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Review: Can I Speak To Someone In Charge? by Emily Clarkson

Review: Can I Speak To Someone In Charge? by Emily Clarkson

I wasn’t planning on reviewing Can I Speak To Someone In Charge? when I borrowed it from the library, but I have some thoughts about it that I’ve decided I’d like to get down on paper. It’s left me with a bit of a sour taste in […]

Top Ten Tuesday: Books which live up to the hype

Top Ten Tuesday: Books which live up to the hype

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish, but was recently relocated to That Artsy Reader Girl.  Hyped books: as soon as they’re announced, you can’t get away from people talking about them, building the buzz until it’s impossible to hear anything else. You […]

Review: Because You Love To Hate Me anthology

Review: Because You Love To Hate Me anthology

‘Villains. Stories are nothing without them.’ 

It’s been difficult to approach writing this review, because I’m conflicted about Because You Love To Hate Me. On the one hand, I think it’s a brilliant idea – making the villains into characters which it’s hard to resist sympathising with – but on the other hand I just don’t really understand why it needed to be a collaboration with Booktubers.

Yes, it added a unique twist to the anthology, but with only a couple of the Booktubers contributions being worth the time it took to read them, I found myself puzzling over why they really had to be involved. The collection would have been stronger without their additions (with the exception of Jesse’s letter to Death, which was a beautifully written piece of prose which made me excited to read more of his writing in the future) so I ended up subtracting a star before I even started working out the ratings for the other short stories.

Here are some brief thoughts on each of the short stories, along with the individual ratings I gave them:

  • The Blood of Imuriv by Renee Ahdieh: a twist on the stereotypical family dynamic results in a boy killing his sister to gain the power which she would have inherited through the matriarchal nature of their monarchy. 5/5
  • Jack by Ameriie: a retelling of Jack and the Beanstalk (mixed with the story of Phalaris of Agrigento, which I’d personally never heard of), in which Jack becomes close friends with the giant’s daughter… For a while. 4/5
  • Gwen and Art and Lance by Soman Chainani: the story of King Arthur, retold through increasingly cringey text conversations. 1/5
  • Shirley and Jim by Susan Dennard: a gender-swapped Sherlock, in which Holmes falls in love with Moriarty. I wanted to read so much more of this! 5/5
  • The Blessing of Little Wants by Sarah Enni: in a world where magic is rationed between a finite amount of witches and wizards, a girl decides she wants more for herself. Feels more like the prologue to a much larger piece, so wasn’t satisfying as a standalone story. 3/5
  • The Sea Witch by Marissa Meyer: a very nice, twisted version of The Little Mermaid which is far more compelling than the Disney story. 5/5
  • Beautiful Venom by Cindy Pon: an #ownvoices retelling of Medusa, which tackles victim blaming culture. 4/5
  • Death Knell by Victoria Schwab: a girl ‘escapes’ Death after bargaining for one more day of life. Schwab’s story is followed by Jesse’s letter to Death, which as I’ve already said is the only worthwhile Booktuber contribution. 5/5
  • Marigold by Samantha Shannon: when Marigold is taken by the Erl-queen, her lover and brother attempt to ‘save’ her. I’d never heard of the Erl-queen, but this definitely made me interested in learning more about her. 4/5
  • You, You, It’s All About You by Adam Silvera: my first experience of Adam Silvera’s writing was a little underwhelming. This short story also feels like the prologue to a much greater piece, and by the time I’d wrapped my head around the different drugs that Slate was dealing the story was already drawing to a close. Confusing and jarring. 3/5
  • Julian Breaks Every Rule by Andrew Smith: in the same vein as the Adam Silvera story, by the time I’d gotten my head around the concept of Julian – who only has to wish someone dead for it to come true – the story was over, ending on a highly unsatisfying cliffhanger. 3/5
  • Indigo and Shade by April Genevieve Tucholke: a play on Beauty and the Beast, when the Beast is a girl and Beauty is the male hunter attempting to track her down. My second favourite story in the collection. 5/5
  • Sera by Nicola Yoon: the second most disappointing contribution to the collection. Sera is told in three parts, the majority of which are brief descriptions from throughout Sera’s life. The scale of the story being squeezed in is far too large, and needed many more pages to do it justice. 1/5 

 

If you’re interested in learning more about Because You Love To Hate Me, check it out on Goodreads. If you decide to buy a copy, please consider using my Amazon affiliate link: I’ll earn a few pennies from your purchase. Thank you!

