January and February Reading Wrap Up

Wrap Up

I completely forgot to do a wrap up for the past few months, and I really want to get back into this so I decided to combine my January and February!

There are eight books to talk about here so let’s get started and let me know if you want to see a full review of any of these books!

The Shock of the Fall by Nathan Filer

Quick Review: The Shock of the Fall was the first book I read in 2015! Not a bad way to start of this reading year if I do say so myself. I found it a little difficult to get through at the beginning but before I knew it I was completely entranced by this story about a boy dealing with his mental illness. It is beautiful, raw, and real book that, I believe, does a great job in portraying a character’s mental illness. It was just really good and I definitely recommend it…though prepare to become extremely frustrated with the unreliable narrator because well, you’ll see.

My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars.

The Wee Free Men by Terry Pratchett

Quick Review: I’ve had this book on my shelf for a LONG time now after a friend, so kindly, forced me to purchase it when she found out I hadn’t read any Terry Pratchett novels. Long story short, I thoroughly enjoyed the adventure this novel took me on – especially the wee free men. The book features such strong female characters that I think all girls need to read this series of books. I plan on, eventually, finishing this series as it follows the growth of the main character. My only issue with this is the long chapters…I much prefer a novel with a lot of shorter chapters (personal opinion though).

My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness

Quick Review: I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, Patrick Ness has very quickly become one of my favourite authors. I finished this book in one afternoon. It was pure brilliance. There really isn’t any other way for my to explain it. I still feel so much thinking about the story. I purchased the illustrated edition and I think it just added a whole other layer to this beautiful story. The book was so heartbreakingly beautiful. I’m pretty sure I cried for 20 minutes after finishing it. READ IT, READ IT, READ IT.

My Rating: 5 out of 5 stars (duh).

Bridget Jones’s Diary by Helen Fielding

Quick Review: After the emotional turmoil I felt after A Monster Calls I needed something super quick, fluffy, and fun. I took a look at my TBR shelf and figured no one could cheer my up quite like Bridget Jones. I wasn’t wrong. This was the perfect cure for the heartbreak I was facing after my previous read. It made me laugh so much…also made me want to rewatch the movie, but when don’t I want to rewatch Bridget Jones’s Diary. If you are looking for a super fun, quick read I definitely suggest you pick this up if you are like me and have yet to do it yet.

My Rating: 4.5 out of 5 for making me feel so much better after A Monster Calls.

Sold by Patricia McCormick

Quick Review: I’m not sure the book needed to be written in free verse because it reads fine as in prose, but the book provides the sad truth that young girls are still unknowingly being sold into prostitution in third world countries and it’s completely heartbreaking what these girls have to face. I’m always grateful when a book like this is thoroughly researched so big ups to the author who traveled India and Nepal to interview women of Calcutta’s red light district and as well as girls who have been rescued in order to write this book. It’s a really fast, but extremely powerful read so go forth and read on.

My Rating: 4.7 out of 5 (for the free verse)

How To Bake a Chocolate Soufflé by Carly Ellen Kramer

Quick Review: This book was given to me as part of the book tour which I am partaking in. I don’t want to say too much here because I full review of this novel will by posted on March 7th (so keep an eye out for that), but I can say that while there where a few issues with the flow of the book I did enjoy it overall. It was nice to see the relationships in the books grow apart but then snap back together again when it is really needed. It really speaks to the power of friendship and I completely stand by that message. I just wish it had given me more because the story was lacking certain details that, as a reader, you are craving to know about!

My Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

If I Stay by Gayle Formam

Quick Review: This is one of those books that I bough a long time ago when it was on sale at Costco and just didn’t get around to reading it. And when I finally did all I really thought was: meh. It was okay. I mean, I cried but with the nature of the book it was hard not to. I just couldn’t believe any of the characters; they all seemed just over the top stereotypical. There were lines where I just though: really?! I think it is safe to say that I didn’t want to rush a pick up the second one. And can I just say, because I knew there was a second one there was no suspense on the question of what choice she was going to make. Meh…just meh.

My Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

Hyperbole and a Half: Unfortunate Situations, Flawed Coping Mechanisms, Mayhem, and Other Things That Happened by Allie Brosh

Quick Review: I think this is one time I was happy not have been a superfan of something before it moved to book form. Because I was familiar with Allie Brosh’s drawings online, but didn’t really keep up with them I could fully appreciate this book from beginning to end. I was even pleasantly surprised to see some of my favourites in the book. Hyperbole and a Half made my laugh out loud so many time. I was obsessed with the style it was written and drawn in and also with her dogs. I loved this so much and I’m so happy I got to read it.

My Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Books on my TBR Bookshelf

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As we can all clearly see, this post – though promised for Thursday – did not end up happening on Thursday because well, I honestly forgot. A LOT has happened this week, so I was a bit overwhelmed. But hey, better late than never right?

So without further ado, these are all the unread books I currently have on my bookshelf (listed in no particular order):

  1. The Queen of Tearling by Erika Johansen
  2. Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel
  3. If I Stay by Gayle Forman
  4. Where She Went by Gayle Forman
  5. The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand
  6. The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness
  7. A Storm of Swords by George R.R. Martin
  8. A Feast for Crows by George R.R. Martin
  9. City of Ashes by Cassandra Clare
  10. City of Glass by Cassandra Clare
  11. City of Fallen Angels by Cassandra Clare
  12. Great Expectations by Charles Dickens
  13. The Girl With a Pearl Earring by Tracy Chevalier
  14. The Angel’s Game by Carlos Ruiz Zafón
  15. Vanity Fair by William Makepeace Thackeray
  16. Emma by Jane Austen
  17. Mansfield Park by Jane Austen
  18. Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen
  19. Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë
  20. The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood
  21. The Cellist of Sarajevo by Steven Galloway
  22. Belle Teale by Ann M. Martin
  23. Lost Souls by Michael Collins
  24. The Crimson Ribbon by Katherine Clements
  25. The Hundred Secret Senses by Amy Tan
  26. Nation by Terry Pratchett
  27. The Weird Sisters by Eleanor Brown
  28. The Narrow Road to the Deep North by Richard Flanagan
  29. The Wives of Bath by Wendy Holden
  30. The Nanny Diaries by Emma McLaughlin
  31. The Time Keeper by Mitch Albom
  32. Lullabies for Little Criminals by Heather O’Neill

And that’s it! Let me know which book on this list you think I should read next!

Unfinished Books on My Bookshelf

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There was a time in my life when I couldn’t imagine leaving a book I was reading unread; it just wasn’t something that I did.

This, of course, was when I was 10 and disillusioned by my love of Harry Potter thinking that every book was going to make me fall in love like it did. 

Over the years I have managed to finish almost every book I’ve start. Almost.

I have gotten rid of some really old unread books that I know I wouldn’t ever pick up again, but these are the ones I currently have sitting on in my bookcase:

1) The Warden by Anthony Trollope
2) Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens
3) North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell
4) Barry Lyndon by William Makepeace Thacheray (odds of my finishing this bad boy are slim)
5) Frankenstein by Mary Shelley
6) The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne
7) The Book of Awesome by Neil Pasricha
8) The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis (I’ve read 2.5 books out of the 7 included)
9) All Quiet on the Western Front by Erich Maria Remarque
10) The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon
11) Wicked by Gregory Maguire
12) Lastly we have the book that I have been ‘currently reading’ for at least a solid year: A Clash of Kings by George R.R. Martin

And there you have it. There are 12 books on my shelf that I need to finish.

I see there is a definite trend in the books: classic books that I needed to read for school…but didn’t.

Some of them I’m ashamed I haven’t finished yet, but as one of my resolutions this year I am going to try my best to finish some of these books up and clear up that TBR list.

On Thursday I will be writing a post about the rest of the unread books on my bookcase right now. That’ll be a fun one.

Let me know what books you have half finished on your shelf.

2015 Reading Challenge

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The only challenges I’ve ever done when it comes to reading are the Goodreads reading challenges (add me on Goodreads!) and, if I’m being honest, I’ve only ever actually completed it once…just this last year.

As I said in my 2015 reading resolutions I wanted to up my reading game this year and not only read more books, but also read a variety of different books that I may not normally pick up. This is why when I saw the PopSugar 2015 reading challenge pop up on my WordPress reader feed a few times I knew I wanted to take part in it.

The challenge demands you read 50 books (well 52 because a trilogy is involved) that adhere to a certain challenge on the list which I will now post below:

I will be keeping track of my progress with this challenge on a page I’ve set up right here.

I’ve already completed one challenge by reading a book by an author I haven’t read before (Nathan Filer’s The Shock of the Fall) and I am almost finished my second book that could have crossed of a number of challenges but I will be putting it towards ‘a book a friend recommended’ (Terry Pratchett’s The Wee Free Men).

Well that is what I will be up to this year and I hope some of you will join me along for the ride!

