Wednesday 30 May 2018

If you've been following this blog for a while, you may have noticed I have a thing for making lists about pretty much everything. I mean hey, in the long run I'm sure it will help keep my memory strong and it's always nice to look back on the things you've done/accomplished in life. Watching lots of movies may not be a major accomplishment but at least when I get asked for movie recommendations I can just direct you to this movie review list. Here on the other hand, we'll be talking all about books. This is more of a post to keep a tab on the books I have read, and when it comes to reviewing them I don't think I could provide a long winded post, so these short blurbs will suffice!

they both die at the end

1. One of Us Is Lying 

Genre: Thriller/YA
Rating: 7/10
Blurb: I'm glad this is being turned into a movie because I have a fantasy crush on bad boy Nate. This book was like a mash between The Breakfast Club and Pretty Little Liars. 5 high school students all get sent to detention and then one of them dies from a peanut allergy, ooooOooo.

FQ: “I don't know why it's so hard for people to admit that sometimes they're just assholes who screw up because they don't expect to get caught.”

2. Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman

Genre: Drama/Comedy
Rating: 8/10
Blurb: This book had me feeling all sorts of things. It was funny, yet you can't help but feel sorry for the main character and then feel all warm inside when things start looking better for her.

FQ: “These days, loneliness is the new cancer – a shameful, embarrassing thing, brought upon yourself in some obscure way. A fearful, incurable thing, so horrifying that you dare not mention it; other people don’t want to hear the word spoken aloud for fear that they might too be afflicted, or that it might tempt fate into visiting a similar horror upon them.”

3. My Cousin Rachel by Daphne Du Maurier 

Genre: period drama/mystery
Rating: 7.5/10
Blurb: This was the second book I'd read by Daphne Du Maurier and they both have the same eerie story line (Rebecca being the other). I wanted to read this as I saw there was a movie adaptation and the storyline intrigued me - (guy falls in love with his dead cousins widow). In this case I have to agree, the book was better than the movie, despite it starring the beautiful Sam Clafflin.

FQ: “A man’s jealousy is like a child’s, fitful and foolish, without depth. A woman’s jealousy is adult, which is very different.”

4. The Couple Next Door by Shari Lapena 

Genre: Thriller
Rating: 7/10
Blurb: I love a good psychological thriller, and this was a pretty decent one. There were some twists thrown in that I did see coming, but overall it was a good read that I got through pretty quickly. The book revolves around a young couple that get their baby stolen whilst they're at a dinner party next door.

FQ: “Nobody makes that much money without taking advantage of somebody. It's much easier to make money if you don't care who you hurt. If you have scruples, it's much harder to get rich.”

5. It Only Happens in Movies by Holly Bourne

Genre: Comedy/Romance
Rating: 8/10
Blurb: I really enjoyed this book, for the most part I felt like me and the main character were the same person. Audrey is a high school gal who like most of us, has had enough of the hollywood love cliches, until she meets Harry (who in my head I pictured to be Harry Styles). It's a funny story which follows what most love stories are really like, kind of expectation vs reality. The author also includes a bit at the end sharing her favourite 'movies about real relationships' and I'm happy 500 Days of Summer made the cut.

FQ: “Love isn't just a feeling. Love is a choice too. And you may not be able to help your feelings, but you are responsible for the choices you make about what to do with them.”

6. This is Where it Ends by Marieke Nijkamp

Genre: Drama/YA
Rating: 7/10
My Blurb: I read this whole book whilst waiting for my mum to shop for groceries and a mattress in Spain. The book tells the story from 5 different perspectives during a school shooting. This has had a lot of mixed reviews as it's such a sensitive topic in light of everything that has been happening in America. I liked the diversity of the protagonists - there were lesbians, POC and they were not particularly stereotyped. It was an intense read but also shows the acts of courage and compassion that occur in these horrible situations.

FQ: “You can't always keep your loved ones with you. You can't always settle your life in one place. The world was made to change. But as long as you cherish the memories and make new ones along on the way, no matter where you are, you'll always be at home.”

7. They Both Die at the End by Adam Silvera 

Genre: Romance/Sci-Fi
Rating: 8/10
My Blurb: I finished this book last night and was on the verge of tears (although I felt like the ending was going to be sadder than it was). I was half way through this book on the plane and had to stop cause I felt it was going to get sadder and I had no tissues on the plane to wipe away my mascara. The story centres around two teenage boys who both get an alert from 'Death Cast' letting them know they are going to die at some point today and they meet each other via a 'Last Friend' app and both go off to live their last day 'to the fullest'. I think this book got to me a bit because it's crazy to think we could suddenly die, at any moment, and I did ask myself the question whether I would want to know when my last day on earth was or if that would make matters worse. What are your thoughts on this?

FQ: “There has to be more to life than just imagining a future for yourself. I can't just wish for the future; I have to take risks to create it.”

8. How To Stop Time by Matt Haig

Genre: Fantasy/Romance
Rating: 7/10
My Blurb: This is the first book I read about time-travelling at to be honest, he could have spoken about some more interesting things he witnessed. He only brushed over meeting Hemingway and F. Scott Fitzgerald! There were a lot of words of wisdom about life in this book, although I didn't particularly like the modern love story he had going on, it kind of came out of nowhere.

FQ: “That's the thing with time, isn't it? It's not all the same. Some days - some years - some decades - are empty. There is nothing to them. It's just flat water. And then you come across a year, or even a day, or an afternoon. And it is everything. It is the whole thing.”

9. My Italian Bulldozer by Alexander Smith

Genre: Fantasy/Romance
Rating: 6.5/10
My Blurb:  I picked up this book in the library because I thought it would be an interesting read about Italy and because I had booked my flight to Milan that week I was in that mindset. It was sorta funny, but fell short when it came to the romance part. Paul Stewart heads to the Italian town of Montalcino to finish his book after going through a break up. After landing, he discovers his hired car is nowhere to be found, and then he spends the rest of the time drinking wine and befriending old men it seems.

FQ: “That is why the artist will always be happy—no matter how the world treats him. If he knows that what he creates is good, then he can bear the indifference of others.”

10. Turtles All The Way Down by John Green

Genre: YA/Romance
Rating: 7.5/10
My Blurb: I was excited to read this as it had been so long since I last read a John Green book. It always amazes me (and freaks me out a bit) at how well he writes from the POV of a teenage girl. The book centres around sixteen-year-old Aza, who suffers from anxiety and OCD and embarks on a mission to solve the mystery of a billionaire's disappearance with her best friend. She begins getting romantically involved with the billionaire's son but soon finds her mental illness keeps getting in the way of her relationship progressing.

FQ: “I was beginning to learn that your life is a story told about you, not one that you tell.”

11. A Summer at Sea by Katie Fjord

Genre: Romance
Rating: 6.5/10 
My Blurb: An easy beach read but I feel like everything happened really quick so you didn't get to grow to like many of the characters. Emily is a midwife who takes a sabbatical to go and work on her friends boat in Scotland, and even though she's happily single and childless, she comes across a man who may change her outlook on things. I feel like she was on the boat for all of 2 minutes because the 'scenes' jumped so fast, I think they spent the majority of this book eating cake and drinking tea.

12. The Butterfly Garden by Dot Hutchison

Genre: Thriller
Rating: 8/10
My Blurb: When I saw the title I thought it was going to be a book about an old man who kept butterflies and told tales and shiz. It couldn't have been further from that, and is in fact a book about a man (The Gardener) who kidnaps women, tattoos them with butterflies and holds them captive in his garden. The story shifts between the interrogation room where one of the survivors is telling the FBI what happened, and between her being in the garden. I gave myself a week to finish this because I'd taken out two books from the library for the fortnight, but finished it in 3 evenings! Kept me wanting to read more and was worth sacrificing sleep over. It was a uniquely crafted book that touches upon a lot of taboo subjects and as dark and twisted as it was, also shows how it is possible for women to come together and support each other.

FQ: “Some people stay broken. Some pick up the pieces and put them back together with all the sharp edges showing.” 

