Review | The Exact Opposite of Okay by Laura Steven

exactoppositeTitle: The Exact Opposite of Okay (2018)
Author: Laura Steven
Publisher: Electric Monkey
Read: 14th – 18th May 2018
Genre: young-adult; contemporary
Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars

Izzy O’Neill here! Impoverished orphan, aspiring comedian and Slut Extraordinaire, if the gossip sites are anything to go by… Izzy never expected to be eighteen and internationally reviled. But when explicit photos involving her, a politician’s son and a garden bench are published online, the trolls set out to take her apart. Armed with best friend Ajita and a metric ton of nachos, she tries to laugh it off – but as the daily slut-shaming intensifies, she soon learns the way the world treats teenage girls is not okay. It’s the Exact Opposite of Okay.”
(Synopsis from the publisher)

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Tag | The Gilmore Girls Tag

Welcome back, everyone. Today I bring you a tag! ‘But Emma’, I hear you say, ‘it’s not Thursday, is it?’ Well no, it’s not, it is indeed Monday but I couldn’t resist having a go at this tag when I saw it because it’s all about Gilmore Girls. I first saw this on the lovely Rosie’s blog so please do pop over to her blog and check out her answers if you’re curious. (And if anyone knows who the originator of this tag is, please let me know so that I can credit them appropriately!)

So make like Lorelai Gilmore, grab your coffee, and let’s no waste any time at all – let’s get going on the tag…


Do you own the collection?

Yep, I have the DVDs proudly on my shelf. Although now it’s finally on Netflix it seems like a waste of shelf space, haha.

What was your first introduction to Gilmore Girls?

You know, I’m not entirely sure but I think I used to see people going on about Gilmore Girls on Tumblr and using gifs of Lorelai talking about coffee and I just thought I should probably jump on that bandwagon. I vaguely remember watching some of the first episodes on Megavideo though (yes I was naughty, shhh) so I’m not sure what year I actually watched my very first episode – it had definitely stopped airing when I did though.

Dave or Zack?

Obviously Dave, forever and always Dave. I’ve never quite forgiven Adam Brody for landing The OC and having to leave Gilmore Girls to be on that show instead, to the point that I still show some hesitance about fully committing to watching The OC because I just know it’ll kill me inside that him and Lane were SO DAMN CUTE but he’s off in California doing that instead. I think putting Lane with Zack and the whole shenanigans that followed was just SO out of character and I did not like it one bit.

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Review | Unconventional by Maggie Harcourt

unconventional.jpgTitle: Unconventional (2017)
Author: Maggie Harcourt
Publisher: Usborne
Read: 13th – 14th May 2018
Genre: young-adult; contemporary
Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

“Lexi Angelo is a Convention Kid – she’s got a clipboard and a walkie talkie to prove it. Aidan Green is a messy-haired, annoyingly arrogant author and he’s disrupting her perfect planning. In a flurry of awkward encounters, lost schedules and late-night conversations, Lexi discovers that some things can’t be planned… Things like falling in love.”
(Synopsis from the publisher)

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Down the TBR Hole #20

Welcome folks to the twentieth round of Down the TBR Hole! As I mentioned in my last round of DtTH (nope, that acronym isn’t particularly attractive, is it?), this little project has been a great way of weening down my TBR over the past year so I’ve decided to keep it up and make it a semi-regular feature in order to spring clean my TBR aka be realistic about what books I aspire to read and what books I actually will read.

For those of you who have no idea what I’m talking about, check out the previous posts via the tag or check out Lia at Lost in a Story who is the creator of this wonderful meme/project.

I’m trying to make this a regular feature of my blogging schedule because it’s good to regularly reevaluate if/why you want to read a book – that way you don’t come back to your TBR years later and have no clue why a title piqued your interest in the first place. I’ve also added a summary of results bit at the bottom of each round so I can track how many books I’ve kept and ditched from my TBR shelf in each round and overall.

Just a reminder of how this works:

  • Go to your goodreads to-read shelf.
  • Order on ascending date added.
  • Take the first 5 (or 10 if you’re feeling adventurous) books
  • Read the synopses of the books
  • Decide: keep it or should it go?

