Month: March 2016

My Most Anticipated Movies: July-Sep 2016

After last week’s round-up of my most anticipated movies (Apr-Jun) here, I thought I’d post again, but this time (for the much more movie heavy summer season).

Again, if you think there should be movies on here which don’t appear, feel free to tweet me on twitter (@annalisebooks) or comment below!

July 2016

Now You See Me 2

One year after outwitting the FBI and winning the public’s adulation with their Robin Hood-style magic spectacles, The Four Horsemen resurface for a comeback performance in hopes of exposing the unethical practices of a tech magnate. The man behind their vanishing act is none other than Walter Mabry, a tech prodigy who threatens the Horsemen into pulling off their most impossible heist yet. Their only hope is to perform one last unprecedented stunt to clear their names and reveal the mastermind behind it all.  

Now You See Me (1) was a surprise 2013 summer hit, which I loved. It was clever, funny and mind-boggling brilliant. Now You See Me 2 (unfortunately not called ‘Now You Don’t) appears to follow up well (although Isla Fisher (who I love) has been replaced with Lizzy Caplan (who I also love)). Daniel Radcliffe also adds to the star-studded cast, in perhaps his second most famous foray into magic 😉

Released: 4 July 2016 (UK)


30 years after Ghostbusters took the world by storm, the beloved franchise makes its long-awaited return. Director Paul Feig brings his fresh take to the supernatural comedy, joined by some of the funniest actors working today.  

Now I love Ghostbusters (1 & 2) and so I was naturally excited to hear about a reboot (but this time with women scientists! Yay!), and this looks good. Except for the part where the black woman in the quartet is all ‘street’ and doesn’t know about the ‘science stuff’. It would have been so much cooler if she was a scientist too! The cast looks good, but interestingly it has 4x as many downvotes on YouTube as upvotes.

Released: 15 July 2016

August 2016

Suicide Squad

A secret government agency recruits imprisoned supervillains to execute dangerous black ops missions in exchange for clemency.

I’ve been excited about Suicide Squad for a while – the trailer is seriously amazing. Margot Robbie (Harley Quinn) looks set to dominate this movie, which is impressive considering it has a squad of brilliant actors playing interesting, dark characters. The premise is new and exciting (bad guys doing good) and it looks to take the superhero industry by storm.

Released: 5 August 2016

September 2016

Bridget Jones’ Baby

The continuing adventures of British publishing executive Bridget Jones as she enters her 40s.

No trailer for this one yet – if you haven’t watched the first two films, go watch them pronto (they’re seriously very very good). This film won’t be following the plot of Helen Fielding’s third novel (Mad About the Boy) where (spoilers ahead) Mark Darcy had devastatingly perished before the book picks up. Mr Darcy will be alive and kicking in this film, with Daniel Cleaver (Hugh Grant) missing and replaced by a McDreamy Patrick Dempsey. One trailer I can’t wait for!

Released: 16 September 2016

Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children

When Jacob discovers clues to a mystery that spans different worlds and times, he finds Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children. But the mystery and danger deepen as he gets to know the residents and learns about their special powers.

I haven’t read Miss Peregrine (and I kind of don’t want to) but this trailer really hooked me in. I love Tim Burton movies, and this was filmed quite close to where I live. This movie looks so interesting and detailed, I can’t wait to see what future trailers will bring.

Released: 30 September 2016

That’s it from me – I may update this post later when release dates have been moved around/trailers have been released.

Comment below or tweet me at @annalisebooks!

Annalise x

Review: V for Violet by Alison Rattle

V for Violet by Alison Rattle

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Disclaimer: Review copy received via in exchange for an honest review.

