Friday, 11 December 2015

Review | My True Love Gave To Me edited by Stephanie Perkins

Image and video hosting by TinyPicMy True Love Gave To Me edited by Stephanie Perkins
Published On: October 9, 2014
Published By: Macmillan
Genre: Contemporary
Pages: 355
Format: Hardcover
Source: Bought
Rating: ★★★★

Amazon | Goodreads

If you love holiday stories, holiday movies, made-for-TV-holiday specials, holiday episodes of your favorite sitcoms and, especially, if you love holiday anthologies, you’re going to fall in love with My True Love Gave To Me: Twelve Holiday Stories by twelve bestselling young adult writers, edited by international bestselling author Stephanie Perkins. Whether you enjoy celebrating Christmas or Hanukkah, Winter Solstice or New Year's there's something here for everyone. So curl up by the fireplace and get cozy. You have twelve reasons this season to stay indoors and fall in love.

This anthology of twelve holiday love stories features very interesting and unique stories from twelve bestselling YA authors. The stories contained in this book are so different that it is impossible to give a brief synopsis overview. The stories range from cute contemporary to intriguing fantasy, so there is a story for everyone in this book.

Midnights by Rainbow Rowell – This is the first story in the anthology, despite it being set during New Year. This story follows two best friends who have been attending the same New Years’ party for four years but have yet to share a midnight kiss. This was one of my favourites stories. I thought the story was adorable and I really loved the characters. It’s amazing how Rainbow Rowell can give me so many feelings towards a couple in only a few pages. I would rate this story 5/5.

The Lady And The Fox by Kelly Link – The second story was very confusing for me. As far as I could understand, it is about a girl who sees a man outside of the house she is staying at for the holidays, but only when it snows. I found it very difficult to keep up with the magical realism element of this story and I felt as though there was not enough time for the author to properly explain what was going on. I would rate this story 2/5.

Angel’s In The Snow by Matt De La Pena – This story was just average for me, though I have seen a lot of people who love it. It follows a guy who is apartment sitting when he meets the girl upstairs. I didn’t feel much for the characters and I found the story to be a little boring for a lot of the time. I would rate this story 3/5.

Polaris Is Where You’ll Find Me by Jenny Han – This follows a girl who was adopted by Santa Claus and lives amongst the elves in the North Pole. However, the elves have yet to accept her. Initially this story felt a bit too much like the movie Elf but I was curious about where it would go. However, this is another story that was just average for me, which is a shame, as I usually love things set in the North Pole. I would rate this story 3/5.

It’s A Yuletide Miracle, Charlie Brown by Stephanie Perkins – Of course, with this being written by Stephanie Perkins it was bound to be one of my favourites. This follows a girl who is attempting to enlist the help of the boy from the Christmas tree lot so befriends him first. I really loved these characters and the very cute story was an enjoyable read. I would rate this story 5/5.

You’re Temporary Santa by David Levithan – This story follows a boy who is asked by his boyfriend to dress up as Santa Claus in order to keep the magic of Christmas alive for his younger sister. I liked this story, especially the LGBT aspect of it, however I didn’t feel any connection to the characters. This was one of the stories that I think needed more than a few pages to be properly developed. I would rate this story 3/5.

Krampuslauf by Holly Black – I don’t really know what to say about this story, or really what it was about. I had to speed read this story as I really did not enjoy it, but I didn’t want to miss any of the stories out. I would rate this story 1/5.

What The Hell Have You Done, Sophie Roth? by Gayle Forman – This story is about a girl from a big city who feels like an outsider in her small town university. However, when she meets a fellow outsider, things don’t seem so bad. As silly as it sounds, I initially loved this story because the main characters name is Sophie (which is my name, if you didn’t know). As well as that, I did actually really enjoy this story. I thought the characters were pretty great and their story was just really cute. I would rate this story 4/5

Beer Buckets And Baby Jesus by Myra McEntire – This follows a boy who, following an incident in which he almost sets the local church on fire, is punished with community service which includes helping out with the church nativity play. It is through this that he meets the pastor’s daughter. This story reminded me a little of A Walk To Remember by Nicholas Sparks, which I loved, so it had a lot to live up to. Obviously it was not going to reach those standards in a few pages but I did kind of enjoy it. It was another average read but not anything terrible. The characters were enjoyable and the story was reasonable cute but there was nothing that particularly stood out to me. I would rate this story 3.5/5.

Welcome To Christmas, CA by Kiersten White – This is another one of my favourite stories. It is about a girl who is desperate to escape the small town she lives in. However, when she meets the new chef at her mother’s Christmas themed restaurant where she works, her views on life start to change. I loved this story for so many reasons. There was so much more to it than just a love story as it covered some more serious issues, and to have done so that well in such a short story was admirable. While there was an adorable love story, there was also a further family aspect that I really enjoyed. To me, this was the most Christmassy of all the stories, which I loved. I would rate this story 5/5.

Star Of Bethlehem by Ally Carter – If this story hadn’t followed one of my favourites in the book I may have liked it more, but I did really enjoy it. This is about a girl who switches her plane ticket with a stranger and ends up spending the holidays pretending to be an Icelandic exchange student in a small town in Oklahoma named Bethlehem. This story was not only really sweet but it was very funny. I loved the witty banter between the main character and the love interest, but again this story had an added family aspect which played just as much of a role as the love story. I would rate this story 4/5.

The Girl Who Woke The Dreamer by Laini Taylor – I did not understand this story one bit. From what I could gather, it is about a girl who lives in a society where marriage is really the only option when they reach a certain age. This society has a tradition in which gift are given to the girls during the 25 days of Advent. I really struggled with this story. I think the fantasy elements needed much more than the few pages in order to be explained enough to be understood. I found this to be very confusing and felt no attachment to any of the characters or the story overall. I would rate this story 1/5.

Overall, I liked this anthology as a whole although there are definitely some stories I enjoyed more than others. My favourite stories were those by Rainbow Rowell, Stephanie Perkins and Keirsten White and I found the contemporary storied much more enjoyable. Those with fantasy elements, I felt, needed more space to be developed and while it was good to include a vast range of stories within the anthology, some just didn’t work for me with only a limited number of pages. I would definitely pick this up in future to reread some of my favourites.

Thursday, 10 December 2015

Haul | November 2015

This year, for the first time ever, I decided to take advantage of some of the Black Friday deals. Though I wasn't brave enough to go out to the shops, I did a fair bit of online shopping and managed to pick up some really good deals on books. I have been relatively good with my book buying in the past few months so I think these purchases are a well deserved little treat.

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Legend trilogy by Marie Lu -
I have heard so many great things about this series, both online and from friends, so when I saw the amazing deal on The Book People, I decided to pick it up to give it a go. I managed to get the set of three books for just £4, which is just over £1 a book! I don't even know that this series is about but I am excited to just dive right into it blind, though I may not get to it until the new year.

