Thursday, 31 May 2018

Reading wrap-up + favourites // May 2018

Hello, beautiful people!

As I'm typing this, I finished revising my master's thesis and I believe it is the best way to conclude the month of May (I can't believe I finished writing it on Tuesday, at long last!). May was a tough month, to say the least, because I was so stressed out about uni, as well as for other personal things. May still had good moments though, because I came back home to my parents' and will stay there for the entire summer, saw my best friend all the time, went to the beach, saw my grandmother getting better and saying she hadn't walked like this in twenty years, watched the royal wedding and cooked English food, watched too many movies and TV shows, fangirled too much and cuddled our pets. I feel like May lasted forever, so now I cannot wait to see what June will have in store for me.

W H A T  I  R E A D

I didn't read as much than usual in May, but I still have a pretty good wrap-up. I wouldn't say I was in a reading slump, I just didn't have time and when I did, I was in the mood to watch TV shows and that's okay. Here are the books that I read:

  • The Labors of Hercules by Agatha Christie, 3.5/5 stars
  • Star Wars: Bloodline by Claudia Gray, 4.5/5 stars
  • The Oddling Prince by Nancy Springer, 2/5 stars
  • How To Make a Wish by Ashley Herring Blake, 3.75/5 stars
  • Guardians of the Galaxy (2013), issues #1-27, by Brian Michael Bendis, 3.75/5 stars
  • Middlemarch by George Eliot, 4 stars

My favourite read of the month was, by far, Star Wars: Bloodline. By now, you know that a) I'm a Star Wars fan, b) can't write a wrap-up without mentioning it or Kylo Ren (yes, I did  it on purpose, it's a running gag at this point), so: there. Anyhow, Bloodline was my first Star Wars novel outside of the novelizations and it was brilliant! I loved reading about events that led to The Force Awakens, to see Leia again and to fall for Ransolm Casterfo (the author imagined him as Tom Hiddleston, I'll say no more). I also really enjoyed Middlemarch, it was my first George Eliot and I really want to read the rest of her works now. I'm planning on getting second-hand Victorian classics for the summer, so I can go back to them, I had missed them so.

F A V O U R I T E  B L O G  P O S T S

Ashleigh @ A Frolic Through Fiction went to Stratford-upon-Avon, where Shakespeare's birth place is!
Mishma @ Chasing Faerytales wrote an ultimate guide to YA books with mental health representation.
Morgane @ The Beauty and the Bookstore discussed why new romance shouldn't be treated as illegitimate and how it differs from erotic literature.
Cait @ Paper Fury announced her second published novel (!!) and interviewed herself.
Marie @ Drizzle and Hurricane Books talked about how to find new ideas and inspiration to blog (the first gif is Andy Dwyer from Parks and Rec aND I SCREAMED).
Resh Susan @ The Book Satchel interviewed five readers who shared their reading habits and tips.
Marie @ The Bibliologist interviewed herself (I love those kind of posts because it's hilarious, okay?!) for her first bookstagram anniversary.
Robin LaFevers announced on her blog that the His Fair Assassin trilogy was getting new paperback covers, because the fourth book is coming out next year. She started revealing them, this month with the one for Grave Mercy and I adore it, I can't wait to buy them in October, then reread the series! 


MISC. // Marvel

I started May rewatching Avengers: Infinity War, then almost every single Marvel movie with my best friend, who was catching up on them. I just wanted to rewatch the Guardians of the Galaxy and Thor franchises, but Marvel marathons are fun, so. Nevertheless, I wasn't quite done with Marvel yet. I needed more. I wanted to rewatch Guardians of the Galaxy again, but Caroline said we had just rewatched it. *sigh* It had been a week, so I really don't know why she said that. AHEM. So, to have more Marvel content, I started reading comics again and I couldn't be happier about that. It was perfect, considering how little reading time I had in May. I read Guardians of the Galaxy (2013) and it broke my heart, but it was really good (except for the crossovers where you don't have all the information, ugh)! So now that I'm back to comics, I shall catch up with Miss Marvel, I miss Kamala Khan.

MUSIC // Cinderella OST (2015)

I love listening to movie soundtracks while I'm studying, last year I wrote master's thesis #1 to The Theory of Everything, but master's thesis #2 was born from Cinderella. Fun fact: Cinderella was my favourite princess as a child and I love the live-action movie, even though it's cheesy, the cast is amazing (I mean, Hayley Atwell plays Lily James' mother and they're my faves) and I've been in the mood to rewatch it forever. Listening to this soundtrack always makes me in a good mood, despite studying and it makes me feel magical or something. Anyhow, I love it.

Now let's move on to the TV shows!

