Tuesday 30 June 2015

GGRP: Because I'm Worth It.

I know Read Women Month has been a little underwhelming on my blog this year but I hope those of you taking part have had fun at least! As one final little parting gift to Read Women Month 2015 I've got a new Gossip Girl Review Project for you. What a lucky bunch you are.

Serena becomes a model and Aaron runs away scared. Nate goes to rehab and Georgina Spark is finally introduced! Blaire kind of accidentally has an affair with a married man. Jenny thinks her one and only friend might have a crush on her (a fair assumption since they did kiss.) Chuck is maybe gay or bisexual? Dan and Vanessa continue to just be unbearable. Standard stuff.

Familiar scenes
Absolutely nothing. Georgina Spark is here now though! And although the scheming is still sadly lacking, she is every bit as much of a wildcard as she is in the TV show.

What's different?
Nate goes to rehab. This is very good news as you may remember that I mentioned in the last GGRP that Nate just spent the entire of the last book high. I practically punched the air at the arrival of some common sense in the situation.

Fanciest fancy party
There aren't really any fancy fancy parties in this book but it is fashion week, so there are plenty of fashion shows and after parties. The after party where Serena sells off her 'I love Aaron t-shirt' sounds like the most fun. Mostly because Serena is there. honestly, I can't believe how much I like Serena in these books.

Most conniving scheme
Blaire decides to go to rehab as part of a plan to reinvent herself and get Nate to fall in love with her again. It doesn't quite work out.

What is Chuck Bass up to?
Appearing in gay clubs, wearing pink shirts, being seen partying with men, other vaguely ambiguous stereotypical gay things. When is Chuck Bass going to have an actual story line? Ever? Or does he only exist as a series of ever changing stereotypes in the background while I have to actually read about terrible Dan and boring Nate?

How off the rails is Jenny Humphrey?
Firmly on the rails but definitely having a tricky time. She finally has a female friend her own age but she has already started to suspect that her friend might be in it for something more even before said friend insists that Jenny paint her naked and then suggests that they kiss. Making things a bit awkward for Jenny who actually might have met a new guy. Thanks to Blaire of all people.

Join me next time to see if Chuck Bass will ever actually do anything.

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Friday 19 June 2015

5 books by women I'm looking forward to in 2015.

Last week I shared with you five books by women that I've read and loved so far in 2015 and today I thought I'd share five books by women that I'm looking forward to reading in the rest of 2015.

Royal Wedding by Meg Cabot - 2nd July
For Princess Mia, the past five years since college graduation have been a whirlwind of activity, what with living in New York City, running her new teen community centre, being madly in love, and attending royal engagements. And speaking of engagements. Mia's gorgeous longtime boyfriend Michael managed to clear both their schedules just long enough for an exotic (and very private) Caribbean island interlude where he popped the question! Of course Mia didn't need to consult her diary to know that her answer was a royal oui. But now Mia has a scandal of majestic proportions to contend with: Her grandmother's leaked "fake" wedding plans to the press that could cause even normally calm Michael to become a runaway groom. Worse, a scheming politico is trying to force Mia's father form the throne, all because of a royal secret that could leave Genovia without a monarch. Can Mia prove to everyone - especially herself - that she's not only ready to wed, but ready to rule as well?
I cannot even tell you how long I have been waiting for this book. Never mind this year, this is the book I am most excited for period. I've had it pre-ordered since April. That's how serious I am. I loved the Princess Diaries books as a teenager and I still love them now and I seriously can't wait to read about Mia and Michael again (my ultimate OTP) and I'm even excited to read about what kind of trouble Grandmere is getting Mia into now that she's all grown up.

Lorali by Laura Dockrill - 2nd July
Looking after a naked girl he found washed up under Hastings pier isn't exactly how Rory had imagined spending his sixteenth birthday. But more surprising than finding her in the first place is discovering where she has come from. Lorali is running not just from the sea, not just from her position as princess, but her entire destiny. Lorali has rejected life as a mermaid, and become human. But along with Lorali's arrival, and the freak weather suddenly battering the coast, more strange visitors begin appearing in Rory's bemused Sussex town. With beautifully coiffed hair, sharp-collared shirts and a pirate ship shaped like a Tudor house, the Abelgare boys are a mystery all of their own. What are they really up to? Can Rory protect Lorali? And who from? And where does she really belong, anyway?
Mermaids! I don't think I've ever read any books about mermaids and Lorali sounds so interesting that I will be very pleased for it to be my first. This sounds like a great YA story with a fantasy twist and I am particularly looking forward to the Abelgare boys and their pirate ship shaped like a Tudor house! Honestly this sounds right up my street and I might have to consider preordering this too...

