Saturday, 16 June 2018

Down The TBR Hole | Round 7

Down The TBR Hole is a meme created by Lost In A Story in which you attempt to reduce your Goodreads TBR. It basically involves organising your Goodreads 'Want To Read' shelf by date from oldest to newest, looking at the first 5-10 books and decided whether you're still interested or not.

Image and video hosting by TinyPicThe Maze Runner by James Dashner

This is a book that I owned for years but recently unhauled. I started it twice but just couldn't get into it at all. I kept it on my Goodreads shelf as I don't want to completely rule out trying again with this series in the future. I own the first two movies so I may give the movies ago first and then, if I enjoy them, try the series again some day.

Judgement: Stay

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Confessions Of A Police Constable by Matt Delito

I have enjoyed other books in this 'Confessions Of...' memoir series and this one, following a London police constable, sounded quite interesting. I do think I would enjoy it this, but I don't think I'll ever get around to it with all of the many other books I want to read.

Judgement: Go

Image and video hosting by TinyPicConfessions Of An Undercover Cop by Ash Cameron

This is another book in the same series just mentioned. This one follows a female undercover cop. Again, I think this would be an interesting read and something I would enjoy, but I don't think I'll ever get around to it.

Judgement: Go

Image and video hosting by TinyPicRules Of Summer by Joanna Philbin

As seems to be the case in every one of these posts I do, we have another summery contemporary with a beach town setting. This one follows a girl who is working for a rich family over the summer, as well as the youngest child of this family who falls for a boy her parents would not approve of. It sounds fun and like my kind of book. However, there are some reviews on Goodreads, from people whose opinions I trust, that describe this book as underwhelming and just average. For that reason, I think I might give this one a miss for now.

Judgement: Go

Image and video hosting by TinyPicThe Book Of Broken Hearts by Sarah Ockler

This is one that I have very mixed feelings about. It is about a girl who been warned by her older sisters not to get involved with any of the boys in the Vargas family, but when one is hired to help her and her father restore his motorcycle, she starts to fall for him. On the one hand, all of my Goodreads friends that have read this book have given it 5 stars! However, the synopsis just doesn't intrigue me and I'm not sure I'm quite ready to read about a dying family member yet, which I think is a feature of this book.

Judgement: Go

Have I made a terrible mistake getting rid of so many of these books? Should I keep The Book Of Broken Hearts? All opinions are welcome in the comments - tell me what books I should be keeping!

Sophie :)

Thursday, 14 June 2018

Mini Review | Bookshop Girl by Chloe Coles

Image and video hosting by TinyPicBookshop Girl by Chloe Coles
Published On: June 14, 2018
Published By: Hot Key Books
Genre: YA, Contemporary
Pages: 224
Format: eBook
Source: Netgalley
Rating: ★★

Amazon | Goodreads

Bennett's Bookshop has always been a haven for sixteen-year-old Paige Turner. It's a place where she can escape from her sleepy hometown, hang out with her best friend, Holly, and also earn some money. 
But, like so many bookshops, Bennett's has become a 'casualty of the high street' - it's strapped for cash and going to be torn down. Paige is determined to save it but mobilising a small town like Greysworth is no mean feat. 
Time is ticking - but that's not the only problem Paige has. How is she going to fend off the attractions of beautiful fellow artist, Blaine? And, more importantly, will his anarchist ways make or break her bookshop campaign?

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

A quick, fun read.
This was a nice short, fast-paced read that I managed to fly through. The plot was fun and the characters are definitely relatable for younger readers. I definitely think this is aimed at younger YA readers, I think I would have loved this at 14/15, but it felt very young to me as a not quite so young adult, particularly in the language used.

It was all about the books.
I really enjoyed the bookshop storyline and the fact that the importance of books was discussed a lot. Any book lover will easily relate to the passion these characters have when they talk about books and what their bookshop means to them. However, I felt like the saving the bookshop storyline was somewhat overshadowed at times by a lot of unnecessary drama.

So many pet peeves in one book.
This book contained so many of my bookish pet peeves that there wasn't really much chance of me loving it. We had a best friend fallout over the most insignificant thing and added nothing to the story, probably my most hated thing in books, and a girl becoming obsessed with a boy she knows absolutely nothing about. These things, among others, I just couldn't get past.

