A Girl Called Shameless Review (Izzy O’Neill #2)

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Book: A Girl Called Shameless (Izzy O’Neill #2)

Author: Laura Steven

Bechdel Test: PASS-Izzy talks with numerous named female characters about things other than boys, to Ajita, Meg and Hazel about the campaign, to her grandmother about college, to her agent Eliza about her screenplay, there’s plenty of Bechdel test passing content in this book (unsurprisingly).

The Exact Opposite of Okay, the predecessor to this book was one of my favourite reads of last year, and so of course, this, the sequel to it, I had incredibly high hopes for. Did it meet them all? Well unfortunately, no, not really. Izzy’s voice is as fresh and realistic as ever, but the humour didn’t land quite as well for me in this book and whereas the first book had quite a clear main “incident” that shakes things up for the characters and makes the plot move, this book, being all about trying to change revenge porn laws, is a much slower mover and the book is basically like 95% buildup with only 5% reward, so whilst it’s still enjoyable, there’s not an awful lot actually happening. Here is a short synopsis of the book:

Funnier. Ruder. Angrier. Izzy O’Neill is back in the hilarious sequel to The Exact Opposite of Okay. 

It’s been two months since a leaked explicit photo got Izzy involved in a political sex scandal – and the aftershock is far from over. The Bitches Bite Back movement is gathering momentum as a forum for teenage feminists, and when a girl at another school has a sex tape shared online, once again Izzy leads the charge against the slut-shamer. This time she wants to change the state law on revenge porn. 
Izzy and her best friend Ajita are as hilarious as ever, using comedy to fight back against whatever the world throws at them, but Izzy is still reeling from her slut-shaming ordeal, feeling angry beyond belief and wondering – can they really make a change?

I loved that we got a little recap of the first book at the beginning of this one, this is honestly something that I think should be an industry standard with sequel books, because it’s always at least a year, possibly more between instalments and not everyone has the time to reread the previous instalments before the new one, so I very much appreciated that, and that it was done in such an Izzy way!

Of course I still loved Izzy, she goes through a lot of character development in this book. She’s still dealing with the fallout from her nudes being released and she struggles to talk about her experiences and as angry as she is at the system, she’s incredibly reluctant to be a political figurehead. She’s also trying to work through dealing with her anger about the whole thing, and being more open with her family and friends as well as working out what is next for her future. It’s great that Steven doesn’t shy away from the fact that the nude leak had a serious impact on her and that is still ongoing in this sequel.

Her voice is still great and makes the book what it is, but I will say that the humour, I felt was kind of lacking this time. I don’t know if this was by design, because this book is about making political change and Izzy is trying not to hide so much behind her humour, but it wasn’t the same level of laugh out loud funny that The Exact Opposite of Okay was.

I did love the new “Tripod” of Ajita, Izzy and Meg, it was awesome that this book had such a focus on friendship, especially female friendship and these three girls are just so supportive of each other and I loved all their gentle ribbing of each other, like I said in my review of the last book, it reminds me very much of my own friendship group.

There were some spelling and grammar errors littered throughout, as well as occasionally continuity errors, where the date on the heading, didn’t match the events detailed within, which I know are probably editorial mistakes but still, they were kind of jarring to read in a finished book.

The plot itself was kind of slow, since the book is just continuing on from the last one, there’s not a big event like Izzy’s sex scandal (I mean the whole thing is precipitated on the release of another girl’s sex tape, but that happens quite early on in the book), most of the book is Izzy going through the motions of daily life whilst building up to the rally at the end of the book, which fair enough, that’s what most contemporaries are, I just didn’t find it particularly captivating.

The book also deals with the fallout between Izzy and Danny after the events of the last book and I was very glad that Izzy didn’t forgive him for what he did to her, because that would have felt highly unrealistic!

For the most part, the chapters were nice and even, mostly relatively short but there were a few overly long ones here and there and it would have been nice if they had been even throughout.

There is some nice representation, several POC characters (Ajita and Carson), LGBTQ+ characters (Ajita, Meg, Bella) and disability, with Meg in her wheelchair but I would have liked it if the book had explored more of the intersectionality aspects, between these identities and feminism, there are bits that touch on it, but by and large these identities are dealt with separately.

All of the talk of graduation really hit home for me because I’m in a very similar place at the moment as Izzy is in the book, albeit graduating from University rather than high school but I could definitely relate to her doubts and fears and confusion about what comes next for her!

Overall this was a nice ending to the duology and does offer some great commentary about feminism, sex, poverty, slut shaming and various other issues, but I didn’t find it quite as entertaining or hilarious as the first book.

My Rating: 3/5

My next review will be an e-ARC review, of Amanda Foody’s King of Fools, which comes out next Thursday in the UK, so my review will probably be up around then as well.

