Saturday, 27 February 2016

How to Determine if You Live with the Magical Creature Called The Reader


As I was sitting by the dinner table the other day, I noticed several things. One, my post-it notes for my reviews were strewn across the table, some were sticking to the carpet and I recall earlier that day there was one by the washing machine. Two, there were books stacked in several places and I could spy a few titles sitting innocently outside of my peripheral vision. Thirdly, I began to realise that these two things - books and post-its - was like the pixie dust I left behind. If I were a fairy. Which. I'm not, unfortunately. And so I began to wonder how can you tell you live if you live with a bookworm. Below I will give you the signs that might help you decide whether or not you have one of these mystical creatures in your company.

1. If they are there, books will be there.
Probably one of the most obvious signs. If your friend/sister/brother is nearby and has books in their hands, in their bag, next to their bed, or books in close proximity to them, they are likely a bookworm. Or perhaps they're just a sort of magnet for these paper-filled fantasies. Lucky them.

2. They have a book in their hand, frequently and growl and snap if you come too close.
It's not our fault, not really. Just know that in that moment we're not who we appear to be. We're a princess riding a dragon, a detective solving a mystery, a girl being hunted by vampires...we're in a whole other world, one filled with magic and intrigue...let us remain in there for a while longer.

pink animated GIF

3. They don't leave their house that much (unless it's absolutely necessary)
We bookworms have a lot of reading to do: socialising, shopping and juts leaving the house in general gets in the way of that. However, if there is a nice sunny patch outside then we'll navigate ourselves towards the garden. That counts as leaving the house, right?

reading tv news oitnb new york

4. They have many boyfriends/girlfriends. Do not be disturbed, they are most likely fictional. If not...your friend might need a word with.
If your bookworm says they met an amazing guy, or they're with their significant other, or they state they have several boyfriends. Do not be alarmed and do not get too excited that your friend might be leaving the house to go on this mystical thing called a "date". They're most likely fictional. If you're suspecting your housemate is a reader, ask them where they met their potential suitor. "Chapter 5" is an answer that will confirm your suspicions.


4. They flail, screech and cry a lot.
What is the matter? You may ask.

shocked animated GIF

They may reply. As well as mutters and warbling about characters and swords and death. Don't be frightened for their sanity, they just have quite a lot of feelings due to things fictional characters are experiencing. Just throw chocolate at them, they'll be fine. (Or maybe not, there are still character deaths I haven't recovered from).

5. If they are also a reviewer, there will be post-its everywhere
They generally tend to accompany us most places and get lost and stuck in bizarre areas. You might get up from the couch and realise you have post-its sticking to your hair and your clothes - kind of like cat hair.

6. When suggesting to go see a movie that is probably a film adaptation of a book...
They will most likely a) Say, "Before we do, I need to read the book first" or 2) Say "No, I choose not to see that as it could never be as good as the book" or 3) Say "Fine, but I am warning you that I will sit there for 2 hours pointing out every single thing that's different from the book". 

Good luck with your cinema trip.

7. Suspected bookworm is on a first-name basis with the postman. In fact, you think they'll be calling each other best friends any day now.
As a fellow bookworm myself, we read a lot, we like looking at books and stroking books and admiring books, so there will be parcels of books being delivered to the house weekly, if not daily. When you see the postman so frequently, you might as well learn his name, after all, you see him so frequently, he may as well have a cuppa while he's delivering the gargantuan amount of books to your friend.

8. They have a bookshelf that is overflowing in their room.
Probably one of the most obvious signs. Walk into their room and notice books on shelves, books on the bed, books next to the bed, books in the windowsill and books on the floor. More books than room.

9. They use slang that you're not quite familiar with? What kind of enchanted language is this?!
Generally something along the lines of  "Asdfghjkl, my TBR is literally going to fall on top of me", "So I was on Goodreads.." and "You will not believe the ARC that just came in the post!!!". We know it's all a bit confusing but you'll learn the lingo of the literary lovers. Eventually. (Also, I hope you appreciate the alliteration in that line.)



10. The most obvious sign of all...they almost always have their nose stuck in a book. 
Betcha didn't see that one coming! If someone loves reading, they will read every chance they get. They will want to devour words like oxygen. They will want to constantly live in a book. They will read at almost every opportunity.

These are the signs that you live with a reader!

Can you relate to this post? What are some other signs that suggest one lives with a bookworm (not the actual insect kind but the human kind, because worms ew no)? Do you do any of these things? Let me know, in the comments below!
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Thursday, 25 February 2016

Help me decide what to read next because I am clearly awful at decision making


HELLO EVERYONE!

I just finished an excellent book and I have more excellent books to read but I just can't decide which book I should read first. THEY ALL JUST LOOK SO GOOD.

reaction animated GIF

Basically.

SO, that's where you lovely people come in. Help me choose my next read!

