Tuesday, 14 August 2018

ch-ch-ch-ch-changes

YA books vs adult books

Turn and face the strange,  don't wan't to be a richer man. Anyone else love that song? Shrek has such a good soundtrack.
Anywayyyyy, today I wanted to talk about how my reading tastes have changed in the past 10 or so months. If you follow my blog at all it will come as no surprise that I am a big fan of young adult books, and although I still am I have found myself slowly stepping away from YA (especially contemporary) and dipping my toes into the big pool of adult fiction. Not like erotic fiction, just like normal books not in the YA section, and I wanted to discuss my reasons why:

  • I can't relate any more - Most YA main characters are between 16-18 years old. I am over 10 years older than that so unsurprisingly when I read about a character having problems at school or friendship issues I find it hard to care and wish that was my main concerns in life rather than worrying about mortgages, my increasing amount of grey hairs and whether or not the cats shit looked normal this morning.
  • The sex is missing - I'm not going to lie, I love a good steamy sex scene in a book and in YA it is often glossed over, and if it isn't it often can feel quite awkward. Once again I've not been a virgin in a very long time so the sex being a big thing, whilst 1000% should be important for teenagers, is not for me. And then there are the authors who go a bit OTT and everyone knows your first time is not that good (Sarah J Maas I'm looking at you)
  • It always ends happily ever after - Now this one is entirely me being a cynical old woman, but YA books always (well 98% of the time) end up with a happy ending. Most of the time I love a happy ending, but every so often I would like things to be a bit grittier because the real world definitely doesn't always end up with things wrapped up with a neat little bow on it.
It's not that I dislike YA now, and YA fantasy is still the best fantasy in my opinion, it's just my personal tastes have changed and this will be reflected in my blog posts. There will still be quite a few YA reviews going up because I've read a lot and need blog content but I'm changing and along with it so will this blog. Basically, I'm getting old, and I hope you will enjoy being old with me.

Wednesday, 8 August 2018

I'm back bitches

a tabby cat sitting on a bookcase

Well, it's been a long time hasn't it! I'm not going to bother with excuses because the long and short of it is I just fell out of love with blogging, but a nice long break and about a million books later I finally feel refreshed and ready to step back into the book blogging world.

In the time that I've been gone my husband and I bought our first property in London (expensive AF), welcomed two gorgeous kittens into our flat (Rick and Morty, Rick is a girl!) and not much else to be honest. I worked the day job a lot and my reading tastes have changed a fair bit, but more of that will be spoken about in an upcoming blog post.

Anyway, I make no promises for consistent posts, or even quality content but I will be talking about books or bookish related things and it feels nice to be back. 

Monday, 20 February 2017

Book Review | Beware That Girl by Teresa Toten

My Rating: 5/10
Published: January 12th 2017
Pages: 352
Genre: Young Adult, Thriller
Amazon | Goodreads Book Depository


Beware that Girl describes itself as being for fans of We Were Liars, The Girl on the Train and Gone Girl, a psychological thriller where the main characters are teenage girls and it takes place in the mega rich lives of New York's elite. That sounds like a pretty epic description right, which is why I picked up the book. Unfortunately I found the description of this book as a psychological thriller to be a little bit too generous. 

Beware That Girl is told from two points of view, Kate who is a self confessed liar and has a very rocky history, and Olivia, a very wealthy it girl who's reliance on pills to help steady her mood makes her the perfect target to Kate who has decided to become best friends with her in order to use their friendship for Kate to get everything she has ever wanted in life, money, status etc. 

Fans of Gossip Girl may well enjoy this book as it is a very easy read about the mega rich New Yorkers and the shenanigans they get up to, they even get a dog who they call Bruce! Now don't get me wrong, I am a massive fan of Gossip Girl so for me this wasn't actually that much of a deal breaker, it's just when something sells itself as being a thriller I expected something a lot darker than what was served.

This book also relies far too heavily on stereotypes. All of the girls featured in this book are what you would expect a New York girl who attends private school to be like and just come across as very flat characters. For me though, the biggest issue was when it came to the portrayal of Mrs Chen, a Chinese lady and Olivia's housekeeper. Everything from the way their body shape is described to the speech they used is so stereotypical I found it almost offensive. 

