Review: My Lady Jane - Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, Jodi Meadows

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Title: My Lady Jane

Authors: Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, Jodi Meadows

Publisher: HarperTeen

Release Date: June 7, 2016

Pages: 491

My Rating: ★★★★ (4/5)

Goodreads | Amazon


"She delighted in the smell of the ink, the rough feel of the paper between her fingers, the rustle of sweet pages, the shapes of letters before her eyes."

Hello everybody! I thought I'd write up a little spoiler-free review of My Lady Jane today, as I just finished reading it the other day and have lots to say about it. 

First and foremost, I love the Tudor era and everything about it - which is ultimately why I decided to pick up this novel. Except this is no ordinary historical fiction. It tells the story of Lady Jane Grey, otherwise known as the Nine Days' Queen. But this time around, it's far less tragic and a lot more mystical. 

If you're unfamiliar with the history, here's how it goes. Jane Grey was a teenaged English noblewoman who was married to Lord Guildford Dudley. When King Edward VI fell terminally ill, he wrote into his will that succession would fall to Lady Jane and her male heirs. But when Lady Jane took to the throne, support grew in favour of Mary Tudor - a Roman Catholic - and eventually, Jane was deposed and executed for high treason. Yikes. This version of the story is a little different. In that includes humans that can turn into animals. And poisoning. 

This book was wild from start to finish and I actually loved it. I thought the addition of fantasy elements, including the E∂ians (aka the animal-morphing-humans), was quite exciting and ridiculously creative. I've not been huge on fantasy novels since my early teens, but this has definitely made me reconsider the genre. My Lady Jane was an extremely amusing and cleverly-written story, with enough real details to make you forget sometimes that people in the 1500s weren't actually part-animal. 

There were a lot of twists and turns to this novel so, keeping with the spoiler-free promise of this review, I won't reveal too much about the plot. But I did think it was interesting how they played out the Jane Grey vs. Mary Tudor situation. In real-life, Mary deposed of Jane and that was that. Jane's existence was a threat because she was a Protestant queen. But in the case of the novel, I found it interesting how the role of religion paralleled the storyline of E∂ians and the Verities (aka the people who remain permanently human) - the E∂ians being the Protestants and Verities being Roman Catholics. There was definitely an interesting similarity there, that I'd really encourage you to look out for if you're reading this book! 

Most of all, what really drew me into this book was Lady Jane herself. I loved Jane. I thought she was such an incredible and complex character, the perfect bookish female lead. Books with a strong female lead always capture my heart and My Lady Jane was no exception. Jane showed undoubtable strength and defiance from the very start of the novel, constantly questioning decisions that she didn't agree with or proving her intelligence by her extensive knowledge of life through reading. I think her relationship with Gifford was extremely interesting also, because it forced her to come out of her world of just books and court, and apply her strength to real-life situations (i.e. the villagers early on in the novel). I was really rooting for the two lead characters and never more have I wanted a happily ever after in a novel!

After reading this, I'm sooo eager to read the follow-up book, My Plain Jane, which is a retelling of the classic Bronte novel, Jane Eyre. I think that these three women are spectacular authors and I would probably read anything that they published as a team. This is definitely the sort of young adults novel that I'd recommend to not only teens, but adults as well! Anyone can enjoy this one.

Have you read My Lady Jane? Lend me your thoughts in the comments!

Goodreads Challenge: 25 out of 50

Felicia x

Review: The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society - Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows

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Title: The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society

Authors: Mary Ann Shaffer & Annie Barrows

Publisher: The Dial Press

Release Date: June 1st 2009

Pages: 248

My Rating: ★★★★ (4/5)

Goodreads | Amazon


"Perhaps there is some secret sort of homing instinct in books that brings them to their perfect readers. How delightful if that were true."

By now, chances are you know how much I love historical fiction. I've said it before and I'll likely say it a million times more. I like how it puts you in the middle of all the action. And when a novel about the world wars comes around, then I'm really hooked. Especially when it's post-WW2 Britain. No wartime story shall go unread!

What immediately got me interested in this book was the title. Some might see The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society as a nuisance; I see it as a mystery, one I'm dying to uncover. What is this club? Who created it? What in the world is a potato peel pie - and why does it deserve a society? The fact that I hadn't even opened the book and I was already enthralled said a lot about what I was in for. 

TGLAPPPS picks up in 1946 as writer Juliet Ashton tries to get her life back on track in post-war London. Her home has been flattened by a bombing, there are rumours floating about her almost-marriage, and she's struggling to figure out what she should write about next. Her life is changed when she receives a letter from a man named Dawsey Adams who has in his possession a book that once belonged to Juliet. From there, they start up a whirlwind correspondence that introduces Juliet to a little Channel island, Guernsey, and the members who make up the Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society. 

I loved so many things about this book. First and foremost, I loved the characters. What an extraordinary and odd bunch of people. I felt an instant connection to all of these lovely people - except for Mark, but more on him later. Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows did an incredible job of making these people feel like friends to the reader. I loved how passionately they spoke about books and authors. I wanted nothing more than to be in the room with them during their book club meetings, talking about the Brontë sisters and Charles Lamb. 

For a mostly lighthearted book, TGLAPPPS deals with a lot of heavy topics. After all, it is set just after the second World War. War leaves it's mark on many things - marriage, families, businesses, children, towns, countries. Especially in Guernsey. For five years starting in 1940, the island was occupied by Germans. The people of Guernsey endured absolute horrors during WW2 - and I'm actually sad to say that I'd never heard of the island, or their part in the war. But what was so gripping about this book was how the characters found happiness, even in the hard times. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society began as a clever ruse eventually turned into a safe haven, a place for book lovers to come together and be a united front in the face of hostility. 

Overall, I just loved this book. Although it talks about serious topics such as war and death, it is still lighthearted. It focused on family - by blood and by circumstances - and the love we feel for one another. And above all, it spoke on bravery, especially in the character Elizabeth McKenna. Watching these characters pick up the pieces of their lives after the destruction was incredibly inspiring. 

Go buy this book! Read it a dozen times. Cry over it. Hold it close to your heart. Make your friends read it and then talk about it to your heart's content. Just fully devour it. It's divine. 

What wartime or post-war novels do you love? Let me know in the comments!

Goodreads Challenge: 24 out of 50

Felicia x

Back to Hogwarts

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All aboard the Hogwarts Express, it's time to go back to Hogwarts! If you've read the books or seen the films, you know that September 1st is a big day for the Wizarding World - it's the day that students pile into Kings Cross Station, cross that barrier onto Platform 9 3/4, and make their way back to that fabulous castle for another year of classes!

Harry Potter was a substantial part of my life growing up. Although I was only about a week old when the first book was released in North America, it very easily became a staple in my life. When I was a very little girl, my godmother brought the first film over to my house on VHS (#tb) and my family watched it all together. From then on, I was hooked. My parents bought me all the available books in the series and I used to (try to) read them out loud to my parents every night before bed. Very quickly, Hermione became a role model for me. There's even a video of me at 5 or 6 years old, opening a Christmas present of a Hermione doll wrapped in Harry Potter wrapping paper. OBSESSED, MUCH?? 

In honour of this magical day, I thought that today I'd do the Harry Potter Tag which I've seen a bunch of other bloggers do over the past couple years. I've always wanted to do the tag and what better time to do it! 


