Wednesday, 31 December 2014

Top 14 Books of 2014

I'm guessing that most people are going to do a top ten, but I want to go for the full fourteen, as this is being typed before I've decided the whole list and I don't think I can stick to just ten. Also I know that this pile looks like it's going to fall over - thankfully it didn't, but it took such a long time to take a photo.

#1 - Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell
Yes, out of nearly 100 books - Fangirl is the best book I read in 2014.  I read this in February, but nothing beat it in the 10 months that followed. Maybe it's because it's got a Harry Potter parody within the book. Maybe it's because Cath sounds exactly like me - I write Harry Potter fanfiction, have anxiety/ OCD tendencies, and I want to do creative writing at University. But Fangirl is potentially my favourite book of all time. The writing was sweet and humorous, whilst dealing with serious matters as well. This made Mel feel even more passionate about my dream to become an author. Being my book of the year, I have done a full review of this in my previous post. (Read in February)


#2 - Landline by Rainbow Rowell

I know, another Rainbow Rowell, but this was very close to succeeding Fangirl as my favourite book. The way Rowell incorporated magical realism into the story was phenomenal, and I felt like every word had to be considered sacred as it was just beautiful. So many things in this book could be quoted, but I'd go on forever. Everything with this book was just so perfect, that if I continue talking I won't stop. (Read in July)


#3 - Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins

This was the last book I ever expected to be in my top 3 books of the year - but this is the first time I think I've ever properly experienced THE FEELS. I expected this to be cheesy and fluffy - things I didn't like at the time. This completely changed my opinions, and I couldn't stop thinking about Anna and St Clair for days on end. (Read in January)


#4 - We Were Liars by E Lockhart

It's really hard to describe this book without going into spoilers, but We Were Liars was the most unusual, mysterious book I read all year. You would read 10 pages and it felt like 50. Everything was so vague and the twist was shocking even if I almost got it right. The main reason that this is so special is because it created a sense of paranoia in me, and the most bizarre psychological effects that I've ever experienced - books don't do that, but We Were Liars did. (Read in August)


#5 - Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins

I go back and forth as to which out of this and ANNA I prefer, but I like this a little less. There are so many passages in this book that I just want to cut out and stick on my walls. Such beautiful writing and a gripping tale. (Read in June)


#6 You're the One That I Want by Giovanna Fletcher

Originally, I wanted to read this book because I'm obsessed with McFly and Giovanna is married to the lead singer, but You're the One That I Want blew me away. The plot wasn't exactly groundbreaking, but it was wonderfully simplistic and heartwarming.
 (Read in November)


#7 - Love Letters to the Dead by Ava Dellaira

People have been comparing this to The Perks of Being A Wallflower since before it's release, and yes, it does have Wallflower-esque elements, but I felt this to be more to my taste than what it's allegedly based on. The prose was just gorgeous and I couldn't help but fall in love with the characters - especially Laurel and Sky. (Read in May)


#8 - Lies We Tell Ourselves by Robin Talley

My favourite quote from the review I wrote of this is "This is historical fiction. If you don't like Historical Fiction, then read this book."  Taken out of context, that doesn't make sense but the reality is that this book made me change my opinion on Historical fiction. Talley combines themes of Racism, sexism and LGBT perfectly and I haven't stopped recommending this since finishing the book. (Read in October)


#9 - Isla and the Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins

Not as high on the list as it's predecessors because it wasn't as great... But still - so fluffy and sweet and really, really charming. Probably on this list for the cameo appearances, vivid passages, and THE THING that happens near the end - you'll know what I'm talking about if you read this! (Read in August)


#10 - The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender by Leslye Walton

It's really difficult to tell you about this book as my feelings on it are just confusing. I could get my copy, cut out any sentence from the entire book - and that sentence can be guaranteed to be beautiful. The ending destroyed me and provided Ava Lavender nightmares, so prepare yourself. (Read in October)


#11 - Delirium by Lauren Oliver

Delirium is probably the only dystopian series that I've actually loved. Yes, the books do go downhill after book 1 but I was just gripped from the very beginning. The concept of love being a disease and people just not feeling emotions is so intriguing. (Read in April)


#12 - The Jewel by Amy Ewing

So many people dislike this book but in my opinion it was amazing. The Jewel is the start of a new series and was a brilliant debut for Ewing. The day I read this, I went in hoping to read 10 pages; I looked up and realised I'd read 150 - that's how brilliant this was. The ending too! I cannot wait for the next book! (Read in November)


#13 - Skin Deep by Laura Jarratt

I received this for review from Electric Monkey and was blown away by it's content. Skin Deep is about a girl who was seriously burnt and is now under the belief that "Ugly people don't have feelings." The character development was done so well and the main twist in the story was utterly heartbreaking. (Read in April)


#14 - Finding Cherokee Brown by Siobhan Curham

Finally, we have reached my number 14 spot. FUN FACT: Yes, this is the real writer of Girl Online too. Finding Cherokee Brown reminded me of what it's like to be bullied and was such an inspiring story of daring to dream and pulling through. The writing wasn't my normal taste but it really worked in this book.


