Book Review: Sam and Ilsa’s Last Hurrah

h1 {font-family: times new roman; font-size: 20pt;} h2 {font-family: times new roman; font-size: 18pt;} body {font-family: times new roman; font-size: 15pt;} Hey guys! I hope you’re all well and enjoying June so far. In this post I’m going to be reviewing Sam and Ilsa’s Last Hurrah which was written by David Levithan and Rachel Cohn. If you’ve read my blog before you’ll know I’m a massive fan of Levitan’s and that I met him at the YA Extravaganza at Waterstones in London.

First off, let me just say that I’ve read Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist which was also co-written by Levithan and Cohn and I was not impressed. David’s side of the story was written well as always but I did not enjoy Rachel’s writing in the slightest. It was so easy to tell who had written what. I’ve never seen so much profanity through an entire book.

But this time, I was satisfied with what I was reading and both authors’ writing was on point and flowed easily. I bought Sam and Ilsa’s Last Hurrah at the Waterstones event for David to sign and I was dubious about whether this book would be better or worse than Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist. However, I was pleasantly surprised about how much I was getting into this book, even though I don’t usually like stories that take place in one night.

Sam and Ilsa’s Last Hurrah takes place at their grandmother’s apartment at the Stanwyck where they are hosting their last dinner party before the apartment is sold. Sam and Ilsa are allowed to invite three guests each but mustn’t tell each other who. Full of mystery, life lessons and realizations, this book will definitely take you on a whirlwind of emotions and weirdness – especially when you meet Caspian the sock puppet.

I enjoyed meeting the characters as they arrived at the dinner party. I liked the fact David and Rachel crammed so much backstory into the book without the book being dull. There’s a lot of information about all the guests to absorb and the way both authors collaborated and made it work was very well done. Even Cohn’s character, Ilsa, reminded me of myself; I try to make everyone think I’m such a badass and I have everything figured out but inside I’m really a mess and trying to figure life out.

The fact that Sam’s sexual orientation isn’t a big deal makes the book even better in my opinion; times are moving on and we should be writing about all genders and sexual orientations without making it the sole premise of books. I know that it’s important to have novels that focus on coming out and gender identity, but really, it shows that we are moving on by incorporating them into books without it being the only exciting thing.

Although Ilsa finds something out about herself, the authors do not let this consume the entire plot of the story. There is talk of labels not being important and I think more authors need to take this approach to writing to make teenagers feel less pressure in deciding on what to call their identity or sexual orientation.

I highly recommend this book and it won’t take you long to read either. Let me know in the comments if you have read or are planning to read Sam and Ilsa’s Last Hurrah and what you thought about it. Until next time, Vee x

Book Review: Turtles All The Way Down

h1 {font-family: times new roman; font-size: 20pt;} h2 {font-family: times new roman; font-size: 18pt;} body {font-family: times new roman; font-size: 15pt;} Hey guys! So as you may know, I’m a huge fan of John Green and have read all his books. I’ve been wanting to read Turtles All The Way Down for a long time and I finally finished it! I won’t lie, it was hard to get into but you can definitely tell Green has put himself into his work once again, even if it isn’t the masterpiece Looking For Alaska or Papertowns was.&nbsp

The book is about Aza and her struggle with OCD and I believe other mental illnesses. The book goes really in depth into this subject so it may be triggering for some.

I sympathized with Aza but I also didn’t really like her personality. Her mental illness pulls her apart from her friends and family. However, there isn’t much about Aza that we know.

Green didn’t really give her character much build up…it was mostly about her illness and how this was her. The book is supposed to be this way but I did struggle with just reading about her thoughts and not having much background information. 
Although I know John Green’s work is very trippy and quirky, it was a little bit dull for me.

I thought the descriptions and portrayal of mental illness was well thought out. But apart from that I felt like the characters weren’t fully formed and the book only became exciting near the end. This book is pretty much all about reality like all his books – but with a twist. Even if it’s far fetched, that’s Green. He executes his work brilliantly but for me this isn’t one of my favourites.

I liked the friendship between Aza and Daisy because it’s real; they have arguments which is normal. Friends stick by you but they also tell you the truth. However, I think the relationships between the characters needed to be more in depth and I expected more mystery surrounding Pickett’s disappearance.  It was mostly about Aza’s condition, which in the general scheme of things is what Green is trying to portray. That mental illness is all consuming. This is such a powerful book so I won’t spoil it for you! I was just left a little confused and disappointed with the story line.

