Thursday, January 31, 2019

Review - My Squirrel Days by Ellie Kemper

Title: My Squirrel Days
Author: Ellie Kemper
Pages: 256
Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton
Release Date: 9th October 2018

Blurb from Goodreads:  

 Comedian and star of The Office and Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt 
Ellie Kemper delivers a hilarious and uplifting collection of essays 
about one pale woman's journey from Midwestern naïf to Hollywood 
semi-celebrity to outrageously reasonable New Yorker. 

There comes a time in every sitcom actress's life when she is faced 
with the prospect of writing a book. When Ellie Kemper's number 
was up, she was ready. Contagiously cheerful, predictably wholesome, 
and mostly inspiring except for one essay about her husband's feet, My 
Squirrel Days is a funny, free-wheeling tour of Ellie's life-from growing up in suburban St. Louis with a vivid imagination and 
a crush on David Letterman to moving to Los Angeles and accidentally 
falling on Doris Kearns Goodwin.

But those are not the only famous names dropped in this synopsis. Ellie 
will also share stories of inadvertently insulting Ricky Gervais at the 
Emmy Awards, telling Tina Fey that she has "great hair-really strong and thick," and offering a maxi pad to Steve Carell. She 
will take you back to her childhood as a nature lover determined to 
commune with squirrels, to her college career as a benchwarming field 
hockey player with no assigned position, and to her young professional 
days writing radio commercials for McDonald's but never getting paid. 
Ellie will guide you along her journey through adulthood, from unorganized 
bride to impatient wife to anxious mother who-as recently observed by a sassy hairstylist-"dresses like a mom." Well, sassy 
hairstylist, Ellie Kemper is a mom. And she has been dressing like it since 
she was four.

Ellie has written for GQ, EsquireThe New York TimesMcSweeney's and The 
Onion. Her voice is the perfect antidote to the chaos of modern life. In short, 
she will tell you nothing you need to know about making it in show business, 
and everything you need to know about discreetly changing a diaper at a Cibo 

My Review:
*I received an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review. 
Thanks to Hodder & Stoughton and NetGalley*

 Actress and comedian Ellie Kemper has written a collection of essays.
In them she tells of her encounters with celebrities, her childhood 
and her career.

I'm a fan of Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, so when I saw that Ellie 
Kemper had a book coming out I was excited to read it.
I enjoyed finding out about Ellie's past and how she got into acting. 
The writing style wasn't one of my favourites but it was engaging, if 
a little over the top at times.
It wasn't exactly what I expected - I guess I thought it would be 
more chronological. 

Overall this was an enjoyable read.

Wednesday, January 30, 2019

Can't-Wait Wednesday - Last of Her Name by Jessica Khoury

Can't-Wait Wednesday is a feature hosted at Wishful Endings where people showcase an upcoming book they are looking forward to.

This week my pick is  . . .

Title: Last of Her Name
Author: Jessica Khoury
Pages: 400
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Release Date: 26th February 2019

Blurb from Goodreads:
Sixteen years ago, rebellion swept the galaxy known as the Belt of Jewels. Every member of the royal family was murdered--down to their youngest child, Princess Anya--and the Union government rose in its place. But Stacia doesn't think much about politics. She spends her days half-wild, rambling her father's vineyard with her closest friends, Clio and Pol.

That all changes the day a Union ship appears in town, carrying the leader of the Belt himself, the Direktor Eminent. The Direktor claims that Princess Anya is alive, and that Stacia's sleepy village is a den of empire loyalists, intent on hiding her. When Stacia is identified as the lost princess, her provincial home explodes into a nightmare.

Pol smuggles her away to a hidden escape ship in the chaos, leaving Clio in the hands of the Union. With everything she knows threading away into stars, Stacia sets her heart on a single mission. She will find and rescue Clio, even with the whole galaxy on her trail.

Why I'm Anticipating This Book:

An Anastasia retelling set in space!
This sounds so cool and I love the blue and the lettering on the cover.

