My Top Books of 2017

Sunday, 31 December 2017

2017 was another really busy year for me, but I was able to read 58 books which is a great total for me, and I was able to give more to this blog and my reviewing over the year!!

Some Stats from 2017

Books Written by Male Authors: 33
Books Written by Female Authors: 21
Books Written by Both Male and Female Authors: 5

Physical Books Read: 34
Ebooks Read: 24

11 books were read for my University courses

My most popular genre of books were Classics (probably because I had to read a lot of them for Uni!!)

20,853 total pages read, or 57.13 on average per day.

My most common rating was a 4/5 stars!

In no particular order, here are my top 12 reads of the year!!

1. The Rest of Us Just Live Here- Patrick Ness

2. The Tobacconist- Robert Seethaler

3. The Keeper of Lost Things- Ruth Hogan

4. Hamilton: The Revolution

5. How To Stop Time- Matt Haig

6. The Sixteen Trees of the Somme- Lars Mytting

7. Illuminae- Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff

8. Release- Patrick Ness

9. The Yellow Wall-Paper- Charlotte Perkins Gilman

10. La Belle Sauvage- Philip Pullman

11. The Watchmaker of Filigree Street- Natasha Pulley

12. Gemina- Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff

Let me know your favourite (or least favourite) reads of the year!!

Book Review- Midnight at the Bright Ideas Bookstore

Thursday, 28 December 2017
Title: Midnight at the Bright Ideas Bookstore
Author: Matthew J. Sullivan
Published: 13th June 2017
Pages: 336
Genre: Fiction, Mystery

Rating: 4/5 stars

When a bookshop patron commits suicide, his favorite store clerk must unravel the puzzle he left behind in this fiendishly clever debut novel from an award-winning short story writer.
Lydia Smith lives her life hiding in plain sight. A clerk at the Bright Ideas bookstore, she keeps a meticulously crafted existence among her beloved books, eccentric colleagues, and the BookFrogs—the lost and lonely regulars who spend every day marauding the store’s overwhelmed shelves.
But when Joey Molina, a young, beguiling BookFrog, kills himself in the bookstore’s upper room, Lydia’s life comes unglued. Always Joey’s favorite bookseller, Lydia has been bequeathed his meager worldly possessions. Trinkets and books; the detritus of a lonely, uncared for man. But when Lydia flips through his books she finds them defaced in ways both disturbing and inexplicable. They reveal the psyche of a young man on the verge of an emotional reckoning. And they seem to contain a hidden message. What did Joey know? And what does it have to do with Lydia?
As Lydia untangles the mystery of Joey’s suicide, she unearths a long buried memory from her own violent childhood. Details from that one bloody night begin to circle back. Her distant father returns to the fold, along with an obsessive local cop, and the Hammerman, a murderer who came into Lydia’s life long ago and, as she soon discovers, never completely left. Bedazzling, addictive, and wildly clever, Midnight at the Bright Ideas Bookstore is a heart-pounding mystery that perfectly captures the intellect and eccentricity of the bookstore milieu and will keep you guessing until the very last page.​ -Goodreads
I received this novel from Net Galley in return for an honest review. 
I honestly read this book quite a few months ago so this is going to be a pretty brief review!!
The first thing that attracted me to this book was the title and the cover. I love stories set in bookstores (who wouldn't?) so this was an obvious request on Net Galley and I was super excited to see I had been approved!! 
This novel is quite a mix of genres; it's literary fiction, it's mystery and it's a thriller. It isn't a detective novel however, there are no police involved, which was a refreshing change for me. I enjoyed reading a novel where all the detecting was done by normal members of the public. 
This novel has a brilliantly dark murder scene in it, which is so well described by the author, and elevated this novel in my mind from just any old mystery novel. If you are a little squeamish perhaps this isn't the novel for you, but apart from this murder scene, and a suicide scene there isn't much graphic violence. 
This novel balances both the present day, and Lydia's childhood as two narrative threads, which it soon becomes apparent are tightly intertwined. The author cleverly built this narrative structure to keep the reader as engaged as possible, and it worked perfectly with me, I found this novel very difficult to put down. 
I was also completely enthralled with trying to solve the cryptic puzzles that Joey left behind in the novels. I thought this was a ingenious idea for a puzzle and was very cleverly used by the author.
I thought the characters in this novel were excellent. Lydia was very interesting to read about, and once we learn more about her childhood, her adult personality makes much more sense. I also really enjoyed reading about the relationship between Lydia and her father. They both experienced such a trauma in their past, it was fascinating to see how that had affected them in the present. There was an eclectic mix of supporting characters in the novel, all of which were well developed and well written by the author. 
Overall I really enjoyed this novel and gave it 4/5 stars. It was an interesting, and at times dark take on a mix of genres which made for a moving and exciting novel. 

