7 books to curl up with on a rainy day

I was taking part in a comment thread on Twitter the other day when I came across Bronia Jane’s blog. Now, ya’all criticise comment swaps (well, some people do – you specifically might not) as “fake interaction” but I may have never come across her blog had I not joined in and it’s quickly become one of my favourites. Not only is it super pretty but she posts fabulous content – right up my street as the type of blog I love reading with a bit of everything thrown in. I promise this isn’t a whole post of me gushing over (isn’t gushing an awful word?) her blog, I’m getting to my point, I just felt the need to grovel a little bit because I’m essentially pinching one of her post ideas. Although she said she didn’t mind so it’s all gravy, baby.

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If I had a book club…

Unfortunately, I can’t take credit for this wonderful idea for a post. Beth from The Reader’s Corner was the mastermind who came up with the idea and kindly let me steal it but please check out Beth’s post here! I’ve never been a member of a book club; online or otherwise. I’d love to be at some point in my life but I’m too backed up with my own books to even think about it right now. I also think it’d be amazing to have your own book club, where you have complete control over the books. So, if I had a book club, here are a handful of books I would choose.

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My Top 10 Books of 2013

This seems to be a popular post going around at the moment about people’s top 10 books of this year so I decided to put together a list of mine. 2013 was the year I started blogging and it definitely opened my eyes to lots of books that I probably wouldn’t have read otherwise! So here’s my top 10 of 2013 in no particular order! Click on the title of the book to see my review – if I have one. (Please note that most of these probably weren’t released in 2013, it’s just the year I finally got around to reading them).

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1. The Fault In Our Stars by John Green

What it’s about: Despite the tumor-shrinking medical miracle that has bought her a few years, Hazel has never been anything but terminal, her final chapter inscribed upon diagnosis. But when gorgeous plot twist named Augustus Waters suddenly appears at Cancer Kid Support Group, Hazel’s story is about to be completely rewritten.

The Fault In Our Stars is award-winning author John Green’s most ambitious and heart-breaking work yet, brilliantly exploring the funny, thrilling and tragic business of being alive and in love.

Why it made my top 10: This will always be the book that turned me into a blubbering mess and refused to let me think about anything else for about a week and a half afterwards. This book was so emotionally draining and I have never cried at a book so much in my entire life but It was all totally worth it. Every once in a while a book comes along that makes you think about life, death and everything in between completely differently and for me – this was that book.

2. The List by Joanna Bolouri

What it’s about: Phoebe Henderson may be single but she sure doesn’t feel fabulous. It’s been a year since she found her boyfriend Alex in bed with another woman, and multiple cases of wine and extensive relationship analysis with best friend Lucy have done nothing to help. Faced with a new year but no new love, Phoebe concocts a different kind of resolution.

The List: ten things she’s always wanted to do in bed but has never had the chance (or the courage!) to try. A bucket list for between the sheets. One year of pleasure, no strings attached. Simple, right? Factor in meddlesome colleagues, friends with benefits, getting frisky al fresco and maybe, possibly, true love and Phoebe’s got her work cut out for her.

Why it made my top 10: I only read this book recently after winning it in a giveaway and had never previously heard of the book or the author so I was pleasantly surprised when I started reading and found myself not being able to stop! This one definitely wins the funniest book I read this year award and it really is a little hidden gem. Would definitely recommend this one to someone who doesn’t take life too seriously and needs a light-hearted, funny read.

3. Fractured by Dani Atkins

What it’s about: The night of the accident changed everything… Now, five years on, Rachel’s life is crumbling. She lives alone in a tiny flat, working in a dead-end job, desperate with guilt over her best friend’s death. She would give anything to turn back the clock. But life doesn’t work like that… Does it?

The night of the accident was a lucky escape… Now, five years on, Rachel’s life is perfect. She has a wonderful fiancé, loving family and friends around her, and the career she always wanted. But why can’t Rachel shake the memory of a very different life?

Why it made my top 10: I know a few people who will agree with me on this one. I’d never previously heard of this book then all of a sudden it was everywhere! Everyone was talking about how amazing it was and when I decided to give it a go I understood what all the fuss was about. This is a must read. It will make you smile, it will make you cry and it will definitely make you wonder, what if?

