‘GEEKERELLA’ – Ashley Poston

 

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Anything can happen once upon a con…

When geek girl Elle Wittimer sees a cosplay contest sponsored by the producers of Starfield, she has to enter. First prize is an invitation to the ExcelsiCon Cosplay Ball and a meet-and-greet with the actor slated to play Federation Prince Carmindor in the reboot. Elle’s been scraping together tips from her gig at the Magic Pumpkin food truck behind her stepmother’s back, and winning this contest could be her ticket out once and for all—not to mention a fangirl’s dream come true.

Teen actor Darien Freeman is less than thrilled about this year’s ExcelsiCon. He used to live for conventions, but now they’re nothing but jaw-aching photo sessions and awkward meet-and-greets. Playing Federation Prince Carmindor is all he’s ever wanted, but the diehard Starfield fandom has already dismissed him as just another heartthrob. As ExcelsiCon draws near, closet nerd Darien feels more and more like a fake—until he meets a girl who shows him otherwise.

Thanks to Random House for sending me a copy of GEEKERELLA for review!

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SOOOOOOO as soon as I heard about this book, I knew that I wanted to read it. The cover is gorgeous, Cinderella is my favourite Disney tale (and I’ve watched the live remake at least fifty times), and I’m a massive geek about a lot of things (including Cinderella and books) so I knew this was going to my kind of book!

So I started this yesterday afternoon and finished it less than twenty four hours later. It’s a fun and quick read, focuses on a cutesy Cinderella-like romance, with of course the drama, friendships and crazy families. I really enjoyed this book a lot and if you’re looking for a quick contemporary/ fairy tale retelling, then I highly recommend GEEKERELLA.

Darien is sooooo adorable! He’s kind of like your typical famous teenage boy that’s depicted in YA novels; he appears as a brat, snobby and is only in it for the money, but once we get to know him we realise that he actually has a heart and is really cute. The only difference this time is that he’s a total dork which only makes him more adorable! Just like Elle, Darien has his own crap going on in his life, and it was nice to see him overcome that.

The Cinderella retelling in the modern world worked really well. The two characters meet via text message and this is where they first meet each other, the pumpkin is actually a vegan food truck, the prince is a teen star, the ball is at a cosplay event and after ball, and of course there’s still Cinderella’s shoe. I just loved it so much… I’m going to watch the Cinderella live action movie again tonight (no shame)…

I don’t have much else to say about it. I wouldn’t say it’s a perfect book (I gave it 4 stars on Goodreads) but it’s definitely a fun and adorable read that’s perfect to sit down and read in a couple of sittings. Plus… Cinderella!

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Comment below if you’ve read GEEKERELLA and let me know what you think! Do you love Cinderella as much as I do?

‘THE WHOLE THING TOGETHER’ – Ann Brashares

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We live in the same place, but never together.

Summer for Sasha and Ray means the sprawling old house on Long Island. Since they were children, they’ve shared almost everything—reading the same books, running down the same sandy footpaths to the beach, eating peaches from the same market, laughing around the same sun-soaked dining table. Even sleeping in the same bed, on the very same worn cotton sheets. But they’ve never met.

Sasha’s dad was once married to Ray’s mom, and together they had three daughters: Emma, the perfectionist; Mattie, the beauty; and Quinn, the favorite. But the marriage crumbled and the bitterness lingered. Now there are two new families—and neither one will give up the beach house that holds the memories, happy and sad, of summers past.

The choices we make come back to haunt us; the effect on our destinies ripples out of our control…or does it? This summer, the lives of Sasha, Ray, and their siblings intersect in ways none of them ever dreamed, in a novel about family relationships, keeping secrets, and most of all, love.

Thanks to Penguin for sending me a copy of the book in exchange for a review!

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I think that the whole idea of this story is really interesting… confusing… but intriguing. For the first third of the book I was really confused about Sasha and Ray; I thought that they had the same parents and was confused as to how their parents could keep them apart. Like, what is this? The Parent Trap 3.0?! But after rereading the blurb another ten times, I eventually got the point.

But the confusion about this didn’t stop there. There were so many other characters in this book and I didn’t know who was who. This was my biggest problem with the book; the blurb of the copy I own (assuming AU/UK paperback) makes it seem as if the whole story is about Sasha and Ray, their relationship, meeting for the first time, etc., and I honestly would have been happy with that. Except, they were more like minor characters. It focused more on the three older siblings; Emma, Mattie and Quinn. The blurb I included at the beginning from Goodreads is the hardcover and actually mentions the other siblings, so this probably would have been helpful! I was intrigued with Emma’s story, however, I skimmed over the other two so I probably wouldn’t be able to tell you what they’re about.

I’m just going to say here that I liked the book in the beginning; Sasha and Ray’s characters and story line had a lot of potential and I was excited to read about them. Also,  think Ann’s writing style is beautiful and she definitely makes some deep and insightful remarks. I read the ‘Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants’ books in primary school and I remember liking them, so she definitely does a good job at that.

Despite this, I just think that there were too many characters she focused on. Instead of a story, this felt more like a bunch of characters who were linked together in one way or another, and therefore she was barely able to go into detail with each of the characters. I couldn’t connect to any of them because I didn’t know enough about them.

STOP RIGHT THERE!!! I was just reading through some reviews on Goodreads and saw that someone mentioned there was a family tree shown in the beginning of the book. It probably would’ve helped me a lot more if I saw this to begin with. Anyway…

Overall, it wasn’t a terrible book, it just didn’t do anything for me. On the plus side, I finished it in two sittings so it’s a quick read if that helps!

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A COURT OF WINGS AND RUIN – Sarah J. Maas

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A nightmare, I’d told Tamlin. I was the nightmare.

