Sunday, 31 July 2016

August, the month of bookish challenges! (Readathons, bookstagram, ARC challenges, oh my!)

I know I probably sound like a stuck record by now as I say this every month...but where is the time going?! It feels like just yesterday I was celebrating the start of a new year and now it's four months until Christmas. Um, what? I also can't believe it's officially the last full month of summer! I absolutely love the heat and the sun and although England is a beautiful country, the weather does get to me *slightly* and I kiiiind of feel like I haven't had a summer but I'm sure I'll survive! 

game of thrones snow cold jon snow sad john

One thing I'm really excited about for August is all the amazing book challenges and readathons that are popping up! My FAVOURITE book event is happening this month (Bout of Books) and I've specifically scheduled me in a holiday for the week of its occurrence so that I can read ALL THE BOOKS. Aentee from Read At Midnight is also hosting a super fabulous readathon inspired by Pokemon Go and although I haven't played it yet (DON'T JUDGE ME), I definitely want to participate as it looks like much fun shall be had. I'm also going to try to participate in TWO bookstagram challenges this month! Charnell from Reviews from a Bookworm and @aimzlovezbooks's challenges as the prompts sound fantastic! I'm awful at sticking to them though but I SHALL TRY. Another event I'll be participating in is ARC August! I have quite a few review copies on my shelf and I'm super excited to get to them!

I'm hoping I'll be able to complete the readathons and bookstagram challenges as I'm starting my AS levels tomorrow (help) and it's so much work. I'm super excited for them but bye free time.


Now to talk about the books I'm hoping to read for the Pokemon readathon (August 14th to 4th of September!) which you should all totally sign up for because IT SOUNDS SO FUN. Here is all the information and the sign up page: - let me know if you're joining! 
Lois Lane: Fallout by Gwenda Bond. I'm not exactly sure if this qualifies as I'm not sure if it's going to be kept as a duology or extended into a series but anyway, this is the first book. Teenage Lois Lane. Journalism. Sleuthing. Superman. THIS SOUNDS LIKE HEAVEN.
Dear Charlie by N.D. Gomes. This book is about a boy writing letters to his dead brother who killed himself as well as 15 other people in a school shooting. I'm pretty sure this book is going to break my heart!

The Serpent King by Jeff Zentner. I've been hearing from some of my favourite book bloggers that this book is amazing and heartbreaking and the best thing ever. I'm scared because hype but it sounds too good to pass up!
Me Before You by Jojo Moyes. I'm not sure if this counts as a diverse book but it has a disability in so I think it might? All I know is this book is going to break my heart. My mom read this a year or two ago (#hipster) and she told me what happened because I wasn't really interested in reading it back then but I think I have prepared myself sufficiently (lol no) and I totally won't be a mess after finishing it (liar) and I hope I love it!
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J.K. Rowling. I've put off reading this book forever as I know so many of the characters I love are going to be dying and I'm just not prepared to say goodbye to them. THE PREVIOUS BOOK WAS TRAUMATIC ENOUGH OKAY.
Bad Magic by Pseudonymous Bosch. I loved reading PB's books when I was 12-13 and this book has been on my shelf for quite a few months and I've finally decided to pick it up! I hope I love it as much as I loved his other books!
Grasshopper Jungle by Andrew Smith. You do not know how long it took me to find a book on my shelf that was vaguely apocalyptic/post-apocalyptic BUT I FOUND THIS. It's listed as apocalyptic on Goodreads so it's legit, I think.

THERE WE HAVE IT! Will I be able to read all of these? I sure hope so! 

Read Sleep Repeat is hosting ARC August which I'm super excited to participate in! I have a few review copies on my shelf so I'm hoping I can get through a few of them! 


