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REVIEW: Scent by Isabel Costello

REVIEW: Scent by Isabel Costello

I’d like to say a huge thank you to Muswell Press for accepting my request to review this title via NetGalley. Scent tells the story of Clémentine, a perfumer trapped in a failing marriage. Tensions between Clémentine’s son Bastien and his father Édouard have been 

TOP TEN TUESDAY: Books as Crayola Crayons

TOP TEN TUESDAY: Books as Crayola Crayons

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by Jana at That Artsy Reader Girl. This week’s topic is a lot of fun. Crayola are well known for having some wild and wacky crayon colour names, but can you imagine if some of those colours were named after our 

TOP TEN TUESDAY: Books I’d throw into the ocean

TOP TEN TUESDAY: Books I’d throw into the ocean

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by Jana at That Artsy Reader Girl.

There’s a difference between a bad book and a book which is so next-level terrible that you’d gladly throw it into the ocean. These ten books are ones that are so bad that I wish they hadn’t even been published!

Crossed by Ally Condie

I read Crossed by Ally Condie last month, and I hated it. It’s the most pointless second book in a series I have ever read. You could easily skip it and go straight from Matched to Reached and feel as though you hadn’t missed out on anything at all!

Big Bones by Laura Dockrill

I read Big Bones when it was shortlisted for the YA Book Prize back in 2019, and I found it horrendously triggering. This book features scenes in which the main character describes exactly how she makes herself sick after binging, and that’s not something that needs to be published.

Bunker by Andrea Maria Schenkel

Or, more specifically, the English translated version of Bunker by Andrea Maria Schenkel. I tried to read this with Sean, but we ended up DNFing it even though it was only just over 100 pages because it was extremely difficult to read. The sentences were fragmented, some paragraphs managing to stretch over two or three pages in length because of how badly the story had been translated. I’d be interested in knowing if this is better in the original German!

The Dead Days Journal by Sandra R. Campbell

The Dead Days Journal is one of the only books I’ve DNFed this year so far, but I found it absolutely disgusting. It’s the end of the world, so a girl’s doomsday-prepper father arranges for one of the other members of their community to rape his daughter because she doesn’t want to have a baby. Gross, gross, GROSS.

The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

It’s not a secret that I hate The Fault in Our Stars. I just don’t understand why everyone is so enamored with it. John Green plagiarises himself, copying one of the most impactful quotes from Looking For Alaska and shoving it into this poorly constructed metaphor of a novel. I will never forgive him for that decision.

Hot Pterodactyl Boyfriend by Alan Cumyn

Another book I DNFed. I thought the pterodactyl in the title was going to be some kind of allegory, but it’s not. It’s literally a girl, falling in love with a hot pterodactyl. What.

Marly’s Ghost by David Levithan

Marly’s Ghost is a retelling of A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens, in which a boy’s girlfriend dies and all of his friends treat him terribly because he hasn’t gotten over her death. She’s been dead for like a month! Leave the boy alone, you monsters! I read this back in 2016 and it still irritates the hell out of me.

Massive by Julia Bell

Another story about weight and eating disorders that I found extremely triggering. For some reason when I read Massive I gave it two stars, but in hindsight this definitely feels more like a one star novel.

The Museum of Heartbreak by Meg Leder

I normally like trips to museums, but this one was boring and bland. There’s a ‘twist’ which I saw coming within the first page – LITERALLY – and other than that not an awful lot happens. An absolutely gorgeous cover, but I feel no regrets about unhauling this book.

The Sham by Ellen Allen

Another absolutely disgusting book that I’m glad I DNFed. Within the first couple of chapters there are torture scenes in which a group of girls bully an autistic child and force him to do some heinous things. I still feel physically sick when I think about this book.

I hope you enjoyed this Top Ten Tuesday list! Are there any books you really want to throw into the ocean?

See you soon,

Alyce

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BLOG TOUR: Stop That Dinosaur! by Alex English and Ben Cort

BLOG TOUR: Stop That Dinosaur! by Alex English and Ben Cort

Hello everyone, and welcome to my stop on the Stop That Dinosaur! blog tour. First off, I’d like to say a huge thank you to Blue at Kaleidoscopic Book Tours for organising this blog tour. They feature the best titles, and they work so hard 

REVIEW: The List by Patricia Forde

REVIEW: The List by Patricia Forde

To begin, I’d like to thank SOURCEBOOKS Jabberwocky, for accepting my request to read and review this title via NetGalley. The List introduces a dystopian world where vocabulary is being restricted and words are being systematically destroyed. The story follows Letta, the Wordsmith’s apprentice, as 

REVIEW: Rules For Being a Girl by Candace Bushnell and Katie Cotugno

REVIEW: Rules For Being a Girl by Candace Bushnell and Katie Cotugno

First things first, I’d like to say a huge thank you to Macmillan Children’s Books for accepting my request to read and review Rules For Being a Girl via NetGalley.

