Thursday, 28 July 2016

5 Books to Read If You Liked Harry Potter

It's no secret that I'm a massive Harry Potter fan. It's a series that I grew up with so it's very close to my heart, so much so that I've got a Dumbledore quote tattooed on my back! Needless to say I'm excited for Harry Potter and the Cursed Child to be released on Sunday, but to help keep us all going until then here are some books you may enjoy. Basically they all involve magic schools because that was one of my favourite aspects of Harry Potter.

5 books like harry potter
1. First up, and quite obviously is Carry On by Rainbow Rowell. For anyone who has read Fangirl, the characters Simon Snow and Baz will be instantly recognisable as they are the subject of Cath's fanfiction.
This book follows Simon and Baz as they are in their last year at Watford School of Magicks. Simon is the prophecised greatest magic the world has seen but there are lots of evil forces out to try and get him.
Baz is Simons room-mate, and mortal enemy, oh and also a vampire.
If any of the plot sounds familiar, well it may be because it is. Carry On is quite often described as Harry Potter fan fiction, and although there are quite a few parallels it is most definitely a different book and well worth giving a read.

5 books like harry potter
2. Next up we have The Magicians' Guild by Trudi Canavan, the first book in The Black Magician Triology.
Unlike Harry Potter, The Magicians Guild is actually an adult fantasy book, but don't let that discourage you as this is one of the few adult fantasy books where the language used hasn't been totally overwhelming at the start.
Sonea is the main character of The Magicians Guild. In her world Magicians are the ultimate power and every year they gather together to purge the city streets of vagrants, urchins and miscreants. They are protected by their sheild, that is until Sonea, an ordinary girl throws a stone that breaks the shield.
The guild instantly take Sonea to be trained (read go to magic school) in an attempt to control her powers before she ends up destroying everything and everyone.

5 books like harry potter
3. The School for Good and Evil by Soman Chainani. Every four years two girls are kidnapped from their hometown and are sent to the School for Good and Evil, a place where they learn to either become a fairytale hero or vilian.
The School for Good and Evil follows Sophie, a beautiful girl who has always dreamed of going to the school and becomming a hero, and her friend Agatha who seems destined to go to the school of evil.
When the girls end up at the school though it seems their paths are reversed and Sophie ends up attending the school of evil, with classes such as Uglification, Death Curses and Henchmen Training, whilst Agatha finds herself at the school for good amongst handsome princes and gets to take classes like Princess Etiquette and Animal Communication.
This is the first book that follows Sophie and Agatha as they try to settle in their new roles and the girls try and find out if it is all one big mistake.

5 books like harry potter
4. The Magicians by Lev Grossman. The Magicians is the first book in yet another triology. This series is slightly aimed at a slightly older audience than Harry Potter was as it sees the main character Quentin Coldwater turning up for an interview to Princeton, only to be examined for entrance to Brakebills College for Magical Pedagogy instead, the only school for magic in America.
Quentin is accepted and moves to the college but quickly discovers that learning magic is actually quite tedious and difficult.
The Magicians is often described as Harry Potter for adults, and it's quite easy to see why. As well as being set at a university rather then secondary school, the book explores the full college life including, friendship. love sex and booze, all whilst trying to juggle a magical education.

5 books like harry potter
5. Lastly we have Pegasi & Prefects by Eleanor Beresford. The last book in my little round up once again features a magical boarding school, Fernlegih Manor and focuses on Charley Forest, an easy going tomboy who can communicate with magical animals as she is in her last year.
Things have been peaceful for Charley until this year when she finds herself with the unwelcome responsibilities of game captainship, being a prefect and finding herself falling head over hills for another girl. Oh, and there is a new girl this year who has a very special magical gift and quickly ends up being Charley's rival.
A YA set at a magical boarding school and has LGBT elements? Sounds epic!


So there you go, hopefully a lot of books to keep you going in the run up to The Cursed Child and to help satisfy that magic school itch long after you have finished reading it.
Do you have any more books like this you would recommend? If so let me know, I would love to have more to check out!

Monday, 25 July 2016

Book Review | The Yellow Room by Jess Vallance

the yellow room by jess vallance review
My Rating: 8/10
Published: July 28th 2016
Pages: 288
Genre: Young Adult/Thriller
Amazon Goodreads 

The Yellow Room focuses on sixteen year old Anna who one day receives a letter from her father's girlfriend telling her that he has died. Anna hasn't seen her father since she was four so when his girlfriend, Edie asks to meet Anna can't help but be intrigued by it.