Outside of doing these posts semi-regularly I have also been culling my TBR list at random points when I’m bored – all of this is good in terms of getting my TBR to a reasonable amount of books but it also means that these posts are getting harder for me to do as I’m beginning to really agonise over whether to ditch or keep books on there. Not that any of this is a bad thing! Let’s get going on the 10 books under scrutiny today…

1. Shades of Grey by Jasper Fforde

Why is it there? Like a lot of book lovers, I went through a stage of reading The Eyre Affair by the same author which is an extremely playful alternate history book where detective Thursday Next flits into the story of Jane Eyre in pursuit of a criminal. It’s every bit as wacky and meta as it sounds. Fast forward to when I added Shades of Grey onto my TBR list purely because I saw its cover in the library and wanted to remember it. Nowadays, its synopsis is interesting enough but I’m no longer dying to read it so…
Do I own it? No
Verdict? Ditch

2. I’m the King of the Castle by Susan Hill

Why is it there? I know people who had to read this as assigned reading in school but I haven’t read any Susan Hill… and I’m not entirely sure she’s ever really going to be one of my priority ‘must read’ authors. I hear its sad and emotional and involves children and bullying and neglect and I’m just… I’m not sure I ever want to willingly put myself through this.
Do I own it? No
Verdict? Ditch

3. The Kiss of Deception by Mary E. Pearson

Why is it there? I’m pretty sure this did the rounds on Booktube a good few years ago, when only the first two books of the trilogy were published and folks were highly anticipating the third and final part of the series. I added it to my TBR around that time when I saw it on (I think) Lainey’s channel (gingerreadslainey for those not familiar), but I’m still yet to read it. My library has the audiobook version though so I may very well give it a go in that format…
 Do I own it? No
Verdict? Keep

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Feature | Favourite Eateries #3 ft. Bakchich, Liverpool

If you’ve seen my previous Favourite Eateries, you will have vicariously sampled the delights of The Tavern Co and Lunya. Today, now for something completely different – Lebanese street food via Bakchich on Bold Street in Liverpool.

“Bakchich vision is to introduce Lebanese Street food to Liverpool and Manchester. It is also to educate and help our customers discover about the Arabic food culture, traditions and heritage that unite communities. Bakchich Cafe is Lebanese street food with a french twist, serving variety of Lebanese Mezza with innovations in the traditional Lebanese dishes from Shawarma to Falafel, and baklawa and a wide variety of healthy fruits cocktails, to meet the taste of our food lovers.” (Bakchich)

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Bout of Books 22 | Sign Up & TBR

Oh, look, Emma is back armed with nothing but good intentions and a TBR to foolishly try to participate in yet another readathon even though she kind of sucks at them in terms of productivity! Yep, it’s time for another round of Bout of Books, everyone’s favourite low-key readathon!

For those unaware of the delight that is the Bout of Books readathon, the organisers have a handy blurb available to clue you in:

bob22The Bout of Books read-a-thon is organized by Amanda Shofner and Kelly Rubidoux Apple. It is a week long read-a-thon that begins 12:01am Monday, May 14th and runs through Sunday, May 20th in whatever time zone you are in. Bout of Books is low-pressure. There are challenges, giveaways, and a grand prize, but all of these are completely optional. For all Bout of Books 22 information and updates, be sure to visit the Bout of Books blog. – From the Bout of Books team

So this coming week I will be participating in Bout of Books 22 to the best of my ability. I don’t have too much planned, aside from going to see a comedy gig on Friday night, so I should be able to get some much-needed reading time in after work and (especially) at the weekend. Often with Bout of Books, I end up being really quite overly ambitious with my TBR (for proof: see my previous Bout of Books Sign Up & TBR), and my May TBR is pretty damn optimistic already, so I have tried to be conservative and realistic with what I can achieve this time round when constructing my TBR for the readathon. Without further ado, let’s take a look at it…

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V.E. Schwab’s J.R.R. Tolkien Lecture at Pembroke College

Last week, I was fortunate enough to have friends who would indulge my blatant fangirling over one of my favourite authors enough to plan an entire trip to Oxford to indulge this whim. What am I talking about, you ask? Why, V.E. Schwab’s Tolkien Lecture given at Pembroke College, Oxford. Of course. An annual lecture, Pembroke College’s J.R.R. Tolkien Lecture series is organised by students of the college and based on the topic of speculative fiction (often, fantasy and sci-fi), it invites an influential person within the field to speak on the topic. Previous speakers have included Lev Grossman and Susan Cooper and, this year, it added V.E. Schwab to its growing ranks.

