Thursday, 22 July 2021

Top Ten Books On My Kindle Unlimited TBR

 Ever since getting a Kindle Unlimited subscription at the end of last year, my TBR has never stopped growing. As I'm still trying to find what I like within the romance genre, KU has been a great way to try out new things and discover new authors. There are so many amazing books on KU, so I thought I would share some of the ones I am most excited to try out hopefully soon. 

1. The Dugout by Meghan Quinn - I read the first book in the Brentwood boys series recently and I really want to continue with the series. This is a sports romance series following a college baseball team.

2. The Match by Sarah Adams - This is the first book in the It Happened In Charleston Series and follows a woman who trains service dogs and a man looking for a service dog for his daughter. Sarah Adams is a new author I am really wanting to try out.

3. Lessons In Corruption by Giana Darling - This is the first book in the Fallen Men series, a MC romance series that is super popular in the romance community. This is unlike anything I would usually pick up, but I want to try new things within the romance genre.

4. Desolate by Autumn Grey - This is a NA romance about a man who has planned his whole life to become a priest, but falls in love and must choose between his calling or his love. This is one a lot of people seem to love.

5. The Two Week Stand by Samantha Towle - This is one I haven't heard much about but it sounds interesting. It is a beach romance following two strangers who meet on a two week trip to the Maldives, which is exactly what I'm in the mood for right now.

6. Twisted Love by Ana Huang - This is a dark romance that, again, is not really something I have picked up before but want to try out. It is a brother's best friend romance between two characters with dark pasts.

7. Pucked by Helena Hunting - This is the first book in a the super popular college sports romance series following a hockey team. I have heard a lot about this, and love a sports romance, so I'm excited to get started with this series.

8. One Hot Italian Summer by Karina Halle - Another one I'm really in the mood for this summer. This follows a writer who escapes to her agent's Italian villa after the death of her writing partner, only to discover her agent's ex-husband and son are living their. Karina Halle is an author I have really been wanting to try out.

9. On A Tuesday by Whitney G - This is another college sports romance series, with the first book following a footballer and his tutor.

10. Out Of Bounds by RS Grey - This is the second book in the Summer Games series, following athletes at the summer Olympic Games. I didn't love the first book, but the second is a romance between a gymnast and her coach. With the Olympics about to start, I'm totally in the mood for this. Hopefully I'll enjoy it more than the first book.

Those are ten of the books on KU that I am super excited to get to soon. I add books to my KU TBR constantly, so no doubt this top ten will be changing soon.

What is your top KU recommendations?

Sophie :)

Saturday, 17 July 2021

Down The TBR Hole: Version 2, Round 7


I've been slacking so it's time to get back to trying to get my Goodreads TBR down. Down The TBR Hole was created by Lost In A Story as a way of clearing out your Goodreads Want To Read Shelf. The idea is to sort your Want To Read shelf by date added, oldest to newest, and 5-10 books at a time, decide if you are still interested in reading them.

You can find my last round here: Version 2, Round 6.

This follows a group of teenagers working at a high-end restaurant and a game of dares with the chance to win some prize money. This sounds like something I would have absolutely loved a few years ago, but it's just not my thing anymore.

This is a book about a girl who, after her first time with her boyfriend goes wrong, discovers she is intersex, and follows her journey as this information is leaked to her entire school. I've never read anything with an intersex main character and have heard such great things about this book.

This is a YA historical fiction book following the first black girl in a previously all white school and a girl who's father is very vocal about his opposition to school integration who have to work together on a school project. This sounds like a really important read and I have heard some great things about it, but I'm really not into historical fiction.

This is a memoir of a flight attendant. I am really into these kinds of books as I love learning about other professions and individual's experiences in their profession. This is a book I would be interested in, but the reviews are not great.

This is a YA paranormal romance about a girl who can sense the bodies of people who have been murdered and the 'imprints' they attach to their killers. When a serial killer is terrorising her town, she decides to try and hunt them down. This is such an interesting premise, and I almost kept it based on premise alone, but it has some really bad reviews that have put me off.

This is one that seems to have been rereleased just last year but I have had it on my Goodreads shelf since 2015. It is a YA thriller about a girl who goes on a camping trip and during the trip disturbs a pagan burial ground, leaving the boy she was with in a coma. I think I added this to my TBR because it was set in Scotland. It's an interesting premise but not something I would reach for usually.

I clearly added this one because everyone else was reading it and I didn't want to be left out. This is a YA fantasy about a land in which the King takes a new bride each night only for her to be killed by the next morning. It follows a girl who volunteers to be his next bride with the intention of not only surviving the night, but killing the King. Typically this wouldn't be my thing but I'm so intrigued by that premise that I kind of want to give it a go.