1. What house are you in?

I'm in Hufflepuff! Originally, when Pottermore first opened, I was sorted into Gryffindor, which never seemed right to me. Flash forward to this past year when I took the Pottermore test again and was sorted into Hufflepuff! I feel it suits me quite well. Maybe I've changed over the past 8 years? Who knows. 

2. What is your Patronus? 

According to Pottermore, my Patronus is a Wild Rabbit. (Cute, right?) 

3. What is your wand? 

Silver Lime wood with a Phoenix feather core 10" and Slightly Yielding flexibility.

4. What would your boggart be?

This is a great question. I think that if the boggart could turn into something like a question mark or an empty space, to symbolize the unknown, then that would definitely be my boggart. I have a major fear of the unknown and am constantly plagued with "what ifs". 

5. What position would you play in Quidditch?

Uhh, the position of a spectator? I'm already bad enough at sports, and I feel like that wouldn't translate well to Wizard sports. Boring answer, I know. 

6. Would you be a pure-blood, half-blood, or muggle-born? 

I don't even know how to begin to answer this. I really have no idea. 

7. What job would you want to have after leaving Hogwarts?

Hmm, I'd love to be a professor at Hogwarts. Maybe I'd teach History of Magic? I am minoring in History, after all. That seems like it'd be up my alley! I think it would be incredible to work inside Hogwarts all the time and as a professor, you'd get to know all the secret things that students aren't allowed to know/see. 

8. Which of the Deathly Hallows would you choose?

I'd definitely go for the Invisibility Cloak. It seems like it'd be the most useful. Besides, the other ones are just too risky for me. I'm not looking for almighty power or whatever, haha. I just want to sneak around a little bit. 

9. Favourite book? 

This is so tough. It's like choosing between children haha. But I guess if I had to choose one, it'd have to be Prisoner of Azkaban. I really love Sirius and Remus, so having them introduced in the novel makes my heart happy. I also really like the whole time-turner bit - that might be one of my favourite bits of magic. 

10. Least favourite book? 

Order of the Phoenix. It's not that there's anything I specifically don't like. It's just I like it a little bit less than the others!

11. Favourite film? 

Half-Blood Prince. For a very specific reason. For whatever reason, I decided in like 2008 that I didn't like Harry Potter anymore. I think it was just that I wasn't big on the Order of the Phoenix film and thought I was ~too cool~ for Harry Potter now that I was a whole 10 years old. My parents dragged me to see Half-Blood Prince in theatres and that was it. I was back in love. So HBP will always have a special place in my heart, for that reason.

12. Least favourite film?

I don't love Order of the Phoenix. Maybe it's just that it's too difficult to take the longest book of the series and put it into a fairly short film.

13. Favourite character? 

Obviously, Hermione is my favourite. Being a bookworm and kind of annoying as a kid, I totally got her. 

14. Least favourite/most hated character? 

I hate Umbridge. But don't we all? 

15. Favourite teacher at Hogwarts? 

This is definitely a tie between Professor McGonagall and Professor Lupin. I love them both for different reasons, but I doubt I have to explain why to anyone haha. 

16. Least favourite teacher at Hogwarts? 

Umbridge. Again, reasons are quite obvious.

17. Do you have any unpopular opinions about the series?

*Sigh*... Okay. Let me preface this by saying I'm a super empathetic person. Like, in general and especially when it comes to fictional characters, specifically villains (do you see where I'm going with this?)... I have feelings about Draco Malfoy. I think his relationship with his father and the fact that his father was, ya know, a Death Eater and a total douche certainly had a real effect on him as a person. (This is especially true in the films because the film creators seem to be huge Draco sympathizers). 

Felicia x

Review: Sharp Objects - Gillian Flynn

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Title: Sharp Objects

Author: Gillian Flynn

Publisher: Broadway Paperbacks

Release Date: September 26, 2006

Pages: 254

My Rating: ★★★★ (4/5)

Goodreads | Amazon


"Sometimes if you let people do things to you, you're really doing it to them."

I've never been a big fan of the horror genre. Aside from The Girl On The Train, I've not really delved into the whole psychological-thriller genre. I'm more likely to steer towards light-hearted novels. But I've heard so much talk about Sharp Objects in the past year or so and I've always had an interest in reading a Gillian Flynn novel. Not to mention, it was 20% off at Target. Soooo I thought, why not

Sharp Objects was Gillian Flynn's debut novel that came out 12 years ago. It tells the story of a journalist named Camille who returns to her hometown, a small old-fashioned community in Missouri, to report on the recent murders of two pre-teen girls. Her search for answers sends her on a dark journey which unleashes demons and old habits of her past. 

This book made me uncomfortable. And I think that's exactly what it was supposed to do. It's an unsettling story about people who have unhealthy relationships and lifestyles. The characters of this story are dark and complex. Everyone has secrets lurking beneath the surface, everyone has a disturbing past, a trail of destruction following them wherever they go. Each character is dealing with their own personal nightmares - and that's what makes them so compelling, on an individual basis. Most of all, the women in this book are multi-dimensional. Here they are, in this town that makes women out to be useless, disposable, weak. But, no. These women are deep, complicated people. And they're capable of horrors that seem unimaginable to most. 

I thought this book was extremely well written and riveting. I was hooked right from the start and I didn't want to put the book down once I picked it up - something that hasn't really happened to me in a long time. After reading this, I think I'll be reconsidering the genre. I'm definitely sure that I want to read another Gillian Flynn novel in the future! If you have any recommendations, let me know in the comments! 

Have you read Sharp Objects? Did you like it?

Goodreads Challenge: 23 out of 50

Felicia x

Mid-Year Book Freak Out Tag 2018

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Happy National Book Lovers Day!! x

We're officially into the second half of 2018 folks!! Can you hear my hyperventilation through the computer? How could we possibly be in the latter half of this year? Wasn't it just January? Luckily, August is a pretty good month for me, as it is my birthday month (WOO HOO) and my boyfriend's coming down to Florida so soon! 

I've never done the Mid-Year Book Freak Out tag before, both because I have only just started blogging about books this year and because I'd never heard of it until recently. I love the idea of wrapping up the first half of the year in a post and this seems to be the perfect way to do so!

Best book you've read so far in 2018...

This is a tremendously difficult question to answer. How could I choose just one? Please don't force me to make decisions! Alright, if I had to choose just one, I'd have to say Under Rose-Tainted Skies by Louise Gornall. After my anxiety reared it's ugly head in late 2017, I spent the better part of the first half of 2018 struggling with my mental health, which ultimately left me unable to leave my house for days on end. That's when Under Rose-Tainted Skies entered my life. I completely identified with Norah's struggles in the book; although our mental illnesses aren't quite the same, I was facing a lot of the same problems as her and it made me feel a little less alone!

Best sequel you've read so far in 2018...

I haven't read a single sequel yet this year. Isn't that crazy? I guess with trying to keep up with my reading challenge, I made the executive decision at some point to just keep series out of it - at least for the first bit of the challenge (I do have a hankering to re-read the Harry Potter series...). 

A book you haven't read but want to...

