High Heels in New York by A. V Scott

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Helllllo readers, hope you’re well. I recently realised that WordPress hasn’t been picking up a lot of my silly spelling mistakes so when they get published there have been quite a few letters missed out, or extra letters. I’ve spent today going through and editing again – there are always a few you miss no matter how carefully you check. Additionally I’m in the process of putting about 15 reviews on Amazon and Goodreads – I think I might make it a monthly thing because I just don’t have time so if you’re waiting they will be there soon. To today’s review – enjoy.

A romance best seller in 2013 and 2014, High Heels in New York is the first book in the High Heels Fashion series that weaves together suspense, love, and betrayal within the lives of two best friends.

Melissa De La Rosa has never felt luckier. She is to marry her ideal man, and about to launch her shoe line during the coveted fashion week in New York. But in one afternoon her “happily ever after” begins to fall apart when tragedy strikes, unleashing a string of events she never in her wildest dreams anticipated.

Then there’s Angelina, is a Hollywood has-been who can’t break her addiction to drugs, which she basically needs to actually function. Banking on her latest picture to launch her back into Hollywood royalty, a long kept secret vows to destroy the life she’s so carefully crafted.

In the city that never sleeps, secrets are never truly hidden.

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As the blurb suggests the book follows Melissa who loses her dream life when her supposed prince charming is really a thief who not only ruins her big day, but has been lying for years, and stole her money and her heart. However, our main protagonist picks herself up and decides to throw herself back into her dream of making and creating beautiful, perfect shoes. On the other side of the story, Angelina is an old and tired actress who is desperate to keep herself in the spotlight. However a family tree mistake and her best friend Melissa nearly losing her mind it’s all going to get a bit messy.

This review is going to be a little tough because there are lots of what I call wobbles. The first thing to note is the characters that are built, are both shallow and incredibly frustrating. They lack traits that make readers fall in love with them and although Melissa tries to push forward this strong, dutiful woman it feels vague and unbelievable. There’s just a lack of depth. The writing is also (really unfortunately) poor in it’s entirety. If you ignore the grammatical and spelling mistakes the consistency errors are awful. At one point we hear a lot about a character going to visit a city and all the places she wants to go. When we go to the city it’s a completely different one with completely different tourist hot-spots, not to mention a characters name changes entirely for a few chapters – SORRY WHUT!

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As you might imagine this makes the plot difficult to pull together. Not only does the story jump all over the place but the sub-plots are a little confused and get muddled with the rest of the characters. It doesn’t feel consistent and it makes it difficult to keep a hold of the plot-line. There are bits that are written with real skill and do show the potential of the author but they are just ‘bits.’ It’s a shame because I kept reading only to see what on earth would happen next – it was so unstable in it’s telling that it became enjoyable for allllll the wrong reasons. Another big wobble is that the tense changes, uncomfortably and regularly, as in, in the same paragraphs multiple times at points.

I guess, overall, it felt a little like a first draft, because the editing was just not there. There are mistakes that I believe 16 year old Lizzy could have picked out pretty easily and quickly. These errors should have been picked up by any editor easily and suggested to be changed. The plot felt like an outline that needed developing and there was space too. I’m not going to go into the ending because it was honestly a car crash. It just ended with nothing to let the reader feel they had finished a really interesting and exciting book.

It’s horrible but there is little to say about this book other than it direly needs an edit. The premise of the book isn’t too far off and with an big edit of grammar/spelling/consistency there is potential there. There needs to be a big focus on Melissa’s back-story, her love for shoes, the fashion show and the author could have gone to town on that but it doesn’t. Overall this book struggles and it’s a darn shame.

Linnnks

Goodreads 

Amazon 

The Right Hand Rule by R.M Clark

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Christmas is over again – *noooooooo.* This feels a little odd because I wrote this post last month as I knew there was no way I would be able to blog with all the family/friends/life bits going on this months so I’ve been scheduling like a busy bee. I couldn’t decide whether to blog over the Christmas period but I’ve got too many reviews not too. Today’s is a delightful children’s book that I recently had the delight of reading. Enjoy.

