Recent Reads #Minibookreviews

Recentreads

Here are some thoughts on my recently read books

 

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Chiff Chaff // David Barnard //  February 2018 // Troubador Publishing // Goodreads

I really wanted to love this quirky book because I’m kind of obsessed with Orkney and Shetland. Not that I’ve been, but I’m pretty sure my dream home is around there somewhere.

Sadly, I just couldn’t get into Chiff Chaff and had to DNF.  I didn’t even make it to the Chaff!

The writing was interesting. I liked the use of dialect and the descriptions of the landscape, but the 16 year old narrator in the first part of the book was too repetitive and muddling for my liking. It was too much effort to figure out what was going on, so I admit it – I gave up. A great idea, but it didn’t work for me. 

unicorn rating 2

 

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Final Draft // Riley Redgate // June 2018 // Amulet Books // Goodreads

It’s always interesting reviewing books a long time after you’ve read them. It really shows whether the book has staying power or not, especially for someone like me with terrible memory!

I read Final Draft in May, and while I probably couldn’t give you a concise synopsis, parts of it have definitely stayed with me. Laila was a great protagonist full of complexities and heart. She is probably the most diverse character I’ve ever read being pansexual, biracial, Ecuadorian, suffering from anxiety, and plus size, but I never felt like it was a tick-box-of-diversity book – Redgate made Laila 100% real. It’s a wonderfully modern coming-of-age story for anyone who’s ever felt different. So basically, for everyone, right? 

unicorn rating 4

 

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Leah on the Offbeat // Becky Albertalli // Creekwood #2 // April 2018 //  Balzer + Bray // Goodreads

The highly anticipated companion novel to best-seller Simon Vs was everything I hoped. In fact, I think I preferred it to the first book. Leah is like my spirit animal, I need her to be my bff. Maybe I can join her band…

Anywayyyy, in this Creekwood instalment, Leah takes the centre stage as she tries to keep her band together and figure out who the hell she is. I thought one of the most interesting parts of this story was that Leah is out (as bi) to her mum, but is struggling to tell her best friends, especially recently out Simon. It’s usually the other way round in coming-out stories. I guess it shows how much she thinks of her friends. 

Leah…is one of those great books that takes you right back to how it feels to be a teenager  approaching the end of high school. On one hand relief, on the other, crippling fear of the unknown and the inevitable fracturing of friendship groups. Another perfectly-crafted book portraying the complexities of friendships and growing-up by new fave Becky Albertalli. 

unicorn rating 4

Have you read any of these? Let me know what you thought!

Other reviews you may be interested in: Simon Vs the Homosapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli // The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue by Mackenzi Lee and others

 

 

Top Ten Tuesday: Book Nerds

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Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created by The Broke and the Bookish (click the link to visit them) who pick a different topic each week.

This week the topic is: Ten Characters Who Are Fellow Book Nerds (love reading, are writers, work at a bookstore, etc.)

I went for characters from both books, movies and TV. Gotta love a book nerd in any capacity.

1. Meggie & Mo ~ Inkheart
Mo is a book collector and his love of books has been passed on to his daughter Meggie, but why doesn’t he read to her anymore?

2. Rory Gilmore ~ Gilmore Girls

3. Giles ~ Buffy the Vampire Slayer

4. Charlie ~ The Perks of Being a Wallflower
Charlie is such a beautiful character. There’s a lot more to him than just being a book nerd!

5. Flavia de Luce ~ The Flavia de Luce Mysteries
Flavia is too clever for her own good. She has taught herself everything she knows about chemistry and solving mysteries by reading and experimenting.

6. Bastian ~ The Neverending Story

7. Sarah ~ Labyrinth

8. Liesel ~ The Book Thief
People burning books in the street is the least of Liesel’s worries, but still…hell no!

9. Belle ~ Disney’s Beauty and the Beast
“It’s not right for a woman to read”

10. Bella ~ Twilight
I don’t exactly share Bella’s taste in books, but I loved that she’s a reader who never quite fit in…apart from with the Vampires, of course!

Top Ten Tuesday: Why Aren’t We Friends Yet!?

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Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created by The Broke and the Bookish (click the link to visit them) who pick a different topic each week.

The topic for this week is: Top ten authors you’d like to meet…

Hmm I kinda wish this topic hadn’t come up so soon after top ten favourite authors of all time as there’s quite a bit of cross-over here, but I’ll try and mix it up a bit. For that reason I’m going to do a few authors I have met as well as those I want to meet.

Authors I’d Like to Meet

Click on the author pictures to view their Goodreads page, and book titles link to reviews or related posts.

Scarlett Thomas
authors1I’d like to pick Scarlett’s brain about the MA in Creative Writing she teaches in Kent as I’ve been toying with the idea of doing it. I just haven’t had the money. But maybe one day…being taught by one of your favourite authors has to be worth it, right?
 

