Tuesday, 27 June 2017

Top Ten Tuesday | Top Ten Books I've Read So Far In 2017

 photo 33l1evt_zpsft11yfs4.jpg

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

This week's topic is the top ten best books of 2017 so far. This kind of carries on from the theme of a lot of my posts over the past couple of weeks as I have been talking a lot about my reading over the first half of the year. I think I've had a pretty good reading year so far, reading some books I've really enjoyed, and I've even given out a 5 star rating which is pretty rare for me.

1. Harry Potter and the Cursed Child by JK Rowling, John Tiffany and Jack Thorne
I mentioned this in my Mid-Year Book Freakout Tag as my best book of the year so far. I know that's a pretty unpopular opinion as a lot of people disliked this book but I really loved it. I go into more detail in that tag and in my review but I found it to be a very fun read.

2. Flawed and Perfect by Cecelia Ahern
I'm counting these together since Flawed was a reread (and partly because I couldn't narrow it down to just ten books). Flawed was my favourite book of 2016 and I loved it just as much the second time around. Perfect is the conclusion to the duology and while I didn't love it as much I did really enjoy it.

3. The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
It took me forever to finally jump on this bandwagon but I finally read what seems to be everyone's favourite book. This was the first book I read this year and a great way to start it off. I really loved it and definitely understand the hype.

4. Me Before You by Jojo Moyes
This is another one that I had been putting off but finally read this year. I was worried about reading this book considering the very mixed reviews but ended up loving it. I've never laughed so much at a book with such a serious topic. It broke my heart but it was great.

5. Pushing The Limits by Katie McGarry
Yet again another book that I had put off reading. Maybe this will teach me to just read things instead of putting them off! I loved this way more than I was expecting to and it made me ugly cry in public, which is obviously the sign of a good book.

6. PS I Like You by Kasie West
Kasie West is one of my favourite authors so of course she would appear on this list. PS I Like You wasn't my favourite of her books and it took me a while to get into but once things started to pick up I was hooked. I fell in love with the characters, especially the love interest, and thoroughly enjoyed the story.

7. Windfall by Jennifer E Smith
I seem to be very hit or miss with Jennifer E Smith but her 2017 release was a hit. This was such a fun story involving a lottery win, which I hadn't read about before, but also about family. It took a much deeper turn that I was expecting but was still great fun and I really enjoyed it.

8. The Fill-In Boyfriend by Kasie West
Another Kasie West book and probably my least favourite of hers. I liked this book but it didn't quite live up to what I have come to expect from her. It was a very cute story with an adorable couple and a great message about friendship.

9. The Unexpected Everything by Morgan Matson
This was the only Morgan Matson book I had left to read and, despite the fact it took me forever to read, I really loved it. It's not my favourite of hers but it was a lot of fun. It was very character driven, which I liked, and while not a whole lot happened plot-wise, there was still a lot to the story. And, of course, the dogs were great addition.

10. A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness
While I really loved this book and it has made it onto this list, this was a bit of a disappointment for me. It was a great story with a message that I think everyone needs to hear, but I didn't fall in love with it like everyone else seems to have. Don't get me wrong though, I did love it and I will push this book on everyone.

I don't even want to count how many times the words 'really enjoyed' appear in this post! What has been the best book you've read so far this year?

Sophie :)

Saturday, 24 June 2017

Review | When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon

 photo 28458598_zpsz5bhgjjj.jpgWhen Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon
Published On: July 13, 2017/May 30, 2017
Published By: Hodder & Staughton
Genre: Contemporary
Pages: 384
Format: eBook
Source: Netgalley
Rating: ★★★

Amazon | Goodreads

Dimple Shah has it all figured out. With graduation behind her, she’s more than ready for a break from her family, from Mamma’s inexplicable obsession with her finding the “Ideal Indian Husband.” Ugh. Dimple knows they must respect her principles on some level, though. If they truly believed she needed a husband right now, they wouldn’t have paid for her to attend a summer program for aspiring web developers…right?
Rishi Patel is a hopeless romantic. So when his parents tell him that his future wife will be attending the same summer program as him—wherein he’ll have to woo her—he’s totally on board. Because as silly as it sounds to most people in his life, Rishi wants to be arranged, believes in the power of tradition, stability, and being a part of something much bigger than himself. 
The Shahs and Patels didn’t mean to start turning the wheels on this “suggested arrangement” so early in their children’s lives, but when they noticed them both gravitate toward the same summer program, they figured, Why not? 
Dimple and Rishi may think they have each other figured out. But when opposites clash, love works hard to prove itself in the most unexpected ways.

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

This book sounded like the perfect summer read. Two teens brought together by an arranged marriage of sorts, trying to dislike each other to spite their parents but that ultimately proving difficult. Everyone has been looking forward to reading the story of Dimple and Rishi, there was so much hype and very high expectations, myself included. Unfortunately this didn't meet my expectations and I was left a little disappointed. It was cute and fun as I had expected but just not enough, it fell flat for me.

