August Wrap Up

It is the end of August so here is my August Wrap Up. I made an August TBR at the start of the month so at the end I shall be comparing my wrap up to my TBR to see how I did. Also, I’ve scheduled this post to go up on the last day of August but I will be on holiday then as I am going to Turkey starting on the 25th August so this may not be all the books I read in August or it may be them all. I’m not sure if I will read anything while on holiday but we’ll see. Let’s get started on my wrap up. So far this month I’ve read 1 novella,1 manga,1 non-fiction and 8 novels.

The first book I read this month was Silver Shadows by Richelle Mead. This is the fifth book in the bloodlines series and my favourite one yet. I really love this series and this was one of my most anticipated releases of the year and I absolutely adored it. Everything about this book was amazing. If you want to know more about how I felt about this book, click here to go read my spoiler free review. I obviously gave this book 5 out of 5 stars and I am dying to read the final book in this series.

The next book I read this month was a manga and that was the Clockwork Princess manga. The only manga I’ve ever read has been the manga versions of the Infernal Devices by Cassandra Clare so of course when the final book finally came out in manga form, I had to get it. I loved this manga because I thought it showed off the emotion of the book very well and the art was beautiful. However, it was slightly confusing at times. I think if I wasn’t such a big fan of the series and if I didn’t know exactly what happened and when it happened, I would have been completely lost at times. Nevertheless, I gave this manga 5 out of 5 stars.

The next book I read was Roomies by Sara Zarr and Tara Altebrando. I wasn’t planning on reading this book but I got in the post from Bookbridgr and I just decided to read it that day. I ended up reading the whole book in one day and I did really enjoy it. However there were some things I didn’t like about it so I only gave it 4 out of 5 stars. If you’re interested, check out my spoiler free review of it.

The next book I read was Alienated by Melissa Landers. I was originally planning on reading this on the plane but I just decided one night to pick it up and read it so I did and I absolutely loved it. This book was honestly amazing and I highly recommend it especially if you’re a fan of paranormal romance(I generally am not a fan of paranormal romance but this one was just amazing). I gave this book 5 out of 5 stars and I also did a full spoiler free review on it so click here to read it if you’re interested.

I then finally completed the book that took me most of the month to read and that was In A Handful of Dust by Mindy McGinnis.This is the sequel to Not a Drop to Drink and it comes out in September. This book was great and don’t take my slow reading pace as a bad thing about the book. I was just feeling lazy and I was busy so I never got much time to read it. But when I did get into it, I loved it. I highly recommend this series as I believe it’s a great dystopian. I did a full review on it, so click here to go read it. I ended up giving this book 4 out of 5 stars.

The next book I read was a novella and that was the extra epilogue to The One that Kiera Cass released. This may be cheating but hey, it counts on goodreads. This was so wonderful and cute and amazing and everything I could have wished for. I was fangirling and flailing and just squealing with delight. I’m so happy that Kiera Cass has decided to expand the Selection series because I love it so much and I can’t wait for the rest of the books. I, of course, gave this novella 5 out of 5 stars.

The next book I read was Isla and the Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins. This book guys. It was utter perfection. I can’t believe this series is over. I want to mourn the end of such a fabulous series. If you haven’t read this series go pick it up now. I think Isla was my favourite out of the trilogy and I just loved it so much. Go check out my fangirly spoiler free review of it here. I also gave this book 5 out of 5 stars(duh).

The next book I read was Amy and Roger’s Epic Detour by Morgan Matson. Ahh. I enjoyed this book, I really did, but it was quite a disapppointment. It wasn’t what I was expecting but I still enjoyed it If you want to know my full opinion on it, check out my spoiler free review here. I ended up giving this book 3 out of 5 stars.

The next book I read this month was Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck. We had to read this for school but I ended up really liking it. I would have liked it a lot more if I didn’t have to fill in sheets and if I didn’t know what happened at the end. I still ended up giving this book 4 out of 5 stars.

The next book I finished this month was Cursed by Jennifer L Armentrout. I enjoyed this book but I had quite a few problems with it. It was generally okay. I wrote a full non-spoilery review on it so click here if you want to go read it. I gave this book 3 out of 5 stars.

The final book I read this month was the non fiction read of the month and it was Brunette Ambition by Lea Michele. I have been waiting for this book ever since it was announced and yesterday I finally got it on my kindle and I sat down and read it all day. It was amazing to read about her life and it was inspiring to read all of her tips and see all of her recipes. I really loved this book and I gave it 5 out of 5 stars.

Monthly Wrap Up:

Books at each star rating:

1 star: 0 books

2 stars: 0 books

3 stars: 2 books

4 stars:3 books

5 stars: 6 books

Favourite book of the month: Isla and the Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins

TBR comparison:

  • Silver Shadows
  • Afterworlds
  • In a Handful of Dust
  • Shadow and Bone
  • Just Like the Movies
  • Isla and the Happily Ever After
  • Of Mice and Men
  • Rebel Belle
  • Since You’ve Been Gone( I am currently reading this one though)
  • Alienated

I read 5 books off of my TBR list which isn’t that bad. And while I didn’t read that many books, I’m proud of my reading this month because I really enjoyed most of my books and I actually found time to read. I may have read more than this but this is a scheduled post so I don’t know. Whatever books I do read, I shall add to my September wrap up. I will not be doing a September TBR because I’m going back to school and I don’t know how much I’ll be able to read.

Victorious reading month! P.S. Get used to this gif, you'll be seeing it a lot.
Victorious reading month!
P.S. Get used to this gif, you’ll be seeing it a lot.

Sofia

August Book Haul

So it’s the end of August which means it’s book haul time. This is again another scheduled post since I shall be on holiday at the end of August but I’m pretty sure I won’t be getting any more books. This month I bought 4 books and got 4 from bookbridgr for review. Let’s get started.

