Wednesday, 17 January 2018

Review | Some Kind Of Wonderful by Giovanna Fletcher

Image and video hosting by TinyPicSome Kind Of Wonderful by Giovanna Fletcher
Published On: November 16, 2017
Published By: Michael Joseph
Genre: Adult, Contemporary, Chick-Lit
Pages: 389
Format: eBook/Hardcover
Source: Netgalley/Bought
Rating: ★★★★

Amazon | Goodreads

Lizzy and Ian have been a couple since their first day at university. Now, after celebrating a decade together, everyone thinks they're about to get engaged. A romantic escape to Dubai is the perfect moment, but instead of the proposal Lizzy hopes for, Ian reveals he's not sure he even wants her anymore. 
Lizzy is heartbroken. But through the tears, she realises this is her chance to seize the opportunities she missed as Ian's other half. But what does she want? How much of her is really Lizzy, and how much was Ian's influence? Determined to discover who she is at heart, Lizzy sets out to rediscover the girl she was before - and in the meantime, have a little fun . . .

*A copy of this book was (initially) provided by the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review (but it was so good I bought my own copy anyway)*

I had been wanting to read a book by Giovanna Fletcher for far too long before I picked this one up, I even owned all of her published works, however, I had never gotten around to reading them. As soon as I read the synopsis for Some Kind Of Wonderful, I knew this was going to be the one I picked up first as it sounded exactly like something I would enjoy. I love Giovanna as a person (her Youtube channel is one of my favourites) so, of course, I really wanted to love this book. To my relief, I really did love this book.

The story follows Lizzy who, after a ten year relationship with her university boyfriend, finds herself back in her family home with a broken heart and no idea who she is outwith the relationship. While this isn't the most unique story, it felt like I was reading this situation for the first time. There was something new and fresh about the way the story was told that stopped this from becoming just another version of the many similar books out there. 

This was not a particularly plot-driven book, there wasn't a lot of action and adventure, but it kept my attention and made me want to keep reading. For me, it was a very chilled, relaxing read. The plot kept moving but at a steady pace with the characters driving the story, and some interesting subplots thrown in along the way to keep things interesting.

Lizzy goes on such a journey throughout this book that it's hard not to connect to her character. She is an average woman struggling with the no longer being 'Ian's girlfriend' and having to discover how to be Lizzy, which is a struggle many, myself included, can relate to. Her character growth was incredible - from being so insecure while in her relationship and hiding behind her boyfriend to learning to be comfortable in her own skin and confident as herself - and it was something I found so inspiring. I wish I had read this book when I was in Lizzy's situation as I think it would have been exactly what I needed to read.

The characters were the real highlight of this book. Not only was Lizzy a great main character, every other character in this book was great. There were no unlikeable characters, even the ex-boyfriend and the, sometimes rather annoying, younger sister had their redeeming qualities. We had a great cast of characters, a lovely family dynamic and a hilarious friendship, I couldn't have asked for anything more.

Overall, this book just made me want to read everything else Giovanna has ever written. I was so relieved to discover I loved her writing as much as I love her as a person but I shouldn't be surprised. This book was just as beautiful and inspiring as the author herself and I would urge anyone who has struggled, or is struggling, through a difficult breakup to pick up this book. I related so much to the story and it was one of those books that really made me think and has stayed with me long after I finished the last page.

Wednesday, 10 January 2018

2018 | Reading & Blogging Goals

It's that time of year again where I make a list of goals for the year that I will likely have forgotten about by March. I really enjoy setting myself these goals I'm just not great at sticking with them. I have decided not to do any specific challenges in 2018, such as the Around The Year challenge I took part in last year, as I started to feel quite restricted in my reading. Instead, this year I plan to set myself a few goals that will encourage me to read certain things, but not restrict my reading as much.

Goodreads Reading Challenge
As always, I have set myself the goal of 50 books. I managed it a few years ago and got very close again last year. This year is pretty unpredictable and could get very, very busy so I don't want to push myself too much. If I meet my goal that's great but I won't be annoyed if I don't.