It tried too hard to be feminist.
Now don't get me wrong, I am all for using an opportunity within a book to discuss important issues, like male privilege and treatment of women in society. However, going out of your way in the book to make crossing the road into one of these moments is a bit of a stretch. There were some really great moments within the book, such as one within an art class, where an opportunity arose within the story to talk about these things. For me, though, there were too many times where we were taken completely out of the story to do so, which made it feel less genuine.

The boy drama was too much for me.
Despite our main character talking a lot about women being more than just their bodies and the way they look, she becomes obsessed over a boy she has never actually spoken to because she likes the way he looks! She then claims to be in love with him after they've exchanged about four words and still no nothing about each other. I was over this 'relationship' before the real drama even kicked off.

It did have a good message.
The main idea of this book is about standing up for what you believe in and fighting for the things you want, which I think is a really great message to be portraying to young readers. It did a great job of showing that even a 16-year-old girl can try to make a difference and that you're never too young to put up a fight.

Overall, this book was not for me. I can see the appeal for younger readers and do think it is a book I would have enjoyed as a young teenager. However, their were just too many things that annoyed me and little issues that I couldn't see past in order to enjoy it as much now.

Tuesday, 12 June 2018

Mini Review | The Summer Of Us by Cecelia Vinesse

Image and video hosting by TinyPicThe Summer Of Us by Cecelia Vinesse
Published On: June 14, 2018
Published By: Hachette
Genre: YA, Contemporary
Pages: 320
Format: eBook
Source: Netgalley
Rating: ★★★

Amazon | Goodreads

Aubrey and Rae have been planning their European tour since the moment they met. It was meant to be the perfect way to spend their last summer together before university, but now it's not just the two of them . . . 
There's Jonah, Aubrey's seemingly perfect boyfriend, and Gabe, who Aubrey may have accidentally kissed. Then there's Clara, the friend Rae is crushing on, hard, even though there's no hope because Clara is into guys, not girls. And on top of all that Aubrey and Rae's friendship appears to be falling apart. Things are more complicated at eighteen than they were at ten. 

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

A fun summer read.
If you're looking for a nice fun, summery adventure, this is the book for you. It takes you on a trip around mainland Europe, visiting some of the most iconic landmarks in the most popular European cities and you do feel as though you are there witnessing these sights with the characters. I went on an adventure reading this book.

I enjoyed the characters.
All five of the characters in the friends group were decent characters. They were all well-developed and I enjoyed reading about them. The story is told in alternative points of view from both Aubrey and Rae, both of which I enjoyed equally. Though there was nothing particularly special about any of the characters, and none I felt especially drawn to, they were not bad characters by any means.

The drama was just too much.
I was under to illusion that this would simply be a fun trip around Europe with no drama or arguments. However, for me, there was just a bit too much drama. There was drama between almost every character all at the same time and it wasn't necessary. In fact, it made things kind of confusing, I couldn't keep up with what each of them were fighting about. It was as though the author felt the book needed more drama to keep it interesting, when actually the trip itself was interesting enough for me.

Fun adventure to drama backdrop.
Towards the second half of the book, this fun trip around Europe became more of a backdrop than the plot of the book. The drama and developing relationships completely overshadowed the trip. It got to the point where we, as readers, only really got to see the train journey to other places, rather than the places themselves. Important landmarks in great cities become nothing more than the place where relationships moved forward or characters argued. While this was still showing these great places and it still felt like I was on an adventure around Europe, it didn't seem as important to the story, which was disappointing.

I ended up getting bored.
The unnecessary drama combined with the lack of exploring amazing cities lead to me losing interest in the story completely for much of the second half of the book. I stopped liking some of the characters at times and just wanted it to be over. I was so disappointed as it had started off so well and I had been really enjoying it. However, I suppose it just wasn't for me in the end.

Overall, this book started out promising but went downhill. While I enjoyed the travelling aspect, this became overshadowed by the friendship and relationship drama. I appreciate the need for some drama to keep the book entertaining, it was too much for me and really took away from the fun of the book. I guess this book just wasn't what I was hoping for and was not the book for me; however, I did enjoy parts of it.

Monday, 11 June 2018

Haul | May 2018

I bought some books in May. After a good start to the year, only buying a few books in the first few months, I haven't been quite as well behaved more recently. I picked up six books in May, three physical and three ebooks. Unfortunately for my bank account, this has not stopped my book buying urges so I am trying my absolute hardest to resist temptation at the moment. But more about the books I did get my hands on.

