Thursday 29 September 2016

Clare Reviews: The Rumour by Elin Hilderbrand

The RumourTitle: The Rumour
Author: Elin Hilderbrand
Source: Finished copy received from publisher in exchange for an honest review
Publisher: Hodder
Pages: 384
Rating: 4.5/5
Blurb: Nantucket writer Madeline King has a new novel coming out,The Rumor, and it's got bestseller potential. But Madeline is terrified, because in her desperation to revive her career, she's done the unthinkable: The Rumor reveals the truth behind an actual affair involving her best friend, Grace. 
And that's not the only strain on Madeline and Grace's friendship; one fateful night, the two women argue, voicing jealousies and resentments that have built for twenty years. Bereft of each other, they get caught in the snares of a mysterious and destructive stranger. Their fate hinges on The Rumor -- and the secret it reveals.

I wasn't sure what to expect going in to this book. The blurb promised secrets and friendship and a "mysterious and destructive stranger" but I wasn't prepared for how compulsively readable it would be.

In reality this is not an eventful book. With one very notable exception The Rumour follows normal people living (relatively) normal lives. And yet I was never bored. The characters were all sympathetic or frustrating at times and they all had likable and distinctly unlikable character traits. In short, they felt like real people. And so, much like the anonymous gossiping "we" of the story - you find yourself fascinated, both by the rumour and by the truth. At times this made me feel a bit uncomfortable - like I was somehow taking part in the gossip but it was certainly a unique perspective and ultimately worked incredibly well.

As I mentioned, there was one exception to the "normal" rule and it's a pretty big one. I definitely want to avoid spoilers but I will say that I really liked the way it was handled. It felt almost objective so that I, as a reader, wasn't sure whether to sympathise or to condemn and ultimately found myself taking a more objective stance. Not all the events in the novel played out the way I wanted or expected them to but by the time I had finished the last sentence I knew that everything felt right.

Since The Rumour follows a number of different characters, I inevitably found myself more drawn to some than others. Hope and Allegra were, perhaps, the least likable of the characters. Hope had a tendency to paint herself as the victim and her actions regarding her sister and Brick were not ones that I necessarily approved of. Meanwhile Allegra was actively selfish and even at times cruel for the first half of the book. However both girls grew as the story progressed and the Hope and Allegra of the ending of the book were very likable. Grace and Madeline meanwhile, I found likable from the start and only began to discover their flaws as the novel progressed. Both act in some, obviously reprehensible ways, but as the reader I found myself sympathising with both of them.

If I have one criticism it relates to the "mysterious stranger" of the blurb. I can't for the life of me, figure out who this was meant to be and it feels like it doesn't even apply to this book. It led me to belief there would be some kind of thriller-esque angle which definitely didn't apply. 

Overall I really enjoyed the cosiness of The Rumour. It's a genre I've never really tried before but definitely one I am interested in returning to. It felt like, a slow and easy book and yet I read it in one sitting - that's how fascinated I was by these characters. I definitely recommend this for anyone facing a reading slump (as I was when I started this) or anyone looking for a character driven read. 

You can also find us on Goodreads (Ann and Clare) to keep up with what we are reading

Wednesday 28 September 2016

Top 5 Gateway Books

Top 5 Wednesdays are hosted by GingerReadsLainey here

Paranormal: Anna Dressed In Blood by Kendare Blake
Anna Dressed in Blood (Anna, #1)
This is a gateway book for paranormal books as it is scary yet has excellent characters and a great storyline. Anna is a well-written and believable, if at times conscienceless, ghost.

Fantasy: Maygk by Angie Sage 
Magyk (Septimus Heap, #1)
This is a great gateway book for fantasy because it is just such a fun book that everyone can enjoy without being too complicated. There are a lot of amazing characters and there is at least one character you can relate to, I just really love this book.

Contemporary: The Unexpected Everything by Morgan Matson
The Unexpected Everything
 I think that this book is a brilliant gateway book for contemporary because it is one of the first I read and now I love to read contemporary books. The plot was different to some other contemporary books I have read and is well written.

Classics: Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery
Anne of Green Gables (Anne of Green Gables, #1)
 I love this book and started reading a lot more classics after reading it which is why I think that it is a brilliant gateway book because it isn't as hard to read and understand like some other classics so it is a great way to ease into it. Anne is a very relatable character and she has her imperfections but is still an amazing character.