Battersea, 1961. London is just beginning to enter the swinging sixties. The world is changing – but not for sixteen-year-old Violet. She was born at the exact moment Winston Churchill announced Victory in Europe – an auspicious start, but now she’s just stuck in her family’s fish and chip shop dreaming of greatness. And it doesn’t look like fame and fortune are going to come calling anytime soon. Then she meets Beau. Beau’s a rocker – a motorcycle boy who arrives in an explosion of passion and rebellion. He blows up Violet’s grey little life, and she can’t believe her luck. But things don’t go her way for long. Joseph, her long-lost brother, comes home. Then young girls start going missing, and turning up murdered. And then Violet’s best friend disappears too. Suddenly life is horrifyingly much more interesting. Violet can’t believe its coincidence that Joseph turns up just as girls start getting murdered. He’s weird, and she feels sure he’s hiding something. He’s got a secret, and Violet’s got a dreadful feeling it might be the worst kind of secret of all…

V for Violet is the story of Violet, a working-class girl in the early 1960s, stuck working in her family’s fish and chip shop. Her life is shadowed by the loss of her older brother during the war, and her arrival into the world a year later largely went unnoticed – the loss of Joseph still hangs over the family, 16 years on.

Violet is also drifting away from her best friend, Jackie, who has a new job at the sugar factory, and with it, a new gaggle of friends.

And then there’s Beau – the rocker who Violet can’t help being attracted to.

First off, I loved the setting – I loved all the little historical details, and this book really does feel like a fresh addition to the YA market. This is a book which makes you feel like you’re immersed in the 1960s, and the plot involving Joseph was really well executed. I loved the murder mystery element to the story – it really adds a tone of suspicion to most of the characters, and again, it feels different to a lot of YA novels today.

Most YA characters tend to be middle-class, with no money worries or a care in the world – but not Violet. Still being bossed around by her parents, she rebels with rocker Beau, your typical bad-boy and suspected murderer. Even though the bad boy rhetoric has been done a thousand times before, Violet’s attraction to him in understandable, and the murder mystery aspect of the novel adds a darker edge which makes Beau stand out.

I also enjoyed the sub-plot with Jackie – both Jackie and Violet are growing up – and apart – which is a story that I think most people can relate to but is rarely touched upon in YA. Often the heartbreak of losing a dear friend can be more than losing a love interest, and the difficulties in Jackie and Violet’s friendship are realistic and relatable.

If you’re looking for a new UKYA novel that will sweep you off to the swinging 60s, V for Violet is available in all good UK bookshops from 7th April, 2016.

View all my reviews

Annalise x

Review: Paper Butterflies by Lisa Heathfield

Paper Butterflies by Lisa Heathfield

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Release Date: June 30th 2016

My review for Lisa’s debut novel, Seed, can be found here.

Disclaimer: Review copy received in exchange for an honest review.

Paper Butterflies is the story of June, over a period of about 12 years. The story is split between ‘Before’ and ‘After’, with these two time streams intertwining as the story progresses. (I genuinely loved this format – it’s engrossing and clever.)

June’s mother died when she was six, and quickly her stepmother and stepsister moved in. Kathleen, her new stepmother, is the epitome of evil. She force-feeds June, making her overweight, she forces her to vomit and pee herself at school, and she’s an all-round horrible woman. To make matters worse, she plays June’s dad like a fiddle, and June has no-one to turn to – she’s also being horribly bullied at school.

Then June meets Blister (real name: Jacob), and his family. Mr and Mrs Wicks have two biological children (Jacob and Maggie) and five adoptive children, all of whom they teach at home. June has a special bond with Blister’s younger brother, Tom, who has cystic fibrosis.

Paper Butterflies, I think, deals with the difficult topic of child abuse in a good way, although some of the things that happen during the course of the novel are a little unbelievable or illogical (not particularly the abuse June suffers at the hands of Kathleen, but the way June and the other characters act or what happens to her later on in the book).


As the book covers such a long time frame, it doesn’t actually go into too much depth. Themes that start at the beginning of the story (e.g. bullying at school) seem to disappear later on, despite the fact June should still be attending school. Whilst we do have parental figures in this book , they’re pretty relaxed about where June is most of the time (‘cause it’d make a pretty boring book if she was locked up the whole time!). YA has its flaws – and I think one of them has to be that YA novels don’t tend to be long enough to really delve right into the heart of an issue. This means great superficial romances (they’re not long enough for fighting and break-ups), but with some, more serious books, such as this one, I wish they were a little longer, a little more in depth.

