31 March 2015

Killing The Dead by Marcus Sedgwick

Title: Killing The Dead
Author: Marcus Sedgwick
Pages: 117
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Paranormal
Book Description:
Set in a girls' boarding school in Massachusetts a haunting and sinister YA story for World Book Day from prize-winning author Marcus Sedgwick.
1963. Foxgrove School near Stockbridge, Massachusetts. One of the oldest and finest academies in the country - but what really goes on behind closed doors? Nathaniel Drake, the new young English teacher, Isobel Milewski, the quiet girl who loved to draw spirals, her fingers stained with green ink, Jack Lewis, who lent Isobel books - just words, just ink on paper, Margot Leya, the girl with those eyes - who are they, what part have they played in killing the dead? 
Follow the dark, dark path Into the dark, dark woods To the dark, dark bridge By the dark, dark water. Linger. Let the ghosts of heaven tell their story. A stylish and creepy story for World Book Day from prize-winning author Marcus Sedgwick

My Opinion: 
I read White Crow by Marcus back in high school and I remember really enjoying it so for World Book Day I decided to use my £1 token on this! It's a really short book so I managed to read it in an hour!

It was a really good short story. There was a lot of mystery in the beginning and it was quite dark which are two genres I really enjoy.
There was a really shocking and powerful twist at the end that I was not expecting at all. I thought the ending was going to be really predicable but it wasn't at all so that was awesome!

The only thing I disliked was how the narrative's perspectives switched between the chapters because it was a little confusing and because the book was so short, I didn't really have time to get used to it.

Altogether I would definitely recommend this. Because it's so short, you could read it really quickly to just pass the time and it would be very worth while. I think short stories are one of the hardest forms of fiction to write and Marcus did a really good job!

Favourite Quotes:

Just ink on paper, that's all books are, just ink on paper


The most important person in this story is the one you'll never meet

Rating ★
4 out of 5 stars 

Next book I'm going to review:
The Miniaturist by Jessie Burton

23 March 2015

Sane New World by Ruby Wax

Title: Sane New World, Taming The Mind
Author: Ruby Wax
Pages: 256
Genre: Self-Help, Science, Psychology, Health, Biography
Book Description: Ruby Wax - comedian, writer and mental health campaigner - shows us how our minds can jeopardize our sanity.

With her own periods of depression and now a Masters from Oxford in Mindfulness-based Cognitive Therapy to draw from, she explains how our busy, chattering, self-critical thoughts drive us to anxiety and stress.

If we are to break the cycle, we need to understand how our brains work, rewire our thinking and find calm in a frenetic world.

Helping you become the master, not the slave, of your mind, here is the manual to saner living

My Opinion:
I picked this book up because I'm interested in psychology and was hoping to understand myself better. I can happily say this has been achieved.

I only know Ruby Wax as a comedian so I was intrigued to see what she'd be like as an author. This book has many humorous parts which lightens the mood. She manages to speak openly and honestly about her experience which is really helpful for the reader as it give us an accurate insight into the mental illness of depression.

At first I was cautious because I've read a book similar to this in the past and I found it quite difficult to understand. However this book was really easy to read and it had little diagrams on some of the confusing parts. When the brain functions were explained there were quirky images to show what parts were where and I found this very helpful!

I also really enjoyed reading the exercises towards the end. These were ways of dealing with over thinking and negative thoughts and I personally found them very useful. They weren't complicated and easily doable everyday and if one method didn't rock your boat, you could just use another technique because she offered many exercises for everyone.
Secondly a lot of information was provided abut mindfulness and cognitive therapy. This was useful because if you didn't like the idea of practicing mindfulness, there were other options too. A lot of statistics were used to support the research and methods she'd given which were reliable and accurate. 

Overall, I found this book very easy to read and the topic was really something I found interesting. I knew some of the basics anyway because I'm studying psychology at college but it was nice to dig a little deeper and learn abut the body and brain.. I think I learned a lot from reading this and would recommend it to anyone who struggles with mental health, wants to find out more about the topic, or is interested to learn about the concept of mindfulness.

