Wednesday, 27 December 2017

Which 2018 Reading Challenges Will I Be Taking Part In?

This year hasn't been a huge reading year for me. I was in a bit of a reading slump for half of the year and although read 23 books (so far) for my Goodreads reading challenge, I have managed to read 100 books in previous years. 2018 is going to be a big reading year. I can feel it! So to motivate myself I decided to link up to a few challenges.

The Goodreads Reading Challenge (obviously)

The Goal: Read 50 books.

Can I do it? I've read 23 books this year and I spent the majority of the year not reading so I think I've got this! And if I don't I'll cheat and just read a bunch of novellas.... shhhhhhh!

The A - Z Challenge 

The Goal: Read a book for every letter of the alphabet.

Can I do it? Some letters are going to be really easy, but some aren't... How am I going to find a letter that starts with Q... or Z... or X???? Someone help me!

The 2018 Pop-Sugar Reading Challenge 

The Goal: Read a book for every single prompt on this list.

Can I do it? Pretty sure there are 50 prompts on this list... That's a lot! Maybe my goal should be to complete at least 20 of the prompts instead of all of them, but I'm going to keep it open and see how I go!

The Beat the Backlist Challenge

The Goal: Read 20 books released prior to 2018.

Can I do it? I think this one will be easy for me. I read a lot of backlist releases anyway and there are so many books that came out in 2017 that I want to read, but haven't had a chance to yet!

Wanna stay updated?

You can track my progress on these challenges here!

What challenges are you taking part in during 2018? Did you complete (or attempt) any challenges this year - which ones?? Do you have any advice for me?


Tuesday, 19 December 2017

Genuine Fraud, by E. Lockhart || Lies and Murder and Truly Awful People

Genuine Fraud
How far would you go to become someone else? A masterful young adult thriller from the author of blockbuster bestseller We Were Liars.

Imogen is an heiress, a runaway, and a cheat.
Jule is a fighter, a chameleon, and a liar.

Imogen is done pretending to be perfect, and Jule refuses to go back to the person she once was. Somewhere between the mansions of Martha's Vineyard and the shores of Cabo San Lucas, their intense friendship takes a dark turn.

A masterful thriller from the author of the unforgettable We Were Liars.

Thank you to Allen and Unwin for supplying me with a review copy of Genuine Fraud!

I LOVED We Were Liars, E. Lockhart's other novel and I wanted to love Genuine Fraud, but it fell a bit short for me. I definitely didn't hate it... maybe my expectations were just too high after enjoying We Were Liars so much.

What did I like?

  • The back to front story telling! Genuine Fraud starts at the end and as you read you move back in time, uncovering what happened in the lead up to where the book starts... (Does that make sense, the whole book is basically backwards). I don't think I've ever read a book written like this and I really enjoyed this aspect! It added a hell of a lot of suspense made me want to keep reading.

  • The twists and turns. There were so many twists and turns in the plot! Every chapter something new was uncovered. If you love books with a million plot twists then Genuine Fraud is the one for you.

  • It's dark. Genuine Fraud is full of murder and lies and mystery. (I almost wouldn't label it as YA)

What did I not like?

  • The characters. There were some truly awful characters in this book (I'm talking Delores Umbridge sort of awful). On one hand it was slightly fascinating to read about these morally evil people, but on the other hand I didn't quite understand it. And I did not care about any of the characters because they were all such horrible people.

  • A little bit of confusion... I liked the back to front thing, but it did get a little bit confusing at times and there were points that dragged a bit because of the way it was told. I just wanted to know what happened in the beginning but you have to wit for the end of the book to find that out.

I'm not quite sure what to think of Genuine Fraud. There were definitely aspects I enjoyed and it was a pretty okay read, but I can't help feeling a bit disappointed after loving We Were Liars so much. There was just something about Genuine Fraud that I didn't like and I can't quite put my finger on what that was... Maybe it was just because I couldn't connect with any of the characters... I don't know! Overall, I do love E. Lockhart's writing though and I will absolutely be reading her future novels.

Have you read anything by E. Lockhart? If you haven't then I would highly recommend We Were Liars. Have you ever been unsure of how to feel about a book? What book(s)?   


