Monday, October 16

Creepy Dolls + Complex Heroine = the PERFECT Halloween Read, aka Charlotte Says

"It was at the toy room window first," she said. "Then it went away from there and then it was suddenly in the dormitory window and then your bedroom window, miss. It's running around up there, I think, peering out from all the different rooms."
"Estella," I said in my gentles voice. "Dolls don't move around on their own."

The much-anticipated prequel to the bestselling FROZEN CHARLOTTE, a Zoella Book Club title in Autumn 2016.

Following the death of her mother in a terrible fire, Jemima flees to the remote Isle of Skye, to take up a job at a school for girls. There she finds herself tormented by the mystery of what really happened that night.

Then Jemima receives a box of Frozen Charlotte dolls from a mystery sender and she begins to remember – a séance with the dolls, a violent argument with her step-father and the inferno that destroyed their home. And when it seems that the dolls are triggering a series of accidents at the school, Jemima realizes she must stop the demonic spirits possessing the dolls – whatever it takes.

Saturday, October 14

The Most Authentic Portrayal of Mental Health in Girl in Pieces by Kathleen Glasgow

Charlotte Davis is in pieces. At seventeen she’s already lost more than most people lose in a lifetime. But she’s learned how to forget. The thick glass of a mason jar cuts deep, and the pain washes away the sorrow until there is nothing but calm. You don’t have to think about your father and the river. Your best friend, who is gone forever. Or your mother, who has nothing left to give you.

Every new scar hardens Charlie’s heart just a little more, yet it still hurts so much. It hurts enough to not care anymore, which is sometimes what has to happen before you can find your way back from the edge.

Trigger warnings: self-harm, rape, abuse, addiction, drugs, alcohol

“Don't let the cereal eat you. It's only a fucking box of cereal, but it will eat you alive if you let it.”

Tuesday, October 10

Drop Dead Gorgeous Book Covers That Scream AUTUMN

Hello everyone! I've been quite busy with uni and all lately, so I was really-pumped to see that today's Top Ten Tuesday (a weekly meme hosted by the Broke and the Bookish) topic is a relatively easy one - book covers that remind me of fall. As you may know, I am a HUGE fan of gorgeous book covers - I mean, who isn't!? - so I had tons of fun browsing through my "read" shelf, looking for covers appropriate for the topic, and then organizing them by color. So, let me proudly present you - ten of the most gorgeous, autumn-themed covers. 

Saturday, October 7

All the Motivation to Smash the Patriarchy in We Should All be Feminists by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

In this personal, eloquently-argued essay—adapted from her much-admired TEDx talk of the same name—Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, award-winning author of Americanah, offers readers a unique definition of feminism for the twenty-first century, one rooted in inclusion and awareness. Drawing extensively on her own experiences and her deep understanding of the often masked realities of sexual politics, here is one remarkable author’s exploration of what it means to be a woman now—and an of-the-moment rallying cry for why we should all be feminists. 

“My own definition is a feminist is a man or a woman who says, yes, there’s a problem with gender as it is today and we must fix it, we must do better. All of us, women and men, must do better.” 

We don't usually review nonfiction on the blog, and nor do we such short books (this is an essay adapted from a 2013 TEDx talk of the author), but I feel this is so very important, and relevant even to this day- will always be relevant, to be honest- that I cannot not talk about this here. I actually have the compulsion to throw a copy of this in the face of anyone and everyone I meet, so yeah. It's pretty good.

Thursday, October 5

Breaking All the Clichés in It Only Happens in the Movies by Holly Bourne

Audrey is over romance. Since her parents' relationship imploded her mother's been catatonic, so she takes a cinema job to get out of the house. But there she meets wannabe film-maker Harry. Nobody expects Audrey and Harry to fall in love as hard and fast as they do. But that doesn't mean things are easy. Because real love isn't like the movies...

The greatest love story ever told doesn't feature kissing in the snow or racing to airports. It features pain and confusion and hope and wonder and a ban on cheesy clichés. Oh, and zombies... YA star Holly Bourne tackles real love in this hugely funny and poignant novel.

Received in exchange for an honest review from Usborne Publishing UK.

There's like 671943 things I want to say right now but first off, this book? You need it in your life ASAP.

Tuesday, October 3

Top Ten Book Boyfriends of 2017

Hi everyone! As per usual, Tuesdays are for Top Ten Tuesday (a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish). Instead of trying to list the qualities that made me love these characters, I'm going to share a quote by each them, so you can sort of feel the "vibe" of the characters. 

