Friday, 31 March 2017

TBR | Forgotten Shelves Readathon

Now that March is coming to an end, so is my crazy busy time. I have placements as part of my university course and my current one has taken so much of my time but now that it is coming to an end, I can finally start reading again. To celebrate the fact that I'll be having time to read again, I decided to take part in a readathon I discovered on Instagram.

Lavidaenquotes and Alyaofwinterfell  are hosting the Forgotten Shelves readathon from April 3rd-9th. This readathon focuses on the neglected books on our shelves that have been sat there for an eternity just waiting to be read. I have plenty of them so this readathon seemed like a perfect one for me. There are four challenges, which is great as I love challenges within readathons. I am hoping to complete all four but I am very doubtful about one in particular.

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Obsidian by Jennifer L Armentrout -
Challenge: Out of your comfort zone
The Lux: Beginnings bind up of the first two books in this series has been on my shelves since I picked it up in New York in January 2015! I has been so excited to read this series for the longest time but for some reason I have never picked it up. This is out of my comfort zone as I very rarely read paranormal romance, I think maybe the Twilight series is the only similar thing I have read. I definitely don't read about aliens so I'm not sure how I'll feel about that aspect. 

The Great Gatsby by F Scott Fitzgerald -
Challenge: A Classic
This is the one challenge I am doubtful that I will complete. I know I should read more classics but I never have the desire to pick them up. The Great Gatsby is the only classic I currently own and as it is one of the books I plan to read for the Around The Year In 52 Books challenge this year, I need to get to it eventually. Hopefully I can get to it during the readathon.

The Heart Of The Matter by Emily Giffin -
Challenge: A Benchwarmer
The 'benchwarmer' challenge is a book that has been on your shelves for over a year. The Heart Of The Matter has been on mine for at least 5 years! I know I want to read it, and have wanted to for all the years I have owned it, but there's always been something I want to read before it. I will read this book soon so why not during the readathon.

All The Bright Places by Jennifer Niven -
Challenge: TBR Runaway
For this challenge, you choose a book that has previously been on a monthly TBR but you never got around to reading. I have so many options for this so I may change my mind but this is the one I'm most interested in at the moment. Although I have stopped posting TBR's on my blog, I do have a list of a few books each month that I would like to get to and this has been on that list several times recently. All of the other books on my TBR could count for this challenge so if I run out of time I can combine challenges.

As well as the four book that meet the challenges, I have some other books I plan to read during the week of the readathon that do not fit the challenges. The other books I hope to read are Flawed and Perfect by Cecelia Ahern. Flawed is a re-read and I will definitely be reading Perfect as soon as my pre-order comes through my door. 

Are you taking part in this readathon or any other readathons in April?

Sophie :)

Thursday, 30 March 2017

Review | How I Lost You by Jenny Blackhurst

 photo 514w3CElQOL._SX323_BO1204203200__zps8hwnfqcy.jpgHow I Lost You by Jenny Blackhurst
Published On: October 9, 2014
Published By: Headline
Genre: Mystery/Thriller
Pages: 352
Format: Paperback
Source: Bought
Rating: ★★★

Amazon | Goodreads

They told her she killed her son. She served her time. But what if they lied? 
I have no memory of what happened but I was told I killed my son. And you believe what your loved ones, your doctor and the police tell you, don't you? 
My name is Emma Cartwright. Three years ago I was Susan Webster, and I murdered my twelve-week-old son Dylan. I was sent to Oakdale Psychiatric Institute for my crime, and four weeks ago I was released early on parole with a new identity, address and a chance to rebuild my tattered life. This morning, I received an envelope addressed to Susan Webster. Inside it was a photograph of a toddler called Dylan. 
Now I am questioning everything I believe because if I have no memory of the event, how can I truly believe he's dead? If there was the smallest chance your son was alive, what would you do to get him back?

I seem to have been stuck in a bit of a rut when it comes to mystery/thriller novels recently. Everything I read just seems to be average and I'm waiting for something to blow me away. I was so hoping this would be the one to do that, especially as the synopsis was so intriguing, but sadly not. This was another decent, average mystery/thriller novel. It wasn't bad but it wasn't amazing, it didn't blow me away as I had hoped.

It started off well, I was completely sucked in from the first few pages and just had to know what was happening. However, as the book went on I started to lose interest. I'm not sure if this is because I was didn't have much time to read so ended up having to read this over the course of a month, which could easily make me lost interest. I think it could be a combination of that and the book itself, I did find it a bit slower towards the middle.

A stand-out difference with this book, for me, was the main character. More often than not in these kinds of books, the main character is not a likeable character at all, that's what I've come to expect when I pick up a book like this. That wasn't the case with this book though, I actually found myself liking our main character Susan/Emma. While she isn't a typically likeable character, considering she was convicted for killing her child, and I got the impression the author was trying to make her an untrustworthy, suspicious character, I was rooting for her through everything.

