Monday, 24 November 2014

Review | Before I Go To Sleep by SJ Watson

Image and video hosting by TinyPicBefore I Go To Sleep by SJ Watson
Published by: Black Swan
Published on: August 14, 2014 (reissued)
Genre: Mystery
Pages: 372
Format: Paperback
Source: Bought
Rating: ★★★½

Amazon | Goodreads

Memories define us. 
So what if you lost yours every time you went to sleep? Your name, your identity, your past, even the people you love—all forgotten overnight. And the one person you trust may be telling you only half the story. 
Welcome to Christine's life.

Christine Lucas wakes up every morning with no idea where she is and with no memories of her past. She must rely on her husband, Ben, telling her everything she needs to know. However, when Christine begins to keep a journal, she discovers that Ben may not be telling her the full story.

I think the concept of this book is great. The idea of a woman who looses her memories as she sleeps, relying on her husband to tell her everything, is a really great idea. I do think SJ Watson did a good job with this concept but I feel like it could have been done a little better.

I enjoyed the mystery of the book. For the very beginning I was drawn in and intrigued by Christine’s story and the mystery that surrounded what happened to her. I enjoyed discovering the pieces of her life as she was discovering them and attempting to piece the parts of the story together. It definitely kept you guessing what had happened and what would happen next.

I found it to be a little repetitive at parts. Obviously since Christine is starting afresh each day it is bound to be a bit repetitive sometimes. However, I did think it was a little too repetitive at some parts, which did make those parts of the book drag slightly for me.

Some parts were a little unrealistic. There were certain things happening throughout the book that were not very believable to me. It is hard to give examples without giving away spoilers but I did find myself questioning some things.

I had trouble connecting with the characters. The book seemed a bit more focussed on the mystery than the characters, in my opinion. I found myself more concerned with the mystery of the book and only really felt any connection to the characters at a few moments in the book.

I managed to guess the plot twist. I always hate when I manage to guess the major plot twist in a mystery and I did manage to in this case. I did like the ending but I feel as though it lost the impact it could have had since I did have some idea of what was coming.

Overall, I liked this book and the concept behind it but it could have been executed better, though I did enjoy SJ Watson’s writing style. The mystery was the strong point of the book but I could have done with a bit more focus on the characters. It may just be difficult to connect to someone who does not really know who she is.

Friday, 21 November 2014

November 2014 | TBR

November is going to be just as crazy, if not more, as October was so despite the fact I am setting a TBR, there is a very large chance that I will not read many of these books. Unfortunately, uni is taking up all of my time and I am left with very little time to read. However, I do like to set myself a challenge so let's see how many of these I do manage.

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Dark Places by Gillian Flynn -
This was in my TBR for October and even though I started it in October, I am yet to finish it. I am about two thirds of the way through and really liking it so I will hopefully finish it really soon. It is about a girl whose family was murdered when she was very young and, possibly due to her testimony, her brother was sent to prison for the murders. However, she is contacted by a group of people who believe her brother is innocent so she must try to find out what actually happened. 

Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins -
I am really hoping to reread this before the movie is released in the UK on the 20th of November. I am not sure how likely that is considering I have an essay to write next week but I really hope I manage to as I don't remember much since it has been so long since I first read it.

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by JK Rowling -
I had hoped to read this back in August but never got around to it. I really want to have read at least the first three books in the series this year so I am hoping I will get around to it this month. It really is shameful that I have not read this series yet.

Dancing In My Nuddy-Pants by Louise Rennison -
I have been rereading the first few books in this series before finishing the series and managed to read the first three in the series last month. This is the fourth book and I am not sure whether or not I have read it so it may or may not be another reread. These are super quick, easy reads so hopefully I will at least get this read this month.

This Song Will Save Your Life by Leila Sales - 
This is one I picked out of my TBR jar for this month. I decided to give my TBR jar some use as I haven't used it in a little while and this is one of the books that I probably wouldn't have picked up if I hadn't pulled it out. I know very little about this book as it was the title which made me buy it. I know that it is about a girl who is or wants to be a DJ but I can't tell you much more.

Percy Jackson and the Lightening Thief -
This is another book from the TBR jar but this is one that I have been wanting to read for a while now. I was never very interested in these books when they were first published but now that I have studied Latin and Classical Studies for 6 years and have an interested in Greek and Roman mythology, these books sound really interesting to me. I am really hoping I will get around to reading this some time this month.

