Sunday, 9 December 2018

Top 5 | Books I Want To Read Before The End Of The Year

I can't believe it's that time of year already when I'm thinking about those last books I want to get to before the year is over. This year has completely flown by! I'm happy that this year I am not rushing to get in those last books for my Goodreads challenge, since I completed that a few months ago. However, there are still some books I would like to squeeze in before the end of the year.

Let It Snow by John Green, Maureen Johnson & Lauren Myracle - I like to read at least one Christmassy book and this is one I have been meaning to get to for the past couple of years. I always love holiday themed books so I can't wait to give this one a go.

The Twelve Days of Dash & Lily by Rachel Cohn & David Levithan - I wasn't really sure if I wanted to read this after only giving Dash & Lily's Book Of Dares 3 stars last year. However, I set myself a challenge of finishing 5 series and this is the only one I have time for. I guess I'm almost cheating to complete my goal but I might love this one, who knows!

The Start Of Me And You by Emery Lord - I don't know how many TBR lists this book has been on but I was determined to read it this year. Except I haven't. I would say it's probably more of a summer read but I guess I'll just have to pretend it's July.

Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge - I have read hardly any fantasy (or anything other than contemporary really) this year and I want to change that. So maybe I don't have time to read as many as I would like, but this is one that I have been wanting to read for a while. It was also a Christmas present a couple of years ago so this seems like a good time to finally get around to it.

Don't Look Back by Jennifer L Armentrout - Again, I haven't read as many mystery/thriller books as I would have liked this year. This is a YA mystery/thriller that I have had on my shelf for a while but never picked up. BooksandLala recently reread this for Lalathon, which gave me the push to finally want to give it a go.

Those are the five books I really want to get to before the end of the year. There is a very good chance I won't get around to all of these, my track record with TBR lists is not that great. However, I will try my hardest. 

Which of these should I pick up first?

Sophie :)

Friday, 7 December 2018

Wrap Up | November 2018

I keep having the best intentions of getting back to blogging more regularly but life just keeps getting in the way. I am definitely struggling to manage the stress of my final year of university combined with the craziness that comes with the Christmas season. However, I am hoping that things will start to calm down at least a little bit in the next couple of weeks and I can feel a bit less like I'm drowning in to-do lists. Despite how crazy busy things have been, I still managed to read 5 books in November. I'm quite happy with that number, given the circumstances, but sadly most of the books I read were pretty average.

Dear Evan Hansen by Val Emmich -
This was one of my most anticipated books of this year as I really love the musical the book tells the story of. I expected great things, but was ultimately disappointed. This book follows a boy with severe anxiety who ends up tangled in a lot of lies following the suicide of one of his classmates. Unfortunately, I didn't feel like this story translated very well to this format. As much as I love the show, the story itself without the music and the other entertainment factors added from the performance, the story fell flat. I found it quite boring and it ended up taking me a while to get through. I did have my expectations set too high but this turned out to be a pretty average read for me.
Rating: 3/5 | Review To Come

The Summer I Turned Pretty by Jenny Han -
This was a reread as I wanted to refresh my memory of this story before continuing on with the series. This series follows a girl who spends every summer at a beach house with family friends including two brothers, one of whom she has has a crush on for as long as she can remember. I didn't love this book the first time around and my feelings were the same the second time around. I found the relationship drama was just to much and other aspects of the story, which should have had more focus, were pushed to the side.
Rating: 3/5 | Review

It's Not Summer Without You by Jenny Han -
This is the second book in the Summer I Turned Pretty series and I felt pretty much the same about this book as the first. There was far too much unnecessary relationship drama that took away from some of the more important story lines. The characters really annoyed me throughout this book, Belly especially. To be honest, I don't really remember a whole lot about the plot so it clearly wasn't a very memorable story. It was another average read, I got through it quickly but I doubt I will ever pick it up again.
Rating: 3/5

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins -
This was another reread and one that I didn't have any intentions of rereading until suddenly I was. This is the only book in the series I had only read once and when I saw the audiobook available through my library I decided now was the time to pick it up again. I wouldn't be reading the way I am now if it hadn't been for this series so it will always have a special place in my heart. I had a really great time rereading this and I enjoyed it just as much as I did the first time around.
Rating: 4/5

We'll Always Have Summer by Jenny Han -
The third and final book in the Summer I Turned Pretty series. If I hadn't been determined to finish this series I would most likely have given up on this one. These characters infuriated me so much with all of their incredibly stupid decisions and I wanted to throw my book out the window at times. I knew exactly how it was all going to play out, it was predictable and just not really an enjoyable read. Conrad was about the only thing I liked in this book to be honest.
Rating: 2/5

While I am happy with the number of books I managed to read during a very busy month, I am a bit disappointed that I didn't really love most of them. Here's hoping December is a better month in terms of quality.

