Blogmas 2019: Bookish Christmas Stocking Tag

Blogmas 2019: A Bookish Christmas Stocking Tag

It’s time for a book taaaaaaaag! I found this over on HollieBlog, make sure you check out her blog.

You get up on Christmas morning and your stocking is full! You take it down and start to unwrap the treats inside. The first thing you see is…

An orange! Which book is refreshing and vibrant, both inside and out?

Full Disclosure by Camryn Garrett was really refreshing read. I’m going to be mentioning it a lot in the coming months because I’ve never read anything like it before. The novel tackles being HIV positive, teenage sex, friendships and more without being a depressing book. More like this please!

The next thing you see is a bag of chocolate coins. Which book have you recently bought that was expensive, but totally worth the high price?

Hmmm this is a tough one because I’m not sure I have bought an expensive book in a while. Everything has been pretty standard but I have asked for the illustrated edition of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire for Christmas!

You also pull out a bath bomb. Tell us about a book that had explosive action scenes.

I don’t actually read many books that have action scenes in them…the first one that comes to mind is A Court of Wings and Ruin by Sarah J Maas and I can’t even talk too much about it because it’s the 3rd in a series and gaaaah.

A Court of Wings and Ruin

Next is a pack of playing cards. Which series won you over?

This is a tough one because I don’t read that many books that are part of a huge series and if I don’t like the first then I probably won’t carry on.

You also get a candle. Which character is a symbol of hope in their story?

Hazel from the Saga series, we see the story unfold through her eyes and she really is the light within a backdrop of war. I can’t wait for it to come back because the ending to number 9 absolutely killed me.

There are socks inside too. Is there a book that you think really encompasses all the distinctive tropes of its genre?

Red, White and Royal Blue is the PERFECT, new adult romcom, it’s adorable, it gets a bit steamy and it’s also believable. I loved it, I’m just going to keep recommending it to everyone. So, so cute.

There’s also a notebook. Which author’s writing process do you find most interesting/inspiring?

From a world building aspect it’s J.K Rowling – say what you want about more recent times but the Potter universe is magical and wonderful and she has a true talent for creating worlds we can imagine.

To go with the notebook, there’s a fancy pen. Is there a book or a series that you’d change if you’d written it yourself?

Tough question because I don’t know if I would do that even if I could. Oh, maybe I would just rewrite The Cursed Child because everything was wrong and weird. Yes I go on about it, no I’m not going to stop.

There’s also a small bedside clock. Which book took you a long time to pick up but was worth it in the end?

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid for SURE. It turned out to be one of my favourite books and it was so well written – also I’d highly recommend the audio book. I still need to get through more of TJR’s books – maybe that will be a 2020 goal.

Your pile is getting really big. You reach in to pull out the last gift and it’s… a lump of coal? You’re a little disappointed. But you look closer and realise there’s a seam running through the coal. You crack it open and sitting inside is a tiny golden snitch. Tell us about a book that surprised you in some way.

I absolutely adored Over The Top by Jonathan Van Ness – I haven’t watched a tonne of Queer Eye but when I saw Jonathan giving interviews about his book I knew I needed to read it. I was impressed and surprised at his level of honesty in this book and would definitely recommend the audiobook because, honey, it’s Jonathan Van Ness – he was born to entertain.

I’m tagging anyone else taking on Blogmas who needs a little bit of inspo!

The Boujee Book Tag

Blogmas 2019 – The Boujee Book Tag

‘Tis the season for more book tags tra la la la la la la la laaaaaaaa. I know I’ve done a lot of Christmassy Book Tags over Blogmas but I’ve seen so many good ones, so why not?

This tag was created by abookolive. Go and give her some love!

1. What is your average monthly budget for books?

Hahahahahaha. Oh, you’re serious? I don’t set myself a budget some times I’ll buy 1, sometimes 3 or if I got to a bookish event like YALC I might get 20 or so…

2. What’s the most you’ve ever spent in a bookstore?

Probably £50 or so? BUT I do get discount in a book shop this Christmas…so we’ll see. At YALC though which isn’t technically a book shop but a lot of stalls I saved and then spent about £150. Eeek!

