A little update to kick off 2018!

Hi guys! So I wanted to give you a little insight into what I’m currently reading and what sort of goals I’m setting for myself this 2018.

2017 was a hectic year, and although I read a lot on holiday and breaks, this year I want to find pockets of time everyday where I can wind down after working and read a few pages or so. I didn’t keep a reading track as such in 2017, but I’m sure I only read about 30 books or so. I remember setting a goal of around 50 and it all going downhill from there, so this year I’m going to aim for 40 to be read which gives me a bit of leeway if I really can’t fit in any reading time in the busier parts of the year. One of my resolutions is to practise mindfulness more, and I think that this includes books as reading for me is a time to destress and relax during the day.

I would also like to venture into new areas of fiction and non-fiction to broaden my general knowledge and to learn about different styles of writing or eras I had not previously known about. I would like to read more classic books, and genres that I don’t necessarily choose above others, such as adventure or thriller. I would love to read more French books, as I am studying French A Level currently, and more history-related books for the same reason.

Currently I’m reading The Sun and Her Flowers by Rupi Kaur, which is just beautiful, and other books that are on my reading pile are Tangleweed and Brine by Deidre Sullivan and Nights of the Circus by Angela Carter. Please let me know what reading goal you have for this year and what you have started reading to kick off 2018! X

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Sampler of YA Usborne books coming out 2018!

I recently received a sampler of Usborne’s YA novels that will be coming out early next year – to say the least, there’s definitely something there for everyone! Six fantastic exerpts from what I’m sure will become incredible tales for everyone to enjoy at their own leisure. My personal favourite was ‘Rosie Loves Jack’, which follows the joys and sorrows of Rosie who has Down Syndrome – we see the world in brilliant colours as Rosie sees it – but it soon becomes clear that all Rosie ever sees is Jack. He has always been there for her, and when we find out that Jack may be taken away due to his sometimes uncontrollable anger issues, it is incredibly moving when they are unable to let each other go. I can tell ‘Rosie and Jack’ will become a staple read; heartwarming, emotional and funny in just the first few pages, I just know that this novel is a must and a true original. Another extract that caught my eye was Orphan Monster Spy by Matt Killeen – despite the off-putting title in my opinion, there was so much action and a gradual progression of the main characters in the twenty pages or so that I read! Great stuff! Other tales included ‘Slay’ by Kim Curran, which was not so much my perfect genre to read, but I’m sure will prove very popular amongst the middle-grade boy area. The dystopian world created in S. M. Wilson’s ‘The Extinction Trials’ seems very much like The Hunger Games in its competitive nature and science-fiction genre, but I am willing to give it a go due to Wilson’s impeccable writing style. Linni Ingemundson sets the scene perfectly in ‘The Unpredictability of Being Human’, as in ‘Theatrical’ by Maggie Harcourt. Overall, I’m very excited about all the novels and I can’t wait for each and every one of them to come out next year!

The Truth and Lies of Ella Black by Emily Barr | A Review

So when I got back home and found this gem of a book waiting on my bed in all it’s glory, I got very very excited. Anything by Emily Barr is a delight to read, particularly after I read The One Memory of Flora Banks and completely fell in love with it. Barr’s most recent novel follows a 17 year old girl of the name of Ella Black, who thinks she has her life together. She might not have many friends but her two closest are lovely and kind, and her mum might be protective but she has all that she needs in the world. Inside, there is a part of her that wants to scream and tear and destroy, but for seventeen years she has hidden this away from everyone. So to the people around her, Ella is shy but nice in general, and on the inside she is Bella, dark, dangerous and extremely unpredictable. At first, I didn’t enjoy reading this as much as Barr’s other novels, just because it seemed similar to the other protagonists in her books, but I chose to stick it out and I’m glad I did. The plot is intriguing and immersive, with extraordinary character development that makes the impossible events that occur seem realistic. This is the first book that I have ever read that grew on me after each turn of the page, and by the end I just couldn’t put it down. Who knew that many feelings could be cramped into three hundred pages? Thoroughly recommend. X

Thanks to Love Reading who provided me with this copy of The Truth and Lies of Ella Black, publication date 2018

Dog by Andy Mulligan | Book Review

With charming and irresistably unique characters, ‘Dog’ follows the story of a pet’s life, Spider, and the adventures that it holds. Spider struggles with what he is and what he could be – through climbing out of his owner’s window to almost escaping the confines of a household by accident, he wonders whether a life of a cat would be better for him. I don’t think I’ve ever read a book that centres around a dog and the complexities of an animal’s mind quite like this before – the vivacity of each and every character is truly astonishing. It is a very easy read that keeps you on your toes page after page until you find yourself reading 20, 50, even 100 pages in one complete sitting. I did think I wasn’t going to enjoy this as much as I did because of my acquired taste when it comes to the perfect read and the suggested age ranges that usually comes with this type of plot. However, I did surprise myself by really warming to Spider and the friends that he finds on his way whilst stumbling through life at the aid of others. I thoroughly enjoyed it!

