Thursday, 12 October 2017

TBR | October 2017

I know we're already well into October now so I'm very late sharing my TBR but with the lead up to Halloween I thought I would share some of the seasonally appropriate books I plan to read in the next few weeks. I absolutely love reading thrillers around this time of year and have been stocking up on some throughout the year to pick up this month. I am super busy at the moment though so I may struggle with this list, I suppose this is not so much a TBR as 'books I think I might like to pick up this month'.

The Hanging Girl by Eileen Cook - This is her newest book being published in October, and after quite enjoying With Malice I can't wait to get to this one. I already have a copy of this through Netgalley so this is one I definitely need to get to this month. I really don't know what this is about but I know it involves a tarot card reader and a kidnapping.

You by Caroline Kepnes - I have been desperate to pick this up for the longest time but have never gotten around to it. This is my top priority for this month. All I know about this is it's about a guy who stalks a woman he meets in a bookstore and it is written in second person.

Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn - This is the last of Gillian Flynn's currently published works that I have to read and is another one I have been desperate to read for a while now, definitely about top priority. This is about a journalist who returns to her home town to cover the murder of two young girls and if faced with her own past that she has to deal with.

The Husband's Secret by Liane Moriarty - I have had this sitting on my shelves for so long and still haven't picked it up. I have heard such great things about Liane Moriarty's writing, particularly recently with the success of the adaptation of another of her novels, so I am excited to get to this one. This is about a woman who finds a letter written by her husband, for her to open after he has died, which reveals his darkest secret. However, he is still alive.

Those are the four that I definitely would like to pick up if I have the time. However, I do have some more on the list that I would like to pick up if I get to all of them (not likely). This is where I need some help. Which of these books do I absolutely need to pick up if I have some extra reading time this month? The list includes:

What are you planning on reading this month? Do you like to read thrillers around the Halloween season?

Sophie :)

Monday, 9 October 2017

Review | Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher

Image and video hosting by TinyPicThirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher
Published On: August 6, 2009 (Originally 2007)
Published By: Penguin Random House
Genre: YA, Contemporary
Pages: 288
Format: eBook
Source: Netgalley
Rating: ★★

Amazon | Goodreads

You can't stop the future. You can't rewind the past. 
The only way to learn the secret . . . is to press play. Clay Jensen returns home from school one day to find a mysterious box with his name on it, outside his front door. Inside he discovers a series of cassette tapes recorded by Hannah Baker - his classmate and crush. Only, she committed suicide two weeks earlier. On the first tape, Hannah explains that there are 13 reasons why she did what she did - and Clay is one of them. 
If he listens, Clay will find out how he made the list - what he hears will change his life forever.

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

I think I must be one of the last people to read this book. There has been hype surrounding this book since I first got into reading and it was one of the first books I ever read a sample chapter of back when it was first popular. More recently, though, with the success of the TV adaptation, the hype surrounding this book has been so crazy I felt like I had to read it to see what all the fuss was about. I mean, surely all those people couldn't be wrong, I was obviously going to love this, right? Sadly, not.

I am one of the apparently quite few people who did not love this book. In fact, I really disliked this book. I had heard some negative things in the midst of all the love so I didn't go in with very high expectations, however I was sadly still disappointed. 

This book is obviously about the thirteen reasons why Hannah decided to commit suicide. You would think, given that premise, that Hannah would be the kind of character you would feel compassion for and just generally like. Maybe I'm just heartless but I couldn't stand Hannah. She was probably one of the most annoying main characters I have ever read about and I just couldn't bring myself to feel compassion for her. Of course it was horrible that she felt the need to commit suicide, but I really didn't care about all of her problems.

I found Hannah's reasons for committing suicide completely ridiculous. I do feel quite heartless for saying that but it is true. There were a few 'reasons' explained in the tapes that were understandable and I could definitely see where the harm was cause but the majority of them seemed unreasonable. It just seemed to me that the ultimate reason for Hannah committing suicide was 'life is hard sometimes and people can be mean'. I could completely understand horrific bullying reaching such an outcome but I know a lot of people who would wish they were treated the way Hannah was rather than what they are dealing with. Maybe I missed the point but it seemed completely unreasonable to me.

While I understand they are essentially what makes the story what it is, I really did not like the idea of the tapes. These tapes that Hannah was essentially threatening people with beyond the grave, as well as Hannah's suicide in general, seemed almost like revenge. It felt to me like she was trying to get back at all these people for the things they had done to her by committing suicide and making sure they knew their part in it. It was uncomfortable to read about and, in my opinion, provided a very unhealthy representation of suicide and mental illness.

The one redeeming quality of this book for me was Clay. Clay was the only reason I didn't DNF this book. I found him and the way he handled this situation he was thrust into fascinating. I really felt for him throughout the book and thought the way he was so invested in the tapes and following Hannah's story said a lot about him as a character. I highly doubt I would have finished this book if it hadn't been for him.

Overall, I was incredibly disappointed in this book. For still being so popular over 10 years after first publication, I expected the hype surrounding it to be deserved. I definitely did not expect to dislike it as much as I did. Like I said, maybe I just missed the point but this book was most definitely not for me.

Sunday, 8 October 2017

Review | There's Someone Inside Your House by Stephanie Perkins

Image and video hosting by TinyPicThere's Someone Inside Your House by Stephanie Perkins
Published On: October 5, 2017
Published By: Pan Macmillan
Genre: YA, Horror
Pages: 289
Format: eBook
Source: Netgalley
Rating: ★★★★

Amazon | Goodreads

Over a year after her parents sent her away from Hawaii to live with her grandmother in landlocked Nebraska, Makani Young is still adjusting to her new life. She's made a small group of close friends and even flirted with romance, but her past in Hawaii is still hard to forget. 
And then . . . one by one the students of her new high school begin to die in a series of gruesome murders. Makani doesn't know who's next on the list. Between this, and a secret scorching relationship with the school weirdo, this school year may turn out to be one to die for . . . literally.

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

As Stephanie Perkins is one of my favourite authors of all time, of course this was possibly my most anticipated release of the year, meaning I had very high expectations going into it. There's Someone Inside Your House is very different to any of her previous work. She is so good at writing adorable contemporary romance stories that I love, so I was a bit unsure of how I would feel about a horror novel, something I don't typically pick up otherwise.

I feel like this book is a good introduction to the horror genre if, like me, you would normally gravitate towards a cute contemporary. It was very much like a contemporary novel with horror elements thrown in, which made it almost more familiar to me and less out of my comfort zone.

Surprisingly, I really loved the horror elements of the story. I honestly did not expect those to be the parts I enjoyed the most but I found it to be perfectly gory and creepy. I liked that the book wasn't filled with constant horror and gore but I found myself getting excited when I could tell those things were coming. I especially loved all of the creepy, interesting death and methods of killing people. Maybe I'm more of a horror fan that I like to think.

I also found it very surprising, especially for a Stephanie Perkins novel, that I didn't really like the romance. There wasn't anything particularly bad about it, the characters were fine together and it was written well, but it just didn't seem very necessary to the story. It was almost as though she was trying too hard to add in the cute relationship that she has become known for when I think the book would have been just as good without that aspect.

