Sunday, 27 March 2016

Soundtrack Saturday (1)

Soundtrack Saturday is a meme created and hosted by The Hardcover Lover! So what is Soundtrack Saturday? It's a feature about bookish playlists! Each Saturday, I choose a book and post a playlist based on it!

As with all bookish memes, there are a few easy steps to follow to help you create your own perfect Soundtrack Saturday post:

  • Choose a book that you've read or are currently reading - any book is fine as long as you can create a playlist for it
  • Create a full (10+songs) or a mini (four songs) playlist for the book of your choosing


All The Bright Places Soundtrack

1. Candles - Daughter
2. You are the Best Thing- Ray LaMontagne
3. Big Jet Plane- Angus and Julia Stone
4. To Build a Home- The Cinematic Orchestra
5. No One's Gonna Love You- Band Of Horses
6. Runaway- AURORA
7. Blue- Fjord
8. Breathe Me- Sia
9. Smother- Daughter
10. 9 Crimes- Damien Rice

I hope you enjoyed my playlist for All The Bright Places. There's a definite trend from light music at the start and then into darker music which is a pretty accurate reflection of this book. All The Bright Places has a dark undertow throughout with moments of pure happiness and delight...probably one of my favorite reads this year. 

Friday, 25 March 2016

ARC Review- Dreaming of Antigone (Robin Bridges)

Dreaming of Antigone


Every star has its own path… 

“I can’t ever be the blazing star that Iris was. I’m still just a cold, dark satellite orbiting a star that went super nova.”

 Andria’s twin sister, Iris, had adoring friends, a cool boyfriend, a wicked car, and a shelf full of soccer trophies. She had everything, in fact—including a drug problem. Six months after Iris’s death, Andria is trying to keep her grades, her friends, and her family from falling apart. But stargazing and books aren’t enough to ward off her guilt that she—the freak with the scary illness and all-black wardrobe—is still here when Iris isn’t. And then there’s Alex Hammond. The boy Andria blames for Iris’s death. The boy she’s unwittingly started swapping lines of poetry and secrets with, even as she tries to keep hating him.

Heartwrenching, smart, and bold, Dreaming of Antigone is a story about the jagged pieces that lie beneath the surface of the most seemingly perfect life…and how they can fit together to make something wholly unexpected. 


My Review 

* Many thanks to Kensington Books for providing this ARC in exchange for an honest review. *

The pages were easily turning while I read this one. The characters were easy to empathise with and didn’t feel fake or overdone. Andria is your relatively typical teen learning to deal with the aftermath of a devastating event. Her budding feelings for Alex; the boy responsible for her sisters death are met by guilt and shame, but he just seems to understand what she’s going through more than anyone else around her.

Both Andria and Alex are damaged characters. Andria has almost always lived in her twin sister’s shadow. She was the sickly one, the one who was never allowed to join any of the school teams for fear that she might suffer an ‘episode’. Their overprotective mother has always fussed over her, none of them ever realizing that Iris was the one who needed protection. Alex, is recovering from a trip to rehab. In Andrias eyes he is to blame for Iris’ overdose and ultimate death, after all he was Iris’ boyfriend and the one who got her into drugs in the first place. Hating him comes to her naturally, especially since he is to blame for all the pain caused to her family… and yet she is drawn to him in a way that she shouldn’t be.  

Half way through this book took a pretty dramatic turn, one I definitely did not see coming. We discover the reality behind Iris’s overdose and it’s a doozy. From then on the book focuses on the characters coming to terms with this new development and what it means for each of them in relation to Iris’ death.

This is the story of two broken teens, who share a common tragic event which draws them together in unexpected ways. While their romance is not an easy one, there is a mutual understanding of one another. We explore the theme of death and the ‘survivors’ left behind, and get asked the ultimate questions of ‘What if I had known? and Would I have been able to stop it?’

My rating: 4/5

Thursday, 17 March 2016

Review- All the Bright Places (Jennifer Niven)



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.

This is an intense, gripping novel perfect for fans of Jay Asher, Rainbow Rowell, John Green, Gayle Forman, and Jenny Downham from a talented new voice in YA, Jennifer Niven. 

My Review 

So this review is going to be filled with quotes, because this book is just so damn beautiful that I can’t help but share Jennifer Nivens writing. And to start, one of my favourite quotes of the book, (even though technically it's not Nivens).

