Saturday, May 27, 2017

P.S I Like You by Kasie West

5 Stars

“You’re my favorite way to pass the time. But time stands still when you’re on my mind.”  

25486998Oh my gosh. This is my first Kasie West novel (I know, shock horror), surely as a contemporary lover I should have at least read one Kasie West novel before. Nope, you thought wrong. The important this is, I may or may not be on my way to buy the rest of them.

This was fluffy and light and gorgeous. And I totally called the ending *insert insanely smug smile here*. I am a huge lover of fluff so this book of course satisfied everyone of my fluffy needs and it was just what I needed too.

I loved Lily, she is such a relatable character. She's so awkward and lovable. I love me some awkwardly relatable characters. I also love how thoughtful she is, some main characters can just be completely off in their own world completely ignoring everyone else but I don't think Lily is like that or at least not as much. That's one of my pet peeves, actually.

I loved Lily and Isabel's friendship. They really stuck by each other and I think Isabel is a beautiful soul. I love to see good friendships represented in books.

I loved the anticipation of trying to figure out who it was writing these letters and what was going to happen next. It made me turn pages like a madman honestly, I'm such a sucker for these kinds of books.

I loved it all. It was absolutely gorgeous. So fluffy and wonderful, it's one of the fluffiest books I've read in a while. It's really witty as well, I am also a sucker for wit. I love everything about it and I can't wait to get on to some of Kasie West's other books, I'm sure they're just as wonderfully delightful.

Saturday, May 20, 2017

All The Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr

3 Stars

“Don’t you want to be alive before you die?”

18143977I feel bad for rating this only three stars I'll explain that more in depth later on, I feel bad though because it's an excellent book as far as quality goes. This is going to be a hard review for me to write, I think purely based on the fact I have a lot to say but I'm not sure I have all the right words.

I desperately wanted to connect with this book. Desperately. I've seen so many rave reviews and it's a Pulitzer Prize winner so I was so excited about it. I just couldn't connect with it and this makes me so disappointed, I don't know that it is the books fault that I didn't connect but I just didn't this time around. I have decided I want to give it a go because I can see so much potential in this book and I just so badly want to connect with it, so hopefully that will happen sometime soon.

The writing was poetic and beautiful, I loved it. I love the writing style which makes it such a shame that I couldn't connect with it. Anthony Doerr has gorgeous story telling skills and this is why I'm giving this book another chance because I know it's absolutely stunning and something you see so rarely.

I struggled to follow the story and I'm hoping that the second time this will be easier. I followed Marie-Laure with ease but the rest of the stories I was only half following, I think I could be at fault for this. I liked Marie-Laure and she almost reminded me of Liesel from The Book Thief which might be why I found her easier to follow.

I'm going to read this again when I get the time and I'll hopefully write another review of it, this time a better one. I'm really disappointed I didn't have the reading experience I would have like to have had. I really think this book is worth the second chance and I'd be willing to give it a third if my next go doesn't work out because it's so beautifully written, I can't stand to miss out.

Friday, May 19, 2017

Inside and Out Book Tag

I'm back with another tag! I think they're so fun and just a bit of something different. I was tagged to do the Inside and Out Book Tag by the lovely Erica @ Erica Robyn Reads

1. Inside flap/back of the book summaries: Too much info or not enough?
I think some of them do give a little too much away. It's kind of a tricky balance of saying enough to entice readers but also not saying too much. I'm the kind of person who doesn't pay that much attention to it though, I'll read a blurb and immediately it's gone from my memory. So, blurbs aren't a huge thing for me. I'm more of a title and cover person.

2. New book: What form do you want it in?
Hardcover for sure. My shelves are 90% paperbacks because they are way easier to find where I live and cheaper but I do love hardcovers. They're so sturdy and beautiful. 

3. Scribble while you read? Do you like to write in your books, take notes, make comments, or do you keep your books clean clean clean?
Sometimes, if something has really stuck out to me and I want to mention it in a review then I'll write a note in my phone but I don't typically do any of that. I used to use sticky notes but then I started thinking too much about the sticky notes and less about what I was actually reading. 

4. Does it matter to you whether the author is male or female when you’re deciding on a book? What if you’re unsure of the author’s gender?
Not at all, I barely pay attention to authors unless it's someone I know of. Gender doesn't really matter to me and I don't think it's going to effect the quality of the book because you identify as this or that.