Happy reading!! 

Book Review- The Lemon Tree Cafe

Thursday, 21 December 2017
Title: The Lemon Tree Cafe
Author: Cathy Bramley
Published: 24th August 2017
Pages: 464
Genre: Fiction, Romance, Contemporary

Rating: 4/5 stars

The Lemon Tree Cafe was originally published as a four-part serial. This is the complete story in one package.When Rosie Featherstone finds herself unexpectedly jobless, the offer to help her beloved Italian grandmother out at the Lemon Tree Cafe – a little slice of Italy nestled in the rolling hills of Derbyshire – feels like the perfect way to keep busy.
Surrounded by the rich scent of espresso, delicious biscotti and juicy village gossip, Rosie soon finds herself falling for her new way of life. But she is haunted by a terrible secret, one that even the appearance of a handsome new face can't quite help her move on from.
Then disaster looms and the cafe’s fortunes are threatened . . . and Rosie discovers that her nonna has been hiding a dark past of her own. With surprises, betrayal and more than one secret brewing, can she find a way to save the Lemon Tree Cafe and help both herself and Nonna achieve the happy endings they deserve? -Goodreads

I received this novel from Net Galley in return for an honest review.
This is a warm, light-hearted novel which was perfect to pick up at University when I wanted something easy to read between my classics from English and my psychology textbooks!!
In this novel we follow the character of Rosie, who begins to work in her Grandmother's cafe in rural Derbyshire in England after leaving her PR job in the city.
I loved the descriptions of the cafe, and the surrounding countryside. It sounded like such a perfect place, it was just a lovely atmosphere to be reading about!
The novel has its drama, as you might expect to keep you engaged and interested. I will admit that some felt a bit contrived and blown out of proportion for the sake of the story, but overall I still enjoyed the plot and the novel as a whole. A lot of the drama in this novel could have been averted by everyone just communicating a bit better, but then where would the plot come from huh!!
This novel had a pretty good set of characters; Rosie was irritating at times but for the most part I liked her character enough to keep reading. Her romantic interest was called Gabe, he was ok too, but a little disappointing overall. He wasn't particularly loveable, he seemed a little underdeveloped and could've done with more about his backstory and his character being in this novel. He had a young son in the novel called Noah, and he was probably my favourite character in the whole novel. He was adorable and funny and just too cute!!
There is a very odd rape scene and a transgender boyfriend character in this novel which made very little sense to me. I won't go into details about it because of spoilers, but it definitely reduced my enjoyment of the novel and it just seemed really wrong in the context it was in.
Overall I gave this novel 4/5 stars, and I enjoyed it as the light read that I needed it to be. However I was disappointed by certain scenes which I believe could have been written and handled better, or completely omitted.

Happy reading!!

Bookish (And Not So Bookish) Thoughts

Wednesday, 20 December 2017

This is a weekly blog meme hosted by Bookishly Boisterous (link here) where you can write about anything that's happening in your life, book related or not!

1. I'm so glad it's finally the Christmas break. The last semester at University seems to have lasted years and years! It's so nice to not have any work to do, I can relax without feeling guilty about all the work I should be doing!

2. I went back to work last Wednesday and Thursday. I'm always slightly concerned that things will have changed dramatically at work and I won't be sure what I'm doing but nothing had changed so I'm able to slip back in without any great hassle! 

3. We've had lots of snow over the last week, but the temperature has fluctuated a bit, and has turned into the snow into ice. The pavements and our drive is a sheet of solid ice. I basically ice skated my way to work this week, but I didn't fall... yet!!

