I found it really hard to think of ten things to put on this week’s list, because I haven’t done anything that outrageous in the name of books. I just about managed to scrabble a list together… Then I completely forgot to write it up…
It’s been hard to narrow this list down to just ten, because there are so many different reasons I choose to read a book. I’ve had a lot of fun trying to pick which are my top ten reasons, though – I hope you enjoy…
It’s been practically impossible for me to blog recently, as my glasses are broken and my laptop screen just isn’t clear when I’m wearing my contact lenses. However, it hasn’t slowed down my reading, which is why it’s time for my first ever Rapid Reviews post!
If I was going to try to catch up on writing reviews of all the great books I’ve read this month, it would be an endless struggle, so I’m just going to share my star ratings and some brief thoughts on each of the books I’ve gotten through.
On The Come Up by Angie Thomas – 5 stars
I loved The Hate U Give, but I waited far too long to read it (as in, I literally read it last month. Oops) so when On The Come Up was released I made it a priority to pick it up as soon as I could.
On The Come Up tells the story of Bri – daughter of dead rapper Lawless – who is following in her father’s footsteps trying to make a name for herself in the rap game. After an incident at school encourages Bri to write a rap which should be taken more sarcastically than literally, she starts getting painted as a hood rat and has to figure out who she really is.
Although Bri’s story is a standalone, it makes direct references to the events of The Hate U Give because they’re set in the same universe, so I would definitely recommend reading Thomas’s debut novel first.
Warcross by Marie Lu – 4 stars
Warcross is the second Marie Lu book I’ve read, and I genuinely think she might be becoming one of my favourite authors. Warcross is a game played via the NeuroLink, a high-end gaming system which uses your brain to make hyper-realistic graphics and authentic experiences. Emika Chen hacks into the opening ceremony of Warcross in the attempt to steal a power-up which she can sell to pay for her rent, but she ends up making herself visible – not so sneaky after all.
Fast forward a couple of days and Emika finds herself being flown to Tokyo by Hideo Tanaka, creator of the NeuroLink. Someone is attempting to hack into the game – someone known only as Zero – and Hideo needs Emika’s expert hacking skills to stop him before something seriously bad happens.
The only reason this didn’t get 5 stars is because at the beginning it’s really hard to distinguish between when the characters are in the NeuroLink and when they’re in reality, but that issue is resolved towards the end of the book. Looking forward to continuing this story in Wildcard, the second book in the duology.
I Am Thunder by Muhammad Khan – 5 stars
I was torn between 4 and 5 stars for I Am Thunder, but I finished it a couple of days ago and I still can’t stop thinking about it which is why I’ve bumped it up.
Muzna’s family move across country after her father loses her job and her best friend is involved in a scandal. Her new school isn’t the most accepting of difference, but luckily hottie Arif is there to help. For some reason he likes her just as much as she likes him even though she’s not the prettiest, and he happily takes her under his wing to teach her about religion.
However, it isn’t long before the teachings of Arif and his brother start to feel uncomfortable to Muzna, who beings to wonder whether there might be some truth to the rumours of radicalisation.
I loved this book because it openly tackled the belief that all Muslims are followers of ISIS. “Islam was once a well-respected religion. Now these bloody ISIS and Taliban bastards come along and make it a thing to be reviled!” is just one of many quotes exploring the misconception that sharing a skin colour means sharing an ideology, and it was great to see this deconstructed. It also has a strong focus on family dynamics, and the way that it’s important to be able to explore your individuality rather than just following the path that your parents want you to take.
The Dog Runner by Bren MacDibble – 3 stars
The Dog Runner is a middle-grade dystopian novel, in which a red fungus has destroyed all wheat, leading to a shortage of food and a fight to survive. Ella and Emery take five big doggos and travel across the Australian desert to Emery’s mum’s house, avoiding danger and hoping to be reunited with their dad or Ella’s mum, who have both gone missing.
Until the end of the book this was a solid four star, but the last chapter is so rushed and underdeveloped that it undoes a lot of the hard work MacDibble put into crafting such a complex world. However, it’s likely to encourage young people to think seriously about the environment, which is always going to be a positive thing.
The best thing about The Dog Runner (other than the doggos) was Ella’s voice, which was extremely strong. Riddled with grammatical inaccuracies and slang, it brings Ella’s youth into the forefront of your mind and makes some of the trials that are faced all the more harrowing.
I hope you enjoyed this Rapid Review post! Leave me a comment down below if you prefer this style of reviewing, because it’s something really different for me.
I was extremely excited to see Monsters by Sharon Dogar on NetGalley, because I’ve been obsessed with Mary Shelley’s life since studying Frankenstein at university in 2017. Expecting a novelisation of her earlier years to bring to life all of the people I’ve studied so…
I’ll be honest, every time I write a TBR post I struggle to stick to it. I’ve got so many books that I’m hoping to read during spring, and I’m bound to get hold of more that I end up prioritising, so don’t blame me if I don’t get all ten of these done! But these books are the ones I’ve been planning on reading for the longest time, so hopefully I’ll get through them all.
10) Wildcard by Marie Lu
The only reason Wildcard is so low down on my list is because I’m borrowing it from the library and it’s only available in audiobook. I’ve never listened to an audiobook ever before and I’m struggling to see how I’m going to be able to fit it into my day, but I’m enjoying Warcross so much and only have a few chapters left. I don’t think I’m going to be able to wait to get hold of a physical copy, so an audiobook adventure awaits!
