Wrap-Ups

March Wrap-Up! [2019]

Hello guys! It’s time for another monthly wrap-up! There’s a few days left of the month but I don’t see myself finishing anything soon. I’ve also given myself a few days breather before I start the Magical Readathon! As you could check in the graph below, this month was not as packed as January and February were. I read fewer books, but still 10 books in a month is impressive in my eyes so I ain’t complaining! It’s been a busy month by trying to prepare to move house, but I had a more fulfilling month by having most scoring 4-5 stars! After the monthly break-down below, I have a mini review of the books I read.

MONTHLY WRAP UP


 

 

827791the color purple – alice walker

format: paperback

length: 262 pages

Goodreads

This book was just lost on me. I couldn’t get on with the writing if my life depended on it. And because of that I couldn’t really connect with the characters, and when there’s so many it’s even harder! I liked the ending with the final letters but that was about it. I understand this is a staple for feminism and survival, and I understand the importance of this literary classic, but it didn’t really stick well with me unfortunately!

2/5 stars


 

 

 

23357458all the bright places – jennifer niven

format: paperback

length: 388 pages

Goodreads

I knew the controversy and subject matter with this book and I was able to take what I read with a pinch of salt, which made me enjoy it a lot more. I really grew to care about both the characters, and how they were able to find each other when they were both struggling with issues in their lives. The ending really hit me, even though I was expecting it. How Violet reacted to it really showed how far she came and how strong she had become, and I really liked that and take that as a positive message from the book. I wrote more in my Goodreads review here!

4/5 stars


 

 

 

38232344in an absent dream – seanan mcguire

format: hardcover

length: 204 pages

Goodreads

This was very atmospheric and it was interesting to get Lundy’s background, and I still adore Seanan McGuire’s writing and storytelling. I would continue to obsess over this series. But I found that with this book, whenever there was a point of action, it was more or less skipped over and we go to after those events occur. I would’ve liked to get more detail on how some of those events unfold, especially when a character is killed off early on and the story of how they died and how they had to battle a creature of some sorts, it was never really developed and I would’ve loved to see more of that, even if it meant adding an extra 100 pages!

4/5 stars


 

 

 

40552494i’ll be gone in the dark – michelle mcnamara

format: paperback

length: 416 pages

Goodreads

I found this very interesting, and I love true crime. It was really terrifying at times, and other times I lost interest because I just wanted just the true crime aspect and wasn’t that interested in the random biographical points of the author and it felt like it took away from the main point of the book. The topic was really interesting to me and the amount of research this woman did was incredible. It was bittersweet at the end when the author died before they found the Golden State Killer, but I feel a lot of what she did aided in the discovery of him which is a nice thought.

3/5 stars


 

 

 

35795960what i lost – alexandra ballard

format: paperback

length: 400 pages

Goodreads

I have never read a story about eating disorders, and I can already say this one is a favourite. The author put in so much research and the story flowed really well. I can’t say much on the accuracy on treatment centre’s, but I felt the sensitive issue was dealt with so well. I understood Elizabeth’s inner monologue and her relationship with food. Seeing her growth and recovery, and also her struggles were all really well done. Also, it was interesting to see her relationship with her parents and with the other patients. My only problem was the minor ‘secret admirer’ plot which I rolled my eyes at.

TW: Eating disorders, anxiety, self-harm

4.5/5 stars


 

 

 

7925907i know why the caged bird sings – maya angelou

format: paperback

length: 320 pages

Goodreads

Well, this first autobiography was RAW. I couldn’t comprehend the amount of terror and abuse Maya had to go through even in the early stages of her life, and she still managed to graduate two years early! The way she tells her story is so emotional and honest, but without any bitterness or resentment over what she went through. It’s told very poetic and lyrical, and gave enough details without trying to rub it in your face, she brought light to the issues she faced and how she was able to rise above. That in itself shows an incredible and inspirational woman.

4/5 stars


 

 

 

37670368how do you like me now? – holly bourne

format: kindle

length: 368 pages

Goodreads

This is my first try at Holly Bourne and I was pleasantly surprised. It was really easy to read and enjoyable. My main reason for enjoying this so much was that I found it incredibly relatable to something I went through regarding an old relationship, I swear Tom was based on my ex! That aside, this book offered so much honesty and rawness about the pressures of ‘getting older’ for women and the social pressure to settle down and have kids. This is definitely for the age range of mid-20’s/30’s to get something from, otherwise it may not be as relatable.

4.5/5 stars


 

 

 

18721778neverwhere – neil gaiman

format: paperback/audible

length: 372 pages

Goodreads

Gaiman never fails to amaze me. His world-building and story-telling skills are some that there is no comparison. I loved how this was an ode to London, but also a grim realisation about the state of London, how homelessness is a major problem for the city. The magic system was so unique and entertaining, I loved the world of London Below and it’s comparison to normal London. This book was also hilarious! I love Gaiman’s satire and the British humour he included. I am now extremely excited for the sequel he might be releasing later this year, and another chance to dive further into this fantastic world!

5/5 stars!


 

 

 

40554141daisy jones and the six – taylor jenkins reid

format: hardcover

length: 368 pages

Goodreads

I don’t know if I have a new-found love for books about musicians or books set in the 70’s, but I thoroughly enjoyed every second of this book. I devoured it within two sittings with no trouble at all. I could’ve easily read more revolving around these characters. It was told in interview format so that may not be favourable for everyone. I adored the characters, they were all so flawed and complex, I could swear I was reading about real people. Full of strong, independent women who don’t follow the norms of society. Daisy and Billy were incredibly developed and fleshed out. Seeing the inside of a band recording, and the creative disputes that can arise. There was so much more than just a story about a band, it was their personal and family lives. The ending ripped my heart out. I am just in awe of what Taylor Jenkins Reid can do!

5/5 stars!!


