My Favourite Childhood Books

I’ve loved reading from a young age and as a child my most prized possession was my library ticket so I thought I’d share with you some of my favourite books and book series from my childhood.

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I still have my very worn copy of this book and at twenty-eight I can still recite the entire book from memory. Before I could read, this was my go to book. Every day I would ask my parents to read this to me and I eventually learned the poem of by heart so I would then ‘read’ the book to my parents.

The Chronicles of Narnia

You’ll most likely all know the sorties of Narnia, the books follow a group of children who find a magical world where they meet Aslan the lion who helps them fight evil in the land and claim the throne. I say I love the series but I mostly loved The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. A group of kick ass kids fighting queens and talking to animals? Yes please.

Goosebumps

Around the age of eight I was getting better at reading and Goosebumps came into my life. goosebumps-featI can’t even begin to tell you how much I loved these books. It was my first glimpse into the world of horror and shortly after I (and the rest of my school) started reading them, the TV show was aired in the UK. It soon became ritual for my friends and I to read a book then watch the episode and discuss if we preferred the book or TV episode better. Goosebumps are a collection of horror books, each with an individual story, written by R.L. Stein. My favourite books include Say Cheese and Die, Let’s Get Invisible, What Lies Beneath the Sink and Be Careful What You Wish For. These books lead to a love of mystery and it was the first time I realised that not every story has a happy ending.

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Staying in the same category as Goosebumps, Point Horror fiction were horror books written by various authors, my favourites being R.L. Stein and Linda Cargill.
These books were a step up from Goosebumps, horror for a slightly older audience. I would have been around thirteen or fourteen when I started reading these books and the fact that they included some romance (sometimes it didn’t end well) made me feel like I was reading more grown up fiction. My favourite books included The Boyfriend, The Snowman and The Lifeguard.

Sweet Valley High

1758847Now it’s time to admit a slightly more embarrassing collection of books I loved. I turned thirteen and suddenly realised that boys existed and took to the world of books to understand how they worked. Sweet Valley High follows the lives of identical twins, Jessica and Elizabeth, as they made their way through high school. If I’m honest, I don’t remember too much about individual stories in this series, I just remember feeling really grown up reading about high school relationships.

The Babysitter Club

BSC_Logo_(book_series)These books followed a group of friends who run a ‘Babysitters club’, each book is written in first person by the person named in the title (Kirsty wrote ‘Kirsty’s Great Idea’ and Claudia wrote ‘Claudia and the Little Liar.’) Claudia was my favourite character to follow; she was vice president of the club and always described as creative and arty. I basically wanted to be Claudia. The books basically told the story of children growing up facing normal childhood problems such as their parents going through divorce, sibling rivalry and friendship issues. They helped me with whatever issue I faced at the time.

Harry Potter

downloadI’ve spoken about Harry Potter time and time again so I won’t go too in depth but I could never have written this post without including the book series because from the age of around twelve, there was no book series that I enjoyed more. Harry Potter is the reason I still love reading so much, they made me understand just how amazing it is to get completely lost inside a fictional world.

Dark Places – Gillian Flynn (Book Review)

I can honestly say that I’m slightly worried about Gillian Flynn.

After being totally overwhelmed by Gone Girl, I was desperate to read another of Flynn’s books to find out if they were just as twisted and just as hard to put down. I certainly found that with Dark Places.

Dark Places follows Libby Day who, at seven years old, witnessed her brother murder her mother and two sisters. Libby testifies against her brother Ben and spends the rest of her life trying to forget that morning. Twenty five years later Libby is running out of money and agrees to attend the ‘Kill Club’ – a group run by people who are interested in murderers and who want to find out more about them.  After her first meeting, everything she has been trying to hide from is brought back up and she starts to doubt if her brother actually did commit the crime, aftdownload (6)er all she never actually saw him do it, she was hiding from it the whole time.

I would say that I loved this book but I just don’t know how I actually feel about it. I couldn’t stop reading and strived to find out the truth in the same way that Libby did but in all honesty, at times, I found the book really hard to read.

