Thursday, January 18, 2018

The (Birthday) Cake Tag

It's my birthday next week and I'm super excited! There'll be presents, parties and the main attraction: cake. I love cake so much; it's the type of food you eat when you need to feel better after a long, hard week. So to celebrate cake I thought I'd do this tag.

I'm not too sure of the origins of this tag, but if you do know please leave a comment with where you found it. And now onto the questions!

Chocolate Cake:
A dark book you absolutely love.

It's not very dark but I loved The Wave by Morton Rhue. It was such a twisted story about control and obedience that I was terrifed of my teachers for months after reading it.

Vanilla Cake:
A light read.

I love contemporary books; they're so cheerful that you can't help but feel happy after you've read one. My favourite light read has got to be Lola and the Boy Next Door because it is so adorable, but also so realistic!

Red Velvet:
A book that gave you mixed emotions.

There have been a lot of books over the years that I've had mixed emotions about. However the one I always think of whenever someone asks me is Allegiant by Veronica Roth. I loved it when I first read but over time I started to spot the flaws in the story and now I'm not so sure about it.

A book you would recommend to anyone.

People ask me to recommend books to them all the time so I've gotten pretty good at guessing the types of books a person might enjoy. However I am absolutely awful at recommend a book to a big group of people because I just want everyone to read my favourite books. At the moment I think I would recommend the Amulet series because a such fun books to read.

Coffee Cake:
A book you started but never finished.

Most recently I DNF-ed After Alice by Gregory Maguire because the story just dragged on without any real excitement. I wish I could go back and get back the time I wasted trying to finish this book!

Carrot Cake:
A book with great writing.

So much choice! I'm going to go with The Book Theif by Marcus Zusak because the narrative in this book is absolutely beautiful. I loved the whole concept of this book and how delicate every sentence seemed.

A book that left you wanting more.

Basically any Rainbow Rowell book because I always have so many unanswered questions after reading one of her books. I grow too attached to her characters and then I want to find out every little detail about what happens after the books finish.

A series with 4+ books.

Most series I read have 4+ books (otherwise they're a duology/trilogy) but my favourite series has to be the Shadowhunter series. There are definitely more than 4 books in this series, and I don't think Cassandra Clare is ever going to finish this series!

Fruit Cake:
A book that wasn't what you anticipated.

City of Bones by Cassandra Clare. I was expecting to hate this book (having just given up on Twilight and all other supernatural books) but I was pleasantly surprised by it.

What is your favourite and least favourite type of cake? Do you prefer light or dark reads?
Let me know in the comments below!

And until next time, keep reading! 

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Authors I discovered last year

Top Ten Tuesday is a meme run by the ladies over at The Broke and Bookish.

Last year I tried to read from new and more diverse authors, and I think I did a pretty good job. Obviously I had to read books from some of my favourite authors, but I also found some new favourite authors this year.

1- Siobhan Vivian: I read The List right at the start of the year and loved it. It was such a great book, so I'm going to try read more of her books this year. 

2- Marissa Meyer: I finally started to read the Lunar Chronicles, reading both Cinder and Scarlet last year. I've already bought Cress, and I'm planning to read it this year.

3- Jenny Han: I read a lot of Jenny Han last year. I read The Summer I Turned Pretty, It's Not Summer Without You, To All The Boys I Loved Before, and P.S I Still Love You. They were all fun reads, and I want to finish both series soon!

4- Nicola Yoon: I read both of Nicola Yoon's books last year, and was really pleased with the amount of representation in both books. I'm not sure if the representation was completely accurate but it was nice to see it there.

5- Tahereh Mafi: I have a sort of love-hate relationship with Tahereh Mafi; at first I didn't really enjoy her writing style, but as time went on I appreciated it more and more. I can't wait for her new book next year!

6- Jandy Nelson: I read The Sky is Everywhere, and it stayed one of my favourite books of all year. I loved her writing style and how art plays a major role in her story. I'm going to read I'll Give You The Sun this summer because I've heard it is even better than her other book.

