Wednesday, 30 July 2014

Paperback book day

Today, the 30th of July is the day to celebrate paperback books
Whilst electronic books and e-readers are becoming increasingly popular, there’s still something very special about an actual book. Paperback Book Day celebrates the look, texture and experience of reading a good ol' paperback. There is nothing quite like a book and nowadays, less and less people are reading physical books or even reading at all, which is pretty sad if you ask me. 
To mark this day, and celebrate paperback books I thought that I would share my three favourite paperback covers of books that I own. 


This cover is beautiful. I love how the typography mingles with the swirling
design of the cover and the grey and red colour scheme. There is just something
about it that makes it really beautiful and special.

This cover is quite simple but gorgeous. I love the face profile with the black and
white cover and the shining, reflective dagger that stands out - it's very effective.

This cover is really is really eye catching and effective. I love the silver typography across
the whole page with the girl in the background and her impressive pink dress as the focal point,
it is a truly beautiful cover.
I hope you enjoyed this post. What are your favourite paperback covers? What do you love about physical book copies?
Ellen xxx

Thursday, 24 July 2014

Booktube-a-thon wrap up


The booktube-a-thon ended on Sunday after a long, tiring week of reading for people across the globe. I didn't do as well as I hoped, only reading 4 books and a total of 1408 pages. This is is mainly down to fact that I had school all week, as well as after school commitments (such as end of school celebration with friends) and then I was in London all weekend with my friends so I had very little time to read. I was doing really well and was on schedule for a book a day up until Thursday which is when I ended up falling asleep for 3 hours after school and having barely any time to read. Then on Friday I was at the beach in the afternoon and then I busy getting ready for my London trip so my reading went rather downhill.
I did however manage to complete 5 and 1/2 challenges.

1984 by George Orwell
I think that this is a book you should go into this without knowing much but I will give a brief outline.
1984 is a dystopian classic written the 1949 as George Orwells prophecy to how the world will end up by the 1980s and it follows Winston who works for the Government rewriting history for the purpose of indoctrination while silently hating the party and going through life terrified of the thought police.
This was the first book I managed to read and it completed the challenge of read a book from a genre you've read the least of this year as I haven't read as many classics as I would have liked.
I ended up really enjoying this book and I found it really interesting as it brought up some interesting themes as well as giving as many questions as it gave answers. It started off quite slowly for me and felt a bit heavy but it really picked up about half way through amd by the end it felt completely unpredictable which I really enjoyed. I also liked the fact that the ending wasn't all tied up neatly and that it left questions unanswered as I thought it highlighted the ideas and topics which the book addressed.

The Specatacular Now by Tim Tharp
Sutter's the guy you want at a party. He'll get very one dancing. He'll get everyone in your parents' pool. He has no plans for university and will probably end up folding men's shirts for a living. But right now life's pretty good.
Until he meets Aimee. Aimee's clueless. Aimee is a social disaster. Aimee needs help. It's up to Sutter to show her a splendiferous time and then let her go.
But Aimee's not like other girls and before long he's in way over his head. For the first time in his life, he has the power to make a difference in someone else's life - or ruin it 
This book completed the read a book someone picked for you and it only completed half of the read and watch the book-to-movie adaptation because unfortunately I didn't get on to watching the film. The Spectacular Now was not at all like how I expected it to be as I thought it was going to be a cute love story which it really wasn't. I still really enjoyed it, though not as much as I hoped to. I found the story interesting and the writing style was really good. The characters were also really well developed and interesting. However, they didn't feel very relatable and I wasn't able to form a complete opinion on them which is the main reason I didn't enjoy it as much as I would have liked. Despite this, I would still reccomend it and I think that many people would love this book.

Winger by Andrew Smith 
Ryan Dean West is a fourteen-year-old junior at a boarding school for rich kids. He’s living in Opportunity Hall, the dorm for troublemakers, and rooming with the biggest bully on the rugby team. He’s also madly in love with his best friend Annie, who thinks of him as a little boy.
With the help of his sense of humor, rugby buddies, and his penchant for doodling comics, Ryan Dean manages to survive life’s complications and even find some happiness along the way. But when the unthinkable happens, he has to figure out how to hold on to what’s important, even when it feels like everything has fallen apart.
This completed both the challenge to read a book with pictures and the challenge to read a book with red on the cover. Aah this book, it was just... I mean I can't even... Whaaaaaaat? I still haven't been able to deal with this, I mean....the ending..!! If anyone has read this then you will know exactly what I am talking about. This books was brilliantly written, completely and realistically capturing the essence of  a 14 year old boy. Andrew Smith couldn't have hit the nail on the head more accurately- the characters were perfect in how real and relatable they could be. I mean, I'm not a boy so I couldn't directly relate, but I still could in the way that it is how I understand that boys tend to act. I loved the drawings in it too, it added an extra bit of humor to this already very funny book. Wow, I just really, really loved it - emotional, real, funny and addressing things that are actually a big issue in today's society. You need to read this.

