Review: I Was Born for This by Alice Oseman

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Goodreads | Waterstones

For Angel Rahimi, life is only about one thing: The Ark – a pop-rock trio of teenage boys who are currently taking the world by storm. Being part of The Ark’s fandom has given her everything – her friendships, her dreams, her place in the world.
Jimmy Kaga-Ricci owes everything to The Ark too. He’s their frontman – and playing in a band is all he’s ever dreamed of doing. It’s just a shame that recently everything in his life seems to have turned into a bit of a nightmare.
Because that’s the problem with dreaming – eventually, inevitably, real life arrives with a wake-up call. And when Angel and Jimmy are unexpectedly thrust together, they will discover just how strange and surprising facing up to reality can be.

Wow. What a book. I am on such a contemporary kick right now and I knew Alice Oseman wouldn’t let me down! I think this ended up being my favourite novel of hers so far, and she is definitely worthy of auto-buy status.

First off, the characters in this book are just brilliant. Angel reminded me of myself from my early teens, with a passion and love for her friends I only hope has remained with me now. The cast of characters were immense and real, with each character dealing with their own problems. Angel herself is open about her own struggles throughout the book, and her friends are discussed in detail too. The band are vibrant and emotional, and I loved having the POV of both Angel and Jimmy – at first I questioned whether they would have too dissimilar lives from each other but their narratives work together beautifully.

That’s why people get into fandom and bands and stuff. 

The plot, especially once it picked up, was so compelling I couldn’t put it down. The ending all happened so fast, but it meant I just wanted to rush through it and find out what was going to happen. If I had any small complaints about this book, it would be that the ending came across as a little rushed and I didn’t feel as satisfied as I hoped by the outcome of all the character ARCs.

But other than that, this book was excellent. I was blown away by the raw discussions it has about fandom, facing the good and bad side of fame and fortune and the internet. The most important factors for me were the blatant discussions about mental health, paranoia, anxiety and panic attacks that felt so real and naked. I went through everything with Jimmy and Angel, and I felt grateful for being allowed to be a part of it.

They just want something to hold on to something that makes them feel good. 

Overall, another Alice Oseman gem! I can’t wait to read the last one for me, Radio Silence, and for Loveless to come out later this year.

★★★★
4 out of 5 stars

-Beth

May your shelves forever overflow with books! ☽

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Book vs. Movie: P.S. I Still Love You

Hi lovelies! Today I’m going to be talking about the differences and similarities between the P.S. I Still Love You book and the movie. This isn’t a review as such (although I may do a post like that about the movies soon!), it’s specifically comparing them to each other! I found the way the movie approached some topics really interesting, and as I only read the book in the week before watching the film, I picked up on tiny differences.

Fair warning that this will include a lot of spoilers for the movie – so please only read if you’ve watched it or don’t mind finding out major plot points! With that covered, let’s delve right in!

Differences

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Lara Jean’s first proper date with Peter K. Now, this was all pretty much the same, and it was lovely in both, but I noticed a big change in the movie. They go to a Chinese Lantern Festival. In the book, they go for dinner and walk around the university campus at night that they both want to attend.

John Ambrose McClaren uploaded by lily on We Heart It

This was a bigggg change for me! In the book, John Ambrose McClaren never volunteered at the retirement village. He did reply to Lara Jean’s letter, and most of the other details remain the same, but he never actually volunteered – he’s Stormy’s grandson!

The Credits Scene In "To All The Boys I've Loved Before" Perfectly ...

This is a different GIF to the scene I’m referring to – but there is a party fairly near the start of the movie where Lara Jean is talking to Lucas about how she’s feeling, and then her and Peter K text from across the room, which Lucas teases them for. I didn’t remember this scene at all from the book, and then was shocked to discover the exact scene in the start of the third book, Always and Forever Lara Jean instead!

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The Starball is pretty accurate to how it happened in the book – the major difference being in the book it is a USO/1940s themed party. And although it snows in both, in the book Lara Jean and John Ambrose are snowed into the retirement home and have to stay there together!

Similarities

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I’m really pleased to say the Korean New Years celebrations are pretty much exactly how it happened in the book, and it was lovely. Even the sassy comments from Kitty were kept in!

The Fact That John Corbett Plays Lara Jean's Dad - Everything We ...

Although everything plays out ever so slightly differently, Lara Jean’s dad and Mrs Rothchild from across the street do date in both the book and the movie – and both times with help from Kitty!

holland taylor To All the Boys: P.S. I Still Love You | Explore ...

