July & August Reading Roundup

I have been rather absent on my blog of late, a mixture of reading slumps, computer issues and the start of a new job has taken me out of the game for a while. I can’t believe how quickly the summer has flown by. July was an interesting month for me as I went on a real book buying binge and bought a huge amount of books, I acquired over 20 in total! I have no idea why but I just wanted to buy lots of books and found a fantastic amount in The Works which as usual were marvellously priced. Despite having a massive pile of new books to choose from I found I was in a massive reading slump towards the end of July. I am unsure what sparked this but it unfortunately carried on well into August. I just found myself starting lots of books but none of them were grabbing me and hooking me as usual. I’ve found this rather stressful as I have never been in a reading slump for so long before, I have been questioning if I will ever escape it! This has hence forth this impacted on my blog, and have been neglecting it quite a lot. I guess if I’m not reading and loving books it diminishes my ability to feel passionate and write about it.

As August has gone on I have been creeping out of this slump but a new job has left me with little time for reading so I’m now faced with new challenges of the reading front. Despite this I have managed to read some rather good books over the last two months, it’s been slow going but there have been some gems.

July

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The Summer of Impossible Things – Rowan Coleman

Rating 5/5

If you could change the past, would you? Thirty years ago, something terrible happened to Luna’s mother. Something she’s only prepared to reveal after her death.  Now Luna and her sister have a chance to go back to their mother’s birthplace and settle her affairs. But in Brooklyn they find more questions than answers, until something impossible – magical – happens to Luna, and she meets her mother as a young woman back in the summer of 1977.  At first Luna’s thinks she’s going crazy, but if she can truly travel back in time, she can change things. But in doing anything – everything – to save her mother’s life, will she have to sacrifice her own?

I loved this book so much! It has slipped itself straight into my favourites for this year. I found my way to this book via the Zoe Ball book club. I wasn’t reading along but was watching the features on the show. Hearing the author reading a segment of this story immediately intrigued me so I had to pick it up right away. In this story we meet sisters Luna and Pia as they travel to Brooklyn New York so settled their mothers estate following her suicide. Whilst there they discover some old home movies their mother had made that leads them to a dark family secret. Astoundingly Luna then finds she has the ability to travel back to the summer of 1977 where she comes face to face with her mother and the awful truth of her past. Luna then has to decide if she should try to change history in an attempt to save her mother even if it means sacrificing herself.

As I said I loved this book so much, it completely took me by surprise, I could easily write a whole review. Upon reading the synopsis it didn’t immediately appeal to me as I was unsure about the magic element to it, I like my books to stay quite grounded in realty and everyday situations. However hearing Rowan Coleman read an extract really drew me in. I felt this book was written so beautifully, the story was utterly compelling and I couldn’t put it down. One my favourite parts of this book was the way Rowan writes and describes the summer of 1977 New York. There was an extreme heatwave and you can feel the claustrophobia and suffocation of this that the characters must be feeling. This just adds to the tension that you feel as a reader. Family really is at the heart of this book though Luna and Pia have a lovely relationship and despite the girls experiencing some difficult times with their mum when she was alive you can feel the love and respect they have for her. This is the theme that runs throughout the story, Lunas trips back to 1977 are driven by protecting her mum even if this means massive ramifications for her. Lunas relationship with her mum she meets in 1977 was just beautiful. I will say I did guess the family secret from the off and I guessed the twist but I didn’t guess the outcome that resulted from this and it certainly didn’t hinder my enjoyment. Finally I loved the romance element to this story. Again I was hesitate about this and if I would buy into it but I totally did. I was also pleasantly surprised by the outcome of this and thought it was perfect.

Image result for the cherry tree cafeThe Cherry Tree Café – Heidi Swain

Rating 4.5/5

Lizzie Dixon‘s life feels as though it’s fallen apart.

Instead of the marriage proposal she was hoping for from her boyfriend, she is unceremoniously dumped, and her job is about to go the same way. So, there’s only one option: to go back home to the village she grew up in and to try to start again. Her best friend Jemma is delighted Lizzie has come back home as she has just bought a little cafe and Lizzie’s sewing skills are just what she needs to help get it ready for the grand opening. With a new venture and a new home, things are looking much brighter for Lizzie. But can she get over her broken heart, and will an old flame reignite a love from long ago…?


I had previous read a couple of Heidi Swain’s book before but decided this month it was time to start from the beginning. The books I have read of Heidi’s I have loved. They are all companion novels not a series so you can read them in any order. However there is part of me who finds it much more satisfying to go in order and Cheery Tree Café is where it began. One of my favourite elements of Heidi’s novels are the little cross overs between the books. I love a cheeky cameo from a character we have met before or in the case of this book people who are the focus of later novels. In this story we meet best friends Gemma and Lizzie, Lizzie has returned to her home town following a break up with in my opinion her awful boyfriend whilst Gemma and her husband are struggling to fund their dream of opening a café. Lizzie’s love of craft and sewing teamed with Gemma’s love of baking make them the dream combination and before long they have teamed up to open The Cherry Tree Café, a place where customers can indulge in sweet treats whilst they feed their love of sewing and craft. However as with any dream things aren’t destined to run smoothly as Lizzie meets Ben an old crush from her past, and is given the opportunity to live her own dream she didn’t even know she had. My long standing dream has been to open a shop that is half café running baking classes and half sewing shop running sewing classes so this book use fed my dreams. It was such a lovely idea, I like books about people opening cafes but the addition of the craft made it perfect. This book was laced with the warm quaint feels I love in books. I was surprised by Lizzie and Gemma because in later books they always appear so close but in this book they had a good share of squabbles. However you can see how much they mean to each other and that’s unquestionable as the book develops. Fabulous and I now own paperbacks of all of Heidi’s books so I cannot wait to continue on with her works. 

 

Image result for the weekend wivesThe Weekend Wives – Christina Hopkinson

Rating 2/5

A few months ago, Emily and her husband sold their house in the city and bought a place in the country. But Emily didn’t know that it would sometimes feel like a move to another country altogether. Moreover, with Matt working in the city from Monday-Friday, and only coming home to her and the kids at the weekend, Emily is suddenly plunged into the world of a ‘weekend wife’. With all the obstacles . . . and secrets . . . that brings with it.

In complete contrast to the last book I did not enjoy this one at all. I grabbed this book from The Works a couple of years back because it sounded like something I would really like. However I really didn’t gel with this book, now its worth mentioning now that whilst reading this I was hit with a reading slump. I questioned if I judged this book harshly because of the slump or whether it was this book that pushed me into this slump. However since escaping my slump I haven’t felt the urge to pick it up again and have another go. We follow three women at various stages in their life whose husbands all work away during the week. As expected all three couples have issue and the relationships have secrets in them and over time these women form a friendship. The premise was good I really thought I would like it but I think my major issue was the lack of likability in the three women and even in their husbands. I just didn’t gel with any of them and didn’t really care about their lives. In the case of one of the women Tamsin there is an element of abuse in her relationship but I didn’t think it was a particularly good portrayal. I think the fact I didn’t feel an ounce of sympathy or compassion for Tamsin situation spoke volumes and reflected that. I also did semi DNF this book which is so rare for me, about half way through I started skim reading so I could find out the outcome to each ladies situation. I guess the fact I wanted to find out the outcome enough I skimmed through to do that is a positive but it just wasn’t for me.

