Book Review: Prince Charming (Royals) – Rachel Hawkins

It isn’t every day that your older sister is set to marry a member of the royal family, but that’s the position that Daisy and her family find themselves in – and she wants no part of it. She’s happy with her florida life, her mermaid red hair and staying out of the paparazzi’s way. But, when a whiff of scandal comes for Daisy she’s shipped off the Scotland…and it’s just the beginning of a royal rollercoaster.

I picked this up at YALC last year, but didn’t get around to it until earlier this year and I’m kicking myself for waiting that long! This is a light story but one that is a lot of fun and has a healthy dose of romance. When I bought my copy the novel was called Royals, this has been update this year to Prince Charming, with a new cover to die for.

First things first, our protagonist, Daisy, is an absolute delight. She’s hilarious but also glaringly normal – which is why you relate to her so much. There’s no rule book on what to do if you become in laws to the royal family or how to get on with the aristocracy when it’s a whole different world – I know I would struggle!

When Daisy meets the younger royals and their friends, Prince Seb, Monty and the rest of the ‘Royal Wreckers’ is when the fun really begins. As Monty is instructed to teach Daisy the royal ropes, he finds his work cut out for him. Daisy doesn’t fit the role of the traditional lady, but it’s because of that she can teach them a thing or two.

I really enjoyed seeing the relationship between Daisy and her older sister Ellie evolve throughout the book. It’s clear at the start they are very different people with different priorities but they need each other – even if they don’t always see it. I wish we saw more of the sister relationship in YA, this is part of the reason the novel really stood out for me.

I gave this 5 stars, this was an absolute joy to read. It had the perfect amount of romance, comedy and royalty for me to enjoy. I’ve recommended this to a lot of people and I will continue to. Keep an eye out for my review of the next book in the series (!!) following the roommate of Princess Flora.

Book Review: Internment – Samira Ahmed

In a world reminiscent of Nazi Germany, families are rounded up in the night and put on trains with few belongings and no idea where they are going. This is a world 17 year old Layla finds herself in. Ending up in an Internment Camp for American Muslims, Layla isn’t willing to take this lying down.

With the help of a small group of friends, Layla begins to fight back in any way that she can. But how far can she push before the Director snaps and just how far will he go in his attempts to control the camp.

After reading Samira Ahmed’s first novel, Love Hate & Other Filters I knew I had to preorder her new book and it did not disappoint. This is a hard hitting novel. While the writing is superb it is the reflection of today’s society that really got me while reading this book.

Ahmed has tackled Islamophobia in her previous novel, but this takes it to another level. She has managed to make the possibility of these internment camps seem alarmingly real. What makes this possible is not just her talent, but also the parallels she has drawn from what we are seeing today in modern day America.

I also found the relationships that Layla had to be incredibly important to the novel and gave it a more realistic vibe. The fear of her parents, the hope of the young people and the disbelief they have all felt made the novel come alive. I was also pleased to see her own opinions change from the black and white views she holds at the beginning of the novel slowly evolve.

I would say that my only criticism would be that I felt the book could have been longer, things ended quite quickly and I, personally, would have liked more details. I can’t say what on as obviously that would be a spoiler and I really do recommend you read this for yourselves.

I gave this 4.5 stars, it was incredibly well written and , actually, came across as chilling but in a way that needed to be told. Ahmed has a real talent for looking in the face of things society would rather not talk about in regards to growing up as a Muslim in the modern world.

Book Review: This Is Where It Ends – Marieke Nijkamp

This is Where it Ends - Marieke Nijkamp

10:00 a.m. The principal of Opportunity High School finishes her speech, welcoming the entire student body to a new semester and encouraging them to excel and achieve.

10:02 a.m. The students get up to leave the auditorium for their next class.

10:03 a.m. The auditorium doors won’t open.

10:05 a.m. Someone starts shooting.

The novel centres around a school shooting, each perspective is that of someone who has been in contact with the shooter in some way or another – and they all have something to lose. A novel full of suspense, who will get out alive?

I’ve been waiting to read this novel since it was released and I finally picked it up at YALC in the summer. I’m fascinated by how an author gets into writing such a tough novel because, ultimately, there is a lot of risk of not getting it right. I believe that Nijkamp was very sensitive and has fleshed out the characters really well.

