Amanda Noble #zoolife, by Lesa Boutin- Review

Goodreads synopsis:

Amanda’s life is a zoo. For real. Her family owns the Noble’s Ark Zoo, and it’s equipped her with a particular set of skills. She can worm goats, bottle-feed a sick chinchilla, and wrangle a wayward snake with her eyes closed. But when her father becomes a local TV celebrity where he’s pecked, clawed, and pooped on for Central Florida’s viewing pleasure, she’s not sure how to cope with it. Change her name? Move to another city? Then there’s Kyler. He’s her best friend—the guy who taught her to belch the alphabet kind of friend. And friends don’t date friends. Right? 

When the family is in danger of losing the zoo, it may take more than a working knowledge of gator wrestling and avoiding the business end of a skunk for Amanda to handle a second-string mobster, find a missing body, and convince Kyler they’re meant to be together. All this without suffering an epic social media fail. #zoolife.

My thoughts:

This book started off slowly. After getting through more than 80 pages of seemingly pointless dialogue and introductions, I was very close to giving up and DNFing this novel.    It wasn’t until after the 100 page mark that things actually started to happen and I begun to enjoy the story. Unfortunately, however,  I can’t say that the novel got drastically better after this point, the plot remained predictable, the main characters distant and the narration boring. While I found certain aspects of the storyline amusing and partially relatable, there was non of that laugh-out-loud humour that I had been expecting.

One aspect of the story that disappointed me were the characters. I just couldn’t make myself like Amanda; her character was neither unique nor relatable and the minimal development she experienced throughout the novel simply didn’t interest me. The other main character, Kyler, was sweet enough without being overly impressive.

While I personally wasn’t a massive fan of this novel, I can imagine other people, especially younger readers, enjoying the book. I wouldn’t be quick to recommend it but then again, maybe the book just wasn’t for me. My rating? 2 stars ⭐️.

I received Amanda Noble #zoolife from Netgalley in return for an honest review. This novel was released on 23rd October 2017. 

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Bookish Naughty List Tag

I saw this tag on Chrissi Reads earlier this week and thought it would be fun to give it a go. Like Chrissi, I won’t be tagging anyone, so everyone is free to take part as they wish! 😊 Make sure to leave a link in the comments if you do end up doing a similar post, as I’d love to check it out.

1. Received an ARC and not reviewed it? 

No. Well, not yet, at least. Recently I’ve been getting more and more eArcs from Netgalley, and it’s only a matter of time before I get approved for a book, that I just no longer want to read.

2. Have less than 60% feedback rating on NetGalley?

Unfortunately, yes 😭. I currently have a feedback ratio of 50%. Hopefully this will change once I finish reading & reviewing some of the books that have been on my shelf for a while.

3. Rated a book on Goodreads and promised a full review was to come on your blog (and never did)?

No actually, although this does seem like something I could do. I don’t post reviews on Goodreads all that frequently, which probably explains why I’ve never done this.

4. Folded down the page of a book?

Never to one of my books, although I must confess that I have done it to library books a couple of times 😬.

5. Skim read a book?

Yes… I’ve skim read books that I didn’t like just to get to the end quicker. There’s been times when a story just drags on for far too long and I’ve had to resort to skimming through the book to get to the good bits.

6. DNF a book this year?

Yes again 😢. I attempted to read a children’s book titled The Hairy Legs Heist by Sue Whiting but just couldn’t get into it as the writing style was too immature.

7. Bought a book purely because it was pretty with no intention of reading it?

Never! I always buy books with the intention of reading them, although sometimes pretty covers do encourage me to pick them up.

8. Read whilst you were meant to be doing something else?

Yep. Read while I was meant to be doing homework, read while I was meant to be cleaning my room, read while I was meant to be training… The list goes on.

9. Accidentally spilled on a book

Yes. I’ve spilled on books multiple times but what was worse was when someone spilled (tomato sauce) on one of my books 😭.

