The Mid-Year Freak Out Book Tag 2019

As of the morning of 1st June I had read a total of 47 books this year, according to Goodreads I’m 6 books ahead of schedule for my 100 book goal (although, really I’d like to get 120). I feel like that’s a good variety to post the Mid-Year Freak Out Book Tag! I also did this tag last year and it was really fun. So let’s see what I’m loving this year.

Best Book Of The Year So Far

So far I think it’s The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo! I know I’m so late to the party and I actually read Daisy Jones & The Six first but Evelyn is my favourite.

I listened to this on Audible and the narration was absolutely perfect, I was listening to it every waking moment and got through it super quickly and now I recommend it to everyone.

A New Release You Haven’t Read Yet But Want To

Red,White and Royal Blue is probably my most anticipated read of the summer. I’ve been watching everyone in the US raving over this book and I am so desperate for my copy! An LGBTQ romance with a royal element? Gimme, gimmie, gimmie!

Most Anticipated Release Of Autumn/Winter

I loved P.S I Love you and the fact that there is going to be a follow up made me so happy. So, of course I’ve ordered Postscript by Cecelia Ahern which comes out the day after my birthday. Seems like a good start to turning 25.

Biggest Disappointment Of The Year So Far

I hate this questions but it has to be The Mermaids Voice Returns In This One by Amanda Lovelace. I loved her previous 2 poetry collections in the series The Princess Saves Herself In This One and The Witch Doesn’t Burn In This One and I love mermaids but this just seemed rushed to me unfortunately.

Biggest Surprise So Far

Your Heart Is The Sea was sent to me by the publisher and I’ve read Gill’s poetry before and it was okay but then this came in the post. This is the first collection I’ve felt a deep connection with, I felt like this was written for me. I related to every page and really hope to read more of this from Gill in the years to come.

New Favourite Author

Taylor Jenkins Reid

I’m obsessed with Taylor Jenkins Reid’s books. I got through 2 full novels and a shorter story within a matter of weeks. The characters are so alive and lived within my head for a long time after I finished reading.

So, I’m slowly making my way through all of her books and I’ll be watching her social media for her next amazing book, although as Daisy Jones came out not so long ago I know it’ll be worth the wait!

Your Newest Favourite Character

There is no character that jumps out as my new favourite so far!

A Book That Made You Cry

The Sun Does Shine by Anthony Ray Hinton is about a man who spends decades in prison not only for a crime he didn’t commit, but could not have been involved in at all. His only crime was being poor and black and this was a tough read. A beautifully written book that broke my heart.

A Book That Made You Happy

Are you ready for one of the CUTEST books you’ve ever read? Heartstopper by Alice Oseman made my heart so happy it’s a really sweet graphic novel about friendship and love. So, so, sweet.

The Most Beautiful Book So Far

Out of books I’ve read it’s Five Feet Apart not only is this a beautifully written (and emotional) book, this cover is absolutely beautiful it’s such a delicate design too. Love, love, love it.

What have you loved so far this year? I’d love to hear your recommendations below!

Book Review: The Paper and Hearts Society – Lucy Powrie

Tabby Brown is tired of trying to fit in. She doesn’t want to go to parties – in fact, she would much rather snuggle up on the sofa with her favourite book. It’s like she hasn’t found her people …

Then Tabby joins a club that promises to celebrate books. What could go wrong? EVERYTHING – especially when making new friends brings out an AWKWARD BUZZING feeling all over her body.

If you’re a big fan of YA in the UK you might join in on UKYA chat hosted by none other than Lucy Powrie so when we found out she was publishing a book of course I preordered it. THEN I got super lucky and was granted an advance reader copy through Netgalley (thank you to Lucy, the publisher and Netgalley) and I’m so glad I did. Welcome to the Paper and Hearts Society.

Since Tabby moved in with her Grandma making friends hasn’t been at the top of her priority list. Who needs friends when you have books, right? It’s only after going to the library she finds a leaflet for a new book club and decides to take the plunge. While fighting with her anxiety and past experiences. Lucy writes about anxiety so well, there are few books that have such good representation.

This is truly a book about friendship and finding your way. Overall it is a sweet read and has a very diverse group of characters, although I have to say it doesn’t seem forced. It simply represents young people today and the lives they may have.

I will say that at first I wasn’t sure if I was the ideal reader at the old age of 24. I could take a guess at some of what was going to happen and I felt a little too old but the more I read the more I fell in love with the book and characters. It didn’t matter I’d work some things out ahead of time I just wanted more.

