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Tuesday, 21 February 2017

TOP TEN TUESDAY: Ten books I loved more than I thought I would

(Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and The Bookish!)

We've all been there.
You hear loads of bad reviews about a book, people going absolutely crazy about how awful it is, but you'd been looking forward to it so you decide to pick it up anyway and, surprisingly, you love it.
Or you hear so many good things that you know there's no possible way that the book can live up to the hype... But it does.
These ten books are ones that I'd presumed I wouldn't enjoy, and ended up really liking.

10) 'Our Chemical Hearts' by Krystal Sutherland
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I heard so many mixed reviews for 'Our Chemical Hearts' - countless five star reviews and a huge number of one star reviews - that I almost didn't pick it up. I was nervous as heck. I shouldn't have been: I adored Krystal's portrayal of first love and the way that loss always stays with you.

9) 'Wondrous' by Travis M. Riddle
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I've received a few review requests over the years that have gone terribly. Books that verged on a thousand pages, droning on and on, completely impossible to finish - books that were hardly edited at all, with thousands of inconsistencies and spelling errors.
Thankfully, 'Wondrous' suffered from neither of these issues, and I adored the world that Travis created. It was so much fun!

8) 'Nothing Tastes as Good' by Claire Hennessy
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I always worry about reading stories that feature anorexia, because it's a topic very close to my heart. I loved 'Wintergirls' by Laurie Halse Anderson, but I hated 'Massive' by Julia Bell. Luckily, 'Nothing Tastes as Good' was another title that I enjoyed - Claire handled the disorder beautifully, and went to great lengths to avoid glamourising it.

7) 'Persuasion' by Jane Austen
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We've all heard tales of people loved and lost, but what happens when those lost loved ones return and seem to be moving on with someone else? This is the struggle that Anne Elliot finds herself trying to deal with. I thought 'Persuasion' sounded boring at first glance, but it ended up being one of the more dramatic of Jane Austen's novels.

6) 'How Not To Disappear' by Clare Furniss
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I was nervous about reading this book. It sounded a lot like Jenny Downham's 'Unbecoming', but with the added bonus of a girl experiencing an unexpected pregnancy and wondering whether to get an abortion. Thankfully Clare Furniss dealt with everything in this book BEAUTIFULLY, and it quickly became one of my favourite books of all time.

5) 'Girl Online: Going Solo' by Zoe Sugg
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There was much less solo Penny than advertised in the title, but I still think this book showed Zoe's writing getting stronger with each release (and, hopefully, with the more writing she does herself, rather than using a ghostwriter). I hated the first book and was mildly aggravated by the second, but I thoroughly enjoyed this one.

4) 'Icicles Like Kindling' by Sara Raasch
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Most novellas end up being disappointing and unnecessary, but 'Icicles Like Kindling' actually added something to the world of the trilogy it accompanies. We get to know Meira on a deeper level, and can fully understand her motivation throughout 'Snow Like Ashes' by seeing the event that started it all. You can read it free online here to see whether you agree with me or not.

3) 'The Heartfix' by Stella Grey
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Okay, I judged this one harshly from the outside. In my opinion, a tell-all memoir isn't as effective if you're writing under a pseudonym. It takes away some of the authenticity, some of the ballsiness that writing a memoir requires in the first place. But I ended up really enjoying 'The Heartfix', laughing at all of the crazy dating antics that Stella experienced in her search for love after her divorce.

2) 'The Restaurant at the End of the Universe' by Douglas Adams
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I wasn't blown away by 'The Hitch Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy', but I LOVED the second book in the series. Having read them all now, I can categorically state that 'The Restaurant at the End of the Unvierse' is the best of all five stories - even if you don't read past it, I'd highly recommend reading the first two installments.

1) 'The Invasion of the Tearling' by Erika Johansen
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I hated the first book in the Tearling series, then ended up being severely disappointed by the last installment, but the second book was sheer perfection.

I hope you enjoyed this Top Ten Tuesday! The Broke and The Bookish announced they're taking a brief hiatus, so check back next week to see what topic of my own I choose to talk about.

