Books by BookTubers/Influencers: A Discussion

I have been waiting to write a discussion about books written booktubers/ book bloggers and other influencers for a while, I recently watched Ariel Bissett’s video about reviewing her friends books and I thought she made some really excellent points, and so I wanted to add my two cents to the discussion. I will mainly be talking about book influencers (book bloggers, booktubers, bookstagramers etc) in this blog, but a lot of the points can be related back to influencers in general.

Firstly, from a publishing point of view, and business point of view, publishing books by people who already have a following is a smart decision. Publishing a debut author is often a risk, publishers themselves have to throw a lot of marketing into it and build up a lot of pre publication hype in order to make sure the book generates sales, whereas if an author already has an audience, there are pretty much guaranteed sales. At the end of the day, publishing is a business, and publishing books by influencers or celebrities which they know will sell, allows them to take risks on debut or lesser known authors because they have that fall back.

Personally, I have no problem with book influencers having books published. It makes sense that all of these people who are readers and lovers of books, would want to write their own stories one day. And yes, maybe they would have an easier ride to get published, because they already have an audience, but that doesn’t make the story they tell any less valuable. I see a lot of people who review these books, and the main focus of the review is ranting about how much they didn’t deserve a book deal, or how they only got it because of their following. And yes, there is some truth to them mainly getting the deal because of their audience, but I think out of all influencers, those who are most likely to have actually written their books are probably from the book community, and getting a deal doesn’t negate all the hard work that they have put into writing the book in the first place.

I also feel like books by influencers are far more harshly judged by some of the people who are reading them. A lot of these books are debuts, nobody writes a perfect book the first time round, and yet some of the criticism that these books have, particularly in regards to the writing, I feel a lot of debut authors also have, and yet not as big a deal is made out of them. Because we feel as though we know influencers, because we watch  or read about their lives, it is almost as though some people feel entitled to attack them in a much more personal way.

After the release of Zenith by Sasha Alsberg and Lindsay Cummings, it received widespread criticism as a lot of people didn’t enjoy the book or the writing style. This very quickly became an attack on Sasha, because she had the bigger online presence. It became all about how she didn’t deserve her deal, and her writing was ‘trash’, and the more it went on, the more people joined in on personally attack Sasha, rather than constructively criticising her book. I remember seeing a YouTube video pop up in my recommendations, titled a ‘rant review’ of Zenith, the title included something along the lines of the book being terrible (I’m being deliberately vague, this post isn’t meant to call one person out, it wasn’t just this one incident) with a thumbnail pulling a disgusted face. If that popped up in my recommendations, it more than likely also popped up in Sasha’s, is that really fair to an author? Authors aren’t likely to watch/read reviews anyway, a lot of them speak about how they don’t read reviews, because it does nothing for them. Tagging authors in bad reviews is a hot topic at the minute, and something that should absolutely never be done, something about seeing that video had the same kind of feel to me.

There is obviously a lot more that can be said on this topic, and maybe I will make a follow up post at some point in the future, let me know what your thoughts are on this down in the comments below. Until next time, happy reading.

 

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Reading Rush 2019 TBR

Summer is upon us and that can only mean one thing, it’s Reading Rush time! Reading Rush is a week long readathon, previously known as the BookTubeAThon, run by Ariel and Raleen over on BookTube. I love taking part and this is something I look forward to every year. This year I’m in the middle of writing my dissertation for my masters so I don’t know exactly how much I will physically be able to read, if I manage to read 3 books I will be very happy! With that in mind I have a TBR where a lot of books will count for more than one challenge, with a couple of books for each challenge so I have options. So without further ado, let’s get into the TBR!

The first challenge this year is to read a book with purple on the cover, for this one I have two options:

Aurora Rising by Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff

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I Wish You All the Best by Mason Deaver

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The second challenge is to read a book in the same spot the entire time, again I have to options for this:

The Lost World or Forever Fallen both by Cassandra Clare

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Ok so technically, these are 2 stories in a novella bind up. but I’m counting it. I may only read one of these, but we’ll see how it goes!

The third challenge is to read a book you meant to read last year, there were a lot of books I could’ve chosen for this challenge, but I went with:

From Twinkle, With Love by Sandhya Menon 

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An Absolutely Remarkable Thing by Hank Green

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The fourth challenge is to read an authors first book, and again I have two options for this:

I Wish You Were Here by Mason Deaver

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An Absolutely Remarkable Thing by Hank Green 

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The fifth challenge is to read a book with a non- human main character, this was actually a challenge where I struggled to find a book for at first, but I did come up with two options:

Aurora Rising by Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff

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Red Scrolls of Magic by Cassandra Clare by Wesley Chu

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The sixth challenge is to read a book that has 5 or more words in the title, thank god for ridiculously long YA book titles!

I Wish You Were Here by Mason Deaver

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The Princess and the Fangirl by Ashley Poston

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The final challenge is to read a book and then watch the book to movie adaptation:

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

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I started a reread of Harry Potter last month so this seems like the perfect opportunity to continue on!

So, that is my very flexible Reading Rush TBR! Let me know down in the comments what you are planning on reading, and until next time, happy reading!

 

Top Ten Tuesday – Autobuy Authors

Top Ten Tuesday is run by That Artsy Reader check out her blog for all past, and future, prompts!

This weeks Top Ten Tuesday is all about autobuy authors, we all have those authors that we know we will be counting down the days till their next release, and we will be picking their books up no matter what. This was such a difficult topic, narrowing this down to ten authors! I did have to include some honourable mentions at the end, so let’s get on with the list!

1. Holly Bourne

I talk about Holly Bourne a lot on my blog, and for good reason, she has fast become one of my all time favourite authors. Her books manage to feel so realistic, funny and heart warming at the same time. They often discuss topics such as mental health, and have feminist themes, they are a breath of fresh air in literature and if you haven’t picked up a book by her yet then you absolutely have to.

2. Sarah J Maas

Sarah J Maas has written two of my all time favourite series. Her characters are complex and well developed, her worlds are fantastic and so well written and so so rich. I know and understand there are so many issues with her books, things that I feel she has rectified slightly in her later books, but obviously there is still a long way for her to go and I cannot wait for Crescent City to see what is next.

