Thursday, 31 December 2015

Top 10 Books of 2015!

Hello, fellow bookworms! So, the year is almost at an end, which means it's time to reflect on the books I've adored this year. I filmed a countdown video for my YouTube channel a few days ago explaining why I've picked these books, which you can find here, but I've also included my list of favourites below!

 10. Ren: The Man Behind The Monster by Sarah Noffke


 9. The Blackthorn Key by Kevin Sands and The Rithmatist by Brandon Sanderson
(I know this is two books, but I explained my reasons in the video. Shhh, it's not cheating.)

8. The Sin Eater's Daughter by Melinda Salisbury

 
 7. George by Alex Gino 


6. The Shadow Cabinet by Maureen Johnson


5. Binge by Tyler Oakley


4. Royal Wedding by Meg Cabot


 3. The Art of Being Normal by Lisa Williamson


 
 2. Uprooted by Naomi Novik


And number one, is of course....


CARRY ON BY RAINBOW ROWELL

I can't even describe the amount of love I have for this book and the fabulous characters within it. Carry On has set the bar high for the books I read in the coming year!

So they're my favourite books from 2015! What have been yours? Let me know in the comments! Thank you for reading my posts over the past year, and I hope you all have a fantastic 2016 - you deserve it. And a huge thank you to the awesome authors who have shared their wonderful stories with the world this year. You all rock!




Thursday, 24 December 2015

Merry Christmas!

Hello, bookworms. I'd like to wish a very merry Christmas to my fabulous readers! I hope you have a wonderful holiday and that you're treated to some bookish gifts. Are you expecting any new reads for Christmas? Let me know!

HAVE A GREAT CHRISTMAS

Saturday, 19 December 2015

REVIEW: The Everest Files by Matt Dickinson

Pages: 313
Format: Paperback
Publisher: Vertebrate Publishing
Genre: Adventure
Release Date: March 10th 2014
Buy The Book: Amazon UK

In the deepest Himalaya a story is spreading like wildfire. The story of an Everest expedition unlike any other. An expedition that ended with mysterious disappearances ... and death.

This is the mystery that eighteen-year-old Ryan Hart sets out to solve.

Ryan is on a gap year adventure, working for a medical charity in Nepal. When a local girl begs him to investigate why her sixteen-year-old friend Kami never came back from Everest, Ryan cannot resist the challenge.

A solo journey takes Ryan deep into the mountains where his detective work finally pays off. What emerges is a shocking tale of lies, betrayal and obsession.

All played out on the lethal slopes of the highest mountain in the world.

Little by little Ryan is falling under Everest’s deadly spell.
  

My Thoughts:
A young adult novel set on the slopes of Mount Everest, that’s not something I come across every day. And that’s exactly why I wanted to read it. Being an avid reader of everything YA, I do find a lot of books sharing the same themes and cliché moments, and for that reason I am always on the lookout for something to take me by surprise, for something completely different to anything I’ve read before. The Everest Files definitely provided me with something new.

When I started reading, I was under the impression that this first book in the trilogy would follow Ryan, the character we first meet on his plane journey to volunteer in Nepal, but I was wrong. This is very much Kami’s story, the young Sherpa who gets tangled up in a web of deceit on an Everest expedition that aims to get a high-profile American politician to the summit. 

Whilst providing medicines to remote locations in Nepal, Ryan meets Shreeya, who tells him about Kami vanishing on the expedition. He promises to search for Kami and return the truth to Shreeya once and for all. When Ryan finally finds who he is looking for after days of difficult journeying, Kami finally gets to tell his story. 

I absolutely adored learning all about Kami’s trek to Everest, and he was a thoroughly enjoyable character to read about. As he got to know his new team members, so did we, and not all of them were to be trusted or had the right intentions, and it left me on edge throughout each chapter. I also loved the insight it gave into the lives of Sherpas, especially young ones, and how dangerous their work on expeditions can be. 

The setting for this novel was wonderfully epic from start to finish. Not only are we treated to a rich variety of characters, but we get the chance to learn about the terrain that they work on. It was very interesting to see the responsibilities each individual held on the mountain, and how quickly situations can change. 

Kami’s journey certainly had a lot of tense and uneasy moments. I loved how the story had the ability to always keep me guessing as to what was going to happen next, and the ending was spectacularly surprising.  

Now that I’ve learned Kami’s story, I am definitely interested to learn more about Ryan, especially since the ending of the book hinted at him becoming reeled in by the challenge of Everest. I’m highly anticipating another epic mountain adventure.

Royal Rating:


 

Sunday, 13 December 2015

REVIEW: Binge by Tyler Oakley

Pages: 307
Format: Hardback
Publisher: Simon and Schuster UK
Genre: Memoir, Non-Fiction
Release Date: October 20th 2015
Buy The Book: Amazon - Amazon UK


Pop-culture phenomenon, social rights advocate, and the most prominent LGBTQ+ voice on YouTube, Tyler Oakley brings you his first collection of witty, personal, and hilarious essays.

For someone who made a career out of over-sharing on the Internet, Tyler has a shocking number of personal mishaps and shenanigans to reveal in his first book: experiencing a legitimate rage blackout in a Cheesecake Factory; negotiating a tense stand­off with a White House official; crashing a car in front of his entire high school, in an Arby’s uniform; projectile vomiting while bartering with a grandmother; and so much more. In Binge, Tyler delivers his best untold, hilariously side-splitting moments with the trademark flair that made him a star.

My Thoughts:
Tyler has been my YouTube Queen since 2012 and he never fails to make me laugh with his videos, so I was beyond excited to read what he had to say in his first book Binge, and what a delightful, indulgent treat it was. 