4. Death of the Mad Hatter – Sarah J. Pepper

What it’s about: The Jack prophesied: If the king loses his head, then the Queen with a Bleeding Heart would rule the Red Court until Time ceased to move forward. When a second carried on for infinity, every creature in Wonderland would tip their Hat to the misfit girl with a Boy’s name (or was it a boy with a Girl’s name?) who’d end the Reign of Terror. However, it all hinged on the One-Eyed Hare being able to convince an uninspirable Heir that the impossible was indeed possible—like stopping time—and that Love was worth a Beheading.

Heads would Roll… Hearts would Break… In the end, would it matter who Reigned?

Why it made my top 10: As most of you know, I’m a sucker for all things Disney related and this was probably my most anticipated book of 2013 because as soon as the author contacted me about it I knew I wanted to read it so I patiently waited 2 or 3 months for her to finish it. It was well worth the wait! This book was a weird, wonderful and dark take on the classic tale of Alice in Wonderland and I absolutely loved it.

5. The Age of Miracles – Karen Thompson-Walker

What it’s about: What if our 24-hour day grew longer, first in minutes, then in hours, until day became night and night became day? What effect would this slowing have on the world? On the birds in the sky, the whales in the sea, the astronauts in space, and on a family and a young girl, who is already coping with the normal disasters of everyday life? One seemingly ordinary Saturday morning in a California suburb, Julia and her parents wake to discover that the rotation of the earth has suddenly begun to slow. No one knows why, no one knows how to deal with it. The enormity of this change is almost beyond comprehension.

Told through Julia’s eyes, this beautiful and original novel shows how easily life can fragment, within a family, within a community, and on a far wider plane, when the rhythm of life as we know it is knocked so unexpectedly out of kilter.

Why it made my top 10: I may be cheating slightly with this one because I’ve read it twice and from what I can remember, the first time wasn’t in 2013. I read it for the second time in Summer of 2013 for the Richard and Judy Book Club. This is the only book I’ve ever read more than once so that’s saying something! This is such a strange book with a completely incomprehensible story line and I think that’s why I like it so much. It really shows the spirit of humankind.

6. Not Pretty Enough – Jaimie Admans

What it’s about: New Year’s Resolutions: 1. Lloyd Layton will know I exist. He once said three whole words to me, so this is obviously progress. If I don’t get a proper conversation out of him soon, then I’ll take my top off and streak through the cafeteria, because nobody could fail to notice these boobs. 2. I will not get expelled for streaking through the cafeteria.”

Those are the words that begin her mission. Chessie is fourteen, not pretty enough, and very much in love. Lloyd Layton is hot, popular, and unaware of Chessie’s existence. Her goal is clear: to get Lloyd to love her as much as she loves him, and she has exactly one year to do it. As Chessie’s obsession with Lloyd reaches boiling point and she starts to spin a web of lies that spiral out of control, Lloyd turns out to be not quite the prince she thought he was. Can Chessie avoid the gathering storm before things go too far?

Why it made my top 10: Jaimie is one of those authors that I probably would never have come across if it wasn’t for blogging. Not in a horrible way but she self-publishes all of her books and I wouldn’t have known where to look otherwise. Not Pretty Enough was a relatively short book that I reviewed for a blog tour and I am so pleased I signed up and was introduced to Jaimie’s work. Her stories are so fun and quirky and Jaimie herself is one of the nicest authors I’ve ever met! Plus she has the same tattoo as me so even if her books were rubbish she’d be on this list for that reason alone 😉

7. The Naughty Girls Book Club by Sophie Hart

What it’s about: A quaint suburb. A quiet little book club. A very naughty reading list.

When Estelle sets up a book group in order to increase custom to her struggling cafe, what follows is more mind-blowing than she could have ever imagined… As the first book club meeting flounders, Estelle suggests a spot of erotica to spice things up. Inspired by their naughty novels, this group of shy suburban readers shake off their inhibitions and soon discover that their own lives can be just as scandalous…

Why it made my top 10: If you’re looking for something sweet and saucy this is the book for you. The Naughty Girls Book Club is no Fifty Shades of Grey but it really shows the characters stepping out of their comfort zones to experience something new and exciting. I loved all the characters, I loved the story line and I actually cried with happiness at the end because everything worked out so well. I’ve never before read a book where I wanted a happy ending for the characters so much!

