Category Archives: Lists

Book Review - Books - Lists

5 Reasons to Read Dare to Fall by Estelle Maskame | Blog Tour

July 27, 2017

First thing’s first – happy publication day, Estelle! I’m so excited to be hosting a stop on the blog tour of Estelle’s latest YA release, Dare to Fall, and on it’s publication day no less! Already the author of the bestselling DIMILY trilogy, which has been translated in 16 countries, sold over half a million copies worldwide and been shortlisted for the 2016 RoNAs, Estelle is a wonderful Young Adult writer with a glittering career ahead of her, and her latest novel is one that you really won’t want to miss.

MacKenzie Rivers seems like she has it all figured out. She has great friends, she’s doing well in school and her handsome ex-boyfriend is desperate to win her back. But something is missing from her life in Windsor, Colorado. And as much as she hates to admit it, that something might be Jaden Hunter. Tall, blond and athletic, a year ago Kenzie was falling fast for him and his crooked smile.

Twelve months later, everything has changed. A tragic accident has destroyed Jaden’s family and, despite the way she feels, Kenzie has no idea how to talk to him anymore. She is all too familiar with the impact family tragedy can have on the people she loves, and she can’t bear to go through it again with Jaden. She does the only thing she knows how to do: walk away.

When the pair meet again by chance one night, Kenzie realizes that she can’t ignore her feelings for him any longer. But as she is drawn back into Jaden’s life, she finds herself caught between her increasingly volatile best friend, her interfering ex-boyfriend and her own fears about opening up to Jaden.

Will Kenzie dare to fall for the one person she’s so afraid of growing close to?

Dare to Fall is certainly set to be the big release of the summer, and if you’re a fan of YA contemporaries, you really need to get your hands on a copy. Here are my top five reasons why you need to reshuffle your summer reading list, make space in your beach bag and settle down with a copy of Estelle’s fantastic latest release:

1. The setting. One of my favourite things about Estelle’s writing, in both Dare to Fall and the DIMILY trilogy, is how excellent the world building is. I can only imagine the hours of research spent pouring over locations, from LA to New York to Colorado, in Dare to Fall, and consequently the settings of her novels are brought completely to life. Estelle well and truly transports you across the pond, and after reading her books my urge to travel there myself grows ever greater!

2. The emotions! Oh boy, you’re certainly going to want to have a box of tissues handy when you read this one! Honest and confronting, Dare to Fall will make make you feel every emotion under the sun – from filling your heart with happiness one chapter to completely shattering it the next, Estelle certainly knows how to pack a well aimed punch right in the feels! (You have been warned…)

3. The topics. So much more than your typical fluffy YA romance, Dare to Fall is a bittersweet contemporary that deals with topics such as grief, guilt, alcoholism, loss, love, and everything in between. All expertly written and masterfully handled, Estelle takes care not to brush over these important themes, and instead gives them the care and page-time that the deserve. Every situation felt so very real, and once again I can only commend Estelle for the amount of time and research that I’m sure must have gone into crafting such a novel that, unlike many YA’s I have read, is unafraid to delve into those topics that we’d rather not talk about.

4. The characters. Once again, all of the characters within Estelle’s books feel so real and relatable, and the many relationship dynamics present an accurate depiction of real life. I loved all of the great cast of characters and reading about the different ways that they each dealt with the difficult situations that they faced, and of course found myself rooting for the relationship between MacKenzie and Jaden!

5. The cover. Of course this had to be one of my reasons – I mean, have you seen that cover?! I can confirm that it’s even more beautiful in real life, so please, do your bookshelves a favour and add this one to your collection – it really is too pretty not to own!

Don’t forget to check out the rest of the stops on the Dare to Fall blog tour!

Books - Lists

Top 5 Books On My Summer TBR List

July 5, 2017

As I’ve mentioned previously, when it comes to making TBR lists I’m really not the greatest. I love the thrill of browsing my bookshelves, pulling off titles I’m excited about and reading the first few pages, then stacking them all up in a lovely pile with every intention of getting to them in the not-too-distant future. Unfortunately, despite my best intentions, those little TBR piles often end up sadly neglected and collecting dust, only to be once again returned to the shelves unread and unloved some weeks later.

Yet despite my rather shocking track record of failing to stick to my TBR lists, I thought that it might be interesting to set myself a little summer TBR challenge for the coming months. After much deliberation, I’ve decided upon five books that I’d really, really like to read soon, and I’m determined to do it this time! Seriously, sticking to TBR lists shouldn’t be this hard…

The Secret History by Donna Tartt

Truly deserving of the accolade Modern Classic, Donna Tartt’s cult bestseller The Secret History is a remarkable achievement – both compelling and elegant, dramatic and playful.

