Andersen Press Blogger Brunch!

Last Saturday, I was invited to Andersen Press’ Blogger Brunch to hear about their upcoming YA releases for 2018. Over the summer, I did a week of work experience at Andersen Press, and so it was so lovely to be invited back as a blogger, and I had a really great morning! We started the morning with some delicious brunch and a chat, and I met Louise, blogger at Book Murmation – we have been chatting on Twitter for a few months now, so it was really lovely to finally meet her! Harriet, Charlie, and Chloe from Andersen Press then gave us a presentation, going through each of the novels being released over the course of the year!

The first book is Rebound by Kwame Alexander, out in April this year. This is a prequel to the book The Crossover, also by Kwame Alexander, and what I find so interesting about this book is that it is told in the form of poetry. The story is about jazz and basketball, with each and every part told as a poem, which I think is really cool! We also watched a video from Kwame Alexander, who couldn’t be at the event with us, which was really interesting, and it was lovely to see all the work he does in schools in the UK. After that, we heard about Mud by Emily Thomas, out in July 2018. Told in the form of a diary, Mud is about a girl, living on a barge with her family, who has to cope with the many strains and grievances she and her family come under. Emily herself gave us some in depth insight into this book, and I was utterly transfixed by her storytelling. I was particularly excited to the cover of this book the screen, as in the summer, during my work experience, I sat in on a meeting where they were discussing the cover design for Mud, so it was really interesting to see the final result! Shadows by Meaghan McIsaac is the sequel to Movers, and has actually been out since the start of this month! The first book is set in a world where refugees are flooding in from the future, and in this novel, the protagonist has been thrown into the future – I will not go into too much detail (to avoid spoilers), but it sounds like a really action-packed, exciting read!

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Five Feminist Book Recs (for five different genres!)

Happy International Women’s Day! I have spent some time thinking about what sort of blog post I wanted to put out to celebrate this day, and I decided that I wasn’t quite ready to do a personal sort of post (but maybe next year). So, today I am sharing some feminist book recommendations. I did a similar post last year on International Women’s Day, however this year I am picking five different types of books, so that no matter what kind of reader you are, fan of YA or not, hopefully at least one of these books appeals to you!

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For fantasy lovers – although fantasy is probably my favourite genre, unfortunately the tropes that accompany this genre are often problematic and distinctly un-feminist (think damsel-in-distress, alpha males, etc.). That said, I have found that the fantasy YA being written and published is becoming more and more empowering, and one example of this is Flame in the Mist by Renee Ahdieh. This is a Mulan retelling, and is just as awesome as the Disney film – the main character, Mariko, is a wonderfully fleshed out character, and I just love the pro-female message that runs throughout this book! My review of Flame in the Mist is here.

An older book – 1600s kind of old, in fact. The Duchess of Malfi by John Webster is one of the plays I am studying for English A Level, and although its Shakespearean language can be hard to decipher at times, myself and all my classmates have loved how progressive the main character, the Duchess, is. The other characters in the play are incredibly misogynistic and try to oppress the Duchess, but she herself is very dignified and surprisingly feminist, considering the book is set in the early 1500s.

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In February I Read | 2018

Unlike January, my February reading was spread out throughout the month, and I managed to read four books, including two YA fantasy books (a genre I don’t read nearly enough). I entirely forgot that February is missing a few days, and didn’t realise it was March until the evening on the first, meaning that I did not finish my fifth book this month. Nonetheless, I am pleased with all the books I did succeed in reading.

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Firstly, I finished reading The Duchess of Malfi by John Webster, which I have been reading for the past few months as part of my English A Level. It took me a while to get used to the style of writing, as it was written in the early 1600s and set even earlier, but I have really enjoyed picking my way through this play. The imagery in this play is super complex, and the Duchess herself is really kick-ass, especially considering she was a woman in the 1500s being constantly oppressed by patriarchal figures. I have been studying The Duchess of Malfi alongside A Streetcar Named Desire by Tennessee Williams, and I’m thinking of doing a blog post on this later on in the year – let me know your thoughts!

I decided it was time to read some more YA fantasy, so I picked up my copy of Flame in the Mist by Renée Ahdieh, which, if you have read my review, you’ll know I absolutely loved. The characters were unique, the plot was fantastic and had me hooked from the very beginning, and it had excellent representation. Make sure to read my full review if you want to hear my thoughts in full – it’s definitely the most heartfelt review I have written in a while!