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Top Ten Tuesday #208

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Hi everyone! I hope you’ve all had a good week since I last did one of these, I had a rather busy one, with a final dinner for Trampolining on Wednesday, Sports Ball on Friday and then a day out to the Edinburgh Dungeons for a friend’s birthday on Saturday. The Edinburgh dungeons were really awesome, but it took us over two hours to get home because all our trains kept being cancelled which was severely annoying.

Anyway, since it’s Tuesday, I have another Top Ten Tuesday, courtesy of Jana at That Artsy Reader Girl. This week we’re talking the First Ten Books We Reviewed which should be a fun one, to look back at the early days of this blog, but I won’t be sharing links to any of the reviews because they were all pretty terrible (you can find them in the drop down menu if you really want to see them!). So here we go, the first ten books I reviewed:

  1. Dangerous Girls-Abigail Haas

My first ever review, and it was a 4 star one, so a nice start to my blog. The review itself was pretty terrible, I hadn’t really got the art of reviewing down yet, but I really enjoyed the book, it was a fun and engrossing psychological thriller with an ending that has basically ruined all other thrillers for me, because it was so shocking that nothing else has ever lived up.

2. Skulduggery Pleasant: The Last Stand of Dead Men

Yes, I know, it seems strange for one of my first reviews to be the eighth book in a series, but I’d been reading Skulduggery Pleasant since long before I started the blog, I think I started them in 2008/2009? Anyway, this book is one of my favourites of the Skulduggery Pleasant series, it was such an exciting book and a great, what was then penultimate book to the series (it has since been extended).

3. Specials-Scott Westerfeld

The third book in the Uglies series, I’d got the first book as a birthday present from my friend Hannah and then got the others for myself because I enjoyed it. Sadly the rest of the series went downhill, and although my review of this book was quite glowing at the time, I’ve kind of changed my opinion in the five years since.

4. Son of Black Beauty-Phyllis Briggs

This book is kind of like a faux sequel to Black Beauty, but nowhere near as good, the story just wasn’t as interesting, and I didn’t really like the horse narrator, Stardust and it just wasn’t written as well as Black Beauty was.

5. Extras-Scott Westerfeld

This is one of those series that didn’t really need another book, and one was retconned in at the last minute because the trilogy did so well. I found Aya as the narrator kind of infuriating and honestly it barely tied into the main series at all.

6. Split Second-Sophie McKenzie

I really loved this book and I think it’s even more relevant now than when I read it because of everything that’s been happening with Brexit, it shows a very scary portrayal of what a corrupt government could look like, and it’s actually kind of horrifying seeing the parallels between the politicians in this book and our own.

7. The Maze Runner-James Dashner

I got this book from my friend Hannah as a Christmas present and I wasn’t sure I was going to like it at first, but I ended up really enjoying it, it was a fun, fast paced dystopia with a really different premise and going to see the film of this was the first thing that Hannah, Zoe and I did as a group, so in that respect, it’s an important book for me!

8. The Scorch Trials-James Dashner

I think I was a bit generous on this book when I reviewed it for the first time, because when I watched the film, I struggled to remember why I liked the book so much in the first place, Still, I gave it five stars at the time, so there must have been something that I really loved about it.

9. The Death Cure-James Dashner

The final book in the Maze Runner trilogy and again I feel like I might have been a little generous on this book, I’m not sure I’d give it a five star rating if I read it again now, but at the time, I thought it was a good conclusion to the trilogy and I was feeling incredibly emotionally gut punched because of page 250 (Maze Runner fans will KNOW).

10. Burn-Julianna Baggott

The final book in the Pure trilogy, I’d read the first two in the couple of years before I started blogging. It’s a really cool concept, the world has been destroyed by a nuclear apocalypse and the world is split into Wretches, those who have suffered fusings(objects or even people attached to them) and those who were saved, taken into a safe place called the Dome and are therefore known as Pure. I did like the final book in the series and thought it was a relatively satisfying ending, though there were some things I still want answers to.

So there we go, the first ten books I reviewed. It’s weird looking back on it, because it’s quite a strange mix of books, only the one fantasy and the rest being dystopia and then Son of Black Beauty which is kind of an outlier. It does reflect my reading tastes in 2014 quite well because I did read a LOT of dystopia back then, but it’s not so reflective of what I read now.

Next week’s topic is Inspirational/Thought Provoking Book Quotes, which should be a fun one as I love sharing book quotes. Meanwhile, I should have a review up for you this week, as I just finished A Girl Called Shameless, so keep an eye out for that.

Top Ten Tuesday #207

Hi everyone, I hope you’ve all had a good week since I last did one of these, mine has been relatively quite, just quite a bit of dogsitting for my parents and a lot of reading, I finished King of Fools and OMG it was amazing but I’m not really sure how I’m supposed to wait for the third book now? I’ve also got a lot of final things coming up for Uni this week, final dinner, final club photos, last Sports Ball and it’s kind of hitting home that Uni is going to be done soon, which is a whole weird mix of emotions!