However, books like these are so important to have for people to understand mental illness; it gets inside the mind and I must admit I have had intrusive thoughts – everyone does – so maybe that is why I struggled with the theme.

Please let me know your thoughts about the book once you’ve read it; I’d love to know what other’s opinions are.
Well, until next time. Love, Vee x

Books That Should Be Movies

h1 {font-family: times new roman; font-size: 20pt;} h2 {font-family: times new roman; font-size: 18pt;} body {font-family: times new roman; font-size: 15pt;} We all know on our shelf there are books we wish were movies. Obviously in a perfect world, they would represent the book exactly right. And even though this mostly doesn’t happen, we all still crave our favourite book to be made into a movie. I’ve compiled a list of books I loved reading and therefore think would make excellent films. Thank god Every Day by David Levithan is being made – it needed to be so badly!

The Shiver Triology by Maggie Stiefvater

I know, I know, I go on about this series way too much – but there’s a reason! It was the best fantasy series I’ve ever read and I think the whole wolf/forbidden relationship thing would make the perfect movie.

Will Grayson Will Grayson by John Green and David Levithan

Come on guys; it would be the gayest, happiest movie out there with Tiny Cooper running the show. I still need to read the Tiny Cooper Hold Me Closer book but I stand by my opinion that it should be a movie.

Two Boys Kissing by David Levithan

This is one of the first LGBT books I read and I’ve never looked back since; all I read are gay romance novels. David turned me into an LGBT fanatic. No joke. It would be such a cute film about love and lust and acceptance.

Geekerella by Ashley Poston

Geekerella was such a cute retelling of Cinderella with geeky twists and nerdy happy ever afters. I think it would be the perfect film to go watch with that nerd who loves Disney movies.

The Light We Lost by Jill Santopolo

This book had me in floods of tears and gave me too many shivers to count. I can imagine it to be something like the Notebook and such a wonderfully sad film. This needs to happen. Anyone want to start a petition with me?!

What are some of your books that you wish could be movies? Let me know in the comments! Until next time, Vee x

Book OTPs

h1 {font-family: times new roman; font-size: 20pt;} h2 {font-family: times new roman; font-size: 18pt;} body {font-family: times new roman; font-size: 15pt;} Hey guys! In this week’s blog I want to talk about my book OTPs (One True Pairings) and I’d love to hear yours too. Mine may be a bit unusual so I apologize if you don’t know what book I’m talking about!

Simon and Baz (Snowbaz)

Simon and Baz are from Rainbow Rowell’s book “Carry On” and I absolutely love Snowbaz! They are adorable. Simon hasn’t figured out he’s gay yet and Baz is Simon’s nemesis. It’s very much a love/hate relationship. Very unconventional but I ship it so much. If you enjoy fantasy, LGBT books and lovable bad boys, then this is the book you’ve been waiting for. But I definitely recommend reading Fangirl first as it might not make as much sense.

Sam and Grace 

Sam and Grace are from Maggie Stiefvater’s Shiver trilogy and it’s honestly the best series I’ve ever read (I know, I mention this a lot). Sam is a wolf and Grace is a human who is very confused by life and she doesn’t know what she wants to do; but what she does know is that she’s always been drawn to the wolves in her back garden. And that’s when Sam becomes human and the most whirlwind romance begins.
You can read my review of the Shiver trilogy here.

Isabel and Cole St Clair

Isabel and Cole are also from the Shiver trilogy and even have their own spin off called Sinner. Much like Snowbaz, Isabel and Cole’s relationship is built on hate, envy and jealousy. Isabel’s brother has died and she’s looking for comfort away from her family and Cole moves to LA to be near her. From there, their relationship unravels and as it does, so does their feelings…
You can read my review on Sinner here.

Lucy and Gabe

Lucy and Gabe are from Jill Santopolo’s book “The Light We Lost.” This is one of the first adult books I’ve read since I always read YA and I can tell you there’s no better book to start with than this beauty. It was heartwarming and heartbreaking all at once. The story follows the ups and downs of relationships, break ups and getting back together. Their story might not be a happy one, but it’s theirs and that’s what makes it beautiful.
You can read my review of The Light We Lost here.

