Friday, 31 January 2014

The Fault in Our Stars Trailer Reaction


I was sat in my Spanish revision lesson on Monday morning when I decided to check twitter (yes, in Spanish we are allowed to use our phones whilst preparing for exams). Upon reading any latest tweets I saw that Zoe from Bookhi had tweeted about the TFiOS trailer being leaked. So I sat there not knowing whether to watch it or not whilst two of my friends and avid John Green fans Jess and Kaitlin tried to persuade me to press play. I watched it later when I got home and I loved it. Then the official trailer came out on Wednesday and I was left speechless.

I don't really know how to describe how I felt. I loved how unbelievably perfectly the acting seemed to flow and the music fitted with the themes of the book brilliantly. The roles of Hazel and Gus have clearly been cast well and you could clearly tell there was the great connection and love that the two have in the book. If you've read my review of the book, you'll know that I found the novel both incredibly heartbreaking and heartwarming at the same time and this trailer only strengthened this belief for me.

Above is the song played in the background on the trailer for anyone who's interested. There is so much that you can get out of this trailer that nothing is really hidden. You can see the pain that Hazel is going through and the clumsiness of their relationship whilst it is still kicking off the ground. It's just beautiful and perfect and I can't wait to see the film.

Holly x

Sunday, 26 January 2014

January Book Haul

Displaying Trafford-20140126-00563.jpg

I actually have a haul worth talking about!
After I received a few books for Christmas I convinced myself that I would give Waterstones rest for a while and although I'd look at books I wouldn't buy any.
Then I seemed to get better at reading quickly and read five books over the Christmas Holiday. "Hmm I need more books," I thought and then the whole book buying obsession began all over again.

The first book I bought was The Book Thief by Markus Zusak. I had heard loads of positive responses about this book from countless other bloggers and especially from people on Goodreads. The film is due to be released in the UK next month and I think it'll definitely be interesting. I bought this with a Waterstones gift card that I was given to me by my Dad's mum.

Displaying Trafford-20140126-00567.jpgThe second book is Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins. I was very pleased to win this in a giveaway from Usbourne via Goodreads. This is the first time I've ever won a competition of sorts and so I was delighted. I'd been meaning to buy this book the day after I was told I'd won so I saved some money. Usbourne also very kindly included a postcard and some galaxy hot chocolate in the package too.
The next two books I got I purchased yesterday. I found 172 Hours on the Moon by Johan Harstad in The Works. They were having a liquidation sale after Christmas and there was a table filled with £1 books. I've always been fascinated by space and have never read a Sci-fi novel before and the only reason I've heard of this is via Katytastic's unboxing video on YouTube so I haven't got much to go on but hopefully it will be great.

Finally, after a very very long wait I also bought Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell. I fell in love with Eleanor & Park and after finishing it on New Years Eve I was gutted to find out that Fangirl wasn't due to be released until 30th of January. The Waterstones near me has a knack for having books on the shelves a few days before their release and Fangirl happened to be one of them. I went in to have a look around and this was the first book I saw. After that I had no intention of buying anything but that.

So that is my January 2014 book haul! Have you read any of these books? If so please let me know.

Holly x

Friday, 24 January 2014

Liebster Award #3&4

I was recently nominated for the Liebster Award by the lovely Sandra from Sandra's World of Books. She has told all of the nominees what the questions of her choice are and so here are my answers. I was also nominated by Eden from Eden Roses, which is weird as I was going to nominate her Oh Well! The first 10 are Sandra's and the 11 after are Eden's.

1. Do you write stories/fanfiction?
Yes to both. I've been writing stories for as far as I can remember, and my main ambition in life is to become a YA Author. I'm also a fanfiction author on So far I've written four stories, two of which are substantially long. I only write fanfiction based on Harry Potter and so far I've based them all around a Ron/Hermione (Romione) pairing.
2. How many books do you plan to read in 2014?
A few weeks ago, I set my 2014 challenge on Goodreads and I've planned to read 20 books.
3. Who is your book boyfriend/girlfriend?
Ron Weasley.
4. Do you prefer Apple of Windows?

I've never owned any sort of Apple Device before so Windows.
5. What's the most anticipated book on your TBR list?

Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell
6. What's your favorite book at the moment?

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - I think that will always be my favourite book.
7. What's the craziest thing you've ever done?

Turned a load of other bloggers and myself into dancing elves for Christmas... long story.
8. What's your favorite food? 
9.  What's your favorite website? (besides your own obviously.) and
10. Who's your favorite character in your favorite book? Hermione Granger in the Harry Potter books.