3. Are you willing to pay full price for a brand new release, or will you wait until you have a coupon or there’s a sale?

I will completely pay full price for a new release! Although I am guilty of a buy one get one free…

4. Would you rather buy one new book or several less expensive used copies?

It depends on the condition of the books to be honest. If they’re in good condition yes but if they’re stained and battered probably not…

5. What do you think is a reasonable price for a new hardback book? A paperback? An eBook?

Hmmm it depends on the book really. I think £15 for a hardback is reasonable, £7.99 for a paperback and about £3 for an ebook.

6. Is a signed book worth more to you? How about a first edition?

Yes, 100%. I love having signed books that the author has touched themselves. And I absolutely LOVE going to signings!

7. What is your most valuable book (sentimental or actual value)?

Hmmm, probably my first edition delux of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. Fun fact, we found it at a car boot sale for 50p because people didn’t know what they were selling…

8. Will you pay more for a cover or edition you like better?

Yep.

9. What physical characteristics does a good quality book have?

Nice cover, good quality pages, not mass market or a film poster cover *shudder*.

10. If you won the lottery, what bookish things would you do with the money?

Ok so I have this dream of renting a huge car or even a limo and taking it up to Waterstones Piccadilly and Foyles in Tottenham Court Road after hours to shop to my hearts content. Then have my own library in a new house. Also track down a first edition copy of The Bell Jar.

BONUS: Give us an image (actual or mental) of your dream home library!

Ok so first of all huge, thick carpets and electric heating (open fires are great but fire near books?!) wall to wall shelves, comfy sofas and a small tea tray stacked with snacks and tea at all time.

Want to have a go? Then I tag you – make sure you post your link below!

The End Of The Year Book Tag

Blogmas 2019: The End Of The Year Book Tag

I was inspired by Hailey in Bookland’s video to have a bit of fun with this tag so, let’s do it!

1. Are there any books you started this year that you need to finish?
Honestly, I haven’t DNF’ed any books this year, and the only ones that I’ve started but haven’t finished are the ones that I am currently reading…. soooooo…. I guess not!

2. Do you have an autumnal book to transition into the end of the year?

Normally it would be Harry Potter because well, I love it but I’m not sure this year. 🤔

3. Is there a new release you’re still waiting for?

No! Thankfully all of the books I’ve been waiting for are here for me to enjoy!

4. What are three books you want to read before the end of the year?

The Deathless Girls by Kiran Millwood Hargrave

With The Fire On High by Elizabeth Acevedo

A Winter’s Promise by Christelle Dabos

5. Is there a book you think could still shock you and become your favorite book of the year?

I already have so many great books fighting for the top spot so I’m sceptical that anything can knock them off of the top spot but I am working in a book shop so who knows?

6.Have you already started making reading plans for 2020?

Firstly, the fact that it’s going to be TWO THOUSAND AND TWENTY in a few weeks is a little disturbing. But yes I do, I’m going to be doing another 100 books a year challenge and I want to make sure that I get through my YALC haul reads in the first half of the year before I go again in the summer!

What are your reading plans for 2020? Let me know below! 👇

Book Review: Postscript – Cecelia Ahern

“It’s been seven years since Holly Kennedy’s husband died – six since she read his final letter, urging Holly to find the courage to forge a new life.

She’s proud of all the ways in which she has grown and evolved. But when a group inspired by Gerry’s letters, calling themselves the PS, I Love You Club, approaches Holly asking for help, she finds herself drawn back into a world that she worked so hard to leave behind.”

I have to put it out there, I was nervous when this was announced because I loved P.S I Love You so much when I was a teenager, both the novel and the film for separate reasons and it was in my heart. It turns out I had nothing to worry about

The novel takes place 7 years after Gerry’s final letter and while we catch up with Holly, we also catch up with other characters we got to know in the first novel such as Holly’s family and friends. In particular, I loved catching up with her friends on what their lives and relationships were like.

Holly’s life has moved with the times too, for example, this all happens from a podcast recording, Holly is older and considering her life, her friends lives and approaching the end of her thirties.