Tuesday, January 29, 2019

Top Ten Tuesday - The Ten Most Recent Additions to My To-Read List

Top Ten Tuesday is a feature hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl.

This week the topic is 
The Ten Most Recent Additions to My To-Read List

Here they are . . .

1. This Time Will Be Different by Misa Sugiura

 Release Date: 4th June 2019

Blurb from Goodreads:

For fans of Jenny Han, Morgan Matson, and Sandhya Menon, critically acclaimed author Misa Sugiura delivers a richly crafted contemporary YA novel about family, community, and the importance of writing your own history.

The author of the Asian Pacific American Award-winning It’s Not Like It’s a Secret is back with another smartly drawn coming-of-age novel that weaves riveting family drama, surprising humor, and delightful romance into a story that will draw you in from the very first page.

Katsuyamas never quit—but seventeen-year-old CJ doesn’t even know where to start. She’s never lived up to her mom’s type A ambition, and she’s perfectly happy just helping her aunt, Hannah, at their family’s flower shop.

She doesn’t buy into Hannah’s romantic ideas about flowers and their hidden meanings, but when it comes to arranging the perfect bouquet, CJ discovers a knack she never knew she had. A skill she might even be proud of.

Then her mom decides to sell the shop—to the family who swindled CJ’s grandparents when thousands of Japanese Americans were sent to internment camps during WWII. Soon a rift threatens to splinter CJ’s family, friends, and their entire Northern California community; and for the first time, CJ has found something she wants to fight for.

2. Meat Market by Juno Dawson

 Release Date: 30th May 2019

Blurb from Goodreads:

The heroine of the novel, Jana Novak, is a girl from a south London estate. Despite being uncomfortable with her looks she is unexpectedly scouted and catapulted to fashion superstardom. The industry is, however, as grimy as it is glamorous and there are unexpected predators at every turn.

3. Marvel Powers of a Girl by Lorraine Cink and Alice X. Zhang (Illustrator)

 Release Date: 5th February 2019

Blurb from Goodreads:

 This is the Marvel Universe. Where the personalities, powers, and straight-up legends of countless heroic women have captured readers for generations.
This unique book is the perfect start-or addition-to any Marvel fan's collection! Using her in-depth knowledge and passion for Super Heroes, Lorraine Cink explores the lives of the exceptional and diverse women of the Marvel Universe. Filled with inspirational lessons and clever observations, each section digs into what these relatable women can teach us all about growth, bravery, and the true meaning of strength. Paired with over one hundred original, vibrant, and emotive illustrations from the talented Alice X. Zhang, this book balances the responsibility and the fun the comes with being a hero.

4. The Darkest Bloom (Shadowscent, #1) by P.M. Freestone

Release Date: 7th February 2019

Blurb from Goodreads:

In the empire of Aramtesh, scent has power.

When disaster strikes and the crown prince lies poisoned, long suppressed rivalries threaten to blow the empire apart. It’s up to a poor village girl with a talent for fragrances and the prince’s loyal bodyguard to find an antidote.

To succeed, the pair must uncover secrets – cryptic, ancient tales as well as buried truths from their own pasts – in an adventure that will ignite your senses.

5. Black Leopard, Red Wolf (The Dark Star Trilogy, #1) by Marlon James

Release Date: 5th February 2019

Blurb from Goodreads:  

Tracker is known far and wide for his skills as a hunter: "He has a nose," people say. Engaged to track down a mysterious boy who disappeared three years earlier, Tracker breaks his own rule of always working alone when he finds himself part of a group that comes together to search for the boy. The band is a hodgepodge, full of unusual characters with secrets of their own, including a shape-shifting man-animal known as Leopard.

As Tracker follows the boy's scent--from one ancient city to another; into dense forests and across deep rivers--he and the band are set upon by creatures intent on destroying them. As he struggles to survive, Tracker starts to wonder: Who, really, is this boy? Why has he been missing for so long? Why do so many people want to keep Tracker from finding him? And perhaps the most important questions of all: Who is telling the truth, and who is lying?

