Book Review: The Flatshare – Beth O’Leary

Tiffy and Leon share a flat
Tiffy and Leon share a bed
Tiffy and Leon have never met…

Tiffy works in a publishing job she loves but it doesn’t pay much, combine that with needing to move out of her ex-boyfriends flat she’ll tak anything, including a slightly unusual agreement. Leon is a hospice nurse who’s in need to money to support his brother and a flat share sounds like a perfect plan.

I need to start by saying that this is one of the cutest books. I’ve been more interested in contemporary romances recently, books I know will have love and humor and The Flatshare ticked both of those boxes. I had seen this all over the internet with great reviews so I picked up the audiobook narrated by one of my favourite theatre actresses and youtubers, Carrie Hope Fletcher. I also now love the voice of Kwaku Fortune!

While a lot of people think this is a fluffy friends to lovers story, there are some excellent and complex themes within the novel and I was so impressed. O’Leary considers toxic relationships, emotional abuse and wrongful imprisonment. She has a talent for weaving in these topics into a novel which ultimately made you feel both happy and more knowledgeable once finishing.

These characters felt very real, I cared about them and what was going on in their lives. There were points where I shouted out loud while reading because I was so invested in what was happening and where the different threads were going to go. For me, the audiobook was absolutely perfect it really added to the experience so I’d really recommend it.

I was wracking my brain while writing this for anything I would change and truly I don’t think I would change it. It’s a perfect mix of humour, romance and topics that make you think. Also I adored some of the side characters too, they really added to the novel and let us get to know Tiffy and Leon a lot better than just their impressions of each other.

It’s really no surprise that I gave this 5 stars. I highly recommend this novel and I can’t wait to see what Beth O’Leary writes next. She’s got a real talent and it can only get better!

Book Review: Eat, Drink, Run How I Got Fit Without Going Too Mad – Bryony Gordon

Bryony Gordon was not a runner. A loafer, a dawdler, a drinker, a smoker, yes. A runner, no. In April 2017, less than a year after she had weighed herself at over 16 stone but stepped off the scales and started training anyway, Bryony Gordon ran all 26 and 3/4 miles of the London Marathon.

If you’re friends with me on Goodreads you’ll know that I’ve adored every book I have read by Bryony Gordon – she’s funny, intelligent and just gets it. Although, this is the one I took longest to pick up. It was about running, something I can’t stand at all – would I really enjoy it? Read on friend, but I think you’ll work out pretty early on what the answer is.

One of the things I like most about Bryony is that she doesn’t take herself too seriously. She knows how to laugh at herself and it’s a relief, you feel like you can laugh along too. Calling Prince Harry Hazza? Classic Bryony. Signing up the London Marathon without knowing how long it was? I laughed a lot while reading this and I think most people will.

This is more than a story of just running a marathon, it’s about battling your mental health, finding comfort in others and not giving up. Bryony started something called Mental Health Mates (more about it here) where a bunch of ‘mad’ people could have a get together and walk which is a bloody brilliant idea.

Again, Bryony covers another section of her life and health with unflinching honesty. She talks about the toll that writing Mad Girl had on her mental health and how walking and running gave her a little bit of sanity. Also, if you’re a fan of her other books, there are plenty of Harry’s brilliant reactions to Bryony’s shenanigans too.

If you’re worried this will be a prechy and self righteous book about the power of exercise, don’t be. Yes, Bryony found a love for running but she doesn’t try and force it on the reader at all, she simply writes about the joy and the many challenges she faced.

I found this to be funny, relatable and because of that I gave it 5 stars. Another excellent and honest book by Bryony – she truly is a wonderful human and I can’t wait to see what she gets up to next. Also, I listened to this as an audiobook and can highly recommend!

Unpopular Opinions Book Tag 2019 Edition

Unpopular Opinions Book Tag 2019 Edition

A while ago I did the Unpopular Opinions Tag and you guys seem to have really enjoyed it so how about a round 2? Brace yourselves guys, this might just get ugly. I’m kidding but I might just hit you in the feels.

What is a popular book or series that you didn’t like?

My Sister the Serial Killer – I listened to the audiobook and was bored. I’d heard so many good things about it but I just couldn’t get on with the plot or narration. But it’s up for a load of awards so other people seem to like it.

What is a popular book or series that everyone else seems to hate but you love?

I’ve gone back a little bit here (I couldn’t find anything recent that would fit this) – there is so much hate online for Looking For Alaska by John Green. Now, it has been a long time since I read it but I really, really enjoyed the book.

I think it was the second book by John Green I ever read and I thought it was well written and can’t remember having any issues with it.

What is a love triangle in a book or series where the main character ended up with the person you did not want them to end up with?

I actually can’t think of any, I guess the closest I can think of is Katniss and Peeta in The Hunger Games. Peeta was so pure and kind and I just don’t see it working with the two of them. Sorry not sorry.

What is a popular book genre that you hardly reach for?

Horror isn’t something I choose to read, I think if it had a really interesting plot I might try it but I just can’t seem to get into it! That and I have a really vivid imagination for that kind of stuff and will probably have the worst nightmares.