13. All The Dirty Parts by Daniel Handler

Genre: YA
Rating: 5.5/10
My Blurb: Essentially this is a book about a 17 year old boy who is addicted to sex, and his thought processes. I was intrigued and thought it was going to be a lot deeper than it was. I didn't like that there was a new 'chapter' every couple of lines, it made it confusing and no story line ever evolved enough to pull me in. I did finish it in one afternoon at the beach, so it couldn't have been that terrible, but could have been a lot better.

FQ: "Put it this way: if you can't see the complication, you're probably it.”

14. The Roses of May by Dot Hutchison 

Genre: Thriller
Rating: 6.5/10
My Blurb: I had high hopes for this because I enjoyed the first one in the series so much, but something didn't have me turning the pages as quick as with The Butterfly Garden. I feel like there were so many characters and POV at the beginning that it was easy to get lost with who was who and who was telling the story. I thought there would be more connecting this book to the first but to be honest it's probably something you could read without having read the first.

FQ: “How do you put yourself back together when the pieces permanently lost are the only reasons anyone's looking at you?”

15. Kill Your Friends by John Niven

Genre: Humour/Contemporary
Rating: 6.5/10
My Blurb: I feel like this book would have been a lot funnier if there wasn't a f*cking swearword in every other line. Like seriously, I feel like I had to wash my mouth out with soap after reading this. Steven Stelfox works at a music label and will do anything it takes to climb up the career ladder, including killing his friends. It's based in the 90s and 80% of the book revolves around sex, drugs and rock n roll. I definitely got American Psycho vibes, if it were set in Britain.

FQ: “As someone who makes their living from anticipating, from shaping, the tastes of millions of tasteless morons, you have to tell yourself that the things you feel are universal, that the things you think and feel are thought and felt by millions of other people.”

16. When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon 

Genre: Romance/YA
Rating: 7/10
My Blurb: Aw this book was cute, and actually made me chuckle with some of Rishi's lines, which doesn't happen to me often when reading. I like that even though this book was a romance it doesn't put falling in love above everything else (your friends, family or your career). Dimple attends a summer tech school programme in order to get a head start on her career in computing, whereas Rishi attends because his parents have 'arranged' for them both to be married and has gone to meet her, except she has no idea both their parents have put this plan together. This book is a great example on how you (women)  don't need to choose between having a career and a love life - you can do both

FQ: “This is our life. We get to decide the rules. We get to say what goes and what stays, what matters and what doesn’t.”

17. Perfect Remains by Helen Sarah Fields

Genre: Thriller/Crime
Rating: 7.5/10
My Blurb: I always find I read thrillers a lot quicker than, romance novels for example. Probably because I actually want to find out what happens next and then start skim reading when they're talking about the colour of trees for 5 lines - I JUST WANT YOU TO CATCH THE MURDERER. I liked that even though there was one main storyline (a professor who kidnaps women and tortures them) there was also other mini investigations going on throughout. For some reason I imagined the protagonist (Detective Luc Callanach) to look like Richard Madden, so that made for a nice addition too.

FQ: “It was the human condition: the need to know the worst, the destructive desire to see how it feels when you hit rock bottom.”

18. Allegedly by Tiffany D. Jackson

Genre: Drama/Young Adult
Rating: 8/10
My Blurb: I read this really quickly and when I was reading it I felt like I could picture all the characters and scenarios so easily. It tells the story of a teenage girl who allegedly killed a baby. She then falls pregnant whilst in a group home and wants to reopen the case to prove her innocence. There of course is a twist, and the last two pages had me like oh daaaamn. I've heard they're also going to be making this into a movie.

FQ: “What you may or may not’ve done is not the definition of who you really are.”

19. The Upside of Unrequited by Becky Albertalli

Genre: Romance/Young Adult
Rating: 8/10
My Blurb: This book was very relatable - I think anyone who's already lived their teenage years will find themselves agreeing to some of the main characters' struggles in this book. From having a crush on someone who doesn't like you back, to coming to terms with your sexuality or never feeling like you're quite good enough.

FQ: “But it's not quite so raw. You know, when you're seventeen, everything feels like the end of the world. Or the beginning of the world. And that's an awesome thing.”

20. History is all you left me by Adam Silvera

Genre: YA/Romance
Rating: 6.5/10
My Blurb: I thought I was going to like this book more than I did. It felt a bit cheesy to me and I didn't really feel a deep connection to the characters and it felt like everyone was just falling in love with each other. It's told from the point of view of Griffin, who is grieving his ex boyfriends (Theo) death and becomes close to the partner Theo had after him. 

FQ: “I guess people reveal different parts of themselves to different people.”

21. Leah on the OffBeat by Becky Albertalli 

Genre: YA/Romance 
Rating: 7/10
My Blurb: This book is a sequel to 'Love, Simon' and so the whole time I was reading this it was easy to picture the characters, although for me that made Leah slightly more annoying as she is played by Katherine Langford (Hanna Baker from 13 Reasons Why) and her attitude is a bit eh (in both things). It follows her story of falling in love with one of her female friends and all the ups and downs that come with high school and going away to college. Cute read, but probably would have enjoyed it more when I was 18 and heading to university myself. 

FQ: “Imagine going about your day knowing someone’s carrying you in their mind. That has to be the best part of being in love- the feeling of having a home in some else’s brain.”

22. Good as Gone by Amy Gentry

Genre: Mystery
Rating: 6.5/10
My Blurb: The plot of this book had great potential. A 13 year old girl gets abducted from her house at night and then shows up on her mums doorstep claiming to be Julie, but something doesn't add up. This book was confusing because it kept jumping between past and present and there was about 10 different character names for the same person, so at one point it was hard to distinguish (or remember) the relationships and timeline.

FQ: “I’d always hated the thought that no one could ever know what anyone else was feeling or thinking. The fact that no one could ever be inside my head with me seemed like the loneliest thing in the world”

23. The Break-Down by BA Paris

Genre: Psychological Thriller
Rating: 7/10
My Blurb: I felt like the more I got into this book the more I felt myself going crazy along with the main character. On her way home from a storm Cass passes by a woman who has pulled over on the side of the road. She doesn't stop to help and then the next morning she is found dead. Paranoia and guilt starts playing havoc with her mind and on top of that she's worried she's got early signs of dementia. The question is, is her paranoia real or is someone actually messing with her head? OoooO (I don't want to give too much away!)

FQ: “Rachel, people don’t commit murder over a parking space!’ ‘I’m sure people have been murdered for less,”

24. The Hanging Club by Tony Parsons 

Genre: Crime/Thriller
Rating: 8/10
My blurb: I actually really enjoyed this book. I've come to realise I prefer British crime novels a lot more to the American ones - maybe they're just a tad more realistic. This book follows detective Max Wolfe as he tries to catch the group responsible for killing several men (a rapist, a drunk driver, and a thief). I enjoyed the writing style and I had to stop myself from reading all of it during my outbound flight just because then I'd have nothing to read on the way back!

FQ: “Do you know what the biggest lie in the world is? That everything happens for a reason. It's not true. Some things are totally without reason. Some things - the things that hurt the most - are totally meaningless. Some things make no sense and will never make sense.”

25. Behind Closed Doors by B. A Paris

Genre: Psychological Thriller
Rating: 8/10
My blurb: This book is about a seemingly perfect couple - a lawyer who specialises in defending women of abuse, and his perfect stay at home wife. You then get to learn that he's actually keeping her prisoner in their own house and controls everything she does. This did get me thinking 'what would I do?' in a lot of situations, and I probably wouldn't make it to the end to be honest.

FQ: “I can’t help thinking it’s a shame he’s such a sadistic bastard, because he has wonderful manners.”


This Christmas, I finally made the smart choice of asking for a kindle. Firstly because I was going to be travelling around the world so I'd no longer have access to the library, and well when you're having to make do with 20kg you need all the space and weight you can get. I hit my target of reading 24 books last year, so let's see if I can do the same in 2019. 

1. The Tattooist of Auschwitz by Heather Morris 

Genre: Drama/True Story
Rating: 7/10
My Blurb: This book follows the life of Lale Sokolov, a Slovakian Jew who is taken to the concentration camps as a young man. He is put to work as the 'T├Ątowierer' giving other prisoners their numbers and then meets a young girl called Gita who he immediately falls in love with. The thing that stood out for me most was how resilient and brave Lale was, and indeed how much he fought to be with Gita and to get out alive. I visited Auschwitz last year on my trip to Krakow, so I could picture this story very clearly in my head. I did think the book was going to be a lot more emotional than I found it to be, but I guess it's because it was more of a love story than a book about the hardships and stories of the concentration camps.