While I wasn't the biggest fan of the romance, I did really love the friendships. There is a really great friendship group in this book that I loved reading about. I want another book just about this friendship group before the events of this story. I especially loved that the friendship group included a transgender character, Darby, who was probably my favourite character and I so badly wanted more of him in the book, particularly as Stephanie Perkins' previous books have not had the most diverse cast of characters (please correct me if I'm wrong but no characters come to mind).

The biggest issue I had with this book was the focus on Makani's huge secret. We were constantly reminded about her troubled past and the huge secret that made her leave Hawaii. I was fed up hearing about this huge secret. It was built up so much that I expected something massive and I was incredibly disappointed. It was just odd and not necessary to the story. It felt like it was added in to the story to make the book a bit longer, fill up some extra space, but add nothing to the story.

I found it very odd that the killer was revealed half way through the book. I had to reread that part a couple of times to make sure I wasn't missing something. It took away from the mystery of the story but I did still enjoy the second half of the book despite knowing who the killer was. I just found it very strange, particularly as that has never happened in any mystery books I have read before so I was not expecting it.

I was expecting, however, a lot of things that happened in the book. It was a pretty generic 'slasher movie' plot and a lot of it was quite predictable. There were a lot of things that I could see coming from very early on in the book, like the ending, and I wasn't surprised by any of the deaths. The one thing I didn't see coming was the reveal of who the killer was.

Overall, I did really enjoy this book but with my expectations being so high, I did judge it very harshly while reading. I think it was a good first attempt at a horror novel and I am definitely interested to see what else Stephanie Perkins can write in this genre. I would like to read more horror from her but perhaps with less of a contemporary feel. However, this was a good starting point for me to branch out into more of the genre. I would say this is a perfect Halloween read and great for anyone who enjoys a good slasher film.

Sunday, 1 October 2017

Wrap Up & Haul | September 2017

As you may have been able to tell from lack of blog activity throughout September, I have had yet another super busy month. Luckily, I went on holiday at the beginning of the month and read a few books during my time away as I haven't had the chance to pick up another book since coming home on September 10th! It would seem starting back at uni and going straight back out onto placement has taken all of my time. Even as I'm writing this I should really be doing a whole pile of uni work! Things have been so busy lately but hopefully I can get back into the swing of things soon. With September being so busy, I only managed to read 3 books, and DNFed one.

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

Onyx by Jennifer L Armentrout -
This book took me forever to get through! This is the second book in the Lux series, which follows Katy who finds out she has moved in next door to a family of aliens. I really enjoyed the first book but sadly this one was not as good. Some aspects of the story I still enjoyed but for the most part I found it to be kind of boring and just didn't have the desire to keep picking it up. After reading this book, I don't think I will pick up the rest of the series.
Rating: 3/5 | Review | ATY Challenge: #18 A really long book (Lux: Beginnings)

There's Someone Inside Your House by Stephanie Perkins -
This was my most anticipated book of the year but probably the book that I was most wary to pick up. This is completely different from anything Stephanie Perkins has written before as it is a slasher movie style horror novel in which high school students in a small town are being killed off one by one. I am not the biggest horror fan so I wasn't sure if I would enjoy this but I ended up loving it. It read more like a contemporary with horror elements, which I think was good as an introduction to the genre, but I could have done with a bit more of a horror feel. There were some aspects of the story I felt were unnecessary but overall it was a very enjoyable read. I would definitely be interested in reading more of her writing in this genre in future.
Rating: 4/5 | Review To Come

Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher -
With the insane hype surrounding this book following the success of the TV show, it seemed about time that I picked it up. This book is basically the story of why one girl in high school decided to kill herself and is told in the form of tapes she has recorded and sent to the people she feels have played a part in her decision. Despite so many people loving this book, I really did not enjoy it. I hated Hannah and thought the reasons she gave for committing suicide were ridiculous for the most part. To me, this book was basically saying 'life is hard sometimes' is a reason to kill yourself. I don't think this was a good representation of suicide or mental illness. If it wasn't for Clay's character, I probably wouldn't have made it to the end.
Rating: 2/5 | Review To Come

Behind The Song by KM Walton -
When I saw this anthology on Netgalley, I requested it straight away as the premise sounded so interesting. It features stories from various YA authors and musicians inspired by songs. Unfortunately, this book just wasn't for me and I only managed to read the first three stories (well, I DNFed both the second and third) before giving up altogether. I expected this to be more about music when actually the stories, or at least the ones I read, turned out to be odd and a little pointless. I guess I just didn't get it.
Rating: DNF

Being so busy in September also meant not buying any books at all! I did, however, receive some books for review, both via Netgalley and from authors themselves.

The Hanging Girl by Eileen Cook - I read and enjoyed her book With Malice earlier this year and this one seems like the perfect October thriller read.

36 Questions That Changed My Mind About You by Vicki Grant - A YA contemporary involving a psychology study bringing a couple together. 

The Story Of Lizzy & Darcy by Grace Watson - A modern day adaptation of Pride & Prejudice featuring two female main characters.

White Water, Black Death by Shaun Ebelthite - A thriller which takes place on a cruise ship and seems to involve a secret Ebola outbreak and a mysterious death.

Swan Song by Charlotte Wilson - A YA contemporary set in London featuring ballet.

Simple Soul Of Susan by Noel Branham - A chick-lit/romance about a woman who was in love with her childhood best friend but her life took her on a different path and away from him.

That was September for me. Not the best reading month, little in number and a few disappointments, but hopefully October will be better. How was your reading month in September?

Sophie :)

Saturday, 30 September 2017

Mini Review | Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon

Image and video hosting by TinyPicEverything, Everything by Nicola Yoon
Published On: September 1, 2015
Published By: Corgi Children's
Genre: YA, Contemporary
Pages: 310
Format: Paperback
Source: Bought
Rating: ★★★

Amazon | Goodreads

My disease is as rare as it is famous. Basically, I’m allergic to the world. I don’t leave my house, have not left my house in seventeen years. The only people I ever see are my mom and my nurse, Carla.
But then one day, a moving truck arrives next door. I look out my window, and I see him. He’s tall, lean and wearing all black—black T-shirt, black jeans, black sneakers, and a black knit cap that covers his hair completely. He catches me looking and stares at me. I stare right back. His name is Olly.
Maybe we can’t predict the future, but we can predict some things. For example, I am certainly going to fall in love with Olly. It’s almost certainly going to be a disaster.

So much hype!
This book had a crazy amount of hype surrounding it when it was first published and that hype never really died down. Unfortunately, due to the hype, I went into this book with super high expectations and ended up a little disappointed. For me, this was just an average read.

Loved the way this was written.
I absolutely loved the format in style in which this was written. I loved the sketches and diagrams but even just the layout of the text on the page was done in such a creative way. It was so creative and beautiful that it really added to the feel of the book.

I didn't love the characters.
I'm not even sure exactly what my problem was but I just didn't like any of the characters. I wasn't a huge fan of Maddie or Olly and I hated Maddie's mum from the first page. Probably the only character I didn't dislike was Carla. The other characters just annoyed me mostly.

