Saturday, 25 February 2017

Mini Review | Me Before You by Jojo Moyes

 photo 818tMZ3aozL._SL1500__zpse1rrmfsk.jpgMe Before You by Jojo Moyes
Series: Me Before You #1
Published On: January 5, 2012
Published By: Penguin
Genre: Chick Lit, Realistic Fiction
Pages: 481
Format: Audiobook
Source: Audible
Rating: ★★★★

Amazon | Goodreads

Lou Clark knows lots of things. She knows how many footsteps there are between the bus stop and home. She knows she likes working in The Buttered Bun tea shop and she knows she might not love her boyfriend Patrick. 
What Lou doesn't know is she's about to lose her job or that knowing what's coming is what keeps her sane. 
Will Traynor knows his motorcycle accident took away his desire to live. He knows everything feels very small and rather joyless now and he knows exactly how he's going to put a stop to that. 
What Will doesn't know is that Lou is about to burst into his world in a riot of colour. And neither of them knows they're going to change the other for all time.

Oh man, this book!
I really like this book and I wasn't sure I would. I was so put off by the hype that I was starting to question whether I wanted to read it or if I should just watch the movie. I'm so glad I read it as I liked it so much more than I was expecting to.

These characters stole my heart.
I really enjoyed reading about these characters and particularly enjoyed how completely different Lou and Will were. I loved Lou's quirkiness and how just plain odd she was, she was such a fun main character. I also really loved Will, how rude, blunt and sarcastic he was for much of the book.

I laughed out loud.
All everyone says about this book is how much it made them cry, so I was not expecting to be full on laughing out loud and getting strange looks from passers-by while I was listening to this in my car. It is a sad book overall but there were so many really hilarious moments.

Can I join the Clark family?
I absolutely loved Lou's family dynamic. I loved reading about her family in general but in particular I loved her relationship with her parents and her sister. I thought they added a lot to the story, especially having Treena help Lou to deal with such a difficult situation.

Some aspects made me uncomfortable.
As a healthcare professional, I did find the whole 'carer'/'patient' relationship a bit uncomfortable to read about. I know that wasn't exactly what this relationship was as Lou wasn't technically Will's nurse or official carer but as I have been trained to see that situation as wrong, it was difficult to read about at times.

This is such an important topic.
I don't want to go into specifics as I'm not entirely sure what is and isn't considered a spoiler. However, I think the main theme of this book is something that needs to be talked about more and I really appreciated the fact that this could encourage some very important conversation.

I didn't ugly cry.
Almost every review I have read for this book has mentioned something about ugly crying but it just didn't have that impact on me. I am the kind of person that cries at books, and I did get a little teary, but I just didn't get as emotional as others seemed to.

Audiobook was great.
I really loved listening to this on audiobook. I thought the narrator was great and actually sounded exactly as I would expect Lou to. I think it really added to the whole experience of reading this book.

So much criticism.
Upon finishing this book, I came across so much criticism for it. I can understand a lot of where that criticism is coming from and I really wanted to address that in my review but really I just have too much to say on the matter, so I have posted a separate discussion on my thoughts surrounding that, which you can find here.

Overall, I really enjoyed this book and was glad I didn't let the hype put me off. Although it is a predominantly quite sad book, it was written in a way that allowed for a lot of very funny, light-hearted moments that I really enjoyed. There is a sequel, which many people say was a bit unnecessary, but I am interested in checking it out in the future.

Friday, 24 February 2017

Review | The Sun Is Also A Star by Nicola Yoon

 photo cover_zpselknaye6.jpgThe Sun Is Also A Star by Nicola Yoon
Published On: November 1, 2016
Published By: Corgi Children's
Genre: Contemporary
Pages: 348
Format: Paperback
Source: Bought
Rating: ★★★

Amazon | Goodreads

Natasha: I’m a girl who believes in science and facts. Not fate. Not destiny. Or dreams that will never come true. I’m definitely not the kind of girl who meets a cute boy on a crowded New York City street and falls in love with him. Not when my family is twelve hours away from being deported to Jamaica. Falling in love with him won’t be my story. 
Daniel: I’ve always been the good son, the good student, living up to my parents’ high expectations. Never the poet. Or the dreamer. But when I see her, I forget about all that. Something about Natasha makes me think that fate has something much more extraordinary in store—for both of us. 
The Universe: Every moment in our lives has brought us to this single moment. A million futures lie before us. Which one will come true?

I have a strange relationship with Nicola Yoon and her books. I absolutely love her writing style and the unique, creative way she writes. I love her short chapters, interesting page layout and those quirky things that make the book all the more exciting. However, I never like the actual stories all that much. I want to adore her books, and I think with the write plot I absolutely would, I just haven't connected with any of her storylines yet.

As I mentioned, I love how Nicola Yoon writes, and one unique aspect of this book that I really loved was the various different perspectives used. The majority was written from both Natasha and Daniel's perspectives but every so often we got a short chapter from the perspective of the lawyer or one of their parents, for example. I thought this was a really interesting aspect of the story and allowed for more of an insight into the side characters and how their actions were affecting the main characters, and vice versa. I appreciated the chapters on the history of hair or certain scientific theories that gave the reader more information on something the characters had mentioned, I thought this was a great addition to the story.

