What Would You Like to See?

So I thought I’d do a short post asking your opinions on my blog. Seeing as I’ve gained a lot (relatively – for me!) of new followers recently I wanted to know whether you would like to see anything else? For example some of my creative writing? I don’t know whether to upload it online or not. I don’t mean a lot – just now and again.

To have even one follower on this blog makes me ecstatic. I started this for me, originally as a way to document my time as Young Poet Laureate, which I didn’t actually really do! Now it’s morphed into my main hobby (other than reading and writing, obviously!) and I just want to say thank you to everyone who has followed or viewed this little space of mine on the internet!

🙂

Ashes – Mario Candelaria and Karl Slominski

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Genre: Graphic Novel

Publication Date: August 1st 2015 by Diamond Book Distributors

Format: ARC ebook from Diamond Book Distributors via Netgalley

Matt always had an easygoing life. Girls liked him, his friends were more like family, and being a firefighter came naturally. Then the accident happened. Now, after the loss of his leg, Matt struggles to cope with his new handicap as he attempts to rebuild his shattered family and once budding career. A riveting tale about perseverance, hard work, and overcoming the odds, Ashes is not to be missed.

(from goodreads.com)


I loved the concept of this graphic novel and I was expecting it to be amazing. But it just didn’t deliver. There was so much potential as well, which was what made it so disappointing.

For one thing, I found the images really dark and it was difficult to make some things out. Admittedly this is only the second graphic novel that I have read, however I have others that I have flicked through and they were much clearer. Because of this lack of clarity, I kept getting confused with who was who and following the speech bubbles was difficult too. I do prefer colour images, and colour would have worked really worked in this graphic novel, seeing as it was about a firefighter (I mean fire and bright colours go hand in hand).

The storyline was the part that had the most potential though. I loved the premise and there were so many parts where it could have been heartwarming and heartbreaking but these parts didn’t arrive. It was so frustrating because it wouldn’t have taken a lot more to make it these things. An extra image or page here and there. That’s it. I found things were started in the plot and they just ended before they could really be turned into something worthwhile. There seemed to only be one fully developed event in the middle of the novel whereas everything else was started, proceeded at a nice steady pace, and then was finished with remarkably quickly. The pacing wasn’t consistent is what I’m trying to say, as well the events being left undeveloped. I also didn’t really like the ending, it was a bit underwhelming. I was expecting a more dramatic, interesting conclusion but it just ended. Like that. Again, potential that went unfulfilled.

I disliked the majority of the characters as well. They weren’t relatable in any way and I really struggled to connect with them. It was therefore not enjoyable as I didn’t feel drawn into the story in the way that I usually am. Also the language that was used was vulgar for the most part and although I don’t have an issue with swearing there are times when it, along with crude references, can just be a bit too much. Such was the case in this graphic novel. I understand that it was in language that many people would use to talk to each other but it made it very unpleasant at times to read and I felt it was unnecessary. As I said, I don’t have an issue with swearing, it really doesn’t bother me, except when there is a bit too much.

I just found this book so confusing. There were points when I couldn’t work out what was happening and why and it just wasn’t nice to read at all at times. The problem was I felt that all of this was avoidable. It could have been clear, the plot better developed, the characters a little less vulgar. I guess this just wasn’t my cup of tea (and I like my tea a lot!). The potential was there, but the story wasn’t and this was really disappointing because the premise sounded so interesting and like the kind of story that would have tugged at my heartstrings. There were a couple of points when I felt some emotion towards one or other of the characters, but for the most part I felt that I was just sitting reading it for the sake of reading (and finishing) it.

Rating: 2 / 5.

Ketchup Clouds – Annabel Pitcher

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Genre: YA, Contemporary, Romance

First Published: November 2012 by Orion

Zoe Collins has a dark and terrible secret that she dares confess to no one. But the day she hears of a criminal on death row who knows all about secrets. And lies. And betrayal. Desperate to confide in someone, Zoe picks up a pen.

These are the letters that she wrote. 


I want to start by saying I loved Annabel Pitcher’s debut novel My Sister Lives on the Mantelpiece. However I did not love this one nearly as much.

The main thing that struck me was the that narrator of this novel spoke / wrote in an extremely juvenile manner. This is also prominent in My Sister. The difference being that the narrator of My Sister is a five year old, whereas in Ketchup Clouds she’s supposed to be a teenager (something I struggled with until GCSEs (I think) / school was mentioned and I finally registered that actually she’s older than she sounds). This style ruined this book for me, if I’m honest, as I found it difficult to take Zoe, the narrator, seriously.

