Pre-order campaign: The Exact Opposite Of Okay

Something a little bit different from me today – I wanted to draw your attention to the pre-order campaign for The Exact Opposite Of Okay by Laura Steven. This is a brilliant, funny, feminist book and I loved it when I read it!

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So, if you pre-order the book before 7th March 2018, and email proof of purchase to Laura at theexactoppositeofokay@gmail.com, on release day, she will send you an exclusive bonus chapter detailing how our heroine, Izzy O’Neill, lost her virginity. Yes, really.

I’ll be reviewing The Exact Opposite Of Okay nearer to release date, but have a read of the synopsis below, then head to your retailer of choice to pre-order!

Aspiring comedian Izzy O’Neill never expected to be eighteen and internationally reviled. But when photos involving her, a politician’s son and a garden bench emerge, the trolls set out to take her apart. Armed with best friend Ajita and a metric ton of nachos, she must figure out who’s behind the vicious website – while keeping her sanity intact. 

Izzy is about to find out that the way the world treats girls is not okay. It’s the Exact Opposite of Okay.

This is a book for anyone who’s ever called themselves a feminist … and anyone who hasn’t. 

Pre-order at Amazon 

Or at Book Depository

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Six for Sunday: 2017 Books I Didn’t Read

It’s that time of the week again! Six for Sunday is a meme created by Steph at A Little But A Lot. This week’s theme is actually authors you discovered in 2017, but I did that for a Top Ten Tuesday post the other week, so I’m jumping back and doing the first theme of this year (which I missed) – 2017 books I didn’t read.

I actually own all these books. I was excited about all of them before they came out. I’m still excited for them. I just haven’t got round to reading them! The sad thing is, I could have easily doubled this list under the same criteria. Why do things like working and eating and sleeping get in the way of reading?

What did you miss last year? Is your list as sad-making as mine? Let me know in the comments!

 

Top Ten Tuesday: Ten Books I Loved, But Can’t Really Remember

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Top Ten Tuesday is a meme that was created by The Broke and the Bookish, and is now hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl. This week’s theme is books you loved, but can’t remember much about at all. It feels terrible to confess, but there are So. Many. I read relatively quickly, so books often merge into each other. On the plus side, I can reread as many times as I want without remembering what happened!

Anyway, the books!

I really loved all of these books (I even recommend some of them!), and I can remember certain things about them, but I couldn’t sit here and tell you the entire storyline of any of them. Which can only mean it’s time to reread!

Do you always remember what happened in the books you’ve read, or are you like me? What would be on your list? Let me know in the comments!

Discussion: How Important is Social Media to Blogging?

So I realised the other day that being a blogger is actually really difficult if you can’t spend a lot of time on social media. Or at least, I’m finding it difficult to keep up with everyone and their posts. I used to be on twitter a lot – my job meant I had significant periods of downtime and I’m not someone who can just sit in a room doing nothing. Twitter was a good way to pass the time – nothing that needed a huge amount of concentration, but enough to keep me occupied. I don’t have that anymore. I might have time to look briefly a couple of times a day, but that’s about it, and by the time I get home, I’ve just missed so much I get really frustrated. And don’t even get me started on instagram!

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Not being constantly active on social media means not being able to promote my posts as well as other people do. It means not being able to connect with other bloggers away from their actual blogs and I miss out on joining collaborations or just making friends. It means finding it harder to connect with authors and publishers. As someone who’s not on any blogger lists, this last one is actually really important. I miss out on opportunities to win giveaways of proofs I won’t get otherwise, or to join blog tours. And frankly, I miss chatting to random people connected to the book world.

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I’m not blaming anyone for this. The world is as it is, and I just happened to have spectacularly bad timing in trying to get the blog going again when I didn’t have the time for social media, but I’m interested to hear other opinions. Do you think being active on social media is important for a blogger? Do you have any solutions for how I can make it work? Let me know in the comments, and feel free to link me to your social media handles if you want!