I'm hoping to read these! HOWEVER, if I manage to read these all, I'll also try to read my other 3 ARCs which happen to be...:

  • Stealing Snow by Danielle Paige
  • Frostblood by Elly Blake
  • Gemina by Jay Kristoff and Amie Kaufman


So, let's talk! Are you going to be participating in any readathons or bookstagram challenges? How was your July and what are you looking forward to in August? 
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Wednesday, 27 July 2016

What's a Girl Gotta Do? by Holly Bourne was a fantastically fun feminist read!

What's a Girl Gotta Do?Title: What's a Girl Gotta Do?
Series: Normal #3
Author: Holly Bourne
Publication: August 1st 2016, Usborne Publishing
Pages: 432 Pages, Paperback
Source: Thank you to Usborne for sending me a copy of this book to review!
Rating: 5/5 CUPCAKES!
1. Call out anything that is unfair on one gender
2. Don't call out the same thing twice (so you can sleep and breathe)
3. Always try to keep it funny
4. Don't let anything slide. Even when you start to break...
Lottie's determined to change the world with her #Vagilante vlog. Shame the trolls have other ideas...

I loved this book. I loved this entire trilogy, one that taught me most of what I know about feminism and everyday sexism that still occurs, one that made me feel understood due to the author's brutal honesty on the struggle of living with mental illness and one that made me emerge feeling empowered, wiser and content. If you're looking for books that are deliciously funny, unflinchingly candid and terrifically thought-provoking - you need these books in your life, I guarantee you.

Since I first became acquainted with Lottie in the first installment, I absolutely loved her character! She's incredibly clever (and she's not afraid to admit it), hilarious and wonderfully enthusiastic about feminism, learning, fighting the patriarchy and boys. I adored getting to know Lottie more and I highly admired her determination and her bravery in facing everyday sexism head on despite the relentless insults and hate thrown her way. She's a highly admirable character and I love how she's fearless in her pursuit for equality among the sexes. I've been wanting to read her story since the first book and it most definitely did not disappoint! I feel like I've learnt so much whilst reading this trilogy: I've learnt more about OCD, about alcoholism, about sexism and feminism and cognitive dissonance and I feel like I've grown after reading these's an incredible feeling.

I loved getting to spend time with Evie and Amber again too! I like how Holly Bourne mentioned how Evie was still recovering, that she wasn't 100% healed yet and that there were still things she struggled with daily as in so many books I've read mental illness is portrayed as a minor, easily conquered inconvenience and it's not. Holly Bourne perfectly understands the struggle and the difficulties of anxiety and I was so happy that she showed that it's a continuous process and not something that you cure easily and it never returns - Holly's honest voice among YA fiction is incredibly refreshing and wholeheartedly reassuring!

I LOVED Amber in What's A Girl Gotta Do? I've loved her in the other books too but she was just so utterly hilarious in this book and I can't count the amount of times that I practically had tears streaming down my face due to her antics.

Once again I loved the girls' friendship and the way they supported each other and were constantly there for one another. Whenever I read a Spinster Club novel I feel like I'm meeting with old friends again. They're the kind of books where the characters are alive, where you feel like you can call them up and talk to them for hours, where you can imagine them living and breathing in reality - it's incredible how animate the girls are. Another thing I love about this trilogy is the immense amount of girl empowerment. I think every female should read this trilogy as the books are an excellent reminder that other girls and women aren't our competition, that other girls are our friends and we don't have to allow society to pit us against each other, it's a vital reminder that we're all in this together. These novels are so incredibly inspirational and uplifting and I think everybody should read them to not only grow as a feminist, but as a person too.

I adored the romance as well! I don't know if it would be spoilery to say who the romantic interest was but AH I ADORED HIM. He was cocky and argumentative but he was also kind and funny and sweet *squeals*. I totally shipped them. I also love how Lottie wasn't afraid to question and debate and voice her opinions in their relationship or show how intelligent she was as I know girls can sometimes be somewhat afraid to share their viewpoints which they shouldn't be. SO GO, LOTTIE!