Though I did appreciate the extra information chapters, I found parts of the book to be a bit too scientific. I am not a science minded person so a good majority of the science talk went right over my head and left me quite confused. I ended up skimming a lot of that science talk to avoid my brain feeling slightly fried. I'm sure more scientific minded people may have enjoyed that aspect but that wasn't for me.

I was a little disappointed when reading this that the characters were just pretty average. I had heard a lot about how great these characters were but I didn't see that at all. I didn't think they were bad characters I just didn't feel anything for them. At the start I thought they had potential to be great characters, but I ended up never connecting with them.

Another thing I didn't connect with was the relationship. The relationship was far too instalove for me. They literally fell in love in less than 24 hours. I'm sorry but I just can't accept that as realistic. Perhaps I'm just not enough of a romantic but I don't believe in love at first sight and all that jazz, which I think you kind of need to in this situation. I didn't feel the connection between the characters, but I think if this relationship had been developed over a longer time period I could have, although obviously that wouldn't have worked with this plot.

While there were aspects of this book I didn't like, I loved the messages within the story. There was a lot about this book that made me think. There was questions of religion and faith, discussions about personal beliefs and how the characters understood God. The characters talked and thought a lot about fate and whether or not it played a role in their meeting and I found a lot of what was said and their thoughts on fate to be very thought-provoking and questioned my beliefs about fate.

One of the highlights and redeeming qualities of this book for me was the ending. I really liked the way things ended for the characters and loved that it wasn't what I was expecting. I was preparing myself for a predictable, eye-roll inducing ending but instead was so pleasantly surprised. I think the ending was refreshingly realistic, even if it did have some very cheesy moments. I also loved the epilogue, I thought it was such a perfect way to wrap everything up.

I didn't realise until I had finished reading this book that a lot of it was inspired by Nicola Yoon's own life as a Jamaican woman married to a Korean-American man. I thought that was really interesting and great to know that a lot of the culture specific aspects of the book are likely to be accurate. Not that this has any relation to my enjoyment of the book, I just found it interesting.

Overall, I thought this book was pretty average. I enjoyed some aspects of it but couldn't connect with the characters or appreciate the instalove aspect of the relationship. I will continue to read everything Nicola Yoon writes in the hope that one day I will find a story that I love just as much as her writing.

Thursday, 23 February 2017

Let's Talk | Why I Read YA

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I was standing in the YA section of a bookstore when I was asked a question that really challenged me. A member of staff approached me and, since it was the middle of the day on a weekday, asked "should you not be at school?". I don't look anywhere near my age so I get questions like that a lot. When I responded, as I always do, with "no, I'm 22!", he looked up at the sign stating 'Young Adult' then asked "if you're 22, why are you reading kids books?". 

I haven't thought a lot about why, as a 22 year old, the majority of the books I read are targeted towards a younger audience. As far as I'm concerned, I read the books I read because that's what I like. However, when directly asked I was challenged to think about why exactly I do read YA. I have decided to share the answer I gave that stranger in a bookstore questioning my taste in books.

The majority of adult books are about, specifically chick-lit as that is what I read most in adult books, are about people in their late 30s/40s who are married/divorced/desperately trying to find a man before it's too late and have however many kids. I am in my 20s, single and without kids, I can't relate to their experiences.

YA books, on the other hand focus a lot on teenagers in high school. They deal with discovering yourself, experiencing love for the first time, coping with your first heartbreak. I have been a teenager, I have fallen in love and had my heart broken. I have been through a lot of the experiences the characters are going through and can relate to how they are feeling or reacting. 

Of course there is New Adult as well, but something I have been noticing recently is that I can't seem to find any NA books in bookstores. I have to buy my NA books online or as an ebook. So when it comes to bookstore browsing I spend much of my time in the YA section.

So why do I read YA? Well other than the fact I enjoy it, I guess I read YA because I can relate to it more than I can adult books.

Why do you read YA?

Sophie :)

Friday, 17 February 2017

Mini Review | Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell

 photo 41hB6RMAWdL._SX320_BO1204203200__zpsrfdlt4dz.jpgEleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell
Published On: April 12, 2012
Published By: Orion
Genre: Contemporary
Pages: 329
Format: Paperback
Source: Bought
Rating: ★★

Amazon | Goodreads

Eleanor... Red hair, wrong clothes. Standing behind him until he turns his head. Lying beside him until he wakes up. Making everyone else seem drabber and flatter and never good enough...Eleanor. 
Park... He knows she'll love a song before he plays it for her. He laughs at her jokes before she ever gets to the punch line. There's a place on his chest, just below his throat, that makes her want to keep promises...Park. 
Set over the course of one school year, this is the story of two star-crossed sixteen-year-olds—smart enough to know that first love almost never lasts, but brave and desperate enough to try.

Everyone loves it, but not me.
I really do like Rainbow Rowell. I have read Attachment, Fangirl and Kindred Spirits are really enjoyed all of them. Eleanor & Park, however, I did not like. This is many people's favourite Rainbow Rowell book but I found myself wondering if I was reading something different to them. I was disappointed.

This book triggered me.
I tried really hard not to let it affect my enjoyment of the book but I struggle with anxiety and depression and some of the things that happened in this book hit a bit close to home and did have a pretty bad affect on me. This isn't so much a criticism of the book as a warning for those in a similar situation. To clarify though, this wasn't the main reason I disliked the book.

