4.5 stars

Review: Lies We Tell Ourselves


Lies We Tell Ourselves
By Robin Talley

Source: E-book personal purchase
Page Count: 377
Genres: Young Adult, Historical Fiction, LGBTQ+, 

Goodreads Synopsis:
It’s 1959. The battle for civil rights is raging. And it’s Sarah’s first day of school as one of the first black students at previously all-white Jefferson High.
No one wants Sarah there. Not the Governor. Not the teachers. And certainly not the students – especially Linda, daughter of the town’s most ardent segregationist.
Sarah and Linda are supposed to despise each other. But the more time they spend together, the less their differences matter. And both girls start to feel something they’ve never felt before. Something they’re determined to ignore.
Because it’s one thing to stand up to an unjust world – but another to be terrified of what’s in your own heart.
My review:
This is a very difficult topic to write and read about. I’ve never heard about - let alone read - a book about racism and lesbianism in the 50s, so I think that’s why I found it so hard hitting. By no means was it a fun and enjoyable book to read, but it is so important, and I think everyone should read it.

I think everyone should read this book also because of the actual plot and characters. Not only was it about a topic that is still (sadly) very relevant to today’s society, the character development was very well done. It was written in dual POV, meaning we got to see both character developments first hand. I liked the way both of the protagonists changed, but Sarah was my favourite character because she was so gutsy. I really cared about her (much more than I did about Linda) so became much more invested in the story.  

The plot was good, but not brilliant - I felt like it was the only thing that was letting the book down. At times, it felt like the book wasn’t going anywhere because of the repetitiveness of the main events. It became slow, and although I still wanted to read on, it could have been moved on much quicker. Some parts weren’t necessary, and I would have preferred if the book was shorter to keep a faster pace.

I felt very satisfied with the ending. The epilogue was a nice touch, and made me feel much happier. It gave a much needed break from the rest of the book, as it was lighter, compared the the way that the majority was so hard hitting! It closed the book really well.

Overall, this is a very important book, and a definite must read for everyone! It is very well written, and the author has obviously done her research very well. She’s very talented, and I really look forward to reading her future books.
My rating:


Beautiful Blogger Award


Quite a while ago, I was nominated for the Beautiful Blogger Award. I really appreciate every single comment, and ones nominating me for awards and tags always make me smile, so thank-you so much everyone! I was nominated by:

1) Link to the blogger who nominated you
2) List 7 random facts about you
3) Nominate 7 creative and beautiful bloggers, and notify them

My facts:
1. I love being outdoors! I love camping, and I go on long walks in the countryside often. Many people describe as “outdoorsy” but I don’t really think of myself like that.
2. I’m a high school student, and my favourite subjects are RE (but it’s more like Philosophy combined with religion), Cooking, and History.
3. I love marmite!
4. I am insanely good at Connect 4 / Four in a Row.
5. I play the clarinet in an orchestra.
6. I have a real stationary fetish, and collect rubbers (but only the cute ones).
7. A blog post takes me ages because I proof read them so much! I’m really scared of having a really bad grammar mistake.

My nominees:
1. Carrie @ The Book Goddess
2. Theepika @ Just That Girl
4. Sophie @ Seamless Reader
5. Mariz @ Slice of Reads
6. Leanne @ All Write Then
7. Ranu @ The Bookish Life
As always though, if you want to do this award, consider yourself nominated by me!

3 Stars

Review: Finding Audrey


Finding Audrey
By Sophie Kinsella

Source: Borrowed from a friend
Page count: 288
Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance, Mental Health, 

Goodreads Synopsis:

An anxiety disorder disrupts fourteen-year-old Audrey’s daily life. She has been making slow but steady progress with Dr. Sarah, but when Audrey meets Linus, her brother’s gaming teammate, she is energized. She connects with him. Audrey can talk through her fears with Linus in a way she’s never been able to do with anyone before. As their friendship deepens and her recovery gains momentum, a sweet romantic connection develops, one that helps not just Audrey but also her entire family.

My review:

I read this book with no expectations. I borrowed it from my sister, so I knew that it wouldn’t matter if I didn’t enjoy it. Also, I knew it wasn’t going to be my thing. I like a book with more action and more of a plot line, so I knew that this book wasn’t going to be for me. However, it was addictive and a really cute book, and I am glad I read it.

Audrey was really irritating. I couldn’t connect with her at all, and she frustrated me a lot. The chatty style of writing got a bit tiresome to read, and I felt like Audrey had no personality, though - in my opinion - the author was desperately trying to write her one.

Another thing about Audrey that really bugged me was her recovery. The whole book was building up to her taking off her dark glasses, but when she finally did, it was if she just took them off and that was it. It felt a bit too unrealistic, and made the book feel open ended.