Percy Jackson and the Olympians series by Rick Riordan -
I managed to bag myself another 'box set' deal in the form of the Percy Jackson series by Rick Riordan. This was on sale for just £10 (originally almost £35) at The Works, and is still available at this price here if you're interested. I read this first book in this series this time last year but never got around to picking up the rest of the series. I really enjoyed the first book, especially the Greek Mythology aspect,  so I am excited to continue with the series.

Those are the books I bought in the month of November, and I must say £14 for 8 books seems like a pretty good deal to me. What book did you buy in November that you are most looking forward to?

Sophie :)

Tuesday, 8 December 2015

Wrap Up | November 2015

It has been a bit of a theme recently that my wrap ups contain an embarrassingly small number of read books and my November wrap up is no different. I have been really struggling with reading slumps recently but I am really hoping to read a decent amount in December, although considering how much I am working I may have no time.

My Life In November...
- I had a great night at a quiz night with some of my closest friends.
- I got a new car!! It was an early birthday present and I am in love.
- I started, and almost finished, my Christmas shopping.
- I took advantage of Black Friday (from the comfort of my sofa) for the fist time.
- I put up my Christmas tree and started to get very festive.
- I watched A LOT of Christmas movies!

Watched In November...
- A Bride For Christmas (rewatch) - 4/5
- Crazy For Christmas - 4/5
- Window Wonderland (rewatch) - 4.5/5
- Naughty Or Nice - 4/5
- Greys Anatomy Season 7 (rewatch) - 5/5
- Christmas Under Wraps - 4/5
- Christmas Oranges - 3.5/5
- Elf (rewatch) - 4/5

Read In November...

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Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix by JK Rowling -
So I may have only read one book in the month of November but it was an 800 page book so I guess that's some kind of achievement. I am attempting to power my way through the last few books in the Harry Potter series in the hope of finishing it before the new year. I am really enjoying it so far, even more now that I am reading the books I have not watched the movie adaptations for, as the story is new and exciting. For some reason, though, as much as I am loving these books, something is stopping me from giving them 5 stars and I don't know what it is. 4.5/5

Blogged In November...
- I shared my October Wrap Up and Haul.

That was my month of November. What did you read in November? Have you watched any Christmas films yet?

Sophie :)

Thursday, 3 December 2015

Review | Second Chance Summer by Morgan Matson

Image and video hosting by TinyPicSecond Chance Summer by Morgan Matson
Published By: Simon & Schuster
Published On: May 8, 2012
Genre: Contemporary
Pages: 468
Format: Audiobook
Source: Audible
Narrated By: Brittany Pressley
Rating: ★★★★

Amazon | Goodreads

Taylor Edwards’ family might not be the closest-knit—everyone is a little too busy and overscheduled—but for the most part, they get along just fine. Then Taylor’s dad gets devastating news, and her parents decide that the family will spend one last summer all together at their old lake house in the Pocono Mountains. 
Crammed into a place much smaller and more rustic than they are used to, they begin to get to know each other again. And Taylor discovers that the people she thought she had left behind haven’t actually gone anywhere. Her former best friend is still around, as is her first boyfriend…and he’s much cuter at seventeen than he was at twelve. 
As the summer progresses and the Edwards become more of a family, they’re more aware than ever that they’re battling a ticking clock. Sometimes, though, there is just enough time to get a second chance—with family, with friends, and with love.

After Taylor’s family receive some terrible news, they decide to spend their last summer together at their old family lake house. However, for Taylor this means not only being around her family, with whom she has distanced herself in recent years, but being reunited with her first love and her former best friend. As the summer speeds by, Taylor must learn to put the past behind her and make the present count, before it’s too late.

This is a truly great, heart-warming story of family, friendship and first love. This is definitely my favourite Morgan Matson book I have read so far as it is a genuinely lovely story that pulls at your heart string while also giving you that warm and fuzzy feeling.

What I really loved about this book was how well all of the individual aspects intertwined. This was not a story primarily about family, or friendship, or love. Every one of these aspects was as important as the others and the importance of each of these things in our lives was emphasised.

While I read this in the summer, and I would suggest it is technically a ‘summer read’, it’s definitely not your average summer read. I generally consider a summer read to be a cutesy contemporary that doesn’t take a lot of thinking about. This, on the other hand, will have you constantly thinking about what is going on and evaluating your life and the things you place importance on. This book was constantly on my mind while I was reading it, and for a while afterwards as well.

As you can probably guess, this book deals with some difficult, hard-hitting topics. I was so impressed with how well these were dealt with as Morgan Matson told this story with such sensitivity and some very difficult topics were given so much respect within the writing. For a book like this one, the sensitivity and the way such topics are written can really make or break the story and this was definitely done successfully.

The thing that really made this book for me were the great characters. I really enjoyed Taylor as a main character and although she has some issues to deal with, she was very easy to connect to and I really felt for her with everything she was going through. In fact, every character was very easy to connect to and enjoyable to read about but it was also easy to understand what they were going through and the struggles they were dealing with.

Though I have not gone through anything similar to the situation in this book, it was written in such a way that made it easy to relate to. Through the characters, the story itself and the way it was written, I found it very easy to relate to what the characters were going through despite having no experience of it. I found myself able to understand their struggles and truly feel for them in the situation.

Overall, I really enjoyed this book and the story, and the message it gave, will stay with me for a long time. I really enjoyed listening to this on audiobook as it felt as though I was listening to the characters tell me about the struggles in their lives, rather than listening to someone reading a book as it often does. I would definitely recommend this to anyone who enjoys a sadder book with a great message that really makes you appreciate the people you have in your life.

Tuesday, 24 November 2015

Wrap Up & Haul | October 2015

Considering it is coming to the end of November and I haven't posted a single thing since my September wrap up at the beginning of October, I think you get the idea that the past few months have been completely crazy! I have been so busy that I have had hardly any time to post, and when I have had time all I have had the energy to do is sleep or watch TV. I have also still been in this ridiculous reading slump that has been going on since August so have read hardly anything in recent months. I am hoping things will improve soon but for now, here is what happened in October.

My Life In October...
- I got a job at the beginning of the month, which is largely why I'm so busy!
- I had so much uni work to do that it began to take over my life.
- I spent a weekend as a leader for a kids camp which was great fun.
- I got to go the the World Gymnastics Championships in Glasgow and see the GB team win silver!
- I went to see one of my favourite boybands, Union J, on their Audience With tour.
- I was lucky enough to meet some of the gymnasts competing at Worlds, including Dan Purvis and, one of my favourite gymnasts, Max Whitlock.

Watched In October...
- Final Destination 2 (rewatch) - 4/5
- Grey's Anatomy Season 4 (rewatch) - 5/5
- Big Hero 6 (rewatch) - 4/5
- Grey's Anatomy Season 6 (rewatch) - 5/5

Read In October...