 

My actual rating for this collection ended up being 2.7 stars, but I rounded that up to 3 stars (which would have been four, without the Booktube essays). If you’ve already read Because You Love To Hate Me, did you love the Booktuber’s essays or are you on the same page as me?

Alyce

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Top Ten Tuesday: Sensory reading experiences

Top Ten Tuesday: Sensory reading experiences

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish, but was recently relocated to That Artsy Reader Girl.    My memory is pretty strange. I might not be able to remember the main character’s name or exactly what happened in the plot, but the likelihood […]

Top Ten Tuesday: Favourite novellas

Top Ten Tuesday: Favourite novellas

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish, but was recently relocated to That Artsy Reader Girl.    I have a terrible memory, and I find it even easier to forget short stories and novellas. They’re much shorter, so they take a lot less […]

Top Ten Tuesday: Best books I’ve read in 2018 (so far!)

Top Ten Tuesday: Best books I’ve read in 2018 (so far!)

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish, but was recently relocated to That Artsy Reader Girl

2018 has been a bit of an odd reading year for me. When my daughter was born I didn’t read anything for a couple of weeks, then all of a sudden I started finishing two books a day and started reading faster than I ever had before. Then I got a job, and reading went out the window again!

I finally feel as though I’m getting back on track, but I think it might be time to admit defeat and put my Goodreads Reading Challenge target back down to 100 (I bumped it up to 150 mid-April, but apparently that was a shortsighted decision).

Out of the books I’ve managed to finish in 2018, these ten are my favourites.

10) Second Best Friend by Non Pratt

Second Best Friend by Non Pratt

I’ve already read Second Best Friend twice, because it’s only a novella. Non Pratt’s second collaboration with Barrington Stoke is a lot of fun, although I will admit that I didn’t love it the way I loved Unboxed.

9) Force of Nature by Jane Harper

Force of Nature by Jane Harper

After taking part in the blog tour for The Dry, I was delighted to receive a signed ARC of Force of Nature (along with an invite to take part in the blog tour for Jane Harper’s second novel, too!). That might have biased me towards Force of Nature ever so slightly, but I enjoyed it just as much as The Dry – even though it was a vastly different story.

8) All of This Is True by Lygia Day Penaflor

All of This is True by Lygia Day Penaflor

All of This is True is a unique story told through many different techniques: newspaper articles, novel excerpts, interview transcripts. When I started it I was planning on just reading the first few pages, but before I knew it I’d read the entire book in one sitting! Highly addictive.

7) Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor

Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor

I procrastinated starting Strange the Dreamer because I sometimes struggle reading high fantasy, and I didn’t know I was going to fall in love with the mythology of Weep and the characters of Lazlo and Sarai. I’m now eagerly awaiting the release of the sequel, Muse of Nightmares, even though I’m sure it’s going to break my heart.

6) The Cruel Prince by Holly Black

The Cruel Prince by Holly Black cover

I’ve read almost all of Holly Black’s novels, and I’ve found all of them to be rather forgettable. That’s not the case with The Cruel Prince, which is a heart-pounding adrenaline ride. Again, I’m super excited for the sequel of this one: I’ve been waiting for six months, and I can patiently wait for a few more.

5) Skylarks by Karen Gregory

Skylarks by Karen Gregory

Although I didn’t love Skylarks as much as I loved Countless, it still played with my emotions and proved just why Karen Gregory is the rising star of UKYA.

4) A Spoonful of Murder by Robin Stevens

A Spoonful of Murder by Robin Stevens

I was torn between which of the books in the Murder Most Unladylike series to include in this countdown, because I’ve read all of them this year (and given nearly all of them 5 stars!). I decided to choose the novel which was released this year, though: the setting is compelling, and the mystery is the best that Stevens has written.