5. Ever read ahead? Have you ever read the last page way before you got there?

I used to do it all the time because I was impatient. I've recently stopped because I enjoy the book so much more when I get to be all nervous about the ending because I haven't read ahead. Although, I will say I definitely read ahead recently when I was reading P.S I Still Love You by Jenny Han. I just needed to know that my ship would be okay. But, it was a really bad habit of mine and I'm glad I don't do it as frequently.
6. Organised bookshelves, or outrageous bookshelves?
Honestly, at the moment my shelves are very outrageous. At my house, we've been doing a lot of painting so things have been moved around a lot. I also just can't find a method to the madness really. I organise them by size, if I try to get any fancier I can't get them all to fit.

7. Have you ever purchases a book based on the cover alone?
Definitely, as I said, I am a huge cover person. I think a good cover sells the books. I am a very visual person and I have no shame in saying I have most definitely bought a few books based purely on cover.

8. Take it outside to read, or stay in?

I like to read inside. Too many bugs outside. I love to snuggle up inside with my book. It's also usually quite windy where I live which is not ideal and I burn ridiculously easy so I avoid the sun where possible.

All right, well that's that. Today, I'm just going to tag any of you who want to do this tag because I'm incredibly lazy. (Whoops). So, I'd love to see your answers and I hope you liked mine. 

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

180 Seconds by Jessica Park

4 Stars

I received a copy via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

32487648I actually really quite liked this. It was a really sweet book about coming out of your shell. It was a bit sad but a lot happy and cute. So, the perfect contemporary for me.

I will start with one thing that bothered me quickly just to get it out of the way. Manic pixie dream girl, or should I say manic pixie dream boy. I kind of got a jist of that with Esben. It wasn't a huge deal but it seemed a bit like he was created only to bring Allison out of her shell and he was a bit too perfect for me and it just rang manic pixie dream person at me. He was a really pure and genuine person who really unconditionally loved Allison. Like, he took everything with her so well and it all seemed weird to me. He didn't get frustrated or anything, I don't know it was just strange. I think there were about two occasions in the whole book where we saw that side of him.

I really liked Allison because I saw a lot of myself in her. At the beginning we see her as quite introverted and she likes to keep to herself. We learn that it's a trust issue because of her past in foster care. I can totally get that, I've always been a little introverted and sometimes simple things can set me back, similarly to how we see Allison go a bit back and forth in the book. I think she had an awesome character development and I loved seeing her open up and 'be brave'. I really loved the phrase 'be brave' throughout the book, it kind of reminded me of a similar thing in The One Memory of Flora Banks. I really loved how Allison took that on.

I adored the relationship between Allison and Simon. I always love a good family in YA. I think it's so important. I really liked that she had a really strong father figure, even if he did come later rather than sooner. I really enjoyed seeing their relationship blossom as Allison learnt to open up. I think strong father figures are really important in YA. Simon reminded me so much of my own dad and I really liked him and the role he played in the story.

I liked the modern kind of take on things. YA is getting more and more modern and I think it's kind of cool. It's cool to read about social networking and internet personalities. This book has a lot of that so if you think that's as cool as I do, I think you're going to like this one. Also, it has social experiments and I love social experiments so that's something to look forward to.

180 Seconds was a really lovely book. I really liked the meaning behind the title. I grinned almost the whole way through because it really was too cute. Watching Allison bloom was really lovely and kind of inspiring for me, I think I'm going to try to 'be brave' now. Relating to Allison so much was a really strong point for me. I liked all the characters a lot, I think Esben could've used a bit more personality but otherwise, I liked him. It was pretty heart warming and I think it would be worth a try for any contemporary fans. Also, look at that cover. 

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins

4 Stars

“Just because something isn't practical doesn't mean it's not worth creating. Sometimes beauty and real-life magic are enough.”

23533128I feel kind of sad now that I've officially finish the Anna and the French Kiss trilogy. I loved this one though. It definitely belongs and I love that it intertwines with the other characters too. I was worried it wouldn't when I realised it wasn't set in France but it intertwined beautifully.

I love Lola, she is so unique and confident. I think it's wonderful, I knew she'd be a fun character to read when I read about her crazy outfit in the ending of Isla And and that she was. You can really tell that Lola is happy being herself and she knows herself, too. Although, I know if I dressed like she does I'd get bullied mercilessly and I'm sure she does. She'd have to have a lot of guts to deal with that so I really admire her as a character. She actually reminds me of Lola from Hannah Montana now, I was always a fan of Lola's wigs.

I love that we get to see much more of the internal struggle Lola faces because it's very similar to St Clair's problems from Anna And but we didn't get to see anything from his side of the equation and now we do except it's not St Clair, it's Lola. It's not something I can relate to which is almost why I enjoy that dilemma so much in books. I love that we get experience how blinded Lola is by her love for Max yet she still wants that boy next door and we get to be with her as she tries to minimalize the damage.