Saturday, 16 December 2017

Am I Naught or Nice? || The Bookish Naughty List

To get into the Christmas spirit of December, Jenniely created the Bookish Naughty List Tag which she tagged me in. (I was also tagged by Ayla from Books and Babbles. Thank you, Ayla!!). Jenniely has created a list of naughty bookish things and now I'm going to go through that list and figure out whether I'm on the naughty list this year... Uh oh... I have been known to commit quite a few bookish sins...

1. Have you received an ARC and not reviewed it?

I currently have two outstanding eARCs, BUUUTTTTTT I will review them before the end of the year... Does that count? I don't think so.

2. Do you have less than 60% feedback rating on NetGalley?

My feedback ratio is 95%! Wahooo! Go me!! I'm pretty good at staying on top of my NetGalley reviews, and that will be even easier now that most publishers on NetGalley can't (or won't) supply to international bloggers.

3. Have you rated a book on goodreads and promised a full review was to come on your blog (and never followed through)

Um........ Maybe...

This review is actually still coming.. I promise!

4. Have you folded down the page of a book? 

I have! But only older books, I do like to keep my new books nice and new. I'll fold pages of books that are older or second hand, but I want my new books with unfolded pages and uncracked spines.... Does that make sense?

5. Have you accidentally spilled something on a book? 

Not this year, but a while ago I accidentally dropped one of my Harry Potter books in the bath and I've been traumatised ever since then... I will never read in the bath again.

6. Did you DNF a book this year? 

I DNFed many books at the beginning of this year while I was in a massive reading slump, but I can't even remember what they were. I was in such a huge slump that I never got past a couple of pages so I didn't even bother adding them to Goodreads.

7. Have you bought a book purely because it was pretty with no intention of reading it?

I've added books to my TBR list just because of their pretty covers, but I've probably bought less than five books this year so they've all been because I actually wanted to read them (if they had pretty covers that was just a bonus).

8. Have you read whilst you were meant to be doing something else (like homework)?

Yes.. Most definitely! Somehow I always end up reading the most when I'm supposed to be doing something else.

9. Have you skim read a book? 

If I'm disliking a book so much that I want to skim it then I'd rather just DNF it. (Although, I did completely skim the fourth Harry Potter book the first time I read it and then was so confused during the fifth one that I had to go back and read it properly)

10. Will you completely miss your Goodreads goal?

No! My goal was 10 books and I've more than doubled that!!

11. Have you borrowed a book and not returned it? 

I've returned books very late to the library, but I've always ended up returning those books because I do not want to pay the huge fine you get if you don't return a book to the library.

12. Have you broken a book buying ban?

Books are expensive so I don't really buy physical books unless they're for other people.

13. Have you started a review, left it for ages then forgot what the book was about? 

Yes... Whoops! I found an old review draft this morning and I couldn't remember anything about the book and I didn't even read it that long ago.

14. Have you written in a book you were reading? 

I tried annotating a book I was reading once last year, but my writing isn't neat enough so NEVER again. (That is probably my biggest regret).

15. Have you finished a book and not added it to your Goodreads?

Whhhaaaaat?! I would never do that! I religiously use Goodreads and I don't think I could not add a book to Goodreads... I want my Goodreads to be completely accurate because I love the wee stats that you get.

Naughty or Nice?

I've committed 5 out of 15 of these bookish sins this year. I guess that means that I'm 33% naughty and 66% nice (and 1% other). I'm quite happy with that, I thought I would have committed more bookish sins this year. I guess that means that I'm still on the nice list!

Are you naughty or nice? What's the worst bookish sin you've committed this year?? Please tell me that I'm not the only person who's dropped a book in the bath...


Tuesday, 12 December 2017

Radio Silence, by Alice Oseman || Why this book is everything and a speech I wrote in high school

Radio Silence
What if everything you set yourself up to be was wrong?

Frances has always been a study machine with one goal, elite university. Nothing will stand in her way; not friends, not a guilty secret – not even the person she is on the inside.

But when Frances meets Aled, the shy genius behind her favourite podcast, she discovers a new freedom. He unlocks the door to Real Frances and for the first time she experiences true friendship, unafraid to be herself. Then the podcast goes viral and the fragile trust between them is broken.

