Wednesday, 31 August 2016

The Sky is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson

If I'm honest, I never really ever planned to read this book before my sister bought it at the end of June.  I liked the sound of the synopsis and was interested in reading, but wasn't immediately drawn to it so much that I had ever went to buy it myself.  It always just sounded like your average contemporary to me, but nonetheless after hearing good things about Nelson's other book, I'll Give You The Sun, I decided to give it a go and hoped that it would exceed my expectations.  Unfortunately, whilst it was a very easy and quick read, I wasn't a big fan of this one and so didn't find myself pleasantly surprised by it, something I was hoping I would be going in.  

One of the aspects of this that I was most curious about going into it was the grief aspect, which I felt it dealt with really well.  Not only do I think the grief of Lennie's whole family was well presented, but the way that storyline as a whole was integrated into the story was something else I really liked.  I also loved how it was shown that grief can affect everyone, not just those closest to the person who died, and that sometimes other people are suffering more than they are letting on.

However, as much as loved the grief storyline, I wasn't as keen on some of the other aspects of the plot, particularly towards the beginning of the book.  I felt as though almost all of the plot was simply a switch between a scene with Lennie and Toby and then one with her and Joe, instead of their being other aspects fitting in as well.  The romance and love triangle aspect seemed to take up so much of the story that it was only towards the end that we started to see other points begin to develop.

Moving back to a more positive note, I was a big fan of Lennie as a character, particularly because I didn't agree with everything she did and every decision she made.  I love flawed characters so much and so I really enjoyed watching Lennie struggle with things, as it made her seem real, but then slowly begin to figure things out and grow as she learnt how to deal with certain situations and her grief.  Her mistakes made her seem so much more relatable, especially as it was clear they were mistakes and that she didn't mean to hurt anyone, and wasn't a bad person.

Similarly to Lennie, I also liked all of our other key characters in this, particularly Toby, whose relationship with Lennie I really grew to love.  I really enjoyed seeing how the two bonded over their loss but how eventually they managed to help each move on and make up for some of their mistakes.  As for some of the other characters, I also loved the uniqueness of Lennie's family, in the form of her Gran and Uncle, and loved the dynamics between them all, as well as her friendship with Sarah.  And, although he wasn't my favourite, I did also like Joe as a character on his own, and how he stood up for and stuck by who he was for the majority of the book.  

Sticking with Joe, one of the key aspects of this book was the romance itself, which unfortunately I was not a fan of at all.  Not only did this book include some serious insta-love, but the love triangle, which I am not a fan of at the best of times, was also done so badly that I couldn't find myself truly rooting for either pair.  I found that I could predict exactly how the romance was going to play out and so was never surprised by any of the plot twists or unexpected moments.

One of my favourtie things in a book is a unique format, and so its safe to say that this one was no different.  I really liked all of the little poems that were scattered throughout the story and felt it gave us so much more of an insight into Lennie as a character, as well as just giving it another unique aspect.  I think they also made the book, added with the easy writing style, so much more of a quicker read and generally just made the story move alot quicker. 

As for the ending, I hate to say that it was another part of this story that I really wasn't keen on at all.  Like the romance, I could guess almost exactly what was going to happen, and even then wasn't satisfied at all when it did.  It all just seemed a little rushed and so unrealistic how easily things tied up when just a couple of pages before it was nowhere near being solved.

Finally, one thing which I did really like about this was the musical aspect.  Although it wasn't as big a plot point as others, it was one I also enjoyed reading about and seeing pop up, and that I found made me actually like Lennie that little bit more.  

So, in conclusion, whilst I did think this was a really cute little read and did really enjoy certain aspects of it, it just really wasn't for me.  I just couldn't get passed my problems with the romance and the plot to enjoy it that much unfortunately, but I would say to still give it a go because I know that so many people do love this one.   

Character - Toby
Quote - 'If you're someone who knows the worst thing can happen at any time, aren't you also someone who knows the best thing can happen at any time too?' 

Relate a:
Song - Make it Right - The Mowgli's 
Where Snowbirds have Flown - A Silent Film
Other Book - Amy and Roger's Epic Detour by Morgan Matson


Sunday, 28 August 2016

August Wrap Up

I think its safe to say this month was definitely a very mixed one for me on the reading front, with some of my books becoming new favourites, some just being enjoyable and some I unfortunately didn't enjoy much at all.  However, it was definitely the best month in a long time for how much I actually managed to read, the majority of that being down to the fact that I am currently on my summer holidays.  Overall, I read three of the books on my August TBR, as well as two others that weren't, but that I was also planning to read this month if I was in the mood for them.  And so, enjoy!  

