Posts Categorized: books

November Is for Writing Novels

November 4, 2017 books, miscellaneous 20

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What’s New?

Halloween is over, and my grandma is already panicking about baking Christmas cookies, so November is officially here. And you know what November means – it’s NaNoWriMo time! I had this whole plan of carefully plotting a new novel, so I’d be all ready by November 1st, but then Things™ happened, the 1st of November arrived, and I had nothing. I figured I’ll skip it this year, but like every year I just couldn’t resist the momentum of NaNoWriMo, so on the evening of November 1st I decided I’ll join in anyway. Who needs plots, right? Me. The answer is me.

There was a creative writing group at uni when I was doing my postgrad in Newcastle last year, but now I live in the countryside, so I had to get creative. The feeling of community and getting to know other writers is what I love most about NaNo, so I breached out and found some small writing groups in the area. By in the area I mean I have to drive 30-60 minutes to get there, but hopefully next year I’ll be a little better situated again. I went to my first meeting yesterday and got some writing done, so yay for that! I think one of the major reasons I haven’t finished NaNo so far besides being frickin busy is my perfectionism. This time, I’m trying to just get down 50k without constantly worrying that it’s not good, so wish me luck!

The Shiny

genuine fraud by e.lockhart cover any way you slice it by kristin carlsson aselin cover


I got these on netgalley, so thanks to Hot Key Books and Whicked Whale Publishing! Reviews coming up soon.
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Why Old Books Deserve 340% More Attention From You

November 2, 2017 books, discussion 12

talk to me graphic reviews and cake

Talk to Me is an irregular discussion feature on this blog. It’s pretty much exactly what the title suggests: I’m going to tell you my opinion, and then I’m handing over to you, so you can let me know what you think in the comments.

Topic

Old books! Or should I say vintage books? Is that sexier? I haven’t even written the introduction and I’m already getting distracted, an autobiography by me. Let’s try this again. In the book blogging community we often focus on new releases. It makes sense – many bloggers (myself included) review ARCs, publishers push new releases, there’s a lot of hype around recent books and, most importantly, NEW STUFF IS SHINY. But what about older books? I’m not talking classics, which at least get some attention, but books from ten or twenty years ago (quick reminder, twenty years ago means 1997, what the hell). Do they really deserve less of our attention? Why do we forget about older books so easily?

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[Guest Post]: Rarely Portrayed Historical Events + Book Recs

October 26, 2017 books, recs 5



My friend Bianca is back with another interesting topic today: rarely portrayed events in historical fiction! Isn’t it interesting how some historical events always seem to be so much more spotlighted than others? I remember I was shocked when I watched America, America by Elia Kazan for university and learned about an entire genocide we never talked about in school. Or when I found out that The Republic of Texas was briefly an independent country in the 19th century – literally had never heard about that before. Bianca will tell you about two historical novels and the events portrayed in them in her post.


Bianca’s Post

The depths of despair – Rarely portrayed historical events

Lately, I have started to get into historical fiction again, especially historical fiction set in the beginning and middle of the 20th century. While reading I noticed that some historical events are portrayed very rarely in modern day literature. I really enjoyed reading two books about historical events I haven’t read about before and didn’t know a lot about. So if you’re in for some history paired with a bit of drama and romance (oh and a lot of death), here is what I have for you:
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The Long Ride Home

October 21, 2017 books, reviews 0

I saw this book on netgalley, and you know I’m a sucker for roadtrip books, so obviously I had to request it. I was expecting a poignant book about life, loss and roadtrip fun, but I was a little disappointed. I enjoyed some aspects of the book, but overall this was not entirely for me.

the long ride home by tawni waters cover

After the loss of her mother, Harley can barely handle her grief. But the start of summer marks new beginnings, and Harley leaves for a cross-country road trip to scatter her mother’s ashes with Dean, her friend (with benefits). The two ride by motorcycle, reconnecting with people who knew her mother along the way.

But it’s not long before Harley realizes she’s pregnant…with Dean’s child. And as Harley learns that her mother faced similar choices during her own pregnancy, Harley must come to terms with her mother’s past to make a difficult decision about her own future.

I received a free review copy of this book (thanks Sourcebooks Fire!). This does not influence my opinion in any way.
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Review: Under Rose-Tainted Skies (Shattering Stigmas)

October 13, 2017 books, reviews 7

This is the last Shattering Stigmas post before the wrap-up on my blog, and it comes from yours truly. We’ve had some great recommendations these past two weeks, so I thought it was time for a review! I was inspired to read Under Rose-Tainted Skies during Shattering Stigmas, and it came highly recommended by my blogging friends. I’m happy to say I’ve finished it in time to share this review with you.

