Next on My TBR Pile| ALL THE FANTASY

April 30, 2016

It’s been a long time since I did a TBR pile to share with you all, but I feel now is a good time to create and share another with you all. I’ve been on a bit of a fantasy binge of late, and I have no plans in stopping it any time soon, so I figured I’d share the next fantasy books sitting on my TBR pile.

fantasy tbr pile

Yes there are two Throne of Glass novels on there, because I don’t plan on reading a single thing else until I am caught up with the series and then join everyone else for the wait for Empire of Storms.

Snow Like Ashes has been on my radar for a long while, but for some reason I still haven’t gotten round to picking it up for a read! The synopsis sounds fab, so with any luck the book will deliver. The same with Red Queen, I’ve heard it’s a great read, so hopefully I’ll agree.

And I’m super excited for Passenger, so when I saw it on Netgalley I couldn’t resist requesting it, not expecting to be approved for it.

So that’s what’s on my TBR pile, what’s on yours?

 

So, I Read 10 Books on Holiday…|Recently Read

April 27, 2016

recently read

photo by Patrick Tomasso

I thought I’d start a new thing on the blog where I give a quick overview every so often about the books I’ve read recently, as the chances of them all being reviewed on the blog are pretty slim.

Is it obnoxious to read a lot when you’re on holiday with other people? I don’t think so, but I know I frustrated a couple of members of my party by reading so much. That wasn’t the aim, but I never get the chance to sit around literally ALL DAY and read, so I had to make the most of it.

As you’ve gathered from the title, I ended up reading 10 books in Cuba, which has done my Goodreads Challenge wonders, as I’m now 12 books ahead of schedule and over halfway through my goal of 40 books, which I’m guessing will be adjusted slightly as the year goes on, but we’ll have to see. Anyway, enough rambling from me, onto the books I devoured in the beginning of the month!

I started off by reading On the Road by Jack Kerouac on the plane to Cuba. It was interesting, but I can’t say I loved it. I didn’t really get it, and if I’m honest, I feel like the 15 year old me would have enjoyed it a great deal more than I did. I might talk about it further, I might not. I dunno.

warrior witch danielle l jensen book coverMoving swiftly on, I was lucky enough to be approved for Warrior Witch by Danielle L Jensen, the FINAL BOOK in the Malediction trilogy. I can’t even begin to tell you how excited I was to dive into this, and whilst I’m sad the series is over, I’m so happy with the way everything ended. Full, gushing, review to come soon!

As I mentioned in my holiday TBR post, I had downloaded the first two books in The Beaumont Series, Forever my Girl and My Unexpected Forever. Both of these were AMAZING, and I cannot wait to read the final three books in the series and then talk about the series as a whole. Easily a new favourite romance series.

Thanks to the gorgeous sunshine, I found myself on a real romance kick, and quickly flew through True North by Marie Force, an old Kindle freebie, and Playing at Love by Ophelia London, both of which I enjoyed as fluffy, easy-to-read romances. I also continued my new adult love affair with Jet by Jay Crownover and My Sweetest Escape by Chelsea M. Cameron. I adored both of these, and I’m now staring longingly at the rest of the Marked Men series on Amazon.

And then jumping around genres, as I like to do, I finally tore through United States of Japan by
Peter Tieryas
, a sci-fi “spiritual sequel” to The Man in High Castle and just absolutely mind-blowing. Full review to follow, as a poor attempt to decipher my thoughts properly.

And finally, on the plane journey home, I picked up Our Endless Numbered Days by Claire Fuller, which was utterly jaw-dropping and left me reeling with its shock ending. Easily one of the best adult fiction novels I’ve ever read.

Book Review: Since You’ve Been Gone by Morgan Matson

April 18, 2016

Book Review: Since You’ve Been Gone by Morgan MatsonSince You've Been Gone by Morgan Matson
Published by Simon and Schuster Children's Books on 6th May 2014
Pages: 449
Source: Bought Physical Copy
Goodreads
five-stars
It was Sloane who yanked Emily out of her shell and made life 100% interesting. But right before what should have been the most epic summer, Sloane just…disappears. All she leaves behind is a to-do list.

On it, thirteen Sloane-inspired tasks that Emily would normally never try. But what if they could bring her best friend back?

Apple picking at night? Okay, easy enough.

Dance until dawn? Sure. Why not?

Kiss a stranger? Um...

Emily now has this unexpected summer, and the help of Frank Porter (totally unexpected), to check things off Sloane's list. Who knows what she’ll find?

