Wednesday 15 April 2015

stasialikesbooks | A very small second hand book haul.

How great is my new duvet cover? It's so eighties. I love it.

This is just a tiny haul because mum came home a few weeks ago with a small pile of used books she had bought for just 25p each and we split them between us. She kept My Sister's Keeper and some other novel I've forgotten the name of that sounded equally like something I am just not interested in and I took ownership of these two very interesting looking titles.

What if you grew up to realise that your father had used your childhood as an experiment? 
Rosemary doesn't talk very much, and about certain things she's silent. She had a sister, Fern, her whirlwind other half, who vanished from her life in circumstances she wishes she could forget. And it's been ten years since she last saw her beloved brother Lowell.
Now at college, Rosemary starts to see that she can't go forward without going back, back to the time when, aged five, she was sent away from home to her grandparents and returned to find Fern gone. 
I've heard plenty about We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves over the past year. It's been everywhere since it came out and I've seen a lot of very mixed reviews but nothing about it really caught my interest until I saw a review, coincidentally the day before mum brought this book home, that sort of spoiled what I think is supposed to be the big twist of this story. (I could be wrong. It may very well turn out that this thing is obvious from the beginning but I don't want to mention it just in case!) Normally that sort of thing would turn me off a book but in this case it has actually made me far more interested in the story than I was before and I'm definitely looking forward to reading it.

In a tiny flat in West London, sixteen-year-old Marina lives with her emotionally delicate mother, Laura, and three ancient Hungarian relatives. Imprisoned by her family's crushing expectations and their fierce unEnglish pride, by their strange traditions and stranger foods, she knows she must escape. But the place she runs to makes her feel even more of an outsider.
At Combe Abbey, a traditional English public school for which her family have sacrificed everything, she realises she has made a terrible mistake. She is the awkward half-foreign girl who doesn't know how to fit in, flirt or even be. And as a semi-Hungarian Londoner, who is she? In the meantime, her mother Laura, an alien in this strange universe, has her own painful secrets to deal with, especially the return of the last man she'd expect back in her life. She isn't noticing that, at Combe Abbey, things are starting to go terribly wrong.
I haven't heard much about Almost English but I do remember picking it up once in Waterstones some time ago and thinking it sounded interesting, although obviously I didn't buy it and did completely forget about it until mum handed me this copy... The reviews on goodreads don't seem to be overwhelmingly positive but it does sound like an interesting plot so I'll definitely be giving it a go!

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Tuesday 7 April 2015

stasialikesbooks | Book review: My Drunk Kitchen: A Guide to Eating, Drinking, and Going with your Gut by Hannah Hart.

One day, lonely cubicle dweller and otherwise bored New York City transplant Hannah Hart decided to make a fake cooking show for a friend back home in California. She opened her laptop, pulled out some bread and cheese, and then, as one does, started drinking. The video was called "Butter Yo Sh*t" and online sensation My Drunk Kitchen was born.

My Drunk Kitchen (the book!) includes recipes, stories, colour photographs, and tips and tricks to inspire your own adventures in tipsy cooking.

I feel like I should start this off by saying straight out that this is not really a cookbook. I understand why it's being marketed that way but I do worry that some people who aren't familiar with Hannah and her youtube series also titled My Drunk Kitchen might buy this book expecting some actual recipes they could replicate at home and come away a little disappointed.

This is not to say that I don't think this is a good book (or that there aren't at least a couple of recipes in here that I see myself trying to recreate in the future. Saltine nachos, anyone?). I think this is a great book. Hannah Hart's typical humour is present in abundance and fans of her youtube videos will not be disappointed. My Drunk Kitchen is like a big sister giving you advice not just on cooking but more importantly on life in general. Hart is, as usual, incredibly funny, infectiously optimistic, and unfailingly honest, in the best way possible. The book does take the form of a cookbook, which I think is very clever, with each pun-tastically named recipe containing a life lesson or piece of advice, much like the standard format of the My Drunk Kitchen videos themselves.

My Drunk Kitchen is full of advice from the Hart (I had to) and honestly, I'm gonna go ahead and suggest that it might just be impossible to read this book and not feel more positive about life afterwards.

Fans of Hannah will definitely enjoy this book but if you've never seen her videos then it might leave you a little confused. Luckily, you can fix that right now.

4/5 stars.

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Thursday 2 April 2015

stasialikesbooks | Hot Key Books twitter competition haul.

I am so behind on my posts right now. I'm sorry.

Those of you who don't follow me on twitter (why?) may not know that well over a month ago, on Valentine's Day, I was in bed with the most horrific fever and worst headache I have ever experienced. I did not think anything could make that day anything other than completely awful but between hours-long naps I checked twitter to find that thanks to a quotation from The Isobel Journal I had won the Hot Key Books Valentine's Day competition! Let me tell you, it helped a little. 

A few days later that huge pile of books up there arrived at my door and I was pretty floored. I had only expected three or four books so thank you x1000 to Hot Key for being so unbelievably generous!

I've already read and reviewed both Paper Aeroplanes and We Were Liars so you can check out those reviews for full synopses of the books. As I read and thoroughly enjoyed both books as ebooks I am extremely happy that I now have them in paperback form for my bookshelf! I also already owned Fearsome Dreamer as a paperback but I have a friend who I am certain would enjoy it so now I have another copy to give to them! 

Beau Vincent is rude, bad, and dangerous to know. So why can't good girl Ashton Gray keep away from him? She already has the perfect boyfriend - her town's local Prince Charming, Sawyer Vincent. But Sawyer is away for the summer, and in the meantime Ashton is bored, and the heat between her and Beau is undeniable - as well as irresistible. Ashton is about to unleash her bad girl - but what will she do when Sawyer comes home? And how will Sawyer react when he returns to find his girlfriend in the arms of his best friend - and cousin?
The Vincent Boys is the only one of the new books that I have read so far but I won't be reviewing this one on the blog, I'm afraid. I only gave it two stars on goodreads and I just don't really have a great deal to say about it. I did enjoy parts of it and I can understand the appeal but it just wasn't really my thing, unfortunately.

The year is 1910. For the past decade, the Averly family has lived a life of luxury in India, but now they must return to Lord Averly's ancestral estate, the sprawling, majestically beautiful Somerton Court. As the household staff hastily prepare for the family's arrival, they receive shocking news: Lord Averley is bringing back a fiancée with three children of her own, and on top of that, there are rumours of a terrible scandal surrounding Lord Averley's resignation as Lieutenant Governor of Bengal.
I've actually been wanting to read Secrets & Sapphires (Cinders & Sapphires in the US) ever since I read this review on Forever Young Adult about two years ago so I was extremely excited to receive this one and it will probably be the next one I pick up from this haul.

Who says fate is written in the stars? Set in seventeenth-century Europe, Jepp is the coming-of-age story of a teenage dwarf limited not only by his height but by his destiny. Seemingly bound for a life of misery as an astronomer's court dwarf, Jepp must prove himself to be a capable and trustworthy student in order to escape his fate. Willing to defy the stars to win the life he wants and the woman he loves, Jepp must choose his own course and become the man he wants to be.
Jepp, Who Defied the Stars is probably not a book that I would have picked up on my own and I hadn't actually heard of it before I received these books but it sounds really interesting and I am really looking forward to reading it.

After months of bullying and romantic heartbreak, seventeen-year-old Aidan Flood feels just about ready to end it all. But when he wakes up one morning to find that local beauty and town sweetheart Sláine McAuley actually has, he discovers a new sense of purpose, and becomes determined to find out what happened to her. The town is happy to put it down to suicide, but then one night Aidan gets a message, scratched in ice on his bedroom window: 'I didn't kill myself.' Who is contacting him? And if Sláine didn't end her own life... who did?
Shiver the Whole Night Through is definitely not a book I would have picked up on my own and I was a little apprehensive when I first read the blurb but after watching this review I'm really looking forward to this one too!

Thank you Hot Key for this amazing haul of books!