So those are my top 14 books of 2014! Have you read any of these? What was your favourite book of 2014? Please let me know in the comments.

Thank you for sticking with me throughout 2014, here's to another year packed with bookish posts!

Holly x

Friday, 26 December 2014

Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell:: Book of 2014

FangirlCath and Wren are identical twins, and until recently they did absolutely everything together. Now they're off to university and Wren's decided she doesn't want to be one half of a pair any more - she wants to dance, meet boys, go to parties and let loose. It's not so easy for Cath. She's horribly shy and has always buried herself in the fan fiction she writes, where she always knows exactly what to say and can write a romance far more intense than anything she's experienced in real life. Now Cath has to decide whether she's ready to open her heart to new people and new experiences, and she's realizing that there's more to learn about love than she ever thought possible ...
.

As weird as it sounds, I'm pretty sure that when I read this back in February that I knew that this may be my favourite book of 2014. Although that was my 6th book of the year, there was definitely something that made me believe that I wouldn't read anything better than this throughout the rest of the year. Needless to say, now in December, I've read 85 books since, and nothing has succeeded Fangirl.

2 months before reading Fangirl, I had read Eleanor and Park - that being the first time I'd ever heard of Rainbow Rowell. Eleanor and Park was a 5 star book in my eyes and so I had high hopes for Fangirl  - which of course, the book reached. Fangirl was an incredible book, and I feel one of the reasons I felt this is because of the Simon Snow links. Simon Snow is a fan take on Harry Potter - a series which has been my life for the past 4 years. Simon Snow mirrored the Harry Potter fandom so well, the way that people queued up for the midnight releases etc - it was just perfect.

I always consider Hermione Granger my favourite fictional character because I've always felt that I could somewhat relate to her, as with Luna Lovegood. Cath Avery has certainly made it into my top 3 characters of all time, and this is probably because she is exactly like me. I suffer from Anxiety, want to do Creative Writing at University, and I also write fanfiction - specifically Harry Potter fanfiction. I could completely understand her actions and her thoughts behind what was happening, which is a connection I rarely find with main characters.

So many plots ran through this book too - Cath's relationship with her twin, Wren, the romance between her and Levi, and the story of Cath's first year of University, not to forget the snippets of Simon Snow here and there. It was great that all of these different plots felt equally covered, and although all entwined, none of the themes necessarily dominated, and I really loved that.

I could go on forever about this book and I know this isn't exactly a great review, but I really can't do, what I now consider my favourite book, justice. Fangirl just left me feeling warm and fuzzy with happiness - I was literally fangirling for Fangirl.


Holly x

Tuesday, 23 December 2014

Letters to Winter




Dear Winter,

I’ve been waiting for you. 12 months have passed by and yet it feels like you never went away. I’m so glad that you’re back though, because this year hasn’t been the greatest of years. It has been a whirlwind of enormous amounts of pain and the occasional bits of happiness, but mainly pain. It’s painful to write that. It is December now, and it is by far my favourite month, my birthday and Christmas are nearly here - this is what I've been waiting for.

You, are my season of reflection. When nostalgia kicks in and as much as I’m desperate to move on at some points there will be brief moments where I feel like I don’t want to let go. But I need to. I have to.


Love, Holly


As inspired by Carrie Hope Fletcher.

Friday, 19 December 2014

#TBSecretSanta




Last month I had an idea. 

A lot of you who read this blog I consider close friends. It may be over the internet but I honestly feel like I've found great friends through blogging. However, the difficult thing about having friends scattered across the country is that if you want to send them all Christmas presents, it's going to cost a lot of money. So I had the idea - a small secret santa between a group of bloggers I'm involved with. Orli, said why not, and so we decided to work on the project together. We've all agreed to share what we got and so onwards! I got Sophie from A Day Dreamer's World as my secret santa to send a package to, definitely check out her blog!

From the moment that I opened the parcel it was obvious from the beautiful handwriting that the lovely Ruby from Feed Me Books Now, had got me for the secret Santa, and the thing that caught my eye first was the beautiful drawing of Hermione Granger from the Harry Potter series that she had done herself. Hermione is my favourite book character of all time and so this started everything off on a high. Hermione's drawing is now stuck proudly to my wall of stuff above my bed. Ruby had also made a hand-drawn card for me with "Deck the halls with Boughs of Holly" on, because my name is Holly - and it's just. so. perfect. 

Speaking of all things Potter, she also sent me these lovely pencils from PopCult Pencils - an Etsy shop that prints all fandom related things onto pencils. It surprises me how well Ruby knows me, there being a Hermione Quote "It's LeviOsa, not Leviosar" on the first. A Doctor Who quote (I'm obsessed with Doctor Who) "Trust Me, I'm a Doctor," on the second. And finally a third pencil saying "I'm kind of a big deal on my blog". These pencils just reflect some of the things I love so well, and I'm kind of scared to use them as they're so pretty...

