Friday, August 29, 2014

Currently Charli Is... #1

Reading... 

I'm ploughing my way through my summer Gifted and Talented book of the year scheme books right now, so I just recently finished We Were Liars, and I'm now reading Witch Finder. Witch Finder is really good! I wasn't so keen on WWL, though.

Watching... 

Great British Bake Off, of course! Apart from that, I'm not watching much TV.

Confession time: My friends have been obsessed with YouTubers for ages, but I never really got into it. Um, in the last week and a half, I have watched about 300 videos. I ship Troyler like the Titanic. I am listening to TRXYE every second I'm not watching videos. Yep.

Listening to... 

TRXYE!!! :D I love it so much. All of the songs on it are beautiful. Besides that, I'm just listening to some random playlists I've made for reading, blogging and the summer.

Loving... 

The final week of my summer before I go back to a life of school! I'm just reading, blogging and watching A LOT of YouTube. I'm also loving Tumblr! I just got an account again and I love it. If you're into Troyler and books, go follow me.

Enjoying... 

Watching my brother grow and thrive. He's about to be 9 months old, and he's learning everything at once! In the last 2 months, he's learnt to crawl, pull himself up, get up the stairs. He took to eating really fast a while back, and his teeth are coming through! I love watching him smile and his eyes light up.



Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Charli Does... The British Tag

So the lovely Cat tagged me to do the British Tag. I am like not British at all (well I technically am but like not stereotypically) so this will fail.....

1. How many cups of tea do you have a day? How many sugars?

 

Zilch. Tea is disgusting.

2. Favourite part of a roast?

 

Yorkshire pudding, and roast potatoes. Yum.

3. Favourite dunking biscuit?

 

I don't dunk, obviously, since I hate tea, but biscuits in general... Cookies, digestives, custard creams and bourbons.  

4. Favourite quintessential British past-time?

 

Great British Bake Off. That's it. I hate everything else.

5. Favourite word?

 

What is a "British" word? I don't know....
Basically anything from the BFG is awesome.

6. Cockney rhyming slang?

 

I don't know any.... *blushes*

7. Favourite sweet?

 

Skittles, gummy bears and rainbow twists. I don't think any of those are British, though.......

8. What would your pub be called? 

 

I wouldn't have a PUB, I would have a cafe with a bookshop in it. Durrrr. 

9. No 1 British Person

 

*Quickly thinks of all the British people I know* MY MUM *grins* Okay, no, seriously... all the UKYA authors out there :)

10. Favourite shop/restaurant? 

 

Um... Waterstones for fave shop, of course. I don't really go to restaurants but maybe Pizza Express? 

11. What British song pops into your head? 

 

Coldplay. Obviously. 

12. Marmite? 

 

NO. NO. NO 

I'm going to tag Tori to do this tag here, as well as anyone else who wants to do it.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Charli Reviews: Unstoppable

Rosie has managed to wangle spending the summer before uni in the same house as her boyfriend Cal – but who else should also be staying except for the infamous man-eater, Cleo.

Things between Cal and Rosie could never have been described as easy, but her growing jealousy seems like an unstoppable force. Can their love weather the storm?

Author: Liz Bankes
Publisher: Piccadilly Press
Date of Publication: July 2014
Pages: 224
Source: Review Copy from the publisher
Goodreads | Amazon

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

I read this in one sitting; it had an interesting plotline and I liked the characters. Although it didn't blow my mind, it was a light contemporary that kicked away my slump, with a few serious elements as well as humour.

I honestly thought this would be quite cliche when I read the blurb and started it; but it actually wasn't. Yes, it did have elements which were a bit predictable; but it also had ones that made me gasp, laugh and cringe.

In terms of the characters, I did find them likeable, and most of them had intriguing backgrounds. The protagonist, Rosie, was funny and was formed by Bankes really well. However, I wasn't really keen on Cal (Rosie's boyfriend). Out of personal opinion, he seemed annoying and not right for Rosie.