Go skinny-dipping? Wait...what?

As I’m away on holiday, I’ve been delving into my drafts pile to see what posts I can put up for you all whilst I’m gone. Much like Eleanor & Park, this review has been sat in the drafts for a long, long time but I can’t not share a review of a book by one of my favourite authors ever!

Something that’s talked about a fair bit in the book blogging world is the worry that you won’t love a favourite author’s new book. And let me tell you, the fear was strong when it came to Since You’ve Been Gone. But, of course, Morgan Matson more than delivered here.

I loved the theme of finding yourself – truly – when your best friend disappears. I’ve been in a similar situation – my friend didn’t disappear but we did grow apart and it was so hard to try and work out who I was as a person without having that person there. So to say I connected with Emily is an understatement. I expected to dislike Sloane for leaving, but I didn’t. I couldn’t. Because despite the fact that Emily was left alone, she still loved Sloane dearly, and wasn’t prepared to just lose her without a fight. I love how she left Emily the list – her way of making sure Emily would be okay without her. The flashback scenes that showed Emily and Sloane’s friendship were excellent to read. And it is so nice to read about a genuine friendship between two girls in YA – there’s no frenemy shit, just two best friends and I LOVED it.

And Frank! Where do I start with Frank?! I loved how his relationship with Emily grew throughout the book – it was so refreshing to read about a really nice guy who has no hidden agenda, no ulterior motive. He’s just super kind to everyone. That’s not to say he’s without flaws – he does have them – but I found him far more enjoyable to read about than the stereotypical ‘bad guy turned good’. Morgan Matson writes some stellar male characters who aren’t douches (Roger, Henry, Frank and Collins) and they are so realistically portrayed. I love nice guys. And I love that Morgan Matson seems to love nice guys too.

No Morgan Matson book is complete without music, so naturally, I nearly squealed when I saw the playlists. I love playlists. Especially  when they’re in books! And I loved how they became a part of Since You’ve Been Gone, they weren’t just thrown in to try and make things interesting – they actually had relevance to the story.

Since You’ve Been Gone was everything I needed and wanted it to be, and it’s easily one of my favourite reads of 2015 so far. Now just to wait for the release of The Unexpected Everything…

Book Review: The Lie by C.L Taylor

April 11, 2016

Book Review: The Lie by C.L TaylorThe Lie by C L Taylor
Published by Avon UK on 23rd April 2015
Pages: 461
Goodreads
three-half-stars
I know your name's not really Jane Hughes...

Jane Hughes has a loving partner, a job in an animal sanctuary and a tiny cottage in rural Wales. She's happier than she's ever been but her life is a lie. Jane Hughes does not really exist.

Five years earlier Jane and her then best friends went on holiday but what should have been the trip of a lifetime rapidly descended into a nightmare that claimed the lives of two of the women.

Jane has tried to put her past behind her but someone knows the truth about what happened. Someone who won't stop until they've destroyed Jane and everything she loves.

I don’t generally read mysteries or thrillers, but there was something about The Lie that really attracted me to the book. The entire concept is really interesting, a woman who’s changed her name after a holiday of a lifetime took a sinister turn, and now the past is coming back to haunt her. And what starts off as a slow, easy going read soon turned into a horrifying series of events from Jane’s past. It’s so strange to be reading a book where you don’t like a single one of the main characters. And the plot was all kinds of messed up. I wasn’t expecting the Nepal storyline to develop the way it did, and it had such an explosive ending, it wasn’t hard to see why Jane had to change her name and create a whole new life for herself.

I didn’t think I was particularly enjoying The Lie until I realised I’d read over 100 pages in a morning during clinic. I found myself desperate to pick it up between patients and find out what twisted thing was going to happen next. It’s full of heart-stopping moments, and there were passages that left me asking “what the fuck?” as I finished them.

Definitely an interesting read, and a great page-turner if you’re into thrillers or just fancy reading something a bit different.

My Holiday TBR

April 7, 2016

As you read this, I’ll be busy sunning myself in Cuba, sipping on plenty of cocktails, soaking up the sunshine and making my way through plenty of books! Obviously I’ve given plenty of thought to my holiday reading list, spending plenty of time trawling through blogs for book recommendations to download in preparation for my travels!jet jay crownover book cover

I loved Rule by Jay Crownover, so it was a no-brainer to download the second book in the Marked Men series, Jet. If it’s anything like Rule was, I’m going to speed through this book faster
than the speed of light, and no doubt kick myself that I didn’t think ahead and download Rome, and all the other books in the series!!

