Category: Book clubs

The Heartsick series by @ChelseaCain wrap up

 

Click on the title link below to see my coverage of individual books and commentary on who I’d cast in the prominent roles. Hint- David Harbour.
Keep on reading and you’ll see a link to my Pintrest board that might compliment Cain’s AWESOME work. I was tempted to make predictions on any upcoming Archie/Gretchen novels, but I really want to keep those to myself. However, I did once entertain the idea of writing a fan fic that saw Susan on a book tour in Europe. She managed to be held hostage on the London Eye which would have given nail biting ticking clock.

 

https://www.bookdepository.com/Heartsick-Chelsea-Cain/9780312657819?ref=grid-view&qid=1535216223272&sr=1-10=CappyCrash

Heartsick

Sweetheart 

Evil at Heart
https://www.amazon.co.uk/Evil-Heart-Gretchen-Lowell-Chelsea/dp/0330449826/ref=pd_sim_14_1?_encoding=UTF8&pd_rd_i=0330449826&pd_rd_r=88954205-a885-11e8-8dbb-41abd883f66d&pd_rd_w=LVfwK&pd_rd_wg=1YGVO&pf_rd_i=desktop-dp-sims&pf_rd_m=A3P5ROKL5A1OLE&pf_rd_p=88f8d9ff-a36b-4460-ac98-7d949e70c7e0&pf_rd_r=G7VEGXQR18M8CBPPG9ST&pf_rd_s=desktop-dp-sims&pf_rd_t=40701&psc=1&refRID=G7VEGXQR18M8CBPPG9ST

The Night Season
Kill You Twice
Let Me Go


My Pintrest Page

https://pin.it/r3zcf6omhoh6q7

So while reading this time, I started researching things (Namely Susan’s hair colours) and put them into a Pintrest board. Whenever my dad was talking AT me for so long that I could feel my vein popping in my head and I found myself reading the same line four or more times, I’d go into research mode.
Within the board you’ll find that it’s split into the individual books, with a separate one for Archie (David Harbour. Not going to lie, I’ve given up on anyone being cast other than that damn fine man! Follow him on Insta, I beg you.), a Misc one for Susan where it’s items of clothing she is described to wear more than once or I’m not sure which book it should be in.
I also spent some time falling in love with Portland and I’m now planning on going on holiday there in the next few years (read: ASAP).

Please enjoy and comment on any changes in casting you would have.

 

Love

Han x

Kill You Twice by Chelsea Cain

Another crime thriller knocked out of the park. There’s development of relationships, a character back from a previous outing (Pearl) and one of the most heartbreaking ending of the series. This reread I found myself stalling while I read. I considered, very briefly, that the stall was perhaps fatigue and that I would need another book inbetween this and the next one.
It wasn’t the case; I just didn’t want to get to the ending. I feel everything Susan does and this not only brings back memories of the Night Season, it sucker punches her, twice. I get the moment I’ve been waiting five books for, and not only is it cut short… we get Archie’s internal thoughts afterwards.

There isn’t really anyone for the casting couch today. Yes, Rachel does make her appearance in this book, but I really think that she would be played by an unknown/upcoming actress.

The Night Season by Chelsea Cain

This has always been my favourite installment of the series. My review on Good Reads claims its because there’s no Gretchen. I’m sure that’s part of it, but certainly for this reading it was because it’s the one I see being a movie most. I love the history that’s woven into the plot, I love that it’s someone other than Archie or Susan who finds themselves in a hospital bed.

I gave these books to one of my best friends and the bit I love the most; the relationship between Archie and Susan, is the bit she hates. I love how subtle he is compared to her. I believe that. Maybe because I see so much of myself in Susan I want to believe that it can happen.

My favourite part of this book is the weather; it’s atmospheric and reminds me of the filmic boldness of Se7en (1995). While the rain adds a subdued tone to Se7en, it must have been a bitch to film in.

Casting Couch

Lozenzo Robbins


Yasiin Bey (Mos Def) Perhaps a little older than the book describes, but I have always loved this dude and I think he has the ability to bring sass to the role.