8. The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky

What it’s about: Charlie is a freshman and while he’s not the biggest geek in the school, he is by no means popular. Shy, introspective, intelligent beyond his years yet socially awkward, he is a wallflower, caught between trying to live his life and trying to run from it. Charlie is attempting to navigate his way through uncharted territory: the world of first dates and mixed tapes, family dramas and new friends; the world of sex, drugs and the Rocky Horror Picture Show, when all one requires is that perfect song on that perfect drive to feel infinite. But Charlie can’t stay on the side line forever. Standing on the fringes of life offers a unique perspective. But there comes a time to see what it looks like from the dance floor.

The Perks of Being a Wallflower is a deeply affecting coming of age story that will spirit you back to those wild and poignant, roller-coaster days known as growing up.

Why it made my top 10: This isn’t just one of my favourite books I’ve read in 2013, it’s one of my favourite books I’ve read of all time! This is such an emotional and heart-warming book with a lot of messages in you can relate to.. I read this book at exactly the right time in my life and that’s why it’s always stuck with me. The film adaptation is perfect too!

9. The Fallen Stars (The Star Child trilogy) by Stephanie Keyes

What it’s about: Kellen St. James was just your average seventeen-year-old prodigy, until he eighty-sixed the Lord of Faerie and proposed to the Celtic Goddess, Calienta. But then everything in Kellen’s life gets turned upside-down when he and Cali end up on the run from a seriously irritated group of faeries. The worst part? They have zero idea why they’re being hunted.

Suddenly, Kellen is stuck in the middle of another prophecy that foresees him turning away from Calienta and embracing the dark. He’ll be forced to take sides in a struggle to claim his birth right, while discovering secrets about his father’s past. Meanwhile, his passion for Cali grows stronger, even as the prophecy threatens to tear them apart. In the end, will Kellen and Cali survive the fates? When the ultimate power is within reach, which side will he choose?

Why it made my top 10: This is the second book in The Star Child trilogy and I was introduced to these books when I started reviewing for Loveahappyending Magazine. This is one of the most in-depth and surreal trilogies I’ve ever read – the definition of a Fantasy novel pretty much! I absolutely love this weird and mystical world and am eagerly awaiting the third book in the trilogy!

10. The Time of My Life by Cecelia Ahern

What it’s about: Lucy Silchester has an appointment with her life – and she’s going to have to keep it. Lying on Lucy Silchester’s carpet one day when she returns from work is a gold envelope. Inside is an invitation – to a meeting with Life. Her life. It turns out she’s been ignoring itand it needs to meet with her face to face.

It sounds peculiar, but Lucy’s read about this in a magazine. Anyway, she can’t make the date: she’s much too busy despising her job, skipping out on her friends and avoiding her family. But Lucy’s life isn’t what it seems. Some of the choices she’s made – and stories she’s told – aren’t what they seem either. From the moment she meets the man who introduces himself as her life, her stubborn half-truths are going to be revealed in all their glory – unless Lucy learns to tell the truth about what really matters to her.

Why it made my top 10: I love Cecelia Ahern’s books, she is without a doubt one of my favourite authors and all her novels are so heart-warming and thought-provoking and will leave you with tears in your eyes and a warm fuzzy feeling but I think out of all her books I’ve read, this one has been my favourite so far. It was such a unique and original storyline and not only was it quite funny but almost made you contemplate your own life by the end of it.

There have been tons of amazing books I’ve read this year but those are the ones that have stuck out and stayed with me. What have been YOUR favourite books of this year?

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Leibster Award

I was nominated for a Leibster Award by the lovely Cherelle from www.readinginpeace.blogspot.com! It’s really nice to know someone thinks highly enough of my blog to nominate me so thank you so much!

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For those who don’t know, a Leibster Award is an online award bloggers give to other new (or relatively new) bloggers that they like and is a way to recognise those with fewer than 200 followers (the rules always differ but that’s the general idea!) The person who nominates you will provide 10 questions for you to answer then in your post you answer the questions, nominate your favourite bloggers and ask them a set of 10 different questions which they then answer and so on. I think it’s a lovely idea because we all know how hard it is being a newbie blogger in a world where thousands of people are doing exactly the same thing as you!

Here are my answers to the questions Cherelle asked me. They’re great questions and took a lot of thought! Sorry for rambling!

