The Paper & Hearts Society by Lucy Powrie

The Paper & Hearts Society by Lucy Powrie

 

Title: The Paper & Hearts Society

Author: Lucy Powrie

Pages: 355

Publisher: Hodder Children’s

Published: 2019

Source: Received from the publisher in exchange for an honest review – Thanks, Team Bkmrk!

Rating: ★★★★


Tabby Brown is tired of trying to fit in. She doesn’t want to go to parties – in fact, she would much rather snuggle up on the sofa with her favourite book.

It’s like she hasn’t found her people …

Then Tabby joins a club that promises to celebrate books. What could go wrong? EVERYTHING – especially when making new friends brings out an AWKWARD BUZZING feeling all over her body.

But Olivia, Cassie, Henry and Ed have something that makes Tabby come back. Maybe it’s the Austen-themed fancy-dress parties, or Ed’s fluffy cat Mrs Simpkins, or could it be Henry himself …

Can Tabby let her weird out AND live THE BEST BOOKISH LIFE POSSIBLE?


I have been looking forward to reading Lucy’s book, The Paper & Hearts Society ever since I heard that she was writing it. I’ve been following the journey of her debut novel and it’s just been such a joy to watch it go from a document on her screen to a physical copy that can be held and read.

The Paper & Hearts Society is quite a heartwarming book and is so fast paced that I completely raced through it. I was excited to read it because it features books and reading so heavily which are obviously quite a big part of my life and it did not disappoint. I’m really happy that I picked it up as I really enjoyed it and now I want my to form my own Paper & Hearts Society.

Thoughts

The Paper & Hearts Society follows Tabby, our main character, after a move down to Dorset as she gets used to a new life in a relatively new place. Tabby moves in with her Gran and, because she is living in a new place, we follow her as she meets new people and settles into new surroundings.

I enjoyed the writing of this book. It was fairly simple which meant that I was able to fly through the pages. As mentioned already, the pacing of it was quite fast and that, along with the writing, was consistent throughout. The plot flowed really well from one chapter to the next and was easy to follow. The only thing that stood out to me is that I felt that this book was a little on the younger side but that also made it quite quick for me. I would say that The Paper & Hearts Society is perfect for any high school or college student. I wish that I’d had this book when I was younger and in my first few years of high school as I think that’s the type of age group that it really appeals too.

The plot follows Tabby as she joins a newly formed club of friends and fellow book nerds. I really enjoyed the plot as I felt like it made a point of making sure that reading is nothing to be ashamed of and that it made it cool.  What I found positive with this book was that it explores themes of mental health and the exploration of LGBTQ+ and identity. Because of these themes, I feel like the book is more relatable, especially for young people who are perhaps dealing with mental health themselves or are exploring their own identity. This book will help you feel like you’re not so alone and that other people do go through similar. This book also explores bullying in the present day climate where social media is involved. Again, I do feel like this book could encourage young people dealing with this to seek out help and hopefully prove that it is ok to talk about how you’re feeling.

I liked that the characters, Tabby, Olivia, Cassie, Henry and Ed are unapologetically bookish and that, though they might have differing opinions on books, they stick together and help each other whenever one of them is feeling less than their best. I think that this book really helps to promote positive friendships and how important and supportive a group of friends can be. My favourite character in this book was probably Ed, just because I found him quite funny but in all honesty, I enjoyed reading about all of them.

When I finished The Paper & Hearts Society, I felt happy and definitely ready to read the next book, Read with Pride. It made me feel happy reading this book because I was listening to characters talk about their own love of books. It was actually quite comforting to see others be passionate about books and the things they love, even if they are fictional characters themselves.

Final Thoughts

I really enjoyed Lucy’s debut novel and I’m really excited for everyone to read it now that it’s out in the world. I’m looking forward to seeing where the next book, Read with Pride, takes us. I’d absolutely recommend this book if you’re looking for a fun, quick read and I’d especially recommend it if you’re looking for a book to gift to someone who is in high school or college – or even to you if you’re either of those things!

The Princess and the Fangirl by Ashley Poston

The Princess and the Fangirl by Ashley Poston

 

Title: The Princess and the Fangirl

Author: Ashley Poston

Pages: 370

Publisher: Quirk Books

Published: 2019

Source: Received from the publisher in exchange for an honest review – Thanks, Quirk Books!

Rating: ★★★★


Imogen Lovelace is an ordinary fangirl on an impossible mission: save her favorite character, Princess Amara, from being killed off from her favorite franchise, Starfield. The problem is, Jessica Stone—the actress who plays Princess Amara—wants nothing more than to leave the intense scrutiny of the fandom behind. If this year’s ExcelsiCon isn’t her last, she’ll consider her career derailed.

