Wednesday, 22 March 2017

IT'S MY FIFTH BLOGOVERSARY!!! (GIVEAWAY)


IT'S MY BLOGOVERSARY. MY 5TH BLOGOVERSARY. HALF A DECADE. *runs around screaming* I guess I'm officially considered an old blogger?? A wise (hahahaha, funny) blogger?? A blogger who is no longer awkward and discombobulated (hahaha, funny, again)?? I can't believe it's been so long, how has time gone so fast?


I don't really know what to say, all I want to say is thank you. Thank you to all the wonderful, incredible people who have flailed about books with me, who have fangirled with me, cried with me, laughed with me and been there for me. Before I started my blog I was quite a lonely thirteen-year-old girl, I had friends but none of them wanted to speak about books with me. Books were my life then and they are my life now and to not be able to talk about my latest additions, my new favourite books, books that frustrated me...it was lonely and disheartening. I was proud of my nerdiness and my love of all things bookish but it was so lonely. Even though I'm sure my classmates didn't purposely try to make me feel this way, I felt a bit excluded and as if my voice was quieted because all I wanted to talk about was what no one else wanted to talk about.

Then I started Blog of a Bookaholic.

At first, I had no idea what to do. I'd never read a single book blog in my life, I didn't even know about the bookish community, I didn't know about arcs, I DIDN'T EVEN KNOW WHAT YA STOOD FOR. OR WHAT MEMES WERE. I know, my ignorance astounds me too. But soon I found Goodreads, I found other book blogs, I found memes to participate in and through all this I discovered people like myself, people who made me feel less alone. I could tweet a picture of my book haul that I was CRAZY EXCITED about and people would actually respond with an equal level of excitement, I would ask people what they were currently reading and get a response and talk for hours with them about it. I had found my people and I can't thank the blogging community enough – for helping me feel like I had found a place in the world. So thank you from the bottom of my heart, to all the incredible people I've spoken to over the last five years. I LOVE YOU GUYS.


I've had so many incredible opportunities thanks to blogging and I feel like I've grown so much. I know little Kyra would be super proud of me right now. For starters, I get to speak to authors! LIKE ACTUAL AUTHORS. My favourite authors whose books I've loved with all my heart. It's been five years but I don't think I'll ever get over the exhilaration of an author actually acknowledging my existence. (Fun fact: when Derek Landy retweeted me I was so happy I started crying. This was two years ago) Also, when I meet authors some of them know my blog? HOLD ME WHILE I FAINT.

Secondly, arcs! Every. Single. Time. A book-shaped package thuds on my door mat I do a happy dance. To think I get sent books ahead of publication and people value my opinion? IS THIS EVEN REAL LIFE? I am so incredibly thankful to everyone who has ever sent me a review copy – YOU GUYS MAKE MY DAY. 



Thirdly, all the incredible books I've discovered. If I hadn't started my blog, I wouldn't have discovered half of the books I've read – I'm pretty sure about that. When I started my blog I was only reading middle-grade books but by starting my blog and being exposed to all the amazing YA books, I discovered so many incredible books!!! SO THANK YOU GUYS FOR THAT. Fourthly, I've become more confident in my writing and I'm pretty sure my writing has improved too (thank goodness for that! My early blog posts? I cringe. So hard.) I'm no longer as shy to share my thoughts and speak my mind and due to the fantastic blogs and books I've read, my writing has improved too! HUZZAH. 

Fifthly, I discovered another wonderful hobby – photography. I'm pretty sure if I hadn't started blogging I wouldn't have gotten as into photography as I am. I adore taking pictures and it's a wonderfully creative outlet so, thanks, blogging! Sixthly, I got blurbed once! WHICH WAS AWESOME. But they got my blog name wrong. Cry for me. 


I'm not as obsessed with statistics as I used to be but it's always nice seeing how far I've come once in a while! So, without further adieu, my statistics:

Bloglovin: 482 
GFC: 549 
Instagram: 1,179
Twitter: 1,180
Goodreads: 171
Books I've read (since starting my blog): 453 books
Amount of posts posted: 730 
Most visited post of all time: http://blogofabookaholic.blogspot.com/2013/05/top-ten-tuesday-4-top-ten-favorite-book.html I don't know how legit this is but, apparently, this post got 50K views? Don't worry, that number looks suspicious to me too.
Page views: 419, 121
Top three countries that visit my blog (I love looking at this! SO INTERESTING.)
1. United States
2. Russia
3. France
I wasn't expecting that! I had no idea I had readers in Russia and France. THANK YOU. <3 


I also thought I'd share some of my favourite books that I'm pretty sure I wouldn't have discovered without my blog!