4. On Saturday my parents and I took a trip to purchase fake floral wreaths for the family graves. Its always a mixed experience, its sad to visit the graves, but the wreaths always brighten them up so much and there's something so cheery about the bright flowers that makes me feel much better about the visit. 

5. On a slightly more cheery note, we also picked up our Christmas tree on Sunday. We always purchase a real tree, and always visit the same farm to purchase it from. Its a beautiful fir tree that makes the whole room smell delightfully of pine needles and festivity! I love once we buy the Christmas tree, it makes the room look much more festive, and I always get more into the Christmas feeling when the tree is decorated!!

6. This weeks tv/movies:
  • John Wick- I watched this at the weekend with my parents. It was a good action movie, quite bloody, it had a body count of about 120 kills during the movie, but it filled in a few hours!!
  • Criminal Minds Season 2- I'm re-watching this at the moment, I love Criminal Minds, and I forgot just how good the first few seasons are!
  • Manhunt: Unabomber Season 1- I just started watching this on Netflix, I've finished episode 1 and so far I'm really enjoying it. I love crime tv shows with a psychological element, and this one has that in bucket loads. 

Shelf Control 12 (19/12/17)

Tuesday, 19 December 2017
This is a weekly feature that I will be posting on a Tuesday, where I will be spotlighting a book that I have on my shelves that I haven't read. This is a great idea for a weekly post, as I have loads of unread books, and I find it really interesting to read why others have purchased and want to read certain books!! This is hosted by Bookshelf Fantasies.

This week's book:
Title: The Lies of Locke LamoraAuthor: Scott LynchPublished: 2006Pages: 499

Synopsis: In this stunning debut, author Scott Lynch delivers the wonderfully thrilling tale of an audacious criminal and his band of confidence tricksters. Set in a fantastic city pulsing with the lives of decadent nobles and daring thieves, here is a story of adventure, loyalty, and survival that is one part "Robin Hood", one part Ocean's Eleven, and entirely enthralling... An orphan's life is harsh — and often short — in the island city of Camorr, built on the ruins of a mysterious alien race. But born with a quick wit and a gift for thieving, Locke Lamora has dodged both death and slavery, only to fall into the hands of an eyeless priest known as Chains — a man who is neither blind nor a priest.A con artist of extraordinary talent, Chains passes his skills on to his carefully selected "family" of orphans — a group known as the Gentlemen Bastards. Under his tutelage, Locke grows to lead the Bastards, delightedly pulling off one outrageous confidence game after another. Soon he is infamous as the Thorn of Camorr, and no wealthy noble is safe from his sting.Passing themselves off as petty thieves, the brilliant Locke and his tightly knit band of light-fingered brothers have fooled even the criminal underworld's most feared ruler, Capa Barsavi. But there is someone in the shadows more powerful — and more ambitious — than Locke has yet imagined. Known as the Gray King, he is slowly killing Capa Barsavi's most trusted men — and using Locke as a pawn in his plot to take control of Camorr's underworld. With a bloody coup under way threatening to destroy everyone and everything that holds meaning in his mercenary life, Locke vows to beat the Gray King at his own brutal game — or die trying... -Goodreads

How/When I Got It:
I bought this novel in a fantasy box set a few years ago. I have been slowly working my way through the books in it, but for some reason I've never felt the urge to pick this one up.

Why I Want To Read It:
I love fantasy books which is why I bought the box set, and this one sounds like a good read!

Happy reading!
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It's Monday, What Are You Reading?

Monday, 18 December 2017

This meme is hosted by Kathryn at the Book Date.
I'm so happy it's Christmas break! I'm planning on reading loads of books over the break, so hopefully the blog will be a little busier!

What I Read Last Week:

The Girl on the Train- Paula Hawkins
I saw the movie starring Emily Blunt when it first came out in cinemas, but I didn't get around to reading the novel until now. It was ok, but nothing special. 

