Wednesday, 1 May 2019

Wrap Up | April 2019

I have been the worst blogger over the past month! April has been so crazy that I had time for nothing other than trying to survive my dissertation. However, now that is out of my life for good, I can get back to all the things I have been neglecting. As well as not having much time to blog, I didn't find a lot of time in April to read. I only managed three books in the month, which is more than March but considerably less then the first couple of months of the year. I did really enjoy all three of the books I did get to and even found another 5 star read.

Behind Her Eyes by Sarah Pinborough -
With all of the hype surrounding this book, and the ending in particular, I knew I had to pick it up. I had not idea what to expect as I went in completely blind, but I definitely didn't expect that. This is the kind of book that had me confused for basically the whole thing. I had no idea what was going on, but that's what made it so intriguing and kept me completely hooked. I would definitely suggest going into this blind, which is why I'm not giving any kind of synopsis. It was one of the weirdest reading experiences of this year so far, but I actually really enjoyed it. The ending seems to be very hit or miss but I thought it was an amazing twist. It is quite rare that I'm completely shocked by a twist but this one managed it, it was great!
Rating: 4/5

Hard Pushed by Leah Hazard -
This is a non-fiction book, being published tomorrow, following Leah Hazard's journey as a midwife in the NHS. I have mentioned several times that medical memoirs like this are completely my kind of book, but I am often a little let down by them. This was not one of those books at all. I absolutely adored this book from start to finish. It was a real raw, genuine insight into the role of a midwife and the many challenges they face, particularly in an understaffed and underfunded health service. Yet the struggles and real lows of midwifery were well-balanced with fun and heartwarming stories of some of the amazing women and families that have been cared for. I just thought it was perfect and definitely confirmed my desire to one day go into this wonderful profession.
Rating: 5/5

The Start Of Me And You by Emery Lord -
After a good 3 years of sitting on my shelf just waiting to be shown some love, I finally picked up my second Emery Lord book. I really enjoyed Open Road Summer and knew I wanted to read more from her, but for some reason it took a lot longer than I would have liked. This one follows a girl who is trying to get her life back on track a year after the sudden death of her boyfriend. This book featured so many of the things I love, and didn't have the usual plot points that I really hate. We had a great friendship group that didn't have any unnecessary drama or fall outs over really stupid things. We had an adorable romance that wasn't instalove and started as a really pure friendship with no inability to use simple communication. Even better than all of those things, we also had platonic boy/girl friendships, involved parents and the sweetest grandmother. There was a lot I really liked about this book! There wasn't really anything I didn't like, but it just wasn't quite a 5 star read for me.
Rating: 4/5

I read a real mix of different books in April, but really enjoyed all of them. I know May is going to be another really busy month for me, but hopefully I can do a bit better with both blogging and reading this month. However, as long as I read some more books I enjoy then I can't complain too much.

What was the best thing you read in April?

Sophie :)

Tuesday, 23 April 2019

What I've Been Watching | March 2019

Life is not fun at the moment and it has been pretty difficult to find the time to blog. However, I have some time right now so I am making the most of it and finally getting around to sharing what I watched during the month of March.

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The Vampire Diaries Season 6 - I used to love this show but got bored by the time I got to season 6 and stopped watching. I had always intended to finish it at some point, so when it was announced that it was being taken off UK Netflix I watched Season 6 in a mad rush. It wasn't taken off in the end, but I did get the push I needed to watch it. I fell in love with the show all over again and I can't wait to see what else they are going to do with it.

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Death In Paradise Season 8 - I somehow managed to skip a season but that doesn't really matter too much with this show. I love this so much! It's the perfect combination of mystery and humour, with some of the most beautiful scenery you could ever find. I always love each new season as much as the last and never get bored of it.

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The Disappearance Of Madeleine McCann - I don't know many people who didn't watch the Netflix Madeleine McCann documentary in March. I already knew a lot about this case with it being so widely publicised, but I did find this quite interesting. It definitely didn't need to be as long as it was, as a lot of it was pretty unrelated to the case and a bit boring. However, it was good to know more of the facts.

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Captive For 18 Years: The Jaycee Lee Story - This was recommended after I finished the Madeleine McCann series and since I like a good true crime documentary, I decided to give it a watch. This was a case I hadn't heard anything about before so it was interesting to learn about. 

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After Life Season 1 - After hearing so many people rave about this, I wanted to see what the fuss was about. This is a newer Netflix show about a man who loses his wife and has to come to terms with his life without her. It's a mixture of emotions with a lot of darker humour. I really liked some parts, but overall I was underwhelmed. It was just fine.

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Isn't It Romantic - This was another underwhelming watch for me. I thought this would be my ideal film; a rom-com that pokes fun at rom-coms and has musical numbers. As much as I love this cast, the film just fell a bit flat. It was pretty funny but I got bored after a while.