Lola and the Boy Next Door (Anna and the French Kiss, #2)Life After TheftDaughter of Smoke and Bone (Daughter of Smoke & Bone, #1)Skulduggery Pleasant (Skulduggery Pleasant, #1)House of MagicDare You To (Pushing the Limits, #2)White Cat (Curse Workers, #1)Half Bad (Half-Life Trilogy, #1)Bad MagicThe Moonlight DreamersThe Museum of HeartbreakBone GapThe Serpent King

TO LIST A FEW. My life would be incomplete without these preciouses. To think I might never have known about them if I hadn't started blogging...MY HEART - IT BLEEDS.



I wish I could give every single one of you a book but sadly, I can't. HOWEVER, one lucky winner will win a £10 book of their choice from The Book Depository (provided they ship to your country!).


RULES:
  1. You must be over 13 to enter or have your parents' permission.
  2. Be able to provide a legit shipping address
  3. The winner has 48 hours to reply, otherwise, another winner will be chosen!
  4. The giveaway will run from today, March 22nd, up until April 22nd 2017!
  5. That's all! May the odds be ever in your favour! (It's always a good time for a Hunger Games reference, right?)
Read More »

Saturday, 18 March 2017

Stacking the Shelves - I don't know how I acquired all these books. IT JUST HAPPENED OKAY



Hello everyone!
I hope you've had a great week!

I've had a pretty good week filled with outings, cake and really good food. My dad was on leave this week and it was my mom's birthday so we went to a few of our favourite places in the Cotswolds, had a wonderful lunch, a wonderful dinner (I love you, Nandos) and brownie cake which was just as amazing as it sounds! We relaxed a lot this week and I only studied for a bit this week as I felt like I desperately needed a break from all my revision, so I'm sure I'll be feeling much more refreshed when it comes to studying next week!

I also managed to hurt my lower back whilst exercising (I think the weighted arm workout I did was too much for my back) so THAT'S FUN. I was really getting into my working out but I'm guessing it would be wise to take a break from physical activity for a couple of weeks until it's better. >.<

I NEED TO STOP ACQUIRING SO MANY BOOKS. I'm going on a strict buying/library ban from today. I know I said that last week but I'm going to write a post about it, hopefully I'll be more inclined to stick to it then? HOPEFULLY.

OKAY SO, I went to the library (surprise, surprise) and they had SO MANY GOOD BOOKS that I was desperate to read. So, logically, I knew I shouldn't take them out because I have enough books to read but they just looked so sad sitting there on the shelf, begging me to read them - how could I possibly say no? It would be barbaric to turn away from their pleading eyes. BARBARIC.

Image result for drooling gif
*actual image of me in the library wut*


I'm so excited to read these! I started reading Rock War and The End of the World as we Know It  in the library and reality completely fell away and I so hooked I couldn't leave them unfinished - so I took them home with me! PLEASE FLAIL WITH ME ABOUT MY LIBRARY BOOKS. I'M SO EXCITED ABOUT THEM I COULD SQUEAL FOREVER.



OKAY I KNOW I SAID I WAS DONE BUYING BOOKS but, in my defense, they were from charity stores (or from a library sale) so they were a good price and I was helping a charity. SO IT'S OKAY. 

I am literally so excited for all these books! ESPECIALLY BLACK WIDOW: FOREVER RED. Do you know how long I've wanted to read this book for?? EONS, that's how long. Not even a small exaggeration. Not at all. 

Ballad was 10p from my library sale and I immediately jumped at buying it because I have the first book so I'm happy I got the sequel, too! 

I then found the Angel trilogy for only £1! WHAT. A few weeks back I saw AMAZING reviews for the trilogy so when I saw it for such a good price (at Wholefoods, of all places) I knew I had to get it! I also love how thick they are - I LOVE THICK BOOKS (even though they're scary).

I also bought The Help - and Winter (with my Waterstones gift voucher!) - and I'm so stoked to read them! I've heard endless good things about The Help so I'm super excited to read it. I'm so happy I finally got Winter as I've been wanting to marathon the Lunar Chronicles forever. Hopefully I can read the series after my exams!



I've also been so fortunate to be sent some lovely books to review! Thank you SO MUCH Bloomsbury and Abrams & Chronicle! <3 


UM OKAY BUT HOW GOOD DOES THE PEARL THIEF SOUND?? People are missing, accidents that might not have been accidents and murder mystery, all set in the 1930s?? YES PLEASE AND THANK YOU.


The Last Thing You Said sounds heartbreaking but I love heartbreaking books because I'm a masochist - I feel like all bookworms are, though?? Or is that just me being weird? Probably the latter. 
It's about three best friends (two of whom are siblings), Lucy, Ben and Trixie. Lucy and Ben (Trixie's brother) are finally about to admit their feelings to each other after years of not saying anything when Trixie's heart tragically gives out on one of their summer swims. They drift apart, drowning in grief, however, a year later they begin to find their way back to each other. IT SOUNDS SO HEARTBREAKING I CAN'T DEAL. 