Feyre has returned to the Spring Court, determined to gather information on Tamlin’s maneuverings and the invading king threatening to bring Prythian to its knees. But to do so she must play a deadly game of deceit—and one slip may spell doom not only for Feyre, but for her world as well. As war bears down upon them all, Feyre must decide who to trust amongst the dazzling and lethal High Lords—and hunt for allies in unexpected places

Thanks to Bloomsbury for sending me a copy of ACOWAR for review.

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If you have been following me for a while, you would know my thoughts on this series. I read ACOTAR January 2016 and I loved it so much that I finished it within a day. I was in love with Tamlin and Feyre was a strong character that I was intrigued to read more about. When I read ACOMAF when it was released last May, I liked it however, I was a bit dissapointed. And despite what everyone says to me, I still love Tamlin and always will (not sorry).

I decided to go into ACOWAR with an open mind. I didn’t hate Rhysand before, I just missed Tamlin, so I told myself to accept that Tamlin is out of the picture and start focusing on Rhys. I also want to add that I haven’t been in a big fantasy mood this year, so I put off reading this book until I had enough time to focus on it without losing interest in the long and complex story.

I actually really enjoyed the first half of the book and I was only confused at times. I was following the story easy, Feyre wasn’t annoying me too much, and I loved that we got to see a lot of Lucien. Despite finding the story of the last book confusing and boring, I was so far enjoying ACOWAR and I was excited to see where it was going to go.

And then just after the half way point I realised that the book was just draaaaaaaaging on! And I understand that this is a fantasy book, and all Sarah J. Maas books are long and full depth, however, I can usually handle it. But I was just bored; nothing was going on, I was beginning to not understand the story line and I missed Tamlin…

I don’t really have much more to say about this book; Sarah J. Maas’ books usually have this affect on me. It was a decent ending to a trilogy that I started off loving, however, it was missing a lot for me. I have an unpopular opinion toward most of her books, including this one, so don’t take my word on it!

If you’ve read A Court of Wings and Ruin, let me know what you thought and if you had similar opinions to mine!

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‘THE HATE U GIVE’ by Angie Thomas

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Sixteen-year-old Starr lives in two worlds: the poor neighbourhood where she was born and raised and her posh high school in the suburbs. The uneasy balance between them is shattered when Starr is the only witness to the fatal shooting of her unarmed best friend, Khalil, by a police officer. Now what Starr says could destroy her community. It could also get her killed.

Inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement, this is a powerful and gripping YA novel about one girl’s struggle for justice.

 

Thanks Walker Books for sending me an arc of THUG to review!

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I finally got around to reading this! The tagline on the arc I own is, “the book that everyone’s talking about” and it couldn’t be more right. I haven’t heard a single person say a bad thing about this book and it has an average 4.7 star rating on Goodreads! I’m so glad that I got the opportunity to read this heartbreaking yet important story inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement.

I freekin’ love Starr! She is such a complex character with a really vivid personality which made her much more interesting to read about. She has a lot going on in her life, but she doesn’t let that define her; she is more than the problems in the book which made her a relatable character.

I also loved how the book had a big focus on family. YA books with characters that have amazing support networks and loving families that are just as kick-ass as the main character are what we need more of – and THUG has all of that! Her parents are strong and stand up for themselves and what they believe in, and this definitely rubs off on Starr and her siblings (honourable mention to Seven!). I just loved all the characters in this book… okay? I don’t even have the words to talk about them.

Even all the side characters were interesting to read about and had their own stories and complexities. They weren’t just there for the sake of it; each and everyone of them added to the story. Chris, Starr’s white boyfriend is incredibly supportive of Starr and they are adorable together. However, I loved how the book barely focused on their romance (because that’s not what this story is about) and instead focused on Starr feeling like she is betraying herself and her race by dating a white boy. Maya, Starr’s Asian best friend, is also incredibly kick ass and it was interesting to hear her side of racism also. And then there’s Starr’s racist friend, (Hailey I think her name is???) and I’m pretty sure we all wanted to punch her in the face as well (Starr… we don’t blame you), but you can’t deny that she does add a lot to the story and I think it was a vital part.

A lot of the scenes in this book were heartbreaking to read, but it is so important as well. These things are happening in our world – this is basically a work of non-fiction – and we need to open our eyes. It’s so easy for us to hear things like this happen on the news and think. “oh, that’s terrible” but not do anything about it. Just because it’s not happening to us, it doesn’t mean that we can’t do something to help stop it.

Despite the heartbreaking scenes that made me want to cry, there was also a lot of humour in the book which was nice. So many times I found myself laughing at the jokes and interactions between Starr and her family especially, and her friends. So despite the touching focus of the story, it does have it’s light and lifting side as well.

Also, the ending gave me goosebumps. It was a nice ending to everything that happened throughout the story, but it wasn’t completely resolved, and that’s because it isn’t completely resolved in the real world either. But there’s hope that one day the world will be a much more peaceful and opening place, and Starr highlights this one the final page.

This is an incredible and important story that I think everyone should read (I will definitely be recommending it to my friends and family). I do think it’s a bit on the long side for a YA contemporary, but apart from that I cannot fault it. READ THIS NOW! I wish I had sooner.

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‘COUNTLESS’ – Karen Gregory

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‘Is there anything that’s concerning you?’ Felicity says. ‘College, home, boyfriends?’ Though she’s more or less smiling at this last one.

I don’t smile. Instead, I feel my face go hot. Silence stretches as wide as an ocean.
When I look up, Felicity has this expression on her face like she’s just seen Elvis. Slowly, she leans forward and in a gentle voice I’ve never heard her use before she says, ‘Have you done a pregnancy test?’