Shattering Stigmas graphic

Shattering Stigmas is a two-week blogging event focused on mental health in literature and mental health generally – check back for guest posts, reviews and discussions around mental health.


under rose tainted skies cover

At seventeen, Norah has accepted that the four walls of her house delineate her life. She knows that fearing everything from inland tsunamis to odd numbers is irrational, but her mind insists the world outside is too big, too dangerous. So she stays safe inside, watching others’ lives through her windows and social media feed.

But when Luke arrives on her doorstep, he doesn’t see a girl defined by medical terms and mental health. Instead, he sees a girl who is funny, smart, and brave. And Norah likes what he sees.

Their friendship turns deeper, but Norah knows Luke deserves a normal girl. One who can walk beneath the open sky. One who is unafraid of kissing. One who isn’t so screwed up. Can she let him go for his own good—or can Norah learn to see herself through Luke’s eyes?

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[Guest Post]: Coping While Fighting The Stigma (Shattering Stigmas)

October 11, 2017 books, miscellaneous 6



Another guest post today: it’s my absolute pleasure to introduce Jessica Sankiewicz to the blog! She is the author of several YA/NA books and will be addressing the difficulty of coping while fighting the stigma surrounding mental health. Thanks very much to Jess for sharing – make sure to show her some support in the comments!



Shattering Stigmas graphic
Shattering Stigmas is a two-week blogging event focused on mental health in literature and mental health generally – check back for guest posts, reviews and discussions around mental health.

Jessica’s Post

As someone with anxiety and depression, I want nothing more than to be able to talk freely about mental illness. However, in a society that views any sort of MI as either a weakness or a figment of the imagination, that makes openly discussing it difficult. In turn, those of us with a mental illness tend to hide them, suppressing our feelings and making things worse.

I like to believe that someday we’ll have a more open society, willing to talk about these things. But I know it will take some time for that to happen. In the meantime, there are other ways for us to cope with the stigma we face daily.
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[Guest Post]: On Writing a Character With Anxiety + Mental Health Book Recommendations (Shattering Stigmas)

October 4, 2017 books, recs, writing 7



I’m absolutely thrilled to welcome Marie Landry to the blog today! Marie is an author, and she is going to tell you about her writing process and how much of herself she puts into her own characters in this post. She will also give you a couple of book recommendations for YA/NA books discussing mental health. Make sure to check out Waiting for the Storm and Marie’s other books. I’ll let Marie take over from here.



Shattering Stigmas graphic
Shattering Stigmas is a two-week blogging event focused on mental health in literature and mental health generally – check back for guest posts, reviews and discussions around mental health.

Marie’s story

When I started writing my YA book Waiting for the Storm five years ago, I didn’t intend for it to be about a girl with anxiety. Initially it was about a girl, Charlotte, who had finished high school at home while taking care of her terminally ill mother. After being shut away for almost a year, she had become anxious and jumpy, afraid of things that never bothered her before, and unable to cope with her emotions. As I continued writing and Charlotte became more fully formed in my mind, her actions – things like jumping to conclusions and overreacting – seemed familiar.
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Shattering Stigmas: Mental Health in Literature – Welcome and Giveaway!

October 2, 2017 books, psa 14

Welcome to the third round of Shattering Stigmas! You might have heard of this event before, or you might be new to it this year, but basically Shattering Stigmas is all about mental health, literature, and the fabulous readers, authors and bloggers involved.

Shattering Stigmas graphic

Dealing with mental health issues can often be an isolating experience. The stigmas surrounding mental health can keep people from looking for help and confiding in the people close to them. As the name suggests, this event exists to shatter these stigmas by talking about mental health in general and mental health representation in literature in particular.

The lovely Shannon from It Starts at Midnight came up with the idea for Shattering Stigmas three years ago, and it’s still going strong. This year Shattering Stigmas is taking place at It Starts at Midnight, Of Wonderland, Stay on the Page, The Fox’s Hideaway, Flipping Through Pages (youtube, yay!), and of course here.

So what can you expect during the event?

– Well, first of all there’s a giveaway! Each of the hosts will be picking a winner – I’m giving away a mental health book of your choice up to 10€/12$, INTL as long as book depository ships to your place.

– Secondly, there will be guest posts! I’m very excited that a number of authors and bloggers have written fantastic posts I can’t wait to share with you.

– Of course you’ll get some book reviews and recommendations!

