Group Collaboration | Guilty Pleasure Reads

Saturday, 18 February 2017

Earlier this month we asked our team of bloggers and readers to anonymously tell us all about their favourite titles that fit the description of "guilty pleasure" reads. Here are the results...

guilty pleasure

Something, such as a film, television programme, or piece of music, that one enjoys despite feeling that it is not generally held in high regard. - source

guilty pleasure reads 2
guilty pleasure reads 4
guilty pleasure reads 3
guilty pleasure reads 1

For more guilty pleasure reads check out these posts from around the web:

In March we'll be talking Favourite Female Authors! If you'd like to be involved with this and future group posts drop an email to or keep an eye out on our Twitter page for updates!

Features | Spring Releases 2017

Friday, 17 February 2017

The sun is shining! Or at least, it is where I am, as I'm writing this. It will probably be raining again by the time this posts but that is not the point! The point is that spring will be here soon and the horrible drudgery of winter will be over for another year! (It's possible I am being a little dramatic but I am just so done with winter.) The sudden burst of sunshine is making me think ahead to spring with great anticipation not just for the warmer weather but also, of course, for all the new books that will be coming out then. Here are the six I'm most looking forward to.

The Education of Margot Sanchez by Lilliam Rivera - 21st February

After "borrowing" her father's credit card, Margot has to work in her family's grocery store to pay back her debts and she's willing to do anything to stop this punishment from ruining her reputation.
The Education of Margot Sanchez is described as 'Pretty in Pink comes to the South Bronx'. I'm actually not much of a fan of Pretty in Pink but this sounds like an interesting contemporary read and there's nothing I love more than that. Plus I've never read a novel set in the South Bronx and after watching the Netflix series The Get Down last year I am very interested in changing that.

Always and Forever, Lara Jean by Jenny Han - 4th April

The third and final book in Jenny Han's series that started with To All the Boys I've Loved Before, Always and Forever, Lara Jean follows Lara Jean into her senior year of high school. Her father is getting married and now Lara Jean is the one who has to face the prospect of going away to college and leaving her family behind.
I devoured the first two novels in this series last summer and was so excited when Jenny Han announced this surprise third instalment. This series is a lot of fun and I can't wait to visit Lara Jean and her family again.

The Other Half of Happiness by Ayisha Malik - 6th April

The Other Half of Happiness is the sequel to Ayisha Malik's first novel, Sofia Khan Is Not Obliged and I actually am not going to tell you what this one is about because I don't think I can without spoiling the first book and the first book is excellent. Read Sofia Khan Is Not Obliged first and then join me in being very excited for this continuation of Sofia's story.

Paradise Lodge by Nina Stibbe - 6th April

Paradise Lodge, the follow up to Man at the Helm (both books feature the same protagonist but there's a 6 year gap between the two and they can be read as standalones), is the story of Lizzie Vogel, a 15 year old girl who gets a job at an old people's home in the 1970s because it seems a less exhausting option than becoming a punk or a full-time girlfriend.
Paradise Lodge actually came out last year so I'm cheating a little but the paperback comes out in April and I've been waiting for the paperback so it will sit nicely on the shelf with my copy of Man at the Helm. Nina Stibbe's writing is always sharp and hilarious and I'm really looking forward to reading her voice again.

Aurabel by Laura Dockrill - 20th April

Aurabel takes us back to the world of Laura Dockrill's Lorali. Two years after the events of the first book, we return to Lorali's story but also meet a new mermaid called Aurabel, who has a mechanical tail and a heart set on revenge.
Another sequel, I know, but Laura Dockrill's first book in this series Lorali was such a fun and unique read and I can't wait to read about Aurabel, the steampunk mermaid! If you haven't read Lorali yet I highly recommend it. I promise it is unlike any book you've read before. Unless you happen to have read a lot of books with chapters narrated by the sea.

When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon - 30th May

Dimple Shah is not on board with her parents desire to arrange her marriage so she's relieved when they agree to pay for her to attend a summer program for aspiring web developers because that must mean they respect her wishes on some level. Rishi Patel, on the other hand, is completely on board with his parents arranging his marriage and he happens to be attending the same summer program as the girl his parents want him to marry: Dimple.
When Dimple Met Rishi just sounds like so much fun. It's a story I've never read before and I've already seen some very positive reviews. Plus, and this is purely superficial, I love iced coffee more than I can say and that iced coffee on the front cover of this book looks delicious and I can't wait to read this book with a similar iced coffee in my other hand. I'm so excited.

What books are you looking forward to in spring? Will you be reading any of these? How do you feel about iced coffee? Let me know in the comments!

The Magician King | Lev Grossman | Review

Friday, 10 February 2017

Quentin and his friends are now the kings and queens of Fillory, but the days and nights of royal luxury are starting to pall. After a morning hunt takes a sinister turn, Quentin and his old friend Julia charter a magical sailing ship and set out on an errand to the wild outer reaches of their kingdom. Their pleasure cruise becomes an adventure when the two are unceremoniously dumped back into the last place Quentin ever wants to see: his parent's house in Chesterton, Massachusetts. And only the black, twisted magic that Julia learned on the streets can save them.

The Magician King is a grand voyage into the dark, glittering heart of magic, an epic quest for the Harry Potter generation. It also introduces a powerful new voice, that of Julia, whose angry genius is thrilling. Once again Grossman proves that he is the cutting edge of literary fantasy.

Now the kings and queens of a magical land, Quentin and his friends are living it up in Fillory. But Quentin longs for adventure, so when an opportunity to sail to a little island to gather up taxes from the people there arises, Quentin jumps on the ship with Julia and off they sail. From there, his adventure gets a little more extreme than Quentin first thought a tax-collecting trip would go. 