Dystopian: The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins 
The Hunger Games (The Hunger Games, #1)
 I love these books and after I read them I started to read as many dystopian books as I could and I think that they were my gateway books into the dystopian genre. The main character is strong and brilliant while still seeming human which is excellently portrayed by the writer.

You can also find us on Goodreads (Ann and Clare) to keep up with what we are reading

Wednesday Catch-Up 28th September 2016

Every Wednesday we are linking up with WWW Wednesday. WWW Wednesday is hosted at Taking on a World of Words and asks 3 questions: What are you currently reading?, What did you recently finish reading? What do you think you'll read next? 

Currently Reading:
Crooked Kingdom (Six of Crows, #2)
I was always planning to read this as soon as it came in! Six of Crows was my favourite book of last year and Crooked Kingdom was my most anticipated of this year so I have very high hopes but I am also terrified as Leigh Bardugo tweeted "Don't get attached". Which worries me. Fingers crossed for my favourite characters!

Recently Finished:
Marlow's LandingHard Rules (Dirty Money, #1)Sting
The first book I read this week was Marlow's Landing by Toby Vieira which was at times difficult to wrap my head around and written a little confusingly, but ultimately I enjoyed it. I then read Hard Rules which was very much the first in the series in that it primarily set up the characters and the plot for future books in the series. It was a little slow to start but by the end I was invested and after the slight cliff-hanger of this book I will definitely be reading the next in the series! Sting was a very atmospheric and tense read - there was a pretty big twist but I just about saw it coming. It did however, make sense retrospectively and I have to admire the writing skill involved in not revealing the truth earlier! This is my first Sandra Brown and having read this I am now more excited for Friction, by her which I also have. 

Planning to Read Next:
Three Dark Crowns (Untitled, #1)A Court of Mist and Fury (A Court of Thorns and Roses, #2)Empire of Storms (Throne of Glass, #5)
I think I am going to take a short break from my review books (if I don't then my reviews will all be scheduled for way off in the future) and dig in to some of my new(ish) fantasy books. Three Dark Crowns looks like it could be an excellent, dark read and I am very excited to start this one - I am also intrigued to find out which sister I support! I then want to read A Court of Mist and Fury and it frankly baffles me that I haven't already read this because I was so excited for it when it was released! I have heard amazing things. And finally I want to read Empire of Storms by Sarah J. Maas which was another one of my most anticipated releases for this year! Hopefully all three books will live up to my expectations.

You can also find us on Goodreads (Ann and Clare) to keep up with what we are reading

Tuesday 27 September 2016

Top Ten Books on my Autumn TBR

Top Ten Tuesdays are hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. You can find this week's topic here and for a list of past and future topics head over here. I personally love TBR's - they get me excited for books and motivated for reading! So it was a lot of fun to think about what I will (hopefully) be reading this Autumn! 

1) Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo
Crooked Kingdom (Six of Crows, #2)
This is released today so I will be reading it very, very soon. Six of Crows was my favourite book of 2015 - that's a lot of pressure for the sequel to live up to but I am confident Leigh Bardugo can do it. But also nervous. Very nervous. Because there will almost definitely be deaths that will hurt me. 

2) Empire of Storms by Sarah J. Maas
Empire of Storms (Throne of Glass, #5)
This is easily one of my favourite series - I love the characters and as the series progresses and all the many threads start to come together I am getting very excited for how this will turn out. I have so far managed to stay away from spoilers for this but I definitely need to read it as soon as I can!

3) Bright Smoke, Cold Fire by Rosamund Hodge
Bright Smoke, Cold Fire (Untitled, #1)
 I have loved every other Rosamund Hodge book and, whilst I have heard some mixed reviews for this one, it's a definite TBR pick for me. Romeo and Juliet isn't my favourite Shakespeare but this has the potential to be great.

4) A Study in Scarlet Women by Sherry Thomas
A Study in Scarlet Women (Lady Sherlock, #1)
Sherry Thomas wrote The Elementals trilogy which was, frankly, brilliant. I am excited to see what happens when she writes a novel about Charlotte Holmes. This could be one of my favourite books of the year if it's done well! The more I think about it the more excited I am! 