Chadwick Boseman Newly appointed Avenger needs so grounded roles to even out the superhero stuff. Small role means it can be fitted in between Mouse House projects. While he’s an obvious choice in the same strand as Donald Glover (see below), he currently only has the Panther as his standout role. This could be the project that propels him beyond the Wakanda King.

Donald Glover This one for me is a little too obvious and bias. He’s Lando! Lando, for anyone who doesn’t know, is my all time favourite Star Wars character. He has all of Han’s roguishness, and ten times the charm. Never mind the fact that he’s now canonically pansexual. A flirt who finds anyone sexy, regardless of shape, size, colour; I admire that.
However, as I said, he’s too much of an obvious choice. With his film and music career, he’s the man of the moment. Nothing screams ‘ticking boxes’ like picking the most well known person of colour and saying ‘look we’re diverse’.
In reality, if I was producing this series, Robbins would actually go to a relatively unknown and upcoming actor.

Martin Ngyun


Ross Butler Another 13 Reasons Why actor in the mix here. Butler has been one of the stand out performances over the two series and I’m really glad he bowed out of Riverdale to complete series 2. He may be a little on the young side at 28, but hell he’s just spent the last few years playing characters ten years his junior, I’m certain he can go the other way.

Harry Shum Jr The Shadowhunters Alumni would be perfect for this role. Such a beautiful man! Okay, so I’ll also admit it, while this is a dream casting I am also thinking strategy. Having Either of these two in the role would bring a fandom to the cinema and if we start making these movies, there’s no way on earth we’re not getting to THIS film.

Jeff Heil

tye
Tye Sheridan really got my attention as Wade Watts in Ready Player One! Interestingly enough I dismissed another 13 Reasons actor for his age, yet he’s is actually the same age as Tye. There’s a few scenes in this book that I would love to see Tye get his teeth into; two that see him play against Susan.

Evil at Heart by Chelsea Cain book review

Quite possibly book I’ve read least out of the series. Have no idea why as it’s an incredible addition to the series. I did notice during my reread it was the only I don’t own on kindle as well as paperback.

My favourite aspect about this book, is the exploration of fandom. We get to see an almost cult following for Gretchen, people keeping track of how long she’s been free for, a manicure inspired by her and what is discovered to be a run of copy cat killings that, at first glance, are believed to have been done by Gretchen herself; breaking the pact she had made with Archie at the end of Sweetheart.

We see the introduction of the Reynolds family, which is brilliant enough on its own. A drug lord who lost his daughter to Gretchen. Jack, the patriarch of the Reynolds family, is someone Archie can turn to. It subverts that corrupt cop perception; Archie may be turning a blind eye to Jack’s enterprise, but he’s certainly not on the take. Then you find out that the family lawyer, is just that. Leo is the son to Jack and he seems to be enamored by Susan. While I am very much wanting Susan and Archie together by the end of this series, it’s nice to see someone showing Susan some affection and, more importantly, her playing it cool with him.


Casting couch

Leo Reynolds 

Brendon Urie
There’s no one else I’d have in this role. I’m so set on this casting choice, I even used my question for a Q&A to see if he was open to film roles now that he’s done theatre. This inspired casting came about because Panic! At the Disco have a namesake song: Let Me Go.
On that thread, I would have a Panic! song within each film.

Jeremy Reynolds 

Ansel Elgort
Lucas Hedges
Both Ansel and Lucas have this underlying creep factor while oozing charm. I think a little twist in their performance and they could bring Juston to life.

Joe Kerry
Charlie Heaton may be the more obvious choice from the Hawkins High boys, but hear me out. Charlie is exactly that, obvious. Stranger Things used and played up the ‘creep’ offensive. Add that to his ‘bad boy’ off screen persona, I just feel that it’s a little bit of typecasting that wouldn’t work for this.
However, in the book, Archie describes his connection to Justin. The fact that he’s a survivor, just like him. Who better to play against David Harbour than his hollywood ‘mini me’

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Miles Heizer
Miles has already shown many layers to his acting throughout two series of 13 Reasons Why.

Jack Reynolds 

  • Chris Cooper 
  • Bryan Cranston
  • Richard Jenkins
  • James Caan

The only person on this list I’m a little unsure of, is Bryan Cranston. He might be better suited to the senator from the previous book. Chris Cooper would be my favourite choice as he has that air of command and a closer look to Urie. Damn, it’s hard when you have one person in mind.

