Tuesday, 29 March 2016

Top Ten Tuesday Forty Five

Top Ten of my most recent 5 stars reads

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature/meme hosted by The Broke and Bookish.  This weeks topic was one I was quite excited for as I really wanted to look back and see which books I had actually given 5 stars to (I don't have a good enough memory to remember!) and to remember why they became some of my favourites - I also couldn't pass up an opportunity to talk about some of these beautiful books.  And so, enjoy!   

1) Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte
This was my most recent five star read, and was also my first classic I read outside of school.  Not only was it beautifully written, but it was also such a great story and it has definitely convinced me to pick up some more classics very soon! 

2) Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by J. K. Rowling -
 Yes, I know, I am only on the second book, but at least I am, slowly but surely, making my way through this series.  I actually enjoyed this one a lot more than the first for some reason, and so hopefully it won't take me as long to read the third as it did for me to read this.  

3) I am The Messenger by Markus Zusak
I was really scared to read this one after The Book Thief became one of my favourite books, but my fears were all put to rest as soon as I picked this one up.  It was so different and unique but just as beautiful and so I had no choice but to give it 5 stars.  

4) Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo
This was my last 5 star read of last year, and is honestly one of my favourites from all of those that I read in last 12 months.  I rarely pick up fantasy, so this was a pleasant surprise for me as I was catapulted into this world and forced to fall in love with its characters.  I hoping the second is just as good! 

5) The Game of Love and Death by Martha Brockenbrough
I can't tell you how much I adored this book.  It was such a beautiful story with characters you couldn't help love and I honestly think that everyone should give this one a read - it truly is exceptional!

6) The Midnight Palace by Carlos Ruiz Zafon - 
This was one of my favourites of the summer, and another that I was initially scared to read after loving The Prince of Mist.  However, once again, this turned out to be just as good with its gorgeous setting and great cast of characters, not to mention the ever-amazing writing.  

7) We All Looked Up by Tommy Wallach
I know by now I have told almost everyone to read this, but I still can't stop talking about it.  It has stuck with me ever since I read it and I already can't to reread and relive it all again.  

8) Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green and David Levithan
This was a surprise favourite of mine, despite it being by two authors I love.  I was really expecting to be let down by this, but thankfully it did the complete opposite and ended up being such a fun little read.  

9)  It's Kind of a Funny Story by Ned Vizzini - Finally, this is one of my few 5 star reads that I hardly talk about, with almost nothing being said about it since I read it almost a year ago now!  Nonetheless, I really loved this one and would definitely say give it a go of you haven't already! 

Which books have you recently given 5 stars to?  Have you read any of my recent favourites?  What did you think? 

Sunday, 27 March 2016

Allegiant movie review

Recently I decided to go and see the latest film in the Divergent series, Allegiant.  After seeing Insurgent last year, and after the trailers for the film, I have to admit I was a little wary.  Not only had they made quite a few changes in Insurgent, but from the looks of things, Allegiant wasn't going to get any better.  Nonetheless, I still made my way to the cinema with the mindset that, hey, it may not be as bad as it seems.  And although it wasn't disatouris, I have to say that I was by no means blown away.  

Before watching this latest installment, I knew to expect changes - and bigs one at that.  However, because I knew this pre-watching, I didn't think that I would be as bothered by how much the plot strayed from the book.  But, alas, they still did - and that's something considering I haven't read Allegiant for a few years now.  Not only were the changes quite prominent ones, but they also didn't seem to fit with what plot was left, keeping neither book readers or movie watchers happy.  

Now, I'd be okay with these changes if there was enough action and other things going on.  But there wasn't.  Honestly, I'm not too sure what acutally happened in this movie.  To start, everything seemed to be going at nice pace, but then it all seemed to slow down a bit until suddenly there was only a few minutes of the film left and everything needed to happen.  

One of my major bugbears (because apparently I haven't ranted enough already) was the interaction between the characters, of more accurately the lack of.  It seemed as though the whole film was just Tris walking around trying to figure out the whole genetic thing with her occasionally bumping into another character.  I'm pretty sure I only saw Christina a handful of times - and almost never with Tris.  Aren't they meant to be friends?  

