Wednesday, April 30, 2014

The Bookish Confessionary: I Get Bookish Jealousy

The Bookish Confessionary is a feature at To Another World that has me ranting about my bookish confessions; thing I shouldn't like or things I hate!

The Bookish Confessionary is posted fortnightly on a Wednesday. It will also use something I never had before: GIF's!

I love people reading my favourite books, and fangirl when I see people with Divergent, TFiOS and Harry Potter. 






But...

I get that type of jealousy, or selfishness, I guess, like, I read that first, and I want to be the only one to feel the magic of it.

So take TFiOS. I read that before it was even in paperback. Like a year and a half ago. And now, there are so many people reading it, including people who don't read at all, which is awesome, don't get me wrong, but... Eh.

There are so many beautiful quotes in it and people just don't get the whole point of it, I suppose, and just think of it as yet another book.

Or they start saying so-and-so is married to them and stuff.

It kills me that there is a spelling mistake in this, but it's too perfect not to use. 


Now I'm not having a dig at people who have only read it recently as opposed to a year ago. But... I just feel like it's MY book.

I also get jealous when people start talking to someone who is reading it and fangirling, and I'm like I read it ages ago, talk to me! Like I'm out of the loop or something.

UGH. 


Anyway. Tori and I went to see Divergent, and they played the TFiOS trailer. We were in PIECES. And in the film, ALL THE FEELS. And then these people are like "I've read the first book I'm amazing".

And I'm there like they are MY characters, it's MY book....

I know it's not and yet I still think it.

Am I the only one who wants everyone to read a book, but when they do gets all weird? 

Let me know!

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Infographic: There's More to Dystopia

Today I am having a shot at making an infographic! It's about dystopian novels because that is my favourite genre. 

**make it bigger by clicking on it**

Obviously these aren't all the dystopian books I love so here is a master list: 

  • Arclight by Josin L. McQuein
  • Earth Girl by Janet Edwards
  • Delirium by Lauren Oliver
  • Matched by Ally Condie
  • Breathe by Sarah Crossan
  • What's Left of Me by Kat Zhang
  • Noughts and Crosses by Malorie Blackman
  • 1984 by George Orwell
  • Runners by Sharon Sant

Monday, April 28, 2014

Author Spotlight: Sharon Biggs Waller

Hi! I’m Sharon Biggs Waller. My debut young adult novel, A Mad, Wicked Folly, will be published by Viking/Penguin January 23rd, 2014.  It’s an Edwardian-era novel about a young artist finding her own way during the time of militant suffragettes.
My husband, Mark, and I live on an organic farm in Northwest Indiana with a flock of chickens, a gaggle of geese, six dairy goats, two horses, a beehive, and multiple dogs and cats.

Twitter: @sbiggswaller


Hi Sharon, welcome to To Another World! Tell us a bit about yourself and A Mad, Wicked Folly?



Hi Charli! It’s so nice to be here. Let’s see, a little about me…well, I’m a writer of historical YA fiction and my debut novel, A MAD, WICKED FOLLY, came out in January. Even though I’m American, I love to set my stories in England. My husband is British and we lived in Kent for six years. England is such a beautiful and inspiring place for me, and we try to go back once a year to visit family and friends.  My husband and I live on a little farm on the southern tip of Lake Michigan in northwest Indiana, not far from Chicago.  We have goats, horses, chickens, geese, bees, cats and dogs.  I also write non-fiction.  I’ve written three books about horses; my latest is THE ORIGINAL HORSE BIBLE.



A MAD, WICKED FOLLY is about Victoria Darling, an upper class Edwardian teen who longs to become a fine artist but is restricted by society.  When she’s caught posing nude for an illicit art class, she’s expelled from her French finishing school and sent home in disgrace.  Her parents try to tame her by taking away her art and arranging a marriage to a wealthy young man.  But she doesn’t give up on her dream. On the sly, Vicky sets about trying to apply to the Royal College of Art.  When she falls in with a group of suffragettes and meets a handsome police constable who becomes her muse, and maybe the love of her life, Vicky has to decide whether to remain in a world where she feels safe or to step out into an unknown world where her voice is heard and her opinions matter.