9) The Priory of the Orange Tree by Samantha Shannon
The Priory of the Orange Tree is huge. Like, 800 pages huge. I bought it the week it came out because I had a Waterstones voucher that was burning a hole in my pocket, but I struggle to read hardback books at the best of times – reading this book will probably give me serious wrist issues!
8) Home Girl by Alex Wheatle
I discovered Alex Wheatle when Crongton Knights was shortlisted for the YA Book Prize and I absolutely loved it. As soon as Home Girl popped up on NetGalley I knew I had to request it, and I was overjoyed when my request was accepted. Wheatle’s books are quite short, so I’m hoping it won’t take me too long to get through this one.
7) How to Make Friends With the Dark by Kathleen Glasgow
I waited for years before picking up Girl in Pieces, and I regret wasting so much time. I’m not going to sleep on Kathleen Glasgow’s second novel, How to Make Friends With the Dark, which is being released at the beginning of April.
6) Fallen Angel by Chris Brookmyre
I’m chuffed to share that I’m taking part in the Fallen Angel blog tour towards the end of April (thanks Little, Brown!) so Fallen Angel is the one book on this list that I am 100% definitely going to read in spring. I’ve never read a Chris Brookmyre novel before, but I’m looking forward to trying this standalone.
5) A Girl Called Shameless by Laura Steven
I feel a little bit apprehensive about picking up A Girl Called Shameless, because The Exact Opposite of Okay was flawless and I don’t want the sequel to fail to live up to my expectations. I’m looking forward to hanging out with Izzy O’Neill again, though – by the end of Laura Steven’s debut she felt like a friend rather than a character.
4) Only Love Can Break Your Heart by Katherine Webber
Honestly, based off of how much I loved Wing Jones I should have read Only Love Can Break Your Heart already, but I keep forgetting that it exists. It hasn’t received as much hype as Webber’s debut, but it’s been shortlisted for the YA Book Prize and I’m going to attempt to read every book on the list again this year, which is also why…
3) A Sky Painted Gold by Laura Wood
…is on my spring TBR. I’d seen a lot of people talking about this book throughout 2018, but I didn’t know what it was about. However, since seeing it described as Gatsby-esque it’s been bumped right up my TBR.
2) Last Bus to Everland by Sophie Cameron
Last Bus to Everland was on my most anticipated 2019 releases list, so I’m sure you can imagine how excited I was when it popped up on NetGalley. I really enjoyed Sophie Cameron’s debut, despite the fact that I was reading it the week I gave birth so my memory of it is a little bit hazy, so I’m looking forward to reading her work while in less pain!
1) Serious Moonlight by Jenn Bennett
I’ve had a copy of Serious Moonlight for a couple of months already, but I’m trying to wait until closer to release date before picking it up because I know I’m going to be writing a super spoilery review of it. When I finished Starry Eyes I wanted to shout my love for Lennon and Zorie from the rooftops, and I’m probably going to feel exactly the same about Birdie and Daniel based off of what I’ve already heard about them.
I hope you enjoyed this Top Ten Tuesday! Are any of these books also on your spring TBR?
“I’m not just happy, Eff, I’m Happy Girl Lucky. People have always said that’s what I am, but I’ve never really understood the expression before… because why can’t boys be it too? But now it truly capsules me perfectly.” Happy Girl Lucky introduces us to…
Effie Kostas is new at school and she’s struggling to fit in. She’s intelligent and confident, but she feels basically invisible until she gets into an argument with Aaron Davis – Student Council President – when he abuses his lunch pass privilege to buy the last piece of chocolate cake (a slice which was rightfully Effie’s, thank you very much!). Effie decides she can’t stand Aaron Davis, and the only way to defeat her nemesis is to take his presidency… And his lunch pass with it.
I borrowed Vote For Effie from the library on a whim because it had an interesting cover, and I’m so glad I did.
When I was at school I was one of those people who pretended not to care about anything because it wasn’t cool. I acted derisively towards anyone who felt passionate about school issues, and that’s something which I really regret now that I’m older. I shouldn’t have let other people’s attitudes change mine, because it’s cool to care!
Effie Kostas is exactly the kind of strong-minded female character I wish I’d read when I was younger, and Vote For Effie is a book which would have had a really positive impact on me. Effie stands up for herself without hesitation, and her determined approach to the election attracts supporters very quickly. Seeing a character who cares about school getting respect rather than ridicule is refreshing.
Younger readers might find the language in Vote For Effie difficult at points, as she’s a highly intelligent character and uses words that you don’t often find in middle-grade novels. However, that will help readers to expand their vocabulary in a natural way (while expanding their knowledge of feminism, too – icons of the women’s rights movement are name-dropped regularly throughout!).
I wasn’t sure whether to give Vote For Effie four or five stars for most of the book, but the ending tipped it into five star territory for me. I’m not going to tell you whether Aaron or Effie win the election, but I will tell you that the importance of trying – whether you succeed or not – is highly emphasised, and that’s another lesson which I’m glad Laura Wood decided to teach her readers.
Although I haven’t read any of Laura Wood’s other novels yet, I’m planning on picking up A Sky Painted Gold within the next few weeks as it’s just been shortlisted for the YA Book Prize 2019. I’m looking forward to seeing whether I enjoy her YA novel as much as this MG.
If you know any young females who need empowering, recommend Vote For Effie to them. You won’t regret it, and they’ll certainly thank you for it.
Twenty years ago, Sammy Went was taken from her home in Manson, Kentucky. She’s now a photography teacher called Kim Leamy, living in Australia, completely unaware of her forgotten past until her long-lost brother Stuart tracks her down. Flying back to America, Kim and Stuart…