Tuesday, 17 April 2018

Top Ten Tuesday | Top Ten Series I Need To Finish ASAP

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created at The Broke And The Bookish, now hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl. Lists galore, I can think of nothing better!

This week is a freebie giving everyone the opportunity to talk about whatever their heart desires. I thought this would be a good opportunity to give myself a bit of a kick up the backside. One of my goals for the year is to finish 5 series. We are now in April and I have yet to finish one series this year! So let's make a list of all of the series I really need to finish soon so you can give me some encouragement to get them read.

1. Unwind dystology by Neal Shusterman - I have been meaning to finish this series for so long! I've got to the stage now where I know I'll need to reread the first two before continuing and I think that's what is putting me off.

2. Pushing The Limits series by Katie McGarry - I only started this series last year so I don't feel quite as bad about not having finished this. It is one I definitely want to continue with this year but I'm not sure I'll finish it.

3. The Summer I Turned Pretty trilogy by Jenny Han - This series would be so easy to finish as I own both books 2 & 3 and their both pretty short. I just need to finally get around to it!

4. Sisterhood series by Ann Brashares - I read the first book last year and loved it. I definitely want to pick up more of these books in the summer, they're perfect summer reads! They're really quick reads as well so I could easily marathon the rest of the series if I find the time.

5. Vampire Academy series by Richelle Mead - This series is one I have kind of gone off a little bit. I have read the first two books and I think I just needed a bit of a break from it. I want to finish it eventually, hopefully soon, but I'm not sure it'll happen this year.

6. DIMILY trilogy by Estelle Maskame - This is probably the series I am most desperate to finish. I read book one last year and wanted to continue straight away. Now that I have the last two books I just need to get a move on and finish the series.

7. The Mortal Instruments series by Cassandra Clare - I had initially planned on reading all of this series this year, including rereading book one. However, after two books my plan fell apart a little bit. I still really hope to finish it this year though, fingers crossed.

8. The Infernal Devices trilogy by Cassandra Clare - I haven't actually started this series yet but it goes along with my plan for TMI. I'm planning to read the two series' in publication order so in order to finish TMI, I need to finish this series first.

9. Dash & Lily duology by Rachel Cohn & David Levithan - I read Dash & Lily's Book Of Dares back in December, not realising that it had a sequel. I didn't love the first book but I'm interested to see where the story goes so I will pick up the second book, hopefully this year.

10. St Clares series by Enid Blyton - This is a series I read a little bit of as a child but never finished. I now have the complete collection and started re-reading them last year, however only read one book before forgetting about it. These books are so short that I can definitely read all of them this year.

Those are the top ten series that I need to finish as soon as possible, five of which I need to finish this year in order to complete my challenge. If there is a series on my list that you think I really need to finish right now, please pester me to do so! I need the encouragement/bullying to make me pick them up!

What series do you really need to finish soon? 

Sophie :)

Saturday, 14 April 2018

Mini Review | I Have Lost My Way by Gayle Forman

Image and video hosting by TinyPicI Have Lost My Way by Gayle Forman
Published On: April 5, 2018
Published By: Simon & Schuster
Genre: YA, Contemporary
Pages: 274
Format: eBook
Source: Netgalley
Rating: ★★★★★

Amazon | Goodreads

Around the time that Freya loses her voice while recording her debut album, 
Harun is making plans to run away from home to find the boy that he loves, and 
Nathaniel is arriving in New York City after a family tragedy leaves him isolated on the outskirts of Washington state. 
After the three of them collide in Central Park, they slowly reveal the parts of their past that they haven't been able to confront,and together, they find their way back to who they're supposed to be.

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

I loved this book a lot.
I'm really struggling with reviewing this book because all I want to say about it is that I loved it. Everything about it. You should read it. Is that enough of a review?

Great characters, all completely different.
This book follows three main characters and they are all completely different with their own distinguishable personalities. I enjoyed reading about all of them and liked how their individual stories were told. All of the characters were relatable in their own way and I feel like you can find something of yourself in each one.

It was written so well.
I'm usually quite hit or miss when it comes to books set over one day. There are some books following this 'trope' that I love but there are also those that just don't quite pull it off as well as I would like. It is so common for instalove to become a prominent feature of these types of stories. Thankfully, this one was done so well. There was no instalove and nothing felt rushed. I also really liked how the each characters story leading up to this day was told in instalments and the way in which things were revealed.

