5 Stars

ARC Review: Beautiful Broken Things


Beautiful Broken Things
By Sara Barnard

Source: Netgalley
Release date: 11th February 2016
Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary, Mental Illness, 

Goodreads Synopsis:
Best friends Caddy and Rosie are inseparable. Their differences have brought them closer, but as she turns sixteen Caddy begins to wish she could be a bit more like Rosie – confident, funny and interesting. Then Suzanne comes into their lives: beautiful, damaged, exciting and mysterious, and things get a whole lot more complicated. As Suzanne’s past is revealed and her present begins to unravel, Caddy begins to see how much fun a little trouble can be. But the course of both friendship and recovery is rougher than either girl realises, and Caddy is about to learn that downward spirals have a momentum of their own. 

I don’t even know where to begin with this book. I expected (and desperately hoped!) that it would be amazing, but I really didn’t imagine it could be so hard-hitting and emotional. I had no idea that it would destroy me in the ways it did, and shatter my poor heart into a million pieces. I am beyond words (though I will try to make a decent review!), because this book has rendered me utterly speechless.

This is one of those books where I can never words say just how amazing it is. I don’t know if I’ll be able to encourage you enough to go and buy this book when it comes out, because I just loved it so much. Loads of people have said that a book you love is always the hardest to write a review for - this one definitely takes the lead for hardest review! You just need to read the book.

There’s no romance at all, which I loved. As soon as I heard it would be a book entirely on female friendships, I requested it from Netgalley straight away. It’s so refreshing to see a book that doesn’t need romance to make it interesting. This was probably my favourite element because I hate romance it was so original, which was one of the reasons it was so hard-hitting. It captured the essence of true friendship so realistically so it’s definitely the best portrayal I’ve ever read.

I raced through this book, because I was enjoying it so much. There were parts in which I was welling up, and parts when I was breathing heavily because of how nervous I was, but overall, it was such a fun read. Sure, the ending wasn’t fun at all (I am broken!), and there were plenty of chapters that were tough, but it wasn’t all doom and gloom. There were lots of fun scenes, which really made me smile, and love the characters even more. There was loads of light-hearted bits to balance out all of the sadness, which just made me adore it even more.

It was perfectly paced, and beautifully written. When this book comes out in February, I’ll definitely be buying a physical finished copy because the cover is so pretty it’s such an exquisite book. I definitely want to read this again, and I know that everyone will love it when it’s released. I know this enchanting story will stay with me for a long time (que major book hangover), and it’s become one of my all-time favourites. I’d highly recommend (as you can tell by this gushing review!) picking this up next February - don’t forget about it, because it’s truly amazing!


Why I Love Reading Fantasy


Fantasy is one of my absolute favourite genres. I love it for so many different reasons, so if you’re not a massive fan of fantasy, hopefully I’ll be able to convince you to read a few of my favourites! Here are some of the reasons why I love reading fantasy:

1. It offers an escape from reality

Something that I find with fantasy - high fantasy especially - is that it isn’t usually set in the modern world. Of course, some of my favourites are, but they always focus on a different aspect of life. With so much going on, fantasy can offer a real escape. I love this because you can live as someone else, in another world.

2. The action and magic

I sometimes find that in other genres like contemporary, nothing is going on. There’s never really a death, and if there is, it’s sad, and the main plot point. With fantasy, it’s completely different! There’s dramatic deaths all the time, and whilst it’s not a good thing if one of your favourite characters dies, it can definitely make it more interesting!

3. The original ideas

Something I especially find in fantasy is that you never read two books the same. Sometimes with contemporary romance (no hate - I really like this genre too!) it can be hard for books to be original - the plot is often quite similar to many other books. Fantasy is always so different, and one of the reasons I love reading it so much is because of how original the stories always are.

4. The unique writing style

I often find that in fantasy novels, the writing is always so vivid. Often in other genres - dystopian/science fiction and contemporary especially- the writing can be choppy and disjointed, but I find this rarely happens in fantasy. In all of my favourite fantasy books, the writing is truly beautiful, and I’m yet to find a really poorly written fantasy.

What’s your favourite genre, and why do you love reading it so much? Or, if like me you’re a fan of fantasy, why do you love it so much?

5 Stars

Review: Only Ever Yours


Only Ever Yours
By Louise O'Neill

Source: Personal purchase, paperback
Genres: Young adult, Science Fiction, Dystopian, Feminism

Goodreads Synopsis:
frieda and isabel have been best friends their whole lives.
Now, aged sixteen and in their final year at the School, they expect to be selected as companions - wives to wealthy and powerful men. The alternative - life as a concubine - is too horrible to contemplate.
But as the intensity of the final year takes hold, the pressure to remain perfect becomes almost unbearable. isabel starts to self-destruct, putting her beauty - her only asset - in peril.
And then, the boy arrive, eager to choose a bride.
frieda must fight for her future - even if it means betraying the only friend, the only love, she has ever known...

I have been putting reviewing this off for ages now, but now I’m finally gathering my thoughts to attempt a review. Because it’s just that good. Anyone who has had the pleasure of reading this will know just how hard-hitting and important it is. I didn’t love reading it, because it was a truly harrowing read, but  what I did love was how important it is, and how much it gave me to think about. it’s one of my favourite books because of this. I recommend it to everyone - regardless of your gender.

I can’t tell you how important this book is. You just have to read it for yourself, and I think the less you know, the better. It’s a haunting view of our society, but after reading, and thinking a hell of a lot about society, it’s scarily true. I know we don’t generally see women in the same way that they do in frieda and isabel’s world, but if you really think about it, we’re not too far off.

This has made me want to do something about it. I’m a teenage cis girl who has dealt with sexism for my whole life. Usually, I’ve just learnt to “accept” it, but this book has really inspired me to do something. Although life isn’t as bad as it is for the girls in Only Ever Yours, our society could become this way, and I don’t want it to happen. This book has inspired me to try and make a change (even if it’s really small).

If you’ve ever spoken to me (especially in real life), you’ll know I’m an intersectional feminist. I knew as soon as I heard about this book that I just had to pick it up. Before, I hadn’t read a book that was so blatantly feminist - it’s a hard thing to brand yourself as today, in a world that pretty much hates feminism. I was so shocked to read this, because I wasn’t expecting it at all. I have recommended it to everyone, because it’s just so good.

Please, please, just read this book. Even if you don’t “enjoy” it, it’s one of the most important books you’ll ever read, and is so cleverly crafted that I don’t see how anyone could ever regret reading it. My hat goes off to Louise O’Neill for writing such a crucial book, and I know I will read every single book written by her in the future, because I know they won’t disappoint.

3 Stars

ARC Review: Dangerous Lies


Dangerous Lies
By Becca Fitzpatrick

Source: Gift from Anna @ Enchanted by YA - thank-you! (YALC), ARC
Genres: Young Adult, Thriller, Mystery, Romance, Contemporary

Goodreads Synopsis:
Stella Gordon's life is a lie.
She does not belong in Thunder Basin, Nebraska. As the key witness in a murder trial, Stella is under witness protection, living a life she doesn't want. No one can know who she really is. Not even Chet Falconer, her hot, enigmatic neighbour. But against her better judgement, Stella finds herself falling under Chet's spell ...
A storm is brewing. Is Stella really safe in Thunder Basin? And will Chet be her shelter, or her downfall ...? 

I went into this book a little nervous. I binge-read all of Becca Fitzpatrick’s books around this time last year, and while I really enjoyed them then, I’m not sure that I would feel the same way now. Though, I was pleasantly surprised, because I ended up really enjoying Dangerous Lies! It was in no way a perfect book, and was greatly flawed, but it was a really fun, quick read. I think it’s definitely her best book to date!

My favourite thing about this book was all of the family themes. The book explored the importance of family, and the unconditional love within families. I haven’t found this in Fitzpatrick’s other books, but it was done really well in this one. It could get quite sad at times, but Carmina - Stella’s foster Mum - was always there, which I thought was really important. The book would have been pretty miserable without the constant love of Carmina!

I really liked the direction the book went in. It could have been stuck in the past, trying to build up tension, but the unknown was sometimes forgotten so we could just enjoy what was happening. I liked how fast paced it was, because it meant I was never bored. There was always something happening, and if it wasn’t major, I wanted to read on to solve the mystery about Stella’s past. It made Dangerous Lies a really fun and quick read.

My main problem with this book was Stella, the protagonist. At the start, she was bratty, spoiled, and hideously stupid. Under the circumstances, she was extremely lucky to be in the position she was in, but seemed to be completely taking it for granted. I hated the way she was slut-shaming and putting down complete strangers and just being really rude. This was a bad setup, because it meant I really didn’t care about her at all! Though thankfully, she changed drastically throughout the book.

By the end, I had grown to like her. She had grown out of her immature behavior from the start, and was actually really likeable. She noticed her stupid decisions, and didn’t make them any more. I was actually very surprised, because in Fitzpatrick’s other books (and YA in general), this amount of character growth is rare! She had turned into a very likeable character, which meant I was really invested in what was to happen to her in the ending.

I was disappointed in the way the book ended. With about 20 pages to go, everything wasn’t rounded off at all, and we were no better for answers than we were about 100 pages ago! I was really worried that things wouldn’t be tied up well enough, so I was a little disappointed with the way it ended. It felt very rushed, and I think it needed longer so everything wasn’t just happening at the same time. An epilogue would have been nice too, because I would have liked to see a bit more of Stella’s life and what to come for her.

Overall, this was a really enjoyable read! I know that fans of Fitzpatrick’s other books will love this too, because the style is exactly the same, and in my opinion, this one is the best. There were a few things that bothered me, but I liked how everything came together at the end. I’ll definitely be reading more by Fitzpatrick in the future.