Click on the covers for the Goodreads pages!

Monday, October 2

New Releases - October 2017

Hello, you lovely, lovely human beans! Not to state the obvious here but there's just three months left of the year. 

Did you even feel September fly by? We did not, we really did not but here we are at the start of another month with the best of new releases handpicked just for you! 

Saturday, September 30

September Recap, Where I Share Songs, Shows and All the Books I've Read This Month

Original photo by James Pritchett.

Hello all of you beautiful unicorns! As you can see from the title, today I am here with a kind of post I have not done in a looong time - a monthly recap!! I know, I know, not very exciting, BUT I've tried & failed to be into these type of posts years ago, so trying it now - and being super-excited about it, too! - IS a big deal for me. 

I've been inspired by various amazing monthly wrap ups I've seen around the blogosphere, and I can't wait to show my own, a teeny-tiny bit messy version with y'all. I'll talk about books, music, movies, tv shows, and share ALL our posts from the last month + bookish news and a couple of truly-truly amazing posts by some cool bloggers. Ugh, SOUNDS TOO MUCH, I KNOW. But I truly put my all into making this post logical, clean and well-organized, so let's take a look at all that, shall we? 

Thursday, September 28

Mary Ann Rodman - Yankee Girl

"What a dumb idea, white people thinking they were better than black people." 

It's 1964 and Alice has moved to Mississippi from Chicago with her family. Nicknamed 'Yankee Girl' and taunted by the in-crowd at school, Alice soon discovers the other new girl Valerie- one of the school's first black girls- has it much worse.

Alice can't stand the way Valerie is treated, and yet she knows she will remain an outsider if she speaks up. It takes a horrible tragedy to finally give Alice the courage to stand up for what she believes.

Set in the deep South in the 1960s, Yankee Girl is a powerful, resonant and relevant story about racism and doing the right thing.

tw: racism and racial epithets used in line with the era and location

Received with thanks in exchange for an honest review from Usborne Publishing UK.

Tuesday, September 26

Top Ten #OwnVoices Novels I've Read in 2017

Original photo by Albertus Galileo

I know the title seems like I strayed a bit from the original topic - books that feature characters                - but, technically, I didn't. I think most of you know this, but for those who don't - #OwnVoices means that a book about a marginalized person (or group) is written by an author of the same marginalization(s). There's been an increase in diverse and #ownvoices novels lately - even though, that increase could and should still be much-much bigger - and I've read quite a few this year. 

On this list, I'm going to showcase my favorites - some are more popular, some are less well-known, but all of these are fantastic. So let's get right onto them, shall we? 

Saturday, September 23

Asexual Rep, Film-Making and Friendships in Tash Hearts Tolstoy by Kathryn Ormsbee

“I know what I want and what I don’t want. I’ve never wanted sex. Never. I’ve never understood why it has to be in every book and movie and television show ever made. I never figured out why porn is such a huge thing. I'll be fine if no guy ever takes his shirt off for me. I’m not scared, I just don’t want it.” 

After a shout-out from one of the Internet’s superstar vloggers, Natasha “Tash” Zelenka finds herself and her obscure, amateur web series, Unhappy Families, thrust into the limelight: She’s gone viral.

Her show is a modern adaptation of Anna Karenina—written by Tash’s literary love Count Lev Nikolayevich “Leo” Tolstoy. Tash is a fan of the forty thousand new subscribers, their gushing tweets, and flashy Tumblr GIFs. Not so much the pressure to deliver the best web series ever.

And when Unhappy Families is nominated for a Golden Tuba award, Tash’s cyber-flirtation with Thom Causer, a fellow award nominee, suddenly has the potential to become something IRL—if she can figure out how to tell said crush that she’s romantic asexual.

Tash wants to enjoy her newfound fame, but will she lose her friends in her rise to the top? What would Tolstoy do?

Thursday, September 21

10 Attention-Catching Opening Lines

Hello lovelies! Today - as you've undoubtedly guessed from the title - I'm going to share 10 opening lines with you that instantly caught my attention. I've done a post like this before (you can find it here) which wasn't only fun to make, but also was well-received by y'all, so I'm really excited to share these following first lines with you! 

Tuesday, September 19

Ten Classic Books I *WILL* Tackle This Fall

When the year started I had this huge aspiration - to read at least one classic after every 5th non-classic novel. Based on how many novels I usually read/year, I expected to read around 30 classics in 2017, but oh WELL, THAT'S NOT REALLY WORKING OUT. There are just so many exciting new releases and the blogs I follow mostly post about modern titles, which results in me being pumped for those.