Confessions Of A New York Taxi Driver by Eugene Salomon -
Just as Harry Potter got me out of my reading slump in September, this put me back into it. This wasn't a bad book, a lot of the stories of Eugene's experiences as a taxi driver in New York were very enjoyable and as I love everything about New York, I found much of it quite interesting. Unfortunately, it got a bit boring for me after a while as the stories all started to get a bit similar and it ended up taking me the whole month to finish. 2/5

Bought In October...

 photo October01_zpsbx5l6jzb.jpg

Life And Death: Twilight Reimagined by Stephenie Meyer -
This series is the reason I am reading today so there is no way I could let the tenth anniversary of Twilight pass by and not buy a copy of the 'reimagined' version. I have heard such mixed things about the gender swap and just the general execution of this book but I am determined to give it a fair go. I tend to reread Twilight every year now so I may mix it up next year and read this instead. 

Breathe by Abbi Glines -
Having heard such good things about Abbi Glines, I decided to give her books a go and somewhere read that the Sea Breeze series, of which this is the first book, is a good place to start. To be completely honest, I have no idea what this is about but when I saw it on Amazon for a great price as I was browsing books to raise my total for free delivery, I went for it. I am excited to get to this one eventually.

Blogged In October...
- I shared my September Wrap Up and Haul.

I can't promise November will be any better than October was but let's hope December will be. What have you been reading recently?

Sophie :)

Wednesday, 7 October 2015

Wrap Up & Haul | September 2015

September has been another crazy month for me and one that included quite the reading slump. For some reason I just had no desire to read anything and the more I tried, the worse it got. That is why, along with being busy with starting back uni and all of that fun stuff, I have read a grand total of 2 books this month, and one doesn't really count.

My Life In September...
- I am planning to go back to uni to do a different degree next year so its open day time again.
- I went away for the weekend with my mum to visit my best friend.
- Unfortunately, I went back to uni so that is taking over my life again.
- My best friend the I went to visit had a beautiful little baby! This is the most exciting thing ever!

Watched In September...
- Love, Rosie (rewatch) - 5/5
- Tarzan - 3/5
- Insurgent - 3.5/5
- Orange Is The New Black Season 1 - 3/5
- Gossip Girl Season 2 (rewatch) - 5/5

Read In September...

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More Weird Things Customers Say In Bookshops by Jen Campbell -
This is the book that doesn't really count, considering how small it is. This is a book full of funny and interesting things people say in bookshops and is the second instalment. I read this first one and liked it, I gave it 3 stars, and this one was also good, just not quite as good. I found this book to be not quite as funny as the first. It is still a good, fun read if you are looking for something short and quick. 3/5

Harry Potter and the Goblet Of Fire by JK Rowling -
This book both got me out of a reading slump and put me into one. I picked this up in an attempt to get me out of a reading slump, and it worked. I couldn't put it down and it made me actually want to read for the first time in a couple of months. However, as soon as it finished I was straight back into a slump because I enjoyed it so much. I think this may be my favourite of the books so far, probably because it was the first of the books that I had never seen the movie adaptation for so knew very little about what was going to happen. 4/5

Bought In September...

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After reading Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire in September, I went straight on to Amazon and bought the final three books in the series; The Order Of The Phoenix, The Half Blood Prince and The Deathly Hallows. I can't wait to read these books and hopefully finish the series this year.

Blogged In September...
- I reviewed The Distance Between Us by Kasie West.
- I hauled the books I bought in August.
- I reviewed The Heir by Kiera Cass.
- I wrapped up August.
- I reviewed We All Looked Up by Tommy Wallach.
- I did the Mid-Year Book Freak Out Tag and updated you on my challenge progress.
- I shared some mini reviews of recent reads.
- I listed my Top Ten Completed Series.
- I reviewed Paper Towns by John Green.
- I shared some mini reviews of some non-fiction reads.

That was my month of September. What did you read in September?

Sophie :)

Wednesday, 30 September 2015

Mini Reviews | A Bit Of Non-Fiction

I started doing some mini reviews at the start of the year for those books that I don't have loads to say about. There are times when I read a book but when it comes to reviewing it, there isn't enough to say to make up a full review. I don't want these books to go unnoticed, however, so mini reviews are perfect. In these reviews I will mention a few things I liked about the book, and a few things I did not like.

Image and video hosting by TinyPicOne Born Every Minute by Maria Dore & Ros Bradbury
Published By: Sphere
Published On: January 10, 2011
Genre: Non-Fiction
Pages: 243
Format: Paperback
Source: Bought
Amazon | Goodreads

What I Liked: I have always been very interested in the role of a midwife and have enjoyed watching the TV show that this book has come from. I found this to be a very interesting and informative account of the role of a midwife, both the good and bad.
What I Disliked: As there were two authors of this book, a lot of the chapters were very repetitive as they were both discussing the same topic. I also found it to be quite disjointed at parts.
Rating: ★★★

Image and video hosting by TinyPic  We Should Hand Out Sometime by Josh Sundquist
Published By: Little Brown Books
Published On: December 23, 2014
Genre: Non-Fiction
Pages: 336
Format: Audiobook
Source: Audible
Narrated By: Josh Sundquist
Amazon | Goodreads

What I Liked: This was bound to be a funny book given the premise and it did not disappoint. All of the stories in this book were funny but also quite relatable. Josh is a very likeable person which made reading this book a whole lot more enjoyable. I also loved how refreshingly honest he was throughout the book and he was a fantastic narrator.
What I Disliked: The only issue I had with this book was that it got a little repetitive after a while.
Rating: ★★★½

Image and video hosting by TinyPicOur Story by Collabro
Published By: Blink Publishing
Published On: March 5, 2015
Genre: Non-Fiction
Pages: 248
Format: Hardcover
Source: Bought
Amazon | Goodreads

What I Liked: I absolutely love these boys so obviously I loved this book. I am a huge Collabro fan so I really enjoyed getting to know more about them and their lives before Britain's Got Talent. I also really enjoyed the insight into the process of Britain's Got Talent and found that very interesting.
What I Disliked: I really didn't dislike anything about this book, there just wasn't anything particularly special to make it a 5 star read.
Rating: ★★★★

Image and video hosting by TinyPicCabin Fever by Mandy Smith
Published By: Thistle Publishing
Published On: April 5, 2014
Genre: Non-Fiction
Pages: 244
Format: eBook
Source: Bought
Amazon | Goodreads

What I Liked: I am really interested in anything to do with flying and I love planes and airports. I picked this up to get more of an insight into the life of an air hostess and I definitely learnt quite a bit. I loved all of the stories of interesting flights and passengers.
What I Disliked: There was far too much information about her personal life, and in particular her sex life. I have nothing against sex in books but I when I was looking for an insight into the life of an air hostess, I don't need 50% of the book taken up by details of the author's sex life and her relationship history. I was not interested in her personal life, particularly when it was not at all related to her being an air hostess!
Rating: ★★½