 

 

 

864890harry potter and the goblet of fire – j. k. rowling

format: paperback/audible

length: 636 pages

Goodreads

It was the first time re-reading the fourth book, I only ever re-read the first 3. I completely forgot most of the things that happened in this book and it has rapidly become one of my favourites of the series. There is a massive change in shift from the third to the fourth which I didn’t truly appreciate first time reading, but now as an adult it feels perfect. I loved Goblet of Fire and the competition aspect! I can’t wait to see what my opinions are of the final three books after re-reading them as an adult!

5/5 stars! *re-read*


 

So how many books did I read off my official TBR? Let’s see!

TBR books:

 

The Winter of The Witch – Katherine Arden

The Priory of The Orange Tree – Samantha Shannon (128/848 pages)

In An Absent Dream – Seanan McGuire

All The Bright Places – Jennifer Niven

When The Moon Was Ours – Anna-Marie McLemore

How Do You Like Me Now? – Holly Bourne

Cress – Marissa Meyer

Persuasion – Jane Austen (43/284 pages)

Five Feet Apart – Rachael Lippincott

 

  • Kindle/Audible pick: Harry Potter and The Goblet of Fire – J. K. Rowling *re-read*
  • Classics pick: The Color Purple  – Alice Walker
  • Non-Fiction pick: I’ll Be Gone in the Dark – Michelle McNamara

 

= 7/12 TBR books!


 

So what did you guys read and enjoy in March? Any new favourites to recommend? How has the first quarter of 2019 gone for you? I’d love to know!

 

THANKS FOR READING!!

Abbie xxxx

Wrap-Ups

February Wrap-Up! [2019]

So I didn’t end up completing the readathons I had planned, I did try! But working a lot of 13 hour shifts means I am too tired to read after work and those shifts seemed to clash with the readathon dates, oh well! I still managed to read 14 books which I still can’t believe. Let’s see below what my stats were like for the month:

MONTHLY WRAP UP

 

39296114book love – debbie tung

format: hardback

length: 144 pages

Goodreads

After her first book, Debbie Tung quickly became an auto-buy author and I had this pre-ordered for months. Of course I loved it, it’s about growing up as a bookworms and the little quirks we all have experienced! I couldn’t pick a favourite page because it was all just incredibly relatable! It’s an ideal read for bookworms and the art style is so gorgeous and it’s so quick and easy to read. I will definitely re-read this over and over.

5 stars!!


 

 

18300260emma – jane austen

format: paperback

length: 592 pages

Goodreads

I enjoyed this so much more than Pride and Prejudice, it’s so unique and entertaining for the time period. About a girl who isn’t really interested in getting married and spends most of her time being a match-maker, and how she grows as a woman and realises who she is. The friendships and relationships were really well done and I loved the slow burn, ‘will they won’t they’ romance; it really kept me on my toes. This is so unlike any other romance I’ve read, and to think this was written 200 years ago simply astounds me. Looking forward to reading the rest of Austen’s books.

4.5 stars!


 

 

30653719hunted – meagan spooner

format: hardback

length: 374 pages

Goodreads

This was enjoyable, and I’m trash for any fairy-tale re-telling, although this didn’t exactly give me the ‘wow factor’ I was looking for. It felt way to similar to Beauty and The Beast, and there wasn’t much originality and didn’t give me anything new to really grab me and keep me entertaining. It was still a retelling of Beauty and the Beast so I still enjoyed it to some extent, and I did adore the winter/snowy setting and the inclusion of Slavic/Russian folklore.

3 stars


 

 

24937342northern lights – philip pullman

format: paperback/audiobook

length: 397 pages

Goodreads

I have decided to re-read this series, and I’m so glad that I did! Not only is there going to be a BBC adaption coming soon, it was one of my favourite series when I was younger (next to Harry Potter) and I’m happy that it still stands the test of time. Pullman does a fantastic job in creating a captivating world and an unique magic system, and a great cast of characters. I was still thoroughly entertained whilst reading and can’t wait to continue the series!

4.5 stars!


 

 

36653792sky song – abi elphinstone 

format: Kindle

length: 273 pages

Goodreads

What an enjoyable book! The writing is simple, yet it bears some rather important messages of love, hope, courage and friendship. I loved how the main character stuck to her beliefs and put her mind toward every obstacle which came her way. Pulling together as one, regardless of differences, is such a great message! What I loved the most was the crafting of the world, it was beautiful! I was entertained, and I was smiling at the end when all the tribes came together!

4 stars


 

 

32602009a shiver of snow and sky – lisa lueddecke 

format: paperback

length: 350 pages

Goodreads

I really enjoyed the premise of this book, but the execution was not exactly what I hoped for. The mystery aspects at the beginning when they were translating the ancient runes were really enjoyable, and the adventure was enjoyable and fast-paced, but for me a little too fast paced. The main character has a bad relationship between her sister and father, only because they blame her for the mother’s death and they kept putting her in danger because of that, which I didn’t like. The unsung hero was the main characters best friend, who stuck with her through thick and thin! I wanted more from the adventure and the quest, and it ended in a way that didn’t really compel me to pick up the next book, at least for now.

3.5 stars


 

 

34536956quiet girl in a noisy world – debbie tung

format: paperback

length: 177 pages

Goodreads

This was a re-read, and undoubtedly a five star read! Nothing is going to move this book down from an all-time favourite. It just means so much to be personally and I will always find a way to relate to it. It’s a biography style graphic novel based of the author’s life growing up as an introvert. I love Debbie Tung’s art style, and how she captures the thoughts of an introvert. A must read for every introvert, or even anyone just so they can understand us introverts a bit more! Highly, highly recommend!

5 stars!!


 

 

38224633the kiss quotient – helen hoang

format: Kindle

length: 336 pages

Goodreads

I wasn’t expecting to like this as much as I did! It was a cute, quick romance, and not something that I see much of. I loved the representation regarding Aspergers, and it was an ‘own-voices’ book which gave it more of an insight and it interested me how little things can be so difficult for some. It’s also interesting how similar it is to those who suffer from social anxiety, so I could still relate to some of it. The characters were well-developed for a romance, and the steaminess was great! My only issue was that the ‘problem’ was only there because of the rubbish communication from the pair, which always annoys me. But overall I really enjoyed this read!

4 stars


 

 

35795987bad romance – heather demetrios

format: paperback

length: 384 pages

Goodreads

Oh my goodness, I have a lot of thoughts on this book! You can read my full review in my separate post here. It was such a hard-hitting read, and such an important subject matter. We see the main character go through the stages of a relationship with an abusive partner, and how it starts off so subtly, to noticing little red flags but making excuses and pretending it was a ‘one-time thing’ or something that was ‘your fault’,  and when it gets worse and worse, it becomes a lot harder and complicated to leave. I go into more details in my review which I highly recommend you see!

5 stars!!


 

 

31145133i believe in a thing called love – maureen goo

format: paperback

length: 336 pages

Goodreads

This was just okay. I thought the romance was very cute and all, and the father/daughter relationship was lovely, it wasn’t all that spectacular. I just didn’t understand why someone who’s a studious, intelligent and dedicated student would focus her senior year before college focusing on getting a boyfriend rather than getting into her dream college? And some of the things she done were just stupid and dangerous and just unnecessary. It had a lot of potential and maybe if I had an interest in K-dramas I may have enjoyed it more.

3 stars


 

 

42421761where the crawdads sing – delia owens

format: audiobook

length: 370 pages

Goodreads

I got serious To Kill a Mockingbird vibes from reading this, but alas it wasn’t. There’s no denying how beautifully written and atmospheric this book was, it was easy to be lost within the details of the surroundings, but for me I just got bored very quickly and my interest was gone up until half-way when the trial and investigation was picking up. That ending though, I did see the twist coming from the beginning, but the final page I had to re-read again because it was perfectly heart-braking. I did have a mini-review on my Goodreads page so that will be linked here.

3.5 stars


 

 

35900742girl made to stars – ashley herring blake

format: Kindle 

length: 309 pages

Goodreads

Another hard-hitting book! It is told through the perspective of a girl who’s brother is accused of rape by one of her best friends. I didn’t understand why we needed a weird ‘sort-of-but-not-really’ love triangle. The romance didn’t seem to fit in with the main focus of the book. I loved how we got both sides of the story and I felt a lot of rage for what happens. It shows how rape culture is in our world and how much we need it to change. It’s too much of a victim-blaming scenario and too much focus is given on how it would affect the accused, rather than helping the victims who will have to live with the problem forever and the accuser more or less goes back to normal.

4 stars!


 

 

25189315smoke gets in your eyes – caitlin doughty

format: Kindle 

length: 272 pages

Goodreads

I picked up a few interesting facts from this, but not as much as I was hoping. It is also semi-autobiographical which I didn’t care for. A lot of the lessons I found really interesting and it is something that is heavily avoided in society. The author focuses on society’s denial and fear of death, but because I’m content with it’s inevitability, none of my current thoughts and feelings changed dramatically. I like the idea of going into the different backgrounds of what a person’s final days were like and how their death is also unique in their wishes. We all seem to deal with death in a different way but ultimately something we all will experience.

3 stars


 

 

35004343the girl in the tower – katherine arden

format: Hardback

length: 364 pages

Goodreads

What a sequel! We delve more into Vasya’s family history, explore the Russian wilderness and Moscow, and develop more political intrigue! I loved the slow-burn effect Arden seems to have on her books. I was captivated! I love Vasya as a main character and how she continues to battle through gender roles and grows as a person, and her battle with what she should do as she now is tied to both the seen and unseen world. Every character is well-developed and interesting, and I just loved every page! I can’t wait to see how Arden ties all this up in the final book, which I have waiting for me

5 stars!!!


 

 

How many books did I read off my official TBR? Let’s see!

TBR books:

 

The Girl in the Tower – Katherine Arden

In An Absent Dream – Seanan McGuire

Vicious – V. E. Schwab

Bad Romance – Heather Demetrios

Hunted – Meagan Spooner

Beartown – Fredrik Backman

Northern Lights – Philip Pullman *re-read*

I Believe in a Thing Called Love – Maureen Goo

Girl Made of Stars – Ashley Herring Blake

 

  • Kindle/Audible pick: Where The Crawdads Sing – Delia Owens
  • Classics pick: Emma – Jane Austen
  • Non-Fiction pick: Smoke Gets In Your Eyes – Caitlin Doughty

 

= 9/12 TBR books!


 

So what did you guys read for February? Have you read any of these and if so, what did you think of them? Any new recommendations/favourites? I’d love to know!

 

THANKS FOR READING!!

Abbie xxxx

Wrap-Ups

HUGE January Wrap-Up! [2019]

Well, what a reading month January was for me! I managed to read a staggering 15 books, thanks to Biannual Bibliothon and Buzzword Readathon in the middle of the month where I had a few days off work and was able to just REEEEAAADDD! I also checked off my monthly goals of reading one classic per month and one non-fiction book per month, so starting 2019 off strong! Yay!

 

monthly wrap up

 

 

dumplin’ – julie murphy 18304322

format: Kindle

length: 371 pages

Goodreads

The first book I read this year was unfortunately a stinker. The main character basically rubbed me the wrong way and didn’t like her personality or how she treated other people. In my eyes, this was not the ‘body positivity’ book I was expecting. Instead it felt like a temper tantrum from an overweight person. In particular, I found it quite unhealthy when body types try and push down other body types just so they can feel better about themselves. Willowdean entered the pageant with the objective to humiliate her mother and her career, which felt really immature and unnecessary to me. I guess Willowdean was meant to be unlikeable, but to me she was so bad that it could not be redeemed. I did post a full-page rant review here if your interested.

1.5 stars


 

 

25526296every heart a doorway – seanan mcguire

format: hardback

length: 170 pages

Goodreads

After the first book, I needed to pick myself back up by re-reading a good book. I forgot how much I loved this book! I just click with this story! We follow children at a boarding school, and not just any boarding school, one for kids who have gone through doors to ‘otherworlds’ and have been sent back to reality and are struggling to adapt back. I love how much there is so much packed inside this tiny book, very much like a Mary Poppins bag! I enjoyed the characters and the world building. I just love the potential this series has! So many worlds that can be explored!

4.5 stars!


 

 

25493853the bear and the nightingale – katherine arden

format: hardback

length: 328 pages

Goodreads

Oh blimey. Everything about this I loved! It was so magical, mystical and lyrical. I absolutely adored the gorgeous atmosphere and winter setting, and the characters are beautiful to read about. I really enjoyed following Vasilisa as she grew up, seeing the spirits and also being so headstrong and (not) doing what she believed. Her relationship with her family and the spirits was incredibly developed and I could not get enough of the different spirits and folklore that was incorporated into the story. The story built so beautifully and I did not find it slow at all. I honestly cannot wait for the sequel when it arrives!

5 stars!!


 

 

464164harry potter and the prisoner of azkaban – j.k. rowling

format: paperback/audiobook

length: 317 pages

Goodreads

Check out my Biannual Bibliothon Wrap-Up for my thoughts!

5 stars!!


 

 

37569318empress of all seasons – emiko jean

format: Kindle

length: 389 pages

Goodreads

Check out my Biannual Bibliothon Wrap-Up for my thoughts!

3.5 stars


 

 

43305952fire and heist – sarah beth durst

format: hardback

length: 304 pages

Goodreads

Check out my Biannual Bibliothon Wrap-Up for my thoughts!

3 stars


 

 

36146483every last lie – mary kubica

format: Kindle

length: 384 pages

Goodreads

Check out my Buzzword Readathon Wrap-Up for my thoughts!

2.75 stars


 

 

36385827last time i lied – riley sager

format: Kindle/audiobook

length: 368 pages

Goodreads

Check out my Buzzword Readathon Wrap-Up for my thoughts!

4 stars!


 

 

31931941eliza and her monsters – francesca zappia

format: Kindle

length: 385 pages

Goodreads

Check out my Biannual Bibliothon Wrap-Up for my thoughts!

4.5 stars!


 

 

13455462the alchemist – paulo coelho

format: paperback

length: 177 pages

Goodreads

Check out my Biannual Bibliothon Wrap-Up for my thoughts!

4 stars!


 

 

31450908down among the sticks and bones – seanan mcguire

format: hardback

length: 187 pages

Goodreads

This was another re-read in order to continue the series, and I loved it just as much as the first time! I was always intrigued by Jack and Jill’s backstory and that was precisely what this was. I loved how Seanan McGuires main focus was how each of their childhoods have impacted how they are now. The Moors were so atmospheric and spooky, and again I do not know how she fits so much into a tiny book! The characters they encounter were all very intriguing.

5 stars!!


 

 

36114409the language of kindness – christie watson

format: hardback

length: 322 pages

Goodreads

I wrote a full-page review which will be linked here, but for the sake of the wrap-up, I’ll try and summarise! I absolutely loved this and it’s such an important book regarding the healthcare system in the UK. We follow the author as she starts off training as a nurse and throughout her career in different wards of the hospital. It was incredibly informative but delivered with a sense of empathy and kindness, everything was truly heartfelt and genuine. It showed the true sense of a hospital and how it has grown, in a good way and a bad way. It was heavily emphasised that the healthcare system in the UK is in crisis and staff have to work incredibly long hours for not much pay. I loved this!

5 stars!!


 

 

27366528beneath the sugar sky – seanan mcguire

format: hardback

length: 174 pages

Goodreads

This book sparked my re-read of the series, because I really wanted to catch-up before the next instalment ‘In An Absent Dream’ is released. I really loved this one, just not as much as the other two. We see the land of Confection and also have a lot of the characters from book one re-enter the story which was a great surprise! We see further development in them and see where they end up and it was beautiful. The story was so whimsical and full of nonsense. I thought the world-building was really well done, as well as the contrast between characters from nonsense and others from logic, those interactions were very entertaining!

4 stars!


 

 

9279177the lover’s dictionary – david levithan

format: Kindle

length: 211 pages

Goodreads

I don’t think I’ve ever read a book quite as unique as this. It is told in dictionary entries from A-Z, and highlighting a brief and personal insight into a relationship. It was beautifully written and truly an innovative way to relay the insecurities, emotional highs and fluctuating lows of a relationship. It is a great piece of poetry and felt so honest and genuine, and a lot of the entries can be relatable to other people’s own relationships. Such a huge fan of everything I have read from this author and I am definitely going to read as much of his work as possible!

4 stars!


 

 

26240663seven ways we lie – riley redgate

format: paperback

length: 343 pages

Goodreads

I wasn’t too sure how to rate this, this had amazing representation and a great cast of characters, but I didn’t find myself massively attached to the plot and I felt disconnected to a lot that was going on. It was amazing reading from seven distinct characters and knowing there are different characters, but also I was able to find myself within each and relate to some of the personal issues the characters were going through. I definitely related to Kat the most, and understood her character more within the second half. My favourite was definitely Matt, and I didn’t really like Claire (definitely not after what she did to Lucas). The massive representation doesn’t automatic make it a great book, but I still enjoyed myself.

3.5 stars


 

 

So there is my very long wrap-up (if you made it this far, you deserve a tasty treat!) which could not have been a better start to the month, I read a lot but also enjoyed a lot.

 

How many books did I read off my official TBR? Let’s see!

TBR books:

The Bear and The Nightingale – Katherine Arden

Vicious – V. E. Schwab

Empress of All Seasons – Emiko Jean

Prisoner of Azkaban – J. K. Rowling

Eliza and Her Monsters – Francesca Zappia

Dumplin’ – Julie Murphy

The Last Time I Lied – Riley Sagar

Daisy Miller & The Turning of the Shrew – Henry James

The Lie Tree – Frances Hodgsen

= 6/8 TBR books!


 

So what did you guys read in January? Got your 2019 goals off to a good start? Any new favourites? Have you also read any of these and if so, what did you think of them? I’d love to know!

 

THANKS FOR READING!!

Abbie xxxx

 

 

Wrap-Ups

My Best Books of 2018

Alas, this is the forth and final part of my books of the year, where I discussed my worst, most disappointing, most surprising, and best books I read in 2018! I love doing this every year as it allows me to reflect on all the books that I read in the year. All of these books are my absolute favourites of the year, so obviously I gave them all 5 stars. Enjoy!

 

 

2373188112/ Very Good Lives – J. K. Rowling

Published: 2015

Goodreads

NON-FICTION, ESSAYS, SELF-HELP

“The knowledge that you have emerged wiser and stronger from setbacks means that you are, ever after, secure in your ability to survive.” What an inspirational speech, and I loved the illustrations that came along with the words. This was the speech that J. K. Rowling gave to Harvard graduates one year. Overall it’s such a beautiful book, inside and out! I now have this book on my bedside table, and I will pick it up and read through it whenever I need a touch of uplifting. It’s only 74 pages so there’s not much else to talk about, I just loved it!

 

11/ Love Her Wild – Atticus 33208115

Published: 2017

Goodreads

NON-FICTION, POETRY, ROMANCE, CONTEMPORARY

My goodness. I can’t even pick one line for this review, I loved so many of the works within this book! I won’t call them poems as such, because some of them are only a few lines long. But that doesn’t devour from the actual quality of these pieces… they all gave a punch! It was separated into three categories: ‘Love’ ‘Her’ and ‘Wild’, and I think ‘Her’ was my favourite section. They were not all about love and relationships, there was also pieces about mental health, youth, life, etc. I had tabbed so many pages, something I haven’t done to a poetry collection in ages! It really got me back into loving poetry. I also thought the photography that went along with the pieces fitted well and were also visually stunning alongside the works.

 

 

10/ Highly Illogical Behaviour – John Corey Whaley29231988

Published: 2016

Goodreads

YA, CONTEMPORARY, LGBT, MENTAL HEALTH

This book was amazing! Solomon has panic disorder and agoraphobia, and Lisa befriends Solomon as a ‘project’ for her scholarship, and don’t worry, that problematic theme is addressed so heavily! It is addressed that mental health is not something that can be ‘cured’ by confidence or positive thinking, and that someone is much more than just a label of ‘mental illness’. Solomon is someone much more than that, that he is a sweet kid with a nerdy side and great sense of humour and not just ‘the one with a mental illness’ and that’s such a positive message in this book! Clark, Lisa’s boyfriend, develops a close friendship with Solomon. It was beautiful to see their friendship develop and Solomon appearing more comfortable. Solomon’s family are brilliant and funny and so likeable. I was able to connect with the characters and loved watching them develop, I wish I can just continue reading about them forever! Everyone was so supportive towards Solomon towards his growth and development. A great representation for mental health and LGBT!

 

 

9/ The Female of the Species – Mindy McGinnis 25812109

Published: 2016

Goodreads

YA, CONTEMPORARY, MYSTERY, THRILLER

I knew this one was going to be heavy but I didn’t really know what I was getting myself into. People have been praising this book and saying it was important, and they weren’t lying! This book takes a hard look at rape culture and human nature. It’s brutally honest and unapologetic. I am still finding myself thinking about this book and probably will do for a long time. I found Alex’s character extremely fascinating and I loved her for how she stood up for what she believes in and doesn’t care what others think. The friendship that develops was incredible, and we saw so many women standing up for other women and I was all here for! It really did shed a light on what rape culture is like and casual sexism occurs in schools. So important! That ending though… it broke me!

 

 

8/ Flowers For Algernon – Daniel Keyes35710320

Published: 1966

Goodreads

CLASSIC, SCIENCE FICTION

One of my favourite classics ever. It covers so many questions and topics which are just as important today as they were when the book was first published in the sixties. A man with a low IQ gets invited to participate into a scientific experiment to increase intelligence. The way the book was written was ingenious; in the beginning his writing and vocabulary is very basic and simple, and also full with grammatical and spelling mistakes, and as he goes through the experiment, we slowly see his intelligence develop more advanced. But we also see how one can be intelligent but very unhappy; at first all he very wanted was to be ‘smart’, and then he is plagued with thoughts, especially the realisations of how he was poorly treated as a ‘retard’ and now very well-liked and respected, how many now want to know him just because of his experiment and new-found intelligence. I just thought this was incredibly thought-provoking and shows an important message that being the smartest is not all that matters.

 

 

 

7/ The Sleeper and The Spindle – Neil Gaiman23301545

Published: 2014

Goodreads

YA, FANTASY, SHORT STORIES, RETELLING, FAIRYTALES

I devoured this within half an hour, and I loved every second, wishing the novella had another 400 pages after it. Neil Gaiman just has a way with words, he’s like a wizard of literature. He was able to blend together two of my favourite fairy tales (Sleeping Beauty, and Snow White), and also add his own whimsical, dark twist on a brilliant story. The Queen took a feminist lead, and took matters into her own hands, and the Sleeper was not a typical girl ‘waiting for her prince to come’. The story flowed in such a way it felt like it came straight from the collections of Grimms Brothers or Hans Christian Anderson, but with a modern twist and dark atmosphere. And the illustrations were absolutely captivating. They truly added to the story, the black and white illustrations, along with a hint of gold lining. It really is a beautiful book, inside and out.

 

 

337843736/ Hunting Prince Dracula – Kerri Maniscalco

Published: 2017

Goodreads

YA, HISTORICAL FICTION, MYSTERY

I really enjoyed the first instalment of this series so naturally it took me a bit of time to get to this one because I kept putting it off. But I loved it so so much! Much more than the first one! The gore, the mystery, the romance… it was all bigger and better. I had no idea what the twist was and I was completely engrossed! I loved the new characters, and the development between Thomas and Audrey was beautiful. It was refreshing to see Thomas trying his best to be supportive towards Audrey as she tried to recover from the trauma that happened at the end of book one, I found it so sweet, and even though he made mistakes, it really added to his overall character. Again, Audrey is still my favourites. We saw a vulnerable, weakened side of her, yet she was still so determined to overcome her trauma and the sexism from the Headmaster (who was detestable I might add). It was eery and atmospheric when they were exploring the grounds and the castle. I can’t wait to jump into the third book!

 

 

5/ Scarlet – Marissa Meyer 13602234

Published: 2013

Goodreads

YA, FANTASY, SCIENCE FICTION, ROMANCE

This story had me from the very start, we have a retelling of Little Red Riding Hood in France. Not only was it interesting the whole way through but the way Cinder and Scarlet’s stories weaved together in the end was faultless. Each character is uniquely their own and really fun to get to know, and both the female protagonists were strong, smart women that made educated decisions. And it was one of the rare situations where I loved the build-up and tension between the main romantic plot. Even though Cinder and Kai move to side characters they continue to develop well! We see Kai as emperor and how he handles it wonderfully, and Cinder still on the run and trying to figure out what to do in every new problem she came across, and also learning to control her newly discovered powers. And she does it all without a ridiculous amount of whining. Things were wrapped up beautifully and yet we were still left on the edge, and things have been left well for the continuation.

 

 

4/ Down Among The Sticks and Bones – Seanan McGuire 31450908

Published: 2017

Goodreads

YA, RETELLING, FANTASY, HORROR

The writing in this series is too, too stunning. I was wanting a backstory for Jack and Jill as I found them very intriguing in book one, and I got what I wanted and I couldn’t be happier with the result! This story was perfect. Creepy, dark, and filled with tension! I’m a sucker for dark fairytales, and these books definitely fit that bill. I thought the story was told excellently– I was so glad to spend more time with the twins, I loved the focus on their upbringing and how that informed the choices they made in the Moors and also in the first book. Reading these books makes my heart ache in the most peculiar, odd way. They have a desolate and melancholy feel to them that is slightly unsettling, but it makes you draw into the story and surroundings. All in all, this prequel gave me the same whimsical, transported feeling I got from the first book, and this is quickly becoming one of my favourite book series!

 

 

 

1/ The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo – Taylor Jenkins Reid33160963

Published: 2018

Goodreads

ADULT, CONTEMPORARY, ROMANCE, HISTORICAL, LGBT

I didn’t want this book to end. I was so absorbed in the characters lives, felt for them, cried with them. It felt as if I was reading about a real-life Hollywood star, and wanted to further research the films and famous people mentioned. This book did such a great job of depicting the cost of fame, and how things are not always as they appear within headlines. The LGBT rep was flawless, and so positive. The message being that you shouldn’t be afraid of loving someone because of how you might be judged, and that life is too short. I could’ve read an extra 1000 pages of this and still find it just as enjoyable and gripping. It was just so easy to read as well, which was great because recently I was struggling to keep interest in what I was reading. I love this. so so so much. Everybody should read it, the hype is truly deserved.

 

 

1/ Quiet Girl in a Noisy World – Debbie Tung 34536956

Published: 2017

Goodreads

GRAPHIC NOVEL, MEMOIR, MENTAL HEALTH, CONTEMPORARY

I  tried to take a picture of each strip I related to, a third of the way through i was taking a picture of every single one. I found this book to be so incredibly relatable, as someone who is introverted, has social anxiety, and also has a partner who’s more extroverted than I am. It was heartwarming as well as heartbreaking, and incredibly honest in a way I haven’t been able to put into words myself. And the art design is spectacular. If there has to be only one book for introverts, I want it to be this one! I loved it so much!! I am forever going to buy Debbie Tung’s future works.

 

 

1/ The Martian – Andy Weir 18007564

Published: 2014

Goodreads

ADULT, SCIENCE FICTION

This was perfect. I didn’t want this story to end! It had me at line one: I’m pretty much f**ked. The narration from Mark Watney was so entertaining and witty. He still showed a lovable sense of humour even when the odds of him surviving were next to nothing. I thought it was interesting seeing the scientific/mathematical elements, and it was great seeing Marks incredible problem solving skills. You also get scenes back on Earth at NASA and other space programs around the world, as they try to do everything possible to bring Mark back home. The last paragraph nearly had me in tears by how beautiful it was, and it’s something that will stick with me without a doubt. My only slight *slight* criticism is that I would’ve liked a bit more about the aftermath and Mark actually coming back to earth, but that does not make any dent in the 5 star rating. It was flawless. The pacing was excellent, and you felt like you were there in the room as everything unravelled and came down to one moment. I loved Mark Watney and if I can listen/read him narrating the rest of his life, I’ll be happy.

 

So there we have it! My top books of 2018! I tried to order them to my absolute favourite but I just couldn’t choose between the top three, so they are all tied as my favourite book of the year. So what were your favourite books of the year? Any new recommendations? What are your reading plans for next year? And if you also read any of these books, or the ones mentioned in my other lists, what did you think of them? I’d love to know!

 

THANKS FOR READING!!

Abbie xxxx

Wrap-Ups

My Most Surprising Books of 2018

Here is part 3 of my review for 2018! I am going through my best and worst books of the year, also my most disappointing and surprising books!

So now the negative ones are out of the way, these books I didn’t have high expectations for (either due to mixed reviews or lack thereof), but ending up really enjoying and loving! I’m usually more tempted to pick up a book if there are mixed reviews because I’m curious to know where I fall. Luckily in these cases, I absolutely loved them!

 

5/ Queens of Geek – Jen Wilde 28245707

Rating: 4/5 stars

Ave Rating: 3.92

Goodreads

I wasn’t expecting anything amazing from this – I initially picked it up because it looked like a quick and easy read, but it was so much more than that! I thought it was extremely cute (without being cheesy) and I loved all the messages and representation in this book! One of the main characters is Australian/Chinese and bisexual. Another main character suffers from anxiety and has autism. There’s a lot of discussion in this book about racism, sexism, homophobia, slut-shaming, and loads of social justice points. Another thing I really loved about this book is the fact that it takes place at a comic con, and all the fandom references. I didn’t expect to like this as much as I did!

 

 

4/ Behind Her Eyes – Sarah Pinborough 31285838

Rating: 4/5 stars

Ave Rating: 3.75

Goodreads

I had low expectations for this, I’m not gonna lie. I have always been hesitant with ‘thrillers’ recently and never really enjoy them. However, this one was different. You either love the twist or hate it, and I loved it. I loved the supernatural aspect which didn’t become clear until the final quarter of the book. I was always guessing and was kept intrigued to find out how it was going to end! It was great being inside Adele’s twisted mind… I couldn’t figure out what was going on until it happened. I really enjoyed this!

 

 

3/ Big Little Lies – Liane Moriarty37648119

Rating: 4/5 stars

Ave Rating: 4.24

Goodreads

As this book was quite hyped in general by most people, I didn’t expect it to be that amazing. But it turned out to be much more than a simple Chick Lit book. It was really well-written, and the plot was well-paced and kept the suspense going all the way through. The characters felt real and flawed in their own way, and each had their own problems to deal with along with all the craziness going down. Also the main twist I didn’t see coming, and in hindsight it pieced together well.

 

 

323332002/ The Rattled Bones – S. M. Parker

Rating: 4/5 stars

Ave Rating: 3.97

Goodreads

I enjoyed this a lot more than I expected, I had no idea what it was about and was mainly a cover-buy, but I’m so glad I read it! The main character was so different and intriguing towards other female MC’s I’ve read. She lives in a fisherman’s village, so there was a lot about the industry included, which I found was really interesting and unique. The paranormal aspects I found very enjoyable and kept me hooked until the very end. The developments of the characters were spot-on and well fleshed-out, and Rilla’s constant battle about whether she stays or goes to college was done well.

 

 

1/ One Day in December – Josie Silver34879283

Rating: 4.5/5 stars

Ave Rating: 4.09

Goodreads

I thoroughly enjoyed my time reading this; it was adorable without being cheesy, it was predictable in a few bits but still felt realistic. I adored the relationship between Laurie and Sarah, such a genuine female relationship to read about. I got huge ‘One Day’ vibes thorough-out the book, with a bunch of ‘almost’ moments and ‘will they/won’t they’ vibes. One of my biggest pet peeves in books is when a simple bit of communication would’ve solved a lot of issues, but in this case it sort of made a bit of logical sense. The ending really felt like something out of Bridget Jones, which I was all for. I wasn’t expecting to love a fluffy, rom-com book as much as I did!

 

So those were the books I was mostly surprised with! Not quite favourites, but I liked them a lot better than I anticipated, and some of these will always stick with me. What were your most surprising reads of the year? Any unexpected favourites? What are you reading to end the year? I’d love to know!

 

THANKS FOR READING!!

Abbie xxxx

Wrap-Ups

My Most Disappointing Reads of 2018

Here is part 2 of my review for 2018! I’ll be going through my best and worst books, as well as my most surprising and disappointing books, and I’ll finish off with my goals and yearly TBR!

These books were not all particularly ones that I disliked, but I was expected to love them and sadly didn’t. Luckily there were only five which really disappointed me, and I know many people enjoy these books so these are my opinions. I rated these around 3 stars, so I still enjoyed them to an extent, but was expecting to give them 4 or 5 stars. All the average star ratings I including were from Goodreads and were accurate as of 28th December 2018!

 

 

5/ A Madness So Discreet – Mindy McGinnis 24376529

Rating: DNF (3 stars at DNF)

Ave Rating: 3.79

Goodreads

The cover looks awesome, the blurb sounded awesome, I was expecting to devour this and love it. It started off being what I expected… the gory, twisted, insane asylum. However it soon became a strange murder mystery, which didn’t make much sense! It felt like Grace and the other girls were supposed to be apprentices, learning about how to solve murders, and this made the plot seriously go downhill. It became tedious and boring and I could not continue unfortunately.

 

 

 

359974194/ Exit West – Mohsin Hamid

Rating: 3/5

Av Rating: 3.81

Goodreads

I loved the premise and thought it was such a fantastic concept, however I found the writing to be too simplistic and dry, and because of this, I found it quite difficult to fully connect to the characters. They were portrayed very well and felt like real people, but it seemed like it was missing something, their full emotions perhaps. As much as I enjoyed the idea of the doors, it did feel a bit out of place to have an easy and magical way out as suppose to the actual danger that would’ve been the forefront of a refugee story, there were suddenly no stakes on the line for them to escape which took away most of the emotion.

 

 

 

3/ The Guernsey Literature and Potato Peel Pie Society – Mary Ann Shaffer39758489

Rating: 3.5/5 stars

Av Rating: 4.15

Goodreads

Very heart-warming and enjoyable read. It was clearly well-researched and a lovely book to breeze through, but I don’t think it’ll leave a lasting impression. I was expecting to love this, but the format of letters made it quite difficult to feel attached to the characters and get immersed into the plot. So many people have this as a favourite, and a must-read for book lovers, and I got that, but I did find myself bored sometimes. I ended up liking the movie more than the book, which to me is a huge disappointment on the book.

 

 

258689182/ Jane Steele – Lyndsay Faye

Rating: 3/5

Ave Rating: 3.92

Goodreads

I was really disappointed with this, after reading and loving Jane Eyre, I thought I’d love a Gothic serial killer retelling! I read the first half quickly, and enjoyed it a lot. I found the plot compelling and I liked how Jane was a serial killer for wicked people; she killed those she thought were deserving of it. And I thought it was clever how the author kept close enough to Jane Eyre, but still entirely different. But I unfortunately lost interest ever since Jane went to be a governess for Mr Thornfield; she lost her spunk and the momentum of the plot dragged. I couldn’t grip myself to what was happening and I started to care less and less until the novel was over. Very anti-climactic, unfortunately.

 

 

1/ Uprooted – Naomi Novik27827627

Rating: 2/5 stars

Average Rating: 4.11

Goodreads

Yeah… I was so disappointed I didn’t like this. It was like ACOTAR, but without all the bits that I loved about ACOTAR. I did not get the relationship AT ALL (the Dragon was a douche) and did not get on with the main protagonist. The few action bits I enjoyed, and I found the writing beautiful but that was pretty much it. I had hyped this book tremendously in my head, so that is why it was really disappointing to me. I do know people either love this or hate this, and unfortunately I fell into the latter category. But I’m still going to try and read Spinning Silver as I heard it’s completely different to this, so hopefully that I would enjoy better!

 

 

So those were the books that I found the most disappointing this year. Did any of you read these books, and if so, what did you think of them? What were your most disappointing books of 2018? What were the best books you read this year? I’d love to know!

 

THANKS FOR READING!!

Abbie xxxx

Wrap-Ups

My Worst Reads of 2018

It is quickly creeping to the end of the year and it’s time to find out what books were my best, worst, most surprising and most disappointing! I’ve seen a lot of people doing their worst/best reads of the year and I find them really enjoyable! As always, these opinions are all my own, and I am aware that some I mention may be favourites of some of you, and I fully respect that and love that you enjoyed the book, but sadly I just didn’t. I have included the average Goodreads rating for these books as well, and these were accurate as of December 2018.

 

 

314261166/ A Promise of Fire – Amanda Bouchet

Rating: 2/5 stars

Ave Rating: 4.11

Goodreads

The first quarter I loved, it started off with so much potential but it just turned stale so suddenly. The main character was constantly acting juvenile and childish in her thought processes, for example, there was a lot of “urgh. I hate myself.” for accidentally day-dreaming about the male character. I was expecting fantasy with a hint of romance, but it turned out to be an extremely smutty romance in disguise of a fantasy book. Admittedly I did think it was written very well, and I enjoyed the premise, however the book seemed to deviate from that for most of the book. Basically a smutty Stockholm Syndrome with magic and mythical gods.

 

 

5/ Life of Pi – Yann Martel 170453

Rating: 2/5 stars

Ave Rating: 3.89

Goodreads

I am not religious, which was a bad start in terms of enjoying this book. I got the impression that the author could not comprehend someone not being religious. It was extremely slow, to the point it felt painful. This is just another lonely survival story, but one where I feel it wasn’t handled as well as it could have been – mostly because the author clearly had an ideological message that he felt was more important than the plot. In the end I really couldn’t care less about the plot or Pi. Some of the animal scenes in the second half I enjoyed, but by that point nothing was going to rescue me from giving anymore than two stars unfortunately!

 

 

 

4/ The Upside of Unrequited – Becky Albertalli 30653853

Rating: DNF (1.75 at time of DNF)

Ave Rating: 4.01

Goodreads

I really wanted to give the author a second chance, I disliked Simon vs The Homosapiens Agenda, but I did enjoy Becky Albertalli’s writing, so I was hoping that if the plot was be good, and the characters were better, I would’ve liked it. But unfortunately I could only stomach two-thirds of the story. The first 100+ pages was just introducing each character and simply stating their race and sexual orientation, like this was all you needed to know about them..? And the story didn’t seem to go anywhere and I was incredibly bored. Nothing was encouraging me to keep going so I just DNF’d the book, I didn’t care what happens. Because I DNF’d this, I feel unfair listing this as a worst book of the year, but this was a book that still stuck out for me unfortunately, and I know this book (and this author) are extremely beloved amongst the Booktube community! So I guess I’ll just ‘appreciate’ the author from afar… Great writer, rubbish characters.

 

 

3/ The Mockingbirds – Daisy Whitney8987191

Rating: 1.5/5 stars

Ave Rating: 3.79

Goodreads

This did sound very promising, but I realised straight away that the writing wasn’t for me. I wasn’t able to relate to any of the characters and I could not distinguish one from the other. I was exceedingly bored and found the story bland despite the intriguing plot. I didn’t understand why all the teachers were written to be ridiculously clueless, especially for an ‘elite school’..? It feels like a lot of the positive reviews purely show the importance of addressing date rape. As much as that is an important topic to bring light to, and I applaud the author for doing so, I don’t think that means the book deserves 4-5 star ratings on that point alone. This was a debut novel and sadly, it did read like so. I did enjoy the references to To Kill a Mockingbird, so there’s that!

 

 

157344642/ 12th of Never – James Patterson and Maxine Paetro

Rating: 1/5

Ave Rating: 4.01

Goodreads

I’ve read the first few books of the series and really liked them, but this, 12th in the series, didn’t feel on par. The first ones were written solely by James Patterson, and it’s pretty obvious that he had little to no input for this book. Maxine Paetro has taken a pretty good series and made it quite mediocre and bland. Half was about the actual plot and the courts, and the other half was about her baby which was not relevant and nor did it follow the pattern of the other books. I’m glad I haven’t read books 4-11, because I feel like I would’ve wasted my time and seen the series fall slightly book by book. I think it’s safe to say that this series has had its day.

 

 

1/ Birdie – Tracey Lindberg23590716

Rating: 1/5 stars

Ave Rating: 3.64

Goodreads

I read this for the Read-EH-Thon that Booksandlala created and hosted, and she recommended this book. But I found this to be a complete mess, I’m sorry to say. I could not understand the first half of the book AT ALL. It was so illegible and indecipherable I could not explain anything that happened. I had to look up several reviews to get more of an understanding of what actually happened, and to be honest, I wasn’t impressed with that either! It really annoyed me when things jumped from past tense to present or future tense without any explanation or warning. I honestly don’t know how anyone can enjoy this book.

 

 

 

So those were the worst books I read this year! These are all my opinion so sorry again if any of these were your favourites, they just weren’t for me! What books did you not enjoy this year? Any of you agree with my views? I’d love to know!

 

THANKS FOR READING!!

Abbie xxxx