I also found this novel irritating in many ways. First of all, there is the secrecy. I understand that this is part of the story – she doesn’t want to say anything that would incriminate her. However this was just frustrating when reading it. She kept hinting at what she’d done, but it didn’t become clear until the novel was nearly finished and the lead up had been drawn out as much as it could have been. I dislike novels that keep dragging out but hinting at key events though – I remember there was another one that I read not too long ago (but I can’t remember which one it was for the life of me – typical) and I found it irritating too! It’s just something that I can’t take to in books.

I just didn’t like Zoe that much either. I found her too immature, almost childish, not in the way she acted particularly. I don’t know, I can’t really explain it! But there was a juvenile element that I think was prominent because of the narrative voice.

Sometimes I think an epistolary novel can be really successful, and nothing is lost from the story. But I felt a lot was held back due to this form throughout this book – things that could have been included and not ruined the secretive feel (which, although I didn’t particularly enjoy this aspect, I realise that it is part of the story). I did like the different idea of the letters being addressed to someone she doesn’t know however, as this did mean that I could learn more about Zoe, but at the same time she was a very unreliable narrator as for one thing she started by saying she’d given a false name… Leading me, as the reader, to question what part of the story she is telling the ‘truth’ (obviously it’s fiction, but you get what I mean!).

As I mentioned, I felt that the storyline had been dragged out a lot before the ‘event’ is revealed. Thus I found the pace too slow for me, but I do prefer books with a quicker pace as I find it difficult to pick up books where things move slowly or very little happens.

The title has very little relevance to the novel as well. The reference is in relation to her youngest sibling (Dot) and something she does that has very little consequence (I believe) in the novel. Although I think that the title is intriguing, I think that there are so many other, better options. But that’s just personal opinion and I bet many people who have read this book see relevance in that small event and as a result think the title suitable and perfect for the novel.

I think, however, I’d gotten myself too excited to read this book as I’d loved My Sister Lives on the Mantelpiece so much, and it let me down. Maybe if I had read this one first I’d have enjoyed it more. I do have a friend who has read this and she really enjoyed it, and it wasn’t a bad book; it just wasn’t to my taste to be honest. I will read more of Annabel Pitcher’s novels when they are released (and when I have money to purchase them!), this hasn’t put me off. But maybe next time I’ll open one with lower expectations than I did Ketchup Clouds.

Rating: 3/5 (I didn’t hate it – I just felt let down by it).

Me and Earl and the Dying Girl – Jesse Andrews

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Genre: YA, Contemporary, Humour

First published: March 1st 2012 by Amulet Books

Up until senior year, Greg has maintained total social invisibility. He only has one friend, Earl, and together they spend their time—when not playing video games and avoiding Earl’s terrifying brothers— making movies, their own versions of Coppola and Herzog cult classics. Greg would be the first one to tell you his movies are f*@$ing terrible, but he and Earl don’t make them for other people. Until Rachel.

Rachel has leukaemia, and Greg’s mom gets the genius idea that Greg should befriend her. Against his better judgment and despite his extreme awkwardness, he does. When Rachel decides to stop treatment, Greg and Earl must abandon invisibility and make a stand. It’s a hilarious, outrageous, and truthful look at death and high school by a prodigiously talented debut author.

(from goodreads.com)


The cover and premise had me so excited for this book, I mean, LOOK AT THE COLOURS (Yes, I’ve used the picture I posted on Instagram because I loved how it turned out). How many books are this colourful? I don’t think there’s a colour that isn’t used (unless you’re really picky and start naming shades… Don’t be that person…). I also love books that have a similar premise (i.e. kid with cancer / illness) not in a morbid way, they’re normally profound and brilliant. For example, I loved The Fault in our Stars and I also loved Zac and Mia (review here).

Unfortunately I did not love this one.

It was okay. I liked parts. I particularly liked the structure of it – the use of scripts and the aesthetic both on the inside and outside of this book. I did also, however, find the character of Greg irritating, and Earl just rude. Rachel seemed nice enough, there just wasn’t enough of her in the book, it was very much Greg talking about himself.

I didn’t like the narrative voice. As I’ve said, I don’t like Greg. Okay, I completely understand that some of the things he says are probably true (in other words they’re the things that everybody thinks and nobody wants to say) but I just found his lack of empathy for Rachel irritating. At points it was like he wasn’t even trying. Like I get him not treating her like she’s about to break etc but instead of complaining about having to see her he could at least have been a bit more cheerful for her. Even Earl was nicer than Greg at points and I found Earl to be quite rude most of the time, as he showed pretty much everyone no respect.

