June 2017 TBR

It’s been a while since I’ve done a TBR post so I thought I would share with you what I want to read this month. I’ve been marathoning the Harry Potter books of late, but with only two left to read, I think I’ll be back to reading and reviewing again in the next couple of weeks!

  1. Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince – I’m loving rereading the Harry Potter series, there are so many details that I’ve forgotten over the years! I’m already halfway through this book, so it won’t take long to finish!
  2. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – I can’t not read this next! I’m almost done the series and then I’ll have to start rereading them more often
  3. A Court of Wings and Ruin – Sarah J Maas: I’ve been waiting so long to pick this up, but I wanted to finish off Harry Potter before I dove head first into this little beauty. For those of you who don’t know, this is the third instalment in Maas’ A Court of Thorns and Roses series. She’s a brilliant fantasy writer and I highly recommend the series to anyone who wants to delve into YA fantasy!
  4. The Lost Continent – Bill Bryson: I’ve been listening to the audiobook of this for a while, so I should probably finish it this month. I normally listen to audiobooks on my commutes, but I’ve not been in the mood lately. I’ll get back on it though, don’t worry.

What are you guys reading this month? Sorry about the hiatus, but life caught up with me and blogging went out of the window completely!

 

(This post contains affiliate links which if used, I receive a small amount of commission which is used to purchase books!)

Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone

I was in a bit of a reading slump that had been ongoing for a little while and I wanted something that I knew would get me back on the reading bandwagon, so I picked up Harry Potter. I’ve not read any of the Harry Potter books in years, since before I joined Goodreads back in 2012 so I thought it was about time that I revisited my old favourite!

Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone may classed as a children’s novel, but it is still as enjoyable as an adult. I’m not going to go into details about the book because I find it very hard to believe that due to the popularity of the books and the film series that there is a single human being reading this blog post that doesn’t know the basic premise of the books.

What I will say is that when reading the first instalment of Harry Potter again, I noticed a few little bits and bobs that hint at things to come in future books and I also noticed bits of the story that I hadn’t noticed the first few times of reading. I was a child when the Harry Potter books came out and my Dad used to read me the books at bedtime,  so all of the books hold a very special place in my heart. The amount of influence that J.K Rowling’s books had on me is immense, and it’s all most fully down to the Harry Potter series that I am a fully fledged fantasy lover.

If for some bizarre reason you’ve never read Harry Potter, then I urge you to go and pick up this book. If you’ve not read Harry Potter for a long time, then I urge you to go and pick up this book. If you’ve read Harry Potter recently but you love it, then I urge you to go and pick up this book. You can’t go wrong with Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone (even if it’s not the best book in the series!).

Perfect – Cecelia Ahern

Everyone knows how I much I love Cecelia Ahern and her writing. So every time I get the opportunity to read her books, of course I jump at the chance to pick them up. I loved Flawed, and as soon as I realised the Ahern was writing a sequel, I got exceptionally excited about it.

Flawed follows Celestine North as she lives in a society where going against what is deemed ‘acceptable’ results in being branded Flawed. After standing up for an elderly Flawed man on the bus, Celestine faces being branded Flawed herself and along the way she begins to see just how flawed the society she lives in actually is.

As this is the sequel in the duology, I’m not going to go into details because I don’t want to spoil the book for anyone. What I will say is that this book could not have come at a more appropriate time. With the current political climate in both Britain (with us leaving the EU) and in America (with Donald Trump as President) and all the hate it’s stirring up, this book helps to remind it’s readers about the power that the public and each individual has in the greater good of society.

As always, Cecelia Ahern’s writing is powerful and moving. Her writing is inspiring, and will instil a motivation to be a better version of yourself as you read the novel. Her writing will make you question your own views of the world around you and any prejudices that you may or may not hold. And I will say that she writes a damn good lead male, because I fell a little bit in love with Carrick throughout both of the books.

The Flawed series is one of the best Young Adult that I’ve had the pleasure of reading in a long time, and although the plot is quite political, the books are very easy to read and almost impossible to put down. I would highly recommend both books.

Five out of Five stars.

Wild – Cheryl Strayed

I love walking and hiking, so this book has been on my radar for a while and I finally decided to purchase the audiobook from audible. I’ve read so many mixed reviews about the book, so I was unsure about what to expect when I started listening to the book on my commutes to work.

First thing first, can I just say how lovely the narrator of this audiobook’s voice is? She has one of the most soothing, relaxing and easy-to-listen to voices that I’ve ever heard and that alone made listening to the book good. I often find that the narrators voice can distract from the storyline (some of the voices are downright annoying), but her voice suited this book to a tee.