Pearl

Bella Thorne
Multi talented Thorne is a chameleon and would be perfect for the runnaway Pearl. Her music persona fits the description from this book, while her other roles prove that she is able to represent the adaptable Pearl that reappears in book 5.

Book review: Sweetheart by Chelsea Cain

The second installment is just as perfect for the silver screen as the first. Think Along Came a Spider meets Die Hard with a wicked soundtrack and a killer cast.

The flashbacks to Archie’s life are not as frequent in this outing that sees the Beauty Killer escape and spend some quality time with the detective. What I love most about Sweetheart is the relationship between Susan and Henry that’s developed when they are trying to search for Gretchen and her last victim.

What I love most of all about Chelsea’s work is how seemingly unrelated crimes tie up before the book finishes. It’s perfectly layered, so that when you go in for a second (*cough* fifth) reading, you will kick yourself for missing the clues.

Casting Couch

Debbie Sheridan
Jessica Capshaw While renowned for her role as Arizona Robbins in Grey’s Anatomy, I will always remember her for her portrayal as Booths ex-wife in the tv series Bones.
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Notable mentions go to Clea Duvall and Selma Blair who both could handle the role.

Buddy Anderson
As said before, this could be where Sam Rockwell fits in, but if not Paul Bettany or Edward Norton would be a perfect fit.


Derek makes an appearance in Heartsick, but it’s in Sweetheart he really gets page time. Someone like Liam Hemsworth, Alex Ludwig or Jack Reynor would fit the part.

Charlene Wood
Another character that is in the background, but consistently through the series. Being someone that Susan admires and detests means she has to have a certain look. For me, that would have to be the wonderful Kat Dennings.

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Heartsick by Chelsea Cain

I’ve just finished reading Heartsick for what must be the 10th time in five years. I had always loved my crime shows, but had never really gotten into the crime fiction genre. Aside from Faye Kellerman’s detective series which I read while completing my RE A-Level as the main character falls for an observant Jew and converts throughout the series, this was my first venture into the genre.

There are very few book series that would see me at the doors of a bookshop, counting down the seconds for them to open so I could continue to read. Which is exactly what I did one school holiday when I’d finished the third book in the series and needed the fourth. Which I went home and read in a record two hours.

I also have a quote from this book tattooed on my body. It sits alongside words by Douglas Adams, David Bowie, Glen Duncan and Kevin Smith (by way of the late and great Alan Rickman). I think that certainly gives you an idea of the quality of the writing.

Cain’s writing style could be likened to Michael Crichton in the sense that her stories are made for the screen, intentional or not. Heartsick is an easy, compelling read that integrates flashbacks in a seamless fashion. It has one of my favourite plots of the whole series and I love meeting the main characters for the first time. It’s the characters that truly make this series for me. Safe to say, exploring the book’s plot is difficult without giving away some of the narrative that’s best revealed through the book than me.


Casting Couch

As I’ve said, this series is made for the screen and I have always pictured certain people in the roles. It has changed over the years, but some have always stayed the same in my mind.

Archie Sheridan


Mark Ruffalo
For many years, and way before his performance as detective Dylan Rhodes, I saw Ruffalo in the main role of Archie. He had enough under his belt to suggest he could play the gruff detective.

Then, a little show called Stranger Things blew that casting out the water.

David Harbour
Okay, so David doesn’t have the curls that are described in The Night Season, but he’s now my Archie! There’s no doubt that this beautiful man can carry off the detective role, he’s been cast as FBI/ Agent/ Government official in no less than five films or shows. He’s also got that tortured soul down to a tee in Stranger Things.

Gretchen Lowell


Michelle Williams
While there are some obvious choices for the Beauty Killer (Charlize Theron being one), Williams is someone who is so obvious, she slipped my mind for many years. Not only is she stunningly beautiful, she is someone who could do ugly/pretty very well; something that is definitely needed for the sequels.