I was bored.
Honestly, I found this book boring. They got on the bus, they were awkward, they got to school and didn't talk, they got back on the bus and were more awkward, they went home to their bad parents and repeat. It felt like nothing happened other than their increasingly awkward romance.

Eleanor & Park are not couple goals.
I'm sorry but I just didn't like the relationship. Everyone seems to love it but it made me cringe constantly and some parts were just uncomfortable to read. Their connection felt fake and forced and just not very believable or realistic. I didn't like the way they treated each other either. Some of the comments they made about each other were just downright mean and not what you should be saying to someone you apparently love, or at least like a lot.

I just generally didn't like the characters.
I didn't connect with the characters at all and just didn't care about them. At one point I actually found myself thinking the story would be a lot less boring if one of them would get killed or something. That is not something I want to be thinking about characters, and not something I think about real people, I just felt the need to clarify that.

Overall, I absolutely love Rainbow Rowell and her writing was good, I just really didn't like the story or the characters. I wanted to love this just as much as everyone else and I'm actually really sad that I didn't. I guess this book just wasn't for me.

Thursday, 16 February 2017

Tag | Mushy Gushy Book Tag

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Continuing on with the theme of Valentine's Day, that seems to have taken over the blog this week, the Mushy Gushy book tag seems like the perfect Valentine's Day tag. I think this tag came about this time last year so I'm a little late to the party. It was created by SimplyABookLover on Booktube.

Valentines - A book with pink, red and white on the cover
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PS I Like You by Kasie West - So there's only a little bit of each but we do have pink & white on the card and in the title, and red shoes.

Sweethearts - A book with the best pickup line
I honestly don't remember any good pickup lines in books! I obviously haven't read a good enough pickup line to remember it.

Chocolate Covered Strawberries - Favourite book couple
Isla and Josh from Isla And The Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins. Do I mention them enough?

Roses - Most romantic book couple
Lauren and Dean from Ignite by Lily Paradis - Everything Dean does for Lauren is just so romantic! I mean we all need a surprise trip every now and again.

Teddy Bear - A book that makes you want to snuggle with someone
Me Before You by Jojo Moyes - I just recently finished this book and it definitely made me want to snuggle with someone...like my dogs.

Candle Lit Dinner - A book that you'd take out on a date
Does this mean because it looks so good? Because that would have to be What Light by Jay Asher.

Pizza - Best book for single people
For this I would have to say Where Rainbows End (Love, Rosie) by Cecelia Ahern. This is great for the single people like me who are happy with being single but it also shows those who aren't happy with their single life that soulmates will find each other eventually.

That was the Mushy Gushy Book Tag - perfect for Valentine's Day week. Do you recommend any books with great pickup lines? I feel like I need to pick some of them up now!

Sophie :)

Wednesday, 15 February 2017

Review | PS I Like You by Kasie West

 photo 25486998_zpscsaotyfh.jpgPS I Like You by Kasie West
Published On: July 26, 2016
Published By: Point
Genre: Contemporary
Pages: 330
Format: Hardcover
Source: Gift
Rating: ★★★★

Amazon | Goodreads

While spacing out in chemistry class, Lily scribbles some of her favorite song lyrics onto her desk. The next day, she finds that someone has continued the lyrics on the desk and added a message to her. Intrigue! 
Soon, Lily and her anonymous pen pal are exchanging full-on letters—sharing secrets, recommending bands, and opening up to each other. Lily realizes she’s kind of falling for this letter writer. Only, who is he? As Lily attempts to unravel the mystery and juggle school, friends, crushes, and her crazy family, she discovers that matters of the heart can’t always be spelled out…

I absolutely love Kasie West, she's one of my favourite authors, so of course I was super excited to read this book. The previous two books of hers that I read I feel in love with straight away, so I was a little disappointed when I didn't have the same experience with this book. However, as I expected, I couldn't resist Kasie West's great writing and storytelling for long and I soon fell in love with this one as well.

Kasie West never fails to impress me with her awesome, unique and interesting characters. I absolutely loved all of the characters and Lily, in particular, was an great main character. As I have found to be the case with Kasie West, she just had a really great personality. She was quirky and awkward, but very loveable and relatable. I also loved her passion for music, particularly as this wasn't one of the usual 'I listen to old music because I'm too cool' situations that I'm fed up of reading about, it was just an extra layer to her personality.

The central aspect of this story is the letters passed between Lily and her mysterious letter writer during Chemistry class. I really loved the letter aspect of the story. I thought it was a very unique way of watching a relationship evolve, particularly as Lily didn't know who she was writing to for much of the book. It was just a great way of showing their love story. I also loved that we were able to see different sides to both characters through the letters, as they were both sharing sides of them they wouldn't normally be comfortable sharing.

Another important aspect of the book, as far as I'm concerned anyway, is the beautiful friendship between Lily and Isabel. What I loved the most about the two of them was that this wasn't the typical friendship I'm used to reading about. More often than I can cope with, there is a huge argument between the two best friends over the love interest or some aspect of the relationship. I absolutely loved that this wasn't the case in this book. Yes, they had their arguments as all friends do, but the arguments never lasted long as they both seemed to realise that their friendship was more important that some silly argument. This seems more realistic, to me, of a normal teenage friendship.

