Review of Tilly Maguire and the Royal Wedding Mess

40728740

Unapologetically swoon-worthy, yet powerfully (dare I say) feminist in its characterisation of the main character, Tilly Maguire and the Royal Wedding Mess presented an independent, strong female lead that had me gushing. Tilly may’ve be an (ex)major fan of the main love interest, pop-star, Reuben Vaughan, but that didn’t mean she was going to collapse at his feet, something which I really respected in her character.

Goodreads synopsis:

Aspiring writer, 18-year-old Tilly Maguire, is a totally reformed ex-superfan of British boyband singer, Reuben Vaughan. Yeah, she was going to marry him when she was thirteen, but that fangirl phase is way in her past now, along with an unfortunate side ponytail and a weird obsession with galaxy leggings – ugh. Cringe!

When her writing wins Tilly a six-week internship at a top London PR firm, she doesn’t expect to stumble from a long-haul flight straight into an A-list debacle of her own making, but these things happen. She proves to the entire world that jet lag and social media definitely don’t mix.

Obviously, Tilly didn’t intend to get tangled in a ridiculous scandal involving the British royal family. She’s not the attention-seeking type! She’s just a socially awkward introvert, with a galloping case of anxiety made even worse after a high-profile run-in with the very last person she ever imagined she’d meet for real.

Not on her gap year, anyway.

And not like this!

Sure, the story is unequivocally romantic, over-the-top (in the best possible way) and just plain dramatic (with a capital ‘d’, if you insist), but somehow it didn’t feel, stale or cliche. With LGBT+ and mental health representation, plus an Australian main character (yay!), TMATRWM was more substantial than just your usual ‘fluffy’ read. An amazing book that I have already begun ambushing my friends with, Tilly Maguire and the Right Royal Wedding Mess would be perfect for fans of Geek Girl and The Princess Diaries.

I received a digital copy of this book from the publisher in return for an honest review.

Image credit Goodreads.

Ten of the Longest Books I’ve Ever Read | TTT 9/10/18

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by  That Artsy Girl. This week’s topic is all about the longest books you’ve read. This seems like a really intriguing topic to me as, while a few titles come to mind, I’m usually deterred by longer novels as I’m scared that they will drag on longer than necessary.

Image credit goes to Goodreads.

  1. The Gentlemen’s Guide to Vice and Virtue by Mackenzie Lee (513 pages). Like many fellow fans, I saved every page of the book.
  2. What If It’s Us by Adam Silvera & Becky Albertalli (448 pages). My most recent read from this list, despite worrying it would drag on, I actually found the book to be rather action packed.
  3. Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell (481 pages). A little slow but still a sweet book…? I can’t help but feel that the book’s hype skews my opinion slightly.

  4. Whisper to Me by Nick Lake (530 pages). I’ll take any opportunity I get to praise this book (it really is that good 😉). Trust me when I say the 530 pages fly by.
  5. Blink and You Die (Ruby Redfort #6) by Lauren Child (560pages). Both the longest book on my list and the longest book in the Ruby Redfort series, I was enthralled in Blink and You Die until the last page.
  1. Mummun by Jesse Andrews (407 pages). The length took its toll on this novel’s pace and it ended up a little slow & boring.
  2. Head Over Heels (Geek Girl #5) by Holly Smale (416 pages). While it’s definitely not my favourite novel in the Geek Girl series (certainly still a cute book though), it does hold the title of the longest (not actually sure if this is a good thing…😂).
  3. Since You’ve Been Gone by Morgan Matson (464 pages). Definitely slow-paced which I feel somewhat suits its holiday read appeal.
  4. Girl In Pieces by Kathleen Glasgow (416 pages). An emotional rollercoaster of a book, the last 150pages were by far my most enjoyable.
  5. The School for Good and Evil by Soman Chainani (544 pages). I never actually realised how long this book is (I guessed it was around 400 pages) which probably says something about how thoroughly enthralled I was in it.

What are the longest books that you’ve read (do they beat my 560 pages?)? Do you have any of these books on your TBR? Leave a link to your TTT and I’ll make sure to stop by. 

The 2018 Inky Awards Shortlist Has Been Announced & Voting is Now Open!

insideadog-small.png

The Inside a Dog Inky Awards , which are run by The Centre for Youth Literature at State Library Victoria, are the only young adult novel awards in Australia that are judged and voted on solely by teenagers. A few weeks back, I posted to share my excitement at seeing some of my favourite ya books make the longest. Now, the shortlist has been announced and I am still as excited as ever!