So. Many. Books!! My TBR is getting longer as the year goes on... I'm quite positive that's the exact opposite of what's supposed to happen. Obviously I'm not about to go and list every individual title on my TBR, but one book I'm eager to read is The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo. I've heard really good things about it and can't wait to get to it.

Most anticipated release for the 2nd half of 2018...

What If It's Us!!!! 100%.

Biggest disappointment of 2018...

Where'd You Go, Bernadette. I was really looking forward to reading it after all the high praise but I just didn't like it at all. It was so bummed out.

Biggest surprise of 2018...

Oddly enough, the biggest surprise for me so far was The Alice Network. I mean, usually I can be pulled in by any half-decent historical fiction. But considering I grabbed this one off the shelf with absolutely zero idea what I was going into, I was just expecting an interesting story about the world wars. But it was actually incredible. It was such a powerful story about women and their role in history. 

New favourite author...

Becky Albertalli, Kate Quinn, Louise Gornall, Gail Honeyman... Just to name a few!!

Newest fictional crush...

Hmm... I'd probably have to say Levi from Fangirl or Simon from Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda. They're both adorbs!

Newest favourite character...

Eve Gardiner from The Alice Network. Hands down. She's so fascinating and I loved seeing her go from a somewhat timid young woman to a total badass. 

Book that made you cry...

None so far that I can remember! But I've been reading pretty light-hearted books lately. 

Book that made you happy...

Fangirl! It was so cute, even though Cath went through a bunch of tough things, in the end it was a feel-good read. 

Favourite book to movie adaptation...

Simon vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda, EASILY.

Favourite review you've written...

I don't think there was any one review that I enjoyed writing over the others. I loved all my reviews equally!

Most beautiful book you've bought this year...

Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine. It was honestly so amazing. No words can describe how beautiful - and heartbreaking - it was. 

Books you need to read by the end of 2018...

There are so many (I do have 25 books left on my reading challenge). But to name a couple... Dumplin', Little Fires Everywhere, What If It's Us, I'll Give You The Sun, and Bachelor Girl.


I hope you guys enjoyed reading this post!! If anyone can let me know a way to slow down this year, let me know in the comments, haha. 

What are your favourite books of 2018 so far?

Felicia x

Review: Crazy Rich Asians - Kevin Kwan

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Title: Crazy Rich Asians

Author: Kevin Kwan

Publisher: Doubleday

Release Date: June 11, 2013

Pages: 546

My Rating: ★★★ 1/2 (3.5/5)

Goodreads | Amazon


"Just because some people actually work for their money doesn't mean they are beneath you."

I'm sure that the majority of you guys have heard about Crazy Rich Asians before, either because of the hype surrounding the book or because of the movie adaptation. You can find it on just about every 'Must Read' shelf or display table in any bookshop. 

For those of you who haven't heard about this book, here's the gist. Rachel Chu has a relatively normal life. She works as a professor at NYU, has a good relationship with her mother, and has a gorgeous boyfriend, Nicholas Young, who has just invited her as his date to his best friend's wedding in Singapore. In her mind, this will be a great way to see where her boyfriend is from and be introduced to his friends and family. Unfortunately, the reality is extremely different. 

This had been on my TBR for a very long time before I actually got around to reading it. It was one of those books where I'd always pass it by in the store and think, 'Aw, I'd love to read that' but then I go pick up something else, usually something not on my TBR lol. But when I heard that there was a film adaptation coming out this summer, I bumped it up on my list because I have to read the book before seeing the movie #bookwormproblems.

All in all, Crazy Rich Asians is a fun read. The characters are really interesting - Nick Young's family is straight up crazy. Nick and Rachel's complicated love story is totally addicting. And there's no denying it's well-researched and extremely detailed. But being someone who completely devoured books like the Gossip Girl series in the past which deals with it's fair share of rich people drama, I thought I'd enjoy this more than I did.

I think the main reason I wasn't so big on this book is because it seemed like it dragged out for too long. If about 100 pages were chopped off, I think I would have enjoyed it more. There were a few scenes that just didn't seem to add much to the plot that could've been cut without taking away from the plot. It just made the plot sort of slow, so I found it sort of hard to get really into. Of course, 90% of people say that they loved this novel to death so I'm probably in the minority here, haha. So take my review with a grain of salt. I'll still see the film though because the film nerd part of me can't not go give it a chance. 

Did you read Crazy Rich Asians? What did you think?

Goodreads Challenge: 22 out of 50

Felicia x

July TBR

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Hello hello hellooo!

God, things have been crazy lately. It's already a few weeks into July and I'm just posting my TBR for the month. How typical. What have you all been up to lately?! I spent the first bit of this month with my boyfriend here in Florida which was so much fun. I can't wait for our vacay together in August!! 

You may remember that this year, I set a goal for myself to read 50 books which I've been keeping track of on Goodreads. Well, now I'm about halfway through the year and my Reading Challenge tracker has recently informed me that I'm three books behind schedule... I've gotta quickly get back on track with my reading!

So, without further ado, here are the books that I'll be reading in July...

Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan - Rachel is an average American-born Chinese woman, working as a professor at NYU when she meets Nick Young. But when he invites her to his best friend's wedding back home in Singapore, where she's introduced to his uber rich and very judgmental family, Rachel's life gets flipped upside down. I'm sure a lot of you have heard the buzz surrounding this book, especially now that it's coming out as a film next month! This book has been on my TBR since last year and now I've got all the more reason to bump it up on my list!

Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn - This is another book that's been getting a lot of attention as of late. You may recognize Gillian Flynn as the author of the highly successful novel, 'Gone Girl' which was made into a movie awhile back. 'Sharp Objects' was actually her debut novel, which is about a woman who has to return to her small hometown to cover the deaths of two young girls, all the while fighting the demons that she's been trying to escape ever since she left home the first time. I'm not usually big on thrillers, but for this, I thought 'why not'!  

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas - I'm so eager to get started on reading this book. Young adults novels often get a lot of criticism for not being 'heavy enough'. But this is a definite exception to that judgment. It's all about a sixteen year old girl who witnesses the murder of her childhood best friend by the hands of a police officer. The novel tackles crucial topics such as racism and police brutality, which are so important to talk about - especially among teens. It's a great conversation starter and I'm eager to read it! (It also has a whopping 4.56 star rating on Goodreads).

The Last Tudor by Philippa Gregory - I've been binge-watching Reign for the past month and I've also recently enrolled in a Tudor/Stuart era course at uni, so it's safe to say that I'm currently in the midst of a major Tudor obsession. So when I saw this bad boy at Indigo, it was an easy impulse buy. 'The Last Tudor' is a historical fiction all about Lady Jane Grey, the 'Nine Days' Queen' of England, and her sister, Katherine. I know that Philippa Gregory's books have faced a lot of criticism in the past, so I'm very interested to see what I think of this! 

Talk to you all very, very soon!

Felicia x

Review: How To Stop Time - Matt Haig

Title: How To Stop Time

Author: Matt Haig

Publisher: Viking

Release Date: February 6th 2018

Pages: 325

My Rating: ★★★ 1/2 (3.5/5)

Goodreads | Amazon


“The longer you live, the harder it becomes. To grab them. Each little moment as it arrives. To be living in something other than the past or the future. To be actually here.”