The plot didn't blow me away.
A lot of the hype surrounding this book was relating to the great plot and fun twists. I ended up not particularly loving the plot. I thought a lot of things that happened were pretty stupid and not particularly realistic, and the rest I found a bit boring.

That ending!
I hated the ending of this book almost as much as I hated the ending of Gone Girl. I was so angry at the way the ending was dealt with and the fact that there were not appropriate repercussions. I found the very end to be anti-climactic considering the dramatic plot twist previously, I was just generally disappointed.

Overall, I absolutely love Nicola Yoon's writing style but, like I mentioned in my review of The Sun Is Also A Star, I never love her stories as much. I want to love everything she writes because I love how it is written but there's just something that I don't enjoy about her stories themselves. I will continue to pick up her books, hopefully one day I'll find something I love.

Monday, 25 September 2017

Mini Review | Onyx by Jennifer L Armentrout

Image and video hosting by TinyPicOnyx by Jennifer L Armentrout
Series: Lux #2
Published On: June 3, 2012
Published By: Entangled Teen
Genre: YA, Paranormal
Pages: 366
Format: eBook
Source: Bought
Rating: ★★★

Amazon | Goodreads

Being connected to Daemon Black sucks… Thanks to his alien mojo, Daemon’s determined to prove what he feels for me is more than a product of our bizarro connection. So I’ve sworn him off, even though he’s running more hot than cold these days. But we’ve got bigger problems.
Something worse than the Arum has come to town… The Department of Defense are here. If they ever find out what Daemon can do and that we're linked, I’m a goner. So is he. And there's this new boy in school who’s got a secret of his own. He knows what’s happened to me and he can help, but to do so, I have to lie to Daemon and stay away from him. Like that's possible. Against all common sense, I'm falling for Daemon. Hard.
But then everything changes… I’ve seen someone who shouldn’t be alive. And I have to tell Daemon, even though I know he’s never going to stop searching until he gets the truth. What happened to his brother? Who betrayed him? And what does the DOD want from them—from me? No one is who they seem. And not everyone will survive the lies…

Not as good as book one.
I quite enjoyed the first book in the series, but for me this second book just wasn't as good. It felt very similar to the first book and I didn't feel that the story developed as much as I would have liked.

To be honest, I was a little bored.
I didn't feel that this book was as exciting as the first. There wasn't as much happening, in my opinion, and the major plot points that were meant to be the big exciting parts of the story just weren't that exciting. I found it pretty boring, hence why it took me a good month and a half to finish.

Pretty predictable.
With all of the big plot twists and mystery reveals throughout this book, I don't think anything particularly surprised me. I seen almost everything coming. I think that may be another reason I was a bit bored when reading this.

Katy and Daemon couldn't get more annoying.
I was all for this romance and the 'will they get together or not?' aspect of the first book, however by this one I was just fed up of it. They spent yet another whole book debating whether or not they like each other and should get together. I just didn't care anymore, it was annoying.

Oh wait, let's add in a love triangle!
Yes, the one way to make Katy and Daemon more annoying, add in another love interest. As if this series isn't compared to Twilight enough, Jennifer L Armentrout felt the need to add in an unnecessary love triangle. It just wasn't needed, there were other ways to introduce new characters and involve them in Katy's life without making him the next Jacob Black.

I think my relationship with this series is over.
As much as I enjoyed the first book, I didn't enjoy this book enough to want to read more of this story. I don't think I will be picking up the rest of the books in this series, mainly as I don't really care enough anymore.

Overall, while I enjoyed the first book in this series, the second was just an average read for me. There were more things that annoyed me about this book than things I particularly enjoyed and, to be honest, I'm already starting to forget things that happened. I don't think I will be picking up the next book in this series, at least not for a good while.

Friday, 15 September 2017

Review | Summer Days and Summer Nights edited by Stephanie Perkins

Image and video hosting by TinyPicSummer Days and Summer Nights edited by Stephanie Perkins
Published On: June 2, 2016
Published By: Pan Macmillan
Genre: YA, Contemporary, Anthology
Pages: 384
Format: Hardcover
Source: Bought
Rating: ★★★

Amazon | Goodreads

Maybe it's the long, lazy days, or maybe it's the heat making everyone a little bit crazy. Whatever the reason, summer is the perfect time for love to bloom. Summer Days & Summer Nights: Twelve Love Stories, written by twelve bestselling young adult writers and edited by the international bestselling author Stephanie Perkins, will have you dreaming of sunset strolls by the lake. So set out your beach chair and grab your sunglasses. You have twelve reasons this summer to soak up the sun and fall in love.

Summer Days and Summer Nights is the second anthology edited by Stephanie Perkins featuring twelve summer romances, following on from My True Love Gave To Me featuring twelve holiday romances. I have chosen to rate and review each story individually, with the overall rating above the average rating of all twelve stories.

Head, Scales, Tongue, Tale by Leigh Bardugo - This was a huge surprise for me. This story is about two teens who develop a relationship over a series of summers while searching for a lake monster reported to live in the local lake. I usually dislike the stories that include elements of fantasy and magical realism but I actually really enjoyed this one. It was very out of my comfort zone but it has made me want to pick up more from Leigh Bardugo, whose books I was never interested in before. 3.5/5

The End Of Love by Nina Lacour - Sadly, this one was a disappointment. I had heard such great things about Nina Lacour's writing so I really wanted to love this story. Unfortunately, I found it boring. It's about a girl who decides to retake a class during summer in order to get out of the house as her parents are getting a divorce. Also taking the class is a girl our main character has perviously had a crush on. This story features one of my biggest dislikes in books; children being incredibly selfish and thinking the world revolves around them when their parents divorce. That, although not the main point of the story, ruined it for me. 2/5

Last Night At The Cinegore by Libba Bray - This was a very weird story. Kevin works at a movie theatre and on the final night before it closes, his last shift working with his crush Dani, a lot of crazy stuff starts happening. Horror isn't really my thing and this was definitely horror. Some really weird, creepy stuff went on in this story and is definitely not the kind of thing I would usually read. It was written incredibly well, and I did enjoy it somewhat, but it really wasn't my thing. 2.5/5

Sick Pleasures: For A and U by Francesca Lia Block - This was the most confusing story of them all for me, about a boy and girl who meet one night and romance ensues. It was very average and not particularly interesting but the use of first initials instead of names just confused matters. It was enjoyable enough but nothing special. 3/5

In Ninety Minutes, Turn North by Stephanie Perkins - It's really no surprise for me that this was my favourite of the anthology. This story follows the same characters we were introduced to in Stephanie Perkins' story in My True Love Gave To Me. I loved revisiting those characters and seeing how their relationship progressed. It was just as cute and adorable as I expected and having been introduced to the characters previously really helped me connect to them throughout this story. 5/5

Souvenirs by Tim Federle - This was another average story about two boys who were both working at an amusement park over the summer and started a relationship, however set a day to break up. This was an interesting idea, following a couple on the day they have set as the day they break up, but I think it could have been executed better. I found it a little bit boring. 3/5