“We do not remember days, we remember moments”—Cesare Pevase

Listening to this as an audiobook is one of the best decisions I could have made. It brought a new sense of depth to the story and made the characters tangible. The voice actors did a superb job and brought the characters to life in such a way that it was that much harder to let go of them in the end. Told in alternating perspectives, we get a glimpse into both Violet and Finch's lives and get to explore their feelings, both good and bad right alongside them. 

“He smiles out at the ugly trees and the ugly farmland and the ugly kids as if he can see Oz. As if he can really, truly see the beauty that’s there. In that moment I wish I could see it through his eyes.”
- Jennifer Niven (All The Bright Places)

Violet is suffering from the loss of her older sister. Still not quite over the night of her death, she has been getting through life by excusing herself due to ‘extenuating circumstances’. But when Finch saves her from making a potentially fatal decision atop the school bell tower, it starts a whirlwind of friendship which teaches her to live and love again. Finch, knows exactly what it’s like being in a dark place, he takes Violet from this place and shows her the beauty in life, all the while spiraling down a rabbit hole of his own.

Finch was a fascinating character. His quirks, while endearing were interpreted by his fellow students as being weird, nicknaming him the ’freak’. His attempts to create different types of ‘Finch’; 80’s finch, British Finch etc show the struggles that many young people go through to discover who they are and where they fit in. Unfortunately for Finch, somewhere along the way he lost who he really was.

Bittersweet. That’s how I would describe All the Bright Places. The juxtaposition of light and dark was done beautifully. There are moments of pure delight and beauty between Violet and Finch, especially during their moments of travel and discovery. These are then contrasted with the dark, numbness of mental illness and the self-depreciating thoughts that come with it.

“A string of thoughts run through my head like a song I can’t get rid of, over and over in the same order: I am broken, I am a fraud, I am impossible to love”
- Jennifer Niven (All The Bright Places)

“You have been in every way all that anyone could be….If anybody could have saved me it would have been you”
- Virginia Woolf (appearing in. All The Bright Places)

I would highly recommend this book to any reader YA or otherwise. While I know issues such as mental illness do not appeal to all readers (myself normally included). This book has such a beauty about it despite its darker themes, and Nivens beautiful writing has a way of making you, laugh, love and cry all at the same time. Most of all, if you have the opportunity to listen to this as an audiobook I urge you to do so.

My rating: 5/5

Tuesday, 15 March 2016

Top Ten Tuesday (28)

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by the amazing Broke And The Bookish.

Ten Books on My Autumn TBR

It's hard to narrow this list down to only 10 books...but I've managed the impossible. So onward and upward...

So the top book on my TBR list this season is...

       The Winner's Kiss (The Winner's Trilogy, #3)
After finishing the first two books in the series last month, I CANNOT wait for this to be released and find it's way to my bookshelf. If there is one book I will definitely read this Autumn it's this!

Other Books on my TBR

No matter what time of the year, I'm always keen for a good contemporary read. I've been meaning to read PS. I Still Love You ever since I finished To All The Boys I Loved Before. Tell Me Three Things is a 2016 release which I have been highly anticipating. I've read many great reviews about Emmy and Oliver and Dash and Lily's Book of Dares has been eagerly awaiting to be read on my shelf. 

Emmy & Oliver P.S. I Still Love You (To All the Boys I've Loved Before, #2) Tell Me Three Things Dash & Lily's Book of Dares (Dash & Lily, #1)

The Shadow Queen and The Great Hunt are both new releases which have been on my TBR since I heard about them. I haven't read either of the authors previous works, but their previous series have been quite popular in the YA bookverse.

The Shadow Queen (Ravenspire, #1)The Great Hunt (Eurona Duology, #1)
I would also like to do some re-reads this Autumn, starting with Stray which I first read a few years ago. I also intend on listening to Angelfall on audiobook and then move onto World After and End of Days.
Stray (Shifters, #1) Angelfall (Penryn & the End of Days, #1)

Lastly I want to read Me Before You, hopefully before seeing the movie when its released later on this year.

Me Before You (Me Before You, #1)

What's on your TBR this season? 

