The Playlist Book Tag

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Raise your hand if you’re surprised that I have another bookish related book tag going live today?

No hands raised? Yeah, that’s what I thought. This one combines two of my faves, books and music and I saw it here

One Direction: A book you would still love without one of the main characters

Honestly, I don’t think there are any…? I read a lot of first person narratives so I kind of only really know a lot of characters in accordance with what the narrator says/reveals about them and so I don’t really know if I would care enough independently of the narrator…

Busted: A book you didn’t expect to have a sequel

I was surprised to find out that Warm Bodies  had a sequel as that didn’t seem like something that needed to happen. I mean I’m gonna read it, but yeah, was surprised that it happened.

5 Seconds of Summer: A book that reminds you of summer

Currently the To All the Boys I Loved Before trilogy gives me those vibes, just because I devoured the books and the film made me feel all warm and fuzzy and those are the feelings of summer I feel.

Adele: A book you love or you hate

I’m currently still loving all of Adam Silvera’s work, I mean it hurts my heart, but I love them all.

Taylor Swift: A guilty pleasure book

I don’t believe in guilty pleasures, I don’t have them. I read what I read.

Green Day: A book that bored you to sleep for a whole month

Do I have to say it? Do we all know what my answer is going to be? Have I mentioned how much of a slog I’ve found it before (many times)? It’s Moby Dick (obviously)

Coldplay: A book that makes you sad no matter how many times you read it

Okay, I am not a huge fan of re-reading books and so I don’t do it (I get stressed about the fact that I am not reading something new). However, even thinking about They Both Die at The End makes me feel sad.

The Glee Cast: A book that you’d like to be made into a musical

Okay, so I’m like a musical person, in that they tend to be the only thing that I ever go and see. And so when R and I went to see Cursed Child we kind of just forgot that it wasn’t going to be a musical even though there were many opportunities for it become one. So I feel like I would want Harry Potter to be a musical in some capacity.

Ed Sheeran: A book that was more emotionally heavy than you expected it to be

History is All You Left Me and More Happy Than Not both took me on rides and felt like a sucker punch to the gut. So thanks for that Adam Silvera.

Miley Cyrus: A book that you still don’t understand

I kind of still don’t get The Girl of Ink Stars. It just felt a little anti-climatic or something. I didn’t quite understand the hype, I think that was the main thing with it.

And there we have another book related tag post down.

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Autumn Reading

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Technically this title is bullshit because technically autumn hasn’t started yet because we’re still in the summer, but my summer reading list took me to August and well that is now nearly done and so here we are throwing this word around entirely too early.

Okay, I did a lot of accidental book buying in July/earlier this month. Me trying to avoid falling into a reading slump meant new and unowned to me apparently and so that was what I did. I bought a lot of books. I am now on a book buying ban, which should be kinda easy because I have so many damn books on pre-order (and they all seem to come out in the same 2 weeks in October, so that will be interesting). I don’t really know how this is gonna work though because looking at the 2018 Reading Challenge shelf there are a lot of books on there that I don’t actually own yet and kind of will need to buy at some point and then also whenever I go on a book buying ban the urge to buy books becomes too much and I end up binge buying. I don’t know, for now this list will be comprised of books that I actually own.

1) The Shadow of the Wind – Yes, this was on my summer list, no I didn’t read it. Yes, it will actually happen this time.

2) What If It’s Us – Technically this is not in my possession yet because it is due to be published in October. It’s one of the pre-ordered books that will make itself known in October.

3) A Darker Shade of Magic – I’m pumped to read this book. I’m just really excited to finally read some V.E Schwab.

4) Vicious– This is not an official book on the list. However I seem to be loving the bonus books right now and I do actually own this because I impulse bought it earlier this year due to the cover (I do judge them by that what I can say, I’m a sucker for a real pretty book).

5) Vengeful – This is also a pre-order due to arrive into my life in September and also the sequel to Vicious, because we all know that I needed yet another series in my life.

6) Godsgrave – Knowing that the final book of this series is not due until next year has made the prospect of reading this more appealing because I’m no longer holding out for the finale

7) Fight Club – Again, was supposed to read this over the summer, but I didn’t. So now I will.