This is a YA contemporary about a girl who uncovers a secret about her boyfriend and best friend that leaves her heartbroken, just before leaving for a summer in Hawaii. I'm so tempted to keep this because of the Hawaii setting, because I'm desperate to be somewhere sunny, but this does just sound like a typical YA contemporary and nothing too special.

This is a YA Sherlock Holmes retelling of sorts, but following Sherlock Holmes great-great-great-granddaughter. It takes place in a boarding school and she has to solve the murder of one of the students. This is some thing I would have loved a few years ago but now it probably not something I'll ever get around to picking up.

I remember adding this to my TBR purely because the title was catchy. This is YA fake dating romance, following the good girl who has always been very dedicated to her studies and the bad boy surfer. The two have to fake date after getting drunk at a party and waking up next to each other. This is another one I probably would have loved years ago but now will never get around to.

Two staying, Eight going. Want To Read shelf at 589.

Another brutal round this time. I think I'm getting to the point in my Goodreads shelf in which I was adding everything that sounded remotely interested because I wanted to read the books everyone was talking about. That should mean I'll be doing a lot of clearing out in the next few rounds. So even though my total number of books on the shelf didn't go down, because I added a new shelf for all of the KU books on my radar, I'm still doing a good job of getting rid of the books I will never get around to reading.

Have you read any of these books? What were your thoughts?

Sophie :)

Wednesday, 14 July 2021

Mid-Year Book Freakout 2021

 We've reached that point in the year already, it's time to look back on the first half of the year and see how my reading has been in 2021 so far. I have been doing the Mid Year Book Freakout since 2015 and it's one of my favourite posts to do each year. I find it so interesting to look back on my reading and see what I should be reading more of in the next half of the year. 

From the beginning of January to the end of June, I have read 46 books. Considering I usually set my yearly goal for 50, thats pretty impressive for me. Of those 46 books, 17 were audiobooks, 15 were ebooks, only 4 were physical books, and 10 were a combination of audio and either physical or ebook. I have read mostly Adult books at 34, with 6 NA and 6 YA, which is a big shift from previous years. Unsurprisingly, my most read genre so far this year has been Romance at 34 books and I don't see that changing. I have had SEVEN 5 star reads so far this year, which is more than I had in all of 2020, and my average rating is currently sitting at 3.5 stars. From those stats alone you could say 2021 has been a pretty great reading year so far.

1. Best Book You've Read So Far In 2021

This is so hard to choose this year! I have a few that are all fighting for the top spot but I'm going to go with The Simple Wild by KA Tucker. I loved this book so much and am already caught up with the series, which says a lot since I'm so terrible at reading series.

2. Best Sequel You've Read So Far In 2021

This is another really hard one! I've read a lot of really great sequels so far this year. I could definitely say the sequels to The Simple Wild, but I can't use those books for every answer. I'm going to go with Love Her Or Lose Her by Tessa Bailey. This was a bit of a surprise as I only gave 3 stars to the first book in the series, but I really loved this one.

3. New Release You Haven't Read Yet But Want To

The Soulmate Equation by Christina Lauren is one that I have been desperate to read, and own the ebook of, but just haven't picked it up yet. I'll definitely be getting to it soon.

4. Most Anticipated Release For The Second Half Of The Year

I probably have to go with With You Forever by Chloe Liese. This is the fourth book in the Bergman Brothers series, which I started this year and am already caught up with. I am so excited for Axel's book and just to spend more time with this family.

5. Biggest Disappointment

Unfortunately, I have a few disappointments in amongst all of the great books I have read so far this year. As sad as it makes me, I have to say Take Me Home Tonight by Morgan Matson. This was one of my most anticipated books of the year but it just wasn't for me.

6. Biggest Surprise

I would have to say The Duke And I by Julia Quinn, or really the Bridgertons series as a whole. I had never read historical romance before I picked up the first book in this series, and only did so after watching and loving the TV series, and I was so surprised when I really enjoyed it. I definitely want to pick up more historical romance once I've finished this series.

7. Favourite New Author

This has been the year of discovering amazing new authors, so this is the hardest question. I'm going to go with Brittainy C Cherry because I have read three of her books so far this year and given out two 5 stars and a 4 star. My favourite from her so far has to be Eleanor & Grey.

8. Newest Fictional Crush

Again, this is so hard! I've read a lot of really great heroes so far this year. One of my favourites was definitely Alex from People We Meet On Vacation by Emily Henry, he was an absolute sweetheart.

9. Newest Fictional Character

This is another one I could have so many answers for but I'm going to go with Penelope from Romancing Mister Bridgerton by Julia Quinn. I just love her so much!

