Category Archives: Discussion

Where Have You Been?

May 29, 2014

Okay, let’s address the obvious elephant in the room here: I basically disappeared from my blog for a good month. Half hearted attempts at Top Ten Tuesday and Waiting on Wednesday posts do not count as really making an effort, do they? The thing was, I got bored with books. I got bored with blogging. And I promised myself a very long time ago that this would only ever be a hobby, not a chore. And when it did start feeling like a slog, I told myself I’d take a step back and recuperate.

Unfortunately, the recuperation stage has taken a lot longer than I thought it would. I’m not really reading at the moment. In fact, I’m in the biggest reading slump I’ve ever suffered from, but I think I’m slowly getting over it. I took a long, hard look at my blog and asked myself what its future held. And I decided that I was ready to come back. It’s taken me a little longer than I thought it would, but I’m here. I’m back. And I’m ready to blog.

So tell me, what’s new with you guys? What amazing books have you read lately that you think I should check out?

That Time I Went to Vegas…

March 20, 2014

In case some of you didn’t know, I recently came back from my trip to Las Vegas. It was the second time I’d visited the city, but I can safely say that this time around was way more fun as I was 21, which meant I could do (pretty much) whatever I wanted to do!

I was a terrible tourist and took hardly any photos. Shame on me, I know, but the place is just SO BUSY all the time, if you stop to take a photo you inevitably get in someone’s way, or you end up getting people walking in front of you all the time, and my patience isn’t that great so I didn’t bother that often. In fact, most of the time I took photos in restaurants, as two we went in, Senor Frogs and Bubba Gump’s, had these really cool signs everywhere that made me smile a lot.

Senor Frogs Treasure IslandBubba Gump Las Vegas

I’m 99% sure I ate more in Las Vegas than I have in my entire life. The portions are huge! Sometimes it felt like the burgers were as big as my head. 😛 I’m sure they weren’t, but still. Massive. My favourite meal was definitely at PBR Rock Bar and Grill. The food there was awesome. I had a BBQ Burger, which was a burger with pulled pork, bacon, cheese and an onion ring all smothered with delicious barbeque sauce. Not one for the faint-hearted. Or vegetarian.

We also went to the Las Vegas NASCAR race, which was probably the highlight of my entire holiday. I’ve mentioned before that I’m a huge NASCAR, and just general motorsport, fan, so to go to an actual NASCAR race is like a dream come true for me. It’s certainly not for everyone, but I loved watching it, especially as my driver won both of the races, much to my dad’s disappointment. NASCAR weekend is a pretty huge thing in Vegas, and we walked past this Jeff Gordon Madam Tussaud’s figure outside The Venetian several times. And we laughed at it several times, as it’s just plain awful and looks nothing like the chap.

Jeff Gordon Madam Tussauds Las VegasNASCAR aside, we really went to Las Vegas so we could have an actual break. Some of you may know that 2013 was a horrible year for my family, and it felt right to be able to get away in 2014 and enjoy being away without worrying about family back here. Although I think we all relaxed too much, as none of us wanted to come back home and face reality again! Especially as we all came back with slight tans. (Even me, the self-proclaimed human milk bottle! Although my tan just makes me look dirty, unfortunately.) Unfortunately, we didn’t win big in any of the casinos to fund a permanent holiday out to the states, but, as we’ve told ourselves several times, it wouldn’t be as fun if we were there all the time. (I’m not all that convinced though…) And lady luck did shine down on me, as when I checked my emails for the first time in ten days, I found I’d been offered a job interview for a position I’d applied for nearly a month previous!