 

Six For Sunday: Favourite Covers of 2017

Six for Sunday is a meme created by Steph over at A Little But A Lot and this week’s theme is favourite covers of 2017. I love book covers, and there are occasions when I’ve bought a book purely on the strength of what the cover looks like, so let’s see what I’ve gone with!

I commented on Charlotte’s post earlier that I thought my list would be similar to hers, but actually we’ve only got one book in common (Ink, which is so beautifully shiny it should be on everyone’s lists!). I love the optical illusion in Release, and the Waterstones special edition of Strange the Dreamer was genuinely one of the most beautful things I’d ever seen. The Smoking Hourglass is there to represent all the wonderful covers that Karl J Mountford is doing at the moment – I recommend you check out his work, because I love it!

This was so difficult! I think publishers are really pushing the boat out on covers recently, and we’ve been totally spoiled! What would be on your list? Let me know in the comments!

 

Book Review: The Cruel Prince

Right, a disclaimer before I start: I LOVE Holly Black and have done since I read Tithe too many years ago to remember. I am so excited to be back in Faerie with her, so this is not at all an unbiased review! I also happen to think this is the best book Holly’s written so you know, spoilers: I loved it.

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Of course I want to be like them. They’re beautiful as blades forged in some divine fire. They will live forever.

And Cardan is even more beautiful than the rest. I hate him more than all the others. I hate him so much that sometimes when I look at him, I can hardly breathe.

Jude was seven years old when her parents were murdered and she and her two sisters were stolen away to live in the treacherous High Court of Faerie. Ten years later, Jude wants nothing more than to belong there, despite her mortality. But many of the fey despise humans. Especially Prince Cardan, the youngest and wickedest son of the High King.

To win a place at the Court, she must defy him–and face the consequences.

In doing so, she becomes embroiled in palace intrigues and deceptions, discovering her own capacity for bloodshed. But as civil war threatens to drown the Courts of Faerie in violence, Jude will need to risk her life in a dangerous alliance to save her sisters, and Faerie itself.

Holly’s world-building is always breathtaking, and The Cruel Prince is no exception. The opening chapter set the scene brutally, but perfectly – happy endings are going to be hard to come by in this series. Which is how things should be to be honest. I found that Holly painted a picture so vivid it was easy to lose myself in the world, from the estate where Jude and her sisters grow up, to the High King’s palace.

What I really loved was how morally ambiguous everyone was. Everyone is capable of doing bad things, and you never know who to trust – which is of course the problem our heroine, Jude faces. A human brought up as a member of the Gentry is an anomaly – it is something only true of Jude and her twin sister Taryn – and Jude suffers for it. Most of her classmates think of humans as scum only fit to serve and resent Jude being treated as one of them. This does not lead to a very pleasant life for Jude and Taryn, but what I loved about Jude was her refusal to give up. She was determined to get what she wanted – knighthood earned by merit, and a place in the hierarchy no-one could question – even though there’s a chance it could get her killed. She is strong and resilient, and even when she’s betrayed by the people around her, she keeps on going. Again, and again and again. She’s a fantastic character – not always likeable, and sometimes frustrating, but fantastic.

The plot (which I’m not going to go into in detail, because spoilers) is gripping. Right from that first brutal chapter, I was sucked into the story and didn’t want to leave. I needed to know what happened next. In many ways, The Cruel Prince is a policitial thriller, just not set in our world. Jude finds herself working as a spy for the next in line to the throne, and there were some scenes where my heart was in my mouth because of the potential danger she was in. The book is full of intrigue and potential conspiracies (and the odd cameo from Holly’s earlier Faerie books), and I loved it for it.

I really cannot recommend The Cruel Prince highly enough. If you’ve read Holly’s other books you’ll get an extra kick out of it, but you don’t need to, as this is a separate series. I’m already dying for book 2 and I can’t believe I have to wait a year for it. I’m not entirely sure how I’m going to cope!

5/5

ARC received from Bonnier Zaffre/Hot Key Books via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. 