Those are the books I plan to read in the month of November. Have you read any of them? What are you planning to read this month?

Sophie :)

Tuesday, 18 November 2014

Top Ten Tuesday | Top Ten Sequels I Can't Wait To Get

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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 weeks theme is Top Ten Sequels I Can't Wait To Get. Since I am not in the middle of many series, and none of the ones I am in the middle of have books yet to be released, I have changed it a little.

Top 4 Sequels I Can't Wait To Read

1. Allegiant by Veronica Roth
I loved Divergent so much that as soon as I finished it I went out and bought Insurgent and Allegiant. I read Insurgent in August and wasn't totally intrigued by the ending so haven't picked up Allegiant yet. I really would like to finish this series soon but I don't know if I am quite ready for it to be over just yet.

2. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by JK Rowling
I read the first book in the series back in July and had planned to read the first three by the end of summer. Unfortunately that didn't happen but I really want to continue with the series soon.

3. Where She Went by Gayle Forman
If I Stay is another book I read this summer but I never got around to reading the second book in the duology, Where She Went. I have heard some really good things about the sequel so hopefully I can get to it soon.

4. UnSouled by Neal Shusterman
I have read the first two books in the UnWind series a while ago and for some reason never got around to picking up the third in the series. I can't really remember what happened in the first two books but I would like to finish the series at some point, probably after rereading the first two.

Top 6 Series I Can't Wait To Start

1. The Selection by Keira Cass
I have heard a lot of mixed reviews about The Selection series by Keira Cass but I really like the idea of it. The plot sounds good so I would really like to give the series I try. 

2. Obsidian by Jennifer L Armentrout
Jennifer L Armentrout's Lux series is one I have heard amazing things about. I don't think I have read any Alien romance before so I really want to read something a little different. 

3. Ignite by Lily Paradis
This is a book that I have heard a lot about recently and have recently discovered it is the first in a series. I don't know much about it other than it is about a girl who is given responsibility for three children. I think that is a really great premise for a book so I can't wait to give it a read.

4. The Program by Suzanne Young
This is another series that I have heard a lot of great things about. I really like the premise of suicide being an epidemic and think it could be a really interesting read.

5. The Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants by Ann Brashares
The Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants movies are two of my favourite movies and I would really love to read the book those movies were based on. This is one series I have been wanting to get to for a good few years now so hopefully I will get to it soon.

6. The Luxe by Anna Godberson
All I have heard about this series is that it is the historical fiction version of Gossip Girl. Anything that is compared to Gossip Girl is something I will want in my life as I adore the TV show. Hopefully I will get around to the series soon and it will live up to the hype.

That is my twist on this weeks Top Ten Tuesday. What books would be on your list?

Sophie :)

Thursday, 13 November 2014

Tag | The Goodreads Tag

I had seen this tag going around Booktube a while ago and decided to do it one here. I use Goodreads constantly for keeping track of the books I want to read, tracking where I am in my current read and challenging myself to read more in a year with the Goodreads challenge. It is a very handy place for book lovers. On to the questions...

1. What was the last book you marked as Read?

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I finished Knocked Out by my Nunga-Nungas by Louise Rennison, the third book in the Confessions Of Georgia Nicholson series, at the end of October and haven't finished another book since. This was a re-read so I don't know if it really counts.

2. What are you currently reading?

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I am currently exactly half way (according to Goodreads) through Dark Places by Gillian Flynn. It is taking me forever to read because I have been so busy but I am enjoying it.

3. What was the last book you marked as To Read?

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I don't have any idea what These Broken Stars by Amie Kaufman & Megan Spooner is about but the cover is beautiful so I marked it as To Read.

4. What book do you plan to read next?

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I mentioned in this weeks TTT that I am hoping to re-read Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins before the movie comes out later this month. That will probably be the next book I pick up.

5. Do you use the star rating system?
Yes, I rate every book using the star rating system after I read it. 

6. Are you doing a 2014 reading challenge?
I am. I originally had a relatively small (for me) goal of 25 books which I met back in July so I have since changed my goal to 40 and have currently read 33 books.

7. Do you have a wishlist?
I don't have a specific wishlist on Goodreads but I have three shelves of books that I want to read and I don't include books I own on these shelves so I guess those are kind of a wishlist.

8. What book do you plan to buy next?

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I am hoping to restrain myself and not buy too many books before Christmas but I will most likely buy myself My True Love Gave To Me, the collection of holiday short stories edited by Stephanie Perkins. I can't wait to read this.