Also a huge shout out, which I sent Lucy a DM about, to the love for Sylvia Plath throughout the book. I am a HUGE Plath fan, The Bell Jar is one of my top books of all time, her poetry was incredible and it is so rare to see Plath mentioned in YA. So, on a personal note I really enjoyed seeing that and I feel it gave great insight into Tabby and her character.

I gave this 4 out of 5 stars a solid first novel and I’m really looking forward to reading the next books in the series. A huge congratulations to Lucy! Thanks again to Lucy, the publisher and Netgalley for this opportunity.

What I Read In May 2019

May turned out to be a pretty good reading month, even if I was a little slower with some of my books. I got through a total of 7 books this month, 1 audiobook, 5 physical books and 1 ebook.

I read a fair few books about the Holocaust this month, I don’t know why. I picked up Questions I Am Asked About The Holocaust by Heidi Fried, a short read that answers questions that are commonly asked after her talks. A great start if you want to find out more about the Holocaust.

The Cut Out Girl was one of my audiobooks this month. Again it is based on the holocaust and the live of a young woman who was hidden multiple times and the impact that this had on her and the rest of her life. A really harrowing read and from a perspective I haven’t read about before.

I also read White Rose which was a pre-order, this tells the story of Sophie Schroll and the White Rose Society. The society was a part of the nazi resistance and this was a really interesting way to tell their story as it is written in verse.

Every month I try to add to my poetry collection so I wanted to try Lang Leav as there is quite a collection of her poetry in my local bookshop. I picked up Love Looks Pretty On You, I liked it – however I want to read more of Leav’s work before making a decision on how I feel about her poetry.

I was sent How Not To Lose It : Mental Health Sorted by Anna Willamson to have a read during mental health week. This is aimed at younger readers and I think it would be a great book for all 11-14 year olds to have access to. It answers a lot of questions about mental health that young people have but might not know how to address.

My next read was one I have been so excited to read and that’s The Paper & Hearts Society by Lucie Powrie. Lucy runs UKYA Chat and is absolutely lovely and I was gifted an early release copy – it turned out to be such a sweet and uplifting read. Admittedly, at 24 I wasn’t the target audience but I really enjoyed the development of the friendships and all the bookish references!

And my final book for May was The Sun Does Shine: How I Found Life And Freedom On Death Row by Anthony Ray Hinton. I was also granted to be for review by the publishers and wow was this emotional. He spent nearly 20 years on death row for a crime he was in no way connected with. I felt angry, upset and frustrated with the lack of justice. A really interesting read.

What did you read last month? I’d love to hear your recommendations below!

Book Review: Voices Of Powerful Women by Zoe Sallis

Voices of Powerful Women is a very unique book. A range of questions are asked to powerful women, some of them you will know, others you might not. For me, there were quite a few I didn’t know but I still got a lot out of their responses. Featuring politicians, environmentalists, humanitarians, entrepreneurs, musicians, artists, actors, world leaders and Nobel Peace Prize winners there is a real variety.

When I requested this on Netgalley, I didn’t know what to expect and I didn’t really want to know too much. Reading the opinions of successful women? Of course, I would want to read it. While it took me a little to get into the format when I did I flew through it, although I did take some breaks to look up the women in more detail.

I will say there are some voices in the book that didn’t seem to add much, Yoko Ono being one of them. I felt her answers didn’t really add anything to a wider conversation, it was usually only a sentence or two. Whereas other women seemed to give really thoughtful and insightful.

This would make a great resource for anyone who is doing a little bit of soul searching. I know it made me really question the world around me as well as the answers I would have given to these questions if they were asked to me.

To give you an idea of the kinds of opinions and the women you will read from when reading this book, the following women contributed; Isabel Allende, Christiane Amanpour, Maya Angelou, Hanan Ashrawi, Joan Baez, Benazir Bhutto, Mary Kayitesi Blewitt, Emma Bonino, Shami Chakrabarti, Jung Chang, Kate Clinton, Marie Colvin, Marion Cotillard, Severn Cullis-Suzuki, Carla Del Ponte, Judi Dench, Shirin Ebadi, Tracey Emin, Jane Fonda, Tanni Grey-Thompson, Dagmar Havlová, Swanee Hunt, Bianca Jagger, Nataša Kandić, Kathy Kelly, Martha Lane Fox, Dame Ann Leslie, Professor Wangari Maathai, Mairead Maguire, Mary McAleese, Soledad O’Brien, Sinéad O’Connor, Yoko Ono, Mariane Pearl, Kim Phuc, Paloma Picasso, Sister Helen Prejean, CSJ, Paula Rego, Louise Ridley, Mary Robinson, Jody Williams.

Overall, I gave this 4 stars. This was a really intriguing read and when I finished I felt empowered by the words I had read as well as the women whose voices I was reading. A really excellent collection would recommend.