 

Image result for the singalong society for singletonsThe Sing-along Society for Singletons

Rating 5/5

Monique and Issy are teachers, housemates and lovers of musicals! Their Friday night routine consists of snacks, wine and the Frozen DVD. So when Monique’s boyfriend moves to America for a year and her sister Hope moves in because of her own relationship woes, Friday nights get a new name… ‘The Singalong Society for Singletons’! It’s a chance to get together, sing along to their favourite tracks from the best-loved West End shows, and forget the worries of work, relationships and love (or lack of it). But when Issy shares the details of their little group further afield, they get some unexpected new members who might just change their opinions on singledom for good….

Following my experience with the previous book and my now being in a reading slump I was scared to pick this up but I am glad I did. In this story we meet friends and flat mates Monique and Issy, Monique is struggling with the fact her high school sweetheart has moved to America for a year for work whilst Issy is externally single. They spend their Friday nights watching musicals and singing away their heartache. However when they share this with friends and family they start to find there selves with some unexpected members and for The Singalong Society for Singletons. So this book was a total whim pick up for me and when they turn out to be 5 star reads I could not be happier, I always think I could have easily missed the opportunity to read you and my life would be sadder for it. There was so much I loved out this book, firstly the cover is stunning! Secondly I loved both Monique an Issy, they are lovely characters individually and had a great friendship. They are flat mates and I have always been curious as to what it would be like to have a flat mate (a friend not a husband as I currently have) so I found that interesting. They also didn’t have a picture perfect friendship, they had squabbles and things that annoyed each other so that was refreshing because friendships aren’t always picture perfect. Next I loved that they were teachers, I haven’t found much many books about teachers but I really like this feature in a book. I also really liked the development of Monique both personally and in her relationship with her absent boyfriends. Finally the best part of this book by far was the musical element. Every chapter starts on a Friday night with musical or a film picked by a member of the group. Some of those featured I had watched and some I hadn’t but after reading this I want to go and watch them all. The group talk about the films they are watching so if you have seen the musical it just takes you back making you want to watch it and sing along. It was this book that made me wanted to finally watch Mamma Mia all the way through which was one of my favourite parts of this month. That in turn sent me on an ABBA music binge which was just a joy. Interestedly I really appreciated this book when I read It but its only over a month on as I write this having coming out of my reading slump that I realised it was so much better than I first thought. I am now very keen to check out some of Katy Lovell’s other works.

August

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Noah Can’t Even – Simon James Green

Rating 4/5

Poor Noah Grimes! His father disappeared years ago, his mother’s Beyonce tribute act is an unacceptable embarrassment, and his beloved gran is no longer herself. He only has one friend, Harry, and school is… Well, it’s pure hell. Why can’t Noah be normal, like everyone else at school? Maybe if he struck up a romantic relationship with someone – maybe Sophie, who is perfect and lovely – he’d be seen in a different light? But Noah’s plans are derailed when Harry kisses him at a party. That’s when things go from bad to utter chaos.

As August dawned my reading slump really took hold and I spent a lot of the month starting books and putting them back down again. I then picked up Noah Can’t Even to try a chapter and just seemed to keep reading. As with the previous book I read its only now upon reflection out of the reading slump that I can really appreciate how good this book was and how much I did enjoy it. I actually spent a large proportion of the month reading this book, not the fault of the book but jut how my reading was faring. We are introduced to Noah Grimes who isn’t having a great time in life. His father is absent, his mums job is making him a laughing stock at school all Noah wants to be be ‘normal’ and he thinks a relationship with friend Sophie could be the answer. That is until his best friend Harry kisses him sending Noahs world spiralling. I wanted to start by saying that my number one favourite part of this book is the humour. I have said many a time that I loved books that can make me laugh aloud and this book had me chuckling on the train (not embarrassing at all!). Throughout this story I really felt for Noah, he’s such a sweet if slightly socially awkward guy but he just cannot seem to catch a break. In amongst all the issues Noah faces there is a constant humour emitted my Noah although I don’t always think its intentional on his part. He’s just a really witty and funny, I really do rate Simon James Green and his writing of Noah he’s just great. I found the scenes between Noah and his mum at times hilarious and at times rather heartbreaking. In contrast I thought the relationship between Noah and his Gran was again funny but also really warm loving almost the opposite of his mum. Despite the ending being a happy one I cant help but think Noah’s dramas are far from over as we head into the next two books.

 

Image result for i was born for thisI Was Born For This – Alice Oseman

Rating 3.5/5

For Angel Rahimi life is about one thing: The Ark – a pop-rock trio of teenage boys who are taking the world by storm. Being part of The Ark’s fandom has given her everything she loves – her friend Juliet, her dreams, her place in the world. Jimmy Kaga-Ricci owes everything to The Ark. He’s their frontman – and playing in a band with his mates is all he ever dreamed of doing. But dreams don’t always turn out the way you think and when Jimmy and Angel are unexpectedly thrust together, they find out how strange and surprising facing up to reality can be.

I decided at this point I would try to make August a dedicated YA month, I have no idea why but i think having seen everyone’s YALC blog posts and Booktube videos made me want to immerse myself in these kind of books. However once again that pesky reading slump was plaguing me. I did decide to give I Was Born For This a try as its been out for a few months now and I enjoyed Alice’s book Radio Silence so much. I was scared to read this book because there has been so much hype surrounding it and after how much I loved Radio Silence I didn’t want to be disappointed. I started reading and found it quite easy to get into. However quite quickly my attention started to wander, again I do partially put this down to the slump but I don’t think this is the sole reason. This book is a dual perspective told by the lead singer of a boyband called The Ark named Jimmi and from the perspective of Angel who is a huge fan of the The Ark. Angel has arranged to spend the week with her online friend Juliet so they can attend The Arks concert and meet and great. Now I thought the premise here was really interesting. I knew before reading it somehow Angel and Jimmi’s paths cross but I had no idea how and I was quite surprised how this happens and the outcome of this. I guess part of me thought Jimmi and Angel would meet and become best friend but Alice’s books always seem to have a lot more depth than that and this one did. This book certainly has a lot of layers to it. Firstly you have the friendship between Angel and Juliet as they are meeting for the first time, you have the added entity of Juliet’s friend being part of their fandom week which Angel was not expecting. There is the exploration of the world off fandom, both the good and the bad side. You then have the experiences of being in a hugely successful boyband, the pressure that comes with this and its affects this can have on an individual’s mental health. All of those are just the tip of the iceberg without even going into how we have characters who are Muslim, transgender, bisexual, characters experiencing addiction and mental health struggles. There are just so many amazing layers to this story that Alice builds so well and she weaves it altogether so cleverly. A particular highlight of this book for me was the relationship between Jimmi and his grandad, I just thought it as sincere and really provided that anchor Jimmi needed. Similarly this was the case with the relationship between the three boyband members, I really like them together and despite there being some issues within that group the love and support they had for each other just oozed through. However as I said earlier my attention did wander slightly and I think I put this down to the other side of the book in Angel and Juliet. For whatever reason I didn’t really take to either of them which is such a shame because obviously Angel is a huge part of this story so of course I wanted to like her but I just didn’t. Equally as the book went on I wasn’t keen on Juliet and didn’t think she was particularly likeable. This does improve near the end but it was a little late to change how I felt about her. Overall I just didn’t find myself desperate to pick this book up when I wasn’t reading it. I always try not to compare books by authors but I think because I loved Radio Silence so much I as expected this to blow me away and it didn’t. I guess for me this book was good but it wasn’t earth shatteringly good either as I had expected it to be.