When Hedda discovers she is pregnant, she doesn’t believe she could ever look after a baby. The numbers just don’t add up. She is young, and still in the grip of an eating disorder that controls every aspect of how she goes about her daily life. She’s even given her eating disorder a name – Nia. But as the days tick by, Hedda comes to a decision: she and Nia will call a truce, just until the baby is born. 17 weeks, 119 days, 357 meals. She can do it, if she takes it one day at a time …

Thanks to Bloomsbury for sending me a copy of Countless to review!

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Wow. I just can’t find the words for what this book did to, and for me. Come to think of it, I don’t think I’ve ever read a book with the main focus being on an eating disorder, so I was interested to see what this book was going to hold. And it captivated me straight away and I couldn’t put it down until the end. Such a touching story that will be able to inform and educate readers on eating disorders (and also teen pregnancies).

Our main character Hedda has been through, and is going through a lot. She has had anorexia for a few years, been in and out of hospitals, experienced the death of a friend, got kicked out of home, and got pregnant at seventeen. This would cause anyone to go off the rails, but I really admired how Hedda went about things. She definitely had her ups and downs along with her mood swings, but when she found out she was pregnant and decided to keep the baby, she was selfless. She told herself she was going to eat during the pregnancy, and it was difficult but she gave birth to a healthy baby. However, the main struggle was after Rose was born. My initial assumption was that the whole book was focusing on the pregnancy, but then she gave birth and I wasn’t even half way through yet! But the story did pick up after the baby was born, and Hedda’s struggles continued.

I’m going to give Robin a quick mention. I loved how the story had little romance in it as it focused on Hedda’s eating disorder, recovery and relationship with both her baby and family. But, I loved Robin. As we do learn closer to the end of the book, he has his own stuff going on as well. Robin cared for Hedda and Rose, he took care of her in an under-baring way, and he is just a down right sweet heart!

Okay, back to the story.

I’ve never had anorexia before, so I comment on the accuracy of the portrayal, but I did read somewhere that this is an Own Voices Novel (don’t quote me on that). However, I can say just how eye opening this book was for me, and how much knowledge I was able to gain from that. It also felt so raw and real as it pulled the emotions out of me… yes… I did cry (I’m hormonal – OKAY?!). The story was just so amazingly touching, and Hedda as a character was just so incredible, and the ending (which I’ll talk about later) was so hopeful and I just… can you tell I loved this book?

Karen Gregory’s writing style was just so beautiful as well. Some of the things she wrote really hit me in the heart and definitely got me thinking. I think that the best thing that a book like this can do is get people thinking and talking about it. I don’t often hear people talking about eating disorders in an educational or understanding way, and I think a lot more can be done to ensure this!

And of course, the ending. The ending just felt so realistic for me, just as the rest of the book was. It didn’t sugar coat things, there was no “and we all lived happily ever after” ending, and just like the rest of Hedda’s story, it wasn’t easy or cute or fluffy. It was real. It was eye opening. But it was also hopeful.

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If it isn’t obvious to you already, I freeeeekin’ love this book – 5 stars – everyone should pick this up. Just keep in mind that there is a lot of talk about eating disorders and anorexia, so if you find that triggering just keep that in mind. But if you want to educate yourself on this topic and read more about it, then Countless is a great start!

Reading Matters Adelaide: ft. Shivaun Plozza and A.S. King

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On Tuesday night I made my way in to the city during peek hour traffic to attend the Reading Matters talk featuring two young adult authors; our own #LoveOzYA author Shivaun Plozza (Frankie) and A.S. King (recently Still Life with Tornado). Reading Matters has been doing so many talks with so many incredible authors all over Australia, so when I saw that there was going to be a talk in Adelaide (and for free) I knew that I was in!

I was only at the Penguin Teen Showcase last Tuesday where I got to meet Krystal Sutherland and Jennifer Niven (check out my blog post here -> https://alwaysandforeverreading.wordpress.com/2017/06/04/penguin-teen-aus-showcase-ft-jennifer-niven-and-krystal-sutherland/ ) which I had an amazing time at, so I was super excited to meet another two authors and hear them talk.

I’ve heard of Shivaun Plozza and followed her on Twitter and known about Frankie but I hadn’t read it (even thought I had planned to buy it for a long time). However, I hadn’t heard of A.S. King or her books before. So last week I went a picked up Frankie and Still Life With Tornado so that I could get them signed and read them eventually, but I didn’t have time to read them before the event. But I will definitely be picking them up soon because they both sound incredible.

So I caught the tram in to the city and couldn’t find where the stupid lecture theatre that the even was being held in. I awkwardly walked around the whole State Library main building for about fifteen minutes before walking out and realising that it’s in a whole separate building next door… this would only happen to me. But I made it in time and out of breath and slightly stressed. Yes, I could’ve just asked someone. But… shy….

So basically there was a lady (I can’t remember who she said she was) monitored the discussion and asked the authors questions about their books and writing and reading and basically the importance of it all. I found a lot of the things they were saying really interesting and inspiring and both had a lot of important things to say about the book and reading community.

Again, I realised after the even that I should have taken note on some of the things that they said, but I forgot. However, The YA Circle and Youth Literature were live tweeting (smart idea) and quotes some things that the authors said, so I’ll put some of my favourite ones below;

 

“Cut a sentence if it doesn’t advance a story or shed light on a character in any way” – A.S. King

“YA is a search for identity” – Shivaun Plozza

“Knowing that there is someone out there who has been through something you have, encourages resilience” – A.S. King

“These girls deserve to see themselves in a book” – Shivaun Plozza

“My work is for human beings” – A.S. King

 

They said so many more incredible and touching things and the conversation with the rest of the audience was really thought provoking. It made me remember just how important reading and writing is, and being able to represent as many different stories and people and experiences in to books is such a magical thing. I just love books… okay.