7- Alyssa B. Sheinmal: My favourite book of the year, Faceless, was written by this woman, and I never realised she had written other books. Her story captivated me entirely, and I want to see how good her other books are.

8- Sarah Dessan: I'm a little late (very, very, extremely late) on the Sarah Dessan train, but I'm glad I finally jumped on her train. I read Once and for all in December, and really enjoined it. I think I'm in a contemporary kick at the moment so I might have to pick up some more of her books soon!

9- Morgan Matson: Another author I'm late to, but once again I really enjoyed what I read. So far I've only read The Unexpected Everything but I'm sure I'll read more, especially now that I'm in a contemporary kick.

10- Robin LaFevers: I've had Grave Mercy on my shelf for a few years now, and I finally got to it this Summer. I have no idea why I left it so long because this book is amazing! At some point I'll get to the rest of the series because I loved Robin LaFever's writing style.

Which new authors did you discover last year? Are any of them on my list?
Let me know in the comments below!

And until next time, keep reading!

Sunday, December 31, 2017

Juniper Lemon's Happiness Index by Julie Israel

 Juniper Lemon's Happiness Index by Julies Israel
Release Date: May 30, 2017
Pages: 338
Buy it: Amazon | Book Depository
Sixty-five days after the death of her sister, Juniper Lemon discovers a letter addressed to 'You' which was written by Camille the day she died. Juni is shocked- she knew nothing of this 'You' , and the hole in her life has grown bigger. She is determined to uncover the identity of You and deliver the letter. But what Juniper doesn't expect is that in searching for You she will unearth many other secrets- and that may be what she needs to sort out her own mess. 

I will admit I picked this book up for the cover and would have happily read it without looking at the synopsis. The picture really doesn't give the cover enough credit because it is much more colourful in real life. I love this cover so much!

This book is your stereotypical high-school contemporary but I loved it so much. Maybe it was the time I was reading it or the mood I was in but for some reason this book did all the right things for me. It is very cliched and stereotypical so if you get easily annoyed by that I would avoid this book. However I didn't mind the cliches and loved the whole high school setting that this book took place in.

One of the things that set this book aside from all the other contemporaries was the amount of 'heavy' topics this book addressed. There was obviously the topic of death and acceptance, which I felt was dealt with really well. Juniper is still trying to accept her sister's death and it is definitely something that drives the plot along throughout this book. There are other themes, like abuse and mental health, which are mentioned a couple of times in this story and are important in their own ways. I won't talk about how these themes are involved in the story but I loved how such dark topics were dealt with.

When I was reading about Juniper and her group of friends I felt so cosy and happy. They are literally the definition of squad goals; they all support each other and give each other advice when it is needed. Julie Israel did an awesome job at creating unique and individual characters that I fell in love immediately. They all so real that when I finished this book I felt liked I'd lost a group of friends.

I adore this book. It is definitely up there with my all time favourite books that I've read this year and I wish that more people would read this book. I would recommend it to people who want a slightly deeper contemporary novel with a cute romance or people who suffer from anxiety or depression. This book shows you how to be happy with your life and cope with the down days. Honestly I could go into so much more detail about this book, but I don't want to spoil anything bout this story (also the review would be about 10 pages long)!

Saturday, December 30, 2017

All The Bright Places by Jennifer Niven

All The Bright Places by Jennifer Niven
Release Date: January 6, 2015
Pages: 388
Rating: 💜💜💜💜
Buy it: Amazon | Book Depository
When Finch and Violet meet on the ledge of the bell tower at school, it's unclear who saves whom. And when they pair up on a project to discover the 'natural wonders' of their state, both Finch and Violet make more important discoveries: It's only with Violet that Finch can be himself - a weird, funny, live-out-loud guy who's not such a freak after all. And it's only with Finch that Violet can forget to count away the days and start living them. But as Violet's world grows, Finch's begins to shrink. 