I also had to hit download on My Sweetest Escape, after super enjoying My Favourite Mistake by Chelsea M. Cameron. I’ve been on a real New Adult kick this year, and I haven’t read a dud one yet, so I’m sticking with authors I know and am pretty sure I’ll enjoy! I love how this isn’t a direct sequel to My Favourite Mistake but more of a companion.sanctum sarah fine book cover

I’m trying to work my way though older Kindle books, so I’ve made sure I’ve got all the Guards of the Shadowlands books ready to read, starting with Sanctum. I’ve heard lots of wonderful things about this series, and I’ve been in a real fantasy mood lately, so hopefully this series by Sarah Fine doesn’t disappoint!

I also treated myself to a book I’ve been wanting to read for years, and I’m so excited to finally have a copy sitting waiting for me on my Kindle. I am so looking forward to finally being able to read Forever My Girl by Heidi McLaughlin. I know it’s contemporary but I’m not sure if it’s adult or new adult, but the synopsis sounds amazing so I know I’ll love it regardless!

Of course, I’ve got plenty more books lined up to read on my Kindle for the next two weeks, but I wanted to share some of the highlights I’ll be delving into whilst I’m relaxing on the beach or by the swimming pool!

Feeling Chatty

April 4, 2016

Hey! It’s been ages since I’ve properly sat down to write a bunch of posts, and you know what? I’ve really missed it! I’ve missed the blogging community and how friendly everyone is and how enthusiastic over books they are. Not many people around me read a great deal (apart from my mum, more on that later), so to dive back into a world where people understand why I’m so enthused over books is great. My lack of blogging hasn’t stopped me from buying books however, my most recent three physical purchases were Night Owls, Demon Road and The Dark Days Club. I’m super excited to dive back into some paranormal reads, as I haven’t touched the genre in years. Not properly, at least, but I’m planning on easing my way back in soon. I have yet another reason to add to the list of “why my boyfriend’s a keeper”: he bought me a Waterstones voucher for Valentine’s. I don’t do flowers and chocolates, and I told him if he was going to buy me anything for Valentine’s, it had to be practical. And he listened, bless him. Not to be outdone on the practical stakes, I bought him a drill-bit set for his fancy new drill he’s bought for work. What books have you bought recently? 

Okay, so my mum. She has a Kindle, and she reads loads, but mainly urban fantasy/paranormal romance/contemporary romance. We don’t talk books that often, apart from the occasional Nora Roberts recommendation (by mum to me), but I have got her started on a few of her favourite series myself, namely Black Dagger Brotherhood and the Guild Hunter series. I do wave the occasional YA paranormal under her nose if I think she’ll enjoy it, but I’m rarely taken up on the offer, as she’s not a fan of YA. So I was kinda surprised to find her reading The Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor and totally raving about it, finishing the book in three days and immediately downloading the second. I mean, I was stoked, but never thought that would be a book my mum would read. And now I’m totally spurred onto reading the series myself!

I also go on holiday to Cuba on the 5th April, and I am so excited. My boyfriend and I went to Mexico last June, and we said that there would be no holiday this year, but made an exception as it’s his grandparents’ 50th Wedding Anniversary in 2016, so there’s 11 of us going to celebrate in Cuba. And I am so looking forward to two weeks in the glorious sunshine, sipping on the occasional cocktail and read to my heart’s content. I can’t swim, but the idea of lazing by a pool or on the beach with my Kindle seems like total heaven. I, of course, have been purchasing plenty of books for my holiday, even though I don’t need to buy anymore! And the lure of the airport bookshop will no doubt be too difficult to ignore as well, so I’ll have plenty of reading material to keep me entertained for the two weeks. What are your favourite beach reads? Are you going on holiday this year? Tell me where!

And finally, although I’ve no doubt bored everyone to tears, I can’t not share this news with you. I said earlier in the year that I was possibly looking for a new job, and now I’ve finally got one! I’m going to be going back to dispensing at the end of April, after my holiday, and I honestly couldn’t be more happy. I’m so excited for what the future holds and I just feel so positive at the moment, which is a really nice feeling to have when you haven’t felt it in a long while! How are you guys doing?

 

 

3 Great Books I Read at the End of 2015 + Mini Reviews

April 1, 2016

(No, we’re not going to talk about how overdue this post is.) ANYWAY these three books probably won’t get reviewed on the blog, because I’m not mega into writing reviews these days, but I still want to talk a little bit about them with you because, hello? These were three excellent books.

