Thursday, 30 June 2016

June Wrap-Up and July TBR Pile!

I read 8 books this month, which I'm happy with! I would've read more but as I read 4 books in 4 days last week I could feel myself heading towards a reading burn out and I needed to take a break - which I'm glad I did! I'm currently reading Conquest by John Connolly and I'm really enjoying it! Have you read it?

Unhinged (Splintered, #2)Ensnared (Splintered, #3)The Moonlight DreamersThe Museum of HeartbreakUntamed (Splintered, #3.5)We Were LiarsEverything, EverythingViolet Ink
Unhinged by A.G. Howard ⭐⭐ | Ensnared by A.G. Howard ⭐ | Untamed by A.G. Howard ⭐.5 | The Moonlight Dreamers by Siobhan Curham ⭐ | The Museum of Heartbreak by Meg Leder ⭐ | We Were Liars ⭐.5 | Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon ⭐ | Violet Ink by Rebecca Westcott ⭐ 

I HAVE HAD A FABULOUS READING MONTH. I've loved every book except We Were Liars which was a total disappointment but EVERYTHING ELSE OH MY GOSH. I finished the Splintered trilogy and it was so beautiful. I LOVED EVERY SINGLE SECOND OF IT AND YOU NEED TO GO READ THEM NOW. Then I read The Moonlight Dreamers and Everything Everything and guys, I FOUND TWO NEW FAVOURITE BOOKS. THEY WERE SO BEAUTIFUL AND I ABSOLUTELY ADORED THEM. I also love love love The Museum of Heartbreak - it was so cute! Violet Ink was also a super adorable read and I highly recommend Rebecca Westcott's books!

Have you read any of these and did you like them?

The Moonlight Dreamers

THIS BOOK. Definitely the best book I read this year! It meant so, so much to me and I read it when I needed to hear what it had to say the most. You can read my review here.

We Were Liars

If ugh doesn't sum up my feelings adequately enough, HERE IS MY REVIEW

When my review request was granted I nearly died. This looks so good - so excited to read it!

These aren't all the books I'm hoping to read as I've read and returned some to the library already but I haven't managed to take anymore pictures I IZ SORRY. Out of these I'm hoping to read EmpireFalloutSaint AnythingLove Letters to the DeadSnow Like AshesThe Geography of You and Me and Six of Crows

I tried reading Trouble and ugh, I made it through 90 pages and I just couldn't handle it anymore. Hannah was such an infuriating character, I adored Aaron, but Hannah? Nope.

I am also so incredibly thankful to Usborne for sending me this to review! I LOVE Holly Bourne's books and I've been dying to read Lottie's story so I'm definitely reading this in July!

So that's what I'm hoping to read! What books are you planning on reading this month? What was your favorite book you read in May?
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Wednesday, 29 June 2016

The Museum of Heartbreak by Meg Leder made my heart squeeze with happiness

The Museum of HeartbreakTitle: The Museum of Heartbreak
Series: N/A
Author: Meg Leder
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary
Publication: June 7th 2016, Scholastic
Pages: 256 Pages, Paperback
Source: Thank you so much to Scholastic for sending me this book to review! This has in no way affected my opinion of this book.
In this ode to all the things we gain and lose and gain again, seventeen-year-old Penelope Marx curates her own mini-museum to deal with all the heartbreaks of love, friendship, and growing up.
Welcome to the Museum of Heartbreak.
Well, actually, to Penelope Marx’s personal museum. The one she creates after coming face to face with the devastating, lonely-making butt-kicking phenomenon known as heartbreak.
Heartbreak comes in all forms: There’s Keats, the charmingly handsome new guy who couldn’t be more perfect for her. There’s possibly the worst person in the world, Cherisse, whose mission in life is to make Penelope miserable. There’s Penelope’s increasingly distant best friend Audrey. And then there’s Penelope’s other best friend, the equal-parts-infuriating-and-yet-somehow-amazing Eph, who has been all kinds of confusing lately.
But sometimes the biggest heartbreak of all is learning to let go of that wondrous time before you ever knew things could be broken. 