Amy, Amanda, Marshall, and Ziggy expect their middle school to be empty on Saturday morning so they can get ready for the regional science fair. They don’t expect a botched experiment to attract a horde of time-displaced ancient Mayans when their unusual science advisor, Frederick Froth, goes missing.

The four must use their unique science skills and work together as they grapple with a Mayan god, the Dark Rift, and the principles of science to rescue Mr. Froth.

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I’m going to start this review the only way I know how – I wish this had been around when I was 7/8 and getting utterly obsessed with reading. The book follows the confusion of a botched science experience at a science fair where a bunch of Mayans appear just as their teacher Mr Froth goes missing. We follow the story with Amy,  Amanda, Marshall and Ziggy who must battle with the evil Mayans, and find their teacher ASAP!

In terms of the characters Ziggy is wonderful – from the very first sentence he comes across a little arrogant but in an utterly adorable and intelligent way. He’s brainy, really clued up on life and a lovely little character. The rest of the bunch have their own ways – I really liked Amanda and definitely thought she gave Ziggy a run for his money at times in the brainy stakes. Each adds their own flourish to the group and although they don’t truly get on at the beginning they learn that their differences and their individual traits will make all the difference when they have to work together; it’s a lovely moral to the tale.

It’s not all about morals, there’s a really exciting scientific, historical enjoyment to this book. Facts and fiction are mixed seamlessly here and throughout the book the author manages to make the dispersed information fun whilst also explaining it in simplistic but interesting ways. At times it does become a little complicated, and think as each of the characters brings in their own knowledge to solve the mysteries it does get a bit technical; it worries me a little that children could get a little confused in the information. Saying this – if read with a parent this would be a wonderful thing to go through together during the tale and make the book more interactive (just a thought.)

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In terms of the writing style it is perfect for the target audience which I would assume is around the age 7/8+. Although it is exciting and well described it is simple enough to be understood without becoming slow or boring. As the tension builds in the second half of the book I thought the suspense and then tension really increased and as we get closer and closer to the end I really couldn’t put the book down. It has a really wonderfully warm feeling mixed with the excitement of solving the mystery. My only wobble was some of the text styling the italics and the over use of exclamation marks for me were a little distracting but that’s a personal preference really.

Would I recommend this? Yes, and if it wasn’t so close to Christmas I definitely would have suggested this as a stocking present. It has the perfect mix of loveable characters, excitement, mystery and science. I think this is also a book that parents and grown-ups would really enjoy reading to their child because it’s exciting and interesting enough to really involve more adult readers too! If there’s a sequel I would love to get my hands on it because I thought this was pretty wonderful. Thumbs up.

Linkkkks

Goodreads 

Website 

 

Top Ten Books I Wouldn’t Mind Santa Leaving Under My Tree This Year

Helllllo readers – it’s so close to Christmas and I’m hoping Santa will be bringing a couple of bookish surprises, although maybe E-book versions. I have bought too many books over the past few weeks and my suitcase ‘book-shelf’ is threatening to keel over and flood my room. I really need to have a sort out my bookshelves and make some more room – so please Santa bring these but tiny, versions for my incredible stuffed bookshelves!

The Rosie Project (Don Tillman #1) by Graeme Simsion

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I’ve seen this book all over the book blogging community but I’m yet to read. Maybe something to get finished over the Christmas Holidays!

To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before (To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before #1) by Jenny Han

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This is an odd one but the reviews I have seen so far have ranged so differently I really want to stick my nose in and see whether it’s good or just really awful. #nosyreader

The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman

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THIS JUST LOOKS AND SOUNDS SO FANTASTIC. (If someone is lost as in what to get me this would be brilliant k thnx bye.)

The Girl Who Slept with God by Val Brelinski

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Not only have the reviews of this been wonderful but I’ve recently been enjoying books that don’t quite fit genre profiles and I think this would be a perfect follow on for my current bookish ‘hangover.’

The Little Paris Bookshop by Nina George

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Looks and sounds perfect for me – a book about a bookshop on Paris? GIVE IT TO ME.

The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah (Goodreads Author)

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I haven’t seen this at all over the bloggersphere – I’m sure it is I’m just looking in the wrong place but an author I adore Holly Kerr said this about it and that’s enough for me to place in on my Christmas Wish List.

