Top Ten Tuesday: YA Books for YABC

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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 Books I’d Love to Read With My Book Club/If I Had A Book Club (or you could pick a specific kind of book club — like if you had a YA book club or an adult book club or a science fiction book club etc.)

My friend Di and I have an unofficial YA book club (YABC) where we meet up, drink wine, exchange books and rant/swoon over them. It’s pretty awesome. Therefore, I am choosing the books that have been the most successful YABC topics in the past.

Oh the rants we’ve had…

(Links go to related posts)

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1. The Hunger Games: Well, durrr. There was a period of time where myself and Di were banned from talking about THG in public because we just couldn’t stop, and it always ended in the same very heated (but y’know, friendly..) argument.

Mainly because it turns out that Di likes NICE BOYS like Peeta and is therefore WRONG ABOUT EVERYTHING. I mean really, Peeta over Gale…?? SERIOUSLY. Other topics included why I hated the first movie (because I’m right) and why Di didn’t (because she’s wrong).

2. Vampire Academy: Oh, we are not even close to be being done with VA YABCs! But the series so far (we are up to book 3 I believe), has already provided us with so much good ranting material.

There’s been the obvious Dimitri-in-my-pants rants and girl crushing all over Rose Hathaway and her complete awesomeness. And then there’s the hilarity that ensued when we realised we couldn’t pronounce any of the vampire species so anyone listening in to our convo in the bar at Waterloo station probably thought we were having a stroke.

And lastly, there’s the fact that it’s impossible to discuss VA without comparing it to our favourite topic ever – Buffy!! So good!

3. Twilight: Possibly the first ever YABC-type rant in the history of Di and Lipsy book rants.

Topics mainly revolved around how ridiculous it is but quickly descends into how much we want to have sex with control freak Cullen, and ultimately how much we COULDN’T STOP READING. There has also been a lot of discussion over the TERRIBLE fashion choices Meyer made – if there’s ever a BEIGE POLO-NECK shortage just head to Forks, yeah!

Oh and in case you were wondering, I’m the lion and Di’s the lamb. LOLZ.

4. The Selection Series: The big debate here is clearly Team Maxon Vs Team Aspen but for once I think me and Di actually agreed (we did, right?). Team Maxon to the max…see what I did there. There was also a lot of talk about how this series helped with our post-Hunger Games blues, and how much we want GILES to play the king in the TV Series. What ever happened to that?

5. Graceling: Oh so much swooning went on at the Graceling edition of YABC. We swooned over the pretty much perfect Prince Po, and at how AWESOME Katsa is. We just love her. KATSA & PO 4EVA.

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6. The Chaos Walking Trilogy: This wasn’t so much a YABC meet-up as it was a constant texting/tweeting/ranting/raving/crying over how amazing, heartbreaking, and just plain HORRIBLE this series is. I think at one point I declared how much I hate Di for giving it to me. IT HURT MY IMPENETRABLE HEART. We cried over poor Todd. And how cute him and Viola are. And let’s not even mention the dog. I just can’t.

7. Uglies: After giving this to Di to read and hearing her thoughts on it I can’t even think about the book without bursting into laughter. I liked it. Sure, the protagonist was annoying, but I thought it was a really brave book that covered some important teenage issues. Di did not. Di hated it with a firey passion which naturally led to a particularly loud edition of YABC.

8. Divergent: There were only really a few topics we managed to focus on when discussing Divergent. First…back to The Hunger Games. Second, HOT MAKE OUT SCENES ON TRAINS. We did manage to briefly discuss which faction we’d be before quickly returning to swoon over Four and his tattoos. Sigh.

9. The Mortal Instruments: Let’s face it. There’s only really one topic in discussion where TMI is concerned – whether Jace and Clary will EVER get it on (I only got up to book 3). And not forgetting the whole possible incest thing. INCEST IS BEST. Ahem. I have a brother – It is NOT. Shudder.

10. The Lunar Chronicles: This is only so far down the list because for once we pretty much agree on everything about these books. Mainly, that they are beyond awesome. We’ve swooned over Prince Kai, Captain Thorne and even Wolf – or maybe that was just me? We love Cinder, and Scarlet and Cress and want to poke Levana’s eyes out. And now we’re just waiting for more.

One more thing: I feel the need to include Narnia here too. I don’t think we’ve even had an actual Narnia YABC but it’s never really far from our thoughts to be honest. Whether we’re discussing if it’s OK to fancy High King Peter, or laughing at Ben Barnes’ accent in the Prince Caspian movie….it’s always a Narnian life for us. For Narnia!

