#29 Wild, Wild West Coast (#36)

Today I finished my 36th book of the 2015 Reading Challenge: ‘Lola and the Boy Next Door’ by Stephanie Perkins. Set in San Francisco, California, somewhere I’ve always wanted to visit (CA in general – I’d love to visit San Fran, LA, Santa Barbra etc), it fulfilled #29 A book set somewhere you’ve always wanted to visit. Having read the first book, ‘Anna and the French Kiss’ last autumn, and thoroughly enjoying it, I had relatively high expectations of the second novel. Unfortunately, I was disappointed.

My Goodreads Review
“The second book in the ‘Anna and the French Kiss’ set of companion novels (they’re not really a trilogy, despite what people say), ‘Lola and the Boy Next Door’ follows Lola, an eccentrically dressed teenage girl, living with her gay fathers, her dog and her junkie birth mother, and the difficulties she faces with regards to her current boyfriend, Max, and the boy she has been secretly in love with for her entire life, “the Boy Next Door” Cricket. That’s it as far as plot goes.
There is very little in the way of literary merit going for this novel, and it was undoubtedly weaker than ‘Anna’. Cricket is a likeable enough character, but I didn’t really care for Lola, or any of the other characters (except perhaps her dad Andy). It felt like an underdeveloped young teen novel – Lola herself felt at least two years younger than her age, her parents were control freaks, and her boyfriend Max was a genuinely horrible guy.
That being said, there were some redeeming moments, including when Cricket gave Lola the gift he’d been working on for months, and when they were baking together with Andy, but overall it was lacklustre.”

IMG_1153

Thankfully my wish to visit the west coast is still in tact. I’m sure one day I’ll read the final book in this set, ‘Isla and the Happily Ever After’ and that really could swing one of two ways in terms of my reaction (I’m not in any hurry to pick it up though).

#29 A book set somewhere you’ve always wanted to visit – Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins (5/10)

Twenty-nine down, twenty-one to go. (Thirty-six read)

My journey will also be instagrammed frequently on @charlottebibliophile

Posted in General Musings | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

TBR: July 2015

Last month I set myself the challenge of reading eight books in June – the most I’ve ever attempted to read in a month. I failed, abysmally. In fact, I read (equally) fewer books in June (five) than I’ve read in any previous month of 2015, and of those five, only three were on my TBR for June. However, I did have an exceptionally busy month, attending four concerts in four different cities (5 Seconds of Summer – Birmingham; One Direction – Cardiff; Taylor Swift – Glasgow; Taylor Swift – Manchester) so I’ve been on the road a lot, leaving little time for reading.

July will once again be an incredibly busy month for me, but for different reasons. I’m off to Wimbledon for the first time next week, the following week it’s my university graduation (I graduated with upper second class honours!) and I’m off to London, and then to France (expect blog posts on all in the coming month!) Where am I going to find time to read amongst all of that?! Regardless, I’m setting myself the goal of reading five books from the following:

  • The Fire Sermon by Francesca Haig
  • Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by J.K. Rowling
  • Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins
  • Grey by E.L. James
  • Me and Earl and the Dying Girl by Jesse Andrews
  • The Isle of the Lost by Melissa de la Cruz
  • Mosquitoland by David Arnold
  • The Assassin’s Blade by Sarah J. Maas
  • Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Titan’s Curse by Rick Riordan
  • Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli

IMG_1809

I’m currently in the process of reading the first five novels on the list, so finishing those will take priority! I’ve also got ‘The Fire Sermon’, ‘The Assassin’s Blade’ and ‘Percy Jackson and the Titan’s Curse’ loaded onto my Audible so I’m hoping to listen to them whilst travelling/lying by the pool. I love summer!

Twenty-eight down, twenty-two to go. (Thirty-five read)

My journey will also be instagrammed frequently on @charlottebibliophile

Posted in General Musings | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Quarter Quell #2

We are now halfway through the year and the 2015 Reading Challenge, which is completely insane – it’ll be 2016 before we know it. As a result, it’s time for my 2nd Quarter Quell post, where I wrap up the three months of reading and book buying (if you want to see how I did in January, February and March, click here).

Aims for Quarter Quell #2: read 20 books *FAILED*, buy less than 30 books *FAILED*

Quarter Quell #2 statistics
Total books read: 16
Total pages read: 6,211
Favourite books: (1) The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins, (2) A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas, (3) Very Good Lives by J.K. Rowling
Least favourite book: All I Know Now by Carrie Hope Fletcher
Total books hauled: 67

IMG_1714

Read: April, May, June

IMG_1717

Bought: April, May, June

Whilst I read three fewer books in the past three months than during January, February and March, I read only 16 pages fewer! Unfortunately I didn’t meet my target of reading 20 books (I read 16) and I definitely didn’t meet my target of buying less than 30 books (I bought 67 – which is still fewer than the 80+ I bought in the first quarter!)