3. John Green

The first John Green book I ever read was The Fault In Our Stars back in 2012 while recovering from an operation in hospital (timing I know!) I immediately sought out some of his earlier releases and devoured those as well, and yes looking back there are also problematic aspects to them, but again I think that a lot of books do have these, especially older ones, and as long as the problems are acknowledged and understood instead of brushed over, then its OK to admit to enjoying them. After Turtles All The Way Down I cannot wait for what he writes next.

4. Taylor Jenkins Reid

Author of the book that swept everyone away last year, The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo, Taylor Jenkins Reid is a new addition to this list, but an incredible one. After reading Evelyn Hugo last year and Daisy Jones & The Six earlier this year, I have purchased her other books and have enjoyed the ones I’ve read so far. Her characters in particular are so well written and incredible they are truly the highlight of her books. I cannot wait to read more by her and buy her future releases.

5. Colleen Hoover

I have devoured all of Colleen Hoover’s books. Again I know they have their problems, but I cannot help but love them with all of my heart. I have read most of them in one or two sittings and I am always anxiously awaiting her next release.

6. Sally Thorne

Again, a newer addition to this list but a very important one! The Hating Game blew me away last year, a hate to love romance done absolutely perfectly, that was steamy, moving and funny all rolled into one. I have 99% Mine sat on my bookshelf ready for me to devour, and I know it will not be the last of her books I pick up!

7. Angie Thomas

Author of The Hate U Give, Angie Thomas has written two books so far, both discussing quite difficult topics. She doesn’t shy away from topics such as police brutality and the systematic racism that is in place in America (and other parts of the world). Both of her books have made me think about the way I act in situations, and think about how I could better myself and do more for other people, and I imagine all of her books will push me to do exactly that.

8. Adam Silvera

Adam Silvera’s books are incredibly powerful. They all feature LGBTQ+ characters, which is extremely important representation. I have fallen in love with all of his characters and his books have teared my heart out of my chest and chopped it into tiny pieces, and yet, I always want more. I cannot wait for his fantasy book to come out!

9. Cassandra Clare

Look, I am trash for the Shadowhunter world. I will read absolutely anything that is related to it, and I will devour and love it and spend far too much time thinking about it. More than that, once the Shadowhunter story is over, I cannot wait to see what she comes out with next.

10. Tahereh Mafi

Again, I have really loved getting more of the Shatter Me world, and I loved her contemporary novel. She just has a way of writing stories that have me flying through them in no time. I cannot wait for the next Shatter Me Novel, and I cannot wait to see what else she comes out with.

Honourable Mentions:

Becky Albertali

Christina Lauren

Rainbow Rowell

Those are my top ten autobuy authors, and some honourable mentions! Let me know who your picks are down in the comments, and, until next time, happy reading!

Watch Us Rise by Ellen Hagan & Renee Watson – review

Sometimes quitting is the only way to figure out what comes next

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Goodreads Summary: Jasmine and Chelsea are sick of the way women are treated even at their progressive NYC high school, so they decide to start a Women’s Rights Club. They post everything online—poems, essays, videos of Chelsea performing her poetry, and Jasmine’s response to the racial macroaggressions she experiences—and soon they go viral. But with such positive support, the club is also targeted by online trolls. When things escalate, the principal shuts the club down. Jasmine and Chelsea will risk everything for their voices—and those of other young women—to be heard.

This book was a great YA contemporary with some feminist themes which I truly enjoyed. A school where children are encouraged to use their voices and to challenge societal norms, but when the women at the school start to use their voices, suddenly it is all about keeping people quiet.

I thought this book did an incredible job of making me feel empowered whilst I was reading it. There were times when I was nodding along like hell yeah to some of the things that were being said or discussed. There were times when I wanted to jump into the book and punch some characters in the face for being racist/sexist/general terrible people. I especially liked how this book really made the effort to be inclusive, and to make sure that everyone had a voice. I also loved how the friends would call each other out on their bullshit and not just let them get away with it because they were friends. I felt all the relationships, family, friends and romantic, were all really great.

The two main characters of this book were also really great. I loved how they stood up for themselves and never let anyone tell them that they couldn’t achieve something. They were two really strong female leads and I feel like that is something that YA literature really needs.

I really enjoyed this book, if you are looking for a YA contemporary with feminist themes than I would definitely recommend picking this up. This actually reminded me a lot of Holly Bourne’s spinster series, and if it reminds me of Holly Bourne, then I am going to love it.

Let me know in the comments if you’ve read this book and what your thoughts were! Until next time, happy reading!

Red, White and Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston – Review

Someone else’s choice doesn’t change who you are

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Goodreads Summary: First Son Alex Claremont-Diaz is the closest thing to a prince this side of the Atlantic. With his intrepid sister and the Veep’s genius granddaughter, they’re the White House Trio, a beautiful millennial marketing strategy for his mother, President Ellen Claremont. International socialite duties do have downsides—namely, when photos of a confrontation with his longtime nemesis Prince Henry at a royal wedding leak to the tabloids and threaten American/British relations.

The plan for damage control: staging a fake friendship between the First Son and the Prince. Alex is busy enough handling his mother’s bloodthirsty opponents and his own political ambitions without an uptight royal slowing him down. But beneath Henry’s Prince Charming veneer, there’s a soft-hearted eccentric with a dry sense of humor and more than one ghost haunting him.

As President Claremont kicks off her reelection bid, Alex finds himself hurtling into a secret relationship with Henry that could derail the campaign and upend two nations. And Henry throws everything into question for Alex, an impulsive, charming guy who thought he knew everything: What is worth the sacrifice? How do you do all the good you can do? And, most importantly, how will history remember you?

Writing a review about this book without gushing completely will be very difficult! I went into this book knowing about all of the hype and it lived up to every last bit of it.

The characters were the strongest aspect of this book by far. Both of the main characters were so cute, and you were rooting for them from the beginning, even when they were enemies and sniping at each other, you were still rooting for them. I particularly loved how they both had their own insecurities, but they were always sure about each other. For the most part they communicated well, apart from one instance, I find that a lot of romance books is based on the characters just not communicating with each other so this was a refreshing change. The side characters in the book were also really great, I spent so much time laughing as everyone was just so funny.