The Contenders:

1) Trouble is a Friend of Mine - Stephanie Tromly
Trouble is a Friend of Mine
Sherlock meets The Breakfast Club in this story of a wisecracking girl who meets a weird but brilliant boy and their roller-coaster of a semester that's one part awkward, three parts thrilling, and five parts awesome
After her parents get divorced, high school junior Zoe Webster moves with her mother from Brooklyn to upstate New York, determined to get back to the city and transfer to the elite private school her father insists on. But then she meets Philip Digby--the odd and brilliant and somehow attractive?--Digby, and soon finds herself in a series of hilarious and dangerous situations all centered on his search for the kidnapper of a local teenage girl who may know something about the tragic disappearance of his kid sister eight years ago. Before she knows it, Zoe has vandalized an office complex with fake snow, pretended to buy drugs alongside a handsome football star dressed like the Hulk, had a serious throw down with a possible religious cult, challenged her controlling father, and, oh yeah, saved her new hometown.
For fans of John Green and David Levithan, this is a crime novel where catching the crook isn't the only hook, a romance where the leading man is decidedly unromantic, a friendship story where they aren't even sure they like each other, and a debut you won't soon forget. 
2) Struck - Jennifer Bosworth
Struck (Struck, #1)
Mia Price is a lightning addict. She’s survived countless strikes, but her craving to connect to the energy in storms endangers her life and the lives of those around her.
Los Angeles, where lightning rarely strikes, is one of the few places Mia feels safe from her addiction. But when an earthquake devastates the city, her haven is transformed into a minefield of chaos and danger. The beaches become massive tent cities. Downtown is a crumbling wasteland, where a traveling party moves to a different empty building each night, the revelers drawn to the destruction by a force they cannot deny. Two warring cults rise to power, and both see Mia as the key to their opposing doomsday prophecies. They believe she has a connection to the freak electrical storm that caused the quake, and to the far more devastating storm that is yet to come.
Mia wants to trust the enigmatic and alluring Jeremy when he promises to protect her, but she fears he isn’t who he claims to be. In the end, the passion and power that brought them together could be their downfall. When the final disaster strikes, Mia must risk unleashing the full horror of her strength to save the people she loves, or lose everything.
3. White Cat - Holly Black
White Cat (Curse Workers, #1)
Cassel comes from a shady, magical family of con artists and grifters. He doesn't fit in at home or at school, so he's used to feeling like an outsider. He's also used to feeling guilty; he killed his best friend, Lila, years ago.
But when Cassel begins to have strange dreams about a white cat, and people around him are losing their memories, he starts to wonder what really happened to Lila. In his search for answers, he discovers a wicked plot for power that seems certain to succeed. But Cassel has other ideas and a plan to con the conmen.
SO?? Which one should I read next?
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Wednesday, 24 February 2016

I found a new favorite book in the form of Radio Silence by Alice Oseman



Title: Radio Silence
Series: N/A
Author: Alice Oseman
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary
Publication: 25th February, Harper Collins Children's Books
Pages: 400 Pages, Paperback
Rating: 5/5 CUPCAKES!
Source: Thank you to LoveReading4Kids for sending me this book in exchange for an honest review!
What if everything you set yourself up to be was wrong?
Frances has always been a study machine with one goal, elite university. Nothing will stand in her way; not friends, not a guilty secret – not even the person she is on the inside.
But when Frances meets Aled, the shy genius behind her favourite podcast, she discovers a new freedom. He unlocks the door to Real Frances and for the first time she experiences true friendship, unafraid to be herself. Then the podcast goes viral and the fragile trust between them is broken.
Caught between who she was and who she longs to be, Frances’ dreams come crashing down. Suffocating with guilt, she knows that she has to confront her past…She has to confess why Carys disappeared…
Meanwhile at uni, Aled is alone, fighting even darker secrets.
It’s only by facing up to your fears that you can overcome them. And it’s only by being your true self that you can find happiness.
Frances is going to need every bit of courage she has. 

I was spellbound by this book, to put it in the most simple of words. I was captivated with the writing, the characters, the plot and the significant statements that were woven throughout. I wasn't sure what to expect when I picked up this book, but I certainly didn't imagine falling as hopelessly in love with every little detail of this sublime novel as I did and I can definitely see Alice Oseman quickly become an all-time favorite author.

Radio Silence is about Frances Janvier, the girl on the exterior showing herself to be a study machine, her time taken up by revision. homework and Oxbridge prep. However, nobody knows that once the door on the outside world is closed, Frances sits in her room in Disney print leggings creating fanart for one of her favorite Youtube channel - Universe City. There is a School Frances and a Real Frances and Frances isn't quite sure how to merge the two, or even if she wants to. Until she befriends Aled. A shy, extraordinarily clever boy - who happens to be the creator of her favorite thing in the entire universe. As the two strike up a breathtaking friendship, Frances begins to understand who she really is and who she wants to become. However, when the trust between Aled and Frances is broken, she is left reeling. Frances knows that to win back the thing she loves most and the one who handed Frances her wildest of dream she will have find the courage within her to overcome her demons.

Holy. Cow. This book was incredible. I loved absolutely every single thing about it, but let's talk about what I loved most: the characters. 

The characters in this book are so genuine, so complex, so beautifully flawed. Their personalities were so brilliantly vivid...it's the type of book that once you're finished, you feel like the characters are real enough to call them up and talk to them about the most remarkable of things.