I didn’t see the twists and turns coming (in fact, I was completely thrown off course), and I did like the ending, except it suffers massively from what i’m going to call from now on THE GHOST ENDING. Ambiguous endings sometimes (very rarely) work well – they leave you thinking about the issue at hand whilst feeling like the story has come to an end. And then we have the Ghost Ending. This is where the writing just kind of fades away, and you realise there’s not really been a huge conclusion. And you’re not quite sure what’s going to happen next. And you’re never going to find out. I like big, clear endings. With an epilogue, if possible. I like my endings spelt out in big letters – usually HAPPILY EVER AFTER, if we’re talking about YA romance. I don’t like things being left to the imagination, especially when an ending could go any which way and where.


Another thing I dislike in YA novels is the compulsory romance – but I don’t think the romance in this novel felt forced, and the relationship had its flaws. It wasn’t your typical YA insta-love, which is always a bonus.
One thing you should probably think about before diving into this novel is whether you want to read a novel about child abuse. This isn’t your typical YA romance that ends happily ever after (not a bad thing!), it’s a serious novel with a serious message. There’s no sexual abuse of any kind featured in the novel, but there are some pretty haunting scenes, so I’d read this book with that in mind.

Overall, I think this book features an important topic, but it falls into the pitfalls of YA – namely the Ghost Ending and a lack of depth. Other than that, the characters are interesting (they’re diverse, and I loved the inclusion of Tom’s disability), and the story is one of surprises and intrigue. I’m going to have to give this book 3 stars (one star knocked off for the ambiguous ending, and another for the overall lack of depth and realism), but it’s definitely well-worth a read if you’ve enjoyed Seed.

View all my reviews

Annalise x

The Changing Covers of… The Mortal Instruments Series

Welcome to the first in (hopefully) a series that I’m doing mostly for personal interest… ‘The Changing Covers of…’ will look at how different countries have envisioned the same book (and how that actually changes over time).

On the topic of covers, some covers suck. Other covers are brilliant, but then the publisher decides to go in a different direction. I have way too many series where the series starts with one cover, but ends with something completely different. Luckily in YA, we have some honest-to-goodness GORGEOUS covers, and I think TMI is no exception. Let’s get started!


City of Bones, Early UK edition

This is actually the copy of City of Bones which I own, as I was an early adopter of the series and I live in the UK. The City of Ashes cover is similar (albeit red) and the City of Glass cover of this set was revealed… but the copy I received was of the original US editions (they decided to go in a different direction of what was then the last book!). I think this cover makes the series seem darker than it actually is, and although I picked up this copy due to rave reviews, I’m not sure this cover really reflects the fun of the first book.


Mortal Instruments series, First US editions

These were the original covers for the US (and later the UK) – I love the covers for the last three books (with their bold use of colour) and I also love the cityscapes. These will always be the original covers to me.



US edition, Redesign

Photo Credit:

I LOVE THESE COVERS. I think only after all the books were released into the wild, beautiful covers like this could come into existence. The spine art is amazing, and they go so well together as a set, with each book featuring one of the main characters. It’s becoming more and more difficult to resist buying a set of these.


Photo Credit:

UK Redesign

I’m not such a huge fan of these covers – whereas the images are intricate and the colours bright, these books look a little boring to me (in comparison to the action-packed US covers). Not for me, unfortunately.


Photo Credit:


I like these, but they seem too fantastical middle grade for this series. I like the colours and the cityscapes, but not sure what if they set the right expectations for the books.


Photo Credit:

Movie Edition

This cover came out when the Mortal Instruments movie was released – and I think overall it’s actually pretty good. It’s dark and mysterious, and I still prefer the US editions, but it’s not the worst cover I’ve seen (and I think it would work well even if it wasn’t a movie poster).


Photo Credit:

TV Show Edition

Not the edition I’d buy if I had the choice, but definitely a way of getting fans of the TV show into the book series!

Which are your favourite covers? Are there any here that you’d like to see featured? Tweet me at @annalisbooks or comment below!

