Bout of Books 20

Sunday, 20 August 2017

If you've followed my blog for any length of time you'll know I like to participate in Bout of Books when I can. This will be my 3rd time taking part *yay* so I'm excited for it all to begin! I am working this week, so I'm not setting too much pressure on myself, I'm just going to read what I can.

If you're not aware of Bout of Books here you go:
The Bout of Books read-a-thon is organized by Amanda Shofner and Kelly @ Reading the Paranormal. It is a week long read-a-thon that begins 12:01am Monday, August 21st and runs through Sunday, August 27th in whatever time zone you are in. Bout of Books is low-pressure. There are challenges, giveaways, and a grand prize, but all of these are completely optional. For all Bout of Books 20 information and updates, be sure to visit the Bout of Books blog. - From the Bout of Books team
Feel free to join the fun, and happy reading!! 

Book Review- All Things New

Title: All Things New
Author: Lauren Miller
Published: 1st August 2017
Pages: 328
Genre: YA, Contemporary

Rating: 3/5

Jessa has always felt broken inside, but she’s gotten very good at hiding it. No one at school knows about the panic attacks, the therapy that didn't help, the meds that haven’t worked. But when a severe accident leaves her with a brain injury and visible scars, Jessa’s efforts to convince the world that she’s okay finally crumble—now she looks as shattered as she feels. 
Fleeing from her old life in Los Angeles, Jessa moves to Colorado to live with her dad, where she meets Marshall, a boy whose kindness and generous heart slowly draw Jessa out of her walled-off shell and into the broken, beautiful, real world—a place where souls get hurt just as badly as bodies, and we all need each other to heal.
ALL THINGS NEW is a love story about perception and truth, physical and emotional pain, and the messy, complicated people we are behind the masks we put on for the world, perfect for fans of ALL THE BRIGHT PLACES and THE FAULT IN OUR STARS. -Goodreads

I received a copy of this novel from Net Galley and Three Saints Press in return for an honest review.
I'm quite undecided about how I feel about this novel, there were elements I really liked, but I also disliked it too, so I thought a 3/5 rating was a fair rating, although I may change this. 
This novel is about Jessa, a teenager who suffers from anxiety and panic attacks, who after being involved in a car crash moves from LA to Colorado to live with her Dad. There she meets a boy called Marshall.
First off I thought this was a very well written portrayal of anxiety, it was realistic and also descriptive so it could be imagined by even those who don't suffer from anxiety. I really appreciated this, it gives readers a character they can relate to, and definitely brings more attention to anxiety and panic attacks. 
Miller's writing is emotive and descriptive, it allows us to feel exactly what Jessa is experiencing. Miller's writing is easy to read and as such the novel is a quick read.
However, I was slightly disappointed by a number of elements of this novel. I thought the character of Jessa was annoying to read, and some of her actions were bizarrely out of character. The way she treated her dad was one of these instances. It felt clunky and weirdly out of character.
Another thing that disappointed me about this novel was the romance itself. It felt a little forced to me, and seemed like it came out of no where, although I do love Marshall as a character. He was funny and charming and very caring, so I did enjoy reading about him!! However, I kind of hated the way that Jessa got a boyfriend which helped her to deal with her mental health. I hate when the author tries to write a boyfriend into a story as some sort of 'cure'. 
But my main disappointment with this novel was the Christian/religious undercurrent that suddenly appeared in the novel. There was no mention of this in the blurb, but it becomes very strong towards the end of the novel. This might be a slight *spoiler* but angels start to play a part in the novel, and the way it's written it seems to suggest that Jessa was helped by the angels, and God. This suggested to me that the author is suggesting that you need religion to help/save yourself from mental health problems. This is disappointing to me, in a YA novel, especially when there is no warning in the blurb.
Overall, I gave this novel 3/5 stars, it was a fairly accurate portrayal of anxiety, but it had disappointing themes which weren't made obvious, and could've been triggering to some readers. 

