Review: Perfect (Flawed #2) by Cecelia Ahern

Title: Perfect (Flawed #2)
Author: Cecelia Ahern
Publication Date: 6th April 2017 (HarperCollins Children’s)
Pages: 288
Genre: Dystopian
Format: Hardback

Links to buy: |Amazon UK| |Waterstones| |Book Depository|

Celestine North lives in a society that demands perfection. After she was branded Flawed by a morality court, Celestine’s life has completely fractured – all her freedoms gone.

Since Judge Crevan has declared her the number one threat to the public, she has been a ghost, on the run with the complicated, powerfully attractive Carrick, the only person she can trust. But Celestine has a secret – one that could bring the entire Flawed system crumbling to the ground.

Judge Crevan is gaining the upper hand, and time is running out for Celestine. With tensions building, Celestine must make a choice: save only herself, or risk her life to save all the Flawed. And, most important of all, can she prove that to be human in itself is to be Flawed…? [Goodreads]

Frustration. That’s all I felt until the end of this book because being perfect isn’t a thing!

Celestine is Flawed, making her an outsider to everyone around her who are ‘Perfect’. But no one is Perfect and she knows it. Especially when the man in charged should be marked Flawed, Judge Crevan, the man who gave her the sixth Flawed brand on her spine. But Celestine has been marked as a threat to others and is on the run.

Perfect picks up shortly after Flawed. Celestine is in hiding, but she knows her time is running out. But after a surprise raid from the Whistleblowers, Carrick finds her.

It’s a little slow during the reunion between Celestine and Carrick. Their relationship and romance is so bizarre to me. After a few intense stares through glass and the shared moment of knowing about the sixth branding, they are in love? They hardly know one another! Which is how the complications roll out but this is all after they go way too far with one another first. Part of me thinks, is that the point?

Luckily after the reunion, a bit of GCSE science and rushed romance, it all kicks in. The pressure resumes and we’re reminded that Celestine and Carrick are wanted. And unlike the first novel, they are both more vocal and active. They don’t stand the hatred against them and take charge of the situation. Celestine and Carrick both have the same intentions, though like the Divergent series, miscommunication makes the journey longer than needed. People and trust issues…

Celestine follows an un-perfect, and yes flawed, journey to get where she wants to be. But she keeps going until she get’s what she wants. She’s our UK Katniss.

 

My rating:

I liked it

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My Thoughts on The YA Shot

This is crazily late but it’s here now!

The YA Shot was on the 28th October and was a one day festival celebrating the YA authors in the UK, but not just for those who already love reading, it’s also a great way to introduce younger people into the reading community. On the day there was be 70 authors who hosted talks, signings and  workshops. This amazingly packed day was created and organized by Alexia Casale.

This post as a whole will be text heavy because I didn’t take any photos on the day – so sorry in advance!

I was fortunate enough to have been involved from the beginning of the process and seeing the day finally come was really exciting. For the day my title was the ‘venue manager’ – which wasn’t as scary as I thought it’d be.

Because of the late-ness of this post, and my poor memory, I’m not going to do a breakdown of what each talk was like or go into further detail about them… sorry! 

During the morning, I was situated in the Uxbridge Waterstones, where I was in charge of the two morning events. It was a nice start to the morning and I sat in talks I wouldn’t normally choose to sit in and learnt quite a bit. It was really intriguing in some sense, to be able to listen into another part of YA fiction that I’d never go towards normally. The two that started off my day were:

Ian Johnstone’s Sowing the Seeds of Magic workshop

(Great to hear about how to create magic in a book. I’ve never really thought about writing about magic and it was interesting to hear how you go through the stages to get the magic woven into a story.)

Daring Do!: High stakes versus safety nets in MG adventures chaired by Sally Nicholls with Emma Trevayne and Kiera O’Brien

Being away from the ‘hub’ of the YA Shot in the morning, made me wonder what was happening elsewhere. At lunch, I was in the UKYA hall, a larger hall compared to the Waterstones section, which was great fun. A bit daunting at first because of the mass amount of chairs that where placed in front of the stage but the authors and crowds were lovely.

The ones I introduced in the UKYA hall were:

Crime and Punishment: Fictional wrongdoing and human rights – Chaired by Laura Jarratt with Cat Clarke, Keren David and Emma Haughton.

The Stuff of Nightmares: Using dystopia and horror to explore social issues – Chaired by Laure Eve with James Dawson, Antonia Honeywelland Emma Pass

(The Crime and Punishment and The Stuff of Nightmares were both quite similar in topics, just different authors!)