That is all I watched in March. It's a bit of a varied bunch in March, but that just sums up my taste in TV and movies. 

Have you watched any of these? What did you think of them?

Sophie :)

Friday, 12 April 2019

Review | The Potion Diaries by Amy Alward

Image and video hosting by TinyPicThe Potion Diaries by Amy Alward
Series: The Potion Diaries #1
Published On: July 2, 2015
Published By: Simon & Schuster
Genre: YA, Fantasy
Pages: 320
Format: Paperback
Source: Bought
Rating: ★★★★
Amazon | BD | Goodreads

When the Princess of Nova accidentally poisons herself with a love potion meant for her crush, she falls crown-over-heels in love with her own reflection. Oops. A nationwide hunt is called to find the cure, with competitors travelling the world for the rarest ingredients, deep in magical forests and frozen tundras, facing death at every turn. 
Enter Samantha Kemi - an ordinary girl with an extraordinary talent. Sam's family were once the most respected alchemists in the kingdom, but they've fallen on hard times, and winning the hunt would save their reputation. But can Sam really compete with the dazzling powers of the ZoroAster megapharma company? Just how close is Sam willing to get to Zain Aster, her dashing former classmate and enemy, in the meantime? And just to add to the pressure, this quest is ALL OVER social media. And the world news. 
No big deal, then.

Do you ever pick up a book years after buying it and realise you're not interested anymore? This was how I felt about this book. However, I decided to give it a chance before getting rid of it, and I'm glad I did. This is a really fun story of a girl searching for the cure for a love potion in a competition being followed by people all over the world (think The Hunger Games but less violent and deadly). It is full of adventure, fast paced, and generally a really enjoyable read.

The characters did feel a little underdeveloped, particularly the side characters who all felt quite similar. However, they were not bad characters. I enjoyed reading about them and hope to get to know them more as the series continues. The relationships between the characters felt a bit forced - the friendships didn't feel real and the romantic relationship happened very quickly. I do think these can hopefully be improved upon in future books in the series.

As I have mentioned, this is a very fast-paced book with a fun plot. I flew through it and didn't get bored once. There is always something happening. My only other complaint about this book is how convenient things were. This is supposed to be an incredibly difficult competition to find a cure no-one knows the ingredients for, yet all of these competitors just know what to do next or how to solve their problems. There is some very impressive guess work.

Despite having a couple of complaints, I did really enjoy this book. It is not the next great fantasy series, but it is a fast, fun read and perfect for those, like me, who don't tend to enjoy too much fantasy. This read a lot like a contemporary with fantastical elements, which I enjoyed. It is not the best written, most creative book, but it has definitely made me want to carry on with the series and see where it goes.

Thursday, 11 April 2019

Haul | March 2019

I was doing so well with buying less books in 2019. I managed to not buy a single book in the month of February, which is a rare thing for me, and had yet to add a single physical book to my collection in 2019. However, I caved in March and added some shiny new books to my shelves. I bought 5 new physical books and one ebook, so I didn't go too crazy.

Goodbye Perfect by Sara Barnard - I have read, and loved, every other Sara Barnard book so it was time I picked up this one. This is about a girl whose best friend runs away with a random guy just days before the start of their exams and she has to try and deal with all of that. If her other books are anything to go by, I expect to love this.

Genuine Fraud by E Lockhart - I had no intention of picking this book up but it was on offer and that just made it too tempting to refuse. I don't have a clue what this book is about but the synopsis is so intriguing. It's just as vague as the synopsis of We Were Liars, the only other book I have read from E Lockhart, and that turned out to be completely different that I expected, so we'll see how this one goes.

The Potion Diaries books 1-3 by Amy Alward - The first book in this series was the first book I read this year and I really enjoyed it. I knew straight away that I wanted to continue on in the series, so when I saw the collection available on The Book People for a super reasonable price, I picked it up. It does mean I now have two copies of the first book but I will be giving one away to a friend. I can't wait to see how this series progresses.

Starry Eyes by Jenn Bennett - This is another one I knew nothing about but saw it on the Kindle store for 99p and bought it because I had heard of it. This is why I have too many books! All I know about this is it follows two characters who have issues with each other and are stuck in the woods together. It definitely sounds like something I could really enjoy.

That is everything I bought in the month of March. I'm really happy to have these books but I am definitely hoping I can get back to being good for at least the next month, my physical TBR is not shrinking nearly as much as I would like.

Sophie :)

Wednesday, 3 April 2019

What I've Been Watching | February 2019

I know I'm a month behind but I've been so busy, apparently watching a load of TV and movies, to be keeping up to date with blogging. I will have my March viewing wrap up coming soon but for now, I watched a lot in February so we better get started.