The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes (Sherlock Holmes #3) by Arthur Conan Doyle
12 short stories showcasing 12 different cases the detective Sherlock Holmes and his assistant Dr. Watson work together to solve. The 12 stories are: A Scandal in Bohemia, The Adventure of the Red-Headed League, A Case of Identity, The Boscombe Valley Mystery, The Five Orange Pips, The Man with the Twisted Lip, The Adventure of the Blue Carbuncle, The Adventure of the Speckled Band, The Adventure of the Noble Bachelor, The Adventure of the Beryl Coronet, The Adventure of the Copper Beeches.  
I bended the rules a bit by using this book to complete the start and finish a series challenge as it is a series of 12 short stories within the Sherlock Holmes series. Although I've only counted it as one book, I have counted it as a series but I'm not sure if others would but oh well... Anyway, I again thought this was a really good instalment of the series and  er much enjoyed reading more of Holmes and Watson's adventures. They are great little stories which are lots of fun and are good for popping inbetween two long books. However, for some reason (maybe it's the old fashioned language, or maybe it's just because I'm reading them on the kindle app) I always find them slightly slow-paced and harder to get through than other books.

Did you take part in the booktube-a-thon? How much did you read, what challenges did you manage to complete? 
Ellen xxx


Friday, 18 July 2014

Currently Reading


Currently, I am reading the Adventures of Sherlock Holmes by Arthur Conan Doyle which is of course part of the Sherlock Holmes series and is a collection if 13 short stories. When I was reading the first short story, The Adventure of a Scandal of Bohemia, I came across a quote that for me, pretty much summed up how Sherlock Holmes works. 
"It is a capital mistake to theorise before one has data. Insensibly one begins to twist facts to suit theories, instead of theories to suit facts." 
Ellen xxx

Tuesday, 15 July 2014

July halfway-point wrap up and mini reviews

Because I am planning on reading a lot in July, doing a wrap up of all the books I have read at the end of the month would turn into a humongous post, so I thought I would split it up a bit. So here are all the books I read in this first two weeks of July, along with some mini reviews.

     

Bridget Jones's Diary by Helen Fielding      87%
Bridget Jones is a thirty-something year old who writes a diary of all her hilarious, embarrassing life stories about love, friends, work and family. She is searching for a boyfriend and sick of all the pestering and condescending words about her still being single, she is in need of a job that is actually worthwhile and she's desperate for her parents to sort themselves out. 
I loved this book, it was one of the funniest books I have ever read, and I was laughing the whole way through. Not only this, but I found the characters so relatable and real and just loved the story. I already knew the story having watched the film many times (such a brilliant film) however the book it actually quite different and of course even better, although I do love a bit of Renee Zellweger. The writing style perfectly suited the diary form of this book and it was such a fun, hilarious and engrossing story - so much so that I finished it in only one evening. If you enjoy relatable, real and hilarious stories then this is definitely something that I reccomend. 

Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs   88%
After a devastating event that changes Jacobs life, he ends up on a mysterious island and searching for an orphanage he isn't sure exists.
This book, I believe, is not one that you should go into knowing much about because part of the enjoyment is the mystery that it entails. Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children is a spooky and mysterious novel that contains old photographs which Ransom Riggs crafted this interesting story around. The pictures were so intriguing and I found the story brilliant. The writing was also fantastic but the only thing that let it down a little was that I found the characters quite difficult to relate to, however this didn't take away from the amazing story. 

Amy and Rogers Epic Detour by Morgan Matson    95%
Amy Curry is not looking forward to her summer. Her mother decided to move across the country and now it's Amy's responsibility to get their car from California to Connecticut. The only problem is, since her father died in a car accident, she isn't ready to get behind the wheel. Enter Roger. An old family friend, he also has to make the cross-country trip - and he has plenty of baggage if his own.  The road home may be unfamiliar - especially with their friendship venturing into unchartered territory - but together, Amy and Roger will definitely figure out how to map their way.
This cutesy, finding-yourself story with a brilliant romance thrown in is a perfect summer read and I loved it. It was such a fun book, with great writing as well as fantastic characters that had both lost their way a bit. I definitely reccomend it as a beach read this summer - sometimes nothing beats a cutesy contemporary full of love and character development.