At the start of the month, I finally recieved the three books from bookbridgr that I had requested in early July but took a while to come. The first one was Roomies by Sara Zarr and Tara Altebrando. I’ve already read this book and I really enjoyed it so massive thanks to bookbridgr and Hodder for sending this book to me. Click here for my spoiler free review. I recommend this book if you like contemporary books that focus more on friendship rather than relationships. The other two books I got from bookbridgr are both by Jennifer L. Armentrout who is a big author in the blogging and booktubing community but I have never seen her books in shops in the UK before. Correct me if I’m wrong but I believe that they are only now starting to sell some of her books in the UK. The first one I got was Cursed and I’ve never heard anyone talk about this one before. However the synopsis really intrigued me and I’ve already read it so click here to check out my spoiler free review. The last book I got from bookbridgr was Half Blood. I’ve heard quite a few people talk about this series before but it’s not her most well known series but it sounded interested so that’s why I requested and I shall be reading it soon hopefully. I also received a book from bookbridgr that I only recently requested and that was Day 21 by Kass Morgan. This is the sequel to the 100 which has a TV show that just recently aired in the UK. I’m excited to read these and I will probably read both of them back to back.

The final four books I bought from Waterstones, which is just the best shop ever. Most of their books are buy one get one half price so when I set out to buy only one book, I generally always come back with two. The first book I bought was Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins. I have, of course, already read this book. I read it back in December but I love this books so much that I just needed to own them all so I finally bought a physical copy. The book that I bought along with that was Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo. I finally bought the book that everybody raves about and I shall definitely be reading within the next month, for sure. I made sure that I bought the new pretty UK purple cover because it’s just stunning. I then went to buy Isla and the Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins on it’s release day to complete my Stephanie Perkins collection. I’ve already read and loved this book. If you want to know more about my opinions on it, click here for my review. The final book that I bought alongside Isla was Amy and Roger’s Epic Detour by Morgan Matson. I’ve been wanting to read this book for over a year but I really disliked the UK original cover but they recently re-released it in the UK with the US cover so I bought it and read it and I was slightly disappointed but click here if you want to see my opinions on the book as a whole.

So that’s all the books I bought this month. My mum thinks I have a book buying problem so my book buying is going to be basically non-existent for the next few months.

Sofia

Cursed by Jennifer L. Armentrout

Yesterday I finished Cursed and I sat in front of my computer for about 20 minutes, trying to write a review of it.  Somehow I couldn’t do it so I ended up watching Arrow instead and I basically just stared at Grant Gustin’s face for an hour.So now, almost 24 hours after finishing the book, I’m attempting to write the review again. This may not be the best review because honestly I don’t know how I feel about it all. If you’ve never heard of Cursed, which is highly likely, here’s the synopsis for you:

Dying sucks
…and high school senior Ember McWilliams knows firsthand.

After a fatal car accident, her gifted little sister brought her back. Now anything Ember touches dies. And that, well, really blows.

Ember operates on a no-touch policy with all living things–including boys. When Hayden Cromwell shows up, quoting Oscar Wilde and claiming her curse is a gift, she thinks he’s a crazed cutie. But when he tells her he can help control it, she’s more than interested. There’s just one catch: Ember has to trust Hayden’s adopted father, a man she’s sure has sinister reasons for collecting children whose abilities even weird her out. However, she’s willing to do anything to hold her sister’s hand again. And hell, she’d also like to be able to kiss Hayden. Who wouldn’t?

But when Ember learns the accident that turned her into a freak may not’ve been an accident at all, she’s not sure who to trust. Someone wanted her dead, and the closer she gets to the truth, the closer she is to losing not only her heart, but her life.

For real this time.

This was my first Jennifer L. Armentrout book and I got it from Hodder via bookbridgr in exchange for an honest review, so thank you very much. Jennifer L Armentrout is quite a big author over in the US but I’ve never seen her books in shops in the UK. When I saw this one on bookbridgr, I decided to pick it up simply because it sounded interesting. I’ve never heard anyone talk about this one before so it’s obvious that this one is one of her lesser known books. I also decided to pick up this one because it’s a standalone and I didn’t want to commit to another series. However the fact that it was a standalone contributed to my slight disliking towards it. I felt as if everything was too rushed. The whole storyline of this book would have been much better if it was spread over a few books because it felt as if everything was just being forced upon me and while I like to read fast paced books, this one just had too much going on. The plot line itself was intriguing and I loved the whole idea of it but it could have been executed better.

My main problem with this book was the characters. While I enjoyed Ember herself and I thought she was a great protagonist, I feel as if the secondary characters could have been improved on. Hayden, who is the main love interest, just irritated and annoyed me. The love story as well as the plot reminded me of Shatter Me. In Shatter Me, Juliette fell in love with the one person she could touch and that is what I feel happened in this book. I didn’t feel as if Hayden and Ember really loved each other. I feel as if the love story was just completely unnecessary and we could have done without it. The other characters we never grew to know. I didn’t like any of them because I didn’t know any of them and that decreased my enjoyment of this book.

The mystery element of this book was what kept me reading. I wanted to know who was behind it all and I wanted to know what actually happened. When we did actually find out, I was shocked but again we didn’t have enough time to process it because 10 pages later, the book was finished. The ending to this book left it open and I wasn’t a fan of that. I do sometimes enjoy open ended books but this one just wasn’t satisfying enough.

Overall, I did enjoy this book and I think that it’s a good mystery novel but the love story declined my liking of it and I would have enjoyed it a lot more if the book had been longer and more spaced out or if it was a series. While I gave this book 3 stars on goodreads, I’m going to try a new way of rating all of my books based on different aspects, therefore giving it an average percentage.

Plot: 75%. It was a great plot but at times I found that it fell quite flat.

Cover: 60%. It’s a nice cover but should she really be lying in a bed of grass if she can kill the plants?

Protagonist: 79%. She was great but at times really annoying.

Love story: 30%. I really didn’t like it at all.

Writing: 55%. It was enjoyable and I shall definitely be picking up more of her books in the future just to see if they are better than this one.

Pacing: 45%.  Everything felt way too rushed.

Overall: 58%. It was enjoyable, there was just quite a few aspects that I didn’t like.