THIS BOOK MADE MY HEART SO HAPPY. Reading this book was like swallowing a dollop of magic and then finding yourself floating on clouds, dancing on rainbows and being filled with a giddy, dizzying kind of happiness. I started this book as soon as I finished my school work for the day and I read it in two sittings. I was swept up in this delightful story of first love, first heartbreak, shattered friendships and inevitable change. I loved this book. It was was funny, it was heartbreaking, it dealt with the tribulations of growing up and growing apart. It had a quirky, adorable main character, a charming, swoonworthy love interest and a unique concept that I utterly loved. I felt the full spectrum of emotions flashing through me, from anger, happiness, sadness, frustration and elation...this book made me feel everything, reducing me to tears one minute and laughter the next. It was a truly magical book that I was more than willing to lose myself in.

The thing that initially intrigued me about this book was the concept of a girl creating her own miniature museum that holds her own personal collection of items relating to the heartbreak she's suffered. I've never come across that in books/media before and I just found it such a fascinating concept and I loved how it came into the play in the book. However, that wasn't the only thing I loved - far from it.

I LOVED the characters as well! Penelope is a sixteen year old girl who is shy, bookish and has never been in love, she's innocent and naive and hasn't experienced a lot of the things that most teens her age have, hence she seems younger than sixteen which may annoy some readers but I found her character quite endearing. She doesn't like straying far from her comfort zone and she's more than happy to remain in her social triangle composed of her, Ephraim and Audrey and never venture from the security they provide. I adored Penelope. Penelope is me and I am Penelope. It was so refreshing and somewhat reassuring to read about a main character who is awkward when talking to guys, who's never been in a relationship, who doesn't like straying from the familiar and who is introverted and somewhat nerdy and not ashamed of it. 

I saw myself in Pen and I just related to her so much and I have no doubt that if she wasn't fictional, or, perhaps if I was, we would be the best of friends. BUT, despite her insecurities and fears, she still plucked up the courage to venture into the uncharted territory of socialising and falling in love and I must say, that had a profound effect on me and gave me the courage - despite my anxiety and fear of unfamiliarity - to attempt new things because something true and beautiful might come out of it.

Then there was Audrey, Pen's best friend. Her bosom friend who shares the same love for Anne of Green Gables and Gilbert Blythe as Pen does (SAME. Still one of my favourite books and Gilbert....MY HEART), the best friend who has been by her side since third grade and always been there for her. However much I tried to like Audrey, I just couldn't really warm to her. I liked her at times but there were several times where I just found myself quite frustrated with her. She's also best friends with Cherisse who just happens to be one of Penelope's enemies and Cherisse is not a nice person. Especially towards the end and I just couldn't quite understand how Audrey could still be best friends with Cherisse after what she'd done to Penelope. But maybe that's just me? 

Another character featured in The Museum of Heartbreak was Keats. UGH, Keats. At first he seems like an interesting, potentially lovable character with his grey eyes and his bookcases and his reading and his poetry but ugh, Keats. I will say no more but just be prepared to experience the sensation of wanting to smack a hardback of Lady Midnight against his head. 

NOW FOR MY FAVOURITE PRECIOUS PEANUT, Ephraim. Even now just thinking about him I get all giddy and fluttery - I FREAKING LOVED EPH. Him and Pen have been best friends since first grade, bonding over their love of dinosaurs and museums. I love Eph and how he would mercilessly tease Pen but would fiercely protect her if someone else did the same, how despite his teasing and purposefully annoying Pen, he cared about her so deeply and would do subtle, faint things in order to make sure she was happy and safe. I loved how he drew incredible pictures and read graphic novels and was always there for her and I JUST LOVE EPHRAIM SO MUCH AND I SHIP HIM AND PEN SO MUCH. I was basically a hyperventilating, squealing mess whenever him and Pen were in the same room together (my mom may be worried about my sanity now but whatevs). I seriously just love Ephraim so much, with his dinosaur drawings and knitted hats and loyalty and I JUST LOVE HIM SO MUCH.

I also liked the writing. I liked how it was basically written in stream of consciousness and all Pen's thoughts were laid bare for us to see which made me, as a reader, feel as if I was not only truly getting to know Pen but as if I were Pen.  

