Friday, 30 September 2016

September Wrap-Up.

So I didn't quite manage all seven of my planned reads, which is pretty usual for me actually. On average I tend to manage about five books a month, and that's exactly what happened this September! There have been some great reads this month though, so I'm glad to have managed what I did!


  1. 'The Gospel Of Loki'; Joanne M. Harris. I felt so much conflict while reading this book because while I did like it, I was expecting to love it and was, in turn, disappointed when I didn't. The unreliable narrator, characterisation of Loki and reinterpretation of some pretty famous Norse Myths was really cool to read. However, I wasn't a fan of the constant modern references and in the end, it was just a retelling with not a whole lot of fresh or exciting thrown in. 3/5 Stars.
  2. 'Harry Potter & The Cursed Child'; J.K. Rowling, Jack Thorne & John Tiffany. I waited until I'd watched the play before letting myself read this, and that was definitely the best way of doing it. Unless you're familiar with reading scripts or have experienced it live, you're not going to appreciate this format nearly as much. I have some reservations about the slightly fanfiction nature of the plot but the characters were really well rendered, the world-building as magical as I remember and it deserves four stars for Scorpius Malfoy alone! 4/5 Stars.
  3. 'The Star-Touched Queen'; Roshani Chokshi. This book was by far my favourite read of the month. Chokshi just did such an amazing job with the writing, world-building, plot and characters too! She really has an amazing talent when it comes to visual imagery too and I felt completely transported into the setting she chose. Not only that, but Chokshi packed this book with so many references to Indian Mythology and folklore. 5/5 Stars.
  4. 'Dark Tide'; Jennifer Donnelly.  The third book in this series, and it's the one that has really sold it to me as a series to invest myself in, so it's a shame that book four will be the finale! Still, 'Dark Tide' has great character development and interesting plot action to keep any reader happy. Sure, the new romances felt pretty rushed but I could forgive it because everything else had improved so much! 4/5 Stars.
  5. 'Fearless'; Tim Lott. This book has received a fair amount of negative reviews, but for me it only brought nostalgia. I read it when I was younger and remember really liking it, so it was nice to relive that! I also really enjoyed that despite it's Dystopian setting, there were a ton of Fairy Tale references and tropes that made it something extra special and magical. 4.5/5 Stars.

This month I have read three books for Pretty Deadly Review's Backlist Challenge, bringing my yearly total so far to thirty five. This month's reads were:

- 'The Gospel Of Loki' by Joanne M. Harris
- 'Dark Tide' by Jennifer Donnelly
- 'Fearless' by Tim Lott

This month I have read one book for Falling For YA's Netgalley & Edelweiss Challenge bringing my yearly total so far to thirteen. This month's read was:

- 'The Gospel Of Loki' by Joanne M. Harris


This month I have gained sixteen points for Novel Heartbeat and Writer Grrl Reads' Prequel & Sequel Challenge, bringing my yearly total so far to sixty. This month's reads were:

- 'The Gospel Of Loki' by Joanne M. Harris (+2)
- 'Harry Potter & The Cursed Child' by J.K. Rowling, Jack Thorne & John Tiffany (+12)
- 'Dark Tide' by Jennifer Donnelly (+2)



This month I have read two books for [un]Conventional Reviews' New Releases Challenge, bringing my yearly total so far to twelve. The books I read were:

- 'The Star-Touched Queen' by Roshani Chokshi
- 'Harry Potter & The Cursed Child' by J.K. Rowling, Jack Thorne & John Tiffany
This month I have read two books for Daily Prophecy's Retelling Challenge, bringing my yearly total to nine. The books I read were:

- 'The Gospel Of Loki' by Joanne M. Harris
- 'The Star-Touched Queen' by Roshani Chokshi.


I also updated my Bookish Bingo card and have the final results for my Story Sprites challenge board!


Stand Alone: Fearless; Tim Lott.
Sea Creatures: Dark Tide; Jennifer Donnelly.
Revenge: The Gospel Of Loki; Joanne M. Harris.
Freebie: The Star-Touched Queen; Roshani Chokshi.
Friendship: Harry Potter & The Cursed Child; J.K. Rowling, Jack Thorne & John Tiffany.