Monday, 20 February 2017

Taking Back Sunday - O2 Forum, London, 16/02/17

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I missed black foxxes set, but Frank Iero and the Patience took to the stage fifteen minutes later than expected, so I managed to get there for their whole set.
I was apprehensive when the band were announced as support. I saw frnkiero and the cellabration live twice, but didn't know if their new stage name meant they'd no longer be performing material from debut album '.STOMACHACHES.'. My opinions on the other two sets of theirs that I'd experienced were vastly different; I found the first utterly disappointing, but the second was a successful festival set that left me begging for more.
This performance reverted my opinion back to its original state.
Starting the set with three songs from 'Parachutes', my first thought was that it was promising. The music is more developed than the debut album, intricate guitar lines looping over the bass and through the drums, making the band a tight and cohesive machine.
But Frank Iero's vocal was not up to scratch. He was struggling. I could hardly understand a word that he was sing-screaming, and at points his mouth was wide open and you couldn't hear anything coming out. The backing vocalists carried him. Without them, it would have been a complete train wreck.
I hadn't heard the new songs before, so I don't know if that's how they're supposed to sound, but I found myself cringing and wishing that the set would end.
That's the problem with Frank Iero and the Patience: if it wasn't for Frank Iero, they would be nowhere. Thanks to the success of My Chemical Romance, Frank has a ready made fan base that blindly accept anything he releases, regardless of musical prowess or lyrical content. If it was an unknown support band playing music like this, the crowd would be bored and wouldn't participate; there wouldn't be crowdsurfing and moshing throughout almost every song. It's not that kind of music.
It's exasperating. There's an entire genre out there that sounds like this and never really gets off the ground, and because Frank went from a platinum-selling band he has a crowd the size that which other bands playing this style will never be able to achieve.
I'm not innately against the band: if I was I wouldn't enjoy the older material so much. Songs like 'Tragician' and 'Weighted' work perfectly in a room of this size, and are bright moments in an otherwise dull and dreary set. I just wish the second album had been a development in this direction, rather than away from a sound that really suited them.

Setlist:
World Destroyer
Veins! Veins!! Veins!!!
I'm A Mess
Joyriding
Tragician
I'll Let You Down
All I Want Is Nothing
Dear Percocet, I Don't Think We Should See Each Other Anymore
Stage 4 Fear of Trying
Weighted
Oceans

I'm not a huge fan of Taking Back Sunday's new album, but I'm a sucker for their live show.
The songs from 'Tidal Wave' are rather different than anything else they've released - most similar to fourth album 'New Again', which they never play songs from live - so they stand out in the set. I thought that was going to be a bad thing, but it actually breaks things up nicely.
Starting with 'Death Wolf' was a risk that didn't pay off: its "Had a little bit and now we want some more" repetitive chant building to a crescendo could have been a really climactic point in the middle of the set, but as opener it fell flat. It was premature, the crowd failing to warm up in time.
However, after playing the classic 'Timberwolves at New Jersey', the crowd finally kicked up into high gear. I was quite far back in the seats - the problem with getting to the venue late after being stuck in horrendous traffic - and it was impressive to watch a huge amount of the audience surge to their feet moments in to the song, arms waving in the air as they reminisced on old times.
The throwbacks continued to get the best responses throughout: 'What's It Feel Like To Be a Ghost?', 'You're So Last Summer' and 'Cute Without The 'E' (Cut From The Team)' all getting explosive reactions. When the crowd is singing louder than the band is playing? That's dedication.
While the people in attendance were more energetic during the old songs, the band seems invigorated by the new material. During 'Death Wolf' vocalist Adam Lazzara was leaping across the stage, furiously roaring into his microphone and shrieking like a banshee, more unrestrained than ever before. He seemed excited to tell the fans about the new songs, introducing 'Call Come Running' by describing the music video they released (and the way he got his father involved) and sharing the story behind 'All Excess' (a song written about Slam Dunk festival, and the way Adam "went on this terrible bender [and] extremely embarrassed [himself]").
They seem to be so proud of the album they've released that they want to showcase it. It's not an obligation, it's an honour. That alone is enough to make me reconsider my verdict on the album, and I'm looking forward to listening to it again with the knowledge of how much it means to the band.
The night was over far too quickly - despite the fact that this was an eighteen song set, it passed in a flash. It's impossible not to have fun at a Taking Back Sunday show, especially when the band seem much more enthusiastic than they ever have before.

