#RockMyTBR February Update (2018)

Hi all! The Beast From The East has finally lifted, after a few very chilly days snowed in at my flat, and I am incredibly relieved that the snow is finally over and looking forward to hopefully warmer days to come. February is over (I mean did it even really happen? I swear I blinked and it was March?) so that means it’s time for another #RockMyTBR update. For those of you who don’t know, #RockMyTBR is an annual reading challenge (created by Sarah K at The Book Traveller), where you have a list of books from your TBR that you read over the course of a year, in order to knock some books off your TBR (and then promptly add 20 more). February wasn’t as good as January in terms of reading, I only read two books, but I am still two books ahead of my Goodreads Challenge, so that’s good. Here are the books I read:

33393824Wintersong by S.Jae-Jones

This was one of my #otspsecretsister books from last year, I started on the 1st February and finished it on the 19th. I really wanted to like this book, but sadly, despite the pretty writing and use of music, it was incredibly slow and I found myself bored through most of it. Here is my review of it:


35817737The Exact Opposite of Okay by Laura Steven:

This was my #RockMyTBR book for this month, cheating a little because it doesn’t actually release until next week, but I got it at YALC last year, so I’ve had it for a while and I figured that was enough to count it for the challenge. I read this one from 19th-27th February (it’s quite short, so I flew through it). I loved this one, it was funny, feminist and incredibly relatable and I would recommend it to everyone! Here is my review of it:


So that’s my recap of what I read in February, here’s what I have coming up for March:

Orphan, Monster, Spy-Matt Killeen-I got an ARC of this in December last year and as the release date is coming up this week, I made it my first read of March. I won’t have finished by release date on Thursday, but ah well, that’s the way things go! It’s been an okay read so far, not sure I love it as much as some of the other WWII books I’ve read, but it’s definitely different.

Moxie-Jennifer Mathieu-My #RockMyTBR book for March, I got this one from #otspsecretsister Amy in November, and I’m super excited for it, especially after having read The Exact Opposite of Okay, I definitely want to step up my feminist reads this year.

The Hazel Wood-Melissa Albert-This is one that I had meant to read last month, but I got super busy and just didn’t get the chance, I’m almost halfway through now though, so I will definitely finish it this month.

The Toymakers-Robert Dinsdale-Another e-ARC that I meant to finish last month but didn’t even get a chance to start. I’m hoping this month things will go better!

So there we go, my March TBR. I’m hoping I might actually finish all of them this month, but it will all depend on how busy Uni is. I’d like to try and stay a couple of books ahead of my Goodreads challenge if I can as I want to try and get it up to 40 books by the end of the year. How is your reading going so far this year? Let me know in the comments!



Wintersong Review

33393824Book: Wintersong

Author: S.Jae Jones

As part of my New Year’s Resolution to actually read the books I’ve received as part of the #otspsecretsister project since participating in rounds from August 2016-January 2018, one of my books for February was Wintersong, a book I received from my second #otspsecretsister Jinger. I was really excited for this one as I’d never read anything based on Labyrinth before and I’d heard a fair bit of hype about it, plus I love music, so I thought a fantasy where music was a huge component would be a good one for me. Sadly it didn’t live up to my expectations and whilst I enjoyed the first half or so, I found myself getting bored the longer the story went on. The pace was insanely slow and the plot, what little there was of it, was confusing at times. Here is a short synopsis of the book:

The last night of the year. Now the days of winter begin and the Goblin King rides abroad, searching for his bride…

All her life, Liesl has heard tales of the beautiful, dangerous Goblin King. They’ve enraptured her mind, her spirit, and inspired her musical compositions. Now eighteen and helping to run her family’s inn, Liesl can’t help but feel that her musical dreams and childhood fantasies are slipping away.

But when her own sister is taken by the Goblin King, Liesl has no choice but to journey to the Underground to save her. Drawn to the strange, captivating world she finds―and the mysterious man who rules it―she soon faces an impossible decision. And with time and the old laws working against her, Liesl must discover who she truly is before her fate is sealed.

Dark, romantic, and powerful, S. Jae-Jones’s Wintersong will sweep you away into a world you won’t soon forget.

I liked that the story was a retelling of more unusual tales, you have the movie Labyrinth, the poem The Goblin Market, German mythology and various aspects of other mythologies as well, so I liked that, it felt very different to anything else I’d read before, which was nice as often retellings tend to all be of the same five stories that have been done a million times over.

I liked that the chapters all had names, but I wish they’d been numbered too, I find it a lot easier to keep track of where I am in a book if the chapters are numbered.

