Saturday, 31 May 2014

Reading Challenge: 12 Books of Summer Reading

I love the summer and its lazy days in sunshine. Although Spring is my favourite season of the yearly cycle, Summer is always the time to do something wild, new and special. It's time to bring all your friends together and enjoy the sunshine while it lasts. Don't forget to PARTY! Lazy Sunday afternoons while having a barbecue with freshly made Pimps are the best! Summer is the only season when I regret not living near the seaside or having a house on the Malibu beach. That would be just awesome! 

This year I have decided to challenge myself to read a book a week and here is my LIST OF 12 SUMMER READS I am going to take on! It all starts on June 1st 2014 :) Let the adventures begin!! I cannot wait to get lost in the world of these 12 wonderful stories. 


CITY OF HEAVENLY FIRE by Cassandra Clare
We have been waiting years and months for this final book in the Mortal Instruments series. And Ms Clare has finally published this well expected and definitely-looked-forward-to last instalment. We have been promised six deaths and snippets from the book have been regularly posted online to keep us guessing. As soon as I am holding this book in my hands, it will be read and brought everywhere with me. 

UNSTICKY by Sarra Manning
I have fallen under the spell of Ms Manning's writing. It's modern, totally relate able and always makes you cry and laugh. The female characters in her book are always going through similar problems as yourself, so you get hooked on the story immediately. A great and light hearted summer reading.

THE EDGE OF ALWAYS by J. A. Redmerski
The Edge of Always is a second instalment to best selling e-book The Edge of Never. We follow the story of Camryn and Andrew after they found their happily ever after. But will their life go according to their plan or will something happen and the destiny will change the course?

Seen the film, purchased the novel. An indie film which got me glued to the screen. Let's see if the book is as good as the film. Generally speaking, I always prefer the book which might be due to the fact that I always read the book first, but this time the film caught my attention first and the book has found its way onto my book shelf afterwards. Experiment in progress!


This story made cry millions of readers around the world. The film adaptation is reaching the big screen soon, so the time has come for me to find out the story of Hazel and Augustus. I have been warn to purchase a box of tissues and box of chocolates to get me through this emotional story. 

FANGIRL by Rainbow Rowell
Hands down, Rainbow Rowel is my favourite author. Every book I read, I absolutely love. It all started with Eleanor & Park, gone through Attachments and now it's time for Fangirl. I have recently watch the review of this book on YouTube and apparently this is the first book which made the book reviewer cry. That means I am expecting big things. Let's hope I will not be disappointed. 

ANNA AND THE FRENCH KISS by Stephanie Perkins
A new YA author has emerged and took the world by storm. Anna and French Kiss is a multi-selling book in many countries and promises a great romance. Plus there is the fact that it takes place in Paris  - my favourite place in the world. I am really looking forward to read about this coming of age novel. I do like a good YA novel!

This book has been recommended by many book reviewers and book addicts and I cannot wait to actually start reading it. It's a fantasy story with misters in the style of creepiness expect from Adams Family...


ON THE ROAD by Jack Kerouac
Classic book by an amazing author. One of my new years resolutions was to start reading more classical literature and this story has made an impact on so many. Jack Kerouac is one of the best authors of last century and ON THE ROAD is legendary. I liked the film, let's find out if I am impressed with the original. 

TEARDROP by Lauren Kate
I loved the Fallen series by this author, it's time to find out if Teardrop and its unusual story can measure up. Not everyday you read about a girl so heartbroken that she cried out an ocean. 

VALLEY OF THE DOLLS by Jacqueline Susann
My housemate / best friend / co-author of this blog, Claire, recommended this book to me years ago. But somehow, I haven't found the time and the inspiration to read this story. And that is why I have decided to put it on the list. It's time for me to take it down from the book shelf and find out what this iconic story is about. 

NORTHERN LIGHTS by Phillip Pullman
Yes, I must be the only bookworm who haven't read Pullman's HIS DARK MATERIALS. I have tried years ago but it didn't impress me much, so hopefully this time around, it will be different and I will be able to read this series. I purchased a brand new - very gorgeous - edition of this series. 

So there you have it. 12 books - my summer reading challenge! What books are on your list? Any particular piece of literature you would recommend for me to read? I am always looking to expand my horizons with new adventures. 