Inertia by Veronica Roth - Another story I enjoyed much more than I was expecting to. Veronica Roth's story was very different but cleverly done. This story follows a girl whose childhood friend is in critical condition in hospital and has chosen her to share memories with him before he dies. I really enjoyed the way the romance genre was twisted to become more of a sci-fi story with romance elements. It was such an interesting concept and the romance was incorporated really well. I was also impressed with how well some more serious topics were covered in such a short story. 4/5

Love Is The Last Resort by Jon Skovron - Again, I found this story to be pretty average. This follows a cast of characters at a resort and featured multiple relationships rather than just the one. It was fun to have a larger cast of characters but in such a short time it was difficult to connect with all of them. I really enjoyed the resort setting and having multiple romances, however I feel like it needed to be a bit longer to reach it's full potential. 3/5

Good Luck And Farewell by Brandy Colbert - Since reading this book, this is the one story that I keep forgetting what it was about. I enjoyed it enough while reading but it appears to be quite forgettable. It's about a girl whose cousin, who has almost raised her since her parents died, is moving away and she has to deal with that change in her life. It was a nice, cute story but, once again, pretty average. It was a good take on family relationships and emphasised the different types of family but the romance was nothing special in this story and was a definite case of insta-love. 3/5

Brand New Attraction by Cassandra Clare - I wasn't sure what to expect from Cassandra Clare but I ended up pleasantly surprised by her story, I really enjoyed it. It was very unique as it is set in a carnival and follows the daughter of the carnival owner. There is a lot going on in this story but rather than being confusing or overwhelming, I found that it reflected the busy carnival setting and added to the feel of the story. It was very different to all of the other stories in the collection as there was a lot more to it than just the romance. I loved the interesting setting and unique plot. I was very impressed with how much Cassandra Clare managed to do in such a short story. 4/5

A Thousand Ways This Could All Go Wrong by Jennifer E Smith - Having loved many of Jennifer E Smith's books before, I expected to enjoy this story just as much as I did. This is the story of Annie who is working at a camp over the summer and has a crush on the shy boy from school. There is so much more to this story than it first seems and I really loved the way autism and Aspergers were discussed. Some of the things mentioned were a bit stereotypical and I think including such stereotypical behaviours could have been avoided but overall I think it was written well. I really enjoyed the story, particularly the relationship with the little boy, and also found the romance adorable. 4/5

The Map Of Tiny Perfect Things by Lev Grossman - This was a good end to the anthology. Another very interesting premise, this story follows our main characters as they live the same day over and over again. It was an interesting take on the topic and I was initially quite doubtful as I often find that kind of story to be boring and repetitive. However, I ended up enjoying it much more than I expected to. It is a bit more complex than some of the other stories, and ambitious to attempt in such a short space of time, but I still thought it was a fun, cute story. Unfortunately, while the story was interesting, I didn't connect with the romance at all. 3.5/5

There was an interesting mix of good and not so good throughout this anthology and many of the stories surprised me as it was often the ones I least expected that I enjoyed the most. I didn't enjoy this as much as I enjoyed My True Love Gave To Me, but there are definitely some authors whose work I am more interested to check out having read their short story.

Thursday, 14 September 2017

Wrap Up & Haul | August 2017

It has been way too long since I last posted! I don't know how I let it get this long but things got a little crazy in the past few weeks. I had a really busy month in August with finishing up placement and enjoying my last couple of weeks of freedom before starting back at uni at the beginning of September. I am now getting ready to go back out on placement so I know things are not going to get any less busy but hopefully I can keep on top of the blog a little more.

With things being so busy I only managed to read two books in the month of August and both were audiobooks. Audiobooks have been a lifesaver while on placement when I haven't had time to pick up a physical book, and they make long commutes much less of a pain.

There You'll Find Me by Jenny B Jones -
I read Jenny B Jones' Katie Parker series a couple of years ago and loved it. Since then I have been wanting to pick up more of her works, especially as she writes Christian Fiction and that is something I have been wanting to read more of. This book follows Finley who travels to Ireland to study, as her recently killed brother had done the same. This book tried to do too many things in one story. There was so much happening in the story that nothing could be executed well. I also found the main character to be incredibly irritating and just plain rude. As much as I have loved Jenny B Jones' writing in the past, this is not one of her books that I would recommend.
Rating: 2/5 | Review

Things We Know By Heart by Jessi Kirby -
While I went into the previous book knowing the author and expecting to enjoy it, this book was the opposite. I had never read anything from Jessi Kirby before and was a bit wary of the plot. This is the story of Quinn whose boyfriend dies and his organs are donated. In an attempt to help her grieve, Quinn attempts to contact the recipient of Trent's heart but things don't quite work out as she planned. I was a bit unsure about this storyline as I was worried I would find the romance aspect uncomfortable. However, the romance was handled in a very sensitive way that made it heartwarming to read about. I ended up really enjoying this book, in particular the way organ donation was discussed and highlighted.
Rating: 4/5 | Review

While being busy meant not reading a whole lot, it also meant not buying too many books, which my bank account was particularly happy about. I only bought two books in the month of August, which I think is pretty reasonable.

Dare To Fall by Estelle Maskame - I picked this up before a signing that I was planning to go to but ended up being unable to go. This is her newest release and first outwith the DIMILY trilogy.

13 Minutes by Sarah Pinborough - I hadn't heard of this but it was on the buy one get one half price table with Dare To Fall and it sounded interesting so I picked it up. All I know is it's about a girl who was in an accident and ended up dead for 13 minutes.

August wasn't the best reading month for me but it definitely could have been worse. I'm glad I managed to read something while things were so crazy but hopefully I can do better in September. Did you have a good reading month? What was the best book you read in August?

Sophie :)

Thursday, 17 August 2017

Bullet Point Reviews | Audiobooks

Over the Summer it would seem audiobooks have become my thing. I have had a bit of a commute to the place I have been working so I decided to make the most of my time in the car and get some reading done. After not touching a single audiobook last year, I have listened to 5 in the last couple of months. For me that is a lot so since I listened to so many in a short space of time, I decided to do a some quick reviews all together (with one stray from back in February thrown in too).

Image and video hosting by TinyPicAll I Know Now by Carrie Hope Fletcher
Published On: April 23, 2015
Published By: Little Brown
Genre: YA, Non-Fiction
Pages: 352
Format: Audiobook
Source: Audible
Narrated By: Carrie Hope Fletcher
Rating: ★★
Amazon | Goodreads

- I love Carrie a lot so I really wanted to love this book. Sadly, I didn't love it.
- I'm not the target audience but, to be completely honest, I don't think I would have liked this much if I had read it as a teenager.
- I found it to be a bit preachy and she came across as thinking she was better than everyone else, despite saying she wasn't trying to do that, which isn't very true to the Carrie we see in her videos.
- I liked the fact that it was narrated by Carrie herself. However, I got the same preachy, better than everyone sense through the narration as well as the text.
- I really enjoyed the audiobook extras, like the Sibling Tag with her brother Tom. They were fun and seemed much more like the Carrie in her videos.