Anyway, since it’s Tuesday, I have a new Top Ten Tuesday courtesy of Jana at That Artsy Reader Girl. This week we’re talking Rainy Day Reads, and I have to admit I wasn’t really sure what to make of it, because I don’t really match my reading to the seasons/weather, so I’ve decided to kind of interpret it as engrossing books that you could sit and read all day if you were stuck inside. So here we go, Rainy Day Reads:

  1. A Darker Shade of Magic-VE Schwab

Completely engrossing, with fantastic characters, an incredible world to dive into and fast paced, action packed plot, A Darker Shade of Magic is a great book to get stuck into if you’re inside all day because you will be instantly transported into the Londons and you won’t want to come out again until the rain has stopped.

2. The Exact Opposite of Okay-Laura Steven

What better to curl up with on a rainy day than a funny book? You can while away the hours laughing hysterically at Izzy O’Neill but also getting righteously angry about slut shaming, revenge porn, the Friend Zone and all of the other important topics this book touches on.

3. Moxie-Jennifer Mathieu

In a very similar vein, Moxie is also a super fun, super feminist book and it’s quite short so you could easily get through it in a day, heck, even an couple of hours if you’re a really fast reader. I read this one on the train from Stirling to London last year, and it was the perfect distraction for a five hour train journey!

4. Unwind-Neal Shusterman

Not exactly the most upbeat book to spend a rainy day with, but it is engrossing, I read most of it whilst waiting for three hours in a car for my mum to buy a kitchen in France (it’s a long story) so I can personally attest to its powers of distraction.

5. Percy Jackson and The Olympians series-Rick Riordan

Depending on how long the rain goes on for/how fast of a reader you are, you could easily get through all five Percy Jackson books in the course of one rainy day, and Percy’s snarky inner monologue would be the perfect distraction from the miserable weather outside, plus what better way to forget about the rain than by diving into dangerous quests with Greek demigods?

6. Rebel of The Sands-Alwyn Hamilton

This one has a double edged bonus, it’s set in the desert so whilst it’s raining outside, you can escape to somewhere warm through the pages of a book and plus the book travels at such breakneck speed that you’ll easily be able to while away the time waiting for the rain to pass.

7. Skulduggery Pleasant-Derek Landy

If you’re looking for a funny, exciting, Irish urban fantasy to while away the rainy hours with, then Skulduggery Pleasant is definitely for you. The series does get a lot darker as it goes on, but the first book is the perfect, humorous, magical adventure to dive into on a rainy day (and the rest of the series is even more amazing).

8. Dangerous Girls-Abigail Haas

Dangerous Girls is probably my favourite YA thriller that I’ve ever read, it’s twisty, intriguing and has what I think is the best WTF ending of all time. It’s all about toxic friendships and you’ll be kept guessing as to what actually happened to Elise till the bitter end, plus it’s set in Aruba, so you can escape somewhere warm and sunny on a cold, rainy day.

9. The Raven Boys-Maggie Stiefvater

The Raven Boys isn’t exactly the fastest read, but I feel like it’s atmosphere fits so well with the idea of a “rainy day read”. It’s wonderfully atmospheric and intriguing and has my favourite group of friends, possibly ever in a book and the idea of curling up with this book and a mug of hot chocolate (or whatever your warm drink of choice is), on a rainy day seems perfect to me.

10. Caraval-Stephanie Garber

Again, perhaps not the fastest read, but the mysterious atmosphere fits perfectly with a rainy day, this is another one where you could easily curl up in bed with a mug of your preferred warm drink and just forget about the world as you’re transported into Caraval.

So there you have it, books I think would make perfect Rainy Day Reads, or any day really, these are all great books! Have you read any of these books? What did you think of them? What are your favourite rainy day reads? Let me know in the comments!

Next week’s topic is First Ten Books I Reviewed, so that should be a fun one, though I will not be sharing the reviews because honestly some of my early reviews are incredibly embarassing! Meanwhile I don’t really have anything planned for the rest of the week, so my next post likely won’t be until next Tuesday, so keep an eye out for that.

Jo Talks Books: I KonMari’d My Books, Here’s What Happened

Hi everyone! As you might have worked out from the title of today’s post, I’ve been doing some decluttering of my books and as Marie Kondo seemed to cause quite the uproar (unfairly so) in the bookish community when her TV show came out on Netflix in January (I think it was January, honestly I have completely lost track of this year, what is time), I thought it might be quite interesting for me to share my experiences using her method to organise my own books because it’s not something I’ve ever tried before and well I thought you guys might like to hear about it.