Friday, 23 May 2014


JUST A GIRL STANDING IN FRONT OF A BOY is a novel written by very british Lucy-Anne Holmes. This is my first meet with this author, but looking through some articles and book reviews, this is not her first novel. Ms Holmes has been already getting some pretty great reviews all around her previous works Unlike A Virgin, 59 Ways To Find A Lover and The (Im)Perfect Girlfriend. (All pretty great named books if you ask me - very original!).

"Hilarious and romantic with dashings of tear-inducing moments, this is a real gem." CLOSER

"Had me laughing out loud from the first page." LINDSEY KELK

"Wickedly witty with a warm heart." MIRANDA DICKINSON

"Holmes writes with wit and verve, and lends her fictional alter ego such charm, that the book contains frequent moments of laugh-out-out hilarity." GUARDIAN

I bought it myself as a part of my pick-me-up shopping spree at the local book store. This book called out to me with its colourful optimistic binding and a promise of romance and hilarity - my favourite combination. And because I have been feeling down lately and my love life sucks, I have decided to give it a go and see for myself if all the praise is based on true findings.

Immediately, I love the dedication!

"For all the amazing women I've met, and those I haven't, who battle with the dark days."

Beautiful. Thoughtful. Definitely one of the best dedications which caught my eyes in a while.

Let's meet Jenny Taylor who everyone calls Fanny. Why everyone calls her Fanny is actually quite hilarious and once you read it, you will start to laugh uncontrollably. Fanny struggles with the dark days like many of us, but thanks to her Manifesto written by her best friend Phillippa, the life is getting better. She has a stable boyfriend, a job she likes and her days are filled with people who loves her for her. But then everything starts to change. Her mum turns up on her door steps with mission to bond with her daughter. Her long-term boyfriend proposes.. And there is a new boy in town who has this unknown effect on her. 

This book got to me straight from the start. First sentence and I knew I am in for a hilarious ride. I was immediately hooked. Ms Holmes manage to put a smile on my face with every passing chapter. The incredible hilarious situations the main character was put through, had me in giggles all the way through.

FANNY was another very relatable character. Every girl I knew could find herself in her place, going through the same embarrassing situations, dealing with the same problems and motions. This girl and her manifesto became my inspiration. I think every girl or woman I know could find herself in Fanny's shoes one way or another and could make her example to follow. Phillippa is the best friend you can only dream of. Every girl deserves one.

The whole plot line seemed a bit cheesy at the start, but as I read on, I enjoyed it more and more.

One of my favourite parts in the book was Fanny's Smiling Manifesto. I know that there are a lot of people in the world who struggle and suffer from depression ... I, myself, have a hard time with the dark days sometimes. And this manifesto is a great idea. There are points in it which can be easily incorporated into your everyday life and make it special and more bearable (even enjoyable) for you. The Smiling Manifesto is the way forward! I am definitely making a copy for myself and putting it on my wall so I can look at it everyday and get some strength from it. I will make it all pretty and sparkly !

I laughed out loud. I cried crocodile tears. I giggled like a school girl. This story made me go through a whole circle of emotions. But I loved it! It was a real, down-to-earth story with real characters and (im)possible situations. Many times I imagined myself as the main character and the situations she finds herself in, all I could do is laugh hysterically. Hands down! This book is brilliant!!!

I actually don't have any bad points to pick up. The story was easy to follow and very entertaining. You just couldn't put the book down and you wanted to read on. The characters were real and you could find parts of yourself in every single one of them. The writing was hilarious, modern, smart and very very funny.

This is pick-me-up book which brought me back a will to read. I have been feeling down in recent week and this story managed to put a smile back on my face and bring back a motivation to read which I was lacking. So therefore I want to say a BIG FAT THANK YOU to Lucy-Anne Holmes for writing this inspiring story. I will definitely pick up more books by this author for the bad days which can come. And if they do, I will be ready to laugh them away...

Thursday, 22 May 2014


MISS PELEGRINE'S HOME FOR PECULIAR CHILDREN is a debut novel of american author Ranson Riggs. I came across this book while browsing through Waterstones website about 18 months ago, just before it was released. It immediately caught my attention. The promise of a story based on old photographs was irresistible. But it took me a while to purchase it and even longer to read it.

Luckily, I have been lacking an inspiration for reading lately. Somehow I found all the YA novels I owned a tad boring, so it was time to grab this hardback and see what the book has in store for me.

