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!

Friday, 30 December 2016

The Last 2 Months & Where I've Been

It's pretty difficult to find the right words for this post. I've been trying for a couple of weeks now and have never managed to actually hit Publish. If you follow this blog then you'll know that over October I posted a LOT...and then...nothing. I'll apologise in advance for the potential length of this post, but in order to get myself sorted and ready for 2017, I feel like I need to share this.

2016 has been a rough year for, well, all of us in one way or another. Until 1st November i'd probably have said that wasn't the case for me. It had been a pretty amazing year in all honesty. I've done so much stuff this year and I've travelled and had some amazing experiences. That all ended on 1st November.

On the morning of 1st November 2016 I sadly attended my uncle's funeral. He had suffered for a long time with cancer and we finally laid him to rest. It was a beautiful service honouring an especially talented, loving and caring man. Later that evening, I was exhausted from the day and decided to have a nap on the sofa in front of our gorgeous bay windows whilst waiting for Brianna to come over. We were going to Amsterdam the following day.

At around 10:38pm I was woken up. This isn't the time or place to go into detail as there is an ongoing court case, but it wasn't a gentle awakening by a friend or my boyfriend.

A car smashed into our house, ending up in the living room, just inches away from where I was sleeping.

A man in a stolen car, who was trying to evade the chasing police car, drove directly into my house. The entire exterior is destroyed and our home is completely unlivable. Within a short space of time, we were homeless and lost a lot of our possessions. My life has been thrown upside down and honestly, 2 months later, things aren't that much better.

This has been one of the most traumatic things I've ever had to experience. I don't think I've coped very well, and I'm learning that it's OK. As of right now, we are sleeping in my parents living room. Our belongings are scattered from house to house, thanks to our wonderful friends and family who have offered to store our things. I have very little access to any of my books. Thousands of books just....lying around in other peoples houses, getting damp in attic spaces or freezing cold garages. I'm extremely grateful to have the support and somewhere for Alex and I to live, but it's heartbreaking knowing that by the time we can find a new home, a lot of our belongings will be damaged and have to be replaced. We will be starting our life together all over again. But we'll make it.

Until then, I have a handful of books left, a whole host of new ones as Christmas presents and a loaded up kindle to take my mind off things. All i'm asking for is to bear with me whilst I process everything going on. Posts will be sporadic and well, probably not all that interesting with the limited amount of books I have to hand, but I will be trying. 2017 is going to be difficult and full of trials, but I'm stubborn as hell and we will find a way to get ourselves sorted!

With all that said, I've got a few posts in mind. Blogging is incredibly difficult giving our living situations but i'm going to try and get to grips with the iPhone app and see what I can do. I hope you've all had a wonderful Christmas and get the very best out of 2017, whatever that may be :)

Cazz xxx

Sunday, 4 December 2016

Hello October // Brianna Reviews - Hidden by Benedict Jacka

Published: 2nd October 2014
Publisher: Orbit
Format: Paperback
Synopsis: Alex Verus is a diviner who can see probable futures - a talent that's gotten him and his friends out of many a tough scrape. But what happens when someone doesn't want Alex's help?

Alex's friend, the life mage Anne, distanced herself from him when she found out about his past as a Dark apprentice. Now she's in serious trouble, but wants nothing to do with him. Alex has to start wondering if Anne's problem is really with him - or if there's a secret she's trying to hide.

On top of that, rumours are swirling around London that Alex's former master may be back in town. Alex has no idea what his agenda may be, or who it involves . .

I spent a lot of this book mad with a lot of people: Anne, Sonder, Talisid, Caldera.  
Anne because she refuses to let Alex be human, maybe he made a mistake or a promise he knew I couldn’t garintee keeping but like I’ve said before Alex has never professed to be a saint she knew who and what he was. I’ve always suspected that her judgement of Alex and her reluctance to fight had something to do with her time with Sagash, which we find out in this book is entirely down to that, and I understand why she struggles with what Alex did and with what she did in her past, but that more than anything to me means she should get over it and forgive him.

Oh I really hated Sonder in this book and I fear he has crossed lines that he won’t be able to come back from I’m not sure Alex or Luna will be able to reconcile the differences between then and Sonder. Even if he turned out to be right, he put Anne at risk more than once; once with his attitude towards Alex and again when he lied to everyone. I don’t think Alex can forgive that. Although Caldera shares some of the blame on the lying front, if she had been willing to help regardless of if there was a link to crystal or not.

I’ve always liked Talisid and trusted him, but maybe I shouldn’t have, I don’t like that he deliberately targeted Alex to get to Richard. Never mind Alex, I feel betrayed. I wonder though if Alex will change his mind and help him… especially if Richard isn’t going to take no for an answer.

On a less irritating note… Alex has parents! Yeah okay so it was obvious he had parents but they got a mention, in fact we even meet his dad, and it is obvious that magic isn’t inherited. And I’m not the only one surprised Luna seemed just as surprised.

While on the subject of pasts I’m also glad that we got an insight into Anne’s mainly so I could answer all the ‘why is she like that?’ questions. I also weirdly like ‘evil’ Anne and was she coming on to Alex?? Is that something that is going to happen in the future?

You would think that I would have more to say about Anne and about this book in general but I don’t (other than what I’ve covered) the only real thoughts I had when I finished reading were: 

What is coming with Richard? Because I think Hidden is gearing us up to something big with Richard.

And secondly…
If Alex doesn’t want a pet Blink Fox I will happily adopt it. I really, really want a Blink Fox I’ll have none of that ‘they are fictional’ crap, where do I get one? Although maybe it’s just as well that I can’t have one – I can see the down sides of having an intelligent pet that can teleport.

Friday, 28 October 2016

Hello October // Holly's Halloween Movie Nights

Please welcome back Holly from The Arts Shelf who is sharing her favourite Halloween movies!

No Halloween is complete without a selection of scary movies, and these are a few of my favourites.

1: Nightmare Before Christmas

Okay, this one isn’t scary, but it’s still a Halloween staple; and a Christmas one too.

2: Ghost Ship.

I watched this one as a teen and it absolutely chilled me to the core. Now I’m older and can stomach the gore a little better, it’s become a favourite.

3: Cry Wolf.

This one’s a bit of a mind bender, and honestly a fave film whatever time of the year. Great both the first and second times around, it also doesn’t hurt that it stars Jared Padalecki.

4: Beetlejuice.

An absolute classic, passed down from my parents. Funny and freaky, Halloween wouldn’t be complete without this side of crazy.

5: Friday the 13th.

Whether the original or the remake, this story does not go amiss on the night of October 31st. If you want gore and a creepy location that will haunt your dreams, look no further.

What are your favourite Halloween movies? Let us know on Twitter!


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