Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins

Lola is very happily in a relationship with her older rocker boyfriend, even though her parents hate him. Then her least favourite pair of twins move back in next door and she feels like the happy life she has set up for herself is going on a steady downward spiral.

I liked that whilst this was part of the series it also could be completely read as a stand alone. Anna and Etienne from the previous novel are in it but there’s nothing about them being there that would make you confused and wish you had read Anna and the French Kiss. That being said, I don’t think I know anyone who read this before Anna.

I really was not a fan of Lola, she felt like one of those hipsters who tried too hard to be “quirky” and I just wasn’t about it. She was a bit selfish sometimes too and for someone who thought she was so mature she just wasn’t. I think a huge part of why I didn’t like Lola was that she continued to stay with her boyfriend despite her parents and best friend not liking him. Personally if my friends tell me they don’t like someone I’m romantically interested in I will listen to what they’re saying because there will definitely be a reason that I’m not seeing. Max was also just a bit of a jerk, never mind the fact that he was in his early 20s dating a 17 year old, does he not have girl’s to date his own age?

Lola had the same problem that Etienne had in the previous novel in that she just couldn’t seem to break it off with her boyfriend even though she was basically emotionally cheating on him. That being said though, Cricket was miles better than Max (still shouldn’t cheat though), he was sweet, loyal and didn’t make me want to kick his head in.

There was some ok diverse representation in this, including gay dads, where you got to meet Lola’s birth mum and saw how much of a riot she was and how her dads were much better for her (something I easily understand but is good to see in young adult books which could possibly make kids see things differently) and a Korean best friend.

I have already read Isla and the Happily ever After and it’s safe to say that Lola was my least favourite book in the series, it didn’t have the charms that Anna and Isla had and something just felt off to me.

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March Wrap Up

This month I celebrated my 1 year blog anniversary!

I went to Tuscany with my parents for a week, I visited a bunch of cathedrals, climbed to the top of the Florence Duomo, went to the Ufizzi museum and saw Michelangelo’s David.

I made my decision for what Uni I will be studying at in August and that is Glasgow Uni. I’m really excited to go somewhere new but I’m having a bit of a breakdown about where I’m going to live :/

I became a Book Depository affiliate so, you know, if you could use my link if a review of mine makes you want to read something that would be really nice

Also, I went to see my favourite band, All Time Low, in Glasgow and Edinburgh and that was v good. And I saw the Scotland vs Italy rugby game and Cirque Du Soleil: Varekai. I’ve had an exhausting month and I just want to sleep for a year.

This month I read 9 books:

The State of Grace by Rachael Lucas
Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo
History Is All You Left Me by Adam Silvera
You Don’t Know Me by Imran Mahmood
Landline by Rainbow Rowell
The Sea of Monsters by Rick Riordan
A Torch Against the Night by Sabaa Tahir
The King of Bourbon Street by Thea de Salle
Iron Cast by Destiny Soria

This month I reviewed:

Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi
Off The Page by Jodi Picoult and Samantha Van Leer
An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir
The One We Fell In Love With by Paige Toon
Always With Love by Giovanna Fletcher
From the Stars by C.S. Wilde
All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr
Labyrinth Lost by Zoraida Cordova

This month I bought:

The Bone Season by Samantha Shannon
History Is All You Left by Adam Silvera
Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor (Fairyloot)
The Paper Magician by Charlie N. Holmberg
Geisha of Gion by Mineko Iwasaki
Vicious by V.E. Schwab
The King of Bourbon Street by Thea de Salle

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What Cats Do Book Tag

Thank you to Eva for the tag! I have a cat and she’s adorable but so annoying because she constantly wants attention and even tries to get it off customers in my work haha.

Purr – As cats do this when they’re happy or relaxed, what is the book that makes you happiest or relaxed?

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The Upside of Unrequited by Becky Albertalli

Sleep – What is a book that put you to sleep or was just boring?

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I’m going to go for a funny answer for this, Uprooted by Naomi Novik, not because it was boring but because the writing was so heavy that I just felt exhausted reading it.

Seems to Play Nice…Until the Claws are Out – Which book had the biggest plot twist?

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I think Probably Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows had such a huge twist, I think that was the most shock I’d felt. The whole book was shocking though.

Cuddles – Which book character would you give a hug to?