Firstly, I have to mention the lovely hardback edition sitting on one of my book shelf. The photographs are mesmerising and the whole edition is just gorgeous. When you peel of the sleeve you find a red journal of Alma LeFay Peregrine. This really is one of the most beautiful hardbacks I own (but still it isn't on the level of The Night Circus hardback - that book is in a completely different league!).  I love the idea of this story based on old, found and very peculiar photographs. They might be just tricks of photographers who are playing with our minds, or they might truly capture something unexplainable in the world. And they definitely make this story  more paranormal and interesting. They are intertwined within the story itself and compliment it. They make this book that little bit more special! 

Jacob Portman used to love the stories his grandfather used to tell him as a child. He even had photographs to prove every single of his stories! But as Jacob grew older, the stories became less and less real and the once amazing photographs became pictures which were tampered with. He broke his grandfather's heart by not believing him. A little Jacob knew, that after tragedy strikes and his beloved grandfather dies, Jacob starts to question everything. What if the stories grandpa told him when he was a child, are true? What has really happened on the beautiful island which his grandfather described as a paradise? Jacob decides to find out the truth  for himself and travels to Wales only to find out the HOME in ruins and being told that every child died on the eve of 3rd September 1940. But something keeps bugging him and he returns to the ruins of the home everyday... And then the impossible happens! One afternoon he is surprised by bunch of children who's photographs he's seen before... And so the adventure begins....

Writing this book review took me quite some time. I have been thinking and thinking... having little discussions in my head ... What do I think about this book? I am still not sure what I want to say to you about this story.... I did enjoy the book and the story itself. It was engaging and the photographs in the book gave it the extra edge. At certain point while reading through the night shift, I got a little bit scared. You know how it goes.. You see it. You read about it. You get freaked out when the scary part of the story comes in.

I have loved how modern the writing was. I could relate to the characters and found them all very fascinating. The relationships in this story were beautiful, strong and empowering.

As I said I truly enjoyed the fact that the story was written based on the found vintage photographs on the flee markets in different cities and countries. I also liked how the story evolved into different time lines. The story itself was really entertaining and I found myself routing for the peculiar children..

But having said that... It didn't leave an everlasting impression on me. Everywhere I go and everyone I speak to, I recommend to read the book, but I have been really struggling to find the words for this review.

I read it. I liked it. But I don't think I will re-read it any time soon.

Next time it will be the second instalment of the book which came out this year - HOLLOW CITY. Again, I purchased in hardback to complete my collection and in the fashion of the previous book, it is beautiful. I so hope that the story will continue to engage my liking.

Sunday, 4 May 2014


So spring is here and I love it. Apart from the rainy days which are thankfully getting warmer. But we have longer days filled with more sunshine than in winter, which means more reading time. I can't wait to sit in the park or outside in the garden with a glass of refreshing lemonade and read my heart out. Maybe some tasty chocolates and macaroons can make it even better!

I have decided to put together APRIL & MAY BOOK BONANZA as there was quite a big list in play and not enough time for Amazon to get the books delivered. 

But having said that I have prepared for you list filled with romance, adventure, teenage dramas, fantasy and seeing the unexpected. 


ADORKABLE by Sarra Manning

Welcome to the dockside. It's going to be a bumpy ride...

Jeane Smith's a blogger, a dreamer, a dare-to-dreamer, a jumble sale queen, CEO of her own lifestyle brand and has half a million followers on twitter. 
Michael Lee's star of school, stage and playing field. A golden boy in a Jack Wills hoodie. 
They have nothing in common but a pair of cheating exes. So why can't they stop snogging?

TO THE LIGHTHOUSE by Virginia Woolf

The serene and maternal Mrs Ramsay, the tragic yet absurd Mr Ramsay, together with their children and assorted guests, are holidaying on the Isle of Skye. From the seemingly trivial postponement of a visit to a nearby lighthouse Virginia Woolf constructs a remarkable and moving examination of the complex tensions and allegiances of family life. One of the great literary achievements of the twentieth century, TO THE LIGHTHOUSE is Virginia Woolf's most popular novel. 