Finish 5 Series
I started loads of series in 2017, leaving me with a lot of unfinished series. I doubt I'll finish 5, to be honest, but that seems like a good number to aim for. I'll be happy enough just to make progress with a lot of the series I have been in the middle of for a while.

Listen To 5 Audiobooks
I listened to 8 last year but all of them were in the first half of the year. I don't want to go back to being away from audiobooks completely so to listen to at least 5 would be great, and would definitely help with my Goodreads goal when life gets too busy to sit and read a physical book. 

Re-Read 5 Books
I love re-reading my favourite books but I have rarely done so for the past few years. I really want to make this a priority this year, particularly as I feel it really helps with reading slumps. Again, I'm just going with 5 as it seems like a good number but I would love to manage more than that.

Read 5 Before Buying
I tried this last year and was pretty successful for the first few months, until I stopped buying books for a while and it all got a bit confusing. I would like to try this again for 2018 but I would settle for just generally cutting back on my book buying.

Physical TBR Under 100
This is another goal I had for last year that I didn't manage. My physical TBR is currently sitting at around 130 so I have a bit of an easier task than last years 180. I have a lot of eBooks and audiobooks to get to as well, however the main goal here is to give myself some more shelf space.

Blog Consistently
I think this will end up being a goal every year. I usually start out the year pretty well but life just gets crazy. I want to make more of an effort to plan my blog posts and write them in advance to make it easier for when I don't have a lot of free time.

Revamp Reviews
I'm bored of the way I review books and would like to do something about it. This is very vague just now as I don't have a clue what to do to change them, but I know I want to do something.

I would like to give this another go. I failed miserably last year but I love Instagram so it would be great to have an active Bookstagram alongside this blog.

I tried to have less this year but I don't think I managed somehow. Hopefully I will be more successful this year than I have been previously but we'll have to wait and see.

What are your reading goals for 2018?

Sophie :)

Tuesday, 9 January 2018

Top Ten Tuesday | Top Ten Books I Meant To Get To In 2017 But Didn't

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 Top Ten Tuesday, the last one hosted by The Broke And The Bookish before it moves to That Artsy Reader Girl next week, is one that I could write an endless list about. The theme is books you meant to read in 2017 but didn't get to and, to be perfectly honest, that is basically every book on my shelves for me! However, I have managed to narrow it down to the ten I really should have got to last year.

1. Cinder by Marissa Meyer - I have lost count of how many times I have said this book is my top priority for the year, yet I still have not read it. I am ashamed.

2. City Of Ashes by Cassandra Clare - I want to finish this series but for some reason I'm just not picking up this book. I read City Of Bones in 2016, I need to get to this!

3. Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn - There is no good explanation for why I haven't read this book despite being desperate to read it after reading Dark Places two whole years ago.

4. By Your Side by Kasie West - One of my most anticipated books of 2017 and it has sat on my shelf since the day it was published. 

5. The Names They Gave Us by Emery Lord - Everyone loved it and I was so looking forward to getting my hands on it. I did but I still haven't read it.

6. Wilde Like Me by Louise Pentland - I went to a signing for this book and go so excited for it while hearing Louise talk about it. I even promised her I was going to start it as soon as I got home. That didn't happen.

7. UnSouled by Neal Shusterman - I just need to finish this series already! I've been reading it forever and was sure I would finish it in 2017 but never did.

8. The Hanging Girl by Eileen Cook - I got an ARC of this from Netgalley and everything but I still haven't read it. I guess this makes me a bad blogger as well.

9. It Ends With Us by Colleen Hoover - I was definitely going to read a Colleen Hoover book in 2017. I didn't.

10. The Great Gatsby by F Scott Fitzgerald - Every year I say I'll read at least one classic. Every year I say it will be this one. Every year I read no classics.

If I don't read all of these books by the end of 2018, someone please shout at me! I don't even know why I haven't read all of these yet, other than the fact that I just have too many books I want to read and not enough time to do it in.

What books did you mean to read in 2017 and didn't manage to?

Sophie :)

Monday, 8 January 2018

2017 | Reading Challenge Wrap Up

Are you ready to see how many of my 2017 goals and challenges I completely failed, or just forgot about? I struggled to stay interested in my 2017 challenges and that has lead to me to change my plans for this year, but more about that another time.