I saw on your website you love horse riding! How and when did you get into that?



I’ve been riding since I was a tween. My parents couldn’t really afford a horse, but they always sent me to horse camp in the summer and paid for few lessons in the winter.  I ended up cleaning stalls just to be near horses and that led to working for some trainers and taking more lessons.  Eventually I became a trainer and then an equine journalist. My husband is a former Metropolitan mounted police constable and we both used to teach the Civil Service riding club at the Royal Mews in Buckingham Palace. 



How did the idea for A Mad, Wicked Folly come about after writing non-fiction?



I love thinking about what life was like for teenagers in the past, and I’ve always been fascinated by the women’s rights movement.  The suffragettes were incredible, and I don’t think we really understand fully what they went through to get the vote.  They chained themselves to railings to prevent being arrested for giving speeches, were victims of police brutality, and endured force-feedings in prisons, both in the UK and the US. I started thinking about what it would be like to be a teen during that time.  What if you wanted to be something other than a wife and mother and then be told you couldn’t do it because you were a girl? And then Vicky’s story started to come together. I found out that teenage girls were suffragettes, too.  One 16-year-old girl, Dora Thewlis, was called the baby suffragette by the tabloids when she was arrested and sent to prison.  There’s an amazing photograph of her being held by two police constables.  Her mouth is open and you can just tell that she’s yelling at the crowd. I love that picture. I really love a badass girl!



You used to live in England, and live in America now. What's different about it?


It’s much easier to drive around in the United States! I got my British driving license, which I’m really proud of because the test was really, really hard! I feel like I’ve truly accomplished something because I can drive on the right and left sides of the road.  In England I couldn’t just jump in my car and run errands.  It took forever because as you know you have to find a place to park, pay for the parking place, walk to the town center, etc.  Here I can do most of my running around pretty quickly, and some places, like the bank and the pharmacy, have drive-through service.  Still, I’d trade it all for the beautiful buildings in England and amazing food.  There’s nothing quite like a Sunday lunch.  I also miss the pubs, especially those old country ones where you can sit outside by a river or a meadow. 


A Mad, Wicked Folly sounds amazing. How excited were you when you found out it was to be published?



When I signed with my agent I could not stop smiling.  It took me 17 years to find an agent, and I signed with John M. Cusick (an amazing writer himself) three days after I queried him, which is crazy fast.  When John sold my manuscript to Viking, I happened to be running the aforementioned errands.  I was sitting in my truck outside Barnes & Noble bookstore and eating a frozen yoghurt when he called.  I knew Viking was interested because I’d spoken to the editor a couple of weeks before, but you never know.  I think I drove home in a daze! 



Are any of your characters based around yourself or someone you know?





There are real characters in the story, namely the Pankhurst family, but no one is based on people I know.  I suppose Vicky and I share the same stubbornness and tenacity.  And the character Lucy Hawkins, the American suffragette, is based on Alice Paul and Lucy Burns, two important American figures who fought for women’s rights.  I share Lucy’s directness and her inability to let things drop. I admit that.  :)



Now, I ask all the authors I host here at TAW this question: which 3 items would you take on a desert island, and they can't be things to help you off (because I know you creative types)?



Hmmm, I love this question.  Let’s see, I would take a book, probably this anthology I have called THE WORLD TREASURY OF CHILDREN’S LITERATURE because it has loads of stories that I wouldn’t mind reading again and again. It has chapters from HARRIET THE SPY, CHARLOTTE’S WEB, and TOM’S MIDNIGHT GARDEN. The second thing I would take would be my bed, because it’s my favorite place to hang out. Third thing would be a huge crate of Kind bars, which are these really yummy protein/granola bars. That way if I didn’t feel like climbing trees for bananas I could loll around in bed and eat my Kind bars and read my book. 



What type of music do you enjoy?



I have really eclectic taste. It’s easier to say what I don’t like than what I do like. I don’t like heavy metal or rap.  I’m a big fan of Florence + The Machine, Tori Amos, Ingrid Michaelson, and Vienna Teng.  I also love Daft Punk, Birdy, Mumford and Sons, Dolly Parton, Frank Sinatra, The Chieftains, Crowded House, and YoYo Ma. Oh, and also Broadway tunes.  My favorite band is Pink Martini, which is a band so unusual that I can’t even explain what it is.  You just have to listen to it. 