10. Completely missed your Goodreads goal?

Yep, well, sort of. I’m pretty sure I reached my Goodreads goal last year, the only problem is I stopped tracking my books a quarter of the way through the year. Oops.

11. Borrowed a book and not returned it?

No. I’m actually quite good with returning books, if I do say so myself 😉.

12. Broke a book buying ban?

Yep. All. The. Time. I just can’t resist buying a good book when I see one.

13. Started a review, left it for ages then forgot what the book was about?

Yeah. That’s happened to me a few times. While I like to write reviews as soon as I can after finishing a book, there’s been times when life gets in the way and I’m forced to leave a half finished review for weeks before I finally remember to finish it. Usually I’ll just scrap the whole review and start again with another book.

14. Wrote in a book you were reading?

I would never do that to one of my precious books! There have been times when I have really wanted to, however I’ve always managed to keep that impulse under control 👏.

15. Finished a book and not added it to your Goodreads?

Yes. As I mentioned earlier, I stopped adding books to my Goodreads page early on last year. Luckily, I’ve managed to remember to add all my books so far this year… We’ll see what happens with the rest of 2018.

 

 

Top Ten Tuesday 13/02/18- Romance Freebie 💌

It’s nearly Valentine’s Day and for some reason I am actually excited, despite the fact that for me, the day will go by like any other. None the less, it’s still a great opportunity to reflect on some of the best romantic books and fictional couples, the latter being my chosen topic for this week’s Top Ten Tuesday.  A special thanks That Artsy Girl for hosting the weekly meme that is TTT :).

                                               Image credit goes to Goodreads

  1. Sage ❤️ Cal from Geekerella by Ashley Poston. Can I just say that I LOVE Cal & Sage as a couple? Because I really do. And… I’m going to stop myself right there before I start seriously fangirling 😊.
  2. Harriet ❤️ Nick from Geek Girl by Holly Smale. Nick & Harriet are the absolute PERFECT fictional couple.
  3. Ava ❤️ Gideon from Beautiful Mess by Claire Christian. They had such an adorably awkward relationship and I was SO there for it :).
  4. Cath ❤️ Levi from Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell. I have to admit that I developed a slight fictional crush on Levi while reading this novel. That doesn’t stop me from loving Cath & Levi as a couple though 😊.
  5. Alice ❤️ Max from Dreamology by Lucy Keating. A super-duper adorable couple from a really great book!
  6. Jeremy ❤️ Sebby from Fans of the Impossible Life by Kate Scelsa. I absolutely loved Fans of the Impossible Life and it was made that much better by Jeremy & Sebby’s gorgeous yet, admittedly, very complicated, relationship.
  7. Violet ❤️ Theodore from All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven. Even now, after reading the book a couple of years ago, Violet & Theodore still stick out as a great fictional couple 😍.
  8. Parker ❤️ Scott from Not If I See You First by Eric Lindstrom. Another couple deserving of their place on this list :).
  9. Audrey ❤️ Linus from Finding Audrey by Sophie Kinsella. I love Audrey & Linus so much, both as individual characters and as a couple 💖.
  10. Emily ❤️ Frank from Since You’ve Been Gone by Morgan Matson. Such a sweet couple; thinking about the ending chapter makes me smile just thinking about it.

What fictional couples do you love? What did you choose as your TTT topic for this week? Leave any comments, along with TTT links down below! 🙂

The Upside of Falling Down by Rebekah Crane- Review

cover123659-medium.pngSynopsis via NetGalley:

For Clementine Haas, finding herself is more than a nice idea. Ever since she woke up in an Irish hospital with complete amnesia, self-discovery has become her mission.

They tell her she’s the lone survivor of a plane crash. They tell her she’s lucky to be alive. But she doesn’t feel lucky. She feels…lost.