Royals by Rachel Hawkins - This is a new release about a girl whose sister becomes engaged to a Prince and she has to deal with the unwanted attention this brings for her. It sounded like so much fun that I couldn't resist picking it up, especially among all the excitement of the recent royal wedding.

Far From The Tree by Robin Benway - I have heard so many people rave about this book since its publication last year that when I saw it on offer I had to pick it up. This is about three adopted siblings who find each other after one of them attempts to find her birth mother. I have heard it is extremely emotional so I am preparing to bawl my eyes out.

Your Turn To Die by Sue Wallman - Her first book was one that I picked up completely on a whim and was so pleasantly surprised by, as I had heard no-one talking about it. When I saw her most recent release, also on offer, I decided to see if I enjoy her subsequent releases as much as her debut. I know little about this other than it is a YA mystery/thriller set over New Year.

Big Bones by Laura Dockrill - I mentioned this book in my YALC TBR as Laura is one of the many authors announced for YALC this year, which is why I picked this book up. All I know about it is that it follows a girl who is encouraged to lose weight, despite being happy with her size. I believe it's pretty hilarious, I can't wait to get around to it.

Six Stories by Matt Wesolowski - This is a really unique book that is written in the form of six interviews for a podcast. I believe these interviews revolve around a death and finding out the truth about what happened. It sounds very interesting and I have heard some great things about it.

Last Chance (Keeping The Moon) by Sarah Dessen - I have been wanting to read more Sarah Dessen for a couple of years now and decided that summer was the perfect time to pick up another of her books. This one follows a girl who is spending the summer with her aunt in a small beach town (my favourite setting). I have only read one other book by her, which I just thought was okay, so I'm interested to see why everyone loves her books so much.

Those were my six book purchases of May. I'm really excited about all of these books and can't wait to read them as soon as I get the chance to. Which one would you recommend I pick up first?

Sophie :)

Thursday, 7 June 2018

Mini Review | A Thousand Perfect Notes by CG Drews

Image and video hosting by TinyPicA Thousand Perfect Notes by CG Drews
Published On: June 7, 2018
Published By: Orchard Books
Genre: YA, Contemporary
Pages: 282
Format: eBook
Source: Netgalley
Rating: ★★★

Amazon | Goodreads

Beck hates his life. He hates his violent mother. He hates his home. Most of all, he hates the piano that his mother forces him to play hour after hour, day after day. He will never play as she did before illness ended her career and left her bitter and broken. But Beck is too scared to stand up to his mother, and tell her his true passion, which is composing his own music - because the least suggestion of rebellion on his part ends in violence. 
When Beck meets August, a girl full of life, energy and laughter, love begins to awaken within him and he glimpses a way to escape his painful existence. But dare he reach for it?

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

I can't say I enjoyed this book.
Enjoyable is not a word I would use to describe this book, but not because it was a terrible book. The subject matter is not pleasant but I think it is something that needs to be discussed. Our main character, Beck, is subjected to some truly disgusting abuse from his mother frequently throughout the book, which made for a very difficult read.

This book is heartbreaking.
Beck's mother's treatment of her children is so horrendous that I really struggled to read this book. It broke my heart to read about Beck's home life and everything he has to deal with. The situation felt so real, at times I had to remind myself that these were fictional characters. Despite these characters being fictional, it was an important reminder that this kind of thing does happen more often than I would like to think about. It is a very important topic.

Interesting take on child abuse.
I found it particularly interesting that the abuse Beck is subjected to is regarding his music. Beck is forced to obsessively play piano and is subjected to horrendous violence should he not play for the required time or make mistakes. I have never read anything like that before. I found it especially poignant as music is commonly considered something that brings joy and comfort, which was definitely not the case in this situation.

The characters felt real.
The characters were the best thing about this book. Both Beck and August felt well developed and almost felt like real people. I loved how different they were, August was the complete opposite of both Beck as a person and his life in general. She was a ray of sunshine and it was lovely to see her bring some light to Beck's life.

The plot was lacking.
This was the let down for me; there wasn't much plot to this book at all. I was always waiting for something big to happen, some big plot twist that would make the story more exciting. However, other than the development of the relationship between Beck and August, and August's deteriorating home life, not a lot happened. It definitely wasn't a plot driven book but, for me, it just needed a bit more to happen.

