Friday, 16 March 2018

Bullet Point Reviews | Catching Up

After thinking I was doing really well with being up to date with reviews at the moment, I recently discovered a file full of notes on books that I have read over the last 2 years but completely forgot to review. I thought the best thing to do with these books is to do some more bullet point reviews, in which I give brief bullet point notes that I made about the books shortly after I finished reading them. This might not be the most helpful in getting my opinions across but I guess it's better than nothing.

Image and video hosting by TinyPicLying About Last Summer by Sue Wallman
Published On: May 5, 2016
Published By: Scholastic
Genre: YA, Mystery, Thriller
Pages: 272
Format: Paperback
Source: Bought
Rating: ★★★★
Amazon | Goodreads

- This reminded me of We Were Liars by E Lockhart. The story was completely different but it had the same feel to it.
- This was a very unique take on loss and grief. Using a camp for troubled teens as a way of exploring grief was very interesting and different to anything I have read before.
- I really enjoyed reading about the camp is it brought back memories of various camps I have attended over the years.
- I found the characters to be very interesting and well-written; I didn't know who to trust.
- I really enjoyed the mystery aspect of this book. We had two mysteries being uncovered simultaneously, both what happened last summer and who was sending the messages. I liked the way these were developed and revealed throughout the book.
- The ending was very gripping and quite surprising, it was not at all what I had been expecting.

Image and video hosting by TinyPicThe Summer I Turned Pretty by Jenny Han
Series: The Summer I Turned Pretty #1
Published On: May 5, 2009
Published By: Simon & Schuster
Genre: YA, Contemporary
Pages: 276
Format: Paperback
Source: Bought
Rating: ★★★
Amazon | Goodreads

- Okay, average read.
- Good for a summer beach read.
- I liked the characters but I didn't love them. They were nothing particularly special.
- I didn't care for the relationships and the love triangle, which is basically the main aspect of the story, was annoying.
- I would have liked more to the story than the relationship drama. There were some other things going on throughout the book but they didn't seem to get as much attention as the love triangle.

Image and video hosting by TinyPicThe Accident Season by Moira Fowley-Doyle
Published On: August 18, 2015
Published By: Corgi Children's
Genre: YA, Magical Realism, Paranormal
Pages: 282
Format: Paperback
Source: Bought
Rating: ★★
Amazon | Goodreads

- This was not my cup of tea.
- It would be a great Halloween read, however I read it in the summer.
- The first half of the book bored me.
- I didn't like the characters and I really didn't like the relationships.
- I saw 90% of the plot coming, and those things that I did not see coming were quite underwhelming.
- I didn't like the writing style at all. It seemed very informal at times and words like 'amn't' were used frequently, which I know is an Irish (and Scottish) word and the author is Irish, but I didn't like it.
- I may have enjoyed it more had I read it at a more suitable time, like in October, but at the time I did read it, I didn't enjoy it.

Image and video hosting by TinyPicYou by Caroline Kepnes
Series: You #1
Published On: September 25, 2014
Published By: Simon & Schuster
Genre: Adult, Thriller
Pages: 424
Format: Paperback
Source: Bought
Rating: ★★★
Amazon | Goodreads

- This was unique, creepy and intriguing. It was unlike anything I have ever read before.
- It focuses strongly on our obsession with social media and emphasises the dangers that this poses, which is very relevant to today's society and made it even creepier.
- I found it very interesting to be reading from the perspective of the stalker. It gave a real insight into the mind of the 'bad guy'.
- It was extremely explicit, with a lot of sex and violence throughout, so I definitely wouldn't recommend it if that kind of thing bothers you.
- I got a bit bored after a while. This book didn't seem to grab me the way it did for many others, which was a little disappointing.
- The best thing about this book was definitely the writing. I loved the second person narrative, it really added to the creepy feel of the book and worked so effectively with the story.

As you can see, I had more to say about some than I had about others and having read many of them quite a while ago, I couldn't really add much to my thoughts. I hope you got a good idea of my opinions of these books though, I think I made that quite clear. Have you read any of these books? What did you think of them?

Sophie :)

Tuesday, 13 March 2018

Top Ten Tuesday | Top Ten Books That Surprised Me

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

This week's theme is books that surprised you, either in a good or bad way. I often go into books with certain expectations and on many occasions have been surprised by the book either not meeting those expectations or completely exceeding them. Today I decided to share 5 books that surprised me in a good way and 5 that surprised me in not such a good way.

The Good

1. Harry Potter And The Cursed Child by JK Rowling, John Tiffany & Jack Thorne - So many people hated this book, particularly hard core Harry Potter fans, but I absolutely loved it! I wasn't expecting to at all given all the negative things I had heard.

