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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The Autumn Reading Tag

I don’t really do an awful lot of tag posts anymore – I tend to find the questions too hard, especially book related ones and not being able to find the perfect book fit for each question stresses me the hell out. So I’m pretty picky when I’m tagged in these sort of posts but, I was tagged in The Autumn Reading Tag by the lovely Laura Noakes and this looked like a super cute and fun tag to do so I wanted to give it a try. I love Autumn too and I am the happiest person in the world now that summer is finally over and we can go back to you know, not spontaneously combusting every time we step out the front door. So here I am, embracing Autumn and all that jazz… (credit to Amy Jane Smith who created the tag)

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Books That Made Me… Think Differently About Life

Its time for another post in my ‘Books that made me… feature and today I’m welcoming Becca from Beccas Books onto the blog to talk about the books that made her ‘think differently about life’. Over to you…


Books That Made Me… Think Differently About Life

Firstly, thank you to the wonderful Jenny for including me this fabulous blog feature, ‘Books that made me…’ I was given books that made me think differently about life. I love books that have managed to make me think differently about my life. There’s just something amazing about words being able to do that to a person.

gThe Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini

The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini will always come to the forefront of my mind whenever I think of books that have affected me in such an incredible way. I read The Kite Runner during college and it has stayed with me ever since. This is probably one of the very first books that I read which was based on more than just romance and girly chick-lit. It affected me in such a way that I could no longer take things for granted in my life; people mainly. Honestly, I feel choked up just thinking about this book. It was insanely eye-opening to the different lives that people can lead, and how in the end, the time can come when it’s too late to make amends. I remember finishing this book and walking downstairs to my family, completely and utterly grateful for the fact that I had them. Books like this don’t typically fall into my usual genre, but readers, this has to be one that you read at least once in your life. Continue reading

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?

Sig

 

A-Z Book Survey

I stole this from Emma at emmaiswriting and it’s just a bit of fun so enjoy my answers and feel free to steal it if you want too!

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Author You’ve Read The Most Books Of: James Patterson by far! He is the God of crime novels in my eyes and his Women’s Murder Club series are amazing! (I’m aware Beckie at beckiesbookmix wrote almost exactly the same thing…) The second I finished 1st To Die (the first book in the series) I knew I was hooked!

Best Sequel Ever: I enjoyed Catching Fire in The Hunger Games series however the third one I struggled with a fair bit! Without sounding like a broken record, the Women’s Murder Club sequels are fantastic – all 11 of them!

Currently Reading: This Child Of Mine by Sinead Moriarty, I wasn’t sure at first but I can tell it’s going to be one of those ‘OH MY GOD!’ kinda books…

Drink Of Choice While Reading: Erm, I don’t know – nothing specific. Probably just water!

eReader or Physical Book: Actual book because still to this day I don’t own a Kindle and I don’t plan to buy a Kindle because I’m a bit technologically challenged so the easier the better!

Fictional Character You Probably Would Have Actually Dated In High School: I went to an all girls school, does that mean I have to pick a girl? I’m kidding, possibly Charlie from The Perks of Being a Wallflower :3 He’s so cute.

Glad You Gave This Book A Chance: Close My Eyes by Sophie McKenzie. At first I had so many bad things to say about that book but I’m glad I finished it as the ending was really gripping. It wasn’t the best book in the world but I’m glad I stuck it out.

Hidden Gem Book: Stephanie Keyes and The Star Child. This was one of the books I was given by Loveahappyending magazine and I’d never heard of the author or the book before but it was amazing and unlike any other YA books I’ve ever read!

Important Moment In Your Reading Life: The first time I got a review request or the first time one of my favourite authors replied to my tweet! I still remember how excited I was! FYI it was Dorothy Koomson!

Just Finished: The Gift by Cecelia Ahern – amazing book!

Kinds Of Books You Won’t Read: Erm, I’m pretty open to trying any genre! Within reason…

Longest Book You’ve Read: Breaking Dawn possibly? That was pretty long…

Major Book Hangover Because Of: The Fault In Our Stars, ugh I didn’t know what to do with myself after that I was so emotionally drained and I couldn’t really think about anything else for a while. I’ve never cried so much at a book or even a film before reading that!

Number of Bookcases You Own: I don’t own a bookcase, I have shelves and I have 3 of them! And they’re falling down…

One Book You Have Read Multiple Times: Again, The Age Of Miracles by Karen Thompson-Walker. I don’t tend to read books more than once except that one which I’ve read twice.

Preferred Place To Read: Wherever!

Quote That Inspires You/Gives You All The Feels From A Book You’ve Read: Ooh I have two, firstly there’s, ” If you accept that the universe is infinite, then that means there’s an infinite amount of chances for things to happen, right? Well, if there’s an infinite amount of chances for something to happen, then eventually it will happen – no matter how small the likelihood. That means, somewhere in space there’s another planet that, by an incredible series of coincidences, developed exactly the same way as ours. Right down to the smallest detail.” From The Beach because I loved that book and that film and that’s my favourite quote of all time. Secondly is, ” So, this is my life. And I want you to know that am both happy and sad and I’m still trying to figure out how that could be,” from The Perks of Being a Wallflower. I know it’s a bit cliché but at the time I was reading that book that’s exactly how I felt and I’ve never had a feeling like it.

Reading Regret: Nothing springs to mind really. Can’t say I’ve ever read anything that bad ha-ha.

Series You Started And Need To Finish: As sad as this may sound, I really want to finish the 50 Shades of Grey series. I got halfway through no. 2 and got really bored because it was the same things over and over again but I’d like to see how it ends!

Three Of Your All-Time Favourite Books: The Beach – Alex Garland, The Perks of Being a Wallflower – Stephen Chbosky and The Fault In Our Stars – John Green. I have more but I’m only allowed 3 apparently…

Unapologetic Fangirl For: James Patterson. If I met him I’d probably puke. Then faint.

Very Excited For This Release More Than All The Others: Oh lord I don’t know, I’m not very good with new releases. I only seem to notice a book once it’s out and slapped me in the face.

Worst Bookish Habit: Oh Christ there’s loads. Judging a book by it’s cover, hoarding books, deciding I don’t like a book 2 chapters in…

X Marks The Spot: Start At The Top Left Of Your Shelf And Pick The 27th Book: The Woman In Black by Susan Hill. I encourage everyone to not only read this but go and see the play! Lots of people can’t understand how a play can be scary but it was terrifying. Amazing but terrifying. There was people in the audience actually crying!

Your Latest Book Purchase: Erm, I can’t remember the last time I actually bought a book for myself but I got some for my birthday and they were: One Hundred Names by Cecelia Ahern, The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald and The Fault In Our Stars by John Green.

ZZZ-snatcher book (last book that kept you up WAY late): I don’t tend to stay up late and read because it makes me too tired then I don’t know what I’m reading! Sorry!

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.