Sunday, 31 December 2017

Books Read in 2017

In 2017 I failed at many, many things and that includes both blogging and my reading challenge. Last year went so well that I decided to up to my target to 65 instead of the regular 50. Clearly that was a mistake as I only managed 53/65. I ain't mad tho'. 2017 has been horrendous for a multitude of reasons, some of which I have elaborated on in the previous post. However, i'm trying not to dwell on that and looking forward to whatever 2018 brings. Here's my mostly annual list of the books I read over the last year. 

  1.  The Twelve Days of Dash & Lily - Rachel Cohn & David Levithan
  2. Talking As Fast As I Can - Lauren Graham
  3. All I Know Now - Carrie Hope Fletcher
  4. The Queen of Zombie Hearts - Gena Showalter
  5. The Adventures of Supergirl - Sterling Gates
  6. Forever Geek - Holly Smale
  7. Gwenpool - Christopher Hastings
  8. Demon Hunters: Trinity - Olivia Chase
  9. Happy Mum, Happy Baby - Giovanna Fletcher
  10. Incomplete Shakespeare: Macbeth - John Crace
  11. City of Heavenly Fire - Cassandra Clare
  12. Alice In The Country of Hearts - QuinRose
  13. See How They Lie - Sue Wallman
  14. Mark of Athena - Rick Riordan
  15. Pushing Perfect - Michelle Falkoff
  16. Alex Approximately - Jenn Bennett
  17. Girlhood - Cat Clarke
  18. Cinder & Ella - Kelly Oram
  19. On The Other Side - Carrie Hope Fletcher
  20. Highly Illogical Behavior - John Corey Whaley
  21. Reasons To Stay Alive - Matt Haig
  22. Cinder & Ella: Happily Ever After - Kelly Oram
  23. A Seven Letter Word - Kim Slater
  24. Tyranny - Lesley Fairfield
  25. Beginners Guide To Astronomy - Patrick Moore
  26. Supergirl: Girl of Steel - Jeph Loeb
  27. Glass Houses - Rachel Caine (re-read)
  28.  The Dead Girls Dance - Rachel Caine (re-read)
  29. Midnight Alley - Rachel Caine (re-read)
  30. Noah Can't Even - Simon James Green
  31.  Thirteen Reasons Why - Jay Asher (re-read)
  32. Feast of Fools - Rachel Caine (re-read)
  33. Illuminae - Kaufman & Kristoff
  34. Lord of Misrule - Rachel Caine (re-read)
  35. One Of Us Is Lying - Karen M McManus
  36. Preludes & Nocturnes (Sandman) - Neil Gaiman
  37. The One Memory of Flora Banks - Emily Barr
  38. Almost Adulting - Arden Rose
  39. Faceless - Alyssa Shienmel
  40. Carpe Corpus - Rachel Caine (re-read)
  41. Girl, Missing - Sophie Mckenzie
  42. Fade Out - Rachel Caine (re-read)
  43. All The Bright Places - Jennifer Niven
  44. Who Runs The World - Virginia Bergin
  45. Turtles All The Way Down - John Green
  46. The Silver Mask - Black & Clare
  47. Ill Wind - Rachel Caine
  48. Some Kind of Wonderful - Giovanna Fletcher
  49. Scott Pilgrim Vol 1 - Bryan O'Malley (re-read)
  50. Locke & Key Vol 1 - Joe Hill
  51. Locke & Key Vol 2 - Joe Hill
  52. It Only Happens In The Movies - Holly Bourne
  53. We Should All Be Feminists - Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Saturday, 30 December 2017

It's been a while | Reponse post to The Arts Shelf

!!!IMPORTANT NOTE!!!: This blog post was written a LONG time ago but my phone died and I never got around to posting it. It's still super relavant and important to keep the discussion going so i've decided to post it anyway.

** Holly's Original Post: Love or Hate TBR **

It has been a long time since I've even logged into this website, never mind actually post something. I've talked about it before but the last 12 months of my life have been some of the most difficult things I've ever had to deal with. I don't know if I'm ready to commit to blogging again but I really wanted to respond to The Arts Shelf post about TBRs. I'm using my phone for this so I'm not sure if I can link to it but I'll certainly try.

Holly talked about the mixed emotions she has regarding her TBR and although I've talked about it previously, it's now more pertinent than ever to bring that topic back to life. As I said, I've been gone from the blogger world for a long time now and with that has come a lot of emotions. Like Holly, I get so much happiness and satisfaction from walking into a book shop and taking in the environment, the feel of a book in my hand, the little burst of excitement from picking out a new read, a new world to explore and new characters to befriend and fall in love with. All of those things are a part of who I am and the parts of me that I love the most. However, the anxiety of that is also very real. For the first time in my life, my TBR is larger than my Read books. Something I swore would never happen to me. I've always been concerned about it but nothing has made me feel worse than taking a hiatus from blogging.

I didn't stop buying books but I did stop reading. Ok that's not entirely true but compared the last year? It's a very small portion of books I've read. I've never been a popular blogger but I often got book mail and was that girl who squealed when a package arrived on my doormat in the morning. Until that started filling me with dread. Review books always come first and they were piling up around me. I was so upset all the time over not being able to read anything and enjoy it because my TBR was dictated by what book had been sent that week. I stopped reading altogether at that point and I stopped blogging too. Granted, there are other reasons I dropped off the face of blogger but it's the one reason I have not returned until now.

I've probably read around 40 or so books this year and I haven't reviewed them at all. Why? That guilt and anxiety. I still have books to read & review from over a year ago and I'm so terrified of NOT doing it that I just didn't do, well, anything. I stopped one of the most joyful parts of my weeks because I didn't know how to deal with a ridiculous TBR.

And that needs to end.

I am not employed by any publisher. I make NO money from blogging. It doesn't pay my bills and it doesn't feed me. So why the hell should I let it matter to me? This anxiety over what book to read isn't healthy and it shouldn't dictate how I enjoy my free time away from the responsibilities of life. So my TBR is hundreds of books? Big deal. I'll either read them or I won't. Publishers no longer send me books and I no longer request them. Sure I hope in the future, if this thing kicks off again, that will change. But in the mean time I am concentrating on the most important thing of all: my enjoyment of reading.

I don't know if I'll come back and blog full time again. I still have no access to a computer and it's REALLY hard to do this now the app doesn't work on my phone. But I do hope that maybe someone reads this and keeps the conversation going. By the nature of or hobby, readers are fairly solitary. So we need to give ourselves a break and just let us enjoy our quiet time. I for one am pledging that from this day forward, my TBR is of no concern to me and I'm going to enjoy possessing every single book, whether it gets read now or never.

Who's with me?

Another post about nothing after FAR too long.

If you're interested, I posted about a terrible event that happened in my life here: Where I've Been.
I posted a handful of times after that, always attempting to get back my routine and normal life but in a moment of complete honesty (because this blog is always my honest space), I haven't been doing well. My mental health has suffered dramatically and even now, 13 months later I am struggling. The last 3 months i've started to feel better, started to slowly get back into reading (albeit with a mass of Morganville re-reads but hey) and by a miracle & saviour - we have a beautiful home that is truly ours and day by day, we are getting our shit together.

Today I turned my laptop on in over a year.

I wasn't even sure it would work to be honest, it's not exactly new (7 years old to be exact - eep) and wasn't in a great condition even before the event happened. However, it loaded up and I clicked on the browser to find this... Blogger was the last tab I had open before everything changed. It made me happy to remember how much joy I got from this. Just simply having a place to rant and rave about books! I realised that now, the only thing stopping me is me. I have some goals I'd like to achieve in 2018 (post coming soon!) and almost all of them are for the sake of my mental health, because it's time to allow myself to admit to it, and work on it.

So hopefully for the last time, i'm sorry i've been AWOL.

Cazz x

Saturday, 11 February 2017

Review // All I Know Now - Carrie Hope Fletcher

Published - 14th May 2015
Publisher - Sphere
Format - Hardback
Synopsis - 'I pushed and persevered through the crap all teenagers go through - the bullying, the boys, the peer pressure, the friends, the enemies, the frenemies... Now I'm here, watching you guys go through almost identical experiences; trapped on the wrong side of a computer screen. Helpless... Until now.'