Kaz Brekker, Rhysand, Simon Spier, Inej, Laia, everyone???

Catnip – What’s a book that made you have warm and fuzzy feels?

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Simon Vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli

Cat Breeds – What are your favorite books?

Faves

Getting the Cat – How did you find your favorite book(s)?

Recommendations, class reading, dad reading to me

The Vet’s Office – Your least favorite book:

Uh I can’t pick for this

Being in Places They Shouldn’t – Least favorite cliche:

I find this question really hard, I think all cliches are pretty redeemable with good writing. I suppose something which shows bi/pan characters as bad people just because they’ve kissed diff people from each gender or as if they’re bad people because they like more than 1 gender.

Final Question: The Good Old Cardboard Box – Most underrated book series:

Half Bad by Sally Green, I’ve seen like no one talk about these books and they’re pretty good in my opinion

I tag:

Lauren
Fadwa
T
Izzi

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Labyrinth Lost by Zoraida Cordova

Thank you to Netgalley and Sourcebooks Fire for a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review!

Oh my Goodness, so this was one of the first books I ever requested and was accepted for on NetGalley. I let it sit there for a while and then there was a lot of hype and I still hadn’t read it yet. Then I read it. I loved it so much. I’m white so, as I do with all novels that feature characters with a different racial background to me, I might say something wrong, if I have please let me know and I will endeavour to fix it!

So Alex is a young girl in a family of Brujas (latinx witches) and she is about to come of age and gain her full powers. Alex, however, doesn’t want to be a witch and so performs a spell at her Deathday party in attempt to rid herself of her powers, but it backfires and all her family are gone. She needs to go to the world of Limbo which isn’t quite death but isn’t life either to rescue them.

There is some really cool diversity in this because not only is it in a Latinx community, but the MCs best friend is Guyanese, a place I hadn’t really thought about in terms of the people who live there. Not only is she Guyanese but she’s also of Indian descent and learning about that led me to looking up Guyana and finding out that the population of Guyana are majority Indian descent and had I not read this book I never would have learned this, which I thought was super cool. And she’s a Hindu! Not only is there racial diversity but there’s also Bi representation which made me incredibly happy but god damn do we need more good bi representation. What I loved about it was that Alex is bi but its just a thing there’s no big reveal there’s no “coming out” she just is.

I loved the characters, they were so multifaceted. The MC starts off super bratty but through her journey she grows, she learns to accept people into her life and her secrets. Nova is very much your classic morally ambiguous guy who you don’t know much about but feel like he’s maybe a “good guy” and I found myself attracted to his character a bit. And then Rishi, the best friend is so loyal and wonderful and deserves the whole world.

The world was super fleshed out, there was good explanations of everything that was going on without taking you out of your immersion with long detail. I could imagine everything in Los Lagos with ease, the flying people, the River of Souls, everything. The writing was so well done at making you feel creeped out and nervous.

One little random thing I really liked was there was a few Spanish(?) sounding words and after they were written for the first time there was a little way to pronounce it and it made me so happy. I love when books have pronunciation guides. People always complain when there’s made up languages and names but I actually like it, it helps my immersion.

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All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr

So to start off here is a little backstory on why I picked this book up. I hadn’t heard of it prior to this happening. I was in London in August seeing The Cursed Child with my best friend Jess and her mum. We were sitting in a nice vegan restaurant just talking about my blog because it was still relatively new at that time, and then Jess’ mum mentions a book that someone she met at her work mentioned to her. She couldn’t remember what it was called or what happened in it just that it contained the word “light”. I hopped on Goodreads and literally searched the word light and this was the first book which came up and was the book she was thinking about. So then it was stuck in my head, and it sounded like a book I might want to read so I picked it up from the library.

Marie-Laure is a blind girl living in Paris with her dad and she has to move at the beginning of the war due to circumstances from her dad’s job at the Natural History Museum. Werner is an orphan who lives in a mining town in Germany and develops a talent for engineering. Some Nazis discover his talent and take him to a very severe Hitler Youth Academy. Their stories run concurrently and flick back and forth between current book time, when they are both on an Island off the coast of Brittany which is about to be bombed, and past book time.

I thought this was a really interesting take on WW2, a kid who was forced into being a Nazi just to survive being an orphan and a blind French girl just trying to live wasn’t something I had thought about. I liked learning about Werner as an engineer, I loved reading from Marie-Laure’s perspective because Doerr wrote perfectly what it was like for her being able to hear what was going on but not being able to see. It was a scary POV to read from in the setting.

I can see why it won the Pulitzer Prize and can see why others would absolutely adore this book but for me, it didn’t sit right enough for me to completely love it. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed it but something didn’t gel with me, everyone who I’ve seen speak about this really loved it and a customer saw I was reading it in work and waxed lyrical about it and I was just like “yeah it’s ok”.

Though I knew Marie-Laure and Werner were eventually going to meet up because of course they were, it felt like it was taking a very long time for this to happen. There was a lot of build up for them meeting up and when they did it felt a bit of a let down to be honest. The whole book just felt a bit slow for my liking, I had issues with pacing. The past parts of it were so slow but then the current parts were fast and it was jarring at times.

Objectively I can see why people love this book, but for me I liked it and that’s it.

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The 2016 & 2017 Tag

Thank you to Lindsey for the tag!

Here are the rules:

  1. Mention the creator of the tag —  David at theguywhosaidalwaysno
  2. Use the image that you find in this article.
  3. Mention the blogger who has chosen you.
  4. Answer the questions.
  5. Mention 9 bloggers/friends and let them know through a comment on their blog.

The questions:

1. Describe your 2016 in 3 words.

Hard, exciting, tiring.

2. Write the name of two people that have characterized your 2016.

Jess and Joanne

3. Write the most beautiful place yoou have visited in 2016 and why you liked it so much.

Kondalilla Falls in Queensland, Australia. They’re just so gorgeous.

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4. Write the most delicious food you’ve tasted.

I can’t even think for this? I’ve had a lot of great food I can’t think of anything specific.

5. Write the event that has marked you most in 2016 (even a global event).

Marked me? Probably the Brexit vote followed by the US election, I spent most of last year very stressed out about the state of the world and the racism.

6. Write the finest purchase you made in 2016, and if you want, link a photo.

Probably my flights to Australia they were bloody expensive hahaha.

7. Write 3 good intentions for 2017.

I’ve gone vegetarian, I’m trying to become healthy again after falling off the wagon, and hopefully get my mental health to a good place.

8. Write 1 place you want to visit in 2017.

I’m really excited to visit Seoul!

9. Write 1 plate/food you want to eat in 2017.

Patbingsu!!!

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From the Stars by C.S. Wilde

I was sent this novel by the author in an exchange for an honest review, so thank you C.S.Wilde!

James falls in love with this girl he works with at his office job, Miriam. They start to hang out then she tells him her secret: she’s an alien. Things begin to become complicated between them

I’ll be completely honest and say that this book wasn’t my cup of tea, there was a bit too much romance and not enough sci-fi for me, but that’s just me.

One thing I liked was that the aliens had both human and their alien names, I often find with sci-fi books that they’re either given human names, which isn’t really realistic or they have just alien names and you can’t pronounce it to save yourself.

The book shows a lot of potential, it was fast paced and engaging. I just found it hard to believe at times. I liked James, he was a character that I understood. He was happy to just be friends with Miriam if that’s what needed to happen. Whereas I found myself getting annoyed by Miriam a lot, she felt less like an alien and more like a self-aware robot sometimes.

I would also say it felt quite short, the book itself is short but it could have been fleshed out in places and though the pacing was fast I feel like some of the speed could’ve been sacrificed to add more to immersion and connection with the characters.

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Always With Love by Giovanna Fletcher

Thank you to netgalley and Penguin/Michael Joseph for sending me a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

I would say this was better than the first book. I could definitely tell that Giovanna’s writing has gotten better. Again, this was an easy read and I liked it for the most part, as with the previous book. However it did fall a bit flat compare to other British “chick lit” writers.

I found the characters still a bit annoying. Sophie was so insecure at times that I wanted to jump into the pages and shake her. I couldn’t imagine being in a relationship with her because you wouldn’t be able to do anything without her worrying that you were going to sleep with someone else. Billy was a lot better in this, he didn’t make any stupid decisions like he did in the previous novel.

I liked getting to see more of the Hollywood side of Billy, it kind of felt like that didn’t exist in the first novel. I liked getting to see his life there and his family. Overall I’d say the characters felt a lot more adult in this novel, they actually tried to work through their problems instead of just shoving them under the carpet.

I’ll be honest, if you’ve followed me for a while you’d know that I schedule everything and have a huge backlog of reviews, so I read this in December and I’m writing this in February, it wasn’t very memorable as I’m struggling for words. It wasn’t a terrible book by any means, and the writing was good, it just didn’t feel like anything new. That’s not a problem really, it’s just not what I’m after.

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The Blogger Aesthetic Award

Thank you to The Orangutan Librarian and Lauren for the tag!

THE RULES:

  • Collect any number of images that you feel represent you as a person—your personality, aspirations, favourite things, anything at all that makes you you.
  • Put your chosen images together into a collage of whatever size and shape you find pleasing.
  • Share your masterpiece with everyone, in all the places.
  • Maybe nominate other bloggers as a way to tell them, “Hey, you, I think you’re awesome, and we should celebrate that awesomeness.”
  • Share these rules (and maybe the below tips, if you’re feeling helpful).

TIPS:

  • Find inspiration by spending (minimum) three hours scrolling through aesthetic Tumblr posts relevant to you.
  • Two great places to hunt for pictures are Pinterest and WeHeartIt. Pinterest requires an account; WeHeartIt does not.
  • PicMonkey’s collage editor is free to use and doesn’t require an account, heck yes. YouTube has plenty of tutorials on how to use it; I watched this one (which begins with tips on how to find decent photos).

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  • I have a golden retriever named Lia, she is my one true love, I wish I could spend all day every day with her.
  • All Time Low are my favourite band and I’ve been to see them about 23 times, this photo is one of the times I went to see them. In general I just love live music.
  • Legend of Zelda is and always will be my favourite game franchise, my dad used to play Ocarina when I was little and I would watch him play it, completely entranced and also a bit scared and I continued to do that with every new release until I was old enough to play it. I picked a picture of Breath of the Wild because it just came out and it’s all I’ve been doing for the past week.
  • I come from the Isle of Skye and it was difficult for me to find a picture that wasn’t heavily edited so here is a pic of the Old Man of Storr.
  • I’m pansexual, in case you didn’t know, and it’s a very important part of my identity.
  • I’ve spent the majority of my new adult life living in Glasgow for Uni and it’s where I’ve met most of my closest friends and has came to be like a second home.
  • I’m a mathematician, I love maths a lot.
  • I go to every home Scotland rugby game that I can. My dad was a rugby player and rugby has just always been part of my life growing up so naturally I found a love for it.
  • I feel in love with kpop a few years ago and Girl’s Generation were the first group I discovered so whilst I enjoy many groups these days they will always be near and dear to my heart.

I tag:

Fadwa
Megan
Raven
Cassie

The One We Fell In Love With by Paige Toon

Someone I work with absolutely adores Paige Toon’s books so I thought I would give her a try.

In short 3 sisters fall for the same guy but it’s more than that.

So basically the writing was really easy to read and it was fairly quick to get through and I will read more Paige Toon stuff in future. It’s not as funny as other British romance novelists I like, but it’s not just romance made to make you cry so it was ok for me.

I found all 3 of the sisters really just not great. I didn’t mind reading them but as I was going along all I could think was “these are terrible people”. Eliza was probably my favourite of the 3 because she was pining for Angus for years and didn’t try to do anything to break up Angus and Phoebe, all she wanted was to live her life the way she wanted and not have to go into a career she didn’t want to be in. Whereas Phoebe came too close to cheating which is never ok. And I don’t want to even talk about Rose reading Eliza’s bloody diary, and how she was obsessed with Angus and thought that meant she could nose her way into things that weren’t her business.

There is a time jump about a quarter of the way through, after Phoebe dies, which isn’t much of a spoiler as it happens quite soon after the beginning. I found the time jump really jarring, you get used to the past and getting to know what was happening just before the death and then suddenly it’s a few years later and I had no idea what was going on.

I knew who was going to be endgame probably from the beginning, it was pretty obvious but it was still good to see their relationship blossoming. And there was some good conflict that didn’t seem thrown in there just to elongate the book, which I find a lot of romance novels suffer from.

Some people may find it a bit silly that 3 girls fall for the same guy and the guy has involvement with all 3 of them but hey sometimes that happens, life can be awkward like that.

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