There was so much diversity within this book.
We had racial and cultural diversity, a gay main character, mental health rep and a lot of other important topics of discussion. Gayle Forman did a great job of incorporating so many important factors into a relatively short novel and, in my opinion, did so very effectively.

The ending had me on the fence.
I really liked the ending, don't get me wrong, but it caught me by surprise. It was a good, fitting ending but I wanted a little bit more. I wanted another couple of chapters or an epilogue of some sort and the fact that I didn't get that almost made me drop half a star on my rating. However, once I got over the fact that book was over and that was the ending I was able to accept he ending for what it was; quite beautiful.

Overall, I loved this book to the point of not being able to review it completely coherently. I never know what to expect with Gayle Forman as her less hyped books seem to catch me by surprise. I didn't expect to love this as much as I did, particularly as the synopsis didn't totally pull me in, but it is definitely so much more than the synopsis describes. I would definitely recommend picking this up, especially if you are feeling a little lost in your own life, it'll take you on a wild, emotional ride.

Wednesday, 11 April 2018

Down The TBR Hole | Round 4

Down The TBR Hole is a meme created by Lost In A Story in which you attempt to reduce your Goodreads TBR. It basically involves organising your Goodreads 'Want To Read' shelf by date from oldest to newest, looking at the first 5-10 books and decided whether you're still interested or not.

Image and video hosting by TinyPicCatching Liam by Gennifer Albin

Recently I've really been wanting to read a New Adult book about a girl who likes things casual and doesn't want a relationship but then meets a boy who could change that. That is exactly what this book is! I had no idea what this book was about, although I must have done at some point, and now I just want to read it right now.

Judgement: Stay

Image and video hosting by TinyPicCamp Boyfriend by JK Rock

This looks like a cute YA contemporary romance set at a summer camp and that setting is the only reason I added it to my TBR in the first place. I used to be obsessed with anything set in a summer camp because I wanted to go to one and never could. Now I'm just not all that interested in camp settings and the synopsis doesn't interest me enough to want to read it.

Judgement: Go

Image and video hosting by TinyPicThe Boy Who Sneaks In My Bedroom Window by Kirsty Moseley

After reading the synopsis, I was on the fence about what to do with this book. It's a New Adult romance about a girl who has been abused as a child and her developing relationship with her brother's best friend. It sounded interesting enough but I wasn't sure if I would ever actually read it. Then I read some of the reviews and they definitely did not sell this to me.

Judgement: Go

Image and video hosting by TinyPicFrom Notting Hill With Love...Actually by Ali McNamara   
I'm not really in any way interested in reading this book after reading the synopsis. I know a lot of people really like this book but it just doesn't sound all that interesting to me anymore.

Judgement: Go

Image and video hosting by TinyPicBefore You Die by Samantha Hayes

I'm keeping this one but mainly because I own another book by Samantha Hayes that I want to read before deciding whether or not to read this book. This is a suspense/mystery/thriller about a small town in which a lot of young people are committing suicide.

Judgement: Stay

I'm really happy with this round as not only have I removed 3 more books from my Goodreads TBR, I've also found a book I'm now excited to read that I completely forgot was ever on there. That's definitely another great thing about doing this.

Sophie :)

Monday, 9 April 2018

Let's Talk | Discovering The Library

I always feel like such a bad reader when I admit that I am not a library goer. I definitely understand the appeal; a whole building full of books that you can just borrow without having to spend a fortune on books you're maybe a little bit interested in. I get it, I just never took advantage of it.

The thing is, there is one thing about libraries I have a problem with. I'm not good with germs. The idea of other people having touched these books and not knowing that they haven't been sneezing all over them makes me nauseous. Have they been washing their hands enough? I work in healthcare, I have infection control procedures drilled into my everyday life and not knowing what germs are on my books freaks me out a little. Yes, I do know how ridiculous this sounds. The same can be said for any books being handled in stores, you don't know who had been touching them before you. For some reason, though, this has always been my issue when it comes to libraries.