And then I got my books signed by both authors (YAY more signed books!) and I can’t wait to pick them up soon. I have three more review books on my TBR that I want to get to first, and then I’m going to pick them both up straight away.

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Comment below if you went to any of the Reading Matters talks and what authors spoke and what you learnt from it all.

Also let me know if you’ve read any books from these authors and what your thought son them are!

‘THE NAMES THEY GAVE US’ – Emery Lord

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Lucy Hansson was ready for a perfect summer with her boyfriend, working at her childhood Bible camp on the lake. But when her mom’s cancer reappears, Lucy falters—in faith, in love, and in her ability to cope. When her boyfriend “pauses” their relationship and her summer job switches to a different camp—one for troubled kids—Lucy isn’t sure how much more she can handle. Attempting to accept a new normal, Lucy slowly regains footing among her vibrant, diverse coworkers, Sundays with her mom, and a crush on a fellow counselor. But when long-hidden family secrets emerge, can Lucy set aside her problems and discover what grace really means?

Thanks to Bloomsbury Australia for sending me a copy of THE NAMES THEY GAVE US for review.

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I read WHEN WE COLLIDED by Emery Lord last year (it was actually one of my first review books I received!) and I enjoyed it. At the time I didn’t love it as I was bigger on fantasy and light hearted contemporaries. But since recently I prefer to read darker books that focus on topics such as mental illness, I feel like I would appreciate it a lot more.

I’m going off topic… how unusual… Anyway…

I was still really excited to read Emery’s new book, and I can say that I was right to feel this way! It was a really great story with developed characters and something a bit different to what I usually read.

I found the first half of the book slow and a tiny bit boring. We had been introduced to our main character, her mum whose cancer has returned, her father who is a pastor, and her boring boyfriend. And then she went to this summer camp and I was still a little bit disinterested. And then suddenly, we were introduced to all these other characters who had their own back stories. With such a diverse range of characters who continued to developed throughout the book, how could I not love them?

Firstly I want to talk about our main character, Lucy. In the beginning, I didn’t feel much of a connection to her, but as the book continued and we got to know her more, she definitely grew on me. She is strong, loyal and her thoughts are constantly running wild which just showed how curious she is about the world.

Similarly to Lucy, I wasn’t a big fan of Henry in the beginning and I felt like he had no depth to his character. But then he and Lucy started hanging out and we learn’t more about him, and all of a sudden I really liked him. We still didn’t get a lot from him by the end of the book, but he was just a side character. This story wasn’t about Lucy and Henry’s romance, so I’m glad that not too much of the book was focused on that.

What I loved most about the book was the exploration of faith and Christianity. I’ve read maybe one book before that explored this scene, so it was really nice to pick this up and immediately be thrown into it all. I am Catholic, I believe in God, and I pray every night before I go to sleep, and this is something about myself that I don’t often see in YA characters. It was nice to be able to relate to Lucy in more ways than one.

As I briefly mentioned before, I felt a lot of different things for the story line. It was slow at first, but once it picked up pace I became interested in what was happening. However, thinking back on the story now, it wasn’t overly eventful (this isn’t always a bad thing). There were a few different side story lines happening at the same time, but the story wasn’t BIG (am I making any sense right now?). I guess what I’m trying to say is that this book mainly focuses on the characters, their back stories, and their development throughout the book; I actually liked this. It would’ve been nice to have a bit more of something, but overall it was a nice story.

I want to briefly mention the ending because I really don’t know how to feel about it. It ended so quickly and suddenly with really no closure. I was reading through the final page and flipped over expecting there to be another chapter, when i was faced with the acknowledgements. Open endings can be good because it’s left to the interpretation of the reader, but I’m not a big fan of them. I just want to know what happened to all the characters in the end!!!

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Comment below if you read THE NAMES THEY GAVE US and let me know what your thoughts are!

 

 

MAY 2017 BOOK HAUL

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I received a lot of books throughout May which was completely unexpected! 13 books were sent to me for review, 1 I received as a birthday gift, 3 I won in a competition, and I bought 2 for myself. Since it was my birthday, I also received 3 book vouchers which I cannot wait to spend. Also three of the books I received were movie editions of books I already own, and one was a hardcover of an arc I already own!

 

*: review book

 

* Once and For All - Sarah Dessen

Louna, daughter of famed wedding planner Natalie Barrett, has seen every sort of wedding: on the beach, at historic mansions, in fancy hotels and clubs. Perhaps that’s why she’s cynical about happily-ever-after endings, especially since her own first love ended tragically. When Louna meets charming, happy-go-lucky serial dater Ambrose, she holds him at arm’s length. But Ambrose isn’t about to be discouraged, now that he’s met the one girl he really wants.

Once and for All

*Everything, Everything (film tie-in) - Nicola Yoon

My disease is as rare as it is famous. Basically, I’m allergic to the world. I don’t leave my house, have not left my house in seventeen years. The only people I ever see are my mom and my nurse, Carla.
But then one day, a moving truck arrives next door. I look out my window, and I see him. He’s tall, lean and wearing all black—black T-shirt, black jeans, black sneakers, and a black knit cap that covers his hair completely. He catches me looking and stares at me. I stare right back. His name is Olly.
Maybe we can’t predict the future, but we can predict some things. For example, I am certainly going to fall in love with Olly. It’s almost certainly going to be a disaster.