Edie is a very eccentric and quirky lady, but also very loving and friendly, the complete opposite to Anna's mum who is cold and quite often wrapped up in her job that she doesn't even noticed Anna's existence. Edie and Anna very quickly form a friendship and Anna wonders if she can tell Edie the biggest secret she has been keeping from everyone, even her best friends.

I've read a lot of adult thrillers in my time but never any YA ones so I was excited to pick this up and I wasn't dissapointed. It has all the suspense and twist turns of it's adult counterparts, but it's not as graphic or as disturbing as some adult thrillers can be.

There are plenty of unseen twists and turns in the plot and it is incredibly well written. I found myself reading for way longer than I had intended to because I was so keen to find out what was going to happen next.

It's always hard to review books of this nature as you don't want to give too much of the plot away, all I will say is this is definitely worth giving a go and I enjoyed it a lot. I've been reading a lot of contemporary YA recently so it was nice to read something a little bit on the darker side!

Thursday, 21 July 2016

Graphic Novel Haul

graphic novels purchased from Gosh in London

I'm quite new to the graphic novel game, but luckily I have plenty of friends who aren't and were able to offer me some great suggestions when I asked for recommendations on Twitter. I visited Gosh Comics armed with a long list but managed to whittle it down to just four titles in the end. Here is what I got.

A graphic novel haul

First up I grabbed Sandman.
I'm a huge Neil Gaiman fan so this one was bit of a no brainer for me. The synopsis for this sounds amazing, but I'm having trouble putting it in my own words so here it is from Amazon:

"an occultist attempting to capture Death to bargain for eternal life traps her younger brother Dream instead. After his seventy-year imprisonment and eventual escape, Dream, also known as Morpheus, goes on a quest for his lost objects of power. On his arduous journey Morpheus encounters Lucifer, John Constantine, and an all-powerful madman. This book also includes the story "The Sound of Her Wings," which introduces us to the pragmatic and perky goth girl Death."

Sounds awesome right?

A graphic novel haul

Next up we have Locke & Key. When this was first recommended to me it wasn't one that really stood out, but when I saw the word Lovecraft on the cover I was instantly sold.

Locke & Key tells the story of Keyhouse, a haunted mansion in New England. Anyone who dares to walk into the mansion is changed. There is also some sort of evil hate filled creature there too. It sounds suitably creepy and I can't want to get a start on it.

A graphic novel haul

The Wicked + The Divine is one that was recommended to me by quite a few people, and was definitely top of the to buy list. I know they say not to judge a book by it's cover, but look how incredible that cover is!

In The Wicked + The Divine, every ninety years twelve gods are reincarnated as humans and are adored and hated by everyone but after two years they die. Just look at that gorgeous art work! I've actually already started on this one and so far from what I can see a lot of it is based in London which really appeals to me too. 

A graphic novel haul

Lastly we have Fables. This is another one that was high up on my list. The artwork is very different to the others that I have picked up, as you can see it is a lot lighter in colour palette and slightly softer looking.

In Fables a creature has conquered the lands of the fairy tales and all the inhabitants were forced into exile and have to try and get along in modern day New York. 
The magical people have created their own society inside a luxury apartment building and all is well until Snow White's sister, Rose Red is murdered. It sounds like the perfect modern day fairy tale. 

That is it for my first haul. I'm very happy with my purchases and can't wait to get reading them. I know it's silly but I love how glossy and gorgeous they all look on my book shelf too!
Have you read any of these graphic novels? Or do you have any more you would recommend? I definitely need to pick up Saga next time I go out!

Monday, 18 July 2016

Book Review | We Were Liars by E. Lockhart

My rating: 8/10
Published: May 13th 2014
Pages: 242
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary
Amazon |  Goodreads Book Depository  

We Were Liars focuses on a beautiful and rich family and the summers they spend on the private island that they own, complete with a full staff.

The main character in the book is Cadence Sinclair, or as she is more commonly called, Cady. She has an accident one summer which causes her to suffer with amnesia and crippling migraines. Cady returns back to the island after two summers and does her best to try and find out what happened to her to cause the accident and what happened during that summer she can't remember.

I don't want to say too much more than that about the plot, because like many other people have said in their reviews, to say too much would be to spoil the book. All I will say is it is full of twists, turns and intrigue which you should definitely find out for yourself rather than read from a review.