Ruin and Rising by Leigh Bardugo
(Also Siege and Storm, but Ruin and Rising was literally my fave of the two. Just.)

Okay, pushing aside how sad I am that this series is over and that I’m now putting off reading Six of Crows til Crooked Kingdom is a little closer to release, because if this series is anything like the Grisha trilogy I am not going to want to wait too long for the next book in the series to appear. I swear, Mal and Alina became my ultimate OTP in Ruin and Rising. I LOVE THEM SO MUCH. (Sorry my Princely Pirate.) Also David and Genya were amazing. (Of course.) And hello Nickolai, even though I felt really sad about what you went through. There was the action you expected, because the war against The Darkling was going to happen and there was no stopping until one side lost for good.

Clockwork Princess by Cassandra Clare

AHHH. AHHH! I finally FINALLY managed to finish The Infernal Devices, and I absolutely LOVED Clockwork Princess. It had been ages since I read Clockwork Prince, but I delved right back into the Shadowhunters world, with Tessa, Jem and Will. Ugh this book was amazing. I loved every second of it. And the ending! I couldn’t have asked for a more perfect ending to the series. I finished this book sitting in my cold car in a Holiday Inn car park in Peterborough blinking away tears as best as I could, and feeling so satisfied with the ending. I don’t want more. I’m happy knowing how Tessa’s story ended, and that’s that. Now to start City of Heavenly Fire. (And then I’ll read Lady Midnight because no matter how many times I say I won’t start that series we all know it’s gonna happen.)

Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys

Oh my goodness. This book! I picked it up on a whim, not knowing if I would enjoy it or not, and got so sucked into the book I ended up reading it in a day. I know a lot of people had raved about this book in the past but oh my goodness I was so shocked at how good it really was and how much I felt for the characters. And the ending was lovely, but also kind of aggravating for me because I wanted more from the characters. But seriously a great read and one I’m going to recommend for years because it’s an incredible work of historical fiction.

Book Review: Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell

March 30, 2016

Book Review: Eleanor & Park by Rainbow RowellEleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell
Published by Orion on 1st February 2013
Pages: 325
Source: Bought Physical Copy
Goodreads
five-stars
Eleanor is the new girl in town, and with her chaotic family life, her mismatched clothes and unruly red hair, she couldn't stick out more if she tried.

Park is the boy at the back of the bus. Black T-shirts, headphones, head in a book - he thinks he's made himself invisible. But not to Eleanor... never to Eleanor.

Slowly, steadily, through late-night conversations and an ever-growing stack of mix tapes, Eleanor and Park fall for each other. They fall in love the way you do the first time, when you're young, and you feel as if you have nothing and everything to lose.

Okay, it’s been a YEAR since I read this wonderful book, but I found this review sitting in my drafts folder and Eleanor & Park is too good to not talk about, so here’s my gushy review for this amazing book.

I’ve put off writing this review for a very long time. It’s been nearly 4 months since I read Eleanor & Park, yet I still get a painful feeling in my gut when I think about it. This book is quite simply phenomenal.

But what is there to say about Eleanor & Park that hasn’t already been said? If you haven’t been persuaded to read it now, then I doubt my review will convince you otherwise. But I will say that Eleanor & Park is the first book since Before I Fall to hit me with this much emotion. It’s the first book in a long while that left me desperately willing for a sequel, just so I know that the characters are okay. And it’s the first book in forever to have made such a huge impression on my person. It’s all too easy to let go of characters, but Eleanor and Park have stuck with me and refused to let me go.

And it’s not just Eleanor & Park that won’t leave me. I started off hating Park’s father, but came quite close to bursting into tears when he offered Eleanor solace from her stepfather. The same with Park’s mother, who quite openly disliked Eleanor, but ended up having a total change of heart and tried her best to treat Eleanor like the daughter she didn’t have. (Much to Eleanor’s horror!)

I’ve spoken about this before, but I genuinely didn’t realise how awful Eleanor’s home life was. I was so unprepared for that, and I think that feeling was what made me love Eleanor & Park all the more. It pushed me out of my comfort zone. It made me uncomfortable. But I still kept on reading. And this book tore my heart in two. I finished Eleanor & Park with 30 seconds to spare on my lunch break, and had to somehow compose myself enough to start my afternoon clinic. Didn’t work. I had to blame my puffy eyes on hayfever. I don’t think that worked either.

Eleanor & Park is a book that I love wholeheartedly. It’s been a long time since a book has connected with me like Eleanor & Park did, and I know it’s going to be a book I revisit over and over again. This book genuinely made me love Rainbow Rowell even more, which I honestly didn’t believe to be possible.