What I'm Currently Reading: 

Up Next:

How My Reading Habits Have Changed

Sunday, 17 December 2017

  • When I first seriously started reading, I was maybe 12/13 and I was massively into YA Paranormal novels. I devoured the Twilight series, and then read everything else YA that came out in a similar genre. This obsession went on for a few years, I was probably 15/16 when I became less obsessed with the Paranormal, and moved on to Dystopian novels. You can track these changes in conjunction with big series that came out, Twilight, and then The Hunger Games. Once I had exhausted everything YA dystopian my interest in YA dropped a lot. From about 16/17 onwards I began to read less YA and more adult fiction. This is about where I am now, I read loads of adult fiction, with only the occasional YA if it catches my interest. I also read a lot more poetry and classics because of my degree, I probably wouldn't read much poetry (it's not my fave) but I do love classics a lot!

  • I've also stopped being so hard on myself in regards to finishing a book. I used to force myself to finish every book I picked up, sometimes taking weeks to get through 1 book just because I felt obliged to read it all. Now I give the novel about 100 pages and if I don't enjoy it I just stop. I've also stopped feeling like I have to read every book I own, now I cull my books every couple of months, and I donate them to charity shops if I know I don't want to read them anymore! This has definitely helped me relax into my reading more, I don't feel pressure to read everything, and I'm open with myself if I know I'm not enjoying a novel.

  • I still carry a book with me at all times, but I don't get down on myself if I don't read for a few days/weeks. I have a lot going on in my life, and I realise this, so sometimes reading has to take a back seat, and that's ok! Sometimes to get my reading back up I have to pick up something light and frothy, and that's ok too!

  • When I first started reviewing books on this blog I reviewed every single book I read, and I felt that I had to write lots on each review, they were basically (poorly written) essays. I'm no where near as strict on myself now, I don't review every book I read, I review ARCs and E-galleys, and if I felt particularly strongly I might review a book I purchased myself, but for the most part I try to keep reviewing light and fun. I have also relaxed my rules on myself in terms of the content of the review. I don't need to write an essay for every review, and they don't have to be beautifully structured, I can make them as short, and as casual as I want to, it's my review after all!! I felt the pressure was too much, so by keeping the reviews light and keeping the work load small I am able to better balance reading/reviewing and the rest of my life!

Let me know how your reading habits have changed, or maybe they haven't changed at all!

Book Review- The Lost Causes

Thursday, 12 October 2017
Title: The Lost Causes
Author: Alyssa Embree Schwartz & Jessica Koosed Etting
Published: 5th September 2017
Pages: 344
Genre: YA, Mystery, Fantasy

Rating: 3.5/5

Misfits. Outcasts. And the only ones who can find a killer.
They’re the last people you’d ask to help with anything, much less a murder investigation. The rich girl, the obsessive, the hypochondriac, the addict and the hot-tempered athlete—people think they’re beyond help. Lost causes. But where the world sees losers, the FBI sees its only hope.
With the help of a dangerous serum, the FBI erases the teens’ past problems and unlocks a psychic ability within each of them. In return, all they have to do is help find the killer who’s turned their small town upside down.
But as they close in on a suspect, they expose a conspiracy that puts them directly in harm’s way and makes them wonder who—if anyone—they can really trust.
If anything happens to them, will anyone even care?-Goodreads
I received a copy of this novel from Net Galley and Kids Can Press in return for an honest review.
This is a YA novel about a group of teens who are chosen to receive a serum from the FBI that gives them certain psychic/mental powers. The thing that the teens all have in common is that they are all "lost causes" (see what the authors did there?) who have been abandoned by teachers and parents etc.
All the teens have mental or behavioural issues, and they felt very realistically "teenage". The authors have done a good job of capturing the voice of teens.
The authors do a good job of creating a mix of characters for this novel too, and although some of the teenagers felt a little like caricatures at times, overall the characters felt realistic for the high school/teenage setting.
This is a mystery novel, and the mystery was good and it did have some unexpected twists and turns which kept the plot moving and kept the story itself interesting. The mystery was difficult enough to make me want to continue reading the novel, and actually I finished this novel very quickly. 
The novel features a romance between two of the teens which was well written by the authors, it was cute and felt realistic, and provided a nice minor plot line within the main story. However, there is also a romance between one of the teenagers and one of the FBI handlers assigned to look after them. This felt quite inappropriate to me, he was 22 and she 17 so age difference/legality wasn't an issue, it was more the feeling of it being an abuse of his power over her, and it just didn't sit right when I was reading it.
Overall I enjoyed this novel, it is an interesting YA mystery, with some good mental health portrayals. My enjoyment was only slightly dampened by a romance that felt inappropriate.