I really didn't like the flashback chapters. Although I can completely see why they were there and the purpose of them, I just didn't like them. I found them a distraction from the main story and it would often result in me putting the book down because I didn't care about what was happening then. Maybe if they had been incorporated differently I would have liked them more.

The main reason this book was just average for me and not anything special was because it was quite predictable at times. There were a lot of little twists and reveals that I could definitely see coming and wasn't shocked or surprised in any way by them. For a lot of the book I found that I was sure I could see something coming and was hoping to be proven wrong, but it didn't happen. There were some things that I didn't see coming at all, but even then I wasn't so much shocked as confused.

While a lot of aspects of this book were predictable, the ending definitely wasn't. I did not predict the main reveal at all. I obviously don't want to say too much because of spoilers but I seem to always work out what happened or who done it, not this time. However, again it didn't shock me. When everything was revealed there was no gasp of surprise, I had more of a 'yeah, that makes sense' reaction.

I also had some issues with the epilogue. I obviously can't go into details but there were some things that I don't think were dealt with very well. I understand why the author did what she did with the epilogue, but considering how certain things were done I think it would have been better not to have included it.

Overall, this was a decent book. It didn't blow me away and I'm finding now that it is a bit forgettable. I only finished it a few days ago and was struggling to remember details of the book as I was writing this review. The premise of the book was great and it initially really drew me in so I do think this author has potential. I definitely wouldn't rule out reading more from her.

Tuesday, 28 March 2017

Top Ten Tuesday | Top Ten Authors I'm Dying To Meet

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

This week's theme is top ten author's you've met or are dying to meet. I have only met two authors so far, both of whom I met through school visits a good 8-9 years ago. Those two authors are Cat Weatherill and Catherine MacPhail, who was one of my favourite authors during my early high school years. Since then things just haven't worked out when it comes to book signings and events, I'm always working or not able to attend for some other reason. However, I am determined to get to a book signing/event soon! These are the top ten authors I am desperate to meet.

1. Cecelia Ahern
As one of my all time favourite authors, of course Cecelia Ahern is top of the list. I'm forever searching the events pages of local bookstores whenever she has new books being published but she never seems to do events near me. One day I will tell her how much I love her work, or at least attempt to while I fangirl.

2. Stephanie Perkins
She is another of my all time favourite authors, I love her books so much. She seems really nice and I think she would be such a fun person to chat to.

3. Kasie West
Again, another favourite author of mine whose books I adore. I would just love to chat to her about the amazing characters she creates.

4. Morgan Matson
Have you seen interviews with Morgan Matson? She just looks like the most fun person to chat to! This video with Zoe from ReadByZoe made me pretty much fall in love with her. I basically want to be friends with her but meeting her will do for now.

5. Stephenie Meyer
The Twilight Series, as much as it has its problems, is the reason I started reading again and I owe so much to Stephenie Meyer. I still love this series and though I haven't read her other works, I would love to meet Stephenie Meyer just to thank her for reintroducing me to reading.

6. Kiera Cass
I absolutely love the Selection series so I feel like I could talk to Kiera Cass for hours about those books. I would love to have her explain her reasoning behind the ending of The Crown, I'm still not over it.

7. Giovanna Fletcher
I'm cheating a bit with this one as I haven't actually read any of Giovanna Fletcher's books. I own most of them and definitely need to read them soon, but I absolutely love her Youtube channel and think she's just a pretty fabulous person in general so I would love to meet her. I almost did on her book tour for Happy Mum, Happy Baby but ended up having to work.

8. Gillian Flynn
I would love to meet Gillian Flynn just to have met the person who could write things quite as twisted and disturbing as her books. I wouldn't say she is a favourite author of mine but I definitely appreciate her work and I think she would be so interesting to chat to.

9. JK Rowling
I would say that's pretty much self-explanatory! She's probably on most people's lists.

10. John Green
He just seems like such a nice, genuine person and he has made me laugh in pretty much every interview/video I have seen of him. Again, I think he would be a interesting to chat to.

Those are the authors I would most love to me. I'm really hoping to get to some kind of signing or event this year so who knows, I might even be able to tick one of these great authors off the list.

Who are you dying to meet? Which author would be top of your list?

