Book Things · books · Reviews

CARRY ON by Rainbow Rowell

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Simon Snow is the worst chosen one who’s ever been chosen

That’s what his roommate, Baz, says. And Baz might be evil and a vampire and a complete git, but he’s probably right.

Half the time Simon can’t even make his wand work, and the other half, he sets something on fire. His mentor’s avoiding him, his girlfriend broke up with him, and there’s a magic-eating monster running around wearing Simon’s face. Baz would be having a field day with all this, if he were here – it’s their last year at Watford School of Magicks, and Simon’s infuriating nemesis didn’t even bother to show up.

Carry On is a love letter to love stories and the power of words – to every ‘chosen one’ who ever had more on their mind than saving the world…

3.5*

So this is the story based on the fan fiction and huge wizard world Cather was obsessed with in Rainbow’s other book, Fangirl, which I LOVED.

But reading this, I wasn’t sure why Cather would really be bothered with it as much? I mean I love Baz and Simon. They were lovely together, and the twist on magical tropes, such as using phrases and well known pop songs for magic, was really something I enjoyed.

But I sort of wish the anticipation of kissing each other and having the truth revealed about their feelings for each other had lingered a bit longer, because as soon as that happened, the rest seemed to be mingled into every other direction. Also, when he finally realises his feelings for Baz, Simon only wonders if he’s gay – like his attraction to Agatha had been a mistake. Granted, he’d never expressly said he felt sexually attracted to Agatha – saying someone is pretty and gorgeous doesn’t necessarily mean there’s a tightening in your nethers – but he couldn’t like girls and guys? Little bit of bi-erasure there.

I hated Agatha, we didn’t need her POV whatsoever, and Penelope probably needed a few chapters at best because, while she was a great intelligent character, she unfortunately didn’t add much to the overall feeling of it. Lo, behold, after the final show-down, we took in the viewpoint/opinion of… Penelope.

After Simon and Baz are bloody battling the end of the world, I want their POV, because they are the heart of the book. Their relationship is what this book, to me, is all about and how they are able to come together. I do not give one toss where Agatha ends up.

So the pacing was a bit off and it took about 77 pages until BAZ my beautiful Baz enters the picture – Baz the redeemer of novels. The first 100 or so were merely exposition and backstory, which I didn’t much care for, but the writing style is easy to get along with. Baz, dear Baz, goes into my favourites, but the book kinda doesn’t, unfortunately. It wasn’t bad, but it didn’t capture the absolute Rainbow spirit of other books for me.

 

Book Things · books · NetGalley · Reviews

GEEKERELLA by Ashley Poston

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I was graciiously given an eARC in exchange for an honest review by Quirk Books via Netgalley

A NEW FAVOURITE HAS ARRIVED – 5*

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 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. But when she disappears at midnight, will he ever be able to find her again?

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.

Amazon UK // Amazon US

Goodreads: HERE

From the first pages, I was hooked on this. I can’t even pinpoint why – the writing flowed well, Elle was a strong protagonist, but perhaps it was the fact we got to see the other side of the story with Darien (hello, cutie) which made this more dynamic.

DEFINITELY shipped them. Hard.

Of the two books centered around Fandom I’ve read so far this year, this one felt the most authentic. I’m REALLY big on dialogue (maybe haven’t mentioned before – ahem) and this never seemed forced to me. The dual POV was a delight, both voices coming across as strong, and all other characters surrounding them were just as strong too.

Sage, the green haired wonder on the front cover, is an absolutely wonderful character. I want her to be my friend. Gail is annoying despite being symapthetic, but then I think she’s sort of meant to be because we saw her from Darien’s POV.

I think a major plus is this was that I imagined everything so vividly. I could see everything of Starfield – the show they’re so in love with – as well, looking at the Fandom, and it wasn’t forced. In some books about Fandom they drop names as though they’re saying “Look! I know about this one! Paranatural, right?” but in this one Poston really seemed to know what being in a fandom means. Like, I’ve been to cons, and they’re the weirdest, most AMAZING places, and everyone is supportive of each other. Yeah you get the occasional dick, and we did in this one too, but I dunno. I felt like I was there.

Were some of the villains cartoony? Yeah, maybe, but I think that just added to the charm. I physically hated Elle’s stepmother. I know teenage me wouldn’t have done a damn thing, but I wanted to slap the woman. It’s very rare a book can make me cry, lately, hardened book armadillo that I am, but this one managed.

