February TBR 2017

I was undecided whether or not to post a monthly TBR, especially as I’ve been indecisive when I’ve picked up a book this month. I don’t know how much reading for pleasure I’ll get done either, because I have a collaboration project for uni which will be exhibited at the end of the month as well as an essay to complete and books for uni to read. Three of the ones I have here are for my course and must be read, the others I’d like to get to if I have chance (three are library books)



The Vicar of Wakefield Oliver Goldsmith

Lolly WillowesSylvia Townsend Warner

The Lonely LondonersSam Selvon


Flowers for AlgernonDaniel Keyes

MisadventureRichard Meier

Silence is GoldfishAnnabel Pitcher

The Fate of the TearlingErika Johansen




Review: Broken Dolls – Tyrolin Puxty


Genre: Fantasy, Science Fiction, YA

Publication Date: 14th December 2015 by Curiosity Quills

Format: ebook sent to me for review by Curiosity Quills Press via Netgalley

Ella doesn’t remember what it’s like to be human; after all, she’s lived as a doll for thirty years. She forgets what it’s like to taste, to breathe…to love.

She watches the professor create other dolls, but they don’t seem to hang around for long. His most recent creation is Lisa, a sly goth. Ella doesn’t like Lisa. How could she, when Lisa keeps trying to destroy her?

Ella likes the professor’s granddaughter though, even if she is dying. It’s too bad the professor wants to turn Gabby into a doll, depriving her of an education…depriving her of life. 

With time running out and mad dolls on the rampage, Ella questions her very existence as she unearths the secrets buried in her past; secrets that will decide whether Gabby will befall the same fate…

(from goodreads.com)

This book was strange but I actually really enjoyed it. It definitely isn’t an all-time favourite but I’d say it’s definitely worth a read, as it’s unique and short. I particularly enjoyed the fact that Ella has lost her memory, so that the reader can relate to her in the way that neither knows what is going on, as obviously she is a character that you couldn’t normally relate to, being a doll.

I loved this book for how unique it is, I’ve never read anything else quite like it and it was a quirky read too. There’s a lot of mystery involved, as you don’t really find out what is truly going on until towards the end of the story. I did really enjoy this mystery though, it wasn’t overcomplicated, which was perfect as it is a short book and if it had been too complex it would have been too much and potentially overwhelming.

The characters were quite flat, I will say, but then I guess that’s mainly because Ella is a doll and doesn’t really know herself, so there is not a lot of room for development anyway. In fact, she was probably the least developed of them all, though this may seem to be so because her character is quite shallow and simple anyway. Gabby is the best developed, though I still feel as though there was a lot of room for improvement in terms of character in this book. Then again, it was a short book, so it perhaps wasn’t long enough for this to be included.

The plot was really what grabbed me though with this story – as I’ve said it’s very unique – and I did find myself engrossed in the events and wanting to know what was going to happen. Because all that Ella truly understood was what she felt it did mean that I felt her fear, so to speak, and I’d find myself seeing the characters through her eyes due to the way she’d react. I found this was really interesting as it gave the story a very one-sided view but worked to build up the tension and mystery that I particularly enjoyed.

Overall, I would recommend this book. It’s very short and quirky and definitely worth picking up. It wasn’t the best book I’ve ever read, and there were a lot of places where more development was necessary or could have been included, but nevertheless this is a fun read all the same.

Rating: 3 / 5 stars.

Review: My Life Next Door – Huntley Fitzpatrick


Genre: Contemporary, Romance, YA

Publication Date: 14th June 2012 by Dial Books For Young Readers (USA), 7th January 2016 by Egmont Publishing / Electric Monkey (UK).

Format: eARC from Egmont Publishing via Netgalley

The Garretts are everything the Reeds are not. Loud, numerous, messy, affectionate. And every day from her balcony perch, seventeen-year-old Samantha Reed wishes she was one of them… until one summer evening, Jase Garrett climbs her terrace and changes everything. As the two fall fiercely in love, Jase’s family makes Samantha one of their own. Then in an instant, the bottom drops out of her world and she is suddenly faced with an impossible decision. Which perfect family will save her? Or is it time she saved herself?

(From Goodreads.com)

 I feel the need to start with a disclaimer. I’ve read a lot of YA contemporary romances and so I am more critical than I would be of say, historical fiction, of which I’ve read very little. This book is cute, quirky and a perfect summer read, but save it for the time you’re on holiday and want a very cutesy book.

