Book Review: Bad Girls With Perfect Faces – Lyn Weingarten

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How far would you go to protect your best friend?

All Sasha wants to do is protect Xavier from Ivy, from what she can do, but how far is she willing to go? Posing as a guy online to lure Ivy away is just the start…

Going in I feel I need to say that this novel gets dark pretty quickly, but it’s definitely what was needed. From this, it creates a brilliant atmosphere for the rest of the novel. It has darkness, intrigue and while at times there is some cliché moments, particularly in the beginning this evolves throughout the novel.

I wanted to start by saying that I didn’t particularly find any of these characters likeable and for that, I give Weingarten full credit. I found each of the characters to be quite selfish and while they claimed that their actions were out of love, it appeared to be more about themselves rather than anything.

The novel looks at the dangers of a life online, who someone is really speaking to as well as what relationships mean. Told in multiple points of view throughout, you can clearly see the motivations of the characters and what they hide from themselves and each other.

Overall I gave this 3 stars. While I enjoyed the novel, I was able to guess quite a few of the plot twists that were coming up. I don’t know if that’s just because I’ve read a lot of thrillers or it’s a reflection of the novel. Saying that I did still enjoy the novel and would love to see another on what the characters lives were like 10 years later if they were to meet again. So, not my favourite Weingarten novel, but I’d still recommend it.

Thank you so much to Netgalley, the publisher and author for this novel in exchange for an honest review.

10 to read in 2018!

Good news guys, we’re over half way through January. I don’t know if it’s just me but this month feels like it’s lasting forever! So, to banish some of the dreary days I thought about books I’ve been looking forward to reading this year!

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Bad Girls With Perfect Faces – Lyn Weingarten

I absolutely LOVED Suicide Notes From Beautiful Girls some of the twists completely threw me off. When I heard that Lyn Weingarten was releasing another novel I jumped on it! You can read my review of Suicide Notes, here.

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The Curses – Laure Eve

Last year I read The Graces. This witchy, mystery YA series makes me SO EXCITED. Of course, I’ve pre-ordered the next in the series and after the end of the last novel, I can’t wait to see what this one holds.

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How Do You Like Me Now – Holly Bourne

I absolutely love Holly Bourne, The Spinster Club series was amazing so when I heard that Holly was writing an adult novel I requested it straight away. It’s also tipped to be a film already. This is going to be good.

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The Witch Doesn’t Burn In This One – Amanda Lovelace

Poetry book The Princess Saves Herself in This One was great, I didn’t know that it was going to be a part of a series. The series is called Women are some kind of magic, this is going to be a great instalment and some exciting poetry!

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The Wicked + The Divine: Imperial Phase Part 2 – Kieron Gillen

Wicked + The Divine!!!!!! I love this series, it’s brilliant and strange and I get so excited about every new volume. The last one took a new turn and I can’t wait to see where it goes.

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The Red Clocks – Leni Zumas

Abortion is illegal again, IVF is banned and women’s bodies are under strict rule. This looks incredible, sign me up.

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Sleeping Beauties – Stephen and Owen King

Confession time, I have never read a Stephen King novel! It’s one of my reading goals for the year to get through at least one and see what I think and this one was the first to seem interesting to me!

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A Court of Thorns and Roses – Sarah J. Maas

I have heard so much about this series and never picked it up. In the past year, I’ve tried to read a little more Fantasy. When I found it on offer I thought I might as well pick it up and give it a go.

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Some Kind of Wonderful – Giovanna Fletcher

I picked up a signed copy of Gi’s book last year and I haven’t gotten around to it. I read her non-fiction book Happy Mum, Happy Baby last year and loved it, so thought it was about time I read some of her fiction.

 

These are the 10 on my list, are any on yours? If not what are your top 10 to read this year? Let me know in the comments below!

 

 

 

Book Review: Love, Hate and Other Filters – Samira Ahmed

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Torn between the life her parents want for her, a job as a successful lawyer and a ‘suitable’ husband and her dreams to attend NYU to pursue a career in filmmaking, Maya thinks these are her biggest problems. That is until a terrorist attack completely shatters her world, sharing the same last name as the suspect is enough for her to face anger, hatred and violence all because of her religion.

This is Ahmed’s debut novel and if this is just the start, I can’t wait to see what comes next. An own voices novel, Ahmed makes 17-year-old Maya come alive within a few pages, presenting the struggle and expectations of a first-generation American. From the very first chapter, we see Maya fed up with the idea of a ‘perfect Indian daughter’, instead, she captures the world through a camera lens with hopes and dreams of making this a career.

This wasn’t a typical rebellious teenager character. You can see and feel the frustrations of trying to balance the two worlds. While she loves her parents and her Indian heritage, she was brought up as an American and struggles to balance the two. Particularly when her parents arrange for her to meet ‘suitable’ Kareem, a potential match, while she’s finally getting her crush to notice her at the same time. What’s a girl to do?