I’m not going to be posting daily (because when do I ever) but you can expect updates a couple of times a week. Do make sure to check out the posts on all the other blogs/vlogs, because we all have unique content and guest posts for you to enjoy. Let’s get started!

a Rafflecopter giveaway


If you want to share your own posts and/or thoughts with us, feel free to use #ShatteringStigmas

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Book Titles That Describe My Life

August 18, 2017 books, fun, miscellaneous 4

A month without uploading
she comes back with a tag
that no one even tagged her in
she’s not a challenge to drag

Sorry if you’re not familiar with this masterpiece of music, but it was the first thing that came to my mind when I started writing this post. I saw this tag on Shannon’s blog, and decided to steal it, because I’m in the last stages of writing my dissertation and it’s either a tag or nothing. Hope you enjoy!

Title That’s the Story of Your Life

Nervous Conditions


I literally picked this book up because of the title, so I feel like that’s pretty accurate.

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When Dimple Met Rishi

July 24, 2017 books, reviews 3


Dimple Shah has it all figured out. With graduation behind her, she’s more than ready for a break from her family, from Mamma’s inexplicable obsession with her finding the “Ideal Indian Husband.” Ugh. Dimple knows they must respect her principles on some level, though. If they truly believed she needed a husband right now, they wouldn’t have paid for her to attend a summer program for aspiring web developers…right?

Rishi Patel is a hopeless romantic. So when his parents tell him that his future wife will be attending the same summer program as him—wherein he’ll have to woo her—he’s totally on board. Because as silly as it sounds to most people in his life, Rishi wants to be arranged, believes in the power of tradition, stability, and being a part of something much bigger than himself.

The Shahs and Patels didn’t mean to start turning the wheels on this “suggested arrangement” so early in their children’s lives, but when they noticed them both gravitate toward the same summer program, they figured, Why not?

Dimple and Rishi may think they have each other figured out. But when opposites clash, love works hard to prove itself in the most unexpected ways.

I kept hearing about this book, so now that it’s finally out I had to buy it. I wasn’t disappointed! When Dimple met Rishi is perfect when you’re in the mood for a cute YA romance. It has likeable but realistic(ish) characters, and a romance you’ll root for.
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Scoring Wilder – Soccer and Romance

July 17, 2017 books, reviews 0


What started out as a joke— seduce Coach Wilder—soon became a goal she had to score.

With Olympic tryouts on the horizon, the last thing nineteen-year-old Kinsley Bryant needs to add to her plate is Liam Wilder. He’s a professional soccer player, America’s favorite bad-boy, and has all the qualities of a skilled panty-dropper.

• A face that makes girls weep – check.
• Abs that can shred Parmesan cheese (the expensive kind) – check.
• Enough confidence to shift the earth’s gravitational pull – double check.

Not to mention Liam is strictly off limits . Forbidden. Her coaches have made that perfectly clear. (i.e. “Score with Coach Wilder anywhere other than the field and you’ll be cut from the team faster than you can count his tattoos.”) But that just makes him all the more enticing…Besides, Kinsley’s already counted the visible ones, and she is not one to leave a project unfinished.

Kinsley tries to play the game her way as they navigate through forbidden territory, but Liam is determined to teach her a whole new definition for the term “team bonding.”

As you can see by the naked guy on the cover above, I have once again ventured into the dark abyss of New Adult after devouring Elle Kennedy’s books last year. This time it snuck up on me. I recently read Catching Jordan and Coming Up for Air, both of which are excellently cute books about sports, friendship and romance. So naturally after finishing them, I was on the lookout for more books featuring female athletes (I’ve discovered I like reading about sports, I just don’t want to do them myself). I found Scoring Wilder on a goodreads list and it had a high rating, so I figured I’ll keep an open mind and try it. Unfortunately, this book lacked the hilarity of the Off-Campus series, and didn’t make up for it in other areas.
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Wanderlost – A Trip Around Europe

July 13, 2017 books, reviews 10

wanderlost cover

Not all those who wander are lost, but Aubree Sadler most definitely is on this novel’s whirlwind trip through Europe.

Aubree can’t think of a better place to be than in perfectly boring Ohio, and she’s ready for a relaxing summer. But when her older sister, Elizabeth, gets into real trouble, Aubree is talked into taking over Elizabeth’s summer job, leading a group of senior citizens on a bus tour through Europe.

Aubree doesn’t even make it to the first stop in Amsterdam before their perfect plan unravels, leaving her with no phone, no carefully prepared binder full of helpful facts, and an unexpected guest: the tour company owner’s son, Sam. Considering she’s pretending to be Elizabeth, she absolutely shouldn’t fall for him, but she can’t help it, especially with the most romantic European cities as the backdrop for their love story.

