Wednesday, 31 January 2018

January, 2018 || New Year, New Me! (Yeah Right)

New year, new me. So I'm going to start doing monthly wrap-ups! I always like reading monthly wrap-ups soooo here's everything that happened this month (and it's been a pretty busy month).

(what did I read this month?)

I've kick-started the year by reading seven(?!) books. Just for reference I read 25 books in total last year so I am definitely on track to beat that! You can click the title for full bookish reviews on the blog.

(full review here)
(full review here)
(full review here)
(full review here)
(full review here)

(what happened on the blog?)

Seven books and seven posts! Not bad!!

  1. I talked about my reading statistics in 2017 and included lots of pretty graphs. Graphs are fun to look at because it's like reading without reading... Yay! 
  2. I reviewed Turtles All the Way Down, by John Green (spoiler: I got it for Christmas and I LOVED it). So much love for John Green). Always? Always! Kidding... that's Harry Potter. Okay? Okay. There we go...
  3. My five most popular posts of 2017! Because more stats are fun. And also lists. Lists are fun too.
  4. Another review! This one for my first read if the year, Juniper Lemon's Happiness Index.
  5. I talk about my holiday aaaaand all the books I read while I was on holiday (four books in four days). Wahooo! Go me!! There are lots of photos and this is definitely my favourite post this month. SO CHECK IT OUT!
  6. And because I was feeling warm and fluffy I shared my favourite things about the blogging community and what I love about blogging (everything). I loved the feedback I got for this post! So many lovely people commenting!!
  7. This is the seventh post... so I won't link to it.... LOL

(all about meeeeeeee)

So much happened this month! But at the same time it was also pretty mundane.... I work full time so a lot of time was taken up with that, but I've also (finally) finished up my university application and I got in! I start next month!! And I moved out of home... for the first time ever... scary stuff! I'm still living in the same city so it's not a HUUUUUGE deal. But it's still a pretty big deal. So far so good!

After a long time I've also built up the courage to start reaching out to publishers and request review copies from them (mainly since I will soon be a broke uni student). I've been speaking to a lovely lady from Harper Collins and soon I should be receiving some bookish mail so there will be more reviews and maaaaaybe some hauls! (also does anyone want a post on how to reach out to publishers?).

What else??? I've been talking to so many more bookish people thanks to Twitter so if you ever want to buddy read something or just talk books then hit me up!

What was the most exciting thing that happened this month for you? Do you like reading wrap-ups? Is there anything I missed?


Sunday, 28 January 2018

Why I Love Blogging (and you should too)

I've been blogging on and off for over five years now, but I always come back (mainly for the same three reasons). There is so much I love about having a blog and being part of this community and at this point I think it would just be weird if this wasn't a part of my life. So without further ado... here's what I love about blogging!

1. The Community

Can we all get a big selfie together! Imagine that...
My favourite thing about blogging is how there is a huge community of people from all over the world who bond over a love for books. I love how I can pick up a conversation with anyone in this community and we can just chat for hours about anything (not just books, although it usually starts there). I love how the community pulls together to help each other. And I just love that I have a random group of friends who I trust that I've never actually met.. (so much for stranger danger)

2. The Opportunities

Blogging opens so many doors!
Having a blog opens up so many opportunities for you. It's not just something to stick on your CV (although that is pretty awesome too), it's a way to form all sorts of connections with publishing companies and authors and other amazing bookish people. I know bloggers who have had some amazing opportunities like talking to authors and being involved in publishing deals etc. and I really hope that one day I can use my blog platform to springboard my way into other bookish worlds.. (does that make sense??).

3. AAAAALLLLL the Books

(also I really like cats)
I can't have a blog post with all my favourite things about blogging without mentioning books, and I'm not just talking about the ARCs and review copies. I'm talking about all the books I would never have picked up if I wasn't a book blogger. I've had so many fabulous recommendations from fellow bookish people and I am so thankful that my reading horizons have been broadened because of this world!

Why do you blog? Tell me your favourite thing about blogging... the thing that makes you keep blogging! There's so much that I love but these are the three first things that came to mind!


Saturday, 20 January 2018

Finally A Holiday || Many Mini Reviews and (maybe) A Holiday Pic

At the moment I'm working full time so it's surprisingly hard to find the time to read so when I took a couple of days off last week I told myself that I would read eight books in four days (ha!). I bit off way more than I could chew, especially because day four was spent driving home (a seven hour drive), butttt I did still manage to read four (and a bit) books while I was away! So here are the mini reviews....

Day Zero

On the long drive to where I was staying I took to twitter to see if they thought I could manage eight books in my four day holiday. (My thoughts were two books a day is reasonable so I don't plan on doing anything else and that totally worked for a few days, but it wasn't sustainable.. at all.)