WHEN THIS CAME IN THE POST I NEARLY DIED OF HAPPINESS. A GIRL OBSESSED WITH A SPACE, A COMPETITION TO SEE NASA HEADQUARTERS, HAVING TO TAKE CARE OF YOUR LITTLE SISTER BECAUSE YOUR MOM'S DISAPPEARED. I AM EXCITED FOR THIS.


I'M SO EXCITED TO READ THIS. I adored one of Brigid Kemmerer's other books so I'm sure I'm going to love this too!

Ahh, so many wonderful contemporaries to read - I am muchly excited!

So, let's talk! What books did you get this week? Have you got any tips for staying on a book buying ban? I NEED TIPS PLS HALP. ALSO, which library book should I read first? 
I can't make decisions - please make them for me.
Read More »

Friday, 17 March 2017

16 reasons why I loved Windfall by Jennifer E. Smith

WindfallTitle: Windfall
Series: N/A
Author: Jennifer E. Smith
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary
Pages: 414 Pages, ARC, Paperback
Publication: May 2nd 2017, Delacorte Press
Source: Thank you to Lovereading4Kids and Pan Macmillan for sending me this book to review!
Rating: 5/5 Cupcakes!
Alice doesn’t believe in luck—at least, not the good kind. But she does believe in love, and for some time now, she’s been pining for her best friend, Teddy. On his eighteenth birthday—just when it seems they might be on the brink of something—she buys him a lottery ticket on a lark. To their astonishment, he wins $140 million, and in an instant, everything changes. 
At first, it seems like a dream come true, especially since the two of them are no strangers to misfortune. As a kid, Alice won the worst kind of lottery possible when her parents died just over a year apart from each other. And Teddy’s father abandoned his family not long after that, leaving them to grapple with his gambling debts. Through it all, Teddy and Alice have leaned on each other. But now, as they negotiate the ripple effects of Teddy’s newfound wealth, a gulf opens between them. And soon, the money starts to feel like more of a curse than a windfall. 
As they try to find their way back to each other, Alice learns more about herself than she ever could have imagined . . . and about the unexpected ways in which luck and love sometimes intersect.

I FOUND MY NEW FAVOURITE BOOK. I wasn't expecting to fall in love with this book as much as I did, but once I read the first few pages, my heart had been completely captured by this heart-rending, compelling read. It's the first book I've read in a long time that has had me utterly entranced, that's had me devouring the magical inked words in a matter of hours, that had tears streaming down my cheeks and laughter bubbling from my mouth. I felt everything whilst reading this and once I'd turned the last few pages, a smile was stretched across my face and my cheeks were damp with tears (mostly of the happy kind) and my heart felt as if it was bursting with joy. This was such an incredibly powerful book and I loved every second of it. Before I picked this up I found myself in a terrible reading slump as most of the books I've read lately have been quite disappointing but this book, wow, it was all kinds of wonderful and it snatched me right out of my slump.

The problem with reviewing a book that I love is I never know what to say. Well, I do. I have a lot to say. I have pages and pages of notes but how can I string together sentences that will perfectly describe the intensity of the emotions I felt and the magnificent literary adventure I've just experienced? I probably can't. But I can compile a list of all the things contained within the pages of this sensational novel that made my heart spin with happiness. You can't go wrong with a good list, can you?