Like I said, this book wasn't eye-opening or anuthing, but it didn't need to be.  It's a contemporary with a little more substance than most, which was enough to hook me into the story. I also really liked the writing style. Bankes has a clear-cut voice that makes it fun to read.

Overall, I did really enjoy this. It was funny, romantic and had some plot-twists that I loved.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Charli Rants and Raves About... Just One Day

Allyson Healey's life is exactly like her suitcase—packed, planned, ordered. Then on the last day of her three-week post-graduation European tour, she meets Willem. A free-spirited, roving actor, Willem is everything she’s not, and when he invites her to abandon her plans and come to Paris with him, Allyson says yes. This uncharacteristic decision leads to a day of risk and romance, liberation and intimacy: 24 hours that will transform Allyson’s life.

Author: Gayle Foreman
Publisher: Dutton / Random House
Date of Publication: January 2013
Pages: 400
Source: Library
Goodreads | Amazon

*****FILLED WITH SPOILERS. READ AT RISK****

MY FIRST GAYLE FOREMAN! I borrowed this because I was about 12th on the reservation list for If I Stay (now 4th!!) and I wanted to read some of her writing.

And... GAH. I loved and hated it so much.

I loved the romance and the characters and the food and the little themes and the writing and just omg *flails*

BUT...

WHO WOULD GO TO PARIS WITH SOMEONE THEY HAD JUST MET, ESPECIALLY SINCE THEY WEREN'T FROM THE COUNTRY THEY WERE CURRENTLY IN.

LIKE REALLY.

Allyson wasn't a stupid character. I mean she was pre-med. Before she didn't want to be. And she was very good in the Shakespeare classes and generally, she wasn't a stupid character.

I JUST... NO.

But it was the cutest thing in the world <3

I really loved the Shakespeare theme running through it; the little references and plays (especially when I understood it all!).

I read it in two sittings and I adored it, but I couldn't get over her going to Paris.

And then, even after KNOWING HE GODDAMN LEFT, she was obsessed with this guy she knew BARELY ANYTHING ABOUT, and had to try and find him. JUST NO.

AND I REALLY LOVED THIS GODDAMN BOOK BUT ALLYSON... REALLY? HE COULD HAVE DONE ANYTHING TO YOU. Yes he was a great Sebastian BUT ARE YOU THAT STUPID!

Also, well done for standing up to your parents eventually.


Did you guys like this "review"? It was going to be more distinguished and still ranting/raving but... this happened.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

The Bookish Confessionary: My New Stance on Hardbacks

Welcome to The Bookish Confessionary; The only place to secretly confess to all your bookish sins! 


Some of you may remember this post, the first ever bookish confession. If you don't, click the link. CLICK IT. Then come back here.

Now you're all caught up.

Recently I've read some hardbacks. I even BOUGHT TWO the other day.




I've found now, that they're not that bad, and since I've grown up, I don't bump then that often (I mean I hadn't read one in like 2 years).

And it's reallllyyyy cool when they have like a foil print underneath and they're all pretty.

And they're just realllllyyyy pretty. And shiny. And they feel nice.

And for my hate of dust-jackets... They're so pretty, so I can just take them off when I'm reading it.

CHARLI WHY DID YOU USED TO MAKE SUCH A BIG DEAL OF IT?!

Normally I hate the plastic wrapping they put on library books, but it's good for hardbacks, because they tape the dustjacket to it and so it's all stable and doesn't slip and yeah.

SO YEAH. LANDLINE AND THE FOUR COLLECTION, HERE I COME. (I've been waiting for these two books forever, so I needed to get them. aND SO MUCH PRETTYYYY)

This has been quite a short confession because I needed to schedule this! I'm currently at camp, possibly being eaten by large insects and or a bear. 

Monday, August 11, 2014

When That Reread Just Isn't the Same

Last summer, I devoured and loved the Summer series by Jenny Han (The Summer I Turned Pretty, It's Not Summer Without You and We'll Always Have Summer). Because of how much I loved them, I decided to kick off my summer reading with a reread, reading them all in the first weekend of the holidays.