5) Georgia Peaches and Other Forbidden Fruit by Jaye Robin Brown
Georgia Peaches and Other Forbidden Fruit
This is an LGBT read and the advance reviews I've seen have been very positive read. I don't know much about the plot and at this point I'd quite like to go in blind.

6) Of Fire and Stars by Audrey Coulthurst
Of Fire and Stars
Another LGBT read. This time a fantasy one. That sounds like it was genuinely written for me. This is the book I've dreamed of. Now fingers crossed it lives up to expectations! 

7) Gemina by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff
Gemina (The Illuminae Files, #2)
Illuminae was my second favourite book of 2015 and I am confident Gemina will be able to follow on from that. I particularly love that this book follows a different pair of characters as in Amie Kaufmans other series.

8) Replica by Lauren Oliver
Replica (Replica, #1)
I haven't read a flip book since I was in primary school. There are three different ways to read this book as far as I know. Read Lyra's story all the way through and then Gemma's. Do the reverse OR alternate chapters of each girls stories. I am planning to do the latter.

9) Tales From the Shadowhunter Academy by Cassandra Clare
Tales from the Shadowhunter Academy
I've heard amazing things about these short stories. I decided to wait for the bind up just because I prefer physical books always - but I am very excited to read more of the Shadowhunter world.

10) Yesternight by Cat Winters
Cat Winters never fails to impress me. This book has a gorgeous cover and an interesting premise and I just know that it will be spectacular. 

You can also find us on Goodreads (Ann and Clare) to keep up with what we are reading

Monday 26 September 2016

October Releases We're Excited About!

October is full to the brim with exciting new releases - some intriguing looking debuts and some must-have-them-now sequels for books I've read and loved before! I am using the UK release dates so if they don't quite match up to the US dates - this is why!

The Hammer of Thor (Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard, #2)Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (Harry Potter, #2)Spare and Found PartsWhen the Moon Was Ours

4th October:

Magnus Chase and The Hammer of Thor by Rick Riordan: Whilst the first book was enjoyable, I wasn't as instantly in love with it as I was with the Percy Jackson series. That said I am definitely very excited to pick up this series again and see what happens next.
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by J.K. Rowling and Jim Kay: The illustrations in The Philosopher's Stone were outstanding so I am excited to get book 2 for my collection (and thinking how beautiful they will look when all the books are released)!
Spare and Found Parts by Sarah Maria Griffin: This could either be very cute or a little bit dark - or maybe a weird combination of the two. Either way this Frankenstein-esque story sounds right up my street!
When the Moon was Ours by Anna-Marie McLemore: Magical realism and LGBT themes at its core - this is definitely going straight on to my TBR!

Replica (Replica, #1)Do You Want to Start a Scandal (Spindle Cove, #5)Georgia Peaches and Other Forbidden Fruit

6th October:

Replica by Lauren Oliver: I read Delirium a while back and wasn't a huge fan but the format of this alone is enough to get my attention and I am excited to give it a try. I am definitely going to be flipping the book as I go - reading both stories simultaneously.
Do You Want to Start a Scandal by Tessa Dare: This is the fifth book in the Spindle Cove. I have read and loved every other book in this series (including novella's so the chances of me enjoying this are good!
Georgia Peaches and Other Forbidden Fruit by Jaye Robin Brown: I always, always want more LGBT reads and this one sounds fantastic! I've heard some good advance praise so I am looking forward to this a lot!

The Midnight Star (The Young Elites, #3)Black Widow: Red Vengeance (A Black Widow Novel)Iron Cast
Still Life with TornadoFrostMy Unscripted Life

11th October:

The Midnight Star by Marie Lu: OK so I haven't actually read the first two books in the series. But I want to marathon read this so I am very excited for this final book to release so I can get stuck in.
Black Widow, Red Vengeance by Margaret Stohl: The first book was good but I didn't love it - however, anything Black Widow is a must have so I will probably be checking this out. Just, not urgently.
Iron Cast by Destiny Soria: I actually have an e-arc of this from Netgalley so I will definitely be reading this very soon! This is recommended for fans of Libba Bray's Diviners series - which is a definite draw.
Still Life With Tornado by A.S. King: I have two unread A.S. King books on my shelf so I probably won't be getting this immediately. But I am constantly hearing amazing things about A.S. King and this sounds great. 
Frost by M.P. Kozlowsky: Robot Dads and a beautiful cover. This isn't one I have heard much (or actually anything) about but the synopsis intrigues me.