Top Ten Tuesday: 10 Bookish Goals for 2018

Top Ten Tuesday is a meme that was created and originally hosted by The Broke and The Bookish, but which is, as of this week, hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl. Let us just take a moment to mourn the passing of an era. *Sad music plays*

Onwards and upwards though, and this week’s theme is bookish goals and resolutions, which could not be better timed, as I needed to make a post of these anyway!

1. Read 130 books

This is my goodreads challenge total. Last year I read 150, but it was a struggle to get there, so to take a little bit of the stress out of it, I dropped it to 130 this year. Still a challenge but hopefully not an overwhelming one.

2. Review regularly

I don’t expect to review every book I read, but I should review more than I did last year! I’d like to be posting a review at least once a week here (although I’m happy to average that out over the year. 52 reviews seems manageable, doesn’t it?)

3. Clear the Netgalley shelf

This was one of last year’s resolutions too, and I started well…but then failed miserably. I have about 25 books waiting to be read, some of which are 2 years old now, so I really must do better at clearing them. Relatedly, I shouldn’t be afraid to not finish them and give feedback accordingly if they’re just not for me.

4. Don’t be afraid to be critical

I tend to only write and post reviews of books I liked, because I’m always worried that someone will attack me if I’m critical. Which is ridiculous. If I don’t like a book, I don’t like it. I can’t help that! So expect more reviews of books I hated this year.

5. Crosspost reviews to Amazon, Goodreads and Bookbridgr

I’m a terrible person, and I never review on retail sites, and I only ever put a star rating on goodreads. I need to be better at this this year.

6. Remember to actually link challenge-eligible posts to the challenge

Fairly self explanatory I think. I know I’m not the only person who fell out of the British Books Challenge last year and I’m determined to see it through to the end in 2018! This is true of any other challenges I may yet sign up for.

7. Read more diversely

I read a lot of books by women, but that doesn’t get me off the hook for reading books by other diverse authors. I started this last year, and I shall do better with it this year.

8. Clear out the kindle

My kindle is like the place books go to die. I am terrible at reading on it, not least because I forget what I’ve bought. This year is the year I sort it out. I will read the books I want to read and delete the ones I don’t. It’s not that hard, is it?!

9. Remember that the subtitle of this blog is ‘Tackling the TBR Pile’ and STOP BUYING BOOKS

I mean, obviously not completely, but I really do need to read the books I have before buying more. I am actually being helped in this at the moment, becase I picked up so many proofs at YALC, I don’t need to buy any of the new releases! (It took me ages before I realised that was why I was so underwhelmed whenever I went into Waterstones.)

10. Comment more on other blogs

This is something else I’m terrible at, but I’m going to improve this year. I need to actually schedule time to do blog things, including commenting.

So there are my bookish goals for the year. Four of them were also on last year’s list, but never mind. This year is the year!

What are your bookish goals or resolutions? Let me know in the comments!

Book Review: Wunderkids

I’m not going to lie to you. I hated this book. I really struggled to finish it because it just wasn’t holding my interest at all, and when I did finally get to the last page, I breathed a sigh of relief. I did wonder if my feelings were because I was reading on my kindle, because I’ve fallen out of love with the ebook format recently, but I’ve just raced through a netgalley request on there, so I think it has to be this particular book I didn’t like.

wunderkids cover

15-year-old Nikka is invited to attend Wildwood Academy, a prestigious but secret boarding school for talented youth located deep in the Californian mountains. Once there, Nikka quickly falls in love with her bizarre classes, the jaw-dropping scenery and… two very different boys. 

However, Wildwood Academy has a dark and twisted secret, one that could cost Nikka the one thing she had never imagined she could lose, the one thing that money can’t buy. It is this very thing that Wildwood Academy was created to steal. 

Nikka can stay and lose everything, or she can risk death and run. 

This is going to be a relatively short review, because it appears I’ve already blocked a lot of it from my memory! The first thing I’d say is that I think it’s badly written, and that it needed a better editor. There is a ton of unnecessary description of what everyone is wearing, for example, or of the scenery which has already been described earlier in the book, in almost exactly the same way. There’s a lot of repetition actually, and I found the writing to be quite simple, which I didn’t like.

