Saturday, 23 December 2017

Top Ten | Books On My Christmas Wishlist

I finally have internet again! It has been a long couple of weeks but I can now finally get back into blogging, and what better way than to share the books I would love to find under the tree on Christmas morning. Some of these I have specifically asked good old Santa for and others are books I expect will end up in my possession after the Boxing Day sales. 

I have already read Stephanie Perkins' 2017 release, however I read it as an eARC from Netgalley. I would love a physical copy to join her other books on my shelves.

I love Kasie West and want to read all of her books! I've heard such great things about this book, I can't wait to finally read it.

I adore Anna Kendrick but for some reason have yet to pick up her book. I know this is going to be hilarious!

This was on my Christmas list last year but Santa struggled to find a copy for some reason. This is one I have been interested in for a while now so hopefully Santa can find it this year.

Everyone seems to love this book so I think it's about time I gave it a go. I've almost bought this quite a few times now but hopefully I'll get my hands on it this Christmas.

Despite being first published in 2013, this is a book I have heard so much about this year and all I have heard is great things. I've been wanting to read Katie Cotugno's books for a while now and this seems like a good one to start with.

I watched all of Gilmore Girls for the first time last year but watched it all within a couple of months and have spent most of this year wanting more. From what I have heard, this book talks about her time on Gilmore Girl's so hopefully that will fill the gap.

Even though I mainly want to read this book in order to watch the TV show, I have heard so many great things about it. Every time I hear about this book or read the synopsis it just sounds like something I would enjoy.

I started the DIMILY series this year and I am now desperate to finish it as soon as possible, especially as another book has just been announced telling the story from Tyler's point of view.

Cecelia Ahern is one of my favourite authors so it seems ridiculous that I don't yet own her 2016 release. I hope to own and have read all of her works in the not so distant future.

What books are at the top of your wishlist?

Sophie :)

Tuesday, 5 December 2017

Updates | I Will Be Back

I just want to write a quick note today to say that I haven't completely abandoned this blog. I haven't posted in so long due to university and my personal life both being incredibly stressful. However, now that it's getting to the holidays and I am almost done with uni until January, I had great intentions of jumping back into blogging. Unfortunately, life had other plans. I currently have no working internet connection at home and won't have for the next two weeks at least! I will try and find a way to post before then if I can but it could be a challenge.

So, I will be back blogging as soon as I possibly can and I can't wait to get back into the swing of things when my internet is finally fixed!

Tuesday, 14 November 2017

Top Ten Tuesday | Top Ten Books I Want My Future Children To Read

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

I haven't done a Top Ten Tuesday in forever! This week's topic is books you want your future children to read and I love this topic. As soon as I saw it I knew I had to get involved this week as there are so many great books from my childhood that I would love my future children to read, and those that I read more recently that I wish I had read as a child.

1. Harry Potter
If my future children only read one book series in their lives, I would obviously want it to be Harry Potter. I didn't read this as a child and I feel that I would have loved it much more if I had. The popularity ruined it for me so I would love my future children to just enjoy this series for what it is and experience the magic.

2. Jacqueline Wilson
Is there any British girl that didn't read at least one Jacqueline Wilson book growing up? I only read a few of her books but she has so many books with such great messages and important lessons that can really get children thinking.

3. Winnie the Pooh
My mum read Winnie The Pooh stories to me as a baby and I have been obsessed with Winnie The Pooh ever since. I really want to pass my love on to my children. I definitely want to read these books to any future children as babies and hopefully they'll share my love and want to read them themselves when they get older.

4. Roald Dahl
Who doesn't love Roald Dahl's books? I grew up reading these books, they were even my school reading as a younger child, and the stories are timeless. There are so many important lessons to be learned from the books as well.

5. Goodnight Mr Tom by Michelle Magorian
I had to read this book for school as a 11/12 year old and I still remember the impact it had on me to this day. This is the only book I ever read for school that I enjoyed and that really made me think. It's one I would really love to reread and definitely one I think my future children should read.

6. St Clare's series
Enid Blyton's St Clare's series is one I started as a child and never finished but have started to read again this year and am still enjoying it. This series is the perfect fun boarding school story for younger children and I think despite the first book being written in 1941, it can still be read and enjoyed by all ages to this day.

7. Percy Jackson series
This is another series that I read to late. I have recently decided not to continue with this series as I just find it a bit too young for me. However, I really wish I had read this when I was younger as I definitely think it is something I would have loved. I would love for my future children to have an interest in Greek mythology, like I do, so I would definitely want them to pick up this series.

8. Deeper Than Blue by Jill Hucklesby
This is a pretty random book that I don't think many people at all have heard of (it only has 250 Goodreads ratings) but this was my favourite book when I was younger. This story had such an impact on me and teaches such valuable lessons about life, friendship and loss.

9. Catherine/Cathy MacPhail
As a teenager, I absolutely adored Catherine MacPhail's books and made my way through every one in my school library. She has written about everything from teenage pregnancy to bullying to creepy doppelgangers to teenagers trapped in an underground cave. There's something for everyone and again her books are full of really great messages and lessons.

10. Confessions Of Georgia Nicholson series
I may change my mind about this one when it comes to actually having a child at the age to read this but this is a series I loved as a teenager, and still enjoyed as a not-so-teenager, and it taught me a lot about how to be a teenage girl.

What books would you want you future children to read?

Sophie :)

Monday, 13 November 2017

Let's Talk | Organising My Goodreads TBR & Down The TBR Hole #1

If you're anything like me, you spend way too much time on Goodreads adding book after book to your 'Want To Read' shelf until it reaches an unmanageable number. That is the point I have reached recently. I currently have 415 books on my TBR shelf on Goodreads, some of these I own and I most likely will get to them eventually, but the majority of them are just books that seemed interesting to me at one point and I haven't thought about since. As that number is constantly growing, it seems about time I found some way of getting it under control.

For the past couple of years, I have used a system that organises my TBR by priority. I have a 'top shelf', 'middle shelf' and 'bottom shelf' on Goodreads and when I add a book to my TBR, I decide whether it's a book I am desperate to read as soon as possible, one I would like to get to soon, or one I might like to pick up in the future. This system worked for me for a while, however even this has become a bit unmanageable recently. The only real way to get this under control is probably to get the number down!

A few months ago, inspired by a post on a blog I follow (I tried to hard to find who it was but it was too long ago), I went through my Goodreads shelves and got rid of a good few books. If I remember rightly, I had around 500 books and got it down to just under 400. I was so proud of myself but that is still a huge number. More recently, I saw a post on Escape Life In The Pages featuring a meme called Down The TBR Hole, originally created by Lost In A Story about a year ago. It involves going to the oldest books on your Goodreads TBR shelf and looking at 5-10 at a time to decide whether or not you're still interested in them.

