BOOK REVIEW: HAPPY AGAIN BY JENNIFER E. SMITH



Ellie O'Neill and Graham Larkin fell hard for each other when a misspelled email address unexpectedly brought them together. Now, over a year has passed since they said goodbye with the promise to stay in touch, and their daily emails have dwindled to nothing. Ellie is a freshman in college and has told herself to move on, and Graham has kept himself busy starring in more movies, as well as a few tabloid columns. But fate brought these two together once before—and it isn't done with them yet.

In this sequel novella to This Is What Happy Looks Like, Jennifer E. Smith revisits two beloved characters to tell the story of one magical night in Manhattan. When Ellie and Graham come face to face once more, can they get past the months of silence and the hurt feelings to find their happily-ever-after again?
 




spoilers but hidden

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BOOK REVIEW: LUCY IN THE SKY BY PAIGE TOON




Settling down for a 24-hour flight to Australia, Lucy finds a text message on her phone from a woman claiming to have slept with her boyfriend, James, four times in the past month. Trapped above the Pacific, she questions everything about their relationship, but when she finally calls him, James reassures her that it was only his friend playing a joke. James is gorgeous and successful and Lucy adores him, yet at her best friend Molly’s wedding in Sydney, she finds herself having doubts and is keeping an eye on Molly's brother-in-law Nathan. Nathan is a happy-go-lucky surfer boy with no prospects, no place to live, and an almost-girlfriend in tow. Suddenly, Lucy finds herself caught between two distant continents and two very different men.


non-spoiler review

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TOP 10 BOOKS ON WRITING

With April's Camp NaNoWriMo drawing to a close, we have decided to honor the occasion by compiling a list of our favorite books which double as master classes on the art of writing, as one great has put it (and who is featured in the list below, fear not). Penned by authors, agents, publishers and screenwriters alike, these are the books which have helped us deepen our understanding of storytelling as a whole, as well as what it takes to imagine a good novel into reality (or die trying). From advice on structuring a plot to an overview of entire genres, these are our top picks not only for their insights, but also for their diversity in terms of the methods they use to approach the craft.

As always, this Top 10 Monday list is subjective. And as always, it is in no particular order. 




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IN MY MAILBOX: 25TH APRIL

I mentioned in the last In My Mailbox post that it had been my birthday recently. I received more books from a very generous person, who spends way too much money on me, and I also treated myself to more at the bookshop. Why not? I wandered in for a browse and ended up with a big bagful. As usual. I have a book buying problem!




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BOOK REVIEW: TEN THINGS WE SHOULDN'T HAVE DONE BY SARAH MLYNOWSKI



2 girls + 3 guys + 1 house – parents = 10 things April and her friends did that they (definitely, maybe, probably) shouldn't have.
If given the opportunity, what sixteen-year-old wouldn't jump at the chance to move in with a friend and live parent-free? Although maybe "opportunity" isn't the right word, since April had to tell her dad a tiny little untruth to make it happen (see #1: "Lied to Our Parents"). But she and her housemate Vi are totally responsible and able to take care of themselves. How they ended up "Skipping School" (#3), "Throwing a Crazy Party" (#8), "Buying a Hot Tub" (#4), and, um, "Harboring a Fugitive" (#7) at all is kind of a mystery to them.
In this hilarious and bittersweet tale, Sarah Mlynowski mines the heart and mind of a girl on her own for the first time. To get through the year, April will have to juggle a love triangle, learn to do her own laundry, and accept that her carefully constructed world just might be falling apart . . . one thing-she-shouldn't-have-done at a time.


possible spoilers

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IN MY MAILBOX: 18TH APRIL

I'm sure you're not all aware, but I can inform you now, that Monday April 20th is my (Natalie's) birthday! And, of course, I know some amazingly nice people and have received some books in celebration of my 26th. Spoilt, or what? You can always say it with books and you can't go wrong,  so my family have no excuse to get me something I wouldn't like.

There's a mixture of books I've wanted to read for ages, books I've only just discovered in the bookshop (one or two of these I bought myself) and ones I've read and wanted a physical copy of. Let's begin!



I'd like to thank Dennis and my co-blogger Lexie for sending me some of these books for my birthday. You two are awesome!

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BOOK REVIEW: THE FAULT IN OUR STARS BY JOHN GREEN


Despite the tumor-shrinking medical miracle that has bought her a few years, Hazel has never been anything but terminal, her final chapter inscribed upon diagnosis. But when a gorgeous plot twist named Augustus Waters suddenly appears at Cancer Kid Support Group, Hazel's story is about to be completely rewritten.



Insightful, bold, irreverent, and raw, The Fault in Our Stars is award-winning author John Green's most ambitious and heartbreaking work yet, brilliantly exploring the funny, thrilling, and tragic business of being alive and in love.






Spoiler-free review.

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BOOK REVIEW: THE JEWEL BY AMY EWING



"Today is my last day as Violet Lasting. Tomorrow I become Lot 197."

The Jewel is a shocking and compelling new YA series from debut author, Amy Ewing.

Sold for six million diamantes, Violet is now Surrogate of the House of the Lake in the centre of the Lone City, the Jewel. Her sole purpose is to produce a healthy heir for the Duchess – a woman Violet fears and despises. 

Violet is trapped in a living death, her name and body no longer her own. She fights to hold on to her own identity and sanity, uncertain of the fate of her friends, isolated and at the mercy of the Duchess.

