Tag Archives: funny

Mini Reviews: Being a Girl and Almost Grace

Both reviews I’ve put together in this post are out from Hot Key Books! I received both at the bloggers brunch a couple of months ago, and they’re really great. I decided to do a mini-reviews post for these two, as they’re both quite short – and though one is fiction and one non-fiction, they’re both about growing and being a teenage girl – or on the brink of adulthood.

Being A Girl by Hayley Long, published by Hot Key Books. 24917649Goodreads Synopsis: Being a girl is not all sugar and spice. How can you possibly survive school and even think about talking to your crush when you have spots in places you didn’t even know you had, your boobs are too big (or too small) and the friend drama is off the charts? Luckily, bestselling YA author and sixth-form teacher Hayley Long provides a straight-talking guide to puberty – from cattiness to kisses, and everything in between. With witty black-and-white illustrations by Gemma Correll throughout, BEING A GIRL tells you everything you need to know about surviving puberty, in an honest and humorous way. My Review: I’ve read and loved some of Hayley Long’s fantastically funny fiction books before, so as soon as I’d heard that Being A Girl (a companion to Being A Boy by James Dawson) was to be written by her, I was really interested in reading it! She’s the perfect writer for a book all about growing up and, well, being a girl. Being A Girl is split into lots of informative and useful chapters, and Hayley’s writing spruces up even the worst bits with humour that will make you giggle out loud. My favourite part? Herstory! A whole chapter dedicated to some of the most important women in history! I loved reading it. Also, of course, the icing on the cake is Gemma Corrells’ illustrations: I love her work so much, as I’ve seen a lot of it in the internet. (sidenote: I want this shirt more than anything right now) Her drawing style is the perfect accompaniment to the writing. I really recommend Being A Girl – whether you’re a girl, boy, young or old. My Rating:

Almost Grace by Rosie Rowell, published by Hot Key Books.

24917629Goodreads Synopsis: Grace and her Cape Town friends are renting a house on the coast – after exams it’s their rite of passage into adulthood. Yet ‘maturity’ means different things to each of them. Brett and Louisa have plans – university, travelling – but Grace is uncertain of her future. Anxiety drives her to take control of whatever she can, starting with her own body, and it is starting to worry those around her.

When Grace meets Spook – an older, nomadic surfer – their attraction is instant and his relaxed familiarity and assured confidence catch her off-guard. Can she allow herself to lose control, and fall in love? My Review: I really enjoyed Rosie Rowell’s debut novel, Leopold Blue, and wasn’t aware that more of her work was releasing soon until a Hot Key Books brunch. I was lucky enough to get a copy, which I raced through in an evening! Rowell’s second novel is set also in South Africa, with yet even more unforgettable teenage characters. Grace was really likeable and it’s evident that she is suffering from an eating disorder, which as far as I remember, isn’t actually name specifically in the story.t. I’m really liking the fact that so many books on these topics are coming out at the moment – they’re eye opening, and so well written. Though I think Leopold Blue is my favourite Rosie Rowell book still, Almost Grace is still definitely worth a read – it’s the perfect, short-ish read to take on a holiday this summer! The story is really gripping, with a great ending. My Rating: 

I received copies of Being A Girl and Almost Grace from the publisher, in exchange for a review. In no way at all did this affect my thoughts.

Book Review: American Savage by Matt Whyman

You can read my review of book one, The Savages, by clicking here!

Published June 5th 2014 by Hot Key Books.

19383531Goodreads Synopsis: Vegan, veggie, carnivore… humanitarian? Welcome to the top of the food chain.

The Savages are back – this time in a country where servings come supersized. Titus, Angelica and the kids go to great lengths to fit into their new lives in sunny Florida. But that’s not easy when their appetite runs to feasts of human flesh.

In this dark comic serving of everyday family life with contemporary cannibals, the Savages seek to hide in plain sight by setting up a vegan café. But when the venture turns out to be a surprise sensation, and bad apples bob to the surface, Titus is forced to question whether the family have finally bitten off more than they can chew.

My Review: American Savage was a really great sequel- I devoured it in two sittings! I really loved The Savages when I had the chance to read it last year; it was a darkly hilarious story of a family of cannibals and various obstacles like vegetarian boyfriends. I couldn’t wait to read more about the family in this instalment; strangely, despite their… tastes… you grow to love them.