Did you read any new favourite books in November?

Sophie :)

Saturday, 17 November 2018

Mini Review | What If It's Us by Becky Albertalli & Adam Silvera

Image and video hosting by TinyPicWhat If It's Us by Becky Albertalli & Adam Silvera
Published On: October 18, 2018
Published By: Simon & Schuster
Genre: YA, Contemporary
Pages: 433
Format: eBook
Source: Netgalley
Rating: ★★★½

Arthur is only in New York for the summer, but if Broadway has taught him anything, it’s that the universe can deliver a show-stopping romance when you least expect it. 
Ben thinks the universe needs to mind its own business. If it had his back, he wouldn’t be posting a box of his ex-boyfriend’s belongings. 
But after a chance meeting at the post office, the boys leave wondering what exactly the universe does have in store.

I really wanted to love this after really enjoying books I have read from these authors previously. I expected an adorable relationship I wanted to root for, which I got. I expected some great friendship groups, which I got. I expected a fun, engaging plot, which I almost got. I'll be honest, I got bored.

I enjoyed the first section of this and then things went downhill for me. I thought the meeting and the search to find each other was a lot of fun to read about and really kept me engaged. However, I just wish that section had lasted longer. Once that part was over I got bored and stopped losing interest in where the story was going. I also started to really dislike one character.

Arthur made me so mad. I didn't have a problem with him to start with, but eventually the way he was acting towards certain situations and the way he was treating Ben sometimes just started to really get on my nerves. I wanted to like him, as I was really rooting for their relationship, but by the end I just didn't.

I liked it, but I didn't fall in love with it. It was an enjoyable read, despite dragging in some parts and making me lose interest. It's clear that Becky and Adam work well together and I definitely think they could write my new favourite book if they were to continue writing together. However, this one just wasn't there for me.

Overall, I can see why others would love it and perhaps this was more a case of 'it's not you, it's me'. If you love previous books by these authors and you're looking for an adorable relationship, great friendships and a more slow paced plot, I would definitely recommend checking it out. I just didn't love it as much as I wanted to.

Tuesday, 13 November 2018

Wrap Up | October 2018

The second half of this year is crazy and I can't keep up! Blogging has taken a major back seat while I attempt to stay on top of everything else going on in my life but I am determined to try and do better. Despite posting basically nothing on the blog, I have managed a bit of reading in the past month. I haven't read as much as I would have liked having only read three books, which is the least I have read in a month this year. However, October is historically my worst reading month, I have only managed one book in October for the past few years.

Always and Forever, Lara Jean by Jenny Han -
I started this series in August and instantly knew I just had to finish it straight away. I have really enjoyed this series as a whole and loved this final book. I thought it was a really great ending to a really loveable series. I have loved all the characters throughout and, while they do things and make decisions that annoy me, I loved seeing how their stories wrap up. The relationship between Lara Jean and her sisters is easily my favourite aspect of this series and it played just as important a role in the final book, I could read about their relationship forever. I'm sad to have finished this series but I'm so glad I read it and can't wait to no doubt reread it in the near future.
Rating: 4/5

What If It's Us by Becky Albertalli & Adam Silvera -
I read books by both of these authors for the first time this year and knew I wanted to read more, so when I found out they were bringing out a collaborative work I had to pick it up. This book follows two teenage boys living in New York who happen to meet in a post office while one is sending a box of things back to his ex-boyfriend, but fail to get each others details. I absolutely loved the whole searching for each other plot, I thought it was fun and exciting and I just wish it had lasted a little longer. Unfortunately, I didn't love the rest of the book quite as much. I liked the relationship to begin with but found myself getting irritated by Arthur 90% of the time. I did enjoy the story but I didn't love the characters and it seemed to go on a little too long. I wanted to love this but I think I liked the idea more than the book itself.
Rating: 3.5/5 | Review To Come

Easy Prey by Catherine Lo -
Oh I have such mixed feelings about this book! This is about three students who had access to naked pictures of a teacher prior to them being leaked on the internet, yet all three deny doing so. I really enjoyed the majority of this book. I liked the story and found the characters interesting, it was generally a good book. However, I worked out who had done it very early on and while I understand why things happened the way they did, I really did not agree with it. Part of me wants to rate this book really low on the basis of my feelings on how things evolved but, at the same time, I do think it was cleverly written and an overall enjoyable read.
Rating: 3/5 | Review To Come

A poor reading month in terms of numbers and a pretty average reading month in terms of quality. I'm hoping for one final big push now that were heading for the end of the year, hopefully I can read some new favourites in the next couple of months.