Wonder by R.J. Palacio   80%
August Pullman was born with a facial deformity that has prevented him from going to school . But now, he is about to start middle school and if you've ever been the new kid then you know how hard that can be. The thing is August is just an ordinary kid with an extraordinary face, but how can he convince his new classmates that he's just like them, despite appreances?
I found this book heartwarming and uplifting as well as sad and tearful. With amazing character development and a story of friendship and family that addresses the ideas of courage and struggle, this book was definitely a deep and touching story. I really enjoyed it, however for some reason it took me quite a while to read for a short book but I would reccomend Wonder to all ages and to people who are looking for a unique and beautiful contemporary story.

Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins    83%
Anna is looking forward to her senior year in Atlanta, where she has a great job, a loyal best friend, and a crush on the verge of becoming more. Which is why she is less than thrilled about being shipped off to boarding school in Paris - until she meets √Čtienne St. Clair. Smart, charming, beautiful. √Čtienne has it all...including a serious girlfriend. But in the City of Light, wishes have a way of coming true. Will a year of romantic near-misses end with their long-awaited french kiss?
This book was such a cute love story as well as a story about friendship and self-discovery. I thoroughly enjoyed this read and thought it was the epitome of a summer book. Although being a little cheesy for my liking at times, as well as unrealistic it didn't quote live up to me five star expectations. I did however, think the characters were brilliant and interesting and the writing was very good- it made me really want to visit Paris and I loved having the scene set in such an exciting way. It was just so cute and fun so I can't wait to read the next two companion novels.

So those are the five books that I have read in the first half July, it has definitely been a good start to a summer of reading. What have you read so far this month? 
Ellen xxx

Sunday, 13 July 2014

Booktube-a-thon

As you may know, the booktube-a-thon, created by Ariel Bisset (on youtube) starts tomorrow (14th July), and even though I am a book blogger rather than a book tuber, I thought it would be fun to take part. For those of you who don't know what it is, the booktube-a-thon is a week long read-a-thon started last year and hosted so that booktube have their own read-a-thon that loads of people can take part in. Each year, a series of reading challenges are set up (both for reading and youtubing for those with channels) that you have to try and complete throughout the week. There are seven challenges, but luckily you are allowed to use one book for more than one challenge and obviously you don't have to complete all the challenges.
I thought it would be a good idea to show what I plan to (and will probably fail to) read over the week and how they fit in with the challenges. At the end of the week I will do a wrap up of how I did along with mini reviews.
       
       

1. Read a book with pictures ~ Winger by Andrew Smith 
2. Start and finish a series ~  The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes. I have no idea if this counts because technically it's a book in the series of Sherlock Holmes. However it is sort of a series of 12 shorts stories within that series so it kind of counts in a bending the rules type of way. The way I see it is that it basically counts as starting and finishing a series however it should only be counted as one book. 
3. Read a book with red on the cover ~ Again, Winger by Andrew Smith
4. Read a book someone chose for you ~ The Spectacular Now by Tim Tharp. I chose four of my books and asked a friend to pick the one that u should read.
5. Read and then watch a book-to-movie adaptation ~ Luckily for me, The Spectacular Now is also a film so this book will also fit in with this challenge
6. Read a book from a genre you've read the least of this year ~ I have barely read any classics, so I decided on 1984 by George Orwell. 
7. Read 7 books or 300 pages a day ~ For those of you who have done the math, I have only four books picked out to fit into these challenges. If I get these four done, then I have picked out three more to aim to read: No and Me by Delphine de Vigan, We are Liars by E.Lockhart and Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by JK Rowling.

This week (14/07 - 20/07) I will also be aiming to blog at least every other day as well as reading because I thought it would be nice to dedicate a week to reading and books and all that shizz. However I have an insanely busy week as it's the last week of school before summer holidays so there is a lot of things going on and then I am going to London for the weekend with my friends so I am not sure if I will actually succeed but I am at least going to give it a try because I have ever taken part in one before and hopefully it will be fun.
To find out more there is a Goodreads pages, a twitter and a youtube channel for the booktube-a-thon.
Are you planning on taking part? If so what are you planning on reading, do you think you will complete every challenge?
Ellen xxx

Tuesday, 8 July 2014

How I Read Tag

I thought it would be quite fun to do the How I Read tag as the questions are pretty good and I have seen a lot of booktubers do this tag so I thought I would jump on the bandwagon and do it on my blog.