The plot was really great. American Savage sees the Savage family, plus adopted-into-the-family Amanda, moving to America for a change in lifestyle and to avoid arousing any more suspicion in their home country. The family sets up a vegan café; half to cover up any suspicious activity around the neighbourhood caused by them, and half because of a drama caused by Titus Savage and Amanda’s job. The plot kinda terrified me and made me laugh at the same time. It was really weird, seeing the family growing up, and dealing with different issues than had arisen in the first book. But I loved it! There’s a different story for every character, and they link together in clever and unpredictable ways.

The theme for the book is pretty dark and macabre, as it was in book one. But, Matt Whyman manages to keep the story feeling like an upbeat, funny, contemporary drama… except, there’s definitely a higher body count in this book compared to other YA contemps… 😀 Whyman’s writing is really enjoyable. It did take me a couple of pages to get stuck into the story, but after that, I couldn’t stop reading.

There was one thing that kind of disappointed me. In the first book, the most relatable character for me was Sasha- the teenage girl of the family who most of the story was centered around. However, she wasn’t actually in this story- instead she was in another American state studying. I really wish she was in the story, at least for a few pages! She’d been one of my favourite characters. I did get used to the family without her… but the ending, which was a bit heartbreaking, I wish she’d been there for. For reasons. But I can’t say why because I’ll spoil it…

Overall, aside from one part, I really did enjoy American Savage! I wasn’t sure how I’d find the sequel, as the first book was brilliant as a standalone… but this was awesome. It’s a mixture of macabre family tradition, romance, cover-up family business and American lifestyle… Sounds bizarre, but Matt Whyman makes it work. All of the characters are so well fleshed out and each one felt realistic and individual. I really, really highly recommend both The Savages and American Savage, whether you’re more of a contemporary fan or a fan of the macabre. Matt Whyman’s writing is really memorable and I can’t wait to read even more from him!

My Rating:

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

Graphic Novel Review: Bravest Warriors Vol. 1 by Pendleton Ward

Also by Joey Comeau, Ryan Pequin and Mike Holmes. I couldn’t fit them in the blog post title (:

Published by KaBOOM!, 31st August 2013.

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Goodreads Synopsis: The new hit Cartoon Hangover series from the imagination of Adventure Time creator, Pendleton Ward! POWER! RESPECT! Based on ADVENTURE TIME creator Pendleton Ward’s brand new animated series! Join Chris, Wallow, Beth and Danny, four 16-year-old heroes-for-hire, as they warp from galaxy to galaxy, saving alien races with the power of their…emotions. They’re noble, righteous and totally bodacious! This new series of original comics based on the new Cartoon Hangover series is sure to be a smash hit! This collection includes the first four issues, including the totally boss backup stories!

My Review: PENDLETON WARD I LOVE YOU.

Just had to get that out of the way. sorry. *Cough*I’m obsessed *cough* This was so fun. So, ridiculously, stupidly fun… I originally wasn’t planning on reading this, but I bought it on my Kindle. I’m so glad I did buy it- it was definitely worth it!

Bravest Warriors follows a band of four kids and one unofficial member (who is, probably, one of the coolest…), who defeat evil things with their righteousness. Sound silly? NO. Because this is what happens in Adventure Time, Pendleton Ward’s most famous work, and Pendleton Ward is awesome, and there is no way to deny that. ‘Nuff said (:

The world Bravest Warriors was set in was so rich with wacky imagination. It’s so difficult not to fall in love. Immediately, I was sucked into the world, and after the collected issues… I just wanted more! I’ll admit that the planet full of sad clowns was extremely creepy, but the extremely cute illustrations meant I could read it (: I fell in love with the artwork. It’s so pretty, simple yet really fun. Similar to Adventure Time’s art, which is probably a reason I loved it so much. Bravest Warriors is such a vibrant comic. It really stands out!

The story is very jumpy. It’s packed with events and it is pretty much all over the place and really random. But, I think that made it really loveable. It’s completely unpredictable and laugh-out-loud funny. Giant cats attacking spaceships. Sadness overtaking a world full of clowns. And zombies. None of them should go together, but they do. I’m not quite sure how this comic pulled it off, but it did!