Goodreads Challenge - 50 Books
Oh I was so close! I was way ahead of my goal for the majority of 2017 and then life got in the way towards the end of the year. I tried to read super short books for the last week or so in December but still only managed to read 49 books. I'm disappointed that it was so close to my goal but it was much better than 2016 and with everything going on throughout the year, I don't think I did too badly. 49/50

Around The Year In 52 Books
I had great intentions of sticking to this challenge and I was doing so well. However, about half way through the year I felt very restricted in what I could read as I was trying to read only books that fit into the categories for this challenge. I just wanted to read whatever I was in the mood for, which is what I ended up doing. I managed 38 of the 52 challenges. 38/52

Get My Physical TBR Under 100 Books
This didn't happen. My physical TBR is currently sitting at about 130 and considering it was at around 150 this time last year, I didn't really make much progress. I didn't really try very hard to complete this goal so I think it is something I will need to look at this year.

Read 5 Before Buying
This was working really well at the start of the year. I was allowing myself to buy no more than 2 books every time I read 5 and I didn't have a problem with that. However, I eventually just forgot about the rule I had set myself but I wasn't buying many books anyway. Though I may not have kept this going, I did cut down on my book buying a lot.

Read More Ebooks
This one I definitely succeeded with! I read 17 ebooks in 2017, which is almost double the amount I read the year before. This is largely to do with Netgalley but I have been making a conscious effort to read a mix of ebooks and physical books each month.

Read More Series
I didn't set myself a goal of finishing or continuing with specific series, which is good as I would not have been successful with that, but just to read more books in series in general. I ended up reading 19 books in series, most of which were first books in series. I wanted this goal to encourage me to continue with series I had been reading for a while but that didn't really happen.

Get Back Into Audiobooks
This is one of the reasons I managed to get as close to my Goodreads goal as I did. I ended up listening to 8 audiobooks in 2017, which I am very happy about considering I didn't listen to any in 2016. I'm hoping to keep this up in 2018.

Read What I Want
It's ironic that I made this one of my goals for 2017, as it is one thing I felt I wasn't able to do. I felt very restricted, as I mentioned, due to some of the other challenges and I ended up falling into reading slumps because of that.

Blog More Consistently
I was a much better blogger in 2017 than the previous year, however I stopped blogging consistently around September as life just got in the way. I am still trying to get that balance between blogging, reading, uni and my personal life but I think I managed a bit better in 2017.

Have More Variety On My Blog
I tried to do more discussion posts and more varied content but this stopped when I started getting too busy that it was hard enough just getting the usual posts done. I'm happy I managed some different content but this is another thing I'll have to work on.

Keep Up To Date With Reviews
Again, I managed this pretty well until my blog fell to the bottom of the priority pile. I'm impressed that I kept up to date for so long, I did much better than I have in any other year of blogging.

Didn't happen. I failed miserably with this one. I will try harder in 2018.

I was sure I had tried to make less goals and challenges for myself in 2017 but it doesn't seem like it when they're all listed like that. I definitely need to be more relaxed in 2018. How did you do with your reading goals?

Sophie :)

Sunday, 7 January 2018

Top Six | Most Disappointing Books Of 2017

I rated 10 of 49 books less than 2 stars in 2017. That means a fair few disappointing reads. Unfortunately, some of the books I read in 2017 were not for me and many of those were ones I genuinely thought I would really enjoy. Some I didn't expect great things from in the first place but the six that made this list were those I really expected more from.

1. Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell
I wanted to love this. I expected to love this. I did not love this. So many people love this book and for many it is their favourite of Rainbow Rowell's works. Sadly, I could not see the appeal. There was just too much I didn't like about this but mainly I just found it boring and hated the characters.

2. Heart Of The Matter by Emily Giffin
I really enjoyed the two of Emily Giffin's books I had read previously so expected to enjoy this one as well. I know many people have an issue with her books as they commonly feature cheating and that is never usually a huge problem of mine, however I couldn't get past it in this book. So many aspects of this story were so inappropriate and uncomfortable to read about that I couldn't enjoy it.