8) London Fields – I still think I am putting off reading this because it hits wayyyy too close to home as I literally spend 40 hours a week in this area and I’m worried it might change my perception of it.

9) The Little Friend – This book is a beast and it will also complete the Donna Tartt bibliography for me.

10) The Uncommon Type – Let’s see what Tom Hanks to offer as a writer.

11) City of Ghosts – And yet another VE Schwab book makes the list. It is also currently already in my life and to be honest I may have already read it by the time that this posts and as I write it I’m just waiting for it to be delivered.

So that’s an extra 8 books from my actual list on here and then some extra VE Schwab thrown in for good measure. Books that are also going to make an appearance in my life in October are: Bridge of Clay,, Markus Zusak Runaways: Volume 2, Rainbow Rowell, to make monsters out of girls, amanda lovelace and This Will Only Hurt a Little, Busy Philips. I am also on holiday for like 2 weeks, one of which I think will be spent on the coast, so in theory this is a good time to get some reading done.

I’m gonna address all the books that I have still on the official shelf at some point, there may need to be another cull. There may not be. I don’t know. There are some there that I do actually really wanna read (most of the autobiographical ones tbh) but there are others that honestly I can take or leave.

I just need to get to 70.

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2018 Reading Challenge, Book 32 – Lost Boy

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This book almost sent me into a reading slump, it was the book that prompted all the bonus books that you have seen the past few days. Something about this book just felt really slow and I just couldn’t get on board with it. Maybe it was because they were a group of boys who didn’t have to follow any rules, it felt very Lord of the Flies and we all know how I felt about that one.

Eventually I found the dynamic between Peter and Jamie fascinating, especially as the book progressed and the relationship between them got tested and strained. What I liked about the group of boys was that there were clear roles that each one had. Jamie was very clearly the mother of the group and that ended up being to his detriment in the end.

This book really started to pick up during the Sally part to be honest. Which was kind of far into the book all things considered. But once it picked up it really hit the ground running. And so I avoided falling into the reading slump.

I’ve always kind of thought that the idea of Peter Pan was a little weird and kinda sad and this book really capitalised on that. Especially in the last 50 or so pages, the reveal of his part in getting Jamie to the Other Place (which made the opening pages made sense, it was a long game though) and the way that he managed to maintain his eternal youth. It really compounded the twisted nature of Peter and come the end I came to like that. He became this completely complex character that was a contrast between childish and being completely in control. The more the book progressed the more evident that contrast became.

This book inverted the idea of believe and what it means. Usually Tinkerbell needs it to live but in this the boys need to believe in Peter in order to stay boys. I loved that fact. And I also liked the way that the boys realised that as they prepared for their showdown with Peter. I also found the affects that their lack of belief in Peter and the way that it ages them a really interesting element of the book.

I just really loved how delightfully twisted Peter was in the end. It just felt like the kind of thing that someone so young who had all that power would do. It came from a place of truth and I liked that although the reader always kinda knew that Peter was hella shady the extent of it was only truly realised as it was revealed to Jamie. The way that Peter twisted things that were kind of specific to Jamie, using his trade mark against him. Making Jamie watch on a loop as Peter finally decides to let people leave which was the very thing that Jamie kind of desperately craved for others (specifically Charlie). The way that it all led to that final line which was just so definitive and so brilliant.

This book is brutal. It’s violent and at times it’s a lot. There were some aspects that didn’t necessarily seem to make much sense to me (the thing with all the Many-Eyed, I’m still not really sure what the hell they are supposed to be). And yeah, I found it kind of slow for a while but once it got going it really had me hooked and I turned out to quite like this book. Also, for some reason I didn’t see the ending coming, but as it started to happen I realised that it was the only way that this story could end.

3/5 stars

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Bonus Book Review – Always and Forever, Lara Jean

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If you follow me on Twitter then you will have noticed that over the weekend I basically tweeted about almost nothing but To All the Boys I Loved Before because I watched it almost the moment I had got my dinner for the night (after my workout, which I no word of a lie nearly cancelled so I could get home earlier…). I loved it so much and these stories have really managed to worm their way into my heart and just take up residence there.