I loved the characters' quirks, I loved Ephraim, I LOVED the romance, I loved how this book dealt with the inevitable situation of falling in love, falling apart and rising like a phoenix from the ashes of cut ties and devastated hearts. I basically just loved everything about this book. I loved the banter, I loved the beginning, the middle and the end, this entire book made me feel so much and I felt as if The Museum of Heartbreak truly snatched me up and magically transported me to its world and I relished every second of it. 

Charming and adorable, The Museum of Heartbreak is undoubtedly one of the cutest, quirkiest contemporaries I've ever had the pleasure of reading.

I give it: 5/5 CUPCAKES!

 - Slight swearing (a couple of f-bombs thrown in. Although I love Ephraim, he does swear a tad too much but WE CAN'T HAVE EVERYTHING AND HE'S STILL 1000% ALL KINDS OF ADORABLE) 
Because just like a a hapless old dinosaur innocently eating leaves or gleefully munching on the bones of its prey, if you have a heart, you too can be flattened by the metaphoric meteor known as heartbreak.
Sometimes the sheer fact of simply knowing Ephraim O'Connor makes me feel like the luckiest girl in the whole Milky Way.
"I believe in meant to be...that when you find the right person, it's a little bit like opening the door to Narnia - it's all lampposts and snow and Turkish delight. It's meant to be." 
Books were home.
"You're [Eph] copping out," I said.How is being in more than one costume copping out? I'm actually so invested in this, I am in an infinite number of costumes. It's meta and crap."
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Thursday, 23 June 2016

How to survive a book-buying ban (because I'm 100% an expert and this is not an exaggeration in the slightest pfft)

I am a book hoarder who also happens to be a slow reader who also happens to have a bookish wishlist the length of the River Nile and not a lot of money which isn't the best combination. There have been several times in my life where I've sat myself down and had to rethink my life choices. Like, yes, I know I really, really want that book but I also have 56784873 books on my TBR pile and I know I don't need it right now BUT IT'S ON SALE FOR £2 and what if this is a once in a lifetime opportunity?! It probably isn't but you never know. I end up buying my book, getting crushed by my TBR pile and deciding that it's officially time to go on a book buying ban. There have been many book buying bans and there have been quite a few that have been successful (probably like a 0.02% success rate but it can only get better, right?!) and I am here to share my wise advice. Shh, it's legit. 


Step 1: You don't .
I'm joking. Just because I'm rarely successful with book buying bans doesn't mean you will be. Some people have adequate self control. Kyra doesn't have self control. Don't be like Kyra.

Okay, but seriously, here are my top tips that will guarantee you success. Surviving a book buying is simple really: Just indulge in lots of cake and sell your soul to the dark side. Such fun. But if you don't want to do it the easy way, there's the other way. Ahem. 

Step 1: Don't step inside a bookstore. Or a charity store. Even if someone is standing at the door and telling you they'll feed you chocolate cake and give you a massive bargain that you're sure must be a gift from God don't do it. YOU ARE STRONGER THAN THIS.

I know it sounds like torture and it is but this is the one thing that honestly makes my book buying bans go okay. If you don't go into a bookstore or a place that has books you won't be tempted. If you go in, you'll see the pretties, you'll want the pretties, you'll probably buy the pretties and you'll hate yourself forever. Not that I speak from experience or anything pssht. 

Step 2: The library will be come your best friend.

Caroline Huber 90s cartoons nerd library

Libraries are epic. There's free books that you can read without:

a) Having to spend money and
b) Worry about adding more books to your already bending shelf that could end up breaking and killing yourself in the process. LIBRARIES SAVE LIVES. 

A lot of libraries get new releases quite shortly so if there's a book that you're dying to read and you needed it like, yesterday, your library might just have it in! If it's a book you really can buy it once your ban is over. It's only a few weeks/months YOU CAN DO THIS.

Step 3: Make a list of all the unread books on your shelf. It will terrify you into not buying anymore books for awhile.

This step doesn't always work as there's always that chance that you stress and go on a book buying binge to deal with the trauma of all the numbers BUT, I find if I look at all the books I have to read I realise that yes, I have issues and no, I really can't buy anymore books.

Step 4: Get excited about all the books you do have and make an effort to read them in this dark, dark time of your life
LOOK AT ALL THE WONDERFUL BOOKS ON YOUR SHELF THAT YOU DO HAVE. All the adventures waiting for you, all the characters waiting for you to fall in love with them, all right there. If you're like me, you have a lot of unread books on your shelf. SO, whilst you're not out there buying other books, give your old friends some attention. Get excited about them and read them. Here are tips I shall now throw at you: 
1. Take pictures of them. There's nothing like capturing the beauty of a book, is there? If it's that pretty on the outside it might just be that pretty on the inside? I know we shouldn't judge a book by it's cover but let's be real here: we judge books by their cover because LOOK AT THE PRETTY.
2. Look at pictures of them. If you go on Instagram and search the book title, all the gorgeous photos will want to make you pick up that book. Trust me on this.
3. Watch booktube videos on them/read reviews. Whenever I'm not sure what book I want to read next or I'm heading towards a reading slump, I watch Youtube videos and read reviews because the enthusiasm is so contagious and it just makes me want to pick up a book. Even if the review is negative, your curious self wants to see what's making everyone give this book so much flack or is that just me?
4. Reorganise your bookshelf. Not only will holding the books and smelling the books and staring at the books help you get motivated to read them, but your shelves will also look really pretty AND once again, you'll realise how many books you have to read and this will scare make you determined to not add to the colossal number of unread books on your shelf.
5. Compile a list of the top ten books on your shelf that you really want to read. I love making lists. Especially lists about books. And I find if I make a list of the books I really want to read, it helps me get to them. Sometimes but not always because #moodreaderproblems. 

Step 5: Speak to other readers who are also on a book buying ban. 
Motivation! Tears! Cake! Huzzah! If your friend is trying not to buy books and you're trying not to buy books then you can both try to not buy books together (that made more sense in my head) - bonding over the difficulty of this torturous time will strengthen your friendship and your resolve to not buy anymore books. *nods* 

Step 6: Catch up on all those TV shows you've been wanting to see. 
It will consume your soul and you won't move from the couch hence you won't be tempted to buy books. The problem: you won't get much reading done. It's a catch-22 situation, I tell ya.

television portlandia binge binge watching binge watch

Those are my top tips for surviving a book buying ban! Do you agree/disagree? What are your tips to guarantee surviving a book buying ban?
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Wednesday, 22 June 2016

I absolutely loved We Were Liars by E.Lockhart...Unfortunately, that was a lie.

We Were LiarsTitle: We Were Liars
Series: N/A
Author: E. Lockhart
Publication: May 13th 2014, Delacorte Press
Pages: 227 Pages, Paperback
Source: Library
Rating: 2.5/5 Cupcakes!
A beautiful and distinguished family.A private island.A brilliant, damaged girl; a passionate, political boy.A group of four friends—the Liars—whose friendship turns destructive.A revolution. An accident. A secret.Lies upon lies.True love.The truth.We Were Liars is a modern, sophisticated suspense novel from National Book Award finalist and Printz Award honoree E. Lockhart. Read it.And if anyone asks you how it ends, just LIE.

Reaction upon finishing:

real housewives funny gif birthday gif is that it

I didn't enjoy this book, I really wanted to, but I just didn't. Everybody raved about it and said it was such a heartwrenching, unique book, so naturally, my expectations were incredibly high. But unfortunately, I just didn't feel it. The ending of the book was spoiled for me but even if I wasn't aware of how the book was going to end, I still don't think I would've loved it all that much. I'm not going to go into detail about the characters or the plot as it is a book you need to go in blind to fully appreciate!

Let's talk about the characters. I didn't like them. Perhaps I wasn't supposed to, or perhaps I was, but all I know is that I couldn't connect to them in the slightest. They all felt incredibly two dimensional and vague and I never really cared about any of them. Sometimes I liked Gat as he was wise and had philosophical thoughts which is exactly what the cousins needed to hear, but I still never really fell in love with him. When I read a book, it's vital that I connect to the characters because if I care about the characters I'll probably end up shrieking to everybody to READ THE BOOK BECAUSE OF MY PRECIOUS NOODLES. And unfortunately in We Were Liars, I didn't care about any of them, they didn't compel me to read further. They were selfish and destructive and no, just no.