BUT this fall, to catch up a tad bit, I want to read at least 10 classic novels, and, as today's Top Ten Tuesday (weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish) post is dedicated to our fall TBRs, I figured, this is the perfect time to share these ten books with you.

Thursday, September 14

Badassery, Schoolwork and Chinese Legends in The Epic Crush of Genie Lo by F. C. Yee

"This is so wrong," he said, his words slightly muffled as I bit him in the mouth. "It's like King Arthur having feelings for Excalibur."

The struggle to get into a top-tier college consumes sixteen-year-old Genie Lo's every waking thought. But when her sleepy Bay Area town comes under siege from hell-spawn straight out of Chinese folklore, her priorities are suddenly and forcefully rearranged.

Her only guide to the demonic chaos breaking out around her is Quentin Sun, a beguiling, maddening new transfer student from overseas. Quentin assures Genie she is strong enough to fight these monsters, for she unknowingly harbors an inner power that can level the very gates of Heaven.

Genie will have to dig deep within herself to summon the otherworldly strength that Quentin keeps talking about. But as she does, she finds the secret of her true nature is entwined with his, in a way she could never have imagined…

Tuesday, September 12

Would I Still Enjoy These Books I Loved Three Years Ago? Let's See!

Original photo by Scott Webb

Hello everyone!! After a bit of thinking, I decided to put a small twist on today's Top Ten Tuesday (weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish) topic. First, as the topics suggests I will go back and write down the first ten books I reviewed on the blog that I rated 4 or 5 stars. I will tell you how I felt about these books, even share quotes from my reviews.

Step 2 - and this is the part that has me excited! - will be me telling y'all if I still feel the same way about these books or no. I mean, nostalgia is nice and all, but let's be honest, it is very likely that some of the books I gushed over around three years ago will make me cringe real hard today.

Let's get started. 

Sunday, September 10

YA Series With Sucky Last Books

Photo by Aziz Acharki

Hello loves! Today I'm here with a bit of a negative post about series finals that left a lot to be desired. No, like, A LOT. These series have one thing in common besides the let down of the last book - they were among my favorites once upon a time, heck, I love two of these so much that, to this day, they are some of my favorites despite the disappointing finals. SO THAT SHOULD GIVE YOU AN IDEA ABOUT JUST HOW DISAPPOINTED I WAS BY THESE LESS THAN PERFECT FINALS. Gah, there's nothing worse in a bookworms life then being let down by our favorite series/authors. *curls up and cries*

I definitely think this is something we all go through once in a while, which is why I decided to create this post, rant away and then you can do the same in the comments and we can cry together. 

Thursday, September 7

Mini Review To Three Incredible Diverse Novels

Original picture by Brenda Godinez

I feel like I've been an absolutely sucky blogger lately, presenting tons of mini reviews posts and such, BUT I CAN EXPLAIN. In the past two months I've read tons and tons of amazing books and I want to talk about ALL of them, especially the more underrated ones like the following three novels, so it's been hard to concentrate on full reviews. 

I also know damn well I'll never have the time to write full reviews to all the books I want y'all to hear about, so mini reviews it is for today's three beauties. I brought you these three books in particular, because a) they were fantastic (duh), b) I only ever heard about one of these outside of twitter, so the rest might be new for those who aren't really active there and c) THEY ARE SO UNDERRATED AND THEY DESERVE ALL THE LOVE.

Tuesday, September 5

Books That Were HARD To Get Through

Hello darlings! Today the creators of Top Ten Tuesday (a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish) presented a negative topic to us, and because I love to rant, I, obviously, loved making this list. I was actually surprised to see how easily I found ten books that were hard to get through, yet I finished them. Some of the books on this list showcase perfectly why I should DNF more. 

Saturday, September 2

OMG This Song Book Tag - Where Music + Books Equal PERFECTION

Photo by Samuel Zeller

Hello everyone! I don't talk tons about music on The Regal Critiques, but still, you all probably know that music and books are two of my most favorite things in the world. Thus, when I saw the OMG This Song Book Tag for the first time, I knew I had to do it. I mean, it mixes music and books together??? What's not to like??

In the following, you'll find nine different topics and for each there are two "questions" - one you have to answer with a song, the other with a book. DOES THAT NOT SCREAM FUN? (Hint: the making of this tag really was awesome.)