The plot was also really great, it is mainly a romance story and that is main focus of the book, I thought that the position that the characters held made for a really great conflict. I also really loved reading about how life could’ve been with a female president, it was so refreshing and a nice break from reality! The writing was really solid, it was nothing spectacular and there was definitely room to improve, but for a debut I thought it was really well written.

The representation was great in this book, the main characters were obviously both from the LGBTQ+ community, as were a couple of side characters. Alex was also half Hispanic which was great to see.

All in all I loved this book and I cannot recommend it enough. I genuinely don’t remember the last time I read a book where I didn’t stop smiling at any point in the story. I just want a sequel so I can see more of the characters!

Let me know down in the comments if you’ve read this book and what your thoughts were or if you’re planning on picking it up. Until next time, happy reading!

Top Ten Tuesday – Character Freebie

Top Ten Tuesday is run by That Artsy Reader check out her blog for all past, and future, prompts!

This weeks Top Ten Tuesday is a character freebie! This means you can pick your own topic surrounding characters, because I am incredibly original and creative, I decided to talk about my ten favourite fantasy characters. Please be aware there may some minor spoilers ahead, but there shouldn’t be too many, and with that disclosure out of the way, let’s get on with it.

1. Celaena Sardothien – Throne of Glass Series

Celaena will forever be one of my favourite characters. From where she started in book one to where she ended up in book seven, there was a tremendous amount of growth and development. Some of the things she went through were truly awful and to keep going in the way she did and keep fighting in the way that she did was an incredibly brave and strong thing to do, and I will forever be in awe of her.

2. William Herondale – The Infernal Devices Series

Will Herondale is the guy against all book boyfriends will be compared and must live up too. Yes, he is cocky and terrible at times, but he will always hold a special place in my heart. His bad boy image was a front and underneath it all there is an incredibly kind, caring and gentle human and I couldn’t love him more.

3. Laia – An Ember in the Ashes Series

Laia is hands down one of the strongest characters I have ever had the privilege of reading about. Sometimes being a strong female character doesn’t mean that you are kick butt and sassy, but someone who keeps going no matter what. Laia wasn’t a soldier or trained in combat, she was someone who had bad things happen to and kept going and fighting for her family anyway.

4. Rhysand – A Court of Thorns and Roses Series

Rhysand. If you know, you know, and I don’t need to explain why I love him so much. But Rhysand is such an incredible person. He has been through a lot, and like a lot of people he puts on a front and pretends to be someone he isn’t, but, by book two, you are completely taken in by him and love him with all of your heart. If you haven’t read this series yet, please, please pick it up.

5. Isobel Lightwood – The Mortal Instrument Series

Probably the original kick butt female protagonist, at least for me. Isobel doesn’t take crap from anybody and she never let’s anybody tell her who she can and can’t be. Probably one of the main reasons I love Izzy so much is that she always stands up for herself and isn’t scared of being herself, something which I try to embody every day of my life.

6. Lila Bard – Shades of Magic Series

A fairly recent addition to this list but an important one no less. Lila was such a fun character to read about and read from, and it was a joy to get to know her. She was kick ass, sassy and hilarious, but she also had a much softer side and was full of compassion and love. I loved reading about her and seeing a female character be more than one thing.

7. Hermione Granger – Harry Potter Series

Probably the original character on this list. I think every girl who loved to read and who read Harry Potter at a younger age related to Hermione in a big way. She was bookworm and unapologetically so, she remains to this day one of my all time favourite characters.

8. Kaz Brekker – Six of Crows Series

Kaz Brekker, how do I even begin? The biggest softie there ever was. He talks a big talk but when it comes down to it, he is just as much a sweetheart as the rest of them. He is a man of so many layers and getting to peel back each of them through the course of the duology was an absolute pleasure.

9. Legend – Caraval Series

I don’t want to say too much about Legend, because a lot of the series is made up of learning about Legend and who he really is, and I think that is what makes him such an appealing character to read about.

10. Lysandra – Throne of Glass Series

The last character on this list is Lysandra from the Throne of Glass Series. A woman who spent her entire life having people tell her she was only one thing, but really was so much more. Again there is more I could say but I don’t want to spoil too much so thats all I’ll say.

So there we have it, those are my top ten characters from fantasy stories. Let me know down in the comments which characters you would’ve picked. Until next time, happy reading!

 

Do I Have That Book? Tag

Here I am doing a tag that is months old that I’ve only just gotten around to doing… again! I’m never actually tagged I just like to join in the fun anyway. I’ve seen this tag floating around both youtube and the blogosphere for a while, created by Keeping Tabs, and it’s always looked like a lot of fun. I’m not going to time myself, I’m just going to see how many of these I actually have, so let’s get on with it!

1. Do You Have a Book With Deckled Edges? 

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Yes! my copy of Furyborn by Claire Legrand has deckled edges. Are you for or against deckled edges? I am definitely for, I think they just add a little something extra to the design of the book.

2. Do You Have a Book With Three or More People on the Cover?

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Odd One Out by Nic Stone has all three main characters on the front. This was a book that I found really frustrating at times but still really enjoyed.

3. Do You Have A Book Based On Another Fictional Story?

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I think this one a lot of people have chosen for the question and that is Cinder by Marissa Meyer, which is based on Cinderella.

4. Do You Have A Book With a Title That’s 10 Letters Long?

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Heir of Fire by Sarah J Maas. I’m not going to lie, I’ve had this one ready in my head for a while! I cannot tell you how many times I’ve shouted Heir of Fire! While watching people struggle with this question.

5. Do You Have A Book That Starts and Ends With The Same Letter? 

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A Very Large Expanse of Sea by Tahereh Mafi starts and ends with an A.

6. Do You Have A Mass Market Paperback?

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Until recently I didn’t own a mass market paperback. Mainly because I don’t really like them, and they look odd on my shelf because they are so small! But I did go to America recently and went into this adorable little bookshop and they had a copy of one of my favourite books and I just had to pick it up.

7. Do You Have a Book Written By An Author With a Pen Name?

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Roomies by Christina Lauren, Christina Lauren is actually an author duo so this is technically a pen name!

8. Do You Own a Book With A Character’s Name in the Title? 

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Harry Potter and the Philosophers Stone by J K Rowling

9. Do You Have a Book With Two Maps In It?

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Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo has two maps in the front.