The Handmaid's Tale meets The Other Boleyn Girl in a world where beauty and brutality collide


possible spoilers

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TOP 10 PET PEEVES IN LITERATURE

At times, our dislike of a book or a part of a book is so profound and so incomprehensible that it's difficult to express why it is exactly that we dislike it. It goes beyond any one particular fault, or any one expectation we had which the book had failed.

But for those times when we know exactly what it is about a book that's bothering us, we turn to various literary faults and personal pet peeves. Some are rational, some less so. Some are personal to us and our reading experiences, while some are more global and widespread. (We are yet to meet a reader who consciously loves to read about Mary Sues.)

So this Monday, we are choosing the ten pet peeves which irk us the most, and which considerably lessen our enjoyment of a book which falls prey to them.




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IN MY MAILBOX: APRIL 8TH 2015

I've just recently moved into a new place, and I was lucky enough to get a housewarming present from a very good friend of mine. Dennis, the book giver extraordinaire, has sent me three books to help bring some more life and happiness into my new home.

I'm a lucky girl! 

I've had these books on my TBR for a while now so I'm thrilled to add them to my collection!





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TOP 10 UNFINISHED BOOK SERIES

In Middle Grade, YA and NA literature in general, the most frequently unfinished series are pretty well-known and frequently-discussed. They spark debates, incite arguments and occasionally fuel mini-wars. The readers who have finished these controversial series swear by them. Others who have abandoned the series feel differently.

And then there's us. If a series is frequently-abandoned, chances are we've finished it. If a series is beloved and popular, chances are we haven't even started it.

As for all the rest? That's where this Top 10 Monday pick comes in. This week, we are choosing the top 10 series we haven't yet finished, but which we consider a wrong to be righted as soon as possible. These are the series we've loved in the past and can't wait to complete. In some cases, it's still a long way to go before they're published in their entirety. In others, these are complete, published wholes which we're lagging behind on.

Because if there's one thing we do well, it's procrastination. It's scary how consistent we are at inconsistency.



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BOOK REVIEW: A GREAT AND TERRIBLE BEAUTY BY LIBBA BRAY


A Victorian boarding school story, a Gothic mansion mystery, a gossipy romp about a clique of girlfriends, and a dark other-worldly fantasy - jumble them all together and you have this complicated and unusual first novel.

Sixteen-year-old Gemma has had an unconventional upbringing in India, until the day she foresees her mother's death in a black, swirling vision that turns out to be true. Sent back to England, she is enrolled at Spence, a girls' academy with a mysterious burned-out East Wing. There Gemma is snubbed by powerful Felicity, beautiful Pippa, and even her own dumpy roommate Ann, until she blackmails herself and Ann into the treacherous clique. Gemma is distressed to find that she has been followed from India by Kartik, a beautiful young man who warns her to fight off the visions. Nevertheless, they continue, and one night she is led by a child-spirit to find a diary that reveals the secrets of a mystical Order. The clique soon finds a way to accompany Gemma to the other-world realms of her visions "for a bit of fun" and to taste the power they will never have as Victorian wives, but they discover that the delights of the realms are overwhelmed by a menace they cannot control. Gemma is left with the knowledge that her role as the link between worlds leaves her with a mission to seek out the "others" and rebuild the Order. A Great and Terrible Beauty is an impressive first book in what should prove to be a fascinating trilogy.




To have a book hailed as "a Victorian boarding school story and a Gothic mansion mystery", it's hard not to dive right in, and still harder not to be excited about the book's potential as a whole. Expectation management goes right out the window in instances like these - and expectation management is something that would do it a world of good in the long run.

Because A Great And Terrible Beauty is incredibly clever. And A Great And Terrible Beauty is incredibly slow.

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MOST ANTICIPATED RELEASES OF SPRING

The commencement of spring brings us three somewhat beloved traditions: celebrating nature by stopping to smell the flowers (literally, in some cases), daylight savings, and a list of our most anticipated book releases of the season.

In our Top 10 Most Anticipated 2015 Book Releases post, we've already established that this entire year is a godsend for new literature - from continuations of beloved series, to brand new series and standalones. And even as we were compiling lists of all the books we're eagerly anticipating this year, some seasons and some months immediately stood out over the others, as times when most of our beloved reads are due to come out.

Needless to say, spring is one of them. And this list is the reason why.




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BOOK REVIEW: THE DEAL BY ELLE KENNEDY



She’s about to make a deal with the college bad boy... 

Hannah Wells has finally found someone who turns her on. But while she might be confident in every other area of her life, she’s carting around a full set of baggage when it comes to sex and seduction. If she wants to get her crush’s attention, she’ll have to step out of her comfort zone and make him take notice…even if it means tutoring the annoying, childish, cocky captain of the hockey team in exchange for a pretend date. 

...and it’s going to be oh so good. 

All Garrett Graham has ever wanted is to play professional hockey after graduation, but his plummeting GPA is threatening everything he’s worked so hard for. If helping a sarcastic brunette make another guy jealous will help him secure his position on the team, he’s all for it. But when one unexpected kiss leads to the wildest sex of both their lives, it doesn’t take long for Garrett to realize that pretend isn’t going to cut it. Now he just has to convince Hannah that the man she wants looks a lot like him




Spoiler free

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