Wednesday, 6 April 2016

Caragh Reviews // Head Over Heels (Geek Girl #5) by Holly Smale

Published - (Expected) 7th April 2016
Publisher - HarperCollins
Format - Kindle
Synopsis - Harriet Manners knows almost every fact there is.
She knows duck-billed platypuses don’t have stomachs.
She knows that fourteen squirrels were once detained as spies.
She knows only one flag in the world features a building.

And for once, Harriet knows exactly how her life should go. She’s got it ALL planned out. So when love is in the air, Harriet is determined to Make Things Happen! If only everyone else would stick to the script…Has GEEK GIRL overstepped the mark, and is following the rules going to break hearts all over again?

Geek Girl! Harriet Manners! Holly Smale! <3
There are few things that get me as excited as the above three things. Since Day 1 I've been spreading the love for this series. It's so delightfully perfect and has the right amount of, well, everything! 

This time around, Harriet has a growing friendship group and I LOVED it. When I first started reading, I was a little bit worried that there wouldn't be enough Toby and that it would be a more widespread read rather than focused on Harriet but I was happily wrong, as always :)  Team JINTH has it's so lovingly referred to only made me love Harriet even more. I'll be the first to admit that whilst Harriet is highly intelligent, she's rather self absorbed. Harriet's rules, Harriet's plans...Harriet Harriet Harriet. But that's also one of the many reasons why I love her. In Head over Heels though, she learns a lot of lessons. She is growing up and taking responsibility for her actions....eventually anyway. 

Another of my absolutely favourite bits of the whole Geek Girl Series is of course the travelling. I'm not a big traveller, for various reasons, but in my heart I am seething with jealousy as I would love the opportunity. Through Harriet I get to experience a little bit of the world. This time it's no different and the scene is just beautiful - we get to see the real Harriet which is always a treat!

One more thing I wanted to comment on before I go, and that's Lion Boy. I really, truly, can't comment on what's going on during this book for fear of being lynched - but I will say that I am in the minority when it comes to this book! I absolutely adore him and always have. I've just got a feeling about one of the newer faces in this book and I can't say I wouldn't be happy.... ;)

Being the 5th book in the series, it's really difficult to find the words to write a lengthy review. I don't want to give anything away! Harriet has become such a big part of our lives, it would be as disastrous as a Modelling Shoot to spoil it. It is such a pleasure and a privilege to watch Harriet grow up and live her life. I'm really not sure what i'm going to do when her story has been told for good. Other than keep re-reading it of course :)

Monday, 4 April 2016

Brianna Reviews // The Curious Charms of Arthur Pepper by Phaedra Patrick

Published: 7th April 2016
Publisher: Harlequin MIRA
Format: Paperback
Synopsis: 40 years of marriage, 8 golden charms, one man’s journey of discovery. When Arthur Pepper discovers a mysterious charm bracelet in his late wife’s wardrobe, he sets off on a journey to discover, charm by charm, her secret life before they met. Having been married for over 40 years, 69-year-old Arthur Pepper is mourning the loss of his wife. On the anniversary of her death, he finally musters the courage to go through her possessions, and happens upon a charm bracelet that he has never seen before. What follows is a surprising adventure that takes Arthur from London to Paris and India in an epic quest to find out the truth about his wife’s secret life before they met, a journey that leads him to find healing, self-discovery, and love in the most unexpected of places.

I have to admit, normally I wouldn’t even pick this book up (it pains me that I’m so judgemental) never mind read, but within two minutes of picking it up and glancing it’s blurb, I was intrigued; something about the idea of solving the mystery of a charm bracelet and finding out the story behind each one and like Arthur I like a bit of a mystery (and I’ve always liked the idea of charm bracelets).

It’s been a year since Miriam died and Arthur has decided that it’s finally time to sort out her belonging and donate her clothes to a cat charity. Tucked inside a boot in the wardrobe is a heart shaped jewellery box containing a gold charm bracelet, it’s not something he’s seen before and doesn’t look like something his wife would own. While inspecting the charms on it he notices that there is a phone number on the elephant, the dialling code is for a number in India.  Phoning the number kick starts Arthurs quest to find out the stories behind the charms, which makes him break his dull, regimented, hermit routine, he had adopted since Miriam’s death. Throughout his hunt he learns not just about his Wife’s life before him, he also learns new things about himself, as well as re-evaluating everything he though he knew – both good and bad.

I can’t really relate to Arthur's sense of loss at the start of this book, because thankfully I’ve not yet lost anyone that close to me.  But I did find that I could relate to Arthur in other small ways I think most people probably can and definitely the idea of getting stuck in a safe little rut.

I really enjoyed following Arthur as he one by one solved the mysteries of each charm, revealing the rather surprising colourful history of his wife, although I did find that some of the links or clues between one charm and the next were a little convenient, but I find that is often the case with books that centre around solving a mystery and it definitely didn’t take anything from the story.  I loved almost all of the people that Arthur met on his travels (with the exception of De Chauffant, for obvious reasons, Lord Graystock and Sonny) I wonder what might have happened if Arthur had accepted the coffee from Sylvie. With some of the people Arthur met on his travels I wish that we could have found out a little more about them at the end, especially Mike and Sebastien – Although I suppose that is life, you don’t always get all the answers!

At the start I found Bernadette a little bit overwhelming, and I think I might also have pretended not to be in, and although she didn’t really change throughout the book she did seem to step back a bit once Arthur started to explore, and her heart was in the right place. I really liked the grandfatherly relationship that Nathan and Arthur developed and the way that Nathan sought him out for advice.

I don’t want to say too much about what Arthur finds out a learns about Miriam but what he finds out isn’t always what he wants to hear and everything he finds out throws up more questions that he doesn’t have answers for, and makes him question everything, at the lowest points it had me crying my eyes out as Arthur doubted his marriage and whether his wife was happy with him. Luckily Arthurs family and friends step in to show him how happy his life with Miriam had been. I like the idea that it’s never too late to start an adventure.

I have a few issues with the end, mostly with the fact that he didn’t keep the charm bracelet, but that might just be because I’m a little bit sentimental and a bit of a hoarder and don’t like throwing things out or getting rid of them, but I guess it was a fitting end.
The other thing that nagged me was the fact that he just posted the watch through Mike’s letter box, partially because it would have been nice to see Mike again. But mainly because as far as the reader can see Arthur doesn’t appear to check that Mike still lives there, he probably does, but what if he had moved?

In summary I really enjoyed reading this book even if it made me cry my eyes out, I certainly didn’t expect close encounters with tigers, chasing down muggers and nude modelling for students. I hadn’t really expected to have any strong feelings, it seems I need to stop being so judgemental in what I think I will like to read – A little lesson to take away from Arthur.  And it wouldn’t be right if I didn’t mention how much I like Frederica and Arthur's concern over her water intake.

Friday, 1 April 2016

March - April

Hello there! As you can see, March was an absolutely incredible month for book gathering. I've been so lucky in regards to receiving books for review or as prizes, which means I only bought 2 books myself this month (Midnight Bites & Working Stiff). The 2 other books that weren't from publishers, netgalley & giveaways were gifts from my boyfriend.

In terms of how much I read, i'm pretty happy with it. All of them were full size books and i've been trying hard to utilise my free time to fit in more reading. I feel it has definitely paid off this month! I'm a little behind on review books but with the bank holiday this month, i'm hoping I can catch up a little and maybe even get a head start on April and May! I'm hoping I can also use some time at the beginning of the month to set up some scheduled posts and back-dated reviews etc. As much as my reading time has increased, my reviews have gone down slightly!

So there you have it :) The ups and downs of March/April and my reading hopes for the next month. Send me links to all of your reviews and hauls!

What I Got:
Midnight Bites by Rachel Caine
Working Stiff by Rachel Caine
Extraordinary Means by Robyn Schneider
All The Bright Places by Jennifer Niven
The Teacher by Katerina Diamond (Avon)
Unrivalled by Alyson Noel (Mira Ink/Harlequin)
Head Over Heels (Geek Girl 5) by Holly Smale (Netgalley)
Radio Silence by Alice Oseman (Netgalley)
Book of Lies by Teri Terry (Netgalley)
Soldier by Julie Kagawa (Netgalley)
A Gathering of Shadows by V.E.Schwab (Giveaway Prize)
How Hard Can Love Be? by Holly Bourne (Maximum Pop)
Flamecaster by Cinda Williams Chima (Harper360)

What I Read:
The Woman Who Upped and Left by Fiona Gibson
Midnight Bites by Rachel Caine
The Island by Olivia Levez
City of Fallen Angels (TMI 4) by Cassandra Clare
Head Over Heels (Geek Girl 5) by Holly Smale
Radio Silence by Alice Oseman
The Teacher by Katerina Diamond
This Is Where The World Ends by Amy Zhang
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