Sophie :)

Sunday, 26 March 2017

Mini Review | On The Fence by Kasie West

 photo 18298225_zpsz36nih5j.jpgOn The Fence by Kasie West
Published On: July 1, 2014
Published By: Harper Teen
Genre: Contemporary
Pages: 296
Format: Paperback
Source: Gift
Rating: ★★★★½

Amazon | Goodreads

For sixteen-year-old Charlotte Reynolds, aka Charlie, being raised by a single dad and three older brothers has its perks. She can outrun, outscore, and outwit every boy she knows—including her longtime neighbor and honorary fourth brother, Braden. But when it comes to being a girl, Charlie doesn't know the first thing about anything. So when she starts working at chichi boutique to pay off a speeding ticket, she finds herself in a strange new world of makeup, lacy skirts, and BeDazzlers. Even stranger, she's spending time with a boy who has never seen her tear it up in a pickup game. 
To cope with the stress of faking her way through this new reality, Charlie seeks late-night refuge in her backyard, talking out her problems with Braden by the fence that separates them. But their Fence Chats can't solve Charlie's biggest problem: she's falling for Braden. Hard. She knows what it means to go for the win, but if spilling her secret means losing him for good, the stakes just got too high.

Kasie West kills it once again.
I have loved everything I have read by Kasie West and this was no exception. It was a cute, fun contemporary with great characters and a great overall message. It was so close to being a perfect 5 star read for me.

Very family focused.
Often in YA books there seems to be very little focus on the family at all. This book was one of the exceptions as there is a big focus on family. I absolutely loved the family aspect and seeing Charlie interact with her brothers. I loved her relationship with her brothers and the larger family dynamic, which is something I love reading about, especially as an only child.

Her 'introduction to being a girl' was fun.
I really enjoyed reading about Charlie being introduced to makeup and all the other "girly" things. It was fun to see her discovering a whole other side to herself and it reminded me of my introduction to makeup.

Loved the relatable, important underlying message.
There is a strong message in this book to not change who you are in order to impress other people, and I think that is such an important message for young people to be hearing. I know, particularly in my early teenage years, I spent a lot of time trying to be someone else to impress other people and would have related a lot to Charlie in her situation. This message is definitely something I needed to hear at that age.

There was more to this than a cute romance.
As well as the romance and the family aspect, there were some deeper aspects thrown in. Though I found those aspects of the story interesting, they didn't really feel necessary to the story and a bit like they were just there to fill up some space. Don't get me wrong, everything was well written, including the 'mystery' aspect, I just feel the book would have been just as good without those things.

The cute romance was pretty great though.
I absolutely love Braden. I loved his and Charlie's friendship but they were perfect for each other from the beginning. I liked the fact that they both knew they liked each other but didn't want to ruin their friendship, I thought that was adorable. And most of all, I really loved their fence chats!

Overall, I did really love this book but it didn't blow me away enough to get a full 5 stars. The characters and story were great and I loved the romance but there was just something missing. However, I think this is still a perfect cute summery contemporary read that is so easy to just devour. I couldn't put it down and then didn't want it to end.

Thursday, 23 March 2017

Tag | NOPE. Book Tag

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All the tags I ever seem to do on here are pretty positive, which I guess is a good thing as I obviously want to promote all the great books. However, every now and then it's fun to do something a little different. As soon as I saw this tag on booktube, created by A Booktube Book, I knew I had to do it. This looks so much fun and is a bit different for me as it is kind of negative.

1. NOPE. Ending: A book ending that made you go NOPE either in denial, rage, or simply because the ending was crappy. 
The Crown by Kiera Cass - I was completely in denial over that ending, in my head it ended differently and my ship lived happily ever after.

2. NOPE. Protagonist: A main character you dislike and drives you crazy.
Amy Dunne from Gone Girl will always be my most hated character. I mean, I know that's pretty much the point of the book but I just could not stand her at all.

3. NOPE. Series: A series that turned out to be one huge pile of NOPE. after you’ve invested all of that time and energy on it, or a series you gave up on because it wasn’t worth it anymore. 
The Shopaholic series by Sophie Kinsella - I know so many people love this series but I just wasn't a fan of the first book and won't be spending any more time on this series.

4. NOPE. Popular pairing: A “ship” you don’t support. 
I almost always seem to support the popular ships. I guess I would have to say Eadlyn from The Heir and The Crown by Kiera Cass and the person she ends up with.

5. NOPE. Plot twist: A plot twist you didn’t see coming or didn’t like. 
There's a plot twist in The One by Kiera Cass that I just did not see coming at all. I was in complete shock and pretty much cried for the rest of the book after that.

6. NOPE. Protagonist action/decision: A character decision that made you shake your head NOPE. 
I want to say America Singer but I've answered almost every question with something related to The Selection so I'll go with someone else. A lot of decisions Cath made in Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell had me shaking me head.

7. NOPE. Genre: A genre you will never read. 
I'll never completely rule anything out but I'm scared to give horror a go.

8. NOPE. Book format: Book formatting you hate and avoid buying until it comes out in a different edition.
I don't really have an answer for this one. I guess if the cover is really ugly I'll wait until it comes out in a different edition or get the ebook so I don't have to look at the cover, does that count?