Make ‘Em Laugh: Using humour to create empathy and understanding – Chaired by Matt Whyman with Ben Davis, Andy Robb and CJ Skuse

(Round of applause for these four. Humour is the trickiest thing to get right. But if I took anything away from this it is that there is always someone out there who has the same sense of humour as you, even if the early readers don’t understand it.)

In between the events somewhere, I was also involved with keeping everyone in check for the signings. I got a chance to talk to Tom Ellen and Lucy Ivison again (I met them first at YALC). They strangely remembered me. Strangely because I never expect authors to ever remember me because of the mass amount of fans they have and I am one of many.. But anyway we spoke about their new book and their worries and my thoughts. I also took a brief moment to ask Jack Jewer (CJ Daugherty’s husband) about the footage that was shown during their event, as I was busy at the time so couldn’t sit in and watch it. He said that we’d maybe get to see it.. after some editing. So fingers crossed for that!!

At the end of the day, I got to sit in a panel (off duty) and just enjoy it as a listener. I chose Hopeless Romantic: Doomed lovers and ideals of romance – Chaired by Lauren James with Cat Doyle and Lucy Saxon. They spoke about the whole ideal about romance, their fictional romance loves and… Harry Potter. Yeah, it veered in odd directions but hilarious all the same.

The day was really relaxed and even as a ‘venue manager’ throughout the day I didn’t even feel the pressure of the title. The rest of the YA Shot crew were great and made me feel like I was part of something rather than shoving me to do something and leave me be. It was really down to the small things like checking up on people, they would ask if we were doing alright. This day was no difference to YALC… well other than all the authors were UKYA authors! In the book queues for the signings, I found it just as easy to talk to another person queuing! Everyone was all smiles til the very end.

I stayed around to pack up, ended up getting home around 10-ish and it was all totally worth it!

Let me know in the comments if you went to the YA Shot! What was your favourite talk? What books did you get signed or buy? Let’s discuss!

Review: The Next Together by Lauren James

23266378Title: The Next Together
Author: Lauren James
Publication Date: 3rd September 2015 (Walker Books)
Pages: 356
Genre: Romance
Format: Paperback

Links to buy: |Amazon UK| |Waterstones| |Book Depository|]

How many times can you lose the person you love?

Katherine and Matthew are destined to be born again and again, century after century. Each time, their presence changes history for the better, and each time, they fall hopelessly in love, only to be tragically separated.

Spanning the Crimean War, the Siege of Carlisle and the near-future of 2019 and 2039 they find themselves sacrificing their lives to save the world. But why do they keep coming back? What else must they achieve before they can be left to live and love in peace?

Maybe the next together will be different…

A powerful and epic debut novel for teenagers about time-travel, fate and the timelessness of first love. The Next Together is told through a mixture of regular prose, diary entries, letters, “original” historical documents, news reports and internet article [Goodreads]

I recently finished The Version of Us by Laura Barnett and it seemed fitting that I hopped over to The Next Together after. The Next Together follows four versions of Matthew and Katherine’s love story but in four different time periods. I adore James’ writing style and getting to know all the different versions of the characters was super easy. I admit, I did struggle a little when reading The Version of Us because I got muddled with the different versions, but The Next Together couldn’t have been any clearer. The whole format of the novel was really exciting because of the sticky note, the emails and the coding format that’s woven in and made me love some of the characters even more.

There seems to be a running comment that people say their favourite storyline and, honestly, I actually enjoyed them all more or less equally. The only one I disliked was the 2039 because of the characters awareness of the past. That idea of ‘knowing’ made the story less exciting. In short, what we get is a Mulan storyline, a Downton Abbey Sybil and Tom storyline and then a cute/typical storyline. Even though they were all the same characters, and were all mostly visually the same, I did find myself separating them as individuals. We don’t exactly meet the two in 2019, but their banter made me constantly want to read more of their notes and messages for one another as much as the others.

The overall book storyline-wise, I would say I did think of Holly Bourne’s Soulmates because of this sci-fi element to the novel. The Next Together did have a stronger sci-fi element to it than Soulmates, but it didn’t make it any less enjoyable. I did get a little muddled with a particular switching happened (this will make sense if you’ve read the book!) and I did have to go over the previous pages to figure it out. Everything happened quite quickly and the sudden jolt threw me off a bit.

The ending sprouts a trillion different theories (I have the most obvious theory in mind) but it sets us up nicely for the next novel, where it’ll all be hopefully revealed!

My rating
I really liked it

4 cup

An Interview with Evie, Lottie and Amber from Am I Normal Yet? by Holly Bourne

I’m super excited to bring this post to everyone today. Firstly because this is my 100th post *throws confetti* and secondly because this is the first time I’ve welcomed anyone onto my blog! The reason why is all down to the YA Shot.