Related imageHocus Pocus – A.W.Jantha

Rating 3.5/5

Shortly after moving from California to Salem, Massachusetts, Max Dennison finds himself in hot water when he accidentally releases a coven of witches, the Sanderson sisters, from the afterlife. Max, his sister, and his new friends (human and otherwise) must find a way to stop the witches from carrying out their evil plan and remaining on earth to torment Salem for all eternity.

Twenty-five years later, Max and Allison’s seventeen-year-old daughter, Poppy, finds herself face-to-face with the Sanderson sisters in all their sinister glory. When Halloween celebrations don’t quite go as planned, it’s a race against time as Poppy and her friends fight to save her family and all of Salem from the witches’ latest vile scheme.

And finally after an abysmal show that was August I was determined to squeeze in a finally book so chose Hocus Pocus and the All New Sequel. I had been busting to read this since I first heard about it and despite my planning it to be a plane read I just couldn’t wait. Essentially this is a book of two half’s in that the first half is a literary version of the original 1993 film Hocus Pocus. Max Denison has recently moved against his wishes to Salam Massachusetts with his family. He is not keen on the town and is missing his old LA lifestyle. He is even less keen on the towns belief in witches and witchcraft, Max is a non-believer, it’s just a bunch of Hocus Pocus right?. The only good thing about the town is his beautiful class mate Alison. On all hallows eve, desperate to impress her Max makes a grave mistake one that leaves him, Alison and his sister battling age old magic in the form of the town’s famous Sanderson sisters. The second half of the book picks up 25 years later in the current day where we meet Max and Alison’s daughter Poppy along with her friends as they face off against the return of the Sanderson sisters. The first half of the book was interesting. For anyone who knows the film well you can see it’s a completely accurate portrayal of the film to the point most of the dialogue is identical to the script. Whilst I loved the fact it was so true at the same time because it was so similar and I know the film so well I found myself replaying the film scenes in my head whilst reading the dialogue. This meant I wasn’t really reading the book but skim reading whilst thinking about the movie and I think this may be the case for others who know the film well. There were a couple of scenes in the book that built on the film and took it further offering an insight into the characters feelings at that time which was never part of the film. However much of it was exactly the same as the film which honestly I didn’t mind too much but I have a feeling not everyone would enjoy. The second part of the book was also a lot of fun. It was nice to get a potential story as to what may have happened after the film ended. One question that as always left unanswered in my mind was if Jay and Earnie had ever escaped those cages and this story did answer questions like that which I did like. I think this book is going to be a real marmite read some people regardless of if they had seen the film or not will love it and others will hate it as is always the case with re-imaginings. For me I really did enjoy this book and it pulled me from my slump! Yay!. However I didn’t feel it was earth shattering, it was s fun book that really pulled on my nostalgic heart strings and led to me re-watching the film for what must be the 1000th time.

The Extinction Trials – Exile by S.M.Wilson Book Review

IMG_2987Betrayal. Sacrifice. Survival. Welcome to The Extinction Trials. After surviving on Piloria once, Storm and Lincoln are the obvious candidates to return to the dinosaur continent to test the new virus that should clear the way for human settlement. But they have their own priorities – finding a cure for the plague that’s sweeping Earthasia, and keeping themselves alive.

Rating 5/5

It has been one month since Lincoln and Stormchaser returned from the island of Piloria. They have survived the dinosaurs but things are far from over for them. Storm is struggling with her new life that’s now filled with a whole new family. Lincoln meanwhile is still fighting to keep his sister alive as her battle with with Earthasias plague take hold. When the stipulators announce they will need to return to Piloria to finish what they started it is both a blessing and a curse. Whilst Lincoln thinks it could hold the key to his sisters survival Storm longs for the freedom and openness it offers. Although once again with this trip there is great danger, will Lincoln and Storm survive Piloria for a second time?

I was so incredibly excited for this book to be released. I went to Waterstones a day early hoping it would be in there and luckily it was! I immediately started reading and as with book one I absolutely devoured it in a day. We rejoin Storm and Lincoln a month after they return from the Piloria and on the whole life has returned to normal. Both characters are living with the result of the trials they experienced in book one but on the whole life does remain the same. Then the labs announce they have developed a virus that would potentially kill the dinosaurs and its up to Storm and Lincoln plus a few others to test this.

As with the first book this one was fantastic. It was action packed and gripped me from the first page. It felt like I had never been away, like I finished the last page of book one and immediately opened this one. The first third of the book is set in Earthasia but this was still ripe with action and this only increases one they make it to Piloria. The team don’t even make it to the island before they start encountering dinosaurs which turns out to be just a taste of things to come.

In book one certain things are alluded to regarding storms history and her family (desperately do not want to give any spoilers here). In this book we delve deeper into this more and it was lovely to explorer Storms past, her family and learn a little more about her mother who Storm is often likened to. I also loved the re-connection between Storm and Lincoln. When book one ended they were not in the best of places but the events in this book see them re-connect out of more necessity than anything else. It is so clear how much love Lincoln has for her and it was great to see them working together again.

Once again my favourite part of this story was the dinosaurs! This series has completely awakened an interest I didn’t even know I had in dinosaurs. Since reading it I have started watching the BBC show Walking with Dinosaurs. This books release also perfectly coincided with the release of the new Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom film which I have also been to see. I have been jut lapping up all things dinosaurs! I know its fictional but it has really got me to thinking abut dinosaurs and how incredible these creatures were and anything that can spark a new interest at my age I think is amazing. Brilliantly we were introduced to lots more new and different dinosaurs than in book one and this was so much fun. I loved reading about the new speeches and their different traits. Once again I spent a lot of time researching those features online to discover more and see which facts are accurate and what the real dinosaurs were like.

Overall I cannot express how much love I have for this series. It is easily one of the best series i have come across with both books one and two being favourites of the year so far. I cannot wait for the next instalment but unfortunately I’m going to have to wait as I am yet to find any details of the next book. Until then I shall have to find other ways to feed my dino loving.

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Reviewing The Woolworth Girls Series by Elaine Everest

Dc2HlMcW4AEnJRFIts 1939 and England is on the brink of a Second World War. 3 girls, Freda, Maisie and Sarah all arrive at the Edith branch of Woolworths in search of a job. What they find is not only employment but aa whole new way of life and family that lasts a life time. We follow the girls through 3 books and 1 novella as they experience the outbreak of war, living through it as well as love, laughter and loss. No mater how hard life gets they all know they have their Woolworths family looking out for them.

I don’t really know where to begin with this series because I have so much to say about it. Let’s start at the beginning with book one The Woolworth Girls. I have had this book on my TBR for around a year and a half and have never got around to reading it. In March I finally picked it up but I did end up putting it back down again soon after.I was enjoying it but it as quite slow in pace as we are introduced and get to know the various characters. This paired with it being over 400 pages made me put it down. I was getting consumed with the fact that I was taking too long to read it and my book count for the month would be too low if I continued. I know! I have a blog post where I share my thoughts about my big book fear. However in May I decided I was being rather stupid and decided to throw caution to the wind and returned to The Woolworth Girls and I am so glad I did. What commenced was a month long love affair that has seen me sucked into and to totally immersed in their world and I must say it’s been a very happy place to be.

The series consists of 3 books and one short novella and I have chosen to review them as one as the stories flow so seamlessly into each other. Normally with a series I choose to read one book and have a gap before the next one but with each book that I finished I was not ready to leave the world so I just kept on reading. It then just seemed to make sense to talk about them as a whole.