Image and video hosting by TinyPicBefore I Fall by Lauren Oliver
Published On: March 2, 2010
Published By: Harper Collins
Genre: YA, Contemporary
Pages: 470
Format: Audiobook
Source: Audible
Narrated By: Sarah Drew
Rating: ★★★
Amazon | Goodreads

- I didn't expect great things from this book but actually found it to be an OK read, better than I expected it to be.
- The characters were not very likeable, and they weren't really meant to be for much of the book, but I didn't feel they redeemed themselves much, if at all, in the end.
- I really loved the moments between Sam and her little sister. To me, those were the only moments in which Sam was at all likeable.
- As I expected considering the plot, things got a bit repetitive. Obviously as the main character is living the same day over again multiple times there is going to be some repetition but I feel this could have been avoided if the book was a bit shorter. I didn't feel it needed to be as long as it was.
- I thought it was a very interesting take on bullying to tell the story from the point of view of one of the bullies and witness her discovering that she is bullying others. I think some aspects of this, and some of the mental health points, could have been discussed in more detail and handled a little better.

Image and video hosting by TinyPicThe Sisterhood Of The Traveling Pants by Ann Brashares
Series: Sisterhood #1
Published On: September 11, 2001
Published By: Delacorte Press
Genre: YA, Contemporary
Pages: 294
Format: Audiobook
Source: Audible
Narrated By: Angela Goethals
Rating: ★★★★
Amazon | Goodreads

- The movie adaptation of this book was one of my favourites when I was younger so I picked this up as a bit of a nostalgic read and to see how similar the film was to the book.
- The characters felt like old friends and I loved getting to know them all over again in a different way.
- Bailey is still one of my favourite fictional characters and I loved getting to meet her all over again in the book.
- I loved all of the friends' different stories and enjoyed experiencing their summer adventures. I lived my summer vicariously through these characters while spending my own working.
- There were a few parts that felt a little immature to me but they were easy to overlook and didn't ruin my enjoyment.
- The narration was great but I did struggle occasionally to know which of the characters was talking.

All We Have Is Now by Lisa Schroeder
Published On: July 28, 2015
Published By: Scholastic
Genre: YA, Contemporary
Pages: 272
Format: Audiobook
Source: Audible
Narrated By: Julia Whelan
Rating: ★½
Amazon | Goodreads

- How can a book with such a beautiful cover be so bad? I really did not enjoy this book, it was a huge disappointment.
- I apparently love the idea of these 'the world ends tomorrow' books but have yet to find one I actually enjoyed.
- I found the characters incredibly annoying and not at all likeable.
- One thing that really frustrated me throughout the book was the fact that all but one time Vince introduced Emerson rather than letting her introduce herself. I know this might not seem like much but it really annoyed me.
- I really liked the idea of spending your last day helping others but I think it could have been executed much better. It ended up being quite boring and I didn't feel it added much to the story.
- To me, the family aspect was annoying. Emerson was extremely immature in regards to her family situation and it made her even less likeable to me.
- The ending was a complete cop-out and actually made me wish I hadn't bothered finishing it.
- I wasn't a huge fan of the narration. She kept mixing up her voices and using the wrong one for different characters, which was very confusing. She also said some sentences in a very strange way and I found that a bit distracting.

There You'll Find Me by Jenny B Jones
Published On: October 3, 2011
Published By: Thomas Nelson
Genre: YA, Contemporary, Christian Fiction
Pages: 320
Format: Audiobook
Source: Audible
Narrated By: Jeannie Stith
Rating: ★★
Amazon | Goodreads

- Whoever told this narrator she could do an Irish accent was most definitely lying. The terrible accent was very distracting throughout and took away from the book.
- The story itself wasn't all that great either. I found it predictable, a little repetitive and somehow boring despite way too much going on.
- This book was trying too hard to be too many things. There were far too many different storylines that none were executed particularly well. We had mental health, grief, touring Ireland, a famous love interest, a big audition, an out-of-the-blue eating disorder and helping a dying old lady. It was too much and would have been better with just one main focus.
- The main character wasn't very likeable. She was very self-absorbed, rude to almost everyone and mentioned the ever annoying 'i'm not like other girls' on more than one occasion.
- In addition to all the other storylines going on, we also had so much unnecessary bitchiness and girl hate. Not only was this annoying but the way it was dealt with, in a Christian Fiction book of all things, didn't set a great example to young girls.

Things We Know By Heart by Jessi Kirby
Published On: April 21, 2015
Published By: Harper Teen
Genre: YA, Contemporary
Pages: 304
Format: Audiobook
Source: Audible
Narrated By: Amanda Wallace
Rating: ★★★★
Amazon | Goodreads

- I was a bit wary going into this as I was worried I would find it uncomfortable to have the main characters boyfriends heart transplant recipient as the love interest. I was unsure about how well the situation would be handled but I shouldn't have worried as I ended up really loving this book.
- This was a completely unique story unlike anything I have read before. It dealt with grief in a very different way and I loved that organ transplantation was being talked about in this way.
- I loved every single character in this book. Quinn and Colton were so relatable that despite never having gone through what either of them had I felt a real connection with them. Quinn's family were also great and I loved how present they were throughout the story.
- The transplant aspect of the story was written well. I liked that there were a lot of facts about heart transplants included, but not in a way that was boring or heavy, and we were shown more of the reality of being a transplant recipient. It was obviously well researched, which I appreciated.
- I expected the romance to be the aspect of the story I didn't like but I was wrong. It was written in a way that even though you knew it was a bad situation, I didn't feel wrong. They were perfect for each other and I found myself on the edge of my seat waiting for the truth to come out, dreading what the outcome would be.
- The narration was great and I had no issues with it at all, in fact I enjoyed it.

Have you read any of these books? What did you think of them?

Sophie :)

Tuesday, 15 August 2017

Top Ten Tuesday | Top Ten Book Recommendations For Contemporary Lovers

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

Top Ten Tuesday is back and this week's theme is recommendations. There are so many cool and creative ways you can go with this topic but I just want to take the opportunity to gush about some of my favourite contemporary books. It's probably not much of a surprise that YA contemporary, and more specifically contemporary romance, is my favourite genre, so of course I want to talk about it. So here are my ten recommendations for contemporary lovers.

1. Isla and the Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins
This is one of my all time favourite books so I had to include it in this list. Isla has had a crush on Josh, a fellow student at her boarding school in Paris, for years and a chance encounter over the summer brings them together.  It's cute, relatable and great fun to read.

2. On The Fence by Kasie West
To be honest, I could really include any Kasie West book in this list. Charlie is 'one of the guys' but discovers the world of a 'girly girl', starts living a double life and has late night chats with the boy next door to help her through it all. This is another cute story but with some much more serious underlying topics, a great family dynamic and an adorable love interest.

3. Since You've Been Gone by Morgan Matson
Emily is left a summer bucket list by her best friend to help her become her own person. This is such a fun, summery book that will make you want to get out and enjoy summer, and also has a cute romance thrown in.

4. Pushing The Limits by Katie McGarry
Two very different high school students are brought together and, despite having nothing in common but lots of baggage and a complicated background, find themselves unable to stay away from each other. This isn't your light and fluffy contemporary, there are some pretty deep topics covered, but there is still a great romance mixed in.

5. Paper Towns by John Green
This is probably my favourite John Green book I have read so far. It follows Q as he searches for his long time crush Margo when she disappears after they spend the night getting revenge on those who have wronged her. This is less focused on romance then the others, although there is some, and more about the adventure of searching for Margo.

6. Where She Went by Gayle Forman
There isn't much I can say about this other than it is the sequel to If I Stay. In my opinion, it is much better than the first book despite it being so popular. If you weren't a fan of the first book so didn't pick up the sequel, I would definitely recommend you give it a go.

7. Ignite by Lily Paradis
This is more NA than YA but I wanted to include it. This is the story of Lauren who becomes the guardian of her three step-siblings following her stepmother's death and finds help in the very attractive neighbour Dean. This is another one of my favourite books and deserves so much more love.

8. I Want It That Way by Ann Aguirre
Again this is more NA and is the first in a companion trilogy. The first book follows Nadia who is completely focused on school and work until she meets her new neighbour, single father Ty, and a connection forms. This is another one that deserves more love. It was really adorable and I loved the romance.

9. The Sisterhood Of The Travelling Pants by Ann Brashares
Four friends spend their first summer apart but stay connected through a pair of jeans that somehow fit all of them perfectly. I read this because I loved the movies but the book is definitely just as good. It's another book that is perfect for summer and more about friendship than romance.

10. If I Lie by Corrine Jackson
This is definitely less light and fluffy than the others I have mentioned. It follows Quinn who has been shunned by her town for cheating on her boyfriend while he is serving in Afghanistan. However, everything isn't as it seems but clearing her name would involve sharing her boyfriend's secret, her boyfriend who has just gone MIA. This is an emotional read that will rip your heart out but it is completely worth it.

What are your favourite contemporaries? I would love some of your recommendations.

Sophie :)

Monday, 14 August 2017

Review | Did I Mention I Love You? by Estelle Maskame

Did I Mention I Love You? by Estelle Maskame
Series: DIMILY Trilogy #1
Published On: April 30, 2015
Published By: Black & White Publishing
Genre: YA, Contemporary, Romance
Pages: 422
Format: eBook
Source: Bought
Rating: ★★★½

Amazon | Goodreads

When sixteen-year-old Eden Munro agrees to spend the summer with her estranged father in the beachfront city of Santa Monica, California, she has no idea what she’s letting herself in for. Eden's parents are divorced and have gone their separate ways, and now her father has a brand new family. For Eden, this means she's about to meet three new step-brothers. The eldest of the three is Tyler Bruce, a troubled teenager with a short temper and a huge ego. Complete polar opposites, Eden quickly finds herself thrust into a world full of new experiences as Tyler's group of friends take her under their wing. But the one thing she just can't understand is Tyler, and the more she presses to figure out the truth about him, the more she finds herself falling for the one person she shouldn't – her step-brother. 
Throw in Tyler's clingy girlfriend and a guy who has his eyes set on Eden, and there's secrets, lies and a whole lot of drama. But how can Eden keep her feelings under control? And can she ever work out the truth about Tyler?

I'll be completely honest with you, I only picked up this book because the author is Scottish and I felt some kind of obligation to read it for that reason. However, I am very glad I did. I cannot believe this book was written by a teenager! Estelle finished this series when she was around 16, I believe, and it absolutely matches up to the standard of writers twice her age with many published works. It was very well written and well thought out, and I honestly felt as though it had been written by someone with years of experience.

The story follows Eden as she spends her summer in California with her father and his new family, which makes it the perfect summer read. It was very fun, fast-paced and exciting and it made me want to get out and enjoy my summer. Sadly, I was stuck at work but I definitely enjoyed living my summer through Eden for a short while.

Throughout her summer, Eden is introduced, firstly to her new family members, and later to a lot of new friends. This book is packed full of really great, well developed characters, all of whom I want to be friends with. Eden herself is very likeable, despite not having the best relationship with her father and being unsure about his new family, she is never bratty or unnecessarily rude or spiteful, as is often the case when similar situations arise in books. I appreciated that aspect in particular as it illustrated the maturity of the character. I also liked that all of the characters were quite different and some were very complex, with various issues and room for development throughout the series.

The various issues different characters are dealing with allows for some more series topics to be discussed. Eden is having to come to terms with her father leaving and finding happiness with a new family but at the same time Tyler is having to deal with some very serious issues involving his father. I was worried that such a young author may not handle sensitive subjects quite as well as someone with more experience but I had nothing to be worried about. Such things were handled sensitively and discussed in a mature manner.

One of the main aspects of this story is, of course, the romance. However, this isn't quite the light and fluffy romance you might often find as we are talking about a romance between step-siblings. I was a little uncomfortable going into this book knowing that situation would arise and I expected it to bother me. I was very surprised when, in actual fact, the step-sibling relationship didn't really bother me at all. I loved both Eden and Tyler and found myself routing for them to get together, I thought they made an adorable couple. However, I liked the fact that they acknowledged the consequences their relationship could have and thought about their families rather than simply focusing on themselves and their relationship, that felt more realistic to me.

While I think this was written very well, and found the teenage voice to be much more authentic when written by an actual teenager, there were some aspects I found a little immature. Some plot points were slightly predictable and reminded me of the fact this book was written by a young author. Things like blackmail in relationships, which weren't very necessary to the story and weren't written particularly well. However, these were very minimal and didn't take away from my enjoyment.

The ending of this book took me completely by surprise. I couldn't have predicted the ending I got but I did enjoy it. It was very interesting and definitely left things open for the next book, but it completely threw me and I was left desperate to continue with the series.

Overall, I think this was a great first book by a young author and a great start to the series. I am interested to see how the writing and characters develop as the series continues, I will definitely be picking up the next books. I would recommend this as a fun summer read but there are some more serious topics covered, it isn't all light and fluffy but still great fun. I can't wait to see what happens next.

Thursday, 10 August 2017

Haul | July 2017

So I bought a few books in July. Don't worry, I didn't go crazy, but there is now pretty much no way I'm getting my TBR down to under 100 books by the end of this year. I have been doing quite well with cutting down my book buying and haven't bought very many physical books this year. However, in July I bought a few, more than I have any other month so far this year, so I thought I would share them in a separate post this month.

The Names They Gave Us by Emery Lord - I already couldn't wait to pick up this book because the UK cover is so beautiful, but then everyone started raving about it and I couldn't help myself. I don't know when I'll get around to it but for now it looks beautiful on my shelves.

Wilde Like Me by Louise Pentland - I was lucky enough to go to a Q&A and signing for this book and got to meet Louise who I have watched on Youtube for about five years now and love. Hearing her talk about her book made me so excited to give it a go.

One Hundred Proposals by Holly Martin - I've had this one on my Goodreads TBR for a little while now so when I saw it for £1 I picked it up. The whole 100 proposals has me sold but I'm sure there will be a cute romance in there somewhere.