What's A Girl Gotta Do? by Holly Bourne was a humorous, thought-provoking and fundamental read in our understanding of feminism, sexism and patriarchy and how we can go about eliminating everyday sexism that still exists. Not only is it a book that taught me so much, but the characters were so wonderful and it felt like I was being welcomed by old friends, the writing was excellent, the dialogue was perfect and I found myself laughing several times. A perfect end to an incredibly uplifting trilogy - a must read.

I give it: 5/5 cupcakes

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Monday, 25 July 2016

What I've Been Reading #4

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! 

Hello everybody!

This weekend, I went on a book hunt, specifically for Atonement by Ian McEwan. It all started the day I got my braces (the Thursday before last) and I went into one of the charity stores and there were two copies of Atonement (a book I've been interested in reading) sitting on the shelf, both only 99p which is an incredible bargain! The one had the original black and white cover with the girl sitting on the stairs and the other was the movie cover featuring Keira Knightley and James McAvoy and because I'm trying not to buy books that I don't really really really want, I stupidly didn't get me a copy. A few days later I went to the same charity store and the movie edition was left and yet again, I picked it up, put it down, uhmed and ahed and decided to not buy it (WHY? I DON'T KNOW). A few days later I was watching movie trailers on Youtube and there was a trailer for Atonement and I was like OOH THAT'S THAT BOOK I ACTUALLY REALLY WANT TO READ BUT DIDN'T BUY BECAUSE SOMETIMES most of the time I'M AN IDIOT and wow, the trailer looks so amazing so imagine the book being 37625 times better (because they usually are, right?) so now I was 100% adamant that I needed this book. SO. I looked on various places online but the prices weren't that great, so when my parents said we were taking a trip to explore Bristol and I was like BRILLIANT I MAY FIND ME A COPY MWAHAHA. So we explored Bristol and Clifton and I LOVED IT MUCHLY. We also went to 8 charity stores, I think, (I love charity stores) and most of the places had it but it was either a) Expensive for a second hand book or b) The movie cover. EVENTUALLY we popped into one last secondhand store and there, sitting on the shelf was a copy of Atonement. Pretty edition. Hardcover. £2.49. IT WAS A BEAUTIFUL MOMENT.

Lydia: The Wild Girl of Pride and PrejudiceWhat's a Girl Gotta Do?

I haven't read much this week, I finished two books but they were really enjoyable SO YAY. I read Lydia: The Wild Girl of Pride and Prejudice by Natasha Farrant which was SO ADORABLE and I really want to try reading more Jane Austen now! I also read What's A Girl Gotta Do? by Holly Bourne and I LOVED IT. It was so eye-opening seeing the everyday sexism that still occurs and also learning more about feminism itself and getting to spend time with Lottie, Amber and Evie - three of my favourite characters in YA fiction!

 I'm currently not reading anything as I finished What's A Girl Gotta Do? last night and I haven't managed to start a new book yet!


That's what I'm hoping to read this week - but hopefully I'll get around to reading some other books too! My maths and physics books are arriving in a few days though and I need to make sure I get A/A* in my A levels so I'm not sure how it's going to affect my reading...WISH ME LUCKY. 

What books have you recently read? What are you currently reading? What are you reading next? LET'S CHAT!
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Wednesday, 20 July 2016

Everything Everything by Nicola Yoon was EVERYTHING I wanted it to be and more!

Everything, EverythingTitle: Everything, Everything
Series: N/A
Author: Nicola Yoon
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary
Publication: September 1st 2015, Corgi
Pages: 310, Paperback
Source: Thank you Netgalley!
Rating: 5/5 CUPCAKES!
Madeline Whittier is allergic to the outside world. So allergic, in fact, that she has never left the house in all of her seventeen years. But when Olly moves in next door, and wants to talk to Maddie, tiny holes start to appear in the protective bubble her mother has built around her. Olly writes his IM address on a piece of paper, shows it at her window, and suddenly, a door opens. But does Maddie dare to step outside her comfort zone? Everything, Everything is about the thrill and heartbreak that happens when we break out of our shell to do crazy, sometimes death-defying things for love.