Friday Feature: Search Term LOLZ

It’s been a while since I did a post on the weird and wonderful search terms that have brought people to my blog. It’s definitely one of my favourite WP features.

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There’s been a nice mix of the amusing, damn-right-confusing, and just-plain-worrying in the last six months. Here are some of the best!

1. ‘i hate divergent movie’

Hate is such a strong word, but yeah kinda. It was pretty terrible, right? The searcher (searchee?) probably wasn’t very satisfied with my extremely brief Divergent Rant, but I hope they have come to terms with their disappointment.

2. ‘dorian throne of glass groin’

Well I guess this one sort of speaks for itself, but I wonder what exactly they wanted to know about Prince Dorian’s groin? I reviewed Throne of Glass here.

3. ‘are there more team zombies or team unicorns’

Obviously, I’m Team Unicorn, so I would like to think that there are more people on the side of the magical beings than the slobbering undead, but who knows. I reviewed Holly Black et al’s Zombies Vs Unicorns here.

4. ‘poor lulu’

This is the first one to completely stump me. Who’s Lulu? And why are we feeling sorry for her? On further investigation it looks like it’s the catchphrase from a Harry Enfield sketch. How the hell that brought them here, I have no idea – but thanks for visiting, sketchshow fan.

5. ‘scooby gang bram stoker’

Hmm I like what they did there. Maybe they were looking for the equivalent of Buffy’s scooby gang in Dracula? Or maybe they were just really confused. Who Knows!? Hopefully my Vampire Guide helped clear things up.

6. ‘what happened to alex o’loughlin’

This happened, obviously.
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I mean, it’s no Moonlight, but (the ‘new’) Hawaii 5-0 is actually pretty good, and that’s basically what happened to Alex O’Loughlin. Hawaii happened. I hope the person who was trying to find him, found and enjoyed my Moonlight fangirling in 5 Reasons Vampire Show Moonlight was Ahead of its Time. Well, that’s assuming that they’ve seen Moonlight. If not, what a treat they’re in for.

7. ‘good breath teen girl’

The only thing I can think of that this would have led to is Lauren Child’s Ruby Redfort book Take Your Last Breath. Other than that, I’ve got nothing. I hope the searcher wasn’t suffering from halitosis and in need of medical advice. I’m not equipped for that, soz.

8. ‘gay cannibal art’

Wow. I’m pretty proud that that term led someone to this blog. Job well done. I hope they went on to find some nice art for their living room. I’m guessing that the Hannibal shoutouts in my Bookish (and not so Bookish) posts might have had something to do with that one, or the book made out of human skin perhaps.

Until next time!

Guest Post: Di does…Insurgent!

insur One choice can transform you—or it can destroy you. But every choice has consequences, and as unrest surges in the factions all around her, Tris Prior must continue trying to save those she loves—and herself—while grappling with haunting questions of grief and forgiveness, identity and loyalty, politics and love.

Tris’s initiation day should have been marked by celebration and victory with her chosen faction; instead, the day ended with unspeakable horrors. War now looms as conflict between the factions and their ideologies grows. And in times of war, sides must be chosen, secrets will emerge, and choices will become even more irrevocable—and even more powerful. Transformed by her own decisions but also by haunting grief and guilt, radical new discoveries, and shifting relationships, Tris must fully embrace her Divergence, even if she does not know what she may lose by doing so.

It turns out I don’t need to review Insurgent which I finished last week, because my friend Di got hammered and wrote this hilarious and strangely almost-insightful rant/review and sent it to me. She’s probably regretting that right now. But it’s too good to not share.

Here she goes…[I am butting in in square brackets]

When I was first handed Divergent it was with the promise of the Hunger Games but with guns. That seemed OK to me because of the Hunger Games shaped hole in my life that no matter how many times I reread, it never filled that first anxious fist-chewing time.

I did not have this feeling reading Divergent. In fact I don’t even recall a feeling. I was jet-lagged, it was 3 AM and it filled a space of time in my life that needed filling. And I don’t know if I even liked it, it was just… Fluff.

So, imagine my surprise whilst reading Insurgent to find that I’m so transfixed I can barely use my phone to inform Lipsy [Hi] of this unexpected glee. IT’S THE HUNGER GAMES ALL OVER AGAIN I believe was all I could text whilst not looking at my phone. Followed by FOUR IS BEING A DOUCHEBAG….This is amazing!