Book Beginnings and The Friday 56

Friday, 18 August 2017
On Fridays I will share excerpts from whatever I am reading that day. First, Book Beginnings hosted by Rose City Reader  then The Friday 56 hosted by Freda's Voice.

First share the opening lines of your novel, then turn to page 56 (or 56%) and share a few lines!



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This week's novel is If The Creek Don't Rise- Leah Weiss

Beginning: "I struggle to my feet, straighten my back, lift my chin, then he hits me again."

56%: "The next morning, I find I didn't bolt the door against my slithering fears. The door doesn't even have a lock."

Thoughts: I'm enjoying this novel so far, but I'm only a little way through it so we'll see!

Happy reading!

Down The TBR Hole | Week 1

Tuesday, 15 August 2017
This is a blogging meme created by Lia at Lost in a Story. The aim is this:


  • Go to your goodreads to-read shelf.
  • Order on ascending date added.
  • Take the first 5 (or 10 if you’re feeling adventurous) books
  • Read the synopses of the books
  • Decide: keep it or should it go?
I have a terrible habit of adding novels to my Goodreads TBR all the time, most of which I don't own, currently I have 1350 books on it, which is a little intimidating! I don't actually own all these novels, hence the reason I want to go through them and clear some out that I know I don't want to read anymore!

Lets get right on with it!!


The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight- Jennifer E Smith

I added this novel to my TBR when it was popular, and I just never got around to actually buying and reading it. However, it does look like quite a cute, easy read, maybe perfect for a holiday!


Verdict: Keep





Revolution- Jennifer Donnelly

This is an intriguing novel with a split narrative between present day New York, and Paris in the 1700-1800s. I love historical reads, and I do still want to read this at some time!

Verdict: Keep






A Million Suns- Beth Revis

This is the second book in the Across the Universe trilogy. I own, and have read the first novel and I've always meant to get the trilogy finished.

Verdict: Keep






Daughter of Smoke and Bone- Laini Taylor

This is another novel that I added to my TBR during the hype, and just never got around to actually reading. However, having gone back and read the blurb, I don't think this is a novel I want to read anymore.


Verdict: Go







Royally Crushed- Niki Burnham

This is a bind up of the first 3 novels in this series, according to the Goodreads blurb its a romantic story about a girl and a Prince or something. I'm pretty sure I will never actually read this novel.


Verdict: Go







The Summer I Turned Pretty- Jenny Han



I'm not sure why I added this to my TBR, reading the blurb, I don't think I'll enjoy a YA novel about a girl choosing between 2 brothers, so this one is definitely going.

Verdict: Go






Night World No.1- L.J Smith



When I was younger I went through a Paranormal phase. It began with Twilight being released and I must have added this to my TBR at that time. It's no longer a genre I'm interested in, so this is an easy decision to make.

Verdict: Go






Graceling- Kristin Cashore



This looks like an intriguing novel, it reminds me a little of the Healer series by Maria V Snyder. I think I would enjoy this novel so hopefully I can get to it soon!

Verdict: Keep







Prophecy of the Sisters- Michelle Zink



First of all I just want to mention the cover of this novel, I think its gorgeous, and really creepy!! According to the blurb on Goodreads it's a YA novel about 2 twins and a prophecy. This is a novel that I would have been really interested in a few years ago, but it's not really my thing anymore!

Verdict: Go






I really like this meme, and I desperately need to reduce my TBR shelf, so hopefully this helps!

Thanks for reading! 

It's Monday, What Are You Reading?

Monday, 14 August 2017
This meme is hosted by Kathryn at the Book Date.

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I'm trying to up my reading this month, it's the last full month before Uni starts again, so my TBR and weekly reading goals are high! Hopefully I can reach these goals!!

What I Read Last Week:


The Sixteen Trees of the Somme- Lars Mytting
This is a beautifully written novel, I really enjoyed it, and there's a review to follow!