10. Book That Made You Cry

I didn't want to use the same book to answer more than one question but no book made me ugly cry the way The Simple Wild by KA Tucker did. I'm talking full on sobbing.

11. Book That Made You Happy

I've been really into the emotional romances lately so I didn't have a lot of choice for this question. I'm going to go with Forever Wild by KA Tucker because being with these characters makes me happy.

12. Favourite Book To Movie Adaptation You've Seen So Far This Year

I'm cheating slightly because it's a TV show rather than a movie but I definitely have to say Bridgerton. I loved that adaptation so much.

13. Favourite Review/Post You've Done This Year

I've been really slacking with blogging so far this year but Reading Booktube's Favourite Romances Of 2020 was really fun.

14. Most Beautiful Book You've Bought So Far This Year

I haven't bought a lot of physical books this year so far but I did buy Wild At Heart by KA Tucker and that cover is beautiful.

15. Books You Need To Read By The End Of 2021

Oh God, there's so many! I would like to read all of the books I've physically owned since 2014 or earlier, which is only 7 books but none are ones I'm excited to read. I think I might start doing a series here on the blog about this process. I would also like to finish the Bridgertons series, I don't think that will be too big of an ask.

That was the 2021 Mid Year Book Freakout. I've definitely had a good reading year so far this year, I'm really hoping it will continue throughout the second half of the year. 

What has been your favourite book of 2021 so far?

Sophie :)

Sunday, 11 July 2021

Top Five Books I Want To Read This Summer

 We all know by now how terrible I am at sticking to TBRs. And yet, here I am making another one. There are so many books I want to read this summer and even though we are now already a month into summer, I still want to share some of those in the hopes it encourages me to actually pick them up.

As it is summer, and I am very much a seasonal reader, these are all going to be summery romances. I always seem to read almost entirely contemporary romance in the summer months, and that is exactly what I am in the mood for right now.

1. The Soulmate Equation by Christina Lauren

This is one of my most anticipated releases of the year but I just haven't gotten around to it yet. This is definitely a priority for the coming months. It follows a single mother who decides to try out an app that claims to use DNA to find your soulmate. It reminds me of The One by John Marrs, but hopefully with a happier ending.

2. Birthday Girl by Penelope Douglas

Everyone in the romance community raves about this book and I still haven't read it. The cover makes it look perfect for summer so I'll hopefully get to it soon. This is a forbidden romance between a girl and her boyfriend's father.

3. The Hating Game by Sally Thorne

Apparently I want to spend this summer reading the hyped books I haven't read yet. This is one of the most hyped romances and I'm a little scared to pick it up. It is an enemies to lovers office romance between two coworkers who are going for the same promotion.

4. The Deal by Elle Kennedy

This is the first book in the Off-Campus series, a New Adult sports romance series. I am in the mood for all the sports romances just now and this is a series I have heard so much about. This is a romance between the captain of the hockey team and the girl tutoring him.

5. Breathe by Abbi Glines

This is the only book on this list that is on my physical TBR. This is the first book in the Sea Breeze series and follows a girl who has to take on her mother's job as a 'domestic servant' for a wealthy family in the beach town. This is giving me all the summer vibes.

Those are five of the books I really want to get around to in the next couple of months. We'll see how many of them I actually get around to reading, but they are the ones that I'm really in the mood for right now. 

What books are you hoping to get to this summer?

Sophie :)

Thursday, 8 July 2021

May & June 2021 Wrap Up

 In case you couldn't tell by the fact I was nowhere to be seen for the entire month of June, things have been a bit crazy around here. I moved house in June, which meant that everything else in my life took a major back seat. I didn't blog at all, I didn't even go on bookstagram to browse and I didn't do a whole lot of reading. Since I didn't get the chance to wrap up May before the madness began, I'm combining my May and June wrap ups. In May, I managed to stick with what seems to be my usual for 2021 and read another 8 books. In June, however, I only managed to get to 5 books. I don't think 5 is too bad considering how busy I have been, but it would have been nice to at least keep the consistency of 8 books a month.

I'm not going to go into too much detail, we do have 13 books to get through, so I would recommend checking out my bookstagram for more in details reviews which I will be getting to soon.



The Roommate by Rosie Danan -

This is a romance that seemed to take the community by storm towards the end of last year. It follows Clara, a clean-cut socialite, who moves across the country to move in with her crush, only to discover he is going away on tour and has rented out his room to Josh, a successful porn star. I love a good forced proximity romance and I really enjoyed this. It also had a bit of an enemies to friends to lovers thing going on, which is one of my favourite tropes in romance. The thing about this book that really stands out is the attitude towards sex. This is a very sex positive book, with a lot of talk about sex workers and the porn industry, which play a massive role in the story. It was refreshing and just a lot of fun to read. I enjoyed the characters and their relationship, and really enjoyed watching it develop. There were a few things, such as Clara's unhealthy crush, that I didn't love in this book, but I did have a good time reading it.