Our main character, Frances, is one you will absolutely love. The amount of times I could relate to her was actually amazing. She was so real. She was awkward, she went on Tumblr, she was a fangirl that obsessed over her favorite Youtube channel, she ate pizza in patterned leggings and sweatshirts while watching reruns of old shows with her mother. That was the real Frances. Then there was the Frances that was put on display for the rest of the world. Stressed, obsessed with getting the highest grades, a study machine. And she was both of the those things, but we learned who she really was as she did. I also loved how much I could relate to her about her fears and worries about her future, she put so much pressure on herself and I just understood because I am exactly the same. I absolutely loved Frances and I know if she wasn't fictional, we would be great friends.

Then there was Aled who I also loved...I actually loved every character in this book, except Aled's mom, she was hell personified. Aled was also so complex. I loved how shy he was and how he was also a genius and so, so creative. I loved how brilliantly complicated he was and how kind he was and funny and I JUST LOVE HIM SO MUCH.

Then there was also Daniel, Raine and Carys and I just loved all the characters. Especially Daniel. He had subtle humor, he was complicated and real and I loved him!

I'd also like to applaud the author on how diverse this book is. Frances is half British, half Ethiopian and Daniel (Aled's best friend) is Korean. Some of the characters are gay or bisexual or even asexual and I appreciated that the author didn't label this book.  I appreciate that this wasn't a book labelled diverse or specifically about diversity, it had it's own story line and other important matters and it just happened to contain diversity. I think the author did this perfectly.

The friendship between Frances and Aled was one with such significant strength it could rival the magnitude of power of gravity between the earth and the moon. I loved how they helped each other through the dark times that ravaged them and their sanity, I loved how they helped each other discover who had the power to truly be, I loved the deep conversations and the silly ones, the moments where they held each other whilst the other cried and the moments where they were laughing and drawing and creating art. Radio Silence contains one of the best platonic relationships I've ever had the pleasure of reading in YA. It was real, it was beautiful, it's exactly how friendship should be.

Another thing I adored was the spectacular mother-daughter relationship in this book. Absent parents, abusive parents and non-supportive parents are a trope that plague YA books so I was definitely applauding Alice Oseman for writing such an excellent relationship between a mother and a daughter. Because, newsflash, not all teenagers hate their parents.

                       

Yes way.

I absolutely love the author's writing style as well. I loved how accurately she captured being inside a teenage girl's head. I loved how every single emotion the character felt, I felt. I loved how it felt like Frances was sitting next to me, relaying her story. I loved how every thought and every anxiety was laid bare. The author managed to perfectly relay the voice of a girl on the brink of her future and the worries she's plagued with. The accurate depiction, capturing a teenager who is trying to identify who she is, blew me away. Radio Silence is one of those books that will make you realise how magical reading is. To breathe in the thoughts, the workings of the mind, of another. Truly spectacular. I also loved the humor, the modern slang and the pop culture that was perfectly captured. Tumblr, love of pizza, Game of Thrones, How I Met Your Mother, Skrillex...there's so much one knows in here, which made it feel all the more real - like these characters are living and breathing in the real world.

Lastly, I loved the messages conveyed throughout this book. That the belief that university and good grades, a job and lots of money will equal happiness. I loved how it emphasized the utter importance of being who you are, living the life that will bring you a plethora of happiness, of how vital it is to not allow yourself to be trapped by society's absurd demands. 
"Uni, job, money, happiness. That's what you do. That's the formula. Everyone knows that. I knew that." 
Radio Silence is a profound, evocative read that emphasizes the importance of staying true to yourself, of being the creator of your own destiny...of allowing yourself the freedom to exist as only you can: as you. The sensational sentiments that echoed through this book combined with riveting writing, a beautiful friendship and a phenomenal main character, Radio Silence is a book that will resonate with everyone. It's a stellar read that you'll fall completely in love with. 

I give it: 5/5 CUPCAKES!






I thought Radio Silence had some brilliant quotes! Here are a couple of my favorites! 
"'You're an idiot,' said Mum, when I relayed to her the entire situation on Wednesday. 'Not an unintelligent idiot, but a sort of naive idiot who manages to fall into a difficult situation and then can't get out out of it because she's too awkward.'" 
"I wonder sometimes whether you've exploded already, like a star, and what I'm seeing you is three million years into the past, and you're not here anyore. How can we be together here, now, when you are so far away. When you are so far ago? I'm shouting so loudly, but you never turn around to see me. Perhaps it is I who have already exploded. Either way, we are going to bring beautiful things into the universe."
"'Are you wearing that?' he [Daniel] said. I looked down. I was wearing my batman onesie.
'Yes,' I said, 'Problem?'
'So many,' he said, turning around. 'So many problems.'"
"'Everyone's different inside their head.'" 
"Everything's better under the stars, I suppose. If we get another life after we die, I'll meet you there, old sport..."
"'This is real, this is me,' I said. She blinked. 'Did you just quote Camp Rock at me? That's not very pop punk."
'I've gotta go my own way.'
'Okay, firstly, that's High School Musical...'" 
"He smiled and looked away. 'Sometimes I think we're the same person...but we just got accidentally split into two before we were born.'"
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Tuesday, 23 February 2016

Top Ten Tuesday #34 - Top Ten (not so) Recent Reads I Enjoyed That Were Out Of My Comfort Zone


IT'S TOP TEN TUESDAY! This week's topic is about your top ten recent books you've read that you ended up really enjoying that were out of your comfort zone!