I felt Elle’s pain, and I loved Darien’s character, and I want Starfield to be a show ok?!

Book Things · books · Reviews

A CONJURING OF LIGHT by V.E. Schwab

NON-SPOILERY (ISH) REVIEW

A CONJURING OF LIIIIGHT

Ok most of my friends know how excited I was about this book, I looooved A Gathering of Shadows, and I think it’s the best book of the trilogy. This, while big in scope, scale, tension, and everything, somehow didn’t match up to my love of the second. Nothing to say the writing was bad, or the plot, nothing! But it didn’t hit me in the gut with FEELINGS as much as I – dare I say – wanted it to.

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There were a lot of POV hops, and at some stages it left me a bit disconcerted. I didn’t know why we were, say, in the head of the King or Queen until later on in the book. I will not spoil the massiveness of this book with silly little bits like that.

BUT ANYWAY

THINGS I LOVED

  • KELL
  • FREAKING
  • MARESH

Be still my beating heart. He’s so protective, and sweet, and conflicted. He’s finding his place in his own world and trying to do right by everyone, as well as manage falling for a knife-loving woman who’s an explosion of wonderfulness. ❤ he can do no wrong in my eyes, even though he messes up – which everyone should, once in a while – he nevertheless continues to try and make it right.

  • HOLLAND
  • DARLING ONE

Yes, well. He’s so dry and disdainful, he’s clearly had any hope and joy beaten out of him but this whole redemption arc for him was beautiful. I was very happy that my love for him in the first book and his potential paid off here. I loved the whole ANTARI aspects of this book, like YES KICK ASS! And I’m pretty sure, if they cast him right in the movie, I will fangirl all over again. *strokes pretty Holland*

  • LILA
  • GODDAMN
  • BARD

She is number three simply because if I met her, I’d want to strangle her pretty quickly, but reading about her is fascinating. I mean, if I tried to strangle her she’d probably skin me, but you get the idea. She’s a fascinated, nuanced character who gave me the only tear-jerking moment in this – when she revisits the market just after Shit Gets Real – and I had to put the book down. I imagined that scene so vividly and it was just…. augh.

  • RHY
  • PRINCELING
  • BABE

The Rhy of book two, is not here in book three. Well he is a bit but of course, going through multiple deaths and trauma and finding out darkness is growing is not a very nice way to recover. I was sad he seemed to be more in the background even when he was front and center, the gravitas of him – like he was the sun and others the planets – didn’t pull me as usual but I still love him, of course.

MORE STUFF TO TALK ABOUT

  • THE DEATHS my god. Some of them meant things, some of them meant nothing, ALL OF THEM WERE HEARTBREAKING OKAY?!
  • OSARON. What a weird, twisty, awesome badass villain.
  • I MENTIONED HOLLAND’S STORY ARC ALREADY BUT HOLLAND’S STORY ARC
  • Why is there no extra magical London here in England, why do I have to just go to the pretty drab one with torture castles.
  • FLOATING MARKETS
  • I will stop now.

HMMMMMM….

By this, I mean things which I struggled with but didn’t take away from my enjoyment.

Something bugged me throughout the book and I think I figured out was it was – Alucard.

I know, people will hate me. But the rogue Captain I’d come to be very fond of seemed a bit of a dick during this book. How much he antagonized Kell, and acted like he was entitled to be treated fairly by Rhy, and not understanding why Kell was protective over his brother and best friend, really riled me up.

Like dude – I know you’re meant to be pained because your love for him was seen as something despicable by your family, I understand how much that must have torn you apart. But don’t take it out on the person who looks upon the evidence – you fleeing without a word – the same way as Rhy does, and punish HIM for that opinion instead. Maybe I dunno – try not to be so snarky?

And Rhy, too, taking Alucard’s side sometimes pissed me off. I dunno maybe I’m just a total Kell woman here (we share stubbornness and anger / protectiveness over our loved ones) but I don’t think Alucard DESERVED Rhy. He hadn’t done much, in my view, to win the absolute heart of the prince but maybe it was because we were told they loved each other a lot because of ‘the past’ and didn’t really get to see ‘that past’ apart from snippets. All we got was their broken present.

Anyway. He pissed me off regardless.