1. What is your favourite band? McFly
2. Which is your favourite nail polish brand? Natural Collection by Boots
3. Topshop or Primark? Primark
4. What was the best book you read last year? Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows
5. Iphone or Android? Iphone ( I wish I owned one)
6. How did you come up with your blog name? I don't really remember, I guess because I'm a day dreamer and I just wanted someone to read my thoughts and hopefully understand.
7. Which Social Network do you like the best? Hmm, Facebook for school friends, Twitter for bloggy friends.
8. Do you have any close internet friends? Amber, Charli, Zoe, Sophie and Cat.
9. Favourite Music Genre? Indie
10. What was your best memory of 2013? Moving Schools
11. What has been the best thing that has happened to you so far this year? I've already read a lot of books :)

My Questions:
What is your Favourite Book?
If you could be a character from a book who would you be?
Where is your favourite fictional place?
Do you prefer Facebook or Twitter?
Where is your favourite place you've travelled to?
Who is the worst character you've ever read about?

I nominate...
Erika from The Red Bookmark
Fionnuala from Books for Birds
Sabrina from I Have To Read That

Holly x

Sunday, 19 January 2014

My Sister Lives on the Mantlepiece by Annabel Pitcher

My Sister Lives On The MantelpieceTen-year-old Jamie hasn't cried since it happened. He knows he should have - Jasmine cried, Mum cried, Dad still cries. Roger didn't, but then he is just a cat and didn't know Rose that well, really. Everyone kept saying it would get better with time, but that's just one of those lies that grown-ups tell in awkward situations. Five years on, it's worse than ever: Dad drinks, Mum's gone and Jamie's left with questions that he must answer for himself.

I wanted to love this book, I really did. But I didn't.

The book is centered around ten year old Jamie who after his Mum leaves his family for another man, his father decides that they will move up North as far away from London as possible. His family are a complete mess even though it has been a few years since the incident that happened. Jamie has two older sisters, Jasmine and Rose and a few years before, whilst they are in a park in London, a bomb explodes, taking Rose's life with it. Naturally, this destroys the family and gradually tears them apart. One thing that I found was reflected particularly well was the grief that this family had succumbed to. Obviously, death is a very difficult subject to talk about for most people and Annabel Pitcher showed how much each member of the family had changed and been affected by Rose's death and it was heartbreaking to read that.

As for the characters in this book, I wasn't that impressed. Honestly, I don't remember that much about the characters because it is actually a year since I read this but I know that they were very cold and I found them hard to like in any way. Out of all of them, I definitely warmed to Jasmine the most, she was mourning Rose quietly and she stuck by Jamie even when their father got to his worst. I found it really heartbreaking how much hope Jamie had when it came to his parents, he wanted desperately for his mum to turn up for his birthday and his parents evening and is distraught in both scenarios. He also hopes that his Dad will stop drinking. 

Jamie's father was a really interesting character as alcohol is his coping mechanism for trying to accept his daughter's death, and he is the one who has been the most deeply affected by the passing of Rose. Sadly he can't see how the alcohol is effecting his children and so gradually becomes worse and worse, meaning the drinking continues. That is one of the key themes throughout this book, as was racism. Jamie becomes friends with a girl named Sunya, but since the terrorist attack took place that killed Rose, their father has become racist towards anyone who is Muslim because he believes that it was their race that killed his daughter. This means that Jamie doesn't want to tell his Dad that he has made any friends as he knows it will bring up many underlying issues they have within the family.

From my review I feel like I have given this book a couple of stars more than I actually think as the main floors lied in the plot. The main problem for me was the writing style - there were no speech marks - yes, it was still apparent who was talking most of the time but I feel that by writing like this it seems like one long speech with no pauses. It didn't feel real, it didn't feel any more like a book than it did an outburst of angst. I started this book of really enjoying it, and thought it could be a somewhat magical book, but as it went along I felt that a lot of that magic was lost.

Holly x

Saturday, 18 January 2014

Inside & Out Tag

I Inside flap/Back of the book summaries: Too much info? Or not enough?
I like having a lot of information on the blurb because then it tells you what the book is essentially about, but not so much that it gives anything away. The blurb will make me pick a book up, but it's the first few sentences that will make me buy it.

N  New book: What form do you want it in? Be honest: Audiobook, E-Book, Paperback, or Hardback? As much as I love Hardback's they cost a lot and given how many books I buy I wouldn't be able to afford as many as I have now. So I will probably hold out until it is in Paperback form.

S Scribble while you read? Do you like to write in your books, taking notes, making comments, or do you keep your books clean clean clean? (Tell us why)

I like my books to be neat and remain in the condition that I bought them in. That means no graffiti whatsoever. However, sadly thanks to two very unpleasant ex-friends, I had graffiti in my copy of The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins that took place whilst I had my back turned.