10. Do You Have a Book That Was Turned Into a TV Show?

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The Mortal Instruments by Cassandra Clare was turned into the Shadowhunters TV Show.

11. Do You Have a Book That Was Written by Someone Originally Famous For Something Else?

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Becoming by Michelle Obama, Michelle Obama was obviously famous first for being the First Lady of The United States

12. Do You Have a Book With a Clock on the Cover?

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Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare has Big Ben on the front!

13. Do You Have A Poetry Book?

I have a few books written in verse but I don’t actually own a poetry book, I’m not the biggest poetry fan to be honest.

14. Do You Have a Book With an Award Stamp On It?

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Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Saenz has quite a few award stamps!

15. Do You Have a Book By an Author With the Same Initials as You? 

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Ace of Shades by Amanda Foody. My initials are also A F.

16. Do You Have a Book of Short Stories?

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I have My True Love Gave To Me edited by Stephanie Perkins which is full of Christmas themed short stories

17. Do You Have a Book That is Between 500-510 Pages Long?

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This one was difficult! But The Bane Chronicles by Cassandra Clare came through!

18. Do You Have a Book That Was Turned Into A Movie?

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A few! But the first one that came to mind was Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan (a movie that I still haven’t seen!)

19. Do You Have a Graphic Novel?

I can honestly say that I’ve never owned or read a graphic novel

20. Do You Have a Book Written by Two Or More Authors?

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The Illuminae Files Series by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kirstoff. If you haven’t read this series. Read it. It’s fantastic.

So there we have it, that is the Do I Have That Book Challenge. I think I did pretty well, getting 17 out of 20! Let me know down in the comments how many you got, and, until next time, happy reading.

 

June Wrap Up

Another month has passed and more books have been read! In June I managed to read an impressive 9 books, I’m not entirely certain how I managed that at all, but my dissertation has definitely suffered so… Since we have a lot of books to talk about, let’s get into it!

1. Odd One Out by Nic Stone – 3.5 Stars

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Goodreads Summary: Courtney “Coop” Cooper
Dumped. Again. And normally I wouldn’t mind. But right now, my best friend and source of solace, Jupiter Sanchez, is ignoring me to text some girl.

Rae Evelyn Chin
I assumed “new girl” would be synonymous with “pariah,” but Jupiter and Courtney make me feel like I’m right where I belong. I also want to kiss him. And her. Which is . . . perplexing.

Jupiter Charity-Sanchez
The only thing worse than losing the girl you love to a boy is losing her to your boy. That means losing him, too. I have to make a move. . . .

One story.
Three sides.
No easy answers.
 

This book was very confusing me, at times there were some really problematic aspects and I wanted to climb into the book and really shake the characters and ask them what the hell they were doing! But on the other hand, I really felt for the characters, it was real and messy and imperfect, and I did end up having a real appreciation for the characters in the end. This book is definitely more character driven rather than driven by plot, but I honestly love character driven stories.

2. Harry Potter and the Philosophers Stone by J K Rowling – 5 Stars

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Goodreads Summary: Harry Potter’s life is miserable. His parents are dead and he’s stuck with his heartless relatives, who force him to live in a tiny closet under the stairs. But his fortune changes when he receives a letter that tells him the truth about himself: he’s a wizard. A mysterious visitor rescues him from his relatives and takes him to his new home, Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.

After a lifetime of bottling up his magical powers, Harry finally feels like a normal kid. But even within the Wizarding community, he is special. He is the boy who lived: the only person to have ever survived a killing curse inflicted by the evil Lord Voldemort, who launched a brutal takeover of the Wizarding world, only to vanish after failing to kill Harry.

Though Harry’s first year at Hogwarts is the best of his life, not everything is perfect. There is a dangerous secret object hidden within the castle walls, and Harry believes it’s his responsibility to prevent it from falling into evil hands. But doing so will bring him into contact with forces more terrifying than he ever could have imagined.

Do I need to say much about this book? Rereading Harry Potter is like coming back home and I love it so much.

3. Fire and Heist by Sarah Beth Durst – 3 Stars

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Goodreads Summary: In Sky Hawkins’s family, leading your first heist is a major milestone–even more so than learning to talk, walk, or do long division. It’s a chance to gain power and acceptance within your family, and within society. But stealing your first treasure can be complicated, especially when you’re a wyvern–a human capable of turning into a dragon.

Embarking on a life of crime is never easy, and Sky discovers secrets about her mother, who recently went missing, the real reason her boyfriend broke up with her, and a valuable jewel that could restore her family’s wealth and rank in their community.

With a handpicked crew by her side, Sky knows she has everything she needs to complete her first heist, and get her boyfriend and mother back in the process. But then she uncovers a dark truth about were-dragon society–a truth more valuable and dangerous than gold or jewels could ever be.

I thought this was a good solid standalone fantasy, it was nothing spectacular and it didn’t blow me away, but I really enjoyed my time reading it. I really loved the modern world setting with the fantastical elements, a standalone fantasy is always really refreshing to read and this one had me chuckling away to myself on a plane!

4. After I Do by Taylor Jenkins Read – 4 Stars

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Goodreads Summary: When Lauren and Ryan’s marriage reaches the breaking point, they come up with an unconventional plan. They decide to take a year off in the hopes of finding a way to fall in love again. One year apart, and only one rule: they cannot contact each other. Aside from that, anything goes.

Lauren embarks on a journey of self-discovery, quickly finding that her friends and family have their own ideas about the meaning of marriage. These influences, as well as her own healing process and the challenges of living apart from Ryan, begin to change Lauren’s ideas about monogamy and marriage. She starts to question: When you can have romance without loyalty and commitment without marriage, when love and lust are no longer tied together, what do you value? What are you willing to fight for? 

Taylor Jenkins Reid is absolutely one of my new favourite authors. I have read and loved both The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo and Daisy Jones & The Six her two more popular books and I loved this one as well. I thought that Lauren’s journey was truly remarkable, I loved how honest the characters were with each other, I loved the characters in general. This book had a huge emotional impact on me and I cried for the last 50 or so pages, I highly recommend picking this one up.