The Day family are not wealthy, before the murders they lived on a rundown farm and were constantly in fear of the place being repossessed. Because of his families poverty, Ben feels hard done to and acts out against his family making him the perfect fit for the murderer as he is always angry at his family and lifestyle and he gets in with the wrong crowd.

For me, Ben’s chapters were the hardest to read. There were some subjects that were completely new to me in terms of reading. The book graphically describes killing animals and sexual feelings that are more than a little inappropriate. While I appreciate that the author was willing to go there and write about something that a lot of authors would be scared to touch (don’t quote me on this, I really haven’t read that many thriller/horror novels to know)I just didn’t enjoy reading it.

Although there are a few chapters that aren’t easy to get through, it does give you a good idea of what life was like for the Day family. Ben is constantly pressured into doing things he doesn’t want to and reading his reactions to these situations could at times be eye opening realising just how these things happen.

One issue that I did have with the book was that I found there are no likable characters. Although I sympathised with Libby and what she went through, I didn’t like her as an adult. As an adult she was living off the death of her family, hoping that sympathetic strangers would donate money in order to help her build a future. I never quite got over the fact that Libby was so lazy and refused to ever get a job and stick to it. Other than Libby I just didn’t care about the characters, by the end I quite honestly couldn’t have cared less if Ben got out of jail or not because I simply didn’t like him and although the rest of the family were dead, I was never particularly sad about it. I found the book more about finding the truth rather than actually building any likable characters.

The only person that I would say I liked was Lyle, the guy who first takes Libby to the Kill Club, I found it rather sweet that he was trying to help Libby out but even still, at the back of my head I kept remembering that he only ever connected with Libby because he was obsessed with her families murders.

Overall the book wasn’t half full of suspense as Gone Girl but it was still a page turner and I would certainly recommend reading it if you like the ‘who done it’ type of read. The ending was clever and each chapter leading up to the ending was crucial to the story and how it all wrapped up. Just be warned that if you do pick up Dark Places you may be slightly grossed out and it may make you ask the question of how twisted Gillian Flynn’s brain is to come up with these ideas.

3.5/5 stars.

Totally Should’ve Book Tag

  1. Totally should’ve gotten a sequel

Pride and Prejudice, it’s my favourite book and the reason I have unobtainable relationship goals but I there’s one thing wrong with it, it’s that I just don’t know enough about Elizabeth and Darcy’s relationship. I would love nothing more than a sequel about their marriage and lives after Pride and Prejudice.

  1. Totally Should’ve had a spin off series

Harry Potter. I mean let’s be honest, it’ll more than likely happen eventually and J.K. Rowling has already written The Cursed Child but so far that’s not a series. I would love a series based on James and Lily’s time at Hogwarts but mostly because I need Snape back in my life.

  1. An author who totally should write more books

Nathan Filer. If there’s ever a book that broke my heart, it’s The Shock of The Fall. I loved this book from start to finish and I cried more than I’ve ever cried over a book. Nathan Filer is an amazing author and I honestly can’t understand why he hasn’t written anything more.

  1. A character who totally should’ve ended up with someone else

Peeta Mellark. I just feel he deserves someone who loves him more than Katniss does. It’s not that I really care who Katniss ends with because she had plenty of options but Peeta was one of the nicest characters I’ve ever read and I feel like he ends up with a girl who just settles with him because the guy she really loves potentially killed her sister.

  1. Totally should’ve ended differently

I didn’t like the end of Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children and I felt no inclination to read the second book in the series as I found the first one a little muddled. I have real issues with the act that no one cares that a child has gone missing and the fact that Jacob doesn’t seem to give a second thought to the fact that he’s leaving his family behind for a group of people he hardly knows.

  1. Totally should’ve had a movie franchise

There’s always a chance it will be turned into a film because this is still a pretty new book but I’d really love to see To All The Boys I Loved Before turned into a movie. It has a typical YA plot but it has some really strong characters and I think it would make a great film… Let’s be honest, we all want Kitty to be real.