Day One

On day one it rained. And rained. And rained. We managed to get out in the morning and go for a walk (in the rain) and a swim (also in the rain), but the rest of the day was spent inside with a book (or two) trying to warm up again.

The first book I read was Gemina, by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff (the sequel to Illuminae). I "buddy read" this one with Dina, but to be honest it was less of a buddy read and more of a check in at the end because we both flew through it so quickly. (Sidenote: We're also in different time zones so that made it difficult as well, but I thoroughly enjoyed talking to Dina when we both finished it!). I love the style of the Illuminae series and it makes it so easy to read! Gemina didn't really involve the characters who were in Illuminae which I was initially a bit disappointed about, but I ended up loving it anyway and I can't wait to read Obsidio (book three) where I'm hoping all the characters from book one and two come together!! 4.5 Stars for this one (the only reason it's not getting five stars is because I didn't love it quite as much as Illuminae).

I didn't stop when I finished Gemina! It was still cold and rainy outside so I moved onto book two; So Much I Want to Tell You: Letters to My Little Sister, by Anna Akana. For those of you who don't know; Anna Akana is a youtuber who makes funny, but also informative and eye-opening videos about all sorts of things that happen in life (I don't know how to explain it so I'll just include one of my favourites below). Anyway! I love her videos and I've been religiously watching them for a while, so when I learnt that she was writing a book I was pretty curious... This book is dedicated and written for her sister Kristina who committed suicide in 2007 and it's a book of (sort of) life lessons and stories that Anna would pass onto her little sister if she was still alive. It's also about the grief that Anna and her family faced after Kristina's death and what it's like to be a survivor of suicide. It was written in a series of anecdotal stories, some of which I felt like were about me. In the end I did sort of have mixed feelings about this book.. I did enjoy it, but I think I was sort of expecting it to be something it wasn't (but that's my fault, not the books'), I felt like some sections just dragged a little. It's a short read though so definitely worth it! 3 Stars for my second read on holiday!

Day Two

Day two was another hectic reading day! I did get out of the house (the rain had stopped so we went for a short walk in the morning), but I did spend most of the rest of the day reading.

The first book of the day was Eliza and Her Monsters, by Francesca Zappia which is definitely going to be one of my favourite reads of 2017!! 5 Stars aaaaallll the way! I can't believe I didn't read this any sooner.... I loved everything about this book. It's about a girl who writes a webcomic (which I wish was real because I want to read it) and she meets a boy who writes fanfic of her webcomic, but at first they don't know who each other are because she's just not really used to talking to people and having other people who understand her and he's got his problems too, but they help each other out and it's not perfect, but it is real. Wow. I need to take a breath. Lately I've been loving YA contemporary that has good mental health rep so if you're interested in something like that then READ THIS!

Up next was Wires and Nerve, by Marissa Meyer. Now, I did not know this was a thing. I thought that after the novellas that would be the end of The Lunar Chronicles and the crew that was in them, but no it was not! Wires and Nerves is a graphic novel about Iko(!!!) and I loved it. It has all the old crew from the original series, but it's told from the point of view of Iko which is just as great as you imagine it would be. What better protagonist than a sassy android? I don't know how I missed the release of this graphic novel, but part of me is glad that I did because now I only have to wait a couple of months for book two!! This was such an easy 5 Stars to give... I didn't realise how much I actually missed this series and the characters until I picked this graphic novel up.

Day Three 

On day three we went exploring and that was the end of my bookish streak. We did find a nice wee beach though!

Even though I didn't finish a book on day three, I did "start" one. Empire of Storms, by Sarah J. Maas has been sitting on my currently reading list on Goodreads since it came out in 2016... I know.. That's a long time! When I started it waaayyy back in 2016 I only got a couple of chapters in before life got in the way and I fell into a huge reading slump that lasted all the way through until almost the end of 2017. Sarah J. Maas has always been a favourite author of mine (I say that so casually like I'm not a crazy fan, but I definitely am) so I didn't want to ruin her books by forcing myself to read them at the wrong time. I'm happy to say that on day three I got about a third of the way through Empire of Storms and I am loving it so much..... I don't know how Sarah does it, but I know that this book is going to make me feel so much.. I already can't handle it! Now that I'm fully invested into Empire of Storms I will definitely finish it within the next week and then I'll be onto Tower of Dawn! Exciting stuff!!

Day Four

Day four was the long drive home. No reading was done. I managed to sneak a couple of chapters of Empire of Storms in when I got home, but for some reason I can't read Sarah J Maas books very fast... It's just too intense! I'll keep chugging along though... I am LOVING it!

Does your book intake increase while you're on holiday? Have you read any of these books? What did you think of them? Also have I talked you into adding anything to your TBR?? (sorry not sorry)


Saturday, 13 January 2018

Juniper Lemon's Happiness Index, by Julie Israel || First Four (and a half) Stars of 2018

Juniper Lemon's Happiness Index
It's hard to keep close a person everyone keeps telling you is gone.