And it literally all started with a trailer.

Now I have watched the film and also finished the books. Well, the books thing came first and I am still, even now at nearly 2 weeks later, sad that I don’t have a book to go because I’ve finished them all. But my goodness what a trilogy it has been.

I have honestly never, and may never be, so invested in the happiness of two fictional teenagers than I have been with Lara Jean and Peter. I just wanted them to be happy together. That was it. But obviously there was a lot of drama that came with that. Like a lot. It felt somehow like the most drama filled of the 3 books. But it was all like real life drama. It was dealing with the ending of school and where to go for college. It was assessing what you really wanted as opposed to what other people want for you. For a little bit it felt like there was no way to root for both Peter and Lara Jean’s happiness because they were just never going to align with one another and ultimately because it’s Lara Jean’s POV you just want her to be happy.

And she was coming to terms to not getting into the college that she wanted and then falling in love with a college that she was also simultaneously deeming as ‘impractical’ as well as trying to think ‘What Would Margot Do?’ as the reader you kind of know what she should do and when she comes to those conclusions of her own accord the happiness that floods over the reader as well felt intense. I also like the way that the rejection from her dream college was handled, she was allowed to be upset about it as she came to terms with it all.

I liked how the college ‘issue’ was dealt with between them. Also I couldn’t help but be hella endeared by the fact that Peter had just complete and total unending faith in his relationship with Lara Jean and it only really waived once at a time that felt perfectly valid to be honest (actually I think it was twice because Kavinsky remains the MOST jealous sometimes). I liked the way it ultimately initially went even though it broke my heart into a million pieces.

Although seriously their break up hurt. I kind of knew that it would but it still kind of left me floored like it was something that actually happened to me. And as it was happening and we were moving along with Lara Jean’s narrative it didn’t look that way, but then when Peter started defending himself I totally got where he was coming from. I remain hella impressed by the fact that Han always seems to manage to convey how another person is feeling even though it is from Lara Jean’s perspective. I felt Peter’s pain. As well as Lara Jean’s.

I felt like I related more to Lara Jean than I ever have in the previous 2 books. The way that she focused so incessantly on planning the wedding to avoid her real drama. The way that she kind of grappled with what people wanted around her and what she wanted. The fear of actually moving away to somewhere new. She was just so relatable and I loved her so much. Especially come the end when she finally made her decision.

Couple of other things I loved, Margot and her unease about her dad getting remarried because she’s just not been there for them falling in love and Kitty, as always.

This felt like a really good ending to the whole trilogy. It made me feel some kind of way a lot. It was well written and it gave me the happy ending that I so desperately craved. I love this series so much and I will always be a little bit sad that I have finished it now.

4/5 stars

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Bonus Book Review – Theatrical

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Happy Monday people, hope you had a nice weekend. I spent my Sunday mostly in bed and my weekend falling back in love with Lara Jean Covey and Peter Kavinsky because the film dropped and the cuteness overload was too damn much for me (and I’m still a little sad that I don’t have one of those books left). Ultimately it was chill, I saw Incredibles 2, I ate a lot of food. It felt good. I feel ready for this week, especially creatively speaking. But enough about that and let’s get down to business (to defeat the Huns).

I have another book review for you today. This book ended up in my life purely because I have no impulse control and well I was buying a couple of books anyway so what was one more?

This book was cute. If I had to sum it up in a word that would be it. It was also a interesting base insight into the world of the technical team of a theatre. It’s not that I don’t think much about them or anything, because I do almost every time I see a show, it’s that I kind of never really appreciate just how much work they actually have to do in order for the audience to see what they see every night (and twice on Wednesdays and Saturdays). Just damn.

The first thing that I really enjoyed about this book was the writing. I’ve never read a book by Maggie Harcourt before and I found her writing style  meshed well with me. It was easy to read. It was evocative at times, it was funny. It made me feel a little mushy sometimes out of the cuteness. It read really well and kinda fast (which to be honest I appreciated as I tried to claw back to being on track). It made me more interested to seek out other pieces of  her work. The cover has a pull quote of ‘the UK’s answer to Rainbow Rowell’ and well it wasn’t wrong.