Annalise x


Review: Asking For It by Louise O’Neill

147045My Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

It’s the beginning of the summer in a small town in Ireland. Emma O’Donovan is eighteen years old, beautiful, happy, confident. One night, there’s a party. Everyone is there. All eyes 51h00dvazol-_sx324_bo1204203200_are on Emma.

The next morning, she wakes on the front porch of her house. She can’t remember what happened, she doesn’t know how she got there. She doesn’t know why she’s in pain. But everyone else does.

Photographs taken at the party show, in explicit detail, what happened to Emma that night. But sometimes people don’t want to believe what is right in front of them, especially when the truth concerns the town’s heroes…

I bought Asking For It in September, in a beautiful hardback edition. It sat on my shelf for a good six months, despite the rave reviews and recommendations. Why? Because Asking For It isn’t an easy read – but it is a necessary one.

I finally picked up Asking For It after a Twitter poll, and devoured it within two days. I didn’t want to put it down.

Asking For It follows the story of a Irish girl called Emma, who is pretty and she knows it. She’s genuinely difficult to like. She’s mean to her friends, self-obsessed with her image, and knows she can have any boy she wants (even if that means destroying her friendships). She dresses provocatively, she drinks, she does drugs… and then she gets raped. She doesn’t remember it, but suddenly it’s all over social media, and her friends don’t want to know her anymore. She feels guilty.

Asking For It is a difficult book to read, because it touches on so many important issues. It tackles slut-shaming and victim-shaming, consent and sexual assault. These issues are hugely important in our society today, where 1 in 5 women have experienced sexual violence. 11 rapes take place every hour in England and Wales. Emma is wholeheartedly a victim, but one who feels so ashamed that she pretends she isn’t one. The media, her friends and her family don’t know what to believe.

Asking For It also excels in touching upon other important issues briefly – bulimia/eating disorders, masturbation shaming, and the lack of access to abortion services in Ireland (“I’d be on the first boat to England, like”). The pressure on girls to grow up quickly, to dress like adults as teenagers, is also briefly featured.

On a lighter note, I really enjoyed how Asking For It was set in Ireland. Many YA books are set either in America, or an anonymous English town, and I loved the details that made this book so obviously Irish.

If you pick up one book this year, make it Asking For It. Each Louise O’Neill novel I’ve read (and will read in the future) has been so poignant, making pointed arguments and really changing the way I think on serious issues. These are not books that leave you as soon as you put them down – they are thought-provoking and cleverly written.

I also really enjoyed this article by Louise on the aftermath of publishing Asking For It –….

To summarise, this is a young adult novel with a serious point, and necessary reading for all.

View all my reviews

Annalise x

Review: Murder Most Unladylike by Robin Stevens

Murder Most Unladylike
Murder Most Unladylike by Robin Stevens

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


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?

First off, a little disclaimer: I’m older than the target audience for this book, but I’ll try not to let that cloud my judgement!

I picked up Murder Most Unladylike in Blackwells in Oxford, which, as it happens, turns out to be where Murder Most Unladylike was actually written. I’ve heard so much about these books (and the rate that Robin Stevens is churning them out at), that I thought I should give them a go, despite them being MG (Middle Grade).

I love the setting for these books (1930s England, not too far from Oxford) and I love mystery novels – this one kept me guessing until the end.

The characters here are flawed – Hazel questions herself, and Daisy is bossy and a little mean. Daisy being portrayed as a beautiful quintessentially English girl – and everyone loving her for it – sat a little uncomfortable for me, and a little unrealistic. I liked that Hazel was from Hong-Kong rather than stereotypically British.

Something I liked was that homosexuality was accepted – although I’m not sure whether this would be accurate for the time and lesbian relationships featured a lot more heavily that straight relationships (then again, it is set in a girls boarding school). There seemed to be a few facts that seemed to me a little historically inaccurate.

Overall, a fun little read with a thrilling mystery, perfect for MG readers.