The Readymade Thief- Augustus Rose
I'm not sure how I feel about this novel, it was a complex and well developed plot idea but it was delivered rather limply. A review of this novel is coming soon too!











What I'm Currently Reading: 


Specials- Scott Westerfeld
This is the final book in the Uglies trilogy and I am determined that I am going to finish this trilogy by the end of the summer!












Up Next:





















Book Beginnings and The Friday 56

Friday, 11 August 2017
On Fridays I will share excerpts from whatever I am reading that day. First, Book Beginnings hosted by Rose City Reader  then The Friday 56 hosted by Freda's Voice.

First share the opening lines of your novel, then turn to page 56 (or 56%) and share a few lines!


~~~

This week's novel is The Readymade Thief by Augustus Rose.

Beginning: "To make your way to the DePaul Aquarium and Museum of Natural History, on Petty Island in the middle of the Delaware River, you can drive through New Jersey and over the only bridge."

56%: "Lee spent her time upstairs poking through the Caldwells' bedroom, rifling through drawers and closets, opening boxes and searching for secret hideaways, but the Caldwells were dull folk whose bookshelves were full of Christian cowboy romance novels and a series of Left Behind books as long as her arm."

Thoughts: I'm not sure how I feel about this novel yet, I'm not that far through it, and I'm not really sure what the plot is yet!!


Happy reading and have a great weekend!!

Book Review- Third Stone

Thursday, 10 August 2017
Title: Third Stone
Author: Rob Badcock
Published: 12th Nov 2016 
Series: Rib Meskitoe Trilogy #3

Rating: 3/5 stars

It is the year 2044. In a ramshackle hut at the far end of Cabbage Beach, Rib Meskitoe awakens from a nightmare to find two huge ravens sitting at the foot of his bed. One surreal laserflight later, Rib is admitted to Bletchley Intelligence Park, a secret training camp where elite Protectorate cadets are put through their paces on a strictly controlled diet of candyfloss and toffee apples. A chilling message from a mysterious set of song lyrics sends Rib on a helter-skelter dash in search of the Third Stone. The final play is made. The runes are cast. But the ice is coming... -Goodreads

My thanks to the author for a copy of this novel in return for an honest review!
This is the third and final novel in the story of Rib and his adventures, which began with a lottery ticket, and transported him across planets as a fugitive. I enjoyed the previous two novels in this series, and although it has been a few years since I last read about Rib, I was interested to see how his story would end. 
I remember this series being very imaginative, and this novel was no different, the author has created a very complex universe to set the story in, and I really enjoyed getting to know more about the worlds and the authorities etc in the places that Rib found himself in.
The characters are also a pretty eclectic bunch, and I enjoyed getting to read about them again too. Rib is still a great main character, he's cheeky and sarcastic! We also get to read more about Rita, which was my hope from the previous novel. She's probably my favourite character in this series, and she's still pretty awesome in this novel, although her story does feature a few twists and turns! 
This novel is pretty fast paced, its definitely action driven, which makes it a quick and easy read. It is also a very funny novel, in part due to Rib, but it's also due to the narration, there are loads of clever comments and place names and other details that are amusing.
As the final novel in the trilogy it wraps up the loose ends, and provides a satisfactory ending, not leaving the reader with any unanswered questions.
Overall I really enjoyed this novel and the series as a whole. It was action packed and amusing, and I would recommend the series if you are looking for a humorous read with space travel and Vikings among others!!

Book Review- Kid Normal

Thursday, 3 August 2017
Title: Kid Normal
Author: Greg James and Chris Smith
Published: 13th July 2017
Pages: 400
Genre: Children's fiction

Rating: 4.5/5

The first book in a laugh-out-loud funny adventure series for 8+ readers from popular radio personalities Greg James and Chris Smith.
When Murph Cooper rocks up to his new school several weeks into the beginning of term, he can't help but feel a bit out of his depth. 
And it's not because he's worried about where to sit, and making friends, and fitting in, or not knowing where the loos are. It's because his mum has enrolled him at a school for superheroes by mistake. And unlike his fellow students, who can all control the weather or fly or conjure tiny horses from thin air, Murph has no special abilities whatsoever. 
