Tuesday, 29 April 2014

Top Ten Tuesday: Books to Read if you Like the Film Mean Girls

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted over at The Broke and the Bookish. This week's top ten is "Top Ten Books If You Like X tv show/movie/comic/play". So I racked my brains and thought of one of my favourite films - Mean Girls! It's just celebrated its ten year anniversary (eep I feel old!) as well so it feels very apt. So here are the books I think you'll like if you love Mean Girls!

Red by Alison Cherry
So I didn't choose this because of the red hair connection! Red is all about social status and fighting to keep it which I think a lot of Mean Girls fans will enjoy.

Shift by Em Bailey
Shift comes with its very own Regina George in the shape of Katie who has a history with main character Olive.

The Betrayal of Natalie Hargrove by Lauren Kate
I always describe this as a guilty pleasure book because the main character is definitely a love to hate character (and certainly a mean girl!).

How to be Popular by Meg Cabot
This book is probably the closest parallel to Mean Girls that I could find, as one girl loses herself in an obsession to be popular.

Teen Idol by Meg Cabot
And just because Meg Cabot nails the American high school thing pretty well, i thought I'd throw in a second book by her!

Paper Aeroplanes by Dawn O'Porter
This book is set in Guernsey so it doesn't have the American feel, but I think British fans of Mean Girls will find a lot more relatable situations in this book due to the secondary school setting. Plenty of friendship dramas and embarassing scenarios to lose yourself in!

Revenge of the Homecoming Queen by Stephanie Hale
A popular girl on a quest to become homecoming queen finds herself at the bottom of the foodchain.

Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins
I picked this because it starts out with a girl at a new school in a strange country which I thought was similar to Cady's situation.

Gemini Rising by Eleanor Wood
 This book features new students who upset the social balance of the school, and deals a lot of with the idea of finding your ideal friends and fitting in.

  Wonder by R. J. Palacio
I included this one because I think it sums up school life, being the new kid and the odd one out perfectly.

Monday, 28 April 2014

Book Haul! 28th April

Now that I'm back up and running with a few posts after a busy few weeks, I thought it was about time I did a bit of a book haul! My to-read list is totally out of control and but I still haven't been able to resist the odd treat. Below are some of the books I've picked up recently!

Independent Study by Joelle Charbonneau

I got this book out from the library a while ago and hadn't got round to reading it, but when I did finally pick it up I was delighted to find a quote from my review of The Testing appeared on the first page! My mum was so proud she surprised me by buying me my very own copy of the book so I had it to keep. I've finished the book now and thoroughly enjoyed it. Keep your eyes peeled for a review soon!

A Kiss in the Dark by Cat Clarke
Goose by Dawn O'Porter

My local Waterstones recently moved location and opened a brand new shiny shop, so of course when I popped in to check it out I had to buy something! I went in specifically looking for Goose, the sequel to Paper Aeroplanes (which was one of my favourite books of last year!), and because it was on buy one get one half price then I just had to have something else. I picked Cat Clarke's new book, A Kiss in the Dark, because I've been dying to read it since I first found out it was being published.

Starcrossed by Josephine Angelini

I've been wanting to read this book for so long and have picked it up longingly at the library many times before returning it to the shelves. It's a long book so I've always been put off, worrying I wouldn't have time to read it! So when it appeared on Kindle Daily Deal I snatched it up. Hopefully I'll find time to read it soon!

Class A by Robert Muchamore 

I'd just finished The Recruit when I spotted this book, the sequel, in a charity shop. It was a sign! I enjoyed the first book so I'm looking forward to getting stuck in.

Sunday, 27 April 2014

Hello! A Catch up on Blogging, Working and Life in General

I wanted to write a post apologising for not blogging for a while, but apologising seems like such a stupid word. After all, it's my blog, I run it, and therefore I shouldn't really be apologising to anyone. I haven't done anything wrong!

I think myself and other bloggers can be very quick to put pressure on ourselves to do what is expected of us, such as posting every day or a couple of times a week, because it's what other people do or what publishers expect.