Cady is probably one of the first main characters in a book that I have actually not taken a shining too, even when you start to see some of the downsides of being raised in money it is hard to feel sorry for her. She is spoilt and privileged and doesn't come across as a very nice person but I think the disconnect most people will have to Cady will just add to the twists made in the plot.

The book is very fast paced and easy to read. I wasn't dying to read it in all my spare time but I found that when I did eventually get round to picking it up I would get easily absorbed and read it for a few hours at a time, that is until the last 1/4 of the book when I could not put it down.

If you are looking for an interesting summer read that is slightly dark then this is something worth picking up. It's made a nice change from the more fluffy, romantic young adult I've been reading recently and found it a clever, interesting read.

Thursday, 14 July 2016

3 Spotify Playlists I Love to Listen to When Reading

I'm a massive Spotify fan, I think it's great and I especially love the pre-made lists because Spotify puts them together so well. I'm also one of those people who can't stand to be in silence, even when reading so here are three of my go to playlists I listen to when reading.

songs to listen to when you are reading One for the mornings - Revision Ballads
This playlist is great for when you are chilling out and having a lazy morning, or grabbing your regular cup of coffee and reading a book.
This playlist is full of relaxed pop songs, with quite a few of the songs being acoustic covers too.
Where the songs are all so chilled it makes perfect background noise whilst reading as there won't be anything too distracting on there.
It's also incredibly upbeat and I always find myself in a good mood after listening to this playlist.
I'll take a lazy Sunday morning in bed with a vanilla soy latte and a good contemporary YA novel with this playlist please!

songs to listen to when you are reading
One for all day - Happy Hits
I love this playlist for pretty much any occasion, not just reading.
It's full of very upbeat, happy pop songs (surprise surprise!). I do find myself singing along with certain songs though so probably not the best playlist to listen to if you are reading something very serious that requires a lot of concentration, but if the sun is shinning and you are feeling good, this playlist will make you feel even better.
For this playlist I would like to be in the sun, besides the pool, preferably with a frozen cocktail and a cheesy romance novel, or some YA with a great heroic character. If being by the pool isn't possible I'll settle for being outside in the garden.

songs to listen to when you are reading
One to guarantee a great nights sleep - Reading Soundtrack
I am a huge believer in turning off gadgets at least 30 minutes before going to bed to help you sleep better and I like to try and read during this time to help me switch off and this playlist is perfect for helping me relax before bed.
This playlist is made up of entirely instrumental music, the majority of which are from movie soundtracks based on a book. It creates a great atmosphere for reading as none of the songs are distracting and it's incredibly peaceful to listen to.
Ideally I would like to be tucked up into bed listening to this playlist with any type of book. Maybe some hot chocolate if I'm feeling fancy, followed by a good nights sleep.

There are countless other playlists on Spotify too, but these are my true tried and tested ones. If you listen to them I hope you enjoy them as much as I do!
Do you have any playlist recommendations for me to check out? Or any albums you particularly love to listen to when reading? Or are you more of the silent reader type?

Monday, 11 July 2016

Book Review | Finding Audrey by Sophie Kinsella

Sophie Kinsella Finding Audrey Review
My Rating: 8/10
Published: June 9th 2015
Pages: 286
Genre: Young Adult
Amazon Goodreads Book Depository

I am a huge Sophie Kinsella fan, her Shopaholic series was one that I loved as I was growing up as I think we all possess a bit of Becky Bloomwood in us, so I was very excited to see how Sophie Kinsella was bringing out a YA book and how she handled the genre.

Finding Audrey focuses on 14 year old Audrey who is left pretty much housebound with anxiety after an incident that happened at school. She meets one of her brothers friends and he is one of the key triggers for starting Audrey's road to recovery.

Sophie Kinsella has done a fantastic job of introducing such a sensitive topic to a younger audience and she also does a good job of explaining it to people who may not have had any experience with anxiety before. She has very clearly done her research and it comes across in so many parts of the book, from Audrey wearing dark sunglasses all the time, to describing what type of treatment she is going through. Audrey knows there is no reason to panic and yet she can't help it but the dialogue is great at showing it's an internal battle that many people face daily.

Despite the heavy topic, this is still very light and entertaining, something I've come to expect from anything by Sophie Kinsella. Although this is classed as young adult, I would say this is definitely aimed towards the more younger end of that spectrum.