The pacing was incredibly slow. I’m talking ridiculous levels here. It was over a hundred pages before Liesl and the Goblin King even really properly interacted and still after they did, it felt like the author was just playing for time until Liesl inevitably escaped. I just felt like nothing was happening, and my eyes were kind of glazing over, waiting for the next thing to actually happen. The overly long chapters certainly didn’t help matters. I reckon you could have cut a good 200 pages from this book without really losing anything.

I felt like the worldbuilding was kind of flat? I mean we’re in this underground lair with this mysterious character, these goblins and these changelings who are created from wishes, it’s a pretty cool setting, but it’s not really explored at all! Same with the world above, it’s this kind of 17th/18th century AustriaI, but we don’t really get to see any of it properly. The wish magic was kind of cool, but again, it gets shafted in favour of the romance.

The writing was nice but it felt kind of insubstantial because nothing was really happening, it’s like the words were pretty on the surface but there wasn’t really anything beneath because neither the characters on the plot felt like they had any purpose to them. Also by the end if I read “austere young man” one more time, I would have screamed.

I liked the inclusion of music, I knew some of the basic terms because I used to play clarinet but some of the others went over my head. I liked the idea of music playing a big role but in practice, most fantasy readers probably aren’t seasoned musicians and so classical music terms mean very little to us!

I would have liked it if Liesl’s relationships with her siblings had been explored more, it’s clear that they’re very important to her and Kathe is the whole reason she goes Underground in the first place, but they could have been developed so much more. Honestly I didn’t really care about either Kathe or Josef, they both felt flat to me, so I couldn’t understand why Liesl did either.

As for Liesl, I wasn’t overly keen. I get that the author was trying to do something different by having a YA heroine who was defined by her talent rather than her beauty but everytime Liesl described herself as plain it made me want to scream Like hon, yes we get it you’re plain, we heard you the last few hundred times you said it. I don’t know, I just didn’t feel connected to her, didn’t feel like I could root for her.

A lot of the time I honestly just felt confused. I wasn’t quite sure what was happening, it felt like I was having to do a lot of reading between the lines to work out what was happening and it was exhausting.

The Goblin King was intriguing, but also frustrating, because we never really got to know him very well, even in Liesl relationship with him, he was always this kind of mysterious, spectral figure. Their romance kind of took over the story and I wasn’t really interested in that, because I don’t really love age gap romances between immortals and humans. There was a bit of sex, but honestly from the blurb I was expecting way more and this is an unusual thing for me to complain about because I don’t really like sex scenes in books! It’s not that I minded that the romance didn’t get overly sexy, I was glad it wasn’t but it felt like the book didn’t offer what it had promised in that area. It was also annoying that Liesl had to discover her self-worth through her relationship with him and not through herself, that’s not a great message to be sending young girls.

It’s honestly hard for me to say more because I was so confused most of the time, so I didn’t really have an opinion on much and even if I did, there wasn’t much happening to have an opinion on. The ending in particular was kind of anti-climactic, everything had been building to that point and then it just stopped.

Overall, this story had so much promise and potential in the beginning, but quickly dovetailed into something incredibly confusing. It could have been an amazing story, if I only had actually been able to comprehend what was going on!

My rating: 2.5/5 stars

Bechdel Test: FAIL-Liesl barely interacts with other female characters after the first half of the book and when she does, their conversations are always about men, if not initially then they always come back to men.

My next review will be of Orphan, Monster, Spy by Matt Killeen.

The Exact Opposite of Okay Review (ARC)

35817737Book: The Exact Opposite of Okay

Author: Laura Steven

Published By: Electric Monkey

Expected Publication: 8th March (what is this madness? An ARC review on time for once?)

Format: Physical copy, paperback

Thanks to Electric Monkey for allowing me to have a free copy of this book! This in no way influenced my opinion of it.