However as I mentioned, this book is an easy enough read for anyone who likes things along the lines of Pretty Little Liars etc, and although most of the twists within the book were predictable it did have a couple that were very clever that I enjoyed. 

Friday, 17 February 2017

My Ideal Reading Space

a collage of things I would like in my reading room

I often fantasize about if I had the space I would love to have a dedicated reading room and how it would look. At the moment I only have a very small bookshelf that doesn't hold many books at all in my bedroom.
There are a million gorgeous ideas on Pinterest, but this is my ideal area, all I need is a box room and lots of money....

I would decorate it in neutral warm tones with a hint of metallics and a light wooden floor to ensure the room is always bright and welcoming.

The Billy bookcase from Ikea is cheap and cheerful and gives the feel of being in a library because they are so tall. I would love one or two of these filled with books organised by colour, it's not always the most practical way to organise books but looking at my rainbow arranged shelves at the moment really makes me happy. Of course I would have some Funko Pop figures dotted around the bookshelf too from my favourite series, like the super cute Harry Potter ones.

Of course an armchair is needed to relax and read books in and I love the look of the Kolton armchair from Made. The colour fits into the neutral tones of the room and it looks like it would be big and cosy to curl up and read in.

Good light is needed for those dark winter nights and this Whity copper floor lamp from Maisons Du Monde looks like it will provide plenty of light and looks stylish too. A faux fur rug is also essential for those cold winters too to make sure the room feels nice and snug, the one pictured is from Dunelm.

Lastly, I would decorate the room with a few framed quotes/literary themed prints. Etsy is full of incredible designs like the Don't Let the Muggles Get You Down one pictured. A mix of black, white, and metallic frames/prints to tie the whole theme together.

Looking at this collage makes me so happy, but also sad that I don't actually have any room to do any of this! What is your ideal reading space?

Tuesday, 14 February 2017

Book Review | Caraval by Stephanie Garber

a book review of a book fans of the night circus will enjoyMy Rating: 10/10
Published: January 31st 2017
Pages: 407
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy
Amazon | Goodreads | Book Depository


I first heard of Caraval when I received a promotional postcard in one of the book boxes I am subscribed to. It claimed fans of The Night Circus would love Caraval and as a massive fan of The Night Circus this immediately peaked my interest and Caraval quickly became my most anticipated book release of 2017 and I'm glad to say that it did not disappoint!

Caraval is a magical 5 day game put together by the mastermind Legend. People come from all over to compete in Caraval for a chance to win a fantastic prize, although many come just to spectate as the event is so full of magic it promises to create a great adventure for all those who attend.

Scarlett has long dreamed of going to Caraval but is about to give up hopes of ever attending as she is arranged to be married, that is until she is sent tickets from Legend himself a week before the wedding. Stephanie receives three tickets, one for herself and her sister who are both terrified of how their tyrant dad will react to them leaving the island, and a third ticket that is meant for Scarlett's fiancé but instead ends up being given to the mysterious sailor who has appeared on their island as payment for passage to the island where Caraval is held. 

Upon arrival at Caraval Scarlett's sister has vanished, it appears she has been kidnapped by Legend as part of the game and the winner of this years Caraval is the first person to be able to find her with only a set of five cryptic clues to give any indication to her whereabouts. 

The world created in Caraval is beautiful and magical, very reminiscent of the style of magic seen in The Night Circus, romantic, beautiful and mysterious, but there is also a distinct underlying feeling of something darker there. I'm also put in the mind of Alice in Wonderland style fantasy when reading this and a few times I imagined Legend as being a Mad Hatter type figure.

Stephanie Garber has a beautiful writing style too with long descriptive sentences that really help enhance the magical feel of the book and picture it clearer. There are often times when I felt like I had been whisked away, in particular there is a moment where a cider drink is being described and I instantly wished I could be drinking it myself.

I am so incredibly happy with this book as it was everything I expected and more. The story is gripping with lots of twists and turns which gets emotional at times and it's wrapped up in such a gorgeous magical package I can't fault it. If you loved The Night Circus please do yourself a favour and read this immediately, and even if you haven't I still recommend picking this up!

Saturday, 11 February 2017

I Heart Audio Dramas | Part One

I like audio dramas

If you follow me on Twitter you will most likely have seen me at one point or another raving about an audio drama because I LOVE them. It's a bit like a audio book, but there are often several actors acting out dialogue and instead of being a long recording they are split into episodes and series making it easier to listen to in bite sized chunks. Audio dramas are also most often free and I listen to them through iTunes.