9. Do you have any favourite quotes?
I have a lot of favourite quotes but none that come to my head. I don't have any quotes on my Goodreads but I do mark them in my books.

10. Who are your favourite authors?
According to Goodreads they are Elle Fowler, whose books I have never read but I do like her Youtube channel, Nick Alexander, I have read one of his books but didn't love it, and Lynn Steward, who I have never heard of. 

11. Have you joined any groups?
I have joined the Booksplosion group and the Chick-Lits Books Club group. These are the two groups I read along with if they are reading a book I own.

12. Are there any questions you would like to add?
No, I'm good.

Do you use Goodreads? Have you done this tag?

Sophie :)

Thursday, 6 November 2014

October 2014 | Wrap Up & Haul

October has been another crazy busy month so I've had very little time to read. Like I mentioned last month, things are only going to get busier.

My Life In October...
- I started watching Grey's Anatomy and it has taken over my life! We've managed to watch the first 5 seasons in one month.
- I managed one more weekend away with my mum before the crazy holiday season begins.
- I handed in my first essay of the semester and somehow managed to pass it.
- I spent more money than I should have on the best possible tickets for The Vamps tour next year with Union J supporting them. I am so excited!
- I went to the Big Reunion Boyband Tour and spent a lot of time fangirling over A1 and Gareth Gates, I'm a ten-year-old at heart.

Read In October...

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Angus, Thongs and Full-Frontal Snogging by Louise Rennison -
I read this book a few years ago and loved it. I never got round to finishing the series so I decided to re-read the first few books and then finish the series. This series is written in the form of a diary of teenager Georgia Nicholson and follows her as she discovers the wonders of boys and deals with issues with friends. I loved this the first time through but now that I am a bit older I found it a little immature. 4/5

It's OK, I'm Wearing Really Big Knickers! by Louise Rennison -
This is the second book in the Georgia Nicholson series and I had the same issues with this as I did with the first book. I loved it originally but found a lot it a little immature. 3/5

Knocked Out By My Nunga-Nungas by Louise Rennison -
This is the third book in the series and another re-read. Again I had some issues with the immaturity of the characters but they are such quick, easy reads that it wasn't too much of a problem. 3/5

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Weird Things Customers Say In Bookshops by Jen Campbell -
I had heard so much about this book that I decided to buy it on the kindle store on a whim and read it in about half an hour. This book is filled with funny stories of things customers have said and done while in bookshops. It is a really quick, easy read and I enjoyed it. I didn't love it as much as everyone else seems to have though. 3/5

Bought In October...

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Love, Rosie by Cecelia Ahern -
I already read this book last month and reviewed it but when I saw the movie cover I just couldn't resist. I love Sam Claflin so I obviously needed his face on a book.

Stop in the Name of Pants & Are Those My Basoomas I See Before Me by Louise Rennison -
I bought the first six books in this series last month and so bought the 9th and 10th books in the series to complete my collection. I managed to get these on ebay for a really good price and they are in great condition.

What have you read or bought in October? Have you read any of the books I mentioned?

Sophie :)

Tuesday, 4 November 2014

Top Ten Tuesday | Books I Want To Re-read

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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 weeks topic is books I want to re-read. I never used to be much of a re-reader but this year I have managed to re-read four books and there are plenty more I want to get to.

1. Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins
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When the Catching Fire movie came out, I decided to reread the book before I went to see it and when I did I realised there were a lot of details that I had forgotten with it being so long since I had read it. With Mockingjay Part 1 coming out this month, I really want to reread the book before I see the movie.

2. A Walk To Remember by Nicholas Sparks
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I read this book a while ago when I was going through a phase of reading Nicholas Sparks books and although I remember most of the details, the books have merged together a little as I read them all so close together. I know I loved A Walk To Remember so I would really like to reread it so make sure all the details I remember are actually from that book.

3. The Curious Incident Of The Dog In The Night-Time by Mark Haddon
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This is a book I read a really long time ago. In fact, all I can remember about it is that I liked it. I really want to reread this one to see if I still like it as much as I did years ago when I first read it.

4. Of Mice And Men by John Steinbeck
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I have heard many people say you should reread a book you read for school to see if you like it when you’re not being forced to read it. I read Of Mice And Men for school and it was one of the less dull books we had to read. OF course, because I was forced to read it, I didn’t like it at the time but I would be interested to see if I liked it if I were to reread it.