With such a spotlight on diversity in books this year especially, I think much of the hype surrounding this book was due to the Indian American main characters and the fact that this story very much involved their culture. This was a large part of my attraction to this book and for me this was covered so well. I really loved all the discussions about their culture. I loved the little cultural references, the discussions about their parents and family members lives in India, I found it all so interesting. This was my favourite part of the book but more so because of how it was done. This book was diverse, but not in the way that focused on the difficulties of being, in this case, an Indian-American teen, it was just a cute story about two teens falling in love. I think we need more diverse books like this, that don't focus on how a person is "different" or the difficulties of being part of a minority, which of course are important topics too, but just deal with universal topics like first love or a fun summer with someone other than a white, heterosexual, cisgender protagonist.

The main characters, Dimple and Rishi, as can be seen from the title, were very much the main focus of this book. There was no crazy plot just some pretty great characters. Or at least great sounding characters. I think I liked the idea of Dimple more than the character herself. I was so excited to be reading about a female main character with a passion for something other than the typical singing, dancing, art, etc., but rather coding and app development. However, I ended up finding her a bit irritating and frustrating. I found myself wanting to scream at her through the pages (or rather through my kindle) because of the things she was doing and choices she was making.

While I may not have been the biggest fan of Dimple, I liked her relationship with Rishi. I thought the arranged marriage kind of scenario was really interesting but wish it had been more of a plot point instead of just being used to introduce the characters. I think I would have enjoyed just more of that storyline. I really liked Dimple and Rishi together, I thought they were an adorable couple and I loved how they supported each other. They had a very healthy relationship, which is great to portray in young adult books, but I did feel the relationship moved a bit too fast for my liking and it started to feel a little like insta-love.

Obviously from the title you can gather that this is Dimple and Rishi's love story and that is obviously the main focus. However, family also plays a big part in this story. I loved the importance of family within the story and to our main characters. Though they didn't always have the best relationships with their family members, I think it was very important that they were still talking on the phone with parents despite being away from home. This makes a difference from the usual perpetually absent parents in a lot of YA novels.

There are some really good aspects to this book but the biggest let down for me was the lack of talk about the actual camp they were attending. This coding summer program seemed like such a great setting but it was hardly mentioned, they could have been anywhere. I was waiting for great scenes of them creating their app together or at least something related to the whole reason they were together in the first place. However, for some reason this incredibly random talent show became a major plot point. I did not understand how a talent show was in any way related to creating an app or how winning said talent show would make you more likely to win the overall program. I liked that Bollywood dancing was featured and I liked that it allowed for Rishi's brother to become more involved in the story, but I saw absolutely no relevance in relation to the rest of the story and it did take up a large chunk of the book. I just didn't understand it.

Overall, I enjoyed the cute summer love story aspect of the book but it didn't meet my expectations. All of the aspects I was excited about, such as the arrange marriage plotline, the main character with a passion for coding, or them creating an app, just fell flat and I was left a little disappointed. I would definitely read more from Sandhya Menon in the future but I didn't fall in love with this book like I hoped I would.

Friday, 23 June 2017

Tag | Mid-Year Book Freakout 2017



This tag has been everywhere lately and having done it for the past two years, it seemed only right to carry on the tradition this year. I have had a really great reading year so far, much better than last year, having read some great books and staying ahead of my Goodreads goal for the most part. I don't actually know who created this tag as there seem to be a few different versions of it, but I will be doing the same version I have done in both 2016 and 2015.

1. Best Book You've Read So Far In 2017
I have only given one book 5 stars so far this year, other than one that was a reread, so this is a pretty easy question. It takes a lot for me to give out 5 stars but I absolutely loved Harry Potter and the Cursed Child by JK Rowling, John Tiffany and Jack Thorne. I know a lot of people really didn't like this but I found it so much fun to read and really enjoyed it.

2. Best Sequel You've Read So Far In 2017
I haven't read a lot of sequels so far this year but of the few I have read Perfect by Cecelia Ahern has been my favourite. This is the second and final book in the Flawed duology, Cecelia Ahern's first YA series. I didn't love it as much as the first book but I did really enjoy it and thought it was a good conclusion to the duology.

3. New Release You Haven't Read Yet But Want To
There are a few but one of my most anticipated books of the year was By Your Side by Kasie West. I bought this as soon as it was available but it is still sitting on my bookshelves yet to be picked up.

4. Most Anticipated Release For The Second Half Of The Year
This is so easy! There's Someone Inside Your House by Stephanie Perkins is probably my most anticipated book of the year. I adore Stephanie Perkins and can't wait to read something a bit different from her. I have this one on pre-order already.

5. Biggest Disappointment
I hate to say this because I so badly wanted to love it but this is definitely Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell. I have really liked everything else I have read from Rainbow Rowell and had heard so many people claim this as their favourite of her books, but I really did not like it. I didn't understand the hype at all.

6. Biggest Surprise
I would probably have to say Pushing The Limits by Katie McGarry for this. I did expect to like this series until I read some not-so-great reviews from people whose opinions I trust. I ended up going into this book not really sure what to expect and I really loved it.

7. Favourite New Author
In terms of new-to-me author I would probably say Jojo Moyes as I read Me Before You and liked it much more than I was expecting to. I have only read this one book from her but I would like to read more in the future.
As for a 'new author' in terms of a debut author, I read Karen McManus' debut One Of Us Is Lying and was very impressed. I have quite often been disappointed by the debut novels I have read and though I didn't love this book, it was very well written and made me want to read more from her.

8. Newest Fictional Crush
To name names would be a bit of a spoiler but I have completely fallen in love with the love interest in PS I Like You by Kasie West. He was adorable and made my heart do all sorts of fluttery things.

