Monday, 23 April 2018

Recommending Fluffy Contemporaries!

Hey guys, this is Abi here,
And it's been what? Half a year since I've done a recommendation post?
So I reckon it's time for another one!

So these are going to be fluffy recommendations!
There are hard hitting ones, and there are fluffy contemporaries, the ones that are so cute that you want to cry!
(These are those.)
Just clarifying.

1. To All the Boys I've Loved Before trilogy, by Jenny Han
This is basically what I was describing at the start. This trilogy has been out for a while so it shouldn't be any surprise that it made this list. The first book starts with a girl named Lara Jean, who has over the past few years, has written a love letter to ever boy that she's ever loved, and then one day, they're mailed out! And all hell breaks loose! This trilogy has baking, the characters are adorable, and the sisters all work together and get along! (I swear to god, that is so rare.) But I finished the last remaining book at the start of the month, and it was the sweetest trilogy I have laid my eyes on in the longest time.

2. Love Simon, by Becky Albertalli
The cast of characters in this book! Simon in particular, that scene when he's in the bar! Sweeter than candy, this guy! The romance is also super sweet and I just cannot! Everything just screams cuteness, and it's one of my favourites, on both my normal list, and my favourite contemporaries!
3. The Start of Me and You, by Emery Lord
This book just made my heart squeeze! It's about a girl wanting to start to live her life after her boyfriends drowns, scaring her mercilessly. She comes up with a list of things she has to accomplish over a period of time, and it is the cutest book that I read last year. By far. And it thoroughly surprised me how much I enjoyed this book! There isn't even anything in particular that stands out for the cuteness. Just the way the MC starts to find her way back to the surface after a huge knock- in the quirkiest way possible! The characters are super geeky and quirky that it's so easy to fully relate and understand the way they are and oh, it's just the cutest!

4. Everything Everything, by Nicola Yoon
The main reason that this book has made the list was because of the relationship between Maddy and Olly. Their chemistry and Olly's determination to give Maddy as much as she can muster, and how you're almost not expecting what they're going to say next, and it ends up being really cute, that is the reason that it's made the list! I don't know if those conversations got carried through to the film because I haven't seen it, but that's what I love about the book.

5. Songs About A Girl trilogy, by Chris Russell

The reason that these books are on this list is that the characters are so cute, and whenever you think you have them down, like you know what they're going to do, they do something completely different and impossibly cute. And they go overboard, especially when they're trying to make up for something! Another thing, the couples and the love triangles in these two books! I'm not usually interested in love triangles, but I'm making an exception for this trilogy, because they're all just so cute! Last book in the trilogy is out in August and I cannot wait!

So those are my recommendations for cute, fluffy contemporaries! If you have read any of these, please let me know in the comments, and if you end up picking up these and loved it because of me, then let me know that too!
I hope you have a wonderful day and I will see you all on Wednesday!

-Abi xxxxxx 

Friday, 20 April 2018

11-20 Books of 2018

Hey guys, this is Abi here,
And I'm now a third of the way to accomplishing my Goodreads Reading Challenge, which means that it's time for another look back on some of the recent books that I've finished!

11. Deception (Dark Matters #2), by Teri Terry 
As a second book in the trilogy, I was surprised to discover how much I enjoyed reading Deception (maybe a bit more than Contagion even.) The ending was certainly something to read. But the story took no trouble at all to keep me hooked from start to finish! The story takes place not long after the events of the first book, which left me shook all by themselves. I obviously can't reveal much about the plot because it is the second book in the trilogy, but the trilogy is about a disease that is sweeping through the country, annihilating 90% of the country. Meanwhile, Shay and Kai is trying to find his lost sister Callie. All sci-fi lovers should consider picking this up because it's amazing. 

12. P.S. I Still Love You (To All the Boys I've Loved Before #2), by Jenny Han
You can check my review out for all of my in-depth thoughts on P.S. I Still Love You, but it was wonderful to pick this book up. The characters have matured since the first book, and this was yet another case where I perhaps enjoyed this book more than the first, for the plain reason that the characters seem to have matured a bit more since the events of the first book, and I found I was able to gel with Lara Jean in particular, because of this. But still, the Song sisters have returned, and it was altogether a pleasure to read this.  

13. The Hazel Wood (The Hazel Wood #1), by Melissa Albert
Again, you can check out my review if you want to check out my more in depth thoughts, but this book was creepy and surreal all the way through, and it did not let that go for a chapter. The main character didn't have that much like-ability factor, but what genuinely gets you for this book is the storytelling and the way you are woven into the story, and before you know it, you're nearly done!

14. A Wrinkle In Time: The Graphic Novel, by Hope Larson & Madeleine L'Eagle
Although I didn't read the actual novel, I was pulled straight into this story, and the graphic novel did just fine! To be honest, I can see why they've made a film of this! It's got a total family feel, though there's a seriously good plot involved- it's not just an easy film. There's magic, science, unique monsters and cool characters and a wacky story!

15. The Help, by Kathryn Stockett
Check my less than spoiler thoughts on my review, which is linked in the title. Anyway, this is one of those books that possibly started the idea that everybody is equal, regardless of colour. Without this book we couldn't have the diverse titles that we know and love today like The Hate U Give, for example. This was a hard-hitting read that I think everyone should read.

16. Love Simon/ Simon vs The Homo Sapiens Agenda, by Becky Albertalli
So many reviews! Love Simon was an incredibly sweet and fluffy read and I thoroughly enjoyed it. An additional review of the film will be up because I WILL GET TO SEE IT. I also cannot wait to read Leah On the Offbeat. The characters from this book are still fresh in my mind and I will for sure pick it up before the end of summer. Just because all these characters have such funny personalities and I love them all to pieces.

17. Tiny Pretty Things (Tiny Pretty Things #1), by Sona Charaipotra
By far, the darkest and most twisted reach of the books that I have read. Ever. (Though my current might just beat even the darkness that is this book.) The most diverse as well. It deals with addiction, striving to perfection, stopping at nothing to be the best, family pressures, and it's all set in a ballet studio where the dancers are ready to kill each-other for that main role! Oh there's nothing like a dark ballet book to make you want to pull your hair out from the stress that these dancers go through! Loved it, highly recommend!

18. If I Stay (If I Stay #1), by Gayle Forman 
This was just one of the books that I pick up if I want to read, but I want something short but hard-hitting. I have a selection of these, and I was just in the mood to run straight through this. If you haven't read this yet, I highly recommend this, it's about a girl who has one choice after the rest of her family dies in a horrific car accident: does she live or does she stay? You jump from present time, and the events of her life, with the people around her, leading up to her car accident. It's a beautiful book but so very very sad, so if this sounds like something that interests you, I recommend you pick it up!

19. Always and Forever Lara Jean (To All the Boys I've Loved Before #3), by Jenny Han 
The third and final book of the Lara Jean trilogy. It's been such a good journey. There is for sure a review coming for this. Such a perfect ending to the book. I have more thoughts on it than that, never fear. But even though I wasn't expecting the way it ended, I understand why it did. I wish I could just stay with these characters a little longer, but I know that that is never going to be the case. I'm okay with it. I am. Kind of. I will be. Eventually.

20. One Dark Throne (Three Dark Crowns #2), by Kendare Blake
This book is still so fresh in my mind, I finished it on Sunday. My honest opinion: Not as gripping as the first book. (Don't hate me.) There were some amazing parts, and I was anxious that some of my favourite characters were going to be killed constantly, but there were some parts that I wasn't as consumed in the story as I feel like I could have been. Saying that, there's no way I'm putting the series down, far from it, because I need to see how it all ends. And thankfully, we get another two books along with these two!

So that is my 11-20 Books of 2018! I hope you enjoyed it, feel free to comment your thoughts on any one of the books on this list! What you thought, or whether you have it on your TBR!
I hope you have a wonderful weekend full of reading and sunshine- and I'll see you all on Monday!

-Abi xxxxxx

Wednesday, 18 April 2018

Tiny Pretty Things (Tiny Pretty Things #1) by Sona Charaipotra

Hey guys, this is Abi here, 
And I feel like I'm finally getting on top of the reviews of all the fantastic books I've been reading recently! 
Saying that, there's still a long way to go! 
The next one is Tiny Pretty Things, by Sona Charaipotra!

Title: Tiny Pretty Things
Author: Sona Charaipotra
Genre: Contemporary(/thriller because of how intense it is!)
Release date: 26th May, 2015
Status: Book 1 in the Tiny Pretty Things duology
Pages: 450
Blurb: "Black Swan meets Pretty Little Liars in this soapy, drama-packed 
novel featuring diverse characters who will do anything to be 
the prima dancer at their elite academy. 

Gigi, June, and Bette, three top dancers at an exclusive 
Manhattan Ballet School, have seen their fair share of drama. 
Free-spirited Gigi just wants to dance- but the very act 
might kill her. Privileged New York dancer Bette's desire to escape the 
shadow of her ballet star sister brings out a dangerous edge in 
her. And perfectionist June needs to land a lead role this year or 
her controlling mother will put an end to her dancing dreams 

When every dancer is both friend or foe, the girls will sacrifice, 
manipulate, and backstab to be the best of the best."

My Thoughts
There's nothing like a super dark and intense ballet story to keep you on your toes. 
Easiest review all year, I bet, the thoughts I have on this book. 

OKAY. So, the backstabbing ballerinas in this book, if it was me, I would for sure have a MENTAL BREAKDOWN, the amount of pressure and competition between these characters. 
They're all about ready to kill eachother for that lead role. And then the personal storylines come in. 
Bette basically wants to stop being in her sister's shadow, and stop being overlooked. And because her sister is known for being a rock-star as the sugar plum fairy in the Nutcracker, she also wants this part. And she's taking pills. Like a lot. She's also the meanest and most vicious of the bunch, so even though there are times that you feel sorry for her, you almost don't want to because of everything she has done to a bunch of different people. 

Then there's Gigi, who has nabbed the sugarplum fairy. She has a natural talent for ballet, but she has a condition where dancing could actually kill her. She also doesn't want to tell anybody either. She also has to go through so much with the other girls... basically they hate her because she's such an amazing dancer. She was the nicest character by far. 

June wants to be the best more than anything. She is constantly the understudy, always being overlooked, and she always works twice as hard as everyone else. I can kind of relate because I know what it's like to be overlooked, but because she's under pressure from her mum to score a lead role or she'll remove her from the ballet school, she becomes kind of desperate and ruthless. She's also anorexic/bulimic, and that's a part of wanting to be the best. 

Other parts I loved: 
  • That diversity was included, especially in a ballet studio, where there's a right way to look and a wrong way in ballet. 

  • The technical terms. I loved that they did the research and included the technical terms for ballet (like pirouettes and arabesques.)
  • It addresses mental health issues, such as eating disorders, addiction and disabilities. 
  • It was such a dark, addictive read. 

What could have been better:
  • The school knew there was bullying going on, but they didn't make a move to stop it. 
  • There wasn't much of an ending. It kind of just fizzled out, without any answers. *Sigh*. 

Overall, this is probably my favourite book of the year so far! Yes, I'm saying that. 
It was highly addictive and I cannot wait to pick up Book two and see how it all ends! 
I guarantee, once I finish all of my TBR, it is going to be the second book I pick up (I say second because I have to order it in first.) 

Right! That was my Tiny Pretty Things review! I hope you enjoyed it, and I will see you all on Friday! 

-Abi xxxxx

Monday, 16 April 2018

Love Simon/ Simon vs The Homo Sapiens Agenda, by Becky Albertalli

Hey guys, this is Abi here,
And I'm continuing with my marathon of book reviews!
Next up: Love Simon or Simon vs The Homo Sapiens Agenda!
Here it is!

Title: Love Simon/ Simon vs The Homo Sapiens Agenda
Author: Becky Albertalli
Genre: Contemporary
Release date: 7th April, 2015
Status: Standalone
Pages: 303
Blurb: "Straight people should have to come out too.
The more awkward it is, the better.

Simon Spier is sixteen and trying to work
out who he is- and what he's looking for.

But when one of his emails to the very
distracting Blue falls into the wrong hands,
things get all kinds of complicated.

Because for Simon, falling
for Blue is a big deal."

My Thoughts
This book was so sweet, it was like syrup and popcorn. It was like ice-cream on a hot day. It was almost a relief that I fell into this story so easily, because I was so terrified that I wasn't going to like it.
But thankfully I did. So, so much.

Honestly, it was a cute and fluffy read. It was what I needed at the time.
And if I had read this when I was just that bit younger, it probably would be a five star rating.
But there were a couple of reasons why I didn't.
For one, I feel like it took a while to get the footing of what was going on.
And that's just about the only critic I have.

Because the rest was amazing.
The characters were amazing, the funniest characters I've ever met. They were also quirky and loveable and it was easy to love all of them, for their unique personalities. All the characters didn't fit too well together, which I thought was good because there would be even less realistic than a contemporary usually is. The differences that characters had with each-other (some of them) were resolved gradually through the book, which was something else that I liked.
There was also some of the other too, people got more harsh. Which was okay too.

The writing was carefree, but the details were there too. Like Simon's love of Oreos was adorable, and Albertalli's attention to detail (Simon's character) was one thing that I loved about Simon.
And as you get to know the other characters, them too.
Just everybody.

This review is getting very random.

Also, I liked Simon's character development. Although the moments throughout the book seem like they have no connection, Simon grew more confident as the book went on. He didn't change much as a person, but it was so lovely to see him try new things and not be intimidated by them. And it was so wonderful to see innocent little Simon experience these scenarios.