So, today’s read is a bit different in that it’s a bit sci-fi I suppose. I picked this up because although it had that fantasy element which is a bit unusual to my taste, it’s very saturated in history which, you probably know by now, I love.

How To Stop Time is the bizarre story of a man named Tom Hazard, who may appear outwardly as an average 41-year-old man but is really several hundred years old. He’s walked through history alongside people like William Shakespeare and has experienced the world as it’s advanced to become what it is today. But nobody knows. Except for the Albatross Society, a secret society of people like Tom who work together to keep their condition a secret - even if that means killing those who threaten their existence. Then, one day, Tom begins to fall in love - which is strictly prohibited.

I’m a bit iffy on this book. I didn’t hate it by any means. I just didn’t love it either. Overall, it was well-written and evidently well-researched. It had everything it needed to be a great book. But it just lacked a certain je ne sais quoi. I felt like the climactic event wasn’t all that climactic and I kept waiting for the shoe to drop, so to speak. The big moments were simply brushed over and resolved very quickly, and they didn’t have any repercussions at all. It was very simple and to the point which wasn’t exactly what I’d hoped for.

The concept, however, was very interesting. A man who’s lived through history, who’s witnessed major historic events first-hand, is now living in the 21st century. Sounds like a cool concept. It was fun to see him placed in history. Especially when historical figures were included, too. But constantly flipping between present day and some-hundred years ago was a bit confusing and muddled after a few chapters. After awhile, I started to wonder if there was a need for so many flashbacks or if it was just for the sake of reminding you that, hey look, this guy is really really old.

How To Stop Time was a fun read, but not really a meaty one. It didn’t take me very long to get through this one and because of that, I think it’d make a great beach read.

Have you read How To Stop Time? What did you think of it?

Goodreads Challenge: 21 out of 50

Felicia x

5 Websites for Book Lovers

If you're a total bookish freak, like myself, then you probably use all of your free-time doing book-related things. Whether it's reading a new book, re-reading an old fave, or re-watching Pride and Prejudice for the umpteenth time (we've all been there). But one of the other common things to do if you're a literary enthusiast is scroll through literary articles online. These websites make it easier to find like-minded people, people who want to spend as much time chatting about books as you do. Here are my favourite bookish websites to scroll through, when I'm not reading!

Books on Bustle - Bustle is one of my favourite websites for book-related content. It's an online magazine that mostly surrounds things that affect women including beauty & fashion, lifestyle, wellness, and of course, books. They post a bunch of fun articles that range from "must read" lists, advice for readers, and author interviews. Most of the articles are short and sweet, perfect for reading a few during your morning cup of coffee! You can also follow their Facebook page, Book-Lovers on Bustle, to get updates straight to your feed which is very cool. 

BookstrBookstr is an online community for literature lovers to come together and enjoy the joy that comes along with books and reading. I think of all these sites, this might be the most abundant and diverse as it has hundreds of posts, with something for everyone. In addition to just articles, they also have a specific category just for lists and another for quizzes. 

Buzzfeed BooksAlthough I don't typically like to read Buzzfeed posts that often, I do find myself clicking on their Buzzfeed Books posts. They have a slightly slim selection in comparison but they still have some good, informative posts and they have great lists of recommendations. They also have posts that are more opinion-based, which can either be good or bad, depending on how you see it!  

Refinery29 Books - Refinery29 is very similar to Bustle, in that it's an online magazine that is targeted for women. I love scrolling through their posts, especially ones like "The Best Books of 2018" - I'm always in search of a new book, and posts like these are perf for that!! Although Refinery29's website isn't really targeted towards book-related posts, they still have a good selection to read anyway.  

The StrandYou've probably heard of The Strand before, even if you think you haven't. The Strand is a massive indie bookshop in New York City, along with several mobile kiosks placed around the city that sell new and used books. It's a major staple that has been featured in shows like Sex & the City and Gossip Girl. Aside from their official website (which sells books online) they also have a book blog which features many recommendations and other book-related posts.

What are your favourite bookish websites?

Felicia x

Review: Fangirl - Rainbow Rowell

Title: Fangirl

Author: Rainbow Rowell

Publisher: St. Martin’s Press

Release Date: September 10th 2013

Pages: 481

My Rating: ★★★★ 1/2 (4.5/5)

Goodreads | Amazon


“The whole point of fanfiction is that you get to play inside somebody else’s universe. Rewrite the rules. Or bend them.”

Hello friends! Today I’m going to be reviewing a Rainbow Rowell novel!!! Very exciting, right?

Fangirl is a coming-of-age story about a young woman named Cath who is a big-time fan of the popular book series, Simon Snow. Her and her twin sister, Wren, have spent years together nestled within the Simon Snow fandom, but all of that changes when they go to university and their world is split into two. As Cath deals with her new environment and the changes that come with the transition to university, she must also face changes in her creative life, too.

I have NO IDEA why I didn’t read this sooner!! Before this, I’d read - and loved - two books by Rainbow Rowell: Attachments and Eleanor and Park. But Fangirl never really stood out to me. The only reason I ended up picking it up was because I had heard so many good things about it as I became more involved with the book blogger community and I finally gave into the hype. Needless to say, I was not disappointed.

I really resonated with Cath and I think that’s what got me hooked so early on. Like me, she’s in university and also is an English major. She suffers from anxiety which makes her pretty reclusive, something I totally understand from my own experiences. A lot of people criticize Rainbow Rowell’s decision to give Cath anxiety in their reviews on Goodreads, because apparently her ‘awkwardness’ around people reinforces the ‘socially inept fangirl’ stereotype. But I actually found Cath to be more relatable because of it. I hate when people use words like ‘socially inept’ to describe people with anxiety. It’s so ignorant. Grr…

ANYWAY.

I loved Cath, even when she made mistakes (which we all do sometimes) and I thought her story was really interesting. She’s someone who’s come from a difficult past that she has to find the strength to conquer every day. That’s pretty bad ass, if you ask me. And, of course, the romantic storyline in this book was lovely and adorable and it hit me right square in the feels.

I’ve also got to give Rainbow Rowell major kudos for being able to include excerpts from the Simon Snow novel. I mean, Simon Snow is not a real series. It exists only in her head. She basically had to write two stories for the price of one, didn’t she? That’s insane and she deserves a lot of respect for that. I definitely wouldn’t be able to do that. I thought the little excerpts were a lovely addition and that they added a lot of depth to the storyline.

Overall, this was a warm and fuzzy sort of book, the kind I’d want to reread when I’m having a bad day. For me, those are the best kinds of books. In my opinion, this is the perfect young adults novel.

Goodreads Challenge: 20 out of 50

Felicia x

Review: Confessions of a Prairie Bitch - Alison Arngrim

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Title: Confessions of a Prairie Bitch

Author: Alison Arngrim

Publisher: It Books

Release Date: June 15th 2010

Pages: 302

My Rating: ★★★★ (4/5)

Goodreads | Amazon


“By making me a bitch, you have freed me from the trite, bourgeois prison of ‘likeability’. Any idiot can be liked. It takes talent to scare the crap out of people.”