2016 Fantasy: The Girl Of Ink & Stars; Kiran Millwood Hargrave.
Fairytale Retelling: The Book Of Lost Things; John Connolly.
Historical Standalone: Burial Rites; Hannah Kent.
Setting - 19th Century: The Jungle Books; Rudyard Kipling.
Villain Turned Good: The Girl With All The Gifts; M.R. Carey.
Book By Deceased Author: The Adventures Of Sherlock Holmes; Arthur Conan Doyle.
Character With Physical Deformity: Sisters Red; Jackson Pearce.
Book Cover With A Face: Fearless; Tim Lott.
Book With Vampires: City Of Bones; Cassandra Clare.
No Romance: The Gospel Of Loki; Joanne M. Harris.
Book With A Fantasy Land: Harry Potter & The Cursed Child; J.K. Rowling et al.
Female Empowerment As A Theme: The Star-Touched Queen; Roshani Chokshi.
Book With  Shipwreck: Dark Tide; Jennifer Donnelly.

Wednesday, 28 September 2016

Book Review: Fearless; Tim Lott.

I read this book so quickly. Why? Because, from start to finish, I was hooked! I loved this story so much and it brought with it such a huge sense of nostalgia because I'm fairly certain that I read it before and enjoyed it when I was much younger. I'm also entering it into the Monthly Motif challenge!

SOURCE: Bought
TYPE: Paperback

TITLE: Fearless
AUTHOR: Tim Lott
SERIES: --
PUBLISHER: Walker Books
PAGES: 267
GENRE: Young Adult, Dystopian, Fantasy, Science Fiction

RATING: 4.5/5 Stars


Blurb:
In the not-too-distant future, the world is safe from terrorists, the streets are clean, and girls labelled "juvies" or "mindcrips" have been hidden away behind the smartly painted exterior of the City Community Faith School. Their birth names are forgotten and replaced with a letter and number, but they give each other nicknames like Tattle or Stench or Little Fearless. As they slave away at chores, Little Fearless, who is actually the bravest girl in the school, tells the other girls stories, stories about the day their families will return for them. Little Fearless’s own hope and conviction spur her on a dangerous adventure — a bold and unthinkable plan that will either save the imprisoned girls or mean the end of Little Fearless herself, or both.

What I Liked:
  • While the Dystopian and Sci-Fi elements were in this book, I adored the fact that it read so much like a Fairy Tale! There were familiar repetitive elements, and Folk Tale like conversation where people don't quite speak in a way that's familiar to us! I really liked the writing and the way that Lott intertwined Sci-Fi and Fantasy. It was simple in it's plot and storytelling, yet really effective in making me actually feel something for the events of the book!
  • I thought the premise was pretty interesting for this book and Lott put a great deal of work into building the world, even if the plot was simple. Dystopian is a genre that I enjoy in small doses so it was actually refreshing not to have so much action flung in my face. I've seen hierarchy explored so much in Dystopian novels but this did it on a smaller scale that I enjoyed. It also touched upon interesting themes such as extremism, terrorism, religion and ethics as well as the obvious child abuse/neglect.
  • The characters, while not extremely complex, were very likeable and I enjoyed their flaws as well as their good points. Little Fearless was a great heroine: brave, selfless and clever too! I liked the villains too, especially the Controller and the creepy Whistler. Stench was a really interesting character too a little slow but probably the most complex of the entire book.
What I Disliked:
  • The book, while enjoyable to me, definitely lacked refinement and sophistication. In part it could have been due to being aimed at a younger audience, but mostly I found that the feel of the book would probably have been improved without the repetition and strange conversations that I mentioned earlier! While I enjoyed these things, I can fully see that others will not and find them too simplistic, immature and maybe even boring.
Overall Conclusion:
For me, this was an excellent book that lacked substance and depth, but contained so much heart that I loved it anyway. Like a strange, Sci-Fi Fairy Tale, it had an almost flawless hero to root for, a terrifying villain a few good twists and turns and the magical inclusion of folk tale like tropes. I really liked it as a Dystopian that focuses less on constant action and more on the world it's building and message it's sending. Great job Tim Lott!

Tuesday, 27 September 2016

Top Ten Tuesday: My picks for 'Books On My Autumn TBR'.


Without a shadow of a doubt, these are my favourite TTT lists. I love planning ahead, and looking at all the fabulous books I could read fills me with a huge sense of happiness.  In other words, I can't wait to make this list!