Binge isn’t a typical biography that chronicles his life from birth to where he is now. It’s more like what the cover suggests, you dip your hand into a bowlful of sweets and you never know what you’re going to pick out next. Tyler shares with us a look into various parts of his life that hold meaning to him, be it good, bad, or completely bizarre.  

What I especially loved about this book was the pure honestly within its chapters. Tyler isn’t afraid to talk about anything. Call it an overshare if you will, but he is unapologetic in writing about the details, and I loved every moment of it. There was an entire chapter on poop that I didn’t realise I needed in my life until I read it. I was crying with laughter over how absurdly hilarious it was.

We are taken on an emotional rollercoaster with Tyler through his memories, laughing and cringing at some of his wild tales, but not every chapter is full of funny moments. What was also captivating about Binge was Tyler’s honesty about the darker times in his life, and the struggles he has faced. It made me view the work he does for The Trevor Project with a new admiration. 

There are also a few important lessons within the pages of Binge, reminding us on several occasions that it’s okay to indulge ourselves in order to find our own limits, and to never knock something until we try it (see for example chapter ‘Hopeless Toemantic’). 

Tyler on the page is exactly how you imagine him to be from watching his videos, he is still as brilliantly entertaining. He speaks to readers as friends, in a casual and fun way, so we’re able to feel as connected with him as we do whilst watching him speak his mind on YouTube. 

Binge left a huge smile on my face and I came away from this book feeling energised and positive. I’m so glad Tyler is able to share his story with us in book format because it works perfectly. Even if you’re not already a fan of Tyler through his videos, this book is so very enjoyable.

I’d like to thank the wonderful people at Maximum Pop! for sending me a copy of Binge to review on their website, which you can read here

Royal Rating:

Monday, 7 December 2015

REVIEW: The Libby Garrett Intervention by Kelly Oram

Pages: 244
Format: Kindle
Publisher: Bluefields
Genre: Contemporary, Romance
Release Date: October 24th 2015
Buy The Book: Amazon - Amazon UK

Libby Garrett is addicted to Owen Jackson's hot lovin'. But the sexy, popular college basketball player doesn't appreciate all of Libby's awesomeness. He refuses to be exclusive or even admit to people that they're dating. The relationship is ruining Libby and she's the only one who can't see it.

When Libby's behavior spirals completely out of control, her best friend Avery Shaw and the rest of the Science Squad stage an intervention hoping to cure Libby of her harmful Owen addiction. They put her through her very own Twelve Step program--Owen's Anonymous--and recruit the help of a sexy, broody, hard as nails coffee man to be her official sponsor.

Adam Koepp has watched Libby Garrett for years. How could he not notice the sassy girl with the purple skateboard and helmet plastered with cat stickers? But in all the years he's crushed on her, Libby has failed to take notice of him. Why would she when he was just a nobody high school drop out who served her apple cider several times a week? Especially when she was hooking up with a guy like Owen Jackson--a guy with a college scholarship and more abs than Kyle Hamilton.

Adam finally gets the chance to meet Libby when his co-worker Avery Shaw recruits him to take Libby on the journey of a lifetime. With his ability to play Bad Cop and his experience with the Twelve Step program he's the perfect candidate to be Libby's sponsor. But will he be able to keep his personal feelings out of the matter and really help her the way she needs? And will Libby hate him when he forces her to take an honest look at herself?
  

My Thoughts:
We first met the wonderful Libby Garrett in Kelly Oram’s previous novel, The Avery Shaw Experiment. Keeping with the theme of using science to overcome relationship issues, Avery gets to work once more by recruiting her co-worker Adam to help Libby free herself from popular jock Owen Jackson.

Libby’s relationship with Owen has been toxic from the very start. Whilst he enjoys fooling around with her, he isn’t willing to commit to being her boyfriend. He doesn’t want their friends to know they are together, he won’t be seen with her publicly, and Libby is so in over her head with him that she fails to notice. She begins acting differently and letting her friends down. 

This is when Adam steps in. Adam Koepp has been secretly in love with Libby for years, serving her cider from the coffee shop he works at on a regular basis, but she’s never really taken the time to get to know him. When Avery asks for his help in the intervention, Adam agrees but is worried about his personal feelings clouding his judgment. He plans to teach Libby that Owen is an addiction, and puts her through a twelve step programme to help her fight it.

I loved that Libby wasn’t a typical YA heroine. The book deals with her lack of confidence and her issues with her weight. She believed that no one would ever find her beautiful and love her for who she is, and that’s what I adored about her relationship with Adam. He was truly in love with the person she is, and he thought she was beautiful inside and out. 

I was glad we got to see his narration of the story as well as Libby’s, so we could see just how much he had fallen for her. It’s not often in contemporary YA that we get to read the love story from the guy’s POV and see what he sees, ignoring all of the imperfections Libby thinks she has. There are some fantastically positive messages to be found within the pages of this book.

Adam was my favourite character. He was so well-developed and I loved learning about his past. I was rooting for him so much throughout this book, hoping that he and his sister Kate would get the happy ending they deserved. He is just a genuinely nice guy that promotes healthy relationships, and that’s something we need more of in YA. 

Whilst this is a fun and charming read, I don’t think it quite matched up to the personality that The Avery Shaw Experiment had. As much as I enjoyed the characters, I don’t think the intervention worked quite as well as the experiment did. It might have been because the experiment in the previous book was unique and unexpected, so when it came to this book, I was expecting the outcome. Even though the book was less than 250 pages long, it felt like it dragged on a lot longer. 

That being said, I really did love the characters. Libby’s wit and Adam’s charm, and the sizzling chemistry between them was what kept me reading. Whilst it lacked the special touch The Avery Shaw Experiment delivered, I still found it enjoyable overall. Fans of contemporary YA will definitely love what this story has to offer.  

Royal Rating:


 
 
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