FQ: “I asked my parents how they stayed together for so long and my mother said, I know he is not perfect, but I also know he will always put me first."

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2. The Unexpected Joys of Being Single by Catherine Gray 

Genre: 'Self-Help'/Psychology
Rating: 7/10
My Blurb: Like with all 'self-help' books there are going to be parts of the book that you agree with and others that you don't, because everyone has a different story to tell. This book looks at the authors past as being a relationship/love obsessed individual and how she has gone on to become an independent single woman who doesn't need a side dish to be happy. The chapters that I quite enjoyed were about the psychology behind relationships and why we are drawn to some people over others (if you often wonder why you seem to gravitate towards fuck boys and people who leave you on read, it's because of 'reward uncertainty'. She has also dated quite a few interesting characters so it did make for a fun read. The main lesson I took away from this was not to settle for someone just because you think you're running out of time to find a partner.

FQ: “I'm not going to sit motionless in London looking as pretty as possible, like a daisy waiting to be picked. I'm going to move, and if a moving target is harder to catch then so be it."

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3. The Woman in the Window by A.J Finn

Genre: Thriller
Rating: 7/10
My Blurb: I was fairly distracted during the first chapter of this book and it took me around 30 pages to get into it, but then last night I found myself reading the last 40% of the book in one sitting. Anna Fox is a psychologist who hasn't left her house in 9 months because of her agoraphobia. She spends her night spying on her neighbours and one night she sees a woman in a window who appears to have been stabbed. Problem is no one believes her and the people in the house pin her as being crazy because of all the meds she is on. This book did have me questioning whether she was sane or not and I kinda had an inkling on what the twist was going to be but it wasn't an obvious one. I've also just read that they're making a film adaptation of this book this year starring Amy Adams and Julianne Moore.

FQ: “My dear girl, you cannot keep bumping your head against reality and saying it is not there."

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4. Everything I know About Love by Dolly Alderton

Genre: Biography/'Self-Help'
Rating: 7.5/10
My Blurb: This book took me through a range of emotions and I was also secretly relieved that my drunken nights at uni weren't as bad as the ones Dolly describes in her book. When me and my friends were reading by the pool I found myself interrupting them often to share the wisdom I had learnt and other times they kept asking 'what's so funny' because I kept laughing to myself when reading parts of it. I love how even though the book is about 'love' it doesn't just focus on romantic relationships, but gives a lot of importance to the love we have for our friends too (the last chapter is very empowering). Note this book isn't just about love, it also looks at parties, dates, jobs, life and pals.

FQ: “It may seem that life is difficult at times but it's really as simple as breathing in and out. Rip open hearts with your fury and tear down egos with your modesty. Be the person you wish you could be, not the person you feel you are doomed to be. Let yourself run away with your feelings. You were made so that someone could love you. Let them love you."

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5. Still Me by Jojo Moyes 

Genre: Romance
Rating: 7.5/10
My Blurb: I hadn't even realised there was a third book in the Me Before You series until a friend mentioned it. I feel like all of Jojo Moyes' books make you feel happy inside. I see a lot of similarities between me and Louisa (except my wardrobe isn't as funky as hers). In this book, Lou moves to New York to work as a personal assistant for a rich woman, leaving her boyfriend Sam behind in England. She then meets a guy called Josh who has an uncanny resemblance to Will. 

I think the fact that I can picture Emilia Clarke when reading this makes it that much better. It was funny, cute and it was something I looked forward to reading before bed. I feel like you get such a clear picture of the characters (even those who haven't been in the first movie adaptation) and story that its very easy to follow and get lost in. I also wish somebody would write me letters *hint hint*.

FQ: “I thought about how you're shaped so much by the people who surround you, and how careful you have to be in choosing them for this exact reason, and then I thought, despite all that, maybe you have to lose them all in order to truly find yourself." 

still me

6. The Sea Sisters/Swimming at Night by Lucy Clarke

Genre: Drama/Mystery
Rating: 6.5/10
My Blurb: Eh, after reading what this book was about I think I was expecting something different from what I got. The book tells the story from two points of view - Mia's and Katie's (two sisters who couldn't be anymore different). Mia leaves England to go travelling after the death of her mother, and then mysteriously dies in Bali, a place that wasn't on her itinerary. After being told it was suicide, Katie sets off using Mia's journal to retrace her steps and uncover what really happened. 

I was searching for a book about travel and I thought this would have gone into more detail about the places Mia travelled to and the great experiences she had, but I feel like this wasn't at the centre of the story. Instead it focused more about the sisters' relationships with each other, and other people. I found it a bit depressing to be honest, but nevertheless I still finished it because I had to know what really happened to Mia. 

FQ: “People travel for two reasons: because they want to find something or because they want to escape from something. In my case, both the first and the second are true."

the sea sisters

7. Two Steps Forward by Graeme Simsion 

Genre: Romance/Travel
Rating: 7/10
My Blurb: My friend Mariah gave me this book after she left Australia (and failed to read past chapter 2 after reading it twice because she kept getting distracted). The storyline seemed interesting - two separate people in their 40s who decide to walk the Camino De Santiago in Spain for different reasons, and bump into each other along the way. Even though it's a 'love' story, the book doesn't solely focus on their romantic relationship. Instead it shows the personal growth both people achieve during this adventure, the friendships they make and about how you can't just run away from your problems, you have to face them head on. Being me, after reading this I started reading a few blog posts on the Camino De Santiago and I've had friends that have done it, and it's now on my list of trips to take before I die. 

FQ: “I learned that it is important to know not only what to hold on to and what to let go of, but what to go back for.”

two steps forward
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8. Sorry Not Sorry by Sophie Ranald

Genre: Contemporary Romance
Rating: 6.5/10
My Blurb: When I read the book synopsis it sounded pretty funny and 'relatable'. Charlotte lives a normal life in London and then stumbles upon a podcast called 'Sorry Not Sorry' which challenges women to embrace their inner 'bad girl' when it comes to being confident, men and relationships. She embarks on the journey to complete the challenges set out, all whilst her life is slowly falling apart. It was an entertaining story, but I didn't really find myself laughing out loud at anything. It's an easy read and there were a lot of situations in the book where I was like 'I know the feeling girl'.

FQ: “When you’re face down in the mud, keep reaching for the stars,”

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9. How To Get a Love Life by Rosie Blake 

Genre: Chick Lit/Romance 
Rating: 7/10
My Blurb: I picked up this book at the library and when I googled it first to find out if it was worth reading, it didn't even come up! So I went into this thinking it was going to be lame and outdated. I actually found myself looking forward to getting into bed at night and reading this as it was actually a pretty accurate representation of what dating in the modern world is like. Nicola Brown is used to routine, and is comfortable living by herself and being alone. Then her eccentric colleague dares her to find a date by Valentine's Day and so she embarks on a series of dates, and of course half of the end up being terrible. It was funny, and the perfect light and easy book to read on the beach or on your morning commute. Although some people might look at you funny thinking you're reading a how-to instead of a fictional novel. 

10. You are a Badass by Jen Sincero

Genre: Self-Help
Rating: 7/10
My Blurb: This book sets out to show you 'how to stop doubting your greatness and start living an awesome life'. I found this book to be quite motivating in terms of being a boss ass b*tch when it comes to my blog and hustling. Heck I even used her 'manifestation' techniques about money and not even kidding I got 4 emails in my inbox that week about sponsored posts! My only issue with it is that it relied a bit too much on 'source energy' and how you can have ANYTHING you want if you just ask the universe for it and get rid of limiting beliefs, negative energy and people. Yes this can be true for some aspects of your life, but I feel like proper tools and techniques for success would have made this book better.  

FQ: “If you’re serious about changing your life, you’ll find a way. If you’re not, you’ll find an excuse.”

I'd love to hear what you're currently reading so I can discover my next read too! 


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