1) The Infinite Sea by Rick Yancey - 

This one was actually a reread for me, as I needed to refresh myself of the plot before finally reading the final book in this series, The Last Star.  Somehow, I actually ended up enjoying it more this time around than the first time I read it, likely because I was paying more attention to things I had missed last time and so could understand all of the story alot better than I had on my initial reading of it.

Rating - 4.5/5

2) The Sky is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson - 

After reading The Infinite Sea, I decided it was time to pick up a contemporary for the summertime, and so choose to give this one a go as I haven't read anything by Jandy Nelson before, and was just really interested in the whole synopsis of this one as well.  This one tells the story of Lennie as she has to deal with the sudden death of her sister, whilst finding herself juggling Toby, her sister's boyfriend and Joe, the new boy in town.  I have to say whilst I did enjoy this one, and really liked how it dealt with grief, I didn't end up loving it as wasn't a huge lover of the plot as a whole. 

Rating - 3/5

This was the first of my highly anticipated reads for the month, as this one had been on my shelf for probably a year now, as I was just waiting for the perfect time to finally get round to this one.  It follows a boy and a girl as they become friends after sharing an abnormal interest in murder and begin investigating those happening in their town.  Unfortunately, I didn't end up enjoying this one much at all, as it just wasn't what I was expecting going into it and I didn't find the story anywhere near as creepy as I thought it would be.  

Rating - 2/5

4) The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald -  

As I said in my TBR for this month, I actually had to read this one for school, and so this one was a must read for me for August.  As I'm sure alot of people know, this one tells the story of Jay Gatsby and his relationship with Daisy as told through the eyes of Nick Carraway.  I was so nervous for this one, but thankfully I ended up absolutely adoring everything about it, from the story and characters to the beautiful writing that I just couldn't get enough of.  It has made me desperately want to read more of F. Scott Fitzgerald's work and is most definitely one of my new favourites.  

Rating - 5/5

I have to admit that out of all of the books on my TBR for this month, this was the one I was most excited and nervous to read, after We All Looked Up became an instant favourite of mine last year.  This one follows our main character of Parker as he meets and ends up sharing many adventures with a silver haired girl named Zelda who claims to be alot older than she seems.  Fortunately, my anticipation and nerves were quickly put to rest as I loved this book from the first chapter and found myself instantly falling in love with the characters, story and writing style once again.  It was as good, if not better than We All Looked Up for me, and just like before I am now left already highly anticipating his next release.

Rating - 5/5 

What books did you read this month?  Which one was your favourite?  Have you read any of these - what did you think? 

Wednesday, 17 August 2016

Thanks for the Trouble by Tommy Wallach

After We All Looked Up was one of my favourite books of last year, its safe to say that this was by far one of my most anticipated releases for 2016.  I grabbed this one almost as soon as it came out, excited to finally see if it could live up to my expectations whilst also being scared it wouldn't; which is likely one of many reasons why I actually ended up putting off reading this till just last week, when I finally brought up the courage to read it.  Luckily this ended up not only meeting my expectations, but entirely exceeding them as I adored this book and everything about it.  

This one follows our main character of Parker, who hasn't spoken in five years, as he meets a silver haired girl in a hotel, who has quite a few secrets up her sleeve.  Firstly, I adored all the characters in this, particularly are two main leads.  Parker was such great narrator and I loved reading about their adventures through his eyes, but what I found made me love him even more was the fact that he was flawed and so by no means a perfect character.  He was realistic and had a unique personality that made me easily fall in love with him almost instantly, and grew as a character as the book progressed, something which I always like seeing.

Onto the second key character, Zelda, who was a completely different character who brought something else to the story.  She was such a mysterious character who, had it not been for the way she was narrated, could have been seen as irritating, but instead came across as simply someone who was her own person, and who even seemed slightly broken at times as well, which just helped to add to the mystery and relatability of her.  I also adored the whole idea of her true past being hidden from us, and us never really knowing whether she was being truthful or whether it was simply a facade she had created.