I got an ARC of The Exact Opposite of Okay at YALC last year and I was super excited to read it as it was one both me and my friend Hannah were determined to get. We kept going back to the stand every time that they did ARC drops in the hope of getting one and eventually, on the Saturday, we were both lucky enough to get one. This book sounded exactly up my street, feminism and humour? Yes please! I was a little worried that it wouldn’t live up to expectations I had in my head, but I shouldn’t have, this book is funny, unapologetically feminist and a must read for all teenagers, boy or girl. Here is a short synopsis of the book:

Izzy O’Neill is an aspiring comic, an impoverished orphan, and a Slut Extraordinaire. Or at least, that’s what the malicious website flying round the school says. Izzy can try all she wants to laugh it off – after all, her sex life, her terms – but when pictures emerge of her doing the dirty with a politician’s son, her life suddenly becomes the centre of a national scandal. Izzy’s never been ashamed of herself before, and she’s not going to start now. But keeping her head up will take everything she has…

First off, I have to talk about Izzy because she was the main reason why I loved this book so much. I related so darn hard to her! Her very dry, sarcastic, crass and kind of immature sense of humour is so similar to mine and the way she uses humour as a shield against the tough stuff happening in her life…..yup been there. When I was reading her internal monologue, some of the little asides she made during the book, I kept going, yup, yup, yup. So naturally because I related to her a lot, I was really rooting for her and got suitably angry on her behalf when everything went down. Also the fact that she and her friends were always eating and she spent a large amount of time thinking about food-yup. Just reading about her and her friends felt so relatable to my own friendship group (we spend a lot of time ribbing each other as well) and that really endeared me to this book. The voice is definitely one of the strongest attributes of this book, such a relatable, realistic teenage voice.

I did love the humour, I was laughing almost constantly whilst reading, but I will say the entire book does feel very British despite being set in America. I get that this is probably because Laura Steven is British but the book had to be set in America for the revenge porn plot to work (it’s illegal in the UK), but still, the juxtaposition between the setting and the voice of the book was kind of jarring when the voice sounds very British and the setting is American. I don’t know whether other reviewers have noticed this, or if it was just especially jarring to me because I’m British. Ironically though, the fact that Izzy’s voice smacked of British humour was one of the reasons I probably related so hard to her!

I loved Izzy’s development throughout the novel, how she goes from really confident and self assured, to putting on a front, to finally embracing her vulnerabilities, to getting angry and wanting to fight back. It felt like a really natural journey for her to go through and I liked that she came out the other side having grown and learned something.

Izzy and Ajita’s friendship was just goals. As I mentioned before, it kind of reminded me of me and my own friends, just the way they constantly ribbed each other but would fight tooth and nail for the other one and were so supportive, it was just a really lovely portrayal of female friendship. I also loved that for once, romance took a backseat to friendship in this book!

There was some nice diversity in the book, Izzy’s friend Ajita is Nepali and LGBTQ+ and there’s some interesting exploration of what this means for her, though I would have liked to have seen more of that. Carson, the main love interest is black, and Izzy and Ajita’s friend Meg is in a wheelchair. This all felt very natural and was just kind of there in the background of the book.

It was nice to see a poorer protagonist take centre stage in this book, so often YA protagonists are middle class, and you don’t really get to see many books focusing on a working class experience, but Izzy and her grandmother are poor and this informs a lot of Izzy’s character and her interactions with people. It also added to the social commentary of the book, talking about how wrong it is that some elderly people have to continue working to the detriment of their health because they can’t afford not to, and really played into Izzy’s interactions with Danny.

Speaking of Danny, my gosh I don’t think I’ve ever been more mad at a fictional character. Danny is the definition of white male privilege and TEOOO (and Izzy) is not afraid to call him out on it. One of the things I loved so much about this book is that it really delves into the “Friend Zone” and explores what that really means and that is something we don’t see enough of in YA. It also, very harshly and effectively debunks the “Nice Guy” trope. I think we all know a “Nice Guy” and will definitely recognise guys we have known, or gone out with in Danny.

I would have liked to have seen Meg more, she seemed like a really fun character and I hope that the sequel to this book will focus on the new “Tripod” of Izzy, Meg and Ajita.

The positive attitude towards sex in this book was so refreshing, it’s definitely something I could have used when I was a teen and I can’t imagine how empowering this book will be to teenage girls in embracing their sexuality.

Mrs Crannon was awesome and it was nice to see a really positive teacher figure in this book!

I liked the inclusion of the Bitches Bite Back posts at the end, especially the one about the Friend Zone!

Overall, this book was funny, feminist and incredibly timely and I think if you read one contemporary YA book this year, it should be this one. It explores slut shaming, Nice Guys, the Friend Zone, poverty, feminism and revenge porn all in a very humorous and accessible way. I can’t wait to read the sequel!

My Rating: 4/5

Bechdel Test: PASS-Honestly I would have been disappointed if it hadn’t! Izzy has numerous conversations with other female characters in this book that had nothing to do with boys.

