Showcase Sunday #90

Inspired by Pop Culture Junkie and the Story Siren, the aim of Showcase Sunday is to highlight our newest books or book related swag and to see what everyone else received for review, borrowed from libraries, bought in bookshops and downloaded onto eReaders each week. For more information about how this feature works and how to join in, click here.

Hello everyone and welcome to the last Showcase Sunday in October! How are you all? :) Did you have a nice week? Mine was pretty slow and uneventful for a change, but I did go to Pinewood Studios to see the recording of a new Comedy Central sitcom with lovely Sarah Hadland, Ben Ashenden and Johnny Flynn on Friday, which was really good. I’ve been to a few TV recordings in the past couple of months but this is the first sitcom I’ve seen live and it was interesting to see how different the whole filming process is from other type of TV programmes.

Incoming

 Showcase Sunday 90

One Book Lane keyring

It Started with Paris | Good Girls Don’t Die

The first book, Good Girls Don’t Die, arrived at the end of last week but I didn’t have a chance to show it to you as I was busy with Dewey’s readathon. I haven’t read anything by Isabelle Grey yet but I absolutely love the sound of this one – and the title is just brilliant!

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Robin Talley’s Top 7 LGBT Characters of Color from YA

Lies We Tell Ourselves banner

In the past few years, the rallying cries have increased for more books for kids and teenagers featuring diverse characters ― and authors and publishers are responding. As we see more and more books featuring characters of color, characters who are LGBT, characters who are disabled, characters who aren’t native English speakers, and other key underrepresented groups, we’re seeing more and more YA books come out featuring characters who fall into more than one of those categories.

Books like these are essential to accurately reflect the world around us. After all, it’s not as if falling into one minority group makes you any less likely to be part of another.

So here’s a list of some of my favorite characters of color in YA novels who are also LGBT, listed in the order they were released. (I’m limiting this list to protagonists, by the way. If I expanded it to include secondary characters, the list would be a lot longer, and there would be even more amazing characters on here.)

I Am JJ from I Am J (2011) by Cris Beam

J is transgender, and he’s also biracial ― his mother is Puerto Rican, his father Jewish. He spends the story trying to understand what it means to be transgender and what it means to be a man, while his parents struggle to accept J the way he is. What astonished me most when reading J’s story for the first time was how real he felt ― I kept expecting to bump into him the next time I went to Starbucks. That’s how complicated and fascinating this guy is.

 

Aristotle & Dante (tie) from Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe (2012) by Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe Benjamin Alire Saenz

I went back and forth trying to pick a favorite between these two, but I can’t ― I adore Dante’s romanticism and sincerity, but I also adore Aristotle’s beautiful narration and the complex way he thinks about his amazing family. So in the end, it’s a draw. Aristotle and Dante are both Mexican-American boys growing up in Texas who are slowly, very slowly, beginning to understand that they’re gay, and they’re in love. It’s at that same slow, gentle pace that readers discover that they’re in love with this book, too.

Sahar from If You Could Be Mine (2013) by Sara Farizan

If You Could Be MineUnlike Aristotle and Dante, Sahar and Nasrin, the two Iranian girls at the center of If You Could Be Mine, know they’re in love from the first page. Also unlike Aristotle and Dante, though, readers aren’t likely to root for these two as a couple. Although Sahar sees Nasrin only as the love of her life, readers will quickly discover that Nasrin is undeserving of Sahar’s devotion ― and the extreme measures Sahar to which is willing to go to for her, including undergoing sex reassignment surgery, which is legal in Iran despite the country’s criminalization of homosexuality. Over the course of the story, though, Sahar comes into her own, and by its end I was desperately rooting for her to find happiness ― and independence ― against seemingly impossible odds.

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Dewey’s 24-Hour Readathon – October, 2014

Dewey's Readathon
Dewey’s readathon is the event I’ve been waiting for since April – and the wait is finally over. The readathon is back! If you haven’t participated before and are wondering what it’s all about, check the official website. The aim of the readathon is for us to spend the next 24 hours reading – it doesn’t matter where you are, whether you’re a blogger or not, or what genres you like, everyone and all types of books are welcome. We also take part in hourly challenges and chat with other participants throughout the day. It’s always tons of fun and is a brilliant way to make new friends, so if you’re free this weekend, do join us – it’s not too late to sign up.