More than a couple of reasons why Windfall is one of my new favorite books ever:
  1. I loved the characters. I adored them. When I was away from them (not for very long though because I LITERALLY COULDN'T PUT THIS BOOK DOWN), I genuinely felt a pang in my heart. I missed them. I felt as if I'd made the most amazing of friends – they were so incredibly real and complex and I cherished every second spent with them.
  2. I loved Alice, the main character. Her kindness made me smile and I loved how her heart was so full of love. She had many layers, she had experienced the worst kind of heartbreak but I admired her unbelievable strength. Not only for surviving the loss of her parents but also for becoming close to people, learning to bridge the small but existing distance between her and her loved ones formed from the fear of having them ripped apart from her once she allows herself to truly love them. She was an incredible friend and so supportive but she also had her minor flaws which I loved as it made her feel all the more authentic.
  3. I had a tumultuous relationship with Teddy, I adored him from the moment we were acquainted, I was angry at him for the way he sometimes unintentionally deserted Alice and then by the end of the book, I was back to adoring him. He was flawed (I love flawed characters) and once again, he felt so real. He became a millionaire several times over at the age of eighteen and as he came from quite a poor background, it would make sense that he would get swept up in the romanticised whirlwind of the rich and the famous and I found myself worrying about him, as I didn't want the funny, kind, fantastic guy I knew him as to allow money to completely alter his personality. But guys, by the end of the book I just wanted to squish him into a hug because he's JUST SO NICE AND KIND AND I LOVE HIM SO MUCH.
  4. I loved Leo, Alice's cousin. He was so sweet and nerdy and caring and I love him so much. Also: he was sassy. So incredibly sassy. I LOVE SASS. Another thing I adored about Leo was how he could be joking around with Alice one minute and then carrying out a profound conversation with her a couple of seconds later. I love people like that; people you can laugh with and cry with and it feels perfectly natural – Jennifer E. Smith perfectly captured that kind of relationship and it gave me many emotions. This brings me to the next thing...
  5. The relationships in this book were perfection. Or perhaps, not perfection. Which is why I loved them so much. This book depicted the brilliant highs and the devastating lows of relationships, it displayed the incandescent happiness and serenity the right person can gift to us and the gritty darkness that somehow accompanies it.
  6. Family and friendship is a major thing in this book. DO YOU KNOW HOW HAPPY THAT MADE ME? I have read many contemporaries but so few actually have a strong family element and it makes me so sad because to me, family is everything. There's Alice's relationship with Leo which made my heart burst with happiness because it was literally the sweetest thing ever. They were cousins but more like brother and sister and I thought their relationship was written beautifully. It reminded me of mine and my brother's relationship – we constantly tease each other but if the other needs to have a Deep Meaningful Conversation, we're all ears. It seriously made me so happy to see family members that genuinely cared for each other. I also LOVED LOVED LOVED LOVEEEDDDD Alice's aunt and uncle (Leo's parents). Uncle Jake was funny and kind and caring and he showed emotions. I've read so many books where the father figures are uncomfortable with showing emotion and are quite gruff and uncaring characters which is just reinforcing the harmful stereotype of it not being manly to show your emotions but anyway I really appreciated the fact that he talked openly with his kids, that he cried, that he showed them how much he cared. He reminded me of my dad and I loved that Jennifer E. Smith wrote a book that had such gorgeous family dynamics as it's definitely something I don't encounter enough in my literary endeavours. Aunt Sofia and Uncle Jack were active parents who actually cared about their kids and cared about what they were getting up to. They were parents that helped their children make the right decisions, that helped them assess all the options before making a potentially life-changing choice, they were parents that their kids turned to in the face of uncertainty which spoke volumes about the brilliant bond between them. The love and kindness that they shared with each other snatched my breath away. I felt a part of their family. And although there were brilliant parent/child relationships there were also ones that were heartbreaking and disappointing. Ones filled with empty promises and and voice mail replies. There were stark contrasts between Teddy's mom (who was so incredible and I admire her work ethic so much), Uncle Jake and Aunt Sophia and Teddy's dad. It made realise again just how much I loved Leo and Alice's parents and it made me realise just how grateful I am for my wonderful parents.
  7. Another thing I loved about this book was the glorious friendship. Teddy, Leo and Alice had the kind of friendship that allowed them to break in front of each other, to lay out all the baggage and expose their scars – knowing that once they lifted their head cradled in their hands they'd see each other, sitting by their side, allowing them to break and letting them stitch each other back together. It was the once in a lifetime, brilliant kind of friendship that I think everybody always wishes for. I loved it.
  8. Even though my life is vastly different from the characters in this book, I felt as if though I saw myself and parts of my life in each character. Whether it be unrequited love, a desire to do good, the pang of loss, the crushing sense of disorientation when the place you thought was home causes you to realise you're homesick for somewhere you can never go back to – I think many people will be able to relate to these characters and I love that the author subtly painted them with experiences and emotions that so many people will be able to recognise.
  9. I love how all of the characters, every single one, had an important role in the story and in the emotional, mental growth of the main characters. I loved how all the storylines were entangled in the most beautiful of ways.
  10. Generally with contemporaries there can be a lull in the action and the book fails to grab my attention temporarily but I'm happy to announce that this book had me utterly captivated the entire way through. I adored all the small subplots that were woven throughout the book. I LOVED the random acts of kindness movement that the characters engaged in. Lately, I've been on a mission to try to show strangers kindness, I've been wanting to find charities I can volunteer at and this book inspired me all over again to do my part, albeit small, in order to make the world a better place.
  11. Windfall makes you think. It makes you re-evaluate your life choices. It makes you realise how your life – or the lives of your loved ones – can end in the blink of an eye. It makes you think of all you have to gain – and all you have to lose. It makes you think about your happiness and the happiness of others. About your past, your present and your future. It makes you realise the importance of learning to accept and learning to let go. As well as the importance of learning to not accept and make a change. It was a truly thought-provoking book and it definitely put life into perspective for me – our lives can change, end or only just begin in seconds, we mustn't waste it.
  12. This book is so incredibly relatable, seriously. There were so many phrases that Jennifer E. Smith included in this novel that made me wander if she had somehow reached into my mind and printed my thoughts onto paper. Whether it be about romance, homesickness for not a place, but a moment in time that you can never return to, loss, feeling misplaced, the enormity of certain decisions, the terrifying uncertainty of this life and the breathtaking but utterly petrifying nature of change. I loved how it felt as if this book had chipped away parts of my soul when I wasn't looking and encapsulated them in blackened ink.
  13. There is a ship that I ship very much so but no spoilers. ;)
  14. The dialogue flowed naturally and smoothly. It felt genuine. It felt real. There were moments of profound thought pondered to one another and moments of sarcasm and witty quips that had me laughing out loud.
  15. This book reminded me of all the good things in the world – the dance of snow, the sound of rain, the glow of the sun, the warmth after performing an act of kindness, the scent of spring and the fizzing, bubbling excitement of new beginnings. Finishing this book my heart felt full, it felt happy, I felt calm – accompanying the brilliant characters, the exquisite writing and the fabulous plot was an ignited sense of inspiration within me, the softening and disintegrating of anxiety that my heart had been harbouring a lot recently, the feeling of contentment, belonging and hope.
  16. I also love how clean this book is. There's practically no swearing/blaspheming, no sex, the characters don't get drunk or do drugs – DO YOU KNOW HOW MUCH THIS MEANS TO ME?? Like I know a lot of people want characters that do that stuff because it's “realistic” but I'm not like that at all and I'm real (I think. Are any of us real? If a tree falls in the forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound? HAHA). There are teenagers out there who don't get blind drunk/do drugs/party/swear/have sex – WE DO EXIST. Thank you so, so, so much to the author for having teenage characters that have the same kind of outlook as me as a lot of the time I'm so put off by a book because the characters do stuff that I could never imagine myself doing. YAY FOR CLEAN READS!