Top Ten Tuesday #148


Hi everyone! I hope you’ve all had good weeks so far, I spent last night camping out on the floor of my university’s atrium in order to get a ticket for Sports Ball, the biggest night of the year for those of us in sports clubs, it’s so much fun and well worth the sleepless night!

Anyway, it’s Tuesday and that means another Top Ten Tuesday from Jana over at That Artsy Reader Girl. This week, we’re going the exact opposite of last week’s topic, and talking about Books We Could Reread Forever. I am a massive fan of rereading, it’s actually one of the things I miss about being just a reader rather than a reader & blogger, I don’t have as much time to reread old favourites as I would like to. So here we go, the books I would reread over and over (and over) again:

  1. A Darker Shade of Magic-VE Schwab

I feel like this one is kind of a given, because if you’ve been following my blog over the last couple of years, you will know that my love for VE Schwab’s Shades of Magic trilogy knows no bounds. The characters are incredible, the world is so immersive, her writing is just brilliant, it’s such a creative fantasy and one I’m so glad I came across, so I could definitely immerse myself in Kell and Lila’s world over and over again. I bought the collector’s edition last year, so I’m planning to reread it for the first time over the summer.

2. Any Rick Riordan book (of the ones I’ve read!)-Rick Riordan

I would have loved to be able to narrow this down, but it’s way too hard for me too pick a favourite Rick Riordan book of all the ones I’ve read. I have gone back and reread the Percy Jackson series a couple of times, but haven’t gone back to any of the others. Rick Riordan books are just so much fun, and such a good pick me up when you’re not in a great mood, so I could definitely reread them over and over again.

3. Harry Potter Books 3 & 4-JK Rowling

I could have put the entire series here, but I decided to pick out specific books from the series, as tough as it is to admit, the 5th and 6th Harry Potter books were a definite struggle for me first time around and honestly, if I reread the seventh book, I try to skip over all the camping stuff! The third and fourth books are my favourites of the series, the third book has all the Marauders stuff (WHY DID THEY LEAVE THAT OUT OF THE MOVIE?) and the fourth has all the Triwizard Tournament stuff (and the Yule Ball, you know how much I love a ball), so those would be the ones I keep coming back to again and again (though I do also love rereading the first one, just for all the nostalgia feels).

4. Skulduggery Pleasant series-Derek Landy

If I was going to go into specifics here, the first four would be my favourites to reread, as after book four, they get a lot darker and there were certain parts that made me feel a little grossed out, but I do love the entire series. I mean a wise cracking magical skeleton detective and his human sidekick solving crime together and putting the bad guys behind bars? It’s pure genius and so darn funny. Like Rick Riordan, Derek Landy’s books are ones that I would reread when I needed a bit of an uplift.

5. Ballet Shoes-Noel Streatfeild

This book is one of my childhood favourites and even now, years after I first read it, it still means a lot to me, it’s all about choosing your family and sisterhood and friendship and those are all things that I have always loved in the books I read, so this is definitely one I could read over and over again.

6. Blind Beauty-KM Peyton

KM Peyton was one of my favourite writers when I was younger, as I was completely obsessed with horse stories and she wrote some of the best. Blind Beauty is such a beautiful story, Tessa learns and grows so much throughout the book and her relationship with her horse Buffoon is just beautiful. This is definitely one I would reread over and over again for all the warm and fuzzy feelings from my childhood.

7. Noughts and Crosses-Malorie Blackman

You might be wondering, why Jo, why would you subject yourself to the heartbreak that comes with this story over and over again? Well because it’s such a powerful story, and one of the first YA books that I ever read so it has a really special place in my heart and I love to reread it from time to time just to remind myself of those feelings.

8. Matilda-Roald Dahl

One of my favourite childhood books, this book just gives me all the warm and fuzzies every time I read it (not that the story is particularly fuzzy, it’s Roald Dahl after all), and I would definitely reread it over and over again to revel in Matilda’s triumphs.

9. Unwind-Neal Shusterman

Granted, I would probably skip over one chapter every time I reread this book, because whoa, once was enough to read that, but I could definitely reread this book more than once, it’s such a unique premise for a dystopian story, the dark concept is balanced with a healthy dollop of humour and the characters are great. Also I am going to get to meet Neal Shusterman in just under three weeks, and I’m so excited!

10. The Book Thief-Markus Zusak

Maybe I just enjoy crippling pain and heartbreak, but I would actually read this book over and over again, even knowing how everything turns out. The writing is just so beautiful, the relationships are so heartwarming and ultimately I think you’re left with a sense of hope, even if the book does go to some dark places.

