The Summer Madness Book Tag


Helllllo readers, it’s Friday once again *cheers* and me and the blogging schedule are finally getting along. I’m finding writing more means I’m enjoying it more, I hate to say it but the dreaded writer’s blogging block hasn’t reared its head for a number of months now. I’m also really enjoying all the book bloggers non-bookish posts recently, there’s so much to write about and it’s nice to get something a little rambleier once in a while.

Today I was tagged by the wonderful Samantha over at ‘Sleepy book dragon,’ (Thank you for nominating mee!) a brilliant blog with some really interesting and unique bookish posts, definitely one to take a wander through. For now, onto le tag.

Show a book with a summery cover

I’ve decided to pick something a little different, but I think ‘All the Bright Places’ by Jennifer Niven has such a summery feel to the cover. I know that content is a little darker for a summer read but I think the neutral colours are all so beautiful and have a really summery feel!

All the Bright Places
Pick a fictional place that would be the perfect destination for a summer holiday.
I think the beach on the island in the book Kensuke’s Kingdom. It’s described as island that is shaped like an elongated peanut in the Pacific Ocean. I always thought it was really beautifully described as a child. A couple of days there reading and lazing in the sun sounds perfecto.

You’re about to go on a flight for your summer holidays but you want to read a book that lasts the whole flight. What novella do you choose?

For his birthday just gone I bought T, the New York Trilogy written by Paul Auster because it was recommended as quite similar to Murakami’s writing style. He thought it was pretty good and picked up Moon Palace which he has been begging me to read but I kinda fancy his book Travels in the Scriptorium

You have a case of summertime sadness – what book do you pick to shine a smile on your face?

Maybe an odd choice but I think  The Famous Five by Enid Blyton. It’s nice to go back and read something that always used to put a smile on your face and this definitely did for me.


You’re sitting at the beach all alone…which fictional character would be your beach babe?

I think Sophie Klein from Stella Newman’s Pear Shaped. We could snack on Pirngles drink Margaritas and have a good ole’ chat about all things life throws at you. She would be an utter babe of a friend to have at the beach.

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To match your ice cream, you want an icy cool sidekick! Which fictional sidekick do you pick?

I think it would have to be Ron Weasley. I can see him cavorting up and down the beach causing mischief and mayhem. He’d be killer on the barbeque and I recon he can throw a frisbee. Pretty perfect.


I now tag the wonderful Jenny from Jenny in Neverland to complete le tag.

The Summer of Secrets by Sarah Jasmon

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Helllllo readers another review for you today and this one I’m in two minds about. Before writing the review I did a little goodreads/google/twitter research to see the general consensus as to this book and it comes up at a 5 star rating across the board but for me it missed the mark a little. I’m not sure if I missed the reasoning for the book or it was my dislike of the characters, I found this a bit hard to swallow, however without further delay onto the review.

The summer the Dovers move in next door, sixteen-year-old Helen’s lonely world is at once a more thrilling place. She is infatuated with the bohemian family, especially the petulant and charming daughter Victoria.

As the long, hot days stretch out in front of them, Helen and Victoria grow inseparable. But when a stranger appears, Helen begins to question whether the secretive Dover family are really what they seem.

It’s the kind of summer when anything seems possible . . .

Until something goes wrong.

The book as the blurb suggests follows the summer of sixteen year old Helen a quiet and shy character. Lacking a friendship group and struggling to deal with her parent’s separation and her dad’s slump towards depression and a growing alcohol addiction she sees the summer becoming a tired affair. When a Bohemian family, the Dovers take residence in one of the little cottages along the canal Helen’s summer appears to be saved. But what will happen over the course of that very summer will change the two families lives forever.

A little bit of plot to get your teeth into but down to the nitty gritty. The book weaves between two time periods; the summer of 1983 where Helen and Victoria first meet and then thirty years later when a now forty-six year old Helen notices a poster in town advertising the work of her once friend in an exhibition of her photographs. Seeing the post pulls back so many memories of that summer  and we start to unravel what Helen had buried in her memory so long ago.

In terms of positives the characters are full of personality; Helen is a naïve and haughty in her beliefs as to family and the things she should and shouldn’t do however this is continually pushed by the carefree Victoria who constantly shoves her over the edge trying to overcome her caginess. From smashing the green houses to downing alcohol Victoria attempts to make Helen come out of her shell and enjoy freedom. In herself Victoria is a little selfish, irrational and foolish but she has a loveable side that spills over. Pippa and Will the younger twins are a delight and Seth adds a little normality to this bunch of siblings. Alice, their troubled mother and Piet their estranged Uncle add colour to the story and help to continue to interweave the stories.

