The Ride That Was 2017 & What I Hope For 2018

The Ride That Was 2017 & What I Hope For 2018

Hey guys! So I mentioned at the end of one of my recently posted reviews that I would update you guys on what’s been happening the past year or so and explain why I haven’t been active on my blog until now.

At the start of 2017 I posted a similar post and that was explaining about my dad leaving in 2016 and me having a mental breakdown and it was just a really bad time. I made the promise of blogging more but then that failed because 2017 really wasn’t a better year. My mum was diagnosed with breast cancer and ended up having a mastectomy to remove her left breast and it was all really tough, constantly going to hospital appointments, taking another 3 months off work because of more stress and depression and then going back to work but struggling to feel better because it was just constant worry about my mum. With all of that going on last year, it was another difficult year for myself and if it wasn’t for my family, boyfriend and friends, I honestly don’t think I would’ve made it because things were just getting too much.

Fortunately on the 11th of this month, my mum had her final round of Chemotherapy and starts Radiotherapy for 3 weeks starting February 5th. Hopefully once she completes this we’ll get the news we’ve been waiting for and she’ll be cancer free. We really need some luck this year!

My hopes for 2018 are obviously for my mum to get the all clear, for us to finally get away from the stress of the house we are in just now and move in somewhere new, hopefully get a job I actually enjoy and of course read more and also get back into blogging regularly because I really have missed it and you guys!

I’m finally thinking positively for 2018 and hope that I’ll be able to achieve everything I want to this year. Just need to keep my mind focused and try and not go back into that slump and let my mind take over.

I hope everything with you guys is all good and well and I look forward to joining the blogging community again! I may even start doing more than bookish posts on this blog but we’ll see what happens! ūüôā

 

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REVIEW: SOLITAIRE – ALICE OSEMAN

REVIEW: SOLITAIRE – ALICE OSEMAN

SolitaireTitle: Solitaire

Author: Alice Oseman

Genre: Young Adult

Format: Paperback

Rating: 5/5

Synopsis: Goodreads

Buy Book: Amazon

Review:¬†Alice Oseman is an author I’ve been hearing about for quite a while now and I’ve been putting off reading¬†Solitaire,¬†since its release in 2014. I honestly don’t quite know why but when I came across the Heartstopper comic a few days ago and was introduced to Nick and Charlie then I felt like it was a sign I should start this book and boy, I was not a single bit disappointed!

Solitaire¬†tells the story of Tori Spring, a teenage blogger, pessimist and¬† in her last year of high school. When mysterious blog “SOLITAIRE” appears, random pranks start happening in Tori’s school. Reuniting old friends and meeting new ones, Tori’s life takes an unexpected turn and now she has to learn to cope with a whole bunch of new feelings.

Well, where do I start with this review? First of all, I don’t think I’ve ever came across a more relatable character than Tori. There was a lot of myself that I could see in her and this is one of the things I loved about Alice Oseman’s writing, in each one of her characters, I could see small parts of myself in them.

Tori is bit of an introvert, she doesn’t really get involved with anything, doesn’t really talk much and usually keeps herself to herself (never related to someone more) and then Michael Holden comes along and eventually changes things. The relationship between both Tori and Michael was one I really enjoyed following because watching them grow as friends was just nice and you could see how much they both related to each other and in a way needed each other.
I honestly loved Michael’s character as well. He was sweet, caring, funny and also another troubled character but he hid it from everyone else because all he wanted was for everyone else to be happy.

As I said at the start of this review, I started reading Solitaire because I came across the Heartstopper comic on tumblr and was introduced to Nick and Charlie. These are two characters I would’ve loved to see more of in the book and the fact they have their own comic series makes me happy!

In all,¬†Solitaire was a strong, well written and fantastic debut novel from Alice Oseman and I honestly can’t put into words how much I enjoyed this story. I’m just sorry it took me so long to finally get round to reading it but I’m so glad I have now and I’ll be recommending it to everyone!

If you’re a fan of young adult, contemporary and a little bit of mystery then I fully recommend you give this a go, you will not be disappointed!

 

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REVIEW: TURTLES ALL THE WAY DOWN – JOHN GREEN

REVIEW: TURTLES ALL THE WAY DOWN – JOHN GREEN

                                                               

Image result for turtles all the way downTitle: Turtles All The Way Down

Author: John Green

Genre: Young Adult, Mental Health, Contemporary

Format: Hardback

Rating: 4/5

Synopsis: Goodreads

Buy Book: Amazon

Review:¬†2017 saw the return of critically acclaimed author, John Green with his long awaited novel,¬†Turtles All The Way Down.¬†I for one am a huge lover of John Green’s books and when he announced a new book was coming after a 5 year wait, I was really excited to finally have something new from him to devour.

Turtles All The Way Down¬†follows sixteen-year-old Aza as she and her best-friend Daisy investigate the disappearance of billionaire Russell Pickett all in the hope of collecting the one-hundred-thousand dollar reward that is at stake. Whilst starting the investigation, Aza is reunited with an old friend and is introduced to new feelings she’s never felt before. As she tries her best to please everyone around her, Aza, is left struggling with the never-ending spiral of anxieties and worries going on in her own head.

I’ve loved pretty much every John Green book I’ve read and this one was no different at all. He somehow manages to write the perfect story with the perfect characters that you can’t help but fall in love with and I’m an absolute sucker for authors like this. To start with, the story was so well-written and it wasn’t your usual teen romance that is normally featured in a lot of Young Adult books and there was no “boy saves girl” plot to it either which I was really glad about because it’s so generic and predictable and does start to get annoying after a while. There was a strong plot line and I honestly struggled to put the book down. His writing certainly reflected the thoughts and struggles constantly spiralling through her mind and you were experiencing every single thought with her.

Aza was such a perfectly written character and Green did a fantastic job of writing about Aza’s mental health in a realistic way and it’s clear he did the research he needed to do in order for this to be successful. She was a really quiet character and mixed with the loudness and boldness of Daisy, it went really well. Aza spends a lot of the book stuck inside her own head, fighting with her thoughts and trying to overpower them but a lot of the time they take over and it was horrible seeing her struggle with herself so much, all you want is for her to get better.
Daisy is a character I had a love/hate relationship with. Sometimes she brilliant and funny but then other times with the way she treated Aza made me really angry and annoyed because she doesn’t understand what it’s like to be in a constant argument with your own mind and she spent some time making Aza feel guilty and useless which really upset me as it’s a feeling I’ve been made to feel before and it’s really not nice.
All the characters in this book were fantastically written and I honestly loved them all (even though there is the hate there for a part of Daisy).

I really struggled to put the book down and all in all, the book was another successful one from Green and I already can’t wait for whatever he has instore for us all next. It’s such an easy read and is guaranteed to keep you hooked.

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REVIEW: EVERLESS – SARA HOLLAND

REVIEW: EVERLESS – SARA HOLLAND

Image result for everless sara holland hardback

Title: Everless

Author: Sara Holland

Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy

Format: eBook/Hardback

Rating: 5/5

Synopsis: Goodreads

Buy Book: Amazon 

Review:¬†Wow. Wow. Wow. I’m honestly so surprised by this book in a really good way. When I seen the cover and read a bit about it I had a feeling it was just going to be something similar to Red Queen or Throne of Glass and I was slightly dreading it (don’t shoot me, I actually love both these series’) but boy was I wrong! Sara Holland created such a unique story and world and I was drawn in straight away.

In a world where time is used as currency, allowing the rich to live longer as they bleed the poor of their time leaving them to struggle, Jule Embers and her father are left in a desperate situation after having to flee from their comfortable home at Everless, home of the Gerling family. When Jules finds out her father is running out of time and is behind on the rent and bills, she realises she doesn’t have a choice but to return to Everless as a servant to earn more time for her father so she doesn’t lose him forever. During her time here she discovers secrets and is reunited with two people she never thought she’d see again all in the while meeting new friends. As things start to twist, Jules realises her actions are more powerful than she ever thought and only she has the ability to change the world as she knows it.

I was honestly blown away with this novel. The whole plot was just captivating and interesting and that alone makes you want to pick up the book and see for yourself what kind of world Holland has created. Sempera is the main kingdom (if that’s the right word) that the novel is set in with Jules coming from a small village called Crofton. Pretty much straight away we’re told about bleeders, the people who steal/take time from others. The way it works is that people bleed people of their time and then turn that blood into a coin which is consumable. It’s all about the rich taxing the poor leaving them struggling to survive whilst they add centuries on to their own lives and have all the time they could want.

The characters in this book were all so well written and I fell in love with just about all of them. One of my favourite characters has to be Hinton and it honestly makes me so sad that he was only a minor character as he was just the sweetest wee thing and I instantly adored him when he was introduced.
Ina was another character I really, really liked. As the daughter of the queen she was the complete polar opposite and was kind, caring and a really sweet friend to Caro and Jules, even if it was their job to look after her.
I found Jules to be a really lovable main character. You could tell how much her father meant to her and it was clear she would go to whatever lengths she could to save him. I just really can’t wait for the next book to find out more about her and her background!

Like I said at the beginning, I was expecting it to be similar to Red Queen and when I seen there were two brothers, one good, one evil I was a bit sceptical about how it was going to turn out but I was actually pleasantly surprised. It wasn’t similar at all and I actually enjoyed both the brother characters in this novel.

‘Everless’ truly is a masterpiece and if this is only Holland’s debut novel then I honestly can’t wait to read more of her writing. She’s definitely someone that is going to be huge within the YA community! With so many twists and turns and misleading characters, you’ll really struggle to put Everless down, everything about the story captivates you whether it be the characters, the world or the story building. I also forgot to mention there’s some slight mythology throughout the novel as well so if you’re into this type of thing as well as Fantasy and strong, brave, female characters then this is definitely the book for you!

Thank you to Netgalley and the publishers for providing me with an ebook copy in exchange of an honest review and also thank you to Fairyloot for including a hardback copy in their December box!

If you guys have read the book then please let me know in the comments below!


In the coming days/weeks I’ll be posting some more reviews, tbr lists as well as a kind of welcome back type of post as it’s been so long since I last blogged properly on here and I miss you guys!

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REVIEW: BALLAD FOR A MAD GIRL – VIKKI WAKEFIELD

REVIEW: BALLAD FOR A MAD GIRL – VIKKI WAKEFIELD

33281816Title: Ballad For A Mad Girl

Author: Vikki Wakefield

Genre: Young Adult, Paranormal, Murder Mystery

Format: eBook

Rating: 2.5/5

Synopsis: Goodreads

Buy book: Amazon

 

Review: I received a copy of this book from Netgalley in exchange of an honest review.

When I read the synopsis for this book I was drawn in straight away and wanted to see what the book had in store as it sounded really interesting, unfortunately I was left disappointed.

Ballad For A Mad Girl’¬†is about a girl called Grace who throughout her life has always been the joker in her group of friends, throwing pranks, taking risks and just being the friendship clown in general. One night when challenging a boy from the ‘enemy school’ if you like, something goes wrong with Grace and from then on nothing is right with her. She starts hearing voices and having hallucinations all whilst trying to act herself but something sinister is happening inside of her.

It took me a very long while to actually get into this book and honestly even when I did sit to focus on it I think I was just reading it to give me something to do. I found it really hard to like the characters and there wasn’t much emotion in the writing. A lot of the story was confusing and for me it was never clear if Grace was genuinely possessed or if she’s suffering from mental health problems. The relationships between characters weren’t great either. I felt there wasn’t a lot of character development throughout the book and with Grace’s friends, all of them were unsupportive and seemed to shut her off rather than offer to help her or listen to how she was feeling. The character that annoyed me most regarding this was Kenzie. As Grace’s bestfriend she should’ve been there to help Grace in any way she could rather than leave her to suffer and struggle alone.

In regards to the relationship between Grace, her father and her brother Cody, Grace was sort of excluded from everything they did. I get that they were all grieving the loss of their mother/wife but at a time like that then you need all the family support you can get and I didn’t like that a lot of the time it felt like both her dad and brother were ignoring me. There was also a part which included Grace’s grandmother (her mother’s mum) and with the whole story I’m not too sure what purpose it had to be included at all. It was brought up maybe once after that and even then there was no explanation that cleared it up or helped it make sense.

I’m honestly gutted that I didn’t enjoy this book as much as I’d hoped as I had such high hopes for it. I must admit that at the end it did pick up after Grace’s dad doesn’t come home and her and Cody go looking for him but then with the way it ended I was left disappointed again because you’re left wondering what happens which annoys me with books if there’s not going to be a sequel which is the situation with this book. Thank you to Netgalley for sending me a copy of the book for an honest review.

 

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REVIEW: ONE OF US IS LYING – KAREN M. MCMANUS

REVIEW: ONE OF US IS LYING – KAREN M. MCMANUS

 

Image result for one of us is lyingTitle: One Of Us Is Lying

Author: Karen M. McManus

Genre: Young Adult, Mystery, Contemporary

Format: Paperback

Rating: 3.5/5

Synopsis: Goodreads

Buy book: Amazon

Review:¬†I spent a lot of time picking this book up and then walking away from it for a good few weeks before finally deciding to take the leap and purchase it and I’m so glad I did!

Five students in detention however, only four leave alive. After the death of the school gossip, Simon, the four students that were in the room with him soon become suspects in the investigation into his death, turning all their lives upside down as secrets about their past start to come out during the questioning. Would Bronwyn, Cooper, Addy and Nate really go as far as to kill someone just to keep their secrets, well, secret?

One¬†Of Us Is Lying’¬†is basically a modern day “The Breakfast Club” but there’s a death during detention which makes it that bit different.¬†Each of the characters are similar to the characters in “The Breakfast ¬†Club” but at the same time have their own uniqueness at as well. Nate and Bronwyn were my favourite characters in the book and personally I found them to be two of the strongest characters as well and couldn’t wait to read each of their parts. The rest of the characters I found to be pretty bland except Cooper who I was surprised about with his twist but at the same time also not surprised (if that makes sense???)

I disliked how much this book dragged on and the fact there were so many irrelevant characters that I just couldn’t connect with and felt like they added nothing to the story at all and because so many characters were being introduced and then brought up again every so often I found myself occasionally getting confused. Although I’ve said the book does drag a little, I must admit that there is plenty of things happening that makes it hard to put this book down. I really want McManus to do a book just purely about Bronwyn and Nate because they were two characters I adored and I loved Bronwyn’s sister as well as Nate’s Bearded Dragon, Stan. I loved how strong minded Bronwyn was and how she dealt with being investigated for a murder, she literally never let anything get her down and she tried to fix everything for everyone without actually harming anyone.

This book was exactly what I was expecting in almost every way, although I definitely didn’t see the twist in the book coming at all and the last 100 pages or so were a wild ride which I loved! If you’re looking for a new contemporary, murder mystery then I do highly recommend you check this book out!

If you’ve read this book already, then I’d love to hear what you thought of it so let me know in the comments!!

 

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My Dream Reading Space

My Dream Reading Space

Hey guys, so this is a very late post but I’ve been so exhausted the last few days I’ve not had time to post anything so I do apologise! I was contacted by Molly Kay from¬†Arhaus¬†and asked if I would do a post on ‘My Dream Reading Space’ so I was thrilled to finally be able to get out all the wonderful and fab ideas that I have in my head for my own reading room.

To start with I want a huge room full of bookshelves from floor to ceiling and each one to be themed or have a certain genre/colour on it. For example, I want one bookcase just completely dedicated to Harry Potter things so all my books, DVDs and Harry Potter memorabilia can sit on it. There would also be a bookshelf for my YA novels to be laid out in colour order or alphabetical order. I would then have a shelf for my vinyls and record player to sit on so that wasn’t actually in the way of anything.

Now as well as this being my reading space, I would also have it as my music room to keep all my instruments so I would have a space in the room where I can keep my guitars, bass guitars and CDs/DVDs. This would mean that everything I ever need would be all in the same place and wouldn’t be in anybody’s way (although I can’t promise there won’t be the odd book or five lying around elsewhere in the house).

In terms of what kind of bookshelves I’d like here are just a few examples of what I would love to have in my own personal library;

  • ¬†Vittoria Bell’ Arte Wall Unit: This beautiful piece is what I would love for my HP collection and books. It’s so vintage looking and I fell in love with it as soon as I seen it!
  • Athens Modular Library: Now this is the bookshelf I’d have for all my YA books/classics. IT’S LIKE THE BOOKSHELF IN BEAUTY AND THE BEAST!!! LOOK HOW NICE IT IS!!!!
  • Spencer Bookcase with Panel Doors: I was automatically drawn to this bookcase when looking for one for my record player/vinyls/CDs etc. The panel doors are the perfect addition for an old vintage record player and I just adore the whole look of it.

Now for the general feel/vibe/look of the reading space, this is the sort of idea I’d like;

Are you Instagram following Alyssa Kapito Interiors? Love this chic window seat in soft neutral grays x
This would be the perfect reading couch, right by the window with all the natural light coming in, bookcase with the record player on it just next to it.

 

She Shed Ideas: More At FOSTERGINGER @ Pinterest. ‚ėā
This would be the perfect little space to fit my bookshelves and chairs/desk in to. I could have it exactly how I want it to be.

 

this could easily be my home away from home...
This right here is another dream reading space. Just look at how perfect it is!!

(All these photos taken from Pinterest)

Trying to describe and come up with my perfect reading space/room would keep me here for days because I do have so many ideas and styles I’d love for it so I think I’ll leave it here and maybe do another one in the near future!

I’d just like to take this moment to thank Molly for getting in touch with me and asking me to do this post because I never would’ve thought to have done a post like this myself! If you do get a chance then please check out the Arhaus website. Their products and the style of them are just stunning and hopefully one day I’ll be able to afford all the things I want from the site!! The bookcases I listed in the post are from the site also so please do have a look!

Please let me know what your dream reading space/room/area would be like in the comments or even do your own post and send me the link so I can check it out!

If you don’t already know then you can follow me on twitter:¬†@kirsty_reads¬†and Instagram:¬†@kirstyreads.

I’ll have another post up soon for you guys! ūüôā

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