9. Newest Favourite Character
This is easily Scorpius Malfoy from Harry Potter and the Cursed Child by JK Rowling, John Tiffany and Jack Thorne. I want him to be my best friend and have him be his happy, cheerful self to brighten my days.

10. Book That Made You Cry
A lot of the books I have read have made me tear up, especially those with very emotional plots. The book that made me ugly cry in public is not the most emotional book I have read this year but obviously something hit me right in the feels. Pushing The Limits by Katie McGarry had me hiding behind my sunglasses as I was sobbing away by the pool.

11. Book That Made You Happy
This is a hard one, I've read a lot of books that made me happy. The Fill-In Boyfriend by Kasie West definitely made me happy since it's an adorable story by one of my favourite authors.

12. Favourite Book To Movie Adaptation You Saw This Year
I haven't read the book yet but I watched the adaptation of Nerve, adapted from the book by Jeanne Ryan, without knowing it was adaptation. I really loved this movie, even know I'm not usually a fan of Emma Roberts. 

13. Favourite Review/Post You've Done This Year
I have started doing more discussion posts this year, though not so many recently, and have really enjoyed them. I think my favourite post so far was my discussion about the negative reviews of Me Before You, not because of what I said specifically, but because I shared my thoughts despite worrying what people would think or say about it.

14. Most Beautiful Book You've Bought So Far This Year
I really love the cover of The Sun Is Also A Star by Nicola Yoon. I didn't love the book but Nicola Yoon has such beautiful book covers.

15. Books You NEED To Read By The End Of 2017
All my Around The Year In 52 Books challenge books? Ideally I would like to read all of the books mentioned in my Around The Year plans post but if not I would like to make progress with the series mentioned at least.

I've had some hits and misses to far this year but it definitely seems to be more hits. I'm really hoping I can keep reading as much as I have been even though I know things are going to get crazy busy in the next half of the year. I guess we'll just have to see how the year goes.

What is the best book you've read so far this year?

Sophie :)

Wednesday, 21 June 2017

Mini Review | Harry Potter And The Cursed Child by JK Rowling, John Tiffany & Jack Thorne

 photo 29056083_zpsh6vvfqvw.jpgHarry Potter And The Cursed Child by JK Rowling, John Tiffany & Jack Thorne
Series: Harry Potter #8 (kind of..debatable)
Published On: July 31, 2016
Published By: Little Brown
Genre: Fantasy
Pages: 343
Format: Hardcover
Source: Bought
Rating: ★★★★★

Amazon | Goodreads

It was always difficult being Harry Potter and it isn’t much easier now that he is an overworked employee of the Ministry of Magic, a husband and father of three school-age children. 
While Harry grapples with a past that refuses to stay where it belongs, his youngest son Albus must struggle with the weight of a family legacy he never wanted. As past and present fuse ominously, both father and son learn the uncomfortable truth: sometimes, darkness comes from unexpected places.

Prepare for unpopular opinions.
I loved this book so much. According to pretty much everyone I follow on Goodreads, however, I am in the minority. I'm would go as far as to say I loved this book more than the original series. I have never been a hardcore Harry Potter fan, having only finished reading the series for the first time last year, but I adored this. I always felt that I enjoyed the Harry Potter books slightly less because I knew what happened in all of them, so perhaps my complete lack of knowledge of this story added to my enjoyment.

I didn't notice the things everyone had issues with.
I heard many people talk about the inaccuracies of this book and things that didn't make sense from the original series but I didn't notice anything. Like I said, I'm not a hardcore fan, I haven't read all of the books multiple times and maybe that is why. I could enjoy it for what it was in itself, rather than as a continuation of a favourite series.

It was fabulously ridiculous.
To all of the people who complain that this story is utterly ridiculous, I will happily agree. The story in itself was a bit ridiculous but in the most fun way. Everything about it was just so much fun and I wanted to be a part of it all.

Albus and Scorpius are my new faves.
I honestly adored these two as main characters. I want to be friends with them! I quite enjoyed the fact that there wasn't really a 'hermione' type character in the friendship group and that they were just a fun little duo. I also loved the fact they were in Slytherin. It's quite a common misconception that all Slytherins are evil and we needed characters like these two to prove that you can possess Slytherin qualities without going all Dark Arts and bad guy on us.

Really enjoyed reading it as a script.
I was unsure about whether I would enjoy reading it in this format but as I usually love books written in different ways, like in letters for example, I loved this. I can read books so much quicker when I'm not just reading chunks of text so the script format was perfect for me and I flew through it.

Overall, unlike the many people who seem to have a lot of problems with this book, I absolutely loved it. I have been wanting to reread it from the minute I put it down and haven't stopped thinking about it. The more I think about it the more I love it. As I said, I think the fact that I am not a huge Harry Potter fan did let me enjoy it more, as well as not knowing the main points of the plot, unlike with the original series.

Tuesday, 20 June 2017

Top Ten Tuesday | Top Ten Series I've Been Meaning To Start

 photo 33l1evt_zpsft11yfs4.jpg

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

This week's theme is one that I have no difficulty creating a list for, top ten series I've been meaning to start but haven't yet. I made a list of the ten series I wanted to read this year, including some that I want to start, at the beginning of the year, but there are so many series I need to pick up that I definitely have enough for another list.