Book Review- The Border

Thursday, 5 October 2017
Title: The Border
Author: Steve Schafer
Published: 5th September 2017
Pages: 364
Genre: YA, Thriller, Contemporary

Rating: 4/5 stars

One moment changed their lives forever.
A band plays, glasses clink, and four teens sneak into the Mexican desert, the hum of celebration receding behind them.
Crack. Crack. Crack.
Not fireworks―gunshots. The music stops. And Pato, Arbo, Marcos, and Gladys are powerless as the lives they once knew are taken from them.
Then they are seen by the gunmen. They run. Except they have nowhere to go. The narcos responsible for their families' murders have put out a reward for the teens' capture. Staying in Mexico is certain death, but attempting to cross the border through an unforgiving desert may be as deadly as the secrets they are trying to escape... -Goodreads
I received a copy of this novel from Net Galley and Sourcebooks Fire in return for an honest review.
I was really intrigued by the premise of this novel, especially as it is written as a Young Adult novel. The book is about 4 Mexican teens crossing the border into the USA to escape a drug cartel who mean to murder them.
With the Mexico/US border featuring in the news recently I thought this was a very topical novel, and also a very clever and sensitive way to draw attention to the border through a young adult novel and through teenage protagonists.
This is a fast paced novel, the action flows pretty much non-stop, and it's a nail biting novel from start to finish. The main characters find themselves in life-threatening situations constantly, and Schafer did a good job of making them feel realistic and tense, but still managed to keep the narrative thread going.
The group of characters that Schafer has created were a fascinating group to read about. They were all individual characters, and Schafer seems to have captured the voice of teenagers well, which can be tricky in YA.
The only aspect of the novel I wasn't so keen on was the elements of romance that the author included. It felt baseless and seemed to appear out of nowhere simply to tick the "romance box" in the novel. It also irritated me that the only female main character was included in this romance, it suggested to me that she had only been included to be this romantic interest to another character.
Overall I thought this was a pretty good YA novel about a subject I have never read about, and actually know very little about.

My September Anticipated Releases!!

Wednesday, 30 August 2017
There are loads of great books out in September in the UK, which is a problem for me because Uni begins and I just know that I'm going to have no time to read! Never mind, I'm still really excited for them all!

Odd & True- Cat Winters

I, Eliza Hamilton- Susan Holloway Scott

The Lost Causes- Jessica Koosed Etting & Alyssa Embree Schwartz

This Side of Murder- Anna Lee Huber

Daughter of the Burning City- Amanda Foody

The Border- Steve Schafer

American War- Omar El Akkad

Alex and Eliza- Melissa de la Cruz

Book Review- The Sixteen Trees of the Somme

Tuesday, 29 August 2017
Title: The Sixteen Trees of the Somme
Author: Lars Mytting
Published: 10th August 2017
Pages: 408
Genre: Fiction

Rating: 4.5/5 stars

By Norway's bestselling novelist and the author of NORWEGIAN WOOD, a family story of epic scale. 
"An intricate story about war, family, secrets and, yes, wood ... An engaging, satisfying read" The TimesEdvard grows up on a remote mountain farmstead in Norway with his taciturn grandfather, Sverre. The death of his parents, when he was three years old, has always been shrouded in mystery - he has never been told how or where it took place and has only a distant memory of his mother.
But he knows that the fate of his grandfather's brother, Einar, is somehow bound up with this mystery. One day a coffin is delivered for his grandfather long before his death - a meticulous, beautiful piece of craftsmanship. Perhaps Einar is not dead after all.
Edvard's desperate quest to unlock the family's tragic secrets takes him on a long journey - from Norway to the Shetlands, and to the battlefields of France - to the discovery of a very unusual inheritance. The Sixteen Trees of the Somme is about the love of wood and finding your own self, a beautifully intricate and moving tale that spans an entire century. -Goodreads
I received a copy of this novel from Net Galley and Quercus Books in return for an honest review.
This novel is translated from Norwegian by an extremely talented translator called Paul Russell Garrett, and he deserves serious credit for the beautiful language this novel contains. The writing is descriptive and powerful and emotive, and in terms of the beauty and skill of writing this novel is stunning. 
The setting of this novel moves from a farm in Norway to an island off Shetland in Scotland, and a forest in France near the Somme. The author manages to make these three different places feel unique and feel so real and so full of history and depth. This novel is a wonderful example of the craft of writing.
The story itself is a fascinating one, Sverre (the main character) tries to find out about his family history, and what really caused his parents' deaths when he was 4. The two strands are interwoven very well, and we slowly get to see the full story of Sverre as he discovers it.
The historical aspects are also excellent, it actually feels like I have learnt a lot from this novel, both about the Somme in World War I, and other elements too.
The author of this novel, Mytting, also wrote the bestselling book Norwegian Wood, which is a non-fiction book about wood basically. This love and interest of wood is inherently obvious in this novel too. You can't help but get swept up in his love of trees and wood itself, and the beautiful images his words create. It was also fascinating to read about the symbolism of the particular trees in the title.
Overall this was a beautiful novel, with wonderfully poetic prose, and a fascinating premise. I would highly recommend this novel to all!! 