What was special though is that we got to see snatches of Gerry and Holly’s lives together that we didn’t get the first time around. Their love story carries on throughout the pages, but it doesn’t feel repetitive, instead, it’s an excellent reminder of why their relationship was so special in the first place.

Ahern has a great talent for writing the complicated emotions and situations real-life can put you in. Holly is doing ok and one thing shakes her to her core and brings everything back. She has to weigh up moving forward and looking back to embrace her life to help others. Nothing is easy or simple and I really appreciated that Holly continued to be full of depth.

As for the P.S I Love You club, what can I say I loved all of them and it completely broke my heart. I managed to hold off crying until just before the end and then I couldn’t stop for the last 50 pages or so. Oof, it was a corker!

It’s no surprise that I gave this novel 5 stars. Any worries I had about the time gap in between the two books were quashed it was an absolutely perfect follow on. If there are any fans of P.S I Love you I would highly recommend this book, to me it was perfect. Absolutely perfect!

I purchased a copy of this novel, but I was also sent a copy for review thank you to Netgalley and the publisher.

Book Review: Heartstream – Tom Pollock

“I just wanted to see you. Before the end. A taut psychological thriller about obsession, fame and betrayal, for fans of Black Mirror. Cat is in love. Always the sensible one, she can’t believe that she’s actually dating, not to mention dating a star. But the fandom can’t know. They would eat her alive. And first at the buffet would definitely be her best friend, Evie.

Amy uses Heartstream, a social media app that allows others to feel your emotions. She broadcasted every moment of her mother’s degenerative illness, and her grief following her death. It’s the realest, rawest reality TV imaginable. But on the day of Amy’s mother’s funeral, Amy finds a strange woman in her kitchen. She’s rigged herself and the house with explosives – and she’s been waiting to talk to Amy for a long time. Who is she? A crazed fan? What does she want? Amy and Cat are about to discover how far true obsession can go.”

Oof, this book! This book. If that blurb doesn’t grab you I don’t know what will. I could not put this book down, I stayed up way too late because I needed to know what was going to happen, I needed to know answers!

Initially I did find it hard to connect with Amy, I found her a little bratty and couldn’t gel with her – this did change throughout the novel as I got to know the character. Cat, on the other hand, I instantly connected to and wanted to know more about her and her life – overall I did prefer Cat as a character.

It took me a long while to understand what the connection between Amy and Cat and it drove me a little crazy, then when it dawned on me I definitely gasped out loud and continued racing through. This also broke me out of a slump I was having and made me interested in thrillers again.

While I did work out a few elements before they happened that was towards the end and I still had some shock moments. Pollock can clearly write a thriller that feels new and I can’t remember the last time I read one of those.

I found it really interesting how the plot centers around technology and emotion. We don’t know where technology and streaming is going to go and while this is a terrifying possibility it’s also fascinating because I think people would subscribe to this and use it in the real world. That said the positives and negatives are both there, which adds a great sense of balance.

I gave this 4 stars, a really strong book and that ending…THAT ENDING. I definitely need to know more and while I doubt there will be a follow up, I would read it within a second – I need to know what happens after! A strong thriller that I would definitely recommend for someone looking for something a little different with a technology twist.

What I Read In October 2019!

So it might be a little late but I had a fantastic reading month in October with a lot of 4 and 5 star reads! I’m not going to spend too long rambling, instead, let’s get to the books.

So, P.S I Love You was one of my favourite books and up there with my favourite films too so I preordered the follow up as soon as I found out about it. When it came I was so nervous to read it – would it live up to the story I loved? It did Postscript is beautiful and I fell right back into Hollie’s world. A 5 star read for me.

It’s Not Ok To Feel Blue And Other Lies was also a preordered book after I loved Scarlett Curtis’s Feminists Don’t Wear Pink. This a collection of essays about mental health from some people you’ll know such as Matt Haid, Emilia Clarke, Adam Kay and Scarlett herself. It was a brilliant collection and while it is quite hard hitting it’s an important read. A 4.5 star read.