However, I recently discovered a new service my local library is now offering. Having heard many bloggers and booktubers mention Overdrive, a service allowing libraries to provide eBooks and audiobooks online, I was disappointed to discover that my library didn't use this service or have anything similar. A couple of months ago I had a look on my libraries website, having decided to try and get over my library issues, to get myself a library membership, and was excited to see a service similar to Overdrive now available. I quickly got my membership and have since been making the most of what my library has to offer.

While I haven't managed to get over my issues with borrowing physical books from the library yet, making the most of what is available online has already changed my reading a lot this year. Over the past two months, I have already listened to two audiobooks for books I would never have picked up otherwise and reread a childhood favourite that, again, I never would have reached for. Basically what I'm saying is that discovering my local library has changed my reading life for the better. Hopefully I'll be borrowing physical books soon but this will do me for now.

Do you take advantage of your local library? Does your library offer an online ebook/audiobook service? How do you get over the idea of your borrowed book being covered in other people's germs? Do you have any tips for me to get over those germ issues? I would love to hear all of your thoughts on libraries and am very much hoping someone can help me out with the whole germ thing.

Sophie :)

Thursday, 5 April 2018

Mini Review | Sam & Ilsa's Last Hurrah by Rachel Cohn & David Levithan

Image and video hosting by TinyPicSam & Ilsa's Last Hurrah by Rachel Cohn & David Levithan
Published On: April 5, 2018
Published By: Electric Monkey
Genre: YA, Contemporary
Pages: 224
Format: eBook
Source: Netgalley
Rating: ★★

Amazon | Goodreads

Sam and Ilsa Kehlmann have spent most of their high school years throwing dinner parties, and now they’ve prepared their final blowout, just before graduation. The rules for the twins are simple: they each get to invite three guests, and the other twin doesn’t know who’s coming until the guests show up at the door. With Sam and Ilsa, the sibling revelry is always tempered with a large dose of sibling rivalry, and tonight is no exception. 
One night. One apartment. Eight people. What could possibly go wrong? Oh, we all know the answer is plenty. But plenty also goes right – in rather surprising ways.

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

This was not at all what I was expecting.
I read Dash & Lily's Book Of Dares from this author duo back in December and enjoyed it so I was expecting, or at least hoping, to enjoy their latest work. I expected a similar feel to Dash & Lily, with quirky characters I could relate to and fun antics I could enjoy reading about. Sadly, this book had neither of those things.

It's all just so pretentious.
This was the first word that came to mind as I was reading, and having seen the same description in several reviews on Goodreads I can see I'm not the only one who thought so. However, this was probably the one thing I enjoyed about the book. I'm not sure if it was intentional but to me it was just so pretentious that I found it amusing.

The plot is nothing.
It is 200+ pages of a dinner party, during which several not very interesting people do some not very interesting things. I found the plot to be boring and lacking in any kind of excitement to draw me into the story. The whole sibling rivalry aspect of the story, which I think was meant to be the main point of the book, just irritated me and bored me further.

The characters were bland.
Despite every effort to make these characters as quirky and bizarre as possible, they fell flat. It felt as though more work had gone in to showing how 'out there' all of these characters were than went giving them actual personalities beyond the crazy. They were all very similar, particularly the male characters, to the point where I was often confusing them. 

I don't understand the sock puppet.
One of the guests at this dinner party has a sock puppet, which is treated throughout the book as an additional party guest. I don't know if I'm missing something here or if it's just a further attempt to make these characters seem odd but I really did not understand the relevance of the random sock puppet.

There could have been some good mental health discussion.
Throughout the book there were references made to anxiety and some other mental health issues that weren't specifically labelled. Some attempt was made to discuss these but it was all done briefly in passing. As far as I'm concerned, if you're going to bring up mental health in a book you should be giving the time and consideration that such an important topic requires rather than bringing it up briefly and not expanding on it any further.

There were some good discussions about sexuality.
Sam, one of the two main characters, is openly gay and this is discussed throughout the book. However, later on in the book the sexuality of other characters is questioned. This brings about a conversation being open to relationships with anyone and not putting a label on your sexuality. This is something that is being discussed a lot more recently with a lot of celebrities contributing to the discussion, but it's great to see this being discussed in books as it is not something I have read previously.