1) 'Memories Of Ash' by Intisar Khanani.

Since pre-ordering and receiving this book in May, I've been looking for the perfect opportunity to read it. I was hoping that this would be the month to do so but sadly, I haven't managed all of my reads and this happened to fall in last place. I'm reserving October for my scarier reads so it will probably have to wait until November now, but that's okay! I will get round to it.


2) 'Rebel Of The Sands' by Alwyn Hamilton.

Another book that escaped me on a monthly TBR and I haven't fond time to get back to, but once again I'm hoping that November will prove to be the perfect month to read this book! I'm extremely excited about it too, as I have been ever since I bought it. Such a gorgeous cover and intriguing synopsis must be filled with awesomeness!



3) 'Ash' by Malinda Lo.

Okay, this is the last 'catch-up' read I'll talk about but I'm so disappointed in myself for not getting to this book yet that I had to include it! A f/f relationship in a retelling of Cinderella sounds absolutely perfect to me, so I'm dying to read it and find out if it lives up to my high expectations!





4) 'The Lie Tree' by Frances Hardinge.

This book just looks so creepy, and that will be absolutely perfect for a Halloween read! I love scary books so much, and I've read Hardinge's work before so know that she's a phenomenal writer who really knows how to create a spooky atmosphere!




5) 'If I Fall, If I Die' by Michael Christie.

This is an old but not forgotten Netgalley request of mine that I've decided to try and read ASAP because I was so intrigued by the cover and synopsis! Not only that, but it would be a great to have a book in reserve to break up all the scariness!





6) 'The Bazaar Of Bad Dreams' by Stephen King.

I want to read this collection of short stories so badly, and October is absolutely the perfect month to do this! I haven't read Stephen King in such a long time and I only found 'It' average in terms of the scares, mostly because it was so long-winded. I'm hoping short stories will be the perfect solution!




7) 'The Graces' by Laure Eve.

A book about Witches? Yes! It's a must for Halloween! I actually received this book as an ARC from my Illumicrate subscription but sadly didn't get to read it until now. Still, that's okay because October will be a great month for starting this gorgeous book! 






8) 'The Dead House' by Dawn Kurtagich.

I received this book quite a while back, but that's okay because once again, Halloween is here to save me! I've heard great reviews for this horrifying psychological thriller and I'm looking forward to sampling some of Kurtagich's work at last!





9) 'A Monster Calls' by Patrick Ness.

Finally! I'm going to read another book by Patrick Ness! Whatsmore, it's going to be a good one I can just tell! From what little I've seen about the book, not to mention what I've gleaned from the movie trailer, I'm so excited!!! I hope I really do enjoy it as much as I think I will!





10) 'Illuminae' by Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff.

Like 'A Monster Calls', I bought this book a YALC (so pretty) and knew I'd have to read it ASAP because it's been on my list for so long! It has such an interesting premise too, and I read about it absolutely everywhere, so I can only imagine that I'm really going to enjoy it.

Monday, 26 September 2016

Last Week's Shenanigans (19th September - 25th September)...

I have had such a busy week guys, and I'm pretty sad that it's over because while I did still go to work, it's the most relaxed I've felt for a while! On Monday, my day off, I had another evening playing Tabletop games with our friends and Mat and I hosted this time! We chose 'Tales Of The Arabian Nights', a stunning game that is both artistically interesting and so much fun if you enjoy role playing and story telling! It's a long one though, so we didn't quite get to finish it, but we know the set up for next time! Of course I then had four days of work to look forward to, but they didn't turn out to be so bad. 

The weekend was the real highlight for me, because on Saturday it was my Dad's birthday! I had in fact booked the time off so that I could go down to visit, from Saturday to Monday. So early Saturday morning I set off on my way and met my Dad at the station. We had a lovely catch-up, especially when my Mum and Sister returned from their hairdressing appointment, and my Dad really liked the Drone I bought him as a present though learning to control it is definitely going to be a challenge! In the evening, we went out for a lovely meal together at my favourite hometown Indian restaurant. The food was delicious though it was quite busy!

On Sunday, I had one of my best friends round to visit for the day, and it was so much fun! Obviously we spent a lot of time catching up as we haven't seen each other in ages, and then of course we moved onto the Computer games which is probably our favourite thing to do together. This visit's choice was Monstrum, which is scary as heck and a really good buy for such a small price during the Steam sale. I rely on Rosie, my friend, to play these games with me because I'm too much of a scaredy-cat to do it alone!