3. All I Know Now by Carrie Hope Fletcher
I love Carrie, I really do, and I wanted to love this book. I know I'm older than the targeted age and that the advice no longer really applied to me, but even as a teenager I know I would not have enjoyed this book. It felt very preachy and as though she was trying to sound better than everyone else, which I genuinely don't think is anything like Carrie herself. I still love her and she is one of the nicest people I have ever met, but this book wasn't for me.

4. There You'll Find Me by Jenny B Jones
Jenny B Jones wrote one of my favourite series, the Katie Parker Productions series, and after finishing that I couldn't wait to read some of her other stuff. This is one of her most popular books so I decided to give it a go. Now I almost wish I hadn't. This book tried to be way too many things and couldn't pull them off. All of the many story lines ended up falling flat, but what was more disappointing is that a few of them could have made a really great story without all the others thrown in.

5. Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher
Everyone loves this book. WHY? This book made me so unbelievably angry. My first Jay Asher book, What Light, was one of my favourites of 2016 so that combined with the hype surrounding this book, I expected way more. This book is not the way to portray suicide and, quite frankly, I think it's potentially harmful.

6. All We Have Is Now by Lisa Schroeder
This was my lowest rated book of the year. I didn't really know what to expect going into it but I didn't expect it to be as bad as it was. For a book about the world being about to end, this was boring. The characters were horrible, the story wasn't executed well and the ending was awful.

I've finished complaining now, I promise. Here's to less disappointing books in 2018! Have you read any of the books I mentioned? What did you think of them?

Sophie :)

Friday, 5 January 2018

Top Ten | Favourite Books Of 2017

I always think I've has a pretty bad reading year until it comes to narrowing down my favourites of the year. I thought I would struggle with this list a I had only rated two books above 4 stars (not including re-reads) in 2017. However, as it turns out, many of my 4 star reads were real contenders for favourites of the year. In the end, I gave up trying to narrow it down to my top five so top ten it is.

1. Harry Potter and The Cursed Child by JK Rowling, John Tiffany & Jack Thorne
As my only 5 star read of the year, this obviously has to take the top stop. Everyone knows what this book is about, it is essentially the eight Harry Potter, though many will disagree with that. Despite hearing many mixed reviews, I ended up loving this. I'm not a Harry Potter super-fan so many of the problems others had with the book regarding inaccuracies and the like were not things I picked up on while reading, therefore didn't affect my enjoyment in any way. I found it to be great fun to read and I am now desperate to see the play.

2. The Book Thief by Marcus Zusak
This is the only other book on this list in any kind of order and another super popular one. This is a historical fiction novel following a young German girl during World War II. I had been putting off reading this book due to the hype surrounding it but I am very glad I gave in and read it eventually. This is a very emotional but incredibly powerful and important read and, while I know it will not be everyone's cup of tea, it is a book I think everyone should at least give a go.

3. Me Before You by Jojo Moyes
Yet another book I put off reading due to the hype, I'm starting to think maybe I shouldn't do that! This book follows a young woman who takes a job working for a man who has been left wheelchair-bound following an accident. There has been quite a lot of controversy surrounding this book and the movie adaptation, which I discussed here, however, I really loved both the book and the movie, despite both ripping my heart out and leaving me an emotional wreck.

4. Pushing The Limits by Katie McGarry
I definitely need to stop putting off books because of the hype! The Pushing The Limits series is one I heard talked about constantly when I first discovered the Booktube and book blogging community. The first book in the series follows Echo and Noah, two seemingly very different teenagers who form an unlikely relationship. I adored this book. I flew through all 400+ pages in what felt like no time at all and just didn't want it to finish.

5. Things We Know by Heart by Jessi Kirby
Unlike all of the previous books on this list, I picked this one up on a whim having heard nothing about it before. It is about a girl who loses her boyfriend and tries to find the recipient of his heart after his organs are donated. I thought this would be an odd, uncomfortable story to read about but it was written so well that it didn't feel that way at all.

