Tag Archives: book

Book Review: All of the Above by James Dawson

Published September 2015 by Hot Key Books.

23156540Goodreads Synopsis: When sixteen-year-old Toria Bland arrives at her new school she needs to work out who her friends are in a crazy whirl of worry, exam pressure and anxiety over fitting in. Things start looking up when Toria meets the funny and foul-mouthed Polly, who’s the coolest girl that Toria has ever seen. Polly and the rest of the ‘alternative’ kids take Toria under their wing. And that’s when she meets the irresistible Nico Mancini, lead singer of a local band – and it’s instalove at first sight! Toria likes Nico, Nico likes Toria, but then there’s Polly…love and friendship have a funny way of going round in circles.

My Review: I’ve been excited about this book for such a long time. I’ve been a fan of James Dawson’s books ever since his first horror novels – to see him delving into another genre is really exciting, and he’s done so excellently!

I adore how Dawson writes his characters, and All of the Above definitely has some of his best. I loved the friendship group the story is centered around so, so much – each character was really unique and although the book wasn’t that long, each character was really well developed and explored. Kudos to James for writing a great story where characters just happen to be queer / PoC, without the story being entirely about that. We need more books like this.

I really loved Toria, she was an incredibly relatable protagonist – from her tumblring to her exam pressure, to her process of figuring life out, she just really resonated with me, so I’m sure she’s going to be well received by other readers. Polly was an awesome character: Strong willed, stubborn and completely wild, she felt like a mash-up of John Green’s Margot and Alaska, though was completely unique.

The romance side of the book is brilliant – Toria falls for the local band’s lead singer, Nico, and for a while things are going great. But Polly, Toria’s best friend, is beginning to mean something else to her. The relationships felt so raw and realistic. I think the ways they progressed was perfect, and beautifully written.

The back of the physical copy of the book says “It would be neater, wouldn’t it, if this was a story about self harm or sexuality or eating disorders or ridiculously hot bass players, but it’s a story about all of them. Yeah, it’s a mess. And it’s about to get messier.” Sidenote: Most fantastic blurb ever. And the fact that ‘it’s a mess’ is the reason this book stands out. So much happens. There are parts that will make you grin from ear to ear. There are parts that hit you really hard, parts that will make you cry. Some elements are wrapped up perfectly at the end. Some things are never resolved. But that’s the best thing about it – it’s not sugar-coated and nothing is perfect. And that’s what makes this book perfect.

Overall, All of the Above was an exceptional book, and I can tell it’s going to be loved and related to by a lot of teenagers. As much as I loved James Dawson’s horror YA, (and would love to read more of the genre from him again) I can tell his ‘phase two’ is going to be awesome. Dawson covers so many topics in this book, and so well, it’s admirable. I really recommend this, and I can’t wait to see what’s next.

My Rating:four

I received a copy of All of the Above from the publisher, via Netgalley, in exchange for a review. In no way at all did this affect my thoughts.

TO BE (RE)READ…

As a book blogger, I read a lot of books: The many I buy in book stores, as well as the titles I’m lucky enough to be sent from publishers for review. But, as blogging schedules, deadlines and looming TBR piles have gotten more and more daunting, what I read can sometimes be a little restricted. Don’t get me wrong – I adore book blogging, and love & appreciate every aspect of it. What I read is always diverse and unique (Every new book is always a different genre). However, there are times when I look at my bookshelves and spot a title I loved recently, or a very old book I loved a long time ago. I’ll often pick the book up, reread the blurb, and maybe flick to a short scene I remember to be particularly memorable. I’ll read a short part then think to myself, I’d love to revisit these characters. 

But, nine times out of ten, I put that title back and go to my TBR pile for my next read.

As much as I’m eager to delve into a fictional worlds I haven’t experience yet, I also find myself often wanting to revisit fictional worlds I’ve loved in the past. Therefore, for every ten books or so that I read from now on, I’d like to take an old favourite and reread it! As fun & challenging as reading to keep up with reviewing can be (which hasn’t been that frequent thanks to hectic coursework things!), rereading will be so fun (and a little nostalgic in cases…) and I’m sure it’ll cure the frequent reading slumps too!

Here’s a list of the top ten books I’d like to reread soon:

gerard

#1: Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone by J. K. Rowling

There’s not really a need to explain this one! I grew up with Harry Potter, but the last time I ever read the series was when The Deathly Hallows was released… I can’t believe that was just over seven years ago. I would love to reread the series, or at least the first book.

#2: Northern Lights by Philip Pullman

I can recall reading Northern Lights when I was a lot younger, in primary school, but I can’t remember any of the plot now – though I remember it being a completely beautiful book. I came across my old toys of the movie characters a while ago, and they reminded me how I should definitely revisit the story!