Y’all probably know by now how I’ve got a bit of an undying love for Little House on the Prairie. Yes, I know it’s extremely outdated and at times super offensive. But my love for it stems from the fact that it was a huge staple of my childhood. I watched it with my mum, but mostly my grandmother who took care of me as a kid when my parents worked. We bonded over this show about this little pioneer gal and her family, particularly the perpetually shirtless Pa. I read the series of books approximately a hundred times, bending On The Banks of Plum Creek into despair, and even wrote my own stories about Laura Ingalls when I was 9. So I guess it’s not much of a surprise that I practically bolted to my car and took off to the bookstore the minute I heard Alison Arngrim had released a memoir.

If you don’t know, Alison Arngrim is the actress who brought Nellie Oleson to the small screen. Nellie Oleson is the epitome of mean girl - in fact, sometimes she can be downright evil. I spent my childhood tucked in front of that tv, watching Alison Arngrim flawlessly have temper tantrum after temper tantrum, making Nellie a character you love to hate.

As it turns out, a fair chunk of Alison Arngrim’s story is actually quite grim. Despite living in Hollywood as a child and brushing elbows with all sorts of great stars, including Liberace, she did not have a good childhood. Behind those bouncy blonde curls, Alison was really struggling. Her childhood was plagued with sexual abuse from her older brother. The stories she told about the abuse were extremely difficult to read. It’s so sad to imagine that behind the scenes of such a happy-go-lucky show like Little House, someone was dealing with such horrible things. Her story of overcoming the abuse and going onto work for the National Association to Protect Children was so powerful and I respect her immensely for her courage.

I know what you’re probably all thinking - can a child star from the 1970s really write a good book? The answer is, yes. Very much so. Alison’s writing was so clever and witty, it actually had me laughing out loud a few times. I read the majority of this book on a plane beside my mum, and I had to keep leaning over to read her funny excerpts. My personal favourite part was when she described with brutal honesty each of the main characters in the novel.

Of course, a large chunk of this book was about her time spent on Little House. It’s not called Confessions of a Prairie Bitch for nothing! Her stories about Little House are, fortunately, far more light-hearted than the other stories in her book. She speaks about her memories of the show and the people involved very honestly. While she had a good relationship with most of the cast - particularly with Melissa Gilbert (Laura Ingalls) and Steve Tracy (Percival Dalton) - she didn’t with others. The stories about Melissa Sue Anderson (Mary Ingalls) were blatant and so amusing. That whole portion of the book would really appeal to Little House fans looking for a little behind-the-scenes gossip.

This was a short, but great memoir. I really enjoyed reading it and would totally recommend it to anyone who’s watched and loved Little House as it really gives a nostalgic feel for those good ol’ pioneer days (or at least, the sort of pioneer days that Michael Landon envisioned lol).

Did you watch Little House on the Prairie? Did you love it, too?

Goodreads Challenge: 19 out of 50

Felicia x

Bookish Problems: Hardcover vs. Paperback

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Ahh the age old question. Which is better: hardcover or paperback books? Every time I browse my local bookshop, I come to this question. Which edition should I go for? Honestly, it's one of the toughest book-related decisions a gal has to make! When it really boils down to it, there's a bunch of things I consider when I'm choosing between the two. So today, I thought I'd talk about a few of the advantages of either type of book!

Paperback

Compact & easily portable - Of course, the first thing I'd have to say in favour of paperbacks is that they are far easier to travel around with. Being the sort of person who constantly has a book in their purse whilst on-the-go, I can tell you from first-hand experience that it is much easier to tote around a paperback than a hardcover. Not only is it far thinner but it's also a lot lighter because of the thin binding. 

Cheaper - Paperbacks are typically a lot cheaper than hardcovers. When I go into a bookstore, chances are I'm going to pick out a paperback book that costs $15-$18, rather than a hardcover that costs $23-$26. Buying paperbacks makes it cheaper to buy more books at once, instead of having a heart attack over buying just one book - and being someone who reads very quickly, that's hugely important to me. 

Easier to hold - I can never find a comfortable way to hold a hardcover book!! No matter how I position my hand, I either get tired or am in pain after five minutes. Paperbacks are definitely far easier to bend back and forth, as well as get a good grip on. I can easily hold it with one hand and then I have a free hand to hold my coffee which I very much enjoy. 

No dust jackets - Don't get me wrong. Dust jackets do make for a lovely addition to hardcovers. But my god, are they a pain in the ass. Most of the time, I end up just taking the thing off and then it's a matter of keeping track of the jacket whilst also making sure that it doesn't get damaged. With paperbacks, you have nothing to be worried about as it's all attached. 

Hardcover

Released first - Often, paperback editions aren't released until a year after the initial book release, as it brings in more profit for people to purchase hardcover books. This means that if you're really dying to read a book, you're probably gonna cough up the 25 or so bucks to read it as soon as possible. I don't do this so often, but the majority of the hardcovers I own are because I couldn't force myself to wait a year for the paperback. 

Sturdier -  If you've ever tried to carry around a paperback book in your purse or backpack before, then I'm sure you know how easily paperbacks can be damaged. The binding cracks, the pages get crinkled, and worst of all, the cover bends *shudder*. Hardcovers are really durable, as the cover is extremely sturdy and acts as a protective layering around the pages of the book.

Looks good on shelves - I think we can all agree that hardcover books look so good on bookshelves. I think it's something about how thick they are and also that they sort of remind us of the old-fashioned impressive look of bookcases. Although I don't have a ton of hardcovers (I'm cheap y'all), I do love looking at the ones I do have sitting up on my shelf. They're gorg!! 

Personally, all considered, I much prefer paperbacks over hardcovers. Not only just for the price - although that is a pretty big part of it, if I'm honest. For me, the lighter the book the better, as I really don't have the energy to be lugging around a massive, heavy book all day long, wherever I go! 

Which do you guys prefer: hardcover or paperback?

Felicia x


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Review: Leah on the Offbeat - Becky Albertalli

Title: Leah on the Offbeat

Author: Becky Albertalli

Publisher: HarperCollins/Balzer + Bray

Release Date: April 24th 2018

Pages: 343

My Rating: ★★★ (3/5)

Goodreads | Amazon


“I swear, people can’t wrap their minds around the concept of a fat girl who doesn’t diet. Is it hard to believe I might actually like my body?”

Oh, hey guys! Look - another Becky Albertalli book. Are you surprised like at all? If you’ve been around for awhile, you’ll remember my review of Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda in which I sang Becky Albertalli’s praises like Julie Andrews on the hill in Austria. So, here we are again, but this time with a spin-off of SVTHSA. Excited? Let’s dive right in!

Leah on the Offbeat is a young adults novel set in the same universe as Albertalli’s debut novel, Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda. Leah on the Offbeat picks up about a year after the latter, following the characters into their final year of high school. But this time around, things are told from the perspective of Leah Burke, Simon’s BFF. The majority of the novel deals with Leah’s sexuality and how this affects both her school and personal life.

As much as I loved SVTHSA, I wanted to love this book. I really, truly went into this book with a feeling that I’d love it. But I just couldn’t bring myself to.