Caught between who she was and who she longs to be, Frances’ dreams come crashing down. Suffocating with guilt, she knows that she has to confront her past…

She has to confess why Carys disappeared…

Meanwhile at uni, Aled is alone, fighting even darker secrets.

It’s only by facing up to your fears that you can overcome them. And it’s only by being your true self that you can find happiness.

Frances is going to need every bit of courage she has.

"Hello. I hope somebody is listening..."

Radio Silence has to be one of my favourite reads of 2017. By far. If you've ever felt unsure about your life (or if you're currently feeling unsure) then read this! Even if you know exactly what you want to do, still read this! It's so good in so many different ways.

First there was Frances

Frances is an overachieving high school student who has a weekly existential crisis about what she wants to do with her life (AKA me in my last year of high school) and I have never related so much to someone in a book. My whole entire last year of high school was me questioning what I wanted to do and I'm now taking a gap year which I would highly recommend to anyone who is unsure!

Radio Silence was very much about being true to yourself. Throughout the book Frances talked about how she was one person at school and somebody else at home (the real her) and while it seemed like she had her shit together at school and she was 'just' a smart girl, there was really a whole lot more to her than that. I loved seeing the change in Frances from the beginning of the book to the end where she let herself become who she really wanted to be.

And Aled

"In distress. Stuck in Universe City. Send help."

Aled was an overachieving high school student who feels like he might have made the wrong choice with university. He and Frances become friends and it has been a very long time since I have seen a friendship in the YA genre that I loved as much as this. There were midnight chats and random drunken videos and working together on projects and turning up at each others houses in the middle of the night in their PJs.. It was just so good and pure. But it was real.

It was diverse on so many levels

I don't want to spoil anything for anyone, but Radio Silence is diverse on so many levels without it seeming like it's trying to tick a bunch of diversities off a checklist. (Yet another reason that this book is realistic because our world IS diverse!)

But wait there's more

This isn't just a mish-mash of realistic characters... It was a story of growing up and learning who you really are and all the screwed up things that happen along the way. 

And the writing... The writing was beautiful! I could not stop reading. I sat there and read this book in one evening. It was well past midnight by the time I finished it, but I had to finish it! And now I'm sitting here at 2AM writing this review so I'm sorry if it's slightly incoherent.

“And I’m platonically in love with you.”
“That was literally the boy-girl version of ‘no homo’, but I appreciate the sentiment.”

Proof I am Frances

I struggled during year thirteen, my last year of high school. And before that I flew through school.. I loved it and I did well, really well! But thirteen years was just one year too many. So when I was asked to write a speech for an assembly I wrote this... And it was such a huge weight off my shoulders to talk about how I felt.

After that speech I was told that in the future I would have to have my speeches checked before I could present them, but oh well... I said my part and I hope that I helped at least one person in that audience.

Now seriously, just read Radio Silence!

Have you ever read a book where you felt like you could relate to everything? Which book?? Also has anyone read Solitaire by Alice Oseman? It's high on my TBR list now that I've realised how much I love Alice Oseman.   


Saturday, 9 December 2017

NaNoWriMo Participation Award (AKA I Wrote 10K and Then Gave Up)

If you're following me on Twitter then you'll know that I attempted NaNoWriMo last month. But for those of you who don't know, National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) happens in the month of November and the idea is to write 50,000 words (a novel) within that time.

How did that go for me?


So what happened?

I have a whole series of excuses for why I didn't finish NaNoWriMo, but really the truth is in the graph... I stopped writing one day and then never started again... I just sort of lost motivation. There was so much happening in November, I haven't read much all year, but I finally felt like reading so I did and then I felt like blogging so I did that too, and my novel took a wee bit of a back seat. 

Where to from here?

I'm not sure yet. I'm considering picking this project up again for Camp NaNoWriMo next year, but it's also my first year of university next year so we'll see how that goes first. At the moment, I want to focus on my blog for a little bit and I don't think I currently have the time to blog and read as well as write as well. Maybe my time management will get better next year!

Did you participate in NaNoWriMo? Tell me about your novels! How much did you write? Remember that even 100 words is an achievement so I'm totally fine with my final word count of 10,000 words! I hope you enjoyed this little writing update, let me know if you want more!