Setlist:
Death Wolf
Liar (It Takes One To Know One)
You Can't Look Back
Timberwolves at New Jersey
What's It Feel Like To Be a Ghost?
A Decade Under the Influence
All Excess
Error: Operator
You're So Last Summer
Flicker, Fade
Call Come Running
You Know How I Do
Stood A Chance
Better Homes and Gardens
Tidal Wave
My Blue Heaven
Cute Without The 'E' (Cut From The Team)
MakeDamnSure

Sunday, 19 February 2017

WTF Did I Miss This Week? #20 (w/c 13/02/17)

The publishing world:

A bunch more new releases to add to your shelves:
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More beautiful cover reveals:
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In other news:
  • Philip Pullman has announced a trilogy that will stand alongside His Dark Materials. Called The Book of Dust, the first volume doesn't have a name yet but it does have a release date: October 19th. 
  • The trailer for the 'Everything, Everything' film was released. Check it out below:

  • Chigozie Obioma's 'The Fishermen' is getting a stage adaptation
  • Gwen Cole will be releasing a Western YA called 'Ride On' in spring 2018.
  • Neil Gaiman is writing a sequel to 'Neverwhere'. I should probably read the first book...
  • The 2017 CILIP Carnegie Medal and Kate Greenaway medal longlists have been announced.
  • The most exciting anthology of all time ever has been announced: 'Toil and Trouble', an anthology of feminist stories of witchcraft, co-edited by Tess Sharpe and Jessica Spotswood and featuring a whole host of amazing authors. I'm just going to try time-jumping to fall 2018, don't mind me...
The music world:

There were a few bits of new music:

Ex-InVogue Records band Restless Streets released a new song called 'In Vogue', which the owner of InVogue has responded to:

BTW, saying you're "not even mad anymore" and then releasing a diss track? The definition of hypocrisy.

Welsh heavyweights When We Were Wolves have given the world 'The Gift Of Hating Me':


The Summer Set outdid everyone, releasing a movie for 'Jean Jacket' on Valentine's Day: 


New Found Glory are 'Happy Being Miserable':

Oh, and there's a new All Time Low track, their first Fueled By Ramen release. You'll have definitely missed this news - not like they were trending on Twitter for hours after the premiere...:

There were also new releases from Linkin Park, Papa RoachMaroon 5, OneRepublic, Senses Fail, The Rocket Summer, The One Hundred and Creeper, and twenty one pilots released the first episode of a five-part tour documentary called 'Sleepers', celebrating the last dates of the Emotional Roadshow tour. 