It really isn't just a book about falling in love, it's about realising that there isn't always a perfect solution and then trying to decide what the best solution is from there out. I think we really got to see Lola sort out her priorities and grow up. I think it also had a lot to teach in the way of family, I loved Lola's family.

I thoroughly enjoyed it, I think it's slots in very nicely. I'm endlessly disappointed that there is no more of this beautiful fluff for me to read.

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Countless by Karen Gregory

3 Stars

I received a copy via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

34299826Firstly, this book tackles topics such as anorexia and teen pregnancy. I will be discussing those topics in the review. If you aren't comfortable with those topics than I'd suggest finding something else to read.

I thought this book was really interesting. It didn't have heavy romance which I was actually really pleased with. I didn't want it to turn into a 'love will cure you' type story. It kind of did go into that direction but not romantically. Being a contemporary, I was sure that was where it was headed.

I can't speak much for the representation of eating disorders in Countless but I do think it was well handled. I did find it interesting how anorexia was characterised similar to Room Empty by Sarah Mussi. I don't know if that's a common thing but it was a good metaphor for people like me who don't know a lot about eating disorders.

I loved Hedda's character development. It was great to see her changing for her baby and I think that was a lot more accurate than a romantic interest would've been. I know teen mums and I've seen the way their priorities just shift completely for their baby. I really loved seeing Hedda grow as a person and realise a lot of things about herself along the way. I haven't read many books about teen pregnancy but I think the representation in this book was pretty good.

I liked seeing the family relationships build towards the end. I'm a sucker for that. I loved that everyone was getting a much better understanding of each other why they were the way they were. Even though it wasn't completely perfect, it was still  nice to see that development.

I think it was a good book. Again, perhaps confronting and triggering to certain people. I really liked Hedda and I really liked watching her grow as a person. I think it was a really interesting book about something that I hadn't even really given much thought to before. It was not what I expected but I'm actually pleased about that.

Tuesday, May 09, 2017

Winter Reads

In Australia it's cooling down quite a bit. Winter is my favourite season and my favourite time to read. So, what better than to compile a list of my favourite winter reads. Which was actually a hard list to make since looking at my shelf, I've realised so many of my favourite are so summery.

Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell
Fangirl always makes me feel cosy, it absolutely warms my heart up. If I'm not mistaken, I'm pretty sure it's also set in winter time approximately. Whenever I think of Fangirl, I just think of snuggling up in bed with a hot chocolate. It is so sweet and light and perfect for a chilly night in.

Harry Potter
Harry Potter is brilliant anytime but gets me so good in the winter. Hogwarts has such winter wonderland vibes. The absolute best time to read Harry Potter is during winter. I guarantee it. Trust me, it'll warm you up.

The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky
I love this book and again, the best time to read it it in winter. It's set in winter so it just has all those winter vibes. It is such a good book and it's something that'll definitely keep you busy on a rainy day.

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
I really think anytime is a good time to read this but I just think it's something that definitely feels like such a good book to read on a cold, lazy day. I think the setting is so dreary and grey that it feels so much like a winter book.

Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Saenz
This is a funny kind of pick because a lot of the book is set in summer but when I was reading this I got such winter vibes from it. It just feels like something you should read while you're snuggled up inside.

Heartless by Marissa Meyer
All the baking in this book just makes me feel very cosy. I think it would be quite a good winter read. Romance and baking, what more would you want to warm you up?

And, that's all I've got for you. I picked the most wintery books on my shelves and tried to avoid books that only feel wintery because I read them in winter. I hope you have a great winter if you're in winter and if not, have a great time wishing it were winter because it's obviously the superior season.

Monday, May 08, 2017

Room Empty by Sarah Mussi

2 Stars

I received a copy via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. 

First of all, this book definitely needs a set of trigger warnings. It deals with a lot of heavy stuff such as addiction, anorexia, self harm, suicide, abuse. If anyone is triggered by any of that then I definitely would recommend not reading this book.

I'm not someone who has experience with any of that so I'm not the most suitable person to make comments on the representation of these issues. I do, however, think the representation was a bit poor.  Some things seemed a bit off to me but again, I'm not exactly the right person to determine that.

My biggest turn off with this book was the 'love can cure all' notion. That's definitely not how these things work and I wish it would stop being such a common theme amongst young adult books. Love is not the answer to everything. It just annoys me because it's not really the appropriate message to be sending out to young people.