Woo go Florence and The Machine! <3



Who is your favourite author/book? (You can have two, because I'm nice!)



I have so many…so let’s see if I can pick two.  I love Diana Gabaldon and her Outlander series.  And I love Laurie Halse Anderson. She’s amazing.



And just some quick this or that!



Pen and paper or computer? Both?

Twitter or Facebook? Twitter.

Cake or chocolate? Cake.

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Charli Reviews: Alex As Well

What do you do when everybody says you’re someone you’re not?

Alex wants change. Massive change. More radical than you could imagine.

Her mother is not happy, in fact she’s imploding. Her dad walked out.

Alex has turned vegetarian, ditched one school, enrolled in another, thrown out her clothes. And created a new identity. An identity that changes her world.

And Alex—the other Alex—has a lot to say about it.

Author: Alyssa Brugman
Publisher: Curious Fox
Date of Publication: May 2014
Pages: 216
Source: Review copy from the publisher
Goodreads | Amazon

I received a free copy of this book from Curious Fox in exchange for a honest review. This does not affect my review/opinions in any way. Thank you Curious Fox!

I read this book a few weeks ago now and I'm still shocked by it. From the start to the finish I was gripped by the protagonist and the way various themes were dealt with.

Alex has been born intersexual and as a baby, her (as she wants to be) parents decided she was a boy and have put her on medication ever since. Alex, however, has now decided she is a girl... And is rebelling due to her troublesome past with both schooling and her parents.

This book smashed all the stereotypes for me. It reflects everything I can imagine it would be like with these situations, and aside from her intersexuality, just shows what it is like in teen life.

I liked Alex. Although she came across slightly bratty, she was ironic, funny, smart and all-roundedly honest. Her mum, however, really annoyed me; she was very wishy-washy and though I can empathise with the fact that she has a lot of issues with her child, she was extremely selfish!

The blog posts that are written by Alex's mother are very insightful as to why she has this character, and the comments written by others were really thought-provoking. Alex's relationship with her parents is so much like a rollercoaster that between chapters the blog posts gave us that other side of the story.

"I'd like to ask my mum because she is really into
craft... We could do it together, but she won't... 
I've always wanted to do craft with her, but she would 
do a total head exploding nana."

Aside from all of this, this bought up so many other little world issues. I've wondered myself for years about books entitled "...for boys" and "...for girls", and this book made that slightly ironic, with Alex's situation. 

"Do you remember that book "Fun Experiments
for Boys?" I'm not sure why possession of a 
penis was so important for the science."

There was so much detail and I felt so much emotion for Alex. I became slightly attached to her, even though at first she came across a little bratty.  

This book was amazing; an interesting, stereotype smashing, thought-provoking gem of a book. I loved the insight into the characters and their situations and it just showed all the messed-up bits of society! 

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Tori Talks #1: Fake Fans

Everyone's favourite co-blogger, Tori, rants fortnightly about all those little annoying things in the bookish world.
Charli's Note: This is NOT meant to offend anyone, none of Tori's rants are. This is a feature kind of like The Bookish Confessionary, but for Tori to rant about something in the bookish world! We have no problem with people watching a film having not read the book, this is just aimed at those who start... well, Tori will explain in her post. Over to you, Tori.


For my first ‘Tori Talks’ I have picked fake fans as my topic, because of the release of Divergent in cinemas last week and the upcoming The Fault in Our Stars movie.
 I went to see Divergent on Friday with Charli, as you may know, and we both loved it! Sure they missed parts out and changed bits that were in the book but, overall it was great. (Charli’s Note: Reviews to come!) However, people who haven’t read the books have been to see it and are now claiming that they are the biggest fans of Divergent. This REALLY annoys me because I am screaming in my head:




I’m not saying that going to see a film and not reading the books first is bad, even though I personally don’t like to do it, I’m saying that just claiming that you are the biggest fan of it without reading the books is bad. I find people all these people who have watched it are saying things such as ‘OMG THEO JAMES IS SO FIT AND HE’S NOW MY HUSBAND’, annoy me to death. They have just watched the best film ever and no; they don’t comment on the way the characters were portrayed, they comment on how fit the actors are. Don’t get me wrong, sure the actors are very fit (*cough* Theo and Ansel *cough*) but at least say how good the film is first! (Charli’s Note: Tori, you can have Theo. Ansel is MINE. He has been for months. But moving on.)


So basically I hate fake fans.



Please let me know in the comments if you agree or if you think I'm being too hard on people...


So there we have it! The first "Tori Talks" post. Leave a comment and tell us what you think! 

Friday, April 25, 2014

Charli Reviews: Don't Even Think About It

Imagine if EVERYONE could hear your thoughts: your best friend, your worst enemy, your secret crush...

This is the story of how we became freaks. It's how a group of I's became a we.

When Class 10B got their flu shots, they expected some side effects. Maybe a sore arm. Maybe a headache. They definitely didn't expect to get telepathy. But suddenly they could hear what everyone was thinking. Their friends. Their teachers. Their parents. Now they all know that Tess has a crush on her best friend, Teddy. That Mackenzie cheated on Cooper. That Nurse Carmichael used to be a stripper. Some of them will thrive. Some of them will break. None of them will ever be the same.

Author: Sarah Mlynowski
Publisher: Hatchette Children's
Date of Publication: May 1st 2014
Pages: 338
Source: For review via NetGalley
Goodreads | Amazon

I received a free copy of this book from Hatchette via NetGalley in exchange for a honest review. This does not affect my review/opinions in any way. Thank you Hatchette and NetGalley! 

Don't Even Think About It made me, slightly ironically, think. Quite a lot, in fact, for the situation the teenagers in this book are put in made me wonder what it would be like if it really happened.

The book follows a class, Homeroom 10B, from Manhattan, but when they get a flu jab, it comes with telepathy, or ESP (Extra Special Powers). Naturally, many twists and turns happen due to this... Boy trouble, arguments, even learning horrible things about your parents!

I love the idea of mind-reading, ESP and telepathy, so I knew immediately that this would probably be my type of book. I was right; and the idea was played out perfectly, and Mlynowski set the scene and formed vivid characters. This all came together to form this amazing read.

Each character had their own story, something they wanted no-one to ever know; which, of course, didn't stay that way for long. These stories make each character a little closer to heart. My favourite ultimately, was Tess - someone who wanted to be a writer some day and was self-conscious  of her weight, body and looks. (Sound familiar, Charli?)

"She was well aware because her mother told 
her daily, and not so subtly."

Mlynowski also built up this plot of the telepathy by detailing when each character got it and their circumstances; how they felt and how they began to go about dealing with it. This really worked for me because I could connect to the characters even further. I also really liked how all of the class came together in a group and helped each other out. It had that sense of belonging and showing that they could still get along through the twists and turns. 

I loved this book. With an awesome, unique plotline and idea; developed characters, this is just a generally amazing, light, fluffy read. 

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Charli Reviews: Just Like Fate

Caroline is at a crossroads. Her whole family is on her back, and her grandmother, the only person who really understands her, is sick, maybe dying. All she wants to do is escape. So when her best friend suggests a night out to forget her troubles, Caroline must choose: stay by her grandmother's side, or go to the party and live her life . . . and maybe meet the boy of her dreams.

This decision will split Caroline's fate into two separate paths - and she's about to live them both. But there can only be one happy ending...

Author: Cat Patrick and Suzanne Young
Publisher: Electric Monkey (Egmont)
Date of Publication: March 6th 2014
Pages: 304
Source: Review copy from the publisher
Goodreads | Amazon

I received a free copy of this book from Electric Monkey in exchange for a honest review. This does not affect my review/opinions in any way. Thank you Electric Monkey!

I absolutely adored Cat Patrick's Forgotten, so I was really excited to see how this one went, especially when I saw the synopsis on Goodreads.

The first thing to say about this book is that it really shows how one decision can affect absolutely everything, but it can all link up at the end. It shows us about destiny, and to not take any decision for granted.

