Friday, 27 March 2015

A Mad, Wicked Folly

Title: A Mad, Wicked Folly
Author: Sharon Biggs Waller
Pages: 406
Publisher: Viking
Source: Bought
Rating: 5/5

Summary (from Good Reads): 
Welcome to the world of the fabulously wealthy in London, 1909, where dresses and houses are overwhelmingly opulent, social class means everything, and women are taught to be nothing more than wives and mothers. Into this world comes seventeen-year-old Victoria Darling, who wants only to be an artist—a nearly impossible dream for a girl.

After Vicky poses nude for her illicit art class, she is expelled from her French finishing school. Shamed and scandalized, her parents try to marry her off to the wealthy Edmund Carrick-Humphrey. But Vicky has other things on her mind: her clandestine application to the Royal College of Art; her participation in the suffragette movement; and her growing attraction to a working-class boy who may be her muse—or may be the love of her life. As the world of debutante balls, corsets, and high society obligations closes in around her, Vicky must figure out: just how much is she willing to sacrifice to pursue her dreams?

A Mad, Wicked Folly was on my list of books that I really, really wanted in 2014, but never got round to buying until January came around this year when I finally bought it (thank you Christmas money!) and honestly, I could not think of a better book to spend my money on. As someone who loves YA, particularly Contemporary, I haven't read any historical fiction despite the fact that I study History at University, so this was an introduction to the genre and I wasn't disappointed. 

One of the things I loved about this book was a big focus on the Suffragette movement and how a young, upper class girl fits into this. Although fiction, you could tell a lot of research had been done on the period and the Suffragettes and that's not just because there was a bibliography at the back. As someone who really enjoys learning about the Suffragette movement, there are things that I leant when reading this that made me go and look into things further. 

Another thing I loved was our main character Vicky, and that's not just because we share the same name! Vicky was a unique character, in which she was different from her mother, who I felt was a bit 'all about the image', whereas Vicky was a lot more focused on what she wanted out of life and how to get there. I think that having Vicky as the main character, who was such an empowering figure, was such a good move for this story, and I loved seeing her progression from where the book started to where we saw her at the end of it, if that makes sense!

Obviously as a fictional book, you can't guarantee that it'll be entirely factual, however I think Sharon Biggs Waller has done a really good job of making it as factual but interesting as it can be! Although I haven't read historical fiction before, I get the vibe that sometimes the information can be overwhelming at times whereas I didn't feel overwhelmed at all reading this. 

There are so many reasons I gave this book 5 stars, but mainly it's because the writing was great, the characters stood for something and I learnt something! I love learning new things and this provided that for me.

Just to add something else to my experience of this book, I recently got in touch with Sharon  to tell her how much I loved it and Sharon, being ever so kind, sent me a signed bookmark and poem sheet which was so lovely. Sharon is so nice as well and such a nice lady to talk too!

If there's one thing I can add, it's that you should most definitely give A Mad, Wicked Folly a read, like, right now!

Sunday, 8 March 2015

All the Bright Places

Title: All the Bright Places
Author: Jennifer Niven
Pages: 378
Publisher: Penguin
Source: Bought
Rating: 4/5
Summary (from Good Reads): 
Theodore Finch is fascinated by death, and he constantly thinks of ways he might kill himself. But each time, something good, no matter how small, stops him.
Violet Markey lives for the future, counting the days until graduation, when she can escape her Indiana town and her aching grief in the wake of her sister’s recent death.
When Finch and Violet meet on the ledge of the bell tower at school, it’s unclear who saves whom. And when they pair up on a project to discover the “natural wonders” of their state, both Finch and Violet make more important discoveries: It’s only with Violet that Finch can be himself—a weird, funny, live-out-loud guy who’s not such a freak after all. And it’s only with Finch that Violet can forget to count away the days and start living them. But as Violet’s world grows, Finch’s begins to shrink.