While a large chunk of the novel is taken up by love interests, there are serious undertones even before the disruption of the terrorist attack on Maya’s life. Luckily, Maya has people around her who can and will support her dreams of working behind the camera. I loved the relationship between Maya and her Aunt Hinda because it showed another perspective, it didn’t make Maya’s parents the only Indian characters and therefore a stereotype. The relationship between the two was incredibly special and moving.

I feel the need to point out that I am not Muslim, I am a white woman, so I feel that my experience of this book may be different to those who have lived it. That said, Ahmed tackles Islamaphobia head-on in this novel and I can only applaud her. It is something that so many will shy away from and pretend it doesn’t happen in today’s society. In that, the novel makes you think, it made me upset and angry that this is happening to innocent people, that Maya and her family face cruelty and hate because of another person’s actions.

As I was reading, I was worried about what the ending would be. I didn’t want this to be a formulaic ending and I’m pleased by what Ahmed did with the character. That is all I can say without spoiling the ending or rest of the plot, but it was worth mentioning.

Overall I gave this 5 stars. I really enjoyed the novel and can definitely see it becoming a bestseller. This should be handed out in schools as a tool to talk about Islamophobia and the impact it has on young people as well as discussions about culture. The only thing I would change is I’d like to have heard more about Maya’s filming and passion but that’s all!

Thank you to Netgalley, Hot Key Books and Samira Ahmed for this in exchange for an honest review.

Why I’m HALVING my Goodreads Challenge in 2018

For the last few years I have set myself the challenge of reading 100 books in a year and in 2016 and 2017 I managed it, which is a really impressive accomplishment for anyone. I love to read, love, love, love it BUT in the last few months of the year I became obsessed with getting to that number and didn’t read books because of their size.

I’m my toughest critic and I am also incredibly competitive with myself. That comes in handy sometimes because I push myself but not in terms of reading. While the challenge has made me read more short story collections, anthologies and poetry collections I want to just read things because I want to, not because of a number.

That said, as I write this the thought of actually reducing that number fills me with dread. Complete and utter dread. On the flip side though I am going to be more picky about what I read. If I’m reading a book and within a few chapters I really don’t care about it, I’m not going to finish it. I did that a lot last year and can’t believe I wasted SO MUCH time on books that, honestly, I couldn’t have cared less about!

So, there we have it, I’m halving my Goodreads challenge  in 2018. What about you guys? Do you use the challenge? Are you thinking about dropping it to read more books you enjoy? Let me know in the comments below!

Book Review: The Tattooist of Auschwitz – Heather Morris

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A young man is taken from his home and sent to a ‘work camp’, his crime? Being Jewish. His advantage? His luck and optimism. Despite everything, Lale became the Tattooist of Auschwitz a secret he would hold for the majority of his life. Despite the horrors he saw and the job that he was forced to do, he happened to meet the love of his life, this is their story.

When I received an email asking if I would be interested in reading this I jumped at the chance. There are so many stories from the Holocaust that haven’t been told and millions more that never will, I was intrigued when I found out that it was prisoners that were to tattoo and mark other prisoners. This brought a whole new level of pain and suffering, marking their fellow prisoners, doing the Nazi’s dirty work for them.

What I didn’t expect when reading, was how much I would love Lale and that in all this, he was able to keep kindness and love in his heart. While his job was horrific and something he later felt he had to hide for fear of blame, he was able to find kindness and create a kind of family within the camp.

The story broke my heart over and over, but also gave me hope. Out of something so awful, the love between Lale and Gita was born and managed to withstand and survive. It’s something you need to read to believe because the tale is like something out of a movie.

Of course, I gave this 5 stars. It is beautifully written and tells an incredible story that needed to be told. There are rave reviews online and they are well deserved, I cannot recommend it enough.

Thank you to the Publisher for sending me this!

 

My December Book Haul!

Hello fellow book lovers!

I know that normally I only post the books I received in my monthly wrap-ups BUT as it was Christmas and the sales I thought it would be worth my book haul getting its very own dedicated blog…because there are so many! So, let’s get stuck in!

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Harry Potter – A History of Magic

I asked for this for Christmas as I was visiting the exhibition at the end of the month. This really goes into another level of detail about the world of Potter and history of magic itself.

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Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban Illustrated Edition – J.K Rowling 

The boyfriend did good on this one, these illustrated editions by Jim Kay are something else. These illustrations are so beautiful and you can tell they’ve been born from imagination rather than the films.

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Fantastic Beasts Illustrated Edition – J.K. Rowling 

This is illustrated by a different artist but is, again, so beautiful and unique. With the Fantastic Beast films coming out every few years this is a perfect companion and there is so much detail in these illustrations.

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A History of Britain in 21 Women – Jenni Murray 

Hearing about kick-ass women who made the country? Of course, I wanted this so on my Christmas list it went. My parents picked this up for me for Christmas, I can’t wait for even more inspiration from reading this.

