Wednesday, 31 December 2014

Top Ten Books of 2014!

It's nearly 2015! Happy new year everyone! I read 61 books this year, which was one over my target, woop! Here are my top ten (in the order that I read them because I couldn't order them!):

here are eight, the other two were library or Kindle reads! 

1. Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell (review)
After all the hype I couldn't ignore this one, and I'm so glad I didn't! Possibly my favourite book of the year. A must read for all fans of YA!

2. Lobsters by Tom Ellen and Lucy Ivison (review)
This had me laughing out loud in public places and making a fool of myself - and I couldn't care less. So funny and realistic and one that I'm sure I shall be revisiting whenever I need cheering up. 

3. The Secret Diary of Lizzie Bennet by Bernie Su and Kate Rorick (review)
I adore the Lizzie Bennet Diaries and so this was a dream of a book. It fills in all the gaps of events only upon in the video diaries, including those exciting dates with Darcy ;) A must read for Pride & Prejudice and LBD fans!

Boys Don't Knit (Boys Don't Knit, #1)4. Boys Don't Knit by T.S. Easton
Another one that had me cracking up! Such a fun book and so different to everything I've read before! I've had the sequel on my shelf for agesss now and I really must get round to it because this one was so fab.

5. Silver Shadows by Richelle Mead (review)
SO. MANY. FEELS. The Bloodlines series just keeps getting better and better! I'm super duper excited for The Ruby Circle but will be so sad when it's over. Just read them!

6. Department 19 by Will Hill (review)
I was surprised by how much I loved this. I've had it for years and I'm kicking myself that I only read it in the summer. Looking forward to more of the series next year!

Isla and the Happily Ever After (Anna and the French Kiss, #3)7. Isla and the Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins (review)
How could this not be on my list?! I think Anna's still my favourite but aww this is still just as adorable as expected from Stephanie's collection. Not to be missed!

8. Since You've Been Gone by Morgan Matson (review)
I think this ties with Fangirl for my top book of 2014. I LOVED this and devoured it in just a couple of days despite it's enormous size (and I read slowly this year). Definitely my favourite of Morgan's novels and I cannot recommend it enough. READ IT. 

9. Lies We Tell Ourselves by Robin Talley (review)
So different to how I expected and so well handled. Absolutely beautiful. A must read! 

10. The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks by E. Lockhart (review)
So much fun! Even better than We Were Liars, which I adored too. Cannot wait to read more from E. Lockhart because each book I read just keeps getting better and better.

What were your favourite books of the year? 
What should I look out for in 2015? I'm so out of the loop so all recommendations welcome! 



Monday, 29 December 2014

Book Review: My True Love Gave To Me edited by Stephanie Perkins

My True Love Gave to Me: Twelve Holiday StoriesTitle: My True Love Gave To Me
Authors: Stephanie Perkins, Holly Black, Ally Carter, Matt de la Pena, Gayle Forman, Jenny Han, David Levithan, Kelly Link, Myra McEntire, Rainbow Rowell, Laini Taylor, Kiersten White
Series:  Standalone anthology
Pages: 355
Publisher: Macmillan Children's Books
Date of Publication: 9th October, 2014
Source: Publisher from event*
Synopsis from Goodreads: On the first day of Christmas, my true love gave to me ...This beautiful collection features twelve gorgeously romantic stories set during the festive period, by some of the most talented and exciting YA authors writing today. The stories are filled with the magic of first love and the magic of the holidays.


My Thoughts:
My True Love Gave To Me contains twelve stories by twelve different authors, including Stephanie Perkins, Ally Carter and Rainbow Rowell. Of the twelve authors, I've read and enjoyed books by nine of them, and so while anthologies are not really my thing, I couldn't ignore the facts that:
a) here were new stories from some of my favourite authors
b) here were twelve new winter/Christmas romances (aka the best kind of romances)
c) the cover is super pretty with it's pale blue cover and shiny gold and bright pink fairy lights and page edges (which look WAY better in person than in that picture above!)
so, obviously, I had to give it a read.

Out of the twelve stories, there were only two I didn't really enjoy. Mostly they were really adorable stories that I could take half an hour to read quietly by myself, and during the hustle and bustle of the Christmas week, they were absolutely perfect.

My favourite story was 'Angels In The Snow' by Matt de la Peña. I'd not read anything by him in the past or even heard of him but I'd like to check out his other work now! The story is about a boy and a girl, the only two people snowed in in a huge apartment block. One's rich, the other a cat sitter. I don't want to say anymore as the stories are only short and I don't want to spoil them but it was just so adorable and cute and the predictability actually, in a rare case, just made it all the better.