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Hello folks, I hope you’re all well on what is a rather nice Spring day in England. This past weekend was filled with low-key fun with friends from university who decided to visit me and Liz up in Liverpool and soak up some of that totally unexpected sunshine. We wandered around pretty places, ate a lot of breakfast food, and just generally chatted – it was lovely and exactly what I needed. That meant that my blogging fell by the wayside but rather than bore you with apologies, let’s just get this metaphorical show back on the road with a May TBR post.

You may have seen my recent April Wrap Up and deduced, based on my April TBR post, that I’m not exactly brilliant at sticking to “assigned” books in any given month. That is, I think, the mild way of putting it. However, I am trying. So, to paraphrase Captain Barbossa, the books that appear on these TBRs are more what you’d call guidelines than actual rules… and it is a fun surprise to see how I have fared come the end of the month.

(One thing is for sure – there’s no way I’m getting to all twelve of these books in the month of May unless I develop some wicked speed reading skills… here’s to hoping!)


  1. The Dark Days Pact by Alison Goodman
  2. The Watchmaker of Filigree Street by Natasha Pulley
  3. The Mermaid and Mrs Hancock by Imogen Hermes Gowar
  4. Where Angels Fear to Tread by E.M. Forster
  5. And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie
  6. Cranford by Elisabeth Gaskell
  7. The Exact Opposite of Okay by Laura Steven (for Crone Bloggers Book Club)
  8. The Summer of Us by Cecilia Vinesse (eARC)
  9. The Smoke Thieves by Sally Green (eARC)
  10. The Queens of Innis Lear by Tessa Gratton (eARC)
  11. The City of Brass by S.A. Chakraborty (eARC)
  12. Ace of Shades by Amanda Foody (eARC)

What books are you planning to read in the month of May?
Are there any new releases you’re really looking forward to picking up this month?
Are there any readathons happening this month that you’re taking part in?
Let me know in the comments section below!


Review | Falling Kingdoms by Morgan Rhodes

fallingkingdomsTitle: Falling Kingdoms (2012)
Author: Morgan Rhodes
Publisher: Penguin
Read: 21st – 24th February 2018
Genre: young-adult; fantasy
Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars

“In a land where magic has been forgotten and peace has reigned for centuries, unrest is simmering. Three kingdoms battle for power… A princess must journey into enemy territory in search of a magic long-thought extinct. A rebel becomes the leader of a bloody revolution. A Sorceress discovers the truth about the supernatural legacy she is destined to wield. It’s the eve of war. Each must choose a side. KINGDOMS WILL FALL.” (Synopsis from the publisher)

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Wrap Up | April 2018

Welcome one, welcome all, to my April Wrap Up. April opened up with the end of the Easter weekend which, for me, meant a whole lot of relaxing and doing not very much apart from staying home and reading. There were 2 very important events on my calendar for April – seeing Hairspray when its UK touring production came to the Liverpool Empire and seeing Avengers: Infinity War. I enjoyed both very much – though “enjoyment” seems a loaded word for the latter, for reasons why you can check out my “discussion” post about it but DO NOT read it unless you’ve seen all the MCU films, Infinity War included. Aside from this, there were a couple of book releases and readathons in April and it’s been generally a good month overall in terms of books, films, work, and life in general.

So without further ado, let’s take a look at the books I read in the month of April:

In April, I read a total of 7 books 6 fiction and non-fiction – and were re-reads (marked by *). This amounted to 2129 pages in total.

In terms of format: were paperback and 1 was an audiobook.

And as for genre, very broadly speaking, 2 were YA fantasywere children’s fantasy, was a YA dystopianwas science-fiction, and 1 was non-fiction.

Onto the books themselves…


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