One aspect that made this book a little different was how short a time space it took place in.  From the first page to the last section, the majority of the story only spans over three days, which I found actually worked really well to make the story feel that little bit more magical than it otherwise would have.  It never felt as if anything was being crammed in or unrealistic and really well mimicked the idea of it feeling as though so much time has passed and as if you have known someone for so long when it reality little time has passed at all.

Moving onto another key aspect, I absolutely adored the plot and storyline of this.  The whole thing just flowed so seamlessly together and at no point felt like it slowed down or dipped.  I also love how simplistic the plot was whilst still feeling quite unique, with it being composed of alot of smaller events that all tied beautifully together and followed a central storyline without constantly reminding you off it.

One thing that I hoped, if nothing else, I would love was the writing of this one.  Thankfully it was just as beautifully written and narrated as We All Looked Up and so I once again fell in love with it as it kept me turning the pages whilst also making me wish I wasn't getting through it so fast because I honestly just wanted to read it forever!

Finally, one of my favourite things about this book was its ending.  Throughout the book, you could almost feel all these adventures and events slowly building towards this last big end that, whilst it was intentionally predictable, worked so well and ended the story in completely the right way.  I loved how it kept true to characters and stayed realistic and honestly just tied things together in the best way possible.

So, if you haven't already guessed it, I completely adored this book.  I loved the story, the characters and the writing so much, and can already say it is most definitely one of my favourites of this year.  If you haven't already checked this out and are a contemporary fan then I can't recommend this one enough - it truly is amazing!

Character - Alana
Scene - Fight in the cinema
Quote - Love is nothing more than a fortuitous collision of circumstances
Maybe the closest thing we mortals get to magic is just change

Relate a:
Song - Diet Soda Society - The Maine 
Other Book - Nick and Norahs Infinite Playlist by David Levithan

Rating - 

Have you read this one - what did you think?

Tuesday, 9 August 2016

Top Ten Tuesday Sixty Two

Top Ten Tuesday Rewind -
Top Ten Books I had very strong emotions about

Top ten tuesday is a weekly feature/ meme hosted by The Broke and Bookish.  This week we once again got to choose our own topic, this time from the list of old TTT topics, and so I decided to do ten books that I have very strong feelings about, as I knew instantly some of the books that would perfectly fit into this.  Almost all of these are books I've loved, with some also having moments in them that just left me speechless and in shock so much that my emotions towards that book are pretty strong, its safe to say.  And so, enjoy!

1) Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins - 

To start, I don't feel as though I ever really mention this, but The Hunger Games trilogy is one of my favourite series of all time, and one I have reread so many times now, with Mockingjay being by far my favourite of the books.  So I think its safe to say this is a book I love, and added with the number of events and deaths in this I definitely have pretty strong feelings towards this one of every kind.

2) The Game of Love and Death by Martha Brockenbrough - 

Honestly by now I think everyone is sick of me talking about this, but the reason I talk about this one is simply because of how amazing a book it is.  It's by far one of my favourites, and so beautifully written that I will convince almost anyone to at least give this one a go.

3) Long Lankin by Lindsey Barraclough - 

As much as I would like to fill this list with books I adore, this one I unfortunately have strong feelings about for the opposite reason, mainly because I feel as though this could have been so good but just fell flat for me.  Whilst I was disappointed with this one, I do think that this one had potential but just didn't live up to it for me.

4) City of Fallen Angels by Cassandra Clare - 

I'll be honest, the key reason this book out of the five Mortal Instrument books is because of how many different emotions I went through when reading this and, probably the key reason, without giving away any spoilers is one of the things that happened at the end which literally broke my heart.  

5) An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir - 

I've only read this one recently, but honestly I'm already so invested in it all and so excited for the sequel that its pretty safe to say I really do have strong feelings towards it.  Not only did I thoroughly enjoy it, but it also kept me on the edge of my seat throughout, something which I always love in a book.

6) The Book Thief by Markus Zusak - 

I don't feel like I have to say much for this one, as I imagine so many people have strong emotions about this one, as it is so beautiful but also has such a heartbreaking ending to it.  This one definitely made me feel so much throughout the course of the story that it is definitely a story and characters that I love.

