Monday, 30 November 2020

TisTheSeasonAThon 2020 TBR

It is very nearly my absolute favourite time of year and this year I can finally take part in a Christmas themed readathon! I should be relaxing in the sun right now but, since Covid has meant that is not happening, I now have a whole week off work with no plans just in time for TisTheSeasonAThon, a holiday themed readathon starting today (November 30th) until December 6th, hosted by Bookables and A Court Of Crowns and Quills.

This readathon has both reading challenges and a bingo board. I am going to be trying to complete the challenges, but I would also like to get to some of the bingo board squares if I get the chance. I have so many Christmas books I want to get to but I'm trying not to be too over-ambitious with my TBR.

1. Group Book - In A Holidaze by Christina Lauren

I discovered Christina Lauren earlier this year so I am super excited that they have released a Christmas book. This follows a woman who is spending Christmas in a cabin with her family for the last time, but ends up reliving the Christmas over and over again. I am so glad this is the group book for this readathon as I was definitely wanting to get to it at some point this year.

2. Read a holiday themed book - All I Want For Christmas by Joanna Bolouri

This is a Christmas ARC that I didn't quite get to in time for it's release but still want to read soon. This is a romance following a Christmas grotto Santa who sets a single mother up on a date with his best friend but begins to develop feelings for her.

3. Read a book you meant to get to this year but didn't - The Flatshare by Beth O'Leary

This one might change, I haven't completely decided what I want to read for this prompt yet. I do really want to read The Flatshare before the end of the year but I will most likely read whatever I am in the mood for at the time. The Flatshare is a romance following two people who share a bed but have never met, as one works during the day and the other works at night.

4. Read a diverse book - Written In The Stars by Alexandria Bellefleur

This is another one that could change if I can get some recommendations of good LGBTQIA+ Christmas stories to add to my TBR. This one is a f/f fake dating romance following an astrologer and an actuary who pretend to date over the holiday period.

5. Read a book with lights on the cover - One New York Christmas by Mandy Baggot

Yet another Christmas romance, but this one takes place in New York. Two friends decide to spend the Christmas season in New York after one has a bad break up and I think there is a romance involving a famous actor. Christmas and New York are two of my favourite things, so I'm excited for this one.

6. A cozy read - 10 Blind Dates by Ashley Elston

Any of the books I am hoping to read for this readathon could probably count for this prompt, but for me nothing is more cozy than a YA contemporary. This follows a girl who's boyfriend breaks up with her just before Christmas and her family decide to set her up on blind dates to help her get over him.

Those are the books I am hoping to get to for each of the readathon challenges. I expect I will probably need to double up on some of these challenges, especially as I am wanting to fit in some novellas to meet some of the bingo board challenges. To be honest though, I'm really not bothered if I don't read all of the books and complete all of the challenges, I'll just be happy to start my December and holiday season off with a week of Christmas themed reading.

I am just in the mood to read all of the Christmas books at the moment and definitely need some recommendations. What are your favourite Christmas books?

Sophie :)

Thursday, 12 November 2020

Yet Another eBook Haul

I've been at it again with the ebook buying! I have bought hardly any physical books in 2020, but have been making up for it in ebooks. I didn't get quite as carried away this time around, only 19 books in the last two months. These were all either free or on sale through ibooks and Kindle.

1. A Favour For A Favour by Helena Hunting - The second book in a sports romance series following a hockey team. I already have the first book in the series on my Kindle so I'm ready for a series binge.

2. A Secret For A Secret by Helena Hunting - The third book in the same series.

3. It Was Always You by Brenna Aubrey - A Christmas brother's best friend romance novella.

4. Christmas On Main Street by Leanna Morgan - A Christmas romance, I think featuring some kind of secret Santa.

5. Rescuing You by Sarah Taylor - A steamy romance novella between a firefighter and a teacher.

6. Burn For Me by J.H. Croix - A second chance romance, also involving a firefighter.

7. Burn So Bad by J.H. Croix - In the same series, this is a hate to love romance with a firefighter.

8. Merry Me by Amanda Siegrist - Another holiday romance, with what sounds like a bit of a grumpy hero.

9. Christmas Trio by Shanid Boyes - A MMF steamy Christmas novella.

10. Dirty by Paula Cox - A dark, romantic suspense novella.

11. The Wreckage Of Us by Brittainy C Cherry - A NA romance between a girl with a rough home life and a musician, by an author I have heard so many great things about.