The final thing I want to talk about is the book I received - The Shock of the Fall by Nathan Filer. In the process of the secret Santa, we all had to list three of our top wishlist books. The Shock of the Fall was not in that list, but it was a book that I have meant to buy for a long time. The blurb is very ambiguous and I'm really looking forward to reading this sometime in the new year.

Thank you so much to Ruby for the wonderful parcel! Thank you to Orli, for organising the Secret Santa with me. And thank you to Rita, Cat, Sabrina, Hawwa, Sophie, Charli, Holly and Zoe for participating!

Holly x

Sunday, 14 December 2014

The Jewel by Amy Ewing

The Jewel (The Lone City, #1)Sold for six million diamantes, Violet is now Surrogate of the House of the Lake in the centre of the Lone City, the Jewel. Her sole purpose is to produce a healthy heir for the Duchess – a woman Violet fears and despises. Violet is trapped in a living death, her name and body no longer her own. She fights to hold on to her own identity and sanity, uncertain of the fate of her friends, isolated and at the mercy of the Duchess.

What surprised me about this book was how much I enjoyed it. This is of a genre I never thought I'd appreciate, but actually really, really did.

The Jewel surrounds Violet, who has been diagnosed as a surrogate and is auctioned off to give birth to the child of the wealthy citizens of the Lone City who live in it's centre - The Jewel. The Duchess of the Lake is the lady who she is sold to, a manipulative woman who Violet sees straight through, and slowly she decides that she wants to break free from the power she is under.

This is meant to be a crossover between The Selection (Keira Cass) and The Handmaid's Tale (Margaret Atwood) - two books that prior to reading The Jewel, I had no intention of ever reading. It is amazing how a single book can change your perspective. Every word seemed to float of the page, enchanting and entrancing. The writing flowed beautifully from one chapter to the next, leaving me dying to read on.  It's incredible how Ewing managed to describe the city and all it's levels of status into a single book because this creation is a masterpiece. 

Violet was such an interesting character, her position means that you see ever aspect of being a surrogate - particularly the darker side to this auction. It seems like such a disgusting thing - to auction off teenagers who are fertile so that richer people do not have to go through the process of pregnancy and birth themselves -  but the reality is that it is something that could potentially happen in the future. Every character felt so detailed and deep. I felt captivated and like I'd known these people for far longer than 300 pages. Something that gripped me from the very beginning was the way that Violet's emotions were described and how scared she was surrounding the prospect of never seeing her family again and loosing her identity to become Lot 197.

Plot wise, this was fast paced and entertaining, causing me to be hooked straight away. Becoming immersed in The Jewel is incredibly easy, - one minute it is 1pm and the next it's 2:30 and you've read 200 pages. It was just brilliant. Shocks lay around every. single. corner. and the beauty is that none of them seem to be expected, they just take you back for a second before you're urged to read on.

This was brilliant and I honestly cannot recommend The Jewel highly enough to you.

Holly x

Friday, 12 December 2014

Top Ten: Christmas Wishlist

1:: The Sky is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson
Everybody raves about this book, and admittedly, it does sound amazing, so I cannot wait to read this!

2:: Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor
I've actually read the first few chapters of Daughter of Smoke and Bone in Waterstones and it was amazing, but I've never gotten round to picking it up again, so maybe I should...

3:: Shatter Me by Tahareh Mafi
Erm.... it sounds great (?)

4:: The Queen of the Tearling by Erika Johanssen
Two words: Emma. Watson.
She raved about this and is going to be in the film so not to take celebrity opinions but she is queen so ... you know... I NEED THIS.

5:: Seraphina by Rachel Hartman
A fantasy about a place where humans and dragons live together - that sounds pretty good to me :)


6:: Billy and Me by Giovanna Fletcher
I read You're the One that I Want (Fletcher's second novel) back in November and adored it, so it's probably about time that I get round to reading Billy and Me. 

7:: The Year of the Rat by Claire Furniss
The Year of a Rat is a book that I've wanted ever since it's release - but it is in hardback meaning that it is unreasonably expensive. So I either wait god knows how long for it to be in paperback, or ask for it for Christmas.

8:: Ask the Passengers by A.S. King
Ask the Passengers comes as rather an embarrassment, since this has been on my Goodreads To-read shelf since November 2013, and because it's a US book it's only on Amazon and I've just not had the chance to read or buy it yet. If anything THIS should be number 1 on this Top Ten.

9:: Attachments by Rainbow Rowell
The only book of Rainbow Rowell's I haven't read yet - I've been trying to ration her books out, and I think Christmas would be the perfect time to read Attachments (I don't know why???)

10:: The Isobel Journal by Isobel Harrop
Artsy, unique and quirky. The Isobel Journal glares at me every time I pass it penniless in Waterstones. Cannot wait to finally read it!

So these are the books on my Christmas Wishlist! Let me know what your Christmas wishlist books are in the comments! 