Maybe he won’t on a second read-through, which I’m hoping to do sometime later this year of the entire trilogy. But. Ugh. Goddamn, Dracula-backwards.

THAT SAID, BUY THIS BOOK. READ IT. LOVE IT. ENJOY IT. AND TALK TO ME ABOUT KELL AND HOLLAND AND LILA AND ANTARI PLEASE.

ANOSHE

 

Book Things · books · jadewritesbooks · Just For Fun · Top 5 Wednesday

TOP 5 WEDNESDAY – Books To Get You Out Of A Reading Slump

I joined top 5 Wednesday!

If you’re not sure what it is, it’s a group on Goodreads where avid readers can participate in a top 5 list every Wednesday. Simples.

I’ve seen the lovely Thoughts on Tomes on YouTube do this, so I thought I’d give it a go.

I’m not prepared for BookTube yet. So it’s a blog you’re getting.

Even with some of my favourite books, I didn’t originally find them that easy to get into. Of course once I did get into them, I tore through the pages at speed, but it’s that initial “easy read” simplicity of enjoyment I’m going for in this list.

These are books which have stayed with me simply because they took me out from “pffft. reading.” to “YAY READING!” in a few chapters. Believe it or not I spent a few years refusing to read anything. I don’t know what I was doing, but hey.

These are also books with *actual plot* because I do not read fluffy nonsense that’s about two people hooking up and nothing more. I can’t. If it doesn’t have substance, a plot, characterization etc, I can’t. So there are no select New Adult romances here, for example.

Without further ado, the 5 books ARE-

cover106249-mediumOne of Us Is Lying by Karen McManus
This is a story about 5 kids who have detention together – the swoony baseball star, the wilting flower, the absolute rebel, the intelligent girl, and the slimy dude who has an app posting school secrets every day. In the middle of their punishment, slimy dude dies before everyone’s eyes, meaning the other 4 are suddenly being investigated for his murder and ALL of them have secrets they didn’t want McSlimy to tell.

I had the privilege of reading this via NetGalley, so it’s not out yet, but it’s a seriously encompassing read. It’s fast paced, there’s no convoluted plot where you have to draw diagrams to figure out what the hell is happening, and it keeps you guessing in a good way, not in a “Jesus Christ just tell us!” way. A very easy, but no less accomplished, read. I’ll buy a copy of this once it’s out.

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Angelfall by Susan Ee
Another fast read I started this year with. It’s been out for a while now, I got it for Christmas, and it’s super good. I heard it’s some people’s guilty pleasures – no guilt here. Just pleasure.

Hot angel who doesn’t annoy me (looking at you, Akiva) – check. Rounded female MC who is badass and a realist – check. No instalove?! Awesome. The two supposed-to-be-enemies team up to try and get Penryn’s disabled sister back from evil angels, and the world has gone to shit, and it’s… yeah I’m not able to really explain how awesome the plot is, but hey. Trust me.

I’ve heard as well that the ending grossed some people out – as a person who sped through Exquisite Corpse (clue in the title) by horror / creepy story  author Poppy Brite I have no qualms with gore or grossness or anything like that. Again, easy read writing, but still good, and it wasn’t too cheesy that you’re like “oh come ON that’d never happen”. Cause it’s about evil angels, I mean…. suspend your disbelief.

 

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Harry Potter – Any of them – by JK Rowling
These are undoubtedly the EASIEST reads because I’ve read them about 3 times (apart from the last 2) to get myself back into the reading game. Philosopher’s Stone took me about a week the first time I read it (I was 10 or something, come on) and now it takes me less than an hour. Is it perfect? No. Is it good writing? Yes. World Building? Let me put it this way….

I WANT TO GO TO HOGWARTS WHERE IS MY LETTER?!

And I won’t have any of that “I’m too old for HP!” nonsense. I’m the grand age of twenty-n(mumble) and still love HP. I see the problematic stuff, but it doesn’t take my enjoyment of the beginning of the series where it was all innocent, and so was I. It just seems to get your love of fantasy going again, builds up my reading eyes.

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Six of Crows by QUEEN Leigh Bardugo
QUEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEN.

Ok, so if you haven’t heard of this book, where have you been?

Six totally different ragamuffins join together in a bid to steal a professor from the inside of a huge, mightily complex jail, who’s made drug which threatens the Grisha. It’s basically a heist where they have to steal a person from an iron prison, but ALSO get along. Of which, neither seems to be feasible at some points.