With the relentless Irish press bearing down on her, and a father she may not even recognize on his way from America to take her home, Clementine assumes a new identity and enlists a blue-eyed Irish stranger, Kieran O’Connell, to help her escape her forgotten life…and start a new one.

Hiding out in the sleepy town of Waterville, Ireland, Clementine discovers there’s an upside to a life that’s fallen apart. But as her lies grow, so does her affection for Kieran, and the truth about her identity becomes harder and harder to reveal, forcing Clementine to decide: Can she leave her past behind for a new love she’ll never forget?

I was incredibly excited to read this book; the cover, the title and most importantly, the whole premise of the story, seemed really interesting to me.

After reading and liking (but not loving) The One Memory of Flora Banks by Emily Barr, in which a girl has amnesia that makes her forget everything every few hours, I was intrigued to see how the Clementine’s amnesia would be written into the story. Fortunately, the narration was no where near as confusing as I originally feared, in fact, the writing style was incredibly fresh and creative. Filled with flashbacks to the last moments before the plane crash, along with half formed memories from her life before the accident, the story remained engaging throughout some of the slower sections.

I loved the characters in this story; sure, Clementine was a good narrater, but the real stars of the show for me were Siobhan, a young to-be-mother with pink hair and plenty of attitude, and Clive, a secretly Jane Austen obsessed punk and the owner of a local music shop. I loved the individuality of these two characters and looked forward to the snippets of the novel that they were featured in.

Altogether The Upside of Falling Down by Rebekah Crane was a great read. Its sweet and and relatable narration, along with a somewhat surprising ending, made it an easy read and one that I would certainly recommend. 4 stars :).

I received this copy from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

January Reading Wrap Up

Ahh… Another month done and dusted. January was a good great month of reading, reviewing & blogging for me. This is what I hope to be the first of many monthly reading wrap ups for 2018. 🙂

Fast Facts

                                              Image Credit Goes to Goodreads

  • Books Read: 13
  • Bought: 2
  • Borrowed: 3
  • Reviewed: 5

Shortest Book? Moby Dick; A Pop Up Book, Sam Ita (8 Pages)

Longest Book? When Dimple Met Rishi, Sandy Menon (380 Pages)

 Favourites of the Month

Favourite Book? 

30724132Geekerella.

Favourite Fictional Couple? Sage & Cal from Geekerella.

Favourite Fictional Setting? 

30849412The Arctic in The One Memory of Flora Banks by Emily Barr.

Favourite Bookish Quote? 

34518216._UY768_SS768_Probably one of the poems from The Witch Doesn’t Burn in This One by Amanda Lovelace, such as:

here’s

the tricky thing

about fire:

 

It stays soft

even while it

destroys

 

everything

in its

path,

 

but

it’s up

to you

 

to

make sure

that

 

it doesn’t

burn the

good

 

with

the rot.

– we can’t loose our empathy.

Reading Challenge Progress

Modern Mrs Darcy Reading Challenge– I need your help!

I’ve read 3 out of the 12 books and while I’m happy with my progress, I am worried that I won’t be able to find books to fit some of the more creative topics.

The three that I’ve completed are:

  • Book by an author of a different race, ethnicity or religion of your own- When Dimple Met Rishi, Sandhya Menon.
  • A book of poetry, a play or an essay collection- The Princess Saves Herself in This One, Amanda Lovelace.
  • A book by a favourite author- Landline, Rainbow Rowell.

The topics I need help with are:

  • A book in translation
  • A book that’s more than 500 pages
  • A book you can read in a day

If you have any good suggestions for these topics, or just books in general, I would love to hear from you! 🙂

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Beat The Backlist Reading Challenge

BTB2018_DDTeamI have only read 1 book out of the twelve that I said I would read for this challenge. That book was Kite by Melvin Burgess. I’m actually reading another Backlist book now that I hope to finish next week.

Goodreads Challenge

13/80. I’m pretty happy with my progress for this challenge- according to Goodreads I’m 6 books ahead of schedule which can only be a good thing… 🙂

NetGalley Progress

I am currently reading one eArc, have one waiting to be read and recently finished another. I still have 3 pending requests.

What books have you been reading recently? Feel free to leave any comments in the section down below. Happy reading :).

 

 

First Lines Fridays- 26/01/18

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This is my first time taking part in First Line Fridays, a weekly feature hosted by Wandering Words in which you are asked to judge a book by its opening lines. The rules can be seen below:

  • Pick a book off your shelf (it could be your current read or on your TBR) and open to the first page
  • Copy the first few lines, but don’t give anything else about the book away just yet – you need to hook the reader first
  • Finally… reveal the book!

You want to save the world? Here’s a piece of advice for you. Don’t try to do it dressed as a giant lobster. 

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Green Valentine, Lili Wilkinson (Credit Image

(Credit Arrow Images) It’s actually Australia Day today 🇳🇿, so naturally I had to pick a novel by an Australian author. I haven’t read this book but it’s definitely one that’s high on my TBR.

Goodreads Synopsis:

When Astrid and Hiro meet they give each other superhero names. She’s Lobster Girl and he’s Shopping Trolley Boy. Not an auspicious beginning. But it gets better. Then it gets worse. Much worse. Classic romantic comedy: girl-meets-boy, love blossoms, and is derailed. Incredibly engaging, upbeat, funny and smart.

Astrid Katy Smythe is beautiful, smart and popular. She’s a straight-A student and a committed environmental activist. She’s basically perfect.

Hiro is the opposite of perfect. He’s slouchy, rude and resentful. Despite his brains, he doesn’t see the point of school.

But when Astrid meets Hiro at the shopping centre where he’s wrangling shopping trolleys, he doesn’t recognise her because she’s in disguise – as a lobster. And she doesn’t set him straight.

Astrid wants to change the world, Hiro wants to survive it. But ultimately both believe that the world needs to be saved from itself. Can they find enough in common to right all the wrongs between them?

A romantic comedy about life and love and trying to make the planet a better place, with a little heartbreak, and a whole lot of hilarity.

Have you read this book? Did you enjoy it? Feel free to leave any comments, along with a link to your First Lines Fridays post, down below. I can’t wait to hear from you! 🙂

Note: I am currently away so will not be able to respond to your comments as quickly as I otherwise would. But don’t worry! I’ll be back soon 😊✈️.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Liebster Award

The Liebster Award

A very special thanks to Bree over at In Love & Words for nominating me for this award. Be sure to check out her blog if you haven’t already :).

The Rules:

~ Thank the blogger who nominated you and provide a link to their post.
~ Answer the 11 questions they asked you.
~ Come up with your own set of questions.
~ Tag your chosen 11 bloggers and don’t forget to tell them as well!

The Questions + My Answers:

Why did you decide to start blogging?

I decided to start blogging to express my love of books, find new reads and, most importantly, to basically just have fun.

What are your Top 5 favorite romance novels.

I’m going to use YA romance (instead of just romance) novels for this list as that’s the genre I’m most familiar with. In no particular order:

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  1. Words in Deep Blue, Cath Crowley
  2. Beautiful Mess, Claire Christian
  3. Geekerella, Ashley Poston
  4. Dreamology, Lucy Keating
  5. The Loneliest Girl in the Universe, Lauren James (not sure if this would be classified as YA romance but I’m including it anyway :)).

Who are 3 of your insta-buy authors?

  1. Meg Cabot- her books are always guaranteed to make me laugh.
  2. Cathy Cassidy- I’m a sucker for her sweet romance stories
  3. Rainbow Rowell- for obvious reasons. 🙂

What type of blog posts do you like to read the most?

I love reading creative book tag posts because everyone always comes up with such interesting answers! Posts where bloggers collaborate are always interesting too.

What type of blog posts do you like to write the most?