We start by meeting our three main characters as they interview for their positions as Woolworths and very quickly become friends. Sarah, who live with her Gran Ruby soon integrates the other girls into her family. As time passes we meet more of this family and through births, deaths and marriages this family continues to grow. As a result of this Ruby’s house is always a hive of activity with comings and gaining and people turning up in their hour of need. This was so personable to me as it reminded me so much of my Nan’s house. Her’s is too often bursting at the seems with people staying and she never turns away someone who needs a bed. You will often go around and find a camp bed in the lounge. I loved how relatable that was even 60 plus years on from wartime.

This story is 100% capture why I love reading books set in wartime. I loved meeting the characters, often strong women through necessity who are battling to keep going through tough times whilst helping with the war effort. The resilience and bravery of the characters shown was amazing and I can imagine it was accurate to real women of the time. I think I find wartime fascinating because it’s a time when people and the country should have fallen apart and in fact it was the complete opposite. There was such a sense of warmth and togetherness and that was the overwhelming feeling I got from this book. I felt warm and fuzzy whilst reading it and wondered how much better the world would be today if it was still like this.

That being said the whole book isn’t light an airy. Obviously the book is set during wartime which wasn’t a pleasant time for those living through it. There are some real sad moment in all of the books and there are inevitably some deaths, but once again these are the time where the togetherness of the characters and the support they offer each other shines through.

I also loved the fact that this book was set in Woolworths. I am a child of the 90’s and I remember frequently visiting there as a child, spending my birthday money on toys and the mini cans of fizzy drink. I also sadly remember it closing down. This meant I felt a certain sense of nostalgia reading these books, not in the same way someone who experienced Woolworths during the wartime my feel about it but my own little personal nostalgia for the shop I remember.

Individually I loved all of these books and rated them between 4 and 5 stars with the series seeming to get better as they went along. However on reflection I would say the series as a whole is an absolute 5 star series. I always say for me a 5 star book doesn’t have a particular element I can pin point that will make me rate it that way instead it has to give me a ‘feeling’ and this series definitely gave me that. It is just such a feel good collection of books and I am so sad to have to leave the world of Edith and Woolworths behind and feel I’m going to be a little lost without the characters I have come to love in my life. I am pleased to see another book is coming entitled Gifts from Woolworths however I do have to wait until November for this one which does make me rather sad.. Although I am certain it will be worth the wait.

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Eve of Man by Giovanna and Tom Fletcher Book Review

img_3016.jpgEve is like any other teenage girl . .Except that the fate of the entire world lies on her shoulders. She’s the first girl born in fifty years. She’s the answer to their prayers. She’s the final hope. Which means she has one function alone . . .At sixteen, Eve must face her destiny and make a choice. She will choose a man, one out of three carefully selected suitors. But what about Bram? The future of the planet hangs on Eve making the right choice. Will she?

Rating 4/5

It has been 50 years since Mother Nature produced a girl. The world is populated by men, the human race is dying and then Eve is born. Fast forward 16 years and Eve is ready to meet her potential suitors. Raised in the protected tower Eve know nothing of the world outside but she’s becoming curious. As pressure mount on Eve to pick a suitor and re-populate the planet Eve is being pushed to breaking point and questioning everything she knows.

I was so excited when this book was announced as I am a huge fan of Giovanna Fletcher. She is one of my favourite authors. I have only read a short story of Tom’s but Gi is an auto buy author for me so I had to pick it up straight away. If I had read the synopsis of this book without knowing the authors I must admit I wouldn’t have bought it. The story was so out of my comfort zone and I suspected it would be too futuristic and sci fi for my taste. However I had total trust in Giovanna’s writing so looked forward to reading it regardless.

This book is a duel perspective told from the point of view of Eve, written my Gi and from Brams point of view written by Tom. Eve is the first girl to be born in 50 years o the salvation of the world rest on her shoulders. She has been raised in a protected tower where the staffs sole purpose is to raise, nurture and protect Eve. Bram is one of these members of staff working towards this. Outside the tower things are falling apart as men destroy each other and the world with no regard…or so we think. Now 16 Eve is ready to meet her suitors and start her work.

I felt like the concept for this story was very unique. I certainly hadn’t heard of anything like this before. I was slightly conflicted about the plot in the sense that considering no boys had been born for 50 years thinking that Eve would suddenly produce girls, start to repopulate the world and the problems wouldn’t continue was a little far fetched. However it is a dystopian story so I went with it. I mean isn’t the nature of dystopian stories are that they are meant to be different.

I really liked the characters of Eve and Bram. I was very familiar with Gi’s writing so I knew I would be ok with Eves parts but I found I really liked the parts from Bram’s perspective too. I had no trouble getting into Tom’s writing and because Bram’s parts exploded the tower away from Eve’s dome I found these parts more interesting in terms of content. It’s during Bram’s parts you find out about the technology that exists in the tower. The whole world is futuristic where really high tech and advanced science exists. I was hesitant of this at first and thought if it was too sci fi and science based I wouldn’t like it or follow it but I did. I found it very accessible with all the science explained clearly. It was these parts I enjoyed the most because I found it all very clever. I always admire authors that write believable fiction that is science based because I feel you have to be quite clever and imaginative to do that…maybe that’s just me being in awe of anything creative enough to have a book published.

At the beginning I was unsure how Bram and Eve would meet. I knew there’s was a love story but Eve is sheltered from all men so I was unsure how their paths would cross but I think the first few chapters you find out. I don’t want to spoil this but I actually found it a really clever ideas. I felt the romance between them was really believable. I loved the scene they shared and you could feel the tension and attraction between them. I just thought the romance was very natural and genuine. On reflection they didn’t share that many scenes but the ones they did I loved and I wanted to see them together more. I really hope in the future books they are together more and we get to see their relationship develop.

At first I couldn’t call which way this book was going but as it amps up in the middle I could suddenly see where it was heading and how it was setting up for the trilogy. When the action did get going there were again parts that I thought were very clever and some parts I as was wondering if we were venturing into the realms of far fetched. I guess you have to go into a book like this and suspend your reality and just go with it.

For me what I found interesting about this book is the real mixture of reviews it has had. I have even 5 stars and 1 star reviews. Interestingly from the lower star reviews I can completely understand peoples critique and points of view in terms of its flaw. However I decided to ultimately judge this book on how I felt reading it and I quite simply enjoyed it flaws and all. I enjoyed the story, I was thinking about it when I wasn’t reading, I was eager to find the outcome, I was never bored and I’m looking forward to the second book so that’s got to be good in my opinion.

2018 Disney World Bucket List

Today I want to throw a different post into the blogging mix by sharing a little Disney magic. As everyone who knows me is aware I love Disney and particularly visiting Disney World in Florida. Hubby and I adore holidaying there and have previously visited been four times with a fifth trip booked in for this October. We never tire of our trips or run out of things and can have just as much fun doing non Disney activities as we can in the parks. However today I am going to focus on some Disney World activities.

Having been several times before we have ticked quite a few ‘must dos’ from our Disney World bucket list. However there are some things that we still are yet to do. I recently read Brogan Tates blog post she wrote in preparation for her 2017 Disney World trip where she shared her bucket list. I thought it would be fun to make my own little bucket list of all the things I want to do this trip that we have never quite got around to before.