" It works like this:
  • Go to your goodreads to-read shelf. 
  • Order on ascending date added. 
  • Take the first 5 (or 10 if you’re feeling adventurous) books 
  • Read the synopses of the books 
  • Decide: keep it or should it go?"
So I figured while I await some fabulous advice on how to organise my Goodreads TBR (if you have any please, please, please let me know!), I would try this out and see if I can get the number down. I'm not including the books I own because if I own them I probably want to read them.

Image and video hosting by TinyPicThe Notebook by Nicholas Sparks

I used to own this book and picked it up once but couldn't get into it so donated it. I then regretted getting rid of it so added it to my Goodreads TBR again. This is obviously such a popular book but I think I'll just stick to the film, I don't see myself ever picking this up.

Judgement: Go

Image and video hosting by TinyPicAlong For The Ride by Sarah Dessen

This is a YA contemporary about a girl who is going to spend the summer wither her dad in a small beach town. I know I want to read more Sarah Dessen since she's like the queen of YA contemporary and that is my favourite genre. I love summer stories and I love small beach towns so this is definitely my cup of tea.

Judgement: Stay

Image and video hosting by TinyPicSize 12 Is Not Fat by Meg Cabot

This is essentially a chick-lit, murder mystery set in college dorm with an ex-pop star as the main character and wannabe detective. I'm not completely sold that this is something I would enjoy but I do love books set in college dorms and I'm intrigued by the synopsis enough to want to give it a go. It sounds like it could be pretty funny, maybe a bit Bridget Jones-esque, which could be a lot of fun, but with a darker tone to it as well.

Judgement: Stay

Image and video hosting by TinyPicOne Day by David Nicholls

I didn't have a clue what this was about until I read the synopsis again. It's a very popular "chick-lit" book about a couple and their relationship but on one day over twenty years. It does sound really intriguing but I don't honestly think I'm interested enough to pick it up. I know it's a movie and I'm not the kind of person who has an issue with watching the movie if I'm not super interested in reading the book.

Judgement: Go

Image and video hosting by TinyPicHow To Eat A Cupcake by Meg Donohue

This is another "chick-lit" book about two childhood friends who open up a cupcakery together. I'm pretty sure the only reason I added this to my TBR is because I love baking and I love cupcakes. I don't think I was ever particularly interested in the story at all, and I'm still not. I don't think this is something I would like now and I don't find the synopsis all that interesting.

Judgement: Go

I don't think getting rid of 3/5 books from my TBR is too bad a result, hopefully this can really help me get that number down. I would like to do this quite regularly so there will likely be another one soon, but for now if you have any tips on how to organise my Goodreads TBR or tips to help me cut the number down, please let me know. I clearly need help!

How do you organise your Goodreads TBR? Do you have a huge number like me (please make me feel better) or have you got yours under control? Do you get stressed like me if the number gets too large?

Sophie :)

Sunday, 5 November 2017

Bullet Point Reviews | Some 2016 Reads

Back in April I did a similar post to this in which I included very short bullet point reviews of some of the books I had read in previous years but had never gotten around to reviewing on the blog. I make notes for all my reviews after reading the book but I occasionally end up forgetting about those reviews and they never actually make it to the blog. Now that is has been some time since I read them, for the most part I don't remember quite enough to write a detailed, coherent review. However, I do still have the original notes that summarise my main thoughts on the books and decided to share them in order to share something of my opinions on these books. They may not be the most helpful or well-written reviews but at least it's something, right?

Image and video hosting by TinyPicThe New Girl by Tracie Puckett
Series: Webster Grove #1
Published On: January 1, 2012
Published By: Tracie Puckett
Genre: New Adult, Contemporary
Pages: 76
Format: eBook
Source: Bought
Rating: ★★
Amazon | Goodreads

- I didn't hate it but I definitely didn't love it.
- It was very short so it was easy and quick to read.
- I liked most of the characters.
- If it wasn't a story about a student-teacher relationship I probably would have liked it more. I just can't read about this topic without feeling very uncomfortable.
- The ending was unnecessary and completely unrealistic.

Image and video hosting by TinyPicCity Of Bones by Cassandra Clare
Series: The Mortal Instruments #1
Published On: March 23, 2007
Published By: Walker Books
Genre: YA, Fantasy
Pages: 506
Format: Paperback
Source: Bought
Rating: ★★★★
Amazon | Goodreads

- I was so scared by the insane hype surrounding this series that I put off reading this book for so long.
- Luckily, I ended up really enjoying it.
- I really like all the characters and each of their quite different personalities.
- I found the world very fascinating, though a bit confusing. I think it was well developed but could do with some more explanation, which I assume will come in the rest of the series.
- I will definitely be continuing on with the series, I can't wait to see where it goes.

Image and video hosting by TinyPicThis Is What Happy Looks Like by Jennifer E Smith
Published On: April 2, 2013
Published By: Headline
Genre: YA, Contemporary
Pages: 404
Format: Paperback
Source: Bought
Rating: ★★★★
Amazon | Goodreads

- This was a fun, quick summer read. Exactly what I would expect from Jennifer E Smith and just as good as I thought it would be.
- I really enjoyed both the story and the characters. I even enjoyed the 'famous person' aspect, which isn't usually my thing.
- I really loved the small town setting. It is something I generally enjoy but it also added to the summer feel of the book.
- This is a great book for putting you in the summer mood. It has a great romance and a fun story. However, it isn't anything particularly special or unique.

I hope these were somewhat helpful in giving my opinions of these books. There should be a second part to this coming soon. If you have read any of the books mentioned, what did you think of them? Did your opinions differ to mine?

Sophie :)

Thursday, 12 October 2017

TBR | October 2017

I know we're already well into October now so I'm very late sharing my TBR but with the lead up to Halloween I thought I would share some of the seasonally appropriate books I plan to read in the next few weeks. I absolutely love reading thrillers around this time of year and have been stocking up on some throughout the year to pick up this month. I am super busy at the moment though so I may struggle with this list, I suppose this is not so much a TBR as 'books I think I might like to pick up this month'.

The Hanging Girl by Eileen Cook - This is her newest book being published in October, and after quite enjoying With Malice I can't wait to get to this one. I already have a copy of this through Netgalley so this is one I definitely need to get to this month. I really don't know what this is about but I know it involves a tarot card reader and a kidnapping.

You by Caroline Kepnes - I have been desperate to pick this up for the longest time but have never gotten around to it. This is my top priority for this month. All I know about this is it's about a guy who stalks a woman he meets in a bookstore and it is written in second person.

Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn - This is the last of Gillian Flynn's currently published works that I have to read and is another one I have been desperate to read for a while now, definitely about top priority. This is about a journalist who returns to her home town to cover the murder of two young girls and if faced with her own past that she has to deal with.

The Husband's Secret by Liane Moriarty - I have had this sitting on my shelves for so long and still haven't picked it up. I have heard such great things about Liane Moriarty's writing, particularly recently with the success of the adaptation of another of her novels, so I am excited to get to this one. This is about a woman who finds a letter written by her husband, for her to open after he has died, which reveals his darkest secret. However, he is still alive.