I say this, but I did genuinely enjoy it. It was so cute, there were just a few aspects that I didn’t enjoy. It really was a perfect holiday read (I read it in Barcelona) and for that I appreciate it. However, there were a couple of characters that I truly hated and felt needed hitting around the face with the book – though characters can make or break a book for me. Samantha’s mother and her partner were the most irritating and awful characters I’ve read for a long time, and it did definitely put a downer on the book for me. I couldn’t believe someone could be so terrible. However, I do recognise that the horrible character of her mother is essential for the plot and so I had to accept it.

The romance, however insta-lovey, was absolutely adorable. They were the cutest fictional couple I’ve read about in a long time and I fell in love with them myself. The insta-love did detract from it a bit, though because I read it on holiday I kind of was able to ignore this and just enjoy what I call a ‘fluffy’ story. It did have a bit of depth later on after the ‘accident’ (I’m saying no more because of spoilers), and this turn I appreciated otherwise it would have been constant arguments and not much else.

Leading from this, I found the characters a bit flat, though again, because I knew it would be a cutesy romance I could overlook this. I will admit I found it a bit dull at times but at other points I did feel dragged into the story, especially from about halfway through.

One thing that I did really like about this book was that it contrasted the difference in families by putting two completely different families as neighbours. I really enjoyed this feature as it looks at how those who should be ‘happiest’ aren’t necessarily and vice versa and it made the characters a bit more interesting with their differing family lives.

Overall, I did enjoy this book and it was a fun, adorable, quick read. I’d keep it for summer and holidays, because that’s when I feel this book can truly be enjoyed and its faults overlooked. In all honesty, would I pick up another book by this author? I don’t know, I doubt it. But I won’t say no, because if I want a fluffy contemporary next summer, I know exactly which author I’ll be heading for.

Rating: 3.5 / 5 stars.

Blog Tour Review: Relativity – Antonia Hayes


Genre: Contemporary fiction

Publication Date: 19th January 2017 by Corsair (first published 24th June 2015)

Format: Paperback edition sent to me for review / blog tour by Corsair

Ethan is an exceptionally gifted young boy, obsessed with physics and astronomy. 

His single mother Claire is fiercely protective of her brilliant, vulnerable son. But she can’t shield him forever from learning the truth about what happened to him when he was a baby; why Mark had to leave them all those years ago.

Now age twelve, Ethan is increasingly curious about his past, especially his father’s absence in his life.  When he intercepts a letter to Claire from Mark, he opens a lifetime of feelings that, like gravity, will pull the three together again.

Let me start by expressing how much I loathe physics. Whilst I feel as though it should be interesting (and definitely is to others), I personally find it exceedingly dull and cannot stand it at all. It was a happy day when I completed my GCSE in it.

That being said, I loved this book. ‘Why is physics so relevant?’ you ask. Well, Ethan talks about it non-stop, and the kid knows what he is talking about. Referring back to GCSE, this book taught me more than sitting in those lessons ever did, and was far, far more enjoyable too. It wasn’t tedious to read at all, and I know you’re probably wondering why I requested it – I didn’t realise how much physics would be included – I’m so glad I did though.

The same can be said for all of the medical jargon that features throughout the book. Considering I know nothing about neuroscience (I mean, I do an English degree) I genuinely felt as though I understood what the doctors were saying as it was written in such a way that a complete novice could enjoy and appreciate. I particularly loved this about this book, as it could have been so exclusive but actually drew me in, despite my pretty solid hatred of physics and my complete ignorance of neuroscience. Not only that, but I fell in love with the story, so all around I’d say it was a success.

This story is both heartbreaking and heartwarming, and the characters are all wonderfully complex with their own contradictions and flaws. One minute I’d find myself sympathising with a character, and the next I would hate them, they had so many hidden sides. I loved the changes that occurred throughout; changes in character, in relationships, in situation. It kept me hooked right until the very last page and left me wanting more.

The writing was also beautiful. I’ve already said how a complete science-phobe (yes I made up a word) can understand this book because of the way it is written. Simplicity is the key with this book, but that greatly contradicts the big ideas that are featured throughout, in physics, medicine and family.