Top 10 Books I Read in 2014

bestofedit I don’t have as many books to choose from as some people do, but I did read 30 this year and I definitely have my favourites. This post isn’t just going to be books published in 2014, it is going to be a list of the top ten books I have read this year despite when it was originally published. Alright, no more rambling…let’s do this:

10. Never Have I Ever: My Life (So Far) Without a Date by Katie Heaney

As soon as I saw this book in the bookstore I knew I needed it in my life. I thought it was really funny and resonated with me as someone who is in the same shoes (more or less) as the author. While the book does deal with boys and dating life – or lack thereof – it really brings home the value of having great friends who you can trust and love. It is a great book to pass around with your girlfriends.
Favourite quote:
“In fact, I think that’s probably what the Bermuda Triangle is up to. It doesn’t mean to do any harm, and it’s actually pretty nice once you get to know it. It’s just that Bermuda doesn’t know how to handle itself when somebody sails into its territory, because that hardly ever happens.”

9)  American Gods by Neil Gaiman 

When I started this book I didn’t think it was going to make it on my list of favourite books of the year, but here we are. My love for this book was a slow build from beginning to end; I didn’t realize how much I was enjoying it until it was suddenly over. The book was just so good and different from anything I have read and I feel like, if you haven’t already done so, you should read it too. Be sure to check out my review of American Gods!
Favourite Quotes:
“All your questions can be answered, if that is what you want. But once you learn your answers, you can never unlearn them.”
“What I say is, a town isn’t a town without a bookstore. It may call itself a town, but unless it’s got a bookstore it knows it’s not fooling a soul.”

8) The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan

It has certainly been a long time coming with this book. I’m ashamed to say how long it even took my to realize this series of books existed – I’m pretty sure when it was starting off I was in my Harry Potter bubble that no one could even think of entering. Well, now that I’ve started the series I’m definitely going to enjoy slowly making my way through it. I’m excited to see what other adventures the sassy Percy and his gang get up to in future books!
Favourite quotes:
“It’s funny how humans can wrap their mind around things and fit them into their version of reality.”
“Deadlines just aren’t real to me until I’m staring one in the face.”
“Even strength must bow to wisdom sometimes.”
“Humans see what they want to see.”

7) Attachments by Rainbow Rowell 

This is the first, but certainly not the last Rainbow Rowell book you will be seeing on this list. Attachments was the first of Rowell’s adult books that I read and I really, really enjoyed it. It was adorable, funny, and had – as per usual – fantastic characters that you can’t help but love. Seriously though, this guy is clearly one of the earliest cyber-creepers but you can’t help but love him. It was a super fast read and I just can’t wait to finally pick up Landline this year so I can say I’ve read all Rowell’s books to date.
Favourite quotes:
“Every woman wants a man who’ll fall in love with her soul as well as her body.”
“I believe that worrying about a bad thing prepares you for it when it comes. If you worry, the bad thing doesn’t hit you as hard. You can roll with the punch if you see it coming.”

6) Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell

I told you Attachments wouldn’t be the last Rowell novel you will see (spoiler: this isn’t either). Rowell definitely became an instant buy author for me this year. This untraditional love story was so good all the way through. The characters and their stories were so great that you can’t help but feel for and with them. One of Rowell’s strengths is her characters and that is why I love her writing so much. I wrote a review of Eleanor & Park so feel free to check that out!
Favourite quotes:
“I just want to break that song into pieces and love them all to death.”
“You saved me life, she tried to tell him. Not forever, not for good. Probably just temporarily. But you saved my life, and now I’m yours. The me that’s me right now is yours. Always.”

5) Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns) by Mindy Kaling

2014 was also the year I became obsessed with Mindy Kaling. Not in a weird way, but in the way where I’m pretty certain if we ever met we would be instant best friends (with Jennifer Lawrence too). After binge watching The Mindy Project in less than a week and watching as many interviews with Kaling on Youtube I could find the next obvious step would be to read her memoir…and I wasn’t disappointed. I found my self laughing out loud while reading this book – as expected. This series of essays about Kaling’s life has me impatiently waiting for her next book which I believe will be coming out later this year!
Favourite Quotes: 
“There is no sunrise so beautiful that it is worth waking me up to see it.”
“There Has Ceased to Be a Difference Between My Awake Clothes and My Asleep Clothes”

4) Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

I told you there was more Rowell to come; Fangirl was definitely my favourite of her books I read this year. I just found the main character to be so relatable and, I mean, who wouldn’t love to find their own Levi. It’s a great read for all fangirl’s alike and even though I didn’t think the fanfiction aspect was super strong, the actual plot and characters brought Fangirl to my number four spot. I wrote a review on Fangirl which you can take a look at!
Favourite quotes:
“There Has Ceased to Be a Difference Between My Awake Clothes and My Asleep Clothes”
“You’re never going to find a guy who’s exactly like you—first of all, because that guy never leaves his dorm room.”

