Image

#SixForSunday – Favourite Book Bloggers

Happy Sunday everyone! Today on the #SixForSunday post, I’ll be talking about some of my all-time favourite bloggers! Make sure to go and check them out and give them some love!


WatchingSparks – One of my all time favourite bloggers, Helen’s blog is wonderful! Full of passionate reviews, she’s definitely one to follow! Helen is also such a lovely, amazing and kind person so don’t forget to follow her on Twitter too.

HollieBlog – Hollie’s blog (helpfully named HollieBlog) is absolutely AMAZING! She’s recently reworked it into a brand new theme and just scrolling through it is a treat for the eyes. Follow her for reviews and stunning photos.

Reading Through Infinity – Kate’s blog is as wonderful as she is. She posts fabulous reviews, monthly wrap ups and is a huge fan of V.E. Schwab so if you love any of her books, Kate is the person to talk to!

Charlotte, Somewhere – Charlotte’s blog is brilliant. She posts lots of reviews – including fantastic mini reviews of books – and has recently been sharing some of her blog with her son who has been writing his own bookish thoughts!

Fantastic Book Dragon – Nicola’s blog is usually featured on lots of blog tours – it’s always great to see her reviews on them! She also chooses a book of the month that gets featured at the top of her blog – it’s a fab idea!

Northern Plunder – Lauren’s blog is full of brilliant variation. She reviews books, comics and sometimes even video games, and will sometimes post reviews on books she’s marked as DNF (Did Not Finish).


There you have it – six of my all time favourite bloggers! Make sure you jump over to their pages and give them a well-deserved follow!

Advertisements
Image

#SixForSunday – Favourite Blog Posts

Happy Sunday everyone! I’m back on the #SixForSunday blog posts. Every Sunday there is a different prompt (which can be found over here) about books, characters, blog posts and other bookish things. This Sunday, the prompt is…

Favourite blog posts you’ve written


  1. Those Beloved Books: Harry Potter
    I enjoyed everything about this post – from painstakingly setting up and taking all of the photos, to reminiscing about what made me love Harry Potter as much as I do. It’s definitely one of my big favourites, and I intend to do more of this series soon.
  2. Why ‘Love, Simon’ is important
    This post was so good to write, and it reached a lot of people too. I felt truly passionate being able to write about why such a sweet love story being made into a film was important for many people.
  3. ‘I Was Born for This’ book review
    One of my favourite books of 2018, it makes sense that it would be featured on this list of favourite blog posts! I loved writing this review so much, and was able to share how much I loved this book and how great it was to read.
  4. #KazDoesYALC
    Would I pass up the opportunity to write about my kickass Kaz Brekker cosplay? Of course not. That’s why it’s one of my top favourites I’ve written!
  5. All Reading is Reading
    A single tweet inspired this post – which was great because it allowed me to share my feelings about bookish snobbery towards different types of books. I had lots of people also share the same viewpoint which is very reassuring!
  6. ‘The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice & Virtue’ book review
    One of my favourite books of last year! I loved writing this review and reading it back just reminds me of how much I truly enjoyed Monty and Percy’s story.

There you have it! Six of my all-time favourite blog posts I’ve written! Make sure to check them out and give them a read if you haven’t already!

Image

BOOK REVIEW: City of Ghosts

It’s been a little while since I’ve posted, but I’m back with a brand new review! This time, it’s for City of Ghosts, a brand new YA novel by one of my top favourite authors, Victoria Schwab. I took this away on holiday, and finished it on the Eurostar travelling there!


Cass can pull back the Veil that separates the living from the dead. When Cass’s parents start hosting a TV show about the world’s most haunted places, the family heads off to  Edinburgh. Here, graveyards, castles and secret passageways teem with restless phantoms.

But when Cass meets a girl who shares her “gift”, she realises how much she still has to learn about the Veil – and herself. And she’ll have to learn fast. The city of ghosts is more dangerous than she ever imagined.


This was a wonderful little book. Victoria Schwab actually had the idea for this book 11 years ago – and now here it is. City of Ghosts is a fantastic spooky story, perfect for you to start reading right now as we go into Autumn.