Well, I've awkwardly really struggled to think of books I've read that aren't from a genre I really read.. These books are all books that I've read in the past...two years because I don't venture out of my comfort zone often.


I agree. I think it's time I explored the distant lands of thriller, high fantasy and historical fiction more often.

SO! Without further adieu!

The books I read that prove I'm a tenacious book lion:

*cue shocked gasps* I know, it doesn't seem like a book that's out of my comfort zone but it is because although I love contemporaries...I'm terrified of books that have illnesses in - books that are, for lack of better adjectives, quite gritty. I was scared of reading TFIOS because it deals with cancer but I loved it so, SO much.


Most people who know me know that I'm really not a fan of thrillers because I am a total chicken. I got this book at the library on a whim and once I started reading...I couldn't stop. I read most of the book in one sitting and HOLY FLIP, it was freaking brilliant! 

GUYS.

Guys.

This book was freaking incredible. It was a murder mystery and those freak me out because 1) still being scared of the dark, 2) having an overactive imagination and 3) reading books about murderers hiding behind furniture do not go well together. But anyway, I read this and I LOVED it. The writing, the plot, MY NEW OTP EDDIE AND JO WHO ARE THE BOMB DOT COM CAN I GET AN AMEN?!

My best friend read this book and she was like OH MY GOSH KYRA YOU HAVE TO READ THIS BOOK and then I was like, foshizzle mah homie but less gangster like because I'm the furthest thing from a gangster...


ANYWAY, it was such a good book! The plot twist at the end, the feeling of terror the whole way through and the well-written love triangle made this a really, really enjoyable read!

This series. THIS SERIES. Has caused me tears and shrieking and a tattered heart but WOW, it was worth it! This is my all-time favorite series and I honestly can't express how much I love it. It's a horror/fantasy genre and I never read horror because I'm a wimp but AH, I LOVE IT SO MUCH.


I don't enjoy classics, not really. I've tried to get into numerous but classics and I just do not connect. So when I got TKAM to review I was quite apprehensive because what if I didn't like one of the most well-loved books ever?? Anyway, I loved it. It's one of my new favorites and I can't believe I waited so long to read it! 

Once again, I never thought of reading this book because it's a murder mystery and I don't like those but I loved this book! The quaint writing, the friendship, the mystery...it was so brilliant! I really need to continue this series!

I don't generally read high fantasy all that much as I struggle to create worlds unless the writing is really descriptive. Going into this book I was so nervous that I wasn't going to enjoy it but ah, I LOVED IT SO MUCH. The world and the characters and the writing and ahh, it was so good.

I had to read this for English Literature and I wasn't sure how I was going to feel about it as I haven't read many, if any, plays before and it was quite an old one too but I really, really enjoyed it. It made me laugh so hard and I just loved reading it.

I'll never forget getting this book when I was 14 (I can't believe that was 3 years ago I feel so old what is this life) and I was really intrigued but quite terrified too because ghosts seriously freak me out (most things do, as you can tell) but AH, this series is SO. FREAKING. GOOD. The humor and the spookiness and the friendship and the premise and AH JUST READ IT ALREADY.

Those are my top books that were out of my comfort zone! (Probably all the books out of my comfort zone but I've loved pretty much all of them, so if that's not a sign to explore uncharted territory, then I'm not sure what is!). 

What are books you've read that you wouldn't generally read that you loved? Have you read any of these? What genres are you uncomfortable reading? LET ME KNOW, DOWN BELOW! (I'm a poet but I do know it! Okay, I'll stop now).
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Sunday, 21 February 2016

Not If I See You First by Eric Landstrom disappointed me slightly

Not If I See You FirstTitle: Not If I See You First
Series: N/A
Author: Eric Lindstrom
Genre: Young Adult Contemporary
Publication: December 1st 2015, HarperCollins Children's Books
Pages: 416 Pages, Hardcover
Source: Thank you to Netgalley and HarperCollins for sending me this book in exchange for an honest review! 
Rating: 3.5/5 Cupcakes!
The sensational debut YA of 2016 that everyone will be talking about.
Parker Grant doesn't need perfect vision to see right through you. That's why she created the Rules: Don't treat her any differently just because she's blind, and never take advantage. There will be no second chances. When Scott Kilpatrick, the boy who broke her heart, suddenly reappears at school, Parker knows there's only one way to react – shun him so hard it hurts. She has enough to deal with already, like trying out for the track team, handing out tough-love advice to her painfully naive classmates, and giving herself gold stars for every day she hasn't cried since her dad's death. But avoiding her past quickly proves impossible, and the more Parker learns about what really happened – both with Scott, and her dad – the more she starts to question if things are always as they seem. Not If I See You First illuminates those blind spots that we all have in life, whether visually impaired or not.