2. Allegiant by Veronica Roth - Again, I had heard so many negative things about this one. Everyone complains about the end of this book and I've heard many people say this book ruins the series. However, I thought the ending was really appropriate and this may be my favourite book of the series.

3. Where She Went by Gayle Forman - I need to stop listening to other people because this is another one I wasn't expecting to like due to what other people were saying about it. I didn't love the prequel If I Stay (I much prefer the movie) but wanted to give the sequel a go and absolutely loved it.

4. Bridget Jones' Baby by Helen Fielding - After being really disappointed by Bridget Jones' Diary, the first book in this series, I decided not to bother continuing. However, I then received this book for Christmas after loving the movie so decided to skip the others in the series and try out this one. I had such low expectations but ended up devouring it in one sitting and loving it.

5. My Lady Jane by Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton & Jodi Meadows - As historical fiction isn't my genre of choice, I wasn't expecting to like this. I lowered my expectations even more when I discovered there were some fantasy elements to the story. However, it was so well written and funny that I ended up really enjoying it.

The Not-So-Good

6. Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell - I really enjoyed everything I had read from Rainbow Rowell before reading this and as so many people claim this as their favourite of her books, I was expecting great things. I ended up really disliking this book, I was so disappointed.

7. All I Know Now by Carrie Hope Fletcher - I adore Carrie and wanted to love this book just as much but I was disappointed. I found that she came across as preachy and annoying, which I know she isn't in real life.

8. Nineteen Minutes by Jodi Picoult - I'm so interested in books about school shootings (it's strange, I don't know why) so I expected to love this book. Instead, I'm still shocked I didn't just DNF it. I found it really boring and unnecessarily long.

9. Confessions Of A Shopaholic by Sophie Kinsella - This is such a well-loved series, I was obviously going to love it, right? That's what I thought but that didn't end up being the case. I really disliked the main character, which meant I didn't enjoy the book at all.

10. Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher - Another super popular book that so many people seem to love. I wanted to read this before watching the show, which people also seem to love, and was so disappointed. I hated this book. There are so many things I had issues with that I can't even get into all of them just now.

Those were my ten books that surprised me, both in a good way and in a bad way. Did any of the books I mentioned surprise you? 

Sophie :)

Monday, 12 March 2018

Review | Simon vs The Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli

Image and video hosting by TinyPicSimon vs The Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli
Published On: April 7, 2015
Published By: Penguin
Genre: YA, Contemporary
Pages: 303
Format: eBook
Source: Bought
Rating: ★★★★

Amazon | Goodreads

Sixteen-year-old and not-so-openly gay Simon Spier prefers to save his drama for the school musical. But when an email falls into the wrong hands, his secret is at risk of being thrust into the spotlight. Now Simon is actually being blackmailed: if he doesn’t play wingman for class clown Martin, his sexual identity will become everyone’s business. Worse, the privacy of Blue, the pen name of the boy he’s been emailing, will be compromised. 
With some messy dynamics emerging in his once tight-knit group of friends, and his email correspondence with Blue growing more flirtatious every day, Simon’s junior year has suddenly gotten all kinds of complicated. Now, change-averse Simon has to find a way to step out of his comfort zone before he’s pushed out—without alienating his friends, compromising himself, or fumbling a shot at happiness with the most confusing, adorable guy he’s never met.

To be perfectly honest, I only picked this book up in the first place because the movie trailer looked so good that I wanted to go and see the movie as soon as I could. I had very little intention of reading this book before then, for whatever reason, but I'm glad something got me interested as I ended up really enjoying it. I can definitely see what all the hype was about, it was adorable.

I absolutely adore Simon! He is probably one of my favourite main characters I have read about so far this year. He is such a great character, who felt very real and genuine. I almost felt like I could be reading about a friend, and I spent most of the book actually wanting to be Simon's friend. I just loved him a lot and could have read about him forever.

Unlike many, however, I didn't really like Simon's friends all that much. They were fine in the beginning, they seemed like genuinely nice characters who were supportive of their friend. It was as the book progressed that my dislike formed. I didn't hate any of them but they did start to annoy me and I didn't like some of the things they were doing and the way they were treating Simon at times. It was more of an annoyance than a dislike, they definitely all had their redeeming qualities.

Simon's family, on the other hand, I absolutely loved. It was nice to read such a great family dynamic. Simon's parents were very present in the story, which is often not the case in YA, and were very supportive of Simon. His siblings were great as well and I really loved the relationship they all had with each other.