After that day, whilst a bit pissed reading The Sun in a kebab shop, I found a double page spread in which the chap playing Four in the film (not hot enough) [agreed x 1000] was heralded as ‘THE NEXT RPATZ’ and I stifled a smirk. Is this actually the new Twilight?

Fact: Factions, Districts, Tributes, Divergents – Hungervergents.[LOL]

[Anyway] Whilst reading Divergent, I spent a lot of time thinking (as you do) GOOD LORD I COULD HAVE WRITTEN THIS WHEN I WAS 20. Then I read that it was in fact written by a 25 Year old.

RESPECT!

Where Divergent was a bit meh, [I could not disagree more] Insurgent soars. Tris and Four argue a lot, it’s great. They are real people that you get pissed off with for their petty reasonings before remembering they are 16 years old. Also the make out scenes are hot. So much hotter than divergent, SRSLY [this I do agree with].

The relationships are real. Christina and Tris as Bffs is REAL YOU GUYS. Four and Tris as teenagers in love, real in the lamest way possible. As it should be.

HOWEVER what the Hunger Games lacked in hotties (let’s be honest, the movies tried and failed to make either Peeta or Gale ‘leading males’ – the Hunger Games is 100% Katniss…OK and a bit of Gale being moody) Divergent probably fills the Twilight / RPatz void.

Four is unavailable, distant, hot, moody, difficult, all the things we apparently want in a teen heart-throb (srsly though) and it’s strange to see the film version neatly slotting into the void left behind by Twilight, when the books are so obviously more Hunger Games in nature. It’s an interesting case study… except we know it’s all trash (apart from the Hunger Games which is genius). [Anyone getting a bit lost here?]

Let’s talk about the end of this book. ***no spoilers*** The end of this book… is perfect [I thought it went on a bit tbh] I could see it coming a mile off (to the point where I was like ‘that’s too obvious and clearly not going to happen’) then it HAPPENED and woah. Perfect.

In hindsight, Insurgent is a lot more like a Margaret Atwood novel than any YA I’ve read. You know, maybe… The Handmaids Tale or Oryx & Crake. I have heard nothing but REALLY BAD things about Allegiant, the final novel in the Divergent series, but controversially, I am gagging to read it and think it will be amazing. But then, I really loved Mockingjay so…

THIS HAS BEEN A DRUNK REVIEW WRITTEN BY DIANNE TANNER. [She wrote that, not me, honest!]

Di Di has a photo blog called Icefloe, which is awesome. You can go there by clicking on the image.

Bookish (and not so bookish) Thoughts #2

This meme is hosted by the Bookishly Boisterous and the idea is simple. It’s a round-up of your week, in and out of book world. A place to store your thoughts, and basically anything you’d like to share on your blog.

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1. Divergent

At some point this week I will be watching Divergent. I can’t wait to be able to rant about it! Last Saturday I walked through Leicester square and they had it all set up for the UK Premiere the following day, and I must admit seeing all the faction flags was pretty exciting.

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I did have a chuckle at all the kids who were already queuing up (overnight!) to get a good view of the red carpet. I had to text Di about it, apologies for the ‘freaks’ comment…all in jest I assure you (I was secretly really jealous, obvs)!

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And while we’re on the subject, the awesome Di has an amazing rant some thoughts on Insurgent which I’ll hopefully steal off her for a guest post. Watch this space.

2. We like Graves

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This is turning into a bit of a Dianne Tanner special, but this weekend just gone, Di and I had a lovely time wandering round Nunhead Cemetery, taking photos, looking for Narnia, and generally enjoying the spring-time sun.

Check out her photography blog, Icefloe which will feature much better Nunhead photos than these at some point.

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3. Crazy Golf is best with Dinosaurs

I had a work outing on friday to Jurassic Golf which is so much fun, despite them playing the Jurassic Park Theme Tune ON REPEAT. I’ve been humming it all weekend. Also, I didn’t lose for once, and my team came in second place (OK so there were only 3 teams). I also bet on the Grand National and came 2nd with Balthazar King. I’m waiting for my dad to let me know how much I won…maybe even a whole five pounds!

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4. ❤ Patrick Ness' Twilight Tweet-Along!

Patrick Ness had me in creases last week as he read Twilight and tweeted about it. I like that his tweets were hilarious, but not derogatory or patronising. He made it clear that any book that has been that successful deserves respect.

Here were some of my favourites:

Seriously, they are all gold! Go and read them all and behold the joy!