Vegas did give me a lot of perspective, funnily enough. I never would have imagined that walking around all these hotels full of extravagance and grandeur that I would be able to re-evaluate my life and the choices I’ve made up until that point in my life. I’d already decided to take a break from my blog during the holiday, and that was probably the best decision I’ve made for it, as I’ve come back with this huge desire to blog again, but with more passion than ever before. But I also made a choice to not use my phone unless absolutely necessary. I sent my brother a few messages, and chatted to my friends on twitter a couple of times, but that was it. And having this clean break from the internet gave me time to re-evaluate my life and the decisions I’ve made recently, and the steps I can make to change and move forward in a positive way. I think Vegas is also the best place to realise that you need to start living for yourself. I came back from Vegas a different person, but for the better, and if nothing else, I’m extremely thankful I had the time to be able to do that.

So, to sum up my holiday in a few words: Food, Racing, Sun, Relax, Walking, Happy.

…Can I book my next holiday yet? 😛

The Best Books of 2013: The Monthly Edition

January 3, 2014

I’m well aware that I’ve just done a Top Ten Tuesday post on this, but I wanted to also do a ‘book of the month’ type round-up of 2013, highlighting a favourite book of each month of 2013, as I know I didn’t mention all of these books in my top ten list. This is going to be a kind of reading wrap-up post too, because I think it’s kind of important to reflect on how my reading went this past year.

January
2013 started off pretty well for me, I managed to read a grand total of 9 books. (Well, one was a novella, but it still counts. It had more than one page.) I read some pretty great books, so picking just one favourite is kind of difficult, but I’ve managed to do it anyway. (It’s a hard life for some…)

christmas eve at friday harbor by lisa kleypas

I went for Christmas Eve at Friday Harbor as it’s the first novel in the Friday Harbor series, and was a book that had me busting up with laughter and biting the palm of my hand so I didn’t wake everyone up with my giggling.
Honourable Mentions: The Hobbit, Obsidian

February
February was another pretty good reading month, I carried on the momentum from January and read another set of fantastic books. It was although the month I bade a favourite trilogy farewell, with the release of Sever by Lauren DeStefano, which I really enjoyed.

attachments by rainbow rowell

I had to choose Attachments as my book of the month. I adored it. It shot up into my ‘favourite adult novels’ list, and made me a firm fan of Rainbow Rowell. (So much so, I haven’t read her other two books…I do own E&P though, which is a start, right?)
Honourable Mentions: Shadow and Bone, Sever

March
My reading slowed a touch in March for personal reasons, I also had this somewhat ridiculous slew of review books landing in my inbox that I started to feel a little overwhelmed by. I’m very grateful for these books, but getting seven in the space of a fortnight whilst trying desperately to navigate through my personal minefield was a tad terrifying for me!

the show by john a heldt

It was great to dip back into the Northwest Passage series with The Show, and I thoroughly enjoyed the book. Heldt’s books are great time-travel adventures, and I’m thankful to have been able to read and review all of this series thus far.
Honourable Mentions: Terra, Mine Till Midnight

April
I did pretty well in April, I spent the first day of April (Easter Monday AKA Bank Holiday!) reading three books, which certainly helped my numbers!

before i fall by lauren oliver

Before I Fall completely destroyed me. It was a phenomenal read, and one I couldn’t recommend higher if I tried. Lauren Oliver’s writing is just spine-tingling and beautiful.
Honourable Mentions: Defiant Heart, Imaginable

May
Another good reading month, although I read a couple of duds this month which was a little disappointing, but it has to be expected, right?

the silver linings playbook by matthew quick

I read The Silver Linings Playbook in a single and it was just absolutely incredible. Definitely a new favourite book of mine.
Honourable Mentions: The Pledge, Boy Meets Boy

June
Is it bad to say that I don’t remember a great deal about June other than the fact that I had a week off work during it and went to Cardiff twice? I did go see Bon Jovi that month, which was lovely. And I read my favourite book of 2013 (I think. Maybe? I don’t know.) in June.

pretty girl thirteen by liz coley

Oh my. How I didn’t go crazy reading this book I’ll never know. I have never read anything like it before, and I think that’s why I adored it so much. I know none of you are surprised to see this book sitting here too.
Honourable Mentions: Crossing the Line, Pure

July
Another good month for me, especially as I got approved for my very first Netgalley book, which was fantastic.

acid by emma pass

Absolutely fantastic. If you haven’t read this yet, you need to pick it up sooner rather than later. My favourite UKYA read of 2013 for sure.
Honourable Mentions: Rory, Supernaturally

August
The last of my fantastic reading months! I read some fantastic books this month, and discovered some brilliant new series.

simply irresistible by jill shalvis

Probably the steamiest book I’d read at that point, certainly one for romance lovers! Plus, not only did it have a steamy romance, it had some absolutely cracking one liners in it too.
Honourable Mentions: All Our Yesterdays, Room

September
I had an absolutely pants reading month, managing to get through a whole three books…one of which was a picture book. Yeah. September was a dark, dark month.

the rosie project by graeme simsion
The complete gem of September. I might have only read three books, but at least this one was fantastic.

October
Another slow month, but luckily, this one was full of fantastic books. I waved a sad goodbye to another favourite series of mine *sob* Although I did start a new series that I loved, so I’m not too bereft!

allegiant by veronica roth
Please just let me go and cry quietly in a corner without any disturbance. Thanks.
Honourable Mentions: Perfect Ruin, The Fire

November
The month I broke free of my reading slump chains and began to enjoy reading again! I was also invited to take part in my first blog tour, which was fun.

shadows by jennifer l armentrout
*sigh* Dawson was just as hot as Daemon. He really was. Plus this book made me want to dive straight back into this series again. I definitely need to do that soon.
Honourable Mentions: Entrusted, Golden Dunes of Renhala

December
I made a gallant attempt to reach my 80 book goal for 2013, but alas, it just wasn’t meant to be. I read my first NA book this month and absolutely LOVED it. Cora Carmack is brilliant. End of.

losing it by cora carmack
No surprise here. I tore through this book and now I want to read it all over again. And again. And probably again after that.
Honourable Mentions: The Sweetest Thing, Girl of Nightmares

2013 End of Year Book Survey

December 15, 2013

best-books-2013-1024x862
As if I’m filling in the 2013 edition of this survey! Seriously, I’m sure it cannot have been a year since I filled out the 2012 edition. This year has gone far too quickly, although I can’t say I’m sorry to see the back of it. As always, this survey has been put together by the wonderful Jamie at The Perpetual Page Turner.

Best in Books 2013

1. Best Book You Read In 2013? (If you have to cheat — you can break it down by genre if you want or 2013 release vs. backlist)
YA: Pretty Girl Thirteen by Liz Coley or ACID by Emma Pass
Adult: Simply Irresistible by Jill Shalvis or The Silver Linings Playbook by Matthew Quick.
See how good I was at narrowing it down there? Of course, there’s several honourable mentions that I could talk about here, but I won’t. That’s a different post!
2. Book You Were Excited About & Thought You Were Going To Love More But Didn’t?
Everneath by Brodi Ashton. I wanted so much more, and people kept telling me that I would love it, but I didn’t. The ending was admirable, but I doubt I’ll ever read the rest of the series.
3. Most surprising (in a good way!) book of 2013?
Boy Meets Boy by David Levithan. I totally underestimated how good that book was going to be! I’m still waiting to meet a real life Infinite Darlene. (How fabulous would that be?)
4. Book you read in 2013 that you recommended to people most in 2013?
ACID by Emma Pass. Also Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver.
5. Best series you discovered in 2013?
Friday Harbor by Lisa Kleypas, Lucky Harbor by Jill Shalvis, Lux by Jennifer L Armentrout. I have a thing for sexy love interests, apparently. No shame.
6. Favorite new author you discovered in 2013?
SO MANY. Gah. I can’t pick. I really can’t!
7. Best book that was out of your comfort zone or was a new genre for you?
Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo. I don’t normally go for fantasy, but this one was incredible! (I think I named fantasy books last year too, haha.)
8. Most thrilling, unputdownable book in 2013?
All Our Yesterdays by Cristin Terrill. Holy batman, that book was good. And gripping. Also confusing, especially when I was trying to not fall asleep whilst reading it.
9. Book You Read In 2013 That You Are Most Likely To Re-Read Next Year?
I am so bad at re-reading! Possibly The Silver Linings Playbook. Or Attachments. I’m determined to re-read more in 2014!