 

Sofia

A to Z Bookish Survey

Today is a very blogging day. I finished my English homework today and I’m really happy about that so now I just want to get into writing more blog posts because I’m not sure how much I will be able to blog when I go back to school because I’m in year 11 this year which is GCSE year so I should probably focus more on studying this year. But onto today’s post. Today I’m going to be doing the A to Z Bookish Survey which I found over on http://www.perpetualpageturner.com/which is a blog I follow and love so definitely go check it out. Let’s get started with the questions.

Author you’ve read the most books from:

This definitely goes to Cassandra Clare, for sure. I’ve read her 3 Infernal Devices books, 6 Mortal Instruments books and I’ve read 9 out of her 10 Bane Chronicles novellas plus I’ve read The Shadowhunter’s Codex.Oh and I’ve also read the manga versions of The Infernal Devices trilogy. Does that count?  I’m a big fan of Cassandra Clare’s writing and I can’t wait for many other future books from her, especially the rest of her Shadowhunter Chronicles.

Best Sequel Ever:

Okay, I’ve spent about 10 minutes deciding which book to choose for this. There are just so many amazing sequels that I love oh so dearly. I ended up being able to narrow it down to two books which are Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins and Crown of Midnight by Sarah J. Maas. They are both so amazing and you can’t make me choose.

Currently Reading:

At the moment, I’m actually in the middle of two books which is unusual for me. I’m currently reading Since You’ve Been Gone by Morgan Matson as well as Cursed by Jennifer L. Armentrout.

Drink of Choice While Reading:

I don’t actually drink or eat anything when I’m reading but if I do, it’s usually just water. I love water and at the moment, I’m ever so slightly addicted to it.

E-reader or Physical Book?

I’ve got to go with my Kindle here. I love physical books and I have quite a bit but I generally prefer to read on my Kindle just because when I’m reading a physical book, I’m constantly worrying about the condition of it and how I can easily damage it. I also read a lot quicker on my Kindle.

Fictional Character You Probably Would Have Actually Dated In High School:

I’ve spent so long thinking about this because would I actually love my favourite fictional characters if I didn’t know their back stories? I then decided on Cricket Bell from Lola and the Boy Next Door because I feel like I would have been attracted to him anyway and his nerdiness.

Glad You Gave This Book A Chance:

Definitely Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead. I’m not generally into paranormal books, especially not paranormal romances but this series was amazing and I absolutely loved it.

Hidden Gem Book:

This has to go to Talented by Sophie Davis. I loved this book and this whole series and it’s extremely underrated and nobody has read it which makes me incredibly sad because I love this series. Go read it guys, it’s amazing.

Important Moment in your Reading Life:

There are three moments that spring to mind. The first was back in 2011 when I finally decided to read Harry Potter and open myself up to the world within the books(I was stubborn before that and I thought because I’d seen the movies I didn’t need to read the books). The second was in 2012 when,after months of saying that it sounded stupid, I finally picked up The Hunger Games and read it in a night leading me on to reading YA fiction. The third moment, links in to another moment when back in late 2012 I was recommended City of Bones and I read the whole series. I then remember after finishing Clockwork Princess the week of it’s release, scrolling through Cassandra Clare’s tumblr as you do and finding a reblog of Christine of PolandBananasBOOKs on youtube. It was her review of Clockwork Princess. This then got me into watching booktube which is the reason I read all the books I do because most of them are recommended to me via various booktubers.

Just Finished:

Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck.

Kinds of Books You Won’t Read:

Umm, I’m open to most books except for erotica. Never erotica.

Longest Book You’ve Read:

This is actually Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix which is 766 pages long. It definitely didn’t feel that long when I was reading it.

Major book hangover because of:

The most recent one was Alienated by Melissa Landers. It was just so good guys! It was bloody addictive and I need Invaded ASAP.

Number of Bookcases You Own:

2. One is a single bookcase which comes with two shelves and it is half the size of the other one which is a double one which comes with 4 shelves.

One Book You Have Read Multiple Times:

Anybody who knows me at all will know the answer to this one. It is most definitely Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins. I completely adore this book and I always want to reread it.

Preferred Place To Read:

This is probably my bed. I adore my bed so much and I love to read in it.

Quote that inspires you/gives you all the feels from a book you’ve read:

“I can offer you my life but it is a short life; I can offer you my heart though I have no idea how many more beats it shall sustain”

-James Carstairs, Clockwork Prince.

Does that quote not bring all the feels?

Reading Regret:

Definitely the Summer I Turned Pretty trilogy by Jenny Han. First of all, I have no idea why I read the whole trilogy but also this book just lowered my love for Jenny Han. I loved To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before and I was expecting a lot going into this trilogy. Lets just say I was very disappointed.

Series You Started And Need To Finish(all books are out in series):

I always read the whole series when I read a series just because I hate leaving it open when it could improve. However the only one where I haven’t finished the series is The Cousin’s War series by Phillippa Gregory. I read the first book, The White Queen, last year and I really enjoyed it but it took me so long to read it that I just didn’t read the rest. I do plan on reading the rest though and I own the next two.

Three of your All-Time Favorite Books:

Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell, Crown of Midnight by Sarah J. Maas and Clockwork Princess by Cassandra Clare.

Unapologetic Fangirl For:

I have many authors and books that I fangirl over but there is one author couple that I fangirl over so much and people don’t generally understand it and that is Tahereh Mafi and Ransom Riggs. I’ve read her books and I love them but I am yet to read his books. However, their relationship is complete perfection and I want it. I spend hours stalking their Instagram and Twitter accounts. I’m not even going to lie.

Very Excited For This Release More Than All The Others:

Heir of Fire by Sarah J Maas. Give me this book already.

Worst Bookish Habit:

I don’t have many bad bookish habits but I do tend to say my thoughts and feelings out loud while I’m reading it so I’m constantly saying no or finally or I can’t believe they died.

X Marks The Spot: Start at the top left of your shelf and pick the 27th book:

This gave me Landline by Rainbow Rowell. I’m not even kidding. It was just a very happy coincidence.

Your latest book purchase:

I recently bough both Isla and the Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins and Amy and Roger’s Epic Detour by Morgan Matson. Yay for contemporary romance.