This is like my number 1 series I need to start right this minute. I have owned the first book, Cinder, for a good 2/3 years now but just haven't picked it up. I have no excuse, it needs to happen!

As soon as I heard about Cruel Beauty, before it was even published, it went straight to the top of my Goodreads TBR, where it has remained for 3 years. I now own the first book so I have even less of an excuse for not having picked it up yet.

This is another one that went straight to the top of my Goodreads TBR when I heard about the first book but as this series has gone on it has become more and more intimidating. Have you seen the size of the third book? You could kill someone with that thing!

My excuse for not reading a lot of series is that there are not many contemporary series, or at least ones I am interested in. Apparently that excuse is irrelevant as I have had the first book in this series sitting on my shelves for a good 2 years and haven't picked it up yet.

I'm actually extremely ashamed of the fact I haven't read this series. The movie based on these books was one of my favourites when I first watched it, before I even knew this series existed. I feel like this is the perfect series to read in the summer so I may have to start it soon.

I initially wasn't interested in this series but the fact that everyone seems to absolutely love this series was the thing that intrigued me. I think the way these books are written is something I would really enjoy, I'm not sure Sci-Fi is my thing though, which is why I haven't picked Illuminae up yet. I need to give it a go.

Kasie West is one of my favourite authors but I have only ever read her contemporary books. This series is fantasy/paranormal I believe and the synopsis sounds really interesting so I definitely want to check it out soon and see if I love it just as much as her contemporaries.

Technically I can't read this trilogy until I have read City Of Glass and City Of Ashes so I have an excuse for this one. I have no excuse for not having read books 2 and 3 in The Mortal Instruments series though. I'm trying to work my way through all of these interrelated series but there are just so many books.

This is another series I has no interest in initially but for some reason have become interested quite recently. I own the first book but obviously I'm not interested enough as I haven't picked it up yet. I know very little about this series but I know I need to read it soon.

Unlike all the other series in this list, I have actually picked up the first book in this series once before. I read about 50 pages but just wasn't in the mood for it so put it down and haven't picked it up again yet. I own the whole trilogy and I know I could easily marathon them if I was in the mood.

I have so many series that I really want to start and listing them like this is a little overwhelming. I just want to read all of the books! Hopefully I can check a couple off this list by the end of the year, fingers crossed. What series do you really need to pick up soon?

Sophie :)


Sunday, 18 June 2017

Mini Review | The Fill-In Boyfriend by Kasie West

 photo 18660447_zps0fqququn.jpgThe Fill-In Boyfriend by Kasie West
Published On: May 5, 2015
Published By: Harper Teen
Genre: Contemporary
Pages: 346
Format: Paperback
Source: Gift
Rating: ★★★★

Amazon | Goodreads

When Gia Montgomery's boyfriend, Bradley, dumps her in the parking lot of her high school prom, she has to think fast. After all, she'd been telling her friends about him for months now. This was supposed to be the night she proved he existed. So when she sees a cute guy waiting to pick up his sister, she enlists his help. The task is simple: be her fill-in boyfriend—two hours, zero commitment, a few white lies. After that, she can win back the real Bradley. 
The problem is that days after prom, it's not the real Bradley she's thinking about, but the stand-in. The one whose name she doesn't even know. But tracking him down doesn't mean they're done faking a relationship. Gia owes him a favor and his sister intends to see that he collects: his ex-girlfriend's graduation party—three hours, zero commitment, a few white lies. 
Just when Gia begins to wonder if she could turn her fake boyfriend into a real one, Bradley comes waltzing back into her life, exposing her lie, and threatening to destroy her friendships and her new-found relationship.

Kasie West has done it again.
I'm still waiting on one of Kasie West's books to disappoint me. I have absolutely loved everything I have read from her but had my doubts with this one having seen a lot of people say it is their least favourite of her books. I do have to agree with those people, this was my least favourite of her books that I have read, but I did still love it. It was an adorable, fun summer read that I really enjoyed.

It was everything I would expect.
I always go into Kasie West's books expecting great characters, a great story and good underlying message and I definitely got all three of those from this book. We also had some fun summer antics thrown into this book, which really added to the fun.

I wanted more from the characters.
I think this could be part of the reason I would consider this my least favourite of her books. Kasie West has written some of my favourite characters, with unique, quirky personalities. While I really liked the fact that Gia, our main character, is just an ordinary girl with nothing particularly special about her, she seemed a little less developed than I would have liked, or have come to expect.

Such an adorable couple.
Though Gia isn't my favourite main character, her and Hayden are definitely one of my favourite couples. They are so completely adorable together but it was their friendship that made me love them so much.

A really great message about friendship.
Like I said, there was a really great underlying message to this story and it was a rather unique message about friendship. I think very often teenage girls stick with a friendship group as they feel loyalty to those they have been friends with for a long time. To me this book encourages you to think about whether those friends are the right for you and consider whether your friendships are healthy. I think that is a really great message, especially for the age group this book is targeted towards.

The perfect ending.
The ending of this book was so perfectly non-perfect. I absolutely loved this ending and the fact that everything didn't just wrap up nicely and everything worked out perfectly because that isn't how life works. I think it shows that life doesn't always work out how you expect it to but that may be for the best.