The characters are so loveable. Each of them are all really different, but they made an awesome team. My favourite character? Had to be Beth, the dark haired girl on the cover. She was… awesome 😀 Though, of course, Miss Unofficial Fifth Member of the Team was equally fun. They’re all really easy to love, and I was really absorbed in their story. I ignored family on Christmas a bit, because I was so curious to see what happened to them!

Overall, Bravest Warriors is just a really fun comic. It’s not really to be taken seriously; it’s a silly, funny, random graphic novel, but it’s so easy to get stuck into. I’m really happy I got around to reading it! Recommended to MG fans of comics, but really, I enjoyed it a lot and I know a lot of adults did too, as I saw on Goodreads! The characters are loveable, and you’ll find yourself giggling manically at the story. Adventure Time fans will gobble it up.

My Rating: 

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I purchased Bravest Warriors through X Comics online.

Book Review: Boys Don’t Knit by T. S. Easton

Published by Hot Key Books, 2nd January.

Boys Don't KnitGoodreads Synopsis: Ben Fletcher must get to grips with his more ‘feminine’ side following an unfortunate incident with a lollipop lady and a stolen bottle of Martini Rosso from Waitrose. All a big misunderstanding of course.

To avoid the Young Offenders unit, Ben is ordered to give something back to the community and develop his sense of social alignment. Take up a hobby and keep on the straight and narrow. The hot teacher he likes runs a knitting group so Ben, reluctantly at first, gets ‘stuck in’. Not easy when your dad is a sports fan and thinks Jeremy Clarkson is God.

To his surprise, Ben finds that he likes knitting and that he has a mean competitive streak. If he can just keep it all a secret from his mates…and notice that the girl of his dreams, girl-next-door Megan Hooper has a bit of a thing for him…Laugh-out-loud, often ridiculous, sometimes quite touching, and revelatory about the knitting world, Boys Don’t Knit is a must for boys and girls…

My Review: I was not expecting so many laughs and so much fun from this. I devoured the whole book cover to cover in one sitting; I literally couldn’t put it down! Tom’s book definitely isn’t one to miss this year.

Boys Don’t Knit is different from anything I’ve read. I read quite a lot of contemporary, but I’ve never come across something so original and something that brings such a big smile to my face as this. Ben’s accidental crimes were so funny, I couldn’t help but laugh as well as feel a little sympathetic. Ben decides a knitting class is the best for him out of a rather unappealing selection, mainly because the teacher he has a crush on is said to be running it. Ben’s knitting adventure is full of mishaps and classic laugh-out-loud moments. I loved reading about it! I literally had no idea where the book was going, but I wasn’t disappointed.

Ben reminds me of a male version of Tallulah Casey, from my old favourite Louise Rennison series, because they’re both such hilarious, brilliant protagonists. His family’s rather strange, and his secret obsession is the last thing boys are expected to be taking up, and anyone who reads his story will at least smile. Ben and his knitting obsession is hard to dislike. He’s so different from his friends, and really stands out. I loved the way that his knitting club, something he was half-dreading, turns into a lifestyle, and completely changes his life in a lot of ways. Ben’s such a memorable character. More like him in books in future, please!

I was giggling like a maniac for the most part, literally from the first page. The story starts at a hilarious point with his parents and from then on, I knew the book definitely was as hilarious as I’d been told. Reading this in one sitting at home, I guess I was kind of lucky. People would’ve thought I was a bit made if I read it in public. Tom’s writing is witty and sharp, and it’s so hard not to giggle at a lot of points. It’s a book I think both girls and boys will love, and I’m definitely going to be recommending it to anyone and everyone.

Overall, Boys Don’t Knit, was just awesome. The plot was witty but captured a teenage boy’s life really well, and how hard it is to fit in when you have a hobby no one else has. I’ve never seen or read a book anything like it before, and it’s a must whether you’re a boy or a girl, a teenager or an adult. It’s a laugh-out-loud book that I think might be the funniest book I’ve read in a good few months! Bonus: HUNGER GAMES REFERENCES. (“I’m Katnisssssss!” – you will understand after reading). I loved Ben, and Megan and Ben’s teacher-crush and practically everyone. I can’t recommend it enough!

My Rating: 

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I received a copy of Boys Don’t Knit from the publisher, in exchange for a review. In no way at all did this affect my thoughts.