This was an amazing book. It’s the first time I had read anything by Kristin Hannah and I was been converted to a huge fan by the end of the first page. The Nightingale was everything I want from a book. Read it!

Orhan’s Inheritance by Aline Ohanesian

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When Orhan’s brilliant and eccentric grandfather Kemal—a man who built a dynasty out of making kilim rugs—is found dead, submerged in a vat of dye, Orhan inherits the decades-old business. But Kemal’s will raises more questions than it answers. He has left the family estate to a stranger thousands of miles away, an aging woman in an Armenian retirement home in Los Angeles. Her existence and secrecy about her past only deepen the mystery of why Orhan’s grandfather willed his home in Turkey to an unknown woman rather than to his own son or grandson.

^ This blurb immediately fills me with bookish urges. There’s so much intrigue woven in there, it sounds like a really exciting and interesting read.

Did You Ever Have a Family by Bill Clegg

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I think this book could be a really weepy read and I haven’t read one in such a long time. It sounds like a beautiful read and one that will be really lovely to review for MLBB.

Days of Awe by Lauren Fox

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If you haven’t seen this book on Goodreads go and have a wander – the reviews are brilliant, the quotes are wonderful and I think this would be perfect in my stocking!

The Heart Goes Last (Positron 0) by Margaret Atwood

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This final book popped up on Goodreads and I just thought the premise was so new and exciting and like nothing I’ve read before it will (hopefully) give me a book to gush over again and again! This might me my most excited book to read that’s why I’ve left it till very last!

If any of my friends or relatives are stuck any or all of these books would be perfect gifts! Now someone pass the eggnog.

Wild Water (The Wild Water Series 1) by Jan Ruth

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Hellllllo readers, hope you’re all well and happy bunnies as of today! It’s getting soooo close to Christmas and I’ve had no time at all to get any festive books read. In trying to get my review inbox clean and sorted I’ve had to really put my TBR on hold and that means lots of Christmassy books aren’t getting read *boo* – however I’ve had the chance to read some utterly fantastic books too. Without delay – the review.

The tragedy and comedy that is Jack’s life; secrets, lies and family ties.
Jack Redman, estate agent to the Cheshire set. An unlikely hero, or someone to break all the rules? Wild water is the story of forty-something estate agent, Jack, who is stressed out not only by work, bills and the approach of Christmas but by the feeling that he and his wife, Patsy are growing apart. His misgivings prove founded when he discovers Patsy is having an affair, and is pregnant. At the same time as his marriage begins to collapse around him, he becomes reacquainted with his childhood sweetheart, Anna, whom he left for Patsy twenty-five years before. His feelings towards Anna reawaken, but will life and family conflicts conspire to keep them apart again?

As the blurb suggests the book follows Jack Redman – a successful and wealthy estate agent who realises that something is terribly wrong as he and his wife’s relationship takes a tumble. As his life begins to sway and he finds himself struggling to juggle the balls in his life – one person, his first love, Anna is keeping him sane, but she’s involved with another and she would be crazy to try anything with him again after he left to marry Patsy? Wouldn’t she?

This novel is utterly wonderful – the characters are so strongly built and created that I really felt emotional investment towards them. Patsy is a deplorable character and to see Jack trying so helplessly to keep it all together it really pulled on my heartstrings. I really rooted for Jack throughout and that is a real merit to the author. To create something that makes the reader believe it is almost real, shows serious writing strength and I found myself sucked into the book and the characters. Jack, is also a little bit of a hot mess but in an utterly rogueish way. I could imagine him surrounding by the Welsh landscapes, hair blowing in the wind *sighs.*

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The plotline although not swift moves with a reliable pace and that helps with the overall story line. This tale is unfortunately one that we hear over and over again. Affairs, heartbreak, broken families this novel doesn’t try to do anything clever and that’s why  I think it works so well. The writing is strong and smooth and feels mature. There is no bitty writing and it feels so real. The story, the characters, the location it all jumps off the page and envelopes you in a wonderfully bookish fug.  My only fault could be that there is does feel a little predictable, there aren’t many twists and turns to really confuse the reader. But, and it’s a big but, I didn’t feel like I needed that here – it tells a tale and beautiful one at that.