Overall, this was a difficult read due to the subject matter but I enjoyed it as much as a person can enjoy such a topic. The characters were well-developed and felt like real people standing in front of me. However, the lack of plot resulted in me becoming bored at times. I needed a little something more to keep me fully engaged.

Monday, 4 June 2018

Wrap Up | May 2018

I am completely and utterly shocked about two things. The first being the fact that we are now in June (WHAT?!) and the second being...I read 10 books in May! I know that's not a lot for some people but that is amazing for me, particularly as I am not yet on holiday from university so I have been busy. I'm thrilled that I have had such a good reading month in May, fingers crossed it continues in June.

The Language Of Kindness by Christie Watson -
This is a memoir of Christie Watson's twenty years as a nurse in the UK, all the way from her training to an experienced nurse. I found this book to be very interesting and helpful to me as someone who works in the healthcare field. However, this is not a book for everyone. While there are funny and entertaining stories, it is a raw look at nursing and includes a lot of nursing theory and academic discussion. It's a great book for those interested in the reality of being a nurse, but perhaps not for those just wanting some fun nursing stories.
Rating: 3/5 | Review

Leah On The Offbeat by Becky Albertalli -
This book was more than I ever expected. I read Simon back in February and really enjoyed it, but didn't like Leah. I wasn't sure how I would feel about this book, as this is Leah's story, but I still wanted to know how Simon's story continued. I ended up really enjoying this book and completely adored Leah. I wasn't expecting that at all but found her to be a completely different character in this book and so easy to relate to. The friendships were a real highlight of this book, again the opposite to my opinions of Simon, as well as the surprising love interest. I'm so glad I picked this up, despite my reservations.
Rating: 4/5 | Review

From Twinkle, With Love by Sandhya Menon -
After the somewhat disappointment of When Dimple Met Rishi, which I hoped to love but found to be pretty average, I decided to give this author another chance. Stupidly, I had equally high hopes from this book, which I ended up really not enjoying. This book is about a girl who wants to be a filmmaker so, with the help of her crush's twin brother, makes a film for the summer festival. I found the plot to be quite boring, I hated the characters, and the drama just seemed immature and unnecessary. I felt like I was reading about 14-year-olds instead of the 16/17-year-olds they're meant to be. This book was not for me and I think I have accepted that this author is not either.
Rating: 2/5 | Review

Extraordinary Means by Robyn Schneider -
This book has been on my shelves for years but I decided to pick it up as part of a Try A Chapter Tag and was hooked. This follows a group of teens at a boarding school for those with drug resistant TB. I flew through it. Despite it being a heartbreaking story about very ill teens, it's also a fun boarding school story with adventure, new friends and falling in love. It ripped my heart to shred repeatedly but it was a great book.
Rating: 4/5 | Review To Come

Eve Of Man by Giovanna & Tom Fletcher -
The first joint book from these authors is the first book in a dystopian series about the first girl born in fifty years. I found this to be an interesting idea and a decent first book in a series. The premise isn't necessarily unusual, but the way it is told in this book is unique. I loved all of the technology involved in the story, it was used so creatively to become integral to the whole plot. There were a lot of really great things about this book, but the characters and the pacing were disappointing. There is definitely potential for future books in the series to be really great.
Rating: 3/5 | Review

A Thousand Perfect Notes by CG Drews -
This book follows a boy whose violent mother forces him to play piano obsessively, but when he is paired with an unusual, always happy girl on a school project, he starts to consider rebelling. This book was tough to read. Beck's mother is horrendous and I found it so heartbreaking to read about her treatment of her children. I loved August and how completely opposite she was, not only to Beck but to his life in general. Every character in this book was so real it felt like they were standing in front of me, but the plot didn't live up to that standard. Not a lot really happened, so that let the book down slightly for me. 
Rating: 3/5 | Review To Come

Quidditch Through The Ages by JK Rowling -
After such an intense, heartbreaking book, I needed a little bit of light fun and this was perfect. I have been needing a little bit of Harry Potter in my life recently so it was great to dive back into the world and learn more about Quidditch. The edition I listened to on audiobook also included some Pottermore content about the Quidditch World Cup, which was great fun.
Rating: 4/5