Now on to the actual book. I understand why some people rate this book so poorly, it’s definitely not a classic, but that’s not what the book is about. The book tells the story of Cheryl as she hikes her way along the Pacific Crest Trail and the moments that led her to the trek. Yeah, she slept around and cheated on her husband (which I don’t condone) and yes she did heroin (again, not condoning) but without talking about them, her book wouldn’t the real story. Again, she moans about the task at hand and also about what led her to doing to trail, but realistically who wouldn’t reflect and moan as they hiked through hundreds of miles of American countryside, especially when doing it on there own?

What I liked about this book was that it inspired me. It made me want to spend time outdoors and to go on a walking and camping holiday, which I think is one of the main points of this book. We live in a society where we’ve become so wrapped up in everyday life and often we turn to Drs and medicines to seek help, when the outdoors and some time away from normality can do all the wonders in the world.

I don’t think that the point of this book was to be ground breaking, or to be something that is taught in schools. The point of this book was for Cheryl to share her story of the Pacific Crest Trail and to pass on the knowledge that she learned as she went. And this it does very well. It’s her story to tell, and tell it she did.

Four out of Five stars.

March TBR Pile

Hello!

I didn’t do quite as well with my reading in February as I would have liked (I only read ONE book, what!?), so I’m hoping to get back on track again this month. I’m not giving myself too big of a goal, but I really want to get back into listening to audiobooks on my commute, so hopefully that will help to up my reading game!

1. Wild – Cheryl Strayed: Does this count as cheating because I started this is February, but I’m hoping to finish this audiobook this month. I’m loving it so far, the narrator’s voice is so relaxing (which probably doesn’t make it the commuter audiobook). I like how the narrative combines the walking and adventure with the stories about the past so seamlessly.

2. Charlotte’s Web – E.B White: Okay, so this definitely counts as cheating. I started reading this at the very start of February, but I left it at my parent’s house when I stayed over for the weekend and I’ve only just got it back this weekend. I’m loving it so far, it’s terrible that I’ve never read such a popular and classic child’s book before. I need to finish it this month!

3. Happy Mum, Happy Baby – Giovanna Fletcher: Is it weird that I purchased this book, despite not having a child, nor having any intention of having children at any point in the near future? Having said that, I’m very excited to listen to Giovanna narrate her way through her trials and tribulations of parenting!

4. If You’re Lucky – Yvonne Prinz: Okay, so this is terrible of me but I received this book months and months ago for review and I’ve still not managed to get round to picking this book up. So, I think it’s time to perhaps finally get round to reading. I don’t even remember what the book is about, but I’m planning on leaving it like that because I like a surprise read every now and again!

What books are you planning on reading this month?

Blood For Blood – Ryan Graudin

First and foremost guys, how is this the only book I’ve managed to read in February? I was all set to have a great reading year, I read four books in January and it’s already tapered out in the second month? The fact that I’ve only read one book does not reflect poorly on the quality of this book, merely that I’ve had little to no time to actually read (or at least, whenever I’ve been picking my book up before bed, I’ve been nodding off because I’m shattered).

dsc_0140

Blood for Blood is the sequel to Wolf by Wolf, which I don’t think I ever reviewed for this blog. The duology follows Yael, as she’s challenged to murder Hitler after he won the Second World War. I love historical fiction, particularly historical fiction that surrounds World War II, so a Young Adult series set in the aftermath of Hitler winning the war was something I was going to love.

Obviously, I’m not going to go into details, because I don’t want to spoil the books for anyone who hasn’t read them. However, what I will say is that I’ve fallen in love with Graudin’s writing style, so much so that halfway through this book, I purchased The Walled City, also by this author. Graudin writes characters that are relatable, believable and likeable. I wanted to be Yael’s friend within a couple of chapters into Wolf by Wolf, and I was eager to see how her story progressed throughout Blood for Blood.

Not only does Graudin write great characters, but the storyline is completely and utterly believable. Obviously, Hitler didn’t win the war, so no one knows what would have happened but everything that Graudin includes in the books could easily have happened. Except from maybe the whole skinshifter element, but that didn’t deter from the story. In fact, it adds to the story, because Hitler did indeed commission experiments to be carried out on those in concentration camps, so it fits easily into the story. Plus, who doesn’t enjoy a little bit of science fiction in their novels?