Stormy, who is a resident at the care home where Lara Jean volunteers, remains the exact same and I love her for it.

290 Best To All The Boys I've Loved Before images in 2020 | Lara ...

It may seem like a small thing, but Lara Jean makes cherry turnovers in both the book and the movie. I’ve since made them myself and I adored them! In fact, Valentine’s plays out similarly in both the book and the movie too.

The "To All The Boys" Treehouse Scene Between Gen And Lara Jean ...

All of the treehouse scenes remained pretty much the same too, even in the flashback!

Overall, these movies are pretty good adaptations, and are some of the rare ones I really adore and think have done an excellent job. Even though there is some differences, they included the majority of the things I loved about the books, and made them beautiful for screen.

-Beth

May your shelves forever overflow with books! ☽

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Book Tag: Reading Habits

Hi readers! It feels like aaaages since I last did a bookish tag. Grey from Use Your Words recently tagged me in the Reading Habits tag and I’m really excited to do it. So here we go!

Do you have a certain place for reading at home?

Black And White Book GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

Definitely my bed! I’ll read anywhere, but I spend most of my time at home in or on my bed, so most of my reading gets done there too.

Bookmark or random piece of paper?

Always a bookmark. I have a Harry Potter magnetic bookmark that looks like the Magical Waterplants book from the movies! My boyfriend gave it to me for Christmas and it’s perfect because it never falls out from between the pages.

Can you just stop reading or do you have to stop after a chapter/certain amount of pages?

I usually wait until I’ve hit a new chapter, or at the very least a paragraph break.

Do you eat or drink while reading?

A Cup Of Tea GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

I don’t really have ‘reading snacks’ as such, but I usually have a cup of tea!

Multitasking: music or TV while reading?

I usually prefer to read in complete silence, but I can sometimes read to video game or Studio Ghibli music! These rainy day Animal Crossing compilations are my go-to.

One book at a time or several at once?

25 Bookish Facts About Me – BOOKS, COFFEE, AND REPEAT

Usually one book at a time is the rule for me. But occasionally if I’m taking part in a buddy read where we only read a set amount of pages per day, I can read a book alongside if it’s a different genre.

Reading at home or everywhere?

Romania's Cluj-Napoca lets passengers ride the bus for free when ...

Everywhere and anywhere! When I’m not in lockdown, I tend to travel a lot and carry a book everywhere I go. I tend to read a lot on trains and in my breaks at work when I’m not at home.

Reading out loud or silently?

Silently! Unless I’m reading out a random passage to my boyfriend occasionally.

Do you read ahead or even skip pages?

Bloody Bookaholic: 10 Unequivocal Reasons to ALWAYS Carry a book ...

I can’t ever imagine skipping pages or to the end!

Breaking the spine or keeping it new?

I always try my hardest to keep my books nice and new whenever I can, unless it’s an impossibly large paperback which means I can’t always keep them pristine!

Do you write in your books?

No! I don’t mind if my textbooks for uni have writing in when I buy them cheaply second hand, but I don’t think I could bring myself to write in them myself.

I Tag:

Alex from Library of Books and Tea

Faye from A Daydreamers Thought

Anybody else who would like to join!

-Beth

May your shelves forever overflow with books! ☽

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Review: No Big Deal by Bethany Rutter

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Goodreads | Waterstones

Meet Emily Daly, a stylish, cute, intelligent and hilarious seventeen-year-old about to start her last year at school. Emily is also fat. She likes herself and her body. When she meets Joe at a house party, he instantly becomes The Crush of Her Life. Everything changes. At first he seems perfect. But as they spend more time together, doubts start to creep in.
With her mum trying new fad diets every week, and increasing pressure to change, Emily faces a constant battle to stay strong, be her true self and not change for anyone.

This was adorable and wonderful and proud and brave and I loved it. I loved Emily as a character and her view of her body. She is definitely one of the best female role-models I’ve come across and I can appreciate immediately how important this book could be for young girls. There is not enough books out there that show body positivity, and I was blown away by this one.

I also need to shout about how much of a page turner this book is. I was around halfway through at 11pm last night, and I ended up reading for two solid hours until I’d finished it. Once I passed the halfway mark, I couldn’t put it down! It was utterly and completely addictive.