But just because you don't have superpowers, it doesn't mean you can't save the day. Let's hope Murph realises that, and quick - because not far away is a great big bad guy who is half man and half wasp, and his mind is abuzz with evil plans . 
It's time for Kid Normal to become a hero! 
Perfect for fans of David Solomons, David Baddiel and Danny Wallace. 
Featuring brilliant illustrations by Erica Salcedo throughout. -Goodreads

My thanks to Net Galley and Bloomsbury's UK for the review copy.
This is a middle grade/children's novel, but I enjoyed it a lot and I think its a novel that would appeal to older readers too. It is the story of Murph who accidentally gets enrolled at a Superhero school, but has no super power. However, he discovers that he doesn't need a superpower to actually be a hero.
This novel is funny and witty, and would be brilliant for adults to read to children, as there's lots of jokes and comments that would appeal to the adult too!!
The characters are likeable, Murph is a great role model type that would appeal to many youngsters, and he is joined by a rag-tag group of friends who are just as enjoyable to read about. 
There were also lots of great illustrations in the novel, and even though the copy I had didn't have all of them, it had enough of them to see how fun and quirky they were. This is a great added element, and will make reading it with children even more enjoyable and vivid!!
Overall I would highly recommend this novel to children and older readers alike, its funny and entertaining, and I'm looking forward to the next book when it comes! 

Happy reading!!

July Wrap Up!

Monday, 31 July 2017

With July now at an end, I only have 1 more month of summer left before University begins again in September! Although I will miss home and summer, I'm looking forward to my last year at Uni, I have some exciting projects lined up. July was an average month for reading, I would've liked to have read more, but I read all the review copies for July so there's that!


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Read:



How to Stop Time- Matt Haig
I reviewed this book here , and gave it 5/5 stars. It's a moving story of a man who cannot age, and his struggle to live when he cannot make a connection with anyone for any length of time.

Waste of Space- Gina Damico
I reviewed this novel here and I gave it 4/5 stars. This is a YA novel about a reality tv show which aims to send teenagers into space.


The Late Show- Michael Connelly
This was another review novel that I rated 3/5 stars, which you can read here if you want! This is the first novel in a new Detective series by Connelly, featuring a female detective!


Kid Normal- Greg James and Chris Smith
This is a children's novel about a boy who finds himself at a school for Superheroes without a superpower of his own. I really enjoyed this novel, and I gave it 4.5/5.





 


A Game of Thrones- George R R Martin
My aim is to read this series and watch the tv show, fingers crossed I can get around to it soon! I rated this novel 4/5 stars.

Third Stone- Rob Badcock
This is the final novel in a trilogy that I have been reading for a few years, and I was excited to get the next novel. I rated this 3/5 stars, and a review is coming!!






Watched:


The Loch
This was an ITV crime series set in Scotland (apparently near Loch Ness, but in a fictional town) where a body is found, and soon becomes one of many. I thought this was an ok show, it featured fairly accurate Scottish accents (which is always good!) but it was clumsy and the ending, although exciting left way to many unanswered questions!


Fearless
This was another ITV series last month, which was way too complicated and boring for me to really keep interested in, I watched the whole series, and frankly, I wish I hadn't bothered!




Listened To:

Numb/Encore- Jay-Z & Linkin Park









Foo Fighters







On the Blog: 
Book Review- The Late Show
Book Review- Waste of Space
Book Review- How To Stop Time
Book Review- The Child


Happy Reading!!

Book Review- The Late Show

Thursday, 27 July 2017
Title: The Late Show
Author: Michael Connelly
Published: 18th July 2017
Pages: 400
Genre: Fiction, Mystery, Thriller
Series: Renee Ballard #1

Rating: 3/5 stars

From #1 New York Times bestselling author Michael Connelly, a new thriller introducing a driven young detective trying to prove herself in the LAPD
Renée Ballard works the night shift in Hollywood, beginning many investigations but finishing none as each morning she turns her cases over to day shift detectives. A once up-and-coming detective, she's been given this beat as punishment after filing a sexual harassment complaint against a supervisor.