Is there anyone left on the internet that isn't a Hopeful? Well this 28 year old is! *throws out all of the love*

Confession time: I was incredibly sceptical about reading this book. You can probably tell that by the sheer amount of time it has taken for me to read it. Alex bought me this on a new year book shopping trip because he'd also gotten me Carrie's first novel as a Christmas present. I'd not really been interested before then because i'd just assumed it was aimed at her younger audience. At 28 years old, how was advice on boys and first days at school going to help me in any way? A lot, apparently.

For SURE it is aimed at a younger audience, but as i've always championed before - what you get out of a book is what you put into it. So I may not have a first day at school in my future but i'm sure there'll be first days at work, first days in a new team, first day...etc etc. You get the point. There are so many great anecdotes and general information in this book that you really can apply it to every day life. I'm a naturally socially anxious and awkward person and so advice is something I'm always happy to listen to.

I really appreciated the 'props' section at the back of the book that was filled with TONS of usual and helpful information for people who need it. It would have been instrumental to my teenage self and i'm so glad that this kind of thing is out there in the world and is so easily accessible.

One of Carrie's biggest personality traits (and is why so many people LOVE her) is her ability to make you feel like you're talking to a friend. When you sit and watch her videos (or read this book!), you truly feel like there is someone out there who cares that you're ok. She has an amazing quality that makes you think that if you knew her IRL, you would be friends. She's an incredibly rare and special personality in this world and I'm SURE that we'll be seeing a lot more of Carrie in the future.

Wednesday, 8 February 2017

Review // Talking As Fast As I Can - Lauren Graham

Published - 29th November 2016
Publisher - Ballantyne Books
Format - Audiobook
Synopsis - In her first work of nonfiction, the beloved star of Gilmore Girls and Parenthood recounts her experiences on Gilmore Girls - the first and second times - and shares stories about life, love, and working in Hollywood. This collection of essays is written in the intimate, hilarious, and down-to-earth voice that made her novel, Someday, Someday, Maybe, a New York Times best seller.
"This book contains some stories from my life: the awkward growing up years, the confusing dating years, the fulfilling working years, and what it was like to be asked to play one of my favorite characters again. You probably think I'm talking about my incredible achievement as Dolly in Hello, Dolly! as a Langley High School junior, a performance my dad called 'you're so much taller than the other kids.' But no! I'm talking about Lorelai Gilmore, who, back in 2008, I wasn't sure I'd ever see again. Also included: tales of living on a houseboat, meeting guys at awards shows, and that time I was asked to be a butt model. A hint: all three made me seasick." (Lauren Graham)

This came up on my facebook newsfeed on average, 4085725 times a day. I had a handful of messages & tags from friends who knew I would want to know about it. I was in a bit of a quandry. I don't read biographies/autobiographies as a general rule of thumb. Not because I don't enjoy them, but because I'm very aware that the characters I love are not the same people as those who portray them and I'm always ruined that the 'illusion' will be ruined. In my mind i've always imagined that Lauren Graham was Lorelai Gilmore. The complete and honest embodiment. However, could I really miss out on more Gilmore Girls? Well, no. Of course not. So when umming and ahhing over whether to read or listen, I had to jump at the chance to hear Lauren tell her Lorelai story herself. I'd been waiting for a long time to activate that Audible free trial, and now I had the perfect opportunity.

As you would expect, the audiobook was incredibly fast paced! I listened to the entire thing in just 1 day, with 8 hours sitting at my desk at work (sorry, boss!). Naturally, I loved hearing about all of the Gilmore Girl stories. My particular favourite story was hearing Lauren describe her first meeting with Alexis Bledel (Rory Gilmore, her on-screen daughter). Of course, a lot of what you're listening to is common knowledge, but hearing it with Lauren's voice made it all the more interesting. I learned early on that choosing the audiobook was 100% the right decision. I'll admit, I was disappointed at the lack of Gilmore Girls in the book though. The name of the book says 'from Gilmore Girls to Gilmore Girls', so I obviously got the wrong end of the stick. The majority of the book was what happened in between, whereas i'd somehow convinced myself it would be all of the GG goodness tucked away inside. In saying that though, it was hilariously funny and I enjoyed it nonetheless. I'm sat here giggling at the reminder of Lauren's time on America's Next Top Model...

I'm going to end this one soon, as i'm not sure how ethical it even is to "review" somebody's real life story, but I just wanted to take a minute to appreciate Lauren's comments on the late actress, and fierce woman, Carrie Fisher. It was a beautiful moment and of course since the release of this book, Carrie has sadly passed away. I think we can all agree with Lauren's comments. Carrie was a strong and inspiring woman and I myself looked up to her as a Star Wars fan from childhood. I only hope that young girls growing up can find their own Carrie Fisher to be inspired by.

Rest in peace, Carrie.

Monday, 6 February 2017

Book Haul | January (plus Feb update)

Books I Got in......January!

Ok ok, it looks WAY worse than it actually is *hides behind a pillow*. Three of these were kindle deals and at 99p I kinda HAD to....right? The first Magnus Chase book was a literally NEED. I've been wanting these books forever but in hardback. A little note for you: Rick Riordan books are the *only* books I ever *need* in hardback. They're so beautiful. For a long ass time we could only find it in paperback but on this particular day, Amazon had 1 left in stock for £8 and so my boyfriend got it for me. Couldn't say no to the 2nd for only £5. That leaves Supergirl, and well, I don't need an excuse =p Supergirl is my life right now.

Magnus Chase and The Sword of Summer by Rick Riordan
Magnus Chase and The Hammer of Thor by Rick Riordan
Supergirl Vol. 1: The Last Daughter of Krypton
Twenty-Eight and A Half Wishes by Denise Grover Swank
The Underground Storyteller by Alex Day
This Savage Song by V.E.Schwab

Thought i'd use this chance to do a little bit of a Feb update whilst I have chance.
I'm slowly working my way through 3 books at the moment (Birdy Flynn, The Mark of Athena and City of Heavenly Fire) which is pretty good for me. Birdy Flynn is a proof that I need to get done soon, Athena is on my 2017 book guilt list and CoHF....I think i've left it long enough to just get that series finished. I'm feeling pretty good reading wise! However, there are a few things coming my way this month so we'll see what happens. I'm looking at you, Melinda Salisbury ;)

Review // The Twelve Days of Dash and Lily - Rachel Cohn & David Levithan

Published - 6th October 2016
Publisher - Electric Monkey
Format - Paperback
Synopsis Dash and Lily have been dating for nearly a year, but when Lily’s beloved grandfather falls ill, the repercussions take their toll on everyone. Even though they are still together, somehow the magic has gone out of their relationship and it’s clear that Lily has fallen out of love with life. Action must be taken! Dash teams up with Lily’s brother and a host of their friends, who have just twelve days to get Lily’s groove back in time for Christmas. 

I have been raving about Dash & Lily since I first read it in 2012. It seems incredible to me that it was 5 years ago already! My love for Cohn & Levithan began with Nick and Norah and I've been following throughout their entire co-writing career. This second instalment was off my radar for a long time, too long really and it was by chance that I saw it pop up on my Goodreads newsfeed. I'm also incredibly lucky that my wonderful bookish best friend Holly, picked me up a signed copy from her trip to London. She is so thoughtful and honestly, it was one of the most heartfelt Christmas presents I received. Is there anything better than your friends not only knowing, but really getting how much you love a book/character. So where do I begin? It's pretty hard.

As I said, it's been 5 years since I read Book of Dares and it's been a a fair few since i've had a re-read. I was a bit concerned that I wouldn't get the most out of it without re-reading the first book but I was too desperate to read it to wait.

I needn't have worried at all. Right from the first page, my love for the characters, their bond and the world Cohn & Levithan created for them came rushing back to me and my heart swelled. I hadn't realised just how much I had missed them. As it was a Christmas present, it was still pretty festive when I read it and the Christmassy vibes were gorgeous and definitely helped extend the festive period over new year. My heart was pulled a million ways as Lily lost her sense of self, and Christmas but that's what really makes these books for me, the way that they pull together and are strongest in their hardest times.

I LOVED seeing the families behind Dash & Lily and getting a lot of interaction. Lily's brother was everything you want in a brother, and was just an all around loveable character. Boomer, (oh Boomer...) lit up the page and my heart with his adorableness and tree-loving ways. I honestly just can't get enough of him. 