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After that, I finished another book that I had been reading for a while: Alias Grace by Margaret Atwood. I started reading this back in December, but as it is quite long, and I was trying to meet my goal of reading 100 books in 2017, I put it aside for a little while. I picked it up again about halfway through February, and I was immersed in the story immediately. Grace Marks was an unreliable narrator who kept me second guessing myself throughout the novel, and by the end of the story I still couldn’t make up my mind about her character. I have been wanting to read more from Margaret Atwood for ages, and now I want to read even more!

I found myself reaching for YA fantasy throughout the month, and so next I read A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas. I’ve mentioned this book a couple of times since reading it, as it was one I had conflicting feelings over; on the one hand, I thought it was very well written, especially in comparison to other books I have read by Sarah J. Maas, and I did find the plot interesting. However, it sounds like it gets more angsty and problematic in the following two books, so whilst I did enjoy A Court of Thorns and Roses, I do not think I will continue with the series.

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The books I read this month were all quite big, and I am proud of myself for getting through them – I am hoping that March will be a big reading month for me, and over the next couple of months I want to find time to read some more YA. I would love to hear about your February reading, and any recommendations you may have for the coming month!

Second Chances: Will I Reread These DNF’d Books?

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DNFing books is an all-too-real struggle for readers, and for years I have been discarding books that I found boring, badly written, or just didn’t like. However, I thought it was time to reflect on the books I DNF’d a while ago, and consider giving them a second chance. For now, I have simply chosen three books – one that I will definitely reread, one that I may try again, and one that will remain unfinished.

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Scholastic Bloggers’ Book Feast 2018

On Saturday, I attended Scholastic’s Bloggers’ Book Feast for the second time! It’s been so long since I have gone to any book events (I think the last one was YALC in the summer), and I hadn’t realised how much I missed doing bookish stuff that wasn’t confined to social media. It was so wonderful to see some of my blogging friends again, and to make some new ones!

I travelled to the event with my sister and fellow blogger, Jess, and because I have absolutely no time management skills whatsoever we were a couple minutes late, but still were right on time for the beginning! We started by hearing about Scholastic’s 2018 releases, which was very exciting, and has me desperate for 2018 to hurry up already so that I can read all these books! Here’s the complete list, in chronological order:

  1. Shell by Paula Rawsthorne
  2. The Light Jar by Lisa Thompson
  3. Tender by Eve Ainsworth
  4. The State of Sorrow by Melinda Salisbury
  5. Spark by Alice Broadway
  6. The Surface Breaks by Louise O’Neill
  7. Night of the Party by Tracey Mathias
  8. Your Turn to Die by Sue Wallman
  9. Neverworld Wake by Marisha Pessl
  10. Noah Could Never by Simon James Green
  11. A Sky Painted Gold by Laura Wood
  12. Showstopper 2 by Hayley Barker
  13. A Storm of Ice and Stars by Lisa Lueddecke

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YA Fantasy On My TBR

It’s been so long since I read some fantasy, despite the fact it is my favourite genre! My fantasy TBR has been getting far too long, and most of the books on there are part of a series! Anyway, the books on here range from very recent, to slightly older, but they are the books that are at the top of my TBR!

 

Flame in the Mist by Renee Ahdieh – this will hopefully be one of the books on this list that I get to sooner, considering I own a copy! I’ve heard that this story was inspired by Mulan, which is unbelievably cool, and I think will make for a fantastic story!

The Cruel Prince by Holly Black – I have yet to read anything by Holly Black, but this book has been so highly praised ever since it was released at the beginning of the year. This particular fantasy novel is about faeries, which is a branch of fantasy I have not read much of, so I am very excited to read this book!

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In January I Read | 2018

My new reading goal for 2018 is to read 60 books, leveling out at five books a month. I had honestly thought I could do that without a problem, but whilst I did read five books in January, I read the first four within the first twelve days, and then finished the last one just before midnight on the 31st! So I think five was a good number to settle on, and I read some really great books this month.

First of all, I read A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens – this took me a little while to get through, as I found it quite hard to get into at first, but I eventually warmed to the style of writing and the plot. I watched the film of A Tale of Two Cities in December, and I had enjoyed that, and I think that made the book easier to digest. My favourite part of this book was definitely the ending, which left me feeling quite unexpectedly emotional (and if you are interested in reading this particular classic, you can buy it from A Great Read for just £2.50!). ✮✮✮

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After that, I read my first YA book of the year – Genuine Fraud by E. Lockhart. Unfortunately, I wasn’t a huge fan of this book; I found the protagonist very annoying, and I really struggled to get to grips with the plot and the narrative style. I did start to enjoy the book more around halfway through, but I was overall slightly disappointed with this read (I reviewed it in full here, if you are interested in hearing more of my thoughts!). ✮✮✮

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