Those are the four that I definitely would like to pick up if I have the time. However, I do have some more on the list that I would like to pick up if I get to all of them (not likely). This is where I need some help. Which of these books do I absolutely need to pick up if I have some extra reading time this month? The list includes:

What are you planning on reading this month? Do you like to read thrillers around the Halloween season?

Sophie :)

Monday, 9 October 2017

Review | Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher

Image and video hosting by TinyPicThirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher
Published On: August 6, 2009 (Originally 2007)
Published By: Penguin Random House
Genre: YA, Contemporary
Pages: 288
Format: eBook
Source: Netgalley
Rating: ★★

Amazon | Goodreads

You can't stop the future. You can't rewind the past. 
The only way to learn the secret . . . is to press play. Clay Jensen returns home from school one day to find a mysterious box with his name on it, outside his front door. Inside he discovers a series of cassette tapes recorded by Hannah Baker - his classmate and crush. Only, she committed suicide two weeks earlier. On the first tape, Hannah explains that there are 13 reasons why she did what she did - and Clay is one of them. 
If he listens, Clay will find out how he made the list - what he hears will change his life forever.

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

I think I must be one of the last people to read this book. There has been hype surrounding this book since I first got into reading and it was one of the first books I ever read a sample chapter of back when it was first popular. More recently, though, with the success of the TV adaptation, the hype surrounding this book has been so crazy I felt like I had to read it to see what all the fuss was about. I mean, surely all those people couldn't be wrong, I was obviously going to love this, right? Sadly, not.

I am one of the apparently quite few people who did not love this book. In fact, I really disliked this book. I had heard some negative things in the midst of all the love so I didn't go in with very high expectations, however I was sadly still disappointed. 

This book is obviously about the thirteen reasons why Hannah decided to commit suicide. You would think, given that premise, that Hannah would be the kind of character you would feel compassion for and just generally like. Maybe I'm just heartless but I couldn't stand Hannah. She was probably one of the most annoying main characters I have ever read about and I just couldn't bring myself to feel compassion for her. Of course it was horrible that she felt the need to commit suicide, but I really didn't care about all of her problems.

I found Hannah's reasons for committing suicide completely ridiculous. I do feel quite heartless for saying that but it is true. There were a few 'reasons' explained in the tapes that were understandable and I could definitely see where the harm was cause but the majority of them seemed unreasonable. It just seemed to me that the ultimate reason for Hannah committing suicide was 'life is hard sometimes and people can be mean'. I could completely understand horrific bullying reaching such an outcome but I know a lot of people who would wish they were treated the way Hannah was rather than what they are dealing with. Maybe I missed the point but it seemed completely unreasonable to me.

While I understand they are essentially what makes the story what it is, I really did not like the idea of the tapes. These tapes that Hannah was essentially threatening people with beyond the grave, as well as Hannah's suicide in general, seemed almost like revenge. It felt to me like she was trying to get back at all these people for the things they had done to her by committing suicide and making sure they knew their part in it. It was uncomfortable to read about and, in my opinion, provided a very unhealthy representation of suicide and mental illness.

The one redeeming quality of this book for me was Clay. Clay was the only reason I didn't DNF this book. I found him and the way he handled this situation he was thrust into fascinating. I really felt for him throughout the book and thought the way he was so invested in the tapes and following Hannah's story said a lot about him as a character. I highly doubt I would have finished this book if it hadn't been for him.

Overall, I was incredibly disappointed in this book. For still being so popular over 10 years after first publication, I expected the hype surrounding it to be deserved. I definitely did not expect to dislike it as much as I did. Like I said, maybe I just missed the point but this book was most definitely not for me.

Sunday, 8 October 2017

Review | There's Someone Inside Your House by Stephanie Perkins

Image and video hosting by TinyPicThere's Someone Inside Your House by Stephanie Perkins
Published On: October 5, 2017
Published By: Pan Macmillan
Genre: YA, Horror
Pages: 289
Format: eBook
Source: Netgalley
Rating: ★★★★

Amazon | Goodreads

Over a year after her parents sent her away from Hawaii to live with her grandmother in landlocked Nebraska, Makani Young is still adjusting to her new life. She's made a small group of close friends and even flirted with romance, but her past in Hawaii is still hard to forget. 
And then . . . one by one the students of her new high school begin to die in a series of gruesome murders. Makani doesn't know who's next on the list. Between this, and a secret scorching relationship with the school weirdo, this school year may turn out to be one to die for . . . literally.

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

As Stephanie Perkins is one of my favourite authors of all time, of course this was possibly my most anticipated release of the year, meaning I had very high expectations going into it. There's Someone Inside Your House is very different to any of her previous work. She is so good at writing adorable contemporary romance stories that I love, so I was a bit unsure of how I would feel about a horror novel, something I don't typically pick up otherwise.

I feel like this book is a good introduction to the horror genre if, like me, you would normally gravitate towards a cute contemporary. It was very much like a contemporary novel with horror elements thrown in, which made it almost more familiar to me and less out of my comfort zone.

Surprisingly, I really loved the horror elements of the story. I honestly did not expect those to be the parts I enjoyed the most but I found it to be perfectly gory and creepy. I liked that the book wasn't filled with constant horror and gore but I found myself getting excited when I could tell those things were coming. I especially loved all of the creepy, interesting death and methods of killing people. Maybe I'm more of a horror fan that I like to think.

I also found it very surprising, especially for a Stephanie Perkins novel, that I didn't really like the romance. There wasn't anything particularly bad about it, the characters were fine together and it was written well, but it just didn't seem very necessary to the story. It was almost as though she was trying too hard to add in the cute relationship that she has become known for when I think the book would have been just as good without that aspect.

While I wasn't the biggest fan of the romance, I did really love the friendships. There is a really great friendship group in this book that I loved reading about. I want another book just about this friendship group before the events of this story. I especially loved that the friendship group included a transgender character, Darby, who was probably my favourite character and I so badly wanted more of him in the book, particularly as Stephanie Perkins' previous books have not had the most diverse cast of characters (please correct me if I'm wrong but no characters come to mind).

The biggest issue I had with this book was the focus on Makani's huge secret. We were constantly reminded about her troubled past and the huge secret that made her leave Hawaii. I was fed up hearing about this huge secret. It was built up so much that I expected something massive and I was incredibly disappointed. It was just odd and not necessary to the story. It felt like it was added in to the story to make the book a bit longer, fill up some extra space, but add nothing to the story.

I found it very odd that the killer was revealed half way through the book. I had to reread that part a couple of times to make sure I wasn't missing something. It took away from the mystery of the story but I did still enjoy the second half of the book despite knowing who the killer was. I just found it very strange, particularly as that has never happened in any mystery books I have read before so I was not expecting it.

I was expecting, however, a lot of things that happened in the book. It was a pretty generic 'slasher movie' plot and a lot of it was quite predictable. There were a lot of things that I could see coming from very early on in the book, like the ending, and I wasn't surprised by any of the deaths. The one thing I didn't see coming was the reveal of who the killer was.