Under the influence of their charismatic classics professor, a group of clever, eccentric misfits at an elite New England college discover a way of thinking and living that is a world away from the humdrum existence of their contemporaries. But when they go beyond the boundaries of normal morality their lives are changed profoundly and for ever.

Yes, I know, I can’t quite believe that I haven’t read this one yet either. I’ve heard so many amazing things about Donna Tartt’s writing, and this book in particular, and so I cannot wait to get stuck into it. I think the length of it has put me off in the past, and the fact that my edition has the tiniest font imaginable, but I’m sure that I’ll fly through it when I do (eventually) give it a read.

The Power by Naomi Alderman

‘She throws her head back and pushes her chest forward and lets go a huge blast right into the centre of his body. The rivulets and streams of red scarring run across his chest and up around his throat. She’d put her hand on his heart and stopped him dead.’

Suddenly – tomorrow or the day after – girls find that with a flick of their fingers, they can inflict agonizing pain and even death. With this single twist, the four lives at the heart of Naomi Alderman’s extraordinary, visceral novel are utterly transformed, and we look at the world in an entirely new light. What if the power to hurt were in women’s hands?

The recent winner of the 2017 Bailey’s Women’s Prize for FictionThe Power has been everywhere at the moment, and it seems that everyone but me has already read it. While I have heard a few mixed things, I’m interested to see what I think about this one, as the premise certainly sounds intriguing! I don’t usually follow many literary prizes, however the titles included within the Bailey’s prize long and shortlists are always a complete mix of genres and writing styles, and it’s good to step out of my comfort zone and try something new once in a while.

The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller

Greece in the age of heroes. Patroclus, an awkward young prince, has been exiled to the court of King Peleus and his perfect son Achilles. Despite their differences, Achilles befriends the shamed prince, and as they grow into young men skilled in the arts of war and medicine, their bond blossoms into something deeper – despite the displeasure of Achilles’s mother Thetis, a cruel sea goddess. But when word comes that Helen of Sparta has been kidnapped, Achilles must go to war in distant Troy and fulfill his destiny. Torn between love and fear for his friend, Patroclus goes with him, little knowing that the years that follow will test everything they hold dear.

If you’ve read my latest book haul post you will have seen that I recently picked up a copy of Madeline Miller’s beloved historical fiction novel, and my excitement to read it remains extremely high! Again I’ve heard nothing but great things about it, and as historical fiction is one of my favourite genres I’m sure this one will go down a treat.

Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier

Working as a lady’s companion, the heroine of Rebecca learns her place. Her future looks bleak until, on a trip to the South of France, she meets Max de Winter, a handsome widower whose sudden proposal of marriage takes her by surprise. She accepts, but whisked from glamorous Monte Carlo to the ominous and brooding Manderley, the new Mrs de Winter finds Max a changed man. And the memory of his dead wife Rebecca is forever kept alive by the forbidding housekeeper, Mrs Danvers…

Not since Jane Eyre has a heroine faced such difficulty with the Other Woman. An international bestseller that has never gone out of print, Rebecca is the haunting story of a young girl consumed by love and the struggle to find her identity.

Daphne du Maurier is an author who I have only just recently discovered, fallen in love with, and vowed to read everything she has ever written. I’ve already managed to tick off both Jamaica Inn and My Cousin Rachel, and I think now the time has come to read du Maurier’s most popular and best loved classic, which again I am certain that I am doing to adore!

Katherine of Aragon: The True Queen by Alison Weir

A Spanish princess. Raised to be modest, obedient and devout. Destined to be an English Queen. Six weeks from home across treacherous seas, everything is different: the language, the food, the weather. And for her there is no comfort in any of it.

At sixteen-years-old, Catalina is alone among strangers. She misses her mother. She mourns her lost brother. She cannot trust even those assigned to her protection.

Katherine of Aragon. The first of Henry’s Queens. Her story. History tells us how she died. This captivating novel shows us how she lived.

As I’ve mentioned in a previous post, I was lucky enough to get my hands on a ticket to see Alison Weir at the Edinburgh Book Festival in August, where she will be discussing her the first two titles in her recent Six Tudor Queens historical fiction series. Sadly I am a little behind and am still yet to read either, but I would really like to make a start ahead of seeing Weir at the book festival. I love her non-fiction titles, and am sure that, given the amount of research that she puts into her work, the first instalment in this Tudor fiction series will be just as wonderful as I am hoping that it will be.