Now, I didn't suddenly hate them or anything, obviously. But I just didn't love them as much as I did. 

I read them just as quickly, but there were subtle differences:
  • I shipped the other ship (I couldn't actually remember who she ended up with, so it wasn't that I auto-shipped the one that became canon)
  • I actually didn't like the protagonist very much and found her annoying and needy, and I just kept thinking "FFS THEY'RE BROTHERS PICK ONE DAMMIT"
  • By the time I was reading the third one, I just wanted to finish it and get on with other books. 
This makes me sad, really, because now my stance on those books is different. Whereas before I would recommend them to people, now I'm sort of like "well... they're okay...".

I'm definitely going to read To All the Boys I've Loved Before, because that sounds like it would be my type of book, and after all, I did love the Summer Books originally.

I think rereading is a tricky thing. The only books I've reread since I started book blogging have been these, the Harry Potter books, Undone by Cat Clarke and Love at Second Sight by Cathy Hopkins. The latter three I loved just as much if not more. 

But you never know if your love will be rekindled or burnt by rereading, do you, really? A lot of the time bloggers (and readers in general) don't have much time to reread because of their everlasting TBR's, so when you reread you do it because you loved the book, right? Or in prep for reading a sequel, sometimes, I guess (but if you're reading a sequel you tend to have liked the first one). 

What's your stance on rereading? How often do you reread?


Saturday, August 09, 2014

Tori Talks #5: Character Names

Tori Talks is a bi-weekly feature in which she rants about something bookish (and sometimes not!) that bugs her. Warning: Tori Talks is never meant to offend anyone; it is personal opinion only.



Yes, this is a weird one… I just get a bit annoyed at weird character names…
When I am reading, I pay a lot of attention to the characters actions, moves and names. Some books have ordinary names like Harry, Isabelle or Beatrice which are names that you would hear in real life and are quite common which is okay, sure they aren't the most creative, but they are normal. I don’t mind creative names, maybe one or two (like Hermione!) but when all of your characters are called Phoenix, River, Jonas and Arizona, then it's going a bit too far. If it is supposed to be a book set in a modern day (normal) world then maybe some can have creative names because some people actually do have really nice, out of the ordinary names, but not EVERYONE IS CALLED A MYTHICAL BIRDS NAME!

Although, I like weird names in fantasy, for a wizard or something and I don’t mind it for aliens, or a monster either. For example, Albus Percival Wulfric Brian Dumbledore is an amazing name because he is a great wizard therefore he has to have a cool, long, weird name!





Also, when a characters name means something like ‘strength’ or ‘warrior’ or something like that, I hate it. A character is not defined by its name! Unless it is some tradition that parents have to name their kids Latin names that means something because something big happens in the book to do with it, then why should their name actually matter?



One of the things that annoys me the most is when you are talking to someone about a character and you pronounce their name but then someone else pronounces it differently. It is confusing! For example, I pronounce Clary, from The Mortal Instruments, like Clah-ree whereas some people pronounce it Clare-ee. In addition to this, I have heard Plutarch, from The Hunger Games, being pronounced Plu-tark or Plu-tar-ch or Plu-tar. Why not be called John or Will?





Friday, August 08, 2014

Charli Reviews: The Truth About Alice

Everyone knows Alice slept with two guys at one party. When Healy High star quarterback, Brandon Fitzsimmons, dies in a car crash, it was because he was sexting with Alice. Ask anybody. Rumor has it Alice Franklin is a slut. It's written all over the "slut stall" in the girls' bathroom: "Alice had sex in exchange for math test answers" and "Alice got an abortion last semester." After Brandon dies, the rumors start to spiral out of control. In this remarkable debut novel, four Healy High students tell all they "know" about Alice--and in doing so reveal their own secrets and motivations, painting a raw look at the realities of teen life. But in this novel from Jennifer Mathieu, exactly what is the truth about Alice? In the end there's only one person to ask: Alice herself.