Staying with characters, I have to admit that one of the few I really enjoyed seeing pop up was Peter.  Despite him not being one of my favourites by any means in the books, in the films he outshines all the others for me, his sarcasm providing some much needed lightheartedness to quite a serious film.  However, even his character did annoy me towards the end, as I was waiting the whole film for him to make a certain decision that made me love him even more.  But it never came, and he never got redeemed.  

However, despite all these things, I still do have hope for the next film.  From the way Allegiant ended, I think its safe to say that the next one will be completely detached from the books, but this might actually be a good thing after this.  I'm hoping that the conflict between Chicago and the Bureau will finally get the ball rolling and that we get alot more action in the last film.  But, I would still like for the films to end the same way the books do (sorry...) as I honestly think that that was the right way to end the series.  

Tuesday, 22 March 2016

Top Ten Tuesday Forty Four

Top Ten Books I loved but haven't talked about enough

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature/ meme hosted by The Broke and Bookish.  This weeks topic was one I was excited for as I love talking about underrated books and I so I was happy to jump at the chance to talk about some of the books I haven't spoken about anywhere near enough.  And so, enjoy! 

1) The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey - This was one of my favourites from last year and the final book in the series is my most anticipated release for this year, and yet, I still feel as though I have barely spoken about my love for it, particularly online.  Not only do I love the series, but it also pushed me to read more sci-fi, something I am very grateful for.  

2) Half Bad by Sally Green - When I read this book some time last autumn, I really did enjoy it.  And yet, in the months since, I have barely ever spoken about this book to anyone or anywhere, for no reason at all.  It was gripping, unique and just such a good story - and I need to start talking about it an awful lot more.  

3) Just listen by Sarah Dessen - I actually read this one quite early on last year, and yet, I have yet to so much of mention it in anything or to anyone.  Why?!  I really enjoyed this one and ever since reading it I've been wanting to get into more Sarah Dessen, but it has somehow been left out of the limelight - until now.  

4) Wonder by R.J. Palacio - For a book I read in one day, this one strangely gets forgotten when I talk about some of my favourites, or even books I enjoyed.  I loved how heartbreaking yet touching this story was and I plan on rereading it sometime in the future just to relieve the beauty of it.  

5) The Mortal Instruments series by Cassandra Clare - Yes, I know that this is a hugely popular series and so clearly alot of people do talk about how much they love it, but personally I really don't think I do.  Despite only having the last two books left to read, I haven't spoken about this amazing series much at all, and so hopefully that will change by the time I make it to the final book so that I can give these books the love they deserve.
6) The Geography of You and Me by Jennifer E. Smith - Even after doing a review for this one, I still don't think I have fully shared the love, not only for this book, but for Jennifer E. Smith in general.  I've now read two of hers and I enjoyed them both immensely, with their cute, heartwarming romances and beautiful settings.

7) Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist by David Levithan - Despite speaking about how much I love David Levithan as an author, I don't believe I have talked about my most recent read of this all that much, even though I thoroughly enjoyed it.  It combined all the components I love in one of his novels with a brand new story that was funny and sarcastic whilst also being heartwarming and even cute at times.  

8) Ketchup Clouds by Annabel Pitcher - I adore this book to pieces, and, despite talking about it soon after I read it, since it has almost been forgotten.  Granted, I do think I gave it the love it deserved at first, but now it seems to have joined all of these other forgotten gems - and a book like this really shouldn't be forgotten. 

9) Ice Kissed by Amanda Hocking - Yes, I will admit I do talk about Amanda Hocking a fair bit, but this series has almost become lost amongst so many of my other favourites recently.  I loved this second installment in particular as it faster paced, gripping and just all round amazing, even if it isn't perfect.  This is definitely a series that deserves more love than it's getting.

10) It's Kind of a Funny Story by Ned Vizzini - Finally, this is one that I honestly can't remember saying much about to anyone - and yet I loved it.  I adored all the characters and the storyline and I am really annoyed at myself for not speaking up about it more! 

Which of your favourites do you not talk enough about?  