But one night she catches two cases she doesn't want to part with: the brutal beating of a prostitute left for dead in a parking lot and the killing of a young woman in a nightclub shooting. Ballard is determined not to give up at dawn. Against orders and her own partner's wishes, she works both cases by day while maintaining her shift by night. As the cases entwine they pull her closer to her own demons and the reason she won't give up her job no matter what the department throws at her. -Goodreads

My thanks to Net Galley and Orion Publishing Group for the review copy.
This is the first novel in a new detective series featuring Detective Renee Ballard, who works the night shift in the LAPD. I enjoyed reading about a female Detective, and the inherent sexism and casual jibes about being a woman that she had to deal with.  I always enjoy a novel led by a female, especially women in law enforcement, and this was one of the main draws to me reading this novel in the first place.
My main criticism of this novel is the writing itself. It is dull and dry and has absolutely no pace or excitement. At one point the author writes about a kidnapping, and somehow even manages to make that boring and void of any excitement or sense of danger. This lack of excitement and tension in a thriller novel is disappointing and made this novel dry and tiring to read for me. 
I did enjoy the character of Renee a lot, she was cool and kick-ass, and I enjoyed reading about her life and her paddle boarding etc, but this wasn't enough to keep my interest.
The rest of the characters are bland and under-developed and there is very little to say about any of them. They all lack characteristics or personalities, some fill cliches, and the rest are indistinguishable from each other.
You can tell from reading this novel that Connelly is either knowledgeable about police procedure or he has done a great deal of research, as this novel goes into great detail about the procedures, with many scenes filled with filling out forms and online reports. This would be perfect in a manual or a reference book, but in a thriller like this it felt unnecessary, and it made the novel even drier.
Overall I was disappointed by this novel, I was expecting a very exciting thriller with all the twists, but there are plenty better police thrillers available! 

Thanks for reading!!

Book Review- Waste of Space

Thursday, 20 July 2017
Title: Waste of Space
Author: Gina Damico
Published: 11th July 2017
Pages: 400
Genre: YA, Sci-Fi

Rating: 4/5 stars

Cram ten hormonal teens into a spaceship and blast off: that’s the premise for the ill-conceived reality show Waste of Space. The kids who are cast know everything about drama—and nothing about the fact that the production is fake. Hidden in a desert warehouse, their spaceship replica is equipped with state-of-the-art special effects dreamed up by the scientists partnering with the shady cable network airing the show. And it’s a hit! Millions of viewers are transfixed. But then, suddenly, all communication is severed. Trapped and paranoid, the kids must figure out what to do when this reality show loses its grip on reality. -Goodreads

My thanks to Net Galley and Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Books for Young Readers for the review copy.
I really enjoyed this YA novel, it is a fascinating and unique premise for a novel, and it was very fun to read! It's also easy and quick to read, I managed to read it all in one day, and it kept my interest the whole time. 
The premise of the novel is set up like a Big Brother style show, with cameras following the kids the whole time. As well as being an entertaining method, having it be told as a collection of evidence gathered by someone looking back on the events definitely helped hype up the excitement and the action that would come at the end of the novel.
Damico is a humourous writer, there were many moments where I actually laughed out loud. The novel is also a good satirical narrative on reality tv, and the society that spends its time watching it. 
Damico has written a nice cast of characters, she has captured the voice of teenagers well, the teenage characters who's voices we hear seem realistic and believable for their ages. But I did think that the characters were quite stereotypical , which I wasn't so keen on, it seemed a little lacking in imagination and creativity from Damico to think of any characters that weren't quite so obvious.
I was also a little disappointed by the ending of this novel. There's a specific event (no spoilers!!) that occurs that takes the novel from a "fairly" realistic premise to utterly ridiculous!