 Rating ★
 3 out of 5 stars

Next book I'm going to review:
Killing The Dead by Marcus Sedgwick

17 March 2015

What Lies Between by Charlena Miller | Co-Review

Title: What Lies Between
Author: Charlena Miller
Pages: 336
Genre: Mystery, Romance, Contemporary
Book Description:
Trust has never come easily to Ellie Jameson. A broken past taught her that self-reliance is the only option—no one sticks around for the long haul. When a fateful letter arrives with news of an unexpected inheritance, she sees a silver lining in the tragedy that seems to follow her. Anxious to leave American city life for the rugged Scottish Highlands, she sets off to claim her fate in a whirlwind of determination. Captivated by the land of stunning lochs, fiery whisky, and a particularly charming Highland local, it seems things may finally be turning around . . .

But nothing could have prepared Ellie for what awaits at the Glenbroch estate, where she soon discovers very little is as it seems. The rugged, romantic Highlands harbor old secrets and vengeful enemies, entangling her in a web of lies and betrayal. As the line between ally and enemy blurs, Ellie is in danger of forfeiting her inheritance—as well as her heart.

Get it here | Good reads

I received this ARC in exchange for an honest review. This is my own opinion and will not be affected by this.

I want to start this off by thanking Charlena for sending me an ebook copy of this book to read and review. Tika and I decided to come up with some questions (My thoughts on the left and hers on the right) so here's our co-review:

Initial thoughts

When I began reading this I wasn't too impressed. There was a lot of description and I felt that caused the story line to drag on a lot, plus it was quite slow in general. However the pace did pick up and I began to feel more intrigued about the mystery and I really enjoyed the romance between Ben and Ellie.

I was quite impressed to be honest. Diving into the book, I didn't really know exactly what to expect, mainly because the novel itself wasn't a popular title, & I hadn't heard any opinions of it prior to receiving my copy for review. After a few chapters, I was so surprised to discover that What Lies Between wasn't the coming-of-age, self-discovery adult novel I assumed it would be. (In some ways it was) Instead it was a wonderful contemporary, with a ton of mystery/suspense elements blended in. I was definitely not expecting that.


Besides the large amounts of description, I really liked Charlena's writing style. I was really curious as to what was going to happen once the pace kicked in and the mystery kept me hanging on. The beginning was a little slow for me and certain parts throughout (e.g the middle) but I really enjoyed the ending.

The writing was definitely a bit up and down for me. It was beautiful, I most certainly can't deny that, but the descriptive text was very hard to get into for half of the book. I think it was more so a dense and heavy read, which caused the story to drag through a couple of chapters, but once you push through that, it begins to lighting up. Either that or you get used to it. I really enjoyed Charlena's ability to allow us readers to feel as if we were in Scotland alongside the characters. From her experience being in the country and her descriptions, you were truly able to see how wonderful the culture is, and how friendly and hardworking the natives seem to be. With the story dragging in some places, but with the writing being so vivid and engrossing, I'd have to say the writing/plot was more so a hit, than a miss. 


I thought the characters were really well written. I loved seeing how the characters unfolded and how their true personalities started showing as the novel progressed. I think my favourite character was Ben, he was so charming and romantic and really lovely. He never gave up trying to prove things to Ellie, despite their quarrel early in the beginning. I liked how the characters weren't always what I expected and they were all rather unpredictable.

I think because Ellie was one of those characters who didn't really let people in, and had a hard time trusting others, it really made you think all of the characters were shady lol. I spent half of the book side-eyeing everyone, because I couldn't tell right away who was being honest & loyal. I did however, have a hunch that Ben MacIver, (the son of the John is who trying to steal the estate from Ellie) was being truthful throughout the entire story. He just had such a genuine air to him, that I would have been blindsided if he turned out to be any different. As weird things started happening to Ellie, such as her being ran off the road by a mysterious driver, I started looking at everyone with close eyes. Sadly not too many of the characters are rememberable, but I will say my favorite was Ben. I loved how he didn't stop proving to Ellie that he didn't have a hand in any of the dirt surrounding the estate, (not literally dirt guys lol) and their romance ended up being one of my favorite aspects of this story. I also enjoyed the friendships Ellie formed with Ben's mother Anna, she was such a sweet woman, and no-nonsense Maggie, who made the perfect friend.