ZZZ-snatcher book (last book that kept you up WAY late):

This has definitely got to go to Alienated by Melissa Landers. I stayed up way too late reading this book. I just couldn’t put it down. It was so good! I’ve already said this but read the bloody book already guys and join in with me with the love for it.

Amy and Roger’s Epic Detour by Morgan Matson

When I went to buy Isla, I saw that it was one buy one get one half price and I just couldn’t pass that up so I decided to finally purchase Amy and Roger’s Epic Detour since everyone raves about it. The original UK cover was just horrendous but they recently re-released the book with the US cover so I finally bought it. So after finishing Isla, I started reading Amy and Roger’s Epic Detour and I really enjoyed it. I finished it yesterday when I just spent the majority of the day sitting in bed reading it.So here I am, attempting to write a review of it. I always find it hard to write reviews of contemporaries, especially romances. So this review will probably be a bit all over the place and will definitely not be my best review but let’s go anyway. If you haven’t heard of Amy and Roger’s Epic Detour, here’s the synopsis for you:

Amy Curry is not looking forward to her summer. Her mother decided to move across the country and now it’s Amy’s responsibility to get their car from California to Connecticut. The only problem is, since her father died in a car accident, she isn’t ready to get behind the wheel. Enter Roger. An old family friend, he also has to make the cross-country trip – and has plenty of baggage of his own. The road home may be unfamiliar – especially with their friendship venturing into uncharted territory – but together, Amy and Roger will figure out how to map their way.

Let me just start by clarifiying something; this is most definitely not a light,hearted contemporary romance. I went into this book thinking that it would be for some reason but it wasn’t. Even though the synopsis suggests a cute romance story, it really isn’t that and I was disappointed because of that. This book mainly focuses on Amy as she starts learning to live her life again, after her father’s death. And while I found it incredibly interesting and moving, this wasn’t what I was expecting it to be like which contributed to my slight disasppoint in the book.

Amy was quite annoying at that start. I guess I can’t really judge how she acts because I’ve never been through the death of a close family member but I thought that she had been a bit too down in the dumps at the start. It makes sense since she felt like she was to blame but it didn’t make for a good protagonist. However as the book went along and she learned that she needs to start opening herself up and stop kicking herself for something that happened in the past, I really enjoyed her as a character.

Roger himself wasn’t that fabulous. He spent 95% of the book obsessing over an ex girlfriend and I just grew to be sick and tired of him. He also wasn’t impulsive or amazing as the synopsis suggested. I honestly expected someone completely arrogant yet lovable and he wasn’t anything like that. I was slightly disappointed with Roger.

The romance itself wasn’t all that great. There was no suggestion that Roger had any feelings for Amy at all throughout the book but suddenly they were just together. There was no progression to falling in love and recognizing that they like each other. It wasn’t a swoon worthy relationship and it didn’t make me feel any feelings. The book also ended somewhat openly and that irritated me. I’m fine with open endings but not this sort of open ending. How do they figure it all out? It doesn’t always just work out perfectly.

I understand that if you’ve read this whole review, you probably think I hated this book. I didn’t. I enjoyed it. It just wasn’t what I thought it would be and it didn’t make me feel anything. It was a good book to read in between other books but it really didn’t live up to it’s hype. I gave this book 3 stars on goodreads but it is closer to 3.5. I did quite enjoy it and if you go into this book expecting it to be more of a coming of age story, you will like it a lot more.

Sofia

Isla and the Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins

Last Thursday, Isla and the Happily Ever After finally came out and to say that I was excited would be an understatement. Ever since reading both Anna and the French Kiss and Lola and the Boy Next Door in December, I have been dying for Isla. I didn’t wait as long as most people did for Isla but it was still an agonising wait. The day it finally came out was my sister’s results day so I wasn’t able to read much of it but I was able to go into Waterstones and attend their Isla readathon for a short while, which was amazing so thank you very much YABirmingham for another fabulous event. I didn’t read much there but when I came home I was able to read half of it before going to a meal with my family to celebrate. I then woke up Friday morning and just sat in bed and read it all morning(mainly because I needed to calm my nerves about my Lauren Oliver interview) and let me just say this; Isla and the Happily Ever After was amazing. If you haven’t read this companion novel series, I strongly recommend it, especially if you enjoy romance novels. Even if you don’t, Anna and the French Kiss was the book that got me into them so I really do recommend them. Now, let’s start discussing Isla and the Happily Ever After.

As soon as I saw the book in front of me, this was basically my reaction.
As soon as I saw the book in front of me, this was basically my reaction.

The storyline of Isla was quite different to Anna and Lola. In Anna and Lola, the characters take the whole book to get together and the book focuses on them falling in love and realising how perfect they are for each other. However with Isla, both characters realise their feelings for each other quite early and it’s more about the journey of their relationship and having to deal with being separated. Even though it wasn’t about them falling in love, I loved the storyline of this one slightly more because it shows how things can change after people get into the relationship. Yes Anna and Lola are both amazing books but the books end with them getting together and we don’t see them going through their relationships(We do in the other books but we don’t get to focus on them dealing with typical couple problems). This is why I believe that Isla was slightly more believable because it shows that even after you fall in love, your life doesn’t automatically become perfect.

Another thing that made me love Isla a little bit more than the previous ones was because of Isla herself. Isla was most definitely my favourite out of all the girls just because I found myself relating to her a lot more than I did with the others. The way she reacted to certain things, while annoying sometimes, is exactly how I would have reacted. The way she doesn’t believe that someone could possibly love it just basically shows how much she is like me. I always over think what people do or say because I think there’s no way they could have just said it to be nice. Every stupid decision Isla made is a stupid decision that I would make. Isla was insecure yet not whiny and I think she’s an amazing protagonist. I would have loved to see her in another book as we did with Anna and Lola.

I was getting annoyed at Isla and then it dawned on me that I am Isla and this just went through my head.
I was getting annoyed at Isla and then it dawned on me that I am Isla and this just went through my head.