Everything, Everything

*Geekerella - Ashley Poston

Part romance, part love letter to nerd culture, and all totally adorbs, Geekerella is a fairy tale for anyone who believes in the magic of fandom. Geek girl Elle Wittimer lives and breathes Starfield, the classic sci-fi series she grew up watching with her late father. So when she sees a cosplay contest for a new Starfield movie, she has to enter. The prize? An invitation to the ExcelsiCon Cosplay Ball, and a meet-and-greet with the actor slated to play Federation Prince Carmindor in the reboot. With savings from her gig at the Magic Pumpkin food truck (and her dad’s old costume), Elle’s determined to win…unless her stepsisters get there first.
Teen actor Darien Freeman used to live for cons—before he was famous. Now they’re nothing but autographs and awkward meet-and-greets. Playing Carmindor is all he’s ever wanted, but the Starfield fandom has written him off as just another dumb heartthrob. As ExcelsiCon draws near, Darien feels more and more like a fake—until he meets a girl who shows him otherwise.

Geekerella

*A Court of Wings and Ruin - Sarah J Maas

Feyre has returned to the Spring Court, determined to gather information on Tamlin’s maneuverings and the invading king threatening to bring Prythian to its knees. But to do so she must play a deadly game of deceit-and one slip may spell doom not only for Feyre, but for her world as well.
As war bears down upon them all, Feyre must decide who to trust amongst the dazzling and lethal High Lords-and hunt for allies in unexpected places.

A Court of Wings and Ruin (A Court of Thorns and Roses, #3)

*The Little Red Writing Book - Mark Tredinnick

A book on technique, style, craft and manners for everyone who writes and wants to do it better. It is a manual of good diction, composition, sentence craft, paragraph design, structure and planning. Enriched by examples of fine prose from great writers including Tim Winton; flush with exercises informed by the author’s expertise in both creative writing and functional prose; and written with fl air, The Little Red Writing Book is a lively and readable guide to lively and readable writing.

The Little Red Writing Book

*Thirteen Reasons Why (TV tie-in) - Jay Asher

Read this sensational mystery bestseller before you watch the 13-part Netflix series, executive produced by Selena Gomez. This special edition is complete with exclusive behind-the-scenes content including a 16-page full-colour photo insert featuring scenes from the show, and interviews with the cast and crew.

Thirteen Reasons Why, TV Tie-in

*Doing It - Hannah Witton

Figuring out how to build and maintain healthy relationships – with your family, friends, romantically and with yourself – is a crucial part of being a teen. It’s not easy though, particularly in a digital age where information and advice are so forthcoming it can be hard to know who or what to believe or trust. Porn is everywhere, sexting is the norm and messages about body image are highly mixed. Hannah combats this by tackling subjects ranging from masturbation and puberty to slut shaming and consent in an accessible, relatable and extremely honest way. She is unembarrassed about bringing little-discussed topics into the open, and as such empowers teens to have the confidence to conduct relationships on their terms, and in a way that they feel comfortable with.

Doing It!: Let's Talk About Sex

*Contagion - Teri Terry

Callie is missing.
Her brother Kai is losing hope of ever seeing her again. Then he meets Shay, a girl who saw Callie the day she disappeared, and his hope is reignited.
Their search leads them to the heart of a terrifying epidemic that is raging through the country.
Can Kai and Shay escape death and find Callie?

Contagion (Dark Matter, #1)

Tales from the Shadowhunter Academy - Cassandra Clare et al

Simon Lewis has been a human and a vampire, and now he is becoming a Shadowhunter. But the events of City of Heavenly Fire left him stripped of his memories, and Simon isn’t sure who he is anymore. He knows he was friends with Clary, and that he convinced the total goddess Isabelle Lightwood to go out with him…but he doesn’t know how. And when Clary and Isabelle look at him, expecting him to be a man he doesn’t remember…Simon can’t take it.

Tales from the Shadowhunter Academy

The Legend of Virginia Smalls - Derek Chatman

Virginia had a lot thrust on her 11 year old shoulders. The weight of the universe to be exact. After frightening her parents with her ability to speak to animals, Virginia’s parents send her to a children’s mental health hospital for an overnight evaluation. While in the hospital and under the care of diabolical Dr. Schwartz, Virginia uncovers an ancient secret. A secret that ties her to a throne of a forgotten universe called Earthenes. Join Virginia on her journey to claim her royal throne and find the lost Book of Power before the evil inhabitants of Thenes us it to enslave earth.

 

Juniper Lemon's Happiness Index - Julie Israel

It’s been sixty-five painful days since the death of Juniper’s big sister, Camilla. On her first day back at school, bracing herself for the stares and whispers, Juniper borrows Camie’s handbag for luck – and discovers an unsent break-up letter inside. It’s mysteriously addressed to ‘You’ and dated July 4th – the day of Camie’s accident. Desperate to learn the identity of Camie’s secret love, Juniper starts to investigate.
But then she loses something herself. A card from her daily ritual, The Happiness Index: little notecards on which she rates the day. The Index has been holding Juniper together since Camie’s death – but without this card, there’s a hole. And this particular card contains Juniper’s own secret: a memory that she can’t let anyone else find out.