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Hello, Goodbye, Hello – Craig Brown

I saw someone recommend this on Youtube and the premise of this is fascinating. This links 101 meetings between interesting figures in history and connects them all in a very satisfying circle.

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Sleeping Beauties – Stephen King & Owen King 

Confession, I’ve never read a Stephen King book. This is because I am a wuss and cannot watch a horror film, but books are different. This really intrigued me, although it is absolutely huge. It considers what the world would be after women are infected with a virus, making them feral and violent, sign me up.

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The Stepford Wives – Ira Levin 

I loved the film of this as a teenager and thought it was only proper that I read the book too, I can’t wait to see how it compares.

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Rosemary’s Baby – Ira Levin

I’d heard about this novel before and it was in the offer with the above, so it was worth picking up.

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Animal Farm -George Orwell

I read this when I was at school, I must have been about 13 (I’ve just realised that’s 10 years ago and I feel so old). I absolutely loved this novel and what it stood for but think it’s going to be fascinating to read it all these years later.

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Down and Out in Paris and London – George Orwell 

I’ve only ever read Animal Farm cover to cover, so why not read another of Orwell’s works?

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Night – Elie Weisel

I haven’t read this before and found it in a cheaper bookshop for only £3 and I know it’s a classic piece of Holocaust literature. It’s something, I believe, we need to read about and remember so that so many can be remembered.

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Fools and Mortals – Bernard Cornwell

I was offered a copy of this book for free, so of course, I said yes. This is set in Elizabethan times and focuses on William Shakespeare’s younger struggling actor brother.

Are any of these on your TBR for the year, or maybe you’ve read one? Let me know in the comments below!

My Top 10 Books of 2017!

We’ve finally got to the end of the year! Well, it has been a long one but I’ve had plenty of books to get me through it, hitting my goal of 100 books today, but what about the top 10?

I have to say it hasn’t been my greatest year in terms of 5-star reads BUT there have been some absolute crackers, which means it has been hard to narrow it down…are your favourites in my top 10?

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Turtles All The Way Down – John Green 

I got into John Greens books when The Fault in Our Stars came out but then read them very quickly. I didn’t think we’d get a new novel so of course, I started this the second I got my hands on it. John Green is incredible and you could definitely tell this was written from the perspective of someone who has struggled with mental illness. Review here.

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The Sun and All Her Flowers – Rupi Kaur

Rupi Kaur came back with another cracking collection and I’ve really got into my poetry this year. This was another beautiful collection, exploring the evolving stages of relationships as well as a tribute, I felt, to her mother. Review here.

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Making Faces – Amy Harmon

This was an ARC that I received and I absolutely loved it. This broke my heart but gave me hope. Set in the aftermath of 9/11 it looks at the impact on young people, as well as looking at the idea of popularity and beauty. Review here.

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How Not To Be a Boy – Robert Webb

This surprised me, of course, I’d watched Robert Webb growing up on the TV but not thought much about him. It was only after I heard an interview I picked this up. A really interesting look at depression, gender and growing up. Review here.

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It Only Happens In The Movies – Holly Bourne

Holly Bourne came back after her wildly successful Spinster Club series and made me fall in love all over again. In true Bourne style, we have a kick-ass protagonist that decides love isn’t like the movies especially after her parents marriage crumbles as well as her own relationship. Review to come but you can find out more here.

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Good Night Stories For Rebel Girls – Elena Favilli

This was amazing, with beautiful illustration and tales about women that I’ve never heard of as well as women who I definitely have. This is for children but I think you’ll fall in love with it.  Review here.

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My Lovely Wife – Mark Lukach

It’s refreshing to read about mental illness from the perspective of family members. Mark Lukah marries the love of his life after meeting at eighteen. What neither of them knew at the time was that their later marriage would be tested to the limit as Giulia is hospitalised for severe mental illness. I loved this so much, especially as it is so honest and looks at relapse, the struggles and stresses of dealing with hospitals. So, so good. Review to come, but you can find out more here.

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My Shitty Twenties – Emily Morris

The title was enough to make me pick up this book. When Emily unexpectedly falls pregnant as a student the father responds by telling her to enjoy her ‘shitty twenties’, I know what a charmer. This goes through Emily’s journey as a young Mum and is full of honesty but also has a sense of humour. Review here.

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Nina Is Not Okay – Shappi Khorsandi

You might have seen Shappi on I’m A Celebrity but did you know she was a brilliant author? For me, this put Young Adult Fiction on another level. It’s not a light read but it is so worth it and it’s the first time I’ve seen a young person depecited as actually having a drinking problem. Review to come, more information here.

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The Diary of Anne Frank

Reading this as an adult made it more remarkable and more heartbreaking. Anne would have had such potential, she had such an incredible talent as you can see in her writing from such a young age. Review to come, more info here.

Note: I have not included anything that will be released in 2018! These will be included in my 2018 wrap up!