Just a few small tour announcements:
  • Never Shout Never will be playing their first two EPs in full across a string of American dates between March and April
  • Following their European tour announcement last week, Descendents have released the dates for their upcoming US tour. Starting in April and running sporadically until December, it's a sprawling leg. 
  • Madina Lake are back together! As well as announcing a couple of UK headline shows to celebrate, they've also been added to the Slam Dunk festival line-up. GET IN. 
  • The Story So Far have announced they're touring the US in May. Support comes from Turnstile and Drug Church.  
  • Coasts are playing a six-date UK tour from May 29th to June 5th. I've got my eye on that Bristol show...
  • Metallica have announced a US tour running from May to August. They're taking Avenged Sevenfold, Volbeat and Gojira along for the ride. Gojira also announced a few headline dates (with support from Kyng, Deafheaven, Opeth and Code Orange) so a lot of chances to see those guys on the road. 
  • The Amity Affliction are touring Australia in June, along with PVRIS, Beartooth and Make Them Suffer. I wish I could go to one of these dates. 
  • Machine Gun Kelly is playing a one-off UK headline show at Koko on June 7th.
  • OneRepublic are the headliners of this year's Honda Civic tour, which runs from July to September. Support comes from Fitz and the Tantrums and X Factor winner James Arthur.  
In other news:
  • twenty one pilots accepted their first GRAMMY in their underwear...
  • ...while Highly Suspect's Johnny Stevens wore politics on the red carpet. 
  • Simon Webbe from Blue got engaged!
  • Ex-Get Scared vocalist Joel Faviere has been arrested for possession of child pornography. Not another one...
  • As if there haven't been enough festival announcements over the last couple of weeks, it was time for Fort Fest to get in on the action.
  • Austin Carlile has revealed that there was more to his departure from Of Mice and Men... 
  • Fireball announced their 2017 Hottest Band: Sweet Little Machine
  • Passion Pit frontman Michael Angelakos has started an artist support company. Providing legal, educational and healthcare services to artists, this is a necessary move. 
  • Diamond Days have called it a day
  • PVRIS are up to something...
  • Dan Jones from Chelsea Grin got into med school. Impressive. 
  • As well as releasing a new song, Linkin Park released the details for their new album, 'One More Light', which will be out on May 19th.
  • In other album news, Incubus will be releasing their long-awaited eighth full-length on April 21st. They've very creatively titled it '8'. I wonder where they got that from?
  • HalfNoise (Zac Farro) announced his new EP, 'The Velvet Face', will be released on March 24th...
  • ...and in the last of the album announcements, Volumes announced that 'Different Animals' will be released June 9th. 
  • The Dillinger Escape Plan have cancelled the remaining dates of their European tour following their bus crash.  
  • Sadly, Kittie's bassist Trish Doan passed away this week. She was only 31 years old. You can read vocalist Morgan Lander's statement here.
  • Both Fit For A King and The Browning were robbed this week, the former in USA and the latter in Italy. Ouch. 
  • Attila got into a fight with some show security. Read their statement on the incident here
  • My favourite article from the week came from AltPress. They interviewed Chrissy Costanza from Against The Current about the plight of women in music, after noticing that she's the only female on the Reading and Leeds festival line-up (so far). Her responses are eloquent and all for female empowerment - it's impossible to believe that she's only 21.
  • A Day To Remember are being given the key to the city of Ocala. I guess that despite hating their washed up town, the band are honoured. 
  • Finally, Machine Gun Kelly (aka MGK) is the newest AltPress cover star. Check it out below:

That's all for this week! Next week's installment is going to be posted pretty early, as I'm going to Bristol to see With Confidence that night - see you then. 

Saturday, 18 February 2017

'Wing Jones' by Katherine Webber

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*This review will contain spoilers!*
'I've never, ever seen a model who looks anything like me. Not black, not Chinese, certainly not white.' 





'My first memory is of my brother.'
Wing's family is the most important thing to her, and that's obvious from this first line. She's the protagonist - the titular character! - but she wants to tell the readers about her big brother Marcus, not about herself.






Wing Jones is a fifteen-year-old half Chinese, half Ghanaian girl living in Atlanta in 1995, who starts running after her brother makes a terrible mistake. 
Marcus has always been the golden boy. He's the school's best soccer player, destined for greatness, sure to get a scholarship. His sporting prowess means he's popular, constantly surrounded by friends, including his girlfriend Monica and best friend Aaron, the boy Wing has had a crush on for as long as she can remember. 
Marcus can do anything he wants, be anyone he wants. 
But Wing is different. Where their mixed heritage expresses itself as 'exotic' in Marcus, Wing is big. She's big-boned, too tall, with a large ass to boot. 
'I don't remember the last time I went to the mall. I hate the way the mannequins stare at me. I feel like they're judging, telling me I won't fit into what they're wearing, and even if I could, it wouldn't look good.' 
She doesn't have many friends, and she's always getting average grades. The only thing that stands out about Wing is the way she looks, and that means her classmates often use her as a verbal punching bag.
Until Marcus gets drunk at a party and decides to drive anyway.
He runs a red light and crashes into a young mother driving home, killing her and Michael, one of his passengers. Marcus is badly injured: as well as sustaining broken ribs and a broken leg, he's in a coma. Things don't look good for him.
Understandably, Wing is distraught. Marcus's reputation is destroyed, and though she didn't think it was possible she's now treated like even more of an outsider. So she starts running.
It gives her something to focus on, and she feels as though it's helping Marcus: every step she takes is another beat his heart will take. He'll be so proud when he wakes up and realises that his little sister is good at something. She might even challenge him to a race, and Marcus can't resist a competition.
Aaron catches Wing down at the track one night. He can tell she has a talent and convinces her to try out for the team. They start running together every night, and she beings to wonder if he might have feelings for her, too.
Wing has always been happier fading into the background, hiding in Marcus's shadow. Will his accident give her the courage to shine, or will she convince Aaron to keep her running a secret?