1. Ride all the mountains

If I am honest I am a total wimp when it comes to rides of most kinds. Once I am on them I have a great time but getting me on them is the tricky part. It took three trips to get me on Big Thunder Mountain which I absolutely loved! I’ve always avoided space mountain thinking it would too intense and splash mountain because I don’t like water rides. However I am going to be brave this time, pull on a poncho and experience the three famous mountains this trip.

2. Watch the Magic Kingdom fireworks

We have only ever watched the fireworks in Magic Kingdom at Mickey’s Not so Scary Halloween Party as the crowds after the fireworks trying to leave has always put me off. However when we did leave after the Halloween party I was pleasantly surprised as it wasn’t as horrific as I thought. They new show, Happily Ever After will be showing and it looks stunning from what I have seen online so I am really keen to experience them.

 

3. Ride a water ride in a water park

As I say I’m a total wimp who has a particular aversion to water rides (I have a fear of water going over my head) and for that reason we have never really gone to the water parks. However on our 2016 trip we gave Blizzard beach a go and I absolutely loved it. I really enjoyed sitting on the little rubber ring and bobbing about in the wave pool. I also loved the lazy river, I had a slight moment of panic when I saw a water fall I was about to float under but I held my breath and faced my fear…I was blooming terrified but it was ok. The fact I have fun in the water park was a revelation so I decided I’m going to try and ride a real water ride. Now I am not talking Summit Plummet but some sort of dingy ride that empties into shallow waters I am determined to try.

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4. Experience Hollywood Studios at night time

If I am honest Hollywood Studios is my least favourite park, I just never enjoy as much as the other parks unfortunately. For that reason we never seem to spend much time there and as a result have never visited at night time. This time I would really like to visit in the evening, I want to generally spend more time in studios and make more of an effort to try out more rides. However my main aim is to go after dark and this will hopefully give me ore opportunities to see the fireworks too.

5. Try a Casey’s hotdog

This is such a classic and I cannot believe I haven’t tried one. Everyone raves about these hotdogs so I do feel like I am missing out so must try one this visit. I’m particularly keen too try the mac and cheese hotdog.

6. Try a decorated Micky rice krispy treat

Again this is one of those classic Disney items that everyone should try but I haven’t! I want to try one that is loaded with lots of treats.

7. Eat ice cream at Beaches and Cream

This has been on my list since our second trip. The sundaes look amazing and I would love to try a full size kitchen sink but it may be a little too much for just the two of us! I want to try one of the small Micky pants kitchen sinks, they look gorgeous and again seem like a Disney staple.

8. Ride Kilimanjaro safari at night time

I love this ride as its always so much fun seeing all the animals. However I have heard its such a different experience to do it at night as you can get much better sightings of the animals which I think would be great.

9. Walk through Cinderella’s Castle

This is a ridiculous as the only reason we haven’t done this is because we have never been able to find our way through! We have watched so many videos of people walking through but every time we go we cannot find our way through usually because there are shows on. This ice we are determined to find our way through.

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10. Ride a 4D

Again a total wimp! I know but 4D freaks me out, your probably thinking what on earth do you ride? But again I want to push myself. I loved soaring so much when I got over the initial odd sensation of it so I want to be brave and hopefully will really enjoy it in the end

The Fear of Big Books

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Today I wanted to share my musings on a subject I have been considering a lot of late. This year I have felt a real shift in my reading choices and style in relation to the size of the books I read and how many I am reading. Then recently I watched a video that Simon of Savage Reads made surrounding large book and the aversion us readers have of them and this really tapped into my thoughts. I have linked that video down below.

In January 2017 I decided to start this blog. To begin with it was rather broad in its focus as I explored what I wanted to concentrate on. A few months in I decided the posts i enjoyed making the most were those that were book related and decided to re brand this blog and make books and reading my focus. Now whilst I think that was the best decision it did lead to a change in my reading style. Suddenly I felt compelled to read as many book as possible as quickly as possible. Now of course reading lots of books is no hardship it but did put a certain amount of pressure on me to make sure I read widely enough to offer enough and as varied content as possible. When I was choosing which books to read next I found myself looking up the page count and steering towards those that were 300 pages of less a I knew I would be able to get through these quickly. When reading I also found myself almost experiencing itchy feet where I as so focused on finishing I wasn’t enjoying it. I also found myself steering towards book released in the form of short novellas throughout the year. I love these but when I found myself picking them because they were quick and would bump up my book count I realised I had a problem.

Another problem I found when it came to large books was my inability to DNF a book. I do not know what is wrong with me but if I start it I have to finish it! Even if it takes me months reading a book a little at a time. Therefore when I as picking a book I was always conscious I may start a book I wouldn’t love and would have to finish it taking up time I could be reading other books…first world problems much!? I would also just avoid large books because of the amount of time I would take to read them. I am quite a slow reader and a big book would always be a big commitment and some how at the end of the month I felt more accomplished when doing a roundup if I could say I had read more books rather then a few big ones.

Now all of that makes blogging sound so negative but it really isn’t. As I say I love writing blog posts and sharing my thoughts but I was just putting a lot of pressure on myself. A good example of this is the Harry Potter books, I really liked the films and enjoyed the first four books but then I stopped reading as The Order of the Phoenix is such a beast of a book. I started it and felt I was not progressing through it so I gave up. I just felt intimidated by how many weeks I knew it would take me to read.

At the start of the year I was on a slight blogging hiatus and suddenly I didn’t feel as much pressure to read as wide and as quickly. I was allowing myself a little more freedom and I let my mood guide my book choice rather than my word count. I have even found myself holding off reading the novella mini releases of some of my most anticipated books because I wanted to read them as a whole when they released. However I wasn’t suddenly cured of my big book fear as I discovered a couple of months back when I started reading Elaine Everest’s The Woolworth Girls. This was a relatively big book at around 425 pages and it was quite slow paced at the beginning. Suddenly I found myself returning it to my shelf because it was taking me ‘too long’ to read. A couple of months later I was fancying a war time read, something very warm and wholesome, essentially The Woolworth Girls but I did I want to return to it? No because I as still worried reading it would have an impact on how many books I read in that month….it is simply crazy! So I decided to pick it up a couple of days before the end of April and didn’t finish it until the 10th May. Now I am not going to lie whilst I was reading it I was feeling prickly and thinking ‘you are taking too long’ but I let that pass and just savoured the wonderful story. I am so glad I didn’t let my hesitation around big books stop this read because it turned out to be a lovely book. However upon finishing it I still found myself questioning should I immediately read Elaine’s novella and follow up books or will this lead to me not reading enough books that month. Does anyone else over think reading this much?

Essentially the point of this rambling post is to remind myself to relax. Reading is the best past time for me, it’s a total joy and I shouldn’t be hung up on ho many books I am reading and avoiding big books through fear of not reading enough. In the month of April I read 8 books…in the month of May I read 3 and a novella and I am ok with that. It doesn’t make May a bad month as the books I did read were great and I’ve enjoyed them and that’s my main aim. Is anyone else plagued with problems like this? What do you consider a big book? Do you fear them? Embrace them? Or are a little indifferent because you just read for fun? Do let me know your thoughts.

Mid-Year Favourites

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It was whilst watching some Booktube videos I was struck with the revelation that the end of June marked the half-way point of 2018. Lots of Youtubers and bloggers started releasing summaries of their favourite books of the year so far. This half way point seemed to have crept up on me but I think it’s a good time to take stock of my book choices. I have written a post reflecting on my reading resolutions and goals I set at the beginning of 2018 and how I was progressing with these. Although I never did this last year I thought it would be good to use this halfway mark to select my favourite books I have read so far this year. I thought, like many others this would be a good way to look back at the end of the year and see how these books compare then to now.