1. Who is your all time favourite book boyfriend?
Will anyone judge me if I say Christian Grey? Yep? Ok then. I’m kidding. I’ve not actually read many books with strong male characters in (from what I can remember anyway) so I’m just going to pick someone who I really warmed too and that was Reggie from The Naughty Girls Book Club. My reasons for this is because firstly, someone posted a photo on Twitter of Andrew Garfield and said that he should play Reggie in the movie and from that point on all I could see was Andrew Garfield with messy hair and glasses (ugh!) Reggie is such a sweet character than opens up so much throughout the book and really finds himself.

2. Have you ever started a book and not been able to finish it? If so what was it?
I have unfortunately – it was Natural Causes by James Oswald. I always try and finish books even if I don’t enjoy it but I got about 100 pages in with the one and felt like hanging myself from the rafters. I was surprised though because it’s a crime novel and that’s one of my favourite genres so I was really disappointed but I just found myself really having to concentrate on every single word I was reading. It didn’t flow very well and I didn’t understand what was going on the majority of the time. There were names being flown about all over the shop and I didn’t know who anyone was!

3. Who is your role model/inspiration?
This was a difficult one because to be honest, I don’t really have that one person who I completely look up to but if I had to chose, it’d probably be someone like Emma Watson. She hasn’t gone off the rails like most child stars these days (Amanda Bynes and Miley Cyrus anyone?) and she seems like a genuinely lovely person and despite being one of the richest 23 year olds in the world she isn’t stuck up or a diva. I also admire her for packing her bags and moving to America on her own to go to college after the Harry Potter movies finished. It’s great that she cares about her education and it’s an incredibly brave thing to do so hats off to her!

4. If you could meet any fictional character, who would it be and why?
I would love to meet Charlie from The Perks of Being a Wallflower (in fact, I’d like to meet all of them!) He’s so sweet and I think he’d make you see the world completely differently to how you saw it before. He also loves books so I don’t think we’d be stuck for conversation! 

5. Where is your favourite place to read?
Anywhere! In bed or in the bath if I’m at home or on a sun-lounger if I was on holiday. I can remember getting through my fair share of books whilst in foreign countries!

6. If you were stuck on a desert island what 2 books would you take with you?
I’d probably take The Fault In Our Stars because I can imagine feeling a bit lonely and numb if I was stuck on an island on my own and that never fails to open up your emotions and probably Lord of The Rings because I’ve always wanted to read it and it’s really long so it’d keep me occupied for a while!

7. If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you go?
I’d love to visit Thailand and then go to the island where The Beach was filmed because it looks like paradise and it’s always been a lifetime ambition of mine to go to Norway to see the Northern Lights – they’re so beautiful and magical I can’t even begin to imagine what it feels like to see them.

8. What is your favourite TV program?
Oh no I have loads! I’m currently watching Breaking Bad and that’s amazing! I also love Prison Break, LOST, Desperate Housewives and One Tree Hill but you can’t beat a good F.r.i.e.n.d.s episode!

9. If you could choose, what book would you like to see made into a movie?
The Age of Miracles by Karen Thompson-Walker. I love that book and I think it would translate brilliantly onto the big screen if they got it right! Or maybe a Cecelia Ahern book like The Book of Tomorrow, A Place Called Here or Time of Your Life – they’d make very different and interesting films I think!

10. What is your favourite genre to read?
I think crime/thriller is my favourite. Something with a bit of suspense that keeps you guessing with a nice big twist at the end!

CharlooDividerNow it’s time for me to nominate who I think deserves the award! I know some of the people I’ve chose aren’t that new to blogging but nevertheless I think they all deserve it so here’s my nominations and a little explanation as to why I chose them!

I am nominating:

Charlotte from www.miscrawl.wordpress.com. She’s one of the first people I followed when I started blogging and I remember emailing her and asking for some advice on how to get my blog noticed. She’s a lovely girl and her blog covers a range of things from book reviews to general rants so it’s definitely worth a follow!

Laura and co. from shelovestoread are my second choice. I’ve spoken to Laura a bit recently on Facebook and really opened up to her about some personal problems which she kindly helped me with and shared her story with me too. Her blog is really girlie and pink so of course, I love it but it’s also quite professional with author interviews and profiles.

Next is Megan from readinginthesunshine. Megan is one of the loveliest people I know from blogging and Twitter – she’s always so kind to everyone! I love her blog and her reviews too, they’re always consistent and she clearly puts a lot of effort into her blog.