How to Hang a Witch by Adriana Mather | A Review

So I haven’t actually finished How To Hang A Witch entirely, but from the first turn of the page I knew it was going to be right up my street. Sam Mather is such a relatable character – witty, sarcastic and socially awkward, I feel like many young adults can find elements of themselves in her on some level. She is the epitome of a modern-day heroine; she knows where she stands and what she wants in the world, and I think that her fiery persona could become the ultimate role model to young middle-grade teenage girls out there.Yet at the same time, the bewitching, murky tale of events that run at an incredible pace throughout the novel distances the audience from the situation in order to fully appreciate the language and developed characters.

I love the ‘cliquey’ type of style to describe the Descendants, the group of teenage girls and guys who are direct ancestors to those involved in the Salem Witch Trials hundreds of years before. When the reader comes to realise that all of the strangely suspicious actions that are happening in Salem are linked to Sam in some way, they instantly begin to question – are Sam and the Descendants cursed? Will there forever be a shadow cast over Salem and all the people who live in it? This was such an easy yet enjoyable read, where I learnt more about the Salem Witch Trials of the 1600’s than I ever could have done from history textbooks. Anyone with a love for Mean Girls/ V for Vendetta should defo give this book a go. It’s typically aimed at the middle-grade area but as a young adult myself, How To Hang A Witch was a very relaxed and pleasant read.

This copy was reviewed for Love Reading, a fantastic site for browsing any type of book of any genre. Link can be found on the right hand side of the page! x

The Murderer’s Ape by Jakob Wegelius | A Review

A charming book, I knew ‘The Murderer’s Ape’ was going to be a thrilling read as soon as I turned the cover and saw the beautiful map outlining the journey the reader will follow. From the beginning, it was certain that Sally Jones was not a usual narrator – the fact that the gorilla lives among humans, completely understanding but does not speak any of their language makes for an interesting perspective on the story line. Her human qualities, like being able to help sail the ship and use a typewriter, is intriguing, and as soon as I read the first chapter I wanted to know more about how the Chief and Jones ended up unemployed and looking for day-to-day work. I love when books begin in the future because it leaves a framework for the story to follow, and it means that I am able to restrain myself to not flick to the last page straight away! It’s not often that I read adventure books because sometimes they tend to become quite hard to follow, but this novel seemed to flow with ease and I found myself turning the pages, eager to find out the next piece in the puzzle. A joy for anyone who loves Philip Pullman, I’m sure.

The Dollmaker of Krakow by R. M. Romero – A Review

Krakow, Poland, 1939. A small doll named Karolina is brought to life at the will of a doll maker’s fingertips. War is approaching Poland, and Karolina must choose whether to help her kind friend or to return to The Land of The Dolls. Neither choice is easy, but she must make a decision soon before her little heart flutters to a stop.

Written seamlessly, The Dollmaker of Krakow is a truly magical book, one that will leave you breathless every time you fold the page. I found myself devouring the chapters, admiring the beautiful designs on each page which just add to the intricacy of Romero’s storytelling. A truly unique idea that effectively stops time for the reader, and welcomes the belief that dolls are real, and have the potential o be real. I can only imagine what little girls and boys must feel like when reading this, big smiles touching their ears when their parents finish the chapter. Nevertheless, I thoroughly enjoyed reading about Rena and the Dollmaker, and especially Karolina, so I do think young adults will love this too.

It puts across such an important message that is still relevant to our society despite being set over 50 years ago; that everyone is equal, and no one has the right invade someone else’s privacy. However, through the Dollmaker’s magic and Karolina’s continuous positivity, Romero implies that hope can always be found even in the darkest of times. A fairy tale for men and women, girls and boys alike, this stunning novel is the perfect autumn read at home. I would recommend this novel to all who believe magic exists in the world (in other words, 10+) and who enjoyed The Boy in Striped Pyjamas.

Thank you to Walker Books for allowing me to review this gorgeous book! It will be published on October 5 2017.

Victoria by Daisy Goodwin | A Review

Hey everyone! So currently I am reading Daisy Goodwin’s Victoria, in light of the ITV television series that follows the young Queen and her companions. All I can say is that I absolutely LOVED series one that aired last year, and I am LOVING reading the book at the moment! Goodwin encapsulates the characters that lived so long ago, and brought them to life with her electric language. Her ability as a historian and a writer allows her to grip the reader and remain accurate to the events. 

The plot itself, and what Goodwin chooses to focus on is also amazing and so lovely to read about – I feel like I’ve learnt more about Victoria and her early stages on the throne from this book than I ever had done before. Her vivacious personality and her stubborn nature to not let men bring her down is inspiring, and I enjoyed reading her self confidence grow as both a Queen, and a woman. I have completely fallen in love with Lord Melbourne, and Goodwin’s portrayal of a humble, genorous man. The relationship between Victoria and Lord M is so complex and layered, and it puts into perspective how our views on men and woman have changed in society.

The book covers the first half of series one on Victoria, so I do hope another book is coming out soon! You can catch the first episode of Series Two of Victoria on ITV iPlayer, and other episodes air on ITV every Sunday! Xx

My GCSE Results 2017!

Hi everyone! Now as a lot of you may know, yesterday was GCSE Results Day, where undreds upon thousands of nerve-stricken 16 year olds across the country opened their results.

Overall, I am immensely pleased with my grades – I’m not one to pass exams without putting the effort in beforehand, and a lot of blood, sweat, and tears went into all 21 of the exams. I thought I would share with you all how I did – feel free to comment just under this post your results if you wish, I’d love to know!

My GCSE Results are as follows: 

Maths – 7

English Literature – 9

English Language – 9

Art & Design – A

French – A*

History – A

Religious Studies – A*

Spanish – A*

Biology – A

Chemistry – A

Physics – B

I was so surprised and shocked at a number of my results, and the day flew by in a haze. My friends all did amazingly well and I am so proud of all of us for supporting each other and pulling through.

Maths was one of the most shocking for me – I was predicted a 5 just before I took my exams (which is the equivalent of a C) which frustrated me and made me work even harder to prove my teachers wrong. Maths was definitely my worst subject, and I could never grasp the topics, especially as the new GCSE incorporates topics from the A-Level Maths syllabus. A 7 (the equivalent of an A) was beyond what I hoped for!

The 9 in English Literature and the 9 in English Language BLEW ME AWAY. I honestly thought a 9 (equivalent of an A**) was out of the question and I just kept on saying ‘oh my god oh my god’. I worked SO hard for English, learnt so many quotes and context, and just generally pushed myself to the best of my ability. 

Languages are one of my strengths, and I am so proud to receive an A* for both French and Spanish. I achieved full UMS for both of the reading part of the exams which is mad, and straight a*s for all parts of my French GCSE. Spanish got the better of me toward the end of 2016, and I remember getting a D for my mock exam. If I can jump four whole grades in five months, this just goes to show that with motivation and determination, you can truly do anything.

I am a little disappointed with my sciences, especially Physics. I got a B for both Physics exams and an A* in the coursework, which makes me wonder why the grade wasn’t raised to an A, but there’s nothing I can do now. I am happy with an A for both Biology and Chemistry, as I got a C in Biology and a B in Chemistry in my December mock exams. Sciences were another of my weaker subjects, so overall I am fine with 2 As and 1 B!

Receiving an A* for Religious Studies is just overwhelming, as only months before the exam my grades for RS were not budging from straight Bs in every test. The grade boundaries this year were super high, but my revision paid off and I ended up getting 86/100 UMS for the first exam and 96/100 UMS for the second exam.

I am a little disappointed with an A in History, as I was hoping for an A*, but I personally found the exams particularly hard. However I got an a* in my coursework, and an a* in one of the exams so I don’t mind too much that the overall grade was lowered! I also achieved an A in Art, which I am happy with but was also hoping for an A*. I worked my absolute a** off for art which is why I really wanted an a* but I was only 7 marks off overall.

I applaud you if you read all that rambles – it was more for me to remember, and nosy people like me who enjoy seeing what other people got. All in all, I’m over the moon and even though they may not be the best, I am happy with them! 

Xx

My Sixth Year WordPress Anniversary?!

Hello everyone!

So, you might have noticed little changes that have been made to my website. Oh who am I kidding – quite a lot of BIG changes have been made in light of my WordPress Anniversary! Six years ago I created this blog, not knowing that I would be continuing it over five years down the line. Gosh, I don’t think I could have even pictured myself six years in the future, so to think that this little blog has travelled so much is crazy. So many different countries have viewed my various posts, and over 4000 of you lovely people have clicked on my website to find out more. 4000?! I am, and always will be, eternally grateful.

Two exclusive blog posts are up for you all to enjoy – they can be checked out on either the blog roll or on the home page where special posts will now be featured – but on any other week posts will be up on Sunday at 5pm.

Xx