Goals

One of the things I realised after 5 readathons under my belt is that I always end up reading long books. Which can become a bit exhausting towards the end of the readathon, especially if it’s not a particularly easy read. So I decided to change things up a bit. This time, I selected 3 short and easy books and 2 longer ones. The fact that 4 out of 5 books are review copies is just an added bonus.

 
Dewey's Readathon TBR

I’ll probably start with the Guinea Pigs Online books (review copies from Quercus). They’re all around 170 pages but since they are children’s books, I should be able to get through them fairly quickly. I’m already halfway through Wonder so the plan is to read the second half and then move on to Cut Out (review copy from Hodder & Stoughton). I already read the first 100 pages of Cut Out as well but I have another 300 to go.

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Top 5 Book to Read This Autumn

Top 5 Autumn Reads 2014
After two weeks of constant rain and fog, I think it’s safe to say that summer is well and truly over. Despite the cold and the long nights, though, I love this time of the year. I always see the chilly weather as the perfect excuse to curl up in bed with a mug of tea, a soft blanket and a good book. There’s something about this season that always makes me want to pick up a good mystery or horror (especially as we’re nearing Halloween), but if you’re looking for something else to read this autumn, I collected 5 new book releases for you that I’m really looking forward to – and you should too!

The Woman Who Stole My Life by Marian Keyes
6 November 2014, Michael Joseph – £18.99

The Woman Who Stole My Life by Marian KeyesStella Sweeney is an ordinary woman living an ordinary life with her husband Ryan and their two teenage kids in Dublin. She works with – or really for – her terrifyingly ambitious sister Karen in their beauty salon. Nothing to get excited about here. Nothing to make her particularly unhappy. Or happy… No-one would be interested in stealing her life. But then things started to happen… One day, Stella, attempting a good deed, causes a little car accident and faces down a bad tempered, handsome stranger. She hardly gives it much of a thought. But karma is hovering, and is about to take over, swoop in and change Stella’s life for ever. For better or worse. Suddenly Stella has a life. A thrilling glamorous one. A life that other people might start to covet… ”

I absolutely adore Marian and her writing, and I have no doubt in my mind that The Woman Who Stole My Life is going to be another brilliant read.

The Best of Miranda by Miranda Hart
23 October, 2014, Hodder & Stoughton – £14.99

The Best of Miranda by Miranda HartYour favourite, number one best-selling comedian Miranda Hart is giving you an access-all-areas VIP backstage pass to her award-winning sitcom. The Best of Miranda contains the full scripts of Miranda’s six favourite episodes (including her original revises and annotations) so that you can, if you wish to, cast your family to re-enact choice moments in your living room. The book also includes Miranda’s own account of just what goes in to the process of writing, rehearsing and filming, hilarious gossip from the making of the sitcom, previously unpublished photographs and material which didn’t make the final edits. Other extras include recipes for Gary’s favourite cakes, cringe worthy childhood photos of our favourite comedian, a step-by-step guide to making your own Fruit Friends and Vegetapals and a Marry Gary Board Game.

Anyone who knows me knows that I have a soft spot for Miranda’s TV show. I don’t deny the fact that I’ve seen every single episode at least 25 times and it still makes me laugh. So getting a glimpse of how they filmed the series and what happened behind the scenes makes me giddy with excitement. And if her previous book, Is It Just Me?, is anything to go by, it’s going to be bloomin’ marvellous.

Shopaholic to the Stars by Sophie Kinsella
25 September, 2014, Bantam Press – £12.99

Shopaholic to the Stars by Sophie KinsellaBecky Brandon (nee Bloomwood) is in Hollywood! It’s as if all her life has been leading to this moment. She’s hanging out with the stars … or at least she will be, when she finally gets to meet movie superstar Sage Seymour, whom husband Luke is now managing. There’s so much to see and do! And getting Minnie through the hurdles for her A-list Hollywood pre-school will require some…er…help.

Becky sets her heart on a new career – she’s going to be a celebrity stylist. Red carpet, here she comes! But Becky soon finds it’s tough in Tinseltown. Luckily her best friend Suze comes over to keep her company, and together they embark on the Hollywood insider trail. But somehow…things aren’t quite working out as they’d hoped. Then Becky’s big chance comes, and it’s an opportunity that money can’t buy. But will it cost her too much?

Although chick-lit is something I tend to avoid, the Shopaholic series is one of my favourite series ever. Becky is just hilarious so if you’re looking for a happy and light hearted read this autumn, I would definitely recommend this one.