The main focus of this novel is without a doubt family. It’s been a long time since I’ve read a book so totally engrossed with the idea of family and what it means when it is broken and the effects that one person can have on so many other people, so many years later. Ethan, who seems so simple at the beginning, grows throughout the story into a mature, deep character with a huge heart and it is through him that we can witness the complexity of all of the characters and their relationships.

Overall, I loved this book. It was effortless and beautiful, and I couldn’t recommend it highly enough. Yes, it can be quite heavy on science at times, but at the same time it doesn’t feel that way; it just grabs your attention and makes you want to continue reading on and on. It truly encapsulates the effect that a broken family can have on the child’s universe and it broke my heart just before it stitched it back together again.

Rating: 4.5 / 5 stars.


Five Books I Want to Read in 2017

Aside from uni books, 2017 is going to be the year where I read the books I genuinely want to read without the pressure of an overambitious goal. As my goal is 25 books, and around 15 will probably be for uni, I’ve selected 5 that I want to get to most.


Outlander – Diana Gabaldon

I can’t tell you how much I want to read this, but last year I felt bad if I went to pick it up because of its length. This year, however, I feel no guilt.

The People in the Trees – Hanya Yanagihara

A Little Life blew me away. Need I say more?

Les Misérables – Victor Hugo

YESSSSSS. I CAN FINALLY READ THIS! I’m halfway through, I love it, but it requires time and dedication. Last year I felt I couldn’t dedicate myself to it because of my stupidly high goal but NOW I CAN. (Yes, I’m excited to read it).

The Bell Jar – Sylvia Plath

This has been on every ‘to read this year / month / readathon’ list and I still haven’t actually read it yet…

Brave New World – Aldous Huxley

I love love love adult dystopia but have yet to read this. It needs to be done.

What books do you want to get to most this year?

Review: The Sun is Also a Star – Nicola Yoon


Genre: Contemporary, Romance, YA

Publication Date: 3rd November 2016 by Corgi Children’s / Penguin Random House UK Children’s

Format: eARC from Penguin Random House UK Children’s via Netgalley

Natasha: I’m a girl who believes in science and facts. Not fate. Not destiny. Or dreams that will never come true. I’m definitely not the kind of girl who meets a cute boy on a crowded New York City street and falls in love with him. Not when my family is twelve hours away from being deported to Jamaica. Falling in love with him won’t be my story.

Daniel: I’ve always been the good son, the good student, living up to my parents’ high expectations. Never the poet. Or the dreamer. But when I see her, I forget about all that. Something about Natasha makes me think that fate has something much more extraordinary in store—for both of us.

The Universe: Every moment in our lives has brought us to this single moment. A million futures lie before us. Which one will come true?

(from goodreads.com)

This book is more relevant now than it was when it was written; it’s about immigration, both legal and illegal. It’s a beautiful story with a powerful message that is more necessary now than ever before. Relevance made this already powerful book one of the most powerful I read last year.

Nicola Yoon fast became one of my favourite authors when I read Everything, Everything (read my gushing review here). I was so grateful and excited when I received the review copy I cannot explain (I read it straight away, this review is just delayed because of essays and uni), and it did not disappoint. The characters were wonderful and diverse, the plot intriguing but not over complicated, and I loved the format too.

One thing that Nicola Yoon excels at is writing diverse characters. She does it effortlessly – with some authors I find it can be quite forced – and the characters are unique and interesting, and well researched as well. I assume this because they are all very different with their varying backgrounds and thus would have to say that Yoon is successfully portraying different cultures and backgrounds.

Normally, I hate insta-love in novels, though this was, in a way, the premise of this book. However, it felt more genuine, as it is one-sided (I could expand but I’m too close to spoilers as it is, though I’d say this is fairly clear from the first chapter). The love story in this, although cheesy at times (it is a romance though, so I’m not going to complain because it’s to be expected – and it is rather adorable), is lovely and real.

I loved the balance between the characters, the differences that actually brings them together instead of pushing them apart, such as the difference between their interests; one loves science and one loves the arts (I’m fairly sure this says on the back cover). Again, Yoon’s characters are not always the ‘perfect match’ at first glance because they aren’t essentially the same character in terms of interests as I find quite common in books (possibly this is something I picked up on because my boyfriend and I are complete opposites in terms of interests, I don’t know). I feel like the relationships between her characters are real and honest – not forced in any way – and it makes for a much, much more enjoyable read.