5. Fail

Regular readers or Goodreads followers may have noticed that I started Marcus Sedgwick’s A Love Like Blood. I was really intrigued to see what his first adult book would be like but I had so any ARC deadlines at that time and I fell behind. I did start it, but I only read about 5 pages and really couldn’t get into to it. Plus, I was desperate to get to Vampire Academy 2 which had just arrived in the post. So when A Love Like Blood was archived in NetGalley just a few days after the release date I decided to just scrap it. :s Hopefully, I’ll give it another go sometime!

6. Game of Thrones

GoT!!! That is all!!!

7. M’s the word

The ‘m’ on my laptop keyboard is buggered I have to hold it down and show it soe love before the M actually works, see! MMMMMMMMMMMMM. Danit. So if you see soe missing mmmmm’s, please fill in the blanks. Why thanks.

Have a good week everyone.

Bookish (and not so Bookish) Thoughts #1

This seems to be a week of signing up for new things so I’ve decided to take part in this meme hosted by the Bookishly Boisterous which was brought to my attention by the lovely Jess at What Comes Next.

The idea is simple, it’s a round-up of your week, your thoughts, and basically anything you’d like to share on your blog.

I’m not sure if I’ll make this a weekly thing (maybe fortnightly?) and the original is posted on Wednesdays, but I’m going to schedule mine for Mondays. That’s allowed, right? COME AND STOP ME :p

But anyway, it seems like a great way to share what’s going on, whether in book world or your real life world.

1. So the Divergent film is imminent. Naturally, I have casting rage and think it looks awful from the trailer, but my friend Di and I will *have* to go and see it to snigger in the back row and ultimately declare it to be the worst adaptation since Twilight. I also came across this list of 10 Books You Should Read That Are Being Adapted on Pop Insomniacs. How have I not read The Maze Runner yet?

2. My brother is visiting this weekend which will inevitably involve a lot of drinking! We’re also going to a Sing-Along screening of Busgy Malone at the Prince Charles Cinema (who btw have a great film blog here). Yay! Not so yay is that he will be here on Sunday, which is Mother’s Day so I have major guilt that neither of us will be there to spoil our mum. Bad children!

3. I got an invite to my first ever book launch last week, for Emma Donoghue’s Frog Music. It’s taking place in a secret London location and looks all kinds of awesome! Can’t wait!

4. Have you guys been following the Let Books Be Books Campaign this week? There’s been this whole bickering in the UK press about books being purposely marketed for either a male or female audience and I must say I do think it’s a bad trend we’ve gotten into. There are so any great books that either boys or girls won’t read, because the covers and marketing material have targeted just one gender. It’s hard enough to get boys to read books with a female protagonist and vice-versa without making the covers pink or blue! I loved this post on the subject by author James Calbraith: Girls With Bows

5. I’ve finally decided to open an Etsy shop to sell Vintage Books and other finds. I’ve been wanting to do it for years now and even set up an account in 2012 but I never had a good enough camera to take the photos. So I bought myself a vintage SLR camera (what could be better than a vintage camera to take photos of vintage books?) We shall see! I’m building up stock slowly, and will hopefully be up and running in a month or so. Exciting.

I could seriously carry on all day with this but I’ll spare you. I think I’ going to enjoy this meme. 🙂

Di & Lipsy do…Divergent

For those of you that don’t already know, Di is my YA BFF and when we get together we get a bit carried away ranting and/or swooning over our latest reads. We are not allowed to discuss The Hunger Games in public, or watch Twilight in the cinema because we get into trouble. A lot.

Our latest joint YA adventure was DIVERGENT by Veronica Roth.

If you want to read an actual review of Divergent, you might want to go elsewhere…but this is pretty much everything you need to know! Oh, and if you haven’t read Divergent, there aren’t any huge spoilers here, but continue at your own risk.

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Did you have any preconceptions/expectations of Divergent before you started it?

DT: I was given my copy by a friend who sold it to me as “The Hunger Games but with guns and stuff” so this is pretty much what I was expecting. I’m still not sure if that was my take-away from it though.

L: I saw so many bloggers rave about it but I never really thought it would be that good. I knew it was Dystopian so expected it to be like THG, because everything is these days!

What do you think of the cover? (It’s sooooo much better than The Hunger Games & TMI covers, I think)

DT: I think it’s shit, but it might just be the version I have. Why is it holographic!?

L: What is wrong with you, what’s not to like about a holographic cover!?? It’s better than these atrocities:

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Overall concept:

L: I thought it was imaginative in places (the fear simulation for one) but too similar to other recent dystopian YA. Factions/Districts/Casts…enough already!