STONER by John Williams

William Stoner enters the University of Missouri at nineteen to study agriculture. Later, he becomes a teacher. He marries the wrong woman. His life is quiet, and after his death his colleagues remember him rarely. 
Yet with truthfulness, compassion and intense power, this novel uncovers a story of universal value. STONER tells of the conflicts, defeats and victories of the human race that pass unrecorded by history, and reclaims the significance of an individual life. A reading experience like no other, itself a paean to the power of literature, it is a novel to be savoured. 

ANNA AND THE FRENCH KISS by Stephanie Perkins

Here is everything I know about France: Amelie and Moulin Rouge. The Eiffel Tower and the Arc de Triomphe.. And, I'm moving to Paris for a year. To boarding school. Alone.

Anna had everything figured out - she was about to start senior year with her best friend, she had a great weekend job, and her huge work crush looked as if it might finally be going somewhere.. Until her dad decided to send her 4383 miles away to Paris. On her own. 

But despite not speaking a word of French, Anna finds herself making new friends, including Etienne St. Clair, the smart, beautiful boy from the floor above. But he's taken - and Anna might be too. Will a year of romantic near-misses end with the French kiss she's been waiting for?


In a world of glittering gowns and priceless jewels THE SELECTION is the chance of a lifetime: to compete for gorgeous Prince Maxon's heart. But for America Singer it means turning her back on her secret love, and leaving home for a prize she doesn't want. 
Then America meets Maxon and all her plans start to crumble. Can the life she's always dreamed of compare to a future she never imagined.


Letters from the only man she's ever truly loved. 
A keepsake of the father she never really knew. 
A blue glass vase that catches the light on a grey day. 

Gina Bellamy is starting again, after a few years she'd rather forget. But the belongings she's treasured for so long don't seem to fit who she is now. 
So Gina makes a resolution. She'll keep just a hundred special items - the rest can go. 
But that means coming to terms with her past and learning to embrace the future, whatever it might bring...

IT FEELS LIKE A KISS by Sarra Manning

Ellie Cohen is living her dream. A great job at an exclusive Mayfair art gallery, loyal mates, loving family, and really, really good hair. Well, there's the famous rock-star father who refuses to acknowledge her and a succession of  'challenging' boyfriends, but nobody's perfect. 
But when a vengeful ex sells Ellie out to the press, she suddenly finds herself fighting to keep her job, her reputation and her sanity. Then David Gold - handsome, charming but ruthlessly ambitious - is sent in to manage the media crisis... and Ellie. 
David thinks she's a gold-digger and Ellie thinks he's a shark in a Saville Row suit, so it's just as well that falling in love is the last thing on their minds...


The twist of a knife, the birth of a legend...

Celaena Sardothien owes her reputation to Arobynn Hamel. He gave her a home at the Assassins' Guild and taught her the skills needed to survive. 
Arobynn's enemies stretch far and wide - from Adarlan's rooftops and its filthy dens, to remote islands and hostile deserts. Celaena is duty-bound to hunt them down. But behind her assignments lies a dark truth that will seal her fate - and cut her heart in two forever...


"I'll tell you what happened because it will be a good way to introduce my brother. His name's Simon. I think you're going to like him. I really do. But in a couple of pages he'll be dead. And he was never the same after that."

HALO by Alexandra Adornetto

Is love a great enough power against evil?

Three angels are sent down to bring good to the world: Gabriel the warrior, Ivy the healer, and Bethany, a teenage girl who is the least experienced of the trio. But she is the most human, and when she is romantically drawn to a mortal boy, the angels fear she will not be strong enough to save anyone - especially herself...

THE MAZE RUNNER by James Dashner

When the doors of the lift crank open, the only thing Thomas can remember is his first name. But he's not alone. He's surrounded by boys who welcome him to the Glade, an encampment at the centre of a bizarre and terrible maze. 
Like Thomas, the Gladers don't know why or how they came to be there, or what's happened to the world outside. All they know is that every morning when the walls slide back, they will risk everything to find out. 


Hope Delafield hasn't always had an easy life. 

She has red hair and a temper to match, as her mother is constantly reminding her. She can't wear heels, is terrified of heights and being a primary school teacher isn't exactly the job she dreamed of doing, especially when her class are stuck on the two times table. 
At least Hope has Jack, and Jack is the God of boyfriends. He's sweet, kind, funny, has a killer smile, a cool job on a fashion magazine and he's pretty (but in a manly way). Hope knew that Jack was The One ever since their first kiss after the Youth Club Disco and thirteen years later, they're still totally in love. Totally. And then Hope catches Jack kissing her best friend Susie...