Harcourt created some really great characters. I liked Hope (and I also appreciated her sisters’ names and the fact that there was a theme there). She felt like a really relatable character who just wanted to make it on her own of her own accord outside of her mother’s shadow. I mean it was obviously always going to come out that she was lying and that there would be consequences but I liked that this didn’t have one of those sad consequences endings and it basically just ended where it should, with the family being supportive of her and all that she managed to achieve. I will say in terms of her sisters that I kind of wish that there was more of a backstory there for them. Hope just didn’t like them and they didn’t really appear to like her and while the story exists in a vacuum and so it would make sense to not know about all the history it kind of felt a little needed because there didn’t appear to a single reason as to why none of them really got on with one another.

Her sisters aside I really liked the friendships that were built throughout this book, with both Priya and George. They felt grounded and real, especially the Priya one. That felt like a good representation of female friendships, I feel like I don’t see enough of them to be honest.

Not gonna lie, I quite liked the tension between Hope and Tommy. And I liked how it eased the less Tommy tried to act like a dick and Hope just tried to do her best with the hand she had been dealt. I also liked how she dealt with the whole ‘Tommy scandal’ when it came up. I feel like in some ways that she handled way better than I thought she would just because she was so wanting to be in the background. I also liked that Tommy seemed to inexplicably have Hope and Luke’s back in regards to their relationship.

Let’s move onto the love story element of it all shall we?

It was kind of a major part of the book, which I didn’t mind. However there were times when it felt a little too all or nothing which was sometimes a little intense. But that is to be expected when teens start to feel things. The date on the stage with all the effects and stuff was so cute and I liked it so much. I also liked Luke as a character in general and how he shared the same love for theatre as Hope just in a little bit of a different way. I also enjoyed how kinda awkward it all was. It felt real. I liked it.

I just really liked the whole book. It gave me all the warm fuzzy feels and it was something that I looked forward to going back to each morning/evening. I would for sure recommend it if you’re looking for this kind of contemporary book. Harcourt is a great writer and definitely one that I would look to go to in the future.

3/5 stars.

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Bonus Book Review – Frat Girl

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Fun fact, I end up in Waterstones Piccadilly an increasing amount these days (on Saturdays only). As such I end up getting a lot more books on my radar to read than I usually would because the covers end up in my mind and I’ve physically touched them and they don’t leave my head.

This is one of those books that I actually picked up and put back down on 3 separate occasions until on the 4th one I just thought fuck it.

This book took about 50 or so pages for me to get into. I kind of worried that it would be everything that I dislike in a book and that Cassie would be a very one dimensional character in a room full of boys.

Thankfully once Cassie entered the frat house and all the pieces kind of started to come into play this book really picked up and then I devoured it. I enjoyed it.

It fell very much into a rom-com in book form and we all know how much I love them. Especially right now. More on that a bit later though.

Cassie was an interesting character. In that she existed as a contradiction that on the one hand I understood because who really has it all figured out at 18 but then also it just became a bit annoying in the context of what Cassie was trying to be. Which I guess at the bottom of it was a feminist. Yet she had all these scathing, judgy things to say about other girls who rushed for sororities, even though effectively she was kind of doing the same thing. She just didn’t ultimately seem like a girls girl and that seemed to go completely against what she was trying to achieve and be.

I liked her for the most part when I kind of just tried to remind myself that for a while it is possible to still be in that teenage mindset where you think you’re a hardcore feminist but then also instantly move to tear other women down. I did like the confidence that she had in herself.

Okay let’s circle back to the rom-com in a book form thing. I don’t think that was what this book wanted the take away to be, but it was. Because I think it should have been more of a feminist thing. But ultimately that was what it boiled down to. I even kind of ended there with the resolution being that I guess they were gonna give it a shot because he got into a fight for her…the project that she was working on seemed to become secondary once rush (or maybe it was hazing) started I think (it’s been a while since I read now so I can’t quite remember its timeline). And I’m not overly mad about it because it was what I needed in the end, but also maybe it missed the mark a bit. The ending kind of bothered me.