12. The Christmas Invitation by Trisha Ashley - A Christmas novel about a woman who spends Christmas in a small town and bumps into a man from her past.

13. The Turn Of The Key by Ruth Ware - Finally going to try out some Ruth Ware! This is a thriller involving a woman who gets a job as a nanny in a Highland home and then ends up in prison.

14. The Woman In Cabin 10 by Ruth Ware - Another Ruth Ware thriller, this time set on a cruise ship where a woman witnesses someone being thrown overboard.

15. Can You Hear Me? by Jake Jones - A little bit of non-fiction. This is a memoir from a paramedic in the UK.

16. One New York Christmas by Mandy Baggot - Another Christmas story! This one follows two best friends who go to New York for Christmas.

17. All About Us by Tom Ellen - And another Christmas novel, following a man who goes back in time to the moment he chose his current relationship over 'the one that got away' and must decide if he would do things differently.

18. This Time Next Year by Sophie Cousens - A New Year's romance following two complete opposites who share a moment on NYE and find themselves bumping into each other throughout the year.

19. Punk 57 by Penelope Douglas - A NA romance I knew nothing about but everyone seems to love it. It looks to be following two childhood pen-pals who meet in real life.

Another 19 books that I don't have a clue when I'll ever get to! Hopefully I can read a few of the holiday books in the coming months, but we'll see.

Which of these should I make a priority?

Sophie :)

Tuesday, 10 November 2020

Five Books I Want To Read By The End Of The Year

There are only six and a half weeks left of 2020, which is absolutely mad, and despite having read over 60 books so far this year, there are still books that I've been meaning to pick up but still have not gotten around to. My reading plans for the final two months of the year are pretty ambitious, so why not pile on the pressure and remind myself of five books I really do want to get to by the end of the year. I'm not holding my breath that it will happen but the intention is there.


1. Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare -

We were all expecting to see this book, right? This has been my highest priority book for the last few years and yet here we are again. I'm going to try and get to it by the end of the year but I'm doubtful at this point.

2. Know My Name by Chanel Miller -

I have started this one twice but it keeps getting returned to the library before I get very far in. This is the memoir of Chanel Miller, who's sexual assault case saw worldwide outrage when her attacker was sentenced to just six months in prison. What I have read of this was incredibly brave and impactful, I definitely hope to be able to finish it by the end of the year.

3. 10 Blind Dates by Ashley Elston -

This is a YA contemporary that takes place over Christmas and I was disappointed to run out of time to read it last year. It follows a girl who's boyfriend breaks up with her and her family take it upon themselves to set her up on 10 blind dates over the holiday season. This sounds like so much fun, I hope I can get to it this year.

4. The Flatshare by Beth O'Leary -

This was one of the most popular books of 2019 and I had really hoped to get to it earlier this year. It follows Tiffy and Leon who share a flat, and a bed, but have never met as one works during the day and the other works at night. I'm interested to see how this plays out so hopefully I can fit it in somewhere soon.

5. The Guest List by Lucy Foley -

I was planning to read this last month but with everything going on in my personal life I just didn't manage to. This is a thriller, set on an island off the coast of Ireland, in which members of a wedding party start being killed. I've heard so many amazing things about this one! I might be out of my thriller mood by now but maybe I can fit this in before I get into full Christmas mode.

Those are five books I would really like to get around to reading before the end of the year. I know it probably won't happen, I'm pretty incapable of actually reading the books I put in these lists, but I might get to a couple.

What book on this list do you recommend I pick up first?

Sophie :)

Monday, 9 November 2020

Down The TBR Hole: Version 2, Round 3


Down The TBR Hole was created by Lost In A Story to sort out your Goodreads Want To Read shelf. The idea is to sort your Want To Read Shelf by date added from oldest to newest, look at the books 5-10 at a time and decide if you are still interested in reading them. If you're not interested, off they go. 