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

Sophie :)

Wednesday, 16 September 2015

Review | Paper Towns by John Green

Image and video hosting by TinyPicPaper Towns by John Green
Published By: Bloomsbury
Published On: September 22, 2009
Genre: Contemporary
Pages: 305
Format: Paperback
Source: Bought
Rating: ★★★★

Amazon | Goodreads

Quentin Jacobsen has spent a lifetime loving the magnificently adventurous Margo Roth Spiegelman from afar. So when she cracks open a window and climbs into his life—dressed like a ninja and summoning him for an ingenious campaign of revenge—he follows. After their all-nighter ends, and a new day breaks, Q arrives at school to discover that Margo, always an enigma, has now become a mystery. But Q soon learns that there are clues—and they're for him. Urged down a disconnected path, the closer he gets, the less Q sees the girl he thought he knew...

Quentin had admired next-door neighbour Margo Roth Spiegelman from a distance ever since their childhood friendship dissipated when high school began. Therefore, when she appears in his bedroom late one night to enlist his help in a crazy revenge scheme of hers, Q, though slightly shocked, agrees to help her. The next day, however, Margo is nowhere to be found and Q must use her mysterious clues to solve the mystery of Margo Roth Spiegelman.

This was a bit of a slow starter for me as I struggled to get into it. I was quite unsure about it for the first half as there didn’t seem to be all that much going on apart from the introduction to the characters. I still liked it in the beginning but not as much as I had hoped.

Luckily, though, I couldn’t put the book down for the second half. Once the story really got going I was so engrossed in the mystery and started to really enjoy it. I enjoyed all of the different aspects to the story and ended up spending a good few hours just sitting in the same spot reading this book.

I really enjoyed the revenge plot aspect of this book. This was probably the most fun part of the book for me. I loved the excitement of their revenge scheme and the exhilaration due to the fact that the characters could have been caught at any moment. This was such a fun part to read about.

One of my favourite things about this book was the very unique and interesting characters. John Green’s characters, or at least the ones I have read about, are always very unique and different from the usual teenager. Margo and Q in particular were no different. I loved how different the two characters were yet they were drawn together. Even the supporting characters were great fun to read about.

I can’t review this book without commenting on John Green’s amazing writing style. He writes the most amazing books but has such a unique way of doing so. I always find his writing style to be very individual but great to read. The writing style in this book was to his unique style, complete with the unusual wit and quirkiness.

The one minor flaw I had with this book was the ending. I didn’t think the ending was bad, I just found it a little disappointing. It was well written and a decent ending but it was a bit anti-climactic. I did still enjoy it but it was not as great as I had expected it to be considering the rest of the book. 

Overall, I really enjoyed almost every aspect of this book. Despite the slightly slow start, I went on to read the entire second half of this book in one night, as I could not put it down. I loved the story and the characters, which were the typical John Green quirky, unusual characters and were great fun to read about. I would definitely recommend this book to anyone who enjoys John Green’s writing style, or anyone who enjoys quirky and fun books.

Tuesday, 15 September 2015

Top Ten Tuesday | Top Ten Completed Series

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Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created at The Broke And The Bookish. Lists galore, I can think of nothing better!

This week is a Freebie week so I decided, following on from last week's Series To Finish, I would share my completed series, even though there is only 8. I have decided to set myself a bit of a 'Mid-Year Resolution' to complete at least 5 series this year, and have reached a total of three so far. Compared to many, I have completed very few series, mainly due to that fact I read relatively little until the beginning of last year. Like I mentioned, as of this moment I have completed a total of 8 series. These are not in any kind of order.

Twilight series by Stephenie Meyer
Twilight (#1)
New Moon (#2)
Eclipse (#3)
The Short Second Life Of Bree Tanner (#3.5)
Breaking Dawn (#4)

Of course, like the majority of girls around my age, I have completed the Twilight series. I went through the same faze as many, during which I was completely obsessed with this series and everything to do with it. I have since reread Twilight, and am currently rereading it very slowly, and, as awkward as it is to admit, I do still enjoy it. According to Goodreads, I rated the first three books 4 stars, the novella 5 stars and Breaking Dawn 5 stars.

The Hunger Games trilogy by Suzanne Collins
The Hunger Games (#1)
Catching Fire (#2) - Review
Mockingjay (#3)

This was the series that got me back into reading. I absolutely love this series and there is no question as to why it is so popular, it's amazing! I knew nothing about this series until I went to see the first movie completely on a whim. As soon as I left the movie I started reading the first book and by the end of the week I had finished the series. I rated The Hunger Games 4 stars (I was very fussy with my 5 star ratings at the time), Catching Fire got 5 stars as it was, and probably will always be, my favourite in the series, and Mockingjay I originally rated just 3 stars. I was not a huge fan of Mockingjay initially but after rereading it before watching the movie last year, I completely changed my opinion and changed the rating to 4 stars.

Divergent series by Veronica Roth
Four (#0.1-0.4) - Review
Divergent (#1) - Review
Insurgent (#2) - Mini Review
Allegiant (#3) - Review

This was the first series I finished this year, having read Allegiant in January and Four in February. I had very little intention of reading this series until it was turned into a movie. I was searching for a new book to buy and, since I had heard about the movie, I decided to pick up Divergent and see what the fuss was about. I'm so glad I did because I loved most of this series. Insurgent was a let down for me but the rest of the series was great. I gave Divergent 5 stars, Insurgent a pretty generous 4 stars, Allegiant 5 stars, and the novella bind-up Four 4 stars.

Katie Parker Productions series by Jenny B Jones
In Between (#1) - Mini Review
On The Loose (#2) - Mini Review
The Big Picture (#3) - Mini Review
Can't Let You Go (#4) - Review

I believe this series is now over but even though I am not completely sure, I thought I would count it anyway. This will be the second series I finished this year, as I read Can't Let You Go in February. This series was my first experience of the world of Christian Fiction and I really enjoyed it. I was looking for some Christian fiction that was light-hearted and fun, which is exactly what this is, thought it has the serious stuff thrown in there as well. I gave all four books 4 stars.

Darcy & Rachel duology by Emily Giffin
Something Borrowed (#1)
Something Blue (#2)

I read this duology a good few years ago now so I struggle to remember a whole lot about it. I read Something Borrowed as I watched, and really enjoyed, the film. I liked the first book but I loved the second a whole lot more. This is one series that I would like to reread at some point. I rated the first book 4 stars and the second 5 stars.