This could be the perfect standalone.
The focus is on one aspect of the larger story: Wing's running. We follow her through the catalyst that makes her decide to start running, her struggle when deciding whether to go public with her abilities, her fight to be accepted as part of the team despite her bigger size and different skin colour.
But the book ends with a large part of the story untold.
We don't know how long Marcus has to go to prison for his manslaughter conviction, or whether the accident will have long lasting effects on his physical and mental health. We don't know if Monica will be strong enough to stay in a relationship with him despite the pressure from her family and the knowledge of what he did looming over them.
Wing wins the Riveo Running Girl competition, but how will she deal with the pressure of having the eyes of the world upon her? Will the prize money be enough to pay off all of Marcus's medical bills, or will their financial struggle continue?
That's what makes it such a success. Instead of wrapping everything up, Katherine leaves so much unfinished. It makes the story stick in your mind, but not in an unsatisfying way. The story that was being told, Wing's discovery of running, is finished. If she had tried to write a conclusion giving away all of the answers, it would have been rushed and would have detracted from the impact of the rest of the story. I want a sequel, and the best standalones make you feel like that: they have such well-developed and lovable characters that you're desperate to follow them further in their lives.
I can't get over how amazing this book is. I read it over two bus journeys, but when I got to my destination I couldn't stop thinking about Wing and wanting to know what happened to her. As soon as I finished it I just wanted to start it again.
The major thing is: I didn't see Marcus's car crash coming. It starts the plot but it was an absolute shock because I was enjoying the story so much without any tension. I was already rooting for Wing and Aaron and I wanted to know what was coming between Marcus and Monica. Katherine Webber made a plot within the first fifty pages, but by taking the story in a completely different direction she pushed herself. I often get bored when it doesn't seem like anything is happening, but I was enjoying just spending a night out eating waffles with these characters.
I loved Wing. I loved her ruminations on her ethnicity, on her size, on her family. I want her to be my best friend, and I want her to be the protagonist of every book I ever read: it would make them all much more enjoyable.






I'm so glad that the #SundayYA book club chose this book. When books are this hyped I always avoid reading them because I presume I'm going to end up being disappointed, but the exact opposite happened in this case.
I need Katherine Webber to write at least 100 more books, because I'm never going to be able to get enough of her writing style. Everyone should read this, and I do mean EVERYONE. 

Wednesday, 15 February 2017

TOP FIVE WEDNESDAY: Five favourite non-written novels

(Top Five Wednesday was created by GingerReadsLainey. Find out more at the Goodreads group!)

This week has the weirdest topic title I've ever seen, and I wasn't too sure what to include in it. Does free verse count as non-written? Well, no, because it still uses words... What about - nope, that's definitely written too...
I settled for five graphic novels, because my brain was hurting too much to think about it any harder. I love graphic novels, and I feel like I don't talk about them enough, so it's good to have another excuse.

5) Lumberjanes: Beware the Kitten Holy
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All of the characters in the Lumbejanes are well-developed and realistic, and isn't that what we love the most about novels? Also the adventures that these girls get up to would not work as well if they weren't so beautifully illustrated. 

4) Gotham Academy: Welcome To Gotham Academy
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If I read YA that features a boarding school, I normally forget everything about it. I don't know why, but I can't remember a single thing about House of Night or Vampire Academy (and I've read the latter twice!). But Gotham Academy is memorable and utterly terrifying.

3) Batgirl: Batgirl of Burnside
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A lot of people hated the New 52 Batgirl, but I thought she was awesome. She's cool, she's popular, she's the person I want to be. She manages to juggle all of the struggles of being a twenty-something with fighting crime - I wish I could have my shit together like that!