The only real problem that I had with the book was the skinshifting element, whilst yes their were experiments carried out, skin shifting is a little bit far fetched. I also think that the premise of the novels could have been carried out easily without the inclusion of skin shifting. However, that doesn’t mean that I didn’t enjoy both of the books overall. In fact, their one of my favourite duologies that I’ve read in a while.

Four out of Five star.

 

My Top 10 Favourite Authors

Hello!

I thought I would do a little bit of a different book-related post today and tell you guys my top 10 favourite authors, who generally tend to be ‘auto-buys’ whenever I see a new release! I will admit, after writing the list down, I would never have thought that my favourite author list would be so varied – there’s even a couple of celebrity authors on the list. Any without further ado, I present my favourite authors!

  1. Jodi Picoult – is this a surprise? Anyone who reads my blogs will already know my love for Jodi Picoult’s writing. She has written some of my favourite books and I love that each and every book she’s written is completely and utterly unique. She writes books about topics that no other authors tend to write, about difficult topics. Her books books range from suicide pacts, racism, school shootings, brittle bone disease and autism, and I truly love her for that. I’ve even had the pleasure of seeing Jodi Picoult speak about her books, and she is the loveliest lady in person as well! Book recommendation: The Storyteller dsc_0133
  2. Sarah J Maas – Again, this is no secret, I love Sarah J Maas. I was so conflicted when A Court of Thorns and Roses was released because I was fully in love with Throne of Glass. I didn’t think I could enjoy a book series more than Throne of Glass but A Court of Thorns and Roses is even better in my opinion. Definitely recommend both book series written by her.
  3. Malorie Blackman – Malorie Blackman was one of my favourite authors when I was in my teens and I still love her writing to this day. I find myself re-reading the Noughts and Crosses series every now and again, usually every couple of years, because they’re like my security blanket books. Some people re-read Harry Potter, I always turn to Noughts and Crosses. They’re brilliantly written and there are very few teen books I’ve read that tackle racism and politics in such an understandable way!
  4. Rosamund Lupton – I always get a thrill whenever I hear that there is a new Rosamund Lupton book coming out, and it’s something I look forward to for months before hand. Rosamund Lupton writes thrillers with a twist. You will never EVER see her endings coming and it’s one of the reasons that I love her writing. Other than the fact that she makes you fall in love with characters and makes them feel like their your best friend. Book recommendation: Afterwardsdsc_0138
  5. J.K Rowling – how could I not include the Harry Potter author on this list? Harry Potter defined my childhood, my dad used to read me the books at bedtime and whenever a new book was released, I would go to midnight releases of the books and would even get dressed up as a wizard when I went! I will admit however, that I have not read her latest books (do they count if they’re written under a pseudonym?). I need to reread Harry Potter, it’s been too long!
  6. Bill Bryson – I always try to read a Bill Bryson book a year, I love his writing style and I love how I always walk away from his books having learned something new. I’ve not read many of Bill Bryson’s books, I always take a while to read them for some reason but I would definitely include Bryson as one of my favourite authors. I don’t have a specific favourite by Bill Bryson, all his books are so different and teach you so much that I think you should join me in reading them all!
  7. Heather Gudenkauf – I have my mother to thank for introducing me to Heather Gudenkauf’s wonderful thrillers. Much like Rosamund Lupton, Gudenkauf throws twists and turns into her writing that you will not ever see coming.   I’ve not actually read a book by Heather Gudenkauf for a while, which of course means that as soon as this post is done, I’m away to order more of her books! Recommendation: One Breath Away
  8. Giovanna Fletcher – now, I know that this might seem a little weird because the last post I wrote about Mrs Fletcher was a scathing review about Always With Love, but overall, I love Giovanna’s writing. I will admit, I have a little bit of a girl crush on Giovanna (and her whole family) so I do get a little bit too excited whenever she releases a new book. I immediately have to go and pre-order her new books as soon as I hear about them. And who doesn’t need more feel good, chick lit in their lives? Recommendation: Dream A Little Dream
  9. Richard Hammond – Okay, so I admit this is a little bit of a weird one to be included in this list, but I love all the auto-biographies that Richard Hammond has written. I love reading about the adventure he’s gotten up to on Top Gear from his sole perspective and I think that his book On The Edge is one of my all time favourite reads. It talks about his life after the high speed crash that happened whilst filming Top Gear and the aftermath of dealing with his brain injury.
  10. Ryan Graudin – I’ve recently found a new out about Ryan Graudin and I am in love. Graudin’s Wolf by Wolf series is becoming one of my favourite series. I love that the Wolf by Wolf series tackles WW2 as a young adult topic, but I love it even more that it’s written as if Hitler had won the war, that really appeals to my inner geek! After reading that one series, I’ve since purchased The Walled City and I fully intend to read it soon within the year.dsc_0140

I hope this gives you a little more insight into my reading habits and my ‘auto-buy’ authors. I’m away to go and browse through all these wonderful authors and perhaps buy some of their books that I’ve never purchased yet!