Windfall by Jennifer E. Smith is sensational. Breathtakingly hopeful, utterly inspiring and brilliantly evocative  - I fell in love with it. Windfall is a beautifully compelling read with characters harbouring hearts spun from sun rays and starlight, melodic writing, incredible family dynamics and poignant moments of breathless emotion. Once you've finished this book you'll find there's an ignited spark within you that wants to paint the world with love, kindness and happiness. If you read one book this year, make sure it's this one. 
Read More »

Thursday, 16 March 2017

My top tips for improving a bad mental health day!

Last week I wasn't doing so well mentally. I felt anxious. I had fluttery sensations in my stomach and I felt as if my negative thoughts were a collection of treacle that I found myself stuck in and incapable of getting out of. I felt like crying a lot because I was so stressed (hello, exams, anxiety and life in general). I felt as if all life's responsibilities and expectations were a tsunami threatening to drown me and I felt like I'd never feel calm again. The adrenaline was burning through me, my head was pounding and I felt terrible, to put it plainly. I was sat in front of my textbooks, the formulas blurring in front of my eyes, the pressure to get good grades and to keep working, working, working until I was getting the marks I needed throwing themselves against my temples. I knew I needed to get out of this anxiety-riddled mindset and I did (even though it seemed impossible at the time!) by doing these several things. I thought I'd share because maybe you're feeling depressed or anxious and as if everything is caving in and you need some tips on how to get you through the day.