When a case of mistaken identity throws look-a-likes Imogen and Jess together, they quickly become enemies. But when the script for the Starfield sequel leaks, and all signs point to Jess, she and Imogen must trade places to find the person responsible. That’s easier said than done when the girls step into each other’s shoes and discover new romantic possibilities, as well as the other side of intense fandom. As these “princesses” race to find the script-leaker, they must rescue themselves from their own expectations, and redefine what it means to live happily ever after.


‘The horizon’s wide and I have a kingdom to rule.’

The Princess and the Fangirl is the sequel to Geekerella, a book that I read back in 2017 and loved. I was a little worried that perhaps The Princess and the Fangirl wouldn’t quite meet up to the standard set by Geekerella, but it was just as good and it was so sweet.

One of the things that I loved about Geekerella when I read it was that it was such a quick and fun story that you can easily just slip into because it doesn’t require a lot of thought when reading it. The Princess and the Fangirl was exactly the same. It was a different story, but quite fun and I enjoyed it. It just made me happy and I love books that give me that feeling.

Thoughts

The Princess and the Fangirl is set over a 4 day period at ExcelsiCon, a convention based on the famous Starfield series/movie. ExcelsiCon is the same convention we attended in Geekerella so it was very nice to return to it but in this book, we see it from a different perspective. In The Princess and the Fangirl, we see it from the perspective of a fan/vendor and from the perspective of an actress. I thought this was quite a nice take because, as a fan, I obviously never get to see conventions in the eyes of an actor/actress, so this was interesting to read about.

This book follows two main characters, Imogen and Jessica. Imogen is the fan and Jessica is the actress, but they easily get mixed up as they look very similar. The Princess and the Fangirl really bounces off their likeness, especially when the new Starfield script gets leaked, and it goes on from there. As the synopsis above mentions, they switch places to find the person responsible for the leaks which exposes them to the sides of fandom that they both don’t get to normally experience.

I liked both Imogen and Jessica’s characters, but I did find Jessica to be a little bit annoying at times with how determined she was to hate conventions and fandom. I preferred Imogen’s character, but I do wonder if it’s because as a character, she’s a fan so I related to her a little bit more.

This book did include m/m and f/f romances which was really great to see. It’s nice to read a book and see diverse characters. Imogen and her brother also have two mums who are vendors, which I really loved.

The Princess and the Fangirl also featured the characters from Geekerella which was a lovely touch to this book. It actually made me feel quite happy as the characters were familiar and it was nice to see where they were a year on from the events of the first book.

The plot of this is fairly fast paced and the writing helps to keep it that way. The book is split into 4 parts based on each day at the convention. What I liked about this is that whilst the story was going on, what was happening in the background wasn’t sacrificed. When it was Saturday at the convention, there was definitely a lot of buzz whereas on the Sunday, you could actually imagine the convention winding down which made me feel quite sad knowing that it was coming to a close. I think Ashley did a really good job of conveying what people feel at conventions through this book.

This book is perfect for anyone who is part of a fandom or anyone who wants to or has attended a convention before. I’ve attended YALC/LFCC for the past two years and will be going again this year. This book brought back so many great memories for me as I thought back to my own convention experiences whilst reading about the convention in this book. I think Ashley really manages to capture the magical element of conventions and it translates onto the page so well.

Final Thoughts

I’d fully recommend reading The Princess and the Fangirl if you like fairly fast paced books, romance and a book that is just fun. Like I said at the beginning, I really enjoyed being able to fall into this book without having to really think about the story or anything because it is easy to follow. I would argue that it is predictable, but it’s a happy kind of predictable. If I’m totally honest, reading this book made me think of my own convention experiences and has me really looking forward to my next YALC. I love books that make you happy and this is definitely one of those books that does that!

 

5 Reasons to read Heartstopper by Alice Oseman

 

Title: Heartstopper

Author: Alice Oseman

Pages: 288

Publisher: Hodder

Published: 2018

Source: Bought

Rating: ★★★★.5


Charlie Spring is in Year 10 at Truham Grammar School for Boys. The past year hasn’t been too great, but at least he’s not being bullied anymore, and he’s sort of got a boyfriend, even if he’s kind of mean and only wants to meet up in secret.

Nick Nelson is in Year 11 and on the school rugby team. He’s heard a little about Charlie – the kid who was outed last year and bullied for a few months – but he’s never had the opportunity to talk to him. That is, until the start of January, in which Nick and Charlie are placed in the same form group and made to sit together.