Holly x

Sunday, 7 December 2014

November Book Haul





Only 5 books. I'm actually rather impressed.

I may have counted wrongly, but there was a significant reduction in the number of books I bought this month - which is good Christmas-Shopping-Wise. I also started to buying more books in Charity Shops too, leading to me saving a lot of money. The fact is that the charity shops near me don't have a lot of books targeted at a Young Adult market, but they did have some adult books that I'd been dying to read, so those are the ones I'll talk about first.

You're the One That I Want by Giovanna Fletcher was £1 in Scope, and was in perfect condition aside from the cracked spine. This was my first read of November and I adored it. Given that this was released only this year, I was so pleased to get this so cheap. Fletcher's other book, Billy and Me, was my last purchase of the month in the British Heart Foundation when I got into town too early when meeting my friend. If you didn't know already I'm a huge fan of McFly, and Giovanna is Tom Fletcher's wife, so I've felt the need to read these two books for a LONG time now.

 The final charity shop book is One Moment, One Morning by Sarah Rayner which I found in Oxfam Books. This is about 3 different people whose lives become changed and connected when a man dies on their commute into London. One Moment, One Morning is a book that I've had on my Goodreads to-read shelf for 2 years now and had never seen it in a single bookshop, so although it's not in an excellent condition, I couldn't pass up the opportunity.

Breakfast at Tiffany's by Truman Capote is the first Penguin Modern Classic I've ever bought, and it was purchased in a moment of desperate need to find something to read. After talking to Ruby from Feed Me Books Now about recommended short classics, she suggested a few titles, including this book. Breakfast at Tiffany's is about Holly Golightly (played by Audrey Hepburn in the film), an eccentric, wild young woman with a mysterious past living in New York - sounds a little odd I know, and I didn't particularly enjoy the book, but I feel like this is something I'll appreciate far more when I'm older than 15.

Finally I have Afterworlds by Scott Westerfeld. Afterworlds is split into two interweaving parts - Darcy's story of publishing her first novel entitled Afterworlds, and Lizzie, the main character in Darcy's novel. At 600 pages, this is an incredibly long book and only for those with a great amount of patience. and a lot of time on their hands. 

So that is November's book haul! I try and maintain some sort of continuity in my book haul photos but the location in which I normally photograph them was rather dark today, but I think for now my sunny window sill will do.

Have you read any of these books? Let me know in the comments!

Holly x

Friday, 28 November 2014

Perks of Being a Bookworm: Review Copies


It's been a while, quite a long, long while since I last did a feature post like this, and before it slips out of my grasp, I thought I ought to reach out, and actually start typing while I have ideas in my head.


This isn't specific to bookworms, but to book bloggers, because a lot of us do get books to review. So I wanted to talk about the positives and negatives that come with working alongside publishing houses to promote books.



Positives

+ ARCs (advanced reader copies), clues in the phrase, ADVANCED BOOKS
+ Getting to work in somewhat close contact with publishing houses
+ FREE BOOKS. Need I say more?
+ The other things that come along with reviewing books - Blog Tours, getting your name out there  - publishers can promote your review on twitter, gaining more blog attention


Negatives

- Pressure - you can pressure yourself into reading things that you're genuinely not in the mood for.
- Deadlines - from what I have experienced I've never been set a deadline, but I've talked to other people who've said they've got emails from publishers if they haven't reviewed a book yet
- You may have to put books that you own and want to read to the side to read review copies.
- TBR's can go out of the window
- It doesn't feel great if you have to DNF a review copy - because you'll still have to review how little you read and send that review to the publishers.
- ARCs can sometimes be uncorrected proof copies and so while that is a brilliant thing to own, you don't read the final book.


I love getting review copies and working alongside publishers, but there are a lot of negatives that come with this - just a heads up if you're thinking about, contacting publishing houses.



Holly x

Sunday, 23 November 2014

Love, Aubrey by Suzanne LaFleur

Love, AubreyAubrey has suffered an unbelievable loss, and goes to live with her grandmother in Vermont in order to heal. There she makes new friends, learns to cope with what has happened, and begins to figure out how to move on.

You probably won't remember, as you probably weren't reading this blog at the time, but August 2013 I reviewed Love, Aubrey and gave it a rather low rating.
The reality is that I never finished that book at the time, and reviewed only what i'd actually completed. This is a book that was given to me 4 years ago when every pupil in my year group was given a free book of our choice out of a selection to encourage everybody to read more. The book that I chose was Love, Aubrey and for some reason I never finished it.

This book carries so many good memories from such a dark time, I was reading this when I met one of my best friends and she asked "What are you reading?". It was also the book that I read sat alone in the school library at lunchtime when I was friendless. I think the fact that this book held memories like that stopped me reading this, but I'm so glad that I picked it up again 4 years on.