It's been sixty-five painful days since the death of Juniper's big sister, Camilla. On her first day back at school, bracing herself for the stares and whispers, Juniper borrows Camie's handbag for luck - and discovers an unsent break-up letter inside. It's mysteriously addressed to 'You' and dated July 4th - the day of Camie's accident. Desperate to learn the identity of Camie's secret love, Juniper starts to investigate.

But then she loses something herself. A card from her daily ritual, The Happiness Index: little notecards on which she rates the day. The Index has been holding Juniper together since Camie's death - but without this card, there's a hole. And this particular card contains Juniper's own secret: a memory that she can't let anyone else find out.

I received Juniper Lemon's Happiness Index for Christmas last year (thanks Mama!) and to be perfectly honest I'd heard absolutely nothing about it before then. But I jumped straight into it and I'm happy to say that my first read of 2018 has been one that I have thoroughly enjoyed!

Initial thoughts...

"I've never heard of this."

"I like the cover."

"Contemporaries scare me, but I'll give it a go."

"The cover really is quite nice."

In the beginning...

I had no idea what to expect from this book because I'd never heard anything about it. At first I was a little wary. I have a fear of average contemporaries because a couple of years ago I felt like every single contemporary book I read was just average. Not amazing. Not bad. Just average. And there's nothing worse than a book that's 'meh'. I never know how to review them.

In the middle...

Once I got past my first initial fears I could not put this book down. I think I knocked the whole thing out in just two sittings and it's been a while since I've done that. I loved everything about it.

I loved the characters and how Juniper befriended a bunch of lonely misfits who helped each other become stronger and although they were all so different they were such a cool bunch of friends when they were together. And the dialogue between them! I could have just read a collection of their conversations and been satisfied. Novella idea?

I loved the way the characters grief was portrayed and handled.

I loved how perfectly it portrayed that something that is small to you (such as sitting with someone who's alone at lunch) can actually be a huge deal to them. It's so easy to throw a little kindness out here and there and it can mean so much to the people you give it to.

And I loved how really it wasn't a story of Juniper finding out who her sisters mystery lover was, but really it was a story of the relationships she formed along the way and how friends are so important and you are so much stronger when you let other people into your life.

In the end...

The ending... Ohmygosh the ending!!! It wasn't the sort of ending that was a huge twist and left me reeling, it was just the perfect ending... I won't talk about it because I like to keep my reviews spoiler free, but can someone who has read it please talk to me about it!! (And if you haven't read it then please do because I really need someone to talk to).

Did you like the format of this review? Have you read this? Or even heard of it? If not, does it sound like something you might like?   


Tuesday, 9 January 2018

My Most Popular Posts of 2017 || (Because I like Lists)

I always find it interesting to see which of my posts are the most popular so I thought I would share with you my five most popular posts from 2017! I've based popularity on page views... I thought about doing it by interaction (AKA comments), but nah, maybe next time!

1. My review of Radio Silence, by Alice Oseman (feat. a speech I wrote)

WHY? My most popular post this year has by far been my raving review of Radio Silence which included a speech I wrote in high school. It may have been particularly popular because Alice Oseman (the author) retweeted my tweet about this review (it probably was), but I'm also very proud of the speech I included in this and I like to think that people connected with that speech.

2. My review of Nerve, by Jeanne Ryan and why the movie was better

WHY? Funnily enough, I find that in general (not including number one on this list), negative reviews do better than positive reviews. I think that's because critical reviews can be funny and I like to think that this review was slightly funny for people to read! Also I just remembered that the Nerve  movie had just been released when I read this so that may have helped to... Timing, people. It's all about timing.

3. A list of my favourite YA mysteries (please recommend me more!)

WHY? I love lists! Other people love lists. They're easy to read because they're lists... Lists require no brain power! Also bookish people are a sucker for bookish lists, especially the ones that might increase the length of your TBR. (also please recommend me more mysteries)

4. I asked myself why I had six books on the go at once

WHY? There's something interesting about reading about other peoples bookish issues and this one of those posts (and it's in list form so that's cool too). Having too many books on the guy is something it seems that a lot of people could relate to! Update: I finished two of the books on this list, but I'm currently reading five books so I've improved, but not really.

5. My introduction back into blogging

WHY? This is the proof that social media does matter to a certain extent because this was my first post on my new blog so I shared and shared and shared on Twitter AND spent a lot of time commenting on other peoples blogs. Much love to all the people who gave my blog a chance!

So how did 2017 go?

I started my blog in August and only published fifteen posts in 2017, but I'm super proud of all my efforts in this blog and I'm very excited to continue with it in 2018! I have so many plans and I can't wait to keep talking about bookish things with this amazing community. Happy new year, everyone!