So I suppose I should start with some context, since I didn’t just decide to do this out of the blue. As you guys know (well if you didn’t before, then you do now), I’m graduating from University this semester and for the last three years, I’ve stored my books in my parents’ house in Stirling. Now whilst I will still be doing that because I physically cannot keep all of my books at home, I thought that graduating was a good excuse to go through my books and weed out my collection a little, because I know that I’m not interested in reading absolutely everything that I’ve acquired over the past three years anymore, and it doesn’t make sense to have all these books taking up so much space when I’ll probably never read some of them. So with the help of my friends, Nicola and Rebecca, we went through all of the books, and using the KonMari Method (sort of, I’ll get to the adaptions I had to make in a minute) decided what would stay and what would go.

I had to slightly alter the question I asked myself, because I actually haven’t read most of the books that I’ve stored at my parents’ house, so it was less, “does this bring me joy?” and more “does this have the potential to bring me joy?”. It had also been a while since I’d bought a lot of the books, so I did have to get Nicola to read the blurbs of a few of them so I’d remember what the plot of the book was and could work out whether I was still interested in reading it.

To reassure everyone, I ended up keeping more than 30 books. Of course I did, the whole point of this is to keep what brings you joy and personally, I need far more than 30 books to bring me joy. The whole point of the KonMari method, as far as I’ve gathered is to keep what is right for you and makes you happy, and that could be 30 books, it could be 100 books, it could be 1000 books, if it brings you joy then it’s here to stay.

First off, we sorted my books into piles so that we could go through them more easily, and then basically we’d go through each book one by one and I’d decide what I felt I’d still enjoy and what I’d lost interest in. I think it was a bit frustrating for my friends at first because I wanted to keep pretty much everything from the first couple of piles, but as we went through the books, I found more that I was willing to part with.

There were some that I instantly knew I wanted to keep, books by favourite authors that I’d really enjoyed, books that I loved the concept of and was still really excited by, books that I’d loved and had signed, the ones that I just looked at and was like, yes, I want to keep these.

There were also books I instantly knew I wanted to get rid of, books I hadn’t enjoyed or hadn’t been able to finish or had just completely lost interest in. There were a lot of proofs that I just didn’t want to read anymore or books that I had picked up at YALC a couple of years ago that I didn’t really have a strong attachment to because I’d just got them as part of a deal. The hardest ones were those books that I wasn’t really sure about, I didn’t have strong feelings either way or that I’d had signed to me and so even if I wasn’t sure about reading it, I still felt compelled to keep. This is where it is very useful to have friends because they basically bully you (lovingly) into getting rid of all the books that you’re not sure of!

We organised my books into three sections, books I wanted to keep, books I wanted to donate and books that my friends wanted (do you see now why they agreed to help me do this?). Naturally, the books I wanted to keep ended up being the largest pile, but my friends did get a few books and I ended up with a bag of books to donate, some of which may be going on Twitter in the next few weeks, so keep an eye out.

I wasn’t really sure about the KonMari method at first, because honestly, getting rid of books is never something that I’m very good at and I thought, well what good is bringing joy as parameter for books, all books bring me joy! But actually having tried it, I’m a lot less sceptical than before. There were far more books that I was sure would make me happy (and vice versa) than there were books that I dithered over and it actually didn’t take quite as long to do as I thought it would. I didn’t count my books before I organised them, but I’m pretty sure they were getting up into triple digits and it only took us just over an hour to go through all of them. It honestly feels like a weight off my shoulders having decided to offload the books I have because now I know that I have more space for books that I’ll hopefully really love and I’m pleased with everything I kept.

Getting rid of books is really hard for me, because I’m one of those, “but I might read it someday” kind of people, and I hate to let a book go that I might have enjoyed. But I did learn through doing this that I’m more certain about what I’m going to enjoy than I thought and that decluttering does not have to mean getting rid of all of your books, I still have a pretty hefty box of them and I’m pretty happy that all of the books in that box, have brought or will one day bring me joy (plus I have a box and two bags of books going home, so I think I’m doing just fine!). Plus I’m pretty sure that all of the books that I’ve given up as part of this declutter will be replaced with new ones in time (is that not how this works?).

I’m never going to be someone with a small book collection. Books bring so much joy to my life, even the ones I haven’t read, all the infinite possibilities behind the pages are a wonder to me. That being said, I think it’s a great idea to occasionally go through your book collection and make sure that you still want everything on your shelves. It’s a good way of checking in with your reading tastes and making sure your shelves still match those and also to make space for all those shiny new books!

Have you ever tried the KonMari method? Would you ever? Do you find it easy or difficult to unhaul books? Let me know in the comments!

I probably will do another Jo Talks post this month, since I am now done with Uni, but it likely won’t be until the end of the month in two weeks time (HOW ARE WE HALFWAY THROUGH APRIL? Someone please explain time to me!). In the meantime, I’ll have another Top Ten Tuesday post for you guys tomorrow, so keep an eye out for that.