This book follows the development of an online relationship between Simon and 'Blue' and I found it a great addition to the story to have some of their emails included. This gave a real insight into their relationship and allowed the reader to see the development of their friendship as it progressed to a more romantic relationship simply through their communications. It was also great for allowing the reader to get to know Blue before his true identity was revealed.

Blue's true identity added a fun element of mystery to the story. Unfortunately, I guessed Blue's identity pretty early on in the book, which was a little bit disappointing for me. I was looking forward to a big surprising reveal - and the way in which his identity was revealed would have been perfect had I not already guessed it - but it was a little anticlimactic as his identity had been pretty obvious to me for a while.

Simon and Blue's relationship was probably the best thing about this book. Their relationship, both online and eventually in real life, was completely adorable. I loved watching it develop and was rooting for them the whole way through. I just love them together! I also really loved the fact we got to see beyond the big reveal, it just made me want to keep reading about them.

Overall, I really enjoyed this book. I had some small issues with a couple of things that annoyed me, but nothing that took away from my overall enjoyment of the story and the fantastic main character. This book was written well and the pacing was great, I will definitely be reading more from Becky Albertalli in the future.

Thursday, 8 March 2018

Top Ten | Books At The Top Of My Wishlist

Something strange is happening at the moment. I have read the required number of books to allow me to buy more (my goal for 2018 is to read 5 books before buying another) but I have little desire to buy anything. I even went into a book store the other day and left with nothing, that never happens! So what better way to get me in the mood to buy books than to make a list of the top ten books I'm desperate to get my hands on (but won't pay full price for).

1. Meet Cute by various authors - I haven't had a lot of luck with anthologies recently but this one sounds really great. It features some authors I love, and others I have been wanting to read from, and I've heard amazing things.

2. Pivot Point by Kasie West - I love Kasie West's contemporary books but I want to see how I feel about her sci-fi series. It sounds so interesting and, since I love her writing, I really think I would enjoy it.

3. Trouble by Non Pratt - After reading Unboxed at the start of the year, I am desperate to read more from Non Pratt. I'm also really interested in reading about teen pregnancy, which this book deals with.

4. This Is Where It Ends by Marieke Nijkamp - I have a strange interest in books about school shootings, I have no idea why. I read Nineteen Minutes by Jodi Picoult and hated it, so I'm really intrigued to see how I feel about this one.

5. As Long As You Love Me by Ann Aguirre - This is the sequel to I Want It That Way, which I read back in 2016 and really enjoyed. I've been wanting to continue this series ever since finishing the first book but haven't gotten around to picking up book 2.

6. Nantucket Blue by Leila Howland - This book is exactly what I'm in the mood for right now! A summer romance in a beach town, it just screams summer. I am ready for it to be summer already!

7. Exit, Pursued By A Bear by EK Johnston - I have had this book on my Christmas list for two years now but it has yet to find its way into my possession. After reading another book about sexual assault earlier in the year, I really want to read more on the topic.

8. The Nurses by Alexandra Robbins - I am obsessed with any kind of medical non-fiction, specifically nurse or doctor memoirs, and I'm pretty much just collecting all of them at the moment. I find them really interesting.

9. Shadow Kiss by Richelle Mead - This is book 3 in the Vampire Academy series, a series I have been reading for over 3 years now! I really want to finish this series but I'm in the middle of so many series that it just hasn't happened yet.

10. I'll Meet You There by Heather Demetrios - This is another book I have been wanting to get my hands on for a good few years now. I have heard so many amazing things about it and the synopsis has me desperate to pick it up for myself.

I now want to go and buy all of these books, so I guess my plan may have worked. Do any of these books need to make their way on to my shelves immediately? Which ones should I pick up first?

Sophie :)

Wednesday, 7 March 2018

Review | More Than We Can Tell by Brigid Kemmerer

Image and video hosting by TinyPicMore Than We Can Tell by Brigid Kemmerer
Published On: March 8, 2018
Published By: Bloomsbury
Genre: YA, Contemporary
Pages: 416
Format: eBook
Source: Netgalley
Rating: ★★★

Amazon | Goodreads

Rev Fletcher is battling the demons of his past. But with loving adoptive parents by his side, he’s managed to keep them at bay...until he gets a letter from his abusive father and the trauma of his childhood comes hurtling back. 
Emma Blue spends her time perfecting the computer game she built from scratch, rather than facing her parents’ crumbling marriage. She can solve any problem with the right code, but when an online troll’s harassment escalates, she’s truly afraid.
When Rev and Emma meet, they both long to lift the burden of their secrets and bond instantly over their shared turmoil. But when their situations turn dangerous, their trust in each other will be tested in ways they never expected. This must-read story will once again have readers falling for Brigid Kemmerer’s emotional storytelling.

