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!
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