10. Favorite cover of a book you read in 2013?
girl of nightmares by kendare blake
11. Most memorable character in 2013?
There’s so many! Crikey. Um, Pat and Tiffany from The Silver Linings Playbook (I need to stop using this book to answer questions!), Alina from Shadow and Bone, Maddie from Simply Irresistible.
12. Most beautifully written book read in 2013?
Even though I didn’t love it, Reached by Ally Condie was beautifully written. Also Sever and Perfect Ruin by Lauren DeStefano.
13. Book that had the greatest impact on you in 2013?
Pretty Girl Thirteen practically destroyed me.
14. Book you can’t believe you waited UNTIL 2013 to finally read?
The Hobbit by JRR Tolkein. Although technically I did read it when I was around 7 or 8, but I didn’t understand and appreciate it the way I did when I read it this year.
15. Favorite Passage/Quote From A Book You Read In 2013?
“And then we’re kissing. His lips are soft and leave mine tingling. I close my eyes, and in the darkness behind them I see beautiful blooming things, flowers spinning like snowflakes, and hummingbirds beating the same rhythm as my heart. I’m gone, lost, floating away into nothingness like I am in my dream, but this time it’s a good feeling – like soaring, like being totally free. His other hand pushes my hair from my face, and I can feel the impression of his fingers everywhere that they touch, and I think of stars streaking through the sky and leaving burning trails behind them, and in that moment – however long it lasts, seconds, minutes, days – while he’s saying my name into my mouth and I’m breathing into him, I realize this, right here, is the first and only time I’ve ever been kissed.”  Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver.
16.Shortest & Longest Book You Read In 2013?
Not including novellas –
Shortest: Advantage Erin by Kris Kreisman (140 pages)
Longest: Reached by Ally Condie (528 pages)
17. Book That Had A Scene In It That Had You Reeling And Dying To Talk To Somebody About It? (a WTF moment, an epic revelation, a steamy kiss, etc. etc.) Be careful of spoilers!
Um, how about the ending of Allegiant?! Thank goodness I was doing a buddy read with Rebekah and was able to talk about all my feelings!
18. Favorite Relationship From A Book You Read In 2013 (be it romantic, friendship, etc).
I loved the relationship between Maddie, Tara and Chloe in Simply Irresistible and The Sweetest Thing. Romantic relationship is quite difficult, but I definitely have to mention Basil and Morgan from Perfect Ruin, their relationship was rather adorable and believable. Also Bliss and Garrick from Losing It, although I’m sure that people like Garrick do not exist in real life. And the friendship between Cammie, Bex, Liz and Macey in the Gallagher Girls series is awesome.
19. Favorite Book You Read in 2013 From An Author You’ve Read Previously
Oooh, this is quite difficult as I read quite a few new-to-me authors this year. I’d probably have to go for Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver, this book was simply sublime.
20. Best Book You Read In 2013 That You Read Based SOLELY On A Recommendation From Somebody Else:
Room by Emma Donaghue. Melissa from Writer Grrl Reads recommended this to me on Twitter and I am SO glad she did, as I’m not sure I’d have picked it up otherwise.
21. Genre You Read The Most From in 2013?
Contemporary. I actually read a pretty healthy mix of genres this year, but contemporary just pips the post.
22. Newest fictional crush from a book you read in 2013?
I have so many! Jax from Simply Irresistible, Lincoln from Attachments, Oz from The Woken Gods. And of course, Garrick from Losing It.
23. Best 2013 debut you read?
ACID by Emma Pass.
24. Most vivid world/imagery in a book you read in 2013?
Shadow and Bone! Shadow and Bone! Need I say anymore?!

