Books in May.

The monthly ‘series’ is staying, but I’m changing the layout of the post again… I also want to add that I am not affiliated with Goodreads in any way – I use their links because I find it a very useful resource for reviews/ratings/recommendations! Anyway, there’s a little extra at the end of the post!

Books that I’ve read this month:

My reviews:
The Lost & The Dead Ground – Claire McGowan
The Georgraphy of You and Me – Jennifer E. Smith

I didn’t read much this month – most of the time felt like it was taken up reading the Animal Behaviour book! In reality, that was only up until the 6th May as that was when the exam was. I did however have two more assignments to complete before the 16th May and so reading wasn’t really possible! My favourite book from this month was The Dead Ground. I love a good young adult book, but I love crime/thriller/mystery even more.

Favourite book related things from the internet:

# You know you’re a book nerd if…
# Cassandra Clare talks to Glamour about City of Heavenly Fire (I need to buy this book!)
# I definitely need this bookmark – guilty as charged! ‘Fell Asleep Here’
# You need to read Becca’s post about the dreaded words…“Books are boring”.
# Can mind maps improve your writing? – Maybe I should try mind maps to get blog posts out!


# 28 Relatable Book Quotes

I’m liking this layout, and I am going to stick to this form of post for my ‘Books in…’ series. What do you think?

Book Review: The Geography of You and Me*

image– Jennifer E. Smith

Lucy and Owen meet somewhere between the tenth and eleventh floors of a New York City apartment building, on an elevator rendered useless by a citywide blackout. After they’re rescued, they spend a single night together, wandering the darkened streets and marveling at the rare appearance of stars above Manhattan. But once the power is restored, so is reality. Lucy soon moves to Edinburgh with her parents, while Owen heads out west with his father.

Now when I spotted this one on Bookbridgr, I just had to get it! I haven’t read a good young adult book in a while, and I figured this would hit the spot. I wasn’t disappointed. I’ve never read any of Smith’s books previously, but I may just have to check them out now!

Lucy and Owen are both likeable in my opinion. They meet in New York, but soon enough they’re both travelling in different parts of the world, hundreds of miles away from each other. The story is told from both perspectives, and I feel like I’ve been saying this a lot recently, but I usually dislike this. Here, it definitely worked. I wanted to see how each person was getting on, so the dual perspective was a plus. I also enjoyed the writing. It felt sort of young and free, and definitely easy to read.

Lucy is finally getting to explore Europe, as her parents have done throughout her childhood. She’s trying to deal with moving to a new country, fitting in at school and getting used to the new cultures that she’s just been thrown into. Owen and his father are trying to move on from his mother’s death. Travelling the US, they try to find a place to settle. With two different past stories, the book has a little more depth than just the usual teenage romance. As well as dealing with their own troubles, Lucy and Owen are attempting to stay in contact. Long distance relationships aren’t always easy (I should know, being in one!) but this shows that if you care, you can make it work.

I finished the book whilst on my train back up to Carlisle (university) and I was struggling towards the end. I just got all emotional! This book reminds me of John Green, though 10x better. I enjoyed his books, but I don’t believe they are worth the hype. This book would be worth the hype.

*Thank you to Bookbridgr and Headline for the chance to review this book!

Book Review: The Shock of The Fall

image– Nathan Filer

‘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.’

The Shock of the Fall is an extraordinary portrait of one man’s descent into mental illness.

Matthew is a 19 year old with a mental illness. He lost his younger brother when they were both children, and Simon lives on in Matthew’s head. Matthew’s voice in the book is quite hard to get to grips with at first in my opinion. His thoughts are confusing, and you’re never really sure whether he’s talking the truth. It had me reading on because I wanted to make sense of it. As a result, the writing itself was very disjointed, and whilst I occasionally found it difficult to read, I felt like it really fit in with the story, and with Matthew having schizophrenia. Everything pulled together to make the story flow.

This book was a weird one for me. I was expecting quite an easy read, but I clearly hadn’t looked at the descriptions/reviews in enough depth! I feel like this review is terrible, but this book just wasn’t what I was expecting at all! I enjoyed it, I didn’t love it as much as I expected to considering all the rave reviews it had!

Books in April

A little different again… Click the images for my review!

I’m a little slow with getting reviews up this month – I read the last three books whilst away in Finland! The reviews for the bottom two books will be written and uploaded this following week!

Book Review: A Heart Bent Out of Shape*

image– Emylia Hall

I have been putting off writing this review because honestly I just do not know where to start! I’m going to do my best, without spoiling anything!