6. Gates of Stone (Lord of the Islands, #1) by Angus Macallan

Release Date: 19th February 2019

Blurb from Goodreads:

 In a world of blood and magic, a powerful epic fantasy begins...


Just before her sixteenth birthday, Princess Katerina is refused her rightful place as heir to the Empire of the Ice-Bear--solely because of her sex. Determined to regain her inheritance, she murders the foreign lord she's been ordered to marry and embarks on a perilous voyage to the lush, tropical islands of the Laut Besar in search of the vast wealth and power she needs to claim the Empire for herself.

On a small island kingdom, Prince Arjun's idyllic life is shattered when a malignant sorcerer invades, slaughters his people and steals the sacred sword of Jun's ancestors. With his royal father dead and his palace in ruins, Jun reluctantly tracks the sorcerer and the magical blade far across the pirate-infested waters of the Laut Besar.

Long ago the powerful relics known as the Seven Keys were used to safely lock away the terrifying evils of the Seven Hells. With Jun's ancient sword in his grasp, the sorcerer Mangku has claimed the first Key, and begun his mission to unleash catastrophe upon the land.

As the destinies of these three entwine in the lawless islands of the Laut Besar, the fate of humanity hangs in the balance. For if the sorcerer cannot be stopped, the world itself will be unmade...

7. The Psychology of Time Travel by Kate Mascarenhas

Release Date: 12th February 2019

Blurb from Goodreads:

Perfect for fans of Naomi Alderman's The Power and Margot Lee Shetterly’s Hidden Figures comes The Psychology of Time Travel, a mind-bending, time-travel debut.

In 1967, four female scientists worked together to build the world’s first time machine. But just as they are about to debut their creation, one of them suffers a breakdown, putting the whole project—and future of time travel—in jeopardy. To protect their invention, one member is exiled from the team—erasing her contributions from history.

Fifty years later, time travel is a big business. Twenty-something Ruby Rebello knows her beloved grandmother, Granny Bee, was one of the pioneers, though no one will tell her more. But when Bee receives a mysterious newspaper clipping from the future reporting the murder of an unidentified woman, Ruby becomes obsessed: could it be Bee? Who would want her dead? And most importantly of all: can her murder be stopped?

Traversing the decades and told from alternating perspectives, The Psychology of Time Travel introduces a fabulous new voice in fiction and a new must-read for fans of speculative fiction and women’s fiction alike.

8. The Raven Tower by Ann Leckie

Release Date: 26th February 2019

Blurb from Goodreads:  

Gods meddle in the fates of men, men play with the fates of gods, and a pretender must be cast down from the throne in this breathtaking first fantasy novel from Ann Leckie, New York Times bestselling author and winner of the Hugo, Nebula, and Arthur C. Clarke Awards.

For centuries, the kingdom of Iraden has been protected by the god known as the Raven. He watches over his territory from atop a tower in the powerful port of Vastai. His will is enacted through the Raven's Lease, a human ruler chosen by the god himself. His magic is sustained via the blood sacrifice that every Lease must offer. And under the Raven's watch, the city flourishes.

But the power of the Raven is weakening. A usurper has claimed the throne. The kingdom borders are tested by invaders who long for the prosperity that Vastai boasts. And they have made their own alliances with other gods.

It is into this unrest that the warrior Eolo--aide to Mawat, the true Lease--arrives. And in seeking to help Mawat reclaim his city, Eolo discovers that the Raven's Tower holds a secret. Its foundations conceal a dark history that has been waiting to reveal itself...and to set in motion a chain of events that could destroy Iraden forever.


9. We Set the Dark on Fire (We Set the Dark on Fire, #1) by Tehlor Kay Mejia

Release Date: 26th February 2019

Blurb from Goodreads:

In this daring and romantic fantasy debut perfect for fans of The Handmaid’s Tale and Latinx authors Zoraida Córdova and Anna-Marie McLemore, society wife-in-training Dani has a great awakening after being recruited by rebel spies and falling for her biggest rival.