Kate McKinnon 
While a little too young for the role, I feel she’s the ideal choice. One thing I’ve always noticed about high profile comedians (Robin Williams, Jim Carrey, Will Farrell), they play it straight like no one else. Put them in the role of a psycho; you have the most amazing performance that will chill you to the bone.
McKinnon is a beautiful actress and is an amazing, versatile, comedy star. It would shock everyone to see her take on this role and, while there’s no body of work to suggest it, I believe she’s got the talent that is reminiscent of Williams and could take on Lowell in her sleep.

Tricia Helfer 
This is another ‘I can’t believe I didn’t think of it earlier’ casting choice. It’s since her performance on Lucifer that this has been on my mind. There’s no doubt that she’s worthy of the title ‘Beauty Killer’, and she has a record of playing morally compromised people. It’s a given that she’d be perfect in the role.

Lauren German
Another Lucifer actress who is completely stunning and perfect for the role. I have yet to see her in anything other than Lucifer, but even in that she’s shown a depth and breath of acting that suggests she could play Gretchen.

Henry Sobol

actor-michael-pena-talks-boxing-with-tbc
Michael Pena
This is a hard one as I know he doesn’t fit the bill, however since seeing him in Extinction I think he could give us the sarcastic nature of the character.

john-leguizamo-hbo

John Leguizamo
Again, not someone who fits the physical description, but I think acting wise he’s got it. I’ve always loved seeing him on screen from the very first time I heard him utter Tybalt’s ‘ I hate the word, As I hate hell, all Montagues, and thee’. I’d love to say that while everyone was drooling over Leo, it was John who had my eye. Alas it was Dash Mihok’s Benvolio who had my heart.
And John’s turn in Moulin Rouge is nothing short of divine.
Dash-Mihok
Dash Mihok
It was only while researching John Leguizamo that I realised that Dash might be perfect for the role, if not a little too young.

Celebrities at the Chiltern Firehouse, London, Britain - 22 Jun 2014Greg Grunberg
JJ Abrams’ lucky charm answer to Burton’s Depp. I could imagine him bringing a Jon Favreau “Happy Hogan” feel to Henry and lets face it, who doesn’t love Happy Hogan?!

Susan Ward


Kate McKinnon
I’m not sure she’d be quite right for the news reporter who is thrown into Archie’s world in Heartsick. However, her interpretation could perhaps prove me wrong. Especially if she brings Holtzman to play.

Ksenia Solo
Lost Girl alumni, certainly fits the description and she can do angst. As Susan is a character I identify so much with, and I’ve always seen Ksenia as someone I’d kill to look like, I see her as a perfect fit.

Me, Me, Me
Okay and this is a little shameful, but I’d kill to play Susan. I have a face for radio, a chunky flabby body, I can’t do accents and I certainly can’t act. But I would learn if I got to play this role. She’s just so much fun and hell, getting to act alongside David Harbour would have me putting on my big girl pants and acting the shit out of the role so fast. I’m not gonna lie either, I always picture myself in the role when I’m reading it. Mainly because, fuck… I am Susan. I pick the wrong men, I feel like I’m always fighting the current yet I won’t let anyone fuck me over, twice.

Ian Harper


Domhnall Gleeson
In a role that’s part Hux and part Henry Beard, its made for Domhnall. I could see him having fun in the role without it being the abomination characterisation that befell him in Last Jedi.

Bliss Mountain

julie_walters
Julie Walters
This is very much dream casting. I’m not sure Walters has ever done a crime/thriller, but man I would love to see her with blonde dreads and she can certainly do that mothering thing well having spent eight or more years on the set of Harry Potter. Being Susan’s mother would see her channeling Molly but also an element of Petula from Dinner Ladies.

Honorary mention
Carrie Fisher
Damn, this woman will always be my hero. She would have made an AMAZING Bliss. A woman who beats to her own drum and doesn’t take shit?!

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SPOILER ZONE

There’s one other person I’d love to cast in the film, however I can’t give you the name of the character without giving away the biggest reveal of the book. Equally, I doubt he’d be cast for that exact same reason. As soon as you see him, you’d perhaps know he was the killer/abductor. That said, Sam Rockwell is someone I’d have to have in the film and he has always been the only person I’d have for the role. I’ve always seen him as the abductor when reading it; mainly because he can do sleaze, he can do charming, he can do vulnerable and he can do anger. The character would need to balance all of this, be on the edge of suspicion yet have audiences thinking RED HERRING until the moment the rug is finally pulled.