I was definitely disillusioned with fantasy, and everything like that, when I took up this book to read. I just wasn’t into anything. Reading, which had once blessed me with escapism, didn’t hold me any more. Enter Six of Crows, and BOOM – I loved Kaz. My devil baby

I could ramble on about this for days, but it’s a mastery of epic writing, plotting, characterisation, REAL DIALOGUE HURRAH and world building that sucked me in and refused to let me out again. READ IT.

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Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell
I seem to practically speed-read through anything Rainbow Rowell has written, which is good cause I’m getting Carry On soon. Like, I go to bed early to read and before I know it it’s 3am and I’m 50 pages from finishing so what the hell? Let’s do it.

Fangirl is the story of twins, Cather and Wren, who go to College. It’s the first time Cather has lived apart from Wren, who requested another roommate. Cather is internet famous with her fanfiction of Simon Snow stories, and so follows a rolling read of writing, understanding siblings, absent parents, first loves and AAAALL the wonderousness which appears to be the American College system.

This is such a good read, it’s fun, it’s heartbreaking, it’s good because Cather finds her voice. It’s not an overly-hormonal-angsty read when she gets her anxiety, it’s very natural (in my experience of my own anxiety) and I enjoyed reading it.

Book Things · books · NetGalley · Reviews

REVIEW: Queens of Geek by Jen Wilde

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When BFFs Charlie, Taylor and Jamie go to SupaCon, they know it’s going to be a blast. What they don’t expect is for it to change their lives forever.

Charlie likes to stand out. SupaCon is her chance to show fans she’s over her public breakup with co-star, Jason Ryan. When Alyssa Huntington arrives as a surprise guest, it seems Charlie’s long-time crush on her isn’t as one-sided as she thought.

While Charlie dodges questions about her personal life, Taylor starts asking questions about her own.

Taylor likes to blend in. Her brain is wired differently, making her fear change. And there’s one thing in her life she knows will never change: her friendship with Jamie—no matter how much she may secretly want it to. But when she hears about the Queen Firestone SupaFan Contest, she starts to rethink her rules on playing it safe.

Buy it: Amazon UK / Amazon US
Goodreads: Here

3.5 *

No lie – this book  has seriously GREAT messages. And I’m so happy there are books out where where girls can be out and proud, geeks, of all colours and embraced in a novel. A fair few of the times I really resonated with the geekery and fangirlishness of these characters. But some of the really touching messages are lost in a hotchpotch of other things I couldn’t quite connect to.

The first half, I really enjoyed, where we see the three of them settling into SupaCon, but by the end I was a little distracted by the OTT dialogue of openness, wonderfulness and joy.  The only conflicts I can truly remember were about Chase, who was a world class douche, and Taylor’s dealings with her panic attacks.

Everybody – and I’m not saying this because I’m a cynic (ah, who am I kidding?!) was too nice to each other. Like… instant forgiveness. Instant love. “Harboured a crush on you 5ever” type deals. Is nobody a teenager with a grudge any more? Or was that just me…

Personally, there was a bit too much dialogue in ratio to the inner thoughts of the characters and I couldn’t really suspend my disbelief. Nobody kept their thoughts to themselves. Which basically, could have been a good thing. I think it lost me at the zombie re-enactment (not a spoiler, I promise). It might have been the pacing – it could have afforded to be a bit longer in my opinion.

BUT – it was fun, I enjoyed it, and it was a super quick read, I think I read it in under 2 hours total. It’s great that just a joyful and open book is out there, but I don’t think it was for me.

 

 

 

Book Things · books · jadewritesbooks · NetGalley

Mid-February Book Round-Up

CURRENTLY READING (both via NetGalley)

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So far – I had to put it down at 26% and have a good cry, because Molly is basically speaking to the 17 year old fat girl still residing inside me.

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So far – it’s very well written and there’s a good ‘mood’ about it but it’s too soon to really get into the characters or see how distinctive they are. I have a feeling this is a ‘grower’.

TO READ:

NetGalley

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I read the first one, it was a very competent novel but some of the shocks didn’t hit me in the feels like I wanted them to. I’ve had a sneaky look and so far, this begins and seems much stronger than the first book.

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I hope this doesn’t really 100% require the first two books to be read, because I didn’t realise this was a third book. It excites me anyway!