TV SHOW // Legion (FOX)

I hope everyone is pretending to be surprised that it's on the list this month. I was only half-including it last month because I had only watched two episodes, but I watched seven of them this month and I can't believe we only have two left. *cries* Do I have to tell you again how brilliant I find this show? Because it is. I had missed feeling confused 80% of the time, the soundtrack, Dan Stevens, the aesthetically pleasing visuals. Aubrey Plaza is really killing it this season (like in the first one), I'm still on the floor since I caught up with the show. I've been watching something else with her, so I couldn't help but compare a bit, I can tell you that she really is amazing in Legion, wow. The second season really is confirming the show as one of my all time favourites and I'm so grateful for one thing that happened in this week's episode. I knew I was right to love it all along. Thank you, Noah Hawley.

TV SHOW // The Bold Type (Freeform)

I binge-watched the first season of The Bold Type in two days at the beginning of the month and quickly became obsessed with it. It follows Jane, Kat and Sutton, three best friends who work for Scarlet, a women's global magazine in New York. Sometimes, you find the right TV show, the one that's perfect for you at that exact moment in your life, that's what The Bold Type was for me. It tackles topics such as immigration, sexuality, women in politics, the BRCA gene test, online harassment and so many others.  It hit very close to home so many times, to the point that it made me cry (granted, I cry a lot during TV shows/movies, but still) and I felt so grateful. The three main characters all now feel like role models to me, they were so empowering and I aspire to be more like them. I cannot wait for season 2 to start airing this June. I'd definitely say that The Bold Type is my favourite currently airing show so far this year!

TV SHOW // Parks and Recreation (NBC)

Last, but not least, I started watching Parks and Recreation not even three weeks ago, even though I had said I wouldn't start anything until I was done with my master's thesis. Oops. As you're reading this, I'm on the fifth season and I hadn't binge watched any TV shows that fast since Gilmore Girls. Anyway, Parks and Rec is set in Pawnee, Indinana, and follows the team from the Parks and Recreation department (duh) on their adventures. I will confess that I did start watching it because Aubrey Plaza and Chris Pratt were in it, but I accidentally fell in love with the show and there is no coming back. I'd rather watch it than read apparently?! It's funny, always makes me feel good, has relatable characters and I would almost move to Pawnee to work in the department by day and be a Mouse Rat groupie by night. *starts singing The Pit like there is no tomorrow* I'll buy the DVDs to rewatch at some point, because I won't be ready to say goodbye when I'm done... 

L O O K I N G  A H E A D

I am so ready for June. In a week, I'll have turned in my master's thesis for real, then will go on a little vacation with my family in the south of France, my boyfriend is also coming back from Sweden. It's gonna be a good month.

Here are some things I'm excited about:
> TV shows: The Bold Type season 2 and Poldark season 4 will start airing in June, I couldn't be happier!!
> Movies releases I'm interested in: The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, Love, Simon (those two are finally coming out in France!), Ocean's 8, Jurassic World: Falling Kingdom (yeah, it's just for Chris Pratt, his daily Jurassic World Lego stories won me ever and I shall miss them).
> Books releases: A Thousand Perfect Notes by C.G. Drews, A Reaper at the Gates by Sabaa Tahir, My Plain Jane by Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton and Jodi Meadows, A Thousand Beginnings and Endings edited by Ellen Oh, and So Close to Being the Sh*t, Y'all Don't Even Know by Retta.

What was the best book you read in May? 
What are your new favourite things in general?

I hope you had an amazing month in May and that June will treat you well.

Lots of love,

Tuesday, 8 May 2018

All of This Is True by Lygia Day Peñaflor // Review

Hello, beautiful people!

A few months ago, Marie @ Drizzle and Hurricane Books contacted me and other French bloggers to know if we would be interested in doing a blog tour for All of This Is True by Lygia Day Peñaflor, where we would send each other the ARC week after week, until it got back to Marie, and of course, as I'm typing this today, I said yes. It's been a wonderful experience and I can't thank you enough for this, Marie. Anyway, today is my turn to share my review on this book and let me tell you: I adored it. There are so many exciting reviews coming up in the next few days, so go and check out all of these lovely ladies' reviews while you're at it!

All of This Is True by Lygia Day Peñaflor

Published: May 15th 2018 by HarperTeen
Genres: young adult, contemporary
Number of pages: 432

Goodreads summary: Miri Tan loved the book Undertow like it was a living being. So when she and her friends went to a book signing to meet the author, Fatima Ro, they concocted a plan to get close to her, even if her friends won’t admit it now. As for Jonah, well—Miri knows none of that was Fatima’s fault.

Soleil Johnston wanted to be a writer herself one day. When she and her friends started hanging out with her favorite author, Fatima Ro, she couldn’t believe their luck—especially when Jonah Nicholls started hanging out with them, too. Now, looking back, Soleil can’t believe she let Fatima manipulate her and Jonah like that. She can’t believe that she got used for a book.