Overall, I did really enjoy this book but with my expectations being so high, I did judge it very harshly while reading. I think it was a good first attempt at a horror novel and I am definitely interested to see what else Stephanie Perkins can write in this genre. I would like to read more horror from her but perhaps with less of a contemporary feel. However, this was a good starting point for me to branch out into more of the genre. I would say this is a perfect Halloween read and great for anyone who enjoys a good slasher film.

Sunday, 1 October 2017

Wrap Up & Haul | September 2017

As you may have been able to tell from lack of blog activity throughout September, I have had yet another super busy month. Luckily, I went on holiday at the beginning of the month and read a few books during my time away as I haven't had the chance to pick up another book since coming home on September 10th! It would seem starting back at uni and going straight back out onto placement has taken all of my time. Even as I'm writing this I should really be doing a whole pile of uni work! Things have been so busy lately but hopefully I can get back into the swing of things soon. With September being so busy, I only managed to read 3 books, and DNFed one.

Image and video hosting by TinyPic Image and video hosting by TinyPic Image and video hosting by TinyPic Image and video hosting by TinyPic

Onyx by Jennifer L Armentrout -
This book took me forever to get through! This is the second book in the Lux series, which follows Katy who finds out she has moved in next door to a family of aliens. I really enjoyed the first book but sadly this one was not as good. Some aspects of the story I still enjoyed but for the most part I found it to be kind of boring and just didn't have the desire to keep picking it up. After reading this book, I don't think I will pick up the rest of the series.
Rating: 3/5 | Review | ATY Challenge: #18 A really long book (Lux: Beginnings)

There's Someone Inside Your House by Stephanie Perkins -
This was my most anticipated book of the year but probably the book that I was most wary to pick up. This is completely different from anything Stephanie Perkins has written before as it is a slasher movie style horror novel in which high school students in a small town are being killed off one by one. I am not the biggest horror fan so I wasn't sure if I would enjoy this but I ended up loving it. It read more like a contemporary with horror elements, which I think was good as an introduction to the genre, but I could have done with a bit more of a horror feel. There were some aspects of the story I felt were unnecessary but overall it was a very enjoyable read. I would definitely be interested in reading more of her writing in this genre in future.
Rating: 4/5 | Review To Come

Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher -
With the insane hype surrounding this book following the success of the TV show, it seemed about time that I picked it up. This book is basically the story of why one girl in high school decided to kill herself and is told in the form of tapes she has recorded and sent to the people she feels have played a part in her decision. Despite so many people loving this book, I really did not enjoy it. I hated Hannah and thought the reasons she gave for committing suicide were ridiculous for the most part. To me, this book was basically saying 'life is hard sometimes' is a reason to kill yourself. I don't think this was a good representation of suicide or mental illness. If it wasn't for Clay's character, I probably wouldn't have made it to the end.
Rating: 2/5 | Review To Come

Behind The Song by KM Walton -
When I saw this anthology on Netgalley, I requested it straight away as the premise sounded so interesting. It features stories from various YA authors and musicians inspired by songs. Unfortunately, this book just wasn't for me and I only managed to read the first three stories (well, I DNFed both the second and third) before giving up altogether. I expected this to be more about music when actually the stories, or at least the ones I read, turned out to be odd and a little pointless. I guess I just didn't get it.
Rating: DNF

Being so busy in September also meant not buying any books at all! I did, however, receive some books for review, both via Netgalley and from authors themselves.

The Hanging Girl by Eileen Cook - I read and enjoyed her book With Malice earlier this year and this one seems like the perfect October thriller read.

36 Questions That Changed My Mind About You by Vicki Grant - A YA contemporary involving a psychology study bringing a couple together. 

The Story Of Lizzy & Darcy by Grace Watson - A modern day adaptation of Pride & Prejudice featuring two female main characters.

White Water, Black Death by Shaun Ebelthite - A thriller which takes place on a cruise ship and seems to involve a secret Ebola outbreak and a mysterious death.

Swan Song by Charlotte Wilson - A YA contemporary set in London featuring ballet.

Simple Soul Of Susan by Noel Branham - A chick-lit/romance about a woman who was in love with her childhood best friend but her life took her on a different path and away from him.

That was September for me. Not the best reading month, little in number and a few disappointments, but hopefully October will be better. How was your reading month in September?

Sophie :)

Saturday, 30 September 2017

Mini Review | Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon

Image and video hosting by TinyPicEverything, Everything by Nicola Yoon
Published On: September 1, 2015
Published By: Corgi Children's
Genre: YA, Contemporary
Pages: 310
Format: Paperback
Source: Bought
Rating: ★★★

Amazon | Goodreads

My disease is as rare as it is famous. Basically, I’m allergic to the world. I don’t leave my house, have not left my house in seventeen years. The only people I ever see are my mom and my nurse, Carla.
But then one day, a moving truck arrives next door. I look out my window, and I see him. He’s tall, lean and wearing all black—black T-shirt, black jeans, black sneakers, and a black knit cap that covers his hair completely. He catches me looking and stares at me. I stare right back. His name is Olly.
Maybe we can’t predict the future, but we can predict some things. For example, I am certainly going to fall in love with Olly. It’s almost certainly going to be a disaster.

So much hype!
This book had a crazy amount of hype surrounding it when it was first published and that hype never really died down. Unfortunately, due to the hype, I went into this book with super high expectations and ended up a little disappointed. For me, this was just an average read.

Loved the way this was written.
I absolutely loved the format in style in which this was written. I loved the sketches and diagrams but even just the layout of the text on the page was done in such a creative way. It was so creative and beautiful that it really added to the feel of the book.

I didn't love the characters.
I'm not even sure exactly what my problem was but I just didn't like any of the characters. I wasn't a huge fan of Maddie or Olly and I hated Maddie's mum from the first page. Probably the only character I didn't dislike was Carla. The other characters just annoyed me mostly.

The plot didn't blow me away.
A lot of the hype surrounding this book was relating to the great plot and fun twists. I ended up not particularly loving the plot. I thought a lot of things that happened were pretty stupid and not particularly realistic, and the rest I found a bit boring.

That ending!
I hated the ending of this book almost as much as I hated the ending of Gone Girl. I was so angry at the way the ending was dealt with and the fact that there were not appropriate repercussions. I found the very end to be anti-climactic considering the dramatic plot twist previously, I was just generally disappointed.

Overall, I absolutely love Nicola Yoon's writing style but, like I mentioned in my review of The Sun Is Also A Star, I never love her stories as much. I want to love everything she writes because I love how it is written but there's just something that I don't enjoy about her stories themselves. I will continue to pick up her books, hopefully one day I'll find something I love.