When looking over my list of books I can see I have read a couple of non-fiction books which is unusual for me. I have read four crime novels and a scattering of women’s fiction which is quite typical of my past reading lists. What I have noticed this year is a dramatic increase in the amount of YA books I have been reading. This was the genre I discovered last year (I don’t know why I wasn’t aware of it before then) and it seems in 2018 my reading tastes have really shifted and I am gravitating more towards this type of book. What I have found particularly interesting is most of the books I have read this year have been really good. In fact I haven’t rated any books less than 3 stars which is super positive. However when picking my favourites very few jumped out at me as being real stand out reads. However I have picked a few I really have enjoyed and could really recommend to other people. Not all off these books are 5 star reads but upon reflection they are all had something that has made them stick with me and stand out from the crowd.

Image result for this is going to hurtThis is going to hurt by Adam Kay

Rating 5/5

Welcome to the life of a junior doctor: 97-hour weeks, life and death decisions, a constant tsunami of bodily fluids, and the hospital parking meter earns more than you. Scribbled in secret after endless days, sleepless nights and missed weekends, Adam Kay’s This is Going to Hurt provides a no-holds-barred account of his time on the NHS front line. Hilarious, horrifying and heart-breaking, this diary is everything you wanted to know – and more than a few things you didn’t – about life on and off the hospital ward.

This was the second book I read this year and it kicked off the year in style. It was funny and serious, heart-warming and heart-breaking all at once. It was a terrific insight into the life of a doctor working in the NHS and has made me curious as to other professions that may have similar books available. Its great lifting the lid and getting insights into professions you wouldn’t ordinarily see.

IMG_1712The Extinction Trials by S.M.Wilson

Rating 5/5

In Stormchaser and Lincoln’s ruined world, the only way to survive is to risk everything. To face a contest more dangerous than anyone can imagine. And they will do ANYTHING to win. But in a land full of monsters – both human and reptilian – they can’t afford to trust anyone. Perhaps not even each other…

If pushed I think I would say this is my favourite book of 2018 so far. It is described as The Hunger Games meets Jurassic Park and this is the perfect description. It’s a really fast paced adventure story set in a dystopian world where teams are sent to a dinosaur inhabited continent in an attempt to steal their DNA. It’s such a clever idea with a brilliantly crafted world. I couldn’t put this book down and was so excited for the follow up that turned out to be just as amazing.

IMG_2260Freshers by Tom Ellen and Lucy Ivision

Rating 5/5

Uni beckons. Phoebe can’t wait to be a fresher – especially since her crush from school will be there too. She’ll be totally different at Uni: cooler, prettier, smarter … the perfect potential girlfriend. She’ll reinvent herself completely. But Luke’s oblivious, still reeling from the fallout of the break-up with his ex. Thrown head first into a world of new friends, parties and social media disasters – can Phoebe and Luke survive the year, let alone find each other?

I picked this book up on a bit of a whim and I’m so glad I did because it was such an awesome book. I loved the main characters of Luke and Phoebe; they really made this book for me as they were such likeable people. I felt the whole storyline involving them starting university and navigating this new work was relatable. It was also really nostalgic for me as someone who attended university but also really fun for me as someone who didn’t live at university to hear about their experiences.

IMG_2295The Witch’s Kiss by Katharine and Elizabeth Corr

Rating 4/5

Sixteeen-year-old Meredith is fed-up with her feuding family and feeling invisible at school – not to mention the witch magic that shoots out of her fingernails when she’s stressed. Then sweet, sensitive Jack comes into her life and she falls for him hard. The only problem is that he is periodically possessed by a destructive centuries-old curse. Meredith has lost her heart, but will she also lose her life? Or in true fairytale tradition, can true love’s kiss save the day?

This was the opening book to a fabulous trilogy. Interestingly out of the three books I would say number two The Witch’s Tear was my favourite but I choose this one as it was where the story began. It was in this book I got to know Merry and Leo who have turned into two of my favourite book characters of all time. It sets up the series so well and the world building, magic system and age old curse is so clever and well developed. It was the perfect start to a cracking series.

Image result for silent scream angela marsonsSilent Scream by Angela Marsons

Rating 5/5

Five figures gather round a shallow grave. They had all taken turns to dig. An adult-sized hole would have taken longer. An innocent life had been taken but the pact had been made. Their secrets would be buried, bound in blood…Years later, a headmistress is found brutally strangled, the first in a spate of gruesome murders which shock the Black Country.
But when human remains are discovered at a former children’s home, disturbing secrets are also unearthed. D.I. Kim Stone fast realises she’s on the hunt for a twisted individual whose killing spree spans decades. As the body count rises, Kim needs to stop the murderer before they strike again. But to catch the killer, can Kim confront the demons of her own past before it’s too late?

This was the first book in the Kim Stone detective series which isn’t a new series but it was a new discovery for me. I was on the hunt for a new detective series and this came along at the perfect time. I am very choosy with my detectives but I liked Kim and her team. What made this story for me though was how procedural it was. There was so much detail surrounding the crime and the investigation process. I just found it totally captivating and couldn’t put it down.

IMG_2340Fat Chance by Nick Spadling

Rating 5/5

Meet Zoe and Greg Milton, a married couple who have let themselves go a bit. Zoe was a stunner in her college days, but the intervening decades have added five stone, and removed most of her self-esteem. Greg’s rugby-playing days are well and truly behind him, thanks to countless pints of beer and chicken curry. When Elise, a radio DJ and Zoe’s best friend, tells them about a new competition, it seems like the perfect opportunity to turn their lives around. Fat Chance will pit six hefty couples against one another to see who can collectively lose the most weight and walk away with a £50,000 prize. So begins six months of abject misery, tears, and frustration—that just might turn out to be the best thing that ever happened to them—in another laugh-out-loud look at the way we live now from bestselling author Nick Spalding.

This was a re-read for me as it is my of my favourite books and I just fancied reading something light that I knew I would love and was guaranteed to make me laugh. It did just that of course and I enjoyed it just as much the second time around as with my first read. I would urge anyone who wants a chuckle to pick this book up.

IMG_2263Savage Island by Bryony Pearce

Rating 4.5/5

When reclusive millionaire Marcus Gold announces that he’s going to be staging an “Iron Teen” competition on his private island in the Outer Hebrides, teenagers Ben, Lizzie, Will, Grady and Carmen sign up – the prize is one million pounds … each. But when the competition begins, the group begin to regret their decision. Other teams are hunting their competitors and attacking them for body parts. Can the friends stick together under such extreme pressure to survive? When lives are at stake, you find out who you can really trust…

This book was brutal! I expected it to be really action packed, fast paced and rather gory but I never expected it to be so haunting. I stayed up for too late finishing this book and found it hard to switch off afterwards as my brain was racing. I kept thinking about it for days to come and it’s the reason I have chosen it as one of my favourites because it’s just stayed with me. It was a great debut novel and I cannot wait to read more from Bryony Pearce.

Image result for simon vs the homosapien agendaSimon VS the Homo Sapiens Agenda

Rating 5/5

Straight people should have to come out too. And the more awkward it is, the better.Simon Spier is sixteen and trying to work out who he is – and what he’s looking for. But when one of his emails to the very distracting Blue falls into the wrong hands, things get all kinds of complicated. Because, for Simon, falling for Blue is a big deal…

This cheeky little book snuck in right at the end of June and really took me by surprise. Obviously I had heard the rave reviews of the book and the film but I didn’t expect to like it as much as I did. I really connected with Simon and loved him and his group of friends. I just enjoyed being part of their world and didn’t want to leave them behind when the book was over (the reason I immediately read Leah on the off Beat) It was such a lovely story of teenagers finding themselves and accepting who they are. The love story was so sweet and it was such a positive book that left me feeling happy.