Love, Aubrey is about Aubrey who after the deaths of her father and sister is abandoned by her mother who can no longer take the pain of their loses. Aubrey lives alone until moving across states to live with her grandmother, whilst still dealing with the flashbacks and memories of the traumatic experience in which she lost 2/3 of her immediate family.

The thing that impressed me the most about this is the way that it stuck in my head for so long and didn't leave my mind after reading it. This originally happened 4 years ago and Aubrey narrated my thoughts as I sat in English. She seems to do this every time I read about her, and it's lovely. It's enchanting how a character can invade your mind so wonderfully.

Aubrey's story is one that will stick with me for a very, very long time. The way she coped with death really brought back to me how I've coped with death and how many people I know have done so. It's heartbreaking to read through her moments of panic when she realises that her Dad and sister should be there with her. And the character development of Aubrey from the lost girl who had been abandoned to the girl with a life and a friend (Bridget) was so, so interesting. 

This comes across as such a rambling review... I know, I know, but I find it very difficult to describe to you how brilliant this book is. Read it. Just read it.


Holly x

Sunday, 16 November 2014

Soulmates by Holly Bourne:: Review

SoulmatesEvery so often, two people are born who are the perfect matches for each other. Soulmates. But while the odds of this happening are about as likely as being struck by lightning, when these people do meet and fall in love…thunderstorms, lightning strikes and lashings of rain are only the beginning of their problems.


THE ANGER. SO ANGRY ABOUT THIS BOOK.

Generally speaking, I don't get angry when I finish a book. If I don't like it, then I may be a little disappointed, but that's it. Soulmates was different. With Soulmates, I wanted to throw the book at the wall. That never normally happens.

Soulmates is about Noah and Poppy, two people who in a chance meeting, happen to be Soulmates. 

Now, I don't really have much to say about this through the build up of anger, but the main problem that I had was that this was ridiculously cheesy. I know it's called Soulmates and the title in itself can be considered cheesy but everything about this was just like reading a very bad script for a very bad rom com.
There are just parts of this that are incredibly frustrating because the characters aren't particularly well developed and although there is this twist that is building up throughout the book, it is very vague and not too shocking, so call me heartless but I don't understand what all the fuss is about.

One thing that did secure this book just a single star, which is more than it would have got had I not thought about this little thing - Poppy was a sufferer of Panic Attacks. Panic Attacks aren't often brought up in YA, just like a lot of things enveloped in mental health and as someone who does suffer from Panic Attacks, this was something that was really interesting to read about and something that was really appreciated.

Pretentious, and just too predictable overall.



Holly x

Friday, 14 November 2014

2nd Blogoversary: Giveaway


So if you remember my post a few days ago, then you'll remember that Monday 10th November was Lost in a Library's 2nd blogoversary. In celebration of that, I've decided to host my first giveaway on this blog. 

Obviously it is book related - and I'll be giving away The Geography of You and Me by Jennifer E. Smith
If you want the opportunity to win either of these two books, then please enter below

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Terms and Conditions:
You MUST be a resident of the United Kingdom
Once the Giveaway is over, an email will be sent to you confirming your win. If you do not reply to this within 48 hours, a new winner will be selected.
The winner will be announced below this paragraph....


Good luck!

Update: So the winner has been announced (Cat from Through a Cat's Eyes !). Just a note there were originally 97 entries were made but a lot had to be disqualified for not actually completing a task correctly, or living out of the UK.

Holly x

Monday, 10 November 2014

Lost in a Library 2nd Blogoversary



So today is Lost in a Library's Second Blogoversary! Right now I'm staring at an empty blog post because I don't have the words to describe how happy I feel to be here, and to still be blogging. I know this time last year I said I'd be back right now, but there have been so many times this year when I've questioned if I wanted to carry on with this -  as is evident in my This is a Book Blog post. Outside of blogging, this year has been incredibly difficult for me, but we got there in the end and I just want to write this to say thank you to a few people.


Thank you's were done last year but I feel the need to reiterate those since I've been come a lot closer to a few people and have met some new people too. Hands down one of my favourite things about blogging is the people I've met. The reality is that I don't have that many friends in real life and although it's via the internet some of you have become my closest friends. I don't think I pictured still blogging two years ago, but I'm so glad I have. Lost in a Library has changed so much in the past 12 months - new blog name, new design and button, more book related posts. Not many things make me feel this, but looking back on what I've done with this blog this year makes me feel so proud. I have a lot of people to thank for that.


 Any time I just need to talk to someone, I can guarantee that speaking to you will make me feel better. I cannot thank you enough for everything you have done. You're a wonderful, amazing friend and I'm so glad to know you.

There are things that you have done for me that I will always be grateful for. You talked to me and helped me calm down after my first panic attack. You are a lovely person and thank you for sticking by me over the past couple of years.

You're such a fun and lively person. I can always rely on you to put a smile on my face whether it being having the same favourite book in common FANGIRL and talking about Cath Avery or Hogwarts Houses and Luna Lovegood. You're awesome Lucy Powrie.