I Read...


I Received...


- 'The Bear & The Nightingale' by Katherine Arden: Approved by Netgalley (20/09/16)
- 'Small Great Things' by Jodi Picoult: Approved by Netgalley (23/09/16)
- 'The Ice Dragon' by George R.R. Martin: Present from Rosie (25/09/16)

Memes:

Top Ten Tuesday: Current Favourite Songs

Sunday, 25 September 2016

Book Review: Dark Tide; Jennifer Donnelly.


It's kind of surprising that I've kept up with Donnelly's series based around Mermaids, mostly because I don't find that particular mythical creature all that interesting and water is not exactly my favourite book setting thanks to my phobia of it. However, something about the series has kept drawing me back, despite the fairly mediocre scores I gave the first two books. This third book was definitely the book I'd been waiting for to sell it to me as a series worth investing in! I'm also entering into the Monthly Motif challenge with this one!

SOURCE: Bought
TYPE: Paperback

TITLE: Dark Tide
AUTHOR: Jennifer Donnelly
SERIES: Waterfire Saga (#3)
PUBLISHER: Hodder Children's Books
PAGES: 432
GENRE: Fantasy, Young Adult, Romance, Adventure

RATING: 4/5 Stars

Blurb:
Once a lost and confused princess, Serafina is now a confident leader of the Black Fin Resistance (BFR). While she works on sabotaging her enemy and enlisting allies for battle, her friends face challenges of their own. 

Ling is in the hold of Rafe Mfeme's giant trawler, on her way to a prison camp. Becca meets up with Astrid and learns why the Ondalinian mermaid is always so angry: she is hiding a shameful secret. Ava can't return home, because death riders await her arrival. And it is getting more and more difficult for Mahdi, Serafina's betrothed, to keep up the ruse that he is in love with Lucia Volerno. If Lucia's parents become suspicious, his life--and all of Sera's hopes--will be extinguished.

What I Liked:
  • I finally got round to reading the third book of this series and I'm really glad about it because it's my favourite of the series so far! While the first couple of books were definitely aimed at a younger audience, this third book took on a slightly darker and more mature tone. This is a very promising direction for me. Much less of the cheesy mermaid language/puns and more of an interesting plot and serious tone to get into! I feel so much more invested than I did before, and I can't wait to see what happens in the future of this series!
  • Donnelly did a lot more work with her characters this book and I loved it. I'll forgive her for the fact that Neela barely even got a line because Book Two gave her so much attention. When there are six main characters it can be hard to give them all the attention they need. The fact that Donnelly gave chapters to Astrid (my new favourite character), Becca, Sera (who is definitely the leading mermaid in this series but I'm okay with that because she's getting to be pretty badass), Ling, and most surprisingly Lucia! The last one was a really good addition because it moved Lucia from being her parent's spoilt little pawn into a darker villain than I ever imagined her to be. I love it when author's give their villain's depth and Donnelly did a great job here!
  • The world-building in this book, when reflected upon properly, is actually pretty darn cool. Firstly, there is so much diversity in Donnelly's mermaid world, and I love that different mermaids have their own cultures dependant on where in the sea they were born, which is so reflective of life. Also, I love the creatures they encounter, and especially that they are partly rooted in Mythology that we know! They add a whole new level of exciting to the book and manage to feel very fresh and new at the same time!
What I Disliked:
  • Don't get me wrong, I didn't hate the idea of new romances in this book. After all, why should Sera get all the fun? I just feel that they were a little rushed, particularly in Becca's case! I wanted to see a whole lot more in the way of development than I did. In Astrid's case, it was handled better and I see a lot of potential for them providing that Donnelly allows them to grow as individuals first. I just wish more care had been out into the love sub-plots of this book!
Overall Conclusion:
I hadn't realised how much I needed this book in the series until I read it. While I enjoyed books one and two, they didn't grab me in the same way and I feel that if book three hadn't have been so good, I might have given up. However, this provided me with the excitement, danger and character development that I needed to fall for this series all over again. I'll definitely be getting hold of Sea Spell ASAP, which is apparently the last book so I'm expecting the finale to truly blow me away!