View all my reviews

Annalise x

Review: Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli

Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

**Disclaimer: Copy received from publisher in exchange for an honest review**

Stargirl is a book I initially heard (and intended to buy) years ago, but just never got round to reading. Originally published in 2000, Stargirl will be re-released (with a new, but similar cover) on 7 April 2016 in the UK. The cover (and covers in the past) is so intriguing, especially as there is no writing on the front (original and rule-breaking, like Stargirl herself).

Stargirl is told through the viewpoint of Leo, a student at Mica High. Stargirl (and yes, that is her name) bursts onto the scene, starting high school after years of being home-schooled. She’s fresh, wacky, and doesn’t care what anyone thinks.

She plays the ukelele at lunchtime and sings happy birthday to anyone and everyone.


She doesn’t wear make-up and wears outlandish outfits.


She carries around a rat called Cinnamon.


Stargirl brings a whole new energy to Mica High, entrancing the student body and joining the cheerleading team.

But soon, Stargirl’s inherent niceness (to anyone and everyone) causes her trouble. She’s nice to the wrong people, they say. The students start to shun high school, and, as Leo realises he loves her, Leo gets shunned too. That’s when Leo tries to make Stargirl ‘normal’.

Stargirl is a really great story – a classic Young Adult novel – about what it means to stay true to yourself, even when others say you should change and conform. It’s a story of first love, and the pressure on high school students to be who others say they should be. Stargirl is written in such an infectious way – it really does feel like you’re there, in Mica, with Leo and Stargirl.

I really liked how the story wrapped up at the end – many YA novels today are left on a cliffhanger or in an ambitious way, and Stargirl ended in a way that allowed closure – although this will be a story that stays with me for a while.

Stargirl has already worked her magic on many past readers – this re-release is sure to capture a few more hearts.

View all my reviews

Annalise x

My Most Anticipated Movies – Apr-June 2016

I first intended this to be a series of book adaptations – but it turns out there aren’t too many coming out this year (all hail the rise of the video game adaptation).

Since I started university, (3.5 years ago – yelp!) I’ve taken up going to the cinema. This is mostly because there is only a Tesco in my university town and I amass clubcard points like nobody’s business – and get half-price/free cinema tickets in return.

Let’s get started, shall we?

April 2016

April is rarely a good month for cinema releases (I should know – my birthday is in April and there is NEVER anything I want to see).

Captain America: Civil War

Political interference in the Avengers’ activities causes a rift between former allies Captain America and Iron Man.

Now, I haven’t seen the other Captain America movies (but they are on Netflix and I have that so, no excuse) but I have seen the Avengers, and this seems to be a bridge between Age of Ultron and Infinity War. I’m not so sure on the tone of this movie – but it does feature some of my favourite Marvel characters (Black Widow and Scarlet Witch) and introduces Spiderman to the Avengers.

Released: 29 April 2016

May 2016

Alice Through The Looking Glass

Alice returns to the whimsical world of Wonderland and travels back in time to save the Mad Hatter.  

 Now, if you had asked me after the first Alice movie, I would have said this sequel wasn’t needed, at all. But after seeing the trailer in 3D IMAX before Star Wars, I started to get excited for this one – it has a great cast (Sacha Baron Cohen, Helena Bonham-Carter, Johnny Depp, etc.) and it’s very visually exciting. I’d like to see this one in 3D (it really did just grab me!)

Released: 27 May 2016

June 2016

Me Before You

A girl in a small town forms an unlikely bond with a recently-paralyzed man she’s taking care of.  

Cheesy (potentially devastating) romance, featuring some amazing British actors (Emilia Clarke, Sam Claflin, Jenna Coleman…) based on the best-selling book by Jojo Moyes (recently added to my TBR, might I add?). The screenplay was also written by the author (usually a good sign1!) I’m hoping to have finished the book before seeing this so I don’t cry in public… too much.

Released: 3 June 2016 (UK)


An epic fantasy/adventure based on the popular video game series.  

You can’t deny that the Warcraft world is amazing, visually beautiful and jam-packed full of lore and back-story. I’m not too sure on the plot of this movie – but hopefully if it is a success, this can be the start of a franchise with deep and rich stories and characters. (I’d personally like to see the Draenei and the Blood Elves, and a plot involving the Lich King). Hopefully this film will entice viewers into appreciating the beauty of the Warcraft franchise.