Cass is a timid yet inquisitive character – she doesn’t share her parent’s passion for finding out theories and mysteries about ghost stories, because she can see them herself. Her best friend, Jacob, is a ghost himself, and the two make for quite a good friendship duo. Their friendship is quite sweet, and they have many fun rules of their friendship which they remind each other of from time to time. Cass is able to cross over through the Veil to see other ghosts for herself, and likes to photograph them on her old manual film camera. When the family travels to Edinburgh and Cass learns of the legend of the Raven in Red, things start becoming very sinister indeed…

The world of City of Ghosts was excellent to read. I really enjoyed Cass adapting to Scotland (especially not understanding why chips aren’t called fries) and the exploration of the different eras through the Veil was fascinating. It was interesting to read that pockets of time are frozen in place in the Veil, allowing her to see many different an sometimes strange ghosts. I also loved the description of the Veil itself, like a wispy curtain just waiting to be pulled back so that the characters can plunge into the world between living and dead. The learning curve that Cass goes through is enjoyable and we see her confidence build as she learns more about the world between her own.

This is a perfectly spooky story, perfect for the Autumn months (October especially!). I do really wish that we could have had more of Jacob’s backstory as it was briefly touched upon. He was such an interesting character, and I’l love to know more about what he does when he isn’t around Cass. I would have also loved to have more about Cass’s new friend and resident ghost hunter Lara! She seemed like such a tough character. The good thing about this though is that it leaves the story open, as Cass’s parents still have to film more episodes for their ghost show…we could very well be seeing a second instalment of this book!

Final thought: A spooky yet charming read! 4/5

Image

BOOK REVIEW: The Darkest Minds

The wonderful team over at BKMRK sent me a copy of this book to hold a reading thread of over on Twitter. I love doing reading threads, so to do one with a book I’d been thinking of reading for a little while was a great opportunity. I actually really enjoyed this book, and can’t wait to go and see the film adaptation!


Ruby is sixteen. She is dangerous. And she is alive. For now.

A mysterious disease has killed most of America’s children. Ruby might have survived, but she and the others have emerged with something far worse than a virus: frightening abilities they cannot control. Pressured by the government, Ruby’s parents send her to Thurmond, a brutal state rehabilitation camp, where she has learned to suppress her new power. But what if mastering it is a whole generation’s only chance for survival?


I haven’t read a dystopian book for a long time, so was a little worried when going into this book incase it turned out to be a carbon copy of many other dystopians. The Darkest Minds is actually quite a fresh and interesting take on the genre, and it was really intriguing seeing how brutal some of the powers were and how awful the government in the book was. The treatment the kids receive in the camps, especially Thurmond where it’s at its worst, is brutal and harsh. This just makes even more of an interesting story as it shows how twisted and corrupt the government are, and how they will stop at nothing.

The powers the kids get are the result of the disease, which either kills them off or leaves them with the powers. They’re split into colour categories: Red, Orange, Yellow, Green and Blue. The first three are considered the most dangerous, with the abilities to control fire, control minds and emotions, and to control electricity in that order. Blue is telekinesis, and Green is a heightened intelligence state. Ruby herself is categorised as an Orange, but manages to evade being shipped off with the other kids of her category and remains in hiding as a Green. When she’s broken out of Thurmond and eventually escapes with three other kids, she begins to understand her power a bit more.

It’s heartbreaking seeing Ruby battle with controlling her power. She’s able to peer into the memories of other people with a simple touch which, due to her lack of control, also gives her the ability to wipe their memories of her. We constantly see Ruby berate herself for nearly touching someone, and her movements become whiplash quick. She doesn’t want this power, which makes it even harder to try and get control.

The other characters were really enjoyable too; I was very fond of Chubs, whose determination to do right for his old friends is so sweet. He’s also the most rational one of the group, which was great as it gives the reader a character that isn’t hell bent on saving the world and is a rational voice of the group while still looking out for his friends. Chubs really does have a lot of heart. Zu is also a fantastic character. She’s completely silent, and also doesn’t have much control over her power so wears bright yellow rubber gloves so she doesn’t set off any electricity by touching anything. There were some lovely moments between her and Ruby, and really enabled them to bond in the middle of their shared nightmare. Liam wasn’t really a favourite of mine, he was really headstrong and got rather annoying at times, but I know that’s he’s there to be the love interest so that is probably why!

There are some really dark scenes in this book which was actually quite enjoyable; it put it more on the scale of a darker YA fiction. The idea of the different powers the teenagers have is so clever, and really proves the point that teenagers are a force to be reckoned with and can change the world from bad to better.

Final thoughts: A strong start to a brilliant dystopian series. 4/5

Image

BOOK REVIEW: What If It’s Us

I only put this book down 20 minutes before writing this review. I’ve never reviewed a book so quickly, but felt like I needed to put everything I felt about this down immediately. Huge thanks to Olivia over at Simon & Schuster for sending me this!