Credits for creating this cool tag go to Katesbookdate!

Friday, September 1

New Releases - September 2017

Hello everyone! It's the first day of September which means that my next semester is starting in 10 days. *curls up in a ball* I am devastated, I tell you. This summer flew by incredibly fast and I can't believe it's over! Boy, how I hate the winter. *shivers*

THANKFULLY, September promises to be an excellent month book-wise, there are tons of new releases that we are both super-excited for, 
so that makes up for uni starting for me... at least somewhat, and for Ruzi, who's dying with uni stuff already. 

Tuesday, August 29

Hella Underrated Historical Novels

Hello everyone! Today it's time for yet another Top Ten Tuesday (hosted by The Broke and the Bookish) topic - this time we all could pick a genre and recommend 10 underrated, hidden gem novels. In the past few years, I've been getting more and more into Historical Fiction - both the Adult and YA sections of it - and so I decided to list 10 of my favorite HF novels that deserve more buzz. 

To make the list more interesting, I'll go from most to least well-known (according to the #of Goodreads ratings), so you'll probably know less and less novels as the post progresses - and doesn't everyone love to find new recommendations!? I sure do, even if my TBR is close to tackling me to the ground, because these books as impatient as fuck.

I'll include the cover, goodreads link and blurb of each book mentioned, so expect to be convinced to read them all. ;)

Sunday, August 27

3 Reasons Why The Upside of Unrequited by Becky Albertalli Worked for Me

Seventeen-year-old Molly Peskin-Suso knows all about unrequited love—she’s lived through it twenty-six times. She crushes hard and crushes often, but always in secret. Because no matter how many times her twin sister, Cassie, tells her to woman up, Molly can’t stomach the idea of rejection. So she’s careful. Fat girls always have to be careful.

Then a cute new girl enters Cassie’s orbit, and for the first time ever, Molly’s cynical twin is a lovesick mess. Meanwhile, Molly’s totally not dying of loneliness—except for the part where she is. Luckily, Cassie’s new girlfriend comes with a cute hipster-boy sidekick. Will is funny and flirtatious and just might be perfect crush material. Maybe more than crush material. And if Molly can win him over, she’ll get her first kiss and she’ll get her twin back. 

There’s only one problem: Molly’s coworker Reid. He’s an awkward Tolkien superfan with a season pass to the Ren Faire, and there’s absolutely no way Molly could fall for him. Right?

Thursday, August 24

Magical & Adventurous Sisters in Odd & True by Cat Winters

"In the world of grown-ups, you see, practical thinking is king; dreamers are fools and madmen. How ridiculous that is. I've decided I'd rather be foolish than ordinary."

Trudchen grew up hearing Odette’s stories of their monster-slaying mother and a magician’s curse. But now that Tru’s older, she’s starting to wonder if her older sister’s tales were just comforting lies, especially because there’s nothing fantastic about her own life—permanently disabled and in constant pain from childhood polio.

In 1909, after a two-year absence, Od reappears with a suitcase supposedly full of weapons and a promise to rescue Tru from the monsters on their way to attack her. But it’s Od who seems haunted by something. And when the sisters’ search for their mother leads them to a face-off with the Leeds Devil, a nightmarish beast that’s wreaking havoc in the Mid-Atlantic states, Tru discovers the peculiar possibility that she and her sister—despite their dark pasts and ordinary appearances—might, indeed, have magic after all.

Tuesday, August 22

Characters I'd NOT Like To Hang Out With At School

Hello you beautiful people! Today's Top Ten Tuesday (weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish) - and I'm dreading writing this yikes - is a school freebie, because school is starting very soon. *cries all the tears* I am HEARTBROKEN, you all. 

BUT, I do want to make this list as fun as possible to cheer everyone on who a) has to go back to school/uni soon, b) already had to go back to school, in which case, I'm sorry, that sucks, c) those who work all year around, because y'all rock and it's ALWAYS about school, which you might not be able to relate to all that much anymore.

So, obviously, I'm going to make a list of characters I would not want to be friends, because, hey, who doesn't love to see their faves being dragged!? I'm kidding, there'll be no dragging, only some #real reasons why these characters would make horrible friends. Let's get right onto them.

Saturday, August 19

Moxie by Jennifer Mathieu Brings ALL the Girl Power

Moxie Girls Fight Back!

It's time to fight like a girl!