Also, I didn’t find this book funny. I can probably count on one hand the amount of jokes that I laughed at. Reading the reviews on goodreads I do realise that a lot of people did find it hilarious, I just really didn’t. I think that may have been because Greg was grating on my nerves so anything he said just annoyed me though! I was expecting it to be humorous because of what people had been saying about it and I was disappointed when I found a lot of the jokes to just be silly comments. If that makes sense.

I felt that the plot lacked something as well. It wasn’t that it was a terrible plot at all (Jesse Andrews’ writing I  found to be very good and the plot was interesting), I just felt that it was missing something. Like there could have been more and it wouldn’t have been too much – it would have made it more interesting. A lot of it was almost the same thing repeated (a lot of the repetition was regarding his film making). I also found it to be quite slow paced, which, because very little (I felt) happened, bored me in places.

Jesse Andrews, however is clearly a very talented writer. I liked the way that his writing was so realistic – it sounded very much like a teenage boy (one I don’t particularly like) would speak. It was quite brutal, but not aggressive – just honest. I do quite like that in writing. I’m not one to sugar coat things myself (after all, you are reading this not quite complimentary review) but I’m not for rudeness either. Just brutal honesty.

I do believe that the reason I didn’t enjoy this book as much was because I had such high expectations, and when I found it didn’t meet those expectations, I was disappointed and didn’t enjoy the rest. Maybe one day I’ll reread it and enjoy it much more because I know what to expect!

I think I would still recommend this book to some people, despite the fact that I didn’t particularly enjoy it. This is because my sense of humour differs greatly from my friends’ (for example I do not find sitcoms funny in the slightest, I just feel awkward watching them as the actors just seem to be making fools out of themselves – but that’s just me, most of my friends find sitcoms hilarious). Back to the point. What I’m saying is that my sense of humour differs from the majority and therefore the majority would probably find this novel humorous and really enjoy it, which is why I’d recommend it. It’s also a super-quick read for a day where you’re doing nothing! And who doesn’t want that gorgeous, vibrant cover on their shelf?

Rating: 3 / 5.

Back to School Book Recommendations

It’s that time of year again… the one that everybody dreads. This year is my final school year (it’s so weird to write that) and it’s going to be hectic! I always read less whilst I’m at school as I usually have a load of homework which simply takes forever and so I have no time to read. However, this year it’s going to be different. I’m going to aim to read a book a week by making time before bed to read as there are so many books on my shelf that look amazing! I do think however, that there are certain books that are better than others when getting back into school. Usually they’re shorter, stand-alones (not always, but often) and lighter reads. So I’m going to recommend a few that I’d say are perfect for this season, and most, if not all, have a school aspect in them as well.

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Anna and the French Kiss – Stephanie Perkins

Whilst I would agree with pretty much everyone when they say this is a perfect summer read, I would also say that this is a good one for going back to school as it’s super quick to read, lighthearted and it’s set in a boarding school. It’s funny and would be a good book to pick up and read a bit of before bed to relax after a long day of school.

Fangirl – Rainbow Rowell

This follows Cath, who starts college with her sister Wren. This is perfect if you feel that you’re struggling to fit in, or you need a reminder to be yourself. It’s a stand alone with fantastic characters, humour and fan fiction. I read this last year in October time I believe (it was in the Autumn term) so I would definitely recommend this for this time!

Fans of the Impossible Life – Kate Scelsa

Mira is starting at the same school that misfit Jeremy goes to. Sebby, Mira’s friend, sometimes goes to another school, but mostly skips it, meeting Mira when her day is over. This is the story of the friendship Jeremy makes with the two of them as they all struggle to ‘fit in’ at school.

Am I Normal Yet? – Holly Bourne

Evie has had a long time off school due to mental illness and this is her experience of trying to be ‘normal’, which involves starting at college. This book is so, so realistic and had me laughing a lot and I would recommend this at any time of year, but especially now!

Wonder – R. J. Palacio

I recommend this for two reasons. One, it’s amazing. It is such a beautiful story. Two, it is August’s experience of school for the first time. He’s bullied because of the way he looks and he struggles with fitting in but it’s such a lovely story and a really quick read (I read this in one sitting, so even reading a bit a night, it wouldn’t take long to read).

The Harry Potter series – J. K. Rowling

Now what would a school themed post be without a mention of Harry Potter?! As everyone knows, the majority of these books takes place at Hogwarts, a school for Witchcraft and Wizardry. These books are amazing. The first ones I would definitely recommend because they’re lighthearted and funny. The later ones get darker, but they’ll be perfect for those winter months.