2) The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl: Squirrel Power
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I LOVE DOREEN GREEN. Every time I read a volume of Squirrel Girl I feel SO HAPPY. This is the definition of a comfort read. If you're ever feeling sad and you want to read something that has a great moral, authentic characters and more cameo appearances than you can count, look no further. 

1) Spider-Man: Miles Morales
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I fell in love with Miles Morales as soon as I started reading the first volume. As soon as he said "I don't want to be the black Spider-Man. I want to be Spider-Man," I was hooked. I'm definitely looking forward to his upcoming animated movie, even though I think he deserves more than just that.  

I hope you enjoyed this Top Five Wednesday, even if I wasn't too sure what to talk about... 
What do you classify as a non-written novel?

Tuesday, 14 February 2017

TOP TEN TUESDAY: Top ten OTPs

(Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and The Bookish!)

HAPPY VALENTINE'S DAY!
In celebration, this week's Top Ten Tuesday is all about romance. We could choose exactly what we wanted to talk about, so I've decided to talk about my ten favourite couples of all time.
These are couples who I will ship until the day I die... Even if they die first, and totally ruin all of my plans for them to grow old and die together.

10) Jasmine and Royce - Something In Between
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Melissa de la Cruz's own voices novel about an illegal immigrant in America has a wonderful relationship. Royce's father is a politician campaigning against immigrants, but he doesn't let his father get in the way of his relationship and supports Jasmine at every turn. 

9) Liam and Annie - 90210
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Ugh, they're so painfully adorable. 
The first episode of 90210 I saw featured Annie and Liam breaking up. I quickly watched all of the older episodes, so that I could see them together, and prayed and hoped through the rest of the seasons that they'd end up together. 

8) Mara and Noah - The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer
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I haven't read the third book in the Mara Dyer trilogy yet, but during the first and second books I cried heavily and regularly. I just wanted happiness for Noah and Mara SO MUCH, and the way Michelle Hodkin writes their relationship is so heartbreakingly relatable. 

7) Elena and Damon - The Vampire Diaries
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Delena is endgame. If Delena doesn't happen by the end of the final season of The Vampire Diaries, I am rioting.

6) Maggie and Glenn - The Walking Dead
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In some apocalyptic situations, you have couples getting together just for the sake of it, just so they don't have to experience the end alone. Not so with Glenn and Maggie. They're perfect for each other, it just took a zombie uprising for them to meet. 

5) Alaska and Pudge - Looking For Alaska
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Pudge and Alaska were the first couple that I really rooted for. Before that I'd thought it would be good if relationships worked out, and I felt happy for those that did, but I didn't really CARE... Until John Green stomped all over my heart and made me eternally sad. 

4) Aria and Ezra AND Hanna and Caleb - Pretty Little Liars
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Okay, I also love Emily and Alison and Toby and Spencer, but it would have been RIDICULOUS to choose all four Pretty Little Liars couples. 
I can't choose between Ezria and Haleb, though. Just look how happy they are. So beautiful. So pure.
Again, if these two aren't endgame, I'm rioting. 

3) Clarke and Lexa - The 100
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UGH, BE STILL MY BEATING HEART. 

2) Steffi and Rhys - A Quiet Kind of Thunder
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I've been talking about A Quiet Kind of Thunder a lot recently, and that's because STEFFI AND RHYS. They're the GREATEST bookish couple OF ALL TIME, EVER. I can't get enough of these two. Sara Barnard is a freaking genius. 

1) Lucas and Peyton - One Tree Hill
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If you haven't watched One Tree Hill yet, be warned that it is a ROLLERCOASTER. Lucas and Peyton break up and get back together and break up and get back together and break up and... Oh, it was pretty tricky to keep track. But they're my favourite couple OF ALL TIME. EVER. 

I hope you enjoyed this Top Ten Tuesday! Do you ship any of these couples, or do you think all of my choices are completely wrong?

Monday, 13 February 2017

'There Will Be Lies' by Nick Lake

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*This review will contain spoilers!*
'I've wondered, sometimes - can you still love someone if you find out they did something bad? Turns out, you don't have a choice. You love them whatever. You love them forever.' 