They quickly become friends, and soon Charlie is falling hard for Nick, even though he doesn’t think he has a chance. But love works in surprising ways, and sometimes good things are waiting just around the corner…


Heartstopper is a graphic novel completely designed and written by author Alice Oseman. Alice has gained quite a lot of attention over the last couple of years but I haven’t read any of her books since I read Solitaire just after it was released. I hadn’t realised prior to reading it but Heartstopper is the story of Charlie and Nick who we meet in Solitaire.

Of course, it’s been a fair few years since I read it and I’ve read quite a lot of books in between but I like that Alice has done a prequel to Solitaire and given us the back story of these characters. I particularly like that she has done it such a visual way.

So without further ado, here are my 5 reasons to read Heartstopper…

1. The Art Style – The art throughout this graphic novel is simple but effective. All of the art is done using monotone colours but I don’t think that hindered the story at all. I think that the monotone colours helped to focus on the plot of the graphic novel more.

2. The Story – The plot was super cute. It was easy to follow and flowed really nicely from page to page. It mostly follows Charlie and Nick at school but it does stray away to over the holidays. I’m looking forward to seeing more of Charlie and Nick and following this plot into the next volume that is coming out in July.

3. The Characters – Both Charlie and Nick were likeable characters. I liked that Alice was able to really show their personalities and that for example, even though Nick is a rugby player and so are his friends, they didn’t adhere to the stereotypical image of rugby players.

4. The LGBTQ+ rep – Heartstopper tackles quite a few issues throughout and has good representation. One of the issues that it dealt with was bullying and how this affected Charlie. It also dealt with unwanted attention from another character and characters hiding their sexuality. Heartstopper also dealt with Nick trying to work his way through his feelings and his sexuality.

5. The Pace – The pace of Heartstopper is very fast which means that you fly through it but it’s quite memorable. It read so quickly that my only complaint is that it wasn’t long enough!

Bonus reason: Alice is currently putting out the comic on Tumblr too, so even after you finish it, you can carry on with Charlie and Nick’s story by reading the tumblr page.

I hope that if you were debating reading this, the above reasons have helped you to decide to read it. I personally enjoyed this graphic novel quite a bit and thought that the plot and art style was quite refreshing.

Two Can Keep A Secret by Karen M. McManus

717ru4wqlbl

 

Title: Two Can Keep A Secret

Author: Karen M. McManus

Pages: 327

Publisher: Penguin

Published: 2019

Source: ARC (Gifted by Penguin)

Rating: ★★★.5


Echo Ridge is small-town America. Ellery’s never been there, but she’s heard all about it. Her aunt went missing there at age seventeen. And only five years ago, a homecoming queen put the town on the map when she was killed. Now Ellery has to move there to live with a grandmother she barely knows.

The town is picture-perfect, but it’s hiding secrets. And before school even begins for Ellery, someone’s declared open season on homecoming, promising to make it as dangerous as it was five years ago. Then, almost as if to prove it, another girl goes missing.

Ellery knows all about secrets. Her mother has them; her grandmother does too. And the longer she’s in Echo Ridge, the clearer it becomes that everyone there is hiding something. The thing is, secrets are dangerous–and most people aren’t good at keeping them. Which is why in Echo Ridge, it’s safest to keep your secrets to yourself.


Doesn’t this book make you think of the Pretty Little Liars theme song?

Two Can Keep A Secret is the second book by Karen M. McManus’ following her hugely successful debut novel, One of Us is Lying. I love a good murder and seeing as this one was coming out in January, I knew I had to read it. It’s relatively short being just over 300 pages so I knew it would be quite a quick read. I started it on the 24th January and finished it just after midnight on the 27th January. I probably would’ve read it faster had I not had work in between reading.

Going into this book, I wasn’t sure how I would find it. When I read One of Us is Lying, I found myself just wanting to skip straight forward and find out who the killer was, which is exactly what I ended up doing. I was determined not to do that with this book as I wanted the satisfaction of being right or the feeling after being bested by a murder mystery book.

The plot of Two Can Keep A Secret is a easy to follow, which I think helps it read quite quickly. Like One of Us is Lying, it was told from different points of view, but unlike OOUIL, we only had the story from two different perspectives. One of the perspectives is from Ellery. The story starts with Ellery and her twin brother, Ezra, moving to Echo Ridge after their mother was admitted to rehab. Almost as soon as the book starts, things start happening in Echo Ridge.