As for the plot. Somebody threatening to out Simon basically. And expose the SECRET EMAIL FRIEND Blue. It was a decent plot, and it balanced out the cuteness quite well.
That's kind of all I have to say about it.

So overall, I think this is a book that everyone should read. It's a wonderful story about being proud of who you are, and that whoever you are, it's not a bad thing.
This was a wonderful story.

Right, so that is my review of Love Simon/ Simon vs The Homo Sapiens Agenda, by Becky Albertalli!
I hope you enjoyed this review, and I will see you all on Wednesday!

-Abi xxxxx

Friday, 13 April 2018

Spring Cleaning Book Tag

Hey guys, this is Abi here, 
And it's the middle of the month which means, it's time for a book tag! 
Today it's the Spring Cleaning Book Tag! 

1. The Struggle of getting started: a book/book series that you have struggled to begin because of it's size
I'm going to change this to present: The Mistborn trilogy, by Brandon Sanderson is a trilogy I have yet to start because it's so huge. I think sometime in the next couple of months I will just have a TBR of just these huge books because I doubt that I'll get to reading anything else this month because they're so HUGE!
I'm not at the point at unhauling them, especially as it took me about a year to find them all, but this is definitely the idea trilogy for this category!

2. Cleaning out the wardrobe: A book/series you wan to unhaul 
Well I did this recently, changed my bookshelves around so I had more space for future releases. And (sadly) that meant unhauling some books. One of the series that I decided to give away was the Chronicles of Ancient Darkness series. I read the first one on recommendation from a friend when I was maybe 15, and it was super young for me then. Then I saw the entire series for £3 at a bargain sale one day and I bought the lot. But there's no way I'll be reading this anytime soon. Unhaul. 

3. Opening windows and letting fresh air in: A book that was refreshing 
It took a bit of searching for the right book for this category, but I finally stumbled across this one and it's true. This book teaches you to live life to the fullest that you can and to live every day like it's your last. It's a totally refreshing story and although I don't know if the film does the same, I can say that the book is completely refreshing to read and enjoy. 

4. Washing out sheet stains: A book you wish you could rewrite a certain scene in 
Honestly, I don't think I'm going to answer this. I'm a firm believer that the author wrote the book that way for a reason. (And I actually can't think of a book for some reason.)

5. Throwing out necessary knick-knack: A book in a series that you didn't think was necessary 
Although I did enjoy The Infinite Sea, not a lot actually happens in this book. At least nothing concerning the aliens that are taking over the world. We meet some characters that we don't actually start to care about until the final characters, and it goes in a totally different direction than the first book. The Infinite Sea is book that wasn't necessary. 

6. Polishing the doorknobs: A book that had a clean finish 
One book that had a nice clean ending has to be After You. I thought the ending was such a nice end, with Lou hopeful for a future after everything she's been through.
But of course there's Still Me. I honestly didn't think there was going to be another book, same as at the end of Me Before You.
In fact, let's just give it to both Me Before You and After You!

7. Reaching to dust the fan: A book that tried too hard to relieve a certain message 
I haven't, as far as I remember, come across a book that is trying to relieve a certain message. So I don't have a book to tag for this question.

8. The tiring yet satisfying finish of spring cleaning: A series that was tiring yet satisfying to read through 

The only reason that I'm saying that it was tiring to read through was because I was marathoning the entire series in two weeks time for a liveshow on the Saturday- that I ended up sleeping through because it was on at midnight in the UK! But it was super satisfying to be able to read through the entire series in like the space of two weeks because they're not tiny!

9. Looking forward to next spring: Tag 4 people that you want to do this tag! 
Elena @Elenaoftheuniverse
Savannah @The Book Prophet
Ingrid @HeartLikeABook
Noel @BooksWithNoel

Right, so that is my monthly book tag! I hope you enjoyed it and you of course are free to do the tag too, even if you weren't tagged!
I hope you have a lovely weekend full of reading, and I will see you all on Monday!

-Abi xxxx

Monday, 9 April 2018

Writing Update #3 (April 2018)

Hey guys, this is Abi here,
And I promised this post in my March Wrap Up!
I don't have anything left to say, so here's today's post!

So, first things first. I FINISHED THE SECOND DRAFT.


Oh, what's that?

I finished the second draft.

I'm currently in that time when I remove myself from my book so when I come back, I can look at my book critically, instead of immersing myself into the story.

Here's where I start to get nervous.

Because it's all very well writing a first, second, third draft.

But you reach a point where you can't just keep re-writing.

Eventually you have to get people to read and critique your writing.
It's kind of like when I participated in the Halloween meme that was created by The Book Prophet.
I have to admit, I was so nervous to post that because it's all very well writing about your opinion on somebody else's book, but when it's your writing, you feel so much more nervous, knowing that people are going to be forming their own opinions on whether they like your own writing.

So I'm starting to get nervous.

Because the plan has always been that when I finish my third draft, I will advertise for critique partners. (After I come up with an idea of how it'll work out, like whether it's the whole manuscript, or it's every chapter (because my chapters are fairly long), how to get the feedback etc.)

But there's no use stressing. I know that.

So when I get to the third draft, I'm going to be focusing on making sure that everything that is in there absolutely needs to be in there, that the characters are going the way they are meant to, and aren't like all over the place, (in question) and that the story is the best that it can be.

So that's really all I have to say about my novel today!
I hope you enjoyed the update and let me know in the comments, if you like writing, if you're working on your own manuscript, as well as how far through it you are!
I hope you have a wonderful day and I will see you all on Friday, with my review of Love Simon!

-Abi xxxxx

Friday, 6 April 2018

The Help, by Kathryn Stockett

Hey guys, this is Abi here,
And I am carrying on with my many book reviews that I have yet to post, because those things aren't going to write themselves!
And the next one on the list is The Help, by Kathryn Stockett!

Title: The Help
Author: Kathryn Stockett
Genre: Historical fiction
Release date: 10th February, 2009
Status: Standalone
Pages: 444
Blurb: "Enter a vanished world. Jackson, Mississippi, 1962.
Where black maids raise white children, but aren't trusted
not to steal the silver...

There's Aibileen, raising her seventeenth white child and nursing the
hurt caused by her own son's tragic death; Minny, whose cooking is
nearly as sassy as her tongue; and white Miss Skeeter, home from
college, who wants to know why her beloved maid has disappeared.

Skeeter, Aibileen and Minny, no-one would believe that they'd be friends;
fewer still would tolerate it. But as each woman finds the courage to
cross boundaries, they come to depend and rely upon one another.
Each is in search of a truth. And together they have an
extraordinary story to tell..."

My Thoughts
Picking up this book was a bit of a spontaneous decision. I'd finished my previous read, A Wrinkle in Time, sooner than I anticipated, and The Help was in the library. And it was also a chance to read it and get it off my TBR. So I picked it up.
And what an amazing book! It takes a while to get into it, because I wasn't too sure of how it was all going to play out. But once I got an idea of what kind of scenario these characters were in, I got pulled in right away.
The Help focuses on three characters: Aibileen, who is grieving the loss of her son after he is killed in a horrific accident; Minny, who is so sassy that every time she does something sassy, I'm holding my breath because the woman the hired them are like fire rockets- they will explode from just one match; and Skeeter, a white woman determined for the black society to have their voices heard, despite the notion that she will marry a rich man and produce adorable children.

What I liked about this book is that everything fit in really well into the story. The fact and the fiction was blended so well together, it was really easy to remember that this story wasn't just a story, this actually happened.
Another part of the story that merged really well into the story, were the extra parts to the characters. They gave each character more depth and added more to the story. Skeeter was finding out what had happened to her beloved nanny that she grew up with, and Aibileen was grieving the loss of her son, who died in a horrific accident. If anything, it made the situation of Aibileen and Minny and all the other black nannies that much more desperate in the story.
Truthfully, it was the characters that made this story.
And that, as a reader, you so desperately want there to be a change in the way that all the black nannies are treated.

Let me tell you what reading this book was like.
Once you got into the story, and you started rooting for Skeeter, Aibileen and Minny, any time when something would happen, maybe a threat would get thrown out, or somebody nearly found out about the book that was being written, but my heart would literally go crazy. Just because you become so invested in the story in such a quick amount of time, that I was literally shocked. (I am aware that I've used the word literally twice this paragraph.)

And finally, the ending.
I was not expecting what happened in the end.
I mean, as much as I wasn't expecting it, and I wasn't altogether happy with the ending, I understand why it went that way.
(Read the book, you'll understand.)

Altogether, this was a phenomenal read and I am so glad that I picked it up.
I honestly feel like this book will be around for generations, it was that good.
And it's an adaption of a true event, and I loved how authentic it was.
I highly recommend you all pick it up.

So that is my review of The Help! I hope you enjoyed it and I will see you all on Monday!
I hope you have a lovely weekend of reading- I'm reading Always and Forever Lara Jean and I am loving it!

-Abi xxxxx