Since the longlist announcement in March, the books have been slimmed down from these 20 books:

Gold Inky Awards 2018 SMALLSilver Inky Awards 2018 SMALL-1

To these top 10:

shortlist.preview

(Note: the ‘Gold Inky Awards’ focus on books Australian authors, while the ‘Silver Inky Awards’ are for international authors).

My thoughts on the shortlist:

Beautiful Mess by Claire Christian was one of my favourite reads of last year so I am hyped to see it make the cut.

I’m disappointed that The Lonliest Girl in the Universe by Lauren James wasn’t chosen- it’s an amazing book that is completely underrated.

I adored The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice & Virtue by Mackenzi Lee and think it is well deserving of all its hype.

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas was an okay read for me. While its message is important, the writing style and slow start downgraded my rating to a 3.5 out of 5.

Release, In Dark Spaces and Take Three Girls are all novels that I’m interested in reading, especially Release by Patrick Ness, which I own a copy of.

Follow the link to find out more about the Inky Awards for 2018 and to vote.  Voting is now open (for teen readers) and closes on 16th September. Winners will be announced by The State Library of Victoria on 2nd October.

Have you read any of the shortlisted books? Were you disappointed to see a favourite book not make the cut?

 

My Favourite Reads of June & July

June was a great month of reading for me and July was… well, slow, to say the least. Nonetheless, some great books have made their way onto my book log over the past two months, including some of my most anticipated ya books (think Meet Cute and One of Us is Lying) and some timeless classics (think To Kill a Mockingbird and The Catcher in the Rye).

Favourite Reads of June & July.jpg

Review of Forever Geek by Holly Smale

32288152

“My name is Harriet Manners, and I am a geek.”

These were the words that first captivated readers worldwide after Geek Girl’s initial release in early 2013. These words would lead fans on a four-year long journey of anticipation, hope and heartbreak, before the series finale, Forever Geek, was released last year. Refreshing, action-packed and heartbreaking, the highly anticipated end to the Geek Girl saga brings new life to Harriet Manners, the series’ heroine, while still providing all of the laughs, fun and awkwardness that readers first fell in love with.

Plot

The story, which follows the same tried and true Geek Girl formula as the past books, once again sees Harriet jetting across the globe. This time, to the sunny east coast of Australia with her eccentric Grandmother, Bunty, and best friend, Natalie. While her friends and family soak up the sunshine, Harriet is forced to contemplate the question of whether she will see Australian supermodel ex-boyfriend, Nick, and, more importantly, whether she wants to.

Thoughts

On the surface, the book is a quick, easy read and, for the most part, it is. However, Forever Geek is also, in some regards, the Geek Girl book where we see Harriet at her most serious. Faced with numerous family, friendship and romantic changes, Harriet provides the basis for a number of inspiring underlying themes which are hide beneath the story’s humorous exterior.

tumblr_nn7sjoB5Gt1tv4k5po1_500

Altogether, Forever Geek, provides the perfect conclusion to the 6 book Geek Girl saga. Filled with wit and charm, the book takes readers on a heart-warming journey that is every bit as humorous as it is heartbreaking. An absolute must read that’s perfect for fans of Rainbow Rowell, Morgan Matson and Nicola Yoon. 5 stars!

 

 

 

2018 Inky Awards Longlist- Which Book is Your Favourite?

2018 Inky Awards Longlist Poster.jpg

The 2018 Inky Awards longlist was recently announced and I was excited to see some of my favourite books make the cut. The Inside A Dog Inky Awards are run by the State Library Victoria and looks at the best YA books, both from Australia and Internationally. Here are some of my favourites from the list, along with the ones highest on my TBR.

Gold Inky Awards 2018 SMALL.jpg

Australian titles- read:

Beautiful Mess by Claire Christian. I absolutely adored this book & gave it 5 stars when I reviewed it earlier this year. You can find my review here.

Australian titles- want to read:

Wreck by Fleur Ferris. I don’t know much about this book, however it looks interesting.

In the Dark Spaces by Cally Black. I’m desperate to read this book despite it not really seeming like the kind of book I would normally go for.

Take Three Girls by Cath Crowley, Simmone Howell & Fiona Wood. I loved Words in Deep Blue by Cath Crowley and am happy to read anything she writes.

Silver Inky Awards 2018 SMALL-1

International titles- read:

The Loneliest Girl in the Universe by Lauren James. This book had an AMAZING plot twist- I would highly recommend it to anyone looking for a great read.

One of Us is Lying by Karen M. McManus. I have to say that the revelation wasn’t all that surprising to me (reading a large number of Agatha Christies seems to have sharpened my plot twist cracking senses ;)) but it was still a fun read.