 

Catwoman: Soulstealer

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Book: Catwoman: Soulstealer (DC ICons #3)

Author: Sarah J Maas

BECHDEL TEST: PASS-Selina, Ivy and Harley all talk to each other about things other than men, their heists, Ivy’s past, Ivy & Harley’s relationship etc.

Catwoman: Soulstealer was my April #RockMyTBR book, I got it last summer but was kind of putting it off because I’d heard some mixed reviews of it, despite the fact that Sarah J Maas is one of my favourite authors and also I’m not really a massive comics person? I’ve been getting more into comic book related stuff over the past year or so, I’ve watched The Flash and Arrow (both of which I enjoyed) and the Marvel shows on Netflix (with mixed results), but the most I know of Catwoman is from the Halle Berry film, which from the little I can remember of it, wasn’t very good. Anyway, all this to say that I had pretty low expectations of this book going in, but I think that was a good thing because I ended up being pleasantly surprised and enjoying it a lot more than I thought I would. It was a refreshing change of pace from ACOTAR or Throne of Glass and it was nice to see Sarah playing around in a different world, but still putting her own unique spin on things. Here is a short synopsis of the book:

When the Bat’s away, the Cat will play. It’s time to see how many lives this cat really has. . . .

Two years after escaping Gotham City’s slums, Selina Kyle returns as the mysterious and wealthy Holly Vanderhees. She quickly discovers that with Batman off on a vital mission, Batwing is left to hold back the tide of notorious criminals. Gotham City is ripe for the taking.

Meanwhile, Luke Fox wants to prove he has what it takes to help people in his role as Batwing. He targets a new thief on the prowl who seems cleverer than most. She has teamed up with Poison Ivy and Harley Quinn, and together they are wreaking havoc. This Catwoman may be Batwing’s undoing.

Now let’s start with the obvious here, I don’t have any experience of Catwoman in other forms. I’ve only watched the one film featuring her and it was so long ago that I barely remember, and I don’t read the comics. I’m also not massively familiar with Gotham. I felt that this was actually a help rather than a hindrance to me here though, because I wasn’t going, oh such and such is different to the comics and although it does assume some basic knowledge, it’s easy enough to follow if you’re a DC newbie, which I appreciated.

I liked Selina, she’s smart and cunning, very good at gymnastics and a pretty ruthless killer. I don’t know how Catwoman is in the comics, but I liked that Selina still felt very human, she can be vulnerable, she’s not totally one thing or the other, completely good or completely evil, her characterisation was quite a nuanced take on a villain and in fact I would argue, probably more anti-heroine than villain here, which worked quite well for the story. She’s very easy to root for and despite reading some reviews that said she was basically just a carbon copy of Celaena, I would have to disagree, whilst Selina does have some of the same swagger as Celaena, I thought her character was a lot more nuanced. The contrast between Selina as Catwoman and as Holly was done pretty well also, I think helped by the dual POVs because we get to see her through her own eyes as well as Luke’s, so the contrast is emphasised even more.

The pacing in this was much better than usual for Sarah J Maas’ books, it was a bit of a slow starter, but the chapters were nice and short and once we got into the Catwoman action, the pace really picked up. I think writing a standalone did force her to not include as much filler as she does in her series’ which was very much to the benefit of the book! I will say that there were aspects of the plot that were a bit repetitive, a lot of Catwoman/Batwing confrontations, many heists and quite a bit of Luke and Holly (Selina’s alter-ego) hanging out, but I think that was just the nature of the book and for the most part I did enjoy all those things, so it’s not necessarily a complete negative, just something to note.

I really loved Selina’s relationship with Maggie, I can’t really say too much about it without diving into spoilery territory, but I am a sucker for a good sister relationship and this definitely was one. Maggie has cystic fibrosis as well, which is not something that you often see in books!

Luke Fox, aka Batwing, I did feel was a little bland. I liked that Sarah J Maas had a non-white love interest in this and I appreciated the PTSD rep, because again that’s something you don’t often see, but Luke as a character didn’t really make much of an impression on me. He was also kind of an incompetent hero, he didn’t seem to be able to do anything about Catwoman and all the chaos she was causing. I also didn’t really feel like there was much chemistry between the two of them, perhaps slightly more as Catwoman and Batwing, but as Luke and Selina (well Holly)? Not so much. I do love that she always emphasises consent in romantic relationships though and that’s seen again here (this book does not contain the same level of graphic sexual content as some of her other books, just a little kissing).

I really enjoyed the flashbacks to her time at the League and I would have liked to have seen more of them, the way the story works is we get the setup of how Selina joined the League at the beginning and then it skips right ahead to two years later. Now I understand why Sarah J Maas did this, training montages can be quite dull and she wanted to preserve the mystery for later in the book. However, we only really get to see brief glimpses of what happened at the League and I just would have liked a little more because I really enjoyed those parts.