I love writing this kind of post or other posts where I get to be creative & basically just write down whatever comes into my head. 🙂

What is the last book you purchased and why?

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I recently purchased The School for Good and Evil; A World Without Princes by Soman Chainani and Knocked Out By My Nunga-Nungas by Louise Rennison from a second hand book shop. I purchased them because they are both books from part way through series that I really want to finish/continue with this year.

What was your favourite blog post that YOU’VE written in 2017?

Possibly my post of October & November reads as the format is really cool (it’s an infographic). I would love for you to check it out.

What do you do for a living?

Nothing! I’m actually still in school… Shock! Horror! In terms of what I’m thinking of doing in the future… Well, I’ll cross that bridge when I come to it. 🙂

Approximately how many books do you read in a week?

I usually read 2-3 books each week but it really does vary depending on what’s going on in my life at that time. Some weeks I’ll only read one and other weeks I’ll read up to five.

Do you write reviews for every book you read? If not, what determines whether you write a review or not?

I don’t write reviews for every book I read, I would love to and I look up to those who do, but it’s just too impractical for me. I’ll usually write a book review if it fits into one of these categories:

  1. I have to. This is a pretty obvious one but I’ll write a review if it’s part of a book challenge (Beat the Backlist, MMD Reading Challenge etc.) or if I received the book from the publisher/Netgalley in return for an honest review.
  2. If I have strong feelings towards the book. These are the books that would be rated 5,4 or 1 star(s) (occasionally 2 stars as well).
  3. It’s a popular/widely hyped about book and/or a recent release. Sometimes I’ll write a review just because of how much attention it’s already received. These are usually recent releases so the categories sort of overlap.

What is your dream job?

My dream job would be to own a bakery… I love baking so this would really be the ideal way to spend my life.

My nominees:

Make sure to check out these great blogs. To those who were nominated; I would love to read your responses so make sure to leave a link in the comments below. 🙂

Peaks and Pages

The Printed Girl

A Bookish Tara

A Haven For Book Lovers

The Maniacal Book  Unicorn

Saturday Nite Reader

Bibliobeth

Rather Too Fond of Books

Just Another Magical Soul

Books and Co

Chrissi Reads

+ Anyone else who wants to take part!

My Questions:

  1. What are your favourite book to movie conversions?
  2. What genre of books are you hoping to read more of in 2018?
  3. What is your favourite blog post (by a blogger other than yourself) that you’ve seen in the last 2 weeks?
  4. What is your most anticipated release for the remainder of 2018?
  5. Favourite fictional couple from a book you recently finished?
  6. Where and when (place & time of day) do you most like to read and/or blog?
  7. Favourite bookish setting that you would most like to visit?
  8. Favourite non-human character from any book you’ve read?
  9. What was a book that you didn’t like as much as you were expecting to?
  10. How do you track the books that you read (if at all)?
  11. And finally, one fact that not many people know about you?

Thanks once again to Bree for nominating me for this award. Hopefully you’ve all enjoyed reading my answers! I wish I could nominate all of you fabulous people for this award but unfortunately had to stick to 11. 🙂 

 

 

Kite by Melvin Burgess- A Mini Review

After sitting on my bookshelf for more than two years, I finally decided to pick up Melvin Burgess’s novel, Kite. Filled with adventure-novel-esque characters, it was a short and engaging read. This book was read as part of the Beat The Backlist reading challenge.

Plot

The story, which is set in the late 1990s in England, follows Taylor and Alan as they desperately try to save an endangered red kite that has nested in a local pheasant farm. Things get complicated as the owner of the pheasant farm and Taylor’s dad’s boss, sets out to destroy the bird, tasking Taylor’s dad with the job of hunting the creature and threatening to fire him if he doesn’t oblige.

My Thoughts

I was pleasantly surprised by Melvin Burgess’s novel, Kite; it was a light and easy read filled with engaging young characters reminiscent of popular adventure novels (think Enid Blyton’s Secret Seven). I neither loved it nor did I dislike it, it was one of those sort of ‘meh’ reads.