What is a popular or beloved character that you do not like?

There is a lot of love for Draco Malfoy in the Potter fandom and personally I don’t get it. He was a brat and a bully throughout the series and ultimately he was a coward. Nope, no love for Draco although a LOT of love for Tom Felton because he’s amazing.

Who is a popular author that you can’t seem to get into?

Rainbow Rowell. I tried to read Fangirl and I just really struggled to care and none of the other books interest me.

What is a popular book trope that you are tired of seeing?

Quiet girl who has been a nobody catches the eye of the most popular guy in school, romance ensues *swoon*. Nope, nope, nope. It gets so boring.

What is a popular book or series that you have no interest in reading?

Carry On by Rainbow Rowell, I tried Fangirl and found it really boring and when I tried to read it it just seemed like a Harry Potter rip off – oops!

What is a movie or TV show adaption of a book or series that you like more than the book/s?

Only because of the length but Game of Thrones. The first book took me so long to get through and there were so many names and so much going on. I might change my mind when I pick them up again.

Did you agree with any of my unpopular opinions? Or do you have any of your own? Let me know in the comments below!

Book Review – Vicious – V.E Schwab

Victor and Eli started out as college roommates—brilliant, arrogant, lonely boys who recognized the same sharpness and ambition in each other. In their senior year, a shared research interest in adrenaline, near-death experiences, and seemingly supernatural events reveals an intriguing possibility: that under the right conditions, someone could develop extraordinary abilities. But when their thesis moves from the academic to the experimental, things go horribly wrong.

Well, this was a bit bloody brilliant wasn’t it? Vicious was the first V.E Schwab book I read and I’m more than a little bit in love with the novel and plot. Victor and Eli are both stand out characters and, more so, I was just knocked sideways by how smart the plot was.

When I first started reading the novel I did get a bit confused, there’s quite a few characters to start with quite early on, we’re going between modern day for the characters and 10 years ago. That took quite a bit of getting used to and I had to really concentrate at times to make sure I knew what was going on. However, once I got past that I was obsessed with this book.

Personally, I love Victor he was definitely my favourite character, even if he wasn’t always likeable. I feel that all of the characters were interesting but there was just something about Victor that I found so interesting, possibly in his way of thinking, his motives. I didn’t quite connect with Eli the same way but I might in the next novel, who knows?

This is a book that really kept me reading, I needed to know what what going to happen – how the ‘game’ was going to play out and more importantly who was going to survive. And I was completely hooked. I also had a huge soft soft for Sydney and needed to know what was going to happen to her.

Also, no spoilers but that ending, THAT ENDING. I absolutely loved it and I’m quite glad I picked up both novels after Vengeful was released because while I am taking time to process between books I can go to the next one without that much of a wait.

I gave this 5 stars, I don’t think that’s a surprise to anyone. I am kicking myself for not picking up a V.E Schwab novel sooner. She is clearly an incredible story teller and I can’t wait to see what happens in Vengeful.

My YALC 2019 Haul Part 2

My YALC 2019 Haul Part 2

Yesterday I shared with you the first part of my YALC Haul and some of the 25 (!!) books that came back home with me. Are you ready for part 2? I definitely am!

The blurb of All The Invisible Things says that this is great for ‘fans of Laura Steven and Holly Bourne’ with strong feminist feels. Yes please!

Towards the end of the day I also picked up an exclusive copy of This Time Will Be Different by Misa Sugiura. I’ve heard a lot about this on Booktube from those across the pond – it focuses on family and finding something to fight for.

I also found a poetry book at YALC! I hope there will be more to come in the future. I picked up There Are More Beautiful Things Than Beyoncé by Morgan Parker which I’ve seen around for a while. I’m interested to see what it’s about.

Another popular Booktube novel I’ve seen constantly in the past few months is Frankly in Love by David Yoon, I picked this up free when I bought another book on the Penguin stand. My copy also has a YALC exclusive cover, yay! It’s all about love, family and tradition. I can’t wait to read this one.

Who else read Sarah Dessen as a teen? I certainly did. So I picked up her latest novel with her new publisher. The Rest Of The Story is about Emma connecting and learning about her mother’s family, who she hasn’t spent much time with since she died. This is going to hit me in the feels isn’t it?

I hadn’t heard of A Good Hiding before YALC it features a teenage pregnancy, a friendship and I *think* it has some LGBT rep too, I’ll keep you posted.

So, Olivia Twist, a gender swap Oliver Twist – do I need to say any more? GENDER SWAP OLIVER TWIST. I hope we get a male Nancy equivalent.

Watch Us Rise by Renée Watson and Ellen Hagan has been on my radar for a while. There’s feminism, friendship and teenage activism. That’s all I know but that is all I need to know.

I was a big fan of Meredith Russo’s first novel and she’s back with another one that looks to be incredible. This follows two friends throughout their lives and had LGBTQ rep! Yessss! I’m excited.

Lily’s Just Fine is another book that I didn’t know about but I found it on a stall for the steal price of £4 and got it signed by the author. This is a contemporary romance with ‘Scotland’s most determined teenager’. Sounded like a bit of light fun to read so of course I picked it up.