But her relationship with Sam is threatening to ruin her relationship with her sister, and she feels like she’s letting both of them down. Aubree knows this trip may show her who she really is—she just hopes she likes where she ends up.
– from goodreads

I’ve been wanting to read this book for ages. A trip around Europe? High ratings by my bookish friends? Yes, please. This had all the signs of a great summer book, so I decided to finally give it a try. I wasn’t exactly disappointed, but I wasn’t as in love with it as I thought I would be either.
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Small Admissions

July 6, 2017 books, reviews 2

book cover small admissions

One admission can change your life…forever.

When ambitious grad student Kate Pearson’s handsome French “almost fiancé” ditches her, she definitely does not roll with the punches, despite the best efforts of family and friends. It seems that nothing will get Kate out of pajamas and back into the world.

Miraculously, one cringe-worthy job interview leads to a position in the admissions department at the revered Hudson Day School. Kate’s instantly thrown into a highly competitive and occasionally absurd culture, where she interviews all types of children: suitable, wildly unsuitable, charming, loathsome, ingratiating, or spoiled beyond all measure. And then there are the Park Avenue parents who refuse to take no for an answer.

As Kate begins to learn there’s no room for self-pity or nonsense during the height of admissions season or life itself, her sister and friends find themselves keeping secrets, dropping bombshells, and arguing with each other about how to keep Kate on her feet. Meanwhile, Kate seems to be doing very nicely, thank you, and is even beginning to find out that her broken heart is very much on the mend. Welcome to the world of Small Admissions.

-from goodreads

I got an ARC of this book so long ago that I don’t really want to look up how long it’s been exactly. It sounded like something light and fun, but it wasn’t until I was in Spain recently that I finally got around to reading it. It wasn’t quite what I expected, but not necessarily in a bad way.
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Books About Twenty-Somethings

July 3, 2017 books, discussion 8

Talk To Me

is a no-nonsense discussion feature on this blog. No-nonsense means I’m too lazy to make it look pretty. It’s exactly what the title suggests: I’m going to pose a question or tell you my own opinion about something, and I want to know what you think about it! Obviously feel free to write up your own post on the topic and link it in the comments.


Topic

We all know about the omnipresence of Young Adult books. Books about characters in their teens hold a certain appeal, perhaps because we learn a lot about who we are and who we want to be at that stage in life. But where are the books about twenty-somethings? I’m in my early twenties, and I’ve been desperately looking for good books featuring characters my age. Obviously they exist, but I feel like they are few and far between. Maybe it’s just me, but I’m finding it much more difficult to find books about people in their twenties than YA or adult books. I was shortly excited when New Adult emerged as a category, but then I realised New Adult mostly seems to be erotica (nothing wrong with that obviously, but not quite what I had in mind). So where are all the books about people my age? Some of the ‘older’ YA books, like Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell, focus on people going off to university, but they are few and far between.
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International Women’s Day: My Favorite Books by Female Authors

March 8, 2017 books, recs 14

Happy Women’s Day! In celebration of the many women shaping literature as we know and love it, I thought I’d celebrate some of my favorite female authors with this list today. Obviously, it’s hard to narrow it down, because so many of my favorite authors are women, but I can recommend all of these books from the bottom of my heart. I will be focusing on books that I’m not currently seeing everywhere, which is why you won’t find series like Shades of Magic by V.E. Schwab or The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer on this list, but know that I love those just as much. Hope you find something you like!

The Binti series by Nnedi Okorafor



Nnedi Okorafor is one of the most imaginative authors I’ve read. I originally found this, because it was recommended by John Green in a video. I think he pitched it as something like “girl who travels through space to attend university” (paraphrased), which sounded pretty awesome to me. Now I think his description is underselling the work, but I also find it hard to come up with a good one myself, because you really just have to read this one for yourself. As far as I can tell, it’s a trilogy of novellas (according to goodreads, the last one is set to be released this September), so it’s not a great time commitment, but there’s enough worldbuilding for longer books. I feel like this book is more relevant to my Cross-Cultural Communications degree than most of the academic texts I read (don’t tell my lecturers). I’ve seen a few authors mention these novellas, but I haven’t seen them on many book blogs, so get reading, people!
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Book Review: Passenger

February 17, 2017 books, reviews 4

passenger cover alexandra bracken review on reviews and cake blog

I ordered this book way back when it first came out – in hardcover no less – because I liked The Darkest Minds series by Alexandra Bracken. I only just got around to reading it, and I’m not quite as enthusiastic about this series debut as I was about her other work.
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Conventions and an Avalanche of Books

January 14, 2017 books, miscellaneous, psa 18

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What’s New?