Life is long and kind of boring sometimes. One of the best ways to make your time on earth suck less is to surround yourself with cool people. People who make you happy.

The friendships and relationships were lovely, too. Even though Emily had a bit of a difficult relationship with her mum, some of their scenes together warmed my heart. The same with her dad and sister Katie. The family aspect was so well written!

But I unfortunately had a few tiny problems that knocked it off 5 stars for me. One of them being a few aspects of the book just seemed a little rushed. One of the friendship problems was suddenly fixed with little to no discussion, the ending seemed a little sudden (or maybe I just didn’t want it to end), and something happened with a guy I wish I had been discussed more. I don’t want to talk more about it for fear of giving spoilers, but Emily was betrayed in a way, and none of her friends seemed to call out the person who betrayed her, even though it was clearly wrong.

People who you have fun with. People who make you feel important. And you’re super smart and interesting, and you want cool things for yourself, and that kind of narrows down the pool of people who you’ll accept into your life.

No Big Deal was also so diverse, I adored it. The group of friends included a lesbian couple I just adored, and it was great to read about them and her supportive friendship group in general.

What an absolutely delightful book and I’m so glad it exists. This felt so important and despite it’s problems, is a must read for YA readers!

★★★★
4 out of 5 stars

-Beth

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Stacking the Shelves #10

Stacking the Shelves is a weekly meme hosted by Tynga where we share books we’ve bought or received this week. Find out more and join in here!

Hi all! Today’s post is a little delayed as I went to a bookshop before the UK lockdown and picked up some books. It might be a little late but here are the books I picked up.

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Goodreads | Waterstones

After battling the impossible, Zélie and Amari have finally succeeded in bringing magic back to the land of Orïsha. But the ritual was more powerful than they could’ve imagined, reigniting the powers of not only the maji, but of nobles with magic ancestry, too.
Now, Zélie struggles to unite the maji in an Orïsha where the enemy is just as
powerful as they are. But when the monarchy and military unite to keep control of Orïsha, Zélie must fight to secure Amari’s right to the throne and protect the new maji from the monarchy’s wrath.
With civil war looming on the horizon, Zélie finds herself at a breaking point: she must discover a way to bring the kingdom together or watch as Orïsha tears itself apart.

I actually had a copy of this sent to me a few weeks ago, but need to get hold of the first book before I read it!

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Goodreads | Waterstones

Everyone thinks they know Libby Strout, the girl once dubbed ‘America’s Fattest Teen’. But no one’s taken the time to look past her weight to get to see who she really is. Since her mum’s death, she’s been picking up the pieces in the privacy of her home, dealing with her heartbroken father and her own grief. Now, Libby’s ready: for high school, for new friends, for love, and for EVERY POSSIBILITY LIFE HAS TO OFFER. I know the part I want to play here at MVB High. I want to be the girl who can do anything. 
Everyone thinks they know Jack Masselin too. Yes, he’s got swagger, but he’s also mastered the art of fitting in. What no one knows is that Jack has a secret: he can’t recognize faces. Even his own brothers are strangers to him. He’s the guy who can re-engineer and rebuild anything, but he can’t understand what’s going on with the inner workings of his own brain. So he tells himself to play it cool: Be charming. Be hilarious. Don’t get too close to anyone. Until he meets Libby. When the two get tangled up in a cruel high school game which lands them in group counseling, Libby and Jack are both angry, and then surprised. Because the more time they spend together, the less alone they feel. Because sometimes when you meet someone, it changes the world – theirs and yours. 

I found an ARC edition of Holding Up the Universe which I couldn’t resist picking up – I love Jennifer Niven’s books so much!

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Goodreads

Mark and Kate have sat next to each other for an entire year, but have never spoken. For whatever reason, their paths outside of class have never crossed.
That is, until Kate spots Mark miles away from home, out in the city for a wild, unexpected night. Kate is lost, having just run away from a chance to finally meet the girl she has been in love with from afar. Mark, meanwhile, is in love with his best friend Ryan, who may or may not feel the same way.
When Kate and Mark meet up, little do they know how important they will become to each other—and how, in a very short time, they will know each other better than any of the people who are supposed to know them more.

I also found a signed hardback edition of this book, which I swapped out for my paperback.