Aims for July, August and September: read 20 books (highly likely since I am on summer vacation, and have nothing lined up for September – yet), buy less than 30 books (doable, since I own almost all of the current releases I’m interested in)

Twenty-eight down, twenty-two to go. (Thirty-five read)

My journey will also be instagrammed frequently on @charlottebibliophile

Posted in General Musings | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Reading Wrap-Up: June 2015

June ended up being much crazier than I anticipated (I don’t know why, as all my plans were set in stone before the month even began) and I rushed here and there (to four different cities to see four concerts no less) and so my 2015 Reading Challenge took a backseat – despite this, I still managed to read five books, three less than my target goal of eight, but I’m content nevertheless.

June 2015 statistics
Total books read: 5
Total pages read: 2,509
Favourite book: The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

IMG_1707

#1 A book with more than 500 pages – Breaking Dawn by Stephenie Meyer: Forever (#35)
#21 A book your mum loves – The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown: Shared Bookish Interests (#31)
#32.1 A trilogy – The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins: May The Odds Be Ever In Your Favour (#34)
#49 A book based on or turned into a TV show – City of Bones by Cassandra Clare: Seeking Shadowhunters (#32)
#56 A co-authored book – How To Be Bad by E. Lockhart, Lauren Myracle and Sarah Mlynowski: How To Be Bad (#33)

July is poised to be every bit as crazy as June, albeit for different reasons, so I’m going to play it conservative (since the whole stretching the TBR didn’t work out for me so well) and go for another five books read this month, hopefully including one or two that will tick off more categories. Fingers crossed.

Twenty-eight down, twenty-two to go. (Thirty-five read)

My journey will also be instagrammed frequently on @charlottebibliophile

Posted in General Musings | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Book Haul: June 2015

At the end of May I placed myself on a self-imposed book buying ban, with the exception of new releases, in an attempt to save my dwindling finances. I think it’s fair to say, with half of my purchases being new releases, that I succeeded – kind of!

IMG_1705

How To Be Bad – E. Lockhart, Lauren Myracle and Sarah Mlynowski (Signed)
Red Rising – Pierce Brown
Grey – E.L. James
Between the Lines – Jodi Picoult and Samantha Van Leer
Reasons To Stay Alive – Matt Haig (Signed)
Dream A Little Dream – Giovanna Fletcher
Off the Page – Jodi Picoult and Samantha Van Leer
An Ember in the Ashes – Sabaa Tahir
An Ember in the Ashes – Sabaa Tahir (Signed)
Clockwork Angel – Cassandra Clare
Clockwork Prince – Cassandra Clare
Clockwork Princess – Cassandra Clare

I’m most excited to read the two books by Jodi Picoult and Samantha Van Leer, followed by ‘An Ember in the Ashes’. Next month, I’m aiming for 10 or fewer books purchased!

My journey will also be instagrammed frequently on @charlottebibliophile

Posted in General Musings | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Books I’ve Read So Far In 2015

June 30Top Ten Books I’ve Read So Far In 2015
Being halfway through the year, this TTT comes at an opportune time, allowing me to reflect on the first six months of my reading year. As expected, I’ve read some good, and some not so good books, as well as one or two great books. As of today I have read 35 books in 2015, therefore I had a good number to choose from when compiling this list.

IMG_1701

1. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins (9/10, June)
I re-read ‘The Hunger Games’ only a couple of days ago, as I’m intending to re-read the entire series prior to the final movie hitting cinemas in November. There is just something incredibly powerful and thought-provoking about this YA dystopian that it places amongst my favourite books of all time.

2. A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas (8/10, May)
I only began reading Sarah J. Maas this year, and I’ve already devoured three of her novels, two of which place on this list, however ACOTAR was my favourite. This is a fairy-tale retelling, largely focusing on Beauty and the Beast. Combine that with some Hunger Games-esque trials, and you have in my opinion, the best release of 2015.

3. New Moon by Stephenie Meyer (8/10, February)
Until this year, I had never got past reading ‘Twilight’, but in February I felt an unexpected draw towards giving ‘New Moon’ a try, and I absolutely loved it! I might be late to the party, but I finally get the hype.