Over to you! What books would you reread over and over again? Do we share any? Anyone who has read Ballet Shoes, which Fossil sister did you think you were when you were younger? Let me know in the comments!

Next week’s topic is Favourite Book Quotes, but in the meantime, I have a couple of book reviews that I’m hoping to post over the weekend.

Top Ten Tuesday #147


Hi all! I hope you’ve all had good weeks so far, I’m on my work placement week at The Evening Telegraph in Dundee, it’s been good so far, different to what I expected and kind of exhausting given I’ve been getting up at 7am and not getting home till 7pm but it’s good experience and I hope the rest of the week goes smoothly.

Anyway, as it’s Tuesday, I have another Top Ten Tuesday from Jana over at That Artsy Reader Girl, and this week we’re talking about Books We’ve Lost Interest In Reading. As much as we’d love to say we’ll read everything on our TBRs, the truth is that we have more books on them than we’d ever be capable of reading in one lifetime and that means we do occasionally need to cull them every now and again. I actually donated some books I wasn’t interested in reading anymore just last week, so this topic could not have come at our more perfect time. So here we go, books I’m no longer interested in reading:

  1. What Light-Jay Asher

After the allegations of sexual harassment that have recently come against Jay Asher, I can’t in good conscience read this book now. When it comes to sexual harassment I will always support the victims and Asher’s response to the allegations has been less than pleasing, so I will not be reading this book or watching the second season of Thirteen Reasons Why.

2. The Fever Code-James Dashner

Again, after the allegations that have come to light against James Dashner, I can’t support his books anymore. This pains me because I got a signed edition of this book and I really wanted to know how the maze came to be, but the pain that Dashner’s victims went through is a lot worse than my need for closure, so I won’t be reading this book.

3. Matched-Ally Condie

I got this one for free at the book swap the first year of YALC, and I’ll be honest I wasn’t all that interested in it in the first place and after almost three years of it just sitting on my shelf, I figured I either needed to read it or lose it. So I chose to lose it.

4. Before I Fall-Lauren Oliver

I started trying to read this back when I was doing my A Levels-dear gosh I don’t like to think how long ago that was now, and I only got 50 pages through before I got bored. Having seen the movie now, I think I can safely say I don’t think this story is for me and I added it to my pile of charity shop donations.

5. Die For Me-Amy Plum

Another one of my free YALC acquistions from 2015. I did actually think this one sounded interesting at the time, but it’s kind of fallen off my radar now and I’m not so sure I’m really interested in reading it anymore. I haven’t got rid of it yet though, so I could still change my mind.

6. A Long, Long Sleep-Anna Sheehan

I’ll be honest, I wasn’t sold on this one much in the beginning anyway, I mean Sleeping Beauty in space sounds kind of cool, but it always seemed a little too romance focused for me. I really only got it to make up a deal at YALC, so I don’t feel too bad about donating it.

7. Burning-Danielle Rollins

I got this one from YALC in 2016, and I actually was really interested in reading it, but then I saw it had lots of low reviews, so my enthusiasm waned and waned until I finally decided to get rid of it last week.

8. Three Days To Dead-Kelly Meding

Another of my 2015 ill advised free YALC acquistions. I’m not really a huge paranormal YA fan anyway, and the cover is a girl in a skimpy outfit, nothing about that screams me. Lesson learned, never pick up books just because they’re free, unless they’re proofs you’re interested in!

9. Unbreakable-Kami Garcia

The last of the free acquistions-I did actually keep one, so they’re not all gone! This one actually did sound quite cool, Supernatural meets ghosts, but I just totally forgot about it for almost three years, so I figured that was a sign!

10. Royal Wedding-Meg Cabot

Whilst a part of me does want to see where Mia ended up after the end of the last book, I’m not the same reader I was when I read the original Princess Diaries series, and I don’t think I would enjoy it as much now as I did back then.

Over to you! What books have you lost interest in? Do we share any? Why do you lose interest in particular books? Let me know in the comments!

I will have another Top Ten Tuesday for you guys next week, Books I Could Reread Forever. In the meantime though, I just finished Wintersong, so I will have my review of that up for you as soon as I have the time to write it.

