Review: Carry On by Rainbow Rowell

Hi everyone,

It really has been a long time since we posted on our blog, and we are really and truly sorry. We’ve had quite a bit of a year, getting into different universities and learning to live life without each other! We are planning on uploading a full post on where we’ve been! All the change and unexpectedness left us with no motivation to post, but we still have been reading. That all being said, I’m going to review Carry On by the wonderful Rainbow Rowell for you all today.

Title: Carry On
Author:
 
Rainbow Rowell
Publisher:
Macmillan Children’s Books (UK)
Publication Date:
October 6th 2015
Pages:
517

Carry On - Rainbow Rowell

Goodreads synopsis: 

Simon Snow is the worst Chosen One who’s ever been chosen.

That’s what his roommate, Baz, says. And Baz might be evil and a vampire and a complete git, but he’s probably right.

Half the time, Simon can’t even make his wand work, and the other half, he starts something on fire. His mentor’s avoiding him, his girlfriend broke up with him, and there’s a magic-eating monster running around, wearing Simon’s face. Baz would be having a field day with all this, if he were here — it’s their last year at the Watford School of Magicks, and Simon’s infuriating nemesis didn’t even bother to show up.

Carry On – The Rise and Fall of Simon Snow is a ghost story, a love story and a mystery. It has just as much kissing and talking as you’d expect from a Rainbow Rowell story – but far, far more monsters.

Ayesha’s Thoughts:

After reading Fangirl, I fell in love with the writing style of Rainbow Rowell. (How blessed she is to have such a beautiful name!) After the release of Carry On in 2015 I have been waiting for my chance to sit down and devour this book (which I did in two days!). I think it’s safe to say that I loved it!

Carry On is no doubt a Harry Potter spin-off. The magic world and the relationship of the characters were familiar to read. I think it was very clever of Rainbow Rowell to create an almost parallel universe from the well known Hogwarts world. However, similarities aside, the story was as individual and absorbing in its own way. The progression of the storyline was almost perfect, and I managed to fly through the last 200 pages in just one morning!

The characters were one of my favourite aspects of the book. I haven’t read a story where the main character was gay, and I really enjoyed it! I honestly cannot wait to read more LGBT books! As Rainbow Rowell wrote different chapters from different perspectives, I was able to get an insight and a closer understanding of each character’s thoughts and personalities. The characters are what gave this novel its own sense of individuality, even when being inspired by the famous Harry Potter series.

The ending was almost perfect for me, Rowell managed to tie up most of the loose ends of the story, but she did leave me with some questions. (Highlight the next paragraph for my thought on the ending – *CONTAINS SPOILERS*)

Although the ending was one of my favourite parts of the book, it did leave me with some questions. Did Simon ever find out that the Mage and Lucy were his parents? The readers definitely found out but I don’t think Simon did? Also, where did Nicodemus go at the end of the story? After he saved Baz from the Numpties he sort of just disappeared and we didn’t see him again! I would have loved to read his reaction to Ebb’s death… Being a twin myself, I would have found it heartbreaking! 

The slight confusion at the end, knocked my rating down to a 4/5 stars (although still very respectable). I’m glad Rowell decided to give Simon and Baz a story ‘she felt she owed them’. This book was a perfect post-exam read, and I would definitely recommend it!

Have you read Carry On or any other Rainbow Rowell books? What did you think of them? I’d love to read your opinions in the comments!

Stay beautiful,

Ayesha xx

Cursed Child Release Party and Mini Review!

CursedChildBanner

Hello people of the blogosphere… We are finally back (after 6 months I think we have neglected this blog enough!!!)

So, if you weren’t aware (presumably living under some rock), Harry Potter and the Cursed Child was released midnight last night so Ayesha and I decided to attend a release party (in Waterstones, Cardiff). It was honestly so much fun and the atmosphere was, well it was magical!