While I did really enjoy this book, a couple of things did bug me just a little. I think the mystery aspect of the letter writer could have been such a great aspect of the book as the reader was constantly left guessing who it could possible be. Unfortunately, I guessed who the letter writer was really early on, which made much of the middle of the book a little slow. I was just waiting for Lily to catch on and realise just how obvious it was, so spent much of the middle section internally screaming at her to just work it out already. I did like how it was revealed though, and the book definitely picked up once she knew who it was. I also like that we didn't have to wait until near the end of the book for her to work it out.

I also found a lot of this story to be a little bit predictable. I know that is often the case with contemporaries but for some reason I noticed that more in this book. I just seemed to always know what was coming and guessed all the mysteries and plot twists easily. Maybe I just wasn't expecting that from this book as it wasn't the case with the two of Kasie West's books I had previously read, I don't know. It didn't ruin my enjoyment of the book though.

Although I did have a few issues with this book, there is no denying that the best thing about this book is that it is so unbelievably cute. I absolutely loved the Chemistry (ha! Get it?!) between Lily and her letter writer, both through the letters and in real life. I pretty much spent the last 50 pages of the book, and much of the time before that after the reveal, swooning and thinking about how completely adorable it was. This is most definitely a very cute and adorable read.

Overall, this is probably my least favourite of Kasie West's books that I have read so far. That being said, I did really enjoy it and would absolutely recommend it. It is a typical Kasie West book with a fun plot, unique characters and great writing. It's definitely one of the cutest contemporaries I have read in a while.

Tuesday, 14 February 2017

Top Five | YA Contemporary Romance

Valentine's Day is upon us once again. For those of you, like me, who are once again alone this Valentine's Day, it's the perfect time to curl up with a good contemporary romance and live vicariously through some great characters. That is why I decided to share with you my top ten favourite YA contemporary romance novels to help you lose yourself in someone else's love story. Or if you're not alone this Valentine's Day, it's still a great opportunity to read some cute love stories.

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This is my absolute favourite YA contemporary romance I have read so far. I would definitely recommend the other books in this trilogy as well, Anna And The French Kiss and Lola And The Boy Next Door, by Isla is my favourite. I think Isla and Josh make the most adorable couple and I can relate to the characters and the story so much. This is definitely the book to make you feel all warm and fuzzy inside.

2. The Distance Between Us by Kasie West
I love Kasie West's contemporaries and The Distance Between Us is my favourite. Again, I would also recommend the others of her's I have read, One The Fence and PS I Like You. The Distance Between Us is a really fun contemporary story. The characters are great, particularly Caymen who is a great main character with the best snarky and sarcastic personality.

3. The DUFF by Kody Keplinger
This is like your rom-com of YA contemporary. The DUFF is such a fun read with characters that I found extremely relatable. I love a bad boy and I'm a sucker for 'hate-to-love' stories. I mentioned in my review that my favourite thing about this book was the fact teenagers were treated like teenagers and things like sex and alcohol weren't total taboo subjects.

4. A Little Something Different by Sandy Hall
Just as the name suggests, this is a very different and unique contemporary romance. This story is a romance told from multiple perspectives, none of which are the couple themselves. I think this is such a great idea and it was executed really well. I loved the relationship and seeing it develop from the outside looking in, rather then through the eyes of the couple. It was a really fun, sweet read.

5. The Statistical Probability Of Love At First Sight by Jennifer E Smith
I have read quite a few of Jennifer E Smith's books and I do like them all, but this is the only one I absolutely loved. This book contains a lot of my favourite things; airports, plane journeys and stories that take places over short periods of time like one day. I really enjoyed this story and loved Hadley and Oliver as a couple. I read this so long about that I can't really remember the details but I do still remember just how much I loved it.

I love contemporary romance so narrowing it down to just 5 was pretty hard. What are your favourite contemporary romance books? Are there any you think I need to read after loving these so much?

Sophie :)

Monday, 13 February 2017

What I've Been Watching | January 2017

I mentioned in my January Wrap Up that I wanted to separate the 'what I've been watching section' of my Wrap Ups as I wanted to go into more detail about the things I have been watching. I love movies and TV shows just as much as I love books and I wanted to talk about them more. I just recently posted the Netflix & Books Tag, which mentioned some of my favourite shows, but now I wanted to share with you what I was watching in the month of January.

TV
I didn't watch a lot of TV in January for some reason. I was on holiday for a week without TV and when I was home I guess I just spent my time reading instead. This definitely isn't a normal month for me TV wise, I usually watch a shameful amount of TV.

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Once Upon A Time - I have been working my way through the first season of OUAT for a few months now but couldn't get into it. I tried to power through and watch some more in January but after a few more episodes, I think I got about half way through the season, I decided to give up. I just don't think this show is for me, despite how much everyone seems to love it. There are just so many shows I want to watch, I don't want to waste my time on something I'm not enjoying.

What It's About: "A young woman with a troubled past is drawn to a small town in Maine where fairy tales are to be believed."

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Suits - I have been binge watching Suits for a couple of months now. I watched the first two seasons in a couple of weeks back in December, and loved them, but just couldn't get through Season 3 quite as quickly. I don't know if I'm maybe just a bit bored of the storylines and needing to take a bit of a break from it. I liked Season 3, just not as much. I have started Season 4 but I think I'll be taking my time with it.