It opens with the event that Caroline has to deal with; whether she should stay or go to a party whilst her grandmother is in hospital. The book then splits into the two sides of the story; the one in which she goes, and the one in which she stays.

"My throat seizes, and I make a sound halfway
between a moan and a whimper..."

Before I read it I honestly thought that the dual stories would confuse me, but I got used to it after a few chapters, and it then works amazingly. As I mentioned before, it all links up at the end of the book; which made me smile, because it really shows what destiny is. 
I love how Caroline dealt with her family situations. Patrick and Young made it really realistic and break cliches about these sorts of issues. The emotions of her loss and other things came through really well, as if I could see her emotions, and was not just reading it all in the same tone. 

"The full impact of her words hits, 
and a shock of nervous electricity races 
through me..." - GO

"It smells like lavender, mint and rose, and the air 
is still, like it's waiting for something. Waiting for
her..." - STAY

I loved how the romance, though it was a key theme, didn't take over, like a lot of YA these days. I hate it when a really unique theme is ruined by the author/s make the romance become the most key element in a book. But, the romance just added that bit that made it a bit lighter, not just a heavy read. 

The other thing was the tiny details and recurring things, such as the band Electric Freakshow, and their song about destiny. These things made it all the better. 
As I had hoped, I loved this book and think it's unique split of story works really well, as do the characters, romance and plotline.



Monday, April 21, 2014

Charli Reviews: Trouble

In this dazzling debut novel, a pregnant teen learns the meaning of friendship—from the boy who pretends to be her baby’s father.

When the entire high school finds out that Hannah Shepard is pregnant via her ex-best friend, she has a full-on meltdown in her backyard. The one witness (besides the rest of the world): Aaron Tyler, a transfer student and the only boy who doesn’t seem to want to get into Hannah’s pants. Confused and scared, Hannah needs someone to be on her side. Wishing to make up for his own past mistakes, Aaron does the unthinkable and offers to pretend to be the father of Hannah’s unborn baby. Even more unbelievable, Hannah hears herself saying “yes.”

Author: Non Pratt
Publisher: Walker Books
Date of Publication: March 9th 2014
Pages: 384
Source: For review
Goodreads | Amazon

I received a free copy of this book from Walker Books in exchange for a honest review. This does not affect my review/opinions in any way. Thank you Walker!

It's been a month since I read this book, and I am still struggling to find words. I honestly don't think I can do this debut enough justice, for the author has written something amazing.

Trouble follows Hannah and Aaron; meeting when Aaron moves in to the town and hears Hannah at her worst. He offers to be the "father" of Hannah's unborn, and she actually accepts. The first thing that came to my mind when I started this was the sharp sense of reality that came with it, straight away. Pratt doesn't shy away and avoids cliches, introducing the personalities of the two characters quickly through the dual perspectives.



This book is what a contemporary should be; genuine and both funny and serious. It's hilarious in some places and hard-hitting in others. It breaks stereotypes of teen pregnancy and all the topics involved are really well handled.

I fell in love with Aaron pretty much straight away. Respecting, witty and a complete gentleman; I loved the chapters of his point of view and when I found out about his past I found it heartbreaking. There were so many things he said and did throughout the book that made me adore his character more and more.

"...just laughs. 'Man, I've done a lot more than 
that with her. It's Hannah Sheppard - it's what she's for.'
I really do not like Fletch." 

I hated Hannah to begin with. In honesty, if I'd met her as her self at the very start of the book, I would have probably slapped her. But when she became to form a bit more, of, well, a personality, and became more confident in the pregnancy, she became more a likeable character who I felt empathy for.

"I want people to think Hannah before they 
think pregnant."

So many little points that make it all the more complete and sharp, like her mum working against teen pregnancy; it made a thicker plotline, because Hannah was scared to tell her; and just little things like that.

Pratt has written an amazing debut. I can't find any faults and I know Tori also adored it; and we believe boys would enjoy it too due to the irony and dual perspective. With an authentic yet original plot played out exceptionally and a clear-cut sense of reality; I think any teenager would love it.

Oh, and PS: can we just talk about that cover? Yes, I wouldn't take it outside, but isn't it just amazing? Simple and effective. I love it!