3) The Book Thief by Markus Zusak 

This. Book. I think my top three books of the year are pretty interchangeable so this book could easily fill the second or first spot. I honestly didn’t think this books was going to make it so high on my list of favourites when I first started reading it. I found I was having a really difficult time getting into the story…but then, all of a sudden, I was hooked and the rest is history. I cried for a solid 20 minutes after finishing this book. It was so beautiful and utterly heartbreaking. If anyone ever says anything bad to me about young adult fiction ever again I’m going to throw this book (and the next book on the list) at their face and just watch their minds change as they read this story. SO GOOD.
Favourite Quotes:
“I have hated words and I have loved them, and I hope I have made them right.”

2) More Than This by Patrick Ness

Patrick Ness was also added to my list of instant buy authors – and that was only after one book! I mean, I already own two more of his books, I just haven’t gotten around to reading them yet. I have a feeling they will probably be on my 2015 favourite list though if this book is any indication. I flew through More Than This and I really, really loved it. I went into the story not knowing a single thing about the plot and I can honestly say I was not expecting this book to be the way it was, which made it so much better. I love being taken aback by a story. I think that everyone should read this book because a) I say so and b) it’s awesome. You can’t argue against that. Check out my review of More Than This here.
Favourite Quote:
“A book… it’s a world all on its own too. A world made of words, where you live for a while.”
“Know yourself and go in swinging.”

1) The Throne of Glass series by Sarah J. Maas

I couldn’t just pick one. It wasn’t happening. I am SO happy I read this series this year (in 10 glorious days if we are going to be exact). It is everything you could possibly want in a (older) YA fantasy series: a super badass lead female character who is still super feminine, a plethora of good looking men to read about and argue over, great action sequences, and AMAZING world building. I simply can not wait any longer for the next book in the series; I need it now. If you are interested in seeing my review of the first book – Throne of Glass – click here and I promise I will try and get the reviews for the rest of the series up ASAP! I’m not going to include a favourite quotes section here because it will take FOREVER to pick.

And those are the top ten books I read in 2014! Ok, so I cheated a little by including a series but we can just overlook that little detail.

Let me know what your favourite books of 2014 were or send me a link to your list because I (clearly) need to add to my TBR list! Here’s to another year of great books!

#BookBlogWriMo Day 12: Advice for Newbie Bloggers

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Day 12! Almost late, but I made it. For this twelfth day of #BookBlogWriMo, hosted by Book Bumblings, I am supposed to give newbie bloggers advice…

I’m probably the worst person to give advice if I’m being honest.

Considering my newbie status and my horrible organizational skills the only advice I can give anyone is look at what I do and do the total opposite.
Plan posts, take notes, don’t do reviews by memory, and stick to a posting schedule.

One piece of advice I’ll give that I actually DO do is be yourself, have fun, be honest, and don’t be afraid to let the world know how passionate you are about a book or a character. Those are the things that are going to get people to come back and read what you write.

And yeah, that’s my quick heartfelt (slightly self deprecating) advice for newer newbies than me!

Until next time
*insert salute gif here*

#BookBlogWriMo Day 11: #Top10Tuesday – Most Popular Posts

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Finally on the post that is actually right for today! Day 11 of #BookBlogWriMo (hosted by Book Bumblings) is your top ten most popular posts! I’ve never actually looked at this stat, so it may be interesting (or sad, depending on the numbers I see…).

Here we go:

1) Review: The Maze Runner Trilogy 

Well there you go. I think this one really buckles down to good timing. I wrote this giant review just before the movie was released to people were looking at getting the low-down on the book and the trilogy. If you are interesting in my thoughts on all three books in the trilogy then give it a read!

2) Let’s get crawling: The Independent Bookshop Week Bookshop Crawl

I was lucky enough to be living in the UK when it was Independent Bookshop Week so I made sure to participate in the Bookshop Crawl while I could. This is the introduction post if you are interested about it for next year maybe!

3) I came, I crawled, I conquered: IBW Bookshop Crawl & Haul

Naturally the next most popular would be my participation in the Bookshop Crawl. I wrote about my experience and what I got over the course of that day.

4) I think I can, I think I can…I can’t: five books left unfinished

Well the title is self explanatory – these are five books I hadn’t (at the time) finished. The only one that can be taken off that list now is City of Bones (which I reviewed here). Give it a look if you want to see what books I haven’t finished and why!

5) Most Anticipated Hunger Games Scenes!

Well this is a blast to the past. I started this blog back when The Hunger Games was about to be released in theatres so I came up with this post and it has definitely held strong in views! I guess I’m going to have to do a post on the most anticipated scenes for Mockingjay!

6) Review: Gone Girl

Once again, I think this review came out at the perfect time as it was right before the movie so everyone was looking into finding more about the story. I actually wrote my Adaptation Report of the movie here so you can check that out.