James Frey
authors4 I would love to find out what James Frey is really like, does he live up to his controversy? What were his real intentions behind Full Fathom Five? After exchanging a few emails with him (does that count as meeting?), I’m pretty sure he’s a good guy who’s been unlucky to gain such a bad reputation, but I’d still like to grill him. 😉
 

Kiera Cass
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I’m mean seriously, who wouldn’t want to meet Kiera Cass?

I feel like we would BFFs, bonding over One Direction and just generally causing havoc together. It would be the best.
 

 

Derek Landy
authors9 I’d totally be all over going on a pub crawl with Derek Landy. It would be hilarious! I reckon he’d be a great drinking buddy….someone will probably tell me he doesn’t drink now and my dream will be shattered.
 

Patrick Ness
authors10 Patrick Ness is clearly a great human being. I think we’d get on famously.

I’d wait til we were firm friends then punch him for putting me through The Chaos Walking trilogy. But then we make up and watch some Buffy togther. Standard.
 

Sarah J. Maas
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Speaking of Buffy, Sarah J. Maas is a huge Buffy fan apparently so I would love to talk Buffy and kick-ass leading ladies with her. She’d be a hoot, I’m sure.

Favourite Authors I’ve Met

Marcus Sedgwick
authors2 Love, love, love, love, love. I was lucky enough to meet and chat with Marcus Sedgwick at YALC last year, and he was just lovely. I’m sure he won’t mind me saying, but for some reason I thought he was gay and quite disappointed when he mentioned his wife (because y’know..fag hag queen over here), but I’m over it. He was also looking rather nice…damn that wife. Not really, I’m sure she’s lovely.
 

Holly Black
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Holly was brilliant! I can’t even remember what we chatted about but we seemed on the same wave length. She is another one I’d love to go out drinking with. I think we’d make great friends. Where are you Holly, let’s go vampire hunting together?
 

S.J Watson
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I met S.J Watson after a talk he did with Rachel Joyce at the Ham & High Literature Festival a few years ago. It was just after Before I go to Sleep was released and I hadn’t read at the time but he gave a great talk about writing from a female perspective. He was really sweet.

Looking forward to seeing who everyone else has chosen and why. Feel free to leave your link.

Lazy Saturday Review: Hold Me Closer by David Levithan

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Title: Hold Me Closer: The Tiny Cooper Story
Author: David Levithan
Series: Companion to Will Grayson, Will Grayson
Edition: Paperback, 256 pages
Publication Details: March 17th 2015 by Puffin
Genre(s): YA; LGBT
Disclosure? Nope, I bought it

Goodreads // Purchase

Larger-than-life character Tiny Cooper, from the bestselling novel Will Grayson, Will Grayson, finally tells his own story the only way he knows how – as a stupendous musical.

This is the full script of Hold Me Closer, the musical written by and staring Tiny Cooper, from the New York Times bestselling novel Will Grayson, Will Grayson, written by David Levithan and John Green. Filled with humour, pain, and ‘big, lively, belty’ musical numbers, readers will finally learn the full story of Tiny Cooper from his birth and childhood to his quest for love and his infamous eighteen ex-boyfriends.

Review


I loved John Green & David Levithan’s Will Grayson, Will Grayson. It’s a beautiful coming of age story about two different Will Grayson’s who both struggle to be open with people for different reasons, and whose lives intertwine during the makings of the biggest, gayest high school musical in the history of high school musicals.

When I finished reading WG, all I could think was that I wanted to watch (or read) Tiny Cooper’s musical so badly, it was definitely one of my favourite things about the book – and here it is; The story of Tiny Cooper, BFF to Will Grayson, hopeless romantic, and self-proclaimed biggest, gayest, most fabulous human there ever lived!

Hold Me Closer is a funny, adorable, sometimes sad, but always fabulous story of Tiny cooper’s life, written as a musical, the very musical Tiny and Will worked so hard to produce in Will Grayson, Will Grayson. I loved it. The songs were great and funny, and I could picture exactly how it would look on a stage – it totally needs to be a stage show now, right?

It was exactly what I imagined from reading Will Grayson, I only wished it was longer! Hold Me Closer is an extremely quick read and easily devoured in one sitting. I highly recommend reading WG first, but it would probably still be a fun read regardless!

unicorn rating 4

Available now in hardback, paperback and e-book from Waterstones

Top Ten Tuesday: You don’t write, you don’t call…where’s the love?

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Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created by The Broke and the Bookish (click the link to visit them) who pick a different topic each week.

The topic for this week is: Ten characters I’d like to check in with (as in who you’d like to catch up with and see what they’re up to).

**Beware they may be spoilers ahead**

Ari and Dante // Aristotle & Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe: It’s only been a few weeks since I finished this book but I already want an update! Has Dante completely come out, are him and Ari going to live happily ever after??? Ahhhh.