5. Something Blue by Emily Giffin

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This is another book I read a while ago but really loved. I don’t remember too many details but I do remember I really loved the ending. I would really love to reread this one.

6. Isla And The Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins
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I only read this in September but I really love this book. It’s my favourite of the Anna And The French Kiss series and I love Isla and Josh a lot. I have a feeling this will be the book to get me out of reading slumps in future. I wanted to reread it as soon as I finished it.

7. Where Rainbows End/Love, Rosie by Cecelia Ahern
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I read this book in September as well and loved it (review here). This is another one I wanted to reread as soon as I finished it. Since I read Where Rainbows End and then bought the Love, Rosie movie cover edition, it’s almost like two different books. So that justifies rereading it straight after reading it for the first time, right?

8. Unwind & Unwholly by Neal Shusterman
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I read the first two books in the Unwind series a couple of years ago so don’t remember them too well. I do want to continue with the series, since I loved the first book so much, but I will probably need to reread the first two before carrying on.

9. New Moon by Stephenie Meyer
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Don’t judge me for this. I reread Twilight earlier this year and it made me feel very nostalgic so I would like to continue to reread the series. I was originally wanting to see how it compared to the other book I have read since then and although it is really not as good as I originally thought it was, I still like the series.

10. The Midwife's Here! by Linda Fairley
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I read this book a couple of years ago when being a midwife was just a dream that I wasn’t going to get the chance to pursue. Now, though, I am trying to pursue that dream and I would like to reread this now that it can get me excited rather then remind me of something I want but can’t have.

What books do you want to re-read soon?

Sophie :)

Monday, 3 November 2014

Review | Anna And The French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins

Image and video hosting by TinyPicAnna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins
Series: Anna and the French Kiss #1
Published By: Usborne Publishing
Published On: January 1, 2014
Genre: Contemporary
Pages: 416
Format: Paperback
Source: Bought
Rating: ★★★★

Amazon | Goodreads

Anna has everything figured out - she was about to start senior year with her best friend, she had a great weekend job, and her huge work crush looked as if it might finally be going somewhere... Until her dad decides to send her 4383 miles away to Paris. On her own. But despite not speaking a word of French, Anna finds herself making new friends, including Etienne, the smart, beautiful boy from the floor above. But he’s taken – and Anna might be too. Will a year of romantic near-missed end with the French kiss she’s been waiting for?

When Anna is forced to attend boarding school in Paris for her senior year of high school, she is thrown into a life completely different from what she is used to. Despite having no knowledge of France and not able to speak French, Anna find friends and meets the boy everyone in the school wants, Etienne St Clair.

Stephanie Perkins is a literary genius. There are so many things that I love about this book and one of those is the way it is written. I love her writing style. She has managed to write the most adorable, yet slightly frustrating, book that will make you laugh and cry, possibly at the same time. She has become an auto-buy author for me after just one book.

I love all of the characters. Somehow all of the main and secondary characters in the book were relatable and likeable. From the feisty main character, to the confused love interest, to the jealous best friend, there is something in all of the characters you can relate to. Anna was a great main character and I loved that she was not afraid to stand up for herself or her friends.

The Paris setting was perfect. I have never been to Paris but having read this book, I feel like I have. It was full of descriptions of the city that were so beautifully written you felt like you were there yourself.

There was more to the story than just Anna and St Clair’s relationship. I really enjoyed the background stories to this book. Not only was there a focus on romantic relationships but relationships with friends and family were also an important aspect. These background stories added a more serious note in some cases and reminded readers that life can be tough. 

I loved the slow-building relationship instead on insta-love. Yes, this did mean angst and I definitely wanted them to just hurry up and be together but I did enjoy that they didn’t rush into anything. The fact that they grew to be best friends before there was any romantic involvement was refreshing to read about.

I am not entirely sure whether I approve of the “cheating” aspect. This is the only thing I didn’t really like with this book. St Clair has a girlfriend throughout the majority of the book while clearly developing feelings for Anna. I found this a bit unpleasant to read about as I felt for Ellie, St Clair’s girlfriend, and found myself wishing they would just break up, as that would have been more comfortable to read.

Overall, I love this book. Stephanie Perkins has done an incredible job of writing a cute and funny story, which will forever be one of my favourites. The characters were very fun to read about and they will always have a place in my heart.