Sunday, 20 July 2014

Book Review: The Worst Girlfriend In The World by Sarra Manning

The Worst Girlfriend in the WorldTitle: The Worst Girlfriend In The World 
Author: Sarra Manning
Series: n/a
Pages: 352
Publisher: ATOM Books
Date of Publication: 1st May, 2014
Source: Bought
Synopsis from Goodreads: My best friend was now my deadliest enemy, the one person I'd hate beyond all measure for the rest of my life . . .

Franny Barker's best friend, Alice, is the worst girlfriend in the world according to the many boys of Merrycliffe-on-Sea. She toys with them, then dumps them. But she'll never dump fashion-obsessed Franny. Nothing and no one can come between them.

Not even tousle-haired rock god, Louis Allen, who Franny's been crushing on hard. Until Alice, bored with immature boys and jealous of Franny's new college friends, sets her sights on Louis. Suddenly, best friends are bitter rivals.

Is winning Louis's heart worth more than their friendship? There's only one way for Franny to find out.


My Thoughts:
I read Adorkable last summer, and I absolutely loved it. It was my first of Sarra's books, and I was super excited to read more. The Worst Girlfriend In The World was my second of Sarra's books, and while I didn't enjoy it nearly as much as I loved Adorkable, it was still a good read.

I don't normally go for the typical two best friends both want the same guy story, because I'm always a little wary of situations that sound like love triangles. However, I had faith in Sarra's writing and was happy to find that it wasn't really a love triangle as such - it wasn't Louis, the guy, umming and ahhing about who he likes better, it was mainly focused on Franny's rocky friendship with Alice. Once you realise this, the title of the novel takes on a whole new meaning! In fact the whole book is based on the relationship between the two girls, with their romantic relationships taking a back seat, which I really enjoyed.

I have to admit it took me a while to really get into Franny's story and the novel as a whole, because I couldn't really identify with any of the characters at the beginning of the novel. However, as the story went along and we got to know more about Franny, I began to really enjoy it and by about half way through, I was flying through the pages. I think I read the last half in only two sittings? I really liked reading about all of Franny's fashion adventures and about her trying to make clothes in her fashion course at college. Last year I had a phase where I made a lot of clothes and so it was really cool to read about her trying to sew sleeves into her leather dress because I know from experience that it is bloody hard. Franny's experiences with her mentally ill mother were also really interesting to read about, since I've not read much about characters with mental illnesses. It made Franny seem that much more real and mature and I think that Sarra dealt with a sensitive issue really well.

I really like the supporting characters too. I loved reading about how Franny became friends with all her college classmates, and also her developing relationships with Frances, Louis and Raj. I think Raj was my favourite - he didn't have a massive part but when he was around he was really funny. I also really liked Frances, and I'm so happy with his storyline. I don't want to spoil anything so I won't say anything else but he was great. I couldn't get on with Alice though. She and I are like chalk and cheese and I couldn't really relate to her at all.

Overall though, The Worst Girlfriend In The World was a good read. I would recommend if you're looking for a story of the relationship between friends and family rather than just romance. Sarra's writing is enjoyable and easy to read, and the story gets better and better as it goes along and you get to know the characters. It'd make a really great summer read!


Sunday, 13 July 2014

Book Review: Murder Most Unladylike by Robin Stevens

Murder Most Unladylike (Wells and Wong, #1)Title: Murder Most Unladylike
Author: Robin Stevens
Series:  Wells and Wong, #1
Pages:  324
Publisher: Corgi
Date of Publication: 5th June, 2014
Source: for review from Corgi via NetGalley
Synopsis from Goodreads: Deepdean School for Girls, 1934. When Daisy Wells and Hazel Wong set up their very own deadly secret detective agency, they struggle to find any truly exciting mysteries to investigate. (Unless you count the case of Lavinia's missing tie. Which they don't, really.)

But then Hazel discovers the Science Mistress, Miss Bell, lying dead in the Gym. She thinks it must all have been a terrible accident - but when she and Daisy return five minutes later, the body has disappeared. Now the girls know a murder must have taken place . . . and there's more than one person at Deepdean with a motive.

Now Hazel and Daisy not only have a murder to solve: they have to prove a murder happened in the first place. Determined to get to the bottom of the crime before the killer strikes again (and before the police can get there first, naturally), Hazel and Daisy must hunt for evidence, spy on their suspects and use all the cunning, scheming and intuition they can muster. But will they succeed? And can their friendship stand the test?


My Thoughts:
There was so much hype surrounding this book on Twitter that I couldn't not read it. Everyone was saying that it was like Sherlock Holmes, but set in a girls' boarding school in 1930s England, with Sherlock and Watson as two schoolgirls who have bunbreak everyday. That's all I needed to know to want to read it. I had high expectations and I was not disappointed.

Murder Most Unladylike is a middle grade title and reads really easily. The plot is simple and quite predictable, but it is very adorable and Robin Stevens really manages to bring Deepdean School for Girls in 1934 to life. Hazel Wong and her friend Daisy Wells are the only two members of Wells and Wong's Detective Society. Their usual cases are only trivial, until one day Hazel discovers the body of her Science mistress, Miss Bell, on the floor of the school gym. But, five minutes later, the body has gone. The pair are convinced it was a murder and are determined to deduce what happened, and so they embark on their hunt for the truth.

The book is told from Hazel's point of view, and I think that Robin got the voice of a young schoolgirl spot on. I was able to imagine life at Deepdean in detail and I really loved the feel of the school. I know I mention it a lot but I really love boarding school books (although I can't decide whether I'd love to go to one or hate it) and I was definitely not disappointed by Deepdean! I mean, how could I be? They have BUNBREAK. They literally stop lessons to go outside and eat cakes and biscuits. That is the point of bunbreak. Sounds AWESOME. (I have cake break at school half way through double lessons, but it's not nearly as cool as bunbreak sounds). Anyway, I digress.

I really liked reading about Hazel and Daisy's friendship as the novel progresses. Like with most friendships, Hazel and Daisy go through their rough patches and fall out, but I really enjoyed reading about how they patched things up and made up too. I used to fall out with friends a lot over silly things (I've got a lot better now) but it still happens occasionally and so I could relate to the girls quite well. That's not to say that they weren't friends for a lot of it - quite the contrary! I loved seeing the girls stick up for each other in front of the other girls, especially when Daisy stood up for Hazel when she was subject to racial prejudice (she's Asian). It was awesome. I think the racism was handled really well and added a little more depth to an otherwise fun and playful novel, but without weighing it down and being too serious.

The murder itself is quite predictable, however I still enjoyed reading about all the clues that the girls found and all their theories about who did it and how and why. I had some exams that needed revising for when I reached about half way through, which detracted from it a bit and caused me to lose interest a little, but once I'd got the exams out of the way I picked it back up and it didn't take me long to finish. Don't let that put you off though because it really is a great read that can be enjoyed by adults and young people alike! I can't wait to read more of Robin's books, and any more Wells and Wong stories that might be written in the future!


*Huge thanks to Random House and NetGalley for allowing me to access this title in exchange for an honest review. In no way has this affected my opinion of the book. 

Thursday, 10 July 2014

Blog Tour: The Secret Diary of Lizzie Bennet by Bernie Su and Kate Rorick

Hey everyone! Today is my stop on the blog tour for The Secret Diary of Lizzie Bennet by Bernie Su and Kate Rorick, which is the novelisation of the hugely successful Lizzie Bennet Diaries webseries on YouTube! If you haven't watched them yet, you simply must, for they are BRILLIANT! You can watch the first video below or on the Lizzie Bennet website itself, and enter a giveaway to win one of five copies of the book.

The Secret Diary of Lizzie Bennet

Synopsis from Goodreads: Based on the Emmy Award–winning YouTube series The Lizzie Bennet Diaries.

Twenty‑four‑year‑old grad student Lizzie Bennet is saddled with student loan debt and still living at home along with her two sisters—beautiful Jane and reckless Lydia. When she records her reflections on life for her thesis project and posts them on YouTube, she has no idea The Lizzie Bennet Diaries will soon take on a life of their own, turning the Bennet sisters into internet celebrities seemingly overnight.