I'm not sure what I think of this book. It is simultaneously a heart-breaking and uplifting story of love and loss and I really have no idea what to think of it. There were parts of it that I adored but now on reflection there were a couple of things that I did not agree with at all.

Things I loved:
  1. The whole travelling and adventure plot of the book. I love going on adventures to different monuments around the world so to see it in this book was incredible. I loved the descriptions of each place and I got intense wanderlust from it.
  2. The mental illness representation in this book was actually pretty good. Okay, it wasn't great but it was pretty incredible. The funny thing (possibly not funny but kind of) is that it deals with two different types of mental illness, PTSD and bipolar, without making it very obvious.
  3. The writing style was incredible in this book. I flew through it and actually managed to finish it in a day. The chapters alternate between Finch and Violet which leads to an interesting reading experience as they are both so different. Finch is a raw ball of energy that has no limits whereas Violet is calm and gentle, just trying to get through each day.
  4. The fact that nothing particularly special happened throughout the course of this book set it apart from all the other YA books I've read recently. It was just a book about two people doing ordinary things and living their lives.
Things I didn't like:
  1. I thought the relationship between Finch and Violet was a little abusive. Finch would 'force' Violet to do things with him and then leave her months on end without talking to her. I understand that he wasn't in the best place mentally but I do think that more YA books need to promote healthy relationships.
  2. Both of the characters became their mental illnesses at certain points in the book which is also not a healthy message to send to young people. Neither of them seemed to have a life outside of their feelings so it became hard to identify with them. Finch was literally always consumed by his mental illness and Violet dipped in and out. I would have loved to have seen both the characters as humans rather than mental illnesses because it would have made the story more interesting.

It wasn't the best book in the world, but I didn't hate it like some people did. I loved the whole plot and premise of this story but I felt it could have been executed better. If you do suffer from any mental illness this book might not be the best read for you as it does romanticise suicide and depression, but it is for you to judge. Personally I would highly recommend this book to anyone who wants a fun adventure contemporary with a darker undertone.

Thursday, December 28, 2017

New Year's Resolutions Book Tag

I only have two resolutions this year: read more and be happy. Whenever I come up with more resolutions I always break them, so I feel like these two are a good place to start. 

This tag was created by Emily and Shivalika so please go check out their original posts!

Get in shape:
A book that doesn't quite fit on your shelf correctly.

It's Kind of a Funny Story by Ned Vizzini.
This book is taller than all my books and sticks out more on my shelves so I've compromised by hiding it in my cupboard with the other awkward books I own.

Eat healthily:
A book you feel was good for you to read.

This might shock a few of you but I'm going to say Girl Online by Zoe Sugg. Sure it wasn't the greatest work of literature ever created but it helped me to come to grips with my anxiety whilst making me laugh at the same time!

Read more:
A book you keep telling yourself to read but haven't yet.

A lot of people are saying this but The Hobbit by J.R.R Tolkien. Seriously, I'll get to it one day, but I'm too busy right now...

Quit smoking:
A book you keep going back to even though you've finished it.

Harry Potter. This is really the only book/series that I've read multiple times, and the only book I want to keep re-reading even now!

Save more money:
A book you got for a great price.

I recently bought Lady Midnight by Cassandra Clare for only £2 which made me so happy because everywhere else I looked it was £10!

Be more organised:
How do you organise your bookshelf?

My organisational method is very strange because it is different with each shelf. My top two shelves are series, then rainbow TBR books, then rainbow read books with a few TBR books scattered in there and then hardcovers with a few paperbacks as well!

Be punctual:
Shortest and longest time you've spent on a book.

Shortest time was 20 minutes when I read Amulet: The Stonekeeper.
The longest time was 3 months when I had to read Spies by Michael Frayn for school!

Go out more:
A book that isolated you from the outside world.