Would I recommend this book – yes? It is the perfect mix between a lighter romance and a truly distressing romantic tale. It makes for a really lovely telling tale, with great characters, a well thought-out plot and a real understanding of describing a landscape and transporting the reader to another place.

Linnnnnks

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Transmission by Hari Kunzru

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Helllllllllllllllllllo readers of this bookish place, hope you’re well and ready for the dreaded word that is CHRISTMAS! Yes it’s next week – next week, how exciting and festive and wonderful. Although I’m still at work like many of you so it’s a lukewarm happiness. This is the first year I haven’t been home by now. Last year was my first Christmas in the working world but I saved a lot of holiday days so I could go home quite early for Christmas – this year not so lucky with moving jobs, having about three days of holiday and needing to use them for already made plans. Gah I’m wingeing – enough of that, the REVIEW.

It’s the twenty-first century, and everything and everyone is connected.

Meet Arjun Mehta, an Indian cybergeek catapulted into California’s spiralling hi-tech sector; Leela Zahir, beguiling Bollywood actress filming in the midge-infested Scottish wilds; and Guy Swift, hyped-up marketing exec lost in a blue-sky tomorrow of his own devising. Three dislocated individuals seeking nodes of connectivity – a place to fit in. Yet this is the twenty-first century, and their lives are about to become unexpectedly entangled as a virus spreads, and all their futures are rewired. But will it take them further from their dreams, or closer to their hearts?

As the blurb suggests we follows the rather satirical but utterly wonderful tale of an IT ‘geek’ trying to make it in America. Arjun has always been fascinated with the idea of America and the American dream but when he gets there it’s not quite how he assumed it would be. Struggling to keep his job Arjun sends out a terrifying virus called Leela01 in the hope of fixing the problem which displays a looping video of his favourite Bollywood star on any computer that accesses the link. Amongst this we have the stories of both Leela and Guy Swiftt whose lives slowly come into contact with Arjun as his virus threatens to take over the world. It’s a wonderful tale of  the power of the internet, the story of the American dream with a little bit of Bollywood glamour.

Is it any good you ask? Yes. Yes it is. Firstly the characters are wonderfully built up and they contrast beautifully – Arjun is struggling to prove his worth despite being a hardworking, honestly trained and determined human being, contrasted with Guy Swift who is desperate to prove he’s this big shot in events and yet he’s not. It’s a front, a total front. This contrasted the entire way through and watching their lives change and evolve as the plot continues was such a clever way to connect characters using their flaws and their strengths. I thought the looking into Arjun and his new life in America in contrast to his life in India was offset well and helped to strengthen the contrasts we see.

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I thought the book was so clever in looking at the power of the internet and it’s ability to negatively affect so many lives – the book looks strongly at destroying our faith in technology and how much we rely on machines and their ability to give us knowledge and power. Watching the virus grow and seeing both the effect it has on Arjun, Leela and Guy is a clever play on what the internet means to each and every one of us – it’s a powerful story and one that is really important in our current digital age. The writing is strong and weaves a tale – flitting between the different storylines and building up secondary supporting characters throughout, this works well. Due to  moving between each of the characters it made me surge through the book desperate to know more and learn more and that definitely made me more invested in the plot. In terms of the pace it is a little slow at the beginning and then it definitely speeds up once Arjun is in America so if it feels a little slow and steady it does improve helping to draw the reader in.

The real dissapointment is at the end – I don’t want to give away any spoilers but there were two ways of doing it really; tying it up and making the book quite a bit longer or kind of stopping and inserting a coda to attempt to wrap things up which for me, and for a lot of other readers judging from the reviews, doesn’t quite work.

Overall would I recommend? Yes definitely if you’re looking for something different that really plays on the character profiles and looks into the Internet age we’re currently trying to recover from. I thought this was clever, and although ending was a little bit of a letdown overall still a brilliant read!

