Turtles All The Way Down by John Green – 12 Days of Blogmas

John Green I hate you. I hate the fact that I can’t write like you or create such beautiful quotes and stories that have such an important impact on people. I hate that you had me sobbing on the train back to University and how I’ve once again fallen in love with another one of your incredible stories that I just can’t stop recommending to everyone.

As you’ve probably already guessed this is going to be a very positive review and I won’t be able to stop singing my praises for this book. I haven’t really enjoyed a John Green book since The Fault in Our Stars so after reading lots of other reviews I went into this book with all my fingers and toes crossed that I too would enjoy it! Luckily I did!Sixteen-year-old Aza never intended to pursue the mystery of fugitive billionaire Russell Pickett, but there’s a hundred-thousand-dollar reward at stake and her Best and Most Fearless Friend, Daisy, is eager to investigate. So together, they navigate the short distance and broad divides that separate them from Russell Pickett’s son, Davis.

Sixteen-year-old Aza never intended to pursue the mystery of fugitive billionaire Russell Pickett, but there’s a hundred-thousand-dollar reward at stake and her Best and Most Fearless Friend, Daisy, is eager to investigate. So together, they navigate the short distance and broad divides that separate them from Russell Pickett’s son, Davis. Aza is trying. She is trying to be a good daughter, a good friend, a good student, and maybe even a good detective, while also living within the ever-tightening spiral of her own thoughts.

John Green never fails to create such unique yet relatable characters who warm your heart, especially Aza who’s strength and thought process gave me a keen insight on the works of the mind and expanding my view on things. From the outside, she looks like she’s got everything under control but that isn’t the case, inside she struggles with her spiralling thoughts and I thought Green presented this in such a real and reflective way. Daisy was easily one of my favourite characters in the entire book not only for her undying love for Star Wars and her fanfiction but I really appreciated how she dealt with her friendship with Aza. It’s clear from all of this just how much we need love, friendship, acceptance and understanding and how difficult it can be to try and understand the challenges life likes to throw at us.

It’s pretty clear that I fell absolutely in love with this book as everything about it was perfect, the storyline, the characters and the way you made me feel when I finished it. If there was an option on Goodreads to give it 10 stars then I would!

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Our Favourite Book Covers of 2017 – 12 Days of Blogmas

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Although I haven’t read many books this year that hasn’t stopped me from occasionally wondering into Waterstones and having a quick browse at all the numerous shelves of books and appreciating some of the beautiful covers that have been released this year. Some of these books I haven’t read yet but they’ve been sat in my Amazon basket for far too long and hopefully I’ll have time to read them next year. Anyway, let’s get on to appreciating some of these beautiful covers!

  1. A Conjuring of Light by V.E Schwab – The covers for this series have always intrigued me as they are so simple yet extremely detailed at the same time. I started reading The Archived by her a couple of years ago and sadly never got into it so I’ve been quite hesitant to read more of her books, but since then I’ve only heard good things about her so I might have to pick up this series next year!
  2. We Are Okay by Nina Lacour – I’ve seen this book everywhere and I don’t have the slightest clue of what it’s about, nevertheless, the cover is beautiful and from the reviews, I’ve seen so is the story! Update: I’ve just read the synopsis and I need to read it ASAP!
  3. Caraval by Stephanie Garber – I swear this book has appeared in nearly every blogmas post so far, but just look at the cover! Not only is it a magical and fantastic story, but so is its cover and I love some of the hardback editions which although are pretty simplistic are stunning. I’ll leave a link to my review here if you want to go and check it out!
  4. The Language of Thorns by Leigh Bardugo – Leigh Bardugo’s covers are always beautiful but this is my favourite cover of hers so far because it’s just so elegant and enchanting which just sums up all of the mystical and magical tales inside.
  5. Zenith by Sasha Alsberg and Lindsey Cummings – It’s clear that so much time and detail has gone into this cover and I love watching both of their videos and seeing how excited they get! I love all the colours they’ve used and I’m huge a fan of the whole space and galaxy aesthetic! It’s just so pretty and I need it as a physical copy as soon as it’s released!