Wednesday, 9 March 2016

ARC Review- Pivotal Moments (Trinity Hanrahan)

Pivotal Moments (In Time, #1)


A senior in high school, introvert Aislinn Munroe is satisfied living unnoticed...
Aislinn is doing the normal post-high school preparations to get into college. She’s getting ready for a life beyond senior year, and wonders where she’ll fit in to the world once she’s officially an adult. Though her curves are to kill for, she’s also smart and funny. However, she isn’t at all popular, which is just fine with her.
Aislinn’s introverted ways are about to be put to the test...
Content with hiding from the limelight, Aislinn doesn’t get bullied like so many other shy kids do—that is, as long as she keeps to herself. But is she really living the life she’s meant to? Or are there unforeseen adventures waiting to shake up her life in the near future?
When her brother comes home from college, he brings an unexpected houseguest…
Teagan Aldridge is a reformed party animal, ladies’ man, and bad boy. He’s the last person Aislinn thought would ever show her attention. But when Aislinn and Teagan become unlikely friends, he brings out a side of herself she never knew existed. She already knows she’s special, but sexy and adventurous? That’s a first.
Are their personalities too far apart, or will opposites attract, making them an unusual, but influential pair? When their vast differences collide, Aislinn is led to some unexpected… Pivotal Moments   


My Review 

* Many thanks to Netgalley for providing this ARC in exchange for an honest review. *

Aislinn is your typical teen who shares many of the insecurities about her body and concerns about college that teens have. As she’s nearing the end of her senior year her focus is on her college preparation, and while she has never been part of the popular crowd, she has her best friend Penny at her side and that’s all she needs...Enter, swoon worthy Teagan, her brother’s delicious college friend with a heartbreaker past and his eye on Aislinn. However, things may not be smooth sailing, with an overprotective brother, the mean girls out to get her and her own anxieties holding her back, there is going to be some turbulent waters. 
I am on the fence with this book. While I enjoyed it for its entertainment value, it was just lacking something which I can’t quite put my finger on. While there were certain aspects which I imagine many teens can relate to, such as the main characters insecurities and lack of self-esteem. I fear I am past the point in my life where I find these things as relatable as I once did. However, I commend the author on the emotional growth of the character, there is nothing worse than when a character doesn’t learn anything. But Aislinn, learned to both believe in and stand up for herself.

I did enjoy the cute fluffy romance at times, even if it was a little cheesy. Teagan was an easily likeable character and his past indiscretions were a good addition as they made him more ‘human’, since he sometimes came off as too flawless. Penny and Connor (and Zver for that matter) made great supporting characters. Although Connors big protective brother routine became almost frustrating, especially considering his own poor decisions.

Overall, an entertaining read if you’re looking for something fluffy to fill your summer days, which I think a younger YA audience would enjoy. However, for me there was a certain predictability to the plot that was a little too formulaic for my taste.

My rating: 3/5

Saturday, 5 March 2016

February 2016 Wrap-Up

February started off slower than January for me. Most of my weekends were spent entertaining friends from out of town who were getting married at the end of February. The wedding was being held in my hometown so thy were coming up regularly to do last minute organisation, then the week before the wedding they stayed with us.While it was lovely having them, it also meant not a lot of time was spent reading. However I did manage to read 6 books in total. 2 Graphic Novels, 2 books, 1 novella and an audiobook. So all up not bad.  


   The Winner's Curse by Marie Rutkoski The Winner's Crime by Marie Rutkoski All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven 
Y by Brian K. Vaughan Y by Brian K. Vaughan The Assassin and the Healer by Sarah J. Maas

I completely adored the Winners Curse books, they were full of romance, political intrigue and the second book left on a cliffhanger, making me anxious for the 3rd and final book.

I reread the first 2 deluxe editions of Y-The Last Man, which I started a few years ago. Written by Brian K. Vaughn (author of Saga), you just know it's going to be amazing and they were both just as good the second time.This month I hope to finish the last 3 volumes.

All The Bright Places, was everything I expected to be. It was such a beautifully written story. Listening to it via audiobook, just made the characters come to life even more, which made it all that much harder at times.

Up Next In March

 Pivotal Moments (In Time, #1) Dreaming of Antigone  Defending Taylor
FirstsThe Winner's Kiss (The Winner's Trilogy, #3)

So in March I have a few ARC's provided by Netgalley to read. If I get through those I plan on finally getting to Firsts and hope to read The Winner's Kiss when it's released at the end of the month. 

What books did You read in the Month of February?  Which was your favorite? 

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