Sunday, 20 March 2016

Reading slumps - Books and tips to get you out of one

Reading slumps - we've all experienced them - anyone who says they haven't is more than likely lying.  And we can all agree that being in one is never fun.  But getting out of one can be extremely hard, so much so that sometimes it can seem impossible.  So, I decided to attempt to help all those who need it with some tips and book suggestion next time you find yourself in one.  I'm by no means an expert, but hopefully these will at least give you something to try if find yourself without the will to read.  Enjoy! 


Prioritize reading - make time to read rather than just reading when you have a free moment or two -
One of the reasons for getting into a reading slump can be lack of time.  It can be extremely hard to find a sufficient amount of time to read in a busy schedule, and sometimes when the free moments do come it can be so much easier to just sit and watch another episode of that show you're in the middle  of.  So, why not try allocating a set amount of time each day or every other day to simply sit down and read.

Read something you are genuinely excited to read instead of something you should read -
Often us readers can find ourselves picking up a book simply because it's been sitting on our shelf for years, or because we really should move out of our comfort zone and read that classic the rest of the world read years ago.  But reading a book you aren't actually that interested is often one of the reasons I end up in a slump, because in all honestly, I really don't want to read that book, even if I think I should.  So, even if you're dead in the middle of a book, try picking up something truly can't wait to read, even if it's not the most intellectual piece of reading you'll do.  I bet you'll enjoy it ten times more.

Read short stories, either on the side of what you are reading or even instead of -
If I'm ever not enjoying what I'm reading, or I'm not in the mood to read much at all, I will often find myself so much more drawn to a collection of short stories than I normally am.  Why?  Because they're quick, easy and involve no commitment.  They are meant to be read in one sitting.  And although they may not give you your next book (although checking out the author who wrote them may), they may just re-spark your desire to read that you thought you may have lost forever.  

Books to read:

Strangely enough, a good series could really help with your reading slump.  This one is a great one to try if you haven't already as it's fast paced and quickly transports into its amazing world, with great characters to help you along the way.  And if that isn't good enough, the entire series, as well as the prequel trilogy, is already complete, so you can marathon these without having to wait months for the next one!

Sometimes shorter, snapper books can really do the trick to get you back into the swing of reading.  Not only is this one perfect because it is only just over 200 pages long, it is also written in a lyrical fashion with captivates you from the offset, so you can indulge in some beautiful writing while you tackle that slump.

The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight by Jennifer E. Smith - 
Finally, I believe that you can never go wrong with a little contemporary to warm your heart.  Not only is this one also short, it takes place over a mere 24 hours, exactly the amount of time you make take to get through this!  You'll be sucked into this cute little story and won't want to put it down, exactly what you need to escape that reading slump! 

How do you get out of a reading slump?  Are there any genres or books you turn to when you find yourself in one?  

Tuesday, 15 March 2016

Top Ten Tuesday Forty Three

Top Ten Books on my Spring TBR

Top ten tuesday is a weekly feature/ meme hosted by The Broke and Bookish.  This weeks topic was one that actually saved me a blog post as I was planning on posting my Spring TBR up on sunday anyway, so when I saw that this was the top ten I knew that there was no point in doing two separate posts for the same thing.  And so, here is are some of the books I am hoping to read in the next few months - enjoy! 

1) Siege and Storm by Leigh Bardugo - Ever since I read Shadow and Bone at the end of the last year, I have been desperately waiting to read the sequel, and so I am finally giving in this month.  Although I usually like to wait a while between sequels, I honestly can't wait to pick up this second installment and to dive deeper into the Grisha World.    

2) City of Fallen Angels by Cassandra Clare - Another book in a series here, and one I am determined to finish this year at last, as I'm pretty sure I first started this series two years ago now.  The recent TV show adaptation, Shadowhunters, has also got me majorly back in the mood to read these and find out what happens to these characters I know and love.  

3) and Prejudice by Jane Austen - Now, I am attempting to continue on with my goal to read more classics by picking up this one as soon as possible.  Although I really enjoyed Wuthering Heights, I have to admit that I'm more excited to read this one as so many people love it and I have heard such good things about it that I can't wait to see what it is all about! 