Juniper Lemon’s Happiness Index

Stargazing for Beginners - Jenny McLachlan

Science geek Meg is left to look after her little sister for ten days after her free-spirited mum leaves suddenly to follow up yet another of her Big Important Causes. But while Meg may understand how the universe was formed, baby Elsa is a complete mystery to her.
And Mum’s disappearance has come at the worst time: Meg is desperate to win a competition to get the chance to visit NASA headquarters, but to do this she has to beat close rival Ed. Can Meg pull off this double life of caring for Elsa and following her own dreams? She’ll need a miracle of cosmic proportions …

Stargazing For Beginners

My Name is Victoria - Lucy Worsley

‘You are my sister now,’ Victoria said, quietly and solemnly. ‘Never forget it. I love you like a sister, and you are my only friend in all the world.’ Miss V. Conroy is good at keeping secrets. She likes to sit as quiet as a mouse, neat and discreet. But when her father sends her to Kensington Palace to become the companion to Princess Victoria, Miss V soon finds that she can no longer remain in the shadows. Miss V’s father has devised a strict set of rules for the young princess, which he calls the Kensington System. It governs her behaviour and keeps her locked away from the world. He says it is for the princess’s safety, but Victoria herself is convinced that it is to keep her lonely, and unhappy. Torn between loyalty to her father and her growing friendship with the wilful and passionate Victoria, Miss V has a decision to make: to continue in silence, or to speak out. By turns thrilling, dramatic and touching, this is the story of Queen Victoria’s childhood as you’ve never heard it before.

My Name is Victoria

The Possible - Tara Alterbrando

It’s been thirteen years since Kaylee’s infamous birth mother, Crystal, received a life sentence for killing Kaylee’s little brother in a fit of rage. Once the center of a cult-following for her apparent telekinetic powers, nowadays nobody’s heard of Crystal. Until now, when a reporter shows up at Kaylee’s house and turns her life upside down, offering Kaylee the chance to be part of a high-profile podcast investigating claims that Crystal truly did have supernatural mind powers. But these questions lead to disturbing answers as Kaylee is forced to examine her own increasingly strange life, and make sense of certain dark and troubling coincidences..

The Possible

The Secrets of Eden - Brandon Goode

Eden has always obeyed the laws of Rolaria. He spends his days teaching children how to read in order to distract him from his mother’s bizarre disappearance. She worked in the castle before suddenly vanishing, and when Eden mistakenly receives an invitation to the Royal Ball, he goes to feel closer to her.
That same night, Prince Jared must find a bride. But after an unexpected encounter between Eden and the prince, a relationship begins. After a night with the prince, Eden explores the castle on his own. Lost in the corridors, he stumbles upon a hidden room and finds his mother’s journal, whose pages reveal a lineage of outlawed magic.

The Secrets of Eden

The Hate U Give - Angie Thomas (hardcover)

Sixteen-year-old Starr Carter moves between two worlds: the poor neighborhood where she lives and the fancy suburban prep school she attends. The uneasy balance between these worlds is shattered when Starr witnesses the fatal shooting of her childhood best friend Khalil at the hands of a police officer. Khalil was unarmed. Soon afterward, his death is a national headline. Some are calling him a thug, maybe even a drug dealer and a gangbanger. Protesters are taking to the streets in Khalil’s name. Some cops and the local drug lord try to intimidate Starr and her family. What everyone wants to know is: what really went down that night? And the only person alive who can answer that is Starr.

The Hate U Give

Before I Fall - Lauren Oliver (movie cover)

Samantha Kingston has it all: the world’s most crush-worthy boyfriend, three amazing best friends, and first pick of everything at Thomas Jefferson High—from the best table in the cafeteria to the choicest parking spot. Friday, February 12, should be just another day in her charmed life.
Instead, it turns out to be her last.
Then she gets a second chance. Seven chances, in fact. Reliving her last day during one miraculous week, she will untangle the mystery surrounding her death—and discover the true value of everything she is in danger of losing.

Before I Fall

Always and Forever, Lara Jean - Jenny Han

Lara Jean is having the best senior year a girl could ever hope for. She is head over heels in love with her boyfriend, Peter; her dad’s finally getting remarried to their next door neighbor, Ms. Rothschild; and Margot’s coming home for the summer just in time for the wedding.
But change is looming on the horizon. And while Lara Jean is having fun and keeping busy helping plan her father’s wedding, she can’t ignore the big life decisions she has to make. Most pressingly, where she wants to go to college and what that means for her relationship with Peter. She watched her sister Margot go through these growing pains. Now Lara Jean’s the one who’ll be graduating high school and leaving for college and leaving her family—and possibly the boy she loves—behind.

Always and Forever, Lara Jean (To All the Boys I've Loved Before, #3)

Wreck - Fleur Ferris

Tamara Bennett is going to be the first journalist to strictly report only good news. Finished with high school, Tamara is ready to say goodbye to her sleepy little town and part-time job at the local paper. O-weeks awaits, which means parties, cute boys and settling into student res with her best friend Relle. Things take an unexpected turn, however, when she arrives home to find her house ransacked and her life in danger. What is this mysterious note? And why does it mean so much to one of Australia’s most powerful media moguls? Caught between a bitter rivalry and dangerous family secret, who can Tamara trust? Or should she trust herself?

Wreck

 

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PENGUIN TEEN AUS SHOWCASE – ft. Jennifer Niven and Krystal Sutherland

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After seeing pictures and tweets from major book events in other cities such as Melbourne and Sydney, I felt so left out! And then I found out that Penguin Teen Aus Showcase was coming to Adelaide and my mood lifted. Of course I needed to go when I found out that Jennifer Niven (author of ALL THE BRIGHT PLACES and HOLDING UP THE UNIVERSE) and Australian author Krystal Sutherland (author of OUR CHEMICAL HEARTS) were going to be there; I’ve read both of their YA contemporary books when they were released and loved them!

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Firstly, Penguin Teen Aus went through the books being published by Penguin in the upcoming months. There were so many that I cannot wait to get my hands on. I really wish I took notes of the books because that would have been really helpful… too late…

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And then Krystal and Jennifer came out and the girls from the YA Circle asked them a few questions. They talked about their books, how they started writing, their upcoming movie adaptations (which is really exciting!!!) and so much more. Once again, I really wish I took note on some of the things that they said because they said a lot of really great and inspirational stuff. Then they opened up the audience to ask some questions; a lot of them relating to how to get into writing, etc.