5. The Storm Crow by Kayln Josephson – 4 Stars

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Goodreads Summary: In the tropical kingdom of Rhodaire, magical, elemental Crows are part of every aspect of life…until the Illucian empire invades, destroying everything.

That terrible night has thrown Princess Anthia into a deep depression. Her sister Caliza is busy running the kingdom after their mother’s death, but all Thia can do is think of all she has lost.

But when Caliza is forced to agree to a marriage between Thia and the crown prince of Illucia, Thia is finally spurred into action. And after stumbling upon a hidden Crow egg in the rubble of a rookery, she and her sister devise a dangerous plan to hatch the egg in secret and get back what was taken from them. 

I’ve said this before in a post on this blog, but, this has been the biggest surprise of the year so far for me. For some reason, I went into this book with really low expectations and I ended up really enjoying it. The magic system in particular stood out to me, I loved the world building and the political intrigue. If you love political fantasy I definitely recommend this book.

6. The Beholder by Anna Bright – 2.5 Stars

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Goodreads Summary: Selah has waited her whole life for a happily ever after. As the only daughter of the leader of Potomac, she knows her duty is to find the perfect match, a partner who will help secure the future of her people. Now that day has finally come.

But after an excruciatingly public rejection from her closest childhood friend, Selah’s stepmother suggests an unthinkable solution: Selah must set sail across the Atlantic, where a series of potential suitors awaits—and if she doesn’t come home engaged, she shouldn’t come home at all.

From English castle gardens to the fjords of Norge, and under the eye of the dreaded Imperiya Yotne, Selah’s quest will be the journey of a lifetime. But her stepmother’s schemes aren’t the only secrets hiding belowdecks…and the stakes of her voyage may be higher than any happy ending.

I thought the premise of this book was really interesting, but unfortunately it fell flat in so many ways. I thought that all of the world building was done in a very info dumpy way, and I absolutely did not remember at the moments I was supposed to. There were so. Many. Characters. Too many. Particularly when we got to Asgard. I enjoyed parts of the romances, the first I’d just started to like and then something happened that just felt unnecessary. Definitely my biggest disappointment of the year so far.

7. Again, But Better by Christine Riccio – 5 Stars

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Goodreads Summary: Shane has been doing college all wrong. Pre-med, stellar grades, and happy parents…sounds ideal—but Shane’s made zero friends, goes home every weekend, and romance…what’s that?

Her life has been dorm, dining hall, class, repeat. Time’s a ticking, and she needs a change—there’s nothing like moving to a new country to really mix things up. Shane signs up for a semester abroad in London. She’s going to right all her college mistakes: make friends, pursue boys, and find adventure!

Easier said than done. She is soon faced with the complicated realities of living outside her bubble, and when self-doubt sneaks in, her new life starts to fall apart.

Shane comes to find that, with the right amount of courage and determination one can conquer anything. Throw in some fate and a touch of magic—the possibilities are endless.

I loved this book. I’d heard some mixed things about this book before going in, but I can say that I truly enjoyed my time reading it. I thought the characters were really relatable, in fact, I truly appreciated the older main character in a YA book. YA isn’t exclusively 14-18 and then you go to college/uni and suddenly you’re an adult. The writing wasn’t perfect but the plot and likeable characters kept me hooked and I cannot wait to see what Christine writes next.

8. Opposite of Always by Jason Reynolds – 3 Stars

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Goodreads Summary: Jack Ellison King. King of Almost.

He almost made valedictorian.

He almost made varsity.

He almost got the girl . . .

When Jack and Kate meet at a party, bonding until sunrise over their mutual love of Froot Loops and their favorite flicks, Jack knows he’s falling—hard. Soon she’s meeting his best friends, Jillian and Franny, and Kate wins them over as easily as she did Jack. Jack’s curse of almost is finally over.

But this love story is . . . complicated. It is an almost happily ever after. Because Kate dies. And their story should end there. Yet Kate’s death sends Jack back to the beginning, the moment they first meet, and Kate’s there again. Beautiful, radiant Kate. Healthy, happy, and charming as ever. Jack isn’t sure if he’s losing his mind. Still, if he has a chance to prevent Kate’s death, he’ll take it. Even if that means believing in time travel. However, Jack will learn that his actions are not without consequences. And when one choice turns deadly for someone else close to him, he has to figure out what he’s willing to do—and let go—to save the people he loves.

Despite a whole of death in this book, this book is a lot of fun. For the most part I really enjoyed my time reading this one, and it had something a little bit different than your average YA contemporary. I loved all the different characters and relationships, whether that be romantic, family or friendship. My main gripe with this book was that it just felt a little bit too long, I felt that there were certain parts that could’ve been shorter and it wouldn’t have taken away from the message of the story.

9. Red, White and Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston – 5 Stars

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Goodreads Summary: First Son Alex Claremont-Diaz is the closest thing to a prince this side of the Atlantic. With his intrepid sister and the Veep’s genius granddaughter, they’re the White House Trio, a beautiful millennial marketing strategy for his mother, President Ellen Claremont. International socialite duties do have downsides—namely, when photos of a confrontation with his longtime nemesis Prince Henry at a royal wedding leak to the tabloids and threaten American/British relations.

The plan for damage control: staging a fake friendship between the First Son and the Prince. Alex is busy enough handling his mother’s bloodthirsty opponents and his own political ambitions without an uptight royal slowing him down. But beneath Henry’s Prince Charming veneer, there’s a soft-hearted eccentric with a dry sense of humor and more than one ghost haunting him.

As President Claremont kicks off her reelection bid, Alex finds himself hurtling into a secret relationship with Henry that could derail the campaign and upend two nations. And Henry throws everything into question for Alex, an impulsive, charming guy who thought he knew everything: What is worth the sacrifice? How do you do all the good you can do? And, most importantly, how will history remember you?

This book. My god I loved this book. The characters, the plot, the romance, the politics, the everything. I loved it. I just loved it.

So there we have it, those are all the books I read in June. Let me know down in the comments what you read this month, and, until next time, happy reading!

Top Ten Tuesday – Childhood Favourites

Top Ten Tuesday is run by That Artsy Reader check out her blog for all past, and future, prompts!

This weeks Top Ten Tuesday is all about the books that you loved as a child. I was a huge reader as a child and I definitely had many favourites, the challenge is remembering the names of all of them! So, let’s test my memory!