 

Starfish by @akemidawn

So, this book is not going to take my normal approach to reviewing because my thoughts are all jumbled in a this-is-so-amazing brain dump. I still can’t, 12 hours or so from finishing the story, process how much EVERYONE needs to read this book.

There are so many threads within the book that at least one will have you gasping ‘that’s so me’. It deals with so many crucial issues that make or break someone; divorce, cultural belonging, parental approval, plans for the future, truthfulness, failure and so many more. Not only does Bowman address them, she provides solutions to some if you’re open to seeing them and not all of them are to do with acceptance.

I cried, more than once, reading the novel in my almost-one-sitting. I had a twenty minute break while I had something to eat; unfortunately with now having two beautiful kittens, eating at home is like waging war; one false step and I’ve lost my food. I digress. There are points in the book, whether you’ve been through it or not, your empathy will flood you with emotions. Bowman has created such a strong character that perceives herself as unworthy and weak. It’s hard not to want Kiko in your life as a friend.

While I have my own feelings about the Uncle Max thread and how that is dealt with has brought me some comfort that I never thought I’d find from a book, it is the issue of anxiety that I most identified with. The way Bowman represents Kiko’s thought process hopefully reveals to those who don’t suffer from anxiety, how exhausting it can be. It also helped me feel a little more ‘normal’.

THE EXTINCTION TRIALS, Q&A with S M Wilson

ET-Blogger-tour

HG: Which character, if any, did you relate to?

SMW: It has to be heroine, Storm.  She’s angry and feels abandoned, and I felt that as I wrote her.  But Storm has a big heart and a strong sense of ethics and I hope that comes through.

HG: If you were to enter the trials, what would your motivation be?

SMW: Food!  I will admit to being a complete food lover.  I’m not particularly sporty.  The chances of me completing any of the trials is less than slim, but, if you were waving chocolate at me I would probably have a go.

HG: Comparisons to books like Hunger Games and Jurassic park are inevitable despite your book’s unique storytelling and plot. Are comparisons something you embrace as a writer?

SMW: I am so flattered by those comparisons.  Nowadays people only think of the Jurassic Park film, but the book by Michael Crichton is fabulous, so atmospheric and I hope I’ve captured a little of that in mine.  As for the Hunger Games, I read all those books, I loved the fight-to-the-death element.  So, yes, I’m happy with comparisons!

HG: You are able to write with two distinct voices for both of your main characters; was there a process behind this? 

SMW: No.  I’m very methodical.  I just wrote it in alternate chapters. I found it easy as both characters have very different motivations.

HG: Who would survive longer in the Trials; Katniss Everdeen or Alan Grant?

SMW: Nope!  That’s completely unfair.  You can’t make me choose between them.  Can I go for Chris Pratt’s character in Jurassic World instead please? Owen Grady looks like he could survive just about anything with that twinkling smile.  Can I be controversial though and say I might send a raptor after the heroine…

HG: Going to go all Sherlock on you now. If you were to give your fans three, individual and unrelated, words as clues for the next book, what would they be?

SMW: The title of the next book would have to be one of them: (TO BE REVEALED this weekend on #SundayYA!) It speaks volumes!

The other two I would choose are mystery and surprise.  They’re going to venture into some unexplored territory and get a few shocks along the way!

HG: Normally, this sort of book would have readers clambering for your back catalogue of books. Being your debut novel, everyone will be a little disappointed and be itching for that sequel. What 3 books would you recommend while they wait?

SMW: One I’ve already mentioned Jurassic Park by Michael Crichton.  Love, love, love it.

The other two are YA.  Warcross by Marie Lu and Invictus by Ryan Graudin.  Read both of these books this year and just loved them.


Sign up for the Usborne YA newsletter here for information about upcoming releases and the extract release for the second Extinction Trials book.

Everless by @Sara__Holland

Characters

It’s not often you find a book where you enjoy and relate to most of the characters. From the protagonist to the staff at Everless, each one is fully developed and invite you in to this world. They are likeable, unlikeable and with one in particular you will be utterly conflicted from start to finish.