In the last two rounds I have taken half of the books off the shelf, so let's continue to clear it out.

This is a YA contemporary about a new girl at a fancy boarding school, a friend's brother romance and a family secret. I 'm pretty sure this was a cover add back in the day because I don't remember the synopsis at all. This is probably something I could like but I doubt I will ever get around to reading it.

This is a NA romance about a classical musician who is asked to join a rock band on a reality TV show and falls for the lead singer. I thought this would be one I would have no interest in and get rid of without thinking, but the synopsis actually sounds quite intriguing to me.

Another YA contemporary, this time following a girl with cerebral palsy and a boy with OCD, who she hires to be a student aide. I want to be interested in reading this book, especially as good disability representation seems to be rare in YA. However, it is compared to Eleanor & Park, which I hated, and given low ratings by some people I follow who's opinions I trust.

A popular girl has every mean thing she has ever said displayed for the entire school to see and has to cope with losing all of her friends while dealing with the pressure her overbearing mother places on her. This is definitely something I would have loved back in 2015, when I added it to me Want To Read shelf, but I'm just not very interested now.

This is a NA romance that I think deals with abuse. The synopsis is so vague that I'm not entirely sure what it is about. I have heard a lot of people talk about this book and pretty much everyone I follow on Goodreads have rated it 5 stars.
Stay/ Go

This is a memoir following Amy Daws' journey to have a baby following the loss of five babies previously. This sounds heartbreaking, but also incredibly insightful and an important read. I still hope to get to this at some point.
Stay/ Go

A classic Christmas short story. I'm actually planning to read this to complete one of the bingo squares for TisTheSeasonAThon next month. 
Stay/ Go

Another Christmas story, this one about a man who has to travel from Washington DC to LA by train and the people he meets on the way. I am so in the mood for Christmas stories right now, so I'm definitely keeping this one around.

This is blurbed as Pretty Little Liars meets Final Destination and that's all I need to know. It is a YA thriller about a high school in which a list of the hottest girls in the school is made, but this year they all start to die. This sounds like my kind of thing.

This is the first book in a YA sci-fi series and even the synopsis confused me. Pretty much all I got from it was the fact it's inspired by Persuasion by Jane Austen. I'm not much of a sci-fi reader so I don't think I would ever end up picking this up.

Six staying, Four going. Want To Read shelf down to 535.

Not quite half and half this time but close enough, and I was reminded of some books I had completely forgotten about. 

Have I kept any book that you didn't enjoy?

Sophie :)

Friday, 6 November 2020

October 2020 Wrap Up

October was not the one and I'm glad it's over. Let's just say my reading in October was about as successful as my blogging, I failed miserably at both. I got some bad news at the beginning of the month and my mental health went pretty downhill, so I didn't really do anything other than work and watch TV for the majority of the month. Thankfully I am now in a much better place and back into reading, which has been great for lifting my mood. I did manage to read 3 books in October, including the last book in a series I have been reading forever! 

No Exit by Taylor Adams -

I had great plans to read a load of popular thrillers throughout October but this was the only one I ended up getting to. Everyone was raving about this last year and I was so intrigued by the premise. It follows a woman who gets caught in a blizzard on the way home to her dying mother and has to stop in a rest stop in the middle of nowhere with four strangers, where she discovers a girl little girl locked in a cage in a van. It has been a while since I read a thriller quite so creepy and atmospheric, this has me on edge. The remote rest stop setting was already creepy enough but adding in a blizzard made it such a claustrophobic setting, it was thrilling before anything even happened. This was full of suspense and a whole lot of twists and turns that had me on the edge of my seat. None of the twists totally blew me away but they just kept coming. It's hard to say much without giving anything away but I would definitely recommend this to thriller fans. This one managed to scare me.