One aspect of the novel that I found very effective was the use of third person point of view, specifically how the focus frequently switched from Alan and Taylor to Teresa (the name that the boys lovingly gave the kite). The focus seemed to change quite randomly at points throughout the chapter, however, rather than making the novel confusing, it actually acted to increase the dramatic irony present throughout the book; the audience knew something that the main characters didn’t.

Conclusion

I really enjoyed the overall atmosphere of the book, the young adventurous nature of the boys and the change in setting from books that I usually read. Overall, I felt that Kite was the perfect book to mix up my reading life and definitely one that I needed to get off my shelf. A 3 star read.

 

 

 

New Books! 16/01/18

I promised myself I wouldn’t borrow or buy anymore books until I had read all of the books on my shelf. Did I keep my promise? Of course not! The pull of the library is simply too strong (well, that’s the excuse I’m using, anyway :)). Here are the books that I have added to my physical TBR over the past few days.

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Borrowed (from library):

  1. Dear Nobody, Berlie Doherty. I’ve actually already finished this book. While certain aspects of the structure & writing of the book were a little confusing (the author’s aversion to commas, for example), the ending more than made up for it. A great read- 3.5 stars.
  2. When Dimple Met Rishi, Sandhya Menon. This book has gotten some wild praise over the past year & with Sandhya Menon’s 2nd book (From Twinkle, With Love) coming out this year, I thought I better pick it up.
  3. Moonrise, Sarah Crossan. I wasn’t sure about this book as it seemed a little more dystopic than the books I usually gravitate towards. Despite this, it still seems like an interesting read.

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Bought (from 2nd hand book shop):

  1. ‘Knocked Out By My Nunga-Nungas’, Louise Rennison. The third in the series, I was reminded by how much I loved the first book when I saw this one at the 2nd hand book shop. Unfortunately, they didn’t have the second book but I’m sure it will be enjoyable nonetheless.
  2. The School For Good and Evil; A World Without Princes, Soman Chainani. Another book from a series I started last year, hopefully this one lives up to the first.

Acquired (via Netgalley):

  1. Down in the Belly of the Whale, Kelly Kay Bowles. I’m not 100% sure why I decided to request this book on Netgalley, however now that I’ve been accepted I’m more than willing to give it a go. 🙂 It’s set to be released on May 5th.

Have you read any of these books? What books have you bought, borrowed or acquired during the past few days to a week? Leave any comments (or a link to a similar post that you’ve written) down below. I look forward to hearing from you! 🙂

January Reads So Far

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January has been a great month of reading for me so far. With 8 books already behind me, I’ve decided to highlight my favourite reads of the month so far.

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  1. The One Memory of Flora Banks, Emily Barr. This was a novel that I was really excited to read. It didn’t entirely live up to my expectations. That’s not to say I didn’t like it- I did. I just mean to say that it was good in a way that I didn’t anticipate. I have to say that I found this book confusing a lot of the time- Flora (the protagonist)’s amnesia means that she forgets everything (apart from things she knew before she was 10) every few hours. While I appreciated how this aspect was included in the telling of the story, it did make the novel a little slow. The ending was amazing  for that I give it 4 stars.
  2. Geekerella, Ashley Poston. How could I not read this book considering the amount of hype it’s gotten over the past year? I was pleasantly surprised by how well the characters were written, how cleverly the cinderella references were included and just overall how cute this love story was. My favourite character? Sage. My favourite couple? Sage & Cal ❤️.
  3. Dreamology, Lucy Keating. Dreamology tells the story of Alice, a teenager who finds the boy of her dreams, literally, and was such a fun read. Filled with Sci-fi-esque technology and incredibly likeable characters, Dreamology felt like a perfectly balanced novel. Oh yeah, I have also developed a new interest in the science of dreams thanks to this novel. 4 stars :).