4. The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion (8/10, January)
The first non-YA book on this list, ‘The Rosie Project’ tells the story of a man with asperger’s syndrome and his search for love. Hilariously funny (laughing with, not laughing at) we follow Don creating a list with criteria to find the perfect wife, and then realising maybe perfect isn’t what he wants.

5. Very Good Lives: The Fringe Benefits of Failure and the Importance of Success by J.K. Rowling (8/10, April)
The only non-fiction book amongst my top 10, ‘Very Good Lives’ is the Harvard commencement speech J.K. Rowling gave at a graduation ceremony several years ago. It is motivational and full of life lessons that can be universally applied.

6. The Girl On The Train by Paula Hawkins (7/10, April)
Receiving a lot of hype over the first few months of the year, I too thoroughly enjoyed ‘The Girl On The Train’. Whilst at times it was dull and repetitive, the action more than made up for it.

7. Breaking Dawn by Stephenie Meyer (7/10, June)
The concluding volume in ‘The Twilight Saga’, ‘Breaking Dawn’ sees the culmination of Bella and Edward’s love, and Jacob finally finds his forever. I love the wedding, honeymoon and “the after”, but was slightly disappointed with the conclusion.

8. Eclipse by Stephenie Meyer (7/10, March)
The third book in ‘The Twilight Saga’ is yet another excellent volume – I really cannot fault this series, despite it taking me long enough to appreciate. This novel sees the confrontation of werewolves and vampires, and their joint cause to protect the one thing they all care for – Bella.

9. Since You’ve Been Gone by Morgan Matson (7/10, May)
The only YA contemporary on this list, ‘Since You’ve Been Gone’ is a perfect summer read about friendship and personal development. It deals with abandonment, and analyses the meaning of true friendship – it’s just very cute!

10. Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas (7/10, April)
‘The Hunger Games’ meets a YA version of ‘Game of Thrones’ with added magic, ‘Throne of Glass’ is compelling and action packed. I love the badass heroine, and the relationships she develops with the other characters.

This list was very Stephenie Meyer and Sarah J. Maas heavy (it could’ve easily included ‘Crown of Midnight’), but I’m ok with that, as only one of these ten was a re-read for me (‘The Hunger Games’) so I’ve discovered some amazing authors in the past six months. Here’s hoping the next six months is as successful!

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme created by The Broke and the Bookish. Check out their blog and get involved!

My journey will also be instagrammed frequently on @charlottebibliophile

Posted in General Musings | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

#1 Forever (#35)

Today I finished my 35th book of the 2015 Reading Challenge: ‘Breaking Dawn’ by Stephenie Meyer, the concluding volume of ‘The Twilight Saga’ (#1 A book with over 500 pages – standing at over 700!) Having only watched the movies before finishing the series today, I wasn’t sure how much I’d like this book, considering I love the final two films. I did like it, but in a different way.

My Goodreads Review
“‘Breaking Dawn’ is the concluding novel in ‘The Twilight Saga’ series, and begins with the planning of Bella and Edward’s wedding. The story continues with their nuptials, honeymoon and the events which come to pass as a result. I adore the love that resonates throughout this book, and the bonds that tie human/vampire/werewolf are stretched and deepened.
I love the character development in this novel – Bella’s transformation from human to vampire, and her family’s acceptance of her and her decisions, the additions of new vampires from across the globe, and Alice’s mysterious nature are all intriguing points throughout the duration of this novel.
This is the first and only volume that is told from the dual perspectives of Bella (as per usual) and Jacob – it was interesting getting Jake’s views on his relationship with the werewolves and the vampires, but it took a little time to adjust to his voice, having only heard the story told from Bella’s perspective until a quarter of the way through ‘Breaking Dawn’, but overall I thoroughly enjoyed this love story.”

IMG_1155

Yes – I view it as a love story! I have a slight issue with the ending however, as I generally feel that death in novels is a powerful tool, and reducing the number of “certain” deaths is lazy and unappreciated. I also feel that the ending/battle in the movie is much more entertaining than its counterpart in novel form – it just sort of fell flat, despite so much potential.

I love Renesmee and her relationship with everyone she meets, but particularly with Jacob – I actually cried when Jake [spoiler alert] imprinted on her, and that almost never happens. I loved the honeymoon and getting to know Bella and Edward as a married couple. Yes, there were a few loose ends, but it was a thoroughly entertaining read.

#1 A book with more than 500 pages – Breaking Dawn by Stephenie Meyer (7/10)

Twenty-eight down, twenty-two to go. (Thirty-five read)

My journey will also be instagrammed frequently on @charlottebibliophile

Posted in General Musings | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments