Sunday, 30 July 2017

July Wrap Up

After a both May and June were pretty good reading months, when July came around I was determined to continue on, and read just as many books as I had in the previous months in order to keep on track and to hopefully catch up on my Goodreads goal to read 50 books by the end of the year.  Thankfully, these past few weeks were somehow even better, as not only did I manage to read five books, but all of the books I read I really thoroughly enjoyed as well.  This month I also decided to venture out of my usual comfort zone of YA, with three of the books that I read being from other genres, and I am so happy that I choose to do this as it almost showed me that adult fiction is something that I thoroughly enjoy and is something that I hope to read more and more of in the future.  So, here are all five of the amazing books that I managed to read this month.  And so, enjoy!  

To start off July, I decided to pick this one up at last as I just felt the sudden urge to read something other than YA, and knew I needed to read this one as it has been on my shelf for so long after I picked it up around the time the movie was released.  This one follows our main character of Eilis as she leaves Ireland to go to America to build a new life for herself, leaving behind her mother and her sister, and the life shes always known.  I was a little apprehensive going into this one as I didn't really know what to expect from it, and although it did take me a while to get really into, I'm so glad I did decide to pick this one as I ended up really enjoying it alot more than I thought I would.  I loved the simplicity of this story, and of the writing style, and so how beautiful it was just to read about a young girl trying to cope away from home and make something for herself.  I loved so many of the characters in this, and loved how realistic they were, as well as the whole story was, and overall just really enjoyed reading this one.  


Next up, after enjoying Brooklyn as much as I did, I really wanted to continue reading more adult fiction rather than returning straight back to YA, and so choose this one as it was one I've seen around for quite a few years, but only recently picked up for school.  This book tells the story of Cathy, Tommy and Ruth, as they grow up together at Hailsham, an exclusive boarding school, and later re-enter each others lives as they begin to finally understand the true nature of what it is that makes them 'special'.  This was one that I didn't really know a huge amount about before going into it,  and after reading it I think that may be the best way to go into this one as the story and certain secrets slowly reveal themselves as the book progresses, something which I really enjoyed about this one.  Overall, I really enjoyed this one and found it to be quite a powerful and poignant read, particularly because of the nature of this story, as well as the idea of such a scary, almost dystopian concept being written into a modern setting.  I also really liked how easy it was to fall into the writing style of this book, and how the simplicity of that contrasted against the complexity of the story itself.  


After two amazing, but quite emotive and powerful reads, I knew as much as I had enjoyed them that I needed to return to my comfort and to read something that would just draw me in straight away and .  This book is a Sci-Fi retelling of Cinderella, and so follows our main character of Cinder, a cyborg who just happens to be the best mechanic in New Beijing, in a new take on the classic fairy tale.  I really loved this one, with its addictive writing style and fast paced plot that allowed me to fly through this one in just a couple of days.  This book just seemed to get better as it went on, and was filled with so many amazing plot twists that constantly left me guessing despite this being a story I thought I knew.  It was a retelling whilst still being a completely separate story as well, especially because of certain aspects, such as the plague, and the obvious sci-fi aspects as well.  All in all, I just absolutely adored this one so much more than I was expecting to, and I can't wait to continue on with the series very soon! 


Next up, I decided to leave my reading comfort zone a little bit once again, and so chose to pick up another classic, and a book that was actually on my June/ July TBR.  This was another book that I didn't know much about before starting, other than that it was influenced by the USSR and was  a dystopian novel, and so I really went into this one pretty much blind, something which once again I liked as it took time to understand all of the intricacies of the world anyway, and so don't think knowing more about what this actual story was about would have really helped me understand things quicker or anything at all.  That said, I really did love this book and found it so much more engaging than I ever thought it would be.  It was such a poignant read that just exceeded my expectations with just how clever and how thought-provoking it was, and I found so many of the ideas within the story so interesting.  However, my one real problem with this book was that the second half of the book was a little slower paced, and parts become more of just a dump of ideas instead of a story with those ideas embedded in, which unfortunately made it drag a little in parts.  Despite this, I still did really love this book and am now excited to hopefully read more George Orwell books in the future.