Jules is strong, angry and the perfect protagonist to be on this journey with. Her voice is clear and strong, even when under pressure.

Interestingly, it is Liam who was my favourite character from the outset. For the first time, I’ve not trusted the protagonist’s opinion. I willed it to be false. I put that down, in part, to Sara Holland’s writing.

Plot

It’s a heroes quest unlike any I’ve read before. It pulls you in from the very start and you’re along for the ride as ? learns about herself and the dangerous world she lives in.

The addition of the time bleeding and blood iron is genius. Elements relating to time can often feel overwhelmingly futuristic. However, we are treated to what I would consider a delightful fusion of steam punk and Historical Britain.

Writing

Sara Holland’s first person narrative unlike anything else I’ve ever experienced before. The ability to develop other characters and imply that there is an alternative view is utterly seamless. It’s only reflecting that I’ve realised I questioned Jules’ understanding throughout the novel.

The only time I stopped reading was when i paused to text my best friend, Gem, to tell her that she has to read this book.

One thing that really hit home with me was this quote: “It’s possible to feel joy and grief at the same time.”

No one, not even myself, has ever been able to articulate how depression feels to me. Not only has Holland done this, she has done it in such a beautiful and haunting way.

Queens of Geekdom Book Challenge 2018!

Welcome to The Queens of Geekdom Book Challenge 2018!

We are going to read a book for every letter of the alphabet in 2018…

They will be a mix of new releases and #QOG favourites.

The list below are some of my  favourites combined with some up and coming releases for 2018.

This is not a list anyone should feel obliged to stick to, they are just suggestions of ones I love and ones I am looking forward to! 😊

If you want to join in with myself and @hscptcrash  the hashtag for this is  #QOGAZ  (I’d get so many Scrabble points for this!)

Throughout 2018 we will be posting about this challenge, and we will be reading books in any order so don’t think you have to start with A!

I’ve included a link to order the book through Waterstones as I worked with them for 7 years, but obvs feel free to order from whoever your preferred supplier is or get them in libraries, charity shops or as I do Abebooks.co.uk.

My friend, @ChelleyToy (award winning blogger extraordinaire, who gives wonderful hugs) is hosting a British Books Challenge, so if you could combine the two that would be even more spectacular! Chelley’s link to sign up is below;

http://www.talesofyesterday.co.uk/2017/12/tales-post-british-books-challenge-2017-sign-up-britishbookschallenge18/

https://i2.wp.com/www.talesofyesterday.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2016/11/BBC-pointed-shaded.png

 The Queens of Geekdom Book Challenge 2018!

 #QOGAZ

A; Almost Love https://www.waterstones.com/book/almost-love/louise-oneill/9781784298869

B; Batman: Nightwalker https://www.waterstones.com/book/batman-nightwalker-dc-icons-series/marie-lu/9780141386836

C; Children of Blood and Bone https://www.waterstones.com/book/children-of-blood-and-bone/tomi-adeyemi/9781509871353

D; Department 19 https://www.waterstones.com/book/department-19/will-hill/9780007354467

E; (The) Extinction Trials https://www.waterstones.com/book/the-extinction-trials/s-m-wilson/9781474927345

F; Fallen https://www.waterstones.com/book/fallen/lauren-kate/9780552561730

G; Grasshopper Jungle https://www.waterstones.com/book/grasshopper-jungle/andrew-smith/9781405278102

H; (The) Hazel Wood https://www.waterstones.com/book/the-hazel-wood/melissa-albert/9780141388663

I; Ink & Bone https://www.waterstones.com/book/ink-and-bone/rachel-caine/9780749017224

J; (A) Jigsaw of Fire & Stars https://www.waterstones.com/book/a-jigsaw-of-fire-and-stars/yaba-badoe/9781786695482

K; (A) Kiss in the Dark https://www.waterstones.com/book/a-kiss-in-the-dark/cat-clarke/9781780870472

L; (The) Luxe https://www.waterstones.com/book/the-luxe/anna-godbersen/9780141323367