Author: Jennifer Mathieu
Publisher: Macmillan (Roaring Book Press)
Date of Publication: June 3rd 2014
Pages: 208
Source: For review via NetGalley
Goodreads | Amazon

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

I read this book a month or so ago. The reason I haven't reviewed it till now is because this is just hard to review.

I don't think "enjoyed" is the right word for what I thought of this - although I did - because this book is tough. Brutal, even. It considers, discusses, and pits several issues into perspective, mostly slut shaming. This is only the second time I've come across slut shaming (the first Tease by Amanda Maciel) and it's so interesting how different authors tackle it. Mathieu does particularly well. 

The Truth About Alice uses multiple perspectives, all of whom have their own issues, but they all link to the story, and all the views link, too. Thing thing that interested me most was that we hear nothing was Alice's side... until the near end. Mathieu leaves us guessing about the truth for the majority of the book.

The story is incredibly detailed, not missing a minute of any of the events, which adds to the mystery of the truth (see what I did there) of what happens that we have to piece together. 

Around half way through, Mathieu indicates that something will happen, quite strongly. Well, several things - only one of which actually happen. This frustrated me no end, naturally, which made it all the better.

The Truth About Alice is an amazing book. It tackles quite a few issues really well, and is intriguing throughout.

Tuesday, August 05, 2014

Charli Reviews: The Geography of You and Me

Owen lives in the basement. Lucy lives on the 24th floor. But when the power goes out in the midst of a New York heatwave, they find themselves together for the first time: stuck in a lift between the 10th and 11th floors. As they await help, they start talking...

The brief time they spend together leaves a mark. And as their lives take them to Edinburgh and San Francisco, to Prague and to Portland they can't shake the memory of the time they shared. Postcards cross the globe when they themselves can't, as Owen and Lucy experience the joy - and pain - of first love.

And as they make their separate journeys in search of home, they discover that sometimes it is a person rather than a place that anchors you most in the world.

Author: Jennifer E. Smith
Publisher: Headline
Date of Publication: April 2014
Pages: 337
Source: Review copy from the publisher
Goodreads | Amazon

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


I read this way back in April. And since then, I've tried to get my thoughts together about it, because they're very mixed. From when I finished it to now, my opinions have changed and become a lot clearer.


To begin with, the setting is portrayed really well; and this is one thing which continues on throughout the book. I can see no faults in that, neither can I how the characters are introduced. It becomes slightly repetitive in places, but it's not bad.


The conversations between Lucy and Owen are cute, and everything blossoms into the expected romance. It's all cute and fine and dandy. Then we find out both of our characters' underlying problems. Now, these aren't spoilers because the plot already tells us all of this... It's predictable anyway, but I felt like I was reading an extended blurb.


It was also a bit slow. Everything took a while after the sweet beginning and excitement of Lucy and Owen meeting. The thing that kept me interested was the alternating point of views; I preferred Owen's whole-heartedly.


Nonetheless, it wasn't a bad book by any stretch. I can say I definitely preferred The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight but this wasn't bad. It was nice. In honesty, it's just a typical contemporary.


" 'So you have friends in high places, huh?'
'Low places,' he said... 'The basement, remember?' "

As you can see from the quote above, there were funny points, and there were serious ones, like this:

" 'There's a difference between loneliness and solitude.'"

So, yeah. This wasn't particularly spectacular, especially compared to Smith's other book that I have read. But it wasn't bad at all, it was just okay. I will soon be reading This is What Happy Looks Like so I am hoping I enjoy that one more. 


Sunday, August 03, 2014

Why Charli DNF'ed: Grasshopper Jungle and Goddess

I don't write DNF reviews, but for these two books, I had specific reasons for DNF'ing aside from boredom so I thought I'd explore it. 

In the small town of Ealing, Iowa, Austin and his best friend Robby have accidentally unleashed an unstoppable army. An army of horny, hungry, six-foot-tall praying mantises that only want to do two things. This is the truth. This is history. It's the end of the world. And nobody knows anything about it.