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After about an hour or so of that, we all lined up to get our books signed and get a photo taken. I was in the line for over half an hour (wearing uncomfortable shoes btw and thinking about how I needed to finish my part of a group assignment that night before I went to bed because we had a presentation tomorrow), but it was all worth it. I always feel really awkward and my shyness and introvertness really comes out when I go to signings like this. I want to tell the authors how much I love their books and how touching their stories are and how beautiful their writing is, but when I get up there I don’t say any of that. Besides, I felt bad because I heard someone tell them that they had 20 minutes before everyone needed to get out of the hall because an alarm would go off, and there were still so many people in the line behind me. But I got my books signed and my photo taken and I was so happy.

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I had a really great night and cannot wait to go to another author even like this one (I actually have one this coming Tuesday as well!). Krystal and Jennifer are both such incredible writers and I love both of their books, so I highly recommend picking them up if you haven’t already. Also, Krystal has another book coming out soon which I’m super excited to get my hands on soon!!!!

MAY 2017 WRAP UP

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May started off as a really good reading month for me. I wanted to read all the time, and for the first couple of weeks I was reading a book every two days (this is when I read a majority of the books I read this month). However, while reading THuG and then ACoWaR, they took me slightly longer than the rest of the books. I wouldn’t call it a slump, it’s just that they’re both long and heavy books! Plus I became obsessed with ‘That ’70s Show’ and watched all eight seasons in less than two weeks… (I shouldn’t have admitted that). I read 11 books this month and I love most of them – I also reached the half way point for my 2017 goal of 100 books (I’m now at 54).

Anyway, here are the books I read this month!

 

My Sister's Keeper - Jodi Picoult

Anna is not sick, but she might as well be. By age thirteen, she has undergone countless surgeries, transfusions and shots so that her older sister, Kate, can somehow fight the leukemia that has plagued her since childhood. Anna was conceived as a bone marrow match for Kate, a life and a role that she has never questioned until now. Like most teenagers, Anna is beginning to ask herself who she truly is. But unlike most teenagers, she has always been defined in terms of her sister – and so Anna makes a decision that for most would be unthinkable, a decision that will tear her family apart and perhaps have fatal consequences for the sister she loves.

I’ve watched this movie a million times, and bawled my eyes out every single time. I finally decided to pick this emotionally captivating story up, and I really enjoyed it. I already knew that the ending was different and when I heard about how this ended, I thought it was stupid, but after reading it I understood it and it made more sense than the movie ending. I didn’t cry as much and I can’t decide which ending I prefer, but it was still a good read.
3.5 Stars

My Sister's Keeper

The Crying Lot of 49 - Thomas Pynchon 

Suffused with rich satire, chaotic brilliance, verbal turbulence and wild humor, The Crying of Lot 49 opens as Oedipa Maas discovers that she has been made executrix of a former lover’s estate. The performance of her duties sets her on a strange trail of detection, in which bizarre characters crowd in to help or confuse her. But gradually, death, drugs, madness and marriage combine to leave Oedipa in isolation on the threshold of revelation, awaiting the Crying of Lot 49.

I had to read this book for my uni class, Intro to English: Ideas of the Real. To be honest, I didn’t really enjoy it or understand the story. I thought it sounded fun in the beginning, but I got bored pretty easy. The cover I own is really pretty though!
2 Stars

The Crying of Lot 49

Heart of Darkness - Joseph Conrad

The silence of the jungle is broken only by the ominous sound of drumming. Life on the river is brutal and unknown threats lurk in the darkness. Marlow’s mission to captain a steamer upriver into the dense interior leads him into conflict with those who inhabit the forest. But his decision to hunt down the mysterious Mr. Kurtz—an ivory trader who is the subject of sinister rumors—leads him into more than just physical peril. The short story Youth, in which Marlow tells of his unlucky experience onboard a ship where the cargo caught fire, is also included.

Another book I read for uni; Lit and Society in Victorian Britain. I also didn’t really enjoy this one and I struggled to understand what happened. I’ve read so much about it and watched so many explanation videos, and I still don’t get it! It’s a bit annoying because I’m doing a group presentation and individual essay on it. Wish me luck!
2 Stars

Heart of Darkness

Simon Vs The Homo Sapiens Agenda - Becky Albertalli 

Sixteen-year-old and not-so-openly gay Simon Spier prefers to save his drama for the school musical. But when an email falls into the wrong hands, his secret is at risk of being thrust into the spotlight. Now Simon is actually being blackmailed: if he doesn’t play wingman for class clown Martin, his sexual identity will become everyone’s business. Worse, the privacy of Blue, the pen name of the boy he’s been emailing, will be compromised.

Eeeek! I loved this book so so much! I read THE UPSIDE OF UNREQUITED last month and freekin loved it, and I knew I was going to enjoy this one too. It was fun, the characters were amazingly written, and the story line was both inciteful, deep and light hearted. I cannot wait for the movie to come out.
5 Stars

Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda

But Then I Came Back - Estelle Laure

Estelle Laure is a bright new talent with a gorgeous voice – perfect for fans of John Green and Rainbow Rowell. Eden has always let her head lead the way. It’s why she excels at ballet, at school, and at life in general. But when she nearly drowns and then wakes from a month-long coma, everything is different. She’s troubled by dreams that seem more real than waking life, and her neat cookie-cutter existence is no longer satisfying. Unable to stifle her passionate heart anymore, she finds herself drawn to a boy with melting-chocolate eyes, and to a future different to what she ever imagined. That’s when Eden discovers that when it comes to love, first you fall, then you have to leap. Estelle Laure’s debut, This Raging Light, was a stunning debut with an unforgettable voice that has captured the hearts for readers.