25. Book That Was The Most Fun To Read in 2013?
Going Vintage was fun in the fact that it was a buddy read, but also because it was just a quick read that made me smile. I didn’t love it, but it was a really fun book to read.

26. Book That Made You Cry Or Nearly Cry in 2013?
Before I Fall had me constantly wiping at my eyes, especially towards the end of it! As did Allegiant. Oh, and All Our Yesterdays. I swear, I go from barely crying at any books to weeping at tons (ie three) in a single year!
27. Book You Read in 2013 That You Think Got Overlooked This Year Or When It Came Out?
This is so tough! I know I didn’t see a huge amount on The Rosie Project, but maybe that was just because I wasn’t looking for it at the time? I really don’t have a proper answer for this one!

Book Blogging/Reading Life in 2013

1. New favorite book blog you discovered in 2013?
There’s so many! I can’t pick just one.
2. Favorite review that you wrote in 2013?
I’m quite fond of my reviews for ACID and All Our Yesterdays, also I have a soft spot for my review of Before I Fall. (I keep talking about the same books in this survey, I know, but that’s what makes them my top reads of 2013!)
3. Best discussion you had on your blog?
My posts on drowning in unfinished series and discussing Amazon’s best YA picks of 2013 so far got loads of great comments on them, as did my post talking about when reading just stops being fun.
4. Most thought-provoking review or discussion you read on somebody else’s blog?
Again, there’s too many to just pick one!
5. Best event that you participated in (author signings, festivals, virtual events, memes, etc.)?
The Bout of Books read-a-thons were fab. And Bloggiesta was great, although I’ve fallen behind on my blog maintenance again. Oops.
6. Best moment of book blogging/your book life in 2013?
Switching from Blogger to self-hosting was a pretty momentous occasion, although it did have its tense moments. Once again, I would like to apologise for being such a winey cow on Twitter when I was making the switch!
7. Most Popular Post This Year On Your Blog (whether it be by comments or views)?
I’m not going to include Meme posts or sign-up/goal posts for events because they generally get more views/comments anyway. Taking a look and going by comments, because my page stats are a little wonky at the moment, surprisingly, it’s my TBR pile for June, which I didn’t stick to at all.
8. Post You Wished Got A Little More Love?
I can’t really pick a post, because I’m just grateful for all the views/comments etc that I get anyway! (Yes, that’s cheesy and soppy and no, I don’t care.)
9. Best bookish discover (book related sites, book stores, etc.)?
I don’t know?!
10.  Did you complete any reading challenges or goals that you had set for yourself at the beginning of this year?
My Goodreads challenge is to read 80 books, and as I write this post I’m at 70. It’s not completely unnatainable, but I doubt I’ll actually make it. And the rest of my reading challenges have been a complete and utter fail.

Looking Ahead

1. One Book You Didn’t Get To In 2013 But Will Be Your Number 1 Priority in 2014?
Cinder by Marissa Meyer, most definitely. Alongside The Name in the Star, The Knife of Never Letting Go and Vampire Academy. I totally planned to read all four of these books this year as well. It just goes to show I NEVER read the books that I plan on reading, haha.

2. Book You Are Most Anticipating For 2014 (non-debut)?
Since You’ve Been Gone by Morgan Matson, because, yay, it’s a Morgan Matson book!

3. 2014 Debut You Are Most Anticipating?
Love Letters to the Dead by Ava Dellaira.

4. Series Ending You Are Most Anticipating in 2014?
City of Heavenly Fire by Cassandra Clare. I love The Mortal Instruments, but I am beyond ready for this series to be finished.

5. One Thing You Hope To Accomplish Or Do In Your Reading/Blogging In 2014?
More re-reads! There’s so many books that I read before I started blogging that I want to pick up, read again and be able to review on the blog, and there’s also books that I want to re-read that I’ve already reviewed on the blog that I would love to be able to discuss again. So that’s my main goal for 2014.