9. NOPE. Trope: A trope that makes you go NOPE. 
Best friends falling out over a guy or something equally stupid. The first half of the book is spent talking about how two girls have been best friends and inseparable for years and then all of a sudden a guy comes along and they have an almighty fall out over nothing and don't speak to each other for months. Just no.

10. NOPE. Recommendation: A book recommendation that is constantly hyped and pushed at you that you simply refuse to read.
Lord Of The Rings by JRR Tolkein - This isn't really a book/series that is constantly recommended to me but it is very popular and has been recommended to me a few times. I just don't think it's my kind of thing so I will probably never read it.

11. NOPE. Cliche/pet peeve: A cliche or writing pet peeve that always makes you roll your eyes.
I can't stand text speak! The only person I know who still uses text speak is my grandmother so why do they still use it in books?

12. NOPE. Love interest: The love interest that’s not worthy of being one. A character you don’t think should have been a viable love interest.
Jacob Black from the Twilight seres by Stephenie Meyer. Don't get me wrong, I loved Jacob as a character, I just never seen him as a viable love interest. He was always the friend and I think it should have stayed that way.

13. NOPE. Book: A book that shouldn’t have existed that made you say NOPE.
Nineteen Minutes by Jodi Picoult - I really hate that book.

14. NOPE. Villain: A scary villain/antagonist you would hate to cross and would make you run in the opposite direction.
Dolores Umbridge from the Harry Potter series by JK Rowling. That woman terrifies me.

15. NOPE. Death: A character death that still haunts you.
My favourite Harry Potter character dies in Order Of The Phoenix and I wasn't prepared!

16. NOPE. Author: An author you had a bad experience reading for and have decided to quit.
I rarely decide never to read something from a specific author after disliking a book but I would probably have to say Nicky Schmidt. I read Naked In Knightsbridge in 2014 and really didn't like it, I now just don't have any desire to read anything else from her.

That wasn't quite as negative as I expected it would be but still fun to do. Do you agree with any of my answers?

Sophie :)

Sunday, 19 March 2017

Mini Review | Bridget Jones' Diary by Helen Fielding

 photo 227443_zpsxvk5mwrx.jpgBridget Jones' Diary by Helen Fielding
Series: Bridget Jones #1
Published On: June 1, 1998
Published By: Picador
Genre: Chick Lit
Pages: 288
Format: eBook
Source: Bought
Rating: ★★★

Amazon | Goodreads

Bridget Jones' Diary is the devastatingly self-aware, laugh-out-loud daily chronicle of Bridget's permanent, doomed quest for self-improvement — a year in which she resolves to: reduce the circumference of each thigh by 1.5 inches, visit the gym three times a week not just to buy a sandwich, form a functional relationship with a responsible adult, and learn to program the VCR.

Quick, fun read.
This is no literary masterpiece but it was fast-paced, funny and just generally fun to read. I read the majority of this book on a train journey and had to try very hard to stop myself laughing out loud in front of a very full train of complete strangers, it was a struggle.

I wasn't sure of the way it was written.
As the title suggest, this book is written in diary format. I usually really love that but I had some difficulties with it in this book. It was written very informally, as if it was actually a diary. I understand that its meant to add to the story and make it seem as though you are actually reading Bridget's diary but I found it very difficult to read. I particularly disliked the fact the way that words were missed out of sentences. For example, "Cannot face thought of going to work" is one sentence in the book. I really struggled to read a whole book written like that.

Major issues with weight discussions.
Bridget's weight is a large focus of much of this book and it is often discussed that she believes herself to be very fat and very much needing to loose weight. We then learn of her current weight...9 stone. In what universe is 9 stone "fat"? That is my current weight and I would definitely not consider myself to be overweight at all, so that aspect of the book actually made me quite angry. I'm sure that won't be at all helpful in promoting positive body image.

I prefer the movie.
I had seen the movie multiple times before reading the book, but I don't think that affected my enjoyment of the book at all. However, I think this is one of the few cases in which I prefer the movie. There is much less emphasised placed on weight in the movie so, as that is the one thing I had a major issue with in the book, that is a big influencer in my preference for the movie.

Overall, this was a very quick read and I did enjoy it for the most part. I did have some issues with it, which definitely affected my rating, but if you can overlook those aspects then it is an enjoyable read. I may try to read further books in the series at some point but there's a good chance I'll just stick to the movies from now on.

Saturday, 18 March 2017

What I've Been Watching | February 2017

I decided to start this little TV/movie wrap up post last month and really enjoyed recapping what I had been watching in the month of January. I figured since I enjoyed doing it I would just carry it on as a monthly thing. I didn't watch much TV in February as I've been so busy, but I did manage to fit in a few movies.