Rating: 4/5

People We Meet On Vacation by Emily Henry -

This was possibly my most anticipated book of 2021 and it did not disappoint. This book follows Poppy and Alex, friends since college who take a trip together every summer, until two years ago when everything went wrong. With Poppy feeling stuck in a rut, she decides it is the perfect time to reconnect with her best friend and convinces Alex to take one more trip with her. I loved this book with my whole heart. I didn't expect to love this more than Beach Read but this book was everything. Poppy and Alex are such flawed characters but the kind you can see yourself in and can't help but root for. I adored their friendship, both in the flashbacks to previous trips, and in present day. The friends to lovers romance was so perfect, I was completely in love with them. This book was just hilarious, while also being heartbreaking and incredibly sweet. I just loved it so much and want to reread it already.

Rating: 5/5

Wild At Heart by KA Tucker -

I read The Simple Wild in April and completely adored it, so I knew I had to pick up the sequel right away. Wild At Heart picks up right where The Simple Wild ended and follows Calla and Jonah as they navigate life as a couple. I knew I wasn't going to love this as much as the first book. I loved Calla and Jonah's banter and how the behaved around each other as they were getting to know each other and going from enemies to lovers, and I knew that aspect wasn't going to be as strong in an established relationship. However, I did still really love seeing them as a couple and experiencing the start of their journey as a couple. I did get irritated by things both characters did and how they behaved at points, but generally still loved them just as much as in the first book. I didn't love this one quite as much as the first book, but I did still really enjoy this sequel and getting to spend more time with these characters.

Rating: 4/5

Make It Sweet by Kristen Callihan -

This is one I picked up at random from KU. It follows Emma, the star of a popular TV show who has just discovered her character is getting killed off and that her boyfriend is cheating, and Lucian, an ex-hockey player struggling with his decision to leave the game he loves for the sake of his health. The two meet when Emma escapes to a secluded estate, which happens to be owned by Lucian's grandmother. This was fun but forgettable. I enjoyed the setting, the characters were fine and the plot was enough to keep me interested. Lucian is a really great chef and baker, which was an aspect I really enjoyed. In the end though, I found myself getting bored and wasn't a fan of the conflict.

Rating: 3/5

Forever Wild by KA Tucker -

I love this series so much I even had to read the Christmas novella in May. This is book 2.5 in the series and follows Calla and Jonah as they prepare to spend Christmas with both their families in their home. It was everything I never knew I needed, as a lover of both Christmas and this series. There was so much packed into 160 pages, it felt like full length novel. It wad fun, it had it's tense moments, but overall it was pure heartwarming goodness. I could read a million books about these characters.

Rating: 5/5

Take Me Home Tonight by Morgan Matson -

This was another of my most anticipated books of 2021, but unfortunately this one was a disappointment. It follows Kat and Stevie, two best friends who spend the night in New York City and everything that possibly could goes wrong. Morgan Matson is one of my favourite authors, so after waiting nearly 3 years I was very excited for a new book from her. Unfortunately, this just wasn't for me. Maybe I'm just getting too old for fun YA contemporaries, though I really hope not, but I just couldn't enjoy this one. This book is chaotic. Everything that could go wrong for these girls does and not one thing that happens is believable. I know I need to suspend my disbelief, but this book just took it to another level. I also really didn't like these characters. Their friendship is not good, which was sad as that is usually my favourite aspect of Morgan Matson's books. They are not good friends to each other and they both just really annoyed me in general. The one thing I did really love was the relationships that developed between Stevie and her step-siblings. I thought that was great and I would have much preferred to read a book that entirely focused on that. It did have it's good points, but it is definitely my least favourite of Morgan Matson's books. Don't even get me started on Teri's odd side plot.

Rating: 2/5

The Secret Note by Lauren Rowe -

This is a super quick novella and sadly another disappointment. It follows a girl who gets with her brother's friend on a camping trip and then the two reconnect years later. It was super short, not very steamy and pretty boring. I didn't care about the characters or their relationship, the plot was repetitive and dull and I didn't care for the writing. I have heard great things about Lauren Rowe, so I'm hoping this just isn't a good representation of her work.