#3: Matilda by Roald Dahl

Matilda is just one of the many Roald Dahl books I would love to reread again – I was reminded of how magical his books were when I visited the Roald Dahl Museum again over the summer holidays. I just picked Matilda for this list, because it was definitely the main Dahl book that started my love of reading.

#4: The Magic Faraway Tree by Enid Blyton

I can’t remember when and how, but recently the Magic Faraway Tree books came up in a conversation and I instantly flew back, in my head, to when my dad used to read these to Six-Year-Old-Me. I really adored them and I would love to reread at least one short story!

#5: Inkheart by Cornelia Funke

As a primary school student, I accidentally picked up my first obsession when I bought Inkheart by Cornelia Funke. I wish there was a fandom for this book. *Scours Tumblr* I’m sure I destroyed the spine of my copy when I read it over and over again between ages seven and eleven. I can’t find it anywhere though, which is sad! As soon as I find my copy I’m definite I’ll be making time for it.IMG_2395

#6: Paper Towns by John Green

John Green’s books are – I’m sure most will agree – genius. Paper Towns ties with TFiOS when it comes to picking a favourite of his books. As I’ve been getting really excited about the Paper Towns movie, seeing all of the set pictures online, I found myself tempted to go back and read the book. I’m sure I will before the movie is out!

#8: The Realm of Possibility by David Levithan

Another Levithan title, also read very recently! This is on the list because it’s not only a book I want to go back to again, but it’s also probably the easiest to because it’s split into short pieces, each from a different character’s perspective. It was really poetic and moving – in fact, I’ve been rereading passages and pages recently.

#7: Every Day by David Levithan

Every Day is one of the most recently read books on this list; I read it in July. Levithan’s my favourite author at the moment, I think, and that was definitely decided after I finished reading Every Day. As soon as I closed the book, I wanted to start again.  I’m not sure rereading Every Day will give me the same experience as reading it for the first time did, but it was a truly phenomenal book and I just want to revisit A so badly!IMG_2397

#9: Marvel’s The Runaways (Vol. 1)

The Runaways is a graphic novel series that I’ve raved about quite a few times on this blog. I just loved it so much! Though I haven’t actually finished the whole series (I think I’m missing two volumes) I would like to read the first volume again. To help cope with my feelings. Because I’m still crying over the most recent volume I read.

#10: Sailor Moon (Vol. 1) by Naoko Takeuchi

Between the ages of ten and twelve, I went through a kind of “manga” pghase – I was totally obsessed with drawing, manga style, and reading manga series including Sailor Moon. Naoko Takeuchi’s books are still an all-time favourite manga, though I haven’t read them in ages. With the recent release of Sailor Moon Crystal, I’d like to reread the original Sailor Moon books, then maybe try the new series!

Wow, that was unexpectedly a very long, rambling post… What books would you like to reread soon?

The Winter TBR pile

IMG_2184

The last months of the year are my favourite: Halloween, Christmas, great opportunities to get pretty pictures… And the perfect weather to curl up on the sofa with a blanket, tea, and a book! (:

A couple of weeks ago I sorted out some books I want to get around to reading the soonest, and books I think will be the best to curl up with leading up to Christmas. Some are by favourite authors, and some are books I’ve heard great things about and really want to try out. I’ve picked nine (One is split into three volumes), which may be a little over-ambitious as I have lots of ARCs too, and homework… But I’m very excited about reading them all, if I can manage to!

IMG_2395

IMG_2397I’ve owned all of the books I’ve picked for quite a while but haven’t gotten around to them, mainly because the majority are hardbacks or very big books that I can’t carry to school and back. I can’t wait to curl up with these, though! Most of what I’ve picked are fantasies and adventure novels, for the pure escapism. I’m probably the most excited for Fahrenheit 451 at the moment, as it’s a classic I’ve been meaning to read for ages – and my copy is a really gorgeous Folio Society edition.

What do you recommend I read first? What books will you be curling up with over the last weeks of the year? (:

Book Review: The Sleeper and the Spindle by Neil Gaiman, Illustrated by Chris Riddell

Published October 23rd 2014 by Bloomsbury.

IMG_2394Goodreads Synopsis: On the eve of her wedding, a young queen sets out to rescue a princess from an enchantment. She casts aside her fine wedding clothes, takes her chain mail and her sword and follows her brave dwarf retainers into the tunnels under the mountain towards the sleeping kingdom. This queen will decide her own future – and the princess who needs rescuing is not quite what she seems. Twisting together the familiar and the new, this perfectly delicious, captivating and darkly funny tale shows its creators at the peak of their talents.

