Added to My Bookshelves: January

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In January, I received some surprise review copies: White Rabbit, Red WolfFar From the Tree (on my current TBR!), Tender, and Not If I Save You First. I also received Secrets of a Teenage Heiress – such a fun young teen novel (with a sausage dog!), see my review here. Also through my letterbox, I got Neal Shusterman’s newest YA, Scythe – set in a world with no hunger, no disease, no war, no misery – and A Thousand Perfect Notes, a contemporary novel written by popular blogger Cait @ Paper Fury.

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My (now-ex!) housemate Charlie moved out at the end of the month and had to sadly cull a lot of her books… she wanted them to go to a good home, so I picked out Movie Night, The Fire Sermon and Truly, Wildly, Deeply. I’m especially looking forward to Jenny McLachlan’s – I’m loving her books lately.

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Because a few US novels had been on my wishlist for a while, I also treated myself. I bought Adam Silvera’s More Happy Than Not because I adored They Both Die at the End and History is All You Left Me. And I’d seen a lot of buzz about Eliza and Her Monsters, so ordered it at the same time. I absolutely adored it – it’s one of my favourite books of the year so far, a mix of Fangirl and Radio Silence. From work, I took home Nevermoor: The Trials of Morrigan Crow. I’m reading it now and enjoying it so much that I don’t want it to end – I want the sequel already. I haven’t read a middle grade story for a while, so thank you to everyone who told me about it! ☂ It’s such a cosy story, reminiscent of Harry Potter.

Have you read any of these books?

10 Books Everyone Loves That I Haven’t Read (Yet)


I saw Lucy’s (The Book Belle) video and I thought it’d be fun to share ten books that everyone’s read and raved about, but I haven’t read yet… my TBR pile is so ridiculously big!

Ready Player One by Ernest Cline

In the year 2044, reality is an ugly place. Ready Player One is out in cinemas at the end of March and the book will be spoiled for me if I don’t read it first. I bought a copy exactly four years ago – everyone was reading this sci-fi novel and even now, half a million Goodreads ratings later, people still rave about it.

The Secret History by Donna Tartt 

I guess this is a modern classic now, right? It sounds perfect for me – mystery, university setting, drama!

Life After Life by Kate Atkinson

On my bookshelves you’ll find both Life After Life and A God in Ruins. I’ve not read a book by Kate Atkinson and this feels like the best one to start with. I’m intrigued by the premise: What if you had the chance to live your life again and again, until you finally got it right?

Milk and Honey by Rupi Kaur

I’ve just finished The Sun and Her Flowers and cannot wait to read Milk and Honey. I’m not normally one for poetry, but I found that I could relate to many of her poems, especially about friendship and loneliness. I’ve seen this all over the interwebz for the past few months.

Loneliness is a sign you are in desperate need of yourself.

A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab

Again, fantasy isn’t a genre I usually seek out, but I’ve been to a few of V.E. Schwab’s panels and thoroughly enjoyed them – she seems like a lovely person and we share a love of Edinburgh. As a Londoner, I’m excited to check out the Shades of Magic series and discover four parallel Londons.

The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks by E. Lockhart 

I’ve read We Were Liars and have five more E. Lockhart novels to read – and The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks is one of them. A boarding school, secret societies and feminism? Yes please!

The Miseducation of Cameron Post by Emily M. Danforth

I bought my copy for the first ever Books Are My Bag campaign in 2013. It’s another one that has been adapted this year, so I better get my skates on! When Cameron Post’s parents die suddenly in a car crash, her shocking first thought is relief. Relief they’ll never know that, hours earlier, she had been kissing a girl.

The Dreamsnatcher by Abi Elphinstone  

Abi is one of my favourite middle grade authors… but I haven’t read any of her books yet! I went through a phase of reading younger fiction a little while ago. I haven’t read much recently, but The Dreamsnatcher is high on my middle grade TBR.

Reasons to Stay Alive by Matt Haig

Matt Haig’s popular non-fiction book was added to my bookshelves last year and I really ought to read it soon. It’s one of my aims (although not one I wrote down) to read and talk about mental health a bit more.

Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo

Yet another fantasy novel on my TBR! As a fantasy newbie, surely V.E. Schwab and Leigh Bardugo are the best to start with? (I’ve already read S.J. Maas!). I began the audiobook last year but found it difficult to stay focused, so I need to pick it up again – perhaps a readalong?!