Thank you to Netgalley, the publisher and the author for my copy in exchange for a fair an honest review.

Book Review: Internment – Samira Ahmed

In a world reminiscent of Nazi Germany, families are rounded up in the night and put on trains with few belongings and no idea where they are going. This is a world 17 year old Layla finds herself in. Ending up in an Internment Camp for American Muslims, Layla isn’t willing to take this lying down.

With the help of a small group of friends, Layla begins to fight back in any way that she can. But how far can she push before the Director snaps and just how far will he go in his attempts to control the camp.

After reading Samira Ahmed’s first novel, Love Hate & Other Filters I knew I had to preorder her new book and it did not disappoint. This is a hard hitting novel. While the writing is superb it is the reflection of today’s society that really got me while reading this book.

Ahmed has tackled Islamophobia in her previous novel, but this takes it to another level. She has managed to make the possibility of these internment camps seem alarmingly real. What makes this possible is not just her talent, but also the parallels she has drawn from what we are seeing today in modern day America.

I also found the relationships that Layla had to be incredibly important to the novel and gave it a more realistic vibe. The fear of her parents, the hope of the young people and the disbelief they have all felt made the novel come alive. I was also pleased to see her own opinions change from the black and white views she holds at the beginning of the novel slowly evolve.

I would say that my only criticism would be that I felt the book could have been longer, things ended quite quickly and I, personally, would have liked more details. I can’t say what on as obviously that would be a spoiler and I really do recommend you read this for yourselves.

I gave this 4.5 stars, it was incredibly well written and , actually, came across as chilling but in a way that needed to be told. Ahmed has a real talent for looking in the face of things society would rather not talk about in regards to growing up as a Muslim in the modern world.

Win A Copy Of Kingsbane by Claire Legrand

Who doesn’t love a giveaway? As part of the Kingsbane book tour I have kindly been given the opportunity to give away a copy of Claire Legrand’s latest novel and the second in the Empirium series. Want to check out the first novel, Furyborn? You can find out more about it here.

If you don’t want to know anything about the second novel *spoilers* then don’t read the synopsis below (don’t say I didn’t warn you!) But how do you WIN? Follow this link, like and retweet and there you go! This is open to UK residence and closes this Friday at 8pm. What are you waiting for?

In this sequel to the instant New York Times bestseller Furyborn, two queens, separated by a thousand years, connected by secrets and lies, must continue their fight amid deadly plots and unthinkable betrayals that will test their strength—and their hearts.

Rielle Dardenne has been anointed Sun Queen, but her trials are far from over. The Gate keeping the angels at bay is falling. To repair it, Rielle must collect the seven hidden castings of the saints. Meanwhile, to help her prince and love Audric protect Celdaria, Rielle must spy on the angel Corien—but his promises of freedom and power may prove too tempting to resist.

Centuries later, Eliana Ferracora grapples with her new reality: She is the Sun Queen, humanity’s long-awaited savior. But fear of corruption—fear of becoming another Rielle—keeps Eliana’s power dangerous and unpredictable. Hunted by all, racing against time to save her dying friend Navi, Eliana must decide how to wear a crown she never wanted—by embracing her mother’s power, or rejecting it forever.

Thank you to Midas PR, Clare Legrand and Source Books Fire for this opportunity and collaboration.

Book Review - Five Feet Apart

Book Review: Five Feet Apart by Rachael Lippincott, Mikki Daughtry, Tobias Iaconis

Do you want to cry some big ugly tears and feel all the feels? Then this is the book for you. A novel following two Cystic Fibrosis patients, both with a very different view of life and their illness. While Stella likes to be in control, Will is fed up with regimens and trials. When the two meet the unthinkable happens – they begin to fall for each other but how can you fall in love when you have to be five feet apart at all times?

So, Five Feet Apart has been everywhere in the last few months because of the film that came out (as of writing this I still haven’t seen it) and I decided to read it because of the hype. To put it simply, I’m really glad I did.

I will admit that when I first started reading I did find it quite slow, I could put it down and walk away but something kept me coming back to it. I wouldn’t say it’s a book that you devour quickly, it’s more of a slow burn but once you’re in, you’re in. I fell in love with these characters and I was rooting so hard for them, as well as having a soft spot for side characters too.

Now, I can’t say how accurate it is from a CF perspective BUT I have watched a few YouTube videos to see what people who do have it think. They really thought it was a good representation, which gives me hope. Also, it’s worth mentioning the two co-authors on this book both have CF which I think is a bloody excellent idea and something we should see more of in books.

I gave this a 4.5 stars. A really emotional read and one I, personally, learnt a lot from. Have you read the book and seen the film? How do they compare? Let me know in the comments below!