Released: 3 June 2016 (UK)

So there are my picks for cinema releases up til June – I’m sure many more will catch my eye in the meantime. What are your thoughts on my choices – are there any films you think will be smash hits that don’t feature?

Tweet me at @annalisebooks or comment below!

Annalise x

Review: The Square Root of Summer by Harriet Reuter Hapgood


The Square Root of Summer by Harriet Reuter Hapgood

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is what it means to love someone. This is what it means to grieve someone. It’s a little bit like a black hole. It’s a little bit like infinity.

Gottie H. Oppenheimer is losing time. Literally. When the fabric of the universe around her seaside town begins to fray, she’s hurtled through wormholes to her past:

To last summer, when her grandfather Grey died. To the afternoon she fell in love with Jason, who wouldn’t even hold her hand at the funeral. To the day her best friend Thomas moved away and left her behind with a scar on her hand and a black hole in her memory.

Although Grey is still gone, Jason and Thomas are back, and Gottie’s past, present, and future are about to collide—and someone’s heart is about to be broken.

Firstly, I would like to that NetGalley for the preview of this book.

Secondly, I’m going to start with a disclaimer. I kept on falling asleep reading this book. I don’t know whether that’s because I had an exam this week (hence the short hiatus from reviews), but I’d guess it has something to do with the fact that the pace of this book is extremely slow (almost whimsical) and so don’t be fooled by the fact that this book is ‘only’ 300 pages – it took me a lot longer than usual to read (perhaps due to the aforementioned nodding off problem).


Gottie Oppenheimer is a prospective physics student, who loves science. Last summer she had a summer romance with her brother’s best friend, Jason (her brother doesn’t know), and then her grandad died, and it took its toll on her. This summer, her childhood best friend is moving back home, and Gottie starts uncontrollably time travelling. Cool, huh?

I loved that Gottie loved science (a LOT of characters seem to love English Lit, hmm) and that science was theme through the book. STEM subjects are way underrepresented in YA literature, often because female characters are a little stereotypical – artsy, creative, usually not unlike the author themselves. I also loved that Gottie was in that AS/A2 gap (similar to Frances in Radio Silence, review coming soon) and trying to decide what to do with her life.


I was also surprised to learn this is set in England (i’m too used to US-centric YA) and I liked the setting and backdrop to the story. The little droplets about UCAS applications, etc. really appealed to me, and I’d love to read more UKYA in the future (especially when they’re definitively set in the UK rather than some nameless place).

Something I find a lot of novels lacking is period talk. There’s a scene which I really appreciated – Gottie gets her period unexpectedly and stuffs her knickers with toilet roll to avoid a leakage. It’s a short and sweet passage, but there are no ramifications – periods are often only mentioned when they’re missed and a surprise pregnancy occurs. Please can we have more candid period/body talk – it’s something a lot of people experience and which is never discussed in literature (perhaps it doesn’t need to be explicitly).


I loved the character of Gottie’s father – particularly that he was German, a real live parent with an interesting story. Firstly, often parents in YA novels are mysteriously absent, and they rarely have a backstory of being an immigrant – they tend to appear to have lived where they do their entire lives.

On the story of parents, it appears being the parent of a YA protagonist has a very high mortality rate. This isn’t necessarily a problem with the book, more of the genre in general – parents are always mysteriously absent (and often conveniently dead) and Gottie’s mum is no exception.

I also found that Gottie had a severe lack of actual friends – especially good female friends – as she shut everyone out. I’d love to see more female friendships featured in YA.

The love triangle didn’t feel forced or unnatural, and it was dealt with really well. Love triangles (or chevrons, as they should be called) are cliché, but this was different, and realistic.

Plot-wise, the time travelling got a little confusing – sometimes I’d imagine the characters one place, and then it’d turn out they were somewhere completely different.

Overall, a sweet time-travelly read which made me feel like it was actually summer (but it’s still March).

View all my reviews

The Square Root of Summer will officially be released May 5, 2016 (in the UK).

Annalise x