I hadn't really head too much about this book, other than reading the summary so I went into this book with a clear mind. When the book started off, I wasn't too sure about how much I'd like it, it was interesting and I'd read that it was a bit of a cross between Rainbow Rowell and John Green, both being authors that I enjoy, but I didn't know if it'd be my thing due to the topic that the book kind of focuses on. I kept on with it anyway and I am so glad I did. It really picked up and became even more interesting. 

I thought that the story was interesting and dealt with the subject of suicide well, particularly as the topic is quite a sensitive and touchy subject. I felt that after reading this I had actually developed a bit more of a better understanding. 

I found the characters to be interesting and compelling. I enjoyed reading about the characters and getting to know them better. I particularly liked the relationship that formed between Finch and Violet and was so rooting for them pretty much the whole way through the book. It was interesting to see them develop, both in different ways, but together. I thought that this added something else to the book as it was plain to see that both characters were each others coping mechanism. This book doesn't just focus on the characters and their relationship. It also focuses on her things, including bits of adventure along the way.

The ending was a bit of a knock in the face. This is where the book kicks it up a notch, but ultimately, it ties up and makes for a 'good' ending to the book. I really enjoyed this book and was taken by surprise by it. Again, I wasn't really sure about it as I hadn't heard much but I found it interesting and a good read and would definitely recommend it!

Friday, 6 March 2015

My Life Next Door

Title: My Life Next Door
Author: Huntley Fitzpatrick
Pages: 394
Publisher: Speak
Source: Bought
Rating: 3.5/5

Summary (from Good Reads): 
"One thing my mother never knew, and would disapprove of most of all, was that I watched the Garretts. All the time."

The Garretts are everything the Reeds are not. Loud, messy, affectionate. And every day from her rooftop perch, Samantha Reed wishes she was one of them . . . until one summer evening, Jase Garrett climbs up next to her and changes everything.

As the two fall fiercely for each other, stumbling through the awkwardness and awesomeness of first love, Jase's family embraces Samantha - even as she keeps him a secret from her own. Then something unthinkable happens, and the bottom drops out of Samantha's world. She's suddenly faced with an impossible decision. Which perfect family will save her? Or is it time she saved herself?

My Life Next Door was a book that I was drawn to mainly because of the book spine..please don't ask me why, but I absolutely loved the stripy spine. Because of that, I obviously looked to see what the book was about and I was sold pretty much straight away. I bought this book back at the end of January (after a good few months of wanting it) and pretty much demolished it within a few days which shows positive things for Huntley Fitzpatrick's writing and stories, both of which I thought were great! I will be sure to visit another book of hers soon.

This book was so fun and so sweet. I absolutely loved the Garrett family, and Jase sounds so swoony! Definitely in the line up for top book boyfriends. Set over the Summer break in Stony Bay (sounds so cute!), this is where our main character Samantha really comes into herself, I think. It was interesting to read about her mother and political campaigns - I basically have no idea when it comes to politics and what goes on behind the scenes in the UK, let alone anywhere else, so this was really interesting to read about.

This book did so well in exploring real, first love. I was excited to see what would happen to Samantha and Jase throughout the story and what would happen to them as the story progressed. It was nice to read a bit of a summer romance, particularly this one as it was so sugar sweet!

I definitely did not see the ending coming at all. You know how pretty much every contemporary typically goes well and then takes a turn for the worst? I really did not see this one all. But in a way, I think that this makes the book even better as it's not just a typical turn for the worst. Plus I was intrigued to see what would happen! 

Despite the fact that I did love this book, there was one thing that got me and that's just how quick the end was. I felt like it was a little rushed and all these things just happened at once, which is great but I just found that the perhaps 50 pages were a bit rushed!

My Life Next Door seriously made me wish for summer as it's such a perfect book for that season. It also made me wish that I had my own balcony to sit out on and gaze at the starts at night..a girl can dream!