The Festive Christmas Book Tag – 12 Days of Blogmas

Merry Blogmas Day Five! It wouldn’t be Blogmas without a Christmas book tag and plus we haven’t done a book tag on here for a while and I always enjoy doing them! I did have to have a search around for this book tag and I’ve completely forgotten where I found it but thank you to the lovely blogger whose answers I really enjoyed! It’ll just be me doing this tag this time as Eleanor is still hard at work at University but she’ll be back home soon! Yay! I tag all of our followers to give this festive tag a go, so without further ado let’s get on with the tag!

1. A fictional family you would like to spend Christmas dinner with?

Amy: I know this is a pretty common answer but it would have to be the Weasley’s as they know how to do Christmas well, plus I’d love Mrs Weasley to make me my own Christmas jumper! Or I’d love to spend it with Feyre and Rhys and their gang of friends, I’m sure we’d have a ball!

2. A bookish item you would like to receive as a gift?

Amy: An unlimited gift card to Waterstones?

3. A fictional character you think would make the perfect Christmas elf?

Amy: Lara Jean from the To All The Boys I Loved Before series because she is just so caring and I could see her putting a lot of thought and care into everyone’s gifts!

4. Match a book to its perfect Christmas song?

Amy: One of my favourite Christmas songs is Christmas Lights by Coldplay and I’d match that to Dash and Lily’s book of dares. I don’t know why but that’s what came to mind when I listened to it!

5. Bah Humbug: a book or fictional character you’ve been disappointed in and should be put on the Naughty List?

Amy: I haven’t read much this year so I don’t have many books to choose from, but I recently read ‘The Dazzling Heights’ by Katherine McGee and all those characters need to be on the Naughty list for their actions! Avery, in particular, disappointed me as I just found her really depressing and mopy in this book, hopefully, she can sort herself out in the next book.

6. A book or fictional character you think deserves more love and appreciation and deserves to be put on the Nice List?

Amy: I’m going to apologize now because I can guarantee you’ll see me raving about this book a lot in the upcoming posts but it would have to be Caraval by Stephanie Garber. I read this book at the start of the year and it was just so magical and I can’t stop thinking about it! If you haven’t read it yet and are looking for a mysterious carnival adventure then definitely pick this one up!

7. Red, Gold, and Green: a book cover that has a wonderfully Christmasy feel to it?

Amy: I love the cover for ‘My True Love Gave to Me’ which is a collection of short Christmassy stories by various authors including one of my favourites Stephanie Perkins. The cover features all the characters ice skating which I just think is adorable and I love all the little details they include!

8. A book or series you love so much that you want everyone to find it under their Christmas tree this year so they can read it and love it too? 

Amy: I won’t use Caraval by Stephanie Garber again (but seriously you should read it!) instead I’m going to pick the Court of Thorns and Roses series by Sarah J Maas because it is incredible! There’s no doubt that you too will fall in love with the world and the characters Sarah has created, everything about these books is perfect!

Star Wars: The Last Jedi Film Review – 12 Days of Blogmas

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Minor Spoiler Alert – Read at your own Risk!

I was like a child at Christmas watching this film, throughout the entire film there was a smile on my face and I relished every detail and second; it was beautiful! I thought the storyline was carefully structured and it was clear that there were so much love and passion that went into creating these films. All the different storylines fitted seamlessly together and there was a perfect balance between all the perspectives, and I really enjoyed the addition of new and old characters! Every shot was beautiful and the fight scenes were full of suspense, intensity and just pure cinematic magic that made every angle a masterpiece. As for the acting, it was perfect. Each character was beautifully brought to life and there isn’t one performance that I didn’t think was exceptional; Oscars all around!

I wasn’t expecting to laugh so much during these films, and I thought it was rightly so that they had a bit of comic relief as this film was seriously intense. There was a perfect balance between good and evil which meant that nothing in this film was expected and certainly wasn’t lacking any action or adventure. So much happened in this film my poor little heart could only just take it, and I need this film on DVD now so I can just watch it over and over again. There were so many storylines in this film that beautifully crossed paths and intertwined with each other, and it was great to see more of certain character relationships my favourite being Poe and Leia as she knows how to put him in his place! I’ll keep my fangirling over Poe to a sentence, but it was great to see that he had a bigger and more developed role in this film!