Josh was also bloody amazing. He still hasn’t beat Cricket but he’s just beat out St Clair because I love him. The way Josh acted around her just had me fangirling and squealing. I found myself smiling throughout any scene with Isla and Josh both in it because I loved seeing them interact. They are definitely my favourite couple out of the three and I really wish I had waited to make my Top 10 fictional couples list because they definitely would have made it on there. I’m not sure what else to say about Josh. He was perfection yet realistic and I want one. Seriously, somebody give me a relationship like Isla and Josh’s. We’ve already established that I am basically Isla, so somebody get me my Josh please. Thank you.

Any scene with them in, this was basically me.
Any scene with them in, this was basically me.

I can’t form a proper review of this book at this moment because I just want to fangirl and flail when I think about it so this will have to be it for now. But let me just tell you this; read this book. Seriously, drop everything and go read this book. If you haven’t even started this series yet, I suggest you just go to your local Waterstones/Barnes and Noble etc and just get them and read them because you will not regret it. Seriously go now. I gave this book 5 out of 5 stars on goodreads but if I could I’d give it 2133454789009697654 out of 5 stars because it deserves it.

 

Sofia

 

P.S. This was my reaction to Anna and St Clair in this book(if you've read it, you'll know why)
P.S. This was my reaction to Anna and St Clair in this book(if you’ve read it, you’ll know why)

Q&A With Lauren Oliver

Yes this is a Q&A with Lauren Oliver. Lauren Oliver is currently in the UK to promote the paperback release of Panic and she was in Birmingham last night but unfortunately I couldn’t attend due to family plans. However, Hodder contacted me and asked if I wanted to do an interview with Lauren Oliver and of course I said yes! Unfortunately I couldn’t do it in person because she was only in Birmingham for one day unlike quite a few people who could. I did it today over the phone and I was so nervous. I’m always nervous when I’m on the phone because I absolutely despise phone calls but I was also nervous because it’s Lauren Oliver! She is one of my favourite authors and I love her writing so I was nervous to speak to her. In fact, I was so nervous to the point where I wanted to cancel the interview because I didn’t think I could get through it. However I did, obviously and that’s what this post is all about clearly. I had to record the conversation and then type up her answers but I tried to keep it as exact as possible. Thank you to Lauren Oliver for her time and also thank you to Hodder for the opportunity. Let’s get started. (By the way listening to this conversation back really made me realise why I hate phone calls so much. I’m so awkward in them and my voice is horrendous)

1. Is there one of your books that holds a more special place in your heart than the others?

Well, you know, all of my books mean different things to me so it’s hard to say but I do think that in some ways actually my middle grade book, Liesl and Po, is the most personal book I’ve written just because I wrote it after the death of one of my dearest friends and my ex-boyfriend so I would say that Liesl and Po holds a special place for me.

2.What type of scenes are your favourite to write?

That is a difficult question. To be honest the easiest stuff to write for me is description but I think that’s true of a lot of writers. It’s really hard to write scenes where there are a lot of characters trying to interact and move around so that’s really challenging. I would say that my favourite scenes to write are dialogue between two people. I like to write friendly or romantic banter but yeah I really love writing descriptions too of houses and woods and trees and settings.

3. You’re most well known for your Delirium trilogy and the world is quite unique. How did you come up with it?

Well as I just said I love writing descriptions of trees and well I’ve always been interested in survival stories. When I was growing up, I loved a book which was about somebody who moves into the wilderness and makes him in a tree. One of the inspirations for Panic when I wrote it was thinking about things like Survivor and game shows where there are alliances and people are making deals so that stuff is always in my consciousness, the idea of surviving in the wilderness. I also grew up in a place where there was a lot of woods and we would go wandering all summer and through the forest and pretend that we were the only people still alive.

4. The ending to Requiem was quite open-ended. What made you decide to end Requiem the way you did?

First of all, I prefer things that are open ended. I am the kind of person who did not, for example, like the epilogue to Harry Potter. I like the opportunity to have readers exercise their own imagination and to think of what must and will come afterwards. In terms of the romantic choice, I just didn’t feel morally or ethically that ending with a romantic choice is the right message to communicate to people because it’s not a culminating moment of Lena’s life to decide who she wants to be with.

5. Where did the idea for Panic come from?

I was partly inspired in the plotting of it by things such as Survivor and TV shows like that. However the idea actually came from a fairy tale. There’s a Grimm’s fairy tale called “The Boy Who Went Forth to Learn Fear”. It’s a humourous fairy tale but it’s about a boy who is basically too stupid to feel fear and he ends up becoming very successful and he marries a princess because he has successfully spent 3 nights alone in a haunted house and the king has said that anyone who can do this can marry his daughter. But it got me really thinking in terms of fear and why some people are able to face fear whereas others kind of spend their lives really minimalising situations in which they feel fear. The idea of fear challenges really came from that fairy tale. 

6. Is there a specific moral or message you wanted to put across in Panic?

I think most of my books share a common message. I realise that in retrospect that all of my teen books feature characters who at the start of the novel, they are very fear motivated. Sam in Before I Fall is really afraid of  losing her social status and discovering she’s a loser and fraud. Lena in Delirium is obviously afraid of doing anything to disappoint her society and family. Heather is, at the start, very afraid that she’ll be like her mum and that she’s a nobody so I think that the message in all of my books is that it’s really impossible to live an authentic life when you are driven or motivated by fear and you have to really not ignore fear, you have to embrace it in order to move past it.

7. Both Panic and Requiem are written in dual point of view. Did you find it easier to write one character over the other while writing these?

I don’t know actually, I mean in some ways it was challenging to write Hana just because I had to really strike a balance between making her sympathetic or interesting but also not be really emotive because she’s had the cure so I think that that was really challenging.

8. Your next book Rooms is an adult novel. Was it easier to write an adult novel compared to YA?

No, I don’t think either one is easier because it depends on the book itself. Honestly, Rooms was quite hard but that’s because it has 6 different points of view. It takes place in the first person, third person, past tense and present tense. So structurally it was really difficult. Also structurally telling the story from the perspective of the rooms and ordering it that way was really challenging. In some ways, Panic was the most challenging book I’ve ever written just because after writing a series for so long, it’s very difficult to transition into a totally different world and I had a lot of agony and anxiety over it.