'I'm going to be hit by a car in about four hours, but I don't know that yet. The weird thing is, it's not the car that's going to kill me.' 
The weird thing is, Shelby isn't going to die at all. Not literally.
If that killer first sentence makes you want to read this book, don't fall for it. It's completely misleading.






Seventeen-year-old Shelby Jane Cooper has a very tough life.
She's homeschooled, so every Friday she gets ice cream for lunch and a trip to the batting cages and her local library.
Her mother is too caring, stifling her with love. She doesn't even have to walk the half a mile to the library - she gets a taxi directly there, every week.
But other than Friday, every day is the same: a monotonous routine that's impossible to break. That being said, every Friday is the same too... So even though it's something different, it's still the same. Week in, week out.
Poor, poor Shelby.
Shelby's mother Shaylene won't consider letting her take her SATs or allowing her to apply for college - she's too over-protective to let her out of her sight for long. Shelby yearns for adventure, even going so far as to fantasise about what it would be like if her mother wasn't her mother.
Adventure arrives, but it's in the wrong form.
Shelby gets hit by a car and is hospitalised with a fracture. Her mom has to show her ID to the receptionist, and within moments of Shelby being discharged they're on the run. Shaylene claims that Shelby's father threatened to kill her and she's terrified of him tracking her down, but changes her story after Shelby saw them on a news broadcast, admitting that she's Anya Maxwell, a murderer who's been on the run for years, and that she killed Shelby's father because he was abusing her.
Shelby doesn't know what to believe.
When she was hit by the car she had a vision involving a coyote, which told her that there would be two lies, and then there would be the truth. It seems to Shelby that her entire life is a lie - she doesn't even know who she is anymore - so what is she supposed to believe?







This book is a masterclass in missed potential. Nick Lake had a brilliant idea, but he didn't come close to executing it successfully.
Shelby lives two lives: her life in our world, and another life in a world called the Dreaming. The Dreaming isn't a dream, but it isn't reality, but it is a version of reality because Shelby experiences it, and doesn't that make it real? (There's a lot of muddled rambling concerning the origins and physical existence of the Dreaming, and I didn't understand a word of it).
In the Dreaming, Coyote - the same coyote that foretold her prophecy, who also masquerades as a librarian called Mark in our world - tells Shelby she needs to kill the Crone and rescue the Child. Shelby is amazed: she's had a dream over and over since she was younger in which she needs to rescue a child! How did Mark know her deepest, most intimate thoughts?!
Surprisingly enough, it turns out that Shelby is the Child and the Crone is Shaylene. Shelby describes this as a 'PLOT TWIST' but I think this was the most predictable move in YA history. Yawn.
The story is disappointing, but the writing style is abysmal. For some reason all of the dialogue is either reported speech or in italics, but half of the time the italics are in the wrong place and the formatting is all screwy, which obscures the meaning. A 500 page novel with no speech marks is not the novel for me.
Reading this book felt like trudging through quicksand: it claims it's going to be quick, but it slows you down to a snail's pace. I had to keep rereading sections to understand what the hell is going on, particularly with the constant switching between reality and the Dreaming. The character's voices aren't strong, so half of the things could be said by either participant in the conversation - not helpful when you don't have anything clearly marking where the speech begins.
Shelby uses 10,000,000 pieces of hyperbole, so much that I rolled my eyes until they felt out of my head, which then rolled round the earth and back into my skull just to allow me to roll them some more. It's unnecessary, and it takes away all authenticity from her character. No teenage girl talks like that. Nick can write genuine representations of teenage girls - he did so in 'Whisper To Me', which I really enjoyed and was the reason I picked up this novel in the first place - but he's not doing it in this instance.
The ending is fairly satisfactory, but, as I already mentioned, predictable. I'm just grateful that all of the ends got tied up so we don't need to have a sequel.






Great concept, terrible execution. If you loved 'Whisper To Me', pass this one up. It's not as good, and it'll just leave you questioning why you liked Nick Lake's writing style so much in the first place.
I'd been looking forward to reading more of his previous novels, but I'm not planning on doing that any longer.