Rating: 2/5

Love Her Or Lose Her by Tessa Bailey -

After reading the first book in the Hot and Hammered series in May, I was really interested in picking up the second book in the series. This follows a married couple, Rosie and Dominic, who we were introduced to in the first book, who were high school sweethearts but have recently found their marriage to be in trouble. Rosie is unhappy in her marriage and so decides the pair need a marriage boot camp. I enjoyed this book even more than the first. I haven't read a lot of romances featuring married couples but I really loved this one. I adored both of the characters and loved seeing them grow throughout the book. Rosie is such a badass, strong woman and I was just so proud of her by the end of the book. Dominic is a big alpha-softie who adores Rosie with all of his heart but struggles with how to show her, and is so completely lost without her. I was rooting for them from the very beginning and felt so immersed in their journey. They learnt so much about each other, and I actually took a lot from this book as well. I really enjoyed this book and can't wait to continue with the series.

Rating: 4/5

Shipped by Angie Hockman -

Since I'm not getting to leave the not-so-sunny UK any time in the near future, I have been reading my fair share of vacation books. That is why I picked up Shipped. This is an enemies-to-lovers romance following two employees, who are competing for the same job, who are sent on a cruise of the Galapagos Islands. Enemies-to-lovers, forced proximity, tropical cruise, these are all things I can get on board with in my romances. I really enjoyed the first three quarters of this book. I loved the whole cruise aspect and getting to go on some really exciting excursions with the characters in paradise. I liked the rivalry and the banter between the main characters and how their behaviours changed when they started to develop some feelings. I liked the friendships and the sibling relationship. This book was just so much fun, if a little lacking in the romance which I didn't mind too much, until we got to the end. The ending was over the top and then very convenient. I didn't find it believable and found it really took away from the ending the romance could have had.

Rating: 3/5

Romancing Mister Bridgerton by Julia Quinn -

I'm gradually making my way through the Bridgertons series and this was the one I was most excited about. This is Colin and Penelope's story and they are two of my favourite characters in the whole series. It is a best friend's brother/friends-to-lovers romance and it was adorable. As always, I freaking loved Penelope in this book. She is so strong and so confident for someone who is constantly looked down upon and talked badly about. My only disappointment in this book was, very sadly, Colin. I didn't like the way he behaved and some of the things he said at times and it actually made me quite sad. However, he did redeem himself and I still love him. I really enjoyed this story and this romance, although I found the romance to be quite sudden and would have liked more of a build up. I can't really say too much else without spoiling things, but overall I am really enjoying this series and this book was no exception.

Rating: 4/5

Once Ghosted, Twice Shy by Alyssa Cole -

This is a novella in the Reluctant Royals series, which I didn't realise going in as this is the only book in the series available from my library. It follows Likotsi and Fabiola, two women who had a short lived love affair that ended abruptly, who then bump into each other again months later and spend the day together. I don't know if I would have enjoyed this more had I read the previous books in the series, but I felt like I was missing something from the start of this book. While I really enjoyed the characters and them navigating the awkward situation they find themselves in as they try to rebuild a damaged relationship, I just never felt connected to the story. I think I needed to know about their first meeting before being thrown into their reconnecting in order to be invested in their relationship as much as I would have liked. I did still enjoy reading this and will probably pick up other books in this series.

Rating: 3/5

The Locker Room by Meghan Quinn -

This is a college baseball romance and the first in the Brentwood Boys series. It follows Emory, who transfers to a different college after a pretty horrific break up from her boyfriend of 6 years, and Knox, the star of the baseball team. The two meet by chance a couple of times before developing a friendship, but of course that starts to develop into something more. I love a sports romance, especially one set in college, so I was devouring this book. I loved it so much in the beginning. The friendship that developed between the characters, the effortless banter, the way they could be vulnerable with each other, I was loving it all. However, there is a time jump. Unfortunately, it all went a bit downhill for me after the time jump and I just didn't enjoy it as much. I think that is definitely a me thing and it wont stop me from picking up more books in this series.

Rating: 3/5

Like You Love Me by Adrianna Locke -

This is another one that I picked up at random from KU. It is a small town, childhood friends to lovers, marriage of convenience romance following Holden, a vet who comes back to town to help out his grandfather after ending his engagement and losing his job, and Sophie, who is struggling to save the B&B her grandmother left her. The two were best friends as children when Holden spent his summers in the small town and decide to get married in order to help Holden get his dream job. I liked the small town aspect, everyone knowing everyone, getting in each other's business and always being there to help someone in need out. I thought the childhood friends to lovers aspect was fine but I think the romance could have been developed a lot more, it was all a bit fast. Marriage of convenience doesn't always work for me and it didn't really do it in this book. I didn't agree with their decision and the reasoning behind it so couldn't get completely on board with it. Overall, while I enjoyed some aspects of it, this book just wasn't for me.

Those are the 13 books I read in May and June. Another mixed bag in terms of ratings, but some books that will definitely make it into my favourites of the year. 