4) The Dead House by Dawn Kurtagich -  I feel as though I haven't read a horror for so long now that I am in desperate need of one, and so I decided that this would be the one to pick up.  This is the oldest one on my shelf but also one I am really looking forward to reading as has such a unique format that I can't wait to get into, so hopefully it will satisfy my craving for a good old creepy story. 

5) Why We Broke Up by Daniel Handler - I can't even remember when I first picked this one up, as it has been sitting on my shelf for so long now.  I am determined to read this one in the next couple of months at last, as I'm scared if I don't I may lose interest in this if it sits there too much longer.  Plus its another with a different format to usual books - I think it's safe to say I'm a sucker for those type of books.  

6) Me, Earl and the Dying Girl by Jesse Andrews - Ever since the film came out last year, I have been interested in this one, and yet it is still sitting in my unread pile.  I really intrigued by this one as I'm pretty sure it takes more of a humorous approach to such a serious subject, and so I'm interested to see what this one's like.  

7) The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins - This is actually my current read but I still decided to place this on here as it was technically on my spring TBR beforehand.  I'm really looking forward to getting into this one as I haven't read many good thrillers and so I'm hoping this one will live up the hype! 

8) Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein - Finally, this was actually on my TBR for winter, and has been one I've been wanting to read for a while now.  I am really hoping that I can finally motivate myself to read this, otherwise you might see this popping up on my summer TBR too! 

What books are you hoping to read in Spring?  


Sunday, 13 March 2016

Shift by Em Bailey

This last week I decided to pick up the second of the books I received for Christmas.  Unlike Illuminae, I had heard nothing about this book before I was given it and still only knew the synopsis by the time I picked this up.  I was hoping for an underrated YA gem that needed to be discovered; this wasn't exactly what I found.  Although i didn't hate this book, unfortunately it was by no means one that I enjoyed hugely or even enjoyed that much at all.  

This book centres around the idea of new girl Miranda who seems to slowly become others without them realising.  I actually really liked this original concept, as it felt like it was to be a great thriller that was scary because the setting and characters were relatable.  However, as soon as I got into the book it was clear that this was not the case, as the reasoning behind her changes of identity lead more the supernatural side, something that I was not so much a fan of.  To me, this explanation instantly just made the whole situation less scary 

The story mainly follows the character of Olive who watches as Miranda slowly changes into her ex-best friend, Katie.  Initially, I didn't mind these characters or any of the other characters in the book, but as I read more and more I seemed to just be liking them less and less.  All of them just seemed like very generic characters who you'd seen written a hundred times before: Katie was the queen bee with her minions, Lachlan was the new guy crushing on the outcast and Olive was the ex-popular girl. However, having said that, one of the few characters I did like had to Ami.  I loved how she was confident being different and how she was always there

One of the main reason I didn't like Olive was to do with the sudden change that came around half way through.  At this point, so many things seemed to suddenly be forgotten, including characters, storylines and Olives personality.  If it hadn't had such a similar plot to the first half, I would have thought I was reading something else entirely, simply because of the sudden change in Olive.  All of her suspicions and thoughts in the first half seemed to have vanished completely, so much so that even after her brother warned her about what she had told him, she still didn't listen.  This just added to unrealistic this book felt and honestly just made me dislike Olive so much.

Now, I am someone who will always get hooked on a good writing - if the book is well written, no matter the plot, then I will likely read on.  But unfortunately, this one went the opposite way for me; instead of keeping the pages turning, it just made me feel less and less engaged with the story as it went along.  Instead of allowing the reader to figure things out on their own or to deduce even the smallest detail, it gives you absolutely everything on a silver plate.  At first, it made this quite an easy and quick read, but by the end it was as though I was stupid and couldn't figure out a single thing on my own.  

Moving back to storylines and plot, the romance in this is something that I had very mixed feelings about.  While I liked the pairs interactions, again particularly towards the start of the book, I did, like with most other aspects of this, slowly grow to find it unrealistic and just very fairly mediocre.  Every time there was some trouble, Lachlan seemed to just show up out of nowhere with some of the worst explanations you could give.  However, I do have to give him credit for (at least at first) not chasing after her once she started pushing him away, and for at least seemingly taking that as a sign to step back, at least got a while, as too often this doesn't happen.  