I hope you enjoyed this week’s blog and I’ll see you next time. Love, Vee x

What Draws You To A Book?

h1 {font-family: times new roman; font-size: 20pt;} h2 {font-family: times new roman; font-size: 18pt;} body {font-family: times new roman; font-size: 15pt;} Hey guys, it’s Vee here. I hope you are all having a relaxing weekend. In this week’s blog I’m going to discuss what draws me to a book and I will be asking you the same question!

Cover

When choosing a book or just randomly scrolling through Instagram, the cover immediately draws me in – is it bright, or dark? Does it have photographs on or artwork? Is the title clear and readable? The saying goes “Don’t judge a book by its cover” but I think that’s exactly what we should do! 

The cover is important to draw the reader in – it isn’t as important as the writing itself but it’s a step to get me to read the book. If a cover is too plain or too heavy, too dark or too bright, the chances are I won’t buy it unless I know who the author is or the synopsis intrigues me. I will often go around Waterstones and look at all the wonderful covers, read the synopsis and then read the reviews online.

Synopsis

Now, this is also an important one as the blurb has to engage the reader. If the blurb is a conversation or an extract from the book, I won’t want to buy or read it as I like to know the plot.

Genre

Genre is also a big factor with me buying a book; I’m a big YA contemporary and LGBT reader. I sometimes read fantasy but it has to be a book I’ve been eyeing up for ages. I don’t enjoy mysteries, horror or adult fiction.

Series/stand alone 

I don’t tend to read as many series now as I used to as a child; I enjoy trilogies the most as these aren’t too long or too short. Stand alones are best as I sometimes pick up a book and it’s the second one in the series and I can’t be bothered to read all ten thousand books following it. I also don’t want to be spending lots of money on a series I may not enjoy when I really could be buying books from authors I love.

Authors

I like to try new authors’ work but most of the time I will buy from the writers I know I like such as John Green, David Levithan or Rainbow Rowell.

What are some factors you consider before buying books? Let me know in the comments!
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Book Review: Another Day by David Levithan

Once I read every day and heard there was a sequel, I couldn’t wait to read it. However, for some reason I put it off for months and then I picked it up. I don’t know what I expected – maybe a story after the story; instead we see Rhiannon’s part of the story, how she feels about A, his nonexistent gender, sexuality and her unhealthy relationship with Justin. 

We all want her to leave him but she’s scared to. David manages to write about real problems in an imaginative way so that we question life itself – the path it wants for us and if gender, sexuality and everything else matters. The truth is it doesn’t. David is gay and he understands how gender shouldn’t matter. But it isn’t easy for someone who has only dated/crushed on boys or girls.


I’m pansexual, which means I like people regardless of their gender. In theory, it would make sense that were always able to do this – to love someone for their personality, not their gender or body or looks. But is isn’t that easy. These factors can come into play and David teaches us that this is okay. 

Rhiannon loves A because of who he is inside – not all the bodies he inhabits. There were other factors to this situation that make it a difficult decision for Rhiannon. A moves around all the time into different bodies – which isn’t fair for both of them. Ultimately, this book – and all of Levithan’s – makes your mind boggle in wonder. 

David makes us question things we never knew needed questioning. That’s why he’s a brilliant writer. Very few writers have me hooked to binge their books but Levithan always manages to do this.


I highly recommend you read Every Day and Another Day – in that order. You may get annoyed with how indecisive Rhiannon is, but she also makes you aware of how indecisive we all are. Let David’s writing keep you up all night with questions. I hope you read it and if you have, please tell me what you thought.

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LGBT Book Recommendations

Hey guys! So in this week’s blog I’m going to be giving you some LGBT book recommendations!
I think it’s brilliant that more LGBT books are being published and they’re all I read! So without further ado, here are some of my favourites!
Non Binary and Transgender Books

Every Day by David Levithan

Every Day is about a person called A who wakes up in a different body every day. A could be descried as non binary and this book is one of the most unique I have ever read.