When I first started blogging I was unwell and unemployed. I had lots of spare time on my hands and I needed a hobby to keep me focused and give me an outlet to express myself. Blogging was great for that and went hand in hand with my love of reading. Combining the two was the best thing I ever did!

In January I started my very first job. Yes I'm 23 and had never worked before. My health had prevented me. Starting work was a huge landmark for me and was both exciting and challenging. Because of my health, I have limited energy. I try and explain it as running on a recharable battery that needs charging up a little sooner and more frequently than most healthy people! I love my job and wouldn't change it for the world, but it is a physically demanding job. Since starting work I have found myself having to balance that energy just right so that I could really focus on my job. This meant I had less energy for things like reading and writing as I needed my evenings to rest and recuperate.

As well as working, I've been learning to drive. I don't think driving will be something that ever comes naturally to me, but I've made a huge amount of progress and now I look forward to my lessons and often finish them feeling proud of what I've achieved rather than terrified of what just happened!
I still read on my days off and the occasional evening when I have a burst of energy, but I don't read as much or as quickly as I used to. This doesn't mean I enjoy reading any less or have any less desire to read or to blog, but obviously running a book review blog requires you to have read books in order to review them! And sadly that is something I have less time to do.

I hope that readers of my blog will be patient with me, and that they don't mind that the reviews may be further apart timewise. I may not post every day or every week. But when I do post reviews, they will be the same as they always have been. I will spend the same amount of time writing them and pour the same amount of emotion into them. I would never want to try and cram in reviews to pad out the blog and lose some of the substance.

The bookish community is wonderful, and I've always found it to be incredibly supportive, and I hope I can still reach readers even if it is less frequently than before. I'm always lurking about on Twitter so please feel free to chat to me on there! @TotalTeenFic Hopefully speak to you soon!

Saturday, 26 April 2014

Launch of the new Waterstones York!

Ever since I first read about Waterstones moving to a new premises in York I've been ridiculously excited. Whilst I've always loved my local Waterstones, I was looking forward to seeing the new shop as well as the addition of a Cafe W that would accompany the move. Whilst visiting other Waterstones across the country I've always liked the inclusion of somewhere to have a drink, because what could be better than the combination of a book and a cup of tea?

Saturday 26th April saw the brand new Coney Street Waterstones officially open to the public. It isn't far from the old shop, but the new shop is a much better space. But before I get into how much I love it, here's what happened on the day.

I arrived about 11am as the official opening had been billed for about 11.15. There were people inside the shop holding baloons and sipping on complementary alcohol when I arrived, but I'd arranged to meet my friend so I stayed outside admiring the books through the window. I wanted us to experience walking through the doors together!

At around 11.15 the town crier appeared from inside the shop, gathering the crowds and alerting them to the opening. A photographer was present to document the occasion so he jokingly warned anyone who was on the run from the law that they might want to skedaddle! Alongside the town crier were special guests Spot the Dog and the Lord Mayor of York. I videoed the main bit so you can watch below!

After the ribbon was cut we headed inside. Instantly I fell in love with the amount of space and light in the new shop, as well as the attractive displays. It looked fantastic. Of course my first instinct was to find the YA/Teenage Fiction section which I found in a lovely corner at the back of the shop. There were two display tables of books, on which I found the first of my purchases - A Kiss in the Dark by Cat Clarke. I then sought out the one book I had come to buy which was Goose by Dawn O'Porter, which I found quickly enough. I probably spent another twenty minutes perusing the shelves before my friend and I forced our way to the tills to pay for the books we had picked up.

Next it was upstairs to check out the new Cafe W. I've been to a few Waterstones that have Costa coffee shops but I've never sampled a Cafe W. And the experience was lovely! I had a very nice pot of tea and a free sample of one of their cakes which was scrummy. The cafe area is light, bright and comfy. It's definitely going to become my new haunt!

Our local book shops are so important, with more and more closing each year. I really hope that Waterstones York is here to stay, and I think with the move they have created an even more enjoyable book buying experience. I urge everyone to pop in soon!

Now I'm going to curl up with my new reads! Thanks Waterstones.