  1. Walk away. Take a deep breath.
    If you're sitting in front of your laptop/your textbooks/your assignments and it's beginning to feel like quicksand, get up. I know you have deadlines and pressure, but staring at your books feeling stressed isn't productive and it isn't helpful. Get up. Go for a walk. Forget about school and work for a moment. When I was feeling stressed I got up. I took a deep breath. I packed away my school books (out of sight, out of mind) and I went outside. I played with my dog. I sat on the grass. It helped.
  1. Mindfulness
    I use two incredible mindfulness/meditation apps (Headspace and Calm). Sometimes it's hard to not get caught up in all the thoughts and feelings but the apps teach wonderful techniques to accept one's thoughts and feelings. I applied these techniques when I got up from my desk and the dense pile of maths revisions. I noticed the intense blue of the sky, the rustling of the wind, the warmth of my dog's body next to mine. I noticed all the feelings in my body, all the thoughts running through my head. I took several deep breaths and I chose to simply exist in that moment. It's hard, sometimes, to meditate but it really helps!
  1. #Treatyoself
    I live pretty close to town, luckily, and when I wasn't feeling so great we hopped on the bus and we ambled through town for a couple of hours. I had a hot chocolate and I had carrot cake. We don't normally have cake when we go out and it was such a lovely treat and it definitely made me feel better! Cake (or chocolate) always seems to be the key, doesn't it?
  1. Reread your favourite book
    You may have seen my previous post about Bone Gap (aka my new favourite book ever), you can probably tell I loved it. When I was feeling anxious and sad I felt like rereading Bone Gap. I missed the characters so much and I knew being with them again was going to make me happier. There was a pretty loud voice in my head yelling at me to not reread the book because LOOK AT THAT TBR PILE BOOKCASE. IT'S NOT GOING TO GET READ BY YOU REREADING YOUR FAVOURITE BOOKS OVER AND OVER. You know what I did? I muted the voice and I reread Bone Gap. Whilst my mom was getting her haircut I drank my hot chocolate, I listened to my favourite Taylor Swift album and I reread Bone Gap and it was a wonderful, wonderful moment.
  1. Buy a book, borrow a book, books
    I happened to be at the library (shocker) and there were 3 books that looked amazing and I really wanted to read them. Logically I knew I shouldn't because, ahem, TBR bookcase and I felt kind of sad when I saw them sitting there because I really wanted to read them and I was like “Ah, I really shouldn't...” but I took them out and it made me feel so much better and so excited because INTRIGUING BOOKS! YAS!
  1. Listen to upbeat, happy music
    When I feel anxious I often feel sad because I feel anxious and then I tend to drift to melancholic songs but DON'T DO THAT. Listen to upbeat, happy songs it will eventually make you feel super happy and if you're like me, you'll want to start dancing asap.
  1. EXERCISE, specifically cardio
    Let me just put it out there that I hate cardio. In the past it has always triggered panic attacks because my anxiety disorder all started when I fainted at school due to running. It doesn't help that exercising feels like a panic attack – the racing heart, sweaty palms and increased breathing – but lately I've been trying to incorporate more cardio into my lifestyle and it's really helping! When I felt so bad I started doing some jumping jacks and high knees and I started hysterically laughing (gotta love those endorphins). Even if you're like me and you hate cardio, it helps! It really does! Checkout the Youtube channels Blogilates, Xhit, Rebecca Louise and Fitness Blender (I especially like FB's 11 minute cardio workout, it's great!) – they're brilliant!
  1. Hang out with friends
    A lot of the time I feel stuck in my own head, if that makes sense? I'm so focused on my worries and how horrible I'm feeling (I really need to make an effort with this whole mindfulness thing) but when I'm with friends they never fail to cheer me up. Being with friends and people you love, people who support you and love you and make you feel good about yourself is so important!
  1. Watch a funny movie/Youtube videos
    There are so many hilarious movies/Youtube videos out there that you'll definitely find something that will – if not make you laugh – make you smile a little bit. Another thing that always cheers me up is watching booktube videos because BOOKS.
  1. Cuddle an animal
    THEY'RE SO FLUFFY AND CUTE AND UNDERSTANDING. Maybe you don't have a pet but maybe your friend does and they'll let you hug the precious doggo?? IT ALWAYS HELPS.
  1. Pray/read your bible/listen to worship music
    I'm a Christian and whenever I'm feeling anxious/upset/frustrated it really helps me to read the Bible. It makes me realise that God is so much bigger and He has a plan for us, even if it doesn't feel like that in the moment.
  2. Nature
    I've definitely found being in nature helps my anxiety! I just find it so calming being outside with my bare feet on the grass and the sun on my back. Nature is awesome. Unless I see a spider. Then I shall continue to stay in the house until I've recovered from the incident.
  1. Draw/write/dance/paint
    Doing something creative tends to improve my mood a lot! Maybe you don't feel like it, maybe your mind is feeling foggy and dull today but paint/write/sew/knit/bake, do something creative – it will probably make you feel better! I find drawing really helps me (also: adult colouring books supposedly help for stress!) and I love to use dance as a creative outlet, too!
  1. Step away from social media
    Although I love social media, sometimes it can get a bit much. There are constantly new messages, new tweets, new pictures begging me to look at, that sometimes social media is quite stressful. Switching off your phone, getting away from it all for a couple of hours while you meditate/eat/sleep/exercise will really help, too!
  1. Change of scenery
    I know there have been times where I've been feeling awful with my anxiety and as a result I haven't wanted to leave the house but once I did, it really helped! Like, as some of you know I try to go rollerskating twice a week. I really enjoy it as the music is good, it's great seeing my friends and I always end up laughing because I'm so bad at skating it's actually hilarious but with my anxiety, despite how much I know I'll enjoy it once I'm there, I'm always filled with dread and panic just before we leave. Thankfully the past few times I haven't been filled with apprehension but most of the time I have, especially when I haven't been having a great day – but it always helps me so much actually getting out of the house. Roller skating takes my mind off of things (it's pretty much impossible to think of my anxiety when all my concentration goes on a) not falling on my backside b) not flailing my arms everywhere like a drunk windmill and c) not crashing into everybody) and even if I'm so anxious beforehand, I always walk out of the rink feeling happy and calm. So if you're having a bad day, try to leave your house, if you can. Go to the movies, go shopping, go to the beach (if you're lucky enough to live near one!), go for a hot chocolate with your friends – or even just go sit in the garden for twenty minutes. A change of scenery really helps me!
If you're struggling with your mental health, I'd highly recommend doing one of the above (or more) as it's helped me snap out of my funk numerous times. Also, if you're having a bad day, PLEASE don't hesitate to talk to me! You can email /tweet me etc, I'm always willing to listen! <3