TV

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Riverdale - I most definitely jumped on this bandwagon and now I'm pretty much obsessed. I had no interest in watching Riverdale until I saw a picture of Cole Sprouse as Jughead and fell in love a little bit. I'm completely up to date and watch it pretty much as soon as it comes on Netflix on a Friday, if I'm not working that is. I hate watching shows one episode at a time and usually wait for a while so I can watch a few episodes at once but I just can't wait to watch more. Also I ship Bughead so hard I can't even deal with it!

What It's About: "A subversive take on Archie and his friends, exploring small town life, the darkness and weirdness bubbling beneath Riverdale's wholesome facade."

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Easy - This came up on my recommendations on Netflix so I decided to give it a go. I only managed two episodes and spent the whole time wondering what on earth I was watching. I don't understand this at all really and I don't think I'll be continuing with it. 

What It's About: "Intertwined groups of friends in Chicago fumble through the modern maze of love, sex, technology and culture."

Movies

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Dark Places - I really loved Gillian Flynn's novel that this movie is based on but I ended up being a little disappointed in the movie. As is usually the case, the book is much better than the movie. It wasn't bad and remained pretty close to the book but it didn't blow me away. Nicholas Hoult was perfect and highlight of the movie for me.

What It's About: "Libby Day was only eight years old when her family was brutally murdered in their rural Kansas farmhouse. Almost thirty years later, she reluctantly agrees to revisit the crime and uncovers the wrenching truths that led up to that tragic night."

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Be Somebody - This is a complete guilty pleasure movie. I shouldn't have enjoyed it but I just couldn't help myself. It's cheesy and quite obviously aimed at teens but there was something about it the just made me smile. Matthew Espinosa reminds me a lot of an ex-boyfriend of mine that I'm still friends with so that probably added to the enjoyment.

What It's About: "Pop superstar Jordan Jaye has a big dream - he just wants to live like a regular teenager. When he's chased down by some excited female fans, he finds a perfect hideout and a reluctant new friend from a small town, high-school art student, Emily Lowe."

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Country Strong - I love country music so this seemed right up my street as it is about a country singer and stars Leighton Meester, who I love. This was an okay movie, but nothing all that special. I got a bit bored for some of it but it picked up towards the end and I ended up loving the last quarter. I really loved some of the songs featured in the film, that was the best part for me.

What It's About: "A rising country-music songwriter works with a fallen star to work their way to fame, causing romantic complications along the way."

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Me Before You - I read Me Before You in February and watched the film the day after finishing the book. Again I would probably say the book was better but I really loved the film as well. I thought it was a great adaptation but it did miss aspects I enjoyed from the book. I loved the cast, which I know a lot of people didn't. I love Sam Claflin, actually he's the only reason I read the book in the first place becuase I wanted to see him in the film, but I completely understand the criticisms of casting him in the role of Will. I thought Emelia Clarke was a perfect Lou though. I also thought this movie had incredible music, it added so much to the story. Loved this film.

What It's About: "A girl in a small town forms an unlikely bond with a recently-paralyzed man she's taking care of."

That is everything I watched in the month of February. I would love any movie recommendations you have based on what I've been watching recently, I'm always looking for new movies to watch.

What have you been watching recently?

Sophie :)

Wednesday, 15 March 2017

Top Ten Tuesday | Top Ten Books On My Spring TBR

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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!

In case you're wondering, I do know my days of the week I'm just failing at blogging at the moment. This week's Top Ten Tuesday (on a Wednesday) theme is the top ten books on my Spring TBR. I mentioned in my February wrap up that I didn't think I would be able to read anything in the month of March because I'm so busy, and so far I would be correct in that assumption. However, once April comes around I will be making up for my awful reading month and reading all of the books. These are the books at the top of my list.

1. Perfect by Cecelia Ahern
This is my most anticipated book of the year and it will be in my hands on April 6th (fingers crossed Amazon doesn't mess up again) and I'm so excited to read it. This is the sequel to Cecelia Ahern's YA debut novel Flawed, which I absolutely loved. This is a dystopian duology basically based on societies perception of being perfect.

2. Windfall by Jennifer E Smith
This is another of my most anticipated books of the year. I received a copy of this from Netgalley and it is published in May. Jennifer E Smith is one of my favourite YA contemporary authors and this sounds like it will be just as good as her other books. It is about a girl who buys her best friend and crush a lottery ticket on his 18th birthday and he ends up winning $140million. They then have to deal with everything that brings, including problems between the two of them.

3. One Of Us Is Lying by Karen McManus
I was also lucky enough to receive a copy of this from Netgalley as well. I hadn't heard much about this one but as soon as I read the synopsis I knew I had to read it. This is a YA mystery/thriller about five high school students who get detention but only four of them come out alive. That sounds like exactly what I'm in the mood for right now.