And again, I hadn’t heard of Battle Ground BUT it’s set in a post Brexit dystopian world and I got chatting to the author who also signed it for me. I’m curious to see what literature comes out of Brexit and this is the first YA book about it I’ve come across.

Romanov is a reimagining of Anastasia with magic, that’s all I know but I loved the film Anastasia as a kid so why not pick this one up?

And last but not least I picked up Misfit by Charli Howard, I picked this up so that I could get my free copy of Frankly in Love and it was the first YALC purchase I read! It was an ok read for me, it’s Charli’s memoir of her life as a model and dealing with eating disorders. It was a 3 star read for me.

Now, how about a BONUS! I know this was meant to be about the books but I did pick up these from Fable and Black and look how cute these are! Look!

Are you looking to pick up any of these books? Were you at YALC? Let me know in the comments below!

My YALC 2019 Haul – Part 1

Another year, another amazing time at YALC. If you’re not part of the bookish community in the UK you might not have heard about the Young Adult Literature Convention. Let me tell you it is a treat! A big hall full of panels, authors, publishers, freebies, giveaways and Jason Mamoa sightings. The event is part of London Film and Comic Con and probably my favourite weekend of the year.

This year I decided my posts we going to be all about the books, partly because I came home with 25 new additions (hey! they do great deals) and partly because I was a terrible blogger and took hardly any pictures at all. Not only did I come home with a stack of books but I also met the amazing V.E Scwab (she signed for over 400 people, I was number 362), finally met the lovely Lucy Powrie who wrote The Paper and Hearts Society and Laura Bates a badass feminist who wrote Everyday Sexism, Girl Up and Mysogynation.

It was an absolute dream but let’s get down to what you’re really here for – the books.

I hit up the Barrington Stoke stand and picked up these books. You’ll be hearing a lot more from me about Barrington Stoke – they produce books for young adults with Dyslexia that are actually for young adults.

I picked up The Disconnected by Keren David which is about winning a large sum of money if you can stay disconnected from your phone – perfect for a social media obsessed person! Next up I picked up The Last Days of Archie Maxwell by Annabel Pitcher, which is family centred and gritty from what I’ve been told. And I was also gifted a copy of Firebird by Elizabeth Wein which is set in Russia during WW2. All of these are shorter reads and I’m looking forward to getting through them

Let’s just put it out there, I’ve never read an Adam Silvera book. So of course I bought 3 – What If It’s Us with Becky Albertalli, They Both Die At The End and History Is All You Left Me. I’ve heard really good and emotional things about all of these books so hoping I love them all! I am ready to cry a lot.

I’d not heard of Can Everyone Please Calm Down: A Guide To 21st Century Sexuality before this weekend but it looks like an interesting read. I’m always keen to read more books about sexuality and learn. Next up is The Black Coats by Colleen Oakes a story about a group of women who go after men who hurt women. I’ve wanted to get my hands on this for a little while so it’ll be interesting.

I also picked up another book by Moxie author Jennifer Mathieu – The Truth About Alice. This is a novel about rumours and thinking about what we really know about what we hear? I’m really looking forward to this one.

I also picked up Apple and Rain by Sarah Crossan after buying Moonrise at YALC last year and absolutely loving it – the blurb says it has the power to make me ‘laugh and cry’, I’m here for that. Next up is The Stolen Ones, set after WW2 with a mystery element – is Inge who she really thinks she is? And I also picked up You Got This by Bryony Gordon, I love Bryony’s other books (The Wrong Knickers and Mad Girl are the two I’ve read) and this is all about positivity.

And that’s not all! Make sure to come back tomorrow to see the second half of my YALC book haul!

Book Review: The Sun Does Shine – Anthony Ray Hinton

As a poor black man in the deep south, Anthony Ray Hinton, didn’t stand a chance when the police accused him of multiple murders. Despite the fact he had a solid alabi, the gun they claimed he had used hasn’t been fired in decades and didn’t match the bullets used. Despite his innocence he spent decades on death row inching closer to death before finally being declared a free man.

Throughout the pages I found myself getting angry, frustrated and upset with the lack of care that the justice system had towards this man. The fact that they would not acknowledge the racist actions of the people within their institution is, frankly, disgusting. But that in itself is the power of this memoir.

It was important that Ray showed that he does have his own flaws. It would have been easy to portray himself as squeaky clean, instead he owns up to the dodgy checks or the stolen car in his youth. Should he have done them? No. But he did and he admits it. Those actions, however, do not make him a murderer, simply an easy target for injustice.

There were times that I felt conflicted Ray spoke with kindness about the men around him, despite the fact that some were rapists and murderers but, he reminded the reader, not all were guilty. Some of them yes, but not all. At the end of the book there is a list of all of the people on death row, I read every single one of them and broke down in tears. There will be people in that list who are innocent – who may die.

I gave this memoir, 5 stars, I felt so emotional while reading it as well as angry. The fact that it took so long for Ray to be freed, how much of his life he missed is disgusting. That said, this is an incredibly important read because these are stories that need to be heard. I urge you to read this to really learn about the injustices.