Ellery is one of the main characters in this book and one of the PoVs. I liked her character and she was quite inquisitive, particularly when it came to true crime as a result of what happened to her Aunt. I enjoyed it when both Ellery and Ezra were on the page and I enjoyed seeing their relationship. The other main character, Malcolm, was closed off at the beginning of this book, but I felt like his character came out of its shell over the course of the book. I enjoy books where the characters really do develop.

Two Can Keep A Secret wasn’t full of murder like I was actually expecting, but it was still a solid YA thriller, which I feel is a genre in YA that needs expanding on. I feel like Karen M. McManus does a good job of giving us several leads to make us suspect certain characters as that then has you questioning them every time they do something suspicious. Ultimately, I did get the suspect wrong, but I was ok with that. I prefer murder mysteries to surprise me with who did it rather than my guess being right.

img_5539I was a little disappointed partly because I was expecting a little more from the disappearance but also because I felt like some things within the book were just touched on, such as the previous crimes and what happened to the twins Aunt. I expected a lot more sleuthing from Ellery due to how invested she was in crime novels but it wasn’t quite up to Nancy Drew’s level.

I am definitely hovering between 3.5 and 4 stars with this one, I just can’t decide. When I finished it, I gave it 4 stars but I immediately contemplated whether it should actually be a 3.5 star read. Did I enjoy it? Yes. But did I love it? Not quite. I liked the book and it was such a quick read, plus I enjoyed it more than One Of Us Is Lying but I just can’t decide what to rate it at! I think perhaps 3.75 is the most appropriate rating for this book so it’s just in between.

 

To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han

15749186

 

Title: To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before

Author: Jenny Han

Pages: 355

Publisher: Simon & Schuster (US)/Scholastic (UK)

Published: 2014

Source: Bought

Rating: ★★★★


To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before is the story of Lara Jean, who has never openly admitted her crushes, but instead wrote each boy a letter about how she felt, sealed it, and hid it in a box under her bed. But one day Lara Jean discovers that somehow her secret box of letters has been mailed, causing all her crushes from her past to confront her about the letters: her first kiss, the boy from summer camp, even her sister’s ex-boyfriend, Josh. As she learns to deal with her past loves face to face, Lara Jean discovers that something good may come out of these letters after all.


This isn’t my first time reading this book. No, it’s not my second time either. It is in fact my third time reading this book. When I first read this book, it was 2014 and it had only been released for a few months. Even when I read it 4 years ago, I fell in love with it immediately. I loved the writing, the story line, the characters. I just love it all. I think that’s what brings me back to this book every time. It’s so easy and quick to read.

With the release of the adaptation on Netflix in August which I have watched twice so far (review here), I found the temptation to return back to the pages of this book very difficult to resist. I started it on a Saturday night and by Monday evening, I had finished it.

As I’ve already mentioned, it’s such a quick read and the writing makes it so easy to follow. The chapters are also relatively short and snappy and so I found myself cruising through this book at a really comfortable space. Jenny’s writing throughout all three books is like this. The story is incredibly easy to follow too.

The story follows Lara Jean Covey as she navigates through high school. It really kicks off when Lara Jean’s 5 letters, which she writes when she has a crush on someone but doesn’t know what to do, get sent out to the recipients. This results in a fake relationship which sort of helps get Lara Jean in the clear with the other letter recipients but also helps one of the boys out.

I think Lara Jean is such a cute character. In this book, she has an almost need to fill in for her big sister Margot who has left to go to University in Scotland. Lara Jean has to step in a little for her younger sister Kitty and become a little more responsible, which is difficult for a teenager to do when they have all these other things going in on their life. I thought that she was a good character and that she is perhaps how a lot of teenagers are.

I loved both of Lara’s sisters and really enjoyed reading about her relationship with them and her dad. I thought Josh was also a good character although I found myself both frustrated but also sympathising with him at times. Peter Kavinsky is, of course, a great character and is my favourite of all the boys. I thought he brought a lot of fun to this story and there were plenty of cute moments between him and Lara. I did find myself getting frustrated with him at times, but you have to remember when reading these books that the characters are teenagers and part of being a teenager is doing things that are frustrating but learning from them.

It’s a little difficult to write a review on a re-read because I can’t give you my reaction from reading it for the first time but I think it’s fair to say that I enjoyed this book just as much as I did the first time I read it. Perhaps more, now that I’ve got the imagery in my head from the movie as that’s really helped me imagine things more. To All the Boys is a cute story and it’s always lovely to reread. I feel like I can rely on it to help me out of a reading slump and that I could pick it up and figure out where I am in the book really easily. I’d recommend this book if you’re looking for a quick and enjoyable contemporary and I would definitely advise that you read this if you plan to watch the movie or if you’ve watched it already!