Monday, 25 September 2017

Mini Review | Onyx by Jennifer L Armentrout

Image and video hosting by TinyPicOnyx by Jennifer L Armentrout
Series: Lux #2
Published On: June 3, 2012
Published By: Entangled Teen
Genre: YA, Paranormal
Pages: 366
Format: eBook
Source: Bought
Rating: ★★★

Amazon | Goodreads

Being connected to Daemon Black sucks… Thanks to his alien mojo, Daemon’s determined to prove what he feels for me is more than a product of our bizarro connection. So I’ve sworn him off, even though he’s running more hot than cold these days. But we’ve got bigger problems.
Something worse than the Arum has come to town… The Department of Defense are here. If they ever find out what Daemon can do and that we're linked, I’m a goner. So is he. And there's this new boy in school who’s got a secret of his own. He knows what’s happened to me and he can help, but to do so, I have to lie to Daemon and stay away from him. Like that's possible. Against all common sense, I'm falling for Daemon. Hard.
But then everything changes… I’ve seen someone who shouldn’t be alive. And I have to tell Daemon, even though I know he’s never going to stop searching until he gets the truth. What happened to his brother? Who betrayed him? And what does the DOD want from them—from me? No one is who they seem. And not everyone will survive the lies…

Not as good as book one.
I quite enjoyed the first book in the series, but for me this second book just wasn't as good. It felt very similar to the first book and I didn't feel that the story developed as much as I would have liked.

To be honest, I was a little bored.
I didn't feel that this book was as exciting as the first. There wasn't as much happening, in my opinion, and the major plot points that were meant to be the big exciting parts of the story just weren't that exciting. I found it pretty boring, hence why it took me a good month and a half to finish.

Pretty predictable.
With all of the big plot twists and mystery reveals throughout this book, I don't think anything particularly surprised me. I seen almost everything coming. I think that may be another reason I was a bit bored when reading this.

Katy and Daemon couldn't get more annoying.
I was all for this romance and the 'will they get together or not?' aspect of the first book, however by this one I was just fed up of it. They spent yet another whole book debating whether or not they like each other and should get together. I just didn't care anymore, it was annoying.

Oh wait, let's add in a love triangle!
Yes, the one way to make Katy and Daemon more annoying, add in another love interest. As if this series isn't compared to Twilight enough, Jennifer L Armentrout felt the need to add in an unnecessary love triangle. It just wasn't needed, there were other ways to introduce new characters and involve them in Katy's life without making him the next Jacob Black.

I think my relationship with this series is over.
As much as I enjoyed the first book, I didn't enjoy this book enough to want to read more of this story. I don't think I will be picking up the rest of the books in this series, mainly as I don't really care enough anymore.

Overall, while I enjoyed the first book in this series, the second was just an average read for me. There were more things that annoyed me about this book than things I particularly enjoyed and, to be honest, I'm already starting to forget things that happened. I don't think I will be picking up the next book in this series, at least not for a good while.

Friday, 15 September 2017

Review | Summer Days and Summer Nights edited by Stephanie Perkins

Image and video hosting by TinyPicSummer Days and Summer Nights edited by Stephanie Perkins
Published On: June 2, 2016
Published By: Pan Macmillan
Genre: YA, Contemporary, Anthology
Pages: 384
Format: Hardcover
Source: Bought
Rating: ★★★

Amazon | Goodreads

Maybe it's the long, lazy days, or maybe it's the heat making everyone a little bit crazy. Whatever the reason, summer is the perfect time for love to bloom. Summer Days & Summer Nights: Twelve Love Stories, written by twelve bestselling young adult writers and edited by the international bestselling author Stephanie Perkins, will have you dreaming of sunset strolls by the lake. So set out your beach chair and grab your sunglasses. You have twelve reasons this summer to soak up the sun and fall in love.

Summer Days and Summer Nights is the second anthology edited by Stephanie Perkins featuring twelve summer romances, following on from My True Love Gave To Me featuring twelve holiday romances. I have chosen to rate and review each story individually, with the overall rating above the average rating of all twelve stories.

Head, Scales, Tongue, Tale by Leigh Bardugo - This was a huge surprise for me. This story is about two teens who develop a relationship over a series of summers while searching for a lake monster reported to live in the local lake. I usually dislike the stories that include elements of fantasy and magical realism but I actually really enjoyed this one. It was very out of my comfort zone but it has made me want to pick up more from Leigh Bardugo, whose books I was never interested in before. 3.5/5

The End Of Love by Nina Lacour - Sadly, this one was a disappointment. I had heard such great things about Nina Lacour's writing so I really wanted to love this story. Unfortunately, I found it boring. It's about a girl who decides to retake a class during summer in order to get out of the house as her parents are getting a divorce. Also taking the class is a girl our main character has perviously had a crush on. This story features one of my biggest dislikes in books; children being incredibly selfish and thinking the world revolves around them when their parents divorce. That, although not the main point of the story, ruined it for me. 2/5

Last Night At The Cinegore by Libba Bray - This was a very weird story. Kevin works at a movie theatre and on the final night before it closes, his last shift working with his crush Dani, a lot of crazy stuff starts happening. Horror isn't really my thing and this was definitely horror. Some really weird, creepy stuff went on in this story and is definitely not the kind of thing I would usually read. It was written incredibly well, and I did enjoy it somewhat, but it really wasn't my thing. 2.5/5

Sick Pleasures: For A and U by Francesca Lia Block - This was the most confusing story of them all for me, about a boy and girl who meet one night and romance ensues. It was very average and not particularly interesting but the use of first initials instead of names just confused matters. It was enjoyable enough but nothing special. 3/5

In Ninety Minutes, Turn North by Stephanie Perkins - It's really no surprise for me that this was my favourite of the anthology. This story follows the same characters we were introduced to in Stephanie Perkins' story in My True Love Gave To Me. I loved revisiting those characters and seeing how their relationship progressed. It was just as cute and adorable as I expected and having been introduced to the characters previously really helped me connect to them throughout this story. 5/5

Souvenirs by Tim Federle - This was another average story about two boys who were both working at an amusement park over the summer and started a relationship, however set a day to break up. This was an interesting idea, following a couple on the day they have set as the day they break up, but I think it could have been executed better. I found it a little bit boring. 3/5

Inertia by Veronica Roth - Another story I enjoyed much more than I was expecting to. Veronica Roth's story was very different but cleverly done. This story follows a girl whose childhood friend is in critical condition in hospital and has chosen her to share memories with him before he dies. I really enjoyed the way the romance genre was twisted to become more of a sci-fi story with romance elements. It was such an interesting concept and the romance was incorporated really well. I was also impressed with how well some more serious topics were covered in such a short story. 4/5

Love Is The Last Resort by Jon Skovron - Again, I found this story to be pretty average. This follows a cast of characters at a resort and featured multiple relationships rather than just the one. It was fun to have a larger cast of characters but in such a short time it was difficult to connect with all of them. I really enjoyed the resort setting and having multiple romances, however I feel like it needed to be a bit longer to reach it's full potential. 3/5

Good Luck And Farewell by Brandy Colbert - Since reading this book, this is the one story that I keep forgetting what it was about. I enjoyed it enough while reading but it appears to be quite forgettable. It's about a girl whose cousin, who has almost raised her since her parents died, is moving away and she has to deal with that change in her life. It was a nice, cute story but, once again, pretty average. It was a good take on family relationships and emphasised the different types of family but the romance was nothing special in this story and was a definite case of insta-love. 3/5