Matched trilogy by Ally Condie
Matched (#1)
Crossed (#2) - Review
Reached (#3) - Review

This is one trilogy that has extremely mixed reviews; some love the series, others hate it. I read this a while ago so don't remember a lot about it but I do know that I generally enjoyed this series, some books more than others. I really enjoyed the first book, giving it 4 stars; the second was a bit of a let down and I ended up giving it 3 stars; the third book I also really enjoyed and gave it 4 stars as well.

Anna And The French Kiss trilogy by Stephanie Perkins
Anna And The French Kiss (#1) - Review
Lola And The Boy Next Door (#2) - Review
Isla And The Happily Ever After (#3) - Review

This is one of my favourite series I have read recently. I started this in the summer of last year and had finished the series by September because I was enjoying it so much. I really enjoyed Anna, especially the Paris setting, and gave it 4 stars. Lola is probably my least favourite of the series as I found it difficult to relate to Lola but my love of Cricket made me give this one 4 stars as well. Isla is definitely my favourite book of the series, and the only one I have reread, so I gave it 5 stars.

Confessions Of Georgia Nicholson series by Louise Rennison
Angus, Thongs And Full-Frontal Snogging (#1) - Review
It's Ok, I'm Wearing Really Big Knickers (#2) - Review
Knocked Out By My Nunga-Nungas (#3) - Review
Dancing In My Nuddy-Pants (#4) - Review
And That's When It Fell Off In My Hand (#5) - Review
Then He Ate My Boy Entrancers (#6) - Review
Startled By His Furry Shorts (#7) - Review
Luuurve Is A Many Trousered Things (#8) - Review
Stop In The Name Of Pants! (#9) - Review
Are These My Basoomas I See Before Me? (#10) - Review

I started this series when I was around 14 but never finished it. I recently decided to finally finish it as the books are such quick read so I reread the first three and then continued on with the series. I enjoyed these books, they are very fun reads and they are great to break up some more serious reads. They are targeted towards younger girls which meant that I found them to be quite immature at some points. I gave the majority of the books in the series three stars, with a couple being 2.5 stars, and to the final book I gave 3.5 stars.

Those are the 8 series I have completed. As I am reading much more this year than I have in previous years, I am hoping to increase this number very soon. Do you have a favourite series that I should add to the list?

Sophie :)

P.S. I am having problems with the comment system at the moment. For some reason Blogger is not letting me reply to any comments, or comment at all. Does anyone know how to fix this issue?

Monday, 14 September 2015

Mini Reviews | Recent Reads

I started doing some mini reviews at the start of the year for those books that I don't have loads to say about. There are times when I read a book but when it comes to reviewing it, there isn't enough to say to make up a full review. I don't want these books to go unnoticed, however, so mini reviews are perfect. In these reviews I will mention a few things I liked about the book, and a few things I did not like.

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Luuurve Is A Many Trousered Thing (#8) and Stop In The Name Of Pants! (#9) by Louise Rennison
Series: Confessions Of Georgia Nicholson series
Published By: Harper Collins
Published On: 2007 (#8) & 2008 (#9)
Genre: Contemporary
Pages: 253 (#8) & 286 (#9)
Format: Paperback
Source: Bought
Amazon | Goodreads

What I Liked: These books are very fun, quick and enjoyable reads. I find that these are a great quick read to break up some more serious reading as they don't take too much concentration. They are full of interesting, funny characters, including a very quirky main character, Georgia.
What I Disliked: I have mentioned before that I find these books to be a little immature. These books are aimed towards 14/15 year old girls, so as a 20 year old I do find some of the behaviour to be immature but as I am not the target audience, this doesn't bother me too much. I didn't really like some of the behaviour that seemed to be encouraged throughout these books, for example the way Georgia speaks to and treats her friends sometimes. I liked book 9, Stop In The Name Of Pants!, slightly less than book 8 as it focused more on some characters that I did not like as much.
Rating: Book 8 - ★★★
Book 9 - ★★½

Image and video hosting by TinyPicAre These My Basoomas I See Before Me? by Louise Rennison
Series: Confessions Of Georgia Nicholson #10
Published By: Harper Collins
Published On: June 25, 2006
Genre: Contemporary
Pages: 315
Format: Hardcover
Source: Bought
Amazon | Goodreads

What I Liked: This was a really great ending to a fun series. I thought this conclusion was perfect and the story ended just as it should have, I was very satisfied with the ending. Like I said, the books in this series are quick, fun reads with great characters and this was no exception.
What I Disliked: I had the same issue as always with this instalment in the series. I found some parts to be a bit immature but as I am a bit older than the target audience this can be expected.

Image and video hosting by TinyPicThe Naughtiest Girl In The School by Enid Blyton
Series: The Naughtiest Girl #1
Published By: Hodder
Published On: 1930
Genre: Children's
Pages: 166
Format: eBook
Source: Bought
Amazon | Goodreads

What I Liked: This was a reread from my childhood so I found this to be a very nostalgic read. This was just as fun as I remembered it and the characters are great. I loved boarding school stories and I especially love this school and the way it is run.
What I Disliked: As this book is really from a different generation (even my mum read this as a child!) there are a lot of behaviours in the book that were deemed acceptable at the time but not so now. Some of the behaviour promoted in the book would be seen as bullying now and this made it a bit uncomfortable for me to read.
Rating: ★★★

Image and video hosting by TinyPicHarry Potter And The Prisoner Of Azkaban by JK Rowling
Series: Harry Potter #3
Published By: Bloomsbury
Published On: September 8, 1999
Genre: Fantasy
Pages: 317
Format: Paperback
Source: Bought
Amazon | Goodreads

What I Liked: I liked absolutely everything about this book. I love the Hogwarts setting and enjoyed getting to see some more of the surrounding areas. The characters are great and are starting to become more familiar to me, which is adding to my enjoyment. I also liked that I didn't know what was coming this time. In the previous books, the exciting plot was ruined slightly by the fact I had seen the movie adaptations many times. Luckily, this time I had only seen it once and couldn't remember anything.
What I Disliked: I am still feeling quite a lot of pressure to love these books and that is causing me to enjoy them slightly less than I would otherwise.
Rating: ★★★★

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

Sophie :)

Sunday, 13 September 2015

Tag | Mid-Year Book Freakout & Challenge Update

It may not be the middle of the year anymore but I wanted to have a bit of a look back on the year so far and see how I am getting on with my reading and with my challenges. I wasn't tagged to do the Mid-Year Book Freakout Tag but I really like the idea of it so decided to give it a go for myself.

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Best Book You've Read So Far In 2015

This is really tough! I would probably have to go with either The Selection by Kiera Cass or How To Fall In Love by Cecelia Ahern. I wasn't expecting great things from The Selection and was very pleasantly surprised when I ended up loving it. On the other hand, I was really expecting great things from How To Fall In Love and was so relieved when it lived up to those expectations.