Reviewing my 2018 Reading Goals and Resolutions

At the beginning of the year I set myself some reading goals and resolutions. I didn’t want anything too hard and fast that made me feel restricted but instead hoped they would give me some little pointers to try and structure what I was reading. We are now half way through the year so I thought it would be a good time to check in on these resolutions to see what I have or perhaps more accurately what I haven’t been doing. Unsurprisingly as I glanced over my list I saw there were quite a few points I have neglected totally. I am hoping that reviewing them now will refocus me on those I haven’t done or possible may lead to be changing a few for the better.

FZFT6159Baking with Books – This has gone relatively well. I have completed my first post in this series where I made some flood icing cookies inspired by Holly Hepburn’s Snowy Nights at Castle Court. I had so much fun coming up with ideas and then baking and decorating my cookies. I am not disappointed I have only posted once in this series because it is quite time consuming to do these. I am quite happy to have this bubbling in the background as something I can add the odd post to when I fancy. I generally have found myself baking more again in the first half of this year I am pleased with that and hopefully I will complete a few more of these posts before the year I out.

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Jane Austen 200 – I was really pleased I started this series last year as I had lots of fun on various Jane Austen adventures and reading some Austen inspired books. However I haven’t added many posts to this in the recent months. I am not hugely worried about this as I think its lovely to just ave a little area of my blog dedicated to all things Jane. I am happy to add posts in this series as and when they come up.

Featured Authors – This unfortunately hasn’t happened as of yet. I really have no excuse or reason for this apart from spending my time writing other posts. I hit a blogging slump in the first 3 months of this year and since I have returned I have been writing other posts trying to make up for lost time. I really do want to start this series but I am also a little worried about having too many series at once. I think a reasonable target is to write two of these posts by the end of the year.

Reducing my TBR – This has been quite interesting because I have definitely got around to reading some books that have been on my TBR for a while now. Unfortunately I think any good work I have done taking books from my TBR has been quickly undone by my promptly adding more in the form of new books. However what’s interesting to me has been the fact that many of the new books I have been adding to my TBR have been YA. I have found myself really loving and embracing this genre and because my TBR didn’t have any YA on before I have found myself adding those to it. Going forward I am aiming to just keep chipping away at my list. There will always be books released that lead to other being bumped down and that I something I shall have to deal with.

Bronte 200 Book Club – This is one resolution that has been a categorical fail! I haven’t read any of the picks for the first half of the year. I think my reluctance to read these links back to my fear of big books/or books that will take me a long time to read. I just worry they will take me such a long time when I could be reading lots of shorter books. Going forward I want to reset my goal and aim to read one Bronte book by the end of the year. I feel this is more than achievable and would give me the opportunity to check out the Bronte’s work and see If it’s something I want to read more of.

Reading 60 Book – This is coming along very nicely. As I write this I have read 32 books this year which puts me just a little above my target which is brilliant. However as I discussed in my reading my big books post I am trying to not get hung up on the numbers so I’m not gravitating towards shorter books rather than those I really want to read. Even though I am taking a relaxed approach to this one I am confident I will meet by target.

Improving my blog photography – This has been a really successful goal too. Up until this year I just copied and pasted photos of book covers from amazon. However the majority of books I talk about on my blog now I will photograph if I own a physical copy. A few weeks ago I set aside a day and spent a few hours taking photography’s, I not only really enjoyed this but was pleased with the results.

Commemorating the World Wars – This has once again been a great success. I am loving reading books set in wartime and this goal has given me the perfect excuse to read even more of these. I have stormed through Elaine Everest’s The Woolworths Girl’s series and have loved it. I am always on the look out for similar books and series to start so I will definitely be continuing with this resolution.

There we have it! obviously some resolutions have been more successful than others but that is ok. I am pleased I can say I have been completing a number of them. I can now refocus on those I have been neglecting a little and try to work towards those more.

Midyear Freak-out Tag

I have seen this tag doing the rounds on Booktube and blogs and thought it would be a fun way to look at what I have been reading so far this year. I have seen a few different versions of this tag but the questions I have answered I took from a video by Jess at Read by Jess of which I have linked below.

1)      Best book you have read so far in 2018?

This is a tough call but if pushed I would say The Extinction Trials by S.M.Wilson

2)      Best sequel you have read so far?

The Witch’s Tear by Katharine and Elizabeth Corr which is the sequel to The Witch’s Kiss

3)      A new release you haven’t read yet but want to?

There are lots and lots of new releases I haven’t go around to yet but the newest one I want to read is The Blood Road by Stuart MacBride.

4)      Most anticipated release for the second half of the year?

Again this is a tough one but I would say The Island by M.A.Bennet. Her debut novel S.T.A.G.S was one of my favourite books of last year so I just know this will be fantastic too.

5)      Biggest disappointment?

This was a tossup between 2 books but I would have to say The Hazel Wood by Melissa Albert has the edge because I was anticipating this book for so long and it just wasn’t as good as I expected. It was just rather mediocre.

6)      Biggest surprise?

Simon VS the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli. This surprised me because I expected this book to be good but I didn’t anticipate it being as good as it was.

7)      Favourite new author (to you)?

This one is really tough and I’m struggling to pick just one so I am going to cheat and name a few. Firstly Elizabeth and Katharine Corr who co-wrote The Witch’s Kiss series. Next is Elaine Everest who wrote The Woolworth Girls series and finally Becky Albertalli who is a recent discovery for me. All of the above have now become auto buy authors for me.

8)      Newest fictional crush?

He is way too young for me but I would say Connor from Goodbye Perfect by Sara Bernard. He is just the sweetest guy and is so unquestioningly supportive of his girlfriend Eden. I would have loved to have a Connor when I was 16

9)      News favourite character?

Once again this is a tough question as I’ve met so many great characters this year. I loved Merry from The Witch’s Kiss series as she was such a fearless young lady. I also loved Simon from Simon VS The Homo Sapiens Agenda as he was so sweet and really captured my heart. However I would say my favourite character was Grace from The Nowhere Girls by Amy Reed. Grace was a real kickass girl who fought for what she believed in. She had to find courage to stand up for someone who didn’t have a voice which is such a brave thing to do, I loved her.  

10)   A book that made you cry?

I don’t think any books have made me cry but a book that made me feel quite emotional was Three Things About Elsie by Joanna Cannon. It was just a real poignant book laced with a little sadness that really touched me.

11)   A book that made you happy?

Freshers by Tom Ellen and Lucy Evision, this book just made me smile so much. The story was so relatable to me and I had a couple of days of pure happiness spent with these characters that I didn’t want to leave behind.

 

12)   The most beautiful book you have bought or read?

From the books I have read this year aesthetically I would pick Eve of Man by Giovanna and Tom Fletcher. This book had a stunning cover with its jacket on and it looked very pretty naked too. It was a really beautiful book. 

13)   What books do you need to read by the end of the year?

There are so many I still want to read this year but I shall list a few of the top ones.