Book Review: This Is Where It Ends by Marieke Nijkamp

March 21, 2016

I received this book for free from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Book Review: This Is Where It Ends by Marieke NijkampThis Is Where It Ends by Marieke Nijkamp
Published by Sourcebooks Fire on 5th January 2016
Pages: 285
Source: Netgalley
Goodreads
five-stars
10:00 a.m.
The principal of Opportunity, Alabama's high school finishes her speech, welcoming the entire student body to a new semester and encouraging them to excel and achieve.

10:02 a.m.
The students get up to leave the auditorium for their next class.

10:03
The auditorium doors won't open.

10:05
Someone starts shooting.

Told over the span of 54 harrowing minutes from four different perspectives, terror reigns as one student's calculated revenge turns into the ultimate game of survival.

I’m going to state the obvious in saying I’ve never read a book like This Is Where It Ends. I don’t pick up these kind of contemporaries normally, I stick to the more fluffy realms of the genre, aiming for feel-good romances instead of the read hard-hitting stuff. But This Is Where It Ends is a book that needs to be read. Saying I enjoyed it feels like the wrong thing to say – because a book with this kind of topic shouldn’t be enjoyed. It should be absorbed, thought about and make you face the facts about topics you don’t normally have at the forefront of your mind.

This Is Where It Ends was an intense read, and sucked me in right from the start. It’s literally the best definition of a page-turner that I’ve read recently, I was constantly flicking through the pages, desperate to find out what happened next. To say the course of the book takes place over less than an hour, the writing was full of description that transported me right to the auditorium, and that made it all the more terrifying to read. At times I felt like I couldn’t breathe with fear over what was going to happen to the students. This Is Where It Ends is scattered with various points of view, which add to its depth and gave us an insight into how so many different students were affected, and how they reacted to it.

This Is Where It Ends does not have a happy ending. It’s cruel, heart-breaking and so necessary. It wouldn’t have been right for it to all be neatly tied up with a bow at the end, because how many school shootings in reality end with a happy ending? They don’t. And a happy ending wouldn’t have done the story, and the message of This Is Where It Ends justice. I applaud Nijkamp for writing this book realistically, and how she refused to shy away from those extra details that were hard to read but ultimately made the book better.

Book Review: Mercer Street by John A. Heldt

February 3, 2016

I received this book for free from Author in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Book Review: Mercer Street by John A. HeldtMercer Street by John A Heldt
Series: American Journey #2
Published by Self-Published on 21st October 2015
Pages: 431
Source: Author
Goodreads
four-stars
Weeks after her husband dies in the midst of an affair in 2016, Chicago writer Susan Peterson, 48, seeks solace on a California vacation with her mother Elizabeth and daughter Amanda. The novelist, however, finds more than she bargained for when she meets a professor who possesses the secret of time travel. Within days, the women travel to 1938 and Princeton, New Jersey. Elizabeth begins a friendship with her refugee parents and infant self, while Susan and Amanda fall for a widowed admiral and a German researcher with troubling ties. Filled with poignancy, heartbreak, and intrigue, MERCER STREET gives new meaning to courage, sacrifice, and commitment as it follows three strong-willed souls on the adventure of a lifetime.

The one thing I love with books by John A. Heldt is that I’m guaranteed to enjoy them. Mercer Street was absolutely no exception, and a stellar addition to the American Journey series. I loved how three generations of a family were sent time-travelling by the mysterious Geoffrey Bell in Mercer Street, and how Elizabeth’s past was woven into their new present in 1938. Reading about Princeton was great, and Heldt never fails to disappoint with his rich descriptions of the past. I love travelling back in time with these books, as I honestly feel like I’m right there with the characters in the past.

I enjoyed the romance in Mercer Street, as it really tied in well with the plot and added to the story, and I found myself desperately rooting for Amanda and Kurt’s relationship to make it through to the end of the book, even though it seemed, at times, that their differences were just too difficult to work through. I enjoyed Susan’s relationship with Jack as well, although it didn’t have the outcome I wanted it to, I understand and appreciate why Heldt chose to follow that path.

It’s so hard to talk about these books without giving something away, as they are full of little twists and turns that have a huge impact on the outcome, but don’t let my vagueness stop you from picking up these books, because John Heldt is definitely a master of his craft, and I would absolutely LOVE to see his works getting more recognition in the future.

All in all, I really enjoyed reading Mercer Street, and found it to be yet another fantastic addition to John A Heldt’s work,