Best Sequel You've Read So Far In 2015

This has definitely got to be Allegiant by Veronica Roth. This seems to be one that people either love or hate due to the controversial ending. Personally, I absolutely loved it and thought the ending suited the book series perfectly. This is one of my favourite books I have read this year and completely redeemed the Divergent trilogy after Insurgent disappointed me a little.

New Release You Haven't Read Yet But Want To

There are a few for this but I'm going to go for Volition by Lily Paradis. I read Ignite, Lily's debut novel, early in the year and really enjoyed it so I am desperate to read more of her work. I don't even know why I haven't picked this book up yet, I really need to get to it soon.

Most Anticipated Release For The Second Half Of The Year

I don't really have any very highly anticipated books for the second half of the year. I am trying to cut back on my book buying so I am trying not to look at what books are releasing in the second half of the year, I don't want to be tempted to buy them.

Biggest Disappointment

This has probably got to be Nineteen Minutes by Jodi Picoult. I read and loved My Sister's Keeper and really wanted to read more from her. Nineteen Minutes seemed very interesting to me and I haven't read anything about a school shooting before so I was looking forward to something different. I ended up really not liking this book and found it quite boring.

Biggest Surprise

I'm going to go with This Song Will Save Your Life by Leila Sales. I picked this up on a whim and when I eventually got around to reading it I wasn't really expecting great things. I ended up really enjoying it! It was an enjoyable story with a very relatable main character whom I really enjoyed reading about.

Favourite New Author

Since I read and really enjoyed her Selection series, it has to be Kiera Cass. She did a great job of writing a really fun series and I can't wait to read more from her.

Newest Fictional Crush

This is another really hard one! I think I'm going to have to say Maxon from The Selection series. I loved him straight away in The Selection and my crush just grew throughout the three original books. I can't say I feel the same way about him in The Heir, though, considering he is a fair bit older in that book.

Newest Favourite Character

This is also a tough one but I think I'll have to say Caymen from The Distance Between Us by Kasie West. I seriously want Caymen to be my best friend. She is sarcastic and witty and she just seems like so much fun.

Book That Made You Cry

There have been a few so far this year but I'm trying not to repeat myself so I'll go with I Was Here by Gayle Forman. This was a very well written take on teenage suicide in which our main character's best friend commits suicide and she wants to work out why. This was a very touching story and did a great job of emphasising the stigma around mental health.

Book That Made You Happy

As strange as this sounds, considering the topic of the book, How To Fall In Love by Cecelia Ahern made me happy. Despite being about suicide, this book was adorable and actually quite funny. It is the kind of thing only Cecelia Ahern can achieve as she somehow manages to find some comic relief in even the saddest of situations.

Favourite Book To Movie Adaptation You Saw This Year

This is easily Love, Rosie. This is based on one of my favourite books, Where Rainbows End by Cecelia Ahern, and they managed to do such a great job with the movie. I absolutely love Lily Collins and Sam Claflin as Rosie and Alex, they are perfect for the roles. It is such a fun movie and though it doesn't follow the book completely, it is a great adaptation.

Favourite Review/Post You've Done This Year

This is a tough one because I don't think I have done anything particularly great this year. I think my review of This Song Will Save Your Life by Leila Sales may be one of the best reviews I have written since I wrote it straight after finishing the book so I'll go with that.

Most Beautiful Book You've Bought So Far This Year

I have bought quite a lot of beautiful books this year so that's a hard question. Since I have it sat next to me, I'll go with the copy of Harry Potter And The Goblet Of Fire by JK Rowling that I bought recently.

Books You NEED To Read By The End Of 2015

Basically every book I own! I don't have a specific set list of books I want to read by the end of the year, I would just like to get through a good chunk of my TBR.

That was the Mid-Year Book Freakout Tag! I thought it might also be helpful for me to see how I'm getting on with my 2015 reading challenges.

Goodreads Reading Challenge

Goal: 50
Progress: 44
I would say I'm doing pretty well with this challenge! If I manage to get out of the horrendous reading slump soon I should definitely get to 50 books by the end of the year.

Ebook Reading Challenge

Goal: 10
Progress: 8
I'm also doing quite well with this challenge as well. If I read my 10 books soon I may consider attempting 15/20. The next level up in the challenge is 25 but I don't think I'll manage that by the end of the year.

TBR Pile Challenge

Goal: 11-20
Progress: 2
I'm definitely not doing well with this one so far. I am only counting books that have been on my shelf for over a year. I definitely need to get a move on and read some of my older books.

Prequel & Sequel Challenge

Goal: 25-50 Points
Progress: 42 Points
I have already had to move up a level for this challenge and it looks like I could have to move up another one if I continue reading so many books in series. I'm actually quite surprised how many books within a series I have read so far, especially considering I decided not to count any of the Georgia Nicholson books.

Debut Author Challenge

Goal: 12
Progress: 2
This is another challenge I am falling behind on. I am trying not to buy a lot of new books at the moment, which is affecting this challenge a bit. I am going to try and use up my Audible credits on some debut novels to get caught up on this challenge.

So that is my slightly late mid-year update. What's your favourite book you've read so far this year?

Sophie :)

Saturday, 12 September 2015

Review | We All Looked Up by Tommy Wallach

Image and video hosting by TinyPicWe All Looked Up by Tommy Wallach
Published By: Simon & Schuster
Published On: March 24, 2015
Genre: Contemporary
Pages: 370
Format: Paperback
Source: Bought
Rating: ★★½

Amazon | Goodreads

Before the asteroid we let ourselves be defined by labels: The athlete, the outcast, the slacker, the overachiever. 
But then we all looked up and everything changed. They said it would be here in two months. That gave us two months to leave our labels behind. Two months to become something bigger than what we'd been, something that would last even after the end. 
Two months to really live.

When it is revealed that an asteroid is headed straight for Earth, four high school students must learn to break away from their defining labels. In the two months before the asteroid is due to hit, the athlete, the outcast, the slacker and the overachiever are drawn together as they attempt to deal with the reality that they could all be wiped out completely.

This book wasn’t really what I was expecting. From the synopsis, I was expecting some kind of empowering story about getting rid of high school labels and stereotypes and all coming together in the face of disaster. I didn’t feel like I got anything like that from this book. I don’t think there was any real ‘shedding of labels’ as they seemed to be separated by their labels from beginning to end.

I expected more about the asteroid, less about the high school drama. Considering there is currently an asteroid headed for Earth throughout this story, I was definitely expecting that to be more of the focus. Instead the book became more about the drama of high school. That aspect seemed quite juvenile and the characters definitely seemed to have their priorities in the wrong order.

As this wasn’t what I was expecting, it became clear it just wasn’t my kind of book. What I was expecting from the synopsis would have been my kind of book. This just wasn’t the kind of story I enjoy reading and that was a little disappointing. This was just an average read for me because of that.