So overall, I was not a fan of this book.  To me it just seemed very stereotypical YA that was trying to be different but ultimately just fell very flat.  

Character: Ami 
Scene: Lachlan and Olive on the beach in the waves
Quote: I believe in grey...Some things aren't straightforward. Not everything is true or false, real or imaginary, black or white. It's not that simple.

Relate a: 
Song: Sarah Smiles - Panic! at the Disco 
Other book: The Originals by Cat Patrick 

2.5/ 5 

Tuesday, 8 March 2016

Top Ten Tuesday Forty Two

Top Ten characters everyone loves but I just don't get 

Top ten tuesday is a weekly feature/ meme hosted by The Broke and Bookish.  This week, I actually found quite difficult as I couldn't think of many characters who many people loved that I really didn't.  However, I did manage to make a list of some of the characters I just don't get at all, even if some aren't as well loved or as widely loved as others.  And so, enjoy!

1) Gale Hawthorne from The Hunger Games series - Gale is someone I have never liked and who I'm pretty sure I never will.  He is just the initial best friend who falls for the main character, a trope I hate anyway, and to be honest I just don't agree with a lot of his decisions.  
2) Margo Roth Spiegelman from Paper Towns - I'll admit, I am not a great fan of this book anyway, but my dislike for this character definitely helps that.  I just didn't see the big thing with Margo and just found her to be quite selfish and just plain annoying.  

3) Mal from Shadow and Bone - Strangely, I actually started out liking Mal at the start of the book, but by the end I was really not a fan of him at all.  I can't really pinpoint exactly why I didn't like him, but I just don't think I agreed with his character much at all, particularly through the second half of the book.  He just wasn't for me.
4)  Four from The Divergent Series - Okay, so in all honestly I don't hate Four by any means.  I just never really got that excited over him or ever really found him to be a character I particularly liked, especially in the last book when I grew to dislike him.  
5) Isla from Isla and the Happily Ever After - Another character here who I just found to be extremely irritating at particularly parts and who I just overall wasn't too keen on at all.  I think I felt she was just quite immature at times, and I just couldn't like her in the way I feel I should with a main character.  

6) Frankie from The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks - Frankie is a character I will flat out say I hate.  Plain and simple.  In the beginning she was tolerable and sweet, but as soon as the story got going she just obsessive and just downright annoying so much so that by the end I didn't care in slightest what happened to her - which isn't great if she's the main character.  
7) Josh from To All the Boys I've Loved Before - By this point, I thinks it safe to say that any fictional best friend who falls in love with the main character is doomed from the offset with me.  But even attempting to ignore that, I still can't say that I like Josh very much at all as a character.

Sunday, 6 March 2016

Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

This book was actually one that I got for Christmas last year, and have been wanting to pick up ever since.  Eventually I gave in, and picked it up, despite knowing that the sequel was a long way off.  And I loved it.  It was so unique and amazing and I'm really glad I picked it up, even if I have to wait a while for the second book.

The story follows Ezra and Kady after they are forced to escape their planet at the outbreak of war.  I was a huge fan of this plot, which is saying something for someone who rarely reads sci-fi.  I loved the turns it took and the way a large part of the book unfolded, slowly and subtly so that what started small soon began to grow.  I also liked how some very technical points were threaded seamless in but how you didn't need to understand every detail of them to follow the plot.  It was fast-paced and always kept you guessing.  

The characters were another aspect that kept me hooked throughout the entirety of this book.  Most of the storylines revolve around Kady and Ezra, both of whom I really enjoyed as characters both on their own and together as a pair.  I liked how witty and determined they both were and how they both grew throughout the book.  

However, I couldn't talk about the characters without mentioning AIDAN, the computer that controls the Alexander ship.  Despite not being a actual person in the literal sense, he is such a complex and clever character who holds so much of the spotlight towards the end.  He really makes you think about so many different things and your perspective on life, something I was not expecting from this particularly computer especially.   