Tuesday, 20 September 2016

Top Ten Tuesday (Audio Freebie): My picks for 'Current Favourite Songs'.



This is one of my favourite topics because not only do I adore books, but I love music too! As soon as I saw that the topic could be anything audio related I knew I'd talk about some of my favourite current songs. I can't wait to share them all with you!

1) 'Castle' by Halsey.

Specifically, the version that's found on 'The Huntsman: Winter's War' soundtrack. While this might not be the greatest film around, I adore the huge amount of imagination that went into everything in it: the costumes are amazing, the visuals stunning and the plot was pretty good too. Above all, I loved the music and this particular song that plays during the credits really caught my attention.



2) 'Raise The Dead' by RAIGN.

Ever since I heard this song on 'The Originals', a programme that my flat mate thoroughly enjoys, I knew I had to add it to my list of favourites. Recently I've found it stuck in my head a lot and can't stop listening to it over and over again. RAIGN, otherwise known as Rachel Rabin, has a gorgeous voice and I'm desperate to get into more of her music.



3) 'Loudest Alarm' by Scars on 45.

I adore this song. I actually discovered it by accident while browsing through Youtube recommendations and it's probably my favourite that I've discovered this way. There are a few different versions but I've got a soft spot for the Demo version!



4) 'Sacrifice' by Zella Day.

I'm a pretty big fan of Zella Day, and the song that started it all was 'Sacrifice' on the 'Insurgent' film's soundtrack. Movies are where I find a large dose of my favourite tracks so it's no surprise that this made it. Such an epic song!



5) 'Fly' by Ludovico Einaudi.

I don't just like songs with great lyrics and singers, I'm a huge fan of instrumentals too! Piano pieces are probably my favourite, especially as I've always wanted to learn to play myself. Ludovico Einaudi is a fairly recent discovery of mine, and I fell in love with 'Fly' while listening to 'The Intouchables' soundtrack.



6) 'Shatter Me' by Lindsey Stirling feat. Lzzy Hale.

Following along the instruments trend, I've really found myself listening to a lot of Lindsey Stirling's stuff recently. She's a talented violinist (and dancer), and though this particular song features vocals from the wonderful Lzzy Hale, I love that Lindsey's violin takes centre stage!


7) 'Wish That You Were Here' by Florence & The Machine.

Who else is excited for this film? Because as soon as I heard it was coming out, I was so hyped! I had a few issues with the book but I genuinely think the movie looks like it will be really spectacular! This early song release to accompany the film is also very impressive, and by my favourite band. I love it!



8) 'Through Glass' by Stone Sour.

I used to listen to this song so much when I was a little younger and I've recently repeatedly found it stuck in my head which I've relished very much. Corey Taylor is well known for being the lead singer of Slipknot, but I prefer his voice in the songs he sang with Stone Sour.



9) 'The Sound Of Silence' by Nouela.

This is an absolutely stunning cover of Simon & Garfunkel's original, haunting melody. I've noticed this song making a resurgence as of late (Disturbed have also sung a cracking cover recently) but this understated, soulful rendition brings me to tears nearly every time.


10) 'The Hanging Tree' by Jennifer Lawrence & James Newton Howard.

Everyone who knows me knows I really love Movie scores and compositions, and I honestly think that some of the most emotional music can come from the background of a person's favourite film. This is a famous song thanks to Jennifer Lawrence's voice over the top, but some of the best parts are Howard's compositions. It really brings something extra to that particular scene.

Monday, 19 September 2016

Last Week's Shenanigans (12th September - 18th September)...

This week has been a little bizarre for me in terms of working, because due to a number of reasons all of my shifts had to be swapped around. This meant I had Thursday, Friday and Sunday off! Unfortunately, working and my days off were pretty much all that happened, as I chose not to do a whole lot with my time off. I was very tired thanks to my the way that my shifts worked out before my time off, so relaxing was definitely what I needed. And it gave me a chance to read more too!

I Read...


I Received...


- 'The Lies Of Locke Lamora' by Scott Lynch: Bought On Amazon (18/09/16)
- '13 Minutes' by Sarah Pinborough: Bought On Amazon (18/09/16)
- 'The House Of Shattered Wings' by Aliette De Bobard: Bought On Amazon (18/09/16)
- The Falconer by Elizabeth May: Bought On Amazon (18/09/16)

Memes:

Top Ten Tuesday: Favourite Books From The Contemporary Genre

Saturday, 17 September 2016

Book Review: The Star-Touched Queen; Roshani Chokshi.

