist nonetheless, and I think surprising for plenty of people, but I feel what came after was a bit too sped up (which is my second ‘dislike’ if you will). After the twist was revealed, the ending to the novel came very soon and I feel there were characters that could have been explored so much more in the aftermath of that twist – characters whose experiences I wanted to be shed more light on.

What I did like about the novel were Madeline and Olly: I enjoyed reading their communications (especially the IM parts), how they got to know each other and the tensions between them. Another thing I liked very much about the novel were the many doodles and illustrations that were scattered across the pages. Some were merely decorative, whereas others were a part of Madeline’s story and depicted something that was described or told you about what she planned to do. In a way, this was a very nice way of taking the ‘showing-not-telling’ (that all writers are drilled about) to the next level. What makes them even sweeter is that they were drawn by Nicola’s husband, David Yoon.

In the end, I gave the novel a 3.5/5 on Goodreads.

Let me know if you plan on reading Everything, Everything!

Love,

Christa

Lying Out Loud by Kody Keplinger

Pinched the image off Kody‘s website!

Lying Out Loud* is Kody Keplinger’s newest novel and a companion to her, now turned into a feature film, novel The Duff.

Like The Duff, the novel is set in the small town of Hamilton and the high school there, Hamilton High. Lying Out Loud follows Sonny (or Sonya), who is best friends with Wesley’s sister Amy (Wesley from The Duff) and a perpetual liar. Due to problems at home that she doesn’t like to talk about, Sonny secretly lives with Amy.

A new boy, Ryder, has transferred to their school. He is obnoxious, arrogant, and considers everything in Hamilton inferior compared to his previous school and life in Washington. One night, though, Sonny accidentally messages Ryder and the two get talking online. Soon enough, Sonny’s lies get her caught in a web of her own weaving and it becomes difficult to find a way out without hurting herself – or those she cares about. 

I think, once again, Keplinger has written a very solid YA novel. It is an incredibly fast read (I want to say I finished it in about 3.5 hours), and at no time gets boring. One thing I liked about The Duff when I read it, was how although a conflict with a boy was one of the big issues the main character dealt with, there were also so many more elements that were focussed on. In Lying Out Loud, Keplinger has managed to do the same once more: friendships, familial relationships, and how wrong first impressions can be are all important themes in the novel and handled very well.

Keplinger has a knack for writing YA that feels very genuine: in The Duff she didn’t gloss over the sex the main characters had (in fact, there was quite a bit of it) and in Lying Out Loud she makes excellent use of swear words; they’re not used very frequently, but when they are used, it feels very appropriate. Furthermore, the overall diction used by the teens felt very apt and real.

Although most of the characters sometimes acted (somewhat) irrationally, and I personally would not have done as they did,  I definitely understood why the characters acted as they did: all their actions were driven by something deeper.

My only “negative” comments would be that Sonny changed her mind about Ryder rather quickly – but then again, I can imagine one would – and that I would have liked to know more about Sonny’s dad. Lastly, the ending was a little too abrupt for my liking and stopped just a little too soon (but really, that’s just a compliment for Keplinger!).

Overall, I really enjoyed Lying Out Loud: it left me curious about what might happen after the book ended and, although I sometimes wanted to shake Sonny to stop being so silly, I really rooted for her and I wanted all to turn out well. I would recommend this book to anyone who’s in for a quick, fun read that deals with romance, but also so much more. I gave it a 4/5 on Goodreads.

Love,

Christa

ps. is calling your friends’ parents “Mrs […]” and “Mr […]” and American thing?

*I received a copy of the novel through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

A little book haul

As summer is looming, my thirst for words is growing – the summer holidays are simply when I do the most reading for pleasure.

Having this in mind, as well as the voucher I had lying around and my flatmate’s departure coming up, the two of us decided to go on a mate date to Waterstones (and have some cake afterwards). Here are the little treasures I came home with:

DSC00745

Vicious by V. E. Schwab

Victor and Eli, due to a research project gone wrong, become ExtraOrdinaries with supernatural powers. Ten years later Victor escapes from prison, determined to get his revenge on the man who put him there, while Eli has spent the years hunting down and killing other EOs. Driven by the memory of betrayal and loss, the arch-nemeses have set a course for revenge…

I honestly don’t know a lot about this book. What I do know that, apparently, V.E. Schwab (or Victoria Schwab) is an amazing author. I follow her on Twitter, and she seems like a really nice person (and I really, really admire her work ethic – she puts in so many hours a day!) but I have yet to read a book of hers. When in the shop, I was choosing between Vicious and A Darker Shade of Magic. In the end I opted for the first, thinking that it was a stand alone, BUT it appears there may be sequels… Oh well! I’m ready to be blown away!

Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor

In general, Karou has managed to keep her two lives in balance. On the one hand, she’s a seventeen-year-old art student in Prague; on the other, errand-girl to a monstrous creature who is the closest thing she has to family. Raised half in our world, half in ‘Elsewhere’, she has never understood Brimstone’s dark work – buying teeth from hunters and murderers – nor how she came into his keeping. She is a secret even to herself, plagued by the sensation that she isn’t whole. Now the doors to Elsewhere are closing, and Karou must choose between the safety of her human life and the dangers of a war-ravaged world that may hold the answers she has always sought.

All I know about this book is what’s on the blurb you’ve just read. That and that a whole lot of people on good ol’ booktube love this book and its sequels (as it is the first in a trilogy). I’ve been wanting to pick this book up for a while now, and I’m kind of in the mood for something fantastical, so I finally cracked!


The Year I Met You
 by CeceliaDSC00746 Ahern

The year that changed my life. 

For Jasmine, losing her job felt like losing everything. 

The year I found home. 

With a life built around her career and her beloved sister Heather, suddenly her world becomes the house and garden she has hardly seen and the neighbours she has yet to meet. 

The year I met you. 

But being fired is just the beginning for Jasmine. In the year that unfolds she learns more about herself than she could ever imagine – and more about other people than she ever dreamed. Sometimes friendship is found in the most unexpected of places.

In my “Top 5 Auto-buy Authors” video I mentioned Cecelia and my love for her books. The Year I Met You was first released in 2014, but I have been eagerly awaiting the arrival of the paperback, which finally came out a few weeks ago. I don’t know much about the plot yet, but knowing Cecelia Ahern, I’ll love whatever she’s come up with. I can’t wait to finally read this!

Thanks for stopping by – I will be back, same time, next week!

Love,

Christa