Rules For Being a Girl is a book I wish I could give to my teenage self.

Marin adores her English teacher, Mr Beckett. He’s just awesome. Down to earth, relatable, more of a friend than a teacher. Until he gives her a lift home late one night. On the way to her house, Bex swings by his apartment to pick up a book he keeps forgetting to lend to Marin. While they’re in his home, he kisses her.

She doesn’t know what to do. Marin’s certain that it was a simple misunderstanding. She must have been giving Bex the wrong impression, sending signals that she hadn’t been intending to send. She resolves to put it behind her and not allow it to taint their relationship.

However, Bex does the exact opposite. Suddenly he’s treating Marin harshly, grading her unfairly, and even interfering with her future. Marin has always followed the unspoken rules for being a girl: she’s been a model student, a good girl, and would never dream of causing a scene. But she’s starting to learn that some rules are meant to be broken…

Marin makes the best of a terrible situation, deciding to focus on educating herself on issues surrounding women’s equality and the difference in societal expectations between men and women. Straightforward and unafraid, Marin calls it how she sees it. This makes her seem like a much older character – it’s the kind of confidence which comes with growing up, and I didn’t know anyone who could call out sexist jokes or stereotypically macho behaviour in their teens – but it also makes her the kind of inspirational character that teenage girls need as a role model.

I didn’t understand feminism until I was in my very late teens, but if Rules For Being a Girl had been out when I was younger I would have been calling myself a feminist much earlier in my life. It was brilliant to see Marin start a feminist book club, and recommending titles by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie and Roxane Gay lays the groundwork for readers to explore feminist non-fiction written by women of colour. It allows interested readers to learn about intersectional feminism, and the way that feminist issues impact upon people from different backgrounds, from outspoken authors sharing their lived experiences.

I also really enjoyed the relationship between Marin and Gray, and I found myself rooting for them more than I have for a YA couple in quite a while. I’m hoping that Bushnell and Cotugno consider writing a sequel to this story, because Marin and Gray’s relationship has a lot of potential for development in the future. I felt sad at the end of the book because I was attached to both of the characters and I wanted to see more of them, and that’s not something which happens to me very often.

The only reason I didn’t give Rules For Being a Girl five stars is because I wasn’t a fan of the ending. It’s rushed. Compared to the rest of the novel – which builds up tension slowly, making you wonder what Marin will do next and whether Bex will get his comeuppance – the end of the story falls flat.

It’s hard to talk about my main issue with the ending without giving spoilers, but let’s say that it is highly unrealistic (which is a shame, because the rest of the novel is written so believably). If it had played out a bit more slowly, Bushnell and Cotugno might have been able to address exactly how the events are supposed to play out… But instead the main characters plot off the page, intending to give the reader a satisfying reveal when we discover what they’ve done, but it didn’t seem possible that they would have been able to get away with it.

However, if it wasn’t for the ending this book would have been a five star novel. The topics explored are relevant (even if some of the pop culture references already feel painfully dated for a book which was only released last summer!) and are important for young people to be able to discuss. I’ve seen this novel favourably compared to Moxie and The Nowhere Girls, so I’ll be checking both out as soon as I can.

I already knew I enjoyed Katie Cotugno’s writing, but this collaboration seems to have elevated her to the next level. If these authors decide to work together again in the future, it’ll be an autobuy for me.

I hope you enjoyed this review. See you again soon!

Alyce

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TOP TEN TUESDAY: Misleading book titles

TOP TEN TUESDAY: Misleading book titles

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by Jana at That Artsy Reader Girl. Today’s Top Ten Tuesday topic is actually funny book titles, but after wracking my brains for hours I still couldn’t think of any. Instead, I’ve decided to shine a spotlight on ten books that 

Irish YA Showcase

Irish YA Showcase

Happy St. Patrick’s Day! In honour of today’s celebration, I thought it would be the perfect time to talk about five of the best YA books I’ve read by Irish authors. I’m also going to feature five Irish YA novels that I can’t wait to 

TOP TEN TUESDAY: Books on my spring TBR

TOP TEN TUESDAY: Books on my spring TBR

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by Jana at That Artsy Reader Girl.

Oh boy, it has been a while since I’ve written a seasonal TBR post for Top Ten Tuesday. I am notoriously bad at actually reading any of the books that I feature on these lists, so I’ve tried to pick a selection of books which I’m not too desperate to read (just in case tradition prevails!).