Jo Talks Books: Blogaversary Q&A

Hi all! So for those of you who may not know, or didn’t read my Top Ten Tuesday post this week, Tuesday was my fourth blogaversary! Now I don’t usually do anything to celebrate, but this year I felt like doing something a little different, after all four years is quite a long time, I mean when I first started this blog I was doing my A Levels, and now I’m nearly at the end of my third year of University, my life has changed so much in the last four years and so has this blog and I thought it would be a pretty cool time to celebrate that. Now I asked for you guys to submit questions via a Google Form this week, didn’t get too many responses, but that’s okay, I’ll try and think of some questions of my own that might interest you! If there’s anything else you’d like to know at the end of this post then you can leave more questions in the comments. Hopefully this post will allow you guys to get to know me and the blog a little better and it should be a fun way to celebrate my blogaversary!:

  1. How did you get involved with the bookish community? Were you nervous to start?

I think I’ve talked about this a little on the blog before, but I’ll go over it again for any new followers. When I was 17, I saw someone posting book reviews on Tumblr, I thought it seemed like a cool idea, so I started doing them too. Obviously being in Lower Sixth, I was thinking about University and I was looking into ways to get into Journalism. A lot of the websites I looked at suggested that running a blog was a good idea, so I had a google to see how to start one up and came across WordPress. I always knew I would do a book blog, I’ve been a bookworm ever since I was a little kid, so it was a natural fit for me. I was nervous to start with yes, and it took me a good year before I really started to talking to anyone in the community, but the last few years I’ve really started to feel at home and feel like I actually belong here!

2. What do you like to do outside of reading?

I know it’s hard to believe, but I do other things outside of reading! Obviously I write a lot, not just these blog posts, articles for classes and The National Student, but I am a YA Fantasy writer as well, which I have been talking about a little in my Writing Corner and will be talking about more over the next few months. I also watch a LOT of TV, mostly on Netflix and a lot of movies as well. I’ve been horse riding since I was 8 and am a member of my University’s riding club and I’ve been doing Trampolining since I was 11 and am a member of my Uni’s Trampoline and Gymnastics Club as well. I am learning Spanish in my free time, in the hopes of doing a gap year trip to South America when I graduate Uni.

3. Do you find it hard balancing University and blogging?

Yes! That’s the simple answer to that one. I’d love to say that I’m some sort of blogging superstar and can magic up the time to blog between doing a full time Uni course, blogging and the rest of my life, but it’s not true. I’m only human and of course I struggle to fit blogging into my life, heck I struggle to fit reading in during really busy parts of the semester! There’s no magic formula to handling it, most bloggers would probably say that they live by a schedule, but I’ve never been like that, I prefer to be in the moment when writing a blog post. It does mean I have to squeeze writing blog posts into weekends or any smidge of free time that I get throughout the week, but I can’t imagine it any other way.

4. What do you feel is the biggest thing you’ve learned since you started blogging?

I’ve come out of my shell a lot since I first started I think! I’ve got a lot better and talking to people and interacting with people in the community and that’s been really great for me. My content has improved tenfold since I first started, I now take detailed notes for my reviews, I write in depth discussion posts, I’ve done Event Recaps, Read-a-thons, Quarterly Rewind posts, I think there’s a lot more to my blog now than just book reviews like it was when I started. I’ve also learned to open up a bit more and share more with you guys than I did when I first started and although I’ll never be one of those people who wants to share everything about their life on social media, I like to think I’m less of an enigma now than when I started blogging. Sorry I know that was a massive rambly answer 🙂

5. What is your favourite thing you’ve done in your four years of blogging?

That’s pretty tough to decide, I’ve got to write some pretty cool things, go to some pretty cool events, read some incredible books and meet some amazing people! I would have to say the best thing blogging has brought me though is YALC, I never would have discovered YALC in 2015, if I hadn’t started blogging in 2014 and now it’s an annual tradition that I go down to London for YALC every year with my best friend and it’s so much fun.

6. You’ve got to meet some great authors during the time you’ve been blogging, is there anyone you’re still dying to meet?

Well the thing about being a reader and a blogger is that you are constantly discovering amazing new authors, so the list of authors you want to meet changes pretty rapidly! I’ve met a lot of my must meet authors in the last few years, Sarah J Maas, Derek Landy, Maggie Stiefvater, VE Schwab, Jodi Picoult etc, but there is still a few I’d love to meet. Obviously JK Rowling is the ultimate dream-never-gonna happen one, but I am also desperate to meet Rick Riordan (again never gonna happen as he doesn’t tour outside the US) and Neal Shusterman (although again, he doesn’t seem to tour outside the US). I would also love to meet Leigh Bardugo, I know she has done UK tours in the past, so hopefully she’ll come back again and I’ll get to meet her. Ally Carter is another one I’d love to get the chance to meet, who might be a possibility as she has come to the UK before. I missed Stephanie Garber on her last UK tour, so I’m hoping if she tours again for Legendary, I might be able to make it, as it has a summer release date.

7. Has blogging changed the way you read/what you read at all?

Yes I think so. Not in terms of genre, I still primarily read YA Fantasy, occasionally branching out into Historical YA, Contemporary YA, YA thrillers and Adult Fantasy, but it has definitely changed the way I read. I am far more aware of new releases now and go actively looking for certain books, whereas before I would just wander into a bookshop and nose around, I do kind of miss the surprise of not knowing what I am going to find, but it is great to be aware of what’s coming out. Obviously in a practical sense blogging has changed the way I read, because I now make notes on what I read in order to review it and I also obviously have review copies to take into consideration now. I’m a little bit more aware of how much I read now as well, because of having Goodreads and I make more active goals with my reading during the year. I think these are all really positive things though and have improved my reading for the better.

8. Is there anything that you think people would be surprised to know about you that they couldn’t find out on your blog?

Obviously my love for books is pretty obvious and my bookish opinions and everything are quite easily found on here. I’ve talked about movies I like quite often as well, and TV. I think people would be surprised to know how big a part of my life music is, I don’t necessarily mention it all that often on here, but I absolutely love music, I listen to my IPod every day and am constantly adding new stuff. Music is a massive part of my writing process as well, as I have a Writing Playlist, it’s also a big part of who I am as a reader as I am never without my IPod when I’m reading. I’m a massive fan of musicals, like half of my IPod is musical soundtracks, be it TV, film or stage musicals.

9. What would your biggest piece of advice be to new bloggers starting out?

Get involved! The blogging community can be scary and intimidating to start off with, especially if you start as a teen like I did and it seems like everyone around you is older and more experienced than you are, but we’re all in the same boat, and we’re more than willing to help new bloggers out. It can be kind of lonely, just sitting behind your laptop, talking into what seems like a void and you think that no one can hear you, but connecting with other bloggers has given me a great bookish Internet family, so whatever you do when you start out, talk to other bloggers, they’re your one stop advice shop, support system and most importantly, friends in this community.

If you want more tips though, then I have a couple of posts, one for new book bloggers in general and one for student book bloggers so you can check those out here (small shameless plug!):



10. How do you take your tea?

This one is from my friend Hannah, she thinks she’s being funny, since she knows very well that I don’t drink tea! Or coffee!

So there you have it, a little bit more of an insight into me to celebrate my fourth blogaversary! Here’s to hopefully many more years to come. Any other questions for me, about blogging, books, writing, life in general? Leave them in the comments!

I will hopefully have another discussion post for you later this month, though I’m not promising anything, as it’s nearly the end of the month anyway and I have an essay due on 1st March! My next discussion post, whenever it is, however, will definitely be about the need for more stories featuring twenty somethings, be they university related or not. In the meantime, I will be fairly busy next week with work experience, so don’t expect many posts, but I will have my Top Ten Tuesday post for you all as usual on Tuesday.

Top Ten Tuesday #146


Hi everyone! I hope you’ve all been having a good week so far, mine has been pretty quite, I went to see The Post at the cinema on Saturday, and that was really good, if you haven’t seen in you definitely should!

Today is kind of a special day for me, because it’s my fourth blogaversary! That’s right, four years ago today (how the hell has it been that long?), I started BookLoversBlog. Honestly I’m kind of amazed I’m still here, I sort of thought it would just be a side hobby I’d do during sixth form and never thought I’d manage to maintain my blog through the first year of Uni, let alone throughout second and third year. I also never thought so many people would be interested in reading what I had to say about books, I mean there’s 800 odd of you who follow me, not to mention the people who follow me on Twitter and that’s just incredible! So thank you to everyone who has supported me over the last four years, and here’s to hopefully many more! I’m going to be doing a Q&A post to celebrate, so submit your questions to me here:


Well that’s enough of my spouting on, the point is, it’s Tuesday and that means another Top Ten Tuesday from Jana at That Artsy Reader Girl. This week, since it’s Valentine’s Day tomorrow (ugh), we’ve got a romance based freebie. Now since I’m a total romance cynic and hate everything to do with Valentine’s Day (seriously I can go through the rest of the year not caring that I’m single, and then this one day comes around and just shoves love down your throat), I’ve decided to turn this week’s prompt on it’s head and instead of going for a typical mushy topic, I’m going for Top Ten Books For The Romantic Cynic This Valentine’s Day (aka books you can read if you want to escape all the love!). So here we go:

  1. Gone Girl-Gillian Flynn

If any book is going to remind you how lucky you are to be single, it’s this one. I mean you won’t find a book less in the romantic spirit than this crime thriller about Amy and Nick Dunne who may be the most twisted couple in the world. Once you’re done reading about Amy and Nick, you’ll probably be incredibly happy that you don’t have a partner who can frame you for their disappearance.

2. Dangerous Girls-Abigail Haas

Yet another book about twisted relationships that will make you feel glad to be single, as you follow Anna, Elise and Tate who are in a twisted kind of love triangle, Tate is Anna’s boyfriend, but it’s pretty clear that Elise is obsessed with her and I felt like Anna might be kind of love with her too. Anna is accused of Elise’s murder, and the whole book follows the trial and the events that led up to the murder, ending with a shocking reveal that will absolutely blow your mind.

3. Asking For It-Louise O’Neill

This book is about sexual assault, so yeah, not at all romantic. It will make you angry, it will make you want to throw your book (or in my case laptop) across the room because of how the justice system is weighed against the victim, and it will definitely not give you the warm and fuzzies, so perfect for the grumpy singleton to avoid the love on Valentine’s Day! Plus it’s generally just a really important book, especially given everything that has gone on this year, both in Hollywood and now in the book community.

4. A Series Of Unfortunate Events-Lemony Snicket

The Baudelaire Orphans don’t have time for romance, they’re too busy dodging the misery that keeps flying at them from every turn. So if you’re a romance cynic wanting to avoid the love this Valentine’s Day, why not dive into the Baudelaire’s story to remind yourself that no matter how lonely and bitter you feel, the Baudelaires have it a lot worse.

5. Before I Go To Sleep-SJ Watson

Another crime book to remind you that love isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. The kind of amnesia the MC has is pretty terrifying, I mean imagine waking up every day and not knowing who or where you are? Pretty scary right? Add to that that her husband is not who he appears and you have the makings of a pretty scary situation and a very twisted romance.

6. Dark Places-Gillian Flynn

Honestly if I’d read Gillian Flynn’s other book it probably would have been on here too, her books are so twisted! This book follows the survivor of a massacre, Libby Day who pinned the crime on her brother Ben and twenty five years later attempts to discover what really happened. It’s all pretty gruesome really, there’s a scene with a satanic cow ritual that has been stuck firmly in my head ever since I read it. So if you’re not in the mood for romance this Valentine’s and would rather read about gruesome murders, this is the book for you.

7. Frozen Charlotte-Alex Bell

Another creepy horror for your cynical romantic heart to dive into. Set in a creepy old house on the Isle of Skye, it follows Sophie on a visit to her cousins as she attempts to solve the mystery of the Frozen Charlotte dolls and the gruesome accidents that seem to follow them. There’s a slight hint of romance between Sophie and Cameron but for the most part the book is focused on the creepy goings on at the old Dunvegan School For Girls.

8. This Savage Song-Victoria Schwab

Kate Harker and August Flynn don’t have time for all that mushy stuff, Kate is trying to prove that she can be as vicious and devious as her cold hearted father and August is just a monster attempting to be human. If you’re wanting something devoid of romance but with less horror and more action, this might be the book for you.

9. Code Name Verity-Elizabeth Wein

Friendships are just as, if not more important than romantic relationships and I think Valentine’s Day is a timely reminder of that. If you’re feeling bitter about the fact that you’re alone this Valentine’s, then read this book and it will remind you that you might not have a partner but the friends in your life will always be there for you. You’ll also be crying for a reason other than your lack of date.

10. The Book Thief-Markus Zusak

There’s a few little hints of young love, but other than that, this book is far more about friendship and family and war and death (oh and books), than it is about love. If you want something to touch your cynical heart this Valentine’s Day, I dare you to read this book and not cry. I dare you.

So there we go, ten books for your cynical romance heart this Valentine’s Day, that you can dive into to avoid all of the mushy stuff going on around you, whether you’re single and cynical like me, or if you’re in a relationship but you don’t really do Valentine’s Day. Have you read any of these? What other books would you recommend for the romance cynic in your life this Valentine’s? Let me know in the comments!

Next week’s topic is Books I’ve Decided I’m No Longer Interested In Reading, which is kind of topical given what happened over the weekend and the fact that I just unhauled a load yesterday, so it should be a good one!

In the meantime however, I’m hoping to do my big Blogaversary celebration post over the weekend, so make sure you submit your questions in the form that I linked at the top of the post!