 Everything, Everything was perfect. It was heart-wrenching, it was heartwarming, it made my heart squeeze with happiness and it made my heart bleed with sadness. I fell head over heels for this book – more than I every thought I would. When I opened the first page of this novel, I had no way of knowing that it would soon bewitch me and become on of my new favourite books – but that's exactly what happened.

It's no secret that I adore contemporary novels and after having read many, I can safely say this has made my top ten. Let alone is it a book that's one of the best I've read this month, it's one of the best I've read this year. From the tragic topic, to the breathtaking romance, the characters who left imperishable footprints on my heart and the lyrical writing which snatched my breath away – Everything, Everything is all you've been wanting in a novel. It was so incredibly well-written and it just made me feel so much. 

I should probably stop blabbering on about how much I loved this and tell you why. I'll start off with the main character, Maddy. I utterly adored her! She's such a unique character - she's kind, she's innocent, she's so incredibly brave and I absolutely loved the way her voice and her personality shone through the pages. Not only that, but she adores reading because that's how she learns about the world and about life - and her self. There are so many excellent quotes for book lovers in this book that will have you screeching "SO ME"...which is exactly what I did.

Then there's Olly - where can I find one like him for myself?! He's funny, sweet, loyal, caring and dammit, my expectation for guys have been raised yet again. I absolutely loved Olly SO MUCH.

Another character who stole my heart was Carla, Maddy's nurse who has been monitoring her health and taking care of her since she was little. I thought Carla was such a kind, caring person and I loved her so much! I love how Carla motivated MAddy, how she inspired her to live a better life and take a chance despite the bad hand that fate had dealt her. 

Then there was the romance - MY HEART. I love the romance SO MUCH. It's not your average boy-next door story - it's 1000 times better and definitely sweeter. Communicating via notes written in marker pens on windows, stones thrown against glass panes, emails and IMs and eventually actual contact - IT WAS SO ADORABLE AND I LOVED IT MUCHLY. Their late night conversations and the writing on windows made my heart figuratively explode with the adorableness of it all. Maddy and Oliver with their love of books and formulas and each other are a fictional couple that have marched into my heart and are resolute to stay there.

I even drew fanart of Maddy and Olly. YES I LOVED THEM THAT MUCH.

I really enjoyed the plot of this book as well! Boredom never managed to find me whilst reading this and I was utterly captivated the whole way through. 

The writing in Everything, Everything was absolutely stunning and it had me hoping that one day I might be able to write a book half as good. It was lyrical and poignant, infused with hope and ambition with a slight dusting of melancholy and a whole lot of glittering adorableness! There are so many haunting quotes in this book and I'm desperate to get my hands on a copy so I can read it all again, hug it (because I just love it THAT much) tab all the wonderful quotes and be enchanted by the mesmerizing writing yet again. 

Everything, Everything is a touching, unforgettable novel about a a tragic situation.
It's an inspirational novel about finding the courage to live, even when it seems as if the world doesn't want it that way. With extraordinary characters, a devastating illness and purely magnificent writing, Everything, Everything is a book you need in your life. 

I give it: 5/5 cupcakes!

Love is worth everything. Everything.

In my head I know I've been in love before, but it doesn't feel like it. Being in love with you is better than the first time. It feels like the first time and the last time and the only time all at once.

I decide then that love is a terrible, terrible thing. Loving someone as fiercely as my mom loves me must be like wearing your heart outside of your body with no skin, no bones, no nothing to protect it.

Wanting just leads to more wanting. There’s no end to desire.