  1. Totally should’ve had a TV show

I feel there’s a strong chance that The Lunar Chronicles will be made into films but personally I would love for the book series to be made into a TV show. By making them a TV show it means that they can dedicate a lot more time to actually getting to know the characters and we can have a bit  of back story. I would quite happily watch a full series per book and there’s potential to also include Fairest and Stars Above into it.

  1. Totally should’ve only had one point of view

I honestly can’t tell you a book where I think different points of view don’t work. I love knowing more about the characters and having more than one narrative is the perfect way to do this. If I’ve ever had a problem with a book, it’s because of the plot or writing style not the different views.

  1. Totally should’ve a cover change

I really hate the covers for The Summer I Turned Pretty. As a general rule, I hate covers with real people on, from time to time it works but as a general rule people should not be used for covers.

  1. Totally should’ve kept the original covers

The Gone series by Michael Grant. I’ll be honest when I tell you that I judge books by covers and Gone instantly grabbed my attention with it’s mostly black cover and coloured pages but after reading Gone and Hunger, I went to buy Lies and could only find the new cover with people on it.

  1. Totally should’ve stopped at book one

The Maze Runner. I’m really sorry to all of you guys who loved this series but I thought the books just got worse and worse as they progressed. I would have been happier if The Maze Runner had of been an extra two hundred pages, they could then skip The Scorch Trials and sum up The Death Cure in the last couple hundred pages. The Kill Order was completely unneeded.

 

My tips for getting out of a reading slump

Now we all have moments where we just don’t want to pick up a book. Sometimes it’s a day or a week and then we get back into reading but sometimes it’s longer and when it gets to that point I realise I’m in a real reading slump so try to get myself out of it. Today I thought I’d share some of my tips. They won’t work for everyone but they may help some.

Of course these tips wont work for everyone but they may be worth giving a go. They work for me.

1 – Don’t stress

I can’t tell you the amount of times I’ve been in a reading slump and stressed out about the fact that I’m in a reading slump. Trust me, it doesn’t make it any better. Try to relax about it and remember that reading is something you should enjoy doing and not something you should feel pressured about.

2 – Take some time off

I’ve found that sometimes in order to get out of my reading slump, I simply need to give myself a few days off. This goes back to number one, if I don’t give myself some time off from reading I start to realise that I’m not enjoying reading. I’m simply reading for the sake of it and on those occasions, I don’t pay full attention to what is going on in my book.

3 – Dedicate time

Find a time of the day that you know you have free. It might be first thing in the morning before you get ready or it may be just before you go to bed. It may even be a half hour break at school/work where you know you have time to sit down and read. I like to set an alarm on my phone so that I physically can’t ignore the fact that I should be using that time to read.

I like to plan my time in advance. Generally I read before bed so I set an alarm for 10pm all week and I mentally prepare myself to read in this time frame.

4 – Pick a spot

Find somewhere comfortable to read. I’m a big fan of reading in bed because I’m generally quite restless so can’t sit on the same spot for too long. I like to move around while I read so a bed allows me to sit up if I want or if need be I can stretch or lie down.

5 – Try to turn off any distractions

Sometimes this tip is impossible (like sometimes I read while at a cafe and I can’t help the fact that there are people around me who could distract me) but try to get rid of anything that might distract you. Turn your phone onto airplane mode or silent. Turn off your TV and use the loo before you sit down to read. This way you’ll stay way more focused on reading.

6 – Work out if you prefer sound or silence.

I read more when I listen to music so putting some on in the background helps me concentrate but this isn’t the case for everyone. Some of my friends can’t read unless there’s silence while others are only able to read if there are people moving on around them. If you’re stuck in a slump and don’t know why, try changing environment to see if that help.

7 – Pick up another book if need be

If you don’t like the book then put it down and pick up something new. I’m the kind of person who has to finish a book regardless of weather I like it or not however if it’s a book that I’m just not picking up then I’ll read a a different book before finishing my current book. Sometimes all it takes to get out of your reading slump is simply a book you really love.