The characters were okay. I didn’t particularly love the characters, or really feel any kind of connection to them, but they weren’t bad characters. I enjoyed reading about them for the most part and found their lives quite interesting. I did like some more than others, particularly Peter.

I really did not like the romance in this book. To me the romance just seemed like the most ridiculous forced love triangle. I don’t know if Wallach just decided ‘oh the world could be ending, they need to find love’ and thought he would throw in some instant love triangle but it certainly seemed that way to me. I was definitely not a fan of the romance.

Overall, it was an interesting premise that could have been written so well. Unfortunately, as much as I found the story interesting, there was far too much high school drama and forced romance for me to enjoy it. It was an average read for me but as this was just not my kind of book, I can seen why others may enjoy it.

Wednesday, 9 September 2015

Wrap Up | August 2015

August has been an extremely busy month for me and that has resulted in a terrible reading month. This final month of my Summer has been the most eventful month I have had in a long time and I have next to no free time. However, it has been a great month for everything other than reading. Hopefully I can get some more reading done in September to catch up.

My Life In August...
- I spent a great week with some amazing friends at a church summer camp.
- We got two gorgeous but very energetic new puppies, who are taking up all of my time.
- I spent a great night out for dinner with loads of friends.
- One of my closest friends sadly moved about 4 hours away from me.
- I spent a nice week with one of my best friends for her birthday.
- I got to meet one of my favourite bands Union J and see them live with some great friends.

Watched In August...
- Pretty Little Liars Season 6A - 4/5
- Teen Mom OG (Teen Mom Season 5) - 3.5/5
- Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day - 3/5
- Cheaper By The Dozen (rewatch) - 5/5
- One Tree Hill Season 3 - 4.5/5
- Mean Girls (rewatch) - 4/5

Read In August...

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Isla And The Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins - 
I may have only read one book in August, and it may have been one I have already read, but it is also one of my favourite books I read in 2014. I absolutely loved Isla when I first read it, to the point where I wanted to reread it straight away. I managed to wait almost a year before rereading it, but it was just as great the second time. I have a full review of this book here. 5/5

Blogged In August...
- I listed my Top Ten Authors I Own The Most Books From.
- I hauled some good books I bought in July.
- I wrapped up the month of July.
- I shared my August TBR.
- I reviewed I Was Here by Gayle Forman.
- I reviewed How To Fall In Love by Cecelia Ahern.
- I reviewed Amy & Rodger's Epic Detour by Morgan Matson.
- I reviewed Make It Count by Megan Erickson.

So that is the whole one book I read in the month of August as I was so busy looking after my two little puppies. What have you read this month?

Sophie :)

Tuesday, 8 September 2015

Top Ten Tuesday | Top Ten Series I Have Yet To Finish

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Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created at The Broke And The Bookish. Lists galore, I can think of nothing better!

This week's theme is the Top Ten Series I Have Yet To Finish. I actually only have 9 series that I have started and plan to finish. There are several other that series that I have started but don't plan to finish (I may mention them at a later date).

1. The Selection series by Kiera Cass
I have read: The Selection, The Elite, The One and The Heir
Still to read: Book 5 (untitled - expected 2016)
Reviews: The Selection, The Elite, The One and The Heir

2. Harry Potter series by JK Rowling
I have read: The Philosopher's Stone, The Chamber Of Secrets and The Prisoner of Azkaban
Still to read: The Goblet Of Fire, The Order Of The Phoenix, The Half-Blood Prince, The Deathly Hallows
Reviews: The Philosopher's Stone and The Chamber Of Secrets

3. Summer Unplugged by Amy Sparling
I have read: Summer Unplugged
Still to read: Autumn Unlocked, Winter Untold, Spring Unleashed, The Beginning Of Forever, Autumn Adventure, Winter Wonderful
Reviews: Summer Unplugged

4. If I Stay duology by Gayle Forman
I have read: If I Stay
Still to read: Where She Went
Reviews: If I Stay

5. Ignite series by Lily Paradis
I have read: Ignite
Still to read: Arclight (no release date as yet)
Reviews: Ignite

6. Unwind dystology by Neal Shusterman
I have read: Unwind and UnWholly
Still to read: UnSouled and UnDivided
Reviews: None

7. Lost & Found series by Nicole Williams
I have read: Lost & Found
Still to read: Near & Far, Finders Keepers, Losers Weepers, Heart & Soul
Reviews: Lost & Found

8. Percy Jackson and the Olympian series by Rick Riordan
I have read: The Lightening Thief
Still to read: The Sea Of Monsters, The Titan's Curse, The Battle Of The Labyrinth, The Last Olympian
Reviews: The Lightening Thief

9. Vampire Academy series by Richelle Mead
I have read: Vampire Academy
Still to read: Frostbite, Shadow Kiss, Blood Promise, Spirit Bound, Last Sacrifice
Reviews: None

Those are the series I am currently in the middle of and plan to finish. Have you read any of these series? What did you think of them?

Sophie :)

Monday, 7 September 2015

Review | The Heir by Kiera Cass

Image and video hosting by TinyPicThe Heir by Kiera Cass
Series: The Selection #4
Published By: Harper Teen
Published On: May 5, 2015
Genre: Dystopian
Pages: 342
Format: Paperback
Source: Bought
Rating: ★★★★

Amazon | Goodreads

Princess Eadlyn has grown up hearing endless stories about how her mother and father met. Twenty years ago, America Singer entered the Selection and won the heart of Prince Maxon—and they lived happily ever after. Eadlyn has always found their fairy-tale story romantic, but she has no interest in trying to repeat it. If it were up to her, she'd put off marriage for as long as possible. 
But a princess's life is never entirely her own, and Eadlyn can't escape her very own Selection—no matter how fervently she protests. 
Eadlyn doesn't expect her story to end in romance. But as the competition begins, one entry may just capture Eadlyn's heart, showing her all the possibilities that lie in front of her . . . and proving that finding her own happily ever after isn't as impossible as she's always thought.

Following on from the initial Selection trilogy, The Heir follows Prince Maxon’s daughter as she goes through her Selection. As this is a continuation of The Selection series, of which I have reviews of The Selection, The Elite and The One, there is very little else I can give away about this book.

I absolutely loved the first three books in The Selection series so I was very excited to get to this one. Unfortunately, I hated Eadlyn. She was such an infuriating character who did nothing but act like a spoilt brat. Considering how much I loved both Maxon and America, I was quite disappointed that I hated their daughter so much. She did improve slightly throughout the book but not enough for me to change my opinion.

Something I did like, though, was the change of seeing the Selection process from the other side. As interesting as it was to see the Selection process from the point of view of a member of the Selected, in this book you get to experience the process from the point of view of the Princess as she chooses. It was definitely a different reading experience and I found it very interesting.