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As the book continues weaving between the two time periods, Helen becomes fixated on the night, nearer to the end of the summer which she can barely remember, except for the fact it was the night the Dover’s left for good. She knows that something truly terrible occurred but is unable to conjure up the memories. Here in the present we encounter her mother, Victoria and the secrets of that night are finally revealed. As Helen spirals out of control trying to wrack her brains for the answers we learn more and more about that fateful night and the interweaving characters of the family that she has come to love so much.

The issue I have relating to the book are that Helen’s life is so heavily impacted by this events, quite dramatically as the tale winds on and yet until she sees the poster she doesn’t seek any answers until it is too difficult and too late to make a positive impact on the lives of any of the many characters including her own. Throughout she is needy, struggles with trust and is often selfish and condescending and yet she fails to realise that she needs to get out there and make a life for her own. Through this she ends up causing destruction to the people in her life that loved her dearly. It made me a little mad to say the least.

The writing is good but I couldn’t connect to Helen in a positive way and therefore as the book finally came to a close I felt a bit cheated. Saying this, the writing is strong and flows naturally. The description is evocative and carefree, and it lilts back and forth in a way you don’t always see in debut novels. For me, being unable to connect with Helen made it a bit of a difficult to read however I’m glad to have read this it just missed the mark for this reader which was a shame.








Ten Books I Plan To Have In My Beach Bag This Summer or Ten Books I Think Make Great Beach Reads

It’s getting towards holiday season and therefore today’s Top Ten Books is a Beach reading list. I adore going on holiday; padding down cobbled streets eating ice-cream, splaying out on a sun-lounger sunning myself and drinking sangria. Someone take me away please? As always if you write your own please comment below I love reading your answers and adding more books to my TBR list (although it pains me to knowing the length of the damn thing.)

1) You’re the One that I want by Giovanna Fletcher: This book was recommended by a friend a little while ago and reading the reviews it does seem like an utterly delightful read which would be perfect read lying on the beach with my polka-dot lilac sunnies on and a tub of pringles. Bliss

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2) Charlotte Street by Danny Walker: This is a book with a mystery and after the first book I think I’m going to want something a bit deeper and intriguing but one that will also create a good number of laughs. Perfect as a beachy read.

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3) Will Grayson, Will Grayson by Green and David Levithan: This book has intrigued me for a while because of the way it is written. John Green wrote all the odd-numbered chapters while David Levithan wrote all the even-numbered chapters. The only plot they decided on together was the fact that the two characters would meet at some point in the novel and that their meeting would have a tremendous effect on their lives. How incredible does that sound?

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4) This one is mine by Maria Semple: I read where’d you go Bernadette last year and although I enjoyed it found it a little difficult to get through however I’m intrigued by the author so I think I might give this one a go.

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5) The Selection by Kiera Cass: I have seen this book reviewed alllllllll over WordPress book blogs and I think it’s time to find out whether it is worth the build-up. Then I can review it and share it with you lovely readers

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6) Landline by Rainbow Rowell: I read Fangirl without knowing that it was a big thing, because I think it was discounted if bought for Kindle a number of months back. I’ve been meaning to read more from this author and a holiday is the perfect time to get stuck in


7) Yes Please by Amy Poehler: Once again this book has been doing the rounds on WordPress and as always I want to join in the fun. I don’t know much about the comedienne but a giggle on holiday is always a wonderful thing

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8) Mrs Dalloway by Virginia Woolf: Confession time, I have never read anything from this author and I think it’s time to change that. I think that holidays are the perfect time to get books read that you might otherwise overlook

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9) Firefly Lane by Kristin Hannah: Another book from an author I would really like to read more from. I have a TBR list the length of my rather small frame but it is going to take months to get through. This one needs to get read soon, 100%.

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10) Finally, The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August by Claire North: I can’t decide if this is going to be a really dark read or something very clever. I’ve heard there’s a strong twist halfway through and it’s got me intrigued.

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So there you go, ten reads to have in my beach bag this summer. The bag will notably weigh a tonne however it will make for a very book-ish holiday.