The YA Shot is on the 28th October and is a one day festival celebrating the YA authors in the UK, but not just for those who already love reading, it’s also a great way to introduce younger people into the reading community. On the day there will be 71 authors who’ll be hosting talks, signings and doing workshops. This amazingly packed day has been created and organized by Alexia Casale, who you can follow to keep up to date with all the YA Shot news on her Twitter as well as the hashtag #yashot. I will be helping out on the day, so be sure to say hi if you see me! But in the meantime, check out more about it here, and if you haven’t make sure to get your tickets now. There’ll also be events running throughout the year after this day, so be sure to check them out if you can’t make it on the 28th!

aminormalyetToday, it is my turn to take charge of the YA Shot blog tour, and I get to welcome and share my blog space with Holly Bourne – an author and journalist for thesite.org, a site dedicated in giving advice for 16-25 year olds in the UK. Her debut novel, Soulmates, gave us a paranormal twist to a contemporary romance – and completely blew me to pieces. She now has three novels out under Usborne publishing and, no doubt, has many more to come.

But she’s not the only one I’m welcoming onto my blog for the YA Shot tour. I am also equally as giddy to welcome Evie, Lottie and Amber for an interview from Holly’s newest novel Am I Normal Yet?. Okay, so enough rambling from me. Before I kick it all off, I want to hand over to the amazing Holly, for a little introduction before the interview with these three amazing females.

Holly: Hey everyone. This year my life is being somewhat dominated by three girls. Evie,
Lottie, and Amber – otherwise known as The Spinster Club. Am I Normal Yet? is the first book in a trilogy about these girls and their feminism hijinks. Book two is out on February 1st, and book three is out in August.

So, as they’re the stars of the show (well, books), I thought I’d let them do this interview for YAShot. Over to you girls!

S: Thanks Holly! I’m going to jump right into the questions with a little icebreaker, so, how would you describe each other in three words?

Lottie: Hang on, whose doing who?

Amber: I’ll do you, Lottie. Loud, loud, and loud.

Lottie: HEY, I’M NOT THAT LOUD!! Ha, OK, Evie. I’ll do you…Umm…Mad, sexy grandma?

Evie: I object to the mad part.

Evie: Hang on…I object to ALL OF THAT.

Lottie: *cackles* OK, OK, what about Amber?

Evie: Umm…tall?

Amber: Tall isn’t a personality trait.

Evie: For you it is. Let me finish…umm… ginger?

Amber: Evie! I am more than just being tall and ginger!

Evie: OK OK… umm…creative, strong, talented?

Amber: I’m going to vom….

Evie: I HATE YOU BOTH

 

S: Do you guys have a spirit animal?

Lottie: I’M A HONEY BADGER – FEAR ME!

Evie: Meerkats…deffo meerkats.

Amber: Probably a sloth.

 

S: Together you’ve formed The Spinster Club, but what does feminism mean to each of you individually?

Evie: I’m going to go first because you two keep hogging. Umm, to me, feminism is just…well…not accepting crap anymore.

Lottie: There is SO much crap.

Evie: There is. And, part of finding you girls, and forming the club, has made me realise I DON’T have to stand for it. And feminism is about being allies, and being there for each other.

Amber: I’m going to vom again…

Evie: I’m going to thump you.

Amber: Honestly though? You’re right. What Evie said!

Lottie: Ditto! Evie for prime minister.

 

S: Do you have any essential reads for feminists?

Amber: Over to you, Lottie.

Lottie: I have all the books – I read all the books! Umm, well, you HAVE to read How To Be A Woman by Caitlin Moran, and, oh, We Should All Be Feminists by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. And The Female Eunuch is HARD but it will change your LIFE. And…well…AHH I CAN’T COPE THERE’S JUST SO MANY.

 

S: If you could invite anyone into your Spinsters Club, dead or alive, who would you invite?

Lottie: Elvis.

Evie: You’ve not thought that through at all, have you?

Lottie: I stand by what I’ve said.

Amber: I’d want JK Rowling.

Evie: What a surprise.

Amber: Quiet you mudblood!

Evie: I’d want Sofia Coppola, because she’s a kickass filmmaker.

 

S: Do you have any advice for people who want to start their own Spinster Club?

Amber: Just do it! And send us photos – so I can cry with happiness. I will send you tissues dried with my happiness tears.

Lottie: Seconded. I will snot on some tissues and send them to you.

Evie: And I will do neither because that’s disgusting and I feel sick just thinking about it.

 

S: Because you’re featuring on a book blog, I can’t help but veer towards bookish questions so.. A few fire questions about books…

Lottie: Shall we take these in turns, girls?