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Showcase Sunday #89

Inspired by Pop Culture Junkie and the Story Siren, the aim of Showcase Sunday is to highlight our newest books or book related swag and to see what everyone else received for review, borrowed from libraries, bought in bookshops and downloaded onto eReaders each week. For more information about how this feature works and how to join in, click here.

Hello everyone and welcome to this week’s Showcase Sunday! How are you? How was your week? I was away until this time last week (I spent a week at my parents’) so this week was all about trying to get back to normal life and catching up with work. Very boring, I know. Although I’m off to the X Factor live shows tonight so that definitely makes up for it!

Incoming

 Showcase Sunday 89

Cut Out | The Liar’s Chair

Two lovely crime novels were waiting for me when I came back from my holiday last week – one from Bookbridgr and one from Pan Macmillan. Cut Out is the third book in the DI Harland series and I’ve been waiting for this ever since I finished book #2. I love Fergus’ writing and if the previous two books are anything to go by, Cut Out is going to be one hell of a ride.

I also did a little happy dance when I saw The Liar’s Chair – I wasn’t expecting this one (thanks for the lovely surprise, Sam!) but if I remember correctly, this is my first review book which comes out in 2015. There’s something really exciting about reading a book which isn’t published until the following year – and this one should be right up my street.

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9 Days to Go! Review: The Maze Runner – James Dashner + Win a Signed Copy!

The Maze Runner by James Dashner

The Maze Runner by James Dashner
Publication date: 4 September 2014
Publisher: Chicken House
Format: Paperback
ISBN: 9781909489448
Length: 371 pages
Genre: Science fiction
Age group: Young Adult
Source: Publisher
Add it: Goodreads
Buy it: Amazon UK | The Book Depository
My rating: 4 Stars

When the doors of the lift crank open, the only thing Thomas remembers is his first name. But he’s not alone. He’s surrounded by boys who welcome him to the Glade – a walled encampment at the centre of a bizarre and terrible stone maze.

Like Thomas, the Gladers don’t know why or how they came to be there – or what’s happened to the world outside. All they know is that every morning when the walls slide back, they will risk everything – even the half-machine-half-animal Grievers that patrol the corridors – to try and find out.

The Maze Runner is another good example for books that have been on my to-be-read list for years but I never managed to pick up. With the UK premiere being only 9 days away, I thought it’d be a good time to finally sit down and read it. I don’t know what I was expecting exactly – a fast-paced, race against the clock kind of thing, perhaps? – but in all fairness, it didn’t ‘wow’ me. It’s a brilliant idea for a book and for a fictional world and I loved Thomas as a main character, but the writing didn’t captivate me as much as I hoped it would.

And with other, similar YA trilogies out there (the Hunger Games being one of them) it’s impossible not to compare them. And compared to its competition, The Maze Runner – for me – wasn’t strong enough, wasn’t as strong as it could have been. It’s still a good book and I will still read its sequel. But it could have been so much better.

The story reminded me of Kevin Brooks’ The Bunker Diary, which I absolutely loved and which I reviewed earlier on. In fact, the way the Glade works is pretty much the same as the odd underground place in Brooks’ novel. People are taken to the Glade, one by one, in an empty elevator. They have no recollection of their past, all they remember is their name. They’re being watched all day long and the ’creators’ who put them there send them various supplies through the elevator every week. They don’t know why they’re there and who did this to them – and neither do the characters. All they know is that they need to find a way out through the maze that surrounds the compound.

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Showcase Sunday #88

Inspired by Pop Culture Junkie and the Story Siren, the aim of Showcase Sunday is to highlight our newest books or book related swag and to see what everyone else received for review, borrowed from libraries, bought in bookshops and downloaded onto eReaders each week. For more information about how this feature works and how to join in, click here.

Hello everyone! How have you been? :) I haven’t done a Showcase Sunday post since my holiday last month (I can’t believe it’s been that long) but I finally have some goodies to show you.

Incoming

Harry Potter books 2014 edition

The Maze Runner film tie-in

Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone | Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets | Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban | Regeneration | The Maze Runner

I went into town last weekend and saw that Tesco has a 2 for £7 deal on all their YA/children’s books and they had the new Harry Potter books too. Only the first three, but still. I’ve been meaning to re-read the series for such a long time and this is by far my favourite edition, I just had to take them. Harry Potter has always been a ‘wintery’ series for me, I don’t know why – so they’ll be the perfect companions for the Christmas holidays when it’s freezing cold outside and I’m curled up in bed with mug of hot chocolate. *faraway look*

Erm, anyway. Moving on.

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