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas. Admittedly a little slow to start off with but overall an important book.

The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue by Mackenzi Lee. An adorable read.

International titles- want to read:

Turtles All The Way Down by John Green. I liked but didn’t love TFIOS so it’ll be interesting to see how this one turns out.

The Upside of Unrequited by Becky Albertalli. I loved Simon so this is high on my TBR.

Release by Patrick Ness. I own a copy of this book & have been waiting for the right opportunity to get stuck in.

Genuine Fraud by E. Lockhart. I’ve heard good things about this one.

Have you read any of these books? What did you think of them? 

 

 

 

2018 Mid Year Freak Out Tag

Is it just me or has this year gone super fast (so far)? We’re officially more than halfway through 2018 & I simply can’t believe it. So far, I’ve read 41 of the 80 book goal that I pledged to read for my Goodreads challenge which is certainly promising. I was never tagged for this meme, however I saw it over at Hammock of Books.

  1.  Best Book You’ve Read So Far in 2017? Moonrise by Sarah Crossan. This was a beautifully written book that made me cry (& cry & cry). I would recommend this novel to anyone.
  2.  New Release You Haven’t Read Yet, But Want to? Where I Live by Brenda Rufener was one of my most anticipated reads of this year and I am disappointed to not have found a copy by now. it was released on 27th Feb.
  3.  Most Anticipated Release of the Second Half of 2018? The Lady’s Guide to Petticoats and Piracy by Mackenzi Lee. I’m hopeful that the next instalment in the Gentlemen’s Guide duology will live up to it’s hype.
  4.  Biggest Disappointment? 806 by Cynthia Weil. I didn’t necessarily have super high hopes for this book yet it still bitterly disappointed me.
  5.  Biggest Surprise? The Upside of Falling Down by Rebekah Crane. I wasn’t sure about this one at the start, however, by the end I was well and truly won over.

Image credit goes to Goodreads.

  1. Favourite New Author? Agatha Christie! I read And Then There Were None a couple of months ago and loved it so much that I immediately went out and found 2 more Christie novels.
  2. Book That Made You Cry? Definitely Moonrise by Sarah Crossan. You Don’t Know My Name by Kristen Orlando History is All You Left Me by Adam Silvera are on the list as well.
  3. Book That Made You Happy? Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli. Overall, a super cute book that made me smile.
  4. Newest Fictional Crush? Max from Dreamology by Lucy Keating. A great book with an adorable love interest. *swoon*.
  5. Favourite Review You’ve Written This Year? Most likely The Princess Saves Herself In This One by Amanda Lovelace- Review.

Are you excited for the 2nd half of the year? Have you read any of the books mentioned above? What did you think of them? Feel free to tag yourself & take part in this tag if you haven’t done it yet! 🙂

Popular YA Stories to Share- Which are Your Favourites?

Top 25 YA Books WBD copy

When I found this list of favourite stories to share I was intrigued to see how many of them I had read (it turns out that I’ve only read 6 of them). While my second thought was that I could read of of the other 19 books as part of a challenge, there are some books there that I don’t imagine myself wanting to read. Here are the 6 that I’ve read & the others that are on my TBR.

Read:

  1. The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas, John Boyne. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️. This was, of course, a great read. Almost everyone has read it but that doesn’t stop it from being amazing.
  2. The Book Thief, Markus Zusak ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️. Another amazing read that I would highly recommend.
  3. TFIOS, John Green ⭐️⭐️⭐️. EVERYONE has read this book. I liked it at the time but thinking back over it now, it seems a little cliche.
  4. I am Malala, Malala Yousafzai ⭐️⭐️⭐️. Certainly inspirational, however there was a lot about religion & history that didn’t interest me as much.
  5. The Hate U Give, Angie Thomas ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️. An interesting read, a little slow at the start but overall pretty good.
  6. Everything Everything, Nicola Yoon ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️. Slightly cliched but still cute.

Böcker

Want to read:

  1. One, Sarah Crossan. I read Moonrise by Sarah Crossan and absolutely loved it. This seems like a great read too.
  2. Orangeboy, Patrick Lawrence. I don’t know a whole lot about this one but it looks interesting nonetheless.
  3. The Curious Incident of The Dog in the Night-time, Marx Haddon. I have this one on my bookshelf and am hoping to get to it soon.
  4. Salt to the Sea, Ruta Sepetys. I haven’t actually heard of this book but it sounds really good.
  5. A Monster Calls, Patrick Ness. Patrick Ness’ books can be a bit on-off for me, I liked More Than This so might give this one a go.
  6. The Arrival, Shaun Tan. Apparently this book has no words, only illustrations, which, to me, sounds like reason enough to test it out.
  7. The Art of Being Normal, Lisa Williamson. This seems like a really important book and definitely one to add some variety to my reading list.