              

    1. How do you find out about new books to read? 
I mostly find out about books I want to read from booktube, however i do find out about a few from blogs, Goodreads friends to-read lists, scrolling through Amazon and spending countless hours in bookshops.
       2. How did you get into reading?
I have always loved to read, but it was the Harry Potter series that made reading a passion of mine and mean so much. Also blogs and booktube were probably partially responsible for making as obsessed with books as I am now.
       3. How has your taste in books changed since you've gotten older?
Well, obviously when I was younger, I would read books suited for a much younger age and the majority were contemporary with perhaps a teeny bit of fantasy. now I read mainly YA books, with a few adult and classics novels thrown in there, and the variety of genres is huge compared to when I was younger.
       4. How often do you buy books?
I definitely buy a least a few every month, however if I had more money it would be a lot more than a few.
       5. How did you get into book blogging?
I love YouTube book videos but I was way too scared to start a YouTube channel. I also already had a blog mainly about beauty but I had a much bigger passion for reading and wanted to talk about that instead. With a but of prompting from a friend, I decided to start one.
       6. How do you react when you don't like the end of a book?
I close the book very slowly and then stare at the floor with a vacant expression before plunging into a very deep reading slump.
       7. How often have you taken a sneaky peak at the last page to see if its a happy ending?
Never! I used to do this in at least half of the books I read when I was younger, but I refrain from doing so now- always ruins it for me.

I hope you enjoyed this post and are having a good day. I cant really think of anyone to tag but if you want to do this, feel free to. How do you read?
Love Ellen xxx





Sunday, 6 July 2014

June Wrap Up

Another month is over *sigh* and it's that time again. This post is going to be my monthly wrap up - mini reviews of all the books I read in June. Sometimes I don't have enough to say about a book to fully review it, but I always have something to say which is why I like to do this. Also I find that this is a great way to keep track of the books I have read, what I thought of them etc. and these mini reviews, I think, are handy for people who don't like lengthy, rambling ones. I managed to read 6 books and a total of 2164 pages in June, which isn't too terrible but it's not that great either. However considering June was exam month for me I have a good excuse, and I'm waaaay ahead of my 2014 Goodreads reading challenge anyway. (Just a side note, I've converted to percentage ratings as I think they're way more accurate)



Thirteen Reasons Why       by Jay Asher                                 (95%) 
I have mentioned this countless times on my blog and have also done a full review on it which you can find here, so I won't give you much of a synopsis or go into much detail concerning my opinion except to say: Thirteen Reasons Why is about a girl who commits suicide and leaves behind 7 tapes holding 13 reasons why she did what she did. These tapes are then delivered to 13 people one by one who are each responsible for a different reason.
I loved this book. I found it extremely interesting with a unique premise. It addressed very important themes, was thought-provoking, raw and emotional. If you enjoy darker, contemporaries that will really make you think differently about things then this is definitely one I recommend.


Allegiant (Divergent #3)        by Veronica Roth                      (62%) 

Because this is the final in the series I can't give you a synopsis otherwise I'll give away spoilers but I am sure you have all heard of the Divergent trilogy. If you have haven't then I will just quickly mention that it's a young adult dystopian where a girl lives in a city split into different factions (one for the brave, the selfless, the kind, the honest, and the smart) and when she turns 16 she has to choose between staying in the faction she was brought up in and staying with her family or moving away from a place she feels she doesn't belong.
I have to say I was very disappointed with the ending of this trilogy. I loved the first two books (though I enjoyed the first one, Divergent considerably more than Insurgent) but I feel like the final one just turned into every YA dystopian ever and became really generic and pointlessly ridiculous at times. I already knew the massive "spoiler" (worst kept secret in all of history I think) and although I didn't think it was a bad idea, in my opinion, the way Veronica Roth wrote it was terrible and overly dramatic in a way that was trying to hard to be emotional but then wasn't at all,. Saying that I still did enjoy parts and I know that loads of people really enjoyed Allegiant so you should still finish the series regardless of the bad reputation this conclusion has been building. 