Moving back to Ezra and Kady, I have to admit that I loved the relationship between them.  I really enjoyed watching them grow together throughout the book and how their relationship developed so much.  I also really liked the fact that for once the main romance was not between two people who hadn't been together before the book, as Kady and Ezra have a history before everything even starts.  I loved dipping back into this and learning about them before the time in which we are reading about them.  

As I'm sure many will know, a huge part of this book is the way it's written, as the entirety of it is written in emails, surveillance footage, interviews and many other things.  I loved how different and unique this was, but also how there was a reason behind it being this way and well it fitted.  It didn't feel as though a story that was forced into that sort of format, but rather one that worked best in it.  

Finally, how could I not talk about the ending and some of the plot twists?  Personally I loved how things concluded, and really liked how everything suddenly became bigger in the last few pages.  I also loved the plot twists, particularly the first major one.  I liked how bold and shocking it was, but also how well it fitted into the storyline.  I also enjoyed the very last turn this book took, although I do have slightly mixed feelings about it, as it was slightly less of a bold twist.  

Nonetheless, I absolutely adored this book.  It was witty, fun, fast-paced and thoroughly enjoyable.  I loved it and now can't wait to get my hands on the sequel when it is released.  

Character: AIDAN, Ezra 
Scene: Squad entering bay 4 
Quote: Perhaps bravery is simply the face humanity wraps arounds its collective madness

Relate a:
Song: Battle Cry - Imagine Dragons 
Other Book: The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey 


Tuesday, 1 March 2016

Top Ten Tuesday Forty One

Top Ten Books to read if you're in the mood for some amazing friendships

Top ten tuesday is a weekly feature/ meme hosted by The Broke and Bookish.  This weeks topic was one that I was unsure about for a while, as I had little idea what I could fill the blank with.  But after some thinking, I finally decided to go back to one of my favourite things in books and recommend some books to read if you're ever if you mood for some pretty awesome friendships.  Enjoy! 

1) Anna and the French Kiss (or any Stephanie Perkins novel) - Despite these being romance novels, all of them also involve some great friendships, especially the first and last ones.  I just remember how despite everything they were almost always there for each other and how each character was unique whilst still fitting well with each other 
2) The Book Thief by Markus Zusak - One of my favourite things about this novel was the utterly amazing friendship between Rudy and Liesel and how they stood by each other throughout everything.  I know I've said this so many times, but I just love how they grew up together and grew to depend and know each other so well.  

3) The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky - A lot of this book in focuses on a wallflower finally finding his friends and so I couldn't not put it on here.  I just like how none of the relationships between any of the characters is perfect but how they all accept each other nonetheless.  
4) The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater - Despite this being only a recent read to me, I still knew I had to include this as I just adore the relationship between all of them in this book.  I love how such unique and different characters manage to become friends and grow to depend on each other despite their differences.  

5) Since You've Been Gone by Morgan Matson - Although this one focuses alot on coming out of your shell and finding your way on your own, it still has some great friendship elements and teaches how influential friends can be in your life but how you can still survive when one leaves.  
6) We All Looked Up by Tommy Wallach - I just love how close these four characters who are almost thrown together manage to grow and how they form new bonds even when new friends may seem like a pointless thing to make.  

7) The Midnight Palace by Carlos Ruiz Zafon - For me, it's simply the dynamics and variety of characters in the friendship group in this one that makes it so good.  I like how each character also seems to get an equal share and how you get to know all the friends both on their own and with the others.  
8) I am the Messenger by Markus Zusak - Another recent one but one that includes one of my new favourite groups of friends.  I just love how much they grow as people both together and individually and they learn to allow the others in and that they don't have to face things on their own.  

9) Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green - The friendship between Will Grayson and Tiny Cooper is probably my favourite friendship from any of John Green's books, as they again just so different but still such good friends.  
10) Revived by Cat Patrick - Finally, Daisy and Audrey are two of my favourite female friends as despite everything that is thrown at them, they still stick together and grow to be so strong.  They just work together so well together and I love their friendship to pieces.