The writing was for the most part okay, it’s a much simpler style of prose than she uses for her other books which made sense since the overwrought but very pretty metaphors she uses in her Fae worlds would have been extremely out of place here. I will say though that there were occasions when the writing felt a little stilted and there were some odd phrasings here and there, but for the most part, it was pleasing to read and fitted well with the setting and the story. Also much to my relief, she was not too overzealous on Catwoman purring!

I really enjoyed all the cool tech, it was a nice taste of what could be to come in her new series, Crescent City as that’s supposed to be a more futuristic setting than her other books. Ivy’s powers as well with the biotoxins and the plants were really cool.

I loved all the female friendship in this, it was wonderful to see Selina working together with Ivy and Harley to cause chaos, though I will say that I think Harley could have been more fleshed out, I felt like Ivy was the more developed character of the two of them, you get more of her history and talents than Harley’s.

There are obviously some really great action sequences in this, particularly towards the end, which I really loved. One of my favourite scenes is as Selina (as Catwoman) and Harley and Ivy are leaving one of their heists, they get the band to play them out with “Don’t Stop Me Now” which I just found so funny.

Selina’s motivations are somewhat murky throughout the book, which is initially annoying but you do get really great pay-off in the end and I loved how Sarah tied everything together as the final plot unfurled and it really makes sense as to why she does everything she does throughout the book and comes together in such a satisfying and exciting way.

I will say that Sarah employs a trope she’s used in previous books in this one again, and it kind of irritated me because it seemed a little implausible that particular trope would be possible here, given the circumstances in the book.

It all wrapped up very nicely, and whilst it’s definitely a standalone book, if Sarah was ever asked to do a sequel by DC, I would be very happy because I’d love to see Selina and her friends causing more chaos together!

Overall this was a really enjoyable book, lots of fun action, cool tech, a great main character and epic female friendships, I would definitely recommend this book whether you like comic books or not!

My Rating: 3.5/5

My next review will be of the sequel to The Exact Opposite of Okay, A Girl Called Shameless by Laura Steven, though that probably won’t be until the end of the month, since I’ve only just started it!

 

 

Top Ten Tuesday #206

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Hi everyone! I hope you’ve all had a good week since I last did one of these, I am finally DONE! All my project work has been handed in now, so all that’s left to do is wait for my grades and I am making the most of my newfound freedom by doing a LOT of reading, I’ve read over 200 pages of King of Fools in just the last four days alone!

Anyway, as it’s Tuesday, I have a new Top Ten Tuesday for you all courtesy of Jana at That Artsy Reader Girl. This week we were meant to be talking about Outrageous Things We’ve Done For The Love of Books, but honestly? I haven’t done that many. I can think of a few, but not enough to fill up a list of ten, so I’m going my own direction with the topic this week and talking about my Top Ten Favourite Sister Relationships In Books, as I love books that feature a great sister relationship and there definitely aren’t enough of them. So here we go, my favourite fictional sisters:

  1. Scarlett and Tella-Caraval Trilogy (well it will be in May)-Stephanie Garber

Sure Caraval does have some swoony romances, but Scarlett and Tella’s relationship is at the heart of the series, Scarlett only entered the first Caraval in order to save her sister after all. Scarlett and Tella are both very different people, but they would do anything for each other, the mark of a great sibling bond.

2. Camille and Sophie-Enchantee-Gita Trelease

I loved Camille and Sophie’s relationship in Enchantee, it’s the driving force behind the entire book, as Camille goes to Versailles in the first place in order to make money so that she can move her sister away from their awful apartment in Paris and their abusive brother can no longer find them. It’s wonderful to see how much Camille cares for Sophie and the lengths she will go to protect her.

3. Anna and Kate-My Sister’s Keeper-Jodi Picoult

Anna and Kate have quite an interesting relationship, given the premise of the book is that Anna was born to be an organ donor sibling to her sick older sister, who is suffering from leukaemia. Their sibling dynamic is quite different, since Anna’s purpose in life is to be a donor for Kate, there’s a lot of resentment there, even though she really loves her sister and it’s quite an interesting dynamic to read about.

4. Pauline, Petrova and Posy-Ballet Shoes-Noel Streatfeild

My original favourite sister relationship! Pauline, Petrova and Posy aren’t biological sisters, they were all adopted by the mysterious man known only to them as Gum (Great Uncle Matthew) who left when they were babies, but they bond together and take the shared last name of Fossil (as Gum is a paleontologist and brought them back in place of fossils) and vow to each other to make their name mean something. I honestly think this book is probably where my love of found families comes from!

5. Katniss and Prim-The Hunger Games Trilogy-Suzanne Collins

I couldn’t really do this list without including Katniss and Prim, I mean how many sisters would volunteer to fight in a deadly game where only one person ever comes out alive for you? I’m guessing not many!