I was really pleased to see the LGBT representation in the novel, two of the characters are lesbians and dealing with their breakup as the shooting emerges. There is also a character with a disability, as well as multiple characters who are ethnic minorities – but this doesn’t feel forced at all.

I thought it was really interesting how the novel used social media within the situation. These are teenagers and what we have seen, particularly in response to Parkland, is how young people use social media. Of course, there would be tweets, people would be trying to reach people. This was a good addition on Nijkamp’s part.

The ending was terribly, terribly sad and just leaves the novel on a poignant note. The shooting is, unfortunately, just the start of many people’s nightmares. Some will have to face life without their family members, others will have to live with injuries similar to those in war zones.

I gave this novel 4 stars, this was incredibly well written and tackled an incredibly hard topic. In the current climate, more novels like this should be available to bring awareness to what can happen. If you liked Only Child, one of my top reads of the year, you will also find this to be an excellent novel.

Book Review Girl Made of Stars

Book Review: Girl Made of Stars – Ashley Herring Blake

Girl Made of Stars

When your friend accuses your twin brother of rape where do you turn? Your friend wouldn’t lie, but could the brother you love do this? Add in the complication of an ex-girlfriend and it’s enough to tear anyone apart. This is Mara’s reality.

This novel will break your heart, I need to warn you going into this. I read this while stuck in the hospital and I truly escaped into the novel and felt my heart break but was also blown away. This has so many levels, Mara’s relationship with her brother, with her parents and with her friends.

Ashley Herring Blake really captures the grey area of consent. In many cases of sexual assault, particularly when the accused and accuser know each other things get muddy. That said she has perfectly captured the complexity of the situation and at no point blames the victim.

In the era of #MeToo more stories like this are being heard and even though this novel is fictional it reinforces the message: you deserve to be heard. While this is from Mara’s perspective, this does not take away from the emotions of someone to have gone through such an event. It is superbly written

On another note, I love, love, love that there was a bisexual main character. There are very few I’ve seen that show interest in both sexes within the novel, that was a huge thing for me. This isn’t a huge plot point or a twist it just is what it is and I applaud that.

If you haven’t guessed already, I gave this novel 5 stars. It really is a brilliantly written novel which has heart as well as complexity. This is the kind of novel that should be taught in school, that will give young people something to relate to.

I’d love to hear your thoughts you’ve read this novel. Let me know in the comments below!

Book Review: Tyler Johnson Was Here – Jay Coles

Tyler Johnson Was Here

A party, a raid, a body. Marvin Johnson wants to be closer to his twin brother, who’s been drifting recently. After going to a party with him, Marvin’s life will change forever. Shots are fired and in the middle of a police raid Marvin loses sight of Tyler, what he doesn’t know is that he’ll never see him alive again. After searching Marvin gets the news that Tyler is dead, murdered by a police officer. How can he make sense of the world now?

This book is a masterpiece. I absolutely loved this and it deserves to be read everywhere. I had to go to Foyles in London (which I’m not complaining about it’s one of the best shops in the world) to get this and I haven’t seen it in any local stores! But why did I love it so much?

At the beginning of the novel, we meet Marvin, a high school straight A student with a bright future ahead of him. Kind, quiet and caring Marvin is worried about his twin brother, which leads to the previously mentioned party, and Tyler’s death. The novel quickly delves into the world of racial hatred and shooting of young, unarmed black men that we see again and again in the US.

This is a novel, ultimately about family and identity. The fact that Tyler is murdered at the hands of a police officer isn’t the shocking part to the family. These boys are brought up to be wary of police and that was heartbreaking. Their father is already in prison, their mother working as hard as she can to raise them. Is it any wonder that without his brother by his side Marvin feels lost and confused.

A central part of this novel is how Marvin see’s himself. Should he be continuing to try his hardest, to be respectful and separate himself from the stereotype of where he’s from when that’s all people see? Or should he just embrace it? There are parts within the novel where you just want to reach out to him, especially when he mentions his brother has ‘become a hashtag’.

I gave this novel 5 stars. It’s an important read for modern times. Incredibly, this is Jay Coles’s debut novel I can’t wait to see what he does next.

Book Review: Amy Chelsea Stacie Dee by Mary G Thompson

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Two girls are kidnapped, after six years Amy returns to her mother’s doorstep. What happened to her best friend and cousin, Dee? Is she alive? And why won’t Amy tell anyone what happened in those six years?