M; Monster https://www.waterstones.com/book/monster/michael-grant/9781405284837

N; Noughts and Crosses https://www.waterstones.com/book/noughts-and-crosses/malorie-blackman/9780141378640

O; Orphan Monster Spy https://www.waterstones.com/book/orphan-monster-spy/matt-killeen/9781474942386

P; Panic https://www.waterstones.com/book/panic/lauren-oliver/9781444723052

Q; (The) Queen of Tearling https://www.waterstones.com/book/the-queen-of-the-tearling/erika-johansen/9780857502476

R; (The) Renegades https://www.waterstones.com/book/renegades/marissa-meyer/9781509876433

S; (The) Sin Eater’s Daughter https://www.waterstones.com/book/the-sin-eaters-daughter/melinda-salisbury/9781407147635

T; Truly Devious  https://www.waterstones.com/book/truly-devious/maureen-johnson/9780062338051

U; (The) Upside of Unrequited https://www.waterstones.com/book/the-upside-of-unrequited/becky-albertalli/9780141356112

V; Vampire Academy https://www.waterstones.com/book/vampire-academy-book-1/richelle-mead/9780141328522

W; Wicked Deep https://www.waterstones.com/book/the-wicked-deep/shea-ernshaw/9781471166136

X; SiX of Crows https://www.waterstones.com/book/six-of-crows/leigh-bardugo/9781780622286

Y; If You Find Me https://www.waterstones.com/book/if-you-find-me/emily-murdoch/9781780621531

Z; Zeroes   https://www.waterstones.com/book/zeroes/scott-westerfeld/margo-lanagan/9781471124891

British Book Challenge

We, The Queens of Geekdom are going to take part in the British Book Challenge #BritishBooksChallenge18 hosted by the awesome @ChelleyToy over at Tales of Yesterday.

http://www.talesofyesterday.co.uk/2016/12/tales-post-british-books-challenge-2017-sign-up/

We’ll be doing this in conjunction with the  #QOGAZ A-Z challenge so some titles will count towards both challenges, double the fun!

@gemlovesbooks books;

The books I’m intending on reading for the challenge are a mix of ones which have already been published and some that I’m impatiently waiting for in 2018!

I’ll put a link to Waterstones for the books so people can click to see the full synopsis of my chosen books.

Almost Love by Louise O’Neil  https://www.waterstones.com/book/almost-love/louise-oneill/9781784298869

State of Sorrow by Melinda Sailsbury  https://www.waterstones.com/book/state-of-sorrow/melinda-salisbury/9781407180274

Release by Patrick Ness https://www.waterstones.com/book/release/patrick-ness/9781406331172

The Song Rising by Samantha Shannon https://www.waterstones.com/book/the-song-rising/samantha-shannon/9781408877852

Orphan Monster Spy by Matt Killeen https://www.waterstones.com/book/orphan-monster-spy/matt-killeen/9781474942386

Book of Dust by Philip Pullman https://www.waterstones.com/book/la-belle-sauvage-the-book-of-dust-volume-one/philip-pullman/9780857561091

How Do You Like Me Now by Holly Bourne https://www.waterstones.com/book/how-do-you-like-me-now/holly-bourne/9781473667723

A Spoonful of Murder by Robin Stevens https://www.waterstones.com/book/a-spoonful-of-murder-a-murder-most-unladylike-mystery/robin-stevens/nina-tara/9780141373782

Rattle by Fiona Cummins https://www.waterstones.com/book/rattle/fiona-cummins/9781509812271

How To Stop Time by Matt Haig https://www.waterstones.com/book/how-to-stop-time/matt-haig/chris-riddell/9781786893161

Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein https://www.waterstones.com/book/code-name-verity/elizabeth-wein/9781405278423

The Blood Road by Stuart Macbride https://www.waterstones.com/book/the-blood-road/stuart-macbride/9780008208219

@hscptcrash books:

I’ll be starting with the same list, except for one that I’ve already read.