Does true love forgive and forget?
Or does it get mad... and get even?

HOLLOW CITY by Ranson Riggs

September 3, 1940. 
Ten peculiar children flee an army of deadly monsters. 
And only one person can help them - but she's trapped in the body of a bird. 

The extraordinary journey that began in MISS PEREGRINE'S HOME FOR PECULIAR CHILDREN continues as Jacob Portman and his newfound friends journey to London, the peculiar capital of the world. There, they hope to find a cure for their beloved headmistress, Miss Peregrine. But in this war-torn city, hideous surprises lurk around every corner. And before Jacob can deliver the peculiar children to safety, he must make an important decision about his love for Emma Bloom.

Thursday, 1 May 2014

5 Best Sequels

I have decided to write some blog posts inspired by my favourite bloggers and vloggers and tumblr prompts. God Bless the TUMBLR!! I cannot believe how long it took me to realise how great this social networking site is but OH MY, IT'S BRILLIANT!!

Thanks to some great videos from my favourite THE READABLES on YouTube and her weekly video of her TOP 5, I have decided to write some posts on the prompts she has received. #Sequels is here. You know what major problem I have with sequels. Usually they turn out to be a disappointment and they anger me with not enough thought out story. Second book is always curse for me to read, so when I find one which is really good, I am pleasantly surprised. I think I always set up my standards high thanks to the first book in the series, and then when it doesn't come even close, I am left sad and angry and really really pissed off. 

Anyways, here are my 5 BEST SEQUELS which passed the expectations and manage to surprise me by being as good as the first book, if not better on some occasions. 

5. CITY OF ASHES by Cassandra Clare

The Mortal Instruments series had lured me in with its actioned packed story about Shadow hunters and their hidden world within our world. City Of Bones was brilliant introduction to this mind-blowing world. And City Of Ashes was a great continuum of the story. Yes, there were parts which I hated and there were parts which I loved.  But the important thing is that the second book took us even deeper into the story, surprised us even more and left us hanging for the next one to come. 

4. INSURGENT by Veronica Roth

The Divergent Series is one of the best dystopian series I have read in recent years. The film adaptation has recently hit the big screen (if successfully - that is a different question...). Insurgent was a great sequel packed with action and backstabbing and surprising twists (especially the one from Caleb!). Tobias Eaton is as gorgeous and mesmerising as usual and Tris as annoying as in the first one if not more. Insurgent is one of the better sequels but not as good as Allegiant. 

3. GIRL OF NIGHTMARES by Kendare Blake

Girl of Nightmares is a sequel to Anna Dressed in Blood by Ms Blake. What an amazing story and what an amazing series. It's dark. Sometimes even terrifying. It's witty, eventful and keeps you on your toes. You have your fingers crossed all the way through for Cas and Anna and hope that he will save her and somehow they will find their happy ending. Ms Blake wrote one great series which I will return to read time and time again. 

2. CLOCKWORK PRINCE by Cassandra Clare

Clockwork Prince is the second book of Infernal Devices by Ms Clare. Infernal Devices are a prequel to The Mortal Instruments and this book is just one of the greatest sequels I have read. Actually, the whole series is brilliant. It makes you go through your whole spectrum of your emotions. I cannot remember a book when I cried or smiled so hard. The only thing I hate about is the clear fact that Ms Clare decided at the beginning who will be the winner in the love triangle and who will lose. But I do appreciate this book for the amour spent on the relationship between Jem and Tessa. It's beautiful. And definitely one of the best ones I have ever read. Team JEM all the way. 

1. CROWN OF MIDNIGHT by Sarah J. Maas

Crown of Midnight is a sequel to Throne of Glass. This series took me by surprised. I wasn't expecting to fall for the story and its protagonists so hard. I wasn't expecting that I will count the days till the next book in this series is released. But Crown of Midnight is even better than the first book. Ms Maas managed to take this story even further with new twists and turns which keep on coming. The love triangle has reached its full potential, secrets have been discovered which are leading to more dangerous situations. I have loved this book and cannot wait for the new developments in the Celaena, Chaol and Dorian's life. 

So here are my Top 5 Sequels, tell me what sequels did you like and why. I would love to hear your thoughts so do not hesitate and let me know.