6. Perfect by Cecelia Ahern
This was my most anticipated release of the year and it did not disappoint. This is the sequel to Flawed, Cecelia Ahern's YA debut, and the conclusion of the duology. I didn't love the second book quite as much as the first, mainly due to situations being recapped too many times, but I did really enjoy it. It was a fun read and a good ending to the series.

7. The Fill-In Boyfriend by Kasie West
I love Kasie West so it's pretty much expected that her books will likely feature in every favourites of the year post. This is a YA contemporary about a girl whose boyfriend breaks up with her outside her prom and she decides to make a deal with the first boy she comes across to pretend to be her ex-boyfriend. It is a bit predictable and cliched but I really enjoyed it. It was a fun, lighthearted read, which was exactly what I needed at the time I read it.

8. Some Kind Of Wonderful by Giovanna Fletcher
I had been wanting to read Giovanna's books for ages now but just never picked one up until her most recent release. I didn't know what to expect but I ended up really loving this book. It follows a woman whose romantic proposal on the beach ends in a break up and she must learn how to be herself after a long relationship. I related quite a bit to the main character which helped me to connect with her and really appreciate her struggles and her growth. I definitely want to read more of her books now.

9. The Unexpected Everything by Morgan Matson
I've been working my way through Morgan Matson's books for the past couple of years and this was the last one of her books, not including those under her pseudonym, that I had still to read. This book is about a girl whose politician father becomes involved in scandal causing her summer plans to change suddenly. Despite feeling like not a whole lot happened in this book, I couldn't stop reading it. It was one of those books that didn't need a lot of plot as it was very character driven, and what great characters they were.

10. PS I Like You by Kasie West
Yes, even my least favourite Kasie West book is so good it makes it into my favourites of the year. This book follows a girl who starts an anonymous pen pal relationship with a boy who shares her desk. This is my least favourite Kasie West book as it was a little slow to start and harder for me to get into that her other books, but by the end I was in love. The relationship is adorable and it had me swooning on more than one occasion.

Those are my ten favourite books I read in 2017. Are any of your favourite books on the list? Did you read any of these books and have different opinions to me?

Sophie :)

Thursday, 4 January 2018

2017 | Bookish Statistics

As I have done for the past couple of years, I have compiled some of my reading statistics for the past year to share with anyone who, like myself, finds statistics strangely interesting. I'm using the same little survey as I used last year, many parts of which have been borrowed from similar posts by other bloggers over the years.

Number Of Books Read...
- In Total: 49
- Under 250 Pages: 11
- Between 251-399: 28
- Between 400-449: 5
- Between 450-499: 3
- Over 500: 2

Number Of Pages Read...
- In Total: 14, 930

Number Of...
- Hardcovers: 9
- Paperbacks: 15
- eBooks: 17
- Audiobooks: 8
- Re-Reads: 1
- DNFs: 4

Number Of Books Rated...
- 5 Stars: 2
- 4.5 Stars: 1
- 4 Stars: 16
- 3.5 Stars: 3
- 3 Stars: 17
- 2.5 Stars: 1
- 2 Stars: 8
- 1.5 Stars: 1
- 1 Star: 0

Authors Read...
- Male: 7
- Female: 38
- Mixed: 4

- Adult: 14
- New Adult: 0
- Young Adult: 38
- Children's: 1
- Most Read Genre: YA Contemporary

This & That

- Longest By Pages: The Book Thief by Marcus Zusak
- Shortest By Title: You by Caroline Kepnes
- Longest From Buying To Reading: Heart Of The Matter by Emily Giffin
- Shortest From Buying To Reading: Perfect by Cecelia Ahern

- First Read Of 2017: The Book Thief by Marcus Zusak
- Last Read Of 2017: Dash & Lily's Book Of Dares by Rachel Cohn & David Levithan
- First On Your Bookcase: Life And Death: Twilight Reimagined by Stephenie Meyer
- Last On Your Bookcase: No Place To Hide by Susan Lewis

I really love looking at my reading year in this way and breaking down all the statistics. I find this very helpful in setting my goals for the coming year. My star ratings from last year are particularly interesting to me, for example, as they seem to be lower on average than the last few years. This suggests to me there might be something I need to work on in 2018.

Sophie :)