In SVTHSA, we didn’t really get much of an in-depth, close look at the personalities of the secondary characters because obvs it was all about Simon, his sexuality, and his super adorable quest for finding his one true love. Despite that, I liked Leah enough. I thought that she was a complex character and a take-no-shit kinda gal, which I madly respect. Unfortunately, when it came to this novel, I just didn’t like Leah Burke at. all.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I’m extremely empathetic reader. I find the best in even the worst of characters sometimes. But I don’t know… Leah was just mean. She treated the majority of the other characters badly. Especially her mom - and for what reason? For being happy? For finding love? Her mom was really supportive and caring, despite the fact that she was preoccupied with the fact that they were struggling financially and that she had to work all the time to support her kid. But Leah still treated her badly and I can’t stand for that.

I can’t say much about the romantic storyline without giving a lot away… Though I can say that I wasn’t big on it. Not that I was against her having a romantic storyline, mind you. But one of the things I liked most about SVTHSA was how authentic it was, that I could really believe the characters could be real-life teenagers walking around Georgia, going to high school. I didn’t get that feeling from Leah on the Offbeat. It seemed like the relationship in this novel was staged and picture-perfect, like it was following every book cliche possible. It read like a fanfiction which is the complete opposite of what I’d been expected.

Looking back now, this might have been a better book for me if I hadn’t already read SVTHSA first. I found myself comparing the two a lot while reading and that made it a bit unenjoyable for me. HOWEVER, it is a great book for teens that are dealing with their own sexuality, as this book features a female bi-sexual main character!!!!! (is bi-sexual written like bi-sexual or is it written like bisexual??? Someone let me know pls!) It’s super important to have representation in novels and I majorly respect that about this book. I also wanna stress that the storyline of the book was really quite cute, I’m just bitter that it didn’t live up to my expectations.

Have you read both books? Did you like Leah on the Offbeat?

Goodreads Challenge: 18 out of 50

Felicia x

Review: The Immortalists - Chloe Benjamin

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Title: The Immortalists

Author: Chloe Benjamin

Publisher: G.P. Putnam’s Sons

Release Date: January 9th 2018

Pages: 346

My Rating: ★★★ 1/2 (3.5/5)

Goodreads | Amazon


“But I think magic holds the world together. It’s dark matter; it’s the glue of reality; the putty that fills the holes between everything we know to be true. And it takes magic to reveal how inadequate reality is.”

The Immortalists is a fictional family drama that picks up in 1969 in New York City as the four Gold children decide to visit a fortune teller who claims to have the ability to tell you the day you’ll die. The rest of the novel follows each child in order of succession as they continue with their lives and shows how they cope with their supposed fates.

Let me start off by saying that it was a total pain trying to find this book. It was completely sold out at my local Indigo, which is thirty minutes away from home. After trying again another day to find it there, I ended up going to an Indigo an hour away from home, where I eventually found it. Ugh. Can’t beat the country life, folks. Anyway, needless to say, I was very eager to get my hands on this book.

First and foremost, I have to say that I thought the concept of this book was extremely interesting. I loved how the author toyed around with the idea of fate and free will, by showing these young adults growing up with these looming prophecies and deciding ultimately how it would affect their lives. This novel absolutely poses a lot of questions about life, destiny, and the power of mind. I thought that the exploration of these topics was really well done.

As for the stories, if I’m honest, I much preferred the first two - Simon and Klara - over the latter two, which were Daniel and Varya. I thought that Simon’s story was particularly interesting because a) it took readers into the LGBT community in San Francisco during the 1970s and ‘80s and how Simon fit into it, and b) it was sort of a kicking off point for the rest of the story, as the three other characters were largely affected by several events that occurred during Simon’s story.

The reason that I didn’t rate this higher was simply because, despite having a very intriguing concept, the actually story itself was sorta lacklustre in my opinion. I found that certain parts just didn’t grip my attention like others, and I found myself a bit bored at times. But don’t get me wrong!! Overall, it was quite good. I just don’t really know if this is the sort of book for me, although I’m sure many, many others would love it.

Have you read The Immortalists? Did you love it or find it so-so?

Goodreads Challenge: 17 out of 50

Felicia x

Review: The Alice Network - Kate Quinn

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Title: The Alice Network

Author: Kate Quinn

Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks

Release Date: June 6th 2017

Pages: 503

My Rating: ★★★★ (4/5)

Goodreads | Amazon


“What did it matter if something scared you, when it simply had to be done?”

The Alice Network is all about a young - and pregnant - American socialite who enlists the help of an ex-spy and a Scotsman with violent tendencies to assist her in finding her cousin, Rose, who went missing during World War II.

I’m truly a sucker for books set during the World Wars. The first half of the 20th century is one of my favourite eras of history to study and the historical-fiction set in that time period always has me hooked. But at first, I wasn’t sure that I’d like this one. I was finding it sort of difficult to get myself totally immersed in the story. Although I do love me a good dual-narrative, I was finding each chapter pretty short so it felt a bit like whiplash going from one woman’s story to the other’s. But I got into the flow of it just after the first thirty or so pages. Considering the length of this book, it ain’t no thang.

I have to say, out of the two stories, I preferred the 1915 one over the 1947. I think that Eve was a total bad-ass and she went through some crazy stuff in her lifetime. From the moment her character was introduced, I wrapped up in her story. I wanted to know all about what made her the cold woman that she was in her old age. Charlie, on the other hand, came into the story “fresh”, so-to-speak. Aside from being pregnant out of wedlock, she didn’t have much of a backstory to get me invested in her story. The way that I saw the novel was that it was Eve’s story and Charlie was there to help the plot move along.

Oh, and Kate Quinn knows her shit, you guys. She’s a graduate of Boston University with a Bachelor’s and a Master’s in Classical Voice, so you can bet that this book is full of details.

The one thing that really irked me about this book - and I do mean really irked me - was that there were a handful of words that were repeated throughout the novel that I found so cringe-y. Like, they were constantly used, over and over. For example, Eve calling Charlie a “Yank” or Charlie referring to her unborn child as the “Little Problem” or, worse, “L.P.” *shudder* I don’t know why, but it just drove me crazy. Don’t get me wrong! It didn’t make me dislike the book. It just made me cringe a bit whenever I came across one of the words.

I loved this book. And if you’re looking for an incredible, fast-paced novel about bad-ass women during the second World War, you’ll love it too. The women in this novel are seriously inspiring and the female friendships are so important. It’s also worth noting that the 1915 story is actually based on real-life events! The Alice Network was very real and it was led by Louise de Bettignies, aka Lili. Kate Quinn actually explains the inspiration for the novel at the end of the book so if you’re curious about that, make sure to look out for it!

The Alice Network is a remarkable story, about unsung heroes and I just adored it. Also, Reese Witherspoon included this in her book club a while back! How cool is that? If you’re curious to know what Reese had to say about this book, you can view her online book club site here.

(Somewhat Spoiler: I should mention that there is mention of a particularly gruesome abortion, as well as some rape and assault mentions. Keep that in mind before/while you read!).

Have you read The Alice Network? Did you like it as much as I did?!

Goodreads Challenge: 16 out of 50

Felicia x

YA Novels Every Teen Should Read

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Growing up, I was massively into reading. Ever since I was very very little, I've been most happy whenever I have a book in hand. So, being an avid reader, that meant that the majority of my life lessons came from novels. I learnt a lot from books, and so it's no surprise that there are many books that have over the years become hugely influential in my upbringing.

What's great about novels is that they give a look into the lives of people from many different walks of life; it gives you a real, up-close look into a world that you might not know - which makes you more empathetic and understanding - or show you that you aren't alone in how you're feeling.