I'm pretty sure that this time last year, I didn't know you and I can't believe it took so long to start talking. You ALWAYS ask if I'm alright- which doesn't sound like much but actually for someone who doesn't have many friends it really, really is. Obviously as book bloggers we talk about books a lot, but we talk about books SOOOO much! Through twitter, you've made journeys  so much more enjoyable!

We have too many texting conversations that involve hashtags #justsaying. Although we haven't had one for a while. We've started to talk a lot more recently and our conversations are either extremely random or really interesting and I'm rambling now. I really enjoy talking to you and hope we continue to do so.

There are many people I want to say thank you to, but these five the most out of anybody. And also, thank you to you for reading Lost in a Library you may have been here since the very beginning or this may be your first post, but either way THANK YOU SO MUCH. Hopefully we'll still be going bigger and better this time next year. Here's to a third year!

Holly x

Saturday, 8 November 2014

The TBR Tag

How Do You Keep Track of your Tbr pile?

I use Goodreads - simply because it has both unread owned books and wishlist books combined. So everything is in one place. 

Is your Tbr mostly mostly printed or ebook?

I don't have a kindle or any form of ereader, so all of the books on my TBR are physical copies.

how do you determine which book on your tbr you read next?

Usually it just depends on what i feel like reading on that day. I look at the books that I own on my TBR pile, and pick depending on mood and size of the book.

A book that's been on your tbr the longest?

Hetty Feather by Jacqueline Wilson. This is a book that I feel truly awful about because my Mum bought it me for Christmas in 2009, so nearly 5 years ago and I STILL haven't read it...

A Book on your tbr strictly because of it's beautiful cover?

I don't have anything that is purely because of the cover -  but Mimi by Lucy Ellmann started of as being because of the stunning cover but also sounds like a pretty good book.
Mimi

A book on your tbr that you never plan on reading?

After the End by Amy Plum - I was doing one of my Published In... posts and saw this. It look interesting but I'll probably never get round to read it.

An unpublished book on your Tbr that you're excited for?

Whatever Rainbow Rowell publishes next. I will read literally anything by her.

A book on your tbr that basically everyone has read but you?

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak. I've tried reading it twice now and haven't gotten into it. But given how interesting it sounds, it'll remain on my TBR until I've read it.

A book on your tbr that everyone recommends to you?

The Sky is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson. This book sounds incredible and so, so many people have recommended it to me at some point or other.

A book on your tbr that you're dying to read?

Why We Broke Up by Daniel Handler. My Dad bought this for me in September and it is at the top of my TBR on Goodreads. Currently I'm saving it for December, as it feels like a warm, cosy read.

How many books are on your goodreads to-read shelf?

As it currently stands (29/10/2014), I have 94 books on my Goodreads To Read shelf. Every couple of weeks I seem to add or remove a few so I can't guarentee how many will be on it from day to day. To me 94 is a lot but I've seen people will 500+ on their shelf.

Thank you to Rachel from Booktastic Reviews for tagging me to do this. I now tag Hawwa from It Was Lovely Reading You, Orli from Blame My Bookshelf, and Zoe from Books For Birds.

Holly x

Wednesday, 5 November 2014

Published in November

A Thousand Pieces of You
A Thousand Pieces of You
Marguerite Caine’s physicist parents are known for their radical scientific achievements. Their most astonishing invention: the Firebird, which allows users to jump into parallel universes, some vastly altered from our own. But when Marguerite’s father is murdered, the killer—her parent’s handsome and enigmatic assistant Paul—escapes into another dimension before the law can touch him. Marguerite can’t let the man who destroyed her family go free, and she races after Paul through different universes, where their lives entangle in increasingly familiar ways. With each encounter she begins to question Paul’s guilt—and her own heart. Soon she discovers the truth behind her father’s death is more sinister than she ever could have imagined.

Author: Claudia Gray
Date: 7th October 2014  (HarperCollins)
1st in Series

The Retribution of Mara Dyer (Mara Dyer, #3)
The Retribution of Mara Dyer
Mara Dyer wants to believe there's more to the lies she’s been told. There is. 
She doesn’t stop to think about where her quest for the truth might lead. She should. 
She never had to imagine how far she would go for vengeance. 
She will now.

Author: Michelle Hodkin
Date: 4th November 2014 (Simon and Schuester)
Last in Trilogy

Forbidden
Forbidden
In the unforgiving Mesopotamian desert where Jayden’s tribe lives, betrothal celebrations abound, and tonight it is Jayden’s turn to be honored. But while this union with Horeb, the son of her tribe’s leader, will bring a life of riches and restore her family’s position within the tribe, it will come at the price of Jayden’s heart. Then a shadowy boy from the Southern Lands appears. Handsome and mysterious, Kadesh fills Jayden’s heart with a passion she never knew possible. But with Horeb’s increasingly violent threats haunting Jayden’s every move, she knows she must find a way to escape—or die trying.
Author: Kimberly Griffiths Little
Date: 4th November 2014 (HarperCollins)
Standalone Novel

Sunday, 2 November 2014

Mini Reviews #1

FangirlCath and Wren are identical twins, and until recently they did absolutely everything together. Now they're off to university and Wren's decided she doesn't want to be one half of a pair any more - she wants to dance, meet boys, go to parties and let loose. It's not so easy for Cath. She's horribly shy and has always buried herself in the fan fiction she writes, where she always knows exactly what to say and can write a romance far more intense than anything she's experienced in real life. Now Cath has to decide whether she's ready to open her heart to new people and new experiences, and she's realizing that there's more to learn about love than she ever thought possible ...