4. Cinder by Marissa Meyer
I don't know how many TBRs I've mentioned this book in but I really want to finally read it in the next few months. I have been wanting to start this series for the longest time, and have had Cinder on my bookshelves for a good couple of years now, but for some reason I just never pick it up. It will happen this Spring...hopefully.

5. City Of Ashes by Cassandra Clare
It's been almost a year since I read City Of Bones and I really enjoyed the first book so I don't know why it has taken me so long to pick up the second. I know I want to read it soon, hopefully in the next couple of months, so that I can continue on with the rest of the series.

6. Frostbite by Richelle Mead
Along the same lines as the last one, it's been almost 2 years since I read Vampire Academy! I enjoyed the first book and definitely want to continue on with the series soon. I don't remember much about Vampire Academy though, so I will probably have to reread that first. I'm really in the mood to do that actually so I'm not complaining.

7. Breaking The Rules by Katie McGarry
This is book #1.5 in the Pushing The Limits series that I started in January. I loved the first book and I'm aiming to read the whole series this year, although I am really bad at reading series as you can probably tell by the previous books. I love that this is a full length novel and the fact that it follows Echo and Noah again makes me all the more excited to read it.

8. A Colleen Hover book
I now own 4 of Colleen Hoover's books but have read none. I have wanted to read something by her for so long but it hasn't happened yet. It definitely needs to happen soon but I'm not really sure where to start. I've heard a lot of praise for her most recent release, It Ends With Us, which is one of the ones I own so I may start with that one.

9. Heart Of The Matter by Emily Giffin
I have had this book on my shelf for probably about 5 years, maybe more. It is ridiculous that I haven't read it yet, especially since I know I definitely want to. I'm making a real effort to get to this book as soon as possible, it'll hopefully be the next book I pick up once I finally have some reading time to finish the two I'm currently reading.

10. Life And Death: Twilight Reimagined by Stephenie Meyer
I feel a Twilight reread coming on. I haven't reread it for a couple of years now but it needs to happen soon. I've heard so many people complain about the reimagined version because it is apparently the same but with the names changed, however I figured that might not be too bad if all I'm wanting is a reread. We'll see how I feel about it.

Those are the top ten books on my Spring TBR. Knowing me I'll probably be lucky if I read one or two of them as I can't seem to stick to TBRs, hence why I have stopped making monthly TBR posts. I definitely want to get to all of these soon though.

What books are you wanting to read this Spring? Also, what Colleen Hoover book should I pick up first? I could definitely do with suggestions there.

Sophie :)

Thursday, 9 March 2017

Mini Review | Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

 photo 416TWMc56dL._SX326_BO1204203200__zpsj6bi3uls.jpgFangirl by Rainbow Rowell
Published On: September 10, 2013
Published By: St Martin's Griffin
Genre: Contemporary
Pages: 461
Format: Paperback
Source: Bought
Rating: ★★★★

Amazon | Goodreads

Cath and Wren are identical twins, and until recently they did absolutely everything together. Now they're off to university and Wren's decided she doesn't want to be one half of a pair any more - she wants to dance, meet boys, go to parties and let loose. It's not so easy for Cath. She's horribly shy and has always buried herself in the fan fiction she writes, where she always knows exactly what to say and can write a romance far more intense than anything she's experienced in real life. 
Without Wren Cath is completely on her own and totally outside her comfort zone. She's got a surly room-mate with a charming, always-around boyfriend, a fiction-writing professor who thinks fan fiction is the end of the civilized world, a handsome classmate who only wants to talk about words . . . And she can't stop worrying about her dad, who's loving and fragile and has never really been alone. 
Now Cath has to decide whether she's ready to open her heart to new people and new experiences, and she's realizing that there's more to learn about love than she ever thought possible . . .

Enjoyable, but a little disappointing.
Everyone seems to love this book, so of course I went into it with high expectations. Don't get me wrong, I really enjoyed it and can definitely see why people love it, but it just wasn't as great as I expected. I think the huge hype surrounding it did cause a bit of an issue for me, it didn't live up to it.

Too relatable at times.
The main praise for this book seems to be how relatable it is, which I definitely agree with. Personally, Cath's college experience at the beginning was extremely relatable for me. I had a terrible university experience as being shy and struggling with anxiety meant it was very difficult for me to make friends. What annoyed me was that Cath was given ways to improve her situation but she never helped herself. For example, if someone had invited me to have dinner with them while I was at university, I would have jumped at the chance and been so happy be included in some way. I then found it very frustrating to see Cath turn down the offer but then continue to complain about her lack of friends and difficult college experience.