Aside from just how much I love the characters, it was so nice to see them growing up (both literally and mentally) and taking on adult responsibilities. I myself have grown a lot since I last met with Dash & Lily so it was only fair that they did too. Their isn't much of a time gap between Book of Dares and Twelve Days of Christmas, but it was enough to really understand that sense of change. This book definitely reminded me to slow down and to enjoy life, and especially appreciate and nurture the love in my life (and not just romantically!)

Reading Cohn & Levithan's books has always been a genuine pleasure and i'm forever grateful that just for a brief moment, Dash & Lily forced their way back to me, and I welcomed them with open arms. Not that i'm greedy or anything but if we could get an update on Nick and Norah... ;)

Wednesday, 1 February 2017

January Wrap-Up

The first month of 2017 is over already! How did that even happen?! All things considered, i'm pretty happy with the reading I did this month. I know that I could have squeezed in a couple more if I watched a LOT less Netflix but what's done is done. So what did I read?

The Twelve Days of Dash & Lily - David Levithan and Rachel Cohn

Talking As Fast As I Can: From Gilmore Girls to Gilmore Girls - Lauren Graham

All I Know Now - Carrie Hope Fletcher

The Queen of Zombie Hearts (WRC #3) - Gena Showalter

Adventures of Supergirl Vol.1

Forever Geek (Geek Girl 6) - Holly Smale

Gwenpool Vol.1

My goals for February are to read at least 4 books and i'd also like to read at least 1 graphic novel a month for the entire year. I think it's pretty achievable and have a bunch of them that i've not read yet and I plan on getting the rest of the Supergirl ones if nothing else. At the time of scheduling this wrap up, I haven't written any reviews yet - oops. But hopefully by the time this goes live i'll have links posted to at least a couple of reviews!

Tuesday, 31 January 2017

2017 Book Guilt


A few weeks ago, I was scrolling endlessly through my subscription box trying to catch up with videos when I came across one from Kristina Horner. Some of you may know her, she's a fabulous Youtuber with a big array of hobbies and interests, one of which being books. The video (which you can find here: talked about having books stuck on the shelves for a long time and even though you desperately want to read them, something else always comes up and you just, forget. I don't know about you but this ALWAYS happens to me. There are (and i'm not exaggerating) hundreds of books in my possession that this very thing applies to. So with Kristina's video in mind, I had a look through some of the books I have access to (see earlier post on why I am so limited here:

I've come up with 5 books that i've had forever that I still haven't read. Well, in all honestly I mean 'finish'. Because 4/5 of this books i'm a fair way into them already!

  1. Illuminae - I actually started reading this the same week I bought it. I was completely thrown off by the style of the book and it was a pretty busy time of year at work. It didn't feel like something I wanted to invest time in at that time and I completely forgot about it. One of my best friends, Holly has positively RAVED about it and I bought her the second book Gemina for Christmas. It's only fair that I give it another shot whilst things are relatively quiet at this time of year.
  2. Paper and Fire - I'm completely ashamed to say that this was my most anticipated book, I read the first chapter and then got sideblinded by a bunch of life stuff and it got put back on the shelf for a rainy day. Rachel Caine is probably one of my top 2 authors of all time and I FLEW through the first book in the series, I'm desperate to get through this one but i'm worried I might need to re-read the first book in order to fully appreciate it. Anyone have a great summary I could read instead?
  3. The Wind Singer - My mum bought me the whole series at a closing down sale a few years ago because she thought i'd enjoy them. My boyfriend has since told me that he also thinks i'd really like them. So why haven't I even cracked open the front cover yet?? I honestly don't know. So hopefully in 2017 i'll be adding this to my read pile.
  4. The Red Pyramid - Okay, i'll fess up. This is the most embarassing one on the list. I've had this on my bedside table for....almost 3 years. Before Alex and I started dating, he gave me this and a bunch of other Riordan books. I read all of them except for this one - oops? If that wasn't bad enough, i've used this book of MULTITUDES of readathons and I'm ashamed to say that i'm still only half way through. The worst part is that i'm enjoying it....a lot. It's just one of those books that is so memorable it's easy to put down and forget about (for months, apparently) but still remember exactly what's happening. I'm determined to get this one DONE.
  5. The Mark of Athena - Again, i'm more than half way through this one and was loving it. I have the whole set in GORGEOUS hardbacks in a case and I can only say that because they're so beautiful, I don't like having them out of place. It's fine to pick up and read whilst i'm at home but they're definitely not being shoved in my bag or taken on trains etc. Which honestly limits my ability to read them. However, i'm desperate to move on to the newer Riordan/Percy-related books and so i'm going to have to bite the bullet and actually read them. With extreme care.
And they're my 5 books that give me the biggest book guilt! I only picked 5 due to limitations but also because it's way more realistic. I read around 60 books a year on average so 5 is completely doable without taking away any 'but i just really want to read ....' moments that will inevitably arise during the year! I would love to know what makes your lists so either leave them below or send me links to your own posts!

Tuesday, 24 January 2017

Books I Got For Christmas

My first official post of 2017! Let's just ignore the fact that it's the end of January already. It's absolutely flown by! I've got a fair few catch up posts to make and so I thought i'd start with this one because lists of books get me excited! There are 2 categories for this one, books I got as gifts and books I got with vouchers. I've got a steaming cuo of tea and Netflix in the background so let's get straight to it then!

Books I Got As Gifts

The Christmassaurus by Tom Fletcher
I don't think i've ever met anyone that didn't love Tom Fletcher and his brand new Christmassy dinosaur book was literally all i'd wanted for Christmas. I've already finished it and it was beautifully charming and I can 100% see myself reading it annually for a little Christmas treat. Though obviously aimed at children, there's just something magical about it that adults will also love. It's a gorgeous hardback and full of beautiful illustrations.

Billy & Me by Giovanna Fletcher
You might be sensing a bit of theme now.. I started watching Gi's videos when she joined in with the Dear Carrie/Dear Tom series and I just LOVE her. My boyfriend wont be impressed with me saying this, but we watch Tom, Gi and Carrie''s videos together and it's become a bit of a thing. This beautiful hardback edition of Billy & Me was a complete surprise. I haven't read any of her books yet but i'm truly looking forward to it.

On The Other Side by Carrie Hope Fletcher
....A complete Fletcher Christmas. Another gorgeous hardback from my boyfriend and the cover is to die for. From what I know about the story i'm going to fall in love and probably even shed a few tears in the process (i'm a crier!). Excited to get stuck into this one.

Scott Pilgrim Vol 3 & Scott Pilgrim Vol 4
I'm talking the regular graphic novels. I adore the Scott Pilgrim movie and immediately bought the first 2 books in the series all those years ago. Sadly I couldn't find the others in the local comic store and they got pushed to the back of my mind. I'm not sure how Alex remembered I wanted these books as it was long before we started dating but he did, and now my love is reignited and I want to finish the series at long last.

Fantastic Beasts & Where To Find Them - The Screenplay
I completely ADORED the movie. I don't know how it escaped my knowledge that they had released the screenplay as a book but mum came through! The book itself is stunning. A deep blue with gold lettering. I haven't had chance to look at it any closer but I forsee a wonderful day of re-living the film with hot chocolates and popcorn in the near future.

The Illustrated Harry Potter & The Chamber of Secrets by J.K.Rowling
There are no words to describe how magical it is to still receive Harry Potter books for Christmas. Though it's not necessarily a book that I would pick up and read (it's damn heavy!), the illustrations are perfect and I love flicking through and getting a real sense of everything.

The Complete Shakespeare Stories by Matthews & Ross
So, if you know me then you know I love Shakespeare and anything remotely Shakespeare-y. I own the complete collection multiple times so i'm thrilled to have another set! These ones are written for children and so are basic story lines and it's exciting to just HAVE them! They will definitely get used a lot as memory refreshers and in the future if there are ever any mini readers in my life.

Next bit...! This is just a quick list as a lot of them were just impulse-in-the-sales buys but i'm excited nonetheless.

Books I Got With Vouchers

Mind Games (Demon Trappers) by Jana Oliver
Reasons to Stay Alive by Matt Haig
Holding Up The Universe by Jennifer Niven
If I Was Your Girl by Meredith Russo
Disney's Fairest Of Them All
Disney's The Beast Within
Disney's Once Upon A Dream

So a pretty big haul! I'm really happy to start the year with a LOT of new reading material that is hopefully going to boost me to read a lot more in 2017....or at least with more regularity :) Happy new year guys! Let me know if you've read any of them and what you thought!
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