Wednesday, 4 March 2015

The Winner's Curse

Title: The Winner's Curse
Author: Marie Rutkoski
Pages: 355
Publisher: Bloomsbury
Source: Bought
Rating: 4/5

Summary (from Good Reads): 
Winning what you want may cost you everything you love 

As a general’s daughter in a vast empire that revels in war and enslaves those it conquers, seventeen-year-old Kestrel has two choices: she can join the military or get married. But Kestrel has other intentions. 

One day, she is startled to find a kindred spirit in a young slave up for auction. Arin’s eyes seem to defy everything and everyone. Following her instinct, Kestrel buys him—with unexpected consequences. It’s not long before she has to hide her growing love for Arin. 

But he, too, has a secret, and Kestrel quickly learns that the price she paid for a fellow human is much higher than she ever could have imagined. 

One thing I loved about this book is how different it was to anything else I'd ever read. Yes, it was all romantic and about love and two people getting together, but the one thing that was different about it, is that it was told from several people's perspectives, but never the couples. For example, a teacher, a barista and a delivery guy as well as the couples friends. We even saw the view points of a bench and a squirrel! It is definitely a unique book in that respect, which is something I definitely enjoyed. I think it was particularly refreshing actually, having a story told but never by the main characters in the story. I thought it was an interesting idea that Sandy Hall did really well. 

Other than the unique aspect of the different view points, the book was fairly good but I think it was very predictable, not that this is a problem - it means you don't have to concentrate on it too much at all, making it light read that you can breeze through! It had an adorable but dorky romance which the book was centred around, which was made good by having the different perspectives of it. It is short, but sweet. I got through it fairly quickly so would definitely say that it is a nice, quick read, if that's something that you're looking for. 

Oh, and can we just talk about the cover? I know I don't usually talk about book covers in reviews, but I just love this one. I think it's so pretty and I just love the colours and how well they go together. I also like how different parts of the book are featured on the cover!

Tuesday, 3 March 2015

Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature over at The Broke and The Bookish!

 This week for Top Ten Tuesday, the topic is Ten Books You Would Classify As ALL TIME FAVORITE BOOKS from the past 3 years.

Considering I only started picking up reading again in April/May last year, I've had quite a few books firmly cement themselves in my favourite list since then, so because of this you will be seeing only my top 10 favourites from the past year!

Over the past year, I've read quite a lot of contemporary YA books, however the Mara Dyer trilogy and Lunar Chronicles are also up there - Cinder is a book I really enjoyed! I would've included the other books in both the trilogy and series but didn't want to use up all the books in the series on this top 10, so therefore thought I'd just include the first books! 

I really cannot recommend these books enough, particularly Cinder and Anna and the French Kiss. These two are definitely within my top 10 books of all time!

Monday, 2 March 2015


via Elegance and Enchantment
February has been a little busy for me with a new University semester starting up at the beginning, and being thrust into all the work that comes with it! But other than that, it's been a fun month really. We celebrated my younger sisters birthday, celebrated Valentine's Day with my wonderful boyfriend - he gave me a massive teddy bear! I also celebrated a friends birthday! I just can't believe it's March already though, this year is already flying by, despite the fact that February did feel like it went on a bit. Funny considering it's the shortest month!

I've had a fairly good reading month, and read more than I thought I actually had - 5 books. I'm happy as my reading goal for this month was 5, wahoo! I'm keeping ahead of the Good Reads Reading Challenge schedule which is great for me - last year I didn't meet my target so this year is looking promising. I'm currently 4 books ahead!

In terms of blogging, I know I said that I was going to get back into reviewing but I just feel like I haven't had any time. My plan is to get my work all done and handed in, and then just have a day of focussing on the blog and writing posts!

This month is fairly hectic for me. I have 2 essays, a fieldwork report, two drafts to submit and an exam coming up mid-April. I'm also in the process of gearing up to redecorate my room at Easter. Therefore, my reading goal for the month is only 4 books. I'm still trying to quit buying books till I've got my TBR list down to 5 books, although I'm not counting pre-orders..

Have a great month!