Tuesday, 21 October 2014

My Favourite Bookshop

October is the month of Books Are My Bag, a campaign to get more people buying and reading books. If you've seen a sea of orange tote bags outside your local bookshop, that's why. As part of this year's event they have asked everyone to talk about their favourite bookshops. I did a post about the campaign last year, and this year is clearly no different, because today I'm going to tell you about my favourite.

Unfortunately, my local bookshop - and I use the term 'local' loosely - is just a tiny Waterstones with an even tinier YA section, and I'm pretty sure they haven't hosted a decent book event for seven or eight years. So, being the unfortunate countryside blogger that I am, whenever I want to go to a book signing I always have to go to London. And that's where my absolute favourite bookshop is.

Waterstones Piccadilly, London, isn't the most original choice, but it's honestly the best bookshop I've ever been in. The first time I went was for a Rainbow Rowell signing a few months ago, which you can read about here.

  • There are six floors to explore.
  • It's the largest bookshop in Europe.
  • They have the best book signings. If an author announces a UK tour, you can almost guarantee they'll be stopping off at Waterstones Piccadilly.
  • It's next to a Costa and a Paperchase. Enough said. *love heart eyes*
  • They have really comfy armchairs dotted around, so you can just chill and read.
  • They have a bar on the fifth floor with amazing views of the city skyline.
  • There is an incredibly awesome YA section.
  • It's so big you could probably get away with doing a #waterstonestexan and hiding until after the store closes. You'd have plenty of time to read and to build a book fort... 
What's your favourite bookshop? Let us know in the comments, or use the hashtag #thisbookshop on Twitter!

Saturday, 18 October 2014

Famous in Love by Rebecca Serle

Title: Famous in Love
Author: Rebecca Serle
Published by: Macmillan Children's Books
Publication date: 23rd October 2014
Pages: 309
Genres: Young Adult/Contemporary/Romance
Format: Paperback
Source: Review copy from the publisher.

Fame comes before a fall...

When Paige Townsen gets picked to star in the movie adaptation of a blockbuster book series, her life changes practically overnight. Within a month she's thrown into a world of gossip, rumour and deceit. The only people who know what she's going through are her two male costars, but her feelings for them are getting complicated. Paige knows it's a mistake to fall in love on the set of a movie, but days of on-screen romance start to change her mind. The question is, can she keep what happens behind the scenes a secret when the world is watching her every move?

Famous in Love is one of those books that you finish and think...'okay, I'm done. Now what?' In other words, it was good and I enjoyed reading it, but it was lacking whatever it is that makes a book completely and utterly amazing. After finishing the book I didn't feel any strong emotions towards it; to me it was just another page turned.

I think the main issue I had with this book was the love triangle. I usually have no problem with them, and generally I enjoy choosing who to ship (because if you know me, I ship everyone and everything) but I've discovered it really, really sucks when a love triangle is the plot. Famous in Love had some great points and I'll get to those later, but there wasn't much of a story outside of the love triangle - it was just Paige trying to pick between Rainer and Jordan, and obviously this got pretty tiring after a while.

Luckily there was something I really loved about this book: the fact that it's about a normal girl who auditions for a role in a YA book-to-movie adaptation. We didn't get to go as in depth with this as I wanted to, but obviously I'm a fan of the fact that it was simply there - this is a YA blog, after all! - and I found it really fun to read about the process of shooting a film. One of my favourite scenes was when Paige and Jordan went to a signing event at Barnes and Noble:
"That's when I hear it - the screaming. It's sharp at first - a few voices - and then louder and louder, like a stereo system that's been cranked up to full volume. But it's not melodic. It's manic. Loud and shrill and high and raging. I suddenly have the desire to jump under my seat and beg Scotty to turn the car around. But he's outside, too, and before I can dive into the trunk, my door opens."
We fangirls can be very loud! It made me wonder how stars like Jennifer Lawrence and Shailene Woodley felt when they were told they'd got the parts of Katniss and Tris. They weren't hugely known before The Hunger Games and Divergent, just like Paige and the fictional 'Locked' trilogy, and even though Famous in Love obviously isn't a true story it was really insightful.

Unfortunately, not only did I not agree with what Paige did in the end, but I also felt that the ending was extremely rushed and a bit confusing. It was very disappointing and underwhelming, so much so that I just had to deduct a star from the rating I'd originally planned to give.

Do I recommend this book, though? That's a tricky one. I'd say if you're interested in seeing behind the scenes of film-making and experiencing fame from the point of view of a complete newbie then you'll enjoy this as it's really detailed (understandable, with Serle's own experience of being on a film set), but if you're not keen on love triangles and slight insta-love then I don't think this is for you. Always worth a try though, right?

Monday, 13 October 2014

Why I Don't Participate in Blog Memes

Someone asked me a while ago why I don't do blog memes so I thought I'd answer their question in a blog post.

In my first couple of years book blogging I think I did a few blog memes but I always found them such a chore (if you think I'm lazy as a fifteen year old you don't even want to know how lazy I was at eleven.) There were the book haul memes like In My Mailbox which I tried to do every week but I always forgot, and then it stressed me out trying to catch up. Also, I could never be bothered to take the photos required; told you I was lazy. To see one of my ancient, disastrous In My Mailbox posts you can click here. Cringe.

It wasn't long before I stopped with In My Mailbox because I wasn't enjoying it, although kudos to the person who started it in the first place because that thing got massively popular.

But why haven't I participated in others?
  • Most bloggers do the same memes, and I'll admit it's a bit disappointing when I open up Bloglovin' and discover a long list of people doing exactly the same thing. 
  • I can't stick to a schedule, hence why I don't have one. I just make sure I have a blog post up every few days, and I think if I was to try with a strict schedule it could result in this blog ending altogether. I like doing tags because they can be done at any time, but memes... nope.
  • I wouldn't dream of publishing a post that I hadn't enjoyed writing because, y'know, that would suck. And at the moment there just aren't any memes that stand out for me - although do feel free to recommend some!
That's not to say that I'll never participate in blog memes because maybe one day I'll discover one that instantly inspires me and somehow gets me to commit every week/month/whenever. But for now I'd rather publish other things, and hopefully none of you mind!

Which blog memes do you enjoy participating in? Or are you like me, not doing them at all?