DT: The fear simulation bits were pretty good. I am not sure what I make of the idea of “factions” I think this reminded me more of The Selection than The Hunger Games, [yeah me too!] I think it’s interesting that a lot of books are starting to sort us into categories in our dystopian, shitty futures, in different ways. I think I quite liked the way it was done in this book but I basically think the Dauntless were obviously set up to be “the cool kids” right? Ooh they all wear black and jump off trains they are so DANGEROUS.

L: Yeah I think the idea behind Dauntless was a bit thin. Their Manifesto was pretty ridiculous. I think Roth just really wanted a reason for people to be tattooed & pierced. But I’m OK with that, it was hot.

DT: The Erudite made me think of FRINGE. You know the bald guys, they were well Erudite. [HAHAHAHA yes, THE OBSERVERS!] I also like that I have no idea how to say any of the names of the factions out loud and I also had to look them up online because I couldn’t remember any of them. Nice one.

L: I can only remember Abnegation, Erudite and Dauntless, what were the others….

At one point I was kind of expecting President Snow to pop up and start sending Mutts into the simulation tests….


DT: Let it go, it’s not the Hunger Games!

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What Faction….

A) Do you think you are most suited to?
DT: DAUNTLESS OBVIOUSLY BECAUSE I AM AWESOME AND WEAR BLACK ALL OF THE TIME AND HAVE TATTOOS.
L: Naturally! I think I would be a bit rubbish at being Dauntless, but it’s still the one that appeals the most. They hang out wearing black and getting drunk. That is already my life.

B) Would you want to choose?
DT: Weirdly I did find myself thinking this while reading the book which is something I didn’t do with The Selection or The Hunger Games (although for the record in The Hunger Games I would choose district 12 because even though they are starving and stuff they have the best clothes, I really love the whole coal miner/lumberjack look (read: Hemsworth). I think I would probably choose Amity because then I could have a pony. Except I’m not sure how I feel about being happy ALL OF THE TIME.

L: AMITY…I’d forgotten about that one. Are they just really nice? No offence Di, but you couldn’t be Amity. Being happy all the time? Hahahaha as if! And while we’re talking about clothes, why does the Divergent poster have them in Hunger Games wetsuits? Just wrong. IT IS NOT THE HUNGER GAMES.

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Characters:

What did you think about Tris? (I hate that she called herself Tris btw. I don’t like it)
DT: Tris is a shit name. At first I really hated her and I thought I was going to give up like I did with Uglies, but it turned out to be OK, we made peace. There was some pretty H.O.T making out on a train segments I totally spaffed over, and she was pretty great towards the end.
L: Yeah it took me a while to warm to her too, but she was pretty badass in the end.

We obviously have to talk about Four:

L: I thought he was a great love interest for Tris, but I only found him hot until he started calling himself Tobias. (What’s wrong with me?) I have a pretty sexy-in-my-pants image of him. Obviously, I have casting rage where the film is concerned.

DT: I TOTALLY ONLY THOUGHT HE WAS HOT AT THE END AS WELL!!![No! I thought he was hotter BEFORE we found out his name is Tobias. That really put me off!] Do you think it was when he took his shirt off and the hot tattoos etc, whatttt![That was pretty fit though] In the film he is hilariously being played by the guy that died in series 1 of Downton Abbey – MR PAMUK hahaha, he is not hot at all. Sad times! I quite liked him as a character as well but thought his whole story line was pretty obvious. NO SPOILERS.

L: It was really obvious, but I was OK with that. He’s damaged. That’s hot. I have no idea who that actor is, but he’s deffo not how I pictured Four.

Christina: What happened to her!? Oh, she’s going to be heartbroken when she finds out about Will. Sigh.

DT: I DON’T REMEMBER ANY OF THIS I was way too jetlagged and really should have read it again before answering these questions, but I am trapped forever reading THE HOST which is THE MOST DULL BOOK EVER.

L: Take that back!!!

Caleb?
I’m hoping he will have a bigger part in the next one too. I think he’s gonna end up being pretty awesome.

DT: WHO THE FUCK IS CALEB?
L: You are RUBBISH.

Favourite Part/Scene?

DT: Hot make out scene on the train, blates.
L: Blates.

What do you want from the next book?

L: I’m scared to read it in case it is rubbish.
DT: Yeah I’ve heard loads of really bad things and I really don’t know if I want to read it. Except that I obviously do, and obviously will.
L: I’m not going to buy or anything, but you are clearly going to lend it to me, right. RIGHT???

I give Divergent all the Unicorns. Take them all!

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Di has an awesome photography blog called Icefloe. You should it check it out!

Related: Di & Lipsy do…The Selection