Before I get started on sharing some of my favourite ones I just had to mention this speaker I got recently. It is the Comiso speaker that I got from Amazon. I mainly listen to audio dramas whilst cross stitching because I can listen to it whilst looking at my work. Headphones always got tangled in my work and the built in speaker on the iPhone is just poor quality so I invested in the ...... speaker. Oh my gosh it is a game changer! I didn't realise just how bad the iPhone
speaker quality is until I got this and it has increased my love for audio dramas even more, plus, it's rose gold!

Anyway, enough gushing about speakers. I listen to a lot of audio dramas so I expect this is going to turn into a series of blogpost but I thought it would be best to start with my top three favourite audio dramas.
a podcast that investigates a missing town
1. Limetown
Genre: Thriller, mystery
Average Episode Length: 30 minutes
No. of Episodes: 6
Good if you like: Serial, X Files
Limetown is the first audio drama I ever listened to and kicked off the obsession for me. The format is very Serial like, a weekly podcast by a journalist as she investigates Limetown, a town that had a population of over 300 people, all of which vanished without a trace one day as she tries to find out what happened to everyone.

a podcast that investigates the supernatural 2. The Black Tapes
Genre: Paranormal, Horror
Average Episode Length: 40 minutes
No. of Episodes: 2 seasons, 12 episodes
Good if you like: Serial, Creepypasta
Another Serial type podcast which sees journalist Alex Reagan investigating the supernatural. On her investigation she meets professional paranormal investigator Dr Richard Strand who is on a mission to debunk all paranormal claims. He has successfully managed to do this for most cases, apart from those he calls The Black Tapes which he and Alex investigate further. Very spooky.



3. LifeAfter
a sci fi thriller podcastGenre: Sci Fi, Thriller
Average Episode Length: 25 minutes
No. of Episodes: 10
Good if you like: Black Mirror
Life After is a great audio drama to start off with if you have never listened to one before. It's a short series and only one season long so you don't end in suspense as you wait for a new season and it's amazingly well acted, it may be my favourite one yet.
Voice Tree is a social media site where people can record messages for other people to listen to, almost like a vlog but voice only. Ross's wife has unfortunately passed but he still listens to her voice through her Voice Tree messages, until one day he hears about the mysterious LifeAfter, an app that seems to be able to use Voice Tree to recreate a digital AI of people who have died that is able to communicate, but it's not as straight forward as it seems...

So there is three to start you off with. As I mentioned I definitely recommend starting with LifeAfter, it is fantastic! And expect more posts like this in the future as I am binging through lots of audio dramas at the moment.

Tuesday, 31 January 2017

Book Review | Beautiful Broken Things by Sara Barnard

My Rating: 8/10
Beautiful Broken Things book review by Sara BarnardPublished: February 25th 2016
Pages: 322
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary 
Amazon | Goodreads | Book Depository


Caddy is a typical sixteen year old who lives in Brighton. She is from a good family and attends private school but she wishes she was a bit more interesting like her best friend Rosie who attends the local comprehensive school.

Despite going to different schools Caddy and Rosie are inseparable, that is until a new girl starts at Rosie's school. Suzanne is beautiful, funny, king and warm, and at first Caddy thinks she is stealing her best friend away from her, but after warming to her Caddy soon realises that there is a lot more to Suzanne than meets the eye and she is hurt. Very hurt.

This book deals with some pretty heavy topics including abuse, mental illness and self harm. These are all very tricky topics to deal with but they are handled very well and as this book is told from Caddy's point of view it almost acts as an education as this is the first time she has ever had to deal with these types of issues.

Sara Barnard writes the teenage voice incredibly well. Not once does it come across as false or try hard and I definitely remember having very similar feelings when I was sixteen. All three of the girls in the book are well fleshed out with very distinct personalities and all of them reminded me of someone I knew when I was younger.

It's incredibly refreshing to see a YA book based entirely on friendships and I loved this aspect of the book. I would happily give this book to my eleven year old cousin and think that it is a good read for her.

Beautiful Broken Things is a great read that will have you grinning from ear to ear but will also have you on the edge of tears. It is an easy read and flows really nicely and I think this is a great book for many different audiences.