Review of Tilly Maguire and the Royal Wedding Mess

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Unapologetically swoon-worthy, yet powerfully (dare I say) feminist in its characterisation of the main character, Tilly Maguire and the Royal Wedding Mess presented an independent, strong female lead that had me gushing. Tilly may’ve be an (ex)major fan of the main love interest, pop-star, Reuben Vaughan, but that didn’t mean she was going to collapse at his feet, something which I really respected in her character.

Goodreads synopsis:

Aspiring writer, 18-year-old Tilly Maguire, is a totally reformed ex-superfan of British boyband singer, Reuben Vaughan. Yeah, she was going to marry him when she was thirteen, but that fangirl phase is way in her past now, along with an unfortunate side ponytail and a weird obsession with galaxy leggings – ugh. Cringe!

When her writing wins Tilly a six-week internship at a top London PR firm, she doesn’t expect to stumble from a long-haul flight straight into an A-list debacle of her own making, but these things happen. She proves to the entire world that jet lag and social media definitely don’t mix.

Obviously, Tilly didn’t intend to get tangled in a ridiculous scandal involving the British royal family. She’s not the attention-seeking type! She’s just a socially awkward introvert, with a galloping case of anxiety made even worse after a high-profile run-in with the very last person she ever imagined she’d meet for real.

Not on her gap year, anyway.

And not like this!

Sure, the story is unequivocally romantic, over-the-top (in the best possible way) and just plain dramatic (with a capital ‘d’, if you insist), but somehow it didn’t feel, stale or cliche. With LGBT+ and mental health representation, plus an Australian main character (yay!), TMATRWM was more substantial than just your usual ‘fluffy’ read. An amazing book that I have already begun ambushing my friends with, Tilly Maguire and the Right Royal Wedding Mess would be perfect for fans of Geek Girl and The Princess Diaries.

I received a digital copy of this book from the publisher in return for an honest review.

Image credit Goodreads.

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Review of Why We Sleep By Matthew Walker

Why We Sleep by Matthew Walker bedazzled me with its anecdotes, facts and statistics. I was enthralled; could my terrible sleep patterns really lead to Alzheimer’s, cancer or diabetes later in life? But as the book progressed, the same sentiments were repeated over and over, so, while I was technically moving through the book, I never really moved away from the argument presented in the first 20 or so pages. At 25% through the book, getting through every page felt like a marathon. It was because of this lack of development and draining nature that I decided to DNF the book after weeks of trying to force myself to read it.

My rating: 2.5 stars out of 5- the portion that I read was interesting, but the overall monotony of the book made it feel like a chore to read.

Synopsis

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Image Credit Penguin Books UK

Sleep is one of the most important aspects of our life, health and longevity and yet it is increasingly neglected in twenty-first-century society, with devastating consequences: every major disease in the developed world – Alzheimer’s, cancer, obesity, diabetes – has very strong causal links to deficient sleep.

Looking at creatures from across the animal kingdom as well as major human studies, Why We Sleep delves in to everything from what really happens during REM sleep to how caffeine and alcohol affect sleep and why our sleep patterns change across a lifetime, transforming our appreciation of the extraordinary phenomenon that safeguards our existence.

I received an eArc of Why We Sleep by Matthew Walker in return for an honest review.

Review of What If It’s Us by Becky Albertalli and Adam Silvera

36260157Synopsis: 

Meet Ben and Arthur. Ben is a battered dreamer who’s shipping his ex-boyfriend’s things back to him. Arthur is new to New York and struggling to fit in. After an memorable meet-cute in a New York post office, the boys lose touch only be be brought back together via a ‘missed connection’ advert. Is it fate? It looks like it. But after a series of disastrous first dates, Ben and Arthur may have to accept the universe should’ve minded its business.