Finally, after finishing 1984, I knew I just wanted to read something quick and easy, that would be quite simple to follow and understand, and so knew that this one would likely be a good bet for that.  As this book is basically just Eponine's story from Les Miserable, I did already know parts of the story, and so knew form that perspective, that it would be an easier read because it would be that little bit more familiar than other books.  It was also a bit of shorter book, as it is only 270 pages long, something which whilst it did mean I managed to fly through this one in only a couple of days, it did mean the story was very condensed and moved very quickly, and even often moved a little too quickly for me.  However, all in all I did enjoy this one, and found it really interesting to see a well-known story almost expanded upon and so to be able to see more into the lives of one of my favourite characters, and liked how it did seem to stay true to her character as well.


What books did you read this month?  Which was your favourite?  Have you read any of these books - what did you think?

Friday, 28 July 2017

Summer Reads

Although for alot of people summer is already well under way, this week actually marks the start of my summer, and so after my TBR just went up on Sunday, I thought that I would look back at some of my favourite books that I've read in the last few summers and to recommend some perfect books for this time of year.  Summer is also most definitely the time I read so many more contemporaries, and so as much as I have tried to add some other books from other genres on here as well, this list does include quite a few contemporaries within it.  Another thing I also tried to do with this list was to pick books that I not only think are perfect to read in the summer, but ones that I myself also read in the summer, which is something that I actually found myself naturally doing anyway as I feel like alot of people gravitate towards similar sort of books that are summer reads at this time of year.  Anyway, here are some of my recommendations for some amazing books to read in the warm summer months.  And so, enjoy!

Whilst all of Morgan Matson's books scream summer and so almost demand to be read in the warmer months, this one might just be my favourite of hers that I've read, and so the one that I would definitely recommend picking up.  This follows Emily as her best friend, Sloane, suddenly disappears at the start of the summer, leaving behind her a list of 13 things for Emily to do that pushes her out of her comfort zone and sends her on some very unexpected adventures.  This book honestly is just such an amazing read that will hook you, but also inspire you to make the most of the summer, and move away from your comfort zone, even if just a little bit.

Next up, this one is a little bit of a darker contemporary, and so also one that is a little different to your normal summer read as it follows four different characters as they are told that they have only two months to live before an asteroid hits the earth.  Not only does this one have such an amazing concept that is executed so well, but the writing is also so unique and will draw you in and make you fall in love with this story and these characters whose lives all begin to intertwine, and who all individually grow so much through the course of this book as well.  

Whilst I would be lying if I said I wouldn't recommend recommend this book at any time of the year, I think that summer is definitely one of the best times to pick this one up and give it a go.  This one is a contemporary that follows our two main characters of  Natasha, who is fighting to stop her family from being deported back to Jamaica, and Daniel, whose Korean parents want him to go to Harvard but whose own passion lies in poetry, not in becoming a doctor.  It is just such an amazing book that you will fly through without even realising and that includes two stunning main characters who are very different but both just as spectacular as each other, and who will both take you on a epic one-day journey as they both face their own problems whilst also trying to figure out the growing relationship between them.  

If fantasy is more your thing, then this one might be a better recommendation for you, as it tells the story of both Elias, a Mask who soon plans to desert and risk death by doing so, and Laia, a Scholar who has to call on the Resistance for help to recover her brother after the Masks take everything from her.  This is another book that will hook you from the very start, and will take you on such an unpredictable journey with so many twists and turns that you won't see coming.  

This is another one that is a perfect summer read and has everything you might want from one without being your typical contemporary story.  Instead, this one follows Nix and her father as, along with their crew, they travel back in time in an attempt to save Nix's mothers life, despite the fact that if they survive in doing so, they put at risk Nix's entire existence.  This not only takes you to some amazing places, but also some romance, adventure and is a completely addictive read that you will not be able to put down. 

Finally, this recommendation comes from another weird reading habit that seems to come with the summer months, in which I always seem to pick up some sort of horror book every year.  This was the first of Carlos Ruiz Zafon's books that I read, and follows a family as they move to a coastal village in an attempt to escape the war, but who strange things begin to happen to as they get wrapped up in the mystery of their houses previous owners.  This is a perfect mystery that will leave you guessing and entice you with an amazing story that is accompanied with just as gorgeous writing, and will almost definitely send a few shivers down your spine as well.  

What books do you recommend for the summertime?  Have you read any of these - what did you think?

Sunday, 23 July 2017

Summer TBR

The summer holidays are finally here for me, and so with them comes the time of year when I read by far the most books.  This is also the time of year when I pick up some of those books that I have been meaning to read for a while, as I can now finally dedicate the time to them, and so this TBR includes some books that have been on my shelf for so long now but that I've been too intimidated to actually pick up before now.  Along with those, this is quite a typical summer TBR in the fact that quite a few of the books that I do hope to read are contemporaries, as just like so many others, I love to read them around this time of year and so know that I will definitely be in the mood for quite a few of them over the next few weeks or so.  And so, enjoy! 

Starting off with one that has been on my shelf for a while now, this is definitely one of those books that I will most likely only really get round to in the summer.  Not only is this quite a big book, but I also always seem to read Carlos Ruiz Zafon's books in the summer for whatever reason, and so its just habit now for me to pick these up at this time of year.  This one follows our main character as he discovers someone is destroying all copies of the books by an authors whose work he finds solace in, and is likely his most famous book.  I'm super interested to see what its like and what this story holds, and the concept of this one also sounds super intriguing, so I really need to actually get round to it and see what I think of it.  

This one is definitely more of my stereotypical summer read as its a contemporary that follows our main character Lina, who is spending her summer in Tuscany after her mothers dying wish was for her to get to know her father.  I've actually been wanting to read this one for a while now, simply because it does sound like such a perfect book for this time of year, and so I had to pick it up when I saw it for really cheap a couple of months ago.  I'm also really excited to read this one as it takes place in Tuscany, and it feels like its been so long since I've read a book about travel or with some aspect of that, so I can't wait for this one.

This is one that I have seen so much about recently, and that I've seen so many people loving since its release, and so I am desperate to finally get round to reading it myself.  It follows Dimple and Rishi, who are arranged to marry each other, as they attend the same summer program and unexpected things start to develop.  Not only have I heard such good things about it already, but I also love the sound of this one, as it sounds so unique, and quite different to any other contemporary I've read.  Once again, it also seems like the perfect time to read this one, as its summer, and summer is contemporary time for me, so I am definitely hoping to read this one very soon.  

Here is yet another contemporary book that I can't believe I didn't read last year when it was released, as I was so excited to see Morgan Matson was releasing another book, yet somehow I never got round to actually reading it.  This one follows Andie, a politician's daughter whose plans get destroyed after a scandal that leaves her discovering the fun in the unexpected.  I feel like all of Morgan Matson's books are just made to be read in the summer, and so I always tend to read them at this time of year, so am in desperate need of getting around to it soon before, once again, the summer is over and I haven't managed to get round to this one.

Unfortunately, this is another one that I was so excited about before it was released, and one that I actually pre-ordered just so that I could read it as soon as it did come out, yet it still has not been read.  This is a kind of companion to My True Love Gave to Me, and is an anthology of 12 short stories by 12 different amazing authors that all take place in the summertime, and so is a book that almost demands to be read at this time of the year.  This summer I am determined to get round to it, and actually already have an exact time in mind to read this one, so hopefully this one does not once again end up getting put off for another year.

Finally, I thought I'd give myself a little break from contemporaries with another book that I desperately need to read soon, as everyone seems to love this duology and I haven't even read the first book in this series yet.   This book follows a gang of deadly criminals brought together by Kaz Breaker in order to attempt to pull off an almost impossible heist, and honestly just sounds so good that I can't believe I haven't read this one yet.  This book has been on so many TBR's now and I feel like I've mentioned it so much as one that I really need to get round to, that now definitely the time to finally read it before it ends up sitting on my shelf forever.  

What books are on your summer TBR? Have you read any of these - what did you think?