1. Harry Potter Series by J K Rowling

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Goodreads Summary: Harry Potter’s life is miserable. His parents are dead and he’s stuck with his heartless relatives, who force him to live in a tiny closet under the stairs. But his fortune changes when he receives a letter that tells him the truth about himself: he’s a wizard. A mysterious visitor rescues him from his relatives and takes him to his new home, Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.

After a lifetime of bottling up his magical powers, Harry finally feels like a normal kid. But even within the Wizarding community, he is special. He is the boy who lived: the only person to have ever survived a killing curse inflicted by the evil Lord Voldemort, who launched a brutal takeover of the Wizarding world, only to vanish after failing to kill Harry.

Though Harry’s first year at Hogwarts is the best of his life, not everything is perfect. There is a dangerous secret object hidden within the castle walls, and Harry believes it’s his responsibility to prevent it from falling into evil hands. But doing so will bring him into contact with forces more terrifying than he ever could have imagined.

I think this is a series that will make many peoples lists! I first read Harry Potter when I was around 7 or 8, and it has stuck with my ever since. There is nothing quite like picking up Harry Potter even now at the grand age of 26! Like I said I don’t think that this is a surprise inclusion on this list, but I couldn’t not include it.

2. The Lottie Project by Jacqueline Wilson

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Goodreads Summary: The Lottie Project is a story about Charlotte Enright (Charlie) set in late 20th century England. Charlie is the most popular girl in her school. She assumes she will find history lessons boring but she sees a Victorian photo of a girl who looked exactly like her and from then on she becomes interested in history. Charlie decides to write her history project as the fictional diary of a Victorian servant girl named Lottie.

The novel alternates between the narrative of events in Charlie’s life and extracts from the diary. 

I absolutely adored most of Jacqueline Wilson’s books and The Lottie Project was my absolute favourite. I remember reading it and wanting to start my own history project, it still remains as one of the biggest reasons as to why I studied history at Uni.

3. The Chronicles of Narnia Series by C S Lewis

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Goodreads Summary: There are a thousand stories in the land of Narnia, and the first is about to be told in an extraordinary motion picture, The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, from Walt Disney Pictures and Walden Media.

In the never-ending war between good and evil, The Chronicles of Narnia set the stage for battles of epic proportions. Some take place in vast fields, where the forces of light and darkness clash. But other battles occur within the small chambers of the heart and are equally decisive.

Journeys to the ends of the world, fantastic creatures, betrayals, heroic deeds and friendships won and lost — all come together in an unforgettable world of magic. So join the battle to end all battles.

I adored the Chronicles of Narnia series as a kid. I had a huge bind up book which included all of the stories that I used to love flipping my way through. It was beautifully illustrated and I adored it. I think I am long overdue a reread of this series.

4. Mr Majeika Series by Humphrey Carpenter

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Goodreads Summary: As a rule, magic carpets don’t turn up in schools, but this is exactly what happens when Class Three’s new teacher flies in through the classroom window and lands on the floor with a bump.

Mr Majeika can behave just like any ordinary teacher if he wants to, but something has to be done about Hamish Bigmore, the class nuisance, and so he uses a little magic to turn him into a frog. And to everyone’s delight it looks as if Hamish will have to remain a frog because Mr Majeika can’t remember the spell to turn him back again! With Mr Majeika in charge, suddenly life at school become much more exciting – there’s even a magic-carpet ride to Buckingham Palace! 

This is yet another series that I absolutely adored! I remember reading this and laughing so much, there were so many books in this series and I would just read them over and over and over again.

5. Daughters of the Moon Series by Lynne Ewing

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Goodreads Summary: Vanessa, who has always had the special power to become invisible, discovers that she and her best friend Catty, a time-traveler, are goddesses of the moon who must fight together to overcome the evil Atrox.

I picked up the first book in this series when I was on holiday in America, and for every birthday and Christmas my parents would buy me the next few in the series and I would count down until I could read another one!

6. Tracy Beaker by Jacqueline Wilson

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Goodreads Summary: ‘I’m Tracy Beaker. This is a book all about me. I’d read it if I were you. It’s the most incredible dynamic heart-rending story. Honest.’

Tracy is ten years old. She lives in a Children’s Home but would like a real home one day, with a real family. Meet Tracy, follow her story and share her hopes for the future in this beautifully observed, touching and often very funny tale, all told in Tracy’s own words.

I think every British kid was exposed to Tracy Beaker either through the book or because of the TV show and I think it was universally loved. It was so hilarious whilst also being really moving and sad, a truly incredible story.

7. Mates, Dates and Inflatable Bras by Cathy Hopkins

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Goodreads Summary: Everything is changing around Lucy Loverling, and a turning point is exactly what she does NOT need. Suddenly she has to make all sorts of decisions including what she wants to be. And it seems that everyone else knows who and what she wants to be except her. Izzie has become friends with the glamorous Nesta, and Lucy isn’t certain she likes a threesome. Nesta and Izzie look sixteen, but Lucy, at fourteen, can still pass for a twelve-year-old.

But then one day Lucy sees the most wonderful boy crossing the street, and things do start to change — in all areas of her life…

The Mates Dates series was one that seemed to go on forever, I swear there was about 12 books in the series! I loved these as a kid, I remember thinking that Nesta, Izzy and Lucy were so cool and grown up, I just wanted to be them. Although thinking back I’m not sure I ever actually finished the series…

8. The Past, The Present and the Loud Loud Girl by Karen McCombie

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Goodreads Summary: Meet the Love children: oh-so-perfect Linn, airy-fairy Rowan, animal-obsessed Tor – and Ally, trying to have a normal life somewhere in the middle of it all. Which isn’t easy when you live in a house that’s a cross between an animal hospital and something out of ‘Changing Rooms’. And then there’s school and the small matter of the forgotten history project and the obnoxious new girl that – oh joy! – Ally’s been nominated to look after. It’s going to be a fun couple of weeks…

This is the first in the wildly successful, utterly loveable “Ally’s World” series.

Another series that had about 50,000 books in total! This one I definitely managed to finish though! I adored this so much and it was another one where I would look forward to a birthday or Christmas to pick up the next one in the series!