How was your reading month in October? Did you find any new favourites?

Sophie :)

Tuesday, 30 October 2018

Mini Review | That's Not What Happened by Kody Keplinger

I've been majorly slacking recently and haven't had a chance to review any of the amazing books I have been lucky enough to receive eARCs of over the last few months. In fact, I've been slacking so much that I have now forgotten so much about these books that I can't even write a full review. I will try to do better, but for now you'll have to make do with this half-assed, two month late, attempt at a review.

Image and video hosting by TinyPicThat's Not What Happened by Kody Keplinger
Published On: August 28, 2018
Published By: Hodder Children's Books
Genre: YA, Contemporary
Pages: 384
Format: eBook
Source: Netgalley
Rating: ★★★★
Amazon | BD | Goodreads

It's been three years since the Virgil County High School Massacre. Three years since my best friend, Sarah, was killed in a bathroom stall during the mass shooting. Everyone knows Sarah's story--that she died proclaiming her faith. 
But it's not true. 
I know because I was with her when she died. I didn't say anything then, and people got hurt because of it. Now Sarah's parents are publishing a book about her, so this might be my last chance to set the record straight . . . but I'm not the only survivor with a story to tell about what did--and didn't--happen that day. 
Except Sarah's martyrdom is important to a lot of people, people who don't take kindly to what I'm trying to do. And the more I learn, the less certain I am about what's right. I don't know what will be worse: the guilt of staying silent or the consequences of speaking up . . .

*A copy of this book was provided by the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.*

As someone who has a strange interest in books about school shootings, this immediately interested me. It's a very different perspective of a school shooting as it revolves mostly around the aftermath and how the survivors deal with what happened to them. I found it particularly interesting that the main story focused less on the shooting itself, but instead on the situation surrounding Sarah. This story was inspired by a true story from the Columbine shooting, yet it was still such a unique take on the topic and a very interesting read.

This book is not action packed and full of drama, but it is incredibly important. It focuses very much on the survivors and the victims, and the importance of remembering them rather than the perpetrators. It is explicitly stated that the shooters name will not be mentioned in the book, and the idea of fans that support shooters in these situations explored, which is a very real concept. This book does a great job of highlighting the genuine issues surrounding press coverage and the way society discusses these situations in a way that makes the reader think about their own actions in similar real life situations.

Overall, the characters in this book were nothing particularly special, in fact I can't really remember them all that much, and the plot was not the most thrilling or exciting you will ever read. However, it is an incredibly important story highlighting some of the very real issues in today's society and how this kind of tragedy can impact the lives of those involved.

Monday, 1 October 2018

Wrap Up | September 2018

I started off this year so well! For the first few months I was reading at least 6 books a month, but now I can't seem to get past 4. In previous years I would be over the moon with that number of books in a month but now it's a bit disappointing for me, I wanted to read more! Despite the number not being as high as I would have liked, the quality was there. I, who rarely gives out five star ratings, gave two books that honour in September. I guess I can't complain too much.

PS I Still Love You by Jenny Han -
This is the second book in the To All The Boys I've Loved Before trilogy. After reading the first book in August, I immediately watched the movie and then, of course, just had to keep on reading the series. I didn't like this book quite as much as the first but I did still really enjoy it. I wasn't too happy about going from one love triangle in the first book to yet another one in the second, it was a bit too much for me. However, I really love the characters in this series and it was great to read more about them. The relationship between Lara Jean and her sisters is the best so I was glad to have more of that in the second book as well. Despite not completely loving the plot of this second book, I still loved reading it and can't wait to see how the series ends.
Rating: 4/5