The second thing I’d say is that the characters have no actual character. There are rich boys with secrets, mean girls and talented boys and girls, and that’s pretty much all we know about them. We know a bit more about Nikka, our lead, but it’s all basic background stuff, and I never felt that we really got to know Sums and Stella, Nikka’s best friends at the school, or Tristan and Izaya, her love interests. I will also say that I felt rage at the constant pointing out that Sums was overweight, as if that was his defining characteristic. It’s fine to have overweight characters, but don’t constantly mock them, which is what this felt like.

The third and final thing is that I found the plot very unrealistic, and it didn’t have to be. I’ve read books with much more unbelievable plots, but they were well structured enough that I suspended my disbelief. That never happened in Wunderkids and so I didn’t really care about what was going on. Also, it has to be said that I spotted all the twists coming a mile off, so I was never invested in what was going to happen either.

What it comes down to is this: I just didn’t care about any of it. If I put my kindle down, I didn’t want to pick it back up. I think Wunderkids could have been a decent book, but this wasn’t it. I was very disappointed in it and although I kow many people who loved it, I couldn’t, in all honesty, recommend it to others.

1.5/5

ARC received from the author via her publicist in exchange for an honest review.

 

Six for Sunday: 2017 Books I Didn’t Enjoy

Six for Sunday is a meme created by Steph over at A Little But A Lot and this week’s theme is six books I didn’t enjoy in 2017. I think this is such a great topic because I certainly don’t tend to talk about much about the books I dislike, and I almost never review them. This is something I want to get better about this year – I can’t always just post positive reviews just because I feel guilty about being critical of something someone has worked hard on – so hopefully this is the jumping off point I need.

1. T is for Tree – yes, I know I was on the blog tour for this. There is a reason my post was a Q&A instead of a review. It’s a terrible book, with terrible themes and concepts, and if I’d felt I could pull out of the tour, I would have done.

2. Seven Days of You – I can’t actually remember why I disliked this book so much, but I remember that I did. I think I hated the lead character, and the way she treated everyone around her.

3. Royce Rolls – I hated the writing style of this one and really struggled to get through it, which is a real shame because I loved the Beautiful Creatures series that Margaret Stohl co-wrote.

4. Dramarama – So. Boring. And unrealistic. Fortunately from the library so at least I didn’t spend any money on it!

5. Undercover Princess – also boring and not terribly well written. It felt like someone’s first draft to me, and again, it seemed so unrealistic. I also thought the characters were pretty one dimensional.

6. The Fandom – I know some of you are going to disagree vehemently on this one, but I just found it boring. I couldn’t understand why they loved the book/film they were fans of, because it sounded terrible, and I hated the way the group of friends behaved with each other. I gave up at about page 160 and gave my copy away.

Don’t forget to check out Steph’s post and let me know in the comments what you think of my list (be nice though!).

Top Ten Favourite Books of 2017

We all know I’ve been atrocious about keeping up with my blog over the last few months, so I thought I’d take advantage of the year’s end to tell you about some of my favourite books from 2017. I’ll admit, this is mostly because I never got around to telling you all about my absolute favourite book of last year, which was…

*drumroll*

The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue by Mackenzi Lee

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It’s probably not a huge surprise, because it showed up on all my most-anticipated lists, and I even did a guest post for Sarah at Sarah Withers Blogs talking about how much I was looking forward to it. Let me tell you, it lived up to ALL the expectations and I utterly adored it.

The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue is the story of Monty, a young English lord, and his best friend Percy as they go on a grand tour of Europe, getting themselves (well, Monty does most of the trouble-making) into all sorts of trouble as they go. Monty is a terrible person in many ways, but he’s also incredibly sweet and loyal, and his love for Percy helps him see and own his mistakes. There’s also an incredible supporting cast, from Monty’s sister Felicity (who’s getting her own book this year!), to the pirates our gang falls in with, and I loved every second of reading it. In fact, I almost turned back to the beginning and started again after I finished it (and hugged it to myself a little bit). It’s funny, sweet, mostly historically accurate and has one of the best slow-burn romances I’ve ever read.