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THERE IS SO MUCH LORE. Seriously, there’s like 10 pages on the ebook which describes the history and magic. I  need to be not-alm0st-sleeping when I read this.

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I read the first chapter of this already, to get into it – it was non-stop dialogue. This may become a DNF unless it perks up.

In Print

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MY BABIES. My darling Ronan ❤ Noah ❤ Blue ❤ Gansey ❤ CALLA ❤ I’m so excited I could finally order this. It’ll arrive before ACOL below, so I hope I can read it in time to devour the other one.

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I DON’T WANT IT TO END DON’T MAKE IT END.

Book Things · books · Reviews

THE RAVEN BOYS, otherwise known as OH MY GOD by Maggie Stiefvater

Let’s cut to the chase, FIVE STARS. ALL THE STARS. YOU’RE UP THERE WITH SIX OF CROWS, YOU AWESOME THING! What is it with me and birds? Anyway, THE REVIEW:

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It is freezing in the churchyard, even before the dead arrive.

Every year, Blue Sargent stands next to her clairvoyant mother as the soon-to-be dead walk past. Blue herself never sees them—not until this year, when a boy emerges from the dark and speaks directly to her.

His name is Gansey, and Blue soon discovers that he is a rich student at Aglionby, the local private school. Blue has a policy of staying away from Aglionby boys. Known as Raven Boys, they can only mean trouble.

But Blue is drawn to Gansey, in a way she can’t entirely explain. He has it all—family money, good looks, devoted friends—but he’s looking for much more than that. He is on a quest that has encompassed three other Raven Boys: Adam, the scholarship student who resents all the privilege around him; Ronan, the fierce soul who ranges from anger to despair; and Noah, the taciturn watcher of the four, who notices many things but says very little.

For as long as she can remember, Blue has been warned that she will cause her true love to die. She never thought this would be a problem. But now, as her life becomes caught up in the strange and sinister world of the Raven Boys, she’s not so sure anymore.

From Maggie Stiefvater, the bestselling and acclaimed author of the Shiver trilogy and The Scorpio Races, comes a spellbinding new series where the inevitability of death and the nature of love lead us to a place we’ve never been before.

So, this was a series I heard aaaaall about for years now. From the time during my reading slump to the last year or two where I finally picked up books again, I kept hearing mention of the mythical Maggie Stiefvater, who was a fellow Scorpio. I hadn’t even read the books when I realised she had a tarot deck coming out (I am aaaaaaaaall about the tarot).

I started this in August I think, 2016. I liked it, I read Blue’s chapters a hell of a lot faster than I did Adam’s and Gansey’s, which is why I think I put it to one side about 50 – 70 pages in in preference to read other things I knew I’d read quickly. Like Gathering of Shadows, other things.

When I finally picked this up again – and slightly spoiled some twists because I googled what the boys looked like and ended up seeing some information I didn’t want to – I started to really understand Maggie’s writing style. I didn’t just admire it, she absorbed me. Like a psychic who you’re not sure about at first, but then throws up some crafty little numbers and you have no choice but to submit to her awesome power.

That.

Did a LOT happen in this? Sort of. It was like the perfect first season of a TV show, where you get to know the characters and love them and really fear for them. It’s quiet enough to show how the characters work, and loud enough to keep things interesting and tense.

The psychic women were a special highlight of mine. Having grown up in a house full of women as different as the next, I really identified with Blue. I enjoyed their relationship so much, and while my household wasn’t filled with psychics it was filled with the equivalent hippy and spiritual, occult-ish friends with visits from Romani women and witches. So to see that in book form was almost like reading my childhood in some stages.

I will credit (blame?) this book with giving me insomnia after I finished it. I must have been absolutely bummed out and excited and encompassed by book-hangover that I couldn’t even think. I wanted more of Ronan, and Gansey, and Blue, and NOAH my precious Noah ❤

Adam’s a little on the fence for me right now. At first I really identified with him, but then he pulled those dick moves, and I know he was angry but BAH. Come on, redeem yourself.

My favourite was Ronan though, by far. I don’t know why, because I hate angry, aggressive people in real life, but the heart practically shone out of my sarcastic no bullshit baby and he just – my boy. MY BOY. I can’t wait to read more about him.

Basically, all I can say is I’m in love with BAMF women writers right now who are KILLING IT with their amazing stories and I can’t wait to find out what happens in this series.