Arthur is only in New York for the summer, but if Broadway has taught him anything, it’s that the universe can deliver a showstopping romance when you least expect it. Ben thinks the universe needs to mind its business. If the universe had his back, he wouldn’t be on his way to the post office carrying a box of his ex-boyfriend’s things.

But when Arthur and Ben meet-cute at the post office, what exactly does the universe have in store for them?

Maybe nothing. After all, they get separated.

Maybe everything. After all, they get reunited.

But what if they can’t quite nail a first date . . . or a second first date . . . or a third?

What if Arthur tries too hard to make it work . . . and Ben doesn’t try hard enough?

What if life really isn’t like a Broadway play?

But what if it is?


I’m not a fan of love-at-first-sight books, at all. Most of my favourite characters are born of anguish and darkness. But there was something about this book that tugged on my heartstrings and made me feel ever so romantic. It was so light, so fluffy, and just such a lovely read, because now I feel very, very happy now I’ve finished it.

What If It’s Us is a collaborative novel by best friend/bestselling duo Adam Silvera and Becky Albertalli. They’re known for writing very different stories (Becky focuses on happy endings, while Adam writes like he’s burning your heart from your chest) but usually these books focus on LGBT+ characters – and this is no different. What If It’s Us follows the lives of Ben and Arthur after chance – or the universe – brings them together. They know there’s something pulling them together, but with Arthur only in New York for a month, and Ben still trying to get over his ex-boyfriend, things don’t look so promising. What follows is a love story with many ups and downs. They can’t seem to get it right, and even with the constant signs from the universe, things just aren’t being perfect. But they know that’s ok.

It was so lovely to see these two authors collaborate and to write such a sweet love story, and it was brilliant that things the other characters did were called out if they were wrong. Ben calls out Arthur on his stupid comment about ‘being white’, and in another chapter Arthur tears Ben a new one for being ridiculously late to absolutely everything. But it works, because the characters are striving to make the other person a better person. There are moments when the universe works for them, and moments where it works against them, but the boys are determined to see it through.

The characters are so wonderfully different that I don’t really know who my favourite was. I’m leaning towards Ben but Arthur was so sweet. The characters are quite clear to tell who is written by who, and there are definitely some subtle references to their other books which was nice. I loved reading a book that’s so fresh and in the moment, especially with some nods to Instagram dramas and favourite memes. There are scenes that show that it’s not all perfect, even when you’re happy. There’s also some fantastic representation in here too, with a great mix of teenagers from different economic backgrounds, religions, skin tones and sexualities. I think that’s what I love most about books like this; they’re real in what they represent with the characters.

What If It’s Us is a beautiful story about first big loves and first big heartbreaks. It’s a book that definitely reminds the reader to live every single moment as if it were their last, and to cherish moments we have with our loved ones – as things could easily change in a heartbeat. It’s a book that cherishes the teenage ups and downs of life in a summer break. If this book doesn’t make you smile, I don’t know what will.

Final thought: 100% wholehearted happiness in book form. 5/5

Image

#KazDoesYALC

YALC sign-1.JPG

This weekend saw the arrival of YALC – the Young Adult Literature Convention, held every year above the London Film & Comic Con. It’s a convention where book lovers can meet authors, attend book signings, win exclusive early copies of books and much more. There are workshops to attend, activities held by publishers and, most importantly, books to buy! Publishers will set up their stalls and will often have the books discounted from their original price, so you’ll be able to save a few coins on book buying!

This year, we went for the whole three days, which I won’t do again purely because it was so exhausting and Olympia is a bit of a trek to get to! Three days of travelling does take a bit of a toll! I’ll be writing another post about my YALC experience as a whole, but for now I wanted to focus on the Saturday as this is the day I wore my Kaz Brekker cosplay.

If you know me (I hope you do, cos you’re following my blog…) you will know how much I love Six of Crows. Like HUGE FAN LEVELS of love. I’d been toying with the idea of a Kaz cosplay for a little while, and thought it would be perfect to do this at YALC where he’s a known character. With the help of best friend Stacey, we – or rather she – got planning. While I got together clothes – seriously Kaz, wear something suitable for Summer next time – she planned out how to create the cane and style my hair. I found a resin crow skull from Etsy, Stacey showed me the right hair products to buy, and we spent about two hours crafting his cane and a further hour practising my hairstyle. All to make sure that on the day, everything was perfect!