Have you read any of these books? What’s currently at the top of your summer TBR list?

Books - Lists

5 non-fiction books on my TBR list

June 18, 2017

At the beginning of the year, I set myself the goal of reading more non-fiction. I’ve always enjoying dipping my toe into the world of non-fiction here and there, more often than not in the form of a good historical biography, however over the course of my time at university, reading anything but easy-to-consume fiction became increasingly rare. Despite regularly choosing to spend my time getting lost in one fictional world or another rather than a non-fictional tome, I’ve collected quite a number over the years that, despite being interested enough to spend my money on them, have sadly been left unread, collecting dust.

While I haven’t quite met my 2017 goal of reading one non-fiction title each month, I have been reading more than previous years, which I definitely count as an improvement. Just this morning I finished listening to Helen Russell’s The Year of Living Danishly: Uncovering the Secrets of the World’s Happiest Country , which I very much enjoyed, and having ticked another non-fiction off my TBR list it inspired me to take a look at the other titles on my shelves that I’d like to get to soon. I’m certainly not making any promises, but I very much hope that by the end of the year the following five titles will, at last, have been read – wish me luck?!

One Summer: America, 1927 by Bill Bryson

Bill Bryson is an extremely popular writer within the realms of non-fiction, having penned a number of books covering topics such as history, travel, science and the English language, to name but a few. In One Summer, Bryson documents the summer in which ‘America came of age and changed the world for ever’, with the blurb promising ‘a tale of brawling adventure, reckless optimism and delirious energy’. As I mentioned, I love reading history non-fiction, and this offering from Bryson seems to be unique within the field of popular history. As summer is upon us once more, I think this would make for a highly enjoyable seasonal read, and although the exceedingly long page count is admittedly a little off-putting, I’m determined to give it a good crack.

Ice Cream for Breakfast: How Rediscovering You Inner Child Can Make You Calmer, Happier, and Solve Your Bullsh*t Adult Problems by Laura Jane Williams

First of all, who wouldn’t want to read a book with a title – or a cover – like that?! Sold! Although I am still yet to read Laura Jane Williams’ previous book, Becoming, her latest release certainly sounds right up my street. For the most part I’m not typically one to gravitate towards the self-help genre, however having recently read How to Be a Grown Up by Daisy Buchanan, another recent release in a similar vein, I decided that I needed this in my life. It promises to be a fun, light-hearted and ultimately reassuring read, and if the glowing praise that I’ve heard is anything to go by then I’m sure I’m going to love this one.

Over the Hills and Far Away: The Life of Beatrix Potter by Matthew Dennison

It’s no secret that I am a great fan of Beatrix Potter. Not only have I adored her books and illustrations since childhood, I have great respect for her as an individual, particularly in regard to her work within the Lake District, a topic that I chose to explore in greater detail for my undergraduate dissertation. Through my studies I have read a number of books about Beatrix Potter, and have quite a collection on my bookshelves, however I couldn’t help but snap up a copy of Dennison’s latest biography. Not only is it beautifully designed, I’ve also heard that its highly readable, and paints a fantastic portrait of the famed children’s illustrator. While I’m not expecting to learn anything new from this one, it will be interesting to read another take on the life of Beatrix Potter, and given the subject matter I’m sure that I’ll enjoy it.

Wild: A Journey from Lost to Found by Cheryl Strayed

Following the release of film adaptation starring Reese Witherspoon as author Strayed back in 2014, it seems that everyone has either read, or heard of, this travel memoir. I picked up a copy last summer, intending to read and participate in a book club discussion, however I failed to get around to it by the time of the meeting, and have been resolving to give it a go ever since. I’ll be honest, the tiny font in my edition puts me off a little, but I know that is a rather silly excuse not to read a book that so many people seem to love. I’d also really like to watch the film, but feel that I must read the source material beforehand, so hopefully I’ll be able to enjoy the story in both mediums within the coming months.

Is It Just Me? by Miranda Hart

Miranda Hart is a woman who never fails to bring a smile to my face. She is, quite simply, an absolute delight, and I cannot believe that, despite my love for her, I’m still yet to read any of her books. Her first title, Is It Just Me?, is a collection of musings on topics such as music, hobbies, beauty, dating and Christmas, sprinkled with personal stories and anecdotes throughout. It sounds lovely, and given my love for Miranda, I have no doubt that this one will keep me giggling throughout!

What are your thoughts on non-fiction? Are there any titles that you’d recommend?