Author: Andrew Smith
Publisher: Electric Monkey
Date of Publication: February 2014
Pages: 394
Source: Review copy via 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! 

This book was... interesting. I buddy read it with Debbie back in January, and we both gave up at the same point (around 170 pages).

It's definitely a Marmite book, no doubt about that! So many people have loved it and have raved about it, but it just wasn't for me.

The protagonist, Austin, is very clearly confused about his sexuality. He talks about that, and/or sex, a LOT. Now, personally, I'm not bothered by talk of sex, and in books, it doesn't normally make me uncomfortable, but there was so much! Nearly every page had something.

Aside from this, nothing really happened in the first half, to me. It's supposed to be about the end of the world, but it just seemed to be like a normal life.

I don't know. Maybe if I'd carried on, I would have liked it. But I just couldn't! It's not a badly written book or anything, just not for me.

Strikes. Starvation. Riots. Britain is at breaking-point and Aura is blind to it all. The Cult of Artemis is the only home she’s ever known. Enclosed in its luxury lifestyle, the unrest gripping the country seems to belong to a distant world. Her dream is to serve the Goddess and taking a vow of chastity and obedience seems a small price to pay. But days before Aura is due to be initiated as a Priestess, she meets Aiden, the rebellious son of a cult insider, whose radical ideas and unsettling charm force Aura to question everything – and everyone – she knows.

Author: Laura Powell
Publisher: Bloomsbury
Date of Publication: April 2014
Pages: 304
Source: Review copy from the publisher

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

The fact that I didn't like this book annoyed me because I desperately wanted to! It sounded like exactly my type of book!

It starts off quite well, with the prologue being descriptive and intriguing, and the start of it interesting me too. I started to think the description was a little heavy, but I figured it was introducing the story. This continued though, and there were lots of unneeded little details and adjectives. I definitely think that is a personal preference, though.

I didn't like the protagonist from the beginning. She seemed really vain, yet thought she was ugly, and was quite sappy. I don't like characters like this, so naturally the voice annoyed me.

I also just couldn't imagine the world. I always want to be able to see the world in my head so this stopped my enjoyment.

All the points about why I didn't like this seem to be down to your personal taste in books, which is fair enough. If you like really heavily descriptive reads, then it could be for you! But, as you can see, it unfortunately just wasn't for me. :(

Saturday, August 02, 2014

Event Recap: Alice Oseman's Book Launch

 On the 31st of July, I attended Alice Oseman's book launch! Unlike most authors who have theirs in London, she held it here in Birmingham, at the high street branch of Waterstones. Because of this I was able to attend and it was amazing!!


When Gem and Bex announced that Alice Oseman would be launching her book at the store, I knew I had to go! I hadn't yet read the book but it was meant to arrive a few days later in the post. My friend Maryam and I bought tickets; it turned out that Madi would be on holiday, which was unfortunate.

I was excited anyway (I was 90% sure I would love the book) but after I'd actually read it, I was REALLY REALLY EXCITED!! I couldn't sleep on Wednesday night, and all throughout Thursday I was squealing and fangirling.

Although my mum sees me fangirling all the time, she had to ask me to stop because it was just too much for her (and when we were in the car she thought she might crash if I didn't stop...).

I bought a finished copy of the book even though I had a proof because it's even more beautiful! AND THE SPINE!!!! <3 <3 <3


When Alice came onto the little stage, there was a banner and balloons put up, and she sat down with Bex.



She said that she was reading one of my favourite scenes and I ABSOLUTELY FREAKED! I was mouthing along to some of it as she read it (which probably looked a bit weird because most people hadn't actually read it prior) and SHE MADE IT SOUND EVEN MORE AWESOME. (She said she didn't practice it, but I don't believe her. She was amazing.

Alice then did a Q&A with Bex, talking about the controversy of her age (she said there has been prejudice, in reviews and such, but not in the publishing world) and the issues dealt with in her book.