When the second day of YALC came, I was so thrilled with the results of my cosplay. Stacey excelled with my hair (which didn’t budge all day!) and I very much thought I looked the part! The only thing that had to change was the gloves. I know they’re a huge part of Kaz, but it was so so hot that my hands weren’t able to cope being in the gloves for more than five minutes! There’s a picture below of my full cosplay!

DjNci8WX0AYPjcR

It was tons of fun walking around YALC as Kaz. Aside from one girl saying that I would be perfect if I just wore the gloves, I had nothing but positive reactions of the outfit! I made a habit of stopping in front of friends without announcing myself and seeing the surprise as they took in my outfit was gold. The majority of the awe was of the cane, especially the uniqueness of the feathers – although I did lose one of my favourite feathers early in the day. A wonderful friend of mine, Helen, also cosplayed as Wylan, and we had loads of fun terrifying authors near the green room as we had some photos taken. She put tons of work into her outfit, especially the amazing embroidered collar!

IMG_4346

If you want to follow my candid shots through the day, Stacey very helpfully created a hashtagged thread, #KazDoesYALC! It follows my entire day of Kaz, from early travels to home on the train. You can check it out below:

Imagine my surprise when I get home on Sunday night, unpack my bag of books, clothes and the many candles I seemed to acquire through the day, and my phone lights up with a Twitter notification. It didn’t seem out of the ordinary as I’d been getting lots of likes on one of the Kaz photos I’d put up in the day. When I checked the actual notification, I nearly fell over. Leigh Bardugo herself (YES), had retweeted the picture of my cosplay and added the words “This is perfection.”. She also commented on the picture of me and Helen, calling us the ‘best Dregs’. I won’t lie, I had a total fangirl moment over this. To be acknowledged by one of my favourite authors is absolutely huge, and I was over the moon.

Leigh

IMG_4410

Of course, this made my entire weekend so much more amazing than it already was. I had a bit of a squeal on the phone to Helen about it, and then started considering my plans for a Kaz cosplay next year…

Oh yes. Kaz will be back. He isn’t going anywhere…

DjMrUT2WsAAbz_w.jpg

Image

All Reading is Reading

The other week, I completed my Goodreads goal. I managed to read 50 books, which I thought at the beginning of the year was an achievable one, and halfway through 2018 I made it! I’m thrilled that I managed to reach the goal.

Over on my Twitter, someone questioned whether I’d cheated my goal because I’d recently read some manga volumes, and that they shouldn’t count. Unfortunately this is a mindset I see far too often – not only on Twitter, but at work too. Lots of kids will be told that reading a comic book or preferring Tom Gates to Little Women isn’t real reading. I’m so tired of hearing that mindset, so would like to take an opportunity to tell you…

ALL READING IS READING

You read that right! All reading is reading. Whether you’re reading a comic book issue, a volume of manga, a hefty graphic novel, or even listening to an audio book – HOORAY! You’re reading!

Stories are so wonderfully accessible these days, with e-Readers enabling people to take many books with them at once and audio subscription services allowing downloads of audio books. It becomes a strange form of elitism when somebody says that reading a comic book or listening to an audio book “isn’t real reading”. That view is so sad, because these readers are also accessing their stories – just in a different way to the standard paperback format.

Consider that graphic novels and manga are huge works of art as well as written story. The considerable amount of time and art that goes into these books is stunning: line work, lettering, backgrounds, colouring, character design. This is all tied together with the story too, and many artists have worked on the project to get it to the standard you see when you pick it up from the shelf. Graphic novels are a portal into the artists passions and their art, just like a book from your favourite authors would be.

If you find yourself thinking this thought when you see a friend enjoying an audio book, or a kid reading the latest Batman issue, catch yourself. Because you could very well put somebody off reading altogether. Instead, encourage them! Ask them to recommend you an audio book they enjoyed, or a graphic novel they love. I know many people who enjoyed the audio book of The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice & Virtue over reading the book, and I’m happy that lots of people got to access such a brilliant story in a different way.

If you’re still not convinced, please check out Sabrina, the graphic novel which is the first of its kind to be featured in the longlist of the Man Booker prize. This is a huge achievement, and really opens up graphic novels for readers who may have not known about the stories they hold.

If you want some graphic novel recommendations, let me know in the comments about what you’d like to read! I’d love to recommend you some excellent ones!