We arrived at Waterstones at 10pm and already a long queue had formed outside of fellow witches and wizards in their house colours. It was while queuing that we met the lovely Suzy, who we ended up spending the rest of the night with! Once we were inside, we decided to participate in a Harry Potter quiz and ended up getting a pretty decent score of 18/20! We got J.K Rowling’s full name wrong (I know we are so ashamed!) We wrote down Joanne Katherine instead of Kathleen *bows head in shame* and we also forgot the first ever Gryffindor password used by Percy (which we now know was “Caput Draconis”), but that’s why we were both sorted in Hufflepuff and not Gryffindor… duh!

Next, we decided to participate in a Harry Potter treasure hunt where we had to trek around the bookstore finding clues that would eventually lead us to a release party sticker, which I’m sure we will put up to good use!! There were other cute little activities that were set out, such as Pin the Nose on Voldemort and Quidditch Pong – which we were shockingly terrible at. Seriously terrible. I guess we truly are Hufflepuffs; we didn’t get a single point… I guess Quidditch isn’t a career we should pursue any further. We also took pictures at a “Have you seen this wizard?” stand, but the highlights of the night has to be the countdown to midnight and when someone told us that we looked like the Patel twins! Probably the best compliment anyone has ever given us! The Waterstones Staff gave us all party poppers so when midnight finally came, everyone celebrated together, it was so cute!

The whole of today has been spent reading the Cursed Child and I am proud to say that I (Monisah) finished reading it a couple of hours ago. Honestly, being back in the Harry Potter world at Hogwarts was truly magical and I enjoyed every single moment. I could not put the book down. The plot was fast-paced and as detailed as you would expect a Rowling novel to be. I must admit, the script format did take some getting used to, but hey it was a great new experience. I think I would have preferred an actual novel but let’s be honest… Who wouldn’t? Nevertheless, Cursed Child was amazing and surprisingly it turned my hatred for Snape into admiration and love. I was able to read more about the characters that I grew up with and loved and also find a place in my heart for all the new ones. I hope sometime in the future I will be able to see this magical storyline on stage!

Have you read Cursed Child yet? What are your opinions?

Thank you for reading, and we promise to start blogging again!

Stay beautiful,

Ayesha and Monisah

The Sunshine Blogger Award

TheSunshineBloggerAward

Hello everyone! We were nominated for the award back in November (oops) by the wonderful Franciska over at Life is Sweet in Books! Thank you so much Franciska, I loved reading her answers so I will link her post here for everyone to take a little look at!

I am currently sat in my living room trying to catch up on all the awards and nominations everyone has been so kind enough to nominate us for, I am so very grateful and I hope I can get most of them done!

Also, I have been trying to make more headers for our posts, and I love the way this one turned out! I feel like a proud mother hahha!!

The Rules:

  • Answer the 11 questions from the blogger who nominated you.
  • Nominate some wonderful bloggers and write 11 questions for them to answer.

I am currently sat in my living room trying to catch up on all the awards and nominations everyone has been so kind enough to nominate us for, I am so very grateful and I hope I can get most of them done!

I can’t wait to do this, so let’s get into it right away!

 

Franciska’s questions

1. If you had the chance to visit a fictional world where would it be?

Avoiding the obvious choice (HOGWARTS), I am going to go with Beacon Hills from the TV show Teen Wolf! (Probably because I just watched the latest episode so it’s fresh in my mind!) Do you watch Teen Wolf? I’d love to hear what everyone thinks of the Dread Doctors, this “Beast” and Theo! I was honestly bawling my eyes out in the latest episode, so intense. Argh I love it!

2. How long does it take you to read a book?

It actually depends on the book, but at the moment I have been INCREDIBLY slow at finishing books right now and I don’t know why. I’m hoping this will pass soon……

3.  What is your favourite film?

At the moment I think I’d have to say a French film called Amelie that Monisah and I watched recently. It was such a cute, quirky film. I’d definitely recommend it everyone!

4. Who inspires you?

Woah what a question. I’ve always found it difficult to answer this question because of the sheer amount of people that have influenced my life. I’ll start with celebrities, firstly Taylor Swift (QUEEN) and also youtubers called Megan and Liz (I will link their channel if you haven’t stumbled across them before). These women are such hard-workers and not afraid to take risks with their music, and just be themselves.

Both my parents have always inspired me, for being such hard working and kind hearted people (love you both!). One of my closest friends Amber has always inspired me, because she always brings the sunshine everywhere she goes.

The list goes on and on but I am going to stop there for now!

5. Who is your favourite fictional character?

Again, I don’t think it’s possible to choose one, but I’m going to mention one in particular, Katherine from The Next Together by Lauren James. She was so quirky and hilarious, I loved reading from her point of view!

6. What new book release are you exited for?

I’m going to go with The Last Beginning by Lauren James and Glass Sword by Victoria Aveyard (I know it’s already out but I haven’t bought it yet… so it still counts!!)

7. What book would you recommend to everyone no matter what?

I think I’m going to go with Le Petit Prince which I read recently (in French, it was quite a challenge but I got all the way through YAAY), it was such a sweet story!

8. Where do you read?

I usually read anywhere, except for on cars or trains because unfortunately it makes me feel very sick!

9. Where do you buy you books?

Wherever I can find them! Amazon, Waterstones, WHSmith, and any other bookshops!

10. Library books or buying your own books?

I’ve actually started to borrow more books from the library, so I will have to say both for this one!

11. What made you want to start blogging?

I had been watching BookTube videos and reading Book Blogs for a while and after discussing it with Monisah we decided to give it a go ourselves!

One of the first BookTubers I watched was Bookandquills and I still watch every one of Sanne’s videos till this day!

One of the first book blogs I started to follow was Kristin at Simply Bookish Things, and again I still love reading her posts!!

 

My questions:

  1. If you could live in another country where would you decide to live?
  2. What is your dream job?
  3. Which author would you love to meet?
  4. Are you a pessimist or an optimist?
  5. If you could trade places with one fictional character who would you choose?
  6. What TV show(s) are you watching at the moment?
  7. Your favourite song(s) of all time?
  8. What are your thoughts of writing in books?
  9. What is the longest book you have read?
  10. What is your favourite season and why?
  11. Is there a book that got you into reading/blogging?

I nominate:

The wonderful Poulami at Daydreaming Books and the lovely Aira over at Aira Reads.

Thank you for reading everyone! It’s now half-term in Britain (we get one week off school HOORAY), so I’d love to hear what everyone has planned for Half-term!

Stay beautiful,

Ayesha xx

 

Review: All the Rage by Courtney Summers

Hi everyone! We are (finally) back after quite a long break! I hope you all had the most wonderful Christmas and New Year! I’d love to hear what everyone did over the Christmas holidays so please let me know in the comments!

Monisah and I were lucky enough, and so grateful, to go to New York over Christmas for our 18th birthday (how am I getting so old……….) we are planning on posting a blog post about our trip so hopefully (fingers crossed) we’ll actually get to post it!

So today I’ve got a review for Courtney Summer’s All the Rage, enjoy!

Title: All the Rage
Author: Courtney Summers
Publisher: Macmillan Children’s Books
Publication Date:
28th January 2016
Pages:
317

21853636

Goodreads Synopsis:

The sheriff’s son, Kellan Turner, is not the golden boy everyone thinks he is, and Romy Grey knows that for a fact. Because no one wants to believe a girl from the wrong side of town, the truth about him has cost her everything—friends, family, and her community. Branded a liar and bullied relentlessly by a group of kids she used to hang out with, Romy’s only refuge is the diner where she works outside of town. No one knows her name or her past there; she can finally be anonymous. But when a girl with ties to both Romy and Kellan goes missing after a party, and news of him assaulting another girl in a town close by gets out, Romy must decide whether she wants to fight or carry the burden of knowing more girls could get hurt if she doesn’t speak up. Nobody believed her the first time—and they certainly won’t now — but the cost of her silence might be more than she can bear. 