Penny Panzarella was more than the materialistic party girl everyone at the Graham School thought she was. She desperately wanted Fatima Ro to see that, and she saw her chance when Fatima asked the girls to be transparent with her. If only she’d known what would happen when Fatima learned Jonah’s secret. If only she’d known that the line between fiction and truth was more complicated than any of them imagined. . . .

"That's what Fatima said about her novel: you hope that you can reach a few readers here and there, that your message will speak personally to somebody. But you can never know the true impact." 
I received an Advance Reader Copy as part of a French ARC Tour of All Of This Is True organised by Marie @ Drizzle and Hurricane Books in exchange for an honest review. 

I hadn't heard about All Of This Is True until Marie started to organise this ARC tour, but when I saw a glowing review by Adam Silvera and that it was about "Four YA-obsessed teens befriend their favourite novelist. What happens next will shock you.", I knew I needed to add this book to my TBR, because it seemed like quite a different contemporary novel and it intrigued me. 

All of This Is True is told through different formats, such as interviews, novel excerpts or diary entries, Lygia Day Peñaflor did a fantastic job at switching between thoseWhen I read novels that use this type of narrative, it often takes me some time to get used to it and that was the case once again, but once I got passed through, I couldn't stop reading this novel, I was completely engrossed and had to know what would happen next. Writing in different formats doesn't always work, but in this case, everything flowed together so nicely, it made the book even more addictive and I was so impressed, because it must be quite complicated to write all those layers. 

I can't say much about the plot, considering it has this huge mystery aspect to it and you won't have all the pieces of the puzzle until the very end, but it was so gripping and thrilling. This novel relied a lot on psychology, even talking about scientific papers on the subject at some point, and it was utterly fascinating to me, as I think figuring out the psychology of a character is quite complicated, but the author did it in such a clever way. It kept me on the edge of my seat and I read it in under 24 hours, because I needed to know the truth. I had guessed some of it, but when I realised everything, I was a bit shocked considering I had no idea, at first, that the author would go this way. 

As the book is told in different formats, we get the points of view of several characters. At first, it was a bit hard for me to distinguish them all, but once I did, it was very interesting because I didn't know which one I could "trust". There are different sides to a story and All Of This Is True showed that: it was up to the reader's interpretation to figure out what he thought of the characters. I really understood all their points of view and related to all of them at different levels. They were all way more than met the eye at first, complex and so flawed. Some things they did were very disturbing at times, but it made sense considering their different situations, so that was realistic. 

Moreover, this novel had a big focus on toxic relationships. For a few months now, I've been thinking about the messages I wanted to be passed through YA literature and talking about toxic relationships was something I really wanted to read about. In All Of This Is True, you find such dynamics, considering it's about teenagers who befriend their favourite author, who is six years older than them. Before I talk about their relationship with this author, I have to say that even them didn't have great relationships with each other, their friendship felt a bit shallow and they were ready to give up on each other so easily, but what happened also brought some of them a bit closer, in the end. It really showed that friendship isn't easy, neither is finding people who will understand you. 

Because the characters admire Fatima and she's older than them, they would do anything to please her and they believe she is superior to them. It was a very interesting aspect of "stan-culture*" and how you could be ready to do anything to please one of the persons you admire the most and that had always seemed unreachable. You don't know this person, you could totally be wrong about them, and yet.. When you get the chance to be close to someone who means a lot to you, who somehow changed your life without you knowing their true selves, you can behave differently than with someone you would mean in class, or in a café, or something. 

Throughout the whole book, Fatima becomes more and more important into the lives of those teenagers, without them realising how toxic she is for them. I don't want to reveal too much, but Lygia Day Peñaflor used a phrase that resonated with me to explain those types of relationships, for I've had such a relationship in the past and I would have wanted to realise sooner what it really was. Because of that, I think that All Of This Is True depicts toxic relationships in a realistic way and shows the reader all the negative aspects of that, because while you get the points of view of the teenagers, you see them realising the flaws of this relationships and I hope it could help some people recognize the signs of such relationships in the future. 

*According to the top definition in the Urban Dictionary, the word "stan" is Based on the central character in the Eminem song of the same name, it is an overzealous maniacal fan for any celebrity or athlete. 

I also made an aesthetic for this novel, as I've been doing for all the books I read this year, so I thought it would be the best time to share it!

Overall, I adored All Of This Is True: it is told in interesting formats, has fleshed-out characters and is trying to get through such important messages. I really want to read more contemporary novels that talk about such things and I will be sure to keep an eye on what Lygia Day Peñaflor will write next. I tried not to say too much about the plot, but there were some aspects I really wanted to talk about it and I'm glad I got to do so.

Are you planning on reading this one? 
What was the last contemporary novel that really impressed you?

Lots of love,