ALSO, the incredible Inge from Of Wonderland wrote a post last week about self-care and I just loved it a lot and you should totally go check it out because it's all kinds of
wonderful! 
http://ofwonderland.com/2017/03/09/self-care-isnt-just-yoga-pants-disney-movies/
Read More »

Wednesday, 15 March 2017

Unconventional by Maggie Harcourt was so adorable I nearly died

UnconventionalTitle: Unconventional
Series: N/A
Author: Maggie Harcourt
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary
Publication: February 1st 2017, Usborne Publishing
Pages: 464 Pages, Paperback
Source: Thank you to Usborne Publishing for sending me this book in exchange for an honest review!
Rating: 4/5 cupcakes!
Lexi Angelo has grown up helping her dad with his events business. She likes to stay behind the scenes, planning and organizing...until author Aidan Green - messy haired and annoyingly arrogant - arrives unannounced at the first event of the year. Then Lexi's life is thrown into disarray.In a flurry of late-night conversations, mixed messages and butterflies, Lexi discovers that some things can't be planned. Things like falling in love...
When I received a copy of Unconventional to review I probably alarmed everyone in nearby proximity to me with the amount of high-pitched squeaking that came out of my mouth. I adored Maggie's debut, The Last Summer of Us, so my expectations were high...and they were so met and exceeded. The romance had me squealing and laughing and crying in frustration, the witty banter had me snorting with laughter more than once and the writing made me smile continuously. This is the perfect read for when you need an escape from reality - enter a world of conventions, cute boys who write books that seem to have been made for you, sarcastic characters and a dynamic friendship quartet - you won't regret it.


Let me bombard you with a list of all the things I loved about this book, yes? Lists are fabulous and this book was fabulous hence a list of reasons why this book was all kinds of fabulous will combine most admirably...

  1. I loved that it's set in a convention. I've never attended one before although I'd really like to so it was exhilarating being able to experience it. The atmosphere was chaotic and bustling and filled with excitement and adventure, it made me feel as if I were right there.
  1. I freaking adored Aidan. He's a writer, a cute, sweet, funny writer who loves books and words and who wonderfully nerdy and smart and I JUST LOVE HIM SO MUCH. Can I have him? I want him. He's definitely one of my new favourite book boyfriends and I fell in love with him from the moment I laid sights on him. 
  1. I really liked Lexi and I saw parts of myself reflected in her several times. I like to be in control of situations, I like having a set plan for things and anything that is unpredictable I can find quite terrifying (thanks, anxiety) so I loved seeing those characteristics of myself in Lexi. I also loved how she was very mature and responsible and I don't often see that a lot in YA. I also appreciated that she was a hard-working and quite a serious character, I haven't come across many female protagonists like her so reading about her was like breathing in a breath of fresh air – Unconventional was devoid of YA contemporary cookie-cutter characters (admire my alliteration skills) and I LOVED that (I guess you could say they're...unconventional. hahaha. i'll see myself out.)! Also, she is SO FUNNY. And sarcastic. And I would totally be best friends with her because I love people with her sense of humour. Also: she hides under tables when things get too stressful which seems to be a brilliant way of avoiding one's problems - why haven't I thought of this before?
  1. THE FRIENDSHIP. OH MY GOSH GUYS, the friendship it was fantastic! I've read quite a few books in the past where the female characters don't have any female friends at all which I find a bit strange, so I was SO PLEASED to see the strong relationship between Lexi and Sam (Samira). Their friendship was filled with banter, teasing and laughter and they were always there for one another. I also loved how they weren't afraid to call the other one out if they were being too snarky or abrupt - it was the perfect friendship filled with sassy comebacks, deep meaningful conversations and honesty - I absolutely loved it. Also part of their friendship group was Nadia and Bede who I ADORED, they were utterly hilarious and I loved the scenes where they were all together as I knew comical situations would abound!
  1. THE ROMANCE. GUYS, the romance. It was my favourite kind - a mixture of dislike that slowly, oh-so-slowly turns into a breathtaking relationship. It was so cute my heart flippity-flops just thinking about it. This book is over 400 pages long and the romance took awhile to fully reach a crescendo, if only they had seen the spark before I did...but no, they had to deprive me of their coupley adorable mess for that much longer. Seriously, though. I loved how adorable their romance was, I mean, it was centered around books and conventions - it doesn't get any more magical than that, now does it? Another thing I loved was how realistic it was. It showed that not every relationship comes easy, it shows that even with all our flaws and our messy, broken hearts we can be loved, that there are a lot of awkward moments in relationships and that not everything is as picture perfect as what we see in the movies - and that's okay, because it's real and it's raw and it's true. There's sometimes jealousy and insecurity, there is miscommunication and moments where we say the wrong things and do the wrong things without meaning to but it also shows the beauty in the initial uncertainty, the first steps filled with trepidation, the brilliance of the loving another person and all the incredible feelings that accompany it. Unconventional shows the many obscure - and the conspicuous - layers of love and it was sublime.
       6. This book causes sleep deprivation. You know it's good then. There were several nights that I stayed up far too late reading, did I regret it the next morning? Yes.  Did it stop me from doing it again? Heck no.
  1. I loved how this book was also about Lexi learning how to accept herself and realising her importance amidst the accomplishments of her father and the growing celebrity status of her boyfriend. I think at some point we've all struggled with feelings of inferiority and we've all found many flaws within ourselves and I loved how Lexi realised she was worth it, she meant a lot and I appreciated that she acknowledged her flaws and tried to shape herself into a better version of Lexi once she'd became aware of the less than perfect parts of her. 