For my book club read we picked up Once Upon A River by Diane Setterfield and I really enjoyed it. It’s a little different in the way it’s told and has mystery elements, ghostly elements and more. It was a great read that I wouldn’t have picked up otherwise – a fantastic advertisement for book clubs everywhere! A solid 4 star read.

The Liar’s Daughter by Megan Cooley Peterson was one I picked up for myself about a girl who is rescued from a cult and what life is like for her once she leaves the only place she knows. I read this so quickly and I only wish it was longer! Another 4 star read.

I’ve watched a little Queer Eye and loved Jonathan so after seeing interviews of him promoting his book I decided to purchase the audiobook of Over The Top and it was perfect. This is fantastically funny but also deeply heartfelt and I learned so much through listening. A 5 star read and I’ve been recommending it to everyone!

I also listened to Freedom by Jaycee Dugard about her experiences after she was released from her horrific ordeal being kidnapped and forced to live with her captor and give birth to her daughters – fathered by him. An emotional 4 star book.

Next up two more non-fiction reads. I listened to MP Jess Phillips’ newest book Truth To Power and it was absolutely brilliant and just what I needed when we’re heading towards a General Election. A 5 star read for troubling times.

I also picked up Twas The Nightshift Before Christmas from the wonderful Adam Kay author of This Is Going To Hurt. This is a short read but an incredibly important one. It made me appreciate the NHS even more because of the pressure that they face, even more so in the winter. A must read that I’ve persuaded book club to pick up – 5 stars!

Heartstream is the thriller I didn’t know I needed. Tom Pollock is an excellent storyteller and I tweeted him almost immediately after finishing asking for more! I gave this 4.5 stars.

And last but definitely not least was Dear Girls by Ali Wong. I think Ali is hilarious and I loved both of her Netflix specials so when I heard she was writing a book I was down! Again, I listened to the audiobook for this one and I’m glad I did. This is all about Ali’s life and the lessons she wants to teach her daughters (although it is definitely for a mature audience) there was also a really sweet addition by her husband at the end. This was a 4.5 star read for me.

What did you read in October? Let me know in the comments below. 👇

Book Review: Laura Dean Keeps Breaking Up With Me – Mariko Tamaki, Rosemary Valero-O’Connell

Laura Dean, the most popular girl in high school, was Frederica Riley’s dream girl: charming, confident, and SO cute. There’s just one problem: Laura Dean is maybe not the greatest girlfriend.

Reeling from her latest break up, Freddy’s best friend, Doodle, introduces her to the Seek-Her, a mysterious medium, who leaves Freddy some cryptic parting words: break up with her. But Laura Dean keeps coming back, and as their relationship spirals further out of her control, Freddy has to wonder if it’s really Laura Dean that’s the problem. Maybe it’s Freddy, who is rapidly losing her friends, including Doodle, who needs her now more than ever. Fortunately for Freddy, there are new friends, and the insight of advice columnists like Anna Vice to help her through being a teenager in love.

I kept hearing about this online and added to my want to read list on Goodreads but if you’re a friend of mine over there you’ll know I have about 700 books I’m interested in on there. Thankfully, a friend of mine picked it up for my birthday.

What I loved about this is the fact that the focus of this wasn’t the fact that Freddy is a lesbian that’s just her. The focus a teenager who’s trying to work out her feelings for a girl she loves but doesn’t treat her that well. I really, really liked Freddy and felt her pain while I was reading and I also saw what she saw in Laura Dean.

Does she always make the right decisions? No but show me a teenager that does when they are in love, possibly for the first time. That’s what makes this book so real we see characters that are flawed and relatable.

This is also a graphic novel that has a diverse cast of characters with a variety of sexualities, ethnicities and genders. It was a really refreshing change to see this, something I can only remember seeing in Heartstopper by Alice Oseman.

I really hope that there are going to be more books that follow Freddy and her friends. Her friendships could be explored much further now they’ve been introduced, particularly her friendship with Doodle which we saw an inkling of in this story.

I gave this 5 stars, I really enjoyed getting to know Freddy and I’m hoping we get to see more of her soon and more volumes of Laura Dean Keeps Breaking Up With Me.