7) Ice Kissed by Amanda Hocking - 

Another one here that whilst I feel as though I have strong feelings about simply because I loved it, the key reason is because of a certain event at the end that once again was just completely heartbreaking and so unexpected.  Once again, I don't want to spoil anything, but the ending just completely left me in shock and broke my heart with what happened whilst still being such a good book.  

8) Looking for Alaska by John Green - 

This is easily my favourite of John Green's books, and added to that the huge plot twist that comes with it, its safe to say this one definitely made me feel quite a few strong emotions whilst reading it.  This is another that completely shocked me with its massive plot twist and left me with my mouth wide simply out of the unexpectedness of it all.

9) We All Looked Up by Tommy Wallach - 

I feel as though this is another one I have spoken about so much that by now its pretty clear I have pretty strong feelings about this one, simply because of how beautiful it is to me.  I love everything about this one, from the story to the characters to the writing and honestly it was just an all round amazing read.

10) Everyday by David Levithan - 

Finally, this is another one of my favourites where, once again, the ending also gave me such strong feelings.  Not only did it shock me and leave me instantly wanting more, but it also was the first book I read by David Levithan, and so I also have to thank it for introducing to one of my favourite authors.

What books do you have very strong emotions about?  Have you read any of these - what did you think?


Monday, 8 August 2016

Monsters by Emerald Fennell

Ever since I first picked this one up I have been anticipating reading this, and so have been putting off reading it, as I always seem to do, for fear of my expectations being too high and it not being what I expected it to be.  The synopsis made it seem so creepy and different that I was instantly drawn in and was really excited to read this one that I finally decided to do so last week.  Unfortunately though this one really wasn't for me, and just didn't end up being the story I expected it to be.

This story follows our main character and her friend as they become unnaturally interested and begin investigating the murders happening around their town.  My main problem with this was that it wasn't the horror story I was expecting going into it.  Not only does the back make it sound like a creepy story about two children interested in murder, but the cover also sets this one up as a twisted tale that wasn't what I ended up getting.  For me, this one never really felt like a horror novel, and only ever even really felt slightly creepy at a few points, which was disappointing considering that was one of the key reasons I was excited to read this.

Another key aspect that disappointed me was the plot in general, as personally I never seemed to understand where the story was going or why certain things were added in at all.  Whilst the build up towards the ending worked well, so many other points in the story seemed to not entirely fit into the story, or not fit in to that particularly moment at all.  Due to this, the pacing always seemed to feel a little jumpy with the story dropping one thing suddenly to move straight onto something without explaining anything first.

Moving on back to the idea of this being a horror novel, one of the other things that let me down was how the main character was portrayed throughout this.  From the offset it was clear that she was meant to be quite strange and twisted, and yet somehow whilst this did come across, it did feel as though her personality still feel a bit flat.  I also was never 100% sure whether or not we were also meant to feel sorry for her as she always seemed to be picked on by the others and abused, but yet I just couldn't seem to emphasis with her simply because of the way she was presented as extremely immature to me.

However, on a more positive note, one of the characters that I felt was portrayed well was another key character, Miles.  While our main character didn't come across creepy for me, Miles really did become more and more twisted as the story went along, which really made everything a little more interesting for me.  I also loved how as time went on his true nature slowly got revealed to us, and how by the end he actually did come across as a very messed-up and darker character than he ever started out as.

Unfortunately, another thing that seemed to fall a little flat for me was the humour.  It was another aspect that was felt like it was meant to be dark and twisted but instead just came across slightly odd and more of a strange kind of humour rather than creepy.  Personally it just didn't come across well, and tried too hard to add another twisted aspect to both the story and the characters but in the end just didn't really do either in my opinion.

One aspect of this book that I did enjoy was the large cast of characters that this book had.  From the offset we were introduced to so many different people with so many different roles in the story that whilst it did make things confusing at times, it did also allow the book to have a large variety of characters within it.  This then also made it an awful lot harder to guess at who the murderer actually could be, and also gave the story a little more mystery to it as everyone had their own secrets that added to the eerie feel of the town.

As for the ending, one thing that I did like about it was the unexpectedness of it.  Obviously one of the key plot points of this story is the murders, and so I really liked how surprising the truth of the murders and all the other mysteries throughout this were, as I never saw any of it coming.  However, that said, one of the key reasons for this was because there felt as though there were almost no major hints pointing towards the answer, which was a tad irritating as, whilst I did like the ending, it did then seem a little unconnected and not as though the story was building up to it throughout.