What It's About: "On the run from a drug deal gone bad, Mike Ross, a brilliant college-dropout, finds himself a job working with Harvey Specter, one of New York City's best lawyers."

Movies
Again, I didn't actually watched a ton of movies in January. The only movies I watched were the ones I watched on the plane while on holiday. I did find a movie I absolutely love though, so I guess quality or quantity.


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Nerve - This is the movie I absolutely fell in love with. It's based on the book by Jeanne Ryan, which I haven't read but do want to. This movie is just so much fun! It's basically a giant game of dares and I love things like that. I'm not usually a fan of Emma Roberts but I did really like her in this movie and I love Dave Franco so it was great to see him in a different role for him. I have already bought the DVD and watched it again this month.

What It's About: "A high school senior finds herself immersed in an online game of truth or dare, where her every move starts to become manipulated by an anonymous community of "watchers.""

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Bad Moms - This is your typical feel-good comedy. It's no artistic masterpiece but it was laugh-out-loud funny. I absolutely love both Mila Kunis and Kristen Bell and the two of them together was amazing. I would definitely recommend this if you want something that doesn't take much thinking about. It does have a really great message but it doesn't take a lot of brain power. Apparently there is a sequel 'Bad Mom's Christmas' coming this year and I will definitely be watching that.

What It's About: "When three overworked and under-appreciated moms are pushed beyond their limits, they ditch their conventional responsibilities for a jolt of long overdue freedom, fun, and comedic self-indulgence."

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Storks - I'm very hit or miss with animated movies, I'm not one of these people who are obsessed with them. I thought this was a pretty good movie. I loved the idea of it and I really loved the diversity shown at the end. This isn't a movie that I will watch again but I do think it's a fun movie for kids and adults alike, with a good message.

What It's About: "Storks have moved on from delivering babies to packages. But when an order for a baby appears, the best delivery stork must scramble to fix the error by delivering the baby."

That is everything I watched in the month of January. Please don't leave any spoilers in the comments, no-one likes spoilers. What have you been watching recently?

Sophie :)

Sunday, 12 February 2017

Review | PS I Love You by Cecelia Ahern

 photo CeceliaAhern_PSILoveYou_zps0iysszlw.jpgPS I Love You by Cecelia Ahern
Published On: September 1, 2004
Published By: Harper Collins
Genre: Chick Lit
Pages: 470
Format: Audiobook
Source: Audible
Rating: ★★★★

Amazon | Goodreads

Holly couldn't live without her husband Gerry, until the day she had to. They were the kind of young couple who could finish each other's sentences. When Gerry succumbs to a terminal illness and dies, 30-year-old Holly is set adrift, unable to pick up the pieces. But with the help of a series of letters her husband left her before he died and a little nudging from an eccentric assortment of family and friends, she learns to laugh, overcome her fears, and discover a world she never knew existed.

I have mentioned quite frequently that Cecelia Ahern is probably my favourite author. She wrote my favourite book of all time and I have loved everything I have read by her. PS I Love You is her first novel and probably the most popular due to the success of the movie. I will admit I probably wouldn't have liked this book as much has it not been written by Cecelia Ahern, and it is quite likely that I added an extra star or half star just because of the author.

I wanted to adore this book as I have every other Cecelia Ahern book I have read. I was expecting to easily give it 5 stars. I did really enjoy it, but I had a few issues with it that I wasn't expecting. There is also the fact that I had seen the movie so many times before reading the book that I knew much of the story. I probably would have enjoyed the book more had I not seen the movie first.

I loved the idea of this story, in particular the letters from Gerry. I thought it was a very unique take on the death of a loved one and an interesting look at grief. The letters were a nice insight into Gerry and Holly's marriage and I enjoyed seeing their relationship and love for each other through them. Holly's dependency on the letters really showed her dependency on Gerry throughout their life together and I loved the way that was portrayed. It was a great premise and I think it was executed very well.

Another of the most important aspects of the book, and another thing I really loved, was the importance of friendship and family. I really liked the friendship between Holly, Sharon and Denise, and some of my favourite parts of the book were the times it was just the three of them together. I did have my problems with them, like I did with all of the characters, but I will get to that. I think their friendship really emphasised the importance of sticking by your friends in the worst times of their lives but also not pushing them away during the worst times in your own life. The family relationships were probably one of my favourite things about this book. I loved Holly's interactions with her siblings and the way her relationships changed with various members of her family throughout the book. I thought it was important that Holly learnt to turn to her family for support, but also to support them in whatever they were going through.

The only relationship I didn't really like in this book was that of Holly and Daniel. I really like their friendship but I was always suspicious of where the relationship was going. I loved seeing them spend time together and I thought Daniel was a great support for Holly but I really didn't want anything romantic there. In the end, I thought the way their relationship developed was interesting but I'm not entirely sure how I feel about it. To me, there was just something not right about the two of them.

The main issue I had with this book was some of the actions of the characters. For the most part, I really liked the characters. Then they would do or say something unbelievably selfish or thoughtless or just plain immature and I just go so annoyed at them. Holly, for example, spent much of the book being extremely selfish and justifying it by the fact her husband had died. While I did accept that for the most part, there were times when I just couldn't let her away with being so downright selfish and not thinking about anyone but herself. I had similar problems with almost all of the characters at some point throughout the book. What I did appreciate, however, was that most of the time the characters themselves realised the flaws in their actions and rectified the situation or apologised for it. While it frustrated me to no end that they had done the specific thing in the first place, I did like the characters more for their acknowledgement of their crappy behaviour.