A Heart Bent Out of Shape follows Hadley Dunn, and so far her life has been quite normal. She has a nice family, friends, and loves her study subject of choice – literature. Her decision to spend a year studying in Lausanne, a beautiful Swiss city, changes everything. Once living in the city, she falls in love with everything about it, and the place just seems magical. The descriptions of everything make you want to visit – you wish you could experience all these new things, just like Hadley. It does help that the writing is great, and you really can envisage the city, the shops that are described and the university. The idea of studying a year abroad is a fascinating one to me, that’s for sure!

Anyway, Hadley lives in a student flat, and here she meets Kristina. A Danish girl, Kristina is so different to Hadley and the two of them form a strong bond, becoming close friends instantly. Of course, sometimes things don’t go to plan… When a tragedy strikes, Hadley’s life is turned upside down. Everything changes, and you can sense it in the writing. You can feel the despair and the sadness coming from Hadley, and even though that sounds incredibly depressing, it made for a really good read in my opinion! I felt like I went through the emotions that she did. (Though maybe not AS much hahah!)

Struggling, Hadley turns to the one person she can trust, and lines begin to blur. She starts to put pieces of the puzzle together and the answers don’t match up – can she ever trust anyone again? The story follows her as she begins her journey in a new city with new friends and the dangers of falling in love.

All in all, I loved this book. It made me laugh, cry and I almost throw it across the room in anger… Always a good sign if you ask me! One twist in the book – I loved it. I didn’t know whether my guess would be right or wrong and it didn’t disappoint. Would definitely recommend this book if you love a good (sort of chick-lit) mystery with a bit of romance!

*I received this book in exchange for a review on Bookbridgr, thanks to Headline.

Book Review: Precious Thing*

image– Colette McBeth

I don’t know whether it shows in the books I read, as I do read a mixture, but I really love a good crime story! Precious Thing tells us the story of Rachel and Clara, best friends who do everything together as young girls. They’re 14/15 when they first meet and become inseparable until Clara is hospitalised in a psychiatric institution.

Seven years later, Rachel is a successful tv reporter and is working when she discovers that Clara has gone missing.
Despite previously going their separate ways, the friendship was still there – a close bond like theirs couldn’t just disappear.

It is written as though Rachel is writing to Clara – almost like a diary. Throughout the narrative, she slowly reveals what happened during their friendship. I think this book was very clever in that I never really could get a grip on what actually was happening. I sort of figured out one thing, but I did have some crazy scenario in my head which wasn’t actually right… And I thought it could be a big possibility. All the way through I was trying to figure out whether everything Rachel was remembering was the truth, or whether she had sort of remembered Clara in a really bad light to make her feel better. I’m trying not to spoil it for you, so I can’t go into too much detail!

I will say though that the end confused me when I had finished, but I’ve also just realised that the very beginning showed that Rachel was beginning a letter to Clara in the present, before it jumping into the actual story. If I had been less dim and put that together, it would have been okay! Oh and another thing – the character, Jake, wasn’t really developed enough for me personally, but then it doesn’t really hinder the storyline. I’m just one of those who likes to know a person’s backstory!

This story is definitely suspenseful and a mystery, you will be guessing right up to the end.

This book will be published on April 10th!
* I received this book from BookBridgr in exchange for a review.

Book Review: Further Confessions of a GP

image– Benjamin Daniels
I read Confessions of a GP sometime last year and absolutely loved it. I’ve always been fascinated with the medical world – I actually wanted to be a midwife when younger, but that was before I realised that I couldn’t just look after the baby! I didn’t realise that I had to do all the ‘disgusting’ bits… Anyway, when I saw that books were going on twitter, I jumped at the chance to grab a copy of Further Confessions of a GP! I’ve read so many of these type of books and I just love them. They make me feel like I’m living that life…

It is what it says… Basically the diary of a GP and each chapter is a short anecdote. The style of it is very easy to read and you don’t have to dedicate a lot of time to it. As each chapter is pretty small, you can just pick it up and have a quick read when waiting! ‘Benjamin’ has also got a great voice. He’s funny and he really pulls you into the memory. You can see that he really does care about his patients, despite the sometimes strange and hilarious scenarios that he describes. And some of them are really out there… It’s a real eye-opener to the world of a GP. (And a great read!)

Uniball pens – review #1

So you may remember this post where I bought a bunch of uniball pens and said I would review them – though it was a while ago!

Anyway, here’s the first set of pens!

Now I have to say, I was a little disappointed in these! Four out of the five just didn’t seem to write very well, and looked really light. I did love the Jetstream one though! Now that is the kind of pen I like to use. It was dark, and felt smooth to write with.

You can see here that the ink is really light, and I hate black inks that aren’t actually a proper black! The second blue pen was light, and I would have liked it if it didn’t feel ‘dry’ to write with. The colour was a little temperamental, as you can see with the different tones throughout writing the word. I could not find the black pen with just a plain blue outer layer anywhere. I have no idea which pen that is – it had no writing on it!