At the Medio School for Girls, distinguished young women are trained for one of two roles in their polarized society. Depending on her specialization, a graduate will one day run a husband’s household or raise his children. Both paths promise a life of comfort and luxury, far from the frequent political uprisings of the lower class.

Daniela Vargas is the school’s top student, but her pedigree is a lie. She must keep the truth hidden or be sent back to the fringes of society.

And school couldn’t prepare her for the difficult choices she must make after graduation, especially when she is asked to spy for a resistance group desperately fighting to bring equality to Medio.

Will Dani cling to the privilege her parents fought to win for her, or will she give up everything she’s strived for in pursuit of a free Medio—and a chance at a forbidden love?

10. A Danger to Herself and Others by Alyssa B. Sheinmel

Release Date: 5th February 2019

Blurb from Goodreads:

From the author of FACELESS

Only when she's locked away does the truth begin to escape...

Seventeen-year-old Hannah Gold has always been treated like a grown up. As the only child of two New York professionals, she's been traveling the world and functioning as a miniature adult since the day she was born. But that was then. Now, Hannah has been checked into a remote treatment facility, stripped of all autonomy and confined to a single room.

Hannah knows there's been a mistake. What happened to her roommate that summer was an accident. As soon as the doctor and judge figure out that she isn't a danger to herself or others, she can get back to her life of promise and start her final year at school. Until then, she's determined to win over the staff and earn some privileges so she doesn't lose her mind to boredom.

But then she's assigned a new roommate. At first, Lucy is the perfect project to keep Hannah's focus off all she is missing at home. But Lucy may be the one person who can make Hannah confront the secrets she's avoiding - and the dangerous games that landed her in confinement in the first place.

Gripping, heartwrenching and powerful, A Danger to Herself and Others is Girl, Interrupted meets We Were Liars in this new novel from New York Times bestselling author Alyssa Sheinmel.


What was the last book you added to your TBR?


Monday, January 28, 2019

Review - The Miseducation of Cameron Post by Emily M. Danforth

Title: The Miseducation of Cameron Post
Author: Emily M. Danforth
Pages: 466
Publisher: Penguin
Release Date: 3rd August 2017

Blurb from Goodreads:

Loved Call Me By Your Name? Then dive into The Miseducation of Cameron Post, soon to be a major film starring Chloe Grace Moretz - winner of the Grand Jury Prize at the Sundance film festival.

The night Cameron Post's parents died, her first emotion was relief. Relief they would never know that hours earlier, she'd been kissing a girl.

Now living with her conservative Aunt in small-town Montana, hiding her sexuality and blending in becomes second nature to Cameron until she begins an intense friendship with the beautiful Coley Taylor.

Desperate to 'correct' her niece, Cameron's Aunt takes drastic action. 

Now Cameron must battle with the cost of being her true-self even if she's not completely sure who that is. 

The Miseducation of Cameron Post is a stunning and unforgettable literary debut about discovering who you are and finding the courage to live life according to your own rules.

My Review:

*I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. 
Thanks to Penguin Random House UK Children's and NetGalley*

 Hours before her parents died, Cameron Post was kissing a girl. She 
can't help but feel relief that they will never know.
Cameron's religious aunt Ruth moves in, meanwhile Cameron grows 
close to the beautiful Coley Taylor. Their relationship becomes 
intense and Cameron struggles to keep her feelings inside.
When Aunt Ruth finds out about Cameron's sexuality, she takes 
decisive action.

My main takeaway from The Miseducation of Cameron Post is that 
it was really slow. Really. Slow. 
There was so much back-story, which in a way was nice, but 
not much happened and it was over 400 pages. I didn't think it 
needed to be that long and it dragged a bit for me.
I liked Cameron as a character. I felt sorry for her losing her parents 
so young and then her aunt reacted badly to Cameron being a lesbian.
Jane and Adam were interesting characters. I liked Cameron's 
interactions with them.
I didn't mind the writing style but I wasn't gripped.
I thought Cameron's sexuality was handled well and it was probably 
my favourite aspect of the book.

Overall this was an enjoyable, but slow read.