The plot was boring, and I felt like nothing really happened. I still enjoyed the book quite a lot (I don’t know why, but I just couldn’t stop reading!), though nothing happened. It’s a short book, so it was a light and cute read. Although it’s not my thing, I know lots will enjoy this book.

The main romance in this book was with Audrey and Linus. I didn’t like the romantic parts because I felt their relationship didn’t really work. I would have much prefered for the book to have more scenes about Audrey’s family, and less about her relationship.

My favourite part was all the scenes about Audrey’s family. The author captured family life perfectly: the way it’s disorganised, chaotic, but at the end of the day, everyone is very loving and supportive of each other.

Overall, I didn’t really enjoy this book, but I know others will. The book just really isn’t for me, but if you like books by Rainbow Rowell, or you enjoyed To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han, I think you’d really like this story.  

My rating:

4 stars

Review: Vampire Academy


Vampire Academy
By Richelle Mead

Source: Library
Page count: 332
Genres: Young Adult, Vampires, Fantasy, Paranormal, Romance, 

Goodreads Synopsis:

Lissa Dragomir is a Moroi princess: a mortal vampire with a rare gift for harnessing the earth's magic. She must be protected at all times from Strigoi; the fiercest vampires - the ones who never die. The powerful blend of human and vampire blood that flows through Rose Hathaway, Lissa's best friend, makes her a dhampir. Rose is dedicated to a dangerous life of protecting Lissa from the Strigoi, who are hell-bent on making Lissa one of them.

After two years of freedom, Rose and Lissa are caught and dragged back to St. Vladimir's Academy, a school for vampire royalty and their guardians-to-be, hidden in the deep forests of Montana. But inside the iron gates, life is even more fraught with danger... and the Strigoi are always close by.

Rose and Lissa must navigate their dangerous world, confront the temptations of forbidden love, and never once let their guard down, lest the evil undead make Lissa one of them forever...

My review:

Firstly, don’t judge this book by it’s title or cover. I hate the title (vampires have such a bad image now), and the covers... just no (they’re really disgusting). The actual book was really amazing though - it had themes of friendship, and all of the characters were very interesting to read about. I really enjoyed this book!

My favourite aspect was Rose. I think I’m in the minority here (lots of reviews are disliking her), but I thought she was a great lead. It’s nice to finally see a YA protagonist who’s witty, sarcastic, and open about her sexuality - she’s not afraid to flaunt her attitude and just slay, which is why I like her so much.

Rose and Lissa’s friendship was another thing that was very original (and that we should definitely see more of) in YA. Their loyalty to each other was something that definitely beats Bella Swan, and dedication truly admirable. Rose’s comebacks when she was defending Lissa, really made me laugh too!

I really liked the idea of the school. Although it’s not the most original, I’m a real sucker for a boarding school with paranormal aspects, so this book was perfect for me. The romance in this book didn’t distract from the storyline, and didn’t compromise the character’s personalities, so it made a change from most books!

Overall, I really enjoyed this book. I had been putting it off for a long time because of the horrible covers and title, but I’m really glad I finally read it. I will definitely be picking up the next book sometime soon, and hope it’s as good as the first!

My rating:

4 stars

Review: How to Build a Girl


How to Build a Girl
By Caitlin Moran

Source: Supermarket
Page count: 352
Genres: Adult, Feminism, Contemporary, Humour, Music, Coming of Age

Goodreads Synopsis:

My name’s Johanna Morrigan. I’m fourteen, and I’ve just decided to kill myself.

I don’t really want to die, of course! I just need to kill Johanna, and build a new girl. Dolly Wilde will be everything I want to be, and more! But as with all the best coming-of-age stories, it doesn’t exactly go to plan…

My review:

I heartily enjoyed this book. It’s one of those rare books that is so funny you find yourself laughing out loud (and possibly getting some weird stares) at some points, yet feeling heavy-hearted at other times when not everything goes right for the main character. It was very vulgar in a British way, which is probably the reason why I enjoyed it so much.

Johanna (the main character) was very interesting to read about. She was very flawed, but I think it made her more loveable and easy to root for. Her friendship with John Kite was very touching too, and made me really smile. She had good character development, but I feel like because of her background, she could have had more courage and backbone earlier on in the book.

I am very different to Johanna, so I feel like sometimes she could be a bit too frustrating. Some of the things that she did were really embarrassing (second hand embarrassment is the worst), and lots of her decisions seemed odd to me - I know I certainly would never do lots of the things she did!

The supportive family aspects in this book were really enjoyable to read. Although her family seemed chaotic at times, the banter they all had was very funny. I especially liked Johanna and Krissi (her older brother) together because of the way they could be brutally honest with each other (like siblings do), but then always make up after a fight.

Overall, I really enjoyed this book. It had some very original elements, and the characters had me laughing a lot. I would recommend it to British people (lots of British references and humour!) who don’t mind rude jokes, because this did raise a few eyebrows!

My rating:

2 Stars

Review: The Bone Season


The Bone Season
By Samantha Shannon

Source: e-book gift
Page count: 452
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy, Science Fiction, 

Goodreads Synopsis:

The year is 2059. Nineteen-year-old Paige Mahoney is working in the criminal underworld of Scion London, based at Seven Dials, employed by a man named Jaxon Hall. Her job: to scout for information by breaking into people's minds. For Paige is a dreamwalker, a clairvoyant and, in the world of Scion, she commits treason simply by breathing.

It is raining the day her life changes for ever. Attacked, drugged and kidnapped, Paige is transported to Oxford – a city kept secret for two hundred years, controlled by a powerful, otherworldly race. Paige is assigned to Warden, a Rephaite with mysterious motives. He is her master. Her trainer. Her natural enemy. But if Paige wants to regain her freedom she must allow herself to be nurtured in this prison where she is meant to die.

The Bone Season introduces a compelling heroine and also introduces an extraordinary young writer, with huge ambition and a teeming imagination. Samantha Shannon has created a bold new reality in this riveting debut.

My review:

I really wanted to love this book. It is written by a British author, and someone had told me it had LGBT+ themes in (which were very vague - only one minor character was gay), but it turned out to be a major disappointment. It was really dull, so I was bored, and struggled to get through it. I’m actually surprised I got through the whole thing because I really didn't care about anything.
The pacing and info-dumping was my main problem. At the start, we were loaded with tonnes of ‘world-building’, which was overwhelming, and made me a bit confused. This carried on throughout the whole book - the pointless description and fancy slang made me wonder why I was actually reading this book.

I really didn’t understand the romance. There was one pathetic kiss, which was pointless to the story. I would have much preferred if it was taken out because it added nothing to the story.

All of the characters were quite bland. None of them had unique personalities, so none of them were at all memorable. I don’t think I could name over 5 characters that were in the book because there were so many people who made no difference to the story.

Overall, I really didn’t enjoy this book. It was too long, and nothing really happened. I would have enjoyed it much more if the info-loading and world-building was done more gradually because that was probably the worst part.

My rating:


Recommended Summer Reads


Summer is well on it’s way here in the UK, with it being the hottest July day (for the UK) on record! I know I’m ‘feeling summery’ (although I am sat inside right now, with a fan and ice water), but I can’t feel truly in the season without some perfect books! In this mega list, I will do different genres which I think are ‘summery’ (I don’t really know how a Fantasy novel can be summery, so I guess you can just read it all year round), or that you should just read right now.

Paranormal Mystery
1. Vampire Academy - Please don’t let the title put you off this book. It’s about a bad-ass heroine being loyal, courageous, and hilarious in an unusual high school.
2. The Raven Boys - This book is perfect for the beach because you can spend time getting through the world-building and discovering this unusual yet lovable world.
3. Don’t Look Back by - It’s so addictive, perfect for long days spent doing nothing. You’ll be able to race through it, because it’s impossible to put down!
4. The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer - This is one of my favourite books of all time. It’s so readable, and I flew through it. I wish I was able to read it in the sun, in one sitting!

1. Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe - I loved this book. I read it while under the camping sun, and it’s so fluffy and enjoyable it makes a perfect summer read.
2. I’ll Give You the Sun - This book is so amazing. I love Jandy’s writing style, and it even has the word ‘sun’ in the title. Need I say more?
3. Simon vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda - This is another book of pure joy and fluff. I think I was smiling for the whole way through it because it’s just so enjoyable.

1. Half Bad - I really enjoyed this book, and wish I could forget everything about it, and just read it again. It has a really original concept, and a unique world too.
2. The Mortal Instruments - If you haven’t read these books yet, where have you been?! I’d suggest marathoning all 10 books in the Shadowhunter Chronicles before the TV show comes out in January!
3. A Court of Thorns and Roses - This is another book that I really love. It’s based around Beauty and the Beast, so has a really badass protagonist who - like all of Sarah J. Maas’ characters - completely slays.

1. Only Ever Yours - Although it’s not exactly an enjoyable read, it’s very addictive, and a very important book. It really appeals to my feminist side (which is all of my sides), so I would recommend it to all genders too. Please don’t be put off by the cover!
2. Enclave - I’m yet to continue with the series, but I really want to. It has zombies and a flawed-yet-lovable protagonist. And it has no romance. Yes please!
3. Shatter Me - This is one of my all-time favourite series. The writing style is so beautiful, I completely flew through them all. Perfect for when you have a lot of time to read!

What would you recommend for summer?