Unfortunately, my lack of reading in June has put me way behind on my goal for the year, so hopefully I can catch up a bit in July. I'm also hoping to get back into the swing of blogging and posting on instagram now that I am more settled in my new home and hopefully things are going to calm down a little.

What was the best book you read recently?

Sophie :)

Tuesday, 25 May 2021

Down The TBR Hole: Version 2, Round 6


Here we go again! Let's carry on with trying to whittle down my Goodreads TBR. Down The TBR Hole was created by Lost In A Story as a way of clearing out your Goodreads Want To Read Shelf. If you haven't seen it before, the idea is to sort your Want To Read shelf by date added, oldest to newest, and taking 5-10 books at a time, decide if you're still interested in reading it or not.

You can check out my last round here: Version 2, Round 5.

This is a YA contemporary about a rich girl whose father's business collapses, leaving her hanging out at her uncle's thrift shop. This is another one of those books that I probably would have loved had I read it in 2015 when I added it to my shelf, but not so much now.

This YA summer romance sounds like it would have been exactly my kind of book a few years ago. It is about a girl who spends her summer in Cape Cod, meets an older boy and, it sounds like, lies about her age to be with him. This just isn't something I'm interested in anymore.

I heard so many amazing things about this book when it was first published back in 2015. It follows a girl in an eating disorder treatment centre, who is determined to end her own life on the anniversary of her brother's death. This sounds very hard to read, but it is still something I am interested in picking up.

Another YA contemporary, this time about a girl who, just before her graduation, receives an email she wrote to herself in her freshman year that has her questioning the choices she has made. This is another one that I probably would have enjoyed back in the day, but I'm not interested anymore.

From what I can understand, this is the story of a relationship told in the form of a dictionary. I have no idea what that would be like. This just sounds a bit too quirky and too much for me. I think I'll give it a pass.

This is a YA alien romance between a human girl and the alien exchange student living with her. This could be a fun read, but I'm not really feeling angsty teenage alien romance.

Sophie Kinsella and I have parted ways. I have reached the conclusion that her books are not for me, so I won't be picking up this one.

I have heard amazing things about this and the premise sounds like something that will break my heart, which tends to be a feature of the books I love. This is about a girl who wakes up on her front porch after a party with no memory of what happened to her, but photographs taken by other show the terrifying truth. However, when the town hero is involved, noone is interested in the truth. I'm definitely still interested in picking this up.

A novel told in verse about a girl who discovers her father with a man, and then discovers his secret HIV diagnosis. I was still interested in this book until I discovered it is set in 1993 and for some reason that just puts me off. 

I think I added this because I had just read and loved a series by Jenny B Jones, who is featured in this collection. It is a collection of four novellas following four childhood best friends, who are now in college, and come together each summer to reconnect. I'm not really interested in this anymore.

Two staying, Eight going. Want To Read shelf at 559.

I'm getting more and more brutal it seems. I also took some books off of my Want To Read shelf that I have unhauled recently, so the total number is down by 11. I think that is pretty good since I can't seem to stop adding new books to the shelf. 

Have I made any mistakes? Did I get rid of any books you think I should definitely give a go?

Sophie :)

Thursday, 13 May 2021

April 2021 Wrap Up

 Long time, no see! Once again, my mental health has had me having to take a bit of a break from blogging over the past month or so. Life is just a lot right now, as it is for everyone given the current circumstances of the world, and blogging seems to be the first thing to go when it's all getting to be a bit much for me. Despite not being around on this blog in the month of April, I did still managed to read a decent amount. I have also been trying to be a bit more active on Instagram, so definitely check that out and give me a follow over there.

In terms of April's reading; I read another 8 books, which seems to be consistent for me this year, including 2 five star reads. I discovered some new authors, read new releases by favourite authors, and started a couple of new series.

The Simple Wild by KA Tucker -

This was on my Spring TBR after seeing it recommended over and over in the book community. It follows Calla who, learning of her estranged father's cancer diagnosis, returns to her childhood home in Alaska in order to reconnect with him. While attempting to adjust to the very different lifestyle, she starts to get closer to the annoying and obnoxious neighbour who works with her father. This completely took me by surprise. I was initially drawn in by the Alaska setting and following Calla as she tried to change her city girl ways and adapt to Alaska life, both of which were aspects of the story I really enjoyed, but I didn't expect this book to impact me so much. I really loved Calla as our main character. She is a witty, takes no nonsense kind of gal, but we get to see her vulnerable side open up as the book goes on. I just loved following her journey. I found the relationship between Calla and her father very touching to read, and seeing them put aside their differences and the issues Calla has had with her father over the years in order to get to know each other in the time they had left together was so heart-warming. Their story completely broke me! Obviously, this is also an enemies-to-lovers romance between Calla and Jonah, who unexpectedly became one of my favourite couples. I loved their relationship from their first meeting, they had the best banter and knew exactly how to get a reaction out of each other, which was a lot of fun to read. I fell in love with their relationship, as well as every other aspect of this book. I can't wait to continue with their story.