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

First things first, it needs to be noted that this is a standalone novel! Despite many calling it a sequel to Brigid Kemmerer's 2017 release Letters To The Lost, this simply follows a character introduced in that book and can definitely be read on it's own. I had not read Letters To The Lost before picking this one up and I didn't feel like I was missing out on anything, so please don't let that put you off if you were considering giving this book a go.

This book follows two main characters with their own individual storylines. I found it very interesting to have both main characters have such complex, intense situations going on. It almost felt like the alternating POV chapters could have been two separate books merged together. In fact, at times I wished they would have been two separate books in order to find out more about each of them and dive deeper into their stories.

However, my one complaint about this book follows on from that point somewhat. I wanted more of their individual stories! Don't get me wrong, I enjoyed seeing them together and how their relationship developed, but I wanted more of their personal lives. I want to know more about Rev's family and his experiences of getting used to a new foster brother. I want to know more about Emma's relationships with her parents and her best friend. There were so many aspects to each of their lives and I don't feel they were all explored in as much depth as they could have been.

Despite enjoying both of their storylines, I didn't love both characters. I really liked Rev and loved reading from his perspective. I found his family life to be very interesting and I thought the way he handled all of the things he had to deal with was always quite understandable. He didn't always deal with things the best way but you could make sense of why he did it. He was also very easy to relate to and empathise with. Emma, on the other hand, I didn't like as much. Unlike Rev, I found didn't understand the way she dealt with things most of the time. I found her and her situation very interesting to read about but she did seem very selfish and immature at times, particularly in the way she treated her mother, which made her harder to like. I did, however, love that she was a gamer and created her own game!

I did really enjoy this book and all of the many intense situations the characters were having to deal with. However, I found some of it to be a little predictable. I didn't predict much of what went on with Rev but nothing of Emma's situation came as a surprise to me. I wasn't at all surprised by the ending, which was disappointing as I think it could have been a real shock moment had I not already worked out what was coming.

Overall, this was a good read with some darker, intense aspects as well as a pretty cute romance. The plot had a lot going on and didn't go quite as in depth as I would have liked in many areas, however it was fast paced, making it a quick read. While I did enjoy the book, it didn't bring anything new and didn't blow me away.

Saturday, 3 March 2018

Down The TBR Hole | Round 3

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

Image and video hosting by TinyPicThe Carrie Diaries by Candace Bushnell

This is essentially the Sex And The City prequel, following Carrie Bradshaw as a teenager. I've never read Sex And The City, nor have I watched the TV show yet so I don't even know why this is on my TBR. I'll never read it.

Judgement: Go

Image and video hosting by TinyPic
The Pact by Jodi Picoult

In true heartbreaking Jodi Picoult style, this book is about a suicide pact. I want to read and love this like I did My Sisters' Keeper but after how much I hated Nineteen Minutes, I've pretty much given up on her books. I might change my mind about this one in the future but for now I think I'm accepting that I probably won't read this book.

Judgement: Go

Image and video hosting by TinyPicThe Book Of Tomorrow by Cecelia Ahern

Cecelia Ahern is one of my favourite authors and I want to read all of her books, so I don't think I really need to say much more about this one.

Judgement: Stay

Image and video hosting by TinyPicThis Lullaby by Sarah Dessen

Am I going to have a Sarah Dessen book in every one of these? This just seems like your basic girl meets boy YA contemporary, there doesn't seem to be much else given away in the synopsis. I'm going to keep this one purely because I want to read Sarah Dessen and this is a favourite of a lot of people.

Judgement: Stay

Image and video hosting by TinyPicSeriously Cancer? I Do Not Have Time For This by Lauren Graham

I added this to my TBR when I was wanting to read more non-fiction. This is the story of a woman undergoing cancer treatment. When I added this to my TBR, I had no experience at all of cancer. Now, though, I have had more than I ever wanted to have so I would rather not read about it.

Judgement: Go

Another 3 books gone this time around. I love that this is making me really think about whether I will ever read the books on my TBR list and getting me excited about some that I had forgotten about. Let me know if you think I made the wrong decision for any the above books, I would love some input.

Sophie :)

Thursday, 1 March 2018

Wrap Up & Haul | February 2018

Oh February, what a month you have been! February has been a really hard month for me in my personal life but somehow I still managed to keep reading. Despite the obvious lack of books featured in the image below, I actually managed to read 7 books in February! That's even more than January so I'm really happy with that, even though most of them were ebooks and audiobooks and my goal for 2018 is to reduce my physical TBR. There's always next month for that though, right?