Book Review- Among the Dead

Sunday, 27 August 2017
Title: Among the Dead
Author: J.R. Backlund
Published: 8th Aug 2017
Genre: Fiction, Thriller, Mystery

Rating: 4/5 stars

Ex-SBI agent Rachel Carver must hunt a group of killers on her own before time runs out in this gripping debut.
Former North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation agent Rachel Carver blames herself for the collateral death of an innocent woman in her last case. Unable to accept her superior's attempts to cover up the incident, she turned in her badge. But when a former partner asks her to consult on a new murder case, she reluctantly agrees, traveling to a small, remote mountain community, where she's tasked with leading a group of inexperienced detectives on a hunt for the killer. The trek has hardly begun when what seems to be the act of a loner proves to be much more as Rachel's team comes under attack-and a detective is killed in the fallout.
Now that the stakes have risen, Rachel's old employers at the SBI step in to take over the investigation. But Rachel, convinced they are on the wrong track, continues to work the case alone. And just as she delves into the town's past, she discovers a secret history that connects the victims-one that makes her the target of a man who would kill to keep it a secret. -Goodreads
I received a copy of this novel from Net Galley and Crooked Lane Books in return for an honest review.
This year has definitely been the year of mysteries an thrillers as far as my reading goes! I've read quite a few this year, and I'm pleased to say (despite the somewhat confusing cover) that this is by far one of the best I've read. 
The author has written an exciting and action packed plot, and it was written well. It kept me reading the whole time, with many twists and turns to keep me guessing!
My favourite part was definitely the character of Rachel (not just because we share a great name!!). She was very well written, she was a female character that was successful at her job, but still realistic and nuanced. The author took the time to develop her into more than just a successful agent. She was the main reason for my enjoyment, and I would definitely be interested in other novels about her.
In relation to the female main character, the author managed to not bombard the reader with forced romances which is often the case in these types of stories. There was a slight hint of romance but it never really developed into anything major which was a welcome relief to me. 
Overall I really enjoyed this novel, it is a well written and exciting police murder mystery, and I will definitely be keeping my eyes open for more of Backlund's work. 

Bout of Books 20 Update #3

Thursday, 24 August 2017

Currently Reading:

Books Completed:

Pages Read Today: 171

Total Pages Read: 484


I'm pretty pleased with this total, I didn't manage to finish the Patrick Ness novel, but I'm confident I'll finish it soon, as I'm really enjoying it!!

Happy reading!

Bout of Books Update #2

Wednesday, 23 August 2017

Currently Reading:

Books Completed:

Pages Read Today: 214

Total Pages Read: 313


I managed a lot more reading on Tuesday, and I managed to finish my first book!! Also I've picked up the new Patrick Ness novel which I know I can finish quickly.

Happy reading!

Bout of Books 20 Update #1

Tuesday, 22 August 2017

Currently Reading:


Pages Read Today: 99

Total Pages Read: 99


I'm happy with my total reading for Monday, I was working all day so I was pretty pleased to get any pages at all read!

Happy reading!

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!

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! 

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