9. Angus, Thongs and Full-Frontal Snogging by Louise Rennison

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Goodreads Summary: There are six things very wrong with my life:

1. I have one of those under-the-skin spots that will never come to a head but lurk in a red way for the next two years.

2. It is on my nose

3. I have a three-year-old sister who may have peed somewhere in my room.

4. In fourteen days the summer hols will be over and then it will be back to Stalag 14 and Oberfuhrer Frau Simpson and her bunch of sadistic teachers.

5. I am very ugly and need to go into an ugly home.

6. I went to a party dressed as a stuffed olive.
In this wildly funny journal of a year in the life of Georgia Nicolson, British author Louise Rennison has perfectly captured the soaring joys and bottomless angst of being a teenager. In the spirit of Bridget Jones’s Diary, this fresh, irreverent, and simply hilarious book will leave you laughing out loud. As Georgia would say, it’s “Fabbity fab fab!”

This series had me laughing out loud so much! It was so relatable and hilarious to read as a teenager, and I adored every second of my time reading it.

10. Girls in Love by Jacqueline Wilson

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Goodreads Summary: Magda is tall and glamorous, Nadine is willowy and ‘gothic’ and Ellie, well, Ellie thinks she is unattractive and boring and that no boy will ever be interested in her. The three girls have been best friends ‘forever’ even though they don’t seem to have much in common. But one thing they all want is a boyfriend!

Join the girls as they work out how to deal with all the surprises that being a teenage can bring. Sometimes sad, sometimes scary and often funny, don’t miss this unputdownable and hugely popular trilogy for teenage readers by the award-winning Jacqueline Wilson.

I’m not sorry there is so much Jacqueline Wilson on this list. So much of my childhood was reading her books and Girls in Love was another one of my favourites!

So there we have it, those are my favourite books from my childhood. Let me know what your favourite books were as I would love to know, and, until next time, happy reading!

 

Top Ten Tuesday – Books On My Summer TBR

Top Ten Tuesday is run by That Artsy Reader check out her blog for all past, and future, prompts!

This weeks Top Ten Tuesday is all about the books at the top of your summer TBR. I actually did the spring version of this earlier this year and I’ve read a total of 7 of those books, which I’m actually pretty pleased with. Here’s hoping that I have the same success with this post!

1. I Wish You All the Best by Mason Deaver

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Goodreads Summary: When Ben De Backer comes out to their parents as non-binary, they’re thrown out of their house and forced to move in with their estranged older sister, Hannah, and her husband, Thomas, whom Ben has never even met. Struggling with an anxiety disorder compounded by their parents’ rejection, they come out only to Hannah, Thomas, and their therapist and try to keep a low profile in a new school.

But Ben’s attempts to survive the last half of senior year unnoticed are thwarted when Nathan Allan, a funny and charismatic student, decides to take Ben under his wing. As Ben and Nathan’s friendship grows, their feelings for each other begin to change, and what started as a disastrous turn of events looks like it might just be a chance to start a happier new life.

At turns heartbreaking and joyous, I Wish You All the Best is both a celebration of life, friendship, and love, and a shining example of hope in the face of adversity.

2. Aurora Rising by Jay Kristoff and Amie Kaufman

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Goodreads Summary: The year is 2380, and the graduating cadets of Aurora Academy are being assigned their first missions. Star pupil Tyler Jones is ready to recruit the squad of his dreams, but his own boneheaded heroism sees him stuck with the dregs nobody else in the Academy would touch…

A cocky diplomat with a black belt in sarcasm
A sociopath scientist with a fondness for shooting her bunkmates
A smart-ass techwiz with the galaxy’s biggest chip on his shoulder
An alien warrior with anger management issues
A tomboy pilot who’s totally not into him, in case you were wondering

And Ty’s squad isn’t even his biggest problem—that’d be Aurora Jie-Lin O’Malley, the girl he’s just rescued from interdimensional space. Trapped in cryo-sleep for two centuries, Auri is a girl out of time and out of her depth. But she could be the catalyst that starts a war millions of years in the making, and Tyler’s squad of losers, discipline-cases and misfits might just be the last hope for the entire galaxy.

They’re not the heroes we deserve. They’re just the ones we could find. Nobody panic.

3. From Twinkle, With Love by Sandhya Menon

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Goodreads Summary: Aspiring filmmaker and wallflower Twinkle Mehra has stories she wants to tell and universes she wants to explore, if only the world would listen. So when fellow film geek Sahil Roy approaches her to direct a movie for the upcoming Summer Festival, Twinkle is all over it. The chance to publicly showcase her voice as a director? Dream come true. The fact that it gets her closer to her longtime crush, Neil Roy-a.k.a. Sahil’s twin brother? Dream come true x 2.

When mystery man N begins emailing her, Twinkle is sure it’s Neil, finally ready to begin their happily-ever-after. The only slightly inconvenient problem is that, in the course of movie-making, she’s fallen madly in love with the irresistibly adorkable Sahil.

Twinkle soon realizes that resistance is futile: The romance she’s got is not the one she’s scripted. But will it be enough?

Told through the letters Twinkle writes to her favorite female filmmakers, From Twinkle, with Love navigates big truths about friendship, family, and the unexpected places love can find you.

4. The Opposite of Always by Jason Reynolds 

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Goodreads Summary: Jack Ellison King. King of Almost.

He almost made valedictorian.

He almost made varsity.

He almost got the girl . . .

When Jack and Kate meet at a party, bonding until sunrise over their mutual love of Froot Loops and their favorite flicks, Jack knows he’s falling—hard. Soon she’s meeting his best friends, Jillian and Franny, and Kate wins them over as easily as she did Jack. Jack’s curse of almost is finally over.

But this love story is . . . complicated. It is an almost happily ever after. Because Kate dies. And their story should end there. Yet Kate’s death sends Jack back to the beginning, the moment they first meet, and Kate’s there again. Beautiful, radiant Kate. Healthy, happy, and charming as ever. Jack isn’t sure if he’s losing his mind. Still, if he has a chance to prevent Kate’s death, he’ll take it. Even if that means believing in time travel. However, Jack will learn that his actions are not without consequences. And when one choice turns deadly for someone else close to him, he has to figure out what he’s willing to do—and let go—to save the people he loves.