In your best voice, read for us your favorite 1st sentence from a book.
"The two men appeared out of nowhere, a few yards apart in the narrow, moonlit lane." - Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J.K. Rowling.
The first time I read this I immediately became hooked, it's not exciting but it sets the whole tone for the book.

D Does it matter to you whether the author is male or female when you're deciding on a book? What if you're unsure of the author's gender?
Not really. I've always found that I tend to read more books that I wrote by a female author, because often I guess that they can write about some issues that a man wouldn't write about. It doesn't matter to me as long as the book is good.

 Ever read ahead? or have you ever read the last page way before you got there? 
Yes, I already knew what happened in TFiOS because I accidentally flicked to the last page and saw what it said, but it didn't ruin it for me. If I ever have it has been completely unintentionally because I don't like spoilers. 


O  Organized bookshelves, or Outrageous bookshelves?

I don't know what you'd count my shelves as out of these two categories. My bookshelves are organised, but in my own unique way.

Under oath: have you ever bought a book based on the cover (alone)?
Yes. I bought Earthbound by Aprilynne Pike based on it's amazing cover but I loved it anyway.

T Take it outside to read, or stay in?
Stay in. I'm secretly a vampire.

Holly x

Friday, 17 January 2014

Winter Book Wishlist

The last time I did one of these posts was back in September, which seems like quite a long time ago now. Although I haven't read two of the books I featured, I did read Divergent last month and absolutely loved it and don't have enough praise for the book.

Fan Girl by Rainbow Rowell
Cath is a Simon Snow fan. Okay, the whole world is a Simon Snow fan, but for Cath, being a fan is her life—and she’s really good at it. She and her twin sister, Wren, ensconced themselves in the Simon Snow series when they were just kids; it’s what got them through their mother leaving.Cath’s sister has mostly grown away from fandom, but Cath can’t let go. She doesn’t want to.
Now that they’re going to college, Wren has told Cath she doesn’t want to be roommates. Cath is on her own, completely outside of her comfort zone. She’s got a surly roommate with a charming, always-around boyfriend, a fiction-writing professor who thinks fan fiction is the end of the civilized world, a handsome classmate who only wants to talk about words . . . And she can’t stop worrying about her dad, who’s loving and fragile and has never really been alone.

I desperately want to read this - another book by Rainbow Rowell. Last Sunday I finished Eleanor & Park and was left utterly speechless. I've heard from other bloggers and booktubers that Fan Girl is considerably more happy and upbeat. The way Cath is sort of reminds me of how I am with Harry Potter and so I definitely need to read this soon!

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

1939. Nazi Germany. The country is holding its breath. Death has never been busier. Liesel, a nine-year-old girl, is living with a foster family on Himmel Street. Her parents have been taken away to a concentration camp. Liesel steals books. This is her story and the story of the inhabitants of her street when the bombs begin to fall.


This is a book that I want to read, or at least I think I want to read it, but I don't want to at the same time. A lot of people love this book and I have heard so many great things about it, on top of that, a film is going to be released in the next few months which I really want to see. Sadly I already know what happens due to a friend accidentally telling me, but I want to read it anyway. It is something that I believe would be in some ways painful to read but it's something I definitely want to give a go.

Geek Girl: Model Misfit by Holly Smale
Harriet knows that modelling won’t transform you. She knows that being as uniquely odd as a polar bear isn’t necessarily a bad thing (even in a rainforest). And that the average person eats a ton of food a year, though her pregnant stepmother is doing her best to beat this.What Harriet doesn’t know is where she’s going to fit in once the new baby arrives. Because, this time, Harriet knows what a broken heart feels like.

Last week I finished Geek Girl and as I said in my review of the book, I had no idea how impressed I would be with the story. It was incredibly witty and detailed in a sense that I constantly wanted to keep reading and reading. Geek Girl left me with so many cliffhangers that I just have to find out what happens. I'm sure that (hopefully) Model Misfit will be just as good.

Holly x

Sunday, 12 January 2014

Ketchup Clouds by Annabel Pitcher

Ketchup CloudsFifteen-year-old Zoe has a secret—a dark and terrible secret that she can't confess to anyone she knows. But then one day she hears of a criminal, Stuart Harris, locked up on death row in Texas. Like Zoe, Stuart is no stranger to secrets. Or lies. Or murder. Full of heartache yet humour, Zoe tells her story in the only way she can—in letters to the man in prison in America. Armed with a pen, Zoe takes a deep breath, eats a jam sandwich, and begins her tale of love and betrayal.

I put off reading this book for months, and now that I have read it, I can't understand why I waited so long. I didn't have high expectations of this book after reading My Sister Lives on the Mantlepiece - which I'll talk about in a later review-  but I decided to give Annabel Pitcher another chance, and I'm very glad that I did.

I loved how the format of letters really worked for this type of story and how each letter was split into a different part of an interwoven story of the past. Flashbacks worked brilliantly because from reading the first few pages of this book, it is very hard to understand who Zoe has killed. Pitcher has written this story perfectly in a sense that you are lead to believe that the person who dies is one of two different people, but there is constantly different messages and hints sent to you meaning that although you kind of have an idea of who will ultimately die it is near impossible to come to a decision of who you think it will be. 

The many plots within this story were all brilliant. The combination of how Zoe had to choose between two boys, one being the one she loved and one being the one that was the easy option and then the many secrets that lay within her close family, the way these two story lines were put together was great. There is this constant thing that Zoe is having to lie to the people she loves. She lies to Max because of Aaron, and she lies to her parents all the time about where she is. It's sad that Zoe isn't just able to tell her parents the truth and has to cover her tracks all the time and I think that says a lot about her relationship with her parents. There is a lot of things that her parents have kept a secret from Zoe and all of those things are revealed to be entwined with one another later on in the book. 

I thought some of the characters were very hard to understand or at least like. Particularly Zoe, which really surprised me. I thought I'd really like her character but to be honest she was just proved to be really irresponsible. From what I can gather from blurbs and information in the book etc, at the time Zoe is writing the letters, she is 15 years old. She is reflecting back on the events of a year before and so at the time of the "murder" she was actually 14. By the time I had reached page 40, the first of many sexual scenarios had taken place, and there were more of them later on, although they weren't graphic (thank God) you got the general idea, As a reminder this is all going on whilst she is 14 year old. So buy that it means that on top of the whole murder situation, Zoe was already breaking the law by doing what she is doing. As someone who is very interested in law, this book also really needs to define the difference between murder and manslaughter, because that changes a lot of things.

I liked this book and I flew through it, finding it really gripping. However I think that the ethics behind it weren't always exactly smart and reflected quite badly on teenagers in general. I know a lot of people the same age as me would do things like drink and throw parties and numerous other things but there are some of us like myself who aren't like that.I loved it, but sadly, the love wasn't enough for it to deserve the highest rating.

Holly x

Friday, 10 January 2014

Book Feature: Getting Rooted in New Zealand

Craving change and lacking logic, at 26, Jamie, a cute and quirky Californian, impulsively moves to New Zealand to avoid dating after reading that the country's population has 100,000 fewer men. In her journal, she captures a hysterically honest look at herself, her past and her new wonderfully weird world filled with curious characters and slapstick situations in unbelievably bizarre jobs. It takes a zany jaunt to the end of the Earth and a serendipitous meeting with a fellow traveler before Jamie learns what it really means to get rooted.

About the Author:
Jamie Baywood grew up in Petaluma, California. In 2010, she made the most impulsive decision of her life by moving to New Zealand. Getting Rooted in New Zealand is her first book about her experiences living there. Jamie is now married and living happily ever after in the United Kingdom. She is working on her second book.
As some of you may remember, I got the opportunity to interview Jamie for this blog last month which you can read HERE
Jamie also kindly shared with me some of the reviews she received for her book and so here are a few of them:

“I read this book in one night over four hours. I couldn't put it down. It was so, so entertaining. I laughed out loud on numerous occasions - comedy highlights include brain poisoning from complications over a hair perm, eating stale sunflower seeds and the multitude of accent-related mistakes. Jamie is a lovely, endearing protagonist and I can guarantee you'll fall in love with her.A must read for anyone.” (5 out of 5 stars) Thomas Sainsbury (Amazon Customer Reviews)
"I've got this book and finished read it all so quickly,because I couldn't stop reading it. It's just so hilarious!! I can't wait to read her next book. I highly recommend to read this book for everybody. I absolutely loved it!!" (5 out of 5 stars) S Halls (Amazon Customer Reviews)
“Honest Humour... A great read! Honestly and effortlessly humorous. I giggled lots and really felt for Jamie at her times of struggle. Thank You for sharing so openly your experiences, obstacles and breakthroughs” (5 out of 5 stars.) Sparkles (Amazon Customer Reviews)
“What a fun read! The author clearly has a unique way of viewing the world and finding humor in ordinary situations. Best of luck!”(5 out of 5 stars) s1stergoldenhair (Amazon Customer Review)
You can find Jamie on...
Twitter: @JamieBaywood
Facebook: /jamiebaywood
Pinterest: /jamiebaywood

Holly x