Brand New Attraction by Cassandra Clare - I wasn't sure what to expect from Cassandra Clare but I ended up pleasantly surprised by her story, I really enjoyed it. It was very unique as it is set in a carnival and follows the daughter of the carnival owner. There is a lot going on in this story but rather than being confusing or overwhelming, I found that it reflected the busy carnival setting and added to the feel of the story. It was very different to all of the other stories in the collection as there was a lot more to it than just the romance. I loved the interesting setting and unique plot. I was very impressed with how much Cassandra Clare managed to do in such a short story. 4/5

A Thousand Ways This Could All Go Wrong by Jennifer E Smith - Having loved many of Jennifer E Smith's books before, I expected to enjoy this story just as much as I did. This is the story of Annie who is working at a camp over the summer and has a crush on the shy boy from school. There is so much more to this story than it first seems and I really loved the way autism and Aspergers were discussed. Some of the things mentioned were a bit stereotypical and I think including such stereotypical behaviours could have been avoided but overall I think it was written well. I really enjoyed the story, particularly the relationship with the little boy, and also found the romance adorable. 4/5

The Map Of Tiny Perfect Things by Lev Grossman - This was a good end to the anthology. Another very interesting premise, this story follows our main characters as they live the same day over and over again. It was an interesting take on the topic and I was initially quite doubtful as I often find that kind of story to be boring and repetitive. However, I ended up enjoying it much more than I expected to. It is a bit more complex than some of the other stories, and ambitious to attempt in such a short space of time, but I still thought it was a fun, cute story. Unfortunately, while the story was interesting, I didn't connect with the romance at all. 3.5/5

There was an interesting mix of good and not so good throughout this anthology and many of the stories surprised me as it was often the ones I least expected that I enjoyed the most. I didn't enjoy this as much as I enjoyed My True Love Gave To Me, but there are definitely some authors whose work I am more interested to check out having read their short story.

Thursday, 14 September 2017

Wrap Up & Haul | August 2017

It has been way too long since I last posted! I don't know how I let it get this long but things got a little crazy in the past few weeks. I had a really busy month in August with finishing up placement and enjoying my last couple of weeks of freedom before starting back at uni at the beginning of September. I am now getting ready to go back out on placement so I know things are not going to get any less busy but hopefully I can keep on top of the blog a little more.

With things being so busy I only managed to read two books in the month of August and both were audiobooks. Audiobooks have been a lifesaver while on placement when I haven't had time to pick up a physical book, and they make long commutes much less of a pain.

There You'll Find Me by Jenny B Jones -
I read Jenny B Jones' Katie Parker series a couple of years ago and loved it. Since then I have been wanting to pick up more of her works, especially as she writes Christian Fiction and that is something I have been wanting to read more of. This book follows Finley who travels to Ireland to study, as her recently killed brother had done the same. This book tried to do too many things in one story. There was so much happening in the story that nothing could be executed well. I also found the main character to be incredibly irritating and just plain rude. As much as I have loved Jenny B Jones' writing in the past, this is not one of her books that I would recommend.
Rating: 2/5 | Review

Things We Know By Heart by Jessi Kirby -
While I went into the previous book knowing the author and expecting to enjoy it, this book was the opposite. I had never read anything from Jessi Kirby before and was a bit wary of the plot. This is the story of Quinn whose boyfriend dies and his organs are donated. In an attempt to help her grieve, Quinn attempts to contact the recipient of Trent's heart but things don't quite work out as she planned. I was a bit unsure about this storyline as I was worried I would find the romance aspect uncomfortable. However, the romance was handled in a very sensitive way that made it heartwarming to read about. I ended up really enjoying this book, in particular the way organ donation was discussed and highlighted.
Rating: 4/5 | Review

While being busy meant not reading a whole lot, it also meant not buying too many books, which my bank account was particularly happy about. I only bought two books in the month of August, which I think is pretty reasonable.

Dare To Fall by Estelle Maskame - I picked this up before a signing that I was planning to go to but ended up being unable to go. This is her newest release and first outwith the DIMILY trilogy.

13 Minutes by Sarah Pinborough - I hadn't heard of this but it was on the buy one get one half price table with Dare To Fall and it sounded interesting so I picked it up. All I know is it's about a girl who was in an accident and ended up dead for 13 minutes.

August wasn't the best reading month for me but it definitely could have been worse. I'm glad I managed to read something while things were so crazy but hopefully I can do better in September. Did you have a good reading month? What was the best book you read in August?

Sophie :)

Thursday, 17 August 2017

Bullet Point Reviews | Audiobooks

Over the Summer it would seem audiobooks have become my thing. I have had a bit of a commute to the place I have been working so I decided to make the most of my time in the car and get some reading done. After not touching a single audiobook last year, I have listened to 5 in the last couple of months. For me that is a lot so since I listened to so many in a short space of time, I decided to do a some quick reviews all together (with one stray from back in February thrown in too).

Image and video hosting by TinyPicAll I Know Now by Carrie Hope Fletcher
Published On: April 23, 2015
Published By: Little Brown
Genre: YA, Non-Fiction
Pages: 352
Format: Audiobook
Source: Audible
Narrated By: Carrie Hope Fletcher
Rating: ★★
Amazon | Goodreads

- I love Carrie a lot so I really wanted to love this book. Sadly, I didn't love it.
- I'm not the target audience but, to be completely honest, I don't think I would have liked this much if I had read it as a teenager.
- I found it to be a bit preachy and she came across as thinking she was better than everyone else, despite saying she wasn't trying to do that, which isn't very true to the Carrie we see in her videos.
- I liked the fact that it was narrated by Carrie herself. However, I got the same preachy, better than everyone sense through the narration as well as the text.
- I really enjoyed the audiobook extras, like the Sibling Tag with her brother Tom. They were fun and seemed much more like the Carrie in her videos.

Image and video hosting by TinyPicBefore I Fall by Lauren Oliver
Published On: March 2, 2010
Published By: Harper Collins
Genre: YA, Contemporary
Pages: 470
Format: Audiobook
Source: Audible
Narrated By: Sarah Drew
Rating: ★★★
Amazon | Goodreads

- I didn't expect great things from this book but actually found it to be an OK read, better than I expected it to be.
- The characters were not very likeable, and they weren't really meant to be for much of the book, but I didn't feel they redeemed themselves much, if at all, in the end.
- I really loved the moments between Sam and her little sister. To me, those were the only moments in which Sam was at all likeable.
- As I expected considering the plot, things got a bit repetitive. Obviously as the main character is living the same day over again multiple times there is going to be some repetition but I feel this could have been avoided if the book was a bit shorter. I didn't feel it needed to be as long as it was.
- I thought it was a very interesting take on bullying to tell the story from the point of view of one of the bullies and witness her discovering that she is bullying others. I think some aspects of this, and some of the mental health points, could have been discussed in more detail and handled a little better.