Finally, to end on a more positive note, one aspect which I did love was the setting.  I adored the gorgeous seaside setting from the offset, but fell even more in love with it as we got to explore all the different unique places in the town as the characters did so themselves, and got to see so many new settings as the book progressed.

So, in the end unfortunately this one wasn't the book for me, and really didn't live up to my expectations.  Whilst I did like the setting, overall the story just wasn't the creepy horror and twisted tale I was looking for.

Character: Miles
Scene: Investigating the pillbox on the cli

Relate a:
Other Book: The Accident Season by Moira Fowley Doyle


Have you read this one?  What did you think?


Tuesday, 2 August 2016

Top Ten Tuesday Sixty One

Top Ten Books I'd buy right this second if someone handed me a fully loaded gift card

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature/ meme hosted by The Broke and Bookish.  When I first saw this was the topic for this week, I instantly thought that this would be one I could easily make a list for.  But for whatever reason, as soon as I actually sat down to write my list, I couldn't seem to think of many books at all that I did want to pick up soon!  Thankfully after a little thinking and a bit of time on Goodreads I came to my senses and managed to put together a list of some of the books I would pick up right this second if I could.  And so, enjoy! 
1) The Wrath and The Dawn by Renee Ahdieh - 

For whatever reason, this year has been the year I have really loved and gotten into fantasy, despite not reading a ton of them, and so this one soon made the top of my list of books I want to read.  Not only does it have seem to have a really good plot, I also love the idea of it being based upon A Thousand and One Nights, especially as I haven't read many retellings before at all, so this one would definitely be one I would buy right now if I could.

2) A Darker Shade of Magic by V. E. Schwab - 

Not only have I heard a countless number of good reviews for this one, but the whole idea of the plot and the synopsis drew me in even before I had read the whole thing.  I love the idea of alternate London's and of travelling between them and so its safe to say if I could, I would definitely grab this one straight away.

3) My Life Next Door by Huntley Fitzpatrick 

Recently I haven't read a ton of contemporaries, and so I haven't bought any for a while, but this book is one I have been interested in reading for so long that I know I would snatch it up straight away if I could.  It just sounds like a really good summery contemporary with a what I hope will be a really cute romance whilst still having a great plot as well.  

4) Passenger by Alexandra Bracken - 

After reading The Girl from Everywhere earlier this year, I am desperately wanting to get my hands on another time travel, pirate ship-esque novel, and this one sounds like the perfect one to give a go.  Not only does it include all of those aspects, but the plot also sounds super intriguing and the added fact that the main character plays the violin somehow seals the deal for me that this is definitely one I would pick up if I had a gift card at my disposal.  

5) PS I still love you by Jenny Han - 

I read the first book in this now trilogy I believe towards the end of last year, and thoroughly enjoyed it, and so I would love to be able to continue on with the story by picking up the sequel.  However, I just can't seem to pick it up just yet as I have so many other books on my TBR, and have brought a fair number of books in recent months, but I know if someone handed me a fully loaded gift card then I know that this one would be one of the first I'd pick up.  

6) The Creeping by Alexandra Sirowy - 

This is one that has been on my want to read list for so long now that the only reason I haven't given in and bought it yet is because I never seem to be able to find it at my bookshop.  I love a good horror book, and the synopsis of this book just instantly grabbed me, particularly with it being set in summer and I love the idea of the past coming back to haunt.  

7) The Prince of Mist by Carlos Ruiz Zafon - 

This one may be a little different to the others, as I have actually already read this one, but I do not own an actual copy of it as when I did so it was borrowed from my library.  Now I really would like to give this one a reread and be able to bookmark certain pages and honestly just have it match my edition of The Midnight Palace, but because it would be a reread I just can't bring myself to buy it myself, but I know in a dream world this one would be at the top of my list.

8) Blackhearts by Nicole Castroman - 

This one is similar to Passenger in the way that my interest in this book was increased hugely after The Girl from Everywhere, which basically inspired me to read more pirates and time travel of any kind.  This one also has such a cool concept with it being a young Blackbeard which added to the fact that this also seems to include a romance completely drew me in and made me want to pick this one, so of course this would be one I'd buy in a second if I could. 

What books would you get if you someone handed you a fully loaded gift card?  Have you read any of these - what did you think?