Another incredible book that I loved. After such a streak of boring books, I had two in a row that I loved and finished in a day. The characters were amazing (especially Eden and Joe), the story line was both beautiful and unique, and it is one of the best books I’ve read this year. More thoughts on my review;
5 Stars
Review:

But Then I Came Back

The Names They Gave Us - Emery Lord

Lucy Hansson was ready for a perfect summer with her boyfriend, working at her childhood Bible camp on the lake. But when her mom’s cancer reappears, Lucy falters—in faith, in love, and in her ability to cope. When her boyfriend “pauses” their relationship and her summer job switches to a different camp—one for troubled kids—Lucy isn’t sure how much more she can handle. Attempting to accept a new normal, Lucy slowly regains footing among her vibrant, diverse coworkers, Sundays with her mom, and a crush on a fellow counselor. But when long-hidden family secrets emerge, can Lucy set aside her problems and discover what grace really means?

This was a great story about a teenage girl experiencing new and different things in her life – some good and some bad. Overall I really enjoyed this one; it focused on religion which is something that I rarely read about in YA, but it also focuses on serious topics as well. More thoughts in my review.
4 Stars
Review; June 9

The Names They Gave Us

Countless - Karen Gregory

When Hedda discovers she is pregnant, she doesn’t believe she could ever look after a baby. The numbers just don’t add up. She is young, and still in the grip of an eating disorder that controls every aspect of how she goes about her daily life. She’s even given her eating disorder a name – Nia. But as the days tick by, Hedda comes to a decision: she and Nia will call a truce, just until the baby is born. 17 weeks, 119 days, 357 meals. She can do it, if she takes it one day at a time …

I LOVED this book (I even finished it within a day). It talked about some really touching and heartbreaking topics that aren’t spoken about enough in YA, and I learnt a lot. It was hopeful and emotional, and one of the best books I’ve read this year so far.
5 Stars
Review: June 13

Countless

Rapture - Carol Ann Duffy

The effortless virtuosity, drama and humanity of Carol Ann Duffy’s verse have made her a most admired contemporary poet. Rapture, her seventh collection, is a book-length love poem, and a moving act of personal testimony. But what sets these poems apart from other love poems is Duffy’s refusal to simplify the contradictions of love, and read its transformations–infatuation, longing, passion, commitment, rancour, separation and grief–as either redemptive or destructive. Rapture> is a map of real love, in all its churning complexity; simultaneously direct and subtle, with poems that will find deep resonance in the experience of most readers, it is a collection that speaks for us all.

I read this book of poetry for uni; Intro to English: Ideas of the Real. I love modern poetry, especially love poems, so I thought I was going to enjoy this one. However, I only loved a few, and the rest felt a bit meh. When we start talking about it in class and focusing on individual poems, I might find that I enjoy others too.
3 Stars

Rapture

The Hate U Give - Angie Thomas

Sixteen-year-old Starr lives in two worlds: the poor neighbourhood where she was born and raised and her posh high school in the suburbs. The uneasy balance between them is shattered when Starr is the only witness to the fatal shooting of her unarmed best friend, Khalil, by a police officer. Now what Starr says could destroy her community. It could also get her killed.

Such a heartbreaking, touching and important read that everyone needs to pick up! I felt such a wide range of emotions while reading this, but overall I loved it (except it was really long). More thoughts in my review coming soon.
4.5 Stars
Review: June 16

The Hate U Give

A Court of Wings and Ruin - Sarah J. Maas

Feyre has returned to the Spring Court, determined to gather information on Tamlin’s maneuverings and the invading king threatening to bring Prythian to its knees. But to do so she must play a deadly game of deceit-and one slip may spell doom not only for Feyre, but for her world as well.
As war bears down upon them all, Feyre must decide who to trust amongst the dazzling and lethal High Lords-and hunt for allies in unexpected places.

Overall I enjoyed the conclusion to this trilogy, even though I’m still slightly confused about pretty much the entire second half of the book. I seem to be the only one who prefers ACOTAR to the rest of the books in the series, but I love walking my own path! I’ll have a review up soon!
3.5 Stars
Review: June 20

A Court of Wings and Ruin (A Court of Thorns and Roses, #3)

Always and Forever, Lara Jean - Jenny Han

Lara Jean is having the best senior year a girl could ever hope for. She is head over heels in love with her boyfriend, Peter; her dad’s finally getting remarried to their next door neighbor, Ms. Rothschild; and Margot’s coming home for the summer just in time for the wedding.
But change is looming on the horizon. And while Lara Jean is having fun and keeping busy helping plan her father’s wedding, she can’t ignore the big life decisions she has to make. Most pressingly, where she wants to go to college and what that means for her relationship with Peter. She watched her sister Margot go through these growing pains. Now Lara Jean’s the one who’ll be graduating high school and leaving for college and leaving her family—and possibly the boy she loves—behind.

This was such a beautiful and heartwarming end to my favourite contemporary series. There was drama, romance, family, weddings, fights, graduating and so much more going on in this books, and Jenny once again took me on an emotional roller coaster. I just finished reading this less than an hour ago and I already miss the characters and their story (especially Peter who is my number 1 book boyfriend!). If you haven’t read this series and love contemporary, than I HIGHLY recommend you do!
5 Stars

Always and Forever, Lara Jean (To All the Boys I've Loved Before, #3)

 

Comment below how many books you read in May and what your favourite was. I read so many amazing books this month and it’s hard to pick, but I would have to say my favourite is Lara Jean!!!

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