My Review: Chris Riddell and Neil Gaiman are a brilliant storytelling pair – as I knew from reading Fortunately, the Milk, their children’s book. Neil Gaiman’s writing is always gorgeous and Chris Riddell’s illustrations always bring to life his characters in an unforgettable way. Consequently, when I found out about The Sleeper and the Spindle, I was really excited about reading it!

IMG_2395

The book is one of the most beautiful editions I’ve ever come across. The cover made me want to start reading straight away (Which I did!) and the minimalistic colour palette of black, white and gold makes the beautiful illustrations stand out. I fell in love with the look and feel of the book before I’d even started the story! I know it’s a book I’ll treasure.

I’ve been a fan of Chris Riddell’s work for years but I think his illustrations in The Sleeper and the Spindle are my new favourites – especially the two-page spreads and the endpapers! The character depictions are all so beautiful.

IMG_2397

I was aware the story would be a retelling of Sleeping Beauty – but didn’t realise that the clever twists would draw in Snow White too. The only reason I was a little nervous about reading it was that I wasn’t sure how I’d find it because it was a rewritten classic – would it stand out enough? There’s quite a big market in fairy tale re-tellings. I’m not sure why I thought that; Neil Gaiman’s spin on the well-known stories was fantastic, and I didn’t want to pull myself out of the story.

What I loved the most was how the classic story is there, but the stereotypical stock character’s aren’t. There’s no prince charming. Instead, the protagonist is Snow White, who leaves her land, delaying her marriage, to awake the ‘sleeper’ in her castle, while the sleeping plague sweeps over the land. It’s so fresh and different! I really liked the ending too, which left the story at a point that left me wondering about the character’s unwritten futures.

IMG_2399

Overall, The Sleeper and the Spindle definitely lived up to my excitement, though at just under seventy pages I do wish it was a little longer – I fell in love with the story so much. It’s a wonderfully fresh take on Sleeping Beauty – and a clever continuation of Snow White as well! The illustrations that accompanied the writing were gorgeous, and I think they fitted the story perfectly. Definitely recommended – The Sleeper and the Spindle will appeal to readers regardless of age.

My Rating: 

bibliomaniacheartbibliomaniacheartbibliomaniacheartbibliomaniacheartbibliomaniacheart

I received a copy of The Sleeper and the Spindle form the publisher, in exchange for a review. In no way at all did this affect my thoughts.

 

New Books! #48

NewBooksMemeBanner1Gahhh! All of these books came over nine days. That’s… thirteen books in nine days… I swear, my book hauls are getting bigger and bigger… Well, at least this weekend kicks off the week off school… so between some exam revision I can get some more reading done! I’ve been reading pretty slowly lately… and I keep picking up books, starting them, then moving on. Meh, reading slump-y moods suck.

DSCF4343

Alif the Unseen by G Willow Wilson: A twitter friend recommended this to me after I tweeted fangirlishly about G Willow Wilson’s amazing Ms Marvel series! I spotted it in the library and had to pick it up. The cover is so, so gorgeous. I really can’t wait to start it.

Confessions of a Blabbermouth by Mike & Lousie Carey and Alex Alexovich, and The Unwritten by Mike Carey and Ross: I borrowed these from the library, too, because I really wanted to read some more of mike Carey’s works after the event I went to recently! I have already finished Blabbermouth- the review went up this week!

V for Vendetta by Alan moore and David Lloyd (Not pictured): I also picked this up in the library, because after ages of begging my dad to be able to read it, he finally let me xD I’ve heard so, so much about this and I’ve just finished the first part. It’s brilliant; dark, dystopian and chilling.

The case of the Exploding Loo by Rachel Hamilton: I met Rachel over Twitter and I’ve been really excited about her upcoming MG book. It sounds crazily awesome. Thank you to Simon & Schuster for the copy!

My Brother’s Secret by Dan Smith: I don’t think I’ve read many historical fiction titles recently, even though I really enjoy the genre. This is definitely going to be one of my next reads as I’d love to read more from the genre again. My Brother’s Secret looks so emotional, set in the world war. I can’t wait to start it- thanks to Chicken House for the copy.

Tanith Low in The Maleficent Seven by Derek Landy: Okay, confession… I haven’t read the Skulduggery Pleasent series… *hides* I know they’re meant to be amazing- I’ve just never gotten around to reading them! This came as a surprise in the post, and I was a ittle sad because I thought I wouldn’t be able to read it, but it turns out The Maleficent Seven spins off from the world and so it can work as a standalone. Hopefully if I enjoy this I’ll go pick up Skulduggery! 😀 Thanks to Harper Collins for this.

Thanks again to the publishers who sent me arcs! What books did you buy or borrow recently? Or what did you think of any of these titles? (: