Sunday, 29 June 2014

The View: To All The Boys I've Loved Before

Title: To All The Boys I've Loved Before
Author: Jenny Han
Pages: 355
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Source: Bought
Rating: Amazing

Summary (from Good Reads): 
To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before is the story of Lara Jean, who has never openly admitted her crushes, but instead wrote each boy a letter about how she felt, sealed it, and hid it in a box under her bed. But one day Lara Jean discovers that somehow her secret box of letters has been mailed, causing all her crushes from her past to confront her about the letters: her first kiss, the boy from summer camp, even her sister's ex-boyfriend, Josh. As she learns to deal with her past loves face to face, Lara Jean discovers that something good may come out of these letters after all.

First of all, sorry for going off the radar! I had an exam Tuesday and started a new job (which I'm a bit unsure of) so have been quite busy this week!

To All The Boys I've Loved Before is the first Jenny Han book that I have actually ever read, and I was not disappointed at all!

To All the Boys was an exciting book to read. First of all, I was itching to know who had sent the letters out in the first place. I obviously had my suspicions, but this wasn't confirmed till the last couple of pages! I liked this as it meant that the question wasn't answered half way through, plus it made for a good ending. Second of all, I loved seeing Lara Jean's relationships grow with others. I also liked seeing Lara Jean come into her own, without her older sister there to guide her.

You know, there were times when I wanted to slap Lara Jean, and just said in my head 'what are you playing at?', which is good as it meant that I was totally engaged with the story. Honestly, as a main character, Lara Jean was likeable enough and I enjoyed reading from her perspective, but she just seemed so naive and innocent.

I have to say, my two favourite characters were Kitty and Peter. Kitty was a very likeable character, as was Peter. I loved Kitty's want for a dog, and the way she got on with both of the main guy characters in the books. I thought that Kitty was a great character in the book, and I was happy to see that there were plenty of scenes that she was mentioned in. The same goes for Peter. He seemed like such an easy going character, but I loved how the relationship between himself and Lara Jean developed. He just seems like such a sweetheart!

In contrast to the characters I liked mentioned above, one character that annoyed my ever so slightly, was the other main guy character, Josh. Again, he was likeable enough, but there was a time in the book where I just thought 'UGH'! If you've read the book, you probably know what I mean..or I hope so!

One thing I really liked the Jenny Han incorporated was the feature of culture. I loved how, although Lara Jean's mother was gone, her Dad made sure to feature the Korean side of Lara Jean and her sisters. I thought this was a great addition to the story as it wasn't just a book about Lara Jean and her love letters that were sent out, it was also a book that featured heritage. You know what, kudos to Jenny Han for this, because I really liked this little feature. It wasn't overwhelming, but it was just nice to see this little inclusion of culture.

I've heard a few things about how Jenny Han is creating a sequel to this book. I can't even describe my feelings other than saying that I'm so looking forward to reading that one when it comes out - I can't wait to hear more about Lara Jean and what's going on in her life..just hopefully there aren't any more love letters she's written!

Have you read To All The Boys? If so, what did you think? If not, are you hoping to read it soon? Is it sat on your TBR list, or are you currently reading it now? Let me know what you thought of To All The Boys!

Friday, 27 June 2014

How I Organise…My Reviews

How I Organise.. is the weekly feature friday on the blog. It runs over 10 weeks, with this being the second week. 

As a book blogger, one of the main things I do is write reviews and talk about books. So how do I organise myself and know which books I read that I need to write a review for? At the moment, it's not that hard, but my little system, again, involves a good, old spreadsheet!

As you can see above, it is a very small system at the moment. I have the month read, the book title and author, and then my rating (which I think is going to be my new rating system!). I also put next to my rating 'Yes' or 'No', depending on if I've reviewed it or not - this isn't pictured, as you can see. This is actually quite helpful for the Monthly Recap posts as you can clearly see what you've read. It can also be helpful when doing the Yearly Recap!

As you can see, there are colours in the picture above. It sounds bad, but I can't remember why it's blue (I've gone onto the spreadsheet now and updated the blue cells to purple). The purple is for normal, physical books and the mint is for eBooks. I should also mention, if I receive any ARC's, I'll put a *ARC in the cell next to whether it's been rated or not. This could probably be placed better, such as between the Author and the Rating columns, but as it's a very rare occurrence for me to receive ARC's, I'm not too bothered about it at the moment! 

As I have exams at the moment and I'm switching to a new job, it's easy for me to know which books I've read and need to review and which I haven't, as I haven't been reading much, but after my exams I'm hoping to read 2-3 books a week, which means I'll be updating and using this system a whole lot more often. 

I hope this has been helpful, and that it's given some you some ideas as to how you can organise the books that you need to review. I know a lot of people like to use lists, but I like using Excel, plus it means I'm being just a little bit more eco friendly!

How do you organise your review lists? Was this helpful? Let me know!

Saturday, 21 June 2014

The View: Lola and the Boy Next Door

Title: Lola and the Boy Next Door
Author: Stephanie Perkins
Pages: 338
Publisher: Usbourne
Source: Bought
Rating: Amazing

Summary (from Good Reads): 
Lola Nolan is a budding costume designer, and for her, the more outrageous, sparkly, and fun the outfit, the better. And everything is pretty perfect in her life (right down to her hot rocker boyfriend) until the Bell twins, Calliope and Cricket, return to the neighborhood. When Cricket, a gifted inventor, steps out from his twin sister's shadow and back into Lola's life, she must finally reconcile a lifetime of feelings for the boy next door.

It's been no secret that I absolutely loved Anna and the French Kiss, so it was kind of a given that I had to read Lola and the Boy Next Door. I have to admit, I wasn't as into it as Anna, but that doesn't mean to say that I didn't still enjoy it.

Stephanie Perkins has such a great writing ability, and she really knows how teenagers speak, and think, which is great. I feel that this really enables me to connect to the characters and story as a whole, which I love being able to do with books as then I feel truly invested in the book. Perkins writing is also special to me as I feel like I'm reading the story of a real life person, instead of a fictional character. Perkins just makes everything sound so real.

The story itself was pretty good. The first few chapters, I was itching to know why Lola had such a strong disliking for the Bell twins, but that was revealed pretty quickly, which is good as it really helped the story progress into better things! I liked the feature of Lola having two dads, as I think this really added to the story, especially since having two dads or two mums is not uncommon! I also liked following Lola's story and her relationships with people such as her boyfriend, Cricket, her best friend, her mother and her dads. 

Now let's talk about Cricket..what can I say? Another great boy that Perkins has made us all swoon over! Stephanie Perkins has a seriously good ability to create and build on characters. I just don't know how she does it, but Cricket was honestly so sweet and a quirky character that it was fun to meet. I enjoyed the scenes that Cricket was in, and I feel that he really added something to the book. Plus I loved the connection between him and Lola - their difficult friendship was interesting to see, as at times, it seemed to be a bit come and go!

There were parts of the book that made me cringe a little, but then there were other parts that were so nice that I loved. I liked all the characters within the book, apart from Max. He was just such a douche bag, even from the very start, and I just wanted to slap him in the face. I also wanted to slap Lola a few times, because she just seemed so whiny at small points in the book.

Oh, and can we also mention the inclusion of Anna and St. Clair?! Oh my gosh, how perfect? I was so happy to see that Perkins had connected the two books together the way she did! Great job, Stephanie!

As I said at the start, I didn't like this book as much as Anna. With Anna and the French Kiss, I was constantly trying to sneak in time to read it, and although I did still do this with Lola, I don't feel like I was as attached to it in comparison to how much I was with Anna.

Lola and the Boy Next Door was an enjoyable read for me, and I enjoyed being able to experience Stephanie Perkins writing once again. I couldn't wait for Isla and the Happily Ever After before I read this, but now I'm looking forward to it even more!

Friday, 20 June 2014

How I Organise…My Books

What better way to start off the How I Organise.. series with telling you how I organise my books?! I never really had a set way of organising my books because I don't really have that many on my shelves (surprisingly shocking collection, actually, for someone who blogs about books), but since starting this blog, I've decided to become a bit more organised. 

So to organise my books, I actually use Excel. You'd think I'd want to get away from it since I use it so often in the day due to my job, but it's actually a really good way of keeping up with which books you own. 

In the picture above (sorry if it's too small!), you can see how I organise my books. I organise my books via the last name of an author, as I find that this so much easier for me. 
I then put the title of the book, whether it's part of a series and whether I've read it or not. Across from that, I put my rating, the classification, so whether it's YA, Adult, Children's, etc. and the genre. I also then put what format the book is in and whether it's signed. Then lastly, how the book came into my hands and who the publisher is. 

This is a great way of organising my books as I can see the books I own, and which books I still need to read. It's also important to me that I have this as, although I know which books are on my shelf, it means that just in case I do forget, I can see which books I already own. This means that I won't buy any duplicates! I find that it's also quite helpful for writing reviews, as I've got all the information, such as the publisher and source!

So now you've seen how I manage my books. Next week, I'll be showing you how I organise reviews!

If you've got any questions, please let me know! So how do you organise your books? Do you do the same, or do you do it differently? 

Wednesday, 18 June 2014

The View: Since You've Been Gone

Title: Since You've Been Gone 
Author: Morgan Matson
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Source: Bought
Rating: Amazing

Summary (Good Reads): 
The Pre-Sloane Emily didn't go to parties, she barely talked to guys, she didn't do anything crazy. Enter Sloane, social tornado and the best kind of best friend—the one who yanks you out of your shell.But right before what should have been an epic summer, Sloane just... disappears. No note. No calls. No texts. No Sloane. There’s just a random to-do list. On it, thirteen Sloane-selected-definitely-bizarre-tasks that Emily would never try... unless they could lead back to her best friend. Apple Picking at Night? Ok, easy enough. Dance until Dawn? Sure. Why not? Kiss a Stranger? Wait... what?

Getting through Sloane’s list would mean a lot of firsts. But Emily has this whole unexpected summer ahead of her, and the help of Frank Porter (totally unexpected) to check things off. Who knows what she’ll find?

Go Skinny Dipping? Um..

What I thought of Since You've Been Gone..
This has been hot on my TBR list since I first heard about it, and I couldn't wait for it to be in my hands. I've never actually read anything by Morgan Matson before, so this was a completely new experience, but boy, did I enjoy it!

Since You've Been Gone is a light, funny story and absolutely perfect for the Summer season. The story focuses on Emily and the way she copes with Sloane's disappearance for the most part, but it also focuses on Emily growing as a person and learning not to rely so much on others. At first it bugged me a little, because you can see how much the main character relies on her best friend, but really, Matson portrays best friendship perfectly as they always seem to rely each other, and in some cases, one will rely on the other more. I really enjoyed seeing Emily's self confidence and worth sky rocket upwards as the book progressed. 

I really enjoyed following Emily's journey to completing the tasks on the list that Sloane had left her. There were some on there that actually seemed like good fun, and I almost wished that I could be a part of the story, helping and encouraging Emily with some of the tasks. I also really enjoyed seeing Emily's relationship with others grow. This was a big thing as I love books that involve friendships, so this was great for me! I also thought it was really great of Matson to portray falling in love as it really is. There are so many books out there that show the character falling straight in love, but as we all know, in reality, it's not like that. The love in this book is something that you can predict happening within the first few chapters, but the relationship between the two characters just flows so well.

Also, can I just add, the playlists that Matson included in this book had so many good songs! With the likes of Taylor Swift and The Beatles, I was loving this little feature!

So is there anything I didn't like about this book? Well no, actually. I really can't think of any faults that Since You've Been Gone had. Having now read SYBG, I really would like to check out more of Matson's books, and already have Second Chance Summer on my TBR list!

All I can say is, and this is not really anything to do with the books in terms of it's content, but more to do with myself personally, I think I would've read this in a much shorter time space, had I not been revising for my exams and such, as this really didn't give me a lot of time to read, and made my reading a bit choppy. If/when I read this again, I hope to read it where my pattern isn't so chopped up due to exams or other circumstances as I know that this would make me enjoy it even more than I did, plus it would give me a chance to read more in one sitting!

ps. Me and Frank Porter share the same birthday!

Have you read this book at all? What did you think? Did you enjoy it? If you haven't read it, would you consider it? Let me know what you all think!

Tuesday, 17 June 2014

Top Ten Books On My Summer TBR List

Top Ten Tuesday is a meme featured over at The Broke and the Bookish.

There are so many books that I'm looking forward to that I hope to read this summer, despite that fact that I should be doing work for my AAT studies, plus I'm going on holiday and starting a new job! I'm really hoping I can read all, if not, most of these over the summer, however I am on a book ban at the moment...

Top Ten Books On My Summer TBR List

  1. To All The Boys I've Loved Before by Jenny Han - After hearing so many great things about Jenny Han, and in particular, To All The Boys, I immediately went to go and snatch it up. It's now patiently waiting on my bookshelf waiting for me to devour it and I can't wait!
  2. What I Thought Was True by Huntley Fitzpatrick - I've heard some great things about Fitzpatrick's writing, so it's only natural that I had to add at least one book to my TBR list for summer. Besides, look at the gorgeous purples in the cover!
  3. Isla and the Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins - It's no secret that I loved Anna and the French Kiss, so I really can't wait to see what Perkin's has next for us! I am actually currently reading Lola and the Boy Next Door but still can't wait for this to come out so that I can get my hands on it!
  4. Trouble by Non Pratt - This is one that isn't necessarily a summer book, but it seems like a great contemporary and I can't wait to get into it, plus I've seen good reviews for it, which means that I'm really looking forward to it!
  5. Wish you Were Italian by Kristin Rae - I saw that quite a few people were raving about this, so after hearing the story was set in Italy, it went immediately to my TBR list. I love Italy, so real can't wait for this to transport me back there, even if it's only for a short time!
  6. Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas - So with BEA just passing, and seeing all the excitement that was surrounding Heir of Fire, I figured I should probably see what all of the fuss is about! I'm hoping to purchase this soon so I can finally see what I've been missing!
  7. Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell - I loved Eleanor and Park, and have heard some really great things about more of Rowell's books. As I already have this one sitting on my shelves, it seems only fair that it's added to my TBR list. Plus, the cover is a gorgeous mint green which totally reminds me of summer!
  8. Everything Leads To You by Nina LaCour - I read the first chapter as a 'sneak peek' last month and it captured my attention, so I'm hoping to carry on and read it all over summer! All I need now is to actually grab a copy..
  9. Open Road Summer by Emery Lord - Um, this is a total no brainer! The story line sounds great and it's set in Summer! Plus, I've seen so many good reviews for this book that I really want to read it this Summer!
  10. The Sky Is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson - I've heard/seen a lot of praise for Jandy Nelson, and actually saw this in my local Waterstones and had my eye on it before I even knew how many bloggers loved her work, so I've added this to my TBR. It just seems like it has to be done!
  11. Pointe by Brandy Colbert - Now I know that this is a Summer TBR list, but I'm putting this on here as my Summer to Autumn transition book. As the summer winds down, I want to read something that is a little grittier, which this book seems to be, but it also seems like an enjoyable read. I think it'd be perfect for end of season Summer!

What books are on your Summer TBR list this year? Have you had chance to read any of the above? What did you think?

Friday, 13 June 2014

How I Organise...

Hi everyone! So you may or may not have seen my tweets the other day, but I have an announcement! I have decided to start doing a mini feature on my blog every week for the next 10 weeks called How I Organise…! I'm a complete organisation/planning lover, plus I'm really starting to make an effort to become even more organised! I'm really excited to start this mini feature, as I feel that it'll give my blog a little bit more to it rather than just book reviews. And hey, if you want to get involved, please do, just don't forget to add you link to the comments on a post!

I think this feature will be really fun, and I'm hoping that it will help provide some tips to those of you who may feel that you need to be just that little bit more organised, whether it be with your books, or your blog, or even your daily life! I'll be posting How I Organise.. every Friday. I would've placed it more in the middle of the week, but I know there's meme's through out the week, such as Top Ten Tuesday and Waiting on Wednesday, and I wanted to have a few reviews and other posts between the memes and things!

So there we go! That's my small announcement. I'm really excited and can"t wait to get started on this! My first post will be coming up next week, so keep an eye out!

Ps. What do you think of the new blog background? I'm going to be carrying out some minor tweaking over the next couple of weeks, so you may or may not notice some minor changes going on!

Tuesday, 10 June 2014

Top Ten Books I've Read This Year..So Far

Top Ten Tuesday is a meme featured over at The Broke and the Bookish.