The rest of this list is in no particular order (because don’t make me choose, ok?).

Rejected Princesses by Jason Porath

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This is such a wonderful book! Based on Jason Porath’s very popular website of the same name, it tells the stories of different women throughout history who would never make it into an animated Disney film. It has beautiful artwork throughout and a diverse range of female historical (and occasional mythical) figures that most of us have never heard of. I loved it.

Nevermoor by Jessica Townsend

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I heard about this book from a number of people on my twitter feed and there was not a negative thing to be seen about it. Then I saw the stunning hardback in the shops, and I knew I had to buy it! This was not a mistake. Nevermoor is a fantastic middle grade book about Morrigan Crow, a cursed girl who escapes the monsters after her and finds herself in a magical world. Morrigan’s mentor in this world is Jupiter North, and if I tell you that in my mind he looks like David Tennant in Tenth Doctor mode, then you know everything you need to about him as a character. He’s fab!

They Both Die At The End by Adam Silvera

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The Adam Silvera book everyone was talking about this year was History Is All You Left Me, which I sadly didn’t love (even though I appreciated it as a well written book – I reviewed it here if you want to see my thoughts). They Both Die At The End was a completely different experience for me – not least because I was sobbing my heart out by the end, unable to see the pages properly. It’s fantastic. We get to know the main characters, Mateo and Rufus, as they get to know each other with a terrible (and literal) deadline ahead of them. Beautifully written, heartbreaking to read, it left me with that wonderful feeling you get when you know you’ve read something excellent.

Moxie by Jennifer Mathieu

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This year seemed to be the year feminsism fought back, and Moxie kind of epitomised that for me. It’s a proper feminist novel that takes a look at how everyday sexism pervades the world, even in (especially in?) high school, without being preachy. It’s funny and fabulous and should definitely be on your tbr if you haven’t read it.

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

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I imagine this is on a lot of people’s lists this year. I thought it was amazing. Heartbreaking, but amazing. The story of Starr, a 16 year old girl who straddles two worlds, she sees her unarmed friend get killed by a police officer and has to make a potentially life-changing decision. THUG is such an important book, everyone should read it. And if you need any further persuasion, it has one of THE best families in YA fiction in the Carters!

Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor

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If you don’t know how I feel about this book, then you probably weren’t around when I was raving it about at the beginning of last year. But I loved it. It’s a beautifully written fantasy story, and you can read my full thoughts here.

After the Fire by Will Hill

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I’m really sad I didn’t get around to reviewing this when I read it, because it’s a stunning book. It tells the story of Moonbeam as she comes to terms with being one of the few survivors of a religious cult in Texas. Told from Moonbeam’s point of view as she talks to her assigned pyschologist and an FBI agent, we see the lead up to the fire juxtaposed with Moonbeam’s life as it is now, and it’s just so well done. I physically hurt while reading it, because it was that powerful, and I said once I’d finished it that it felt like Will Hill had torn my heart into tiny pieces and then very carefully stuck it back together again. And that is honestly the best way I have to describe how this book made me feel. Read it.

The Ninth Rain by Jen Williams

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I don’t read nearly enough adult fantasy at the moment, but I love Jen Williams’ writing, and The Ninth Rain is her best book yet. Vintage is one of my favourite characters EVER and the world-building is superb. It has archaeology, magic, elves (kind of), aliens and an amazing cast. I loved it!

Release by Patrick Ness

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I know that a lot of people didn’t actually get on with Release, but it was everything I wanted from a Patrick Ness book. I absolutely loved it and its themes of friendship and growing up and discovering yourself. You can read what I thought in a bit more detail here.

So there you have it! My ten favourite books of 2017 (but it was a close run thing for some of them, and I could have easily written a list of 20 or even 30!). I really did read some fantastic books last year, and I hope 2018 has as much good stuff in store.

What would be on your list? Let me know in the comments, or link me to your post if I haven’t seen it!