Overall, in a predominantly disappointing book, I did manage to find some qualities that I ended up enjoying. However, this was not the book I expected it to be, with a boring plot and characters that fell flat despite being so quirky. I wish I could recommend this book but, sadly, I did not enjoy it.

Tuesday, 3 April 2018

Let's Talk | Blogging Motivation

Let's get straight to the point here, I have none. I've been struggling with blogging for the past month, which I just put down to my personal circumstances, but in the last week or so I have had no motivation to blog at all. I like the idea of it. I think about how great it would be to have some time to just sit and blog but when I get that opportunity I just can't be bothered.

The most frustrating part about this whole situation is that I want to want to blog. I just can't seem to actually sit down and do it. And it's not even just the writing the blog post. As I'm sitting here writing this, all I can think about it the fact I'm going to need to go and take a picture to go along with this post and I just don't want to!

My point in posting this is not just to complain or to give my excuses for not being a great blogger recently. I'm hoping some wonderful bloggers out there might have some advice. Do you ever get like this where you just can't be bothered blogging? I am desperate for some tips on how to get out of this blogging slump as I have so many post ideas that I want to get around to but the thought of putting in the work just puts me off completely. I'm not typically a lazy person who doesn't want to put in the work so this feeling is strange for me.

So, please provide me with some of your blogging tips and advice. Should I just ride it out and hope that it's due to current circumstances? Or do you have some tips to help me break out of it? At least just tell me I'm not the only one?

Sophie :)

Monday, 2 April 2018

Wrap Up | March 2018

I cannot believe I am wrapping up March already! March has been another horrendous month for me after losing a very close family member at the beginning of the month. However, despite everything going on in my personal life, I still managed to read 4 books, which is more than I had expected to read given the circumstances. Again I read predominantly ebook this month so my physical TBR isn't shrinking as much as I would like.

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

More Than We Can Tell by Brigid Kemmerer -
This is a contemporary novel following one of the characters from Brigid Kemmerer's previous work Letters To The Lost, which I received from Netgalley knowing nothing about the first book. I was worried I would struggle having not met these characters before but I shouldn't have worried. This follows Rev and Emma who both have their own home issues going on but meet by chance one night and try to help each other through their problems. This wasn't anything special but I did enjoy it, particularly Rev and his story. It was quite an intense read, that ended up getting a lot darker than I expected, but still a fun to read.
Rating: 3/5 | Review

In Search Of Us by Ava Dellaira -
Ava Dellaira's debut, Love Letters To The Dead, is a book I have had on my Goodreads TBR for about 4 years now and haven't got around to, so when I saw she had a new release and read the intriguing synopsis I was desperate to pick this one up. This follows a girl named Angie who is searching for the father she was told had died, as well as her mother, Marilyn, at 17 falling in love for the first time. This was unlike anything I have read before. I haven't read anything with such different storylines being told alongside each other. I enjoyed both stories equally, and I really liked how the book dealt with topics such as race. However, I did have some issues, like the unnecessary romance.
Rating: 3/5 | Review

Student Nurse 60s Style by B Park-Dixon -
I've been in the mood for some non-fiction recently so I picked up this short memoir documenting life as a student nurse in the 1960s. It was interesting to read about the differences in both nurse training and health care between then and now, and more interesting to read about the things that should have changed but have yet to be. It was quite poorly written and could clearly have done with a bit of editing but it was an interesting enough read.
Rating: 3/5

The Worry Website by Jacqueline Wilson -
I loved Jacqueline Wilson as a child so when I discovered that my library had many of her books in their ebook library I decided to revisit my childhood. This was the book I remember most and I remember really enjoying it. Surprisingly, I enjoyed it just as much as an adult. This book is five short stories written from the perspective of different children in a class who are using the 'worry website' to anonymously share their worries with their classmates in order to get some advice. It deals with some really quite complex issues that I definitely didn't comprehend as a child, but as an adult it amazed me to discover just how important this book it. This book shows children that their not alone in their worries and that most of their problems can be fixed if they ask for help. I enjoyed this much more than I was expecting to.
Rating: 4/5

That is everything I read in March. It's quite an interesting mix of books but I did want to read more varied books this year.

Did you read any new favourite books in March? Did you read any of the books I read?

Sophie :)