Top Ten Books That I've Read This Year…So Far

So according to my Good Reads, I've only read 7 books this year (oopsie!). So I'm afraid that you're going to get 5 of my top reads from those 7. To compensate for the other 5, I'll tell you which books I'm looking forward to reading which is made up of those that have been released/are yet to be released!

Top 5 Books I've Read This Year…So Far
  1. Eleanor and Park
  2. We Were Liars
  3. Anna and the French Kiss
  4. Since You've Been Gone - (currently reading but totally in my top 5!)
  5. The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight

Top 5 Books I Want To Read This Year

  1. To All the Boys I've Loved Before
  2. Landline
  3. Throne of Glass 
  4. Isla and the Happily Ever After
  5. Fangirl

There are so many other books that I want to read, but obviously haven't listed! Also, I know my list of top 5 books read so far is short, but I really haven't read as much as I should've between January-May, but I feel like since starting this blog, it's really helping me to get back into the swing of reading again. Hopefully by the next time this Top 10 comes up, I'll have loads to choose from!

What are your top 10 books you've read so far? What books are you looking forward to reading?

Quick note - Just want to say I'll be a bit absent this month. I've got a few exams through out (my first one out of 3 was yesterday!) but I'm also starting a new job towards the end of this month! 

Thursday, 5 June 2014

Book View: We Were Liars

Title: We Were Liars
Author: E. Lockhart
Publisher: Hot Key Books
Source: Bought
Rating: 4.5/5

Summary (from Good Reads):
We are the Liars.

We are beautiful, privileged and live a life of carefree luxury.

We are cracked and broken.

A story of love and romance.

A tale of tragedy.

Which are lies?

Which is truth?

You decide.

I am currently ill at the moment, so didn't read this as fast as I wanted too because being ill really knocks the life out of ya! Plus, when I was near the end (like 5 pages away) , I kept getting interrupted by my family!! Anyway..

My Thoughts

Before I read this, there was a lot of hype around this book. I mean, it just came out in May, so what do you expect? But I saw quite a few people saying 'book of the year'. Other than seeing people's reactions, I literally knew nothing when I went into this book, which is a good thing.

I enjoyed the story line that this book had. I did find it a bit confusing, and in one chapter, I found myself a bit disorientated and basically had no clue what was going on until you know, I realised what was happening! Other than that, I did actually quite enjoy this book. I'll say this. It is a mystery, which is why I enjoyed it. I feel like I was constantly trying to piece the story together, and in this book, it really worked well. I particularly liked that twist at the end. That was totally unexpected for me. Maybe others that read it knew it was going to happen, but I definitely did not see that coming.

We Were Liars featured a whole lot of themes in it. I feel like I'm back in high school when I say that, but it was really easy for me to identify themes in this book. The main ones I picked out were family, friendship, love and corruption. I love books that feature families and/or friendships, so this was great for me! I specifically liked how these themes crossed over a bit, like love within family, mixed with corruption. I think Lockhart did a great job of bringing so many different themes together as it worked so well.

Although I did enjoy We Were Liars, I felt that there were parts that weren't great. There is the inclusion of little fairytales, which were a nice added feature, but I did get a bit fed up as I just wanted to read the story! One other thing that brought this book down for me slightly was the fact that at times, I felt kind of confused. Maybe that's just me, but I think it has more to do with the fact that this book went between past and now quite a few times!

I have to say, I was slightly disappointed but I think that's mainly because this book had a lot of hype around it, which I'd seen, so in my head I evaluated it a lot harder than I should've. Thinking about the book without thinking of the hype though, it was a good book, which is why I have given it a 4.5!

Final Thoughts
I did like We Were Liars and I think I would read it again, but I think it also requires a lot of concentration as you are pretty much solving a mystery. Although, personally, I hadn't really worked it out until just before it was said in the book, but that's good. This book keeps you guessing and guessing.

Would you recommend?
I would. Although I'm not head over heels in love with this book, I did enjoy reading it! I'd totally recommend it, particularly to those who enjoy young adult contemporary books that involve a dash of mystery!

Have you read this book? What did you think? If not, do you want to read it? Let me know your thoughts!

Ps. what do you guys think of  my reviews? I feel like mine are so basic and just terrible!

Wednesday, 4 June 2014

May Recap

May was a great month for me. I've really started on work on this blog, and reading a whole lot more. I also feel like I've connected more to the blogging community since joining at the end of April/beginning of May. I was nominated for the Liebster Award and I even joined NetGalley, and was approved by a publisher within the first week or so of having it! So without further ado, let's take a look at May..

Books I Read:
Anna and the French Kiss
Monument 14
Eleanor and Park
Don't Even Think About ItThe Fault In Our Stars
We Were Liars (review up tomorrow!)

Books I Bought This Month:
Anna and the French Kiss
Monument 14
Lola and the Boy Next Door
Sky On Fire
Since You've Been Gone
We Were Liars
To All The Boys I've Loved Before

TBR for June:
Since You've Been Gone
To All The Boys I've Loved Before
Lola and the Boy Next Door
Under the Never Sky

Goals for June:

  • One of my goals for June is to make my reviews much more professional and fluent, yet keep a talkative style to them. I feel like my reviews are so unprofessional at the moment, which I know is down to experience, but I am so not used to reviewing books right now. Don't get me wrong, I enjoy talking about books, but actually reviewing makes me slightly nervous as all the words leave my brain!
  • Try to read way more books. If you've seen my 'Books I've Read' tab, you'll see that I've read less than 20 books so far this year! Kind of bad for a book blogger, but I've been so busy with college work, which kind of obviously takes a priority!
  • This is a a bit more long term goal than one I can complete in a month, but I want to get more involved and connected with other bloggers and their blogs, so I'm going to try and comment a lot more on others posts!
  • Another one of my long terms goals is trying to increase the speed in which I read books. I know this comes with time, but with my hopes of reading a lot more this month, I'm hoping that I'll see an improvement in how fast I read my books. 

So what've I got lined up for June?
I've got 3 exams in June before college is out for summer, so I'll be (trying) to concentrate on revising and learning the content for those. It's also my boyfriend's birthday and our 2 years in the middle of the month, so that means a night out and a day out for both of those! I'll also be fitting in lots of reading, especially since the World Cup starts next week, and my boyfriend is a total football nerd, so that means I'll be put to the side for the next month, which is good as it means I have more time to read!

So that's all from me for my May Recap! How has your May been? If you went to BEA, I am so insanely jealous! What have you got lined up for June? What books are on your June TBR?

Tuesday, 3 June 2014

Top Ten Books For Your Beach Bag This Summer

  Top Ten Tuesday is a meme featured over at The Broke and the Bookish.

Top Ten Books That Should Be In Your Beach Bag

  1. Since You've Been Gone - I haven't read this yet, but I have heard so many good things about it!
  2. Eleanor & Park - I'm reading this one at the moment (I'll probably have finished it by the time you read this) and so far, I'm really, really enjoying it. - Finished this the other day and yep, this one needs to be in your bag this summer!
  3. Don't Even Think About It - I finished reading this one the other week, and would totally recommend it, particularly as a light read
  4. The Fault in Our Stars - Pretty much bound to make you cry by the time you've finished but least you'll have those sunglasses on to cover your puffy eyes, right?
  5. Anna and the French Kiss - Kind of an all year round book, but really enjoyable, and would be great to read on a relaxing day at the beach
  6. We Were Liars - Just finished this one, and totally recommend that you put it in your beach bag. There was particularly a lot of hype round this book I noticed when it was opening week (duh, what do you expect?!)
  7. To All The Boys I've Loved Before - Ahhh, so many people have been talking about how good this is. Mine's still in the post, but I can't wait for it to arrive!
  8. Everything Leads To You - …another one I haven't read, apart from the first chapter as a sample, but from that sample, it sounded like a good story, so I think this is one to add to the beach bag!
  9. The Hunger Games - A dystopian for when you're not feeling like contemporary or a bit of chick-lit romancey stuff.
  10. Harry Potter - I'm a Harry Potter nut so I would totally recommend it. Plus, you can use it as a shade for your face in the sun because they're so thick - nothing is getting through that!
So there you have it! I was sooo struggling by number 8, plus I know, I know, I've included books on here that I haven't even read yet, so how can I comment, but hey! I was combining what I want in my beach bag with what I think you should have in yours!

What's in your beach bag this summer? What do you recommend I put in mine?