Dumplin' by Julie Murphy - 15th September
Self-proclaimed fat girl Willowdean Dickson (dubbed "Dumplin'" by her former beauty queen mom) has always been at home in her own skin. Her thoughts on having the ultimate bikini body? Put a bikini on your body. With her all-American beauty best friend, Ellen, by her side, things have always worked... until Will takes a job at Harpy's, the local fast-food joint. There she meets Private School Bo, a hot former jock. Will isn't surprised to find herself attracted to Bo. But she is surprised when he seems to like her back. Instead of finding new heights of self-assurance in her relationship with Bo, Will starts to doubt herself. So she sets out to take back her confidence by doing the most horrifying thing she can imagine: entering the Miss Clover City beauty pageant - along with several other unlikely candidates - to show the world that she deserves to be up there as much as any twiggy girl does. Along the way, she'll shock the hell out of Clover City - and maybe herself most of all. 
My good friend Saruuh told me about Dumplin' because not only does she know me incredibly well but she also clearly cares about me deeply. A fat girl protagonist who is totally okay with her size? And she has a love interest? And she enters a beauty pageant?? It's everything I could ever hope for tbh. Plus the full synopsis on Good Reads mentions Dolly Parton and if I wasn't already in love with the idea of Dumplin' that would have done it.

Carry On by Rainbow Rowell - 8th October
Simon Snow just wants to relax and savour his last year at the Watford School of Magicks, but no one will let him. His girlfriend broke up with him, his best friend is a pest, and his mentor keeps trying to hide him away in the mountains where maybe he'll be safe. Simon can't even enjoy the fact that his roommate and longtime nemesis is missing, because he can't stop worrying about the evil git. Plus there are ghosts. And vampires. And actual evil things trying to shut Simon down. When you're the most powerful magician the world has ever known, you never get to relax and savour anything.
Those of you who have read Rowell's Fangirl will be familiar with Simon Snow already. If you haven't read Fangirl don't worry, Carry On isn't a sequel or anything. In Fangirl, Simon Snow is a sort of in world version of Harry Potter, for which Cath writes fanfiction. Now Rainbow Rowell has brought Simon and Baz out of the world of Fangirl and given them their own real story and I'm super excited to read it!

Career of Evil by Robert Galbraith (J.K. Rowling) - 20th October
When a mysterious package is delivered to Robin Ellacott, she is horrified to discover that it contains a woman's severed leg. He boss, private detective Cormoran Strike, is less surprised but no less alarmed. There are four people from his past who he thinks could be responsible - and Strike knows that any one of them is capable of sustained and unspeakable brutality. With the police focusing on the one suspect strike is increasingly sure is not the perpetrator, he and Robin take matters into their own hands, and delve into the dark and twisted worlds of the other three men. But as more horrendous acts occur, time is running out for the two of them...
I can't tell you how glad I am that I actually really enjoy the Cormoran Strike novels. Don't get me wrong, I thought The Casual Vacancy was really good, but it's not exactly the kind of novel I'm going to read over and over again. I think we can all agree it was kind of depressing. These books about gruesome murders and severed limbs though? Right up my alley. I actually preferred the second book in this series, The Silkworm, to the first, The Cuckoo's Calling, so I can only hope that that trend will continue and I'll enjoy Career of Evil even more!

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Tuesday 16 June 2015

Another Hot Key Books twitter competition haul!

I know. I can't believe it either. I can't believe my amazing luck and I especially can't believe how generous the people at Hot Key Books are. You may remember I shared my Valentine's Day competition haul from Hot Key a few months ago and now I've only gone and won another super exciting stack of books from one of their twitter competitions! At this rate I am going to have to try and fit another bookcase into my room...

As you can see there are six books this time and they are all Hot Key's June releases for this year.

First up are these two new releases from Garth Nix. To Hold the Bridge is a collection of short stories and from what I understand the first story in this collection takes place in Nix's Old Kingdom universe but the others are unrelated to it. Clariel is a prequel to the books in the Old Kingdom series, of which I have read precisely none, but this video run down of these books on the Hot Key youtube channel leads me to believe that that shouldn't be too much of a problem in understanding this one because it takes place before the events of the already released books and features different characters. We'll see how true that is. I'll definitely be giving both of these a try! I'm really trying to read more fantasy so these are a welcome addition to my bookcase.