What If It’s Us by Becky Albertalli and Adam Silvera

What If It’s Us by Becky Albertalli and Adam Silvera

Title: What If It’s Us

Author: Becky Albertalli and Adam Silvera

Pages: 433

Publisher: Simon and Schuster

Published: 2018

Source: ARC (Thanks to S&S!)

Rating: ★★★★


Arthur is only in New York for the summer, but if Broadway has taught him anything, it’s that the universe can deliver a showstopping romance when you least expect it.

Ben thinks the universe needs to mind its business. If the universe had his back, he wouldn’t be on his way to the post office carrying a box of his ex-boyfriend’s things.

But when Arthur and Ben meet-cute at the post office, what exactly does the universe have in store for them?

Maybe nothing. After all, they get separated.
Maybe everything. After all, they get reunited.
But what if they can’t quite nail a first date . . . or a second first date . . . or a third?
What if Arthur tries too hard to make it work . . . and Ben doesn’t try hard enough?
What if life really isn’t like a Broadway play?
But what if it is?


When I received this book, I felt both very happy but also guilty. I’ll be honest with you all, I have read two of Becky’s books and one of Adam’s. Those being Simon and Leah and They Both Die at the End which I read via an audio book. So you may be wondering, why do you feel guilty? Because I feel like I haven’t read enough of Adam’s books and because I haven’t read Becky’s other book. However, after hearing about this book and seeing the reception it’s had on social media, I knew that I just had to request it.

I already knew I was a fan of Becky’s two books I’d read and although I’ve only read one of Adam’s books, I knew from that one that I would probably enjoy this duo writing together. Well friends, I am pleased to tell you that I was not wrong.

Although this book did take me almost a month to read, that is not a reflection of this book at all. It’s simply because I have two exams coming up and so my efforts have been focused on revision instead.

I really liked the characters in this book and thought that they were both written so well. I’m really not sure who I liked more and I’d really love to be friends with both of them. Arthur is a nerdy/geeky sort of guy and is so enthusiastic and interested about things. He’s figuring life out over his summer break whilst in New York. Meanwhile, Ben is going through a rough break up whilst slogging through summer school. Oh, and he happens to be going through summer school with his ex.

This book really gave us two different characters but they both worked really well together. I loved the relationship that developed between them throughout the book and really felt that it was a huge part in the development of the characters themselves. Arthur’s relationship with Ben was a real introduction to love and romantic relationships. With Ben, I felt that though he had been in a relationship before, this was one that really gave him confidence and encouraged him to be a better version of himself, not that he wasn’t great before.

This book didn’t just involve love. It had a good dose of friendship and family. Both families were important to our characters and their friends played a huge part in this book too. There was a contrast between Arthur and Ben’s families but I think that while they both offered different family experiences, they had things in common such as a good support system. Friendship played a big part in this book too, with Ben’s best friend Dylan being a prominent secondary character. Arthur’s friends are also featured but as they are in another state, it was a little more difficult for them to play such a big part in this book.

What If It’s Us? tackled homophobia in this book in one scene which I thought was sad but this is something that lgbtq+ have to deal with on a daily basis. It was interesting to see how two different people handled being in that situation but it was also frustrating to sit through the scene and not see anybody else around them really take a stand against the homophobic treatment they bore the brunt of. I thought that it was fairly important to include this scene as this is something that lgbtq+ people do face and it really made me think about how these characters, and how real life people, must feel on a daily basis.

As well as homophobia, racism was also touched on in this book. It demonstrated how comments can be made with no thought or malice behind them but how it affects people even if offence wasn’t meant. What If It’s Us? also showed how personal identity can be affected by racism. This book tackled two important and serious subjects in a way that really gets you thinking.

The ending isn’t quite the one I was looking for. I love a good happy ending and the one book of Adam’s that I have read did not end in that. And the two books of Becky’s that I have read? Both of those ended in a happy ending. I feel like the ending on this was a compromise between the two and I was really sat there thinking ‘really guys? Come on, why you gotta do this to us?’ But it was a decent ending and I felt like it really left the futures of Arthur and Ben open to the readers interpretation.

I really enjoyed this book and I’m very grateful that I was in receipt of a copy to review. I definitely want to read more of Adam’s books and I would like to finish reading Becky’s so that I have finished her collection of books (so far). I would fully recommend reading this book if you’re looking for a Meet-Cute contemporary that also deals with real world issues.