13th October:

Metaltown by Kristen Simmons: I know... next to nothing about this one. I believe it takes place in a world with lots of factories (which actually just reminds me industrial era Manchester) but the cover is so, so gorgeous!

A Study in Scarlet Women (Lady Sherlock, #1)Rose & Thorn (Ash & Bramble, #2)Messenger

18th October:

A Study in Scarlet Women by Sherry Thomas: A genderbent Sherlock Holmes written by Sherry Thomas (who gave us the amazing Elementals trilogy)!? Yes please.
Rose & Thorn by Sarah Prineas: The covers for this series are amazing. I was a fan of the first book in this series Ash & Brambles and I am interested in this sequel. Especially since it apparently takes place quite a long time after the events of the first book.
The Messenger by Carol Lynch Williams: Another one I haven't heard much about - but a girl who can talk to the dead is always something I am going to enjoy reading.

Gemina (The Illuminae Files, #2)What LightVictoriaMiracle On 5th Avenue (From Manhattan with Love #3)

20th October:

Gemina by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff: YES! Yes. Illuminae was one of my favourite books of 2015. Only just missing out on my absolute favourite spot because Six of Crows. But this is one of my most anticipated reads of the year and I know it is going to be spectacular.
What Light by Jay Asher: I am a huge, huge fan of Thirteen Reasons Why (my copy has so, so many post it notes marking favourite quotes). Whilst this does sound very different I was always going to be excited by whatever Jay Asher wrote next.
Victoria by Daisy Goodwin: I read My Last Duchess by Daisy Goodwin a long time ago and liked it. But this sounds even better - and with the BBC Victoria show on at the moment interest is definitely high!
Miracle on 5th Avenue by Sarah Morgan: OK, I definitely won't be reading this until December because this is a Christmas book if ever I saw one. But I love Sarah Morgan's books and enjoyed the first two books of this series immensely so am very excited for this one!

So there are my most anticipated October releases. If you've read any of these already let me know what you thought of them and let me know what October releases you are most excited for. It's definitely looking like a great month for reading (if a terrible month for my bank balance)!

You can also find us on Goodreads (Ann and Clare) to keep up with what we are reading

Sunday 25 September 2016

Sunday Post 25th September 2016

The Sunday Post STSmall_thumb[2]
The Sunday Post is a weekly meme hosted at Caffeinated Book Reviewer, it's a chance to post a recap on the past week, show the books we have received and share what we plan for the coming week. Stacking the Shelves is hosted by Tynga's Reviews and the aim is to show our newest books and to see what everyone else received for review, borrowed from libraries, bought in bookshops or downloaded on to their e-reader. As always you can click on any of the pictures to be taken to the Goodreads page for that book if you're interested in finding out more about it.

Last Week on the Blog:

Books We Got This Week:

Three Dark Crowns (Untitled, #1)
Three Dark Crowns by Kendare Blake: Apparently there are three different covers for each sister which is interesting. I have heard mixed things about this book - it is apparently very slow but I am still excited to read it.

Reading Update:

I will have reviews posted soon for all the books I read this week.
FellDon't Let Go (Hope, #6)Marlow's Landing
Fell by Jenn Ashworth: 2.5 stars, The perspective threw me a bit. I think I was let down by my expectations - I wanted a ghost story but this was more of a flashback novel. It's not for me but I think a lot of other people could enjoy this.
Don't Let Go by Jaci Burton: 3 stars, A slightly underwhelming story but fairly sweet and very cheesy so it was a fun read. 
Marlow's Landing by Toby Vieira: 3 stars, I am so confused about my feelings for this book. It took a lot of intense concentration to read and some of it was written in French which threw me since I did German in school not French (why oh why do more people in books not speak German?!) but overall I think I feel good about it!

Next Week on the Blog:

  • October Releases We're Excited About
  • Top Ten Books on My Autumn TBR List
  • Top 5 Gateway Books To My Favourite Genre
  • Wednesday Catch-Up
  • Clare Reviews: The Rumour by Elin Hilderbrand
  • Friday Reads
  • Clare's September Wrap Up and October TBR

You can also find us on Goodreads (Ann and Clare) to keep up with what we are reading