The characters make this story.
Although Cath annoyed me a lot of the time, I did like her as a character. I could relate to a lot of what she was thinking and enjoyed reading about a character who was a lot like me. The best character though, for me, was Reagan. I absolutely loved her. She is a funny, sassy character and I appreciated the fact that she was more mature than the other characters and seemed to actually act her age. However, I must admit, I was not a huge fan of Levi. I thought he was an OK character, and much preferred him when he wasn't a romantic interest. I was not a fan of the relationship at all, it was too awkward and seemed very unnatural at times.

The fandom aspect was cringey.
I'm sorry, I know this is largely why a lot of people like this book, but I had some real issue with 'fangirl' aspect of this book. I liked Cath's passion for writing but I couldn't completely support the fanfic aspect of the book. I think the Simon Snow parts of the book were enjoyable, but I don't think Cath's writing of fanfic and how that was a part of her life was done well. For example, I can't fathom why anyone would genuinely turn in fanfiction for an assignment, it was immature and stupid and really put me off Cath as a character for a while.

Loved the college setting.
Despite having a poor university/dorm life experience, I absolutely love reading books set in college and specifically in dorms. This book was no exception, I absolutely loved the setting. The scenes set in the dorms reminded me a little of Anna And The French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins, which obviously added to my enjoyment.

Overall, I liked this book but I didn't love it. I probably would have enjoyed it more if there was such huge hype around it which resulted in me going in with really high expectations. However, I don't think I would have been able to get past me issues with fandom side of things.

Wednesday, 8 March 2017

Let's Talk | Me Before You Criticisms

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Back in February I finally picked up Me Before You by Jojo Moyes. I had initially been put off by the hype but I really wanted to watch the film as I love Sam Claflin. When I finally did get around to reading it, I really enjoyed it, and I have a mini review if you want to know more of my thoughts. After finishing the book though, I was looking through some of the reviews on Goodreads and was quite surprised by some of the comments I was reading. I found it very interesting to read the opinions of people who were looking at the story differently to myself, in particular the views of readers with similar disabilities to that of Will Traynor in the book. I had some thoughts of my own while reading those that I wanted to share and discuss.

Let me just start by saying I am definitely not trying to say that the opinions of others are wrong or invalid, and I am most definitely not trying to insinuate that anyone was wrong to be offended by this book. As an able-bodied person, I can't see the issues in this book the same way that those dealing with these things every day can. If someone was offended by this book, which many people do seem to be, I am in no position to tell them they are wrong and would never try to. These are simply my thoughts from what I have seen in my experience.

WARNING: SPOILERS - The remainder of this post will contain spoilers for Me Before You by Jojo Moyes.

For anyone who doesn't know, and isn't bothered about spoilers, Me Before You deals with the topic of assisted suicide. Will Traynor, a previously very active young man, wants to end his life following a motorbike accident which caused a spinal chord injury, resulting in quadriplegia. 

For the majority of people, this biggest issue they have with this book is the idea that the main theme of the book is that life with a disability is a life not worth living. Firstly, I really don't believe this is the message the author intended to portray. Obviously if that is the message you took from the book, I can't tell you that is wrong, I just don't believe that was the intention. 
Secondly, sadly that is the opinion of some people in that position. Yes, the vast majority of those in a similar situation to Will do adjust to their circumstances and go on to live a full, happy life, however this one character is not alone in his views. I work with patients dealing with all kinds of disabilities, including those with life-altering spinal injuries. Nothing will ever prepare you for the moment a 16-year-old tells you they "don't want to live like this anymore" and just want to die. Of course it is my job to help these people through these situations and encourage them to go on living, but sadly it is the case that some people just can't adjust to their circumstances and would rather die. I accept that this is not the case for the majority of disabled people, but it is for some.

I've seen various negative reviews of this book by people living with quadriplegia, which are completely valid opinions, but I also found this blog post, written by a woman with quadriplegia, which talks more about this things I have mentioned. 

Also, I have seen some complaints about it being poorly researched as it talks about a C12 spinal injury, which isn't actually a thing. However, that definitely isn't what my book says so I'm not sure if that is just a misunderstanding? I'm 99% sure it talks about Will having a C6/7 injury, although I can't find the page to check for sure.

I could go on but I don't want to turn this into an essay. I can see why aspects of this book may be seen as problematic, and with such a controversial topic like assisted suicide there are bound to be harsh critics of this book. In my opinion, I think this is a topic that needs to be discussed as it is something that people are dealing with. As is mentioned in the article I linked, there are many able-bodied people all over the world contemplating suicide right now, so why should it be so appalling that a disabled person would do the same?

I sincerely hope I have not offended anyone with my views on this topic, that was not my intention but I do apologise if I have done. Like I said, I am not trying to tell anyone that their opinion is wrong or invalid, these are just my thoughts on the things I have read.

What were your thoughts on Me Before You?