Most people know that contemporary novels are my favorite, whether they're fluffy or heart-rendering, I love most contemporary novels. So when I saw this was available to review on Netgalley I didn't hesitate to request it. It has a character that is trying to survive the harrowing aftermath after her father's sudden death, the return of a boy who broke her heart and shattered her trust in people and the day to day struggle of living with her disability...so needless to say, I thought I would love it and although I enjoyed it and it made me giggle and cry, there were quite a few issues I had with Not If I See You First.

Even now after finishing this book two days ago, I'm just as indecisive about how my feelings towards this book as I was when I turned the last page. Looking back, I enjoyed it, I loved the female friendship, the character development and the premise...however, the lack of plot and the unlikable main character made me feel slightly disconnected from the story and I didn't fall as in love with it as I hoped I would.

The biggest problem I had with this book was my inability to like our main character, Parker. Parker was a complicated character. She had just lost her father suddenly, her mother had died nine years ago in the car crash that had also taken Parker's eyesight and the boy who she loved and who betrayed her trust completely is back in her life and wanting to be a part of it. These catastrophic events that destroyed her last grip on normality have altered her and that is evident. She doesn't want to be pitied which leads to her being brusque with people just offering to help, she dishes out her honest thoughts with no softening of the blow that the people on the receiving end of her remarks will be hit with and she's often selfish as she's so wrapped up in her thoughts and because she has no vision she can't tell as easily when people are struggling with their lives, giving off the impression that she doesn't really care even though I think she would care more if she could see how things were affecting people. 

I just couldn't connect to Parker for most of the book. I'm a person that believes people should have tact, it's good to tell people the truth however it's not okay to say you're being honest when your words are cruel and thinly veiled by the excuse of you being honest. She was rude and hurtful and I just couldn't warm up to her for the majority of the book. However, she goes through immense character development, so by the end of the book she's learned how to handle certain things better and learned to forgive and give people second chances and isn't as harsh with her words. That was my biggest problem with the book. 

I really liked the secondary characters, however with all the characters in the book I never really felt like I got to know them. They didn't feel real to me but more like just characters in a book, which isn't how I like viewing my fictional friends. Despite that, I really liked them. I loved Sarah, Parker's best friend, she was fabulous. As were Parker's other friends: Faith, Scott, Molly, Kent (D.B.) and (most of the time) Jason. The friendship dynamics in this book were utterly phenomenal and were definitely focused more on than romance, which is always wonderful to see! 

The female friendships in this book were spot-on and I was even more impressed as this book was written by a male author. Parker's friendship with Sarah really warmed my heart and it reminded me very much of my friendship with my two best friends, especially when Sarah said she viewed Parker as not just a best friend, but as a sister. All Parker's friends, especially her female friends, were so supportive, kind and loyal. I LOVED how they were true friends, they helped her and built her up and didn't say catty things to her. SO MANY BOOKS I've read, the "best friends" insult each other, slut-shame and judge and I'm like no, just no. So the strong female friendship was something that I really enjoyed in this book.
“And this might sound strange but part of why I love her so much is that I don't take it for granted. I don't like to admit it but whenever I put my hand out a part of me worries that maybe she's not going to be there this time, that she's finally sick of all my selfishness and drama...' Sarah squeezes my hand tightly and presses her temple on my shoulder. '...and that's why I freaked out, but then she's always there for me and I'm so goddamn grateful I wonder what I could have possibly done to deserve her. If you want to know what a soul mate is, Marissa, that's it. Sarah's my soul mate. I would stand in front of a train for her, and I love her because she'd do it for me too.” 
“That's what love is, Marissa. It's not magic or voodoo. It's real. You can explain it. I an tell you exactly why I love Sarah." I hold my hand out and, thank God, Sarah gently interlaces her fingers with mine. 'I had lots of friends when I was little but by the time I turned eight they were mostly gone. It turns out blind Parker with a dead mom wasn't nearly as much fun as she was before the accident. I couldn't run around and play and I cried all the time and knocked over everything and turned into a royal bitch and one by one my friends disappeared until there were only two left. I'm not saying they were the only one who understood me or were nice, just that they were the ones who didn't go off and find easier people to be friends with. I love Sarah because she's been my best friend and stayed that way when it got really really hard to be my friend at all.”

As I said, romance isn't the central focus in Not If I See You First but it does occur on the side. There are two kind of romances in this book. There's a blossoming romance between Parker and Jason but those flames were quickly extinguished and then there's the friendship/romance/"it's complicated" relationship between Parker and Scott. Scott the boy who completely broke her heart. I immediately disliked Scott due to what Parker had told us about him but dammit, he stole my heart. He loves Parker. Like really loves her and you can see in all the lengths he goes to in order to protect her, whether it's from clearing danger from her path, warding off the snide comments about her disability and just being there for her, but also allowing her the freedom to do things by herself. I just really adored Scott and you can just see how scared he is to open up his heart again in case Parker shuts him out and GAH, it just killed me. That ending was quite open and I just...I need to know what happens with them.
“He [Scott] still looks at you [Parker] like he used to, even before you got together, like you're the most important thing in the word. Like if you were trapped on railroad tracks he'd break every finger to get you free without even noticing...and if he couldn't, he'd sit on the tracks and hold your hand and watch you instead of the train.”
This is also a highly character-driven novel and there isn't much of a plot, which did also decrease my enjoyment of the novel. I love contemporaries but I also need something to happen in them for me to love them. I don't if this is what made me also feel slightly disconnected from the novel? Perhaps.