3) You Don’t Know Me But I Know You by Rebecca Barrow

You Don't Know Me But I Know You by Rebecca Barrow

You Don’t Know Me But I Know You felt as though it was written specifically for me, so I couldn’t stop this book from quickly becoming one of my all-time favourites.

2) The Exact Opposite of Okay by Laura Steven

The Exact Opposite of Okay by Laura Steven

When I reviewed The Exact Opposite of Okay I called it the most quotable book ever published, and that’s made it one of the best books I’ve read all year. Izzy O’Neill isn’t just relatable, she’s an utter badass and a true delight to read. However, it isn’t quite the best book I’ve read this year…

1) Clean by Juno Dawson

Clean by Juno Dawson

…because Juno Dawson’s Clean is impossible to defeat. Lexi is completely unapologetic at the start, but this book is a masterclass on character development and how to make it both natural and noticeable. I couldn’t recommend this book more highly if I tried!

 

If you’re interested in purchasing any of these books, please consider using my Amazon Affiliate link (found in the book’s title). If you’d like to read more about each book, please click their cover: you’ll be redirected to their Goodreads page.

 

I hope you enjoyed this Top Ten Tuesday. What’s the best book you’ve read this year?

Alyce

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Panic! at the Disco book tag

Panic! at the Disco book tag

Gasp! Two book tags in one week? This is unheard of! When I stole the summer book tag from Amy on Sunday, I said that I didn’t do book tags very often. I wasn’t expecting the brilliant Jessikah from Read By Jess to suddenly release a Panic! […]

Review: Prom by Laurie Halse Anderson

Review: Prom by Laurie Halse Anderson

Prom is rapidly approaching and everybody at Carceras High is going crazy for it – everybody, that is, except Ashley. But when their maths teacher steals the money meant for the prom, Ashley steps in to help her best friend Natalia save the special day for […]

Review: The Bird Room by Chris Killen

Review: The Bird Room by Chris Killen

I wasn’t sure whether to review The Bird Room or not, because it’s an… Interesting story. My copy is in pretty bad condition so I was only reading it before donating it to a charity shop, which means I’m not too disappointed that I didn’t enjoy it, but it’s also been playing heavily on my mind for the past couple of days because I have literally no idea what it meant.

William is dating Alice. When William introduces Alice to his artist friend Will, he’s certain that they’re going to end up sleeping together. Alice references the fact that she made porn with one of her ex-boyfriends. William decides to find it.

Interspersed throughout, a girl called Helen (who used to be called Clair) shares her experiences as a sex worker. Helen doesn’t have sex for money, but she does just about everything else. When William contacts her, their worlds collide… But instead of clearing everything up, the combination of the two characters makes everything feel far more convoluted.

I read through some of the other reviews on Goodreads just to see if there was some ~deeper meaning~ that I was missing (literary fiction and a sludgy, book slumping brain are not a great combo) but alas, that didn’t clear anything up, either. It seems as though it’s supposed to be some kind of social commentary on loneliness, but I’ve never felt less connected (or interested) in a set of characters in my life.

Why would you give such an emotionally unappealing book two stars, Alyce? Well, that’s because the writing style flows beautifully, incorporating short, sharp, snappy sentences in an effective manner that gives this book the pace of a thriller… Even if the events included are completely uninteresting. I read this story with my boyfriend, and it lends itself to being read aloud, even if some of the scenes are a little cringe-inducing.

It looks like it took Chris Killen six years to release his second novel, but I’m not sure whether I’m going to give In Real Life a try. He’s certainly got an interesting style, but I’m still not completely sure whether I actually enjoyed it, so I think I’m going to give all of his future novels a skip.

 

If you’re interested in learning more about The Bird Room, check it out on Goodreads. If you decide to buy a copy, please consider using my Amazon affiliate link: I’ll earn a few pennies from your purchase. Thank you!

 

Alyce

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Top Ten Tuesday: Books with red, white and blue covers

Top Ten Tuesday: Books with red, white and blue covers

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish, but was recently relocated to That Artsy Reader Girl.  Tomorrow is Independence Day, and although it seems like the majority of Americans aren’t feeling all that patriotic at the moment, that’s still something worth celebrating. Because […]