Liiiiinks

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I never judge a book by its cover (cough)

Hellllllo readers, it’s Friday which means IT IS BASICALLY THE WEEKEND which means, Chinese take-away, Christmas jumper, and wine, all of the wine. Today I wanted to write a post I’ve been meaning to for a little while about book covers.We’re told the mantra – ‘Don’t judge a book by it’s cover’ allll the time, but we do. Authors, publishers, reader, bloggers, promoters we all know that a better cover will sell a book better. It not that content doesn’t count, it’s just we’re more likely to look at the content if it looks like it’ll be interesting. Today I’ve picked out five of some of my favourite covers this year and why I think they’re so darn brilliant.

Satin Island by Tom McCarthy

How gorgeous is this? I love the splashes of colour, the minimalist design but knowing it would look utterly beautiful in my bookish suitcase. It doesn’t overpower and it relates to the writing of the book inside and the themes discussed within. Whether you loved or hated this book the cover is definitely eye-catching.

 Not on Fire, But Burning by Greg Hrbek

This book is currently on my TBR and has been for a little while but this cover is just sublime. It has a contemporary feel but really reflects the book inside. It is also doesn’t destract from the title that can sometimes happen but instead it enhances it. Perfecto.

A Manual for Cleaning Women by Lucia Berlin

I need to get hold of this book the reviews are just, brilliant – clever, insightful, full of quips and interesting short stories this book is going to be a great read. The cover is minimalist, links to the content inside, is eyecatching, the coral cover is beautiful and you know it would make a perfect gift for a bookish friend. I adore this one.

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This cover, I don’t know, there’s something about it that makes me utterly utterly happy. It has such a modern feel and yet it’s very simplistic. Maybe for some a little boring but for me it just makes me wonder what’s happening inside the book – how does it connect? What does the walking into the 0 mean? (It does in fact connect with the tale inside but even without knowing that I think this is wonderful.)

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This cover uses primary colours, the use of a face, geometric patterns and a black background and somehow it works. This feels  modern, intriguing and new. It’s not a cover that would normally drag me in but this somehow manages to and I just cannot wait to get round to reading this and finding out just how great it is.

There are five of my most favourite book covers of this year – which would you add? Which cover has really caught your eye this year? Let me know in le comments or tweet me @littlebookblog1.

 

Captain Rum: A wonderous adventure by John Perrier

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Helllllo readers – today may be a first. But a good first I think. I’m reviewing two books from an author back to back which I normally try to avoid. However after read the first book from John Perrier I thought I needed to see if the other books I had been sent has the same straight-forward style or whether this had more of a writerly feel. After reading the second I couldn’t help myself but write up a review; ENJOY!

When an Oxford Professor stumbles upon an old naval Captain’s log, he unwittingly discovers what many scholars now agree is one of the greatest maritime adventures in history.
 
In 1821, Captain Fintan McAdam set sail from London, solo, in search of adventure. During his journey, he discovered incredible new worlds and interacted with their amazing inhabitants. They forced him to confront his enemies within, learning much about himself.
 
Captain Rum, as told in McAdam’s own words through his journal, is a tale of discovery, despair and delight. It will keep you enthralled through many a stormy night.
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As the blurb suggests the book follows the discovery of Captain McAdam’s journal that pens his sea adventures in the year of 1821. Leaving in search of both an adventure and to leave his life and miseries in London behind we see Captain Rum discover himself at sea – new places, terrrors, worries, natives, a few near misses with death, we see our protagonist begin to discover himself, sometimes positively and sometimes not so much. With Bubo the parrot beside him what could go wrong?
My review then – did I enjoy this? Yes I really did if I’m honest with you. The language style and the feel of the writing is very vivid and applicable to the time that the book is set. It flows wonderfully and really has a lot of character and depth. The writing is still in a diary style format meaning that it is still a little straight-forward in terms of the writing style but because of the characterisation it has a much more engaging feel – for me anyway. Here we see one of Captain Rum’s dreams.
The ocean was deep – deep and black – and was spitting white foam over the gunwales. The storm’s ferocity grew with every passing moment, and the wind tore at her sails until they were just flailing canvas rags. Just as it seemed she could take no more, two giant waves careened into either side of her. But instead of crushing her, the waves transformed into a pair of giant wings. The wings pulled themselves free of the sea and then flapped in steady beats, like that of a dragon. Slowly, my little sloop lifted herself above the waves and flew away to safety.
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Parts of the book are incredibly interesting and even though Captain Rum is pretty much our sole character the author manages to engage the reader and keep us reading through the tale. During the adventure Captain Rum ends up stranded on an island and needs to grow certain seeds and plants to help him get the boat fit for sailing. I thought this part of the book was exceptionally well written and it really made me feel as though all of this could be true. I could imagine the Captain carefully trying to grow the seedlings whilst trying to mantain his strength and his mentality – it really is an intriguing tale.
Captain Rum as a character is a bit of an odd one. I felt for him with the loss of Beth and the struggle with alcohol to mantain his sanity but then he has such a strong compass to succeed and discover and be one with the sea. He is honestly a fantastic character and one I did really enjoy reading about. Bubo is a lovely and quirky character and he is given such character that he really becomes a member of the story in his own right.
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Would I recommend this overall? Yes, yes, yes. If you like historical fiction and you like the idea of adventure this book is really brilliant. I guess the only complaint I could see is that the diary style does mean it reads very much as like a self-discovery tale but I thought it was well-written with a strong character and a darling idea. Really really brilliant.