Evie: Trust you to get all bossy.

Amber: Yeah….but it’s a good idea.

Lottie: I’ll go first.

Evie: Of course

 

S: Hardback, paperback or ebooks?

Lottie: All of the above! Books mend your soul – no matter what form they take.

 

S: Online shopping or bookshop shopping?

Evie: When my OCD was bad, I would say online… because obvs.

 

S: Buy or borrow?

Amber: Borrow – keep the libraries alive. They are all the awesome.

 

S: Secondhand or brand new?

Lottie: I like old stuff, I like to smell old pages. Is that weird?

Evie: YES

 

S: If you could go to any fictional place, where would you go and why?

Evie: What’s that room in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory where they get to eat everything?

Amber: The Chocolate Room?

Evie: Yeah, that one. I’d eat it til there was nothing left.

Amber: Even if I’ve jibbed on everything first?

Evie: Did you just use the word ‘jib’? Even don’t use the word jib.

Amber: Shut up or I’ll jib on you.

Evie: I’ll kill you…

*descend into chaos*

 

S: Hold on, hold on. *waves hands between them* Before your debating continues, I’ve just got on final question to end this interview. Can I join your Spinster Club?

Lottie: OH MY GOD – YES! Come on in here, get into the group hug!!!

Amber: What cheesy snacks have you got?

Evie: Yes, yes, yes!

S: I will definitely stock up on cheesey goodness and will bring some baked goods too – don’t you worry! Thank you Evie, Lottie and Amber for your time. I guess I’ll see you in the next Spinster meeting.

 

To find out more about these three girls make sure to check out Am I Normal Yet? 

Thank you again to Evie, Lottie and Amber for answering my questions. An even bigger thank you to Holly for… everything! From accepting my initial ideas to giving me awesome answers that have made me beam with excitement. I hope you’ve enjoyed this interview as much as I have working on it. Also, thank you to Lexi, for allowing me to be a part of the blog tour.

Don’t forget to check out Am I Normal Yet? if you haven’t yet, as well as Soulmates and The Manifesto on How to be Interesting.
You can find Holly on her website here, Twitter and Facebook.

 

Can’t think of a better way to celebrate my 100th post! Thank you thank you thank you!

 

 

 

Review: Lobster by Tom Ellen and Lucy Ivison

18663722Title: Lobster
Author: Tom Ellen and Lucy Ivison
Publication Date: 5th June 2014 (Chicken House)
Pages: 307
Genre: Comtemporary
Format: Paperback

Links to buy: |Amazon UK| |Waterstones|  |Book Depository|

Sam and Hannah only have the holidays to find ‘The One’. Their lobster. But instead of being epic, their summer is looking awkward. They must navigate social misunderstandings, the plotting of well-meaning friends, and their own fears of being virgins for ever to find happiness. But fate is at work to bring them together. And in the end, it all boils down to love. [Goodreads]

I’ll admit that when I first started this book it felt a bit rocky for me. There were certain bits of it that took me a while to adjust to, mostly revolving around the dialogue (do people say ‘minge’? I have yet to meet anyone who uses that word…).

Sam and Hannah are on the search for their ‘lobster’. Their ‘mate for life’. Their one and only. Out of their friends they’re yet to lose their virginity. But when embarrassing events lead them to the same bathroom at a house party, the summer before going off to uni doesn’t seem so bad… Oh but they don’t ask for each others names so labels ‘Ribena girl’ and ‘Toilet boy’ come into play. The push and pull, the peer pressure of life and other factors throw Sam and Hannah through awkward and disastrous path crossings.

The tagline was something that drew me to this book: ‘a socially awkward love story’ – how can anyone not relate to that? It delivered on both sides but the awkwardness comes across with a lot of humour, which made the cringing less intense (but there is no real escape from the cringing for the characters). Ellen and Ivison have managed to create a perfect balance with the duel narration, and it was great fun to read about the male and female perspectives.

I thought it was interesting to have that ‘peer pressure’ kinda feel throughout the novel, because it’s all so true. It was really subtle but it was there. When you’re surrounded by all your friends who’ve done ‘stuff’ you feel pressured to quicken how you do things. This subtlety is what makes me love this book and it reflects what teenage life is like.

Surprisingly, one of my favourite character is not the main characters but Casper, who is almost a minor minor character. I was instantly drawn to him because of the easiness of his character, *Spoilers – highlight to read* as well as the fact that he wasn’t used or thrown into the love affairs (and I have this weird love for boy-girl friendships). He is an outsider looking in, almost pushing the events forward and knows how to give the greatest pep talks. Everything just clicked.

If I could choose any book to represent my life, Lobster is it.

My rating

I really liked it

4 cup