Tuesday, 22 April 2014

Teaser Tuesdays (22nd April): Indpendent Study by Joelle Charbonneau

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following: • Grab your current read
• Open to a random page
• Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
• BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
• Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

"The watch on my bag reads four in the morning as I lock the door and hurry down the stairs to whatever awaits. Doors slam."

- page 102, Independent Study (The Testing, #2) by Joelle Charbonneau

Thursday, 10 April 2014

Review: The Recruit by Robert Muchamore

The Recruit by Robert Muchamore

Author: Robert Muchamore Website|Twitter
Published: 3rd April 2014 (Hodder Children's') new cover edition - orginially published 2004
Format: Kindle e-book (review copy)
Pages: 352
Buy the book: Amazon|Hive|BookDepository
Buy the e-book: Kindle|Kobo

Source: Received free copy from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Plot Summary (from Goodreads):
Number 1 bestselling series, CHERUB celebrates its 10th Anniversary with brand new covers!

Now is your chance to start right back at the beginning with The Recruit.

A terrorist doesn't let strangers in her flat because they might be undercover police or intelligence agents, but her children bring their mates home and they run all over the place. The terrorist doesn't know that one of these kids has bugged every room in her house, made copies of all her computer files and stolen her address book. The kid works for CHERUB.

CHERUB agents are aged between ten and seventeen. They live in the real world, slipping under adult radar and getting information that sends criminals and terrorists to jail.

For official purposes, these children do not exist.

My Review:
This is one of those series I've been reading to read for a while, and the tenth anniversary finally gave me the oppurtunity to dive into the first book in the Cherub series! The story follows James who is a bit rebellious, and after a string of unfortunate incidents finds himself on a journey from troublesome schoolboy to undercover agent for a secret government agency.

There's an awful lot to like about The Recruit. I think the gritty, British feel to it really helped. James is in a bit of a rubbish situation with a mum more worried about selling shoplifted goods than she is about him and a nightmare of a sort-of-step-dad. I think with the books being written a few years ago there was a bit of nostalgia for me (references to Playstations etc.) but I loved that, and so much of it was recognisable.  I liked that the author doesn't shy away from bad language as well, as the cast of kids in the book felt a lot more true to life that way.

James himself was a fantastic lead. He's a bit hopeless which I think will make a lot of people warm to him and possibly relate to him, but he really shines when it comes to his mathmatic ability so you can see the potential in him and it leaves you really rooting for him. I enjoyed seeing his relationships with the other characters, particularly his younger sister who you can tell her really cares about, and the developing friendships with fellow recruits. I liked that he's a bit younger than the majority of YA characters I usually read about, as there's still a bit of childlike innocence and naivete with him. With the series containing several books, I think it'll be great to see him grow up alongside all the other stuff.

I love books about spies, government plots and undercover detective work, so this really hit the spot in terms of genre. I loved the set up of Cherub, and I think it lets you escape into James' world to the point you end up being jealous of some of the cool stuff he does. There's a lot of build up which I think comes from this being the first book in the series. The real danger and main focus of the plot doesn't kick in until about two thirds of the way through, but I was never really bored. I was relieved when I got to that point, though, and things finally started to pick up pace.

I can see huge potential for this series, and I've actually already grabbed a copy of book two to read. I can't wait to get stuck in! If you love books like Insignia by S. J. Kincaid or the Harry Potter series, then I'd definitely recommend picking up these books. I loved getting swept along with James as he discovers his potential. I thought the writing style was fantastic and there's some great humour in there. I'll definitely be reading more by this author.

Rating: 4*
What to read next: Class A by Robert Muchamore, book 2 in the Cherub series
Books like this: Insignia by S. J. Kincaid, Spy School by Stuart Gibbs, Harry Potter and the Philospher's Stone by J. K. Rowling

Tuesday, 1 April 2014

Teaser Tuesdays (1st April): The Recruit by Robert Muchamore

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following: • Grab your current read
• Open to a random page
• Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
• BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
• Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

"The three boys squared up to James, all of them about twice his size. Greg put the toe of his trainer on the swing between James' legs."

  -  34% Kindle edition, The Recruit (Cherub, #1) by Robert Muchamore


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