I won’t be featuring any of the books on the YA Book Prize 2021 shortlist (which I released a chaotic reaction video for) or my 25 Before 25 list, so make sure to check out the books appearing on those lists if you’re interested in my reading plans throughout April.

But for now, let’s talk about what I’m planning on reading throughout the spring months.

Bridge of Souls by Victoria Schwab

The third book in the Cassidy Blake series, Bridge of Souls was finally released at the beginning of March after being postponed from September 2020. Following Cassidy, her parents, her best friend Jacob (and her cat!), Bridge of Souls will focus on the city of New Orleans and the ghosts that walk within its walls. I normally order the newest Cassidy Blake book for Sean for his birthday and we read it during his birthday week, so instead I think it’ll be nice to celebrate my birthday by rereading the first two books before finishing the series!

The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger

We started The Catcher in the Rye back in September, after picking it during a hectic game of Becca’s Bookopoly. Our intentions were good – both Sean and I wanted to read more classics – but unfortunately we read the first few pages of The Catcher in the Rye during a car journey and then never picked it up again. Oops. I would love to get this one finished soon so that we can spring clean it off of our Goodreads currently reading shelf.

The Fires of Heaven by Robert Jordan

We’re currently halfway through The Shadow Rising – book four in the Wheel of Time series – and I’m beginning to struggle with it. The pace is much slower, not all that much is happening, and there’s far too much Rand compared to The Dragon Reborn! However, I still want to persevere with the Wheel of Time series, so I’m hoping to finish at least one more installment before the spring ends.

Ghostcatcher by Sophie Green

The third and final book in the Potkin and Stubbs series, Ghostcatcher is one that I’m slightly apprehensive about reading. I love the idea of the Potkin and Stubbs novels – set in a noir town where it’s always raining, following a wannabe journalist and the ghost who finds her to investigate his death – but I haven’t been overly impressed by the first two books in the series. I love Karl James Mountford’s illustrations, but these are definitely on the younger end of the middle grade age range. Hopefully the loose ends will all come together nicely and the final installment will be satisfying.

Hollow City by Ransom Riggs

I finally read Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children last month, and I enjoyed it but I didn’t love it as much as I’d hoped I would. This is a series which I’m hoping to continue sooner rather than later – it’s taken me ten years to read the first book in the series, so I don’t want to wait another ten before I read book two!

Mister Impossible by Maggie Stiefvater

The sequel to Call Down the Hawk, Mister Impossible is one of my most anticipated 2021 releases. As soon as I finished Call Down the Hawk I found myself wishing that I’d waiting for the entire Dreamer trilogy to be released before I started it, because it ends on one heck of a cliffhanger! This is another one which I’m thinking of rereading before I pick up the sequel, as I want to be as immersed in the world as possible.

The Return of the King by J.R.R. Tolkien

I have been procrastinating finishing the Lord of the Rings series, because I have hated it so far. I loved The Hobbit, but the first two books in the Lord of the Rings trilogy have been boring, uneventful and have each almost sent me into a reading slump. This is probably the perfect time to read The Return of the King – my concentration is shot and I can hardly read at the moment, so it’s not as though Tolkien can make it any worse! – but I just can’t force myself to pick it up. I will finish the series eventually, though…

Rose Interrupted by Patrice Lawrence

Another book which has been sat on my currently reading list for months. I read half of Rose Interrupted in one sitting and felt so invested in the story and the characters, and then I put it down and somehow managed to never pick it up again! The copy of Rose Interrupted that I’m reading is a library copy, so I’m going to need to return it sooner rather than later as the UK begins to come out of lockdown, so this one is a high priority to get finished.

Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo

The Shadow and Bone TV series is premiering on Netflix at the end of April, and I’m determined to reread the first book (at least!) before it’s released. I’ve never read the Six of Crows duology because I wanted to reread the original Grisha trilogy before diving back into this world, so depending on how quickly I can get through these I would love to get the five books in the first two Grisha series read before I start watching the show.

With the Fire on High by Elizabeth Acevedo

I loved both The Poet X and Clap When You Land, so I’m looking forward to reading Elizabeth Acevedo’s only currently published prose novel. Although I enjoy verse, I always find that I connect to characters and stories more when I read traditional prose, so if Elizabeth Acevedo’s prose writing is as strong as her verse then she’ll definitely be cemented as one of my favourite authors.

And those are ten of the books I’m hoping to get read in the next few months! Feel free to link your spring TBR posts down below. Are we reading any of the same books?

See you soon, and thanks for reading,

Alyce

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REVIEW: How To Disappear by Gillian McAllister

REVIEW: How To Disappear by Gillian McAllister

First things first, I’d like to say a huge thank you to Michael Joseph for accepting my request to read and review this title via NetGalley. How To Disappear tells the story of a girl called Zara, who has to enter witness protection after lying