I also loved Finn and Rose and the relationship between them. Rose is not your typical hero and her passion to make difference in the world and the strength she posses really made me love her as a character and I can’t wait to see more of her in the next film! Finally, the scenes with Rey and Kylo Ren had me panicking because I had no idea what was going to happen between them, would Rey be possed by darkness? or will Kylo Ren discover and follow the light that possibly remained inside him? Who knows, you’ll just have to watch and see what happens!

The Porgs, aren’t they just adorable and I could write three pages on how much I love these creatures. Another favourite of mine has to be BB-8 as he never fails to warm my heart and make me smile, I just need both of them in my life, Father Christmas are you listening?

I think it’s pretty clear that I absolutely loved this film and there aren’t enough positive adjectives to describe my thoughts and what I felt when I left the cinema. Even if you don’t like Star Wars (which I find hard to believe because how can you?) I recommend you go and watch it as it is a beautiful masterpiece that is filled with an equally beautiful storyline and characters!

The Dazzling Heights by Katherine McGee – 12 Days of Blogmas

 I received this book from Net Galley in exchange for an honest review.

I think I broke the request button on the Net Galley website when I saw this book as I fell absolutely in love with the first book in the series so I was desperate to get my hands on the sequel as we were left on some serious cliffhangers! Once again McGee transports us into this futuristic metropolis filled with drama, gossip and romance all of which as cheesy as it sounds kept me on the edge of my seat.

New York City, 2118. Manhattan is home to a thousand-story supertower, a breathtaking marvel that touches the sky. But amid high-tech luxury and futuristic glamour, five teenagers are keeping dangerous secrets. Leda is haunted by memories of what happened on the worst night of her life and will do anything to make sure the truth stays hidden. Watt just wants to put everything behind him, until Leda forces him to start hacking again. Rylin wins a scholarship to an upper-floor school and her life is transformed overnight. Avery is tormented by her love for the one person in the world she can never have. And then there’s Calliope, the mysterious, bohemian beauty who arrives in New York determined to cause a stir. But unbeknownst to them all, someone is watching their every move, someone with revenge in mind.

In the first book, I wasn’t a huge fan of Leda however since she’s been with Wyatt I’ve begun to like her a lot more. She’s changed in a good way and I’m in love with how much Wyatt cares for her! Rylin was another character I didn’t love as much in the first book but her chapters in this book were just so good, I loved the drama that came with her moving to her new school especially the whole teacher fiasco!

We’re also introduced to our new character Calliope, who I instantly fell in love with because she was just so different and I thought it was so creative and unique that she and her mom were both con-artists. She fitted in perfectly with the other characters with her carefully woven past with Atlas and I can’t wait to see what happens to her in the next book.

As for Avery, I was a little disappointed with her chapters and I just felt like they were filled with her moping around about her love for Atlas, fingers crossed in the next book she can pull herself together and get more involved with the action! Despite the futuristic setting and the number of innovative gadgets that fill the lives of this elite cast, there remained something essentially understandable and relatable about these characters which I wasn’t expecting to find and what made this book even more enjoyable than the first.

The characters in this book aren’t the only thing that makes it such a brilliant read but it’s dark and dramatic storyline that is just full of so many secrets, lies and lots of scheming. Each chapter leaves us with a cliffhanger and I won’t even talk about the ending because that was just so dramatic and now I’m desperate to get my hands on the next instalment; I need answers!

Overall, I absolutely love this series and all the drama, secrets and mystery that comes with it! If you’re looking for a dramatic yet romantic read that will easily keep you on the edge of your seat then definitely pick this one up, I promise you that you won’t be disappointed!

Our Favourite Christmas Reads – 12 Days of Blogmas

Merry Blogmas! If you haven’t seen already we’re participating in 12 Days of Blogmas as we haven’t been active on here for a while and both missed blogging! To get us into the Christmas spirit I thought I’d make a list of a few of our favourite Christmassy reads that will get you even more excited for Christmas! Christmas is one of my favourite times of the year, so any book based on this time is already a must read for me, so please leave a few of your favourites in the comments below! In my opinion, you can never read too many Christmas books!

  1. Dash and Lilys Book of Dares by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan – This is such an adorable and festive read that will certainly warm your heart! I can totally relate to Lily and the joy she finds out of the festive season and the fact that it’s set in New York at Christmas makes this book even better! This is the perfect easy read to pick up and curl up on the sofa with on a cold winters day!
  2. The Twelve Days of Dash and Lily by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan – For those who fall in love with the first book and need another dose of Dash and Lily!
  3. My True Love Gave to Me by Various Authors – Filled with lots of individual stories all based around the holiday season, this book is perfect for those who just want a little dose of Christmas and nothing too big to read!
  4. Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stones by J.K Rowling – Every Christmas they show the Harry Potter films on television and never fail to make me feel all warm and cosy! There’s just something about reading the Harry Potter books around Christmas that makes me feel so festive and magical so they are always a must read for me around this time of year.
  5. The Lion, Witch and the Wardrobe by C.S Lewis – Again another ‘children’s’ novel which never fails to make me feel all cosy and warm inside. If you don’t have time to read the book then just watch the films because they are equally as magical and fun!
  6. Miracle on Regent Street by Ali Harris – I remember reading this years ago and all I can remember now is falling in love with the story and the romance! I haven’t read it since then so this year I plan to search my bookshelf and re-read it. Hopefully, it lives up to my previous expectations!

NaNoWriMo Wrap Up – 12 Days of Blogmas

First things first, I’m really sorry for the lack of activity on our blog recently, but I’m back home now for the holidays and I’ve got all my essays done so I thought I’d participate in 12 days of blogmas and get back to posting on here! Anyway, let’s start the first day of blogmas off with my NaNoWriMo Wrap Up!

NaNoWriMo stands for National Novel Writing Month and runs through the entire month of November with the aim to encourage its participants to start their novel and write a grand total of 50,000 words! This was a very spontaneous idea so I didn’t do much preparation which certainly backfired when I reached the third week as I got to various scenes where planning was vital which meant I had to stop my writing and start googling; a process I wish I’d done before I started writing. Nevertheless, I managed to reach just over 25,000 words which I am super proud of as I already knew I wasn’t going to reach 50,000 words as I had loads of uni work to juggle at the same time. The first few days started off really well and I managed to keep up with the word limit however as soon as I got back to Uni everything went downhill and my time for writing was taken up by essays and seminar prep.

Next year, I think I’m going to participate in Camp NaNoWriMo which takes place in April and July and hopefully then I’ll have more time to focus on writing and possibly achieve writing 50,000 words because I enjoyed this experience so much that I think it’s going to have to be something I do every year! The increase in my confidence is one the biggest gains I’ve had from this experience, I’m more confident in my writing ability, my story and myself.  I never told anyone that I was participating in NaNoWriMo because I was scared of people reading my work and I still am a bit but certainly not as much as I was at the beginning of the process. Being able to finally put my story and characters into words has been so exciting and I’m even ready to share my writing with a few of my close friends and family. 

For those who are considering to participate next year, here are some tips and lessons I’ve learned throughout my experience:

  1. Just keep writing – When I asked people for tips, this is one kept popping up and I totally understand why. There’s no point stressing out and getting hung up on trying to find the right word or sentence structure. The aim for NaNoWriMo is to write as much as possible and to finally put your ideas onto paper. Just remember you can always adjust and change bits after NaNoWriMo.
  2. Planning is Important! – I hate planning but for a task as big as this it is vital and it will really help you the further you get into writing your novel. I learned this the hard way and wasted valuable writing time. I didn’t expect to admit this but the planning element of it was actually quite fun and I really enjoyed fleshing out my characters and storyline.
  3. Confidence is Key – As cheesy as it sounds you need to believe in yourself and have confidence in your writing ability. That story that’s been developing in your head for however long is important and deserves to be shared. If I can do it, then you all can too!