PS I Love You by Cecelia Ahern - This is one I've already read so I don't feel quite so bad for buying this one. I listened to this on audio so didn't have a physical copy and as Cecelia Ahern is one of my favourite authors I want to own all of her books, and the fact it was only £1 makes it completely acceptable.

If You Could See Me Now by Cecelia Ahern - Another one that I managed to find for just £1! Like I said, Cecelia Ahern is one of my favourite authors and this is one of hers I haven't read yet. 

There's Someone Inside Your House by Stephanie Perkins - This is my most anticipated book of the year and I managed to bag myself an eARC from netgalley. I can't even explain my excitement for this book, I have to read it now!

I haven't gone too crazy with my book buying but I need to try and keep it to a minimum for the rest of the year. Which of my purchases do I need to prioritise?

Sophie :)

Tuesday, 8 August 2017

Top Ten | Popular Books I Haven't Read Yet

Recently, I've been seeing a lot of people, particularly booktubers, talking about popular books they have yet to read. Having only really been back into reading for a few years, there are a lot of popular books, mainly older ones, that I just haven't gotten around to yet. A lot of these are books I need to motivation to pick up so if you love them, please tell me!

1. Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher
This is one of the first books I ever added to my Goodreads TBR back in 2013 but I still haven't picked it up. With the popularity of the Netflix adaptation, I am definitely wanting to pick this one up. I did receive a copy from Netgalley recently so hopefully I can get around to it some time this year and then finally see if the show is worth the hype it's getting.

2. To All The Boys I've Loved Before by Jenny Han
This is another one that has been on my Goodreads TBR for years, and even on my bookshelves for years. My excuse for this one is I wanted to read the Summer I Turned Pretty series first, but considering how long I've had those books on my shelves as well, it really isn't much of an excuse. With the movie adaptation coming soon, this is another one I need to get to.

3. The Maze Runner by James Dashner
I tried to read this one, I really did. I picked this up around the time the first movie came out and just couldn't get into it. I know I need to give it another go as this series is the absolutely favourite of one of my friends and she may kill me if I don't at least try one more time. I'm not sure if these books are for me but I will try once more.

4. The Great Gatsby by F Scott Fitzgerald
I almost never read classics so I could fill this list with all the popular classics I haven't read. This one seems to be one of the most popular and most talked about classics in the blogging/booktube community, though, and not one I have read. I do own this and plan to read it very soon but I never have the motivation to pick it up.

5. I've Got Your Number by Sophie Kinsella
Sophie Kinsella has loads of really popular books but I have only read one of hers, Confessions Of A Shopaholic, which I didn't really enjoy. I do want to try out one of her standalone novels and this seems to be a favourite of a lot of people.

6. I'll Give You The Sun by Jandy Nelson
This is another one that I picked up but just didn't click with. I wasn't feeling the writing style so I put it down to try again another time. I want to read this one this year as it counts for one of my Around The Year In 52 Books challenges but I'm not sure this will be for me. So many people love it, I just need to try again.

7. Illuminae by Aimee Kauffman and Jay Kristoff
This is a more recent release but I feel like one of the only people left on the planet who hasn't read it. Everyone has been raving about it since even before it was published and the buzz just hasn't died down. I'm so intrigued by this book, I know I'll at least add it to my ever growing bookshelves soon.

8. The Host by Stephenie Meyer
After the phenomenon that was Twilight, everyone and their mother wanted to see what Stephenie Meyer would do next. I know there were a lot of mixed feelings about The Host but everyone gave it a go just because of the author. I was one of those people, I was so excited and bought the book as soon as I could. However, I was so intimidated by the size that I never read it and still haven't to this day. I've been told I should but I'm not sure about this one.

9. Uglies by Scott Westerfeld
Another older popular YA series but this one I'm not sure I'll ever read. This was very popular when I was still into reading, back in the Twilight days, but I never picked it up before reading became 'uncool' again. I think I may have outgrown this series but I may decide to pick it up at some point.

10. Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo
This is a popular series that I actually had no intention of ever picking up. However, I then read Leigh Bardugo's story in Summer Days & Summer Nights just last month and fell in love with her writing. I was not expecting to like her story at all but it completely took me by surprise and now I want to read her novels. This one could be getting read quite soon.

There are more popular books I haven't read than I thought there were, I need to catch up with the popular ones I missed out on over the years. Are there any popular books you think everyone definitely needs to read? Which of the books mentioned do I need to read soon?

Sophie :)

Friday, 4 August 2017

Author Spotlight | Morgan Matson

I thought it might be interesting to do something new today and talk about an author I love in an Author Spotlight post. This has been something I wanted to do for a while but I am so busy trying out new authors that there are very few whose work I have read completely. I'm not entirely sure the best way to do this but I thought I would give a brief synopsis of her published works, give you my thoughts on them, including my favourite to least favourite, and maybe recommend the best order to read them.

Morgan Matson currently has four published works - Amy & Rodger's Epic Detour, Second Chance Summer, Since You've Been Gone and The Unexpected Everything - with another six novels under the pen name Katie Finn, which I won't be discussing this time but maybe in future when I've actually read them. She also has one upcoming book, due for publication in June 2018, called Save The Date. She writes YA contemporary romance novels, all set during Summer and dealing with some more serious topics amongst the summer fun.

Image and video hosting by TinyPicAmy & Rodger's Epic Detour is Morgan Matson's first book under that name and follows two teenagers as they roadtrip across America. Amy has recently lost her father in a car accident and her family is now moving across the country. Due to the circumstances surrounding her father's death, Amy is not comfortable driving and so her mother enlists the help of family friend Rodger to drive Amy to her new home.
This is a very fun summer roadtrip story but also deals with grief and moving on after losing someone so close to you. As has become quite common in Morgan Matson's books, there are playlists, scrapbook entries and various other cool little additions to the story, which I loved. This is the one of her books that I remember the least about, perhaps as it was the first I read or it may just be the least memorable to me. I really enjoyed this book but I didn't love it. For me, the story fell a bit flat and I didn't connect well with the characters. I would recommend if you like...roadtrips, music, cute bookish boys, books dealing with grief.

Image and video hosting by TinyPicSecond Chance Summer is Morgan Matson's second book. This book is definitely her most emotional so far. It follows a girl whose family is returning to their lake house for one final summer together as her father is dying. As well as her family situation, returning to the lake house is further complicated by her former best friend and first boyfriend.
This book completely destroyed me so come prepared to sob your heart out when reading this. It was a beautifully written, heart-warming story about facing the loss of a loved one and making up for wasted time. However, there is also a lot of summer adventures and beach fun so it's not all terribly sad. This book contains some really great characters and one of the most adorable romances. Taylor, the main character, was so easy to relate to and I connected with her straight away. I would recommend if you like...books that will rip your heart out and stomp on it repeatedly, small towns, beach fun, a strong family focus.