6. Feyre, Nesta and Elain-ACOTAR Trilogy-Sarah J Maas

Sister relationships aren’t always sunshine and rainbows, and Maas’ sisters from the ACOTAR trilogy definitely prove this! Feyre obviously loves her sisters but there is a fair bit of resentment there too, as she is the one who has had to go out and hunt for the family whilst her sisters sit at home & obviously she changes quite a lot after the time she spends with Tamlin and Rhysand so it will be interesting to see how that dynamic has changed in the third book (yes I still haven’t read ACOWAR, yes I will get to it at some point).

7. Willow and Amelia-Handle With Care-Jodi Picoult

Another Jodi Picoult book with an interesting sister relationship, this one is interesting for two reasons, firstly that there is quite a big age gap between Amelia and Willow (Amelia is Charlotte’s daughter from a previous relationship) and like My Sister’s Keeper, it’s another book where the sibling has an ongoing health condition, in this case Osteogenesis Imperfecta so much as Amelia loves her sister, there’s also a lot of resentment there as Willow is paid far more attention than Amelia, given that she is the sick one.

8. Sephy and Minerva-Noughts and Crosses series-Malorie Blackman

Sephy and Minerva’s relationship is quite interesting because they’re never really that close? Sephy spends most of her time with Callum and her older sister never really seems to want much to do with her, but they become closer as they grow older, because this series takes place over a very long stretch of time (beginning when Sephy is a child, and by the fourth book, Sephy is an adult with a teenage daughter) so you get to see her relationship with her sister go through a lot of changes, which is something you don’t usually get to see in a YA series, since they don’t usually cover that large a period of time.

9. Lou and Amy-Heartland series-Lauren Brooke

Lou and Amy have quite a large age gap, I think it’s about 10 years between them & they are very different people, Lou is more practical and business minded, Amy just wants to continue her mother’s work in helping horses and it causes a lot of clashes between them throughout the series, but they are also incredibly close and rely on each other a lot for advice-they changed a lot in the TV series, to it’s benefit, I think, but the core relationship between Amy and Lou is very similar to the one seen in the book.

10. Claudia and Jenny-Heading Home-Katie Flynn

You get to see Claudia and Jenny growing up throughout this book, and unlike the example I mentioned above, with Sephy and Minerva, Claudia and Jenny grow apart as they get older (which can happen with sisters) and their divergent personalities come through.

So there we go my Favourite Sister Relationships In Books, I have to admit, I was struggling to come up with them by the time I got to number 6, which shows there definitely needs to be more books with sisters at the heart of them! Have you read any of these books? What are your favourite fictional sister relationships? Let me know in the comments!

Next week’s topic is Rainy Day Reads, which I’m not entirely sure what to make of, since I don’t really base my reading around the weather, but we’ll see what I manage to come up with! Meanwhile, I’m nearly done with my April #RockMyTBR book, Catwoman: Soulstealer, so I will likely have a review of it up for you guys by the end of the week, so keep an eye out for that one.

Writing Corner: Q&A With Author C.G. Drews

Hi everyone! I’m back for my Writing Corner post for April and I have a really exciting (well I hope you guys will find it exciting) post for you today! A few weeks ago I contacted C.G. Drews, who you guys will probably know better as PaperFury, one of the YA community’s most beloved and hilarious bloggers & now a brilliant YA author to see if she wanted to do an interview for this feature and very happily for me (and hopefully for you guys as well), she agreed! So I sent her over some questions about her new book The Boy Who Steals Houses (which came out in the UK on Thursday) and her general experience in writing and publishing, and I have her answers here for you guys today, so I hope you enjoy them:

  1. Q: Could you for anyone reading this, who may never have heard of The Boy Who Steals Houses, give a short summary of what the book is about?

A: It’s about a homeless teen named Sam, who breaks into houses when the owners are away on holidays–not to steal, but just to live. He and his autistic brother Avery are actual disasters who make terrible decisions, but they love each other fiercely and Sam protects his brother like nothing else. Then Sam messes up and steals a house that isn’t truly empty and ends up entangled in the lives of a big messy family. He craves this life, but if they find out why he’s homeless and what’s he’s running from, he’ll lose it all.

2. Q: Both of your books have retelling aspects to them, what attracted you to this method of storytelling? Do you have any particular favourite retellings?

A: I love retellings because you already get the bare bones of a structure….then you get to renovate and rebuild and let your imagination go wild! I definitely am fond of Goldilocks, which The Boy Who Steals Houses is based around, but I’d also love to do a Sleeping Beauty retelling one day too. Or the Seven Swans!

3. Q: You are based in Australia, and obviously your agent and publisher are based in the UK, are there any difficulties to having a transcontinental relationship with your publishing team?