It took me a while to get my head around Maxon and America as adults. It was very strange to me to read about them as grown adults with children, especially as I had only finished the original series, in which they were still children themselves, just two months earlier. I did eventually enjoy reading about them as adults and seeing how their life progressed after the end of their Selection.

I liked all of the Selected boys. Well, I liked the ones that we got to know a bit about. I found that a lot of the boys were overlooked, which is understandable considering the amount of boys originally Selected. However, the ones that were introduced I really liked. I have my favourites, as I’m sure most do, but they were all interesting characters.

There was a lot of emphasis on the state of the society in the original trilogy so I found it interesting to see how the society has developed in the years since The One. I can’t give too much away without spoiling the previous books but I thought that changes, and the unexpected troubles that arose from the changes, were interesting to read about. I am intrigued to see what will happen as the series continues.

Overall, I enjoyed this book and returning to this world and the characters I had previously enjoyed reading about. However, my dislike of Eadlyn did make it a little less enjoyable. While I did enjoy it, had this not been a continuation of one of my favourite series but a separate new series, I don’t think I would have enjoyed it as much as I did.

Thursday, 3 September 2015

Haul | August 2015

Since I have been so busy throughout the month of August, I have done pretty well with my book buying this month. I have been trying my hardest to reduce my book buying and having only acquired 5 books this month, I would say I'm getting better.

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Harry Potter And The Goblet Of Fire by JK Rowling - After reading the third Harry Potter book, Prisoner Of Azkaban, in July, I was desperate to get my hands on the next in the series. I was always a little intimidated by books 4-7 due to their size, but I am really enjoying reading the series that everyone raves about so I am looking for to continuing. 

Frostbite by Richelle Mead - I also read Vampire Academy in July, the first book in the series, and though I didn't love it, I am definitely continuing with this series. I decided to pick up the second book in the series as so many people have said the series improves as it goes on. I am looking forward to seeing how the series progresses and will hopefully get to this soon.

More Weird Things Customer Say In Bookshops by Jen Campbell - I read the first Weird Things Customers say book last year (and have a mini review here) and thought it was a pretty funny read. When I found the set of two on The Book People for just £2.50, I decided to pick it up. I gave the first book to my best friend, as it is definitely something she will enjoy, and kept the second book for myself as I can't wait to read more funny stories.

I Wish For You by Camilla Isley - I was lucky enough to be sent this ebook from the author herself to read and review. This is the story of a woman who is struggling with a bad breakup when she finds a magical object through which a mysterious man appears. It sounds to me like a chick lit book with some magical realism thrown in. I am interested to see how I feel about this book as the magical realism is a little out of my comfort zone, but I am looking forward to trying it out.

Thanks For The Memories by Cecelia Ahern - I got this with my audible credit for the month. I have been loving Cecelia Ahern recently so I am desperate to read more of her work. I don't know what this one is about but since it is Cecelia Ahern, I know I'll want to read it no matter what the storyline. I am really excited to read this one.

Those are all of the books I got this month. Have you read any of these books?

Sophie :)

Tuesday, 1 September 2015

Review | The Distance Between Us by Kasie West

Image and video hosting by TinyPicThe Distance Between Us by Kasie West
Published By: Harper Teen
Published On: July 2, 2013
Genre: Contemporary
Pages: 320
Format: eBook
Source: Bought
Rating: ★★★★

Amazon | Goodreads

Seventeen-year-old Caymen Meyers studies the rich like her own personal science experiment, and after years of observation she’s pretty sure they’re only good for one thing—spending money on useless stuff, like the porcelain dolls in her mother’s shop. 
So when Xander Spence walks into the store to pick up a doll for his grandmother, it only takes one glance for Caymen to figure out he’s oozing rich. Despite his charming ways and that he’s one of the first people who actually gets her, she’s smart enough to know his interest won’t last. Because if there’s one thing she’s learned from her mother’s warnings, it’s that the rich have a short attention span. But Xander keeps coming around, despite her best efforts to scare him off. And much to her dismay, she's beginning to enjoy his company. 
She knows her mom can’t find out—she wouldn’t approve. She’d much rather Caymen hang out with the local rocker who hasn’t been raised by money. But just when Xander’s attention and loyalty are about to convince Caymen that being rich isn’t a character flaw, she finds out that money is a much bigger part of their relationship than she’d ever realized. And that Xander’s not the only one she should’ve been worried about.

While helping out in her mother’s doll store, Caymen meets the handsome and charming Xander Spence. However, there is one big problem – he’s rich. After her mother’s many warnings, Caymen knows to avoid the rich boys with their short attention span and lack of loyalty. Despite knowing her mother would definitely not approve, Caymen can’t help but fall for Xander and his charm.

I was surprised by how much I really enjoyed this. I had heard some great things but, if I’m being honest, I didn’t have the highest of expectations. I was expecting a light and fluffy read that I would enjoy but probably not love. I was right about enjoying it, but it was so much better than I had anticipated. It was so much more than just a light and fluffy read.

This was quite a unique, fun take on the typical contemporary story. It wasn’t your average contemporary story about a girl who falls in love with a boy the first time he every does something nice for her. Caymen was a difficult girl to please and I absolutely loved that about this novel.

It was also very unique in terms of the unusual, but great, doll store setting. I really liked this setting, as it is something you don’t usually see. Dolls are usually associated with creepy horror scenarios so to have this somewhat creepy setting in a contemporary novel was really great. I loved the descriptions of the doll store and I loved what the store represented to Caymen and her mother.

I absolutely loved the characters. Caymen was a great main character, and unlike the majority of main characters in YA contemporary novels. She was snarky and sarcastic, with a witty answer for everything. She was so enjoyable to read about and I totally want her to be my best friend. I also loved Xander. He was charming and funny but also sweet, thoughtful and caring. I even enjoyed the more minor characters as well.

An important part of this story is the contrast between rich and poor and I found it very interesting to see the differences draw between the two. As it plays such an important role in the story, the differences between Xander, and his rich lifestyle, and Caymen, and her not-so-rich lifestyle, had a particular focus. I found it very interesting to see differences that I had never even thought about and to see the way some of the characters reacted to the differences in lifestyles. I think Kasie West did a great job of emphasising the divide between the two lifestyles.

The one thing I didn’t like about this book was the very abrupt ending. I was reading this on my kindle and when I pressed the button for the next page, I thought there was something wrong with my kindle as it claimed that the book was finished. I loved everything up until this point but the ending was such a disappointment for me, purely because of how abrupt it was. Even just a short epilogue would have made the ending much better.

Overall, I really loved this book. It was a unique, fun take on the typical contemporary with some really great characters and an important underlying topic. However, the abrupt ending was a bit of a disappointment and I ended up enjoying the book a little less because of that. Despite that, I would still definitely recommend this book and will be reading more from Kasie West.