With a shocking conclusion and writing that will absolutely knock you out, All the Rage examines the shame and silence inflicted upon young women after an act of sexual violence, forcing us to ask ourselves: In a culture that refuses to protect its young girls, how can they survive?

Ayesha’s Thoughts

I received this book from lovereading.com in return for an honest review, and like always this doesn’t affect my opinions at all!

This was such a poignant and powerful book to read. As I was reading a book that is based on such a strong topic, I was expecting something hard hitting. I got what I was expecting, but not in the same way I as I thought I would. There was nothing really mentioned on rape culture, and rape itself, in fact, I felt Romy (the main character) was actually quite insensitive to other rape victims. The focus of this book was actually the effect Romy’s experiences had on her character. She described her “old self” as another girl and it was quite sad to see how she had just thrown away all her ties to herself in the past.

The strong message of this book was shown through a very complicated but real character. I don’t actually know if I like Romy as a character… She was quite selfish and I felt as though she used a lot of the characters for her own benefit. However, she was dealing with a really difficult part of her life; she was out-casted by all of her neighbourhood, and she was frequently bullied in school, with no one to talk to. I did feel a lot of sympathy for her, and there were aspects of her characters I could relate to.

I did feel as though the beginning of the book was really confusing, it was jumping from “now” to “two weeks earlier” and I felt like it was quite unnecessary. Also, the smaller characters of the book were quite forgettable and I felt as though I had to keep flipping back chapters to re-read sections to remember the characters.

I am rating “All the Rage” 3.5/5. I felt that I learnt so much while reading it, and the ending definitely saved the book. It was very dramatic with lots of twists and I felt as though it almost turned into a sort of mystery? I would recommend this book to older readers, as I am quite a sensitive person and I did cry quite a lot as I was reading certain scenes.

Have you read anything similar to All the Rage? Let me know in the comments!

Thank you so much for reading!

Stay beautiful,

Ayesha xx

Book Reviewer of the Month from lovereading.com!

RevieweroftheMonth

Hello everyone! I hope you are doing well!! I’ve got some exciting news today!

As you guys know Monisah and I often review books for lovereading.com, and I recently got an email saying that I was chosen for “Reviewer of the Month” for my review of The Next Together by Lauren James! YAAAAAY!! I loved The Next Together, it is still one of my favourite books that I have read all year, and if you haven’t already read it, I would definitely recommend it!

I received a very sweet parcel today from lovereading and Walker Books as a thank you! Altogether I received 2 posters, one for The Lottery Boy by Michael Byrne, and one for I’ll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson (which I’m so excited about AAAAHHH), a couple of bookmarks (which are ALWAYS useful!!), a cute little certificate, a gift voucher (I can buy MORE books woooo!!) and an ARC copy of Silence is Goldfish which I can’t wait to read!!

Goodybundle

I just want to thank everyone at lovereading for being such lovely, supportive people (especially Shelley, her emails light up my day)! I will let everyone know when lovereading post the article on their website!

Thank you for reading everyone!! I hope you have a wonderful evening! Just a little random side-note… I can’t help but point out how beautiful autumn is, I would love to hear what everyone’s favourite thing is about autumn!

Stay beautiful,
Ayesha xx

Review: Only Ever Yours by Louise O’Neill

Review: Only Ever Yours
Author: Louise O’Neill
Publisher: Quercus
Publication Date: 3rd July 2014
Pages: 392

51s4wPrXe4L._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_

Monisah’s thoughts:
I was so incredibly excited to read this book because it was different to anything I have ever read before. It was a mixture of sci-fi and dystopia which is not normally what I pick up. In the world O’Neill created, women are made in labs therefore they are made perfectly with no flaws. All through school they are taught that their sole purpose in life is to please men, and although they were created perfectly: there is always room for improvement. The girls are ranked by their prettiness, and the high rankers are usually become “companions” where their purpose is to bear as many sons as possible. If you are not chosen as a companion by one of the Inheritants (boys), you will end up as “concubine” or a chastity at the school. As a feminist, this whole concept enraged me as all the girls wanted to do was please the men, never understanding their full potential as women.