Another turn off, Fletcher kept trying to guilt and bribe Dani into eating. Which was very off to me. That's not really the appropriate message to be sending out either. It suggests that Dani is now going to over come this huge, long battle with food because she's in love with Fletcher and Fletcher wants her too. I don't have a lot of experience here but I know that eating disorders are more complex than that.

One thing I did like though, was the characterisation of Dani's illness as an Alien. I thought that was interesting and a good way to make it easier to understand. It took me a while to realise what exactly the alien was representing but once I got it, I thought it was pretty clever.

I don't really understand what the point of the book was. There was a bit of a mystery in there that didn't make a lot of sense to me. It just didn't seem to fit. It was very jumpy. It wasn't exactly my kind of thing. I don't really know that I'd recommend it to anyone, I struggled to get through it a bit since the issues are so rough. I didn't really like it.

Saturday, May 06, 2017

Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon

5 Stars

Spoiler alert: Love is worth everything. Everything.”  

18692431There are so many incredible quotes from this, I think I'll have to make up a post of all my favourites but for now, just the one will have to suffice. I loved this, I can sense that this will be the book I read over and over just like Maddy with The Little Prince and every time it'll mean something different. It was amazing, incredible, spectacular. Every good word you could think of, is what I feel that this book is.

This book makes me want to go out and do some goddamn living but it also makes me want to pick it back up and start fresh from the beginning. I think only truly fantastic books make me want to do those things. I'm in absolute awe of all the things it's made me feel, it's indescribable. I think I've just fallen in love with this book.

I've never reads another book like it. I love the way it's set out, it makes it fly by though. Within about an hour I'd already devoured about half the book and I was left wondering where the hell it went and where I could possibly get more from. I can assure you that it isn't like other contemporaries, or at least none that I've read.

This is a short review but it's so much harder to write a review for an amazing book than it is for an okay one. This will probably absolutely be a contender for my best reads of 2016 (yes, I'm aware it's currently May 2017, my post schedule is messed up, alright?). I think you really have to read it to understand why people rave about it. It was so much more than I'd expected.

Wednesday, May 03, 2017

My Favourite Movies

I don't actually watch a lot of movies but I do have a select few that I just watch over and over. Once I decide I like a movie it basically just gets added to my rotation of movies. Which is almost the exact opposite of how I am with books. So, I thought I'd share with you just a few of my favourite movies. In no particular order:

Image result for pretty in pink
1. Pretty In Pink
I love John Hughes movies and I just love 80's movies in general. If I listed all my favourite 80's movies I wouldn't be able to list any of my other favourite movies so I picked my favourite out of those. Which is obviously Pretty In Pink, I adore Molly Ringwald. I love Duckie, and Blaine makes my little heart melt. I know a lot of people (95% of the population) ship Duckie and Andie but I'm obsessed with Blaine. Anyway, it's a super fun movie and I just really love it.

2. A Hard Days Night
Again, I made myself pick a Beatles movie to be my favourite. I love, love, love A Hard Days Night. When I first discovered it in October, I watched in four times in a matter of about a month. It was ridiculous and I was totally obsessed. It really added fuel to the fire except beforehand the fire was like a little match and now it's a bushfire in Australian summer. I just think their personalities really shine through. Also, a fun fact, the train carriages for the Hogwarts Express were inspired by the train carriages in A Hard Days Night.

Image result for sharknado3. Sharknado
Sharknado, to date, is the most ridiculous movie I've ever watched and yet I have all four on DVD. It is hysterical and it always makes me laugh. I have a Sharknado funko in my room. It's crazy. It started out as a joke when it was on the scifi channel and I was like 'lol mum lets watch it'. I loved it though. It even has Ian Ziering from Beverly Hills 90210 which is one of my favourite TV shows. I just absolutely love it, it always cheers me up and makes me laugh.

4. Angus, Thongs and Perfect Snogging
Image result for angus thongs and perfect snoggingGod, I haven't watched this in forever but I love it. I remember watching this for the first time years ago at a friends tenth birthday party and I didn't really understand it but I was totally in love with Robbie. I watched it again a little while back, being older I understood more of what was going on and I just fell even more in love with it. I remember after watching it the first time I said snogging rather than kissing for a whole year even though I actually hated the word. So awkwardly adorable and the soundtrack is one of my favourite things ever.

5. Grease
I think everyone loves Grease. It's so much fun to watch and I love to sing along. Although, something that always gets me is the ending. It made no sense. Why did they just fly off? What is that about? That has just always annoyed me but otherwise I really love it. I think it's a classic and something we can all agree on.