Rating: 5/5

Fix Her Up by Tessa Bailey -

This is another one that I picked up based on recommendations from the book community. It has been on my radar for a while but the mixed reviews made me a little uncertain to pick it up at first. This follows Georgie, the youngest sibling in the Castle family who, partly due to her job as a children's party clown, is never taken seriously be the rest of her family. When ex-baseball star and her older brother's best friend, Travis, comes back to town after an injury ruins his career, the two decide to help each other out. They decide to fake date in order to help Georgie be taken more seriously, and to help Travis land a new job. The only catch is Georgie has been in love with Travis since she was a kid. This was a fun fake-dating story, with a whole lot of steam. I enjoyed a lot about this book, but it just didn't do it for me overall. I liked the characters, I enjoyed the family dynamic and how Georgie was trying to change it. I really loved the group Georgie formed with Bethany and Rosie, and I am so glad the other two are getting their own books in this series. It was great to see three women trying to build each other up and support each other to reach their goals. However, I did find some things annoying. I found Georgie to be quite juvenile at times, and could kind of understand why her family treated her like a child at times. I felt as though this was kind of emphasised by having her be a virgin. It is insinuated that she is a virgin due to her crush on Travis, which made the fake dating him feel a bit off to me. I also didn't really understand the need for Georgie and Travis to fake date, at least on her part, though I did enjoy them as a couple. I just have some mixed feeling about this book, although I will definitely be continuing in this series.

Rating: 3/5

The Reason I Jump: The Inner Voice Of A Thirteen-Year-Old Boy With Autism by Naoki Higashida -

I picked this one up as my non-fiction read of the month. It has been on my radar for a few years, so when I saw the audiobook available from my library I decided to give it a go. This is a book written by a thirteen-year-old Japanese boy with autism, who answers various questions throughout the book about living with autism. It needs to be said that I am not the audience this book is targeted towards. It is mentioned in the introduction to the translated edition that this book is great for parents of children on the autism spectrum looking to understand more about what their child may be thinking when they are unable to explain themselves. It was an interesting read, however I had some issues I couldn't look past. My biggest issue with this book was the generalisation and stereotyping. It is mentioned on various occasions throughout the book that not all children with autism are the same or think the same, yet is is often stated that 'us autistic kids' do certain things. I definitely think this is an important read and could be so helpful for so many, but it just wasn't for me, and it wasn't meant to be.

No Rating.

An Offer From A Gentleman by Julia Quinn -

This is the third book in the Bridgertons series, which I have been making my way through slowly this year. This book follows Benedict, the second eldest son of the Bridgerton family, in a Cinderella retelling in which he is abandoned at a ball at midnight by a mysterious woman. That mysterious woman is Sophie Beckett, made a servant by her stepmother after the death of her father. This was another fun instalment in the series, but didn't quite beat the second book from my top spot. I had really enjoyed Benedict's character in the previous books, and was excited to read his story, but ended up starting to dislike him as this book progressed. I found him to be quite controlling at times and was pretty unimpressed by some of his actions. However, he did redeem himself and I liked him again by the end of the book. I'm not a huge fan of Cinderella retellings, so this was never going to be a new favourite for me, but I didn't hate that aspect of the story. My biggest issue with this book was, sadly, the romance. I liked Sophie, she was fun and feisty heroine, but I struggled to see the connection between her and Benedict. They had a great first meeting, and I could understand the interest they each had in each other, but the obsession they both had for years and the instant connection when they were reunited, despite Benedict having no idea who she was, I couldn't get on board with. It was a fun read, and I am loving this series, but this wasn't my new favourite.

Rating: 3.5/5

We Are Inevitable by Gayle Forman -

Gayle Forman is an author I have had some real hits and misses with. Her previous release, I Have Lost My Way, I completely fell in love with, so I was highly anticipating her newest book. We Are Inevitable follows Aaron who feels he has been left behind in his small town in order to help his father run the family's failing bookstore. He basically hates everything and everyone, but throughout the book finds some unlikely friends and maybe even love. It pains me to say that this book was not for me. I can see it's appeal and definitely think it will be a hit for a lot of people, but it was not my book. I hated Aaron as a main character! He was horrible to everyone around him, so inconsiderate towards his father, and I just didn't care about him at all. That wouldn't have been too much of an issue if this book had more to the plot, but it was very character driven. The failing bookstore plot wasn't anything exciting and the romance was a bit of a fail for me. The side characters and the ending were about the only redeeming qualities for me. However, as I said, I do feel this was very much a case of the book not being for me rather than being a bad book. I would be aware, though, that this book deals with topics such as addiction and substance misuse, and discusses addiction in some not so great ways that made me uncomfortable.