Sophie :)

Tuesday, 7 March 2017

Wrap Up & Haul | February 2017

I can't even comprehend that it is already March! Where has the year gone already? First things first, I apologise for being a pretty rubbish blogger recently. I was so proud of myself for keeping to a pretty good blogging schedule for the first month or so of the year and now I have ruined that already. I have to do placements as part of my university course and I just recently started one. As a result, I am doing three 12 hour shifts a week and one day at uni, while also having assignments due and other life things to take care of. I am exhausted and struggling to find time to fit in everything I need to do. I am trying my hardest to blog when I can but throughout the month of March I will probably be posting quite infrequently, just whenever I have a bit of spare time. Also, the content probably won't be the most imaginative or unique so I apologise for that as well. Once March is overwith I should be back to normal.

Anyway, back to my reading month in February. I only read 4 books in February, which isn't the best compared to the 8 in January. However, like I mentioned, I have been on placement so I haven't had much time to read. I would say it was a pretty average reading month. I don't think I'll be able to make up for it in March but I'm really hoping I can have a great April, we'll see.

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The Twins At St Clare's by Enid Blyton -
This is the first book in the St Clare's series. I started this series when I was younger and really loved it. It's a great boarding school series with a lot of fun and mischief. I got my hands on a box set of the series for pretty cheap so I have been wanting to reread and finish the series. I really enjoyed the first book, it's just as much fun as I remember. Obviously as these are aimed at children and I am in my 20s I'm not exactly the target audience, but I enjoyed it all the same. 
Rating: 3/5

The Sun Is Also A Star by Nicola Yoon -
I had a strange relationship with Nicola Yoon's debut novel, Everything, Everything, in that I absolutely loved how it was written but the story fell flat. I was so excited to read her second novel, knowing that I loved her writing style so much. The Sun Is Also A Star follows a girl who is about to be deported back to Jamaica and a boy who she meets the day before she leaves. I wanted to love it but sadly I had the same issue as with her previous book. I loved the way it was written but wasn't a fan of the story itself. There was just too much instalove for me, and a few other things I had a bit of an issue with. It is definitely not a bad book, the story just wasn't for me.
Rating: 3/5 | Review | ATY Challenge: #8 Written by a person of colour

Me Before You by Jojo Moyes -
I had put off reading this for so long because the hype scared me off, as it so often does. I was desperate to watch the movie, as I love Sam Claflin, but just couldn't bring myself to read the book. I finally did it in February and I am so glad I did. I listened to this on audiobook and I really enjoyed it. I loved the characters, I thought Lou in particular was great. But more importantly, I think this book deals with a very important topic, and one that can bring about some important conversation. There is a lot of controversy surrounding this book, which I am going to talk about in an upcoming post, but I personally really enjoyed it.
Rating: 4/5 | Review | ATY Challenge: #3 Meant to read in 2016

All I Know Now by Carrie Hope Fletcher -
I absolutely love Carrie. I love her Youtube videos and can't wait to see her in The Addams Family musical this year. As a fan of hers, I of course wanted to read the first of the two books she has written. All I Know Now is a non-fiction book basically giving advice to teenagers with real-life examples of what Carrie has gone through. As much as a love Carrie, I really didn't like this book. I know I'm not the target audience but I don't even think I would have liked this as a teenager. I found it to be very preachy and as though Carrie was making herself out to be better than everyone else. I don't believe that is how she meant to come across but it felt a lot like that for me. I listened to this on audiobook which was narrated by Carrie herself and even got that impression from the narration. What I did love, though, was the audiobook extras, particularly the sibling tag with Tom. 
Rating: 2/5

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I am pretty proud to say that once again I have stuck to my 2017 goal of reading 5 books before I buy any more. I have decided to allow myself to buy two physical books after reading 5, although if I desperately want 3 I'm not going to be too strict on myself. In February I bought two physical books, was accepted for my first two eARCs on Netgalley (which I can't quite believe) and accidentally bought one eBook.

A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness - This is one of the books for my Around The Year In 52 Books challenge that I didn't previously own. The movie trailer made me really want to read it.

By Your Side by Kasie West - One of my most anticipated releases of 2017. Kasie West is one of my favourite authors, I can't wait to get to this one.

Windfall by Jennifer E Smith - Another of my most anticipated releases of 2017, and the first ARC I was ever accepted for on Netgalley! Another one of my favourite authors so I can't wait to read this.

One Of Us Is Lying by Karen M McManus - Another ARC from Netgalley. This synopsis sounds so intriguing, I'm so drawn in already. It sounds like a great mystery/thriller, which I'm really in the mood for just now.

Until Friday Night by Abbi Glines - I accidentally bought this on my Kindle. Don't ask me how because I'm not entirely sure. Luckily it was one I wanted to read and only 99p.

Did you have a better reading month than me? Did you have any great 5 star reads? Did you get your hands on any books you were super excited for?

Sophie :)