But with the exception of the ending and slightly disappointing character stereotypes, the novel was otherwise enjoyable, and I gave it 4/5 stars.

Happy reading!! 

Book Review- How to Stop Time

Thursday, 13 July 2017
Title: How to Stop Time
Author: Matt Haig
Published: 6th July 2017
Pages: 304
Genre: Fiction, Historical

Rating: 5/5 stars

I am old. That is the first thing to tell you. The thing you are least likely to believe. If you saw me you would probably think I was about forty, but you would be very wrong.
Tom Hazard has a dangerous secret.
He may look like an ordinary 41-year-old, but owing to a rare condition, he's been alive for centuries. From Elizabethan England to Jazz Age Paris, from New York to the South Seas, Tom has seen a lot, and now craves an ordinary life. Always changing his identity to stay alive, Tom has the perfect cover - working as a history teacher at a London comprehensive. Here he can teach the kids about wars and witch hunts as if he'd never witnessed them first-hand. He can try and tame the past that is fast catching up with him.
The only thing Tom mustn't do is fall in love.
How to Stop Time is a wild and bittersweet story about losing and finding yourself, about the certainty of change and about the lifetimes it can take to really learn how to live. -Goodreads

My thanks for the review copy I received from Net Galley and Canongate Books in return for an honest review.
This novel has already been snatched up to be a movie featuring Benedict Cumberbatch, and having read it I can absolutely see why it would make a great movie!
You can get an idea what the novel is about from the blurb above, but basically it involves a 439 year old called Tom, who ages extremely slowly, meaning he only looks to be in his 40s due to a condition called Anageria.
I absolutely loved this novel, and one of the big reasons was the different historical times and figures that Tom meets and experiences, and the way that Haig brings them to life on the page. Tom's meeting with a certain famous 1920s author was a particular favourite of mine!!
This novel has moments of serious action, but there are also long periods where there is limited action because this novel also spends a great deal of time pondering life and death, and what it really means to live. So, if you're looking for an action packed and fast paced novel this probably won't fit the bill. But, this novel will make you think. It's a powerful and deep narrative about life and living, and the inherent differences between the two. 
I felt a lot of sympathy for Tom, to see everyone around you grow old and die when you remain young would be emotionally and mentally very tough. I also hadn't really considered the difficulties that not ageing would pose in general life, but of course if you don't age people would grow suspicious. Tom has to move every 8 years so people don't grow suspicious, and this sounded like a very lonely and isolated existence, and Haig conveys this loneliness and sadness well in his writing, I could really feel it through the pages.
I have never read any of Haig's writing before, but after reading this novel I am definitely going to get my hands on some more. Haig's writing is some of the most powerful and touching I have ever read, he seems to understand human emotions, and be able to put them onto paper with a skill that is almost unbelievable. I gave this novel 5/5 stars, and I would highly recommend it to everyone! 

It's Monday, What Are You Reading?

Monday, 10 July 2017
This meme is hosted by Kathryn at the Book Date.

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I've been working a lot the past week, which is good for my book buying bank balance, but not so good for my actual reading!! So I only managed to get through 2 books for review, which means I'm still on schedule for reviews this month, but I would like to be reading a little bit more. Hopefully this week will be better!



What I Read Last Week:



How to Stop Time- Matt Haig
I really enjoyed this novel, Haig has a beautiful way of writing, and it really made me think about the difference between being alive and really living. I gave it 5/5 stars.





Waste of Space- Gina DamicoThis was the other July release that I read this month, about a reality show featuring teenagers in space. I thought this was an enjoyable read, but the ending let it down for me, 4/5 stars.












What I'm Currently Reading: 



The Late Show- Michael Connelly














Up Next:




Kid Normal- Greg James and Chris Smith














Happy reading everyone!
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