Rating: 2/5

Destination Anywhere by Sara Barnard - 

After a disappointing new release from an author I love, I was a little wary going into this one. Sara Barnard is one of my favourite authors, I have loved everything I have read from her, and her 2021 release sounded perfect for me. Destination Anywhere follows Peyton, who has spent her whole life just trying to fit in and find friends. When she starts sixth form college and finds a friendship group of her own, she thinks all of her problems are finally over. However, after an incident with her friends group, she finds herself booking a one-way ticket to Canada for an adventure of a lifetime. I am of the firm belief that Sara Barnard can do no wrong and I will never not love her books. I was uncertain at the beginning, Peyton took a bit of getting used to as a character and I did have to suspend my disbelief for some of the plot points at the beginning, but as soon as the story got going I was hooked. It is told in alternating present day and flashback chapters, which I think worked really well for this story. Both timelines kept my attention and I was never skimming through one to get to the other. The flashback chapters, detailing Peyton's horrendous bullying during her school life and introducing her sixth form friends, were heartbreaking and very difficult to read. The present day chapters following her adventures around Canada were my favourite, I absolutely loved going on this journey with Peyton and all the incredible people she meets along the way. I had a great time exploring Canada through this book, especially as we can't travel at the moment, but also enjoyed seeing Peyton grow as a person during her trip. I just really loved this story, and I'm not planning my own trip to Canada for when we're finally able to travel again.

Rating: 5/5

The Wreckage Of Us by Brittainy C Cherry -

This was another of the books on my Spring TBR, maybe I'm getting better at sticking to them. I have slowly been working my way through Brittainy C Cherry's backlist since first discovering, and falling in love with, her books in February. This month, I decided to pick up this small town, enemies-to-lovers, rockstar romance. This book follows Hazel, who finds herself working and living on a ranch after her stepdad kicks her out. There she ends up living with Ian, the town's up-and-coming singer/songwriter, who happens to hold a huge grudge against Hazel. Of course, this is their romance. This had a lot of things I love in it; small town, forced proximity, enemies-to-lovers, and even a baby after Hazel has to look after her newborn stepsister. I really enjoyed all of those aspects, especially the perfectly developed enemies to friends to lovers relationship that forms between Hazel and Ian. I also really loved the found family element, as Ian's grandparents and bandmates bring Hazel into their lives. The rockstar and fame aspect, though not something I typically dislike, was something I could have done without in this book. I liked that songwriting really brought the characters together, but I just didn't care for the rest of it. I also found the drama that lead to the conflict to be a bit too much for me. While I did enjoy so much of this book, it is my least favourite of Brittainy C Cherry's books I have read so far.

Rating: 4/5

Twice In A Blue Moon by Christina Lauren -

I ended the month by giving another hit-or-miss author another shot. I read four books by this author duo in 2020, my first time reading anything from them, two of which I loved, one I thought was just okay, and one I disliked. It seemed like time to give them another shot, so I picked up Twice In A Blue Moon. This follows Tate and Sam, who first meet while both on trips to London as teenagers and enjoy a summer romance. When Tate reveals her biggest secret to Sam, only for that secret to get out, her life is changed forever. Fourteen years later, the two are reunited. Sadly, this was a bit of a miss for me. I wanted to like it, but there was a lot I couldn't get on board with. The biggest issue, one that really isn't great in a romance, was that I could not see the connection between these characters. They fell in love within what felt like minutes of knowing each other and I couldn't understand why. Of course, crazy in love Tate then reveals her big life secret to the boy she barely knows and is shocked when that secret gets out. The big thing for me, though, was the grudge that she held for fourteen years, which I would say was pretty understandable, that she just dropped without much effort from Sam. I just couldn't get behind the romance at all. I also found the father/daughter aspect of the story to be pointless. This could have taken the father/daughter reconciliation plot and made it something touching and meaningful, but it was just a completely underdeveloped side plot that's only purpose was to cause conflict between the couple. Despite those two pretty major things that I didn't like about this book, I enjoyed pretty much everything else. I still had fun reading this book, particularly the present day when they were on the movie set. I found that part interesting and especially loved Tate's friends. Overall, I expected more so this was disappointing.

Rating: 3/5

That wraps up April. I had some hits and some misses, surprises and disappointments, but a pretty good reading month overall. 

What was your favourite read of April?

Sophie :)