I don’t know, maybe because it felt like it would be quite a big thing and yet it just sort of seemed to happen on a simmer. And also, I gotta be honest, I don’t even really know how Cassie ultimately would have concluded this project of hers because it did feel a little bit like she forgot that she would actually maybe become friends with the people that she spent all that time with. The whole management of her project just felt like an after thought at times because it didn’t really know what it wanted to be. I wanted to know what the actual fallout would be from the release of this project (in its half formed state) would be. And also, did she get to keep the scholarship, the terms of it were weird and all those interviews seemed kind of pointless. That whole thread had a lot of loose ends.

Back to the positives though, I liked the variety of guys that showed up in this. And how it showed that there was no stereotypical frat guy. That scene where Cassie led a sex ed class was hilarious. And I loved Roache’s style of writing. It was so easy to read and it read really well. It was funny. It was heart warming at times. It was cute. It was adorable. It was a little messy (in terms of storyline, not writing). It was a good read.

Yeah it was a little hit and miss overall, but that did not stop me from really liking it even when I found it frustrating at times. I’m glad that I picked it up.

3/5 stars

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Bonus Book Review – PS, I Still Love You

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I honestly just bounced from one book back into this series, out onto a different book and then finished this series of. I got hella obsessed, hella fast and I’m still hella sad that I’m done with it because I just finished a book and I didn’t have another one of these books to fall into. I had to move on. Wild.

This book pretty much picks up from where the first one left off and as such I was very much in my feelings because Lara Jean and Peter were adorable and I love them with every fibre of my being. It’s intense.

And so was the drama that hit very early on in the book and then continued throughout. I liked the way that the fall out of the ‘sex tape’ was handled and how it affected Lara Jean. It all came back on here even though both her and Peter were implicated. I also found the way that then reflected in the relationship between Peter and Lara Jean was really well handled.

I also enjoyed how complicated it all got when Genevieve got thrown into the mix. I think I liked it just because it felt like a very accurate representation of what being teenaged and having to interact with your first love even though you’re not together anymore. The fact that Peter and Genevieve found comfort in each other in some way, while annoying and stressful for my Lara Jean/Peter endgame heart, made sense and I really got the frustration that Lara Jean felt at it. Han did a great job of portraying that.

She also dealt with my least favourite thing, the love triangle, well. Because of the way that the Peter/Genevieve thing was dealt with it made sense that she sort of gravitated towards someone who was maybe a little more similar to her than Peter…and that whole thing did make sense. And for a brief moment at the party in the care home I was rooting for them. And then Peter showed up and I remembered that those feelings weren’t real and I was still invested in those two ending up together.

I loved, loved, loved the development of Lara Jean’s character. It really felt like she came into her own and I liked that she never underestimated what she was worth. She ultimately didn’t let Peter treat like she was being irrational or like shit and took control of it and I loved that. Like I mentioned in my review for the first one, she is a quieter kind of bad ass.

Kitty still remains my low key fave what with her savage responses and take no prisoners attitude, and also her incessant desire to set her dad up with her neighbour. I also loved the addition of Stormy and all her wise words of wisdom and the friendship that she formed with Lara Jean. It felt kind of maternal in a way.

I’ll tell you what else I enjoyed about this which I didn’t really notice until he made a brief appearance. Josh. He just disappeared off the face of Lara Jean’s earth. And I liked that. Because that is what happens in life once someone stops dating someone (and also makes things a little awkward with their sister). I liked that he wasn’t just shoehorned in for the sake of it.

I’ve said it many times, but I am very invested in Peter and Lara Jean and their happiness. Specifically with each other. In a way that I feel would be unrealistic for real life, but in fiction I need it to thrive. And so there was about 100 pages of this book where I was worried that they were just gonna stay apart and I wasn’t gonna get my happy ending at the end of this. When I did, my heart did a little happy dance. I’m obsessed.

This was a great second book to this trilogy and I get why it was also at one point the ending. I didn’t quite enjoy it as much as the first one but that was mainly just because I knew I was in love with these characters and so I didn’t see how that was going to change.

3/5 stars

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