Overall, I really enjoyed this book and though it is my least favourite Kasie West book I have read so far, I would still absolutely recommend it. It is fun and sweet with an adorable romance and good plot, perfect for a summer read.

Saturday, 17 June 2017

Reading Challenges & Goals | Mid-Year Update

We are very close to the middle of 2017 already and while that thought absolutely terrifies me, it means it's time to take a look at my reading goals progress so far. I think I'm a little early this year but since I usually end up doing my mid-year posts around September I figured a few weeks early is better than months late.

I've had a pretty good reading year so far but I often get a bit slumpy in the second half of the year. I'm really hoping that's not the case this year and I can carry on as I have been so far. I think my reading has changed a bit this year and already I am realising some things I would like to change about my goals for next year. Sticking with the current year though, I shared my 2017 reading goals at the beginning of the year so let's have a look at how I'm doing so far.

 photo Challenges_zpsby71cbng.png

Goodreads Reading Challenge
Goal: 50
Progress: 26
According to Goodreads I am 4 books ahead of schedule. I'm pretty happy with this considering there were a couple of months in which I read very little. If I can continue reading as much as I have been and don't fall into a slump I can hopefully complete this challenge.

Around The Year In 52 Books
Goal: 52
Progress: 15
To be on track I should be at 24 books by now so I'm not doing quite as well with this challenge. As much as I enjoy this challenge, I have realised that this is probably not something I will be doing again next year. I have really been enjoying just reading what I want rather than being confined to specific categories, however I am reading books for this challenge that I may not have picked up otherwise. I definitely still plan on trying to complete this challenge for this year.

TBR Under 100
Goal: 100
Progress: 167
In my reading goals post I said just my physical TBR, however it seems to have become my whole TBR, including ebook and audiobooks, which is possibly why I'm not doing so well. My physical TBR is actually down to 138 so I will probably manage to get that down by the end of the year, but if I'm including everything else I don't see it happening.

Read 5 Before Buying
To cut back on my book buying I wanted to read 5 books before allowing myself to buy any physical books and I was limiting it to 2 books each time. I am very proud of the fact that I have actually been sticking to that. I am allowing myself to buy ebooks, which I have been doing more than I would like, but the main goal was to clear my shelves a bit. Having read 26 books, I have been allowed to buy 10 so far and have actually only bought 9. I really think this is the way for me to cut back on buying books.

Read More eBooks
Goal: 10+
Progress: 9
This goal is pretty simple, I wanted to read more eBooks this year than last year. Last year I read 9 so reading 10 or more this year I will be very happy with. So far I have read 9 so I am definitely accomplishing this goal.

Read More Series
I don't really have a goal for this one, or really a measure of how well I am doing. I just wanted to get through the books in series, whether than be first books, sequels or conclusions, that I have been putting off. So far this year I have read 9 books in series. I would like to read more but I think that is very likely to happen in the second half of the year.

Get Back Into Audiobooks
I didn't listen to any audiobooks in 2016 and I wanted to change that this year. I did really well with this in the first two months of the year, listening to 3 audiobooks, however I have stopped again. I am happy that I have listened to 3 already but I would like to be listening to at least one every couple of months.

Read What I Want
I feel like I have been doing well with this goal to some extent. I have stopped creating monthly TBRs for myself as I was beginning to feel a bit restricted throughout the month, and I have really enjoyed just picking up a book I was in the mood for. However, I have still been slightly restricted by the books I am wanting to read for the Around The Year In 52 Books challenge. This is one goal I want to focus more on next year.

I also included some blogging goals in that post so I thought I would update on them as well.

Blog More Consistently
Consistent is really not a word I would use to describe my blogging at the moment. I have been more consistent in terms of posting at least once every week, not including when I'm on holiday. However, I have been inconsistent in terms of how much I am posting each week. I'll have one post one week and five another, it just depends on what time I have. With my life at the moment I don't really think this is going to change any time soon.

Have More Variety
At the beginning of the year I was definitely starting to include more of a variety of posts, including some discussions that I really enjoyed writing. However, as things have become extremely hectic I have gone back into the same old schedule of wrap ups, reviews, memes and tags. This is definitely something I want to focus on more in the second half of the year.

Keep Up To Date With Reviews
I have never been so up to date with reviews and I am so proud of myself. It makes such a change not writing reviews 3/4 months after I have read the book and I think it has improved my reviews since I can actually remember the things I'm talking about and how the book made me feel. Hopefully I can stick to this from now on.

Bookstagram
The less said about this the better. I have completely abandoned by bookstagram it seems. I'm just not a very creative person and I don't have the ideas to take nice artsy pictures. I may go back to it but it isn't a top priority at the moment.

I don't think I have done too badly with my goals so far this year but I know I have some things I need to work on in the second half. I have a challenges page on my blog where you can have a look at what books I have read for each of my challenges and keep up to date with my progress throughout the year.

How has your reading year been so far? Have you been doing well with your goals and challenges?

Sophie :)

Thursday, 15 June 2017

Review | With Malice by Eileen Cook

 photo 29604253_zpstxf6n5ej.jpgWith Malice by Eileen Cook
Published On: June 7, 2016
Published By: Hot Key Books
Genre: Mystery
Pages: 293
Format: Paperback
Source: Gift
Rating: ★★★

Amazon | Goodreads

Eighteen-year-old Jill Charron wakes up in a hospital room, leg in a cast, stitches in her face and a big blank canvas where the last six weeks should be. She discovers she was involved in a fatal car accident while on a school trip in Italy. A trip she doesn’t even remember taking. She was jetted home by her affluent father in order to receive quality care. Care that includes a lawyer. And a press team. Because maybe the accident…wasn’t an accident. 
As the accident makes national headlines, Jill finds herself at the center of a murder investigation. It doesn’t help that the media is portraying her as a sociopath who killed her bubbly best friend, Simone, in a jealous rage. With the evidence mounting against her, there’s only one thing Jill knows for sure: She would never hurt Simone. But what really happened? Questioning who she can trust and what she’s capable of, Jill desperately tries to piece together the events of the past six weeks before she loses her thin hold on her once-perfect life.

When this book was first published it was everywhere. Everyone was talking about it, anticipating it and raving about it - there was a fair amount of hype surrounding it. Unfortunately, this book didn't live up to the hype for me. Perhaps my expectations were too high and because of that I was left a little disappointed. It wasn't a bad book by any means, but it was just OK.

Given Jill's injuries and her amnesia surrounding the accident, there is obviously a lot of confusion and mystery regarding what actually happened. Add a very unreliable narrator into the mix and you have a really great combination. The mystery was what kept me turning the pages, particularly as it was never really known what was real and what was not. It definitely kept me on my toes and made for a very quick read.

While receiving part of the story of the accident and the friends time in Italy from an unreliable narrator, part of the story is also told through police interviews transcripts and blog posts. Not only is this a huge bonus for me as I love when the story is told through various medium, it adds to the confusion and mystery as much of this side of the story is very biased. This is very interesting as little pieces of information are uncovered in these sections but the bias, particularly of the blog posts, leads you to question each piece of information. I never knew what to believe.

Though the mystery is the primary element to the story, there is an underlying element of friendship. We have this now apparently very complicated friendship between Jill and Simone but also an incredibly different kind of friendship between Jill and Anna. To me, this really emphasised how different friendships can be and how situations can bring the most unlikely people together. I really enjoyed this aspect and think it was a nice message beneath all of the mystery.

One thing I did find particularly interesting about this book was the lack of romance. Though there is a relationship as part of the story, there is no romance. I rarely read books without an element of romance in them so this made a very nice change for me. I enjoyed the focus remaining on Jill's situation and trying to understand the accident without including a romance to distract from that.

With a mystery like this, the ending and how the mystery is resolved is a crucial factor for me. If I don't like the ending, it often ruins my enjoyment of the book. In this case, I really don't know how I feel about the ending. It was not at all what I was expecting but at the same time it was very shocking. Part of me does like the way things ended, however there is also part of me that finds it a little frustrating.

Overall, this is a decent YA mystery novel but nothing particularly special. I personally don't think there is much in this book that hasn't been done before but, even so, everything was done well. It was an enjoyable, fast-paced read, and if it's your thing you may love it, but for me is was average.

Saturday, 10 June 2017

Top Five | Series I'll Never Finish

I've talked a lot on this blog about all of the series I want to start or have started but need to finish. I love talking about series for some reason, perhaps because it makes me actually want to pick up those series I've been putting off. Today I wanted to talk about some of the series I have started but don't plan to finish. I won't lie, this is largely because I want to know if I'm making a mistake by giving up on these series. So if you absolutely love any of the ones I mention, please convince me to finish it.

 photo 9416_zpsih4dcqd4.jpg  photo 9418_zpss9tvzkgs.jpg  photo 9419_zpsn0hjrq5f.jpg

1. The Shopaholic series by Sophie Kinsella
This is an 8 book series so far! I'm not sure if it has ended or if there are more to come, but that is a serious commitment for me and I just don't have the desire to finish it. I read the first book, Confessions Of A Shopaholic, last year and it was such a disappointment for me. I really didn't enjoy it, despite hearing nothing but amazing things about the series. I couldn't stand Becky as a main character, so I think the only thing that would convince me to keep going is if she mature a lot in the sequels.

 photo 890143_zpstfr3oajf.jpg  photo 95658_zpszrqqyh4c.jpg  photo 833745_zpsbobua3jq.jpg

2. The Clique series by Lisi Harrison
I read the first three books in this series years ago, when I was the target audience age, and absolutely loved them. I didn't really understand the whole series thing too well then and just assumed that because those were the only ones in the shop there weren't any more. This is a freaking 14 book series! As much as part of me wants to reread the first few books to see what I found enjoyable about the books, I really don't think I have time for a 14 book series that is probably too immature for my tastes now.

 photo 22232_zpsov0uvkon.jpg  photo 846984_zpsovvaqcqc.jpg

3. Stargirl duology by Jerry Spinelli
It has been so long since I read Stargirl that I honestly couldn't tell you a single thing that happened in it. That's pretty much the only reason I don't plan on reading the sequel, simply because I would have to reread the first book and I don't have much desire to do that. This is one that I need convincing on. Should I reread Stargirl and pick up the sequel?

 photo 20705734_zpsyatcimui.jpg  photo 20705735_zps9wbloagb.jpg  photo 21936669_zpssddfyksg.jpg

4. Bowler University trilogy by Megan Erickson
I read the first book, Make It Count, a couple of years ago and it was a pretty average, 'meh' book for me. I loved the characters but the plot got boring and repetitive. The other books in the series follow different characters, I believe, so I'm not really inclined to continue unless the series gets better as it goes on.

 photo 13478558_zpsmokhxnlh.jpg  photo 21700858_zpszjbez76w.jpg  photo 22322089_zpsrbacfmuu.jpg

5. Chasing Nikki trilogy by Lacey Weatherford
I started this series most recently, just a few months ago, but the first book, Chasing Nikki, didn't blow me away. It was a very average contemporary that became a lot more deep and serious than I was expecting. I enjoyed the first book but not really enough to convince me to pick up the rest in the series.

Am I making a mistake with any of these series? If you think I am, please feel free to convince me to give them a chance, I am always up for adding more books to my ever growing TBR pile.

Sophie :)

Friday, 9 June 2017

Mini Review | Obsidian by Jennifer L Armentrout

 photo 12578077_zps7z3ojip0.jpgObsidian by Jennifer L Armentrout
Series: Lux #1
Published On: November 29, 2011
Published By: Entangled Teen
Genre: Paranormal
Pages: 299
Format: eBook/Paperback
Source: Bought
Rating: ★★★★

Amazon | Goodreads

Starting over sucks. 
When we moved to West Virginia right before my senior year, I’d pretty much resigned myself to thick accents, dodgy internet access, and a whole lot of boring… until I spotted my hot neighbor, with his looming height and eerie green eyes. Things were looking up. 
And then he opened his mouth. 
Daemon is infuriating. Arrogant. Stab-worthy. We do not get along. At all. But when a stranger attacks me and Daemon literally freezes time with a wave of his hand, well, something… unexpected happens. 
The hot alien living next door marks me. 
You heard me. Alien. Turns out Daemon and his sister have a galaxy of enemies wanting to steal their abilities, and Daemon’s touch has me lit up like the Vegas Strip. The only way I’m getting out of this alive is by sticking close to Daemon until my alien mojo fades. 
If I don’t kill him first, that is.

I can't believe it has taken me this long.
I've been wanting to start this series for years now and even owned the bind up of the first two books for 2 years, but for some reason never picked it up until now. I was slightly wary of reading it due to all the hype, as I didn't want to be disappointed, but that didn't end up being an issue.

Fun and fast-paced.
Every time this book gets mentioned it is described as fun and fast-paced and I would say that it pretty accurate. I flew through the majority of this book, at least when I found the time to actually read I did, and found it to be a very fun story. I can see the similarities to Twilight, which it is often compared to. This added a nostalgia factor, however they are definitely different stories.

I want to be best friends with these characters.
I absolutely loved Katy, Daemon and Dee, they made the book for me. They are such fun characters, all completely different but all great, well-written characters. I loved seeing Katy's character develop to become more confident and I'm sure that will continue as the series progresses. I really just want these characters to be real so I can befriend them all.

Katy & Daemon give me life.
I mentioned in a Top Ten Tuesday post a while ago that hate-to-love romance is one of the things that instantly makes me want to read a book. I love the snarky comments and sexual tension and this book was full of them. Daemon is the kind of guy I always fall for in books, he is arrogant and rude but his love for his sister shows a glimpse of a softer side. I completely fell for him and his sarcastic comments.

Katy's a book blogger.
So this isn't exactly a fundamental aspect to the story but I absolutely loved that Katy is a book lover and runs a blog. As well as making her incredibly relatable as a character, I loved the mentions of blog related things, like memes for example. It just added a little something extra to the story and made me love Katy even more.

My one tiny little issue - the whole alien thing.
I feel like the whole alien aspect just needs to be explained a little more. I don't really understand everything that was explained to us. I don't know if things maybe get explained in more detail in the next books in the series, or maybe I just need to concentrate a bit more.

Overall, this was a great first book in the series. It was great fun with an intriguing plot that makes me want to know more. I'm interested to see where the story will go now and can't wait to find out, and get more of these great characters, in the rest of the series.

Wednesday, 7 June 2017

Wrap Up & Haul | May 2017

This year need to slow down already! I can't believe we're in June and I'm planning all of my mid-year posts already. May was a pretty busy month for me, despite being on holiday from uni, and things seems to just keep getting busier. Although I was very busy, I did manage to read a good amount and slightly made up for my terrible couple of months previous. I read a total of 7 books in May, with one being very short. I don't think I did too badly.


Windfall by Jennifer E Smith -
I received this for review from Netgalley and I was so excited as it was one of my most anticipated book of the year. I have really enjoyed a lot of Jennifer E Smith's books and this one was no different. It's about a girl who buys her best friend, who she is in love with, a lottery ticket for his birthday and he ends up winning. It was a really cute, fun read that dealt with some more serious topics within a not-so-serious storyline.
Rating: 4/5 | Review

Heart Of The Matter by Emily Giffin -
This book sat on my shelf for at least 5 years so the fact that I have finally read it gives me such a sense of accomplishment. Unfortunately, I didn't enjoy this book. I loved Emily Giffin's Something Borrowed and Something Blue, both of which I read a good 5/6 years ago, but this was a disappointment. I found it boring and had an issue with the cheating aspect, which I talked about in my review.
Rating: 2/5 | Review | ATY Challenge: #9 In the middle of your TBR