Overall, I definitely enjoyed this book and as a debut novel I think was very well done. The premise is very interesting but also well-executed and definitely worth a read. Though I love Cecelia Ahern, I would say this is my least favourite of her books so far. However, as it is her first published novel I think we can let her off, she has definitely improved over time.

Saturday, 11 February 2017

Tag | Netflix & Books

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Towards the beginning of last year, Novel Ink and Bookmark Lit created the Netflix & Books tag and I pretty much thought it was the best thing ever. I don't why I haven't done this tag before now but as a huge Netflix/TV lover, there's no way I wasn't doing this tag.

The idea of this tag is basically matching a book or series with the prompts provided. I have changed some of the shows for the prompts to include some of my favourite shows and because there are a few of the shows in the prompts that I haven't watched yet.

Friends - Best cast of characters/friendships

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Friends: Is there a more iconic group of friends? The friends cast will always be one of my favourite TV casts of all time. I love everything about Friends and it would not be the same without such a great cast of characters.
Anna And The French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins: I love the friendship group in the first book in this series but I love it even more as it grows throughout the series. I feel like friendship is such an important part of these stories and the way the group took Anna in when she first arrived in Paris always warms my heart.

Gossip Girl - Hate that you love or guilty pleasure

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Gossip Girl: This show is my absolute guilty pleasure. I love the characters and I am definitely a Chuck Bass lover. This is one of my favourite shows and as much as I call it a 'guilty pleasure', I have no shame. I finished all 6 seasons in a couple of months and was devastated when it was over.

The Selection by Kiera Cass: I feel exactly the same about The Selection series as I do about Gossip Girl. I love it even thought I kind of feel like I shouldn't. This is one of my favourite series, it just makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside. Once again, no shame!

Greys Anatomy - All the feels

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Greys Anatomy: This show kills me every episode! I watched the first 10 seasons of this show in a few months and spent the majority of that time in tears. This show has the best, most emotional season finales I have ever seen. It's another one of my all time favourite shows and I never want it to end.

A Walk To Remember by Nicholas Sparks: It's been a good few years since I read this, before I even had a blog, but I still remember exactly how this book made me feel. I read the majority of it on a plane and the poor passengers around me had to deal with me sobbing for much of the flight. I loved this book but boy is it an emotional read.

One Tree Hill - Favourite book boyfriend

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One Tree Hill: Favourite TV show of all time! Nothing will ever beat One Tree Hill for me. I adore all of the characters and had a hard time choosing between Nathan and Julian for my favourite OTH guy but I think Nathan just wins.

Isla And The Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins: I can't possibly say anyone other than Josh. He is my ultimate book boyfriends and definitely the one book guy that I would date if he wasn't fictional.

Vampire Diaries - You're ship sank or didn't happen

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Vampire Diaries: I'm not caught up on this show so I don't really know what happens with the relationships. I have strange feeling about this show though, no matter who Elena is with I always want her to be with the other. I really need to get caught up.

The Heir by Kiera Cass: Anything I say will spoil the book but my ship well and truly sank and I was devastated.

Pretty Little Liars - A series that should have ended earlier

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Pretty Little Liars: I love this show and I am pretty sad that it's coming to an end but, in all honesty, it should have ended a while ago. The last couple of seasons just haven't been as good and I feel like their just dragging the story out now.

The Selection series by Kiera Cass: I didn't mean to talk about this series constantly for this whole tag but apparently that's what I'm doing. I love the original trilogy but I definitely think it should have ended there. The final two books are okay but nowhere near as good as the first three and just not necessary.

Gilmore Girls - Best family or parents

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Gilmore Girls: The relationship between Lorelai and Rory is pretty much the relationship I have with my Mum so I really love watching their relationship. I definitely think this is one of the best parent/child relationships in a TV show.

Harry Potter series by JK Rowling: The Weasley's are one of my favourite fictional families! Molly and Arthur are great fictional parents but I love all of the Weasley children as well. Fred and George are two of my favourite characters in the series.

Life Unexpected - Left you wanting more

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Life Unexpected: I really loved this show and I was so sad to discover that the two season on Netflix were the only two seasons of the whole show. I definitely wanted more of this show, as much as I loved how it ended. 

The Distance Between Us by Kasie West: I loved this book so much but I genuinely wasn't sure if the ending was actually the end or if there was something wrong with my ebook. The ending was so abrupt! Even if it was just a few more pages, I needed more of this story just to wrap it up nicely.

So that was the Netflix & Books Tag. I apologise for the fact I completely gave up on making the gifs and book cover the same size, it was more work than I can be bothered doing at the moment, I'm feeling lazy. 

I would love to talk more about TV shows and movies on this blog so let me know if you have any ideas of how to incorporate that kind of content.

What are you currently binge watching?

Sophie :)

Monday, 6 February 2017

Mini Review | Crossing The Line by Katie McGarry

 photo image_zpsbujwuwez.jpegCrossing The Line by Katie McGarry
Series: Pushing The Limits #1.1
Published On: April 1, 2013
Published By: Harlequin Teen
Genre: Contemporary
Pages: 67
Format: eBook
Source: Bought
Rating: ★★★

Amazon | Goodreads

Lila McCormick, Echo's best friend from Pushing the Limits, first met Lincoln Turner when tragedy struck both their lives. But she never expected their surprise encounter would lead to two years of exchanging letters—or that she’d fall for the boy she’s only seen once. Their relationship is a secret, but Lila feels closer to Lincoln than anyone else. Until she finds out that he lied to her about the one thing she depended on him for the most. 
 Hurting Lila is the last thing Lincoln wanted. For two years, her letters have been the only thing getting him through the day. Admitting his feelings would cross a line he’s never dared breach before. But Lincoln will do whatever it takes to fix his mistakes, earn Lila’s forgiveness—and finally win a chance to be with the girl he loves.

This was a decent novella.
It wasn't as good as the first book in the series but for a novella it was okay. There just wasn't as much of a story as I would have liked.

I loved the letter aspect.
I thought it was a really great aspect to the story that Lila and Lincoln fell in love through letters. I just wish we had gotten to see more of that side of the story, I think it would have been more interesting that what we did get.

Who is Lincoln?
I really wanted to see more of Lincoln's family life and just get to know him a bit more. I feel like we got to know Lila through Echo in Pushing The Limits but we got to know very little about Lincoln in this novella. His family life sounded very interesting and I would have loved to see more of that.

It was a bit juvenile.
The whole not being able to spend the night alone when her parents were away story just seemed a bit silly for me. At that age you should really be able to stay home alone. Also the whole 'revenge plot' part of the story, and the need for the revenge (I'm trying not to give away spoilers here, it's hard), was just silly and immature. I would expect that kind of situation in a book about younger high school kids but not when the characters are about to go to college.

Echo. Echo. Echo.
I swear Echo was mentioned in every one of Lila's chapters and it just seemed a bit much. It was as though we needed to be reminded constantly that this novella was part of the Pushing The Limits series. We get it!

Overall, I did think this was a good novella, despite my review seeming to say otherwise. I did enjoy it I just had a few issues. It was a decent story and while it didn't add much to the series, it was good to revisit Lila and read her story.

Thursday, 2 February 2017

Let's Talk | UK YA

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Towards the end of 2016, I decided to take a look at the books I had read throughout the year in a bit more detail. I looked at my most read genre, what year the most books were released, whether I read more books from male or female authors, and other similar statistics. One thing that I found particularly interesting was the country in which the author was born or currently resides.

I read a total of 36 books in 2016 and I was shocked to discover I only read books from 5 British authors! To add to the shock, as someone who read predominantly YA, I only read 3 YA books from UK authors - the last two Harry Potter books and Lying About Last Summer by Sue Wallman. Being from the UK myself, should I not be reaching for book written by UK authors first? Should I not be supporting the authors from my own country?

I'll be honest and admit that I really didn't think about where the author was from before picking up a book I wanted to read before now. I have always just thought that I should read whatever I fancied reading, which I would still say is true to an extent. Throughout 2016, and very much so at the beginning of this year, there has been a lot of talk about reading more diversely. Almost all of the blog posts and booktube videos about 2017 reading goals that I have come across have mentioned wanting to read more diversely this year. Seeing a lot of people talking about wanting to read books from authors from countries other than their own really got me thinking. While I think it's great to want to read more diversely, and more specifically thinking about reading books by authors from all over the world, I think it's very important for me at the moment to be supporting those authors from my own country who I appear to have been neglecting.

When looking into this topic, I came across a weekly (I think?) twitter chat hosted by Lucy from LucyTheReader that focuses solely on UKYA. This twitter chat (#UKYAChat) is basically just a chance to discuss and spotlight YA books and new releases by UK authors, and even by just scrolling through the twitter hashtag I discovered a lot of book I had never even heard of before. I now have a whole list of books added to my TBR, I even discovered a Scottish author that I really want to check out now.

I have decided to make UKYA more of a priority in my reading life this year to show my support for UK authors. As I mentioned, I do have quite a few books I am planning to read but I am definitely looking for recommendations if there are UKYA books that you love and think I need to read. If you have any Scottish YA author recommendations that would be even more amazing!

I apologise if this was a pretty rambly post, it was more just me wanting to get my thoughts down than a well-structured discussion post. I'm not the most concise, I must admit.

Sophie :)

Wednesday, 1 February 2017

Wrap Up & Haul | January 2017

I can't believe it's already time for the first wrap up of the year. I have had a great reading month in January, so I'm already liking 2017 better than 2016, and have found myself enjoying reading much more than I have done for the last while. I've decided since I'm hopefully going to be reading more in a month, and not buying enough books to do a separate haul, I won't be continuing with my 'life' and 'watched' sections, just because I don't want this post to be too long. I have an idea for a separate film/TV related series I would like to do so you can let me know what you think of that when the first one appears soon. For now though, lets get to the books I read and bought in January.

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The Book Thief by Marcus Zusack -
I have finally read this book! It has been on my TBR for longest time and was one of those books that I felt bad about having not read so I decided to finally pick it up. This definitely lived up to the hype. I thought it was a very unique, impactful book that discussed some very thought-provoking and important issues, specifically what life was like as a German during the Second World War. I don't read historical fiction, this was my first, but it is not a genre I'm looking into more because of this book. I thought the idea of having Death as the narrator was very interesting but I did have a few very minor issues with this book, which you can read about in my review.
Rating: 4.5/5 | Review | ATY Challenge: #5 A historical fiction

Pushing The Limits by Katie McGarry -
This is another one I have been meaning to read for a while and finally got around to it. This is the first book in the contemporary companion series and this first book follows Echo and Noah, two high school students with some difficult personal issues to work through. I enjoyed this way more than I expected to. I loved the characters as well as the various layers to the plot. I liked that there was a lot more to this story than the romance and really enjoyed reading about those other aspects. You can find out more of my thoughts in my review.
Rating: 4/5 | Review | ATY Challenge: #30 From Goodreads Top 100 YA Books

No-One Ever Has Sex In The Suburbs by Tracy Bloom -
This is the sequel to No-One Ever Has Sex On A Tuesday, a book which I read back in 2014 and really enjoyed. Unfortunately, the sequel was a disappointment for me. It follows the characters from the first book after they have had their babies, and the problems that come with being first time parents. I just had too many problems with this book, which I discuss in detail in my review, to really enjoy it. It was a quick read and did have the same humour as the first book but I just didn't like the characters or the plot.
Rating: 2.5/5 | Review 

Crossing The Line by Katie McGarry -
As soon as I finished Pushing The Limits I wanted to continue on with this series so I bought the first novella in the series as soon as I could. This is the story of Lila, Echo's best friend, and a boy called Lincoln, who she has been writing letters back and forth with for a couple of years. I liked this, I thought it was a decent novella. It wasn't really anything special and didn't add much to the series, but it was fun. I had a few problems with the plot - it was a bit immature and didn't focus on what I would have liked it to - but nothing major.
Rating: 3/5 | Review To Come

PS I Love You by Cecelia Ahern -
I have been listening to this on audiobook since June 2016! It's ridiculous that it has taken me this long but I kept having to start again with it because I had forgotten to listen to it. Cecelia Ahern is one of my favourite authors and this is her first published novel. It's about Holly whose husband Gerry has recently died but has left her letters to help her through her grieving process. I have watched this film so many times that I knew the story well but I did still enjoy the book, though possible not as much as if I had read the book first. I really like the story and the unique take on losing a loved one and dealing with grief. I had a few problems with some of the characters at times but overall I enjoyed it. It is probably my least favourite of Cecelia Ahern's books that I have read so far.
Rating: 4/5 | Review To Come | ATY Challenge: #27 By a favourite author

PS I Like You by Kasie West -
There seems to be a letter theme running through my January reads, it wasn't intentional. Kasie West is another of my favourite authors so I knew I was going to love this book. This is about Lily who writes the lyrics to a song on her desk while bored in Chemistry one day and the next day realises someone has written the next line of lyrics, which starts an anonymous pen pal relationship. This was just as cute as I would expect from a Kasie West book. I loved the characters and the relationship was adorable. It took me a little while to get invested in the story, especially as I had worked out who the letter writer was really early on. Once I got into the story, though, I was completely obsessed.
Rating: 4/5 | Review To Come | ATY Challenge: #1 From the Goodreads Choice Awards 2016

F In Exams: The Big Book Of Test Paper Blunders by Richard Benson -
This was just a fun little book that I picked up on a whim. It's full of funny exam answers and it was so much fun to read. I love finding these kinds of things online so to have a whole lot of them in one book was great. I really enjoyed just picking this up when I wanted a laugh.
Rating: 3/5 | ATY Challenge: #17 Book with illustrations

Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell -
I wanted so badly to love this book. Everyone seems to love it and I have really enjoyed everything else I have read by Rainbow Rowell but unfortunately I really didn't like this book. I thought it was quite boring and I didn't connect with any of the characters. Everyone raves about the characters and their relationship and I disliked the relationship so much that I started to wonder if I was reading a different book from the rest of the world. I have definitely read worse books, but I expected so much more from this and ended up disappointed.
Rating: 2/5 | Review To Come | ATY Challenge: #2 With at least 2 perspectives

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If you have seen my 2017 goals post, you will know that I am challenging myself to read 5 books before buying any physical books. I am allowing myself to buy ebooks but only if they are on offer or I know I will read it immediately. In the month of January I read 7 books and one novella, meaning I was able to do some book buying. I was very good and only bought two physical books! However, I did treat myself to a few ebooks as well.

The Sun Is Also A Star by Nicola Yoon - Highly anticipated release and one of my Around The Year challenge picks so I needed to pick it up at some point.

A Quiet Kind Of Thunder by Sara Barnard - Another new release I have heard great things about. I own Sara Barnard's debut novel but have yet to read it, hopefully I can read them both soon.

Confess & It Ends With Us by Colleen Hoover - I know I want to finally read a Colleen Hoover book this year so when I saw these two on offer on Kindle for 99p, I couldn't pass them up. I now have 4 Colleen Hoover books to choose from this year so I have no excuse not to read one.

Beautiful Disaster by Jamie McGuire - I saw this one on offer on Kindle for 99p as well so I decided to pick it up. I want to read more New Adult this year and this is a pretty popular one, although I don't know much else about it.

What was your favourite thing you read in January? Did you get your hands on any exciting books?

Sophie :)