Not If See You First was a book that I had high hopes for, but which left me slightly disappointed. I wasn't a major fan of the main character and the lack of plot decreased my overall enjoyment of this novel. However, the unbreakable female friendship, the enlightenment I received on how awful it truly is to have impaired vision and profound lessons learnt along with the main character saved the book for me. If you're looking for a character-driven novel, amazing friendships and a subtle romance, then I'd give this book a go!

I give it: 3.5 cupcakes

- Mild swearing 
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Friday, 19 February 2016

Stacking the Shelves #87 - BIRTHDAY BOOK HAUL AND POSSIBLY LARGEST BOOK HAUL EVER


Guess who's no longer sixteen?! MEEE!!! I turned 17 last Thursday and I had such a wonderful day filled with books and friends and cake and it was marvelous. I always love having a birthday because I feel like a princess and isn't that one of the best ways to feel?!

I think yes.

Because of that I have quite a big haul today as my parents and friends bought me books (THANK YOU SO MUCH) and then I went to the library and although I exercised self-control the last time I went, this time...I didn't. 

SO! BEHOLD! 

My 17th Birthday Book Haul!

LOOK HOW PRETTY THEY ARE. I'm super, super happy with all the books I was so kindly given. Once I finish my library books I'm going to hole myself up in my room for a week and devour these wonders.


I'm especially excited for The Bane Chronicles which I've been wanting since I heard it was going to be released, Rebel of the Sands because it's a Middle Eastern fantasy which just sounds phenomenal, Looking for Alaska as I'm on a John Green kick at the moment, Throne of Glass because I've heard nothing but good things about the series and after reading A Court of Thorns and Roses I'm ecstatic to see what else Maas has written. To All the Boys I've Loved Before as Jenny Han wrote the Summer trilogy which is one of my all-time favorites, Rogue because TALON WAS FREAKING AMAZING and Tuesdays with Morrie because I read a blog post praising this author and it does sound like a fantastic book. When we popped into a few second hand bookshops I also saw When God Was a Rabbit and Sense of Sensibility, both books I'm curious about. An Abundance of Katherines is also in that pile but I bought that a few weeks back and thought I would include it! Super excited to read that, too.

Library Books:


LOOK HOW GOOD THEY LOOK. LOOOOK.

Review Books:


It's quite funny, I actually saw More of Me on Instagram and I was like, holy flip this book looks amazing! And then a couple of weeks later I got it to review. YAY!

I also got Radio Silence by Alice Oseman which I think is going to be phenomenal! 


SO TELL ME! What books have you recently added to your TBR pile? Have you read any of these? Would you like to read any of these? Which one should I read first?!
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Thursday, 18 February 2016

Storm by Brigid Kemmerer blew me away (awful pun intended)



Storm (Elemental, #1)Title: Storm
Series: Elementals #1
Author: Brigid Kemmerer
Genre: Young Adult, Paranormal
Publication: April 24th 2012, Kensington
Pages: 320 Pages, Paperback
Rating: 4/5 Cupcakes!
Source: Thank you to Netgalley for sending me this book in exchange for an honest review!
Secrets are hard to keep when your life's at stake.
Becca Chandler is suddenly getting all the guys; all the ones she doesn't want. When she saves Chris Merrick from a beating in the school parking lot, everything is about to change. Chris is different from the guys at school... really different. He can control water just like his brothers can control fire, wind, and earth. The brothers are powerful and dangerous. And now that Becca knows the truth, so is she.
When the mysterious new kid, Hunter, turns up, Becca thinks she can trust him. But when he goes head-to-head with Chris, Becca's left wondering who's hiding the most dangerous truth of all.

The Elementals series has always been a series that piqued my interest as, ever since I was a little girl, I've loved the idea of being able to have "powers" that would enable me to harness certain elements. So this book with it's paranormal components combined with four hot brothers, secrets and sizzling romance  did a marvelous job of sweeping me away and allowing me to get a taste of my long-lost childhood dreams.

Storm isn't apprehensive to dive headfirst into action and drama. As soon as you get past that enchanting cover you're immediately sucked into a whirlwind of adventure that'll leave you breathless. Storm centers around sixteen year old Becca who after leaving her self-defense class hears a fight breaking out and chases the instigators with her car, inadvertently saving the life of Chris Merrick, a boy in her school. After driving him home to the house he lives in with his three older brothers and being rudely interrogated by them, Becca begins to sense there's more to the brothers than meets the eye. As she begins to form a friendship with Chris and with the new boy at her school, Hunter, and danger begins to attack her from all directions, a paranormal sort of danger, Becca is adamant to get to the bottom of things. Learning things about not only the Merrick brothers, but herself, that her wildest dreams couldn't have contained.