5. Kingsbane by Claire Legrand

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Goodreads Summary: Rielle Dardenne has been anointed Sun Queen, but her trials are far from over. The Gate keeping the angels at bay is falling. To repair it, Rielle must collect the seven hidden castings of the saints. Meanwhile, to help her prince and love Audric protect Celdaria, Rielle must spy on the angel Corien—but his promises of freedom and power may prove too tempting to resist.

Centuries later, Eliana Ferracora grapples with her new reality: She is the Sun Queen, humanity’s long-awaited savior. But fear of corruption—fear of becoming another Rielle—keeps Eliana’s power dangerous and unpredictable. Hunted by all, racing against time to save her dying friend Navi, Eliana must decide how to wear a crown she never wanted—by embracing her mother’s power, or rejecting it forever.

6. Dating You/Hating You by Christina Lauren

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Goodreads Summary: Despite the odds against them from an embarrassing meet-awkward at a mutual friend’s Halloween party, Carter and Evie immediately hit it off. Even the realization that they’re both high-powered agents at competing firms in Hollywood isn’t enough to squash the fire.

But when their two agencies merge—causing the pair to vie for the same position—all bets are off. What could have been a beautiful, blossoming romance turns into an all-out war of sabotage. Carter and Evie are both thirtysomething professionals—so why can’t they act like it?

Can Carter stop trying to please everyone and see how their mutual boss is really playing the game? Can Evie put aside her competitive nature long enough to figure out what she really wants in life? Can their actor clients just be something close to human? Whether these two Hollywood love/hatebirds get the storybook Hollywood ending or just a dramedy of epic proportions, you will get to enjoy Christina Lauren’s heartfelt, raucous, and hilarious romance style at its finest.

7. The Bride Test by Helen Hoang 

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Goodreads Summary: Khai Diep has no feelings. Well, he feels irritation when people move his things or contentment when ledgers balance down to the penny, but not big, important emotions—like grief. And love. He thinks he’s defective. His family knows better—that his autism means he just processes emotions differently. When he steadfastly avoids relationships, his mother takes matters into her own hands and returns to Vietnam to find him the perfect bride.

As a mixed-race girl living in the slums of Ho Chi Minh City, Esme Tran has always felt out of place. When the opportunity arises to come to America and meet a potential husband, she can’t turn it down, thinking this could be the break her family needs. Seducing Khai, however, doesn’t go as planned. Esme’s lessons in love seem to be working…but only on herself. She’s hopelessly smitten with a man who’s convinced he can never return her affection.

With Esme’s time in the United States dwindling, Khai is forced to understand he’s been wrong all along. And there’s more than one way to love.

8. 99% Mine by Sally Thorne

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Goodreads Summary: Darcy Barrett has undertaken a global survey of men. She’s travelled the world, and can categorically say that no one measures up to Tom Valeska, whose only flaw is that Darcy’s twin brother Jamie saw him first and claimed him forever as his best friend. Despite Darcy’s best efforts, Tom’s off limits and loyal to her brother, 99%. That’s the problem with finding her dream man at age eight and peaking in her photography career at age twenty—ever since, she’s had to learn to settle for good enough.

When Darcy and Jamie inherit a tumble-down cottage from their grandmother, they’re left with strict instructions to bring it back to its former glory and sell the property. Darcy plans to be in an aisle seat halfway across the ocean as soon as the renovations start, but before she can cut and run, she finds a familiar face on her porch: house-flipper extraordinaire Tom’s arrived, he’s bearing power tools, and he’s single for the first time in almost a decade.

Suddenly Darcy’s considering sticking around to make sure her twin doesn’t ruin the cottage’s inherent magic with his penchant for grey and chrome. She’s definitely not staying because of her new business partner’s tight t-shirts, or that perfect face that’s inspiring her to pick up her camera again. Soon sparks are flying—and it’s not the faulty wiring. It turns out one percent of Tom’s heart might not be enough for Darcy anymore. This time around, she’s switching things up. She’s going to make Tom Valeska 99 percent hers.

9. Red, White and Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston

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Goodreads Summary: A big-hearted romantic comedy in which First Son Alex falls in love with Prince Henry of Wales after an incident of international proportions forces them to pretend to be best friends…

First Son Alex Claremont-Diaz is the closest thing to a prince this side of the Atlantic. With his intrepid sister and the Veep’s genius granddaughter, they’re the White House Trio, a beautiful millennial marketing strategy for his mother, President Ellen Claremont. International socialite duties do have downsides—namely, when photos of a confrontation with his longtime nemesis Prince Henry at a royal wedding leak to the tabloids and threaten American/British relations.

The plan for damage control: staging a fake friendship between the First Son and the Prince. Alex is busy enough handling his mother’s bloodthirsty opponents and his own political ambitions without an uptight royal slowing him down. But beneath Henry’s Prince Charming veneer, there’s a soft-hearted eccentric with a dry sense of humor and more than one ghost haunting him.

As President Claremont kicks off her reelection bid, Alex finds himself hurtling into a secret relationship with Henry that could derail the campaign and upend two nations. And Henry throws everything into question for Alex, an impulsive, charming guy who thought he knew everything: What is worth the sacrifice? How do you do all the good you can do? And, most importantly, how will history remember you?

10. Feminists Don’t Wear Pink & Other Lies by Scarlett Curtis

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Goodreads Summary: An urgent and inspirational collection of essays by a diverse group of celebrities, activists, and artists about what feminism means to them, with the goal of helping readers come to their own personal understanding of the word.

Feminism has never been more deeply and widely embraced and discussed, but what exactly does the F word mean?

Here, personal stories from actors, writers, and activists explore the contradictions and complications at the heart of the movement. By bridging the gap between feminist hashtags and scholarly texts, these essays bring feminism into clear focus.

Published in partnership with Girl Up, the UN Foundation’s adolescent girl campaign, contributors include Hollywood superstars like Saoirse Ronan, activists like Alicia Garza, a founder of Black Lives Matter, and even fictional icons such as Bridget Jones.

Every woman has a different route to their personal understanding of feminism. This empowering collection shows how a diverse group of women found their voice, and it will inspire others to do the same.

So those are the top ten books on my summer TBR! Let me know down in the comments which books you will be picking up and hit me with some recommendations. Until next time, happy reading!