9. Rooms is also a ghost novel and you’ve mentioned in ask Lauren Oliver that you live writing ghost stories. Where did your love for ghost stories come from?

I don’t know. I like thinking about the afterlife because I think it’s quite interesting. Also, I kind of have a sort of spooky sensibility. I love things with a little bit of darkness and a little bit of fantastical qualities. I think it might have also been possibly because I did not grow up in any particular religion so I’ve always had to think about that kind of stuff for my self and make decisions on it so maybe that’s where it came from. 

10. Since it is an adult novel, will it still be suitable for your younger readers?

Yeah absolutely. I mean there is content in it. I mean there is sex, there isn’t graphic depictions of it but there is some. For most of my mature teen readers, it’s fine. In fact, one of the points of view is actually a teenage boy so I think there will be some of my teen readers who will really love it and find it the same sort of quality of stuff to love, some of the thematic stuff. However, there will be some teen readers for whom it is not appropriate for their level of reading and comfort. 

11. Many people might not know about Rooms so if you were to summarise it in one sentence, what would it be?

(quite a few Umm’s occurred here as she considered this question) miracle literary modern ghost story.

12. You also have another book coming out called The Vanishing Girls. If you had to summarise that in one sentence, what would it be?

Two sisters, once inseparable, in the aftermath of an accident.

13. Finally, are you currently writing on any more books or do you have any more planned?

Yes definitely. I’m working on another teen book right now and another adult book.

Listening to all of that back just made me realise just how socially awkward I can be! However, I hope you enjoyed that and again massive thanks to Lauren Oliver and to Hodder for the Q&A. If you’re interested go check out my review of Panic and definitely go buy a copy.

Sofia

 

 

 

In a Handful of Dust by Mindy McGinnis

After finishing Not a Drop to Drink, I immediately asked YABirmingham if they had a proof copy of the sequel and they did! Unfortunately for some reason, I was busy when I first got it so I only just got to reading it last week. Yes, it took me over a week to finish it but that is simply because I’ve been busy. This was a great sequel to a fabulous book and I can’t wait for any future books by Mindy McGinnis. If you’ve never heard of Not a Drop to Drink, you can check out my review here but just in case you’re feeling lazy, here’s the synopsis of the first book for you:

Lynn knows every threat to her pond: drought, a snowless winter, coyotes, and, most importantly, people looking for a drink. She makes sure anyone who comes near the pond leaves thirsty, or doesn’t leave at all.

Confident in her own abilities, Lynn has no use for the world beyond the nearby fields and forest. Having a life means dedicating it to survival, and the constant work of gathering wood and water. Having a pond requires the fortitude to protect it, something Mother taught her well during their quiet hours on the rooftop, rifles in hand.

But wisps of smoke on the horizon mean one thing: strangers. The mysterious footprints by the pond, nighttime threats, and gunshots make it all too clear Lynn has exactly what they want, and they won’t stop until they get it….

The sequel follows another character who appears in Not a Drop to Drink and that is Lucy. I loved reading from Lucy’s point of view because she’s quite different from Lynn. She didn’t feel threatened by everything and everyone like Lynn did. She was a great protagonist and I definitely preferred her POV, compared to Lynn’s. Lucy was strong(not quite as strong as Lynn was) but she was trusting and kind and she didn’t feel the need to kill everything that came in her way.

The start of this book I found to be quite slow and confusing due to what was happening. We are thrown back into the world despite missing years of their lives since this one takes place quite a while after the first one ended.It deals with illnesses and medicine and gives a lot of biology related facts that just went over my head(I strongly dislike biology). However, once the actual story started, it really picked up and I found it addictive. What I love about these books is the writing. Mindy McGinnis’ writing is stunningly beautiful and it keeps you captivated when you’re reading. I was worried slightly when I found out there was a companion novel to Not a Drop to Drink because I loved Not a Drop to Drink as a standalone and usually sequels aren’t as good. However Mindy McGinnis proved me wrong because this book was just as good as Not a Drop to Drink, if not slightly better. I came out of this book wondering why I couldn’t write like her because her writing is one of my favourites to read and I shall be definitely be picking up her future books.

The thing that stopped this book from becoming a 5 star read was the supporting characters. Stebbs wasn’t around for most of the book and he was one of my favourite characters in the first book. As for the new characters we meet, I didn’t particularly like any of them for some reason. We didn’t stick with one character long enough to grow an attachment to someone and when I did start liking someone, they left. However I did really enjoy Fletcher and I thought he was an interesting character. I’d love to have a whole book about his story because there was a lot more to him than we got to see.

Another amazing part of this book is the plot. I can’t tell you what happens because that would be spoilery but you will find it hard to guess what happens in this book. There were so many twists that you couldn’t predict. It was so unpredictable which added to the fact that it was fast paced to make a captivating and addictive read. I wish I could talk about certain things that happened within the novel but alas spoilers.

Whenever anything weird and shocking happened, this was basically me.
Whenever anything weird and shocking happened, this was basically me.

I really hope Mindy McGinnis writes more within this world because it is such a unique world that I love to read about. After that ending, I can expect that there may be more books in this series if this one does well so definitely go buy it when it’s out on the 23rd September. I gave this book 4 out of 5 stars and I highly recommend it.

 

Sofia

 

P.S. I’m sorry for this review being all over the place. I really struggled to write a review of this book that did the book justice but I failed.

Top 10 Fictional Couples

It’s no secret that my love for romance has grown rapidly over the last year and now I just keep fangirling and squealing over the relationships in books. So I thought I’d do a post all about my top 10 fictional couples. This was a hard list to compile considering the fact that I ship so many characters, it’s just ridiculous. So if one of your favourite couples isn’t on here, I’m sorry. I should also just mention this will only include book couples and not couples from TV shows and movies because then that would just be too hard. But if you’re interested, here’s my top 10 fictional TV couples and I might do one based on movies but I’m not sure. Beware there may be spoilers for who ends up with who within these books but most of these are pretty obvious but spoilers for some, especially Shatter Me, The Selection, The Infernal Devices and other books with love triangles in them but I think in the other love triangles it was clear who would end up with who. When I first made this list it had 20 couples in it so first I have 10 honourable mentions but all I’m going to do is mention them and not go into why I ship them. By the way, there will be a lot of fangirling in this. Just saying.

Honourable Mentions(In no particular order):

Aleyx and Cara – Alienated

Erik and Talia – Talented

Adam and Mia – If I Stay

Noah and Mara – The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer

Dexter and Emma – One Day

Landon and Jamie – A Walk to Remember

Hazel and Augustus – The Fault in Our Stars

Peeta and Katniss – The Hunger Games

Ron and Hermione – Harry Potter

Anna and St Clair – Anna and the French Kiss:

Some of you may be shocked at the ones who are just honourable mentions and didn’t actually make the actual list and so am I! I was working it out and I was like woah, Peeta and Katniss didn’t make my top 10?! And Hazel and Augustus?! I can’t believe it myself. Don’t hate me too much for it.

 

Top Ten(This was so hard to order! I literally sat in front of the computer for almost half an hour debating where to put each couple):

10.Warner and Juliette – Shatter Me:

This was an unexpected couple that nobody saw coming. Honestly, during Shatter Me, did anyone predict this at all? Honestly, after reading Destroy Me, I was silently hoping this would happen but I didn’t think it would because of you know Adam Kent(the asshole he is). But then Chapter 62 happened, and everybody shipped Warnette. And don’t even get me talking about certain scenes in Ignite Me because we all know those were fabulous. If you’re reading this and you haven’t read past Shatter Me(you know who you are), I’m sorry for the spoilers but I did warn you in the introduction(I even put it in bold for you). Not my fault. But in all seriousness, Warnette is complete and utter perfection.

True story
True story

9. Maxon and America – The Selection: 

I ship these two a lot which is odd because a lot of people get frustrated with them throughout the series. Ever since their first meeting, I knew that Aspen was just nobody anymore because Prince Maxon exists so of course she needs to be with him. I love Maxon so very much and his relationship with America is half of the reason why. He is so sweet and loving and just all types of romantic so of course I ship them so very much.

i-ship-it

8.Eleanor and Park – Eleanor and Park: 

I’m going to make this quick because if I keep thinking about this book, I will become so immensely sad and I don’t want that. Eleanor and Park are perfection. How can one not ship them? They make my little shipper heart so happy. Especially when Park had that whole passage about holding Eleanor’s hand. Their love is so sweet and innocent. I just can’t deal with their cuteness. Where’s my Park Sheridan? I could honestly write pages and pages about why Eleanor and Park have an absolutely stunning relationship and how they represent what young love should be like but I’m not going to bore you with that now. Maybe another time.

eleanor-park-fanart-you

7.Simon and Isabelle – The Mortal Instruments: 

Oh Sizzy. Ever since they first met, I was just like ‘I ship this and this needs to happen’. But things kept going wrong and my little shipper heart kept breaking into pieces(I’m going to say shipper hear a lot in this post, deal with it). But then City of Heavenly Fire happened and my heart just exploded with Sizzy feels. Sizzy are just so fabulous together and I need more of them. So Cassandra Clare, there better be one whole short story just on Simon and Isabelle as part of the Simon short story collection because I need more sizzy in my life.

I had to include a gif from the movie because Robert Sheehan <3
I had to include a gif from the movie because Robert Sheehan ❤

 

6.Levi and Cath – Fangirl:

I couldn’t make a list and not include my favourite book right? Levi and Cath are the relationship that I want. He understands her and while he isn’t like her, he lets her be who she is and doesn’t interfere and try to change that about her but he still makes an all round better and happier person and I love that. They are just honestly so perfect and I don’t know what else to say about them. If you want to see how fabulous they are, read the book. Or if you’ve already read it, think about the reading out loud scene and the emergency dance party scene and tell me their relationship isn’t perfect.

not-sinking-ship

 5.Lola and Cricket – Lola and the Boy Next Door: 

Lola and the Boy Next Door is the single book that I have re-read the most and that is simply for one reason; Cricket Bell. Any scene with Cricket in is complete and utter perfection. How can one not love Cricket Bell? He is so sweet and romantic. I mean  the last few chapters with the dance show off perfectly how romantic he is. He came to her for the dance! He helped her get ready. He told her that story that made me want to melt inside. And he gave her the moon and the stars! Don’t even tell me that they aren’t perfect because then I may have to just shoot you.

I must share this beautiful fanart. It's perfection.
I must share this beautiful fanart. It’s perfection.

4.Will and Tessa – The Infernal Devices: 

Some people find it weird that even though I prefer Jem as a character, I ship Wessa over Jessa. Jem says some absolutely perfect lines to Tessa and his romantic side is utter perfection but I honestly believe that Will and Tessa are better suited to each other. They both read and honestly any scene they are both in is complete perfection. I ship them so much but I don’t even know why. I have no reasons for shipping them but I do.

Basically
Basically

3.Sydney and Adrian – Bloodlines: 

IT’S SYDRIAN TIME!! I love Sydrian so much and I don’t understand how some people don’t ship them. Seriously, they are so perfect together. Seeing them in the Fiery Heart just made my little shipper heart but then the ending just broke it again. However, Silver Shadows Sydrian was utter perfection. They really showed how strong they are and how much they love each other because they kept trying to reach the other. And then when they finally found each other again, I couldn’t deal with their amazingness because honestly when Sydrian get together they are so badass and it’s just ridiculous how fabulous they are. I can’t deal with all this Sydrian because I ship them so much.

Anytime Sydrian did something epic together in Silver Shadows, this came to mind.
Anytime Sydrian did something epic together in Silver Shadows, this came to mind.

2.Percy and Annabeth – Percy Jackson:

I think Percabeth are such a typical couple that everyone ships them. You spend all of Percy Jackson and the Olympians waiting for them to get together and then when they finally do, you don’t get to see much of them together until you realise that there’s another series. Mark of Athena was fabulous for Percabeth but House of Hades was so perfect for Percabeth because we got to see so much of them together. We got to see how much they need each other but how they can still do things on their own. House of Hades Percabeth were just complete and utter perfection.

This part was completely fabulous.
This part was completely fabulous.

1.Finnick and Annie – The Hunger Games: 

So my number one couple goes to Finnick and Annie. Honestly, if you’ve read Mockingjay, you probably fell in love with their relationship which of course led to your heart being ripped out repeatedly. Finnick and Annie were always my favourite couple ever since I first read the books. Catching Fire Finnick was so ridiculously in love with Annie and then when we finally met Annie and got to see them interact together, we all fell in love with Finnick and Annie’s relationship. How could we not? I can’t talk much about them without getting sad and depressed so I won’t say anymore.

finnick-jabberjay annie-jabberjay

Why did I insert these gifs? The pain is real.

 

 

So that’s it for my top 10 fictional couples with my 10 honourable mentions. This was interesting to make, despite me being either really emotional or really fangirly. I apologise.

Sofia

 

 

Alienated by Melissa Landers

Last night, after a restless hour or so of attempting to fall asleep I gave up and decided to start a whole new book rather than read one that I had already started(don’t ask me why) and this book was of course Alienated by Melissa Landers! I thought I’d read a couple of pages before feeling sleepy but I ended up reading half of the book last night and finishing the other half when I woke up this morning because it was just that good. If you don’t know what Alienated is about, here’s the synopsis:

Two years ago, the aliens made contact. Now Cara Sweeney is going to be sharing a bathroom with one of them.

Handpicked to host the first-ever L’eihr exchange student, Cara thinks her future is set. Not only does she get a free ride to her dream college, she’ll have inside information about the mysterious L’eihrs that every journalist would kill for. Cara’s blog following is about to skyrocket.

Still, Cara isn’t sure what to think when she meets Aelyx. Humans and L’eihrs have nearly identical DNA, but cold, infuriatingly brilliant Aelyx couldn’t seem more alien. She’s certain about one thing, though: no human boy is this good-looking.

But when Cara’s classmates get swept up by anti-L’eihr paranoia, Midtown High School suddenly isn’t safe anymore. Threatening notes appear in Cara’s locker, and a police officer has to escort her and Aelyx to class.

Cara finds support in the last person she expected. She realizes that Aelyx isn’t just her only friend; she’s fallen hard for him. But Aelyx has been hiding the truth about the purpose of his exchange, and its potentially deadly consequences. Soon Cara will be in for the fight of her life—not just for herself and the boy she loves, but for the future of her planet.

Vampire Academy is the only paranormal romance novel that I’ve read and loved but this is on par with that because I devoured both so much. I was hesitant going into it because I am, quite obviously, not a very big paranormal romance fan and I haven’t read any books about aliens. This book has been compared to Jennifer L.Armentrout’s Obsidian but I have not read that due to it not sounding particularly interesting to me. Alas this book exceeded my expectations and I honestly loved it very much. This book is very fast paced and is generally a quick read that is a lot of fun. It made me laugh but it also had serious moments. Honestly, this book was everything I was looking for at this particular time and I’m so happy I decided to read it.

Cara Sweeney was a great main character. She didn’t annoy or irritate me which is a good thing because a lot of protagonists, even some of my favourites, annoy me from time to time. She was an overachiever and incredibly competitive but I felt as if this aspect of her decreased as the book went on but I still loved that about her. Cara was clever and she wasn’t whiny in the slightest. She didn’t rely on others and she didn’t do what the others told her to do which I really admired about her because under her circumstances, I most likely would have cracked and given up.

Aleyx himself was a swoony worthy male character. Since this book was split in dual POV, we got to see more of him and he wasn’t just there as a love interest. What made this book so special was the dual POV because without it, the book wouldn’t have been what it was. Aleyx had his own issues and suffered from a lot of feelings of guilt as well as suffering from the fact that he was experiencing feelings that he hadn’t experienced before and feelings that he had before thought to be ridiculous. He did really grow a lot throughout the book and I loved that. Many male love interests(even though he wasn’t just a love interest) are quite stubborn and usually it’s just the girl who changes drastically throughout the novel. But in Alienated, both characters grow and learn how their lives could be improved for the better.

The writing in this book was fabulous. Melissa Landers is able to pull off writing the dual POV and having it in third person but still allowing the reader to feel connected to both characters which I applaud her for. Believe me, I have tried to do this and it is not an easy thing to do. She also had the right amount of wit and humour in her writing to make the book funny but she had some emotion and a lot of realistic problems which stopped the book from just becoming a big joke. The problems that Cara and Aleyx face in this book are so realistic and I loved that. This novel shows the different ways that people can react to aliens coming in because we see both people who think it’s a good thing but also people who actually despise the idea.  The aliens in this book aren’t your typical “I’m going to invade your world and take over” aliens but instead they want to co-exist peacefully. They have a lot that can help the human race and they feel they themselves could benefit from an alliance and this was an interesting take on aliens. Despite this, a lot of people refused to accept the aliens as being good because they are aliens and the bad perception they have of aliens has altered how they think about other life forms. Melissa Landers has also created an amazing world with L’eihr and I can’t wait to further explore it in the sequel.

I have somehow come this far without mentioning the swoon-worthy romance between Aleyx and Cara. I loved watching this romance play out because it was most definitely not a case of insta-love. Ever since their first meeting at the gala, I knew that I would ship these guys a lot and I did! They took a while to realise their feelings for one another and I found myself screaming at the book, trying to force them together with my words. However, due to them taking a while to get together the reader got to fully appreciate just how much they did care for another and it showed an accurate representation of what a relationship should be like. They got to know each other first and did things to make the other happy e.g. Cara learning how to cook his food and Aleyx learning how to comfort someone else. This of course made me fall in love with their relationship even more and when that particular scene happened(you know what scene I’m talking about if you’ve read it), I was squealing with delight.

i-ship-it

My one problem: the ending. It felt slightly too rushed and I felt like Cara’s reaction to what happened was a bit unbelievable. However, the ending is setting up for the next book so I can’t complain.

So overall, I really loved this book a lot and I can’t wait for the next book in the series. I gave this book a 5 star rating but it is closer to a 4.75. I definitely recommend you pick this book up if you love fast paced sci-fi books with an adorable romance.

Sofia