Have you read any of these? 

(I also blogged about ten popular books on my TBR nearly 3 years ago and guess who still hasn’t read most of them?).

Book Review: The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue by Mackenzi Lee

“I don’t think you can claim your entire face is your best feature. You’re meant to be a bit more discerning”.

I loved The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue.

LOVED IT.

Loved. It.

The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue wasn’t recommended to me per se. I had seen people raving about it on the interwebz. Last year, I really got into audiobooks. I enjoyed nothing more than closing my eyes every night and being read to. I had been borrowing audiobooks from my library for a few months and it is there that I discovered The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue, narrated by Christian Coulson (who played 16-year-old Tom Riddle in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets). I knew that many people loved it but I, a contemporary reader, was a little apprehensive… historical romance with pirates?! And yet, I’m so, so happy I gave it a chance.

Henry (aka Monty) and Percy – our two boys, the absolute heart and soul of The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue – are among my favourite characters of 2017, if not ever. Monty is being punished by his strict, disapproving father. Despite attending posh English boarding schools, he’s enjoyed himself rather too much lately and so is being sent on a Grand Tour of Europe – alongside his best friend Percy and younger sister Felicity – to learn how to be a proper gentleman. Monty has been absolutely forbidden to drink, gamble, party and engage with boys, but he makes no (honest) promises. He has an odd talent for getting into trouble, only Monty, Percy and Felicity get into more than they bargained for – and become embroiled in a manhunt across Europe, from Paris to Rome.

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“We’re not courting trouble,” I say. “Flirting with it, at most.” 

The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue has one of the most realistic, heartbreaking and lovely instances of unrequited love that I’ve come across in YA. Monty has been in love with Percy forever – how could he not be? – but he doesn’t like to admit it. And besides, Percy isn’t even interested in boys, so it would ruin their friendship. It’s best kept to himself, and it’s not like there aren’t many other beautiful people around. As the story goes on and we discover more about Monty’s past and family, we begin to understand who he is, why he’s so reckless, and why he uses humour as a defence mechanism – and whether he really does have it in him to become more gentlemanly.

I don’t often giggle whilst reading books but The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue is genuinely hilarious. It’s so, so fun. Monty is absolutely brilliant – Christian’s narration was spot on – and Percy is lovely and Felicity is awesome. And put them together? They’re a fantastic pirate-fighting trio. I know a lot of books are said to be funny, but I laughed out loud so many times whilst listening to Monty – and not even just because of all the sex and swearing.

The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue is a much-needed read for so many reasons: LGBT romance, interracial relationships, challenging racism, politically active women in a period of history that ignored them, plus the wonderful characters, exciting shenanigans and humorous repartee. I’m going to buy myself a copy when the companion novel, The Lady’s Guide to Petticoats and Piracy – narrated by Felicity, featuring travel, (more) pirates and a science girl gang – is out.

Read it! Listen to it!

“Just thinking about all that blood.” I nearly shudder. “Doesn’t it make you a bit squeamish?”
“Ladies haven’t the luxury of being squeamish about blood,” she replies.

Mini Book Reviews / They Both Die at the End, Secrets of a Teenage Heiress & The Fallen Children

They Both Die at the End by Adam Silvera

History is All You Left Me was one of my favourite books of 2017, so I eagerly put They Both Die at the End on my January TBR. And I completely adored it. I have become a huge fan of Adam Silvera’s writing.

As with History is All You Left Me, I loved the two protagonists – Mateo and Rufus – as well as the incredibly inventive story. The teenagers arrange to meet after receiving a call from Death Cast informing them that today’s the day they will die. They’re not told how they’ll die, or when, but it’ll definitely be today. Mateo struggles to deal with this announcement. His father’s in a coma and Mateo doesn’t want to cause pain to his best friend, while Rufus is busy punching his ex-girlfriend’s new boyfriend. Not wanting to be alone on their final day, they reach out via an app called Last Friend, and thus begins the last opportunity to live their life to the full.

They Both Die at the End takes place over an emotional 24 hours. Although it’s set over such a short time, the pacing is perfect. It moves swiftly – you’re constantly aware that time is running out for our two boys – and yet it never, ever feels hurried or rushed. Over the day, we get to know Mateo and Rufus and I was constantly on edge, wondering what would really happen at the end. They Both Die at the End has such a fascinating concept: What would you do if you got a phone call saying you would die within the next 24 hours? It’s paralysing even to think about, and yet I couldn’t stop. I thoroughly enjoyed going on a journey with this unlikely pair and discovering more about this alternate universe.