I really enjoyed Storm, more than I thought I would! The characters were real and fleshed out and they each had their own distinct  personalities which was vital as there were quite a few main characters.

I really liked Becca, she was sweet and caring but that didn't make her any less eager to jump into the action and uncover the mysteries beginning to surround her. What I really liked about Becca was that she wasn't always this strong, confident fighter that many YA books unrealistically contain. She often felt insecure, uncertain and afraid but that didn't stop her from chasing away enemies with her car or throwing a punch when need be. She was realistic, she wasn't your typical bold and devil may care kind of character which was brilliant! I also felt so bad for her as she was a victim of slut-shaming due to vicious rumors spread by her ex-boyfriend and I can just imagine how awful it is to be in a situation where everybody believes you're something you aren't.

I absolutely adored Chris Merrick, one of the love interests. He was so kind and respectful and sweet and GAH I JUST UTTERLY ADORED HIM. You could see he felt quite insecure and left out by his brothers and I just wanted to hug him because it felt like he wasn't very confident in himself and I just felt so sorry for him. I also love how Chris tried to protect Becca but at the same time he wasn't overbearing about it.

I also really liked Hunter. For most of the book I was absolutely in love with him but towards the end...well, I'm not exactly sure where I stand with him anymore. He was incredibly charming and sweet and I loved how protective he was of Becca. As I said previously, there's loads of false rumors circling Becca and I appreciated the fact that he looked past that, he respected her, he saw her for her and didn't allow his view on her be jaded by malicious words that had been spat by unsavory characters. But… like Becca, I question how much of their relationship was genuine. If you read the book, you'll see what I mean.

The four other characters who frequented the novel were Michael, Nick and Gabriel (Chris' brothers) and Quinn, Becca's best friend. The brothers are all very guarded and secretive and therefore quite snappy so it took me awhile to warm up to them, but by the end of the novel I did view them in a better light. The way they protected each other, the banter and just the general brotherly love between the four put a smile on my face. Each brother was so different from each other and I'm so happy that their voices were so distinctive. The only thing I didn't like about the brothers was that they made a couple of statements about girls staying the night and such that hinted at them being players. Nick and Gabriel also listened to the rumors about Becca and made comments about them to her, which made me quite angry but by the end of the novel, they understood things better.

I didn't really hold affectionate feelings for Quinn, Becca's best friend, she often made derogatory, slut-shaming comments towards Becca which really irked me. If your best friend comments things suggesting that you're something you're not, or makes petty comments about a subject that weighs you down, then they're not exactly your best friend, are they? I also felt like Becca and Quinn's relationship wasn't that great, they both made comments to each other and they described each other with quite negative adjectives but they did show that they really cared about each other despite that so...I'm not sure? I wasn't sold on their friendship.

NOW LET'S SPEAK ABOUT THE ROMANCE BECAUSE HOLY CUTENESS. So, at first I was worried that most of the brothers would fall in love with Becca and it would be a catastrophic mess but luckily only one of the brothers fell for her and I am SO GLAD that that brother was Chris. Like I said he's a really lovely guy and all though his brothers told him about the rumors and warned him to stay away due to what they believed was true about Becca, he didn't care about the rumors. He, like Hunter, saw her for her and not the false image that people had constructed of her. THEY WERE SO FREAKING CUTE. I haven't flailed and squawked about two characters for quite a while but these two had me smiling and flapping my hands like a demented chicken because they were just so adorable. We have Chris who is insecure and lovable and just an adorable character and then we have Becca who is afraid to trust and fall in love, but when these two meet you can just see how great they'll be for each other. The boy who wants to love and the girl that is afraid to love, it was so wonderful. MY HEART.


There is a love triangle but it's mostly resolved by the end of the book. The other love interest was Hunter. The new boy in town whose arms are adorned with crystal bracelets, who has a snow white streak running through his blonde hair, who has extreme knowledge on several self-defense arts and who has a calm, silent disposition that emanates secrets, danger and intrigue. I really adored Hunter. I loved the way he handled people who threatened him, I LOVED his dog and his relationship with his dog, I loved how he was (mostly) always there to protect Becca and I just loved how unique his character was. He'll have you swooning, that's for sure! Most of the book I could hardly decide who I shipped Becca with. 

Image result for troy bolton confused gif

HUNTER?


OR CHRIS?

But the answer is Chris. Because I love him. Him and Becca are just so great together. Ahem.

The plot was great too! It was action-packed, it was fast-paced and there wasn't a singular dull moment. There were plot twists that left me with my mouth hanging open and I look forward to seeing how the characters deal with certain revelations in the following novels.