Overall, I feel like most of these books are either the novels that everyone knows about and everyone seems to like or the classics that your English teacher forces you to read. Despite this, there are still some interesting books on the list, and I’m excited to test out a few of them.

Top Ten Books I’d Slay a Lion to Get Early| TTT 01/05/18

Top Ten Tuesday was hosted by  The Broke and The Bookish but has recently moved to That Artsy Girl. This week’s topic is all about the books that you’d do Anything to get early. Anything. I’m super excited for this list as I have a fair few new releases on my TBR and haven’t ad the opportunity to discuss them in depth yet.

Image credit goes to Goodreads.

  1. The Lady’s Guide to Petticoats and Piracy by Mackenzie Lee. Oh my, I absolutely cannot wait to read the next instalment in the Guide Series. Felicity was one of my favourite parts of the first book so a whole story about her seems too good to be true!
  2. 35396511.jpgWhat If It’s Us by Adam Silvera & Becky Albertalli. I read History is All You Left Me earlier this year and thought it was super sweet. This book is getting a lot of hype so I can’t wait to see how good it really is.
  3. From Twinkle, With Love by Sandhya Menon. When Dimple Met Rishi was adorable  so I can’t wait to read more of Sandhya’s work.
  4. The Cheerleaders by Kara Thomas. A YA psychological thriller is always a very welcome addition to my reading pile and this one seems especially intriguing (it’s giving me serious People Like Us vibes).
  5. The Mermaid’s Voice Returns in This One by Amanda Lovelace. Don’t even get me started on how much I love Amanda Lovelace’s work, I read both of the other books at the start of this year and would do almost anything to get my hands on a copy of this next book.
  6. FnG Final Title.CapN
    Love & Luck by Jenna Evans Welch. 
    From the author of Love and Gelato, this one seems like a super cute read.
  7. If Only by Jennifer Gilmore. This book seems fresh and original, plus, the blurb reminds me of a book that my friend and I started writing last year so it’ll be interesting to see how that works out.
  8. Freak ‘N’ Gorgeous by Sebastian J. Plata. A fun sounding story about a town where the gorgeous suddenly become the hideous and vice versa
  9. This Is Kind of an Epic Love Story by Kheryn Callender. I don’t know too much about this book, however the synopsis and title sounded fun so Ithought it was worth adding.
  10. An Assassin’s Guide to Love and Treason by Virginia Boecker. While I’m a little worried this is just going to be a bad copy of Gentlemen’s/Lady’s Guide, it does sound interesting in its own right.

What books would you do anything to get early? Do you have any of these books on your TBR? Leave a link to your TTT and I’ll make sure to stop by. 

Review of Down in the Belly of the Whale by Kelley Kay Bowles

 

cover125111-medium

Image credit goes to Goodreads

I received a copy of this book from the publisher in return for an honest review.

 

Publication date: 05 May 2018

Goodreads synopsis:
Harper Southwood is a teenage girl who can sense when people will get sick—but so what? She can’t predict her best friend’s depression or her mother’s impending health crisis. Being helpful is all Harper ever wanted, but she feels helpless in the face of real adversity. Now, she’s got a chance to summon her courage and use her wits to fight for justice. Laugh and cry along with this irrepressible, high-spirited teen in her journey of self-discovery, as she learns that compassion and internal strength are her real gifts, her true superpower.

My thoughts:

Down in the Belly of the Whale started off well, the characters were surprisingly complex and plot was fresh and original. While the narration was a little more immature than I’d hoped, I was kept engaged by the short, sharp chapters and steady action.

Just over half way into the story, however, my attention began to dwindle and I felt that the story could no longer hold my attention as well as it had at the start. It felt like the whole pace of the story had suddenly slowed right down, which was certainly not something I had expected with this book. While I didn’t feel particularly close to any one of the characters, I struggled on, Still wanting to see how their story would end.

Towards the end of the book, the narration got steadily more grating, until I no longer felt the desire to continue reading. While part of me still wants to know how the story concludes, overall, the effort I felt that I had to put into reading the book wasn’t worth what I was getting out of it.

Conclusion:

All in all, Down in the Belly of the Whale just wasn’t the rewarding read I was expecting it to be and while I liked the unique idea of the plot, in the end, the disappointing narration let the story down, leading to me DNFing this book. A 2 star read ⭐️⭐️.