Rating: 4 Stars
Genre: Contemporary YA
How I got this book: NetGalley ARC
'It's not my body that's holding me back. I think it's more of a problem that people tell me my body should hold me back.'
Meet Emily Daly, a stylish, cute, intelligent and hilarious seventeen-year-old about to start her last year at school. Emily is also fat. She likes herself and her body. When she meets Joe at a house party, he instantly becomes The Crush of Her Life. Everything changes. At first he seems perfect. But as they spend more time together, doubts start to creep in.
With her mum trying new fad diets every week, and increasing pressure to change, Emily faces a constant battle to stay strong, be her true self and not change for anyone.
A warm, funny inspiring debut YA novel from Bethany Rutter: influencer, editor and a fierce UK voice in the debate around body positivity.
I have severely mixed feelings about this book.
Have you ever read a book that made you feel as though you were looking directly back at your own life?
That pretty much sums up how I felt reading No Big Deal.
The other fat girl in our group wasn't called Camilla, and my first real crush wasn't Joe. Everything else though, pretty much an exact match, and seeing it there on the page, reading Emily's story brought back so many old anxieties and so much pain that I thought or maybe hoped, I'd left behind.
"Eat too many of those and you'll always be Fatty Smith, never Patti Smith."
It got to the point where reading this book infuriated me as I drew parallels within my own life and my own insecurities.
But at the same time, I couldn't stop reading. The main character was relatable (or she would have been to teen me when I, for a brief period, cared that I was the only one without a boyfriend/girlfriend), almost too much so which is what made this such an uncomfortable read for me.
"Do not allow into your world someone who thinks you're second best, who thinks your body is a temporary "problem" that you're going to solve, who puts you down in any way."
The writing was easy to digest and the pace fast. I read the book in two short sittings but at the end felt a little unresolved.
Emily is funny, witty and down to earth but I did have a few problems, especially that she became too quickly obsessed with a boy she'd only just met and it takes her a while, too long in fact, to realise that all isn't as it should be. But, saying that, she is a teen and I can't deny that I had a LOT of obsessive moments when I was younger, and let's face it, I'm very obsessive over my books!
"Oh no. Too far, Emily. You can't just ask people why they like dickheads."
I do think the author does a good job of being open about teen sex, and it's refreshing to have sex just be a part of a YA without it being something taboo.
I hated some of the supporting characters in this book, but only because of how they made Emily feel, and the author did a great job of showing how, very often, it's the people closest to you who can fuel your anxieties.
"What's the goal in saying stuff like this to your child? It feels like she just sees an opportunity to make a mean comment and takes it."
I think Emily is a great body positive character, I just would have loved a different ending that wasn't so 'boy-focused'.
Rating: 3 STARS
Genre: YA Fantasy
Standalone/Series: Summoner #1
How I got this book: Bought from Audible
When blacksmith apprentice Fletcher discovers that he has the ability to summon demons from another world, he travels to Adept Military Academy. There the gifted are trained in the art of summoning. Fletcher is put through grueling training as a battlemage to fight in the Hominum Empire’s war against orcs. He must tread carefully while training alongside children of powerful nobles. The power hungry, those seeking alliances, and the fear of betrayal surround him. Fletcher finds himself caught in the middle of powerful forces, with only his demon Ignatius for help.
As the pieces on the board maneuver for supremacy, Fletcher must decide where his loyalties lie. The fate of an empire is in his hands. The Novice is the first in a trilogy about Fletcher, his demon Ignatius, and the war against the Orcs.
I decided to read this book after seeing Taran Matharu at the NYALitFest. It had been on my radar for a while and I decided, after listening to the sample, to give the audiobook a try.
This was a buddy read and it took us a month to listen to this one.
The first thing I noticed about The Novice were the clear comparisons to Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter and Pokemon - an interesting combination.
I found the story intriguing, if following a fairly typical, boy stumbles across powers/magic and starts training at magic school, befriends a boy and a girl and has to defeat the evil, snobbish, wealthy child(ren).
However, I had a huge problem with the narrator. It got to the point where the narrator was massively distracting me with the way he pronounced a lot of the words. It was just driving me crazy, and making me laugh when the story just didn't call for humour.
I persevered because I was enjoying the story, the magic was interesting, and I loved the Pokemon similarities, especially finding out that the humans are the pokeballs which was a funny twist!
I also loved the characters, especially the daemons who have their own personalities.
Where the story ended was a little frustrating (probably because I'm not a huge cliffhanger fan) but it does leave the story open for book 2 and I am interested to see where this goes.
However, I think I'll definitely be going with the paper book/eBook next time, instead of the audiobook.
Rating: 5 STARS!!
Standalone/Series: The Nevernight Chronicle #1
How I got this book: Bought
Mia Covere is only ten years old when she is given her first lesson in death.
Destined to destroy empires, the child raised in shadows made a promise on the day she lost everything: to avenge herself on those that shattered her world.
But the chance to strike against such powerful enemies will be fleeting, and Mia must become a weapon without equal. Before she seeks vengeance, she must seek training among the infamous assassins of the Red Church of Itreya.
Inside the Church's halls, mia must prove herself against the deadliest of opponents and survive the tutelage of murderers, liars and demons at the heart of a murder cult.
The Church is no ordinary school, but Mia is no ordinary student.
I'm going to start by pointing out that I've marked this book as a Fantasy novel, not a YA Fantasy (as shown on Goodreads) because there is no way in hell that this book is a YA...and by no means is that a bad thing!
I absolutely LOVE it when books live up to their hype, and I admit that I was a little sceptical over Nevernight, because I'd tried to read this book about three times over the past year, and I just kept re-reading the first two chapters and then stopping. My biggest issue was with the footnotes which I struggled with to begin with, I just felt that they detracted from the story a bit and pulled me out of the 'zone'.
You might be wondering why then that I decided to rate this as a 5 star read. Simply put, some of the footnotes aside, this is one of the most incredible books I've ever had the pleasure of reading.
This is my second Jay Kristoff novel, Illuminae being the first, and I can only say that the man is both ingenious and insane. He clearly hates standard formatting, but it works so well that I honestly can't complain, and his character and world development are phenomenal!
Mia is a fantastic character, I love her strength, her pain, her courage and her fear. Nevernight surprised me by having a really fantastic feminist undertone, alongside some brilliant quotes.
"Beauty you are born with, but brains you earn."
After struggling with the first three chapters, I suddenly fell face first into the story during chapter 4 and it dragged me along for an amazing ride.
To be honest, I'm not sure what to talk about first and I really don't want to give much away, but here's a quick run-down of some of my favourite things: Mia (and her shadows), Mr. Kindly (and his sass), the sand krackens, the librarian, the bookworms, the library itself, the blood walk, Naev, Adonaii, Marielle, Hush, Tric (and his impressive skills 😉), Lord Cassius, Mouser, Spiderkiller, AAlea...aaand there's so much more that I can't think of right now.
Surprisingly, this book is packed full of witty humour which comes through in the footnotes, the characters (mostly the 'teachers') and Mr. Kindly.
"She crushed what was left of her smoke out, grimacing.
'Maw's teeth, I've got to cut down.'
'....there are more dangerous things around here to put in your mouth...'
Mister Kindly peered at her through the grey pall.
'....dweymeri boys, for example....'"
The Red Church made me think of a cross between the house of black and white and Hogwarts, if run by Death Eaters, and I'm really sorry, but I think I've found my new favourite potions master because Spiderkiller is incredible and terrifying! It's bloody, brutal, graphic and I loved every bit of it.
The characters, the plot twists, the shock moments (yeah, I'm looking at you Solis!! 😱😱😱), the violence, the 'romance' - arrrggh! I can't get over how perfect it was!!
I am so ready for book two, and if you haven't read Nevernight yet, I'd highly recommend that you do!
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About Kayleigh (She/Her)
Book addict, film mad, music lover, business owner, writer and mum (not necessarily in that order), living in the UK.
About Sophie (She/Her)
Sophie loves books (obviously). She has a passion for photography and spotting wildlife, and is interested in anything made with passion and creativity.
THIS BLOG IS SPOILER FREE!
5 Stars - AMAZING!!
4.5 Stars - Almost perfect!
4 Stars - I really loved it
3.5 Stars - I liked it alot
3 Stars - I liked it
(I don't typically review books that I rate below 3 stars)
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