The only two things I didn't like about Storm was that I thought Becca's reactions to certain things weren't very realistic and the offensive comments made in this book. Regarding the former issue, there's a couple of things revealed to her throughout the book that would cause most people to near faint in shock but she barely acknowledged it and was generally like "Okay. Cool." whenever something happened and I was thinking HOW CAN YOU BE THAT CALM?! HOW?! It wasn't realistic at all and I'm pretty sure it would've evoked more emotion in her than the author allowed there to be.



Another thing, there is slut-shaming in this book and some of the guys, especially guys we're supposed to feel affectionate to, make some comments that seem to, well, not quite objectify women, but not exactly hold them with high value either. Although the comments said about Becca and some of the guys' comments were highly realistic, there were unnecessary sentences that could have been avoided.

Overall, Storm was an exhilarating story that was a fantastic start to what I believe is going to be an explosive series. With an adorable romance, attractive guys with the ability to control the elements, plot twists laced throughout and witty one-liners, Storm will blow you away.

I give it: 4/5 Cupcakes!

- There's an almost rape scene
-Slut-shaming
- Underage drinking
- Car accident

- A few swear words scattered through out ("f" word being one of them)
- Violence between some male characters






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Sunday, 14 February 2016

Valentine's Week #4 - My favorite love stories


HAPPY VALENTINES DAY!

I hope you have all had a wonderful day, whether it be with a significant other, a group of friends or in your own company with movies, books, fluffy socks and chocolates. I have spent the day rearranging my bookshelf, wishing my book boyfriends would come to life, consuming large amounts of chocolate and speaking to my best friend on Skype. Not a bad way to spend the day!

I thought for my last post of Valentine's Week, I would compile a list of my favorite love stories. I utterly adore the idea of an enchanting meeting with the person you might spend all your days with. In real life that may not be a common occurrence but in books it luckily happens quite frequently, which makes my hopeless romantic heart dance with joy.

  

A couple of these books may be the same ones I talked about in my favorite OTP quotes, but I'm just so completely in love with these books that it would be ridiculous to not speak about my love for them.

1. The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

No matter how many books I read, this is a book that will forever hide the piece of my heart that it stole when it allowed me to open my copy and be consumed by this story. The beauty of Hazel and Gus' relationship still manages to leave me with tears running down my face as I think of the tragic circumstances they were in and the beautiful miracle of meeting each other that came out of it. It still breaks my heart to think that a love so beautiful was snatched away but I'm so grateful that they were able to experience a love like that in the short time they had together.

2. If I Stay/Where She Went by Gayle Forman

I CAN'T CONTAIN MY FEELINGS FOR THESE BOOKS. I absolutely adored Mia and Adam's relationship, how different they were, but how much they accepted and loved each other. The things Adam was willing to go through in order for Mia to be happy, even though he knew it would completely annihilate me, made me break my heart. It's such a beautiful story of falling in love despite your differences, finding someone who loves you for you and letting go of the one you love the most just so that it'll be easier for them to smile.

3. My Life Next Door by Huntley Fitzpatrick

I read this book a few years back so I can't remember much but I remember how Jace and Sam's romance made me giggle hysterically and clutch the book to my heart squealing like a fangirl with increasingly high unrealistic expectations when it comes to romance, which is what I am. I've always loved the idea of a a boy next door type of romance and this book just made me fall in love with that idea even more! I also love how involved Sam became with Jace's family, it just made me sigh happily.

4. The Summer I Turned Pretty by Jenny Han

This will always remain one of my favorite trilogies! One of my favorite romances is one between a guy and a girl best friend that turn into something more. Jenny Han executed this perfectly. I absolutely LOVED the dynamics between Belly and Conrad and I absolutely adored how they were such good friends and then more than that. IT MAKES MY HEART HAPPY.

5. Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins

I adored Anna and Etienne! I still remember reading this Christmas 2013 and I was happily swept up in their wonderful romance. I loved their playful banter and their strong friendship but I also loved how realistic it was that they kept their feelings hidden in order to maintain this friendship. I absolutely adored Anna and Etienne's relationship, IT WAS SO CUTE.

6. The Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling

RON AND HERMIONE. When I read the first four books when I was twelve I shipped Harry and Hermione and now I don't know what I was thinking. I still haven't managed to get my hands on a copy of the 7th book (CRY FOR ME)but from what I've read in previous books I love Ron and Hermione's love story. I love how they are best friends, Ron is goofy and playful and a slacker when it comes to certain things and Hermione is serious and organized and his polar opposite, but they're so...good together. They strengthen each other and they're there for each other and they'd do anything for each other and GAH I JUST LOVE THEM SO MUCH. Once again a best friend to something more, but in this case, they didn't want to admit they had feelings for each other, despite how obvious it was if you looked close enough.

7. Dare You To by Katie McGarry

Beth and Ryan's story made me bawl my eyes out and then smile like a giddy idiot. I absolutely adore their love story. Their little challenges, the fact that their relationship started out as a dare and transformed into something much more. I love how they slowly learned to trust each other and how these two broken people made each other whole. 

Okay, all these Valentine's posts are making me want to reread all of these books because they're just so amazing and they're phenomenal stories. If you haven't read them, then you most definitely should!

I hope you enjoyed my Valentine's posts. What are your favorite love stories?
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