Image and video hosting by TinyPicSince You've Been Gone is the book that seems to have brought Morgan Matson the popularity she has today. This follows a girl whose best friend leaves unexpectedly at the beginning of summer and leaves her a list of tasks to complete. With the aim of pushing her out of her comfort zone and becoming her own person, the tasks range from 'apple picking at night' to 'kiss a stranger' and take Emily on a true summer adventure.
This is by far her most fun book. We have no death in this one, at least that I can remember, just a whole lot of fun. I love lists so the to-do list was a great addition to the story and some of the tasks were great. This is the kind of book that makes you want to get out and enjoy your summer, make the most of the time you have and live your life to the fullest. It also features my favourite of Morgan Matson's characters. Emily. the main character, is such a relatable character and I absolutely loved seeing her grow as she ticked off the tasks on her list. There was also, of course, an adorable romance and more of the signature playlists included. I would recommend if you like...bucket lists, summer fun, a focus on friendship, adorable romance.

Image and video hosting by TinyPicThe Unexpected Everything is Morgan Matson's most recent release. This follows a girl whose summer plans have been ruined following a scandal involving her politician father. No longer accepted to her internship, Andie finds herself walking dogs and sharing a house with her father who hasn't been around in years.
This is another very fun book but again has some more serious aspects, as Andie is still dealing with the loss of her mother. It also deals with the difficult relationship she has with her father, which was one of my favourite things in the book. I really loved the dog-walking as well, it was great fun and obviously introduced Andie to the adorable love interest. As Clark is a writer, excerpts of his books are included throughout the book, which I wasn't really a fan of to be honest. The rest of the book definitely made up for those small parts, though, so I would just skim over them. There was also a great emphasis on friendship, as is often the case in her books, which I really enjoyed. I would recommend if you like...dogs, father-daughter relationships, books dealing with grief, epic scavenger hunts, tight friendship groups.

There we have all four of Morgan Matson's published works. You can probably guess from my thoughts on each book how I would rank them but I'll do it anyway. From favourite to least favourite, and with the ratings I gave, we have:
1. Since You've Been Gone - ★★★★
2. Second Chance Summer - ★★★★
3. The Unexpected Everything - ★★★★
4. Amy & Rodger's Epic Detour - ★★★½

In terms of what order to read these books in, there is only one answer. If you want to get the most out of her books, read them in publication order. As all of them are predominantly set in the same town, there are a lot of cameo appearances and crossovers between the books. It's really fun to pick up on those little moments as your read through the books and an added bonus when your favourite character pops up.

I hope this has been helpful for those looking to pick up one of Morgan Matson's books but not sure where to start or what would be for them. Her books are definitely great to read in the summer and often stay with you long after you've reached the final page.

Sophie :)

Wednesday, 2 August 2017

Wrap Up | July 2017

I refuse to accept the fact I am already wrapping up July! How can we only have 5 months left of 2017? This year is just flying in but I am still finding enough time to read a fair few books. I'm pretty impressed with my reading in July as I started back on placement and expected to have a similar experience to the last time. However, unlike in March, the last time I was on placement, in which I only read one book, I managed to read 7 in July, the same number I read in both May and June. I think I've done quite well and hopefully I'll keep it up.

Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver -
I was never all that interesting in reading this book but with it being made into a movie, I decided to give it a go on audiobook. This is about a girl who is forced to relive the day she dies multiple times and I have heard some pretty mixed things about it so my expectations weren't high. I thought it was an okay book. It was interesting enough, the plot was fine but the characters were very unlikeable and didn't really redeem themselves enough. I definitely think it could have been shorter and maybe that would have made it a bit less repetitive.
Rating: 3/5 | Review To Come | ATY Challenge: #13 Recommended by a favourite author

Did I Mention I Love You? by Estelle Maskame -
Since finding out that Estelle Maskame is a fellow Scot I have been dying to read some of her work. This is the her first book and the first in a series following a girl who goes to live with her father and his new family for the summer. I enjoyed this much more than I was expecting. As the author is so young I expected the book to be quite immature but was pleasantly surprised to find there were only some small moments that I found immature. This was a very fun, enjoyable first book in the series and definitely made me want to pick up the next book.
Rating: 3.5/5 | Review To Come | ATY Challenge: #49 From someone else's bookshelf

The Sisterhood Of The Traveling Pants by Ann Brashares -
The movie adaptation of these books was one of my favourite movies when I was younger so for nostalgia I decided to give the books a go. I picked up the first book on audiobook, which follows four best friends as they spend their first summer apart but share a pair of jeans to keep each other close. I loved this book just as much as the movie. It was great to see these characters again and go on their summer adventures with them. It was a really quick read and I can definitely see myself reading a book from this series each summer. 
Rating: 4/5 | Review To Come | ATY Challenge: #19 A New York Times bestseller

Grey's Anatomy by Chris Van Dusen -
I don't even know why I decided to pick this one up. I love the TV show and while binge watching it for the first time a couple of years ago I discovered that this book existed,  featuring two stories based on the TV Show, one from the perspective of a nurse and one from Joe the Bartender. I just decided I was in the mood for it this month and read it all in a day. It was fun to go back to the early seasons of the show and remind myself of some of the main story lines. It was also great to see some of the many characters Shonda Rhimes has killed off over the years back in the mix. I would definitely recommend this if you're a fan of the show and need something to keep you going until the next season starts.
Rating: 3/5 

Saga Volume 1 by Brian K Vaughan & Fiona Staples -
I have heard so many great things about this graphic novel series that I decided to see what all the fuss was about. In all honesty, I've read the first volume and I'm still not sure what this series is about. I liked this graphic novel but I'm not sure the story is for me. It was enjoyable and I was definitely interested but I preferred the art to the story, probably just because it was very sci-fi, which isn't really my thing anyway.
Rating: 3.5 | ATY Challenge: #36 Hugo award winner or nominee

All We Have Is Now by Lisa Schroeder -
The less said about this book the better. I am always intrigued by books about the last day before an asteroid destroys the planet but I never end up enjoying them. This book follows two homeless teens on their last day before an asteroid is to hit and destroy part of the United States (but apparently everywhere else is safe). I really did not like this book. I hated the characters, they were both very unlikeable and even though they went round helping others and proving they were good people, I couldn't stand them. The plot itself was just boring and the ending was a complete cop-out.
Rating: 1.5/5 | Review To Come

Summer Days & Summer Nights edited by Stephanie Perkins -
This is the summer anthology that followed the holiday anthology Stephanie Perkins edited in 2014 and features 12 summer love stories. I was actually a little bit disappointed with this anthology. There were some really great stories in it but also quite a few that I really wasn't a fan of. I definitely preferred My True Love Gave To Me but I did enjoy a lot of this book and there were some stand out stories. I will discuss each story individually in my review and give you more of my in depth thoughts.
Rating: 3/5 | Review To Come | ATY Challenge: #51 A Collection

That is everything I read in July. I read a few things that were a bit different and I wouldn't normally read, which is good as it got me out of my comfort zone a bit. Apparently, though, I also fell a bit behind on my reviews and haven't posted reviews for any of my July books yet, expect them all very soon. I would love some recommendations for Graphic Novels, preferably ones that are a bit less sci-fi or high fantasy. Any suggestions would be great.

Was July a good reading month for you? What was the best thing you read?

Sophie :)