I don't know a great deal about Almost Grace but it sounds like a really interesting summer read. The summary on goodreads makes it sounds like a proper coming-of-age story and I never tire of those! It's about a group of teenagers who rent a house on the coast after their exams are finished, where the protagonist falls in love with an older guy. All the makings of a good YA story tbh. It's set in South Africa too and I've never read anything set there before so I'm really looking forward to it.

How To Be Bad is the real reason that I entered this competition at all. I thoroughly enjoyed E. Lockhart's We Were Liars and I love a road trip story (thank the Britney Spears film Crossroads for that) so I was planning on buying this book anyway. It sounds like the perfect book for summer and I can't wait for there to be some actual sunshine for me to sit under while I read it! I'm particularly looking forward to seeing how the three different authors have worked together on it and overall it just sounds like a really great read.

Okay so Wrestling Trolls: Jack Versus Veto does sound fun but it also sounds like it might be just a little out of my reading zone. I'm pretty sure I know a little boy who will enjoy it a lot more than I would anyway though so don't worry, it definitely won't go to waste.

Being a Girl is also aimed at an audience slightly younger than myself but I absolutely love the look of those illustrations and from what I've seen online this definitely sounds like a fun, feminist book, good for women of all ages. And anyway look at that little drawing of a pug on the front cover! It's gotta be worth it just for that.

Friday 12 June 2015

My favourite books by women of 2015 so far.

So, how's Read Women Month going? It's not going so great for me. I'm still reading the same two books I was reading last week and it's not looking likely that I'll finish all the books on my TBR this month. But let's not worry about that. Today I want to share with you five of my favourite books written by women that I've read so far in 2015.

First up is Love, Nina by Nina Stibbe. Love, Nina is a collection of letters that Stibbe wrote to her sister while she was working as a nanny in the 1980s. Stibbe's letters are full of humour and nostalgia and I enjoyed reading them a lot. I would highly recommend Love, Nina even if you're not particularly a fan of memoirs or non-fiction because the personalities of Stibbe herself and the family she worked for really shine through in every letter and make them so enjoyable to read. I reviewed this book in full earlier this year, which you can read here, if you're interested.

Next we have The Isobel Journal by Isobel Harrop, which I also reviewed in full here if you want to check that out. The Isobel Journal is described on goodreads as 'A charming and vivid narrative scrapbook of the eighteen-year-old author's sketches, mini-graphic novels, photography and captions' and that really is the best way to describe it. There's no plot or story line but Harrop's illustrations are really lovely and although it's a very short read I'm positive it's one I'll come back to a lot.

Diving Belles by Lucy Wood is a collection of fantastical short stories set along the Cornish coast. I don't read a lot of short stories, which is definitely something I've been meaning to change, but I always love to read anything set in Cornwall. The stories in this collection are all beautifully written tales of magical realism set against the salt water backdrop of Cornwall and even though I didn't completely click with all of the stories the collection as a whole is definitely something special.

Vivian Versus America is actually the sequel to Katie Coyle's Vivian Versus the Apocalypse (which I read and reviewed last year) so I won't go into any detail about the story line or the plot of this book but I will say that it is every bit as interesting, original, and exciting as Vivian Versus the Apocalypse and that I highly, highly recommend both books whether you're a fan of YA or not.

Geek Girl is my most recently read of the books on this list and also the one aimed at the youngest audience. Geek Girl is a middle grade book about a girl who is a bit of a geek, bullied at school, and very prone to getting into unfortunate situations, including accidentally being spotted by a modelling agent. I enjoyed this book so much that I immediately read the second in the series after finishing it and had to stop myself from buying the third and fourth too. It's a lot of fun and I enjoyed it a lot. I'll definitely be reading the rest of the books in the series.

If you're taking part in Read Women Month then I hope you're making more headway with your TBR than I am, and if you aren't taking part in Read Women Month then I just hope you're having a good month!

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Tuesday 9 June 2015

Newquay 2015.

You might remember that I actually posted some pictures from Newquay almost a year ago. It's a complete coincidence that I visited the same beach again almost a year later (we really don't go to Newquay often) but hey, maybe this will accidentally become an annual feature. Who can say?

I was there with dad this time, which was a good job because it was him who noticed the tiny fishies swimming around in this pool.

He also insisted on walking up 1000 steps to get onto the cliff top though, which never would have happened with the friends I was with last year.

Still, I suppose the view was okay.

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Friday 5 June 2015

Friday reads.

Friday reads Murder on the Orient Express Gossip Girl Because I'm Worth It

I've never done one of these Friday Reads things before but I figured what better time to start than during Read Women Month?

The first book I'll be reading this weekend is Murder on the Orient Express. This is my first Agatha Christie novel and it's fulfilling my Read Women Month challenge to read a classic. Murder on the Orient Express is the 10th in Christie's Poirot series but I'm almost half way through it already and I haven't had any issues with not having read any of the preceding books yet. The plot is sort of self explanatory: there's a murder on the Orient Express and Poirot investigates it. I'm enjoying it a lot so far.

I'm also currently reading the fourth Gossip Girl book Because I'm Worth It, which I will of course be reviewing for The Gossip Girl Review Project when I'm done. I'll leave the synopsis for that post because I'm not too far into it yet and I like to go into these books without knowing what to expect. It makes the inevitable disappointment of Chuck Bass a little easier to bear.

It does feel a bit weird to be juggling Agatha Christie with Gossip Girl but you know what, Read Women Month is about celebrating all women writers and heck, I'm having a good time.

Read Women Month

Tuesday 2 June 2015

GGRP: All I Want is Everything.

What better way to kick off Read Women Month than with a new Gossip Girl Review Project post??

Well okay, you can probably think of a few, but this is my blog so we're doing this instead.

The Gossip Girl Review Project (GGRP for short) is a series I started on my short lived book blog, stasialikesbooks, but since I stopped updating that blog I've decided to keep going with the series over here. You can find the two previous posts in the series here.

Now let's get on with this review of the third book in the series, All I Want is Everything.

Actually, before we start I want to share this quotation from the book about one Daniel Humphrey: "He wanted to have five children and name them after his favourite writers: Kafka, Goethe, Sartre, Camus, and Keats." Can book Dan get any more awful? You will be surprised after reading that horrifying sentence that the answer is yes. Yes he can.

It's almost Christmas vacation and as per usual, everyone is making terrible choices. Blair has one secret admirer and one not so secret, Serena has a rock star practically stalking her (because of course she does), and the five of them all sort of end up spending Christmas vacation together, where Serena tries to avoid the rock star and Blair almost has sex with Aaron's rando friend. Dan isn't sure if he wants to sleep with Vanessa or not. Vanessa is very sure that she wants to sleep with Dan. Jenny is head over heels in love with Nate for some reason I cannot fathom. Vanessa films Jenny and Nate bare bottomed in the park and the video accidentally ends up online, after which Dan turns into a crazy person. Nate spends the entire book high. Classy choices all around for everyone.

Familiar scenes
Vanessa sends one of Dan's poems to The New Yorker without telling him, which is a classic TV show Vanessa move. Serena and Aaron are basically together by the end of the book too, which I like because in a surprising turn of events they are probably the two characters I like most in these books.

What's different?
I feel like the answer to this is just 'the characters' every single time but omg seriously. Dan goes bananas in the second half of the book and writes a poem about Jenny and Vanessa called 'Sluts'. TV show Dan WOULD NEVER. And Nate is literally high all the time. All the time. How Jenny isn't bored yet I do not know. Oh, also, Blair's mother is pregnant. So that should be interesting.

Fanciest fancy party
Serena's New Year's Eve party at the end of the book, which Serena attends barefoot. Her rock star almost-stalker shows up and plays her a song he has written for her and she kisses Aaron instead. I like book Serena so much more than I ever liked TV show Serena.

Most conniving scheme
There was no scheming! I can't believe the lack of scheming in these books. There was so much in the TV show!

What is Chuck Bass up to?
Still being creepy as heck. Honestly where did the TV show writers get their version of Chuck Bass from? Because I have yet to see him in these books!

How off the rails is Jenny Humphrey?
Oh, Jenny. I am reluctant to call Jenny 'off the rails' but she certainly needs a good talking to. Jenny has got it into her head that she and Nate are Romeo and Juliet without all the death. She thinks that even though she is fourteen and he is about to go to college they'll be together forever because they love each other so much. Nate mostly thinks about weed and Blair's ass. Jenny really needs to learn to love herself.

Join me next time for the fourth book in the series Because I'm Worth It. It may not sound like it but I am actually starting to enjoy these books so I'm hoping to get the next post up before the end of the month, because why not start and end Read Women Month with some Gossip Girl fun?

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