I read once that, on average, we replace the majority of our cells every seven years. Even more amazing: we change the upper layers of our skin every two weeks. If all the cells in our body did this, we’d be immortal. But some of our cells, like the ones in our brains, don’t renew. They age, and age us. In two weeks my skin will have no memory of Olly’s hand on mine, but my brain will remember. We can have immortality or the memory of touch. But we can’t have both.
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Tuesday, 19 July 2016

What I've Been Reading + General Life Update #3 - A new favourite trilogy, braces and art

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! 

HELLO! I hope you guys are all having a wonderful week so far! I'm extremely happy as it was 32 degrees here in England today. WHAT?! IS THIS EVEN THE UK?! As you know I moved from South Africa to England last year and I miss the heat and sun SO MUCH, so any time the weather resembles that I get super happy because SUN.

I also got braces last week and I didn't run out of the orthodontist's room screaming like I thought I might. It's my 5th day with them and apart from a bit of sensitivity I haven't had much pain - THANK GOODNESS. I've had 3 orthodontic plates before getting my braces so my teeth are A LOT straighter than they were (they were really bad...someday I might get over my embarrassment and show some pictures!) so I'm pretty sure if I got braces straight away I would've had a lot more pain!

I've also been getting back into my art lately which is MUCHLY WONDERFUL. After seeing Joy's pictures of her Wreck This Journal, it inspired me to dig mine out of my closet and wreck it...except I haven't properly wrecked it yet BUT I'LL GET THERE. HERE ARE SOME PICTURES.

I also received two wonderful art books from Abrams & Chronicle that I'm super excited to start using! Pictures? IF YOU INSIST. 


I've read quite a few good books since the last time I did this post and I shall now tell you about them, YAS. SO! I finished Saint Anything by Sarah Dessen today and I LOVED IT SO MUCH. Fun fact: I read 2 Sarah Dessen books and I just couldn't see the fuss but because pretty much everybody loves her books I was like oneeee more time, so I read Lock & Key and What Happened to Goodbye and I LOVED THEM SO, SO MUCH. So I had high hopes for Saint Anything and they were 100% met. Yay.

I have also discovered a fantastic new sci-fi trilogy! The Chronicles of the Invaders trilogy by John Connolly and Jennifer Ridyard. 

I picked up the first book, Conquest, on whim and I totally wasn't expecting to enjoy it as much as I did but PLOT TWISTS! LOL MOMENTS! AWESOME CHARACTERS! ALIENS! I LOVE THEM SO MUCH. Also, after finishing the second book last week, I desperately needed the third book but none of the libraries in my county had it. Oh, the horror. I then checked on Amazon but it was pretty expensive on there so I was like whelp, I'll just have to wait until my library gets it or I have some spending money to get it AND THEN GUESS WHAT?! Guess. Last night I thought I'd go on Netgalley and browse the YA titles and guess what book was there? YES. The third book!!! I immediately requested it and I seriously thought I wasn't going to be accepted but I GOT IT AND I'M STARTING IT AS SOON AS I'VE FINISHED THESE THREE ARCS AND I'M SO FREAKING EXCITED. FLAIL WITH ME.

books haer lee literature literary tbr

I also read Love Letters to the Dead which I wasn't really a fan of. I wanted to love it but I never fully warmed to the characters, the writing was *slightly* too metaphorical for my liking and nothing. happened. Perhaps it was just me and not the book though!

Next I'm going to start reading Lydia: The Wild Girl of Pride and Prejudice by Natasha Farrant which sounds SO ADORABLE. Once I finish that I'll read What's A Girl Gotta Do? by Holly Bourne (I am so ridiculously excited for this book it's not even funny anymore) and then my copy of Dear Charlie by N.D. Gomes which I have a feeling is going to BREAK MY HEART. 

Let's talk! How are you guys? Have you read any good books recently? What book do you think you'll read next? Do you enjoy painting/drawing etc? Annnnd don't you agree it's the BEST feeling when Netgalley accepts your request for a book you REALLY want?!
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