I asked the question of which actors she imagined as each character, and her answers were:
  • Tori - Ellie Kendrick
  • Michael - Robert Sheehan (YES. THIS.)
  • Becky - Chloe Grace Moretz
  • Lucas - Evan Peters

Alice also said she doesn't want it to be known as a soppy teen drama, because it's not (trust me, it isn't).
AND SHE SAID THAT NICK AND CHARLIE ARE TOGETHER FOREVER <3 <3 but she couldn't promise about the other ship (*CUES DIDO* I will go down with this shipppp)

Then the talk was over and I met up with Mikayla, Ambi, Sofia and Zarin who I met at the TFiOS fan party last month. We lined up and were the first to meet Alice.

*cue fangirling*

ALICE KNEW WHO I WAS!!! AND SHE SIGNED MY BOOKS IN PURPLE AND SHE TALKED TO ME FOR A MINUTE OR TWO AND TOOK A PICTURE WITH ME AND I JUST INWARDLY DIED AND I STILL AM. I look terrible in this picture but I don't care BECAUSE I MET ALICE (although you can see my purple hair so yay)


 
 
We also ate some nice little cakes (I HAD MY FIRST EVER CAKEPOP. It was very nice) and there was the Solitaire cover made with cake! It looked absolutely amazing!
 
 

I had an amazing time and Alice is the loveliest <3 I wish her every success and I hop Solitaire receives all the attention and love it deserves. Thank you to Alice, HarperCollins and YA Birmingham <3

My review should be up next week, too! It would have been up earlier but I'm still struggling to find words.



Friday, August 01, 2014

Charli Reviews: The 100 Society

For sixth-form student Grace Becker, The 100 Society is more than just a game; it's an obsession. Having convinced her five friends at Clifton Academy to see it through to the end, Grace will stop at nothing to carry out the rules of the game: tagging 100 locations around the city. With each step closer to the 100-mark they get, the higher the stakes become. But when the group catches the attention of a menacing stalker - the Reaper - he seems intent on exposing their illegal game, tormenting Grace with anonymous threats and branding their dormitory doors with his ominous tag.

Author: Carla Spradbery
Publisher: Hodder Children's (Books with Bite)
Date of Publication: September 2014
Pages: 317
Source: Review copy from the publisher
Goodreads | Amazon

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

I went into this book unsure that it was my type of story; I had decided that even though it was not my usual genre, the concept sounded cool and I should try it. And I'm glad I did. This novel was phenomenal.

From the first page to the last, I was gripped; my hands clutched the covers and I was exclaiming at the plot twists so loudly that my mum nearly crashed the car. The 100 Society is an amazing debut that will enthrall teenagers, undoubtedly.

The plot appears basic; a group of teens who want to complete a challenge (tagging 100 locations) and someone comes along and tries to sabotage it. It's nothing like that at all. There's gore, enemies, conspiracies, as well as romance and humour.

The only single thing I can flaw in this book was the ending; after the emotion and heavy action of the last few chapters, the ending was sweet, but it just sort of fell flat. This, however, is a personal preference and so maybe that's just me.

All of the action scenes in this book are flawless; satisfying your hunger to know more about what is going on and described as strikingly realistic. As someone who normally isn't a fan of heavy action scenes, I really loved them.

As I mentioned, there are so many plot twists. One page, you believe one thing, and the next, it turns out to be untrue! Although it's not a mystery book, there are places you have to guess or you will heavily think you are right about something when you're actually not. I honestly was squealing about this in the car and my mum was heavily confused.

My favourite character was Patrick (Trick). As a bit of an arty rebel, he seemed really awesome and just generally someone who I'd want to be best friends with! Grace, the protagonist, also seemed interesting. I'd say that all of the characters were unique and entertaining in some way.

This is definitely going to be one of my favourite books this year; it has everything I want in a YA book even though it's not of my usual genre. Spradbery has written a stunning debut that I can only fault for small reasons.