To highlight just a few more, I also really enjoyed the stories from Rainbow Rowell, 'Midnights' and Stephanie Perkins, 'It's a Yuletide Miracle, Charlie Brown' (obvs - these authors are my favourites). Holly Black's, 'Krampuslauf' was a lot of fun, and Kiersten White's 'Welcome to Christmas, CA' was super cute. I could go on though - they're all so shiny and cute and lovely.

I wasn't expecting wonders from My True Love Gave To Me, only twelve adorable winter romances that I could read and enjoy while all cosy and warm and relaxed at Christmas, and that is exactly what I got. I cannot recommend it enough for a really great read over the Christmas period, or any time you're feeling down or in need of a warm hug, because that is what it is. It's a big warm hug in the form of a book. Brilliant.


*Huge thanks to Macmillan for hosting the Christmas party where I acquired a copy of this book. In no way has this affected my opinion of it. 

Saturday, 20 December 2014

Book Review: The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks by E. Lockhart

The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-BanksTitle: The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks
Author: E. Lockhart
Series:  Standalone
Pages: 352
Publisher: Hot Key Books
Date of Publication: 6th November, 2014
Source: Publisher for review*
Synopsis from Goodreads: Fifteen-year-old Frankie Landau-Banks has grown up a lot over the summer. She's no longer daddy's little girl - and almost immediately after starting the new semester at her highly prestigious school, she bags goofy-but-gorgeous Matthew Livingston as her boyfriend. They get along great but then Frankie discovers that Matthew is a member of a boys-only secret society that specialise in 'hilarious' pranks. Which hardly seems fair... especially when Frankie knows she's smarter than any of its members. And to prove this, she's going to teach them a lesson.

Impersonating lead member Alpha by using a fake email account is surprisingly easy, and soon Frankie is setting the boys up with all sorts of ridiculous schemes and sending them on wild goose chase after wild goose chase. Alpha's not prepared to lose face and admit it's not him sending the emails - but the fun can't last forever, and soon Frankie will have to choose between what she think she wants, and the reputation she deserves.


My Thoughts:
I'd not heard much about E. Lockhart before she burst into the scene earlier this year with We Were Liars. It seemed to take the internet by storm, me included. There was a live readalong on Twitter which was great and made it so enjoyable for me that despite there not being one for The Disreputable History (that I was aware of anyhow!) I still was super excited to get stuck in and had very high hopes. The Disreputable History is completely different to We Were Liars, yet still absolutely brilliant, if not even better!

I was not expecting anything like what I got from The Disreputable History. I absolutely loved Frankie's voice! She was funny, sarcastic, and just a little bit quirky (as all the best people are)! I really loved how she stood up for herself and for feminism when battling against a patriarchal and exclusive all-boys secret society that saw its member's girlfriends as cute and adorable but not much more than that. In the past I found that feminists can come across almost too strong and thus very intimidating, which I think was a huge problem, especially for me, in getting young women to stand up for their rights and to fight against the stereotypes (I just didn't really understand), however I think that Frankie has the happy medium of being strong and sure in her views without being intimidating. In short the novel is full of girl power and it's great!

The pranks that are such a huge part of the novel are fabulous. I absolutely loved the idea of the Basset Hounds' pranks that they carried out in their super prestigious private school setting. I read a lot of the novel on buses and trains and on several occasions I had to stop myself from laughing out loud, in an effort to stop myself from looking like a lunatic. (I was rather unsuccessful!) Perhaps I'm immature (or really there's no perhaps about it) but the Library Lady was great, and all of the stories of the Guppy pranks were really cool to read about throughout the history of the school and the Basset Hounds.

I think the one thing that perhaps let the novel down a little was Frankie's romantic choices. At first I thought I had it sussed and could guess the whole plot of the novel, but I was very wrong (and rather relieved!) However, I do not like Matthew Livingston one little bit and I didn't get the attraction he held over Frankie. After all the girl power Frankie was promoting their whole relationship just seemed a little hypocritical and contrived. Maybe E. Lockhart is trying to make a point, I dunno, but it just seemed all a little wrong to me.

That said though, I suppose Frankie had to have a way into the Basset Hounds and that was him. Either way it didn't detract too much from the novel and when I did get the chance to sit down and enjoy reading for a while to myself (which in my final year of school is a rare occurrence) I devoured The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks and could not stop turning the pages, particularly towards the end. It's empowering and funny and I cannot recommend it enough, and having finished the review now I can definitely say for me it trumped even We Were Liars, so there's really no excuse for you not to add it to your Christmas lists!


*Huge thanks to Hot Key Books for providing me with this in exchange for an honest review. In no way has this affected my opinion of the novel.
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