One Of Us Is Lying by Karen M McManus -
This was another book I received from Netgalley. This was a high school murder mystery surrounding a student being murdered in detention with four other students in the room and considered suspects. This was another very enjoyable read. It was more of a fun mystery than I am used to, however it did take a surprising dark turn towards the end that I liked. It didn't blow me away and I wasn't a fan of the romance, but it did make me want to keep turning the page and know what happened.
Rating: 3.5/5 | Review 

I Still Remember by Priya Prithviraj -
I received this very short book from the author for review. This is only around 30 pages and follows a girl who is having to deal with a boy she once loved coming back into her life. I really liked that this was set in Korea but I needed it to be longer. I didn't feel like there was enough development of the characters or the plot within such few pages and I needed more information.
Rating: 2/5 | Review

Obsidian by Jennifer L Armentrout -
It finally happened! I have had this book in countless monthly/seasonal/yearly TBRs and just never picked it up, until now. I don't know why I hadn't picked it up sooner because I really enjoyed it. It's often described as Twilight with aliens, which I understand now, but I wouldn't let that put you off if you're not a Twilight fan. This was such a fun read, especially as I love hate-to-love romance and arrogant 'bad boys'. I can't wait to continue with this series.
Rating: 4/5 | Review To Come | ATY Challenge: #18 A really long book (600+ pages) (Lux: Beginnings)

With Malice by Eileen Cook -
A lot of people were talking about this book towards the end of last year and it was the hype, and partly the cover, that made me want to read this. I think the hype raised my expectations for this book and it sadly didn't meet them. It isn't a bad book by any means, I really enjoyed the mystery and the unreliability of our narrator given her memory problems, but it wasn't as great as others had claimed. I loved that it was somewhat set in Italy and the lack of romance was very refreshing. The ending through me a bit though, I'm not even sure if I liked it or not.
Rating: 3/5 | Review To Come | ATY Challenge: #22 By an author you haven't read before

The Fill-In Boyfriend by Kasie West -
Is it even summer if I don't read a Kasie West book? She is one of my favourite authors so of course I loved this book just as much as everything else I have read from her. This is the typical get someone to pretend to be your boyfriend story that has been pretty common, especially in movies, over the years. I was expecting this to be my least favourite of her books because of this but I think it was done really well. It was a really cute, fun story with great characters and a focus on friendship, specifically realising whether a friendship is good for you or not. 
Rating: 4/5 | Review To Come | ATY Challenge: #31 From a sub-genre of your favourite genre

I didn't do quite as well with my book buying, or lack of, as I did with the books I read. I did stick to the not buying physical books until I had read 5 books, however I did buy an ebook and received two eARCs from Netgalley on top of the two physical books I was allowed to buy.

Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge - I plan to read this for one of my Around The Year In 52 Books challenges so when I was bored at the airport and decided to browse the books, I picked this one up when I saw it.

When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi - I have seen a lot of people that have read and loved this recently and as I want to read more non-fiction I thought I would give it a go.

When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon - I received this from Netgalley. This sounds like such a great summer read and I have heard great things about it.

Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher - I also received this from Netgalley, I'm assuming because of the popularity of the TV show. I want to watch the show but need to read the book first.

The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo by Steig Larsson - This is another book I am planning to read for an Around The Year In 52 Books challenge. It was on offer for just 99p on Kindle so I picked it up.

I hope you had a great reading month as well. What was your favourite read of May?

Sophie :)

Tuesday, 6 June 2017

Top Ten Tuesday | Ten Contemporary Books I've Recently Added To My TBR

 photo 33l1evt_zpsft11yfs4.jpg

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

This week's theme is 'ten books from X genre that I've recently added to my TBR list'. As contemporary is my favourite genre, and it's definitely what I've been gravitating towards recently, it is the first genre that came to mind. So here are the ten most recent contemporary books I have added to my Goodreads TBR.

1. When It's Real by Erin Watt - Anything with a famous guy/average girl romance I am all over!


2. They Both Die At The End by Adam Silvera - I haven't read any Adam Silvera before but he is raved about! This is the one of his books that sounds most interesting to me.

3. The Loose Ends List by Carrie Firestone - A round-the-world cruise was all it took for me to know I need to read this book.

4. Kill All Happies by Rachel Cohn - This is a pretty recent release about a graduation party but the thing that drew me in is that they find an abandoned theme park!

5. The Last Thing You Said by Sara Biren - Summer, small town, romance and grief - sounds like the perfect summer read to me.

6. Fireworks by Katie Cotugno - I think I have all of Katie Cotugno's books on my Goodreads but haven't read any of them. This one is about music and set in the 90s, which sounds amazing!

7. Countless by Karen Gregory - This is definitely a more serious contemporary, which deals with pregnancy while suffering from an eating disorder.

8. 26 Kisses by Anna Michels - The first line of the Goodreads synopsis says 'Kasie West meets Morgan Matson' and that is all I need to convince me. This is about a girl who sets out to kiss 26 boys whose names start with each letter of the alphabet.

9. #famous by Jilly Gagnon - The fact that someone wrote a book inspired by Alex from Target is amazing, I need to read this.

10. Girl Out Of Water by Laura Silverman - If a book involves the main character looking after young kids I am interested straight away. In this book, our main character moves to Nebraska for the summer and has to look after her younger cousins.

What contemporary books have you added to your TBR recently?

Sophie :)