PS: Don’t be naughty and skip the very beginning, the author has very cleverly put together a note about the writing of the book which is such a special touch.

Linnnnnks

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Top Ten Best Books I didn’t expect to read in 2K15

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Helllllo readers, it’s Tuesday and that means it’s time for another Top Ten Tuesday post which I utterly love. I remember having to compile a list of my favourite topics that had been done so far and I only had ten so it was an easy task – but now I adore writing these lists. Today’s topic is to list your ten favourite books from 2015 and I just can’t. Sorry won’t do it. I have decided to instead write a list of the ten books  I didn’t expect to read this year but really enjoyed. Without further Lizzy warbling onto the list.

Little Women by Louisa May Alcott

This is a DNF book from my childhood – 22 year old Lizzy finally made it through this and I am finally a happy, happy bunny.

Animal Farm by George Orwell

After waiting three years to read 1984 I’ve read three Orwell books this year which has been wonderful. This has been my year for classics and it’s made me wonderfully happy.

How to Keep a Pet Squirrel by Axel Scheffler

This is a slightly abnormal one but I adored this children’s book. The images are beautiful and it’s been created for a good cause. It’s a little tongue in cheek but it is honestly delightful.

Breakfast at Tiffany’s: Truman Capote

I LOVE LOVE LOVE Audrey Hepburn and before this year hadn’t seen anything that starred her. After watching the film Breakfast at Tiffanies I had to read this – so I did and it was beautiful. If you’re yet to read this – put it on your TBR now.

How to Be a Woman: Caitlin Moran

Don’t ask me how I only read something by the wonderful Caitlin Moran this year but I’ve now read both her books and they are both utterly brillant. READ READ READ ASAP.

Vivian’s Couch: Michael Obiora

Another odd one, but I have always been a fan of Michael Obiora; he asked me to read his book, I obliged and we also did a wonderful Q + A. Brilliant author brilliant book.

The Silver Linings Play Book: Matthew Quick

I’ve tried really hard this year to read books that have been films before seeing them and this is one I didn’t think I would get to read. However, I spotted it in my local library and thought yes I’ll give it a go. Lovely book, lovely story but still need to go see the film!

Tamed by Emma Chase

I’ve been looking for my newest proper trashy romance that I can go back to time and time again. This year I think I found it – finally.

The Girl on the train: Paula Hawkins

This one may be a little odd but it normally takes me 485804943 months to get round to the year’s hottest book (ie still haven’t read The Silkworm by JK – slaps wrist) but this one I read quite quickly, at least for me, after it came out! #WIN

Bon Bons to Yoga Pants by Katie Cross

Finallllly, I adore Katie Cross and her books but they are mostly fantasy books – this year I got to read a romance genre book from this fantastic author and it was everything. I adored it.

There we go – ten fantastic book I never thought I would read this year. I know this might seem a little like a cop-out but I really couldn’t just pick ten favourite books from this year, it just wouldn’t work.