This book is simply stunning. Rainbow Rowell is a genius.
Every time I think of this book, I'm consumed by happiness, joy and I just want to go and shout from the rooftops how much I love this book - okay so I'm fangirling over Fangirl.
Fanfiction is something that makes you an introvert and you become engrossed in the characters you write about (trust me, I'm a Harry Potter fanfic writer) and so writing a book about this in someways really shouldn't work, but this works brilliantly. 
The characters are well rounded and individuals who aren't just there to serve Cath but have their own backgrounds too. You love the characters you're meant to love, and hate the characters you're meant to hate.  The plot was detailed and uplifting -  I simply wanted more, and more, and more.

“Just... isn't giving up allowed sometimes? Isn't it okay to say, ‘This really hurts, so I’m going to stop trying’?”
“It sets a dangerous precedent.”
“For avoiding pain?”
“For avoiding life.” 

Matched (Matched, #1)
In Cassia's society, Officials decide who people love. How many children they have. Where they work. When they die. But, as Cassia finds herself falling in love with another boy, she is determined to make some choices of her own.
I don't really know how I feel about this one. The reality is that I've never been a big fan of dystopian fiction, but this was something that I had high hopes for - and it really let me down.
Gradually, dystopians start to become unoriginal and blend into one another, and I feel like Matched was put in the blender before it had a chance to reach its potential. The premise is great - a world where all your life decisions are made for you - and the first few chapters were great. Then it started to mirror the likes of The Hunger Games, Divergent and Delirium before it just spiralled out of control and was seemingly dull. I love the characters on a positive, but the book was terribly slow paced as well. This could have been so much better, and really, really wasn't.


Artichoke HeartsTwelve-year-old Mira comes from a chaotic, artistic and outspoken family where it’s not always easy to be heard. As her beloved Nana Josie's health declines, Mira begins to discover the secrets of those around her, and also starts to keep some of her own. She is drawn to mysterious JidĂ©, a boy who is clearly hiding a troubled past and has grown hardened layers - like those of an artichoke - around his heart. As Mira is experiencing grief for the first time, she is also discovering the wondrous and often mystical world around her
I must say that I'm sad how disappointed I was with Artichoke Hearts. This is a book that sounds incredibly interesting but sadly wasn't too my taste like I thought it would be. The plot was rather slow paced and the story felt rather dragged out. It felt like it could have been taken in a different direction or been improved upon. Many people love this but I guess that it just wasn't for me. 
On a more positive note, the characters were great and very easy to become attached too, Mira was especially great. It was just the plot that unfortunately let this down.


Thank you to Macmillan for sending me Fangirl and Artichoke Hearts for review.

Holly x

Friday, 31 October 2014

October Book Haul





I know it's Halloween, but I don't do spooky books....

This month seemed to be a month where I'd buy a book, read it, and then once again have nothing to read. Thus leading to an endless cycle of buying books which isn't great for my bank account but oh well.
The first two books I bought this month were The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender by Leslye Walton which is about Ava - a girl who was born with wings. The cover is gorgeous and this inside is just as stunning - cannot recommend this book enough. A week later I then went and bought Writing in the Sand by Helen Brandom. I'd wanted this book for months so I'm glad I finally got the opportunity to read it. Unfortunately, it didn't exactly live up to my expectations.

The lovely people at Macmillan sent me three books for review - Aritchoke Hearts by Sita Biracharmi (I think that's her name?), My True Love Gave To Me (which is an anthology of Christmas romance stories by 12 different authors e.g. Rainbow Rowell and Stephanie Perkins) and additionally Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell. If you've been here a while then you may remember me hauling Fangirl back in January, but when I was offered the opportunity to review a hardback special edition, I couldn't resist.

My Ninja Book Swap also arrived part way through this month. My partner Talia from Read Between the Scenes kindly sent an amazing parcel which included Graceling by Kristin Cashore, and Lies We Tell Ourselves by Robin Talley. So far I've only read Lies We Tell Ourselves and it was incredible. Thank you so much once again Talia for sending me these books.