I've been looking forward to reading this book for a long time now, so I'm glad that I got a chance to this month, especially as getting hold of it was so hectic! Luckily, it was worth the wait and far exceeded all of my very high expectations! Also, I'm entering this into the Monthly Motif challenge!

SOURCE: Won (from Great Imagination's 'Story Sprite Challenge' Giveaway)
TYPE: Hardcover

TITLE: The Star-Touched Queen
AUTHOR: Roshani Chokshi
SERIES: The Star-Touched Queen (#1)
PUBLISHER: St. Martin's Griffin
PAGES: 342
GENRE: Fantasy, Young Adult, Retelling, Romance

RATING: 5/5 Stars


Blurb:
Maya is cursed. With a horoscope that promises a marriage of death and destruction, she has earned only the scorn and fear of her father’s kingdom. Content to follow more scholarly pursuits, her whole world is torn apart when her father, the Raja, arranges a wedding of political convenience to quell outside rebellions. Soon Maya becomes the queen of Akaran and wife of Amar. Neither roles are what she expected: As Akaran’s queen, she finds her voice and power. As Amar’s wife, she finds something else entirely: Compassion. Protection. Desire…

But Akaran has its own secrets—thousands of locked doors, gardens of glass, and a tree that bears memories instead of fruit. Soon, Maya suspects her life is in danger. Yet who, besides her husband, can she trust? With the fate of the human and Otherworldly realms hanging in the balance, Maya must unravel an ancient mystery that spans reincarnated lives to save those she loves the most…including herself.

What I Liked:
  • Chokshi's writing was just...wow. Yes, I know that metaphorical, flowery writing is not normally something I enjoy, but this was just beautiful. A literary feast for my eyes and imagination, that fired up at basically every word written on the page. Chokshi is a very visual writer and her descriptions of the Night Bazaar, gardens of crystal, scorching deserts and even the characters that Maya encounters were all so beautiful to read.
  • The Mythology behind this book is absolutely stunning, and so rich! I've always been fond of Myths and their retellings, it was part of the reason that I was so excited for this book! There are some real connections to Indian folk tales and Hindu stories fund within these pages and I greatly appreciated the fact that I learnt a lot while reading too. This was definitely very well-researched and Chokshi drew from a lot of sources in order to come up with this corker of a book!
  • The plot and characters were great! I won't pretend that they were the most developed, especially the characters. But there was no denying that each had it's own charm and I did like them all! Maya was a clever heroine, prone to mistakes but quick-thinking to get herself out of a tough situation. Amar was wildly romantic, and their relationship filled with chemistry which made me root for them a lot! Most of all, Kamala the flesh-eating demon horse was flipping hilarious and my favourite! I kind of now want her to be real and my friend, even if it did mean the constant threat of being eaten.
What I Disliked:
  • The only thing that bothered me about this read was that there were a couple of plot devices that didn't seem to lead anywhere or serve a purpose. For example, the Tutor that Maya meets at the beginning of the book. Most of the time this wasn't a problem however and compared to how amazing the book was, it was nothing!
Overall Conclusion:
This was a fantastic read and a big contender for my favourite of the entire year, which is good because it was probably the book I was most excited to read in 2016! Fantastic visual imagery, gorgeous world-building, beautiful writing and an intriguing plot/characters. I loved the Fantasy and Mythology built in and this was a good retelling of some famous Hindu stories, as well as some that I hadn't heard of! Amazing!

Tuesday, 13 September 2016

Top Ten Tuesday: My picks for 'Favourite Books From The Contemporary Genre'.


I'm not normally a huge fan of picking favourites, especially in a particular genre.  I find it so hard! I know that in the past I've covered Fantasy and Historical Fiction, two of my favourite genres, as well as looking at Fairy Tale retellings! I thought I'd look at a genre that I don't enjoy as much because when it comes to Contemporary, it has to be really good in order to catch my attention!

1) 'Seven Ways We Lie' by Riley Redgate.