A wakes up one day inside Jason and his girlfriend Rhiannon thinks he’s acting strange because he’s never this kind or romantic. Now A has to figure out a way of staying in one body…
I can’t wait to read the sequel, Another Day since the last book was left on a cliffhanger…


If I Was Your Girl by Meredith Russo

If I Was Your Girl is about a transgender girl called Amanda. She moves in with her dad and she hopes no one will find out who she used to be…

Even though there are some unrealistic aspects in the book, it was a heart-wrenching and lovely book about acceptance, friendship and family.

The Art Of Being Normal by Lisa Williamson

David Piper is transgender but his family think he’s gay and he gets bullied at school – until he meets Leo. Leo stands up for David and they soon become friends when Leo reveals his past and invites David on an adventure.
This book reminds me of Jacqueline Wilson’s writing and is by far one of my favourite reads. It is heartwarming, real and unpredictable – everything that a good book should be.

Books on sexuality

Carry On by Rainbow Rowell

Carry On is like Hogwarts but with two wizards who fall in love and defeat the bad guys. Simon Snow is a wizard and Baz, his vampire roommate can’t stand him for being the ‘chosen one.’ However, as they battle together, they soon realise their feelings are more than just magic…
Carry On is fan-fiction from Fangirl, another book by Rowell and I would recommend reading that first.

Girl Hearts Girl by Lucy Sutcliffe

Lucy is one of my favourite YouTubers and she used to date and live with her girlfriend Kaelyn Petras, another YouTuber. They both inspired me with their YouTube videos about anxiety, long distance and LGBT topics.
However, they broke up after being long distance for six years and Lucy finished her book before they broke up.

Girl Hearts Girl is about Lucy’s journey to discovering she was gay and how she learned to accept it. Lucy also writes about her experiences with anxiety, school, friends and long distance. IT truly is a lovely book about self discovery and acceptance.
Geekerella by Ashley Poston

Geekerella is exactly what it says it is; a Cinderella story with a geeky twist. Danielle lives with her two evil stepsisters and stepmonster. Danielle loves Starfield, a sci-fi program her and her dad used to watch when he was alive.

Her father built a con for all types of fans and Danielle is upset that there’s going to be a Starfield movie with an actor she hates called Darien Freeman. However, they accidentally start texting, not knowing who each other are and Danielle wants to enter a contest at her father’s con to meet Darien and tell him what she thinks.

Sage, who Danielle works with, helps make her a costume and they go to the con together. It turns out Sage and Danielle’s step sister hit it off and even though there isn’t much mention of the LGBT community, it’s still a cute story worth reading!

So there you go! These are some of my favourite LGBT books and I hope you enjoy reading them as much as I did!
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Book Review #7: Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist

Hello bookworms, writers and all creative peeps! This week’s blog is a book review on Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist by David Levithan and Rachel Cohn.
Overview

David and Rachel’s book is about Nick and Norah who meet at a concert and Nick asks Norah to be his girlfriend so that he can make his ex jealous. However, what they both don’t know is, is that this 5 minute girlfriend fling will in fact lead them to a night of events that will bring them closer together…
Set in New York, this book is about getting over heartbreak, falling in love again and finding out you can meet the love of your life anywhere…

Review
As much as I love Levithan’s writing, I couldn’t help but roll my eyes and debate whether to chuck the book into a charity shop.
I wanted to go to David’s talk about the book in London so I bought Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist; however I wasn’t able to go and therefore was in no rush to read the book until now. I thought it would be an easy read where I could quickly and easily finish it. But unfortunately it took me a while to read because I wasn’t enjoying it at all.
Aside from the swearing on every page, I just couldn’t warm to Norah’s cold, hard exterior nor Nick’s personality. He was all over the place.
David’s chapters were okay but Rachel’s felt like she had tried too hard to see the world from the point of view of a teenager.
The book didn’t really have any conflicts in it; David and Rachel tried too hard to make it into one of those life altering, life affirming books about teens finding themselves in New York.
The constant swearing really put me off because it also seemed like the authors thought teens just swear.
The overall theme of finding someone and falling in love is nice, although unrealistic as I don’t believe responsible parents would allow their child, let alone someone else’s, out all night.
The book was plain and felt rushed, like they had to meet a deadline. Don’t get me wrong, I love David’s books but this one has put me off reading anything else of Rachel Cohn’s.
The thing I find the most absurd is that at the start of the night, Nick and Norah are still hung up on their exes but by the next morning they’ve fallen for each other. It just seems a bit far fetched. I did watch the movie before reading the book and both are very different and I definitely enjoyed the film more than the book.
However, if you are looking for a short read set in the heart of New York and you’re a big punk rock music fan, then this is the book for you. 
I’m going to rate this book 1.5/5☆
Don’t forget to tell me what you thought of the book down below ⇣
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Book Review #6 The Lover’s Dictionary by David Levithan

Hey everybody! In this blog I will be reviewing David’s book The Lover’s Dictionary which I read a while ago.

Overview

The Lover’s Dictionary is about two people who are in a relationship and we see their love through dictionary entries to one another. This book is about the deeper understanding of love and how it can be both intoxicating and euphoric.

The novel was published on Valentine’s Day 2011 and as the annual deadline of his Valentine’s story neared, David used a book called ‘words you need to know’ and started off taking a word from each page to start his book.

Review

I enjoyed The Lover’s Dictionary at the same time as finding it mildly confusing. But isn’t that what love is? Confusing? All consuming? David manages to capture the arguments, the love, the good and the bad within dictionary format and tells a story about a two year relationship from there.

David wrote the book about adults but doesn’t agree that books should be aimed at adults or young adults as both read his books.

I wanted to read it because it seemed such a unique way of writing and it proves that inspiration can come from anywhere – even just a word.

I also liked the fact that Levithan didn’t state whether the couple were straight, gay or lesbian and we don’t know what their gender is. This adds mystery to his work and proves you don’t have to write with names or genders in mind.

It was a raw book and full with what love can do to you. It can drive you mad or make you swoon. I think the lack of personalities and information about the people in the book made it more relatable to the readers; it’s easier to place yourself in a book when there is no name, gender or personality.

I’m going to rate it 4/5 ☆

Don’t forget to tell me in the comments what you thought of the it!

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My Top 5 Favourite Authors

Hello again! In this week’s blog I will be talking about my top 5 favourite authors and the reasons why! Enjoy and don’t forget to tell me who yours are!

1. David Levithan

Aside from the obvious reason that David writes LGBTQ novels (which I LOVE), his writing has a very flowing and unbiased effect on me. I adore his novels Two Boys Kissing and Every Day the most. I recently purchased the sequel, Another Day from Amazon and I can’t wait to read it.

David is gay himself and I’m very pleased that he uses his voice to tell stories about the LGBTQ community. You can learn more about David and his books here.

2. John Green

Almost every teen girl has obsessed over John’s novel, The Fault in Our Stars (also me) because of the movie. But once I read it, I wanted to read his other books and was introduced to a world of contemporary YA and LGBTQ books (John introduced me to Levithan through their book, Will Grayson, Will Grayson).

John’s writing is unique to say the least; we see lots of contemporary authors trying to make life changing and wacky novels that just don’t work and somehow, even with John’s wackiness (Papertowns and Looking for Alaska especially), he manages to pull this off. John creates new life affirming journeys that teens go on to discover themselves and he puts a twist in it to make it a book we can lose and find ourselves in. You can learn more about John and his books here.

3. Rainbow Rowell

When I first read Fangirl I was so happy I had finally found a story that just kept on coming, like real life. Carry On is also a masterpiece and I love how Rowell created a world within a world for all of us fangirls who adore Simon and Baz.

I am yet to read Rowell’s other books but she is a wonderfully down to earth person who interacts with fans and writes from the heart. You can learn more about Rowell and her books here.

4. Maggie Stiefvater 

If you haven’t read the The Wolves of Mercy Falls trilogy then go, now! What are you waiting for?! The Wolves of Mercy Falls trilogy is my favourite series to EVER exist. Maggie’s writing is heartfelt, raw and powerful. She captures her characters so well and I just want to be friends with Grace and Sam so badly! If I had to pick one series to live in, it would be this.

I still need to read Sinner (a spin off of The Wolves of Mercy Falls trilogy) and the rest of Maggie’s books. You can read more about Maggie and her blog here.


5. Huntley Fitzpatrick 

Whenever someone wants a book recommendation, I immediately tell them to read My Life Next Door because it is a beautiful love story and deserves to be read by everyone. I also think Huntley is a lovely person and she always interacts with me on Instagram.

You can find out more about Huntley and her novels on her website.

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