Thrown back to earth by complete accident on a quest to find magical keys, Quentin and Julia have to figure out how to get back to Fillory, and, like the description says, only the magic that Julia learnt on the streets from hedge witches can save them. 

This is yet another great book from Grossman. While the story is a lot more Fillory-based than earth-based, it was really cool to be able to jump into Grossman's creative mind and see how he creates this magical land. The Magicians is told from Quentins perspective, but in The Magician King, Julia has a voice and we learn all about the things she learnt and got up to while Quentin was at school at Brakebills with his friends. 

Side note: If you watch or have watched the TV show, The Magicians, based on this series, you may have noticed that the story of Julia in the show isn't in the first book. It's here in the second that we learn all about Julia, but they have pulled that from The Magician King and popped it in the show. 

The characters from the first book are still present (those that made it through the first book anyway - no spoilers here!), and with the addition of some new faces, this is a fun but at times intense read. If you've read The Magicians, don't stop there. The Magician King is a great sequel, and while I think I enjoyed The Magicians a little more, this second book is still a brilliant read.

Read review of the first in this series, The Magicians, here.

Image from Good Reads. 

Features | Popsugar 2017 Reading Challenge Update #1

Wednesday, 8 February 2017

Although I didn't come anywhere close to completing the 2016 Popsugar Reading Challenge I've decided to take part again this year and thought it might be nice to share regular updates here along the way! These posts will be an overview of the challenge so far, looking at which goals I've managed to cross off the list and sharing book ideas for the various prompts. If you're also taking part in the challenge I'd love to hear which books you're including - get involved in the discussion by leaving your comment below!

memoirs of a geisha arthur golden

A Book That Takes Place Over A Character's Life Span | Memoirs Of A Geisha, Arthur Golden (1997)

I originally intended to use this book to fulfil the 'a book that's been on your TBR list for way too long' challenge but after reading it I felt it also fit this prompt well. At the beginning of the novel we are introduced to a young girl and across the 400-and-something pages we follow her journey to becoming a Geisha and life beyond - a very interesting read!

The Waiting Room | Alysha Kaye | Review

Monday, 6 February 2017


Nina and Jude are a happily married couple working on building a family. Then Jude gets hit by a truck and wakes up in The Waiting Room. This is the room where all souls go before they get reborn. The average wait time is 5-20 minutes. Jude ends up waiting for over 50 years, waiting for Nina. Next time, it's Nina's turn to pass away first. They are an anomaly in this system that no one fully understands, so Nina decides to start looking for answers every time they're in The Waiting Room.


I'm the first person to tell you that love stories aren't my thing. I don't even generally like love stories mixed in with my action/adventure/etc. stories. That being said, this book was a nice distraction. It was pleasant to read all the different iterations of their relationship. All the things that were different and all the things the same. We don't get a lot of answers about what The Waiting Room is or how it works. What we do learn, though, is interesting and optimistic. I appreciated that Nina and Jude didn't have a picture perfect relationship. They have their arguments each incarnation and between. This book is a very optimistic perspective on love and death. If you're in the market for a nice distraction with a central love story, I recommend this.

Features | I Finally Read Jane Austen

Friday, 3 February 2017

I first tried to read Pride and Prejudice when I was about eighteen and I read maybe the first two pages before giving up. I've just never been very good at reading classics. I'm always letting the differences between the English of Jane Austen's day, for example, and the English I speak now get in the way. It's a habit I'm trying to break.

I've always felt a little bit guilty about never having read any of Jane Austen's novels. She was a big part of my English Literature course at university. In the first year we studied Sense and Sensibility. I watched the film, broke the spine on the book to make it look like I had read it, and stayed very quiet during our seminar on it. In the second year we studied Persuasion and I honestly don't even remember how I dealt with that, which probably means I skipped the seminar completely. In our third year we were offered a module just on Jane Austen's novels and when a friend of mine picked it I asked him why he wanted to torture himself like that. I was so wrong. Now I get it.

The biggest revelation I had from finally reading all six of her completed novels is that Jane Austen is funny. No one ever told me that. They told me she was important. They told me her works were classics and that I had to read them for that reason alone. I even heard, in turn, that her books were or weren't romantic. But no one ever told me that she makes jokes like this:
He had, in fact, though his sisters were now doing all they could for him, by calling him 'poor Richard,' been nothing better than a thick-headed, unfeeling, unprofitable Dick Musgrove, who had never done anything to entitle himself to more than the abbreviation of his name, living or dead.'
No one ever told me that Jane Austen's heroes are kind and sensitive and her heroines are stubborn and eager to please and outspoken and shy and everything under the sun because no two of them are the same at all. They all have their own merits and flaws and they all have their own stories. No one ever told me how great her characters are full stop, honestly. I had no idea how much I would love Mr. and Mrs. Bennet, or Mr. Woodhouse, or Mrs. Jennings, but I do. Every one of them.

If you've never read Jane Austen, don't think of her like I did, as this great writer whose work you have to read just because everyone tells you so. Read her because her characters are complex and her writing is funny and smart. If you, like me, tend to read a lot of YA fiction, read her because it'll give you a relieving break from the insta-love that plagues a lot of otherwise great books. Just don't be afraid of Jane Austen. She's a lot more down to earth than your English teachers might have you believe.

How You Can Get Involved In February's Group Post!

Wednesday, 1 February 2017

Our topic for February's group post is Guilty Pleasure Reads! We'd love to hear about the books you consider guilty pleasures and will be sharing all responses anonymously here on February 18th.

To get involved all you need to do is submit your top choices via the form below!