These books are some of the major ones that not only got me through high school, but also kind of shaped me into the person I am today. They're, in my opinion, some of the best books for teens to read before leaving high school. So, I thought I'd give a bit of a run-through of what each book is all about, for you guys. Also, I included trigger warnings, where applicable.

PERKS OF BEING A WALLFLOWER - STEPHEN CHBOSKY

Hands down, my favourite young adults novel. I read this when I was a young teenager, probably about 13 or 14 years old. Perks of Being a Wallflower is all about this kid called Charlie who's writing letters about his experiences in freshman year to an anonymously pen-pal. He goes into grade nine, dealing with the aftermath of a number of traumatic events, with no friends, feeling completely lost in the world. Enter two senior students, step-siblings Sam and Patrick, who take him under their wing. It really speaks to teens who feel like outcasts, without playing on that 'math nerd' stereotype that's found so often in YA novels/films. What I like most about this book is how it shows the bookends of high school - on one hand, you have the freshman, who's timid and trying to find their place in high school, and on the other hand, you have the senior, who's basically got their toes at the edge of their future. You can read this book either entering or leaving high school, and you'll still be able to relate to it in some way. It also depicts struggles with mental illness in a very serious way, too. Even if you've seen the film adaptation - especially if you've seen the film adaptation - you should still read this book.

Trigger Warnings: suicide, sexual assault, some violence

SPEAK - LAURIE HALSE ANDERSON

Okay, so the content of this book is extremely harrowing and that's exactly why I've put it on this list. If you're 18 or older, you've probably already read this one before, as it was extremely popular throughout the 2000s. It's all about a teenage girl who busts a summer party just before her freshman year of high school after an unspeakable (literally) incident occurs. She then spends the majority of the year in silence, as she faces rejection and backlash from her peers. Obviously, I won't give away what the incident was, as that's a huge spoiler. But it's definitely not for the faint of heart. The content that Laurie Halse Anderson tackles in this novel is both shocking and real. Speak takes on a number of really difficult topics and is a huge eye-opener.

Trigger Warnings: sexual assault

UNDER ROSE-TAINTED SKIES - LOUISE GORNALL

I only just read this book a couple months back and the first thing I thought of after finishing it was, "I so could've used a book like this when I was in high school." Unfortunately, this book was published long after I graduated - but that won't stop me from encouraging current high schoolers to read it!! Under Rose-Tainted Skies focuses first and foremost on mental health, which unfortunately hasn't been such a common main theme in YA novels in the past. It's also an #ownvoices book, which means that this story of mental illness comes from someone who, herself, suffers from mental illness. I think it's worth mentioning because it really makes the depiction of mental illness more raw and genuine. The main character in this book suffers from agoraphobia and OCD, which leaves her mostly unable to leave her house. She's faced with a bunch of challenges throughout the course of the novel, as she tries to find the path leading her to health. I think mental illness, although it's far more talked about now than even 5 or 6 years ago, is still plagued with stigma, and a lot of people who don't suffer from mental illness don't understand it well. Under Rose-Tainted Skies would be an amazing choice of book for students to read in high school classes (perhaps arguably better than some of the current choices...) as it would be a great conversation-starter.

Trigger Warnings: mental illness, self-harm

SIMON VS. THE HOMO SAPIENS AGENDA - BECKY ALBERTALLI

Betcha saw this one coming!! I'm sure most people know about Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda, or at least it's film adaptation Love, Simon by now. It's pretty much taking the world by storm and I've gotta say, I'm very happy about that. Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda is all about a closeted gay teenage boy who is blackmailed by another student after he's discovered anonymously e-mailing another gay student. Obvs, the reason I've included this book on the list isn't because of it's cute, fluffy storyline (although, it is mentionable) but because it features an LGBT main character and the primary storyline is about sexuality and adolescence. There are so many books out there with LGBT characters which deserve wayyy more recognition, but I'm glad to see a story like Simon breaking the barrier and paving the way for more stories like this to come to centre stage so to speak. This book is great because it deals with the anxiety of coming out to your peers and your family which - though I can't speak from experience on - must be a huge fear for LGBT teens worldwide. It gives something for teens to relate to. And for others, it's important because it shows the struggles of LGBT teens from their perspective, which can be really eye-opening to some people. The fact that this has come out as a film is great, too, because it widens the audience to all teens, as opposed to only readers.

Trigger Warnings: bullying, slurs

ELEANOR AND PARK - RAINBOW ROWELL

This is a romance novel unlike most. Although it features the story of first loves and all that, it also touches on difficult, real-life topics. Eleanor and Park is about a "misfit" named Eleanor and an average sort of boy named Park. Eleanor's family lives in a very small house of her mother's partner, where the kids are forced to share a tiny room and the family is exposed to the stepfather's abusive tendencies towards the mother and kids. Although this book is set in the 1980s, it's still very applicable to modern times in terms of the struggles that teens suffer and the experiences they go through. Although I read this as an older teen, there were parts of this that were relatable to me, and I think that the story would resonate with a lot of teens with different backgrounds. Often, YA novels - especially romances - are pigeonholed as light and fluffy, but this is certainly a book to challenge that. Don't get me wrong though, the relationship between Eleanor and Park is very cute and heartwarming!! It just also deals with serious topics, which is really important for teens to be exposed to.

Trigger Warnings: alcohol addiction, child abuse, domestic abuse, bullying

What novels were really influential to you whilst you were growing up? 

Felicia x

Review: Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine - Gail Honeyman

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Title: Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine

Author: Gail Honeyman

Publisher: Viking - Pamela Dorman Books

Release Date: May 9th 2017

Pages: 327

My Rating: ★★★★ (4/5)

Goodreads | Amazon


“Some people, weak people, fear solitude. What they fail to understand is that you don’t need anyone, you can take care of yourself.”

Hello guys. Welcome back! Today’s review is of one of my favourite books of the year so far, Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine. This was such an incredible book that I’ll probably be singing it’s praises for the rest of 2018 and beyond. So, without further ado, let’s just jump right into it!

Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine is about a woman named living in Glasgow who lives every day, every week, and every month exactly the same. She runs on a specifically planned, solitary daily schedule. Things start to change when an accident brings her and her office IT guy together in an unlikely friendship. Soon, she is forced to come to grips with a secret from her past that she’s been keeping from everyone, including herself.

I really, really, really enjoyed this book!!! Eleanor’s story is extremely moving. It’s one of those uplifting, ‘life does get better’ sorts of stories that really warms my heart. From the very beginning of the novel, you can already tell that Eleanor is not a happy woman and that something in her past has caused her to be that way. Right off the bat, I was rooting for this woman to find happiness in her life. She’s the sort of character that you can’t help but get attached to and you just hope the best for.

The writing of this book was particularly interesting because Eleanor is a very eloquent character. She’s very prim-and-proper, and pays very specific attention to how she speaks to others. Because of that, the novel is extremely well-written and included many a descriptive sentence. At first, I had worried that it might get sort of distracting to have the narration be so meticulous and flawless. However, I found that the sentences actually flowed surprisingly well and I ultimately found it no problem whatsoever!