As you can tell, I loved this book (and Aidan. I LOVE Aidan), the only thing that prevented me from giving it a full five stars is that I sometimes felt as if the convention aspect book was the main focus. I understand that it's a realistic portrayal of Lexi's life though as conventions are her life but as someone who has never really been to a convention and who isn't as in love with conventions as the characters, there were several moments where my attention couldn't be held BUT, those moments were quite rare and I still LOVED this book!

Maggie Harcourt has once again written a book filled with hilarious one-liners, fabulous friendships and a swoon-worthy romance. A perfect conglomeration of humour and heart that Maggie always seems to combine seamlessly, Unconventional will have you reeling from the heartbreak and uncertainty of first love and in the next minute, have you smiling so wide your cheeks hurt. You'll love it. 

I give it: 4/5 cupcakes!

Read More »

Tuesday, 14 March 2017

My Spring TBR Pile!


I LOVE COMPILING SEASONAL TBR PILES. IT'S FUN. AND YOU GET TO SEE ALL THE PRETTIES I'LL probably not read because I'm bad at schedules READ. IT'S A WIN-WIN SITUATION. Since Spring runs from now until June, which also happens to be exam season, I probably won't be reading much (CRY FOR ME) but I'll stay optimistic. Maybe I'll actually be able to read quite a lot if I keep to my schedule and organise my life and stop procrastinating?? FINGERS CROSSED.

Now, as we know, I practically never stick to these lists but I'd like to try to read some of these books in the Spring! I'm sure I'll read at least one of them and that's success in my eyes. 


breakfast success ben stiller heavyweights


1. Geekerella by Ashley Poston
I AM SO EXCITED FOR THIS. A geeky retelling of Cinderella featuring conventions, fandoms and a fangirl/actor romance? IT SOUNDS SO CUTE. And the book is purple. I love purple books. They're so pretty. *strokes*



2. What Katy Did by Susan Coolidge
I remember when I was a smol book nerd I read old-fashioned/classic kind of books in Spring and it just felt like the perfect time to read them. I don't know why but Spring just seems like the best time to read them, especially children's classics which are often set in the English countryside and talk of spring and summer and it just heightens the experience for me (that probably made no sense but my eloquence has deserted me tonight). 



3. Furthermore by Tahereh Mafi
I was sent this to review approximately 34 years ago and I still haven't read it! I DON'T KNOW WHY as I loved Shatter Me by Tahereh. I think this would be a pretty good book to read in Spring because it's about a world filled with lots of colour and there's...a lot of colour in Spring? Shh, logic. I have much.



 4. Letters to the Lost by Brigid Kemmerer
I am SO EXCITED for this!!! I adore contemporaries, I love books that feature written letters and I love books that threaten to break my heart. I've read a Brigid Kemmerer book before and I loved it so I'm sure I'll adore her latest book too. The reviews for it are outstanding as well so MY HOPES ARE HIGH.



When this book came in the post I SCREAMED as I totally wasn't expecting it! It features a science/space obsessed girl. I'm a science/space obsessed girl so I have a feeling that the main character and I will get along famously.


OKAY BUT THIS SOUNDS REALLY ADORABLE AND TRAGIC AND THE BLURB ITSELF MAKES ME WANT TO CRAWL INTO A FETAL POSITION AND CRY. It's about a weird, wonderful 12-year-old genius who is obsessed with nature and medical conditions and whose world is ripped apart when her parents die in a car crash and how she comes to terms with it and finds joy again and a surrogate family. It's supposed to be really uplifting so I have high hopes for it!


It's V.E. Schwab, need I say more? I've never read any of her books and EVERYONE raves about them so I think it's high-time I jump on the bandwagon!



I am so excited for this book. It's got superheroes in. SUPERHEROES. Or at least, people with powers, which is basically superheroes. Anyway, I AM EXCITED.


I've been wanting to read this book forever, the premise sounds so good and the cover is so pretty and I am so amped.  

It sounds mysterious and heartwarming and apparently there's time-travel?? SIGN ME UP.

EEK! It looks like I have a fantastic reading season ahead of me! I'M SO EXCITED. Which of these have you read or do you want to read? What book are you most excited to read in Spring? Let's talk!
Read More »