When rich and handsome Bing Lee comes to town, along with his stuck‑up friend William Darcy, things really start to get interesting for the Bennets—and for Lizzie’s viewers. But not everything happens on‑screen. Lucky for us, Lizzie has a secret diary.

The Secret Diary of Lizzie Bennet takes readers deep inside Lizzie’s world and well beyond the confines of her camera—from the wedding where she first meets William Darcy to the local hangout of Carter’s bar, and much more. Lizzie’s private musings are filled with revealing details about the Bennet household, including her growing suspicions about her parents’ unstable financial situation, her sister’s budding relationship with Bing Lee, the perils of her unexpected fame, and her uncertainty over her future—and whom she wants to share it with.

Featuring plenty of fresh twists to delight fans and new readers alike, The Secret Diary of Lizzie Bennet expands on the web series phenomenon that captivated a generation and reimagines the Pride and Prejudice story like never before.








Here are the first three episodes to get you started if you haven't already watched them - I can't emphasise how much you need to watch them because they're fabulous! There are 100 episodes, as well as 10 Q&A videos, and some videos from Lydia Bennet too. It's so cleverly done and I cannot recommend it enough. The book is also AMAZING and it gives you even more about the things that Lizzie only talks about in her videos - particularly noteworthy is Lizzie, Gigi and DARCY's day trip... But you'll just have to read it to find out what happens! Don't have a copy though...? Well, today's your lucky day! *cue cheesy music*

Here's your chance to win one of five copies of The Secret Diary of Lizzie Bennet! All you have to do to enter is comment on this post and tell me:

If you could be a character in any of Jane Austen's novels, which character from which story would you be, and why? 

Once you've done that, enter all your details into the Rafflecopter widget below and come back in one week's time to see if you're a lucky winner! 


Thanks for stopping by! I really hope you'll read The Secret Diary of Lizzie Bennet, and watch the videos if you haven't already, and enter the giveaway! Don't forget to check out all the other stops on the blog tour too.



Friday, 4 July 2014

Book Review: Don't Even Think About It by Sarah Mlynowski

Don't Even Think About ItTitle: Don't Even Think About It
Author: Sarah Mlynowski
Series:  n/a
Pages:  304
Publisher: Orchard Books
Date of Publication: 1st May, 2014
Source: For review from the publisher via netGalley
Synopsis from Goodreads: This is the story of how we became freaks. It's how a group of I's became a we.

When Class 10B got their flu shots, they expected some side effects. Maybe a sore arm. Maybe a headache. They definitely didn't expect to get telepathy. But suddenly they could hear what everyone was thinking. Their friends. Their teachers. Their parents. Now they all know that Tess has a crush on her best friend, Teddy. That Mackenzie cheated on Cooper. That Nurse Carmichael used to be a stripper. Some of them will thrive. Some of them will break. None of them will ever be the same.


My Thoughts:
I'd heard a lot of good things about this book from people who've read it on Twitter and Goodreads, so I was excited to get started and once I had I knew it wouldn't take me long. I've only read one of Sarah Mlynowski's other books, Ten Things We Shouldn't Have Done. which I really enjoyed, and so I was expecting more of the same (which I'm happy to report, I got!). With a very readable voice and an interesting concept, Don't Even Think About It was a fun read that I'd definitely recommend for a light summer read.

The story goes like this: a class in a high school in America get their flu jabs. Or what they think are flu jabs. However, instead of vaccinating them against the flu, they get telepathy. Pretty cool, right? Well, at first it kind of is, for some of the students, at least... But then secrets start coming out and there's nowhere to hide, and that's where the story gets interesting.

I really liked the concept of the book. I've read about people who can mind read before, but as far as I can remember, I've never read anything about a whole group of people can read everyone's minds. It's much more interesting than just having say, one (*ahem*Edward Cullen*ahem*) who can read your mind - that's not much fun! I liked reading about how at first everyone was like, 'Ooh this is cool' and they can find out all of the gossip (who doesn't love a bit of gossip? ;) ) and then the downward spiral as they realise they no longer have any privacy any more and find out all about each other - things that they do not want to know, or to be known about themselves.