The atmosphere in the school was absolutely toxic. As you can imagine, every girl fought to be the most perfect, leading to competitions on who can eat the least, or who has the skinniest figure. There were the elite few who were always ranked high, and everyone else fought to be included in this group. All the female names in the book were written without a capital letter to symbolise their second place in society, which I thought was a clever little addition on O’Neill’s part.

However because of this toxic environment, the girls weren’t very likeable therefore I found it hard to connect to the characters. It was hard for me to like freida in particular, because she always tried to please others, never taking her own initiative. I felt like screaming at the book sometimes because her actions really frustrated me. isabel and agyness were the only girls that slightly rebelled against the system in their own way, so they were by far my favourite characters. They weren’t afraid to be different, and I really admired that about them both.

I found the book absolutely fascinating to read, and I would highly recommend everyone to read this book especially if you are a feminist. It really put everything into perspective for me, and it further reinforced my feminism views. However, the storyline was a little disappointing towards the end. I thought the story had so much more potential and it didn’t really live up to the rest of the book. After finishing the book I was expecting to feel some sort of accomplishment, but that never really came. I ended up just feeling like “oh”. For that reason, I don’t think I can give it 4/5 stars, but that does not mean I didn’t enjoy reading the book, because I really really did, especially the beginning and middle!

Rating: 3/5

If you’ve read this book, let me know in the comments!

Stay beautiful,
Monisah xo

Movie review: The Scorch Trials

Firstly, I think I should start by apologising because we have been AWOL for the last couple of weeks, and we definitely owe you guys an explanation! School has begun, and it’s our last year of high school meaning we are currently preparing our university applications (eep!), leaving us with less time to work on our blog! However, apologies aside, here is this week’s post!

Over the weekend, we went to see The Scorch Trials with a couple of our friends, so I thought I’d share my comments with you guys!

untitled

Monisah’s thoughts:
First things first, I am going to admit that I have not read the book. I did read The Maze Runner, but it didn’t really persuade me to pick up the second book. Also, I think I preferred the movie to the first book (mainly because DYLAN O’BRIEN) so I gave the second book a miss!

I don’t know what I was expecting when I walked into the movie theatre, but it certainly wasn’t that. Thomas and friends had escaped the maze, but the world outside was not what they (or I for that matter) expected. They had a couple of trust issues, which is pretty understandable considering what they’ve been through, and realised they had never really escaped “WCKD”. This leads them into the Scorch to try and find resistant fighters to help take down WCKD.

The film, much like the first, was action packed. We were thrown into the storyline during the first few minutes, which was something I really enjoyed. Nobody likes a slow movie, right? If I had to pick one word to describe this movie, it would be “intense”. Because it was. Sometimes a little too much. There were zombies, explosions and a lot of shooting which I wasn’t really prepared for. Ayesha found the intensity a bit too much so she had to go stand outside for the last 40 minutes of the show, but I managed to stay in my seat throughout the whole movie!

Just like the first movie, I thought Dylan O’Brien (Thomas), Thomas Brodie-Sangster (Newt) and Ki Hong Lee (Minho) played their parts really well. The chemistry between them was also lovely to watch. It was one of the things I enjoyed most about the film. And, of course their faces are very pleasant to look at, which is always a plus…

Overall I did enjoy the film, however I thought the storyline was definitely a lot weaker than the first, and therefore it did not match the first film.

Rating: 3/5

Have you read the book/watched the film? Let me know your thoughts in the comments!

Stay beautiful,
Monisah xo