Image and video hosting by TinyPicThe Sisterhood Of The Traveling Pants by Ann Brashares
Series: Sisterhood #1
Published On: September 11, 2001
Published By: Delacorte Press
Genre: YA, Contemporary
Pages: 294
Format: Audiobook
Source: Audible
Narrated By: Angela Goethals
Rating: ★★★★
Amazon | Goodreads

- The movie adaptation of this book was one of my favourites when I was younger so I picked this up as a bit of a nostalgic read and to see how similar the film was to the book.
- The characters felt like old friends and I loved getting to know them all over again in a different way.
- Bailey is still one of my favourite fictional characters and I loved getting to meet her all over again in the book.
- I loved all of the friends' different stories and enjoyed experiencing their summer adventures. I lived my summer vicariously through these characters while spending my own working.
- There were a few parts that felt a little immature to me but they were easy to overlook and didn't ruin my enjoyment.
- The narration was great but I did struggle occasionally to know which of the characters was talking.

All We Have Is Now by Lisa Schroeder
Published On: July 28, 2015
Published By: Scholastic
Genre: YA, Contemporary
Pages: 272
Format: Audiobook
Source: Audible
Narrated By: Julia Whelan
Rating: ★½
Amazon | Goodreads

- How can a book with such a beautiful cover be so bad? I really did not enjoy this book, it was a huge disappointment.
- I apparently love the idea of these 'the world ends tomorrow' books but have yet to find one I actually enjoyed.
- I found the characters incredibly annoying and not at all likeable.
- One thing that really frustrated me throughout the book was the fact that all but one time Vince introduced Emerson rather than letting her introduce herself. I know this might not seem like much but it really annoyed me.
- I really liked the idea of spending your last day helping others but I think it could have been executed much better. It ended up being quite boring and I didn't feel it added much to the story.
- To me, the family aspect was annoying. Emerson was extremely immature in regards to her family situation and it made her even less likeable to me.
- The ending was a complete cop-out and actually made me wish I hadn't bothered finishing it.
- I wasn't a huge fan of the narration. She kept mixing up her voices and using the wrong one for different characters, which was very confusing. She also said some sentences in a very strange way and I found that a bit distracting.

There You'll Find Me by Jenny B Jones
Published On: October 3, 2011
Published By: Thomas Nelson
Genre: YA, Contemporary, Christian Fiction
Pages: 320
Format: Audiobook
Source: Audible
Narrated By: Jeannie Stith
Rating: ★★
Amazon | Goodreads

- Whoever told this narrator she could do an Irish accent was most definitely lying. The terrible accent was very distracting throughout and took away from the book.
- The story itself wasn't all that great either. I found it predictable, a little repetitive and somehow boring despite way too much going on.
- This book was trying too hard to be too many things. There were far too many different storylines that none were executed particularly well. We had mental health, grief, touring Ireland, a famous love interest, a big audition, an out-of-the-blue eating disorder and helping a dying old lady. It was too much and would have been better with just one main focus.
- The main character wasn't very likeable. She was very self-absorbed, rude to almost everyone and mentioned the ever annoying 'i'm not like other girls' on more than one occasion.
- In addition to all the other storylines going on, we also had so much unnecessary bitchiness and girl hate. Not only was this annoying but the way it was dealt with, in a Christian Fiction book of all things, didn't set a great example to young girls.

Things We Know By Heart by Jessi Kirby
Published On: April 21, 2015
Published By: Harper Teen
Genre: YA, Contemporary
Pages: 304
Format: Audiobook
Source: Audible
Narrated By: Amanda Wallace
Rating: ★★★★
Amazon | Goodreads

- I was a bit wary going into this as I was worried I would find it uncomfortable to have the main characters boyfriends heart transplant recipient as the love interest. I was unsure about how well the situation would be handled but I shouldn't have worried as I ended up really loving this book.
- This was a completely unique story unlike anything I have read before. It dealt with grief in a very different way and I loved that organ transplantation was being talked about in this way.
- I loved every single character in this book. Quinn and Colton were so relatable that despite never having gone through what either of them had I felt a real connection with them. Quinn's family were also great and I loved how present they were throughout the story.
- The transplant aspect of the story was written well. I liked that there were a lot of facts about heart transplants included, but not in a way that was boring or heavy, and we were shown more of the reality of being a transplant recipient. It was obviously well researched, which I appreciated.
- I expected the romance to be the aspect of the story I didn't like but I was wrong. It was written in a way that even though you knew it was a bad situation, I didn't feel wrong. They were perfect for each other and I found myself on the edge of my seat waiting for the truth to come out, dreading what the outcome would be.
- The narration was great and I had no issues with it at all, in fact I enjoyed it.

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

Sophie :)

Tuesday, 15 August 2017

Top Ten Tuesday | Top Ten Book Recommendations For Contemporary Lovers

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

Top Ten Tuesday is back and this week's theme is recommendations. There are so many cool and creative ways you can go with this topic but I just want to take the opportunity to gush about some of my favourite contemporary books. It's probably not much of a surprise that YA contemporary, and more specifically contemporary romance, is my favourite genre, so of course I want to talk about it. So here are my ten recommendations for contemporary lovers.

1. Isla and the Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins
This is one of my all time favourite books so I had to include it in this list. Isla has had a crush on Josh, a fellow student at her boarding school in Paris, for years and a chance encounter over the summer brings them together.  It's cute, relatable and great fun to read.

2. On The Fence by Kasie West
To be honest, I could really include any Kasie West book in this list. Charlie is 'one of the guys' but discovers the world of a 'girly girl', starts living a double life and has late night chats with the boy next door to help her through it all. This is another cute story but with some much more serious underlying topics, a great family dynamic and an adorable love interest.

3. Since You've Been Gone by Morgan Matson
Emily is left a summer bucket list by her best friend to help her become her own person. This is such a fun, summery book that will make you want to get out and enjoy summer, and also has a cute romance thrown in.

4. Pushing The Limits by Katie McGarry
Two very different high school students are brought together and, despite having nothing in common but lots of baggage and a complicated background, find themselves unable to stay away from each other. This isn't your light and fluffy contemporary, there are some pretty deep topics covered, but there is still a great romance mixed in.

5. Paper Towns by John Green
This is probably my favourite John Green book I have read so far. It follows Q as he searches for his long time crush Margo when she disappears after they spend the night getting revenge on those who have wronged her. This is less focused on romance then the others, although there is some, and more about the adventure of searching for Margo.

6. Where She Went by Gayle Forman
There isn't much I can say about this other than it is the sequel to If I Stay. In my opinion, it is much better than the first book despite it being so popular. If you weren't a fan of the first book so didn't pick up the sequel, I would definitely recommend you give it a go.

7. Ignite by Lily Paradis
This is more NA than YA but I wanted to include it. This is the story of Lauren who becomes the guardian of her three step-siblings following her stepmother's death and finds help in the very attractive neighbour Dean. This is another one of my favourite books and deserves so much more love.