The Black House – Peter May

As you all know from my many other book reviews, I’m not really a crime fiction enthusiast. However, my dad recommended that I read The Black House so I delved into the world of Scottish crime for the first time this year.

The Black House follows Fin McLeod as he tries to solve a murder on the Isle of Lewis which appears to be connected to a murder in Edinburgh. After struggling to come to terms with the death of his child, McLeod now faces returning to his childhood home and all the memories that come with returning to the island, whether those memories are good or bad. As McLeod tries to solve the murder, he has to question whether the people he grew up with are capable of murder.

blackhousecover

What I liked the most about this book was that although the book is primarily about solving crime, that’s not all the novel is about. Throughout The Black House, in a series of flashbacks, you’re told about Fin’s childhood and what it was like growing up on the Isle of Lewis. I’ve rarely experienced that extra dimension of character building in a crime novel before and I must admit, I loved learning more about the culture on the island. I’ve been to Lewis on holiday previously, which was why my dad recommended this book, and the setting was definitely my favourite part of reading.

The characters are very well developed throughout the plot, again, I think the flashbacks really add to the development of not only Fin, but of Artair and Marsaili as well. I found myself wanting to pick the book up and read, so I flew through the novel fairly quickly and it definitely held my interest the entire time. Without spoiling the ending of the book for anyone who may want to read it, I will say that I most definitely did not see the twist towards the end coming. Which is exactly what you want from a good crime novel!

Crime isn’t my favourite genre, but I did enjoy reading The Black House. Having said that, I didn’t enjoy the book that much that I want to continue on with the series. 3 out of 5 stars.

 

A Darker Shade of Magic – V.E Schwab

This is yet another book that I purchased on a whim after hearing Regan, from Peruse Project, raving about it on her YouTube channel. I will admit, it’s been a long time since I’ve last read a book about magic, and I don’t know why I’ve left it this long. I love magic, and I particularly love YA magic novels.


A Darker Shade of Magic is a great magical fantasy novel, which follows Kell as he travels between three different versions of London with messages for the rulers of each realm. After he bumps into and is robbed by Lila, and ultimately saves him from someone after his life, they team up together to help save all the Londons.

I loved this book, I just think I would have enjoyed it a little more in my teens than I did in my twenties. The characters are well developed, I did fall a little bit in love with Kell (even with his black magical eye) and I found myself routing for Kell and Lila the whole way through the book. I found the aspect of the different London’s really interesting, I would have liked a little more development of the other ‘realms’, particularly Grey London as you find out very little about the ‘realms’ other than meeting their rulers. However, the storyline was gripping and I was hooked within a couple of chapters of reading.

I will definitely be continuing with series at some point in the year, and I will be looking forward to it.

Four of out Five stars.

 

Always With Love – Giovanna Fletcher

I’ve been thinking about how to write this book review, because I love Giovanna Fletcher, as a human, as a YouTuber and as an author. But I just didn’t enjoy Always With Love. I wasn’t the biggest fan of Billy and Me and I can’t say that I was very excited about reading the sequel. However, I don’t want to come across as mean or hateful in this review.

I love romance and chick lit, but this book and it’s prequel Billy and Me are not my cup of tea. I didn’t find the story appealing, I didn’t connect very well with the characters and I wasn’t gripped by the writing. I took forever to read this book, because I couldn’t find the urge to pick the book up and read.

My main problem with Always With Love, and Billy and Me is the character of Billy. He’s not my idea of a romantic interest; the relationship between Billy and Sophie is not healthy, there is very little trust and respect between the two of them and it annoys me so much. I don’t ‘desire’ to have Billy as a boyfriend, I wouldn’t even want him as a friend. They way that Sophie and Billy treat each other is exceptionally immature.

That’s all I’m going to say about Billy and Me because the more I think about it, the more problems I find with the book. I’m sure plenty of people will have loved this book, it just wasn’t for me. Having said that, I love Giovanna Fletcher’s other novels and I would highly recommend Dream a Little Dream to every reader!