The final three books have been purchased over the past 4 days. This Song Will Save Your Life by Leila Sales is about bullying and suicide - rather pessimistic but a really interesting read that I picked so I had something to read whilst I was staying in Chester on Monday/Tuesday. Finally yesterday whilst out with my friend Gabby we went and spent a RIDICULOUSLY long time sitting on the floor in the YA section of our local Waterstones. A lot of books were on a Buy 1 Get 1 Half Price offer so I picked up Trouble by Non Pratt which is a novel about Teen Pregnancy and The Jewel by Amy Ewing which if I'm not mistaken is like a retake on The Handmaid's Tale and is combined with another book that I can't recall but it sounds AMAZING.

Holly x 

Sunday, 26 October 2014

Lies We Tell Ourselves by Robin Talley

Lies We Tell Ourselves
It's 1959. The battle for civil rights is raging. And it's Sarah Dunbar's first day of school, as one of the first black students at the previously all-white Jefferson High. No one wants Sarah there. Not the Governor. Not the teachers. And certainly not the students – especially Linda Hairston, daughter of the town’s most ardent segregationist. Sarah and Linda have every reason to despise each other. But as a school project forces them to spend time together, the less their differences seem to matter. And Sarah and Linda start to feel something they've never felt before. Something they're both determined ignore. Because it's one thing to be frightened by the world around you - and another thing altogether when you're terrified of what you feel inside.

This is historical fiction. If you dislike historical fiction, then I urge you to pick this up, as it will change your perspective completely.



Lies We Tell Ourselves is about Sarah. Along with 9 other teenagers in 1959, they are the first black students to transfer to an all white high school. Whether it be the staff or students, nobody is happy about this. The novel is also about Linda, a girl campaigning for segregation to remain in place as the students arrive at her school. 



Talley dealt with two subjects (Racism/ Civil Rights and LGBT) that are controversial in fiction so well. This lead onto her combining these themes into a dark, brilliant tale. Taking this into context; not only was it a bad time to be of black ethnicity, but homosexuality was illegal across the world. Both of these were written about with a well executed serious nature that was not disrespectful.



Having now read this, my suggestion is that you go into Lies We Tell Ourselves knowing not much at all. Yes, the cover and blurb may give some things away, but that the best advice I have on this book.  A dual perspective means that you are given bits of information in a slow progression that spurs you on to keep reading. 



The characters are richly developed and the prose is stunning. This is one of those books where it never felt wrongly paced, too long or short. For the message this book was trying to deliver - Lies We Tell Ourselves was perfect.



Holly x

Friday, 24 October 2014

Fictional Life Tag


Who would your parents be?
Molly and Arthur Weasley. They're so warm and lovely and kind. They would be the perfect parents.

 Who would be your sister?
Cath from Fangirl (and Wren!) I love them both sooooooo much!

Who would be your brother?
Etienne St Clair from Anna and the French Kiss.

Who would be your pet?
Hedwig! Or Arnold the Pygmy Puff - I know this is loaded with HP references and answers.

Where would you live?
London. So many events in fiction happen in London!

Where would you go to school?
HOGWARTS!

Who would be your best friend?
Hermione Granger. In my head, Hermione Granger is the sister I never had, but she would also be my best friend. We'd have so much in common that I'd hope we'd get on brilliantly.

Who would be your significant other?
RON WEASLEY. Ron is my fictional HUSBAND. Yes, not BOYFRIEND.... HUSBAND. And it is not just the ginger hair.... no! It's everything about him. He's just amazing


Thank you to Georgia from The Books Bandit for tagging me! I tag anyone who wants to do this (consider yourself tagged!)

Holly x

Sunday, 19 October 2014

The Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey

The Snow ChildAlaska, the 1920s. Jack and Mabel have staked everything on a fresh start in a remote homestead, but the wilderness is a stark place, and Mabel is haunted by the baby she lost many years before. When a little girl appears mysteriously on their land, each is filled with wonder, but also foreboding -- is she what she seems, and can they find room in their hearts for her?

There's something about this book, something so completely and utterly enchanting that it becomes nearly impossible to put down once picked up. You delve into the pages and are engrossed in this wonderful story that you never want to escape from.

The Snow Child is about Jack and Mabel, a couple in their fifties who after the loss of their stillborn child 10 years previously and the loneliness of their life without children, decide to move to Alaska for a fresh start. One snowy night, they build a child out of snow. Then in the following days, in what seems like a coincidence, they see a girl running through the forest, just like their snow child.

For months and months, I was uncertain as to whether I wanted to read this book or not - because it is historical fiction - a genre I don't get on too well with - but I'm so glad I did. If you hate historical fiction, if you hate fairytale retellings, then I implore you to read this because it will change your perspective completely.

This essentially is a fairytale retelling of a Russian fairytale (which is brought up in the book several times), and it is done beautifully. The characters are so well developed and whilst they love each other dearly, you can see the strained relationship of Mabel and Jack, as well as the friendships that are formed, so clearly that they seem real.

I only have one criticism for this book - it could have been shorter. Whilst it is brilliant, it wasn't necessary for it to be 400+ pages. But nevertheless, it was stunning and I cannot recommend this highly enough.

Thank you to Headline for sending me this copy for an honest review.

Holly x