I really, really enjoyed the ending! It was so unexpected and I was not ready for what unraveled. The story line was also really intriguing and there were many twists that kept me hooked. The mystery was also created really well because even at the end when the truth was discovered, I still hadn't predicted what was going to happen!
The only thing I didn't like was the structure. The novel took a while to get into the basic plot and there was a section in the middle where I wasn't as intrigued. But then there was a very good twist and things picked up again so it has it's goods and bads!

As I mentioned before, I truly loved how Charlena was able to give us a taste of Scotland in just a few pages. I loved the descriptions of the foothills, even the grass was vividly described. I loved the language, which I attempted to pronounce and failed horribly, and I loved the talk of food! A Scotland holiday causes for a ton of food, whiskey ( a never put a little water in my whiskey, might have to try it) and wonderful people. It's definitely a country I would love to visit.
My only dislike to this story would be how it dragged in multiple places. It wasn't anything serious that would cause you to put the book down and DNF it, but you will have to be in the mood for a more heavier storyline if you want to truly enjoy this book.

Overall thoughts/rating

It's a bit of a love-hate relationship with this book. I really liked the characters and the suspense that was incorporated the whole way through however the structure and description slowed things down for me. Overall I would recommend it to those who like mystery, but prefer something with a slower pace. 3.5 STARS

I would recommend What Lies Between to any reader that enjoys a great Adult Contemporary. It consisted of all the elements I enjoy in Adult, rich culture in an amazing setting, a good mystery, and a slow-burn romance, so it's definitely worthy of what I call a pass-along.
Now for my dilemma. This story definitely ended up being a bit difficult to rate. My thoughts are very much still conflicted, mainly because of the dragging -- it took me a week in a half to finish, but I'm leaning towards 4 STARS since it still managed to be such a pleasurable read.

Next book I'm going to review:
Sane New World by Ruby Wax

7 March 2015

Maus I; A Survivors Tale: My Father Bleeds History by Art Spiegelman

Title: Maus I; A Survivors Tale: My Father Bleeds History 
Author: Art Spiegelman
Pages: 160
Genre: Graphic novel, History
Book Description: 
A story of a Jewish survivor of Hitler's Europe and his son, a cartoonist who tries to come to terms with his father's story and history itself.

My Opinion:
Holocaust Memorial day recently passed and I felt like I should read this graphic novel. I've heard a lot of good things about it so when I saw it in my local library I decided to pick it up.

I think this book was extremely well written so I understand why it's critically acclaimed, however I feel like it didn't do as much for me as I hoped.
I thought the art work was amazing. I liked how it was in black and white as I felt like this linked well with the story and the meaning behind it, how those people had no colour in their lives due to the horrific events they experienced.

The idea of having the Jews as mice and Nazi's as cats was a really creative and unique idea which I thoroughly enjoyed. I think this brought a lot to the book as meaning behind it is very powerful.
I also liked how the story line switched from past to present so we got to see what his father was like in the past, as well as how he acted in the present. It was interesting to see how those events had shaped/impacted his life.

Although I really enjoyed this book, I didn't find it as amazing as I was hoping it to be. I might pick up the second book in the series but I'm not desperate to read it. I would recommend it if you enjoy historical/biographical novels or are just interested in the topic. This was a quick and interesting read, certainly something I would recommend.

Rating ★
3 out of 5 stars

Next book I'm going to review:
What Lies Between by Charlena Miller

1 March 2015

Swoonuary Wrap Up

So the month of February is over and I can happily wrap up this months reads. The Bookish Groupies and I attempted a reading challenge where we had to read only romance/contemporary novels for the month.

The books I aimed to read:
1) An Abundance of Katherines by John Green
2) Bad Romeo by Leisa Rayven [READ ALONG]
3) Never Never by Colleen Hoover

If I manage to get onto a fourth book...
4) Beautiful Disaster by Jamie McGuire

The books I ended up reading:

2) Bad Romeo by Leisa Rayven [READ ALONG]

I managed to read 3/4 of the books on my list which I'm very happy with. At some points I didn't stick to the theme of romance and took the more contemporary route but I am pleased with the amount of books I read!

A huge thank you to everyone that joined our event! It's been great fun and I look forward to doing more in the future :)