Almost Love by Louise O’Neil  https://www.waterstones.com/book/almost-love/louise-oneill/9781784298869

State of Sorrow by Melinda Sailsbury  https://www.waterstones.com/book/state-of-sorrow/melinda-salisbury/9781407180274

The Song Rising by Samantha Shannon https://www.waterstones.com/book/the-song-rising/samantha-shannon/9781408877852

Orphan Monster Spy by Matt Killeen https://www.waterstones.com/book/orphan-monster-spy/matt-killeen/9781474942386

Book of Dust by Philip Pullman https://www.waterstones.com/book/la-belle-sauvage-the-book-of-dust-volume-one/philip-pullman/9780857561091

How Do You Like Me Now by Holly Bourne https://www.waterstones.com/book/how-do-you-like-me-now/holly-bourne/9781473667723

A Spoonful of Murder by Robin Stevens https://www.waterstones.com/book/a-spoonful-of-murder-a-murder-most-unladylike-mystery/robin-stevens/nina-tara/9780141373782

Rattle by Fiona Cummins https://www.waterstones.com/book/rattle/fiona-cummins/9781509812271

How To Stop Time by Matt Haig https://www.waterstones.com/book/how-to-stop-time/matt-haig/chris-riddell/9781786893161

Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein https://www.waterstones.com/book/code-name-verity/elizabeth-wein/9781405278423

The Blood Road by Stuart Macbride https://www.waterstones.com/book/the-blood-road/stuart-macbride/9780008208219

Letters to the Lost by Brigid Kemmerer #bookreview #Han #Zoellabookclub

Letters to the Lost by Brigid Kemmerer #bookreview #Han #Zoellabookclub

From Amazon: Juliet Young always writes letters to her mother, a world-traveling photojournalist. Even after her mother’s death, she leaves letters at her grave. It’s the only way Juliet can cope.

Declan Murphy isn’t the sort of guy you want to cross. In the midst of his court-ordered community service at the local cemetery, he’s trying to escape the demons of his past.

When Declan reads a haunting letter left beside a grave, he can’t resist writing back. Soon, he’s opening up to a perfect stranger, and their connection is immediate. But neither Declan nor Juliet knows that they’re not actually strangers. When life at school interferes with their secret life of letters, sparks will fly as Juliet and Declan discover truths that might tear them apart.

Goodreads

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First Thoughts
It was going to be a tough read for me. I always knew that. In fact, until Zoe announced it was this week’s focus for the Zoella book club chat I had no intention of reading this book. I thought it was too close to home and I buried it, much like my feelings about death and grief.
I’m really glad I did. Yes, it was a painful read. It was tough going, but there was something a little cathartic about the process.

 

Characters

I was able to engage and empathise with most of the characters. Brigid Kemmerer was able to create almost mirror-like characters that reflect the reader’s experiences that add depth to the characters. From the frustration and anger of Juliet, the warmth of the English teacher to the angst-ridden guilt of Declan.
The characters do grow throughout the narrative, but what I like most is that their growth does not end when the book does. You know that they have further to go, but they’ll get there.
I have more of an attachment to Declan. Perhaps it’s how long he’s had to grief by the opening of the narrative or his specific form of guilt. It could even be my love of his friend, Rev but what I love most of all is how genuine his character is; I’ve seen kids like him in my classes and it’s fascinating to see potential inner workings.

Plot

In what could have been a predictable You’ve Got Mail, grief by numbers I am delighted to say I had the rug pulled from under me a few times; and I was looking at it analytically trying to see the red herrings. I can’t really say more without spoiling the twist/s, but I can say that it helps develop a refreshing look at family, coping with death and living up to your own expectations.

Writing

It did take me a few more chapters than normal to get into the flow of which voice belonged to whom. I think this was perhaps owing to many chapters having the voices of Juliet and Declan both present; one as narrator other letter writer.
However, by the time the characters moved to other forms of communicating, I was well and truly hooked.
zbc&f-summer2017-reviews-letters

If you’ve read the book, please join the wonderful @zcollins1994 (along with myself and Gem) on Saturday 2nd September 6pm as Zoe hosts her weekly #zoellabookclub chat on Twitter (http://www.nosaferplace.co.uk/2017/07/zoella-book-club-chat.html – Zoe explains it much better in her own words here). If you haven’t read the book, head over to Zoe’s YouTube channel at 5pm https://www.youtube.com/nosaferplace and you also still have time.

Look forward to seeing you there.