contemporary

Why I’m NOT reading the new John Green book…

Evening book lovers!

Today is the 10th October and also the release date of the heavily anticipated new John Green book – Turtles All The Way Down.

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(Is anyone else underwhelmed by the cover? There’s exactly ZERO turtles.)

Unlike what feels like most of the YA community, I won’t be reading this (yet?).

Why?

The short answer is that I am on a book-buying ban and so all the books I’m desperately lusting after have been relegated to the christmas list.

The long answer is… I just feel meh.

I read Looking For Alaska years ago; it was one of the first YA books I read. There was hype around this book and it just didn’t do it for me.

I read The Fault in our Stars around publication day and thought it was ok, then reread it in preparation for the film and absolutely loved it.

Yet I still have two John Green books on my TBR (An Abundance of Katherines and Will Grayson, Will Grayson), both of which I have started and struggled to get through. Maybe John Green is just not for me, or maybe I should give his new book a chance (although the premise doesn’t excite me the same way a lot of YA books do?)

Please let me know if you’ll be reading Turtles All The Way Down, and if you have/haven’t read it, let me know why! I’d love to hear all of your opinions 🙂

annalsie

What will I be reading in Autumn 2017?

It seems to me like the past week everyone has fallen through a pile of crunchy autumn leaves and landed firmly in the run up to Halloween and Christmas. All the names on Twitter are spooky (except mine, I’ll make do with some emojis because I can’t think of a good Halloween name!) and the season of book release upon book release is here. Time to cosy on up with a warm drink and a good book…

The first thing you should know is that my TBR is (hopefully) currently at a standstill – I’m trying not to buy any books this month, and hopefully not until Christmas! This excludes Fairyloot boxes so the books from those will be added to my TBR (and I’m fairly sure I know what those books will be!) but other than that, I won’t be buying any books. This is partly because my TBR is super huge, especially after YALC, and partly because I need to save money!

I don’t like to give myself an overly prescriptive TBR because I never stick to them. I want to be free to be able to pick up any book and be able to read it – and equally, sometimes I won’t be in the mood for a particular book, even if, at another time, I would instantly devour it.

I’ve read 75 books so far this year(!) and hoping to get to a hundred so the goal is 25 books before 31st December…

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I’m reading a weird combination of books at the moment, but I’d like to finish Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie (I’m really enjoying this one and reading in preparation for the film which releases November 3rd), Delusions of Gender by Cordelia Fine (non-fiction about gender differences), Northern Lights by Philip Pullman (first time reading!) and Scarlet by Marissa Meyer (I have all of the rest of her books but just can’t seem to get through this one…).

My Kindle is nicely full at the moment – I’d like to read two of the Zoella Book Club, After The Fire by Will Hill and Girlhood by Cat Clarke before the year is out. I’d also like to read Fireblood by Elly Blake, before the final book in the trilogy is released in June 2018.

Hardbacks I’ve not got round to reading yet include Windwitch by Susan Dennard (in preparation for Sightwitch coming January 2018) and Stalking Jack The Ripper by Kerri Maniscalco (I was so excited for this one last year and still have not read it… story of my life!). I was also sent a beautiful copy of Warcross by Marie Lu which sounds amazing.

In the Shadowhunters world, I want to get up to speed with all the books before The Queen of Air and Darkness is released, which has been pushed up to May 2018. Whilst I’ll be reading Lord of Shadows next year, I’d like to get up to date with Magnus Bane and The Bane Chronicles as well as The Midnight Heir.

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Staying with Fantasy, I have a wild ambition to read all the ASOIAF books and rewatch the entirety of Game of Thrones before the final season, and so I had better get on with reading A Clash of Kings by George R R Martin. I wasn’t the biggest fan of A Game of Thrones but I love seeing the foreshadowing that’s going on way back in the first books.

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Over to New Releases, I am so excited for A Shiver of Snow and Sky by Lisa Lueddecke and thank you very much to Scholastic for sending me a beautiful copy (this is such a gorgeous book!).

I also plan on reading my YALC haul – a lot of these books release in 2018 and it’s coming round fast! I’m hoping to get into City of Brass by S. A. Chakraborty, The Taste of Blue Light by Lydia Ruffles, The Treatment by C. L. Taylor, This Mortal Coil by Emily Suvada… as well as 2018 releases including The Hazel Wood by Melissa Albert, The Fandom by Anna Day and The Truth and Lies of Ella Black by Emily Barr.

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I’m also exciting to read more Margaret Atwood, and I hope to get through Alias Grace in time for the Netflix series that will be released in November.

This is by no means an exhaustive list, but I’m excited to see which books will be my favourites, and which may fall a little flat.

Have you read any of these books, and what are you planning to read this autumn? Let me know in the comments below or tweet me at @annalisebooks x

annalsie

Review: How Hard Can Love Be? by Holly Bourne

How Hard Can Love Be?
How Hard Can Love Be? by Holly Bourne

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

How Hard Can Love Be? is the second book in the Normal trilogy/ Spinster Club Series) by Holly Bourne.

HHCLB follows the story of Amber, a 17-year-old sixth-form student who heads off to California for a summer working at a summer camp for children. There is a twist however – the camp is run by her recovering alcoholic mother and stepfather, who abandoned her with her father and stepfamily, and who she hasn’t seen for two years. As Amber faces the prospect that she may never truly get along with her mother, she also starts to fall for your typical all-American Prom King god-in-boy-form, Kyle – despite her head telling her not to.

HHCLB is quite different in theme to Am I Normal Yet? (review here), the first book in the series. AINY followed Evie, Amber’s best friend, and her battle with OCD and anxiety. I really enjoyed the family setup here – parents are often weirdly absent in YA, and here their explanation for being absent is dealt with in a way that has obviously impacted on the character and her behaviour. Her mother and stepfather are well rounded and important parts of the story, a feature which rarely appears in YA (when your parents are often a huge part of your life!).

Many of the supporting characters are fleshed out with back stories and interesting traits, and the characters and the situations they get into feel realistic and logical. Not everything in YA romance has to be sparkles and rainbows, and Amber has to face some tough decisions and situations herself, but they never feel unrealistic.

It should be noted that this book has content that is ‘not suitable for younger readers’ – there’s at least discussion of drinking and sex, which is unusual and refreshing in young adult literature. Many characters in YA don’t even think about drinking or having sex, at least until the last book of the series (quite the polar opposite of real life!).

I love the format of the series – I’ve read way way too many YA books which were obviously written as a standalone and then unnaturally forced into a series. Here, each book could be read as a standalone, but they fit together beautifully – there’s no need to read the first book (although you definitely should, because it’s great!) to understand what’s going on. Holly traverses the line between standalone and series here so well – three books that are (almost certainly) wonderful that can be read alone or as a set.

As with AINY, there are ‘Situations Destined to Fail’ pages at the beginning with each chapter, which are a fun break and eases the read. Bourne’s writing is wonderful, and even though the book is nearly 500 pages long, I read this in a few days.

I love love love love love this series, and if there’s one YA novel you have to read this February, it should be How Hard Can Love Be? I can’t wait for the third book to come out.

View all my reviews

Have you read this book? What did you think? Comment below or tweet me at @AnnaliseBooks 🙂

Annalise x