City Of Ashes by Cassandra Clare -
I finally continued The Mortal Instruments series! I read the first book back in 2016 and then, for whatever reason, never picked up the second book. I'm definitely glad I finally continued with the series, after rereading the first book last month, as I really enjoyed this second instalment. There were a few aspects of the story I didn't enjoy, like the annoying love triangle, which meant I didn't like the second book as much as the first. Hopefully the aspects of the plot I didn't love will not be as much of a focus as the series continues.
Rating: 3.5/5 | Review

The Last Laugh by Tracy Bloom -
Tracy Bloom is an author who has been a bit hit or miss for me in the past, having really enjoyed one of her books and really not enjoying another. This is her most recent release and very different to the other books of hers I have read. This book follows a woman who finds out she has terminal cancer on the same day she discovers her husband is having an affair. However, rather than face up to these things, she decides to throw a party. It was quite a strange plot, not something I have ever read before. Generally, it was nothing special, with pretty average characters, but enjoyable enough.
Rating: 3/5 | Review

Luckiest Girl Alive by Jessica Knoll -
I picked this book from my library's audiobook selection, as it was one I had previously been interested in, and I must admit I'm glad I didn't spend my money on it. I really wanted to enjoy this book, especially since it is compared to Gillian Flynn's works, but sadly did not. This book is mystery/thriller about a woman who spent much of her adult life trying to reinvent herself following a traumatic event as a teenager. I found this pretty boring and very predictable. It definitely did not live up to the Gillian Flynn comparisons, in my opinion.
Rating: 2/5 | Review To Come

They Both Die At The End by Adam Silvera -
This book has such an interesting premise: two boys receive a phone call from informing them that they are going to die today. This instantly made me want to read this book and I'm glad I did. I found the idea of knowing the day you will die really interesting and I think the whole 'living your last day as best you can' concept was done very well. The only thing I didn't love about this book was the relationship. I always have a hard time with relationships that develop over one day and this one was, sadly, not the exception.
Rating: 3.5/5 | Review To Come

Simon vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda -
I'll be completely honest here, I had no intention of reading this book until I saw the trailer for the movie and then decided to give it a go in order to go and see the movie. Whatever my reasoning behind it, I'm so glad I read this book. It was completely adorable. It follows a boy who has an online email relationship with an anonymous boy in his school, but has yet to come out to his family or friends. However, his emails are discovered by a classmate who threatens to make them public. I loved Simon and his relationship with Blue, especially what we got to see through their emails that were included in the book. I had a couple of issues with some of the other characters, but overall I really enjoyed this story and the ridiculously adorable relationship.
Rating: 4/5 | Review To Come

The Initiation by Chris Babu -
I had heard nothing about this book but as soon as I read the synopsis on Netgalley I was so intrigued. This is a YA dystopian about a young boy who enters a dangerous test within the abandoned subway tunnels of what was previously Manhattan. I enjoyed this book for the most part. I really enjoyed reading about the Initiation itself but there were other aspects of the book, particularly the main character, that I didn't enjoy.
Rating: 3/5 | Review

Weightless by Sarah Bannan -
This is a book I picked completely at random from the selection of audiobooks available through my library. I had never heard of it before but decided to give it a go. It's about a new girl who had moved to a small town in Alabama and shakes things up at her new school. It is essentially a story of bullying and how teens treat each other. I really enjoyed the way this book was written, it was told from the perspective of 'we', yet we never find out who 'we' are, and the reader is made to feel like they are involved in the story. This makes the overall message seem even more poignant. It was a good, powerful read, but nothing that blew me away.
Rating: 3/5

As well as managing to read 7 books in February, I'm also super proud of the fact I didn't buy a single physical book! I am trying to reduce my book buying again this year by only allowing myself to buy any physical books after reading 5 books. Despite reaching that second lot of 5 books, I didn't buy any! I did, however, take advantage of the Kindle Valentine's deals and treated myself to three ebooks.

Fallen Too Far by Abbi Glines - I'm really wanting to read more New Adult books this year and Abbi Glines is an author that is always recommended.

The Hating Game by Sally Thorne - Everyone I know that has read this book has absolutely loves it! It gets raved about constantly, I want to see what the fuss is about.

Instructions For A Second-Hand Heart by Tamsyn Murray - This was one of my most anticipated releases of 2016 but I never picked it up. I'm excited to get to this one!

I didn't have the best reading month in February in terms of ratings but I did read a good amount for me and even picked up some books I had never heard of. Here's hoping March will be an even better reading month.

What did you read in February? Any new favourite books?

Sophie :)