Adam Silvera has definitely made it onto my auto-buy list! They Both Die at the End might end up being one of my favourite books of the year, too.

“I truly believe we should live our lives as soon as possible and to the best of our abilities, because unlike the characters in this book, I don’t know how much time I have left in this universe. And neither do you. So don’t wait too long to become who you want to be – the clock is ticking.”

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10 Books I’m Looking Forward to in 2018


So many fabulous books will be published this year. Here are ten in particular that I’ll definitely be reading as soon as they’re out.

MARCH

Out of the Blue by Sophie Cameron
As a contemporary reader, I rarely read books about the paranormal, but I’ve heard such wonderful things about Out of the Blue. It features bisexual and gay main characters, takes place during Edinburgh Festival, and is about grief, guilt and fear.

“Ten days after Jaya Mackenzie’s mum dies, angels start falling from the sky. Smashing down to earth at extraordinary speeds, wings bent, faces contorted, not a single one has survived.”

MAY

I Was Born for This by Alice Oseman
Radio Silence was one of my absolute favourite books of last year, so I can’t wait to read her next novel. I also need to pick up her first book, Solitaire, this year.

“For Angel Rahimi, life is only about one thing: The Ark – a pop-rock trio of teenage boys who are currently taking the world by storm.”

Leah on the Offbeat by Becky Albertalli
Love, Simon is one of my most-anticipated movies of the year and I’m looking forward to this sequel to the book.

“Leah Burke—girl-band drummer, master of deadpan, and Simon Spier’s best friend—takes center stage in this novel of first love and senior-year angst.”

JUNE

Save the Date by Morgan Matson
Well, it wouldn’t be summer without a new Morgan Matson, would it? She’s one of my insta-buy authors – her books always make me feel warm and fuzzy.

“Charlie’s older sister is getting married and Charlie can’t wait—for the first time in years, all four of her older siblings will be under one roof. The only problem? The weekend is shaping up to be an absolute disaster.”

From Twinkle, With Love by Sandhya Menon
Like most of the interwebz, I adored When Dimple Met Rishi (perhaps I’ll re-read it this year!), and immediately added Sandhya’s upcoming books (like When Ashish Met Sweetie) to my wishlist.

“Told through the letters Twinkle writes to her favourite female filmmakers, From Twinkle, with Love navigates big truths about friendship, family, and the unexpected places love can find you.”

How Do You Like Me Now? by Holly Bourne
I’ve already reviewed Holly Bourne’s relatable and hilarious first adult novel, but I can’t wait to get my hands on a physical copy and re-read it over the summer!

“Holly Bourne is known for writing relatable teenagers, but, as a 28-year-old, How Do You Like Me Now? is her most relatable novel (for me) so far.”

JULY

Floored by Various
I couldn’t not add this! Floored is a YA contemporary story told from the perspective of six characters and a mysterious narrator, written by a bunch of my favourite authors, including Sara Barnard and Lisa Williamson.

“After they go through a traumatic experience together, the lives of six strangers become intertwined, and they decide to meet once a year to commemorate the day they met and the person they lost.”

AUGUST

Only Love Can Break Your Heart by Katherine Webber
I really enjoyed Katie Webber’s Wing Jones and can’t wait to read her next dreamy YA novel. Only Love Can Break Your Heart is about “a popular girl with secrets and cracks in her heart and the boy who thinks she’s perfect.”

OCTOBER

The Lady’s Guide to Petticoats and Piracy by Mackenzi Lee
Much to my surprise, I absolutely loved The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue – Henry and Percy are my faves – and I’m sure the sequel will be equally as amazing.

“A sequel to The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue, narrated by Felicity and featuring travel, pirates, and a science girl gang.”

The Secret Commonwealth by Philip Pullman
I loved being part of The Book of Dust hype last year and will definitely be picking up the sequel to La Belle Sauvage – I’m sure the cover will be stunning, too.

“The Secret Commonwealth will feature Lyra Silvertongue as a twenty-year-old undergraduate, travelling to Central Asia via the Levant.”

Are any of these books on your wishlist?