A: It’s been great actually! The only downsides are waiting for things to come in the mail (contracts, proof copies, finished copies etc.) and how I end up staying up way too late waiting for emails since my sleeping time is when my agent/editor are working! It’d be nice to go over someday and meet my publishers though.

4. Q: You’ve been on both sides of the author/blogger relationship now, what have you had to change about your blogging, if anything, now that you are an author?

A: It’s definitely been an adjustment moving away from the wild and sparkly blogging life…over to the author life. I made the decision to stop doing negative reviews, because as an author, I felt it was a bit off to be critiquing my peers. I also have less time to blog because of writing and edits. But my blogging family is just the bessst and shout out to the whole blogging community for being masters at reviews and discussions and boosting new authors. I owe so much to their love!

5. Q: Like your characters in TBWSH, you also have autism and anxiety, do you have any recommendations for other books you’ve read with characters who have these conditions that you feel are good representation (from your own experiences)? 

A: I absolutely loved being able to weave things I’ve experienced into this novel! I wanted to write my experiences and feelings, but not put myself on the page, so that was an interesting balance to find. Sam, my narrator, has an anxiety disorder while his brother, Avery, has autism. There are endless ways these neurodiversities can present, but I’m particularly keen to find other books that represent them in non-problematic ways! I definitely recommend the autobiographies of Autism In Heels by Jennifer O’Toole and Nerdy, Shy and Socially Inappropriate by Cynthia Kim. And for YA fiction, Things I Should Have Known by Claire LaZebnik, Queens of Geek, by Jen Wilde, When My Heart Joins The Thousand by A.J. Steiger and Lady Midnight by Cassandra Clare—all have great autism representation!

6. Q: I’ve done a whole post about my writing inspirations, but who were yours? Do you think you can see their influence in their own work?

A: I really look up to authors like Maggie Stiefvater, Laini Taylor and Tahereh Mafi for their gorgeous prose and lush styles. I adore Cassandra Clare’s banter, and Adam Silvera’s wringing of hearts. And I must shout out to the fairy tales of the world for being so fun to rework too haha.

7. Q: We’ve talked writing inspirations, but where also do you look to when you’re needing to refill the creative well?

A: I read! So, so much. If I’m feeling uninspired–it’s time to devour a book, or ten (or one hundred and ten?!). I also love listening to music, anything from epic movie soundtracks to Imagine Dragons or Clean Bandit. And I mean who isn’t inspired by cake? I am. It is a gift.

8. Q: What do you know now about the publishing process that you wish you’d known going into it? 

A: That you need a lot of patience! And it’s not always the magical, glittery journey that you think other authors experience all the time. There’s plenty of downs as well as ups and it pays to have a support network in your life who can distract you with cookies.

9. Q: I know you don’t know what’s coming next for you publishing wise, but what are you working on right now?

A: I’m playing around with a bit of a passion project that involves dark woods and pretty monsters….and I’m always working on another dark contemporary or two!

10. Q: What advice would you give to young writers looking to get into publishing?

A: Definitely: KEEP WRITING. If you don’t feel “good enough” or your project gets rejected—keep writing. You get better the more you write and you have endless chances to get published. My first book that went on submission to editors was rejected, but my second novel was A Thousand Perfect Notes and it landed me a two book deal which changed my world. So always keep going, I believe in you.

Thanks so much for answering all my questions Cait, I’ve loved reading your blog for about two/three years now and it’s so wonderful, I can’t wait to keep following your publishing journey!

C.G. Drews

C.G. Drews lives in Australia with her piano and the goal of reading every book in existence. Consequently, her brain has overflowed with words and she spends her days writing novels to make you laugh or cry (or both). She never sleeps and believes in cake for breakfast.

She blogs at paperfury.com.

C.G. Drews’ second novel The Boy Who Steals Houses is out now, so head to your local bookshop, Amazon or wherever it is you get you books from and check it out!

I hope you all enjoyed this Q&A with C.G. Drews, and if you are writer and would love to do a Q&A about your books or your writing with me, or do a guest post about your writing, then please get in touch with me via email: jo.ell.x@hotmail.com or Twitter, @iloveheartlandX. I have spots available from August-December and the sky’s the limit, you can talk about your books/WIP, your writing process, agents/querying, whatever it is you want to talk about.

I’m going to have my latest Top Ten Tuesday post up for you guys tomorrow, so stay tuned for that and I’m finally done with my Uni work, so expect a lot more posts from me in the coming weeks! As for this feature, I’m going to be sharing a video from my friend, author H.T. King next month, she’s going to be talking about finding a publisher, and a publishing route that works for you so that should be a really good one. I’m also appearing on her YouTube channel talking about my writing, so I’ll let you know when that’s up & you can go watch that (please support it guys, you have no idea how terrifying filming myself was, I’m very self-conscious about how my voice sounds on video, hence why I’ve never been a BookTuber!).