The plot.

That's what I'd like to know. There wasn't a plot. I kept turning the page waiting for something to happen but that time never came. I considered DNFing this book multiple times because I was just so bored and literally the only thing that kept me going was because I wanted to see how the ending happened. This book promised lies and damaged people and yes, there were lies and yes, they were damaged but as I said previously, the characters weren't written with enough depth to make those factors interesting. I was just so underwhelmed by this book and after finishing it, I feel like I wasted my time reading it. The ending was sad, yes and it was quite shocking but...I don't know, I just didn't feel it. *spoiler*Although I cried when the dogs died. HOW COULD THE DOGS BE KILLED?!*spoiler*

Then there was the romance that I also couldn't get on board with. I never really felt the connection between Gat and Cady.

I did quite like the writing. It was lyrical and it was poignant and there were some gorgeous quotes in the book with stunning metaphors. I loved the little short stories Cadence wrote. And as I said before, there are some really delectable quotes in this novel. Despite that, I did find that it was quite disjointed and made the book feel somewhat choppy? The constant shift between summers also made it harder for me to ever feel fully immersed in the story because it was quite jarring, the sudden jumps in summers. But that's probably just me.

That's really all I have to say about this book but don't let my review put you off as I'm a black sheep when it comes to We Were Liars! I wanted to love it but the dull characters, the nonexistent plot and the disorientating writing/pacing made it quite hard for me to ever fully immerse myself in this book. 

I give it: 2.5/5 CUPCAKES!

Be a little kinder than you have to.” 
There is not even a Scrabble word for how bad I feel.”
He was contemplation and enthusiasm. Ambition and strong coffee. I could have looked at him forever.” 
She is sugar, curiosity, and rain.” 
Someone once wrote that a novel should deliver a series of small astonishments. I get the same thing spending an hour with you.” 
One day I looked at Gat, lying in the Clairmont hammock with a book, and he seemed, well, like he was mine. Like he was my particular person.” 
He looked at you like you were the brightest planet in the galaxy.” 
The universe was good because he was in it.” 
We looked at the sky. So many stars, it seemed like a celebration, a grand, illicit party the galaxy was holding after the humans had been put to bed.” 
We should not accept an evil we can change.” 
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Tuesday, 21 June 2016

Books published this year that made my nerdy, fangirl heart explode with love

I have read some wonderful 2016 releases this year but there are still so many more I want to read (but that's a post for another time). Without further adieu, here are the top 2016 reads I've read this year!

1. Radio Silence by Alice Oseman
HOLY. FLIP. I loved this book so, so much. It spoke such a good message about accepting yourself, about doing what you want to please you. It was about friendships and fandoms and fanart and watching series while eating pizza. It was about parents and university and new beginnings and I loved it. My review is here if you need more persuading (but seriously. Go read it now.).

2. Moonlight Dreamers by Siobhan Curham 
Guys. I devoured this book. It made me cry because it spoke to me on such a personal level and it just got me. You should preorder this right now because it's a book that you do not want to miss. It's got family and friendship and cakes and trying to find your place in this world and Oscar Wilde. YOU NEED IT. Trust me.

3. Unrivalled by Alyson Noel
I loved this. I wasn't expecting to because it seemed like a frivolous kind of read but I was hooked. Morally grey characters, the shady scene of LA nightclubs and the disappearance of a famous actress with a suspicious past and an epic cliffhanger?! SO. GOOD.

Me throughout Unrivalled
4) Half Lost by Sally Green
THIS FREAKING BOOK TORE MY HEART OUT. I was an emotional wreck. I will never recover. It was such an epic but tragic end to a wonderful trilogy (I almost wrote tragedy instead. Eh, same thing.) READ IT.
natalie portman heartbroken youre breaking my heart natalie

5) Love Song by Sophia Bennett 
This was such a cute book. There was music, boy bands, falling in love, falling out of love, exotic was awesome. Seriously. At first I was scared I wasn't going to read it because (no offense to One Direction/5SOS/*insert boy band name here*) but sometimes the excessive amount of fangirling from those fandoms can get to me a teensy-weensy bit, but thank goodness there was only some of that in like, the first chapter. So GO READ IT. Music and drama and FUN.