Aloha blogglings,

I’m in a summery mood, because I can actually see the sun today. From inside my room, I mean, let’s not get crazy. I went to visit my family over Christmas and New Year, but now I’m back in England. So far I’ve spent all of my time holed up in my room writing essays, but I can see the light on the horizon. Sort of. In a few weeks. In more exciting news, I have decided that I’ll go to YALC (Young Adult Literature Convention) in London this year! It’s at the end of July, and I don’t know anyone, so if you’re a fellow blogger who’s thinking about going, and you’d like to meet up, let me know! I’ve never been before, so if you’re an experienced YALCer, any information is welcome. :D I’m always jealous about all the US folks, who get to meet up at conventions, so I figured I have to make use of my time in an English-speaking country!



The answer is I shouldn’t. Trust me. I keep struggling with random words that are different in British English and American English. Like the time I ordered a flapjack expecting a pancake and got a muesli bar thing instead. Or last week, when I asked someone where I could find the zucchini, and he looked at me all confused and asked whether I meant aubergine, which I didn’t because I call aubergines aubergines (turns out zucchini=American English and courgette=British English, but aubergine=British English and eggplant=American English). It’s a constant surprise, living here. :D
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Review: Illuminae

January 5, 2017 books, reviews 12

Illuminae book cover

This morning, Kady thought breaking up with Ezra was the hardest thing she’d have to do.

This afternoon, her planet was invaded.

The year is 2575, and two rival megacorporations are at war over a planet that’s little more than an ice-covered speck at the edge of the universe. Too bad nobody thought to warn the people living on it. With enemy fire raining down on them, Kady and Ezra—who are barely even talking to each other—are forced to fight their way onto an evacuating fleet, with an enemy warship in hot pursuit.

But their problems are just getting started. A deadly plague has broken out and is mutating, with terrifying results; the fleet’s AI, which should be protecting them, may actually be their enemy; and nobody in charge will say what’s really going on. As Kady hacks into a tangled web of data to find the truth, it’s clear only one person can help her bring it all to light: the ex-boyfriend she swore she’d never speak to again.

Told through a fascinating dossier of hacked documents—including emails, schematics, military files, IMs, medical reports, interviews, and more—Illuminae is the first book in a heart-stopping, high-octane trilogy about lives interrupted, the price of truth, and the courage of everyday heroes.

– from goodreads

I had high expectations in this book, and they were not disappointed. I’m so late to the party that the sequel is already out (which is a plus, because this way I don’t have to wait to read it), but that only means that I’ve read about how great and unique this book is ever since it’s been published. I’m often wary of books that are hyped this much, but I had a good feeling with this one. YA scifi? Megalomaniac AIs? Invasions? What could go wrong.
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2016 in Books I Read

December 30, 2016 books, miscellaneous 15

One more day of 2016! I usually do the End of the Year book survey everyone does, but I need something short and sweet this year, so I’m making up my own questions that totally aren’t fitted to the books I read this year at all. Feel free to steal and link back if you haven’t done yours. My goodreads challenge says I finished 58 books this year, which I’m quite happy with. Some of those I skimmed and DNF’d and there were a lot of audiobooks, but with everything else going on this year, I think that’s a good number. Let’s take a look at the selection!

Favorite Books I read in 2016

a gathering of shadows book cover on reviews and cake

A Gathering of Shadows by V.E. Schwab
Sweetgirl by Travis Mulhauser
Cinder by Marissa Meyer
Go Set a Watchman by Harper Lee

I loved all of these books for various reasons, and I’m really excited to read the next book in the Shades of Magic series!
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The Glittering Court

October 30, 2016 books, reviews 4

the glittering court by richelle mead cover

Big and sweeping, spanning from the refined palaces of Osfrid to the gold dust and untamed forests of Adoria, The Glittering Court tells the story of Adelaide, an Osfridian countess who poses as her servant to escape an arranged marriage and start a new life in Adoria, the New World. But to do that, she must join the Glittering Court.

Both a school and a business venture, the Glittering Court is designed to transform impoverished girls into upper-class ladies who appear destined for powerful and wealthy marriages in the New World. Adelaide naturally excels in her training, and even makes a few friends: the fiery former laundress Tamsin and the beautiful Sirminican refugee Mira. She manages to keep her true identity hidden from all but one: the intriguing Cedric Thorn, son of the wealthy proprietor of the Glittering Court.

– from goodreads (shortened)

This book’s been on my radar for a while, because I’ve read almost all of Richelle Mead’s books, but I only now got around to reading it. I was a little put off at first, because something about the writing style seemed fairly different to other Richelle Mead books (more… simplistic maybe?), but part of it may have been that I’m more used to third person than first. I gave it a chance though, and I ended up really enjoying the book!
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