There are so many more books that I could have mentioned in this post. I’m tempted to do a part two? I don’t know. I hope this helps if you’re looking for a book to read in this autumnal, back to school season.

Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe – Benjamin Alire Sáenz

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Genre: YA, Contemporary, LGBT fiction

First Published: February 21st 2012 by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers

Dante can swim. Ari can’t. Dante is articulate and self-assured. Ari has a hard time with words and suffers from self-doubt. Dante gets lost in poetry and art. Ari gets lost in thoughts of his older brother who is in prison. Dante is fair skinned. Ari’s features are much darker. It seems that a boy like Dante, with his open and unique perspective on life, would be the last person to break down the walls that Ari has built around himself.

But against all odds, when Ari and Dante meet, they develop a special bond that will teach them the most important truths of their lives, and help define the people they want to be. But there are big hurdles in their way, and only by believing in each other―and the power of their friendship―can Ari and Dante emerge stronger on the other side.


This cover is beautiful, the characters are beautiful, the writing is beautiful. This entire book is beautiful.

I don’t know where to start with this book. There are a thousand words and not one does it justice. There is a reason why the cover is covered with awards (though it’s kind of a shame because the cover is so stunning!). It was just amazing.

Taking a moment to think about it, there is not really a plot to this novel. This is not a bad thing. It flowed better than many books I’ve read with well thought out, detailed plots. This book is simple: Two, completely different characters on a journey of self-discovery. Nothing more is needed.

I adored both Aristotle and Dante. Okay, I know that I say “the characters were likeable” or something similar a lot but no. This is different. I wanted to give them hugs and tell them both everything will be alright and sit and chat and chill and watch the stars with them both. (Why are they only fictional?!) They were so different, yet similar, and I loved them both.

I put off buying this book for ages, I don’t know why. I regret it. I read this in less than a day and loved and cherished every poetic word on every single page. It wasn’t particularly fast paced, but it wasn’t slow either – because there isn’t really a plot it just flowed and I didn’t take note of the story pace. I just read.

I loved the focus on family that featured throughout this novel, and also the way Dante’s family accepted Ari even though he had a rougher background and Ari’s family accepted Dante. The love was so clear and honest and I wish that more books would include such caring family relationships because it was a pleasant change from reading about broken families or parents that don’t pay attention to their kids (not neglecting them, just not exactly showering them in affection either).

I must admit, when I first started and realised that it was written from Aristotle’s perspective I was surprised and wondered how it would work well. I think you may be able to tell that I loved this book by now and yes, it worked. It was so much better than I originally anticipated, but so was the story (although I have no idea what I was expecting!).

The LGBT theme throughout this novel is done well. It is not the sole focus of the book, as so many books with LGBT themes focus only on the relationship, whereas this focuses on the individuals and friendship, rather than love. It’s not ‘in your face’ for want of a better description – it’s subtle and successful. A lot of themes can be very overpowering (such as illness, death and grief), not just this one, and sometimes subtle and hidden is better than obvious. That’s not to say that keeping these themes obvious is not a) important and b) a bad thing. This just made a great change.

I feel like I’m running out of words to say about this book (I had very few to begin with). I would heartily recommend this to whoever wants a heartwarming contemporary about two completely different guys, their friendship and loving families.

110 percent 5/5 stars.

My Favourite Books I’ve Read This Summer

This summer has been pretty good in terms of reading. Normally I read loads on holiday and then the 4/5 weeks after I get back I read barely anything but this hasn’t happened this year! As a result, I have a lot (well, a few) of books to choose from and I’m going to pick my five favourites from this summer. (But they’re not in a particular order). I have / will have reviewed these books, so there will be very little information with them (reviews should be linked if they are already published).

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Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe – Benjamin Alire Sáenz

This is such a beautiful book! I absolutely adored it and read it in less than a day. Everything about this book is perfect and if you haven’t already read it, then go and read it.

The Wrath and the Dawn – Renée Ahdieh

Completely different to things I’d normally read but it was fantastic – the plot was fast paced and interesting and I could picture the setting perfectly.

The Queen of the Tearling – Erika Johansen

This was amazing. I loved it so so much. The attitude of Kelsea kept making me laugh and I particularly liked the relationship she had with her guard.

Am I Normal Yet? – Holly Bourne

This book. Mental health and being a teenager are perfectly summarised. So normal, yet it explains complex and difficult issues clearly.

Extraordinary Means – Robyn Schneider

Every character was completely different in every way, with their own quirks and habits. It also accurately sums up how society reacts to outbreaks of a disease.