James Frey // A Million Little Pieces/ My Friend Leonard: I’d like to know if James has stayed on the wagon and what he’s up to. I hope he’s found happiness & love!

Katsa, Po and Princess Bitterblue // The Graceling Realm: I don’t need an excuse to catch up with these awesome characters. I just wanna hang with them!

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Jack // Room: I want to know how Jack grew up, what’s he like? What does he remember about his time in the room and how has it affected him?

Gale // The Hunger Games: Let’s face it, Gale is never far from my thoughts. Where you at Gale?

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Claire Graham // Of Scars and Stardust: I loved this book so much. I want to check in on poor Claire and see if she’s still institutionalised!

Everyone from The Darkest Part of the Forest: I loved them all. I’m really hoping that Holly Black will give in and write a sequel to this; I need to know how Hazel, Jack, Ben and the horned boy are!

Tiny Cooper // Will Grayson, Will Grayson / Hold Me Closer: Why isn’t Tiny Cooper my BBF, WHY? I want to know what’s going on in his life! Did he find lasting love???

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Bella, Edward & Jacob (ugh) // Twilight: It kind of goes without saying that I want to check up on this lot. Mainly just to make sure Jacob is behaving. Team Edward til I die. lol.

Winnie and Tuck // Tuck Everlasting: I’d love to know how Winnie and Tuck’s lives played out. Did Winnie ever see Tuck again? Did she live her life differently knowing the secret to immortality? Has Tuck stayed under the radar?

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Top Ten Tuesday: Desert Island Companions

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Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created by The Broke and the Bookish (click the image to visit them) who pick a different topic each week.

This week the topic is: Top Ten characters you would want to be stranded on a desert island with.

I was really excited about this topic when I first saw it, but then I totally hit a blank. The only ones I could come up with were ones that surely everyone will choose (Katniss, Tris etc – everyone who could do all the hard work so I could sit back and relax on the beach), but after some brainstorming I came up with the following. And I still had to include Katniss – it’s impossible not to, SOZ.

Katniss (The Hunger Games)

Let’s just get it out of the way. She’d do all the hunting and cooking, and I’d make her bracelets out of foliage. Or something.

Let’s Break it down: 80% Skillz & Protection; 15% in the hope that Gale would come and rescue us; 5% for company

Katsa & Po (Graceling)

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I think they’d both be pretty handy on a desert island, and even though they’re a couple, they wouldn’t make you sick with loveydovey nonsense because they’re all about getting things done. They’re both pretty hot, and kick-ass (despite becoming blind in Po’s case).

Let’s Break it down: 60% Skillz & Protection; 40 % Hotness & Company

Dimitri (Vampire Academy)

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He can be a bit of an idiot sometimes for sure, but I’m sure I could take his mind off Rose for a while. Let’s put it this way, I wouldn’t be frantically trying to make a raft out of my back hair if I was stuck on an island with him. Not that I have back hair, of course.

Let’s Break it down: 80% Hotness; 20% Skillz & Protection

Jeff (Dark Eden)

Jeff was the pretty much the only likeable character in Chris Beckett’s Dark Eden, and he’d be totally useful on a desert island. He’d make shoes out of leaves and find a bizarre species of animal to tame and breed. He’d probably figure out how to use a tree to catapult them home or something.

Let’s Break it down: 100 % Skillz & Intelligence

Captain Thorne (The Lunar Chronicles)

No doubt Captain Thorne would think he’d have all the answers but they probably wouldn’t quite work out so you’d be stuck there for a while. It wouldn’t really matter though, he’d keep you entertained.

Let’s Break it down: 100 % for the LOLZ & Company

Westley & Inigo Montoya (The Princess Bride)

This is my current read and although I’m a huge fan of the film, it’s the first time I’ve read Goldman’s book – I love it. I think having both Westley (for the swoon) and Inigo (for protection and the lolz) stuck on an island with me would be swell. Both of them would be full of stories, and they know how to look after a lady. I can be that lady!

Let’s Break it down: 50% for the LOLZ & Company; 25% for the Skillz; 25% Hotness

Aslan (The Chronicles of Narnia)

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It’s usually pretty hard to pin Aslan down. He generally turns up just when you need him and disappears again straight after so you never get to ask all those burning questions for have for him. You’d definitely have time to do that on a deserted island. Plus, he could breathe on some fire wood to set it alight, or heal you if you chop your own hand off with a makeshift machete.

Let’s Break it down: 70% Company; 30% Skillz & Protection

Peter Pan

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He’s pretty cute and clever, and you know, he’s got that whole ‘never grow up’ thing going for him so when you’re getting old and can’t bend down to spear the fish anymore, he’ll be as spritely as the day you washed up on the beach. I would tell him stories and be his Wendy. Obviously.

Let’s Break it down: 50% Skillz; 50% Company