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Blockers - This is a comedy about parents who find out about their kids pact to lose their virginity on their prom night and set out to stop them. It was just fine. It did have some funny parts but a lot of it wasn't really my humour. I really liked the cast but the film just fell flat for me.

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Back With The Ex Season 1 - I was so hooked on this show, I watched it in like two days. I love a good trashy reality show and that was exactly that. It follows four former couples trying to work things out and get back together. I loved it, I'm already wishing for a second season.

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Moana - I'm super late to the party with this one but I finally got around to watching Moana. I had heard such amazing things about it but I always watch Disney movies 100 years after everyone else. This is the story of a girl who is called to the sea but her family want her to stay and rule her island. I adored this film. The story, the music, the comedy; everything was done so well. This might even be my favourite Disney 'princess' film.

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The Good Place Season 2 - I watched season 1 in January and ended up loving it so had to carry on. Season 2 was even better! I just love where they are going with this story, they have such creative ways of keeping it going. This show is hilarious and I'm trying so hard not to power through season 3 because I don't want to wait super long for the fourth.

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Like Father - Oh I so wanted to love this! I love Kristen Bell and I'm going on a cruise later in the year so thought with this being set on a cruise ship it would be great to get me excited for that. Unfortunately, I was so bored. This is the story of a woman who gets left at the alter and, after a drunken night, ends up on her honeymoon cruise with her estranged father. The funny parts weren't that funny and the serious parts were just boring. This was a disappointment.

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Friends Season 3 & 4 - Like I said in my January post, I am rewatching Friends as I have seen every episode but never watched it start to finish in order. I love this show and I always find it so comforting to watch, it's the one show that I will always watch when I'm ill. I'm really enjoying watching it again, no matter how many times I watch these episodes I will never get bored of them.

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Abducted In Plain Sight - This is a documentary about a young girl who was abducted and it is quite possibly the strangest thing I have ever watched. I spent the entire time shouting "What The Hell" at my TV and just when I thought it couldn't get any worse, something else happened. It is so unbelievable and so incredibly screwed up that I still can't believe this was real life. 

That is everything I watched in the month of February. It might not seem like much for many but that is a lot for me, I tend to go through phases of watching shows and movies. 

Have you watched any of these things? What did you think of them?

Sophie :)

Tuesday, 2 April 2019

Wrap Up | March 2019

I know I only just posted my February wrap up, but it is already time to share the books I read in March. I really can't believe we are in April already! My life has been so busy lately that this year is flying in. I didn't have a great reading month in March, due to that crazy busy life I was just talking about, so I only managed to read two books. However, one of those two books was a five star read so I'm not going to complain too much; quality over quantity.

Beautiful Disaster by Jamie McGuire -
I have been wanting to read more NA books for a while now and Jamie McGuire seems to be one of the most popular NA authors. I had this on my kindle for a while but decided to pick it up when I was needing a quick, fun read. This follows a good girl who becomes friends with a bad boy but, of course, they develop feelings for each other. I started off really loving this book. I loved the characters and the sexual tension, and despite the pretty toxic relationship dynamic, I was rooting for them to get it together and be with each other. However, I didn't like the way fighting was portrayed, it was never really seen to be a bad thing to go around punching people that annoyed you, and I wasn't a fan of the ending. If this book had just been the first half, I would probably have given it 5 stars.
Rating: 3/5

This Is Where It Ends by Marieke Mijkamp -
I think I have mentioned before that I have a strange interest in books about school shootings. I don't know why, it's kind of strange. This is a book about a school shooting and one that I had heard a lot about when it was first published. I definitely can't say I enjoyed this book, given the plot and the horrific content, but it is one of the best written books on this topic that I have read. It follows multiple perspectives over the hour long timeline of the shooting, making it incredibly intense and difficult to read. I had to take breaks a lot while reading as it was written so vividly that I almost felt as though I was there. It was a very hard read, it was truly heartbreaking, but the overall message is one of hope.
Rating: 5/5

Those were the two pretty different books I read in March. I am definitely hoping to do better in April, but as long as I read some good books the number doesn't matter too much.

What was the best book you read in March?

Sophie :)

Thursday, 28 March 2019

Wrap Up | February 2019

I'm posting my February wrap up 3 days before the end of March so clearly it didn't take me long to fail at blogging in 2019! Due to being crazy busy, and then crazy ill, the blog has had to take a major back seat during March. Reading has also taken a major back seat, as I have yet to read a single book this month, so I'm hoping talking about some of the great books I read in February might give me a bit of motivation to pick something up.