#Scandal         by Sarah Ockler                                                (69%). 
Lucy's friend, Ellie getting sick and asking her to be Ellie's boyfriends (who, incidentally, Lucy has been crushing on for forever) date for prom wasn't exactly the best idea. It gets worse when Cole decides to kiss Lucy at the after-party under the stars. Now she's in big trouble, dreading Monday when she will have to fess up to what happened, Lucy goes on her Facebook page the next morning and realises someone's beaten her to it. Her phone has been stolen amidst last nights drama, and photos of Lucy kissing Cole along with many other scandals that happened that night have been uploaded onto her Facebook wall. Come Monday morning everyone's either branded her school slut or a back stabber and she's looking to find the person responsible for this mess.
I found this a fun, light hearted read that I easily finished in just one evening. It did feel quite "watt-pad" (if you have any idea what I mean) at times but I still enjoyed this read. It addressed the interesting issue of social media and how that can become a really big problem in society when people use it for the wrong reasons. However, it was still a fast, fun and easy read with a little romance thrown in there. It got me out of a mini reading slump I was experiencing after finishing Allegiant and was exactly what I needed although it wasn't perfect by any means. I didn't really relate to any if the characters and found the writing style a bit "meh" which is why it's not something I will re-read but I would recommend if you are looking for a very easy and light read.



Wither (the Chemical Gardens #1)       by Lauren DeStefano      (79%) 
A botched attempt to create the perfect human race means that men die at 25 and women die at 20. Young girls are been abducted and forced into polygamous marriages in a desperate bid to keep humanity ahead of the disease that that threatens to eradicate it. When Rhine is kidnapped, she is sold as a bride to Linden, a rich young man with a dying wife. But, even though he is kind to her, Rhine is desperate to escape her gilded cage - and Lindens cruel father.
If you are interested in this book, I advise you not to read a synopsis more detailed than the one I have given because it gives away something that doesn't happen until close to the end and I think it's better to go it to this book without knowing much. I really enjoyed this dystopian novel. I thought the story line was very interesting and thrilling and I found it quite an easy read as far as dystopias go. It wasn't your average revolution story that you tend to get from a YA dystopian these days and I really enjoyed that. However I found it quite slow-paced and not much happened until the end few chapters. As it was the first book in the trilogy I didn't mind that massively though because it was setting up the world, characters and giving a little background. Exciting things still happened, but it wasn't something fast-paced but more interesting instead which I did enjoy. I definitely recommend this book if you are looking for an easy and slightly different dystopian novel.



Noughts and Crosses by Malorie Blackman      (82%)                                   
Sephy is a Cross- a member of the dark-skinned ruling class. Callum is a Nought- a "colourless" member of the underclass who were once slaves to the Crosses. The two have been friends since early childhood, but that's as far as it can go. Noughts and Crosses simply don't mix. Against a background of prejudice and mistrust, intensely highlighted by violent terrorist activity, a romance builds between Sephy and Callum- a romance that is to lead both of them into terrible danger. Can they possibly find a way to be together?
This book has a mountain of hype surrounding it so as you can imagine I had very high expectations. At first, I found myself quite disappointed as in the beginning it felt slow and a bit boring however as I read on it became increasingly better very quickly. It brought up interesting issues of discrimination and terrorism, how it is dealt with and how it can affect so many people. It reminded me a lot of both To Kill a Mockingbird and the Help which, as it am sure you know, are both novels about racism in the states, however it did so in a more dystopian and diverse way. Also, I thought the ending was something that you wouldn't necessarily see coming even though it was foreshadowed throughout the novel. I don't really think that the story needs to be continued as a series as I felt it would have been interesting to end it the way it had, however I will probably pick up the next one eventually as I am intrigued to see how Malorie Blackman adds to the story. Overall I really enjoyed this book and definitely recommend to anyone who is interested in the theme of prejudice, discrimination and racism as it addressed some very interesting issues surrounding the topic.




The Sign of Four (Sherlock Holmes #2) by Arthur Conan Doyle           (80%) 
Sherlock Holmes is sitting in a cocaine-induced haze until the arrival of a beautiful young lady, seemingly very distressed, forces him into action. Having received a rare and lustrous pearl each year following her fathers death, Miss Morstan consults Holmes and Watson on the day she is summoned to meet her anonymous benefactor.  
I am slowly aiming to make my way through the Sherlock Holmes series but as you can see I am not very far through the books. I am enjoying them a lot so far though and I like the fact that they are quite short, interesting stories which are useful when breaking up reading when moving from one intense and long book to the next. I really enjoyed the second instalment, once again full of mystery, intrigue and genius. However, I definitely enjoyed the first one more as I felt that this one was a little more slow paced and didn't quite have as much of an interesting story. I still found it a very pleasing read and definitely recommend the Sherlock Holmes series to anyone who enjoys a good mystery or likes the BBC series as it's really interesting to see how the original story and characters of the books have been adapted for the modern day situation of the tv series. 

I hope you enjoyed this wrap up. I am sorry it was so long, I didn't realise I had quite so much to say about these books. What did you read in June? Have you read any of the books mentioned in this post?
Love Ellen xxx