Rating: 4/5

Meet Me In London by Georgia Toffolo -

I don't think I could get more of a complete opposite genre if I tried. From creepy thriller to fun Christmas romance. This is a fake engagement romance between an aspiring clothing designer and the son of department store chain who is in town to coordinate the opening of a new store. I'll be honest, I usually avoid books written by 'celebrities' but this one wasn't terrible. I wasn't blown away but it was a fun Christmas romance that I flew through. The characters were fine but forgettable, as was much of the plot. The romance was sweet, it developed nicely and, despite the fact there is a proposal upon first meeting, it isn't too instant. Both characters have somewhat interesting side plots as well. Our heroine is struggling to come to terms with the long term effects of an accident in her teens, while the hero's father is seriously ill. There was a lot going on but nothing was all that memorable. I listened to the audiobook of this, which was narrated by Georgia herself, and I didn't love it. It was quite clear that she didn't have a lot of experience with audiobooks, as it was simply read with no differentiation of what character was talking or any sort of emotion, which made it difficult to follow.

Rating: 3/5

Undivided by Neal Shusterman -

FINALLY!! After probably about ten years, I have finally finished the Unwind series! It was my goal for 2020 to finish this series, so I am so glad I have finally done it. I really wish I had read this whole series when I first started it years ago, as I'm sure I would have absolutely loved this final book back then. Unfortunately, upon rereading and continuing with the books in this series this year I found that it's just not my kind of thing anymore. I have still enjoyed this series, but just not as much as I first did. I thought this was a good ending to the series, still full of action and drama but it did a great job of wrapping up the story.

Rating: 3/5

Those are all three of the books I read in October. Now that I am back in the reading mood a bit more, I'm hopeful that November will be a better reading month. I can't wait to get in to all the Christmas romances, so if you have any recommendations please let me know in the comments.

What was the best book you read in October?

Sophie :)

Monday, 26 October 2020

Down The TBR Hole: Version 2, Round 2


It's time to clear out my ever growing TBR a bit more! Down The TBR Hole was created by Lost In A Story to sort out that mess of a Goodreads Want To Read shelf. The idea is to sort your Want To Read Shelf by date added from oldest to newest, look at the books 5-10 at a time and decide if you are still interested in reading them. If you're not interested, off they go.

I started this in 2017 but didn't get very far, so decided to go back to the beginning and start again. 

This is a romance set in Scotland about a woman with secrets and a man wanting more than just no strings attached. I have such mixed feelings about this book. I have heard some really great things about this book as a whole, but also some not so great things about the relationship. However, I'm interested to see how accurate the Scottish setting is considering the author is Scottish, as I usually hate books set in Scotland because of the inaccuracies. So for that reason only, I'm going to keep it.

I don't know what this is about and I don't need to. It's Colleen Hoover, everyone loves Colleen Hoover, I'm going to get around to it some time.

This is a NA sports romance between the quarterback and the coach's daughter. I love a sports romance and I've heard great things about this series.

This follows two best friends dealing with one of them being sick and trying to come to terms with the fact things might never go back to the way they were. This sounds like it could be a really great, emotional but lovely book. However, I don't realistically think I'll ever get to it. 

This sounds so good! It is a story about high school and rumours and things spiralling out of control after the star quarterback dies in a car accident. I'm definitely still interested in this.

A girl is caught in the backseat of a car with her brother's best friend and has to deal with becoming known as the 'school slut'. This is another one that is probably a really great book, but I'm just not going to get to it.

This follows a girl who has been told her whole like that World War 3 wiped out almost the entire population and a select few managed to survive in the Alaskan wilderness, only to discover that is not true and then has to try and survive in a modern world she doesn't understand. This is an intriguing premise but everyone I follow on Goodreads has given it a low rating. I think I'm interested enough to still want to give it a go.

I was so sure I would be keeping this one until I read the synopsis and just wasn't interested. It is about a girl who is fed up being the only virgin in her friend group so decides to have a one night stand to get it over with. However, she freaks out and leaves the guy naked in her bed, only to later discover he was her new professor. Maybe I'm making a huge mistake here as everyone seems to love it, but I'm just not interested anymore.

I still remember all of the hype surrounding this book when it was first published. It follows a girl who takes her best friend's date to prom when she is too sick to go, but a picture of an end of the night kiss between the two is posted all over social leading to a whole lot of drama. This sounds like the kind of book I would have loved back in the day, but not something I would be interested in now.