Lastly I’m nominating my (real life) friend, Mike and his blog grungernews. Mike runs a music review blog and you can tell he really knows what he’s talking about because all his posts are lengthy and in-depth about whatever he’s talking about. Mike’s been passionate about music for as long as I can remember and is quite new to blogging so that’s why I think he deserves it!

And here are your questions:

1) If you could only listen to one band/singer for the rest of your life who would it be and why?

2) Which 4 celebrities would you invite to your dream dinner party and why?

3) What movie adaptation do you think has been truest to their book and why?

4) If there was a movie made about your life who would you want to play you?

5) How do you think your best friend would describe you? (Without asking them!)

6) Do you prefer events to be planned right down to the smallest detail or do you like to go with the flow?

7) If you could move anywhere in the world for the rest of your life, with money not being an issue, where would it be and why?

8) Who is your role model/inspiration?

9) Which TV show could you watch over again without getting bored?

10) What would be your weapon of choice/tactic if you were chosen to go in the Hunger Games?

Book Review: The Age of Miracles by Karen Thompson-Walker

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Age-of-Miracles-UKWhat it’s about:

What if our 24-hour day grew longer, first in minutes, then in hours, until day became night and night became day? What effect would this slowing have on the world? On the birds in the sky, the whales in the sea, the astronauts in space, and on a family and a young girl, who is already coping with the normal disasters of everyday life? One seemingly ordinary Saturday morning in a California suburb, Julia and her parents wake to discover that the rotation of the earth has suddenly begun to slow. No one knows why, no one knows how to deal with it. The enormity of this change is almost beyond comprehension.

Told through Julia’s eyes, this beautiful and original novel shows how easily life can fragment, within a family, within a community, and on a far wider plane, when the rhythm of life as we know it is knocked so unexpectedly out of kilter.

Review:

When I decided to take on the Richard and Judy summer 2013 reading challenge I was absolutely delighted when I saw this book was one of their choices. I read this once last year and finished it cover to cover in a day. This is the authors first novel and when I read it the first time around, it wasn’t very well-known. This book deserves to be read and now thanks to the Richard and Judy challenge it will be and I hope everyone enjoys it as much as I did. This unique and fascinating story is told through the eyes of Julia, an 11 year old girl who lives a very ordinary life until what they would later call, ‘The Slowing’, occurs. ‘The Slowing’ is what scientists call this phenomenon. The earth’s rotation is gradually getting slower and slower. Crop begin to die, illness starts to occur and society begins to break down and as the minutes bleed into hours and hours into days it slowly but significantly changes everyone’s lives, including Julia’s, forever.

I praise the author for writing such a touching and somehow, realistic novel. It’s one thing to make up entirely new worlds altogether but being able to stray so far from the norm like this book does is extraordinary and a great amount of thought and imagination that must of gone in to successfully changing something we are so familiar with and take so much for granted. It really does send your imagination wild and I think the reason I found this book such a interesting read is because we’re always looking for something new and exciting to happen and this book delivers just that. In a seemingly normal world, full of normal problems, this huge change occurs that changes everything and everyone and it’s so exciting trying to imagine living and adjusting like the characters do in the book. I also like how this book is told from the point of view of someone who has already lived through what she’s telling. The way she refers to things that have yet to happen is intriguing and it gives you a sense of hope for the characters that you grow to love. Julia has all the worries an 11 year-old girl should have. Not fitting in at school, liking a boy for the first time, problems at home and losing friends. Take out ‘The Slowing’ and you’re left with a series of unfortunate but very realistic events but Julia mentions in the book that she doesn’t know if what happened to her family was due to ‘The Slowing’ or not. Which I think is one of the main points of the story. If ‘The Slowing’ had never happened – how would life have panned out?

I love the concept of this story and it’s honestly unlike anything I’ve read before. Many critics have mentioned the fact that the author is inconsistent and lacks scientific knowledge but to me, I really don’t think that matters. The story is written by an 11 year-old girl, the fact that she has no scientific knowledge, other than what she hears on the TV, is what I think makes the book so successful – the element of the unknown. I admire how the author has managed to create this wonderful catastrophe but at the same time capture all the problems of life that will soon feel insignificant compared to the main problem at hand. Although I, as a reader, could not comprehend life as they experience is, I can relate to some of the smaller worries Julia and her family have to deal with. This is not only a story of a dramatic change in the world we live but a story of friendship, family, young love and the incredible strength of humankind.