While I did enjoy it, there was one thing that really bugged me. There are so many characters and it jumps from each character's story without warning and without indication. There are at least fifteen in the class who get the telepathy, and the novel tries to follow all of their stories individually and it gets a bit confusing. It took me about half the book to finally be able to remember everyone's names, let alone what each of their secrets were and what their story was, and occasionally I had to flip back and reread sections just to remind myself of what had happened, which was kind of a bummer. By the end of the book though I'm pretty sure I had it all ironed out so don't let that put you off.

Overall Don't Even Think About It is a really good read, and I definitely recommend it if you're in the mood for a light-hearted and fun teenage drama with a little science fiction-esque twist. While it is perhaps a little messy in execution, the narrative voice is easy to read and it has a really authentic teenage feel to the story and the characters. I'm looking forward to reading more of Sarah's books in the future!


*Huge thanks to Orchard Books and NetGalley for allowing me access to this title in exchange for an honest review! In no way has this affected my opinion of the book. 

Tuesday, 1 July 2014

June Wrap Up 2014

Hellooooo! It's crazy to think we are half way through this year already (which means only six months until Christmas)! Here's what I've been reading in June.

After Iris (The Diaries of Bluebell Gadsby, #1)  Don't Even Think About It  Murder Most Unladylike (Wells and Wong, #1)

1. The Fault In Our Stars by John Green (reread)
2. Say Her Name by James Dawson
3. After Iris by Natasha Farrant
4. Don't Even Think About It by Sarah Mlynowski
5. Murder Most Unladylike by Robin Stevens

I decided it was about time I reread TFIOS, since the film came out this month and I first read it two and a half years ago. Of course it was great and I also really loved the film, which I have now seen twice and plan to see again at some point soon. I've had the sequel to After Iris for a while now so thought it was high time to start the series - it was a fun and easy read that only took about a day to read which was great. Don't Even Think About It is strange but I really enjoyed it! I definitely would not like to have telepathy... Finally Murder Most Unladylike was really good - I lost my momentum a little in the middle due to some pesky Latin exams that needed revising but when I'd done those and got back into it it was a lot of fun. It was a little predictable but it redeemed itself in its adorableness so all round it was a really good read.

Say Her Name

My favourite book of the month was probably Say Her Name by James Dawson. I just love boarding school books and this one is just creepy enough to make you not want to read it at night or while you're alone... You can read my full review here if you're interested! I also got to attend the launch party for this on the 12th June which was a lot of fun so thanks to James and Hot Key Books for hosting that one!

This month's posts:

REVIEW: Lobsters by Tom Ellen and Lucy Ivison
REVIEW: Out of Control by Sarah Alderson
REVIEW: Say Her Name by James Dawson

New books this month:



I got quite a lot of new books this month from the lovely publishers so I want to say a huge thanks to Simon and Schuster, Chicken House, Faber & Faber, HarperCollins, Penguin, Hodder and Electric Monkey! I'm currently reading The Secret Diary of Lizzie Bennet, which is a retelling of Pride & Prejudice to accompany the Lizzie Bennet Diaries video series on YouTube which you should definitely check out if you haven't already as they're FAB. I absolutely cannot wait to read Since You've Been Gone as I'm a huge fan of Morgan Matson and I've heard it does not disappoint. Louder Than Words and Maybe One Day look really interesting, and the two Faber books, Tales from a Neurotic Zombie and Archie Greene and the Magician's Secret, as well as The Neptune Conspiracy, look like a lot of fun. I decided it was time to read The Giver by Lois Lowry, since it's coming out as a film in the summer (with Taylor Swift) and obviously you have to read it before watching it! A Little In Love is not something I would normally go for but I am looking forward to giving it a read - I wasn't such a fan of the Les Mis film but I'll try it anyway when I get the chance. And then finally, Roomies! I've read this already and reviewed it and I got quoted on the first page, yay! I've never been quoted before so that was super exciting. I can't wait to read all of these books!

Finally here are some great books coming out in July that you should definitely look out for!

Violet Ink  Solitaire  Dark of the Moon (Shipwrecked, #2)
Scarlett Fever (Scarlett, #2)  Silver Shadows (Bloodlines, #5)  Zom-B Clans (Zom-B, #8)

Thanks for reading!

What have you most enjoyed reading this month?
Have you read any of these titles?
What are you most looking forward to reading in July?



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