Literally any book I read that gets a four or five star rating. Or last books in a series. Or books by my favourite authors. Or first books in a series. 

Be unique:
Favourite book from 2017.

That's like asking a mother who is her favourite child! I'll have to go with Faceless by Alyssa.B. Sheinmel though because I haven't been able to stop thinking about it.

Be more personal:
Your most anticipated book of 2018.

The Long Forever by Eugene Lambert.
I have followed this series from birth and I can't wait for the  third book in this series!
(Also Eugene Lambert liked my review of Into the No-Zone!!)

Really, Resolutions?:
A book you promise to read this year.

I have absolutely no idea what I want to read next year! I just hope I can shrink my TBR to 100 books!

What was your favourite book from 2017? What book do you want to read next year? Have you done this tag? 
Let me know in the comments below!

And until next time, keep reading!

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Books I need now (because next year is too far away!)

Top Ten Tuesday is a meme hosted by the ladies over at The Broke and Bookish.

There were a lot of amazing new releases this year, as well as lots of amazing books that I discovered for the first time. From all the blogs I've been reading there seem to be even more amazing books being released next year and this week I'm going to share the 10 books I'm most excited for in 2018. They are in no particular order because I really don't know which one I'm most excited for.

1- The Other Side Of Lost by Jessi Kirby

2- When My Heart Joins The Thousand by A.J. Steiger

3- A Thousand Perfect Notes by C.G. Drews

4- The Long Forever by Eugene Lambert

5- The Complication by Suzanne Young

6- Queen of Air and Darkness by Cassandra Clare

7- Restore Me by Tahereh Mafi

(and a couple of books that don't have covers yet!)

8- The Lady's Guide to Petticoats and Piracy by Mackenzi Lee
9- On The Come Up by Angie Thomas
10- His Fair Assassin #4 by Robin LaFevers

What books are you looking forward to in 2018? Are any of them on this list?
Let me know in the comments below!

And until next time, keep reading!

Sunday, December 24, 2017

Scarlet by Marissa Meyer

Scarlet by Marissa Meyer
Release Date: February 5, 2013
Pages: 452
Rating: 💜💜💜💜
Buy it: Amazon | Book Depository

Scarlet's grandmother is missing. The police has closed her case. The only person who can help her is Wolf, a untrustworthy street fighter.
In New Beijing, Cinder becomes the Commonwealth's most wanted fugitive when she breaks out of prison to escape the vicious Queen Levana.

I honestly don't know how to review this book without spoiling everything because I have so many emotions that I need to release and talk about! However, I'll try hard to not ruin anything for you.

I liked this book a lot more that Cinder; the world and plot felt more developed, there was more action and the characters were just as likeable. I loved that we got a split narrative between Cinder and Scarlet as it meant the world we are in grew and expanded more than it did in Cinder.

I loved all the characters; Scarlet has become my favourite character of the series, although Cinder still has a special place in my heart. I love all the boys in this universe as well because they are both fighters who protect what they care about, but they are also humans who have emotions. In fact every single character is so well written because there is not a moment where you can forget that they are humans with emotions, which often happens in books. It was also nice to see how much diversity is coming through in this book, with all different ethnicities coming together.

This book follows on immediately after the end of Cinder so I would recommend binge-reading this series so you don't get lost. The majority of the chapters do focus on Scarlet although there are a few that focus on Cinder, which was nice to see. It was fun to see how their story lines were becoming intertwined without them realising.

I love the sci-fi retelling of one of my favourite fairy tales because it was so well done. There were parts of it that stuck to the original plot (Scarlet does deliveries, there is a wolf) but the majority of it is a new concept that I've never seen before. I was getting major Red vibes though (if you watch Once Upon A Time you'll know what I mean).

Obviously you'd have to read Cinder before you read this book so it's a little hard to recommend this book to people. However I would recommend this series to anyone who loves retellings or sci-fi books.