All in all, I wasn’t at all prepared for this book - particularly the last half. It took me completely by surprise, which is something that I don’t usually find with novels. It was extremely difficult for me to actually believe that this book was Gail Honeyman’s debut freaking novel… like, I’m still in total shock. I’d love to read more from Gail Honeyman in the future, I’d probably read whatever she puts out honestly haha. This is the sort of book that I’d recommend to all my book-loving friends.

Have you read Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine? What did you think?

Goodreads Challenge: 14 out of 50

Felicia x

Review: Boy Erased - Garrard Conley

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Title: Boy Erased

Author: Garrard Conley

Publisher: Riverhead Books

Release Date: May 10th 2016

Pages: 340

My Rating: ★★★★ (4/5)

Goodreads | Amazon


“I came to therapy thinking that my sexuality didn’t matter, but it turned out that every part of my personality was intimately connected. Cutting one piece damaged the rest.”

Boy Erased is Garrard Conley’s true story of his experiences in conversion therapy in the early 2000s. Growing up as the son of a soon-to-be pastor in Arkansas, he hid his sexuality from his family until he got to university when they finally found out and enrolled him in a popular ex-gay program in Tennessee called Love In Action.

I came across this book online in a post that listed off a bunch of must-read non-fiction books. As I’ve probably mentioned in my earlier book reviews, this year I want to delve more into genres that I don’t typically reach for, and non-fiction is definitely one of them. After reading a few non-fics already, I was eager to read another so I decided to pick this one up. And it was definitely a good choice.

I thought this book was really interesting because Garrard’s story is one that could have easily gone untold. He’s from a small southern town, where he was raised by a fundamentalist family helmed by a father whom was, at the time, working towards becoming a pastor. His father views homosexuality as a sin, therefore leading Garrard to hide his sexuality from his father and the rest of his family and friends. At the start, Garrard went to Love In Action somewhat willingly - not because he was dying to do it, but because he was horrified with how his family saw him once they discovered his sexuality. The fact that he found the strength to go against the therapy was what made this book so remarkable because frankly, the experiences he went through were so demeaning and horrifying, that I couldn’t even handle it sometimes from a reader’s point of view. I can’t begin to imagine what he went through himself, living it.

The stories that Garrard tells about his early adulthood - not just about his time in conversion therapy, but in university, too - are harrowing and heartbreaking. So many times I had to stop reading for a second because it was just so difficult to get through. It’s so hard to imagine a nineteen-year-old going through all of what he went through. He had zero support system whatsoever, especially once everyone around him began to find out about his sexuality. They acted as if his sexuality had anything to do with what sort of person he is, which is despicable honestly.

I think that arguably the most important aspect of this book was that it shed light on the fact that there are still conversion therapies open and commonly used, even in the United States. Love In Action, where Garrard attended conversion therapy, only just shut down in 2012. From a quick Google search, I found that only a handful of States have a ban on conversion therapy for minors. The rest still allow it, which is something I didn’t even consider until I read this book. I hope that this book continues to make that a more widely known fact, so that there can be more done to get rid of these horrible therapies.

Have you read Boy Erased?

Goodreads Challenge: 13 out of 50

Felicia x

Review: The Picture of Dorian Gray - Oscar Wilde

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Title: The Picture of Dorian Gray

Author: Oscar Wilde

Publisher: Random House: Modern Library

Release Date: June 1st 2004

Pages: 367

My Rating: ★★★ 1/2 (3.5/5)

Goodreads | Amazon


“Behind every exquisite thing that existed, there was something tragic.”

Hello everyone! It’s a very exciting day today, as I have finally finished reading The Picture of Dorian Gray!!! You might remember from my travel diary posts last year that I visited New York City. While I was there, I stopped by at the Strand kiosk by Central Park and picked up this copy of The Picture of Dorian Gray. Between moving, being generally busy, and reading other books in the meantime, this book was sadly forgotten. Anyway, now that I’ve finally read it, I’m able to give it a proper review almost a year later.

Okay! So I went into this book with a very different idea of what it was about. I honestly can’t remember now what I thought this book was about before I read it. At this point, I’m so overwhelmed by it all that I can’t even register it all, haha. Essentially, The Picture of Dorian Gray is a story all about morality and a young society man who sells his soul in order to be eternally youthful. It’s a ‘Wilde’ story (SORRY I had to).

The first half of this book was quite slow, in my opinion. I kept waiting for there to be some big ‘wow’ moment, which did ultimately come - but not until several chapters into the book. Eventually though, once that moment did come, the rest of the book was intriguing and it was fairly jam-packed with twists, turns, and intense moments.

One things about this novel that I didn’t love per se was that there were often very long bits of dialogue. It bothered me a bit - not terribly, but worth mentioning at least. Some dialogue lasted full pages. It got so tedious and long that at times I had to actually flip back to the previous page to make sure I hadn’t missed something. Long dialogue like that often loses my attention.

The writing, however, was very good overall. And once the plot quickened in pace, the storytelling was extremely interesting. Unfortunately, there isn’t much that I can say about the actual plot without giving away a bunch, however I can say that it was certainly a page-turner! I thought it was a good novel, although I wouldn’t say that it was particularly my taste, or one of my favourite classic novels.

Have you read The Picture of Dorian Gray? What did you think?

Goodreads Challenge: 12 out of 50

Felicia x

Review: Scrappy Little Nobody - Anna Kendrick

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Title: Scrappy Little Nobody

Author: Anna Kendrick

Publisher: Touchstone

Release Date: November 15th 2016

Pages: 275

My Rating: ★★★★ (4/5)

Goodreads | Amazon


“I lost a Tony award to Broadway legend Audra McDonald when I was twelve, so I’ve been a bitter bitch since before my first period.”

Hello everyone! Recently I read Anna Kendrick’s book, Scrappy Little Nobody and had to come on here to review it because wow, what a ride.

This book was wonderful. Anna Kendrick’s memoir was perhaps one of the best I’ve read yet. She honestly seems like one of the most genuine celebrities ever — or at least, she can act like it — and wow, is she funny.

I just really enjoyed this. I went to my good friend Google to see if she had actually written this herself or had it ghost written (you never know!) but from what I can tell, it’s all her. And I’m not surprised. If you follow Anna Kendrick’s Twitter account, you’re probably already fully aware that she’s a hilarious person. That humour translates nicely to her memoir writing as well.

Her anecdotes were really amusing and sure, she does play that ‘quirky, too-cool-for-this girl’ role a bit more often than I'm usually a fan of, but a lot of what she talked about seemed genuine, at least to me anyway. The essays were fairly short and sweet, which is just how I like ‘em! I find that in a lot of cases, people can drag their personal stories on for ages and ages, by no fault of their own. But fortunately, Anna Kendrick didn’t fall into that trap.

No matter how she’s perceived (some reviewers on Goodreads said she seems ‘pretentious’), I think it’s quite ballsy of her to put such personal stories on paper and publish it for the whole world to see. I respect her immensely for it. Being completely authentic and honest is certainly no easy feat, especially as a celebrity I’d imagine. Anna Kendrick was a good sport about some of the things that would be pretty embarrassing to write about!

All in all, this was a witty, fun read. It didn’t take long to finish and I did have a few giggles along the way.

Are you a fan of Anna Kendrick?

Goodreads Challenge: 11 out of 50

Felicia x