There isn’t a massive amount to say about the plot. It’s simple, but wonderful. It only covers a day. That’s pretty much it. However, this short time frame really enabled me to connect with the characters and also understand their mindsets in their situations, especially with Natasha’s impending deportation. I’ve never read a book where the protagonist is facing this situation and thus it was interesting – and heartbreaking – to read about.

Overall I would highly recommend this book, and anything else Nicola Yoon has written / writes. This has made me certain that Yoon is one of my favourite writers, as I loved this just as much as Everything, Everything, and will definitely be picking up any future books by her.

Rating: 5 / 5 stars.

Christmas and Birthday Book Haul

I got a few books for christmas and my birthday (the 29th) and so I want to share them with you. I also bought a few on my birthday / with my birthday money and so I’ll list those too! There are a fair few for christmas because my family like to ask what we want, so I always ask for certain books, I’m not going to list who they’re from but if you happen to read this and you gave me one / some… thank you!



The Wonder – Emma Donoghue

The Sellout – Paul Beatty

Hot Milk – Deborah Levy

Eileen – Ottessa Moshfegh

All That Man Is – David Szalay

His Bloody Project – Graeme Macrea Burnet

Do Not Say We Have Nothing – Madeleine Thien

Half of a Yellow Moon, Purple Hibiscus, Americanah – Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

American Gods – Neil Gaiman

Submarine – Joe Dunthorne

Trainspotting – Irvine Welsh

The Book of Memory – Petina Gappah

Down and Out in Paris and London – George Orwell

Burmese Days – George Orwell

On Writing – Stephen King

Jane Austen Boxed Set



White Teeth – Zadie Smith

The Art of Fiction – John Gardner

The Road to Wigan Pier – George Orwell

Homage to Catalonia – George Orwell

The Penguin Lessons – Tom Michell

Alias Grace – Margaret Atwood


Purchased on My Birthday

Les Misérables – Victor Hugo (I bought a pretty edition – I did already have a copy of this)

The Casual Perfect – Lavinia Greenlaw

The Beach – Alex Garland

God Bless You, Mr Rosewater – Kurt Vonnegut


Ebooks Purchased

(these were all on offer – £1.19 was the most I paid for one of the books, the rest were less)

The Dark Days Club – Alison Goodman

The Bone Season – Samantha Shannon

Our Chemical Hearts – Krystal Sutherland

This Savage Song – V. E. Schwab

Suicide Notes from Beautiful Girls – Lynn Weingarten

The Essex Serpent – Sarah Perry

We All Looked Up – Tommy Wallach



My 2017 Goals

(I’m just noting here that my five books I want to read this year will be going up soon however two of the books are at uni and so I want to take a photo of all five for the post!)

Reading Goals

  • Read 25 books – I’ve set my goodreads goal pretty low this year, as last year it was 75. However last year I started well but never actually achieved my goal (I read 71), and spent the whole year feeling guilty if I picked up a longer book. A Little Life was incredible, but I’ve never felt so guilty about reading a book I truly loved, and I definitely don’t want to feel that way again.
  • Read longer books – This is the main reason I wanted to set a lower goodreads goal, I have so many, especially as I didn’t pick them up in 2016, but they look absolutely amazing.
  • Don’t feel pressured to read – Okay, so when it comes to uni books, I probably need to feel more pressured, but I’m focusing here on reading for pleasure. I found myself last year choosing books because of their length and not because I genuinely wanted to read them, and again, I don’t want to feel that way this year.

Blogging / Youtube Goals

  • Post once a week minimum – last week I aimed too high with three times a week and fell completely on my face. This year I’m aiming to post every thursday (this may change in september with my new timetable but for the first half of 2017 thursday should be okay) and then build it up if I have extra posts. I’d love to post three times a week but sometimes it’s not possible and I feel bad if I don’t.
  • Post wrap ups and hauls on Youtube – planning, filming, editing and uploading a video every week is just too much for me to manage as I have a busy schedule and other things that must take priority. However, I do enjoy making videos and so I’m hoping to try to film more. I may or may not write a post on the changes I plan to make regarding my youtube videos, but as yet I’m not sure if I will. If I don’t, expect them to be more vlog-style.

Uni Goals

  • Read all of my texts on time – Pretty self explanatory but last semester / term I failed miserably, being a fresher is surprisingly hectic and I found myself regularly going to the lecture or seminar with half a text (if any) read. This has to change!



(I didn’t know what picture to opt for with this post so have this pretty one of my uni that I took in autumn)