  • A Year at Castle Court – Holly Hepburn
  • A Match Made in Devon – Cathy Bramley
  • Mothers Day on Coronation Street – Maggie Sullivan
  • I Was Born for This – Alice Oseman
  • Legendary – Stephanie Garber
  • The Blood Road – Stuart MacBride
  • When the Curtain Falls – Carrie Hope Fletcher
  • Once in a Lifetime – Chrissie Manby
  • The Island – M.A.Bennett

June Reading Roundup

Summer has truly arrived here in the UK this month at long last. Unfortunately as the sun has come out so have our customers so work has been rather busy meaning I haven’t been able to get as much reading done as usual (when work is quiet I often fill the time reading between customers). This moth I have just found myself wanting to read lot hen time allows but not having as much opportunity as I would like to. I seem to have so many books on my shelf calling to me and just not enough time to read them all. I just cannot read quickly enough but this means I am certainly not lacking when it comes to reading inspiration. This month I read 5 books that I would consider all to be in the realm of YA. I had two 5 star, two 4 star reads and a 3.5 star read so on the whole I would say this was another good reading month. Towards the end of this month I also discovered the Joys of Becky Albertalli’s writing as I read two of her books both of which were fantastic and now I plan to read her final book this month. Here is a roundup of what I have been reading through the sunny month of June.

IMG_2987The Extinction Trials: Exile by S.M.Wilson

Rating 5/5

After surviving on Piloria once, Storm and Lincoln are the obvious candidates to return to the dinosaur continent to test the new virus that should clear the way for human settlement. But they have their own priorities – finding a cure for the plague that’s sweeping Earthasia, and keeping themselves alive.

I started the month with one of my most anticipated releases of this year. This book was released on the 31st May but luckily Waterstones had it available a day early so I was extremely happy about this. I got onto reading it straight away and found I loved it just as much as the first book. I was really excited to read this book in light of how much I loved book one and I must say I wasn’t at all apprehensive as you sometimes find yourself with a sequel. I just knew it would be great! It was fabulous to catch up Storm and Lincoln and follow them on their next adventure. It was just as high octane and action packed as the first. It was also really interesting learning more about Storm, her family and her past. It was awesome to meet some new dinosaurs too and see them in all their glory; they were the stars of the show once again. I really would encourage everyone to pick this series up.

IMG_3012Eve of Man by Giovanna and Tom Fletcher

Rating 4/5

Eve is like any other teenage girl . . .Except that the fate of the entire world lies on her shoulders. She’s the first girl born in fifty years. She’s the answer to their prayers. She’s the final hope. Which means she has one function alone. At sixteen, Eve must face her destiny and make a choice. She will choose a man, one out of three carefully selected suitors. But what about Bram? The future of the planet hangs on Eve making the right choice. Will she?

This was the first book Giovanna Fletcher (one of my favourite authors) has co-written with her husband Tom (author of the Christmasaurus and The Creakers. I was really hesitant because I feared this book would be too science fiction based for me however I really enjoyed this story. I don’t know if I am bias because Giovanna is one of my favourite authors but I thought the concept was interesting and really unique. I also really liked the love story between the two main characters of Eve and Bram I thought it was sweet and natural. It certainly won’t be everyone’s cup of tea and that’s been reflected in the mixed reviews it has had but I personally really enjoyed it and will be looking forward to the next instalment.

img_3010.jpgBig Bones by Laura Dockril

Rating 3.5/5

It’s a food diary. I have to tell the truth. That’s the point. Bluebelle, aka BB, aka Big Bones – is a sixteen-year-old girl encouraged to tackle her weight even though she’s perfectly happy, thank you, and getting on with her life and in love with food. Then a tragedy in the family forces BB to find a new relationship with her body and herself. . .

This book really was quite an interesting one for me that left me feeling so divided with my opinions of it. I had heard some really positive opinions about it so had really high hopes when I started reading. I thought it would be a really fun book reminiscent of Bridget Jones in its style as it’s written in a diary format. There were lots of positive things I really liked about this book. Firstly I was a fan of the main character of BB. She is a slightly sassy body confident girl and it was nice to see that portrayed. It’s so often the case that books focus on bigger girls losing weight and not being happy with their bodies that it was quite refreshing to find a story about body confident and embracing your figure. She loved food which was so relatable and as such the book really celebrated food. Each chapter is entitled something food related and I really appreciated this and how much BB appreciated food. For example the opening chapter discusses how BB likes her crumpets a little overdone and dripping in butter. In another we have a page long chapter talking about how great nutella is and I found myself nodding in agreement with the things BB said. However aside from this I found the first two thirds fell quite flat and underwhelming. I just didn’t think much happened and the story seemed to just plod along. It seemed to be more character driven then plot focused. In the last third we did get more action and I felt the story had more direction and a little more meat to it. The last third pushed the star rating up slightly but that’s why I was left so conflicted because I found so many good things about this book but the story wasn’t particularly action packed. I did like the ending and was pleased it didn’t take the easy route I thought it might. Overall if you want something light, escapist and humours then this would be a great pick for you.

41Hmztn1xKL._SX324_BO1,204,203,200_Simon VS the Homo sapiens Agenda

Rating 5/5

Straight people should have to come out too. And the more awkward it is, the better. Simon Spier is sixteen and trying to work out who he is – and what he’s looking for. But when one of his emails to the very distracting Blue falls into the wrong hands, things get all kinds of complicated. Because, for Simon, falling for Blue is a big deal…

I am so excited to write about this book because I enjoyed it so much. I had obviously heard of Simon VS the Homo sapiens agenda because it’s been huge particularly with the release of the film Love Simon. I had it on my TBR for a while but it wasn’t a book I was desperate to read. I then received Leah on the off Beat in my June Wildest Dreams book box which I really wanted to read but not without reading Simon first. I headed over to Simon on a whim and expected to like it because it has been so hyped but I didn’t expect to love it as much as I did. I just immediately fell in love with Simon as a character and to be honest all the characters. I liked them all and felt at home in their friendship group. The only character I was unsure of was Leah but luckily i got to know her more in the next book I read. I thought the romance between Blue and Simon was so sweet as was Simons friendship with Abby. I think what I liked most about this book was how positive and upbeat it left me feeling. Obviously the story is about accepting your sexuality and coming out and it was portrayed in such positive way. The characters faced struggles but I just felt it showed a lot about acceptance and supporting each other. I finished it feeling so warm and happy and it gave me those 5 star feels!

IMG_3006Leah on the off Beat

Rating 4/5

When it comes to drumming, Leah Burke is usually on beat- but real life isn’t always so rhythmic. The only child of a single mum, and her life is less privileged than her friends. Her mum knows she’s bisexual, but Leah hasn’t mustered the courage to tell her friends.
Not even her openly gay BFF, Simon. Prom and college are on the horizon, and tensions are running high. Can Leah still strike the right note, when the people she loves are fighting? And how can she cope knowing that she might love one of her friends more than she ever intended?

Obviously having finished Simon I had to read Leah right away because I was not ready to leave this friendship group behind. Despite wanting to read it I was wary following Simon because in that book Leah was my least favourite character but in this book I didn’t feel this way. She was still quite an aloof character but she seemed well aware of her flaws which I liked. I always find it re-assuring if a character has tendencies to be mean but know this and more so acknowledge when they are wrong (even if that is just internally like Leah often does). It was nice to lean a little more about Leah as she comes to terms with her feelings for a friend. I don’t want to spoil anything but I was quite surprised by this romance. It was also great being back with the gang. I really hope Becky gives us another book where we catch up with everyone and see how they are getting on in college.