Tuesday, May 02, 2017

Noteworthy by Riley Redgate

5 Stars

I received a copy via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

31447601I am so in love with this book. I'm literally bursting with love for Noteworthy. Incredible, amazing, everything I wanted and more.

I'm going to dive straight into it. One of my favourite things was that it touched on bisexuality and general confusion over it. I loved this because for a while I was sort of struggling to figure out if I was actually attracted to girls or if I just appreciated them. I really liked the way Jordan worded it and it just made me feel a lot more comfortable for having that confusion. I just could really empathise with Jordan as she was going through that. It made me happy because I know that if I struggled to differentiate then there must be thousands of other people trying to figure out what they feel. I think it's great to see that touched upon and I really liked how she mentioned she felt as though she was faking it because she hadn't known her whole life.

I really loved the a Capella aspect of it. I am a nut for music. I loved all the references to music theory because as a concert band player, I am pretty good at music theory. I really like a Capella and if I could sing I'd join a group in a second. It's awesome and I'm so excited I finally found a book about it. It was so good and there were so many things I could relate back to band. Like the team work and the relationships and even the rivalry. It's so nerdy and I loved it so much.

The characters were gorgeous and so diverse. I loved the relationships between all the Sharpshooters. I thought they were written really well and all so differently. I thought it was wonderful how dedicated they were to a Capella. I really loved Issac, I have a thing for cocky, arrogant boys. Jon and Mama's relationship was so funny. I really loved them. Nihal was so precious. They were all just brilliant and they earned a special place in my heart.

I love Jordan, she is so determined and a perfect narrator. She wasn't annoying. I really liked her commentary actually. I think she was really funny and funny characters make the best narrators. She is really thoughtful and not at all ignorant like I feared she'd be. I love how much she cares for the Sharpshooters. I think she has a really big heart and I just really love her.

I've been really dying for a good book like this. It's everything I could have asked it to be. This has to be one of my favourite contemporaries I've read this year so far. I can not wait to buy my own copy when it's released because I absolutely will be. I would recommend it to anyone who is a contemporary nut like myself. It was absolutely brilliant.

Monday, May 01, 2017

April 2017 Wrap Up

Can't believe it's that time again. This year is well and truly going too fast. I've had a lot of great times in April and I can't wait to talk about it. It's been fun and productive which is the best kind of month.

I read:
Laramie: Ten Years Later
The Bone Season by Samantha Shannon
Stargazing for Beginners by Jenny McLachlan
Noteworthy by Riley Redgate
A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E Schwab
Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of The Universe by Benjamin Alire Saenz
Room Empty by Sarah Mussi
Caraval by Stephanie Garber
P.S I Still Love You by Jenny Han
John Lennon's Letter's
Countless by Karen Gregory

I read a lot. I've been on holidays so that's why. My first term of college is over so I've been on term one holidays. I tend to binge read during the holidays because I struggle to read during the school week. It was actually a really great reading month, I read so many things that I absolutely adored. My favourites have to be Noteworthy, Aristotle and Dante, and P.S I Still Love You. Although, I'm an absolute contemporary nut so I'm sure you could've predicted that much. I didn't buy any books this month on my book buying ban. I'm saving up to buy a new trumpet so I'm actually really pleased with my self control. I was gifted three which is probably the only reason I've had the self control to not buy anymore. I'm hoping to go until at least July without buying any books.

Early in the month, my mum and I won tickets to go see a Beatles tribute band and it was so fun. I really loved it. It kind of daggy but I was grinning the whole night. I hardly ever win things so it was a huge surprise. I was thrilled because I so desperately wanted to go. I had a brilliant night and my mum loved it too. It was a nice girls night out.

Also, a couple of weeks ago my band competitions were on. This is the first time I've done a national competition. The last time my band went into national comps was back in 2010 and I was only in my second year back then. So, we did it. I remember back in 2014, we were told that is what we were working towards and I remember thinking about 2017 and how far away it was. Back then, we were only really talking about the experience and less about winning but last year after state comps, we started to realise we were actually in with a chance of winning. We worked so hard with two rehearsals a week for the whole year. We were one of the few bands entering in two sections so we had twice the amount of work to do. We worked our asses off. Annndddd, we came out on top of both sections. It was so worth it and I'd do it all again, and in fact, we are doing it again next year since we absolutely smashed it out. We'll be going higher sections though and I'm really looking forward to it.

There's a handful other other things that happened in April, but I'll spare you. I've had a really good month and I'm hoping it's only up and up from here out. I hope you've all had a brilliant April and I hope you have an even better May!