This is a book that I thoroughly enjoyed and I honestly feel strongly about teens and young adult readers reading it. It has an intriguing plot, and while seven POVs might sound like a lot, Redgate handles them all no problem. My favourite thing about the book however was the fact that it's characters were diverse: sexually and ethnically, with the inclusion of strong female characters to put the cherry on the cake. It really reminded me of my own sixth form experiences which was refreshing to read, be cause I normally find books with a school setting difficult to relate to.

2)  'The Rosie Project' by Graeme Simsion.

There's no doubt about it, if you're looking for a funny read then this could be the book for you. I first heard about this book when my Mum purchased it and begged me to read it. She knew that these kinds of books are not usually my kind of thing but I'm glad I gave it a go because I read it while on holiday, and it turned out to be the perfect beach read! I liked it's sequel 'The Rosie Effect' too, though didn't find it nearly as charming as the first in the series.

3) 'The Shock Of The Fall' by Nathan Filer.

I heard great things about this book and fell for it's cover so I was really pleased when the content proved to be as good as it's appearance. I was a big fan of the unreliable narration style provided by Matt, a deeply eye-opening and interesting character to read about. Watching his mental illness get progressively worse was heart-breaking too, but best of all I enjoyed the fact that Filer really knew his stuff in terms of how 'the system' works. A well-researched, thought-provoking novel by a talented writer.

4) 'The Fault In Our Stars' by John Green.

This book was a hit not too long ago, and as soon as I read it I understood why. It made me bawl like a baby, shattered my soul and broke my heart all in one, but at times it was extremely witty, insightful and well-written. It was one of my sister's many great recommendations and despite my huge phobia of books that will make me cry, I managed to push past it in order to read it! Well worth the tears I think! Also, having been to Amsterdam now, it was so fun to see some of the places that Hazel and Gus will have gone to.

5) 'All The Bright Places' by Jennifer Niven.

Along a similar line, this was also a very sad book, but for an entirely different reason. Not long after reading 'The Fault In Our Stars', Goodreads and Amazon continually tried to recommend it to me, and I eventually caved and bought myself a copy. It took a lot of prompting from my two lovely flat mates before I got round to reading t however, and I thoroughly enjoyed it! Finch was a great character, who provided a really unique outlook into mental illness. I can't wait to read more by this wonderful author!

6) 'Beautiful Broken Things' by Sara Barnard.

I adored this read. For so many reasons. When I went to YALC I actually watched Sara Barnard talking on a panel and doing so reaffirmed my love for it! Finally a book about friendship! If you're after romance, try almost every other YA Contemporary out there, because this is one of the few that doesn't even hold a scrap of it! Instead it focuses on issues of toxic friendships, domestic violence and mental health, all things that I think more books need to focus on in the future.

7) 'If You Find Me' by Emily Murdoch.

This book is a little different to my other contemporary reads, especially in terms of setting and character situations. That's because it's actually a book about neglected children and family, and how young people would cope when the lives they have grown adjusted to are completely turned upside down. I really enjoyed the story for a number of reasons, but most of all because the plot felt so different from the usual kind of thing I read in YA Contemporary.

8) 'The Girl On The Train' by Paula Hawkins.

I couldn't resist choosing this one, a recent read of mine. Why? Because very few thrillers impress me that much and this one really did. I bought it on a whim, as a large number of people in the Book Blogosphere were really into it! I too felt instantly sucked in as soon as I began page one. The mystery and plot are full of twists and turns which I loved, but most of all the characters in it are really good quality. It's a story abut survival, overcoming obstacles and what it means to be strong and 'right'. 


9) 'The Perks Of Being A Wallflower' by Stephen Chbosky.

It has actually been a really long time since I read this book, but I still remember vividly how much I enjoyed it. Having watched the film beforehand, it did take me a little while to get into the story in the same way. However, once I had done so I was hooked. The thing that really makes this book great is it's characters: Charlie is adorable, Sam so intensely vibrant, and Patrick (my favourite of them all) absolutely hilarious yet noticeably vulnerable. 

10) 'Good Kings, Bad Kings' by Susan Nussbaum.

Last but certainly not least, I will never stop raving about this book. I won it from the Goodreads 'First Reads' giveaways and wasn't completely convinced that it would be my cup of tea. How wrong was I?! This book was everything I wanted it to be; filled with distinct, unique and diverse voices. I loved that Nussbaum really got into the heads of all of her characters and did a great job at showing just how awfully corrupt homes for the mentally ill can be in the USA.