8 – Watch a film to get you in the mood

Don’t get me wrong, I generally don’t like to watch a TV/film adaptation until after I’ve read the book because I don’t want to ruin the ending. Sometimes however, I just don’t know what’s happening in my book and when that happens I put on the TV show or film to help myself understand.

If you’re completely against the idea of ruining the ending then try watching something of a similar theme. After watching Game of Thrones I generally want to pick up a fantasy book and after watching Disney I normally feel like reading something for a younger audience. Sometimes watching a film will help you find out what mood you’re in for a book.

9 – Go online

BookTube is my lifeline when it comes to books, watching someone talk about books they they’re excited about makes me more excited about reading in general. It reminds me how amazing books can be.

There are also a tonne of other sites and apps (Goodreads and Books Amino being amongst my favourites) forums and blogs. Luckily for us the book community is awesome and so supportive so if you’re in a slump, head over to your favourite source and someone will always be happy to chat and help you out of your slump.

10 –  Reward yourself

Cake gets me through everything so I often set a goal and if I reach this goal I will reward myself with a tasty treat. I often decide that for every 100 pages I read, I can have two chocolate biscuits. Of course your reward doesn’t have to be food, it can be anything you enjoy. Just promise yourself that you wont do it until you’ve reached your goal.

Disclaimer – Renée Knight (Review)

It’s going to be hard to write about Disclaimer without giving anything away, the whole book is full of twists and surprises and almost every chapter shocked me.download (2)

There are two main protagonists to the story, first we meet Catherine who at first glance lives the dream, she is well known in the film industry for making documentaries, she has a husband who she loves and a grown up son who leads an independent life away from home. Next we meet Stephen, a retired teacher who has lost his wife and seems to live a solitary existence.

At first, it’s not clear how the two are linked but Catherine soon finds a book on her nightstand which, as an avid reader, she picks up to read only to find that she is the main character within the book and she realises it holds a secret to her past that if her family found out about, it could destroy them. Shortly afterwards it is revealed that Stephen is the author of the book and knows a part of Catherine’s past that no one else has ever heard.

When I started reading Disclaimer, I found it a little slow to begin with. Catherine’s chapters are in third person while Stephen’s are written in first person and I found it somewhat hard to grasp what was happening due to the chapters constantly switching between the two plots. As soon as I started to understand what was going on with both characters I was gripped. I read this on my Kindle and when I got to 30% I honestly didn’t know how there was still 70% left because I felt the story had almost been told that there was nothing more to happen. Another 5% in and I realised there was so much more to this book and I wanted to know everything.

As soon as things started to progress, I found I had more and more unanswered questions, I would find myself staying awake longer than I had meant to so I could read ‘just one more chapter’ in the hope that it would answer at least one of my questions, what I generally found however is that the one didn’t answer any of my questions, instead it usually presented me with new questions.

Of course the questions weren’t fully answered until the end, about 70% in and we start to learn the truth, questions started getting answered and I finished the last 30% in one sitting because I knew I wouldn’t be able to sleep without having found out the end of the story.

Was the end predictable? Yes and no, I went through one hundred different theories in my head while I was reading so one of them was bound to be the right conclusion. When I got the answers I found that it was what I was expecting yet somehow it didn’t find it any less shocking, if anything I was gripped by the revelations. I can’t say much more about the outcome because even the smallest detail will spoil the book but I can say that it was well done and I was heartbroken by the ending (if you have read it, I was mostly upset by Stephen’s conclusion.) It wasn’t on par with Gone Girl for me, with that I honestly could never have predicted the middle; I wasn’t expecting it and was completely shocked. Disclaimer did shock me to an extent but it was the aftermath of the truth that really hit me.

The way the two narratives came together and slowly started to unravel a story, was beautiful to me. Although at times the story was complex, I found the book in whole really easy to read and would certainly describe it as a page turner. On top of the two main narratives, at times we got to hear from lesser talked about characters which added excellent insight and new perspectives.

If you’re looking for a book that has an interesting plot but is still easy to read then I’d highly recommend Disclaimer.

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

My Top 5 BookTubers

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Like many, I get a lot of inspiration to read from YouTube. When I have no idea what I want to read, I log onto my favourite channels and see what they’re reading and even when i’m in a reading slump, it helps me out of it.
I could have given you a list off at least fifty channels that i subscribe to and check daily but i thought I’d share my top five channels, the ones I first check when i need some reading ideas.
Peruse Project
Regan is probably my first go to channel. She posts videos regularly and I trust her reviews completely. Her channel is a mix of book hauls, book reviews and favourites mixed with the odd book tag. Regan is a self-confessed lover of fantasy which is a genre I am generally terrified to pick up but she’s always honest with how she found a book and she’s not scared to say if she hated a book meaning that when I’m browsing book shelves I feel a little more confident in what I’m buying.
A Book Utopia
I simply adore this channel; Sasha is always full of energy and her energy comes through in her videos. Having only just read the Harry Potter series, she’s a newly converted super fan and being a fan makes me like her and trust her more. She has a great range of videos, she has the usual collections of hauls, wrap ups and TBRs but she also constantly posts fun tags and she’s not scared to take her camera out and about with her when he visits book stores/goes travelling. On top of this she hosts a read-along with Regan where each month they chose a book for their book club PeruseUtopia which I generally try and read along with.
Heart Full of Books
Twins, Bee and Maddie, are girls after my own heart, they love young adult fiction and they’re not ashamed of it. They’re currently in their first year of uni and they’ve took their YouTube channel with them. Again they have the usual host of videos (hauls, TBR’s, etc.) but they’re the go to girls if you want to know more about young adult or romance.
Lucy The Reader
I first came across Lucy’s channel when I was trying to find information on books about anxiety, when I found her channel, I was hooked. Lucy is a fan of young adult and classics but she also explores subjects which many people wouldn’t touch upon. I’ve seen videos on her channel about anxiety, feminism and menstruation to name a few. I have a massive respect for her given that she is happy to openly talk about those topics, reaching out to a younger audience who could possibly feel embarrassed or reserved about these subjects. Lucy also has a monthly video in French, which I understand none of but appreciate she is reaching out to a wider audience. I believe she is currently writing a book where the main character suffers anxiety and as soon as it’s out, I’ll be there waiting in line to buy it.
Read By Zoe
Zoe’s reading choices are exactly like mine. I’ve lost count of how many books I’ve seen her review that I loved already or books that she’s reviewed and I’ve completely loved as a result. She mostly posts the usual videos but she spent a year studying in England and I loved following her adventures over here. Zoe generally reads a mixture of young adult and romance and I constantly feel I can relate to her book emotions.
If you like the sound of any of these channels, please check them out. There are so many more that I could have mentioned but these five I just relate to that little bit more.

February Book Haul

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That time of year has rolled round again… I’ve turned a year older and it’s becoming less and less acceptable for me to love young adult literature as much as I do.

Once again, my family and friends have been very generous and I’ve received a few books which I’m extremely excited to read so I thought I’d share them with you and prepare you guys for my reviews in the coming months.

So here goes, these are what have been gifted to me/I’ve bought with my birthday money:

Quidditch Through The Ages (J K Rowling) – Unless you have been living in a cave for the last ten year or you have no interest in books (and if so why are you reading this?!) image5then you’ll be familiar with the Harry Potter series and the fictional sport of quidditch. This book is a recreation of a book that the characters read throughout the Potter series and it quite simply tells the history of the sport

Down The Rabbit Hole (Juan Pablo Villalobos) – I’ll be perfectly honest when I tell you that I don’t know much about this book. I know that it has been translated from Spanish and that  it’s only 70 pages long. Both these facts are appealing to me. From what I know, the story follows a young boy, Tochtli, who is the son of a Mexican drug baron and shows how an innocent boy lives in a corrupt society. Like I say though, I don’t know much about it so this could all be wrong.

A Monster Calls (Patrick Ness) – I’ve heard a lot of people talking a
bout Patrick Ness and a lot of those people rave about him so when I saw A Monster Calls for £1.00 in Oxfam I thought I may as well pick it up. I have a vague idea what the book is about, it follows Connor, a kid who has a sick mother and through all the stress and worry about having to look after her he begins to have nightmares. One night Connor meets a ‘monster’ which forces him to face and confront his daemons. Now I have no idea what the monster is but I’m assuming it’s not an actual monster and with all the amazing reviews, I’m expecting it to be something pretty special.

All The Birds In The Sky (Charlie Jane Anders) – Again I don’t have too much knowledge on what this is about. I was in Waterstones with my flatmate who saw the cover and thought I would find it pretty.  I did. She then read out the blurb and I like the idea of the image4book a little more. We have two main characters in this novel, Patricia and Laurence. Patricia can communicate with animals and Laurence has created a time machine. Something happens that puts the future in danger and it is up to Patricia and Laurence to team up and save the future.

Lorali (Laura Dockrill) – I was watching videos on YouTube where someone was doing their own book haul and they mentioned this. They also mentioned that it has mermaids and that’s when I realised I’ve never read a book about mermaids. Rory turns sixteen and finds a naked girl washed up under a pier but he soon comes to find out there’s more to it. More strange people begin to turn up and Rory finds himself trying to protect the girl, Lorali, who was washed up. Who also happens to be a mermaid by the way…

I’ll Give You The Sun (Jandy Nelson) – Twin sisters, Jude and Noah, were once close but a tragedy strikes and it tears the sisters apart. Once again I don’t know much more about this but I’m looking forward to finding out what tore the family apart and if they will eventually come back together (it’s young adult, they probably will.) The book has been likened to John Green and Rainbow Rowell, both authors I have read and loved so if this is even half as good as their novels then I’ll be happy.image3

The Beginning of Everything (Robyn Schneider) – A typically young adult book, from what I can gather Ezra is popular in school but gets in a car accident where his leg gets crushed and shattered, his girlfriend also cheats on him meaning that he becomes less popular and he finds himself sitting with the misfits at homecoming. Ezra meets Cassidy. Ezra and Cassidy fall in love but will tragedy strike again?

Anna and the French Kiss (Stephanie Perkins) – Now I love Paris, in fact I love it so much that I have an Eiffel Tower tattoo so if anything is set in Paris I will buy it, I will read it and I will love it. I don’t care if it’s awful, I will love it because it has Paris. Anna and the French Kiss is the first instalment in a trilogy, it tells the story of Anna who moves to Paris for a year to go to boarding school.  When she’s in Paris, Anna meets Etienne, a beautiful French boy who is unfortunately taken.  I’ve had people tell me that this book has one of the best image2relationships in young adult lit so I’ll be reading ASAP. I mean Paris and French boys? What’s not to love?


Me Before You (Jojo Moyes) –
I wanted this only because the film is coming out and I wanted to read the book before I see the film. Lou is in an unhappy relationship and she meets Will who has been in a motorcycle accident and has no will to live since he lost the use of his legs. When Will and Lou meet, they’re determined to change each other’s lives. Lou wants to show Will that he can live a happy life and Will wants to show Lou that she is bigger than the small town she lives in. I’ve been told to have the tissues ready for this one.

Grace & Style (Grace Helbig) – Now I’ve been following Grace on YouTube for years, since she was vlogging for My Damn Channel and before she wentimage6 solo. I’ve loved her since the first video I watched her in. I appreciate her humour has never changed and she has always done what she wants to do, making her YouTube channel relatable and fun. When Grace released her first book, The Art Of Pretending to Be A Grow- Up, I rushed out to buy it in order to support her. The first book was charming and fun so when book two, Grace & Style, came out I once again rushed to buy it. This book is full of advice (fashion and probably a bit of lie) direct from Grace.

If you’d like to see any of these books reviewed, please comment below 🙂