Release date: October 9 2018

Price: $16.99

My rating: 4.5/5

My thoughts

Characters- Ben, a Puerto Rican New Yorker, and Arthur, a Jewish boy from Georgia, were both adorable protagonists and their individual romantic and platonic relationships were complex and refreshing. Each character was built from numerous unique character points that really set them and their story apart from other ya teen romance novels that I’ve read. Ben, for example, was  writing a novel and stuck in summer school with his ex-boyfriend, while Hudson was an intern for his mother’s law firm and an obsessive Broadway (specifically Hamilton and Dear Evan Hansen) fan.

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Plot- Despite featuring the cliched boy-meets-boy trope extensively, the novel still felt new and unique. Admittedly, I was a little worried about the length of the novel and feared that it would end up dragging. Fortunately, I was pleasantly surprised, and found that each of the 400+ pages was not only necessary to the stories’ development, but was fulfilling and undoubtedly enjoyable.

Point of view- My least favourite aspect of the novel would have to be the point of view, which alternated between Ben and Arthur’s perspectives. Although I’ve thoroughly enjoyed 2 POV novels previously, I just found this one confusing.

Overall, What If It’s Us was a sweet young adult romance novel filled with loveable characters and a fun, action packed plot. 

*I received an eArc of this novel in return for an honest review.*

 

Top Ten Books I’d Slay a Lion to Get Early| TTT 01/05/18

Top Ten Tuesday was hosted by  The Broke and The Bookish but has recently moved to That Artsy Girl. This week’s topic is all about the books that you’d do Anything to get early. Anything. I’m super excited for this list as I have a fair few new releases on my TBR and haven’t ad the opportunity to discuss them in depth yet.

Image credit goes to Goodreads.

  1. The Lady’s Guide to Petticoats and Piracy by Mackenzie Lee. Oh my, I absolutely cannot wait to read the next instalment in the Guide Series. Felicity was one of my favourite parts of the first book so a whole story about her seems too good to be true!
  2. 35396511.jpgWhat If It’s Us by Adam Silvera & Becky Albertalli. I read History is All You Left Me earlier this year and thought it was super sweet. This book is getting a lot of hype so I can’t wait to see how good it really is.
  3. From Twinkle, With Love by Sandhya Menon. When Dimple Met Rishi was adorable  so I can’t wait to read more of Sandhya’s work.
  4. The Cheerleaders by Kara Thomas. A YA psychological thriller is always a very welcome addition to my reading pile and this one seems especially intriguing (it’s giving me serious People Like Us vibes).
  5. The Mermaid’s Voice Returns in This One by Amanda Lovelace. Don’t even get me started on how much I love Amanda Lovelace’s work, I read both of the other books at the start of this year and would do almost anything to get my hands on a copy of this next book.
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    Love & Luck by Jenna Evans Welch. 
    From the author of Love and Gelato, this one seems like a super cute read.
  7. If Only by Jennifer Gilmore. This book seems fresh and original, plus, the blurb reminds me of a book that my friend and I started writing last year so it’ll be interesting to see how that works out.
  8. Freak ‘N’ Gorgeous by Sebastian J. Plata. A fun sounding story about a town where the gorgeous suddenly become the hideous and vice versa
  9. This Is Kind of an Epic Love Story by Kheryn Callender. I don’t know too much about this book, however the synopsis and title sounded fun so Ithought it was worth adding.
  10. An Assassin’s Guide to Love and Treason by Virginia Boecker. While I’m a little worried this is just going to be a bad copy of Gentlemen’s/Lady’s Guide, it does sound interesting in its own right.

What books would you do anything to get early? Do you have any of these books on your TBR? Leave a link to your TTT and I’ll make sure to stop by. 

806 by Cynthia Weil- Review

cover123467-medium.pngSibling 1 throws blenders and plays guitar. Sibling 2 is allergic to everything and is into magic. Sibling 3 is a varsity swimmer with a group of female fans. Enough said.

The only thing they have in common is their biological father, and the only thing they can agree on is that they all want to meet him.

With the help of a broken-down, “borrowed” Jeep, KT, Jesse, and Gabe make their way across the country evading police, trying their luck on the slots, and meeting a life-changing pig, all to track down Donor 806, their father. Any hope of success requires smarts, luck, and ingenuity. Good thing they have each other…even if they don’t see it that way.


My Rating: 1 Star

My Thoughts 

I went into 806 really looking forward to an interesting read, I was expecting an easy,  humorous and interesting story that I could zoom through. Unfortunately, none of my predictions were correct and I was forced to DNF this book not long after the 50 page mark. My reasons for disliking this book are confusing and unclear, however, I will attempt to condense them into a few main points.

  1. Narration. My first main complaint with this book is the narration; it felt slow and clunky, everything was described in more detail than I cared for & the narrator annoyed my straight away. I found KT (abbreviated from Katie), the narrator, rude and disrespectful towards authoritative figures, particularly her mother, as seen in the first few pages of the book. This set the book up for failure from the start.
  2. Characters. Every character I came across in my (admittedly rather short) encounter with this book felt stereotyped and cliched, I could neither relate, nor feel emotions towards, any of the characters.
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  4. Writing. Argh… the writing. Without coming across as rude or disrespectful towards the author, who obviously put a lot of effort into this book, I want to say that this book could have honestly benefited from some heavy duty editing; it was simplistic in the most boring sense of the word, and the language used did nothing to keep me engaged.
  5. Road Trip Storyline. This experience has taught me that I’m not a huge fan of either character based novels or road trip stories, especially when they are poorly written. This evaluation leads me to doubt my feelings towards this story. Could it be that my relationship with the book requires more of a ‘it’s not you, it’s me’ approach? In my heavily biased opinion, no.

Have you read 806 by Cynthia Weil? What did you think of it? What are your thoughts on road trip novels? 

I received this book from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. 

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.

The Witch Doesn’t Burn in This One, Amanda Lovelace- Review

Wow. This book made me feel inspired in a way that no book has made me feel before. Correction: In a way that only one book has made me feel before, and yes, that book was The Princess Saves Herself in This One, the first book in the Women are Some Kind of Magic series by Amanda Lovelace.

This book was fierce. While The Princess Saves Herself in This One provides much more personal tale of resilience and empowerment, The Witch Doesn’t Burn in This One takes a much more broad look at misogyny and women’s rights and has a distinctly angry undertone. This book quite frankly doesn’t give a damn.

Like the first book in the series, The Witch Doesn’t Burn in This One is divided into four different sections, entitled ‘The Trial’, ‘The Burning’, ‘The Firestorm’ and ‘The Ashes’ respectively. Like with the previous book, I found the last section to be my favourite and (in my personal opinion) the most empowering of the four chapters. I felt that while the first 3 parts seethed with anger, the last one was slightly more composed, helping to leave the reader with a clearer lasting message to take away from the read.

I loved this book. Even with the slight change in atmosphere it still felt like the perfect second instalment in the series and a natural progression in the development of the author’s voice. An absolute must read for anyone who hasn’t tried this series. 5 stars! 🙂

Note: I received this book from the publisher in return for an honest review. No way did this impact my opinion of the book.

2017 End of Year Book Survey

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This is my first year taking part in the Annual End of Year Survey hosted by Jamie over at  Perpetual Page Turner.

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Number Of Books You Read: I don’t actually have a reliable way of counting the number of books that I’ve read, however, I would estimate that the figure would be around 70.
Number of Re-Reads: I’m not someone who commonly rereads books so the answer would have to be 0.
Genre You Read The Most From: Young Adult.

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1. Best Book You Read In 2017?

Probably Finding Audrey by Sophie Kinsella; it was a funny, sad and very memorable book.

2. Book You Were Excited About & Thought You Were Going To Love More But Didn’t?

Stranger Than Fanfiction by Chris Colfer was a bit of a disappointment.

 3. Most surprising (in a good way or bad way) book you read?  

Animal Farm by George Orwell. I had to read this one for English at school but ended up really enjoying it.

 4. Book You “Pushed” The Most People To Read (And They Did)?

Words in Deep Blue by Cath Crowley. I actually read this book at the end of last year but have convinced many people to read it this year. Success!

 5. Best series you started in 2017? Best Sequel of 2017? Best Series Ender of 2017?

The place for the best series ender of 2017 is undoubtedly (in my mind) reserved for Geek Girl; Forever Geek, by Holly Smale. It was the perfect end to the 6 book series.

 6. Favorite new author you discovered in 2017?

Krystal Sutherland with A Semi Definitive List of Worst Nightmares.

7. Best book from a genre you don’t typically read/was out of your comfort zone?

I am Malala by Christina Lamb and Malala Yousafzai. This isn’t too out of my comfort zone however I don’t read autobiographies all that frequently.

 8. Most action-packed/thrilling/unputdownable book of the year?

The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold was a thrilling (and haunting) read.

 9. Book You Read In 2017 That You Are Most Likely To Re-Read Next Year?

I’m not a big rereader, however I would mind reading Beautiful Mess by Claire Christian again.

10. Favorite cover of a book you read in 2017?

I loved the cover of Not if I See You First by Eric Lindstrom because it had braille on the cover (inspired by the fact that the story is about a girl who is blind).

11. Most memorable character of 2017?

Anyone who has read Fans of the Impossible Life (by Kate Scelsa) will agree that Sebby is unforgettable.

 12. Most beautifully written book read in 2017?

Fans of the Impossible Life by Kate Scelsa is written really well (it’s told by 3 characters & 3 P.O.V (1st, 2nd & 3rd person)).

13. Most Thought-Provoking/ Life-Changing Book of 2017?

More Than This by Patrick Ness was a book that really made me think.

 14. Book you can’t believe you waited UNTIL 2017 to finally read? 

I can’t believe I didn’t read The Book Thief by Markus Zusak earlier considering how good (I now know) it is.

 15. Favorite Passage/Quote From A Book You Read In 2017?

I loved the Prologue to Fans of the Impossible Life, especially the part that says, “You can come back. Even after you hurt each other too deeply to comprehend. Even after the impossible become just that. Too far out of reach to even dream.”

16.Shortest & Longest Book You Read In 2017?

Shortest: The Loneliest Girl in the Universe (Lauren James)- 290 pages

Longest: Geek Girl; Forever Geek (Holly Smale)- 400 pages

How I did this: Went to my read books on Goodreads and sorted by page number and just looked for what I knew I read this year that was the shortest and longest.

 17. Book That Shocked You The Most

(Because of a plot twist, character death, left you hanging with your mouth wide open, etc.)

The Loneliest Girl In the Universe by Lauren James had a great plot twist that I was not expecting.

18. OTP OF THE YEAR (you will go down with this ship!)

(OTP = one true pairing if you aren’t familiar)

Harriet and Nick from the Geek Girl Series by Holly Smale are amazing together! 😍

19. Favorite Non-Romantic Relationship Of The Year

Sophie & Agatha from The School for Good and Evil Series by Soman Chainani.

20. Favorite Book You Read in 2017 From An Author You’ve Read Previously

Perfect by Cecelia Ahern. I read Cecelia Ahern’s other YA novel (Flawed) either at the start of 2017 or the end of 2016 (I can’t remember!)

21. Best Book You Read In 2017 That You Read Based SOLELY On A Recommendation From Somebody Else/Peer Pressure:

I picked up Hunting Lila by Sarah Alderson because a few of my friends recommended it to me and ended up really liking it.

22. Newest fictional crush from a book you read in 2017?

I developed a fictional crush on Levi from Rainbow Rowell’s Fangirl. 😍😍😍

23. Best 2017 debut you read?

See You in the Cosmos by Jack Cheng.

24. Best Worldbuilding/Most Vivid Setting You Read This Year?

I loved how Martin described France in Kids Like Us by Hilary Reyl.

25. Book That Put A Smile On Your Face/Was The Most FUN To Read?

Since You’ve Been Gone by Morgan Matson was light, fun & summery.

26. Book That Made You Cry Or Nearly Cry in 2017?

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak. I’m practically tearing up just thinking about it :(.

27. Hidden Gem Of The Year?

I think Boone Shepard by Gabriel Bergmoser deserves more attention.

28. Book That Crushed Your Soul?

Not as we Know it by Tom Avery. The relationship between the two brothers was beautiful… and soul crushing.

29. Most Unique Book You Read In 2017?

And Then You’re Dead: A Scientific Exploration of the World’s most Interesting Ways to Die (by Cody Cassidy & Paul Doherty) was a really unique (and interesting) book.

30. Book That Made You The Most Mad (doesn’t necessarily mean you didn’t like it)?

A Semi Definitive List of Worst Nightmares by Krystal Sutherland. I got mad at this book for so many different reasons. I still really liked it though (it even made it to my list of favourite books of 2017). Logic.

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1. New favorite book blog you discovered in 2017?

2. Favorite review that you wrote in 2017?

My review of Since You’ve Been Gone by Morgan Matson.

3. Best discussion/non-review post you had on your blog?

Either my list of October & November Reads (I love the format of it) or my interview with Fizzy from ‘Quirky Girl Studio’ (I would love to continue to interview fellow bloggers).

4. Best event that you participated in (author signings, festivals, virtual events, memes, etc.)?

I didn’t participate in much. Probably just WWW Wednesday (hosted by Sam @ Taking on a World of Words) as it allowed me to summarise my recent reads.

5. Best moment of bookish/blogging life in 2017?

Nothing too eventful happened. Probably reaching 50 posts on A Happy Little Bookworm.

6. Most challenging thing about blogging or your reading life this year?

I stopped blogging for almost the entirety of last year. Getting back into it again was a bit of a challenge.

7. Most Popular Post in 2017 On Your Blog (whether it be by comments or views)?

My TTT of the best books of 2017 got the most view last year.

8. Post You Wished Got A Little More Love?

My review of See You in the Cosmos by Jack Cheng.

9. Best bookish discover (book related sites, book stores, etc.)?

Libby, an app that allows you to borrow ebooks & audiobooks from your local library.

10.  Did you complete any reading challenges or goals that you had set for yourself at the beginning of this year?

I didn’t set myself any goals last year (terrible, I know) so I guess I didn’t complete any either. 😦

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1. One Book You Didn’t Get To In 2017 But Will Be Your Number 1 Priority in 2018?

I’m desperate to read One of Us is Lying by Karen M. McManus.

2. Book You Are Most Anticipating For 2018 (non-debut)?

In Search of Us by Ava Dellaira.

3. 2018 Debut You Are Most Anticipating?

Where I Live by Brenda Rufener.

 4. Series Ending/A Sequel You Are Most Anticipating in 2018?

I’m not actually dedicated to any specific series at the moment (since Ruby Redfort & Geek Girl finished 😭) , neither am I aware of any  good series endings or sequels coming out in 2018. Maybe 2018 is the year to start & finish a whole series? Anyone have any good suggestions?

5. One Thing You Hope To Accomplish Or Do In Your Reading/Blogging Life In 2018?

In terms of my reading life, I would really like to accomplish my goal of reading 80 books. As for my blogging goals, I hope to blog 3 times a week, to read & review more new releases (& upcoming releases) and to get 50 followers by 2019.

Hopefully you’ve enjoyed reading through my 2017 book survey. I certainly enjoyed writing it & hope to complete it in years to come. What did you read in 2017? Leave any comments down below 😊 📚.