Vivian Carter is fed up. Fed up with her high school teachers who think the football team can do no wrong. Fed up with sexist dress codes, hallway harassment and gross comments from guys during class. But most of all, Viv Carter is fed up with always following the rules.

Viv's mum was a tough-as-nails, punk rock Riot Grrrl in the '90s, and now Viv takes a page from her mother's past and creates Moxie, a feminist zine that she distributes anonymously to her classmates. She's just blowing off steam, but other girls respond and spread the Moxie message. As Viv forges friendships with other young women across the divides of cliques and popularity rankings, she realises that what she has started is nothing short of a girl revolution.

Thursday, August 17

Suspenseful, Riveting and Harrowing - After the Fire by Will Hill

The things I’ve seen are burned into me, like scars that refuse to fade.

Father John controls everything inside The Fence. And Father John likes rules. Especially about never talking to Outsiders. Because Father John knows the truth. He knows what is right, and what is wrong. He knows what is coming.

Moonbeam is starting to doubt, though. She’s starting to see the lies behind Father John’s words. She wants him to be found out.

What if the only way out of the darkness is to light a fire?

Tuesday, August 15

Chilling Novels for Those Who Like 'Em Dark

Hello everyone! I'm so so SO glad Top Ten Tuesday is back, because, as a lover of lists, I've been missing it so much. I broke my brain trying to think of a cool topic for today, something that maybe not a lot of people would be doing, and finally decided next to dark books with truly disturbed characters that will surely make you sit tight with nerves until - or even after - you finish the book. 

Now, these aren't necessary horror novels, many are mysteries, but they all contain some dark shit, be that the characters or certain scenarios. I'll tell you in a few words why each is worth reading and even share some quotes to make you all really feel the dark, chilling atmosphere of these books. 

Saturday, August 12

The Regal Critiques Review Final Girls by Riley Sager

Photo by Allef Vinicius

"But somehow we screamed louder, ran faster, fought harder. We survived."

Ten years ago, college student Quincy Carpenter went on vacation with five friends and came back alone, the only survivor of a horror movie–scale massacre. In an instant, she became a member of a club no one wants to belong to—a group of similar survivors known in the press as the Final Girls. Lisa, who lost nine sorority sisters to a college dropout's knife; Sam, who went up against the Sack Man during her shift at the Nightlight Inn; and now Quincy, who ran bleeding through the woods to escape Pine Cottage and the man she refers to only as Him. The three girls are all attempting to put their nightmares behind them, and, with that, one another. Despite the media's attempts, they never meet.

Now, Quincy is doing well—maybe even great, thanks to her Xanax prescription. She has a caring almost-fiancé, Jeff; a popular baking blog; a beautiful apartment; and a therapeutic presence in Coop, the police officer who saved her life all those years ago. Her memory won’t even allow her to recall the events of that night; the past is in the past.

That is, until Lisa, the first Final Girl, is found dead in her bathtub, wrists slit, and Sam, the second, appears on Quincy's doorstep. Blowing through Quincy's life like a whirlwind, Sam seems intent on making Quincy relive the past, with increasingly dire consequences, all of which makes Quincy question why Sam is really seeking her out. And when new details about Lisa's death come to light, Quincy's life becomes a race against time as she tries to unravel Sam's truths from her lies, evade the police and hungry reporters, and, most crucially, remember what really happened at Pine Cottage, before what was started ten years ago is finished.

Thursday, August 10

Magical Realism, Small Town Vibes and Complex Characters in The Disappearances by Emily Bain Murpy

“But really, aren't there bits of magic everywhere we look? We've just stopped seeing it that way.” 

What if the ordinary things in life suddenly…disappeared?

Aila Quinn’s mother, Juliet, has always been a mystery: vibrant yet guarded, she keeps her secrets beyond Aila’s reach. When Juliet dies, Aila and her younger brother Miles are sent to live in Sterling, a rural town far from home--and the place where Juliet grew up.

Sterling is a place with mysteries of its own. A place where the experiences that weave life together--scents of flowers and food, reflections from mirrors and lakes, even the ability to dream--vanish every seven years.

No one knows what caused these “Disappearances,” or what will slip away next. But Sterling always suspected that Juliet Quinn was somehow responsible--and Aila must bear the brunt of their blame while she follows the chain of literary clues her mother left behind.

As the next Disappearance nears, Aila begins to unravel the dual mystery of why the Disappearances happen and who her mother truly was. One thing is clear: Sterling isn’t going to hold on to anyone's secrets for long before it starts giving them up.