It Ends With You by SK Wright -
This is a YA mystery/thriller about a girl who is murdered and her bad boy boyfriend is the main suspect. This was an interesting take on the generic mystery/thriller. The story itself was nothing new, popular girl gets murdered and everyone assumes the boyfriend with the poor family background is to blame, but the way the story is told is quite unique. I found it interesting to hear the story from six different perspectives and a couple of different timelines. It was a little confusing at first and took some time to get used to who everyone was but it made things more intriguing and added to the mystery. Unfortunately, there was just too much about the book that I didn't like. Some relationships were too strange, some of the characters really annoyed me and none of the plot twists or reveals were surprising. 
Rating: 2.5/5 | Review To Come

Love Is The Higher Law by David Levithan -
This was a reread for me. It follows three teenagers in the immediate aftermath of the 9/11 attacks and how their lives are changed. I loved this book when I first read it but since that first read I knew I wanted to reread it around the anniversary, as I felt I didn't fully appreciate it the first time around. It's hard to explain but rereading it when I did was a completely different experience. I have a full review that gives my more detailed thoughts but there were a couple of minor things I highlighted negatively in that review that I disagree with now. So basically, check out that review for my full thoughts but ignore any of the negative comments, I absolutely adore this book and you should definitely read it!
Rating: 5/5 | Review

This Is Going To Hurt by Adam Kay -
I have mentioned my love for medical memoirs several times on here but I have never loved one as much as I loved this one. This is Adam's stories of being a junior doctor in the NHS. The book is packed full of hilarious stories that those who work in healthcare can most likely relate to in some way, and those who don't can get an idea of some of the things healthcare workers deal with on a daily basis. I was laughing out loud constantly, which doesn't happen often when reading, and just adored the way the stories were told. However, it wasn't all lighthearted and laugh out loud funny, the realities of life as a junior doctor in the current NHS were apparent. The struggles and horrendous expectations were well documented and this book does a great job of quashing some of the inaccurate statements made about junior doctors in the press. This book made me laugh, it made me cry, but most importantly it made me proud to do the job I do and proud of all the selfless staff giving up so much of themselves to work within the NHS.
Rating: 5/5

Hopefully I can get back to reading more than four books in October! If not, I'll be more than happy with the quality of my book picks being just as good as those great books I read in September.

Did you read any 5 star reads in September? What was your favourite book of the month?

Sophie :)

Tuesday, 18 September 2018

Top Ten Tuesday | Top Ten Books On My Fall TBR

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created at The Broke And The Bookish, now hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl. Lists galore, I can think of nothing better!

This week's theme is Book's On My Fall TBR. As I have mentioned many times, I rarely stick to any TBR lists that I make but I like to make them anyway. There are a few books I have been wanting to get to for a while, as well as some thrillers that I have been putting off until this time of year, so let's hope I can get to them this season.

1. Giant Days by Non Pratt - I love to read a college/university themed book around 'Back To School' time and as I have just started back at university, this seems like the perfect book to read soon.

2. Easy Prey by Catherine Lo - An October release that I won an ARC of at YALC. This is about a photo leak scandal involving a teacher.

3. Dare To Fall by Estelle Maskame - I have read all of Estelle's other books, and loved them, so I need to get around to this one soon. I don't really know what this is about but I expect to love it.

4. Don't Look Back by Jennifer L Armentrout - This is a YA thriller about two friends that go missing but only one comes back. It is up to her to work out what happened and where her friend is, but she can't remember anything.

5. I Stop Somewhere by TE Carter - I like some dark contemporaries in the Fall and this is definitely dark. It follows a girl who has been sexually assaulted, but I don't know much more than that.

6. City Of Glass by Cassandra Clare - I'm still determined to finish this series by the end of the year but I'm not sure how likely that is. I at least want to get to the third book.

7. Panic by Lauren Oliver - I have owned this book for far too long, I need to finally read it! I know very little about this other than it involves a high stakes game in a small town.

8. Behind Closed Doors by BA Paris - This is an adult thriller that I have been hearing some good things about. It sounds to me like a domestic thriller about a seemingly perfect couple hiding some secrets 'behind closed doors'.

9. Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn - This has been on my Fall TBR for a couple of years now but I'm hoping now that it has been adapted I'll have that extra motivation to finally pick it up.

10. Illuminae by Aime Kaufman & Jay Kristoff - I tend to be more in the mood to read Sci-Fi & Fantasy during the colder months and this is one that keeps catching my eye when I'm looking for my next read.

That is my Fall TBR. Will I read these books? Not likely. What are you hoping to read during the next few months?

Sophie :)