I have no doubt this was a difficult novel to write because it is an uncomfortable read. The girls are kidnapped and as you can imagine it’s not sweetness and light. There is kidnap, violence and abuse. The nightmare that 16-year-old Amy has endured hasn’t ended. She must keep quiet or those she loves most will suffer.

Wow, this novel is dark but incredibly gripping. I picked this up at YALC earlier in the year and it did not disappoint. There’s an element of mystery, thriller and heartbreak. This is a page turner, I read this within 24 hours and between that, I slept and went to see a musical so that should give you an inclination of how much of a pageturner it was.

It was also interesting to see the perspective of someone who is still bound by their captor and not in a traditional sense. The character of Amy is incredibly complex and this shows throughout the novel. The idea of someone returning to the world after losing the majority of their childhood is interesting, particularly how they navigate the outside world.

I gave this 4 stars. It feels wrong to say I enjoyed it? This is, of course, a tough subject matter but the novel is incredibly well written. The pacing is perfect for the novel and there is the right amount of information and mystery. That said it didn’t get the full 5 stars because there were certain points I didn’t feel were completely realistic to the situation such as lack of medical. I did enjoy it but there were some things I’d like to have seen. Either way, I’d highly recommend this novel.

The Honeydukes Book Tag!

I love a good book tag, I love Harry Potter so why not combine the two? Now, this is the first tag I’ve ever written so I’m really hoping that you guys enjoy this one! So, what’s it about? We’re combining the sweetest part of the Wizarding World with books, what could be better? Let’s get started and make sure you share your responses with me!

Chocolate Frog

A book that you have multiple copies of because you have no chill

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Chocolate Frogs are a classic in the Potterverse. You’ll end up with a lot of doubles so for this question I’m looking at a book I have multiple copies of. I could have used Potter but for this, I’ve used one of my faves, The Fault in Our Stars because you need to have a signed and non-signed edition, right?

Sugar Quill

A super sweet read

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Wonder was just a book that made my heart feel so much. If you know anything about the novel you know it will probably make you cry too. Overall though, it gave me the feels and was just so, so sweet.

Exploding Bonbons

A book you love that exploded onto the scene!

The Exact Opposite of Okay - Laura Steven

I was lucky enough to get an ARC of this book and I LOVED it. Then it got released and loads of other people also loved it. I’d highly recommend getting on this novel before the second comes out. My review is here.

Honeydukes Chocolate

A book that can fight off Dementors

Reasons to Stay Alive - Matt Haig

This is the ultimate Dementor fighter, alongside Haig’s newest book Notes On A Anxious Planet. If you’re having a rough time this is the book to pick up. It’s not in your face but is a gentle way to find your way out of a dark time.

Pepper Imps

A book that blew your mind!

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If you like weird, you’ll like Nutshell. This is told from the perspective of an unborn foetus who is incredibly intelligent. It’s so well done though? Absolutely blew my mind. Review here.

Pumpkin Pasties

A book that gets you ready for Autumn

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You didn’t think I’d forget the series that inspired this tag? While all of the Potter books start in the summer, there’s going back to school, Halloween etc. I might even start a reread on September 1st…

Cockroach Clusters

A book you wish you’d never read

Clean Juno Dawson

I know, I know this is really controversial. The book just made me so, so mad. To me, it just gave a message of forgetting about the average person with a mental illness and focusing on the uber rich. Not my kinda novel.

Bertie Botts Every Flavour Beans

A book you make everyone try (even if it might not be their taste)

The Bell Jar - Sylvia Plath

I’ve spoken many times about how Slyvia Plath meant a lot to me, so much so I wrote my dissertation on her works. So I always recommend this to everyone, even if I don’t know if they’ll like it because I think it’s a really close depiction of the depths of mental illness.

Blood Flavoured Lollipops 

 A book that you love, but others aren’t so sure on

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Now, if you give me a choice between a new release and a classic I’ll pick a new release BUT when I got to uni I had to read some and then I found Jane Eyre. I’ve encountered people who think it’s quite long and a bore but I adore Jane and everything she achieves.

Cauldron Cakes

A book you shared with all of your friends

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I made 3 of my closest friends read this, and almost all of them have now finished the series. We’re all more than a little bit obsessed!

 

So, that is my first tag! I hope you enjoyed it and please make sure to link or tweet me with yours! I can’t wait to see them