Wonder by RJ Palacio -
Oh my days, this book! I had heard all of the hype and I watched the movie trailer but I still wasn't prepared for this. I didn't have high expectations, as I rarely feel as strongly about overhyped books as everyone raving about them. This was different. I absolutely adored this book. It was beautiful and fun and heartbreaking and funny and inspiring all at the same time. I honestly can't recommend it enough. 
Rating: 5/5

Emergency Admissions by Kit Wharton -
This is another nonfiction book, again a memoir but this time from an Ambulance Technician. This is a hilarious book full of stories from his time on the frontline of the UK healthcare system, and all of the many people he has met along the way. I rarely stopped laughing throughout this book, the writing was genuinely funny and I appreciated the dark humour, though that may not be for everyone. 
Rating: 4/5

The Summer Of Us by Cecelia Vinesse -
This is a fun, summer read about a group of friends who go travelling around mainland Europe the summer after graduating high school. As well as being a fun travel story, there is also a lot of relationship drama. Unfortunately, the relationship drama, and some friend drama, overshadowed the travelling part of the story. It became the constant focus, with only brief mentions of famous landmarks in each city. I did enjoy this book, but I would have enjoyed it a lot more if it had featured more about the amazing adventure they were having in these beautiful cities. 
Rating: 3/5 | Review To Come

There we have it, all 10 books I read in the month of May. I'm very happy with that, especially as I enjoyed almost all of the ten books. I'm really hoping to have another good reading month in June, I had a really great time with thees books in May.

Have you read any of these books? What did you think of them?

Sophie :)

Thursday, 31 May 2018

Mini Review | Eve Of Man by Giovanna & Tom Fletcher

Image and video hosting by TinyPicEve Of Man by Giovanna & Tom Fletcher
Series: Eve Of Man #1
Published On: May 31, 2018
Published By: Michael Joseph
Genre: YA, Dystopian
Pages: 400
Format: eBook
Source: Netgalley
Rating: ★★★

Amazon | Goodreads

All her life Eve has been kept away from the opposite sex. Kept from the truth of her past. But at sixteen it's time for Eve to face her destiny. Three potential males have been selected for her. The future of humanity is in her hands. She's always accepted her fate. Until she meets Bram. 
Eve wants control over her life. She wants freedom. But how do you choose between love and the future of the human race?

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

This had so much potential.
While so many people may be over the dystopian 'trend', I am one of those who still enjoys a good dystopian. I would say that is exactly what this book is; a good dystopian. It didn't blow me away but it is an interesting plot and an interesting society.

The story is not something I have read before.
I know there are various books out there that are somewhat similar in the basic premise, but I have never read anything like this in which no females have been born for fifty years. It was a very interesting concept that was used in a creative way. The idea of keeping Eve away from the rest of the world in a purpose built tower and exposing her to very little of the real world was a very unique concept that I enjoyed.

We had two well-developed societies.
Due to Eve being confined to the tower, it was almost as though two separate societies were created for this story. We had the society within the tower, in which things were very futuristic and incredibly interesting to read about. Then, we also had the world beyond the tower. This, I felt, was slightly less developed than within the tower, though much less of the book was spent in this setting. I expect this will be developed more in future books in the series.

The technology was very creative.
So much of this story is based around the technology used within the tower. As I mentioned, it is all very futuristic. I have no idea how the authors managed to think of all of the unique, incredibly advanced technology described in the book; I was so impressed. It was a little confusing at time, but it was definitely interesting to read about.

The characters were bland.
Despite all of the things I enjoyed about this book, the characters fell flat for me. This was very unexpected, as one of the things I enjoyed about the one other Giovanna Fletcher book I have read was the characters. However, both Even and Bram were dull and had little personality.

It was let down by the pacing.
The pacing of this book was completely wrong for me. The first 75% of the book was very slow and while things were happening, they seemed to be taking forever to happen. Then, in the last 25%, everything happened. At one point I didn't actually think there was enough time left in the book for it to finish. The last part of the book needed much more time to be fully developed, it seemed much too rushed and ended up being a little confusing.

Overall, I do think this series has potential. I was unsure how I would feel going into this book as it was something so different for these authors, but I did enjoy it. There were some really great things about this book. However, the pacing and the characters let it down for me. I am interested to see how the series progresses, as I think many of the issues I had with this book could be resolved in future books.