What was your most popular post of 2017? Link me to it so I can check it out! Why do you think some posts do better than others? What's your favourite type of post to read, I'm curious!!


Saturday, 6 January 2018

Turtles All the Way Down, by John Green || My Thought Spirals

Turtles All the Way Down
Sixteen-year-old Aza never intended to pursue the mystery of fugitive billionaire Russell Pickett, but there’s a hundred-thousand-dollar reward at stake and her Best and Most Fearless Friend, Daisy, is eager to investigate. So together, they navigate the short distance and broad divides that separate them from Russell Pickett’s son, Davis.

Aza is trying. She is trying to be a good daughter, a good friend, a good student, and maybe even a good detective, while also living within the ever-tightening spiral of her own thoughts.

In his long-awaited return, John Green, the acclaimed, award-winning author of Looking for Alaska and The Fault in Our Stars, shares Aza’s story with shattering, unflinching clarity in this brilliant novel of love, resilience, and the power of lifelong friendship.

John Green strikes again! I can't imagine the huge pressure he must have felt after the success of The Fault in Our Stars, but John Green has stuck again and has not disappointed in any way. In fact, if I had to chose between TFiOS and Turtles All the Way Down - well, Turtles wins for sure!

Something that I was beginning to feel with John Greens previous novels is that they all had a very similar vibe... And sliiiightly repetitive storylines (even if it was subtle) and I was so afraid that this one was gonna be the same sorta thing again but Turtles had a totally different vibe! And I loved it. I think this novel may have been different because it was an own voice novel for John Green, but I'm not totally sure.

For those of you who haven't read Turtles (READ IT), it's a novel about Aza, a girl who suffers from OCD and not in the stereotypical way that is normally portrayed in books and movies. John Green has OCD and describes it as thought spirals he gets trapped in and can't get out of. That is how it is portrayed in this novel; Aza does have certain physical compulsions, but the majority of it happens inside her head and I think it's so important that this book exists. Mental illness isn't always something that you can physically see. A lot of times symptoms do portray themselves physically, but just because they don't doesn't mean someone doesn't have a mental illness. It's called mental illness for a reason.

I love the way John Green writes about relatable imperfectly perfect characters. They're beautifully flawed; they're real and the stories are real. Even if you're not a fan of his previous books I'd still recommend this one to you. It's not a happily ever after story, but it is real and I do like the message it has. Things don't always get better straight away, but it's not the end. There's so much more in life to look forward to and to work towards.

I can't wait to see what John Green comes up with next!

Are you a fan of John Green? Have you read Turtles or any of his other books? What did you think? Also what are some other good #ownvoice novels? Let me know!   


Tuesday, 2 January 2018

My 2017 Reading Statistics

2017 was an interesting year! I read 25 books in total, but I started the year in a HUGE reading slump and didn't think I'd even read 10 books so I'm pretty okay with my final book count of 25 books. I thought I'd break that number down and have a look at some of my bookish stats from 2017. So here goes!

Pretty self explanatory... Reading peaked massively when I started blogging (also I think I read at least two novellas in November so that is definitely why that was higher... not cheating). Also I'm pretty happy with how many four and five star reads I had this year. Especially because I only read 25 books, I didn't waste my time with any one star reads! Wahooo, go me!

Two graphs that I'm not so proud of.... I'm pretty annoyed that I don't even have an author from my own country there?! I definitely want a little more diversity and balance in these two graphs in 2018 so send me some recommendations from non US/UK authors!!

Neither of these graphs really surprise me. I normally read more series than standalone (I actually have a bad habit of starting series and not finishing them) and because of blogging I read a lot of new-releases... Partly because I receive ARCs and review copies, but mainly because new releases get talked about more so those are the books I hear about.

The one "adult" novel I read was Saga, by Brian K. Vaughn which I don't even think I'd class as an adult novel, but Goodreads did so there you go! Also novellas and graphic novels are a good way to hit your Goodreads target (not that you'll really be needing that now that it's the beginning of 2018).

I'm very pleased with the wide range of genres I've read this year! I'm kind of surprised at the number of fantasy novels I've read because I'm not always the biggest fantasy fan.. I think it's because I binged Renee Ahdieh's books. And the reason paranormal is so high is because I reread the Vampire Academy series.

A few more stats from Goodreads

As you can see here, one of the 25 books I read this last year was 11 pages.... Is that cheating? I think not! I still had an average length of 320 pages so that's alright!

I feel like I'm too nice with my ratings... I wish Goodreads let you vote in half stars because sometimes I feel like a book deserves 2.5 stars so I'll round up instead of down and then I just feel like I'm being too nice. I hardly ever give a book 1 star... Should I be more harsh?

I'm pretty happy with my reading this year! Tell me about some of your stats... How many books did you read? Is there any stats that you think I missed??