8. I Want It That Way by Ann Aguirre
Again this is more NA and is the first in a companion trilogy. The first book follows Nadia who is completely focused on school and work until she meets her new neighbour, single father Ty, and a connection forms. This is another one that deserves more love. It was really adorable and I loved the romance.

9. The Sisterhood Of The Travelling Pants by Ann Brashares
Four friends spend their first summer apart but stay connected through a pair of jeans that somehow fit all of them perfectly. I read this because I loved the movies but the book is definitely just as good. It's another book that is perfect for summer and more about friendship than romance.

10. If I Lie by Corrine Jackson
This is definitely less light and fluffy than the others I have mentioned. It follows Quinn who has been shunned by her town for cheating on her boyfriend while he is serving in Afghanistan. However, everything isn't as it seems but clearing her name would involve sharing her boyfriend's secret, her boyfriend who has just gone MIA. This is an emotional read that will rip your heart out but it is completely worth it.

What are your favourite contemporaries? I would love some of your recommendations.

Sophie :)

Monday, 14 August 2017

Review | Did I Mention I Love You? by Estelle Maskame

Did I Mention I Love You? by Estelle Maskame
Series: DIMILY Trilogy #1
Published On: April 30, 2015
Published By: Black & White Publishing
Genre: YA, Contemporary, Romance
Pages: 422
Format: eBook
Source: Bought
Rating: ★★★½

Amazon | Goodreads

When sixteen-year-old Eden Munro agrees to spend the summer with her estranged father in the beachfront city of Santa Monica, California, she has no idea what she’s letting herself in for. Eden's parents are divorced and have gone their separate ways, and now her father has a brand new family. For Eden, this means she's about to meet three new step-brothers. The eldest of the three is Tyler Bruce, a troubled teenager with a short temper and a huge ego. Complete polar opposites, Eden quickly finds herself thrust into a world full of new experiences as Tyler's group of friends take her under their wing. But the one thing she just can't understand is Tyler, and the more she presses to figure out the truth about him, the more she finds herself falling for the one person she shouldn't – her step-brother. 
Throw in Tyler's clingy girlfriend and a guy who has his eyes set on Eden, and there's secrets, lies and a whole lot of drama. But how can Eden keep her feelings under control? And can she ever work out the truth about Tyler?

I'll be completely honest with you, I only picked up this book because the author is Scottish and I felt some kind of obligation to read it for that reason. However, I am very glad I did. I cannot believe this book was written by a teenager! Estelle finished this series when she was around 16, I believe, and it absolutely matches up to the standard of writers twice her age with many published works. It was very well written and well thought out, and I honestly felt as though it had been written by someone with years of experience.

The story follows Eden as she spends her summer in California with her father and his new family, which makes it the perfect summer read. It was very fun, fast-paced and exciting and it made me want to get out and enjoy my summer. Sadly, I was stuck at work but I definitely enjoyed living my summer through Eden for a short while.

Throughout her summer, Eden is introduced, firstly to her new family members, and later to a lot of new friends. This book is packed full of really great, well developed characters, all of whom I want to be friends with. Eden herself is very likeable, despite not having the best relationship with her father and being unsure about his new family, she is never bratty or unnecessarily rude or spiteful, as is often the case when similar situations arise in books. I appreciated that aspect in particular as it illustrated the maturity of the character. I also liked that all of the characters were quite different and some were very complex, with various issues and room for development throughout the series.

The various issues different characters are dealing with allows for some more series topics to be discussed. Eden is having to come to terms with her father leaving and finding happiness with a new family but at the same time Tyler is having to deal with some very serious issues involving his father. I was worried that such a young author may not handle sensitive subjects quite as well as someone with more experience but I had nothing to be worried about. Such things were handled sensitively and discussed in a mature manner.

One of the main aspects of this story is, of course, the romance. However, this isn't quite the light and fluffy romance you might often find as we are talking about a romance between step-siblings. I was a little uncomfortable going into this book knowing that situation would arise and I expected it to bother me. I was very surprised when, in actual fact, the step-sibling relationship didn't really bother me at all. I loved both Eden and Tyler and found myself routing for them to get together, I thought they made an adorable couple. However, I liked the fact that they acknowledged the consequences their relationship could have and thought about their families rather than simply focusing on themselves and their relationship, that felt more realistic to me.

While I think this was written very well, and found the teenage voice to be much more authentic when written by an actual teenager, there were some aspects I found a little immature. Some plot points were slightly predictable and reminded me of the fact this book was written by a young author. Things like blackmail in relationships, which weren't very necessary to the story and weren't written particularly well. However, these were very minimal and didn't take away from my enjoyment.

The ending of this book took me completely by surprise. I couldn't have predicted the ending I got but I did enjoy it. It was very interesting and definitely left things open for the next book, but it completely threw me and I was left desperate to continue with the series.

Overall, I think this was a great first book by a young author and a great start to the series. I am interested to see how the writing and characters develop as the series continues, I will definitely be picking up the next books. I would recommend this as a fun summer read but there are some more serious topics covered, it isn't all light and fluffy but still great fun. I can't wait to see what happens next.

Thursday, 10 August 2017

Haul | July 2017

So I bought a few books in July. Don't worry, I didn't go crazy, but there is now pretty much no way I'm getting my TBR down to under 100 books by the end of this year. I have been doing quite well with cutting down my book buying and haven't bought very many physical books this year. However, in July I bought a few, more than I have any other month so far this year, so I thought I would share them in a separate post this month.

The Names They Gave Us by Emery Lord - I already couldn't wait to pick up this book because the UK cover is so beautiful, but then everyone started raving about it and I couldn't help myself. I don't know when I'll get around to it but for now it looks beautiful on my shelves.

Wilde Like Me by Louise Pentland - I was lucky enough to go to a Q&A and signing for this book and got to meet Louise who I have watched on Youtube for about five years now and love. Hearing her talk about her book made me so excited to give it a go.

One Hundred Proposals by Holly Martin - I've had this one on my Goodreads TBR for a little while now so when I saw it for £1 I picked it up. The whole 100 proposals has me sold but I'm sure there will be a cute romance in there somewhere.

PS I Love You by Cecelia Ahern - This is one I've already read so I don't feel quite so bad for buying this one. I listened to this on audio so didn't have a physical copy and as Cecelia Ahern is one of my favourite authors I want to own all of her books, and the fact it was only £1 makes it completely acceptable.

If You Could See Me Now by Cecelia Ahern - Another one that I managed to find for just £1! Like I said, Cecelia Ahern is one of my favourite authors and this is one of hers I haven't read yet. 

There's Someone Inside Your House by Stephanie Perkins - This is my most anticipated book of the year and I managed to bag myself an eARC from netgalley. I can't even explain my excitement for this book, I have to read it now!

I haven't gone too crazy with my book buying but I need to try and keep it to a minimum for the rest of the year. Which of my purchases do I need to prioritise?

Sophie :)