Sunday, 3 December 2017

There's Someone Inside Your House, by Stephanie Perkins || WARNING: NEGATIVITY

There's Someone Inside Your House
Love hurts... 

Makani Young thought she'd left her dark past behind her in Hawaii, settling in with her grandmother in landlocked Nebraska. She's found new friends and has even started to fall for mysterious outsider Ollie Larsson. But her past isn't far behind.

Then, one by one, the students of Osborne Hugh begin to die in a series of gruesome murders, each with increasingly grotesque flair. As the terror grows closer and her feelings for Ollie intensify, Makani is forced to confront her own dark secrets.

I am so conflicted about Stephanie Perkins latest release. I was excited when I heard that she was writing a new novel because I love the Anna and the French Kiss series and I was even more excited when I found out it was horror themed, but now I'm not really sure what to think... There were parts that completely pissed me off and there were parts that were okay(ish). Luckily I tweeted as I read so I can break everything down for you with the help of my tweets!


Things started out well... Not. Maybe it was because I decided to tweet as I read, but I got two pages in and I was already totally distracted. Okay.. Maybe that is because Twitter is a huge distraction no matter what you're reading, but still! Page two!

Anyway! Moving on. So this book started from the point of view of a girl called Hayley (I think it was Hayley?) who was basically a theatre geek, but don't worry too much about her because wait for it... She's dead less than ten pages in.

Rightio, now that we have Hayley out of the way (Stacey? Her name definitely might have been Stacey..) we can move onto the real star of the show. Makani. Let me set the scene for you; Makani is the new girl in a small town. She's been shipped off there by her parents to live with her grandmother because something awfully strange happened in her past. Although of course we're not quite sure what that is yet. At this point I was definitely assuming that Makani had actually killed someone... But more about that later.

So this Hayley/Stacey girl was brutally murdered and now the whole town is freaking out trying to figure out who it is. Pause again, this time because a character mentioned flip-flops and I care more about finding out what everyone calls those in different countries.

Back to reading. Only to find out that Makani's grandmother sleepwalks. For some reason I just could not get into this book. I kept getting distracted! But that might just be because Twitter is damn distracting.

I stopped reading because I was "too tired to concentrate" and then didn't pick it up again for a couple of days (actually more like a week) because I just wasn't feeling it.

I finally managed to read a bit and was actually starting to like it a bit more... During this time Makani and Ollie got a lot of screen time and I realised that maybe I like reading Stephanie Perkins more in the contemporary genre than the horror genre.

A second person is murdered this time by having their brain taken out and chopped up and then shoved back in. Creative. I'm back to not really enjoying this book, but determined to finish it.

Another death. (This one had his ears chopped off)

Makani (of course) is the next victim, but she gets away and we find out who the killer is and what a BORING killer?! It's just some random quiet kid from Makani's school (lol it's always the quiet ones). I had to wait until the end of the book to find out why he was murdering people and how he was choosing them, but I'll spare you the wait for nothing... Turns out he was killing people that had potential and might one day have a life outside of the town they were from.... And that list included his best friend... Yeah... What? I don't even know! This 'grand reveal' was at the end of the book and it was such a let down. It didn't even really make sense to me!

What else happened between finding out who the killer was and finding out why he was killing people? Oh yeah, we found out about Makani's mysterious past. Another let down. The reason she had to move to a tiny town to live with her grandmother was because she was a messy drunk at some team initiation thing and chopped off someone's ponytail. I get that high school kids can suck, but this was built up to be a HUGE reveal and it would have been waaaaayyy more interesting if Makani actually killed someone.

By this point I gave up on tweeting. So how did it end? Happily ever after of course. There were a couple more deaths, but in the end, the killer was caught and the boy and the girl got together. Blah blah blah. That's it.

I'm sorry, but I'm actually pissed off about this book. My last tweet pretty much sums up the entire experience for me. I'm disappointed because I wanted to like this, but I really didn't. Ah well, I'm about to start Radio Silence so I'm hoping I'll like that better!

Have you ever been excited for a book that just let you down? Tell me what you thought of this book if you've read it.. Disagree or agree with me?? I want to know! Tell me your thoughts.