No bleed through on the thin Filofax paper though… always a plus!

So yeah, not overly impressed with this set! Though I can see myself using the Jetstream often!

Book review: Billy and Me – Giovanna Fletcher

imageAs I said in a post last week, I was a little wary about reading this one! I love romance books despite most of them being very predictable! This book is the debut novel from Giovanna Fletcher. She is an actress/writer, and Billy and Me is her first published book!

I bought this book when I was in Waterstones last week. I’ve been meaning to get it since it came out (May 23rd!) but had just never gotten round to doing so! On first impressions, the book cover did draw me in! The colours are lovely, and I love how the little village looks! It is a beautiful cover. The back is equally as pretty too – following on with the colour and the ‘end’ of the village scene.

The book blurb:

Sophie May has a secret.

One that she’s successfully kept for years. It’s meant that she’s had to
give up her dreams of going to university and travelling the world to stay
in her little village, living with her mum and working in the local teashop.

But then she meets the gorgeous Billy – an actor with ambitions to make
it to the top. And when they fall in love, Sophie is whisked away from the
comfort of her life into Billy’s glamorous – but ruthless – world.

Their relationship throws Sophie right into the spotlight after years of
shying away from attention. Can she handle the constant scrutiny that
comes with being with Billy? And most of all, is she ready for her secret
heartbreak to be discovered and shared with the nation?

The book starts with a memory of sorts, which introduces the main character, Sophie. I loved this introduction, and for me it was something quite different to see! It then launched into present day, starting with Part 1. The book is split up into chapters, but also has four ‘parts’. These signify changes in the character’s lives, and I think it really helps to give a sense of time! One thing that took me some time to adjust to was the use of first person, and the present tense. It felt weird to read at first, but that’s because I haven’t read a book written like this in a while!

The plot is quite typical in the ‘girl meets boy’ way, however it has some twists which make it stand out from a normal ‘chick lit’ book. We follow Sophie May, who works in the local tea shop, as she meets the famous actor Billy Buskin. Filming would be taking place in Sophie’s village, and despite the whole community getting excited about it, Sophie just didn’t seem to care. Upon meeting Billy, she didn’t know who he was, but reading it you just knew who the guy would be! It follows their relationship and the effect that stardom has on the two. Given the fact that Giovanna is married to Tom Fletcher (part of Mcfly!) I do think that the whole media ‘experiences’ seemed very realistic, and gave an insight into what it could be like for a normal, shy girl to be pushed into that sort of environment.

The characters in this book are loveable and realistic. You can picture the exact types of people that appear in the book (and especially the tea shop!), which for me helped to make it more relatable. Molly is shown as a mother figure to Sophie, helping her to gain confidence and to overcome past struggles, and was easily my favourite! We know that something happened to Sophie’s father, but we don’t find out what until the middle of the book. All we know is that something bad happened, and it really knocked Sophie and her Mother really hard. For this reason, Sophie’s relationship with her mother is a little strained. I won’t say much more on that, as it is only revealed quite late into the book!

Some things were quite predictable, but I suppose after reading so many romance books you just know what is bound to happen. One plot twist did shock me, as I really wasn’t expecting it! It was a book that I didn’t want to put down and I did really enjoy it. Sometimes I like having an easy book to read, and this certainly fit the bill. I would recommend this to anyone who likes chick-lit, but I wouldn’t expect it to be too different than most romance stories!

Inspect a Gadget: Philips Esee HD CAM295BL Camcorder*

I have acquired a Philips Esee HD CAM295BL Camcorder thanks to MoneySupermarket and their ‘Inspect a Gadget’ blogger competition. As the website states:

With summer fast approaching, we’ve been thinking about what gadgets you take on holiday to entertain yourself on long flights or while lazing on the beach. The most popular travel gadgets, like tablets, e readers and MP3 players don’t come cheap, so we’re looking to find great alternatives that will be kind to your bank balance.

I had the choice of 5 different gadgets; Kobo Mini eReader; Sony 4gb MP3; Essentials portable DVD Player with screen; Allwinner tablet and the Philips HD Camcorder. I went for the camcorder. As I’m studying Wildlife and Media, I need to learn how to do videos and editing and all that… I figured this would be a great gadget to review as it fits with my needs.

Philips ESee HD
Philips Esee HD CAM295BL Camcorder @ Expansys

I was given the money to order the camcorder from Expansys. It is priced at £51.99 with a RRP of £99.99 on that website. This is definitely a cheap camcorder, for something that boasts HD videos at 30fps, 12mp/8mp photo resolution, dual record (full HD and internet friendly format at once!) plus much more!

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  • I am 21 years old, currently studying Wildlife and Media at University and blogging about life, stationery, Filofax, fitness and more.

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