The book is quite short so I managed to get through it in just over a day, but this is also because it was the perfect weather to sit outside and read in so I completely lost track of time as it is such an easy read.

For any fans of Sophie Kinsella books or YA that deals with mental health I would definitely recommend giving this a go, and if you are interested in the thoughts that a person with anxiety faces daily this could make for quite an educating read too.

Thursday, 7 July 2016

Store Focus | Gosh! Comics


Address: 1 Berwick Street, Soho, London W1F 0DR
Hours: 10:30am - 7pm every day
Book type sold: Graphic Novels
Website: Gosh! London

Gosh! Comics is probably my favourite comic book store in London. I used to work opposite it and sometimes I would take a 10 minute break and just wonder around the store admiring all the glossy and gorgeous books on display here.

On the ground floor there are hundreds of graphic novels, all with beautiful covers, ranging from children's comics like Adventure Time, mainstream titles like Marvel's Civil Way to more indie comics such as the Saga series. In the basement you will find the weekly comics, like Spiderman, Batman etc.

The staff here are lovely and friendly, not to mention incredibly knowledgable in what they sell. There is no snobbery here so if you are new to the world of graphic novels you won't have to be nervous about asking questions. 

Nestled in the heart of Soho, Gosh! is a great store to visit at any time and is surrounded by plenty of other book stores, restaurants and other fun things to explore so if you are looking to plan a day in London this makes for a great place to go to.



Monday, 4 July 2016

Book Review | Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

My Rating:  9/10
Fangirl Rainbow Rowell Book Review
Published: September 10th 2013
Pages: 445
Genre: Young Adult
Amazon | Goodreads | Book Depository

Fangirl has been doing the rounds now for quite some time so I can't believe I haven't picked it up before! Fangirl follows the character Cath who is a bit socially awkward as she leaves her family and is also separated from her twin sister Wren for the first time as she heads off to start college.

Cath has to move into a shared room on campus and let's just say her room mate seems a bit reluctant in having to share her room with someone else. This doesn't help ease Cath's anxiety about starting college, not to mention Cath isn't so fond of her roommates supposed boyfriend either who always seems to be hanging around.

If the title of the book doesn't give it away, Cath is also someone who writes fan-fiction about the Simon Snow series, which is basically a reference to the Harry Potter series. She has quite the following online. Unfortunately Cath's creative writing teacher doesn't quite get the whole fan-fiction thing and tries to encourage Cath to write about something else which is outside her comfort zone, something Cath struggles to do.

I fell in love hard with this book, mainly because Cath is such a relatable character to so many people, including myself. Who hasn't arrived early to a class before, but had to walk up and down the corridor a few times before working up the courage to go in? Or avoided going to a place because they didn't know where it was and was too shy to ask? All the thoughts Cath has whilst being away from home for the first time are so similar to the ones I had and I know many others have had too.

There are a couple of grievances I have with this book though. At the end of each chapter there is a page from either the official Simon Snow series or from Cath's fan fiction. Whilst I found these a nice addition for giving an idea of what Cath writes about, I didn't actually find they added that much to the story and if I'm honest I found them slightly boring, although I know some others who have read Fangirl really enjoyed these parts, so each to their own!

The pacing of the story I also found to be slightly off. It starts off quite slow which I actually really enjoyed as this is more the telling of someones life, rather than an action packed thriller but I thought that the last quarter of the book felt a bit rushed, like Rainbow was trying to get everything wrapped up nicely at the end.

Despite these couple of tiny issues I had with Fangirl, I still loved it and think they are very minor annoyances. This book will make you smile so much whilst reading it and will have you rooting for Cath. I got through this book in two days, I didn't want to put this down and when I did all I could do was think about picking it back up to read again and was sad when it was over.

For anyone starting college or university in September and is a bit anxious, give this a read to soothe your mind a bit, and for anyone else, read it anyway because it is a fantastic book.

Saturday, 2 July 2016

About Me

Hello, welcome to my blog!

Why The Basic Book Bitch? Well I'm not going to lie, I'm what is stereotypically known as a basic bitch. I like soy vanilla lattes from Starbucks, I work in marketing and I love prossecco, that, and The Book Bitch was already taken...

My name is Kelsey, I live in London, I am in my mid-late twenties and I like to read a lot of young adult fiction, which will be the primary focus of this blog, although expect posts on anything book related, from cute book marks to recipe book reviews.

I hope you enjoy my blog and thank you for visiting!

Basic book bitch