6) How Hard Can Love Be? by Holly Bourne
Ah I loved this so much! I read it in a day or two and it was so much fun! There was feminism, America, a summer camp in America (which is basically my dream after watching so many American movies as a kid), feminism, exploring, the sensitive topic of an alcoholic was SO GOOD. Holly Bourne can do no wrong. 

7) On the Edge of Gone by Corinne Duyvis
Although this wasn't as thrilling as I would've liked, I loved the characters and the writing. There's an autistic main character who's trying to get her drug addict mom and her sister onto a ship that will take them to space as earth has been destroyed by a comet (if I remember correctly). It was really good and I loved it! Also: diversity. There were POC characters, transgender characters and a character with autism which I've never read about in YA before!

8) Chasing the Stars by Malorie Blackman 
I didn't love this book. But I adored Vee (the main character) and her relationship with her brother. And despite the annoying love interest who I wanted to smack several times, it was an enjoyable read!
I haven't actually read Gemina yet but it's a 2016 release so I thought I would include it. Also, my copy of The Moonlight Dreamers needed a friend.
Those are the top 2016 releases I've read this year! What are yours? Have you read any of these and did you enjoy them?
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Monday, 20 June 2016

What I've Been Reading #2

What I've Been Reading (is that even what I called it? I can't even remember) is a post thingy that was inspired by Book Journey's "It's Monday! What are you reading?" that I began writing back when dinosaurs still roamed the earth.  I always love seeing what you guys have been reading, what books you've been liking and what books you've been disliking and I thought doing this post every now and then might invite some discussion on what we've all been reading! YAY! 


Hi everybody! I hope you are well! As I'm writing this I am shrieking in excitement because I just received a proof of What's A Girl Gotta Do? by Holly Bourne and I'M SO FREAKING EXCITED I CAN'T ACTUALLY EVEN. Holly's books are so incredible, there's a positive female friendship, feminism, humor, mental's so good. GO READ THEM. This is only published in August...but I think I'm going to read it next! EEK. 

I'm starting my home-schooling again this week and although I love school...I don't want my holidays to be over! *cries* But luckily it'll only be English until my maths and physics books arrive (next month) so I won't have too much work.

SO, I started out reading a lot last week, I finished a book Sunday, Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday but I could feel a reading slump coming on, so I took a bit of a break from intense reading, only reading some of my non-fiction astronomy book to avoid The Slump - and it worked! 
                              Everything, EverythingUntamed (Splintered, #3.5)Violet Ink
I had such a brilliant reading week! I started off the week with finishing Untamed by A.G. Howard and I really enjoyed it. The first two novellas were boring but the last one was SO EMOTIONAL.

I then read Violent Ink by Rebecca Westcott (I highly recommend Rebecca's debut, Dandelion Clocks - so good!) and I loved it! I read it in around 2 sittings. It's about family, changes, growing up, secrets - really good!

Finally I read Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon and OH MY GOSH, THIS BOOK. I wasn't really feeling the first 20 pages but then I fell in love. It was so heart-wrenching and heartwarming and I was laughing and crying and IT'S JUST SO GOOD. Definitely one of the top books I've read this year! I have a copy out from the library and it's littered with post-it notes - need to get my own copy so that I can mark all my favourite quotes!

Have you read any of these and what did you think?

I started All that Glitters this afternoon and I'm really enjoying it so far! I absolutely love these books - they're so funny and I adore Harriet! I must say though, the books are beginning to feel slightly repetitive...but hopefully I'll still end up loving this one!

I'm really hoping for a clear night soon so I can apply all I've learnt and try to find my way around the night skies!

I'm thinking of reading What's a Girl Gotta Do? next as well as Love Letters to the Dead! I HAVE SO MANY LIBRARY BOOKS AND SO MANY REVIEW BOOKS AND SO MANY BOUGHT BOOKS AND ACK. *flops*

So, tell me! What have you read, what are you reading and what do you think you'll be reading next?!
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