Sleepovers by Jacqueline Wilson -
This was a book I remember loving when I was younger, so when I saw the audiobook available through my library I decided to see how I would feel about it as an adult. I ended up enjoying it just as much. It's a lovely story of friendship, that also focuses on different home situations and things that make people 'different'. As is typically the case with Jacqueline Wilson books, this is a fun story with a really important message for young readers to learn from.
Rating: 4/5

The Butterfly Club by Jacqueline Wilson -
This was the February pick for Maddie & Bee's Jacqueline Wilson book club. As it was one I had not read before, and was available through my library, I decided to join them in reading it. This is about the smallest of triplets who is separated from her sisters, who always look after her, when they start in a new class at school. This is another really great story about friendship, but also about stepping out from the shadows of other siblings to become your own person. It is longer than any of the other Jacqueline Wilson books I have read before, but it read just as quickly as her shorter works. I enjoyed this a lot more than I expected to.
Rating: 4/5

Panic by Lauren Oliver -
Finally! This book has sat on my TBR shelf for longer than most, it was one of the first books I ever hauled on this blog back in 2014, but I just never picked it up. I finally forced myself to read it in February and enjoyed it as much as I expected I would. I have no idea why I didn't pick it up sooner. Panic follows a group of graduating seniors in a small town who spend their summer taking part in a high stakes game involving facing their fears. If a blurb mentions some kind of game or competition, I am definitely intrigued. While I did find the game aspect fun and it kept me turning the page, it was a little underwhelming. I wanted more! The characters were fine and the plot kept me reading, but it was somewhat forgettable (really though, I can't remember it at all).
Rating: 3.5/5

Talking As Fast As I Can by Lauren Graham -
I adore Lauren Graham so this was the most fun book to read. I listened to it on audiobook during a long drive and Lauren's narration almost felt like she was sat beside me telling me about her life. It is her memoir, following her through her early life and career to the Gilmore Girls reboot and everything in between. I loved learning more about her life and career, as well as getting some fun behind the scenes information from both Gilmore Girls and Parenthood. I had a blast reading it but, like I often find with these kinds of books, some parts were a little bit dry. I would definitely recommend giving it a read, though.
Rating: 3.5/5

Giant Days Volume 3 by John Allison, Lissa Treiman, Max Sarin & Whitney Cogar -
I started this graphic novel series in January and was enjoying it enough to continue on but wasn't loving it. I actually ended up enjoying volume 3 a little more than the first two. I don't remember much about it now, if I'm being honest, but I do remember finding it more engaging and being more invested in the story and these characters. I am interested to see where the series will go and follow more of the journey of these characters.
Rating: 3/5

Nine Perfect Strangers by Liane Moriarty -
I read Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty last year and enjoyed it so much that I knew I wanted to read more from her. When I saw her latest release available from my library I was excited to give it a go. The premise is quite vague so I wasn't sure what I was going into, and I finished the book still not entirely sure what I had read. It follows nine individuals as they attend a health resort, each with their own different reasons for being there, but the health resort isn't quite what they expected. This was one of the strangest books I have ever read and I did consider giving up on it a couple of times. As I was listening to the audiobook I decided to power through, but it remained just as confusing throughout. The characters were annoying and the plot was somewhat dull when it wasn't completely frying my brain, but I kind of liked it. It's a weird one. I definitely want to read more from this author.
Rating: 3.5/5

Everything Leads To You by Nina LaCour -
This book was the unexpected star of the month! I'm pretty sure I only bought it because I liked the cover and left it sitting on my shelf for a couple of years, before picking it up at random in February. I didn't even know what it was about going in to it, but completely fell in love with it straight away. It is about a girl who designs film sets and is given her brother's apartment for the summer on the condition that something great take place there. The book follows her summer adventures and quest for "something great" after her and her best friend discover a secret about a movie legend. I fell in love with everything about this book - the film and set design aspect, the characters, the friendship, the adorable f/f romance - it was all amazing. In all honesty, I don't remember why I didn't give this book a full 5 stars.
Rating: 4.5/5

City Of Glass by Cassandra Clare -
After being on my TBR every month for almost a year, I finally read City Of Glass! I have been wanting to carry on with the series but just wasn't picking this book up, for whatever reason. This is book 3 in the Mortal Instruments series, which I have been trying to finish for about 3 years now. I really enjoy this series while I'm reading the books but seem to forget that in between. When I first started reading City Of Glass, I wasn't sure if I was outgrowing the series as I wasn't loving it quite as much, but that soon changed. I ended up enjoying the third book just as much as the first one. I will definitely be trying to finish this series again this year.
Rating: 4/5

Those were the 8 books I read in February. Thank goodness I started off the year strong as March has been pretty disappointing in comparison. 

Did you read anything great in February?

Sophie :)