A high school teacher is given an abandoned storage unit by a friend and uncovers belongings, including journals, of a mystery woman. After reading her journals, she basically takes on this woman's life in order to discover what happened to her. This seems to be compared to Fifty Shades Of Grey a lot, which is interesting. I think this is another one that I could possibly enjoy but will most likely never get to.

Five staying, Five going. Want To Read shelf down to 540.

Again, half going and half staying. That's not to bad. Unfortunately, the overall number hasn't gone down very much because I have been adding more books to the shelf. 

Have I got rid of any that you think I should give a go?

Sophie :)

Thursday, 22 October 2020

I Recommend 5: YA Thrillers

I haven't done one of these in a couple of months but it seemed only right to use the month of October to recommend some edge of your seat, full of plot twist thrillers. I haven't read loads of thrillers, and a lot of the Adult thrillers I have read are the super popular ones that everyone will have heard of. I have, however, read quite a few YA thrillers over the years that I have really enjoyed and not heard too much about. I decided I would share five of them in the hope that you might find a great spooky season read. 

These are not necessarily books that I have rated 5 stars, as it takes a lot for me to give a thriller such a high rating. However, I have chosen books with interesting stories, some good plot twists and will keep you hooked until the last page.

1. Girl, Missing by Sophie McKenzie

This was one of the first thrillers I ever read, way back when I was still in school, and I still think about it sometimes. It follows a girl who, while researching for a school project, finds her own picture on a missing children's website. I still remember getting this book from my school library and just completely devouring it. I'll be honest, I don't remember loads about it, other than it has lots of twists and I never knew what was coming, and my opinion may be different now, but 10+ years ago I absolutely loved this book. 

2. Lying About Last Summer by Sue Wallman

I picked this one up back in 2016 and remember I just couldn't put it down. This is about a girl who goes to a camp for bereaved teens after her sister dies and while she is there she receives texts from someone pretending to be her dead sister. This is another one that I just couldn't predict anything that happened. From what I remember, it was a bit Pretty Little Liars, with the anonymous messages, meets We Were Liars, with the creepy, not sure who to trust atmosphere. 

3. One Of Us Is Next by Karen M McManus

This is a more recent release and definitely more popular than the other books I have mentioned. This is the sequel to One Of Us Is Lying, which is also a really good thriller that I would recommend, but I actually preferred the second book. The sequel follows a mostly new set of characters but is set in the same school as the first book. This involves a game of truth or dare, controlled by an anonymous person, that turns deadly. I love thrillers involving games, so I was completely hooked the entire time. This is another one that completely threw me with the plot twists.

4. There's Someone Inside Your House by Stephanie Perkins

This is probably a bit more of a horror than a thriller but I'm including it anyway. This is essentially a slasher film in the form of a YA book. It takes place in a small town in which high school students begin to die one by one in pretty gruesome murders. It is very creepy, a bit graphic, and nothing like you would expect from the author of the Anna and the French Kiss books, but I really enjoyed it. It definitely isn't for everyone and has received some very mixed reviews. As someone who hasn't really read any horror and had nothing to compare it to, I really enjoyed it and was on the edge of my seat the whole time I was reading it.

5. Follow Me Back by AV Geiger

This one is a bit of a strange recommendation from me. I gave this book 2.5 stars, so obviously it wasn't a favourite of mine. However, that rating was due to the way one aspects of the story was portrayed and probably not something that would bother a lot of people. Putting that to the side, this was exciting, creepy, everything you would want in a thriller. It follows a girl with agoraphobia and a pop star who decides to troll her on Twitter. It is an interesting story, a lot of the twists I didn't see coming and it was a thriller that I think a lot of people would enjoy. My issue with this was the fact that I HATED the way fans were portrayed, but if that isn't something that would bother you I would definitely recommend giving it a go.

Those are five YA thrillers that I would recommend picking up and giving a go if you are looking for something a bit creepy over the next week or so. They aren't quite as intense as a lot of adult thrillers, but definitely a good place to start if you are not typically a thriller reader. 

What is your favourite YA thriller? Have you read any of the books on my list?

Sophie :)