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Goodreads | Waterstones

Lo-Melkhiin killed three hundred girls before he came to my village, looking for a wife. When Lo-Melkhiin – a formidable king – arrives at her desert home, she knows that he will take her beautiful sister for a wife. Desperate to save her sister from certain death, she makes the ultimate sacrifice – leaving home and family behind to live with a fearful man. But it seems that a strange magic flows between her and Lo-Melkhiin, and night after night, she survives. Finding power in storytelling, the words she speaks are given strange life of their own. Little things, at first: a dress from home, a vision of her sister. But she dreams of bigger, more terrible magic: power enough to save a king …if only she can stop her heart from falling for a monster.

I stumbled across an ARC of this one too, which has been on my TBR for soooo long! I’m so excited to read it.

What did you buy this week?

-Beth

May your shelves forever overflow with books! ☽

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March Wrap-Up

I read 6 books again in March! That’s not too disappointing for me, and I’d be happy to continue reading 6 a month if I can. I’m hoping to read more in April while we’re under lockdown, too!

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Review | Goodreads | Waterstones

Lara Jean is having the best senior year.
And there’s still so much to look forward to: a class trip to New York City, prom with her boyfriend Peter, Beach Week after graduation, and her dad’s wedding to Ms. Rothschild. Then she’ll be off to college with Peter, at a school close enough for her to come home and bake chocolate chip cookies on the weekends.
Life couldn’t be more perfect!
At least, that’s what Lara Jean thinks . . . until she gets some unexpected news.
Now the girl who dreads change must rethink all her plans—but when your heart and your head are saying two different things, which one should you listen to?

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Review | Goodreads | Waterstones

A perfect town is hiding secrets. Two teenagers are dead. Two murders unsolved. And a killer who claims to be coming back. 
Ellery’s never been to Echo Ridge, but she’s heard all about it.
It’s where her aunt went missing at age sixteen, never to return. Where a Homecoming Queen’s murder five years ago made national news and where Ellery now has to live with a grandmother she barely knows, after her failed-actress mother lands in rehab.
Malcolm grew up in the shadow of the Homecoming Queen’s death. His older brother was the prime suspect and left Echo Ridge in disgrace.
His mother’s remarriage vaulted them to Echo Ridge’s upper crust, but it could all change when mysterious threats around town hint that a killer plans to strike again. And the return of Malcolm’s brother doesn’t help matters. But his return is just a coincidence… isn’t it?
Ellery and Malcolm both know it’s hard to let go when you don’t have closure. Then another girl disappears.
As they race to unravel what happened, they realise every secret has layers in Echo Ridge. The truth might be closer to home than either of them want to believe. And somebody would kill to keep it hidden.

Daisy Jones and The Six (Paperback)

Review | Goodreads | Waterstones

For a while, Daisy Jones & The Six were everywhere. Their albums were on every turntable, they sold out arenas from coast to coast, their sound defined an era. And then, on 12 July 1979, they split. Nobody ever knew why. Until now.
They were lovers and friends and brothers and rivals. They couldn’t believe their luck, until it ran out. This is their story of the early days and the wild nights, but everyone remembers the truth differently.
The only thing they all know for sure is that from the moment Daisy Jones walked barefoot, on to the stage at the Whisky, the band were irrevocably changed. Making music is never just about the music. And sometimes it can be hard to tell where the sound stops and the feelings begin.

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Review | Goodreads | Waterstones

Seventeen-year-old Marianne is fated to one day become the Viper, defender of the Twelve Isles.
But the reigning Viper stands in her way. Corrupt and merciless, he prowls the seas in his warship, killing with impunity, leaving only pain and suffering in his wake.
He’s the most dangerous man on the ocean . . . and he is Marianne’s father.

She was born to protect the islands. But can she fight for them if it means losing her family, her home, the boy she loves – and perhaps even her life?
A brave heroine. An impossible dilemma. An epic new fantasy trilogy set on the high seas.

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Review | Goodreads | Waterstones

Marin is a smart, driven, popular girl – she’s headed for Brown when she graduates and has a brilliant career as a journalist ahead of her. Especially in the eyes of English teacher Mr Beckett. He spends a lot of time around Marin, and she thinks it’s harmless . . . until he kisses her.
No one believes Marin when she tells them what happened, so she does the only thing she can: she writes an article called ‘Rules for Being a Girl’ for the school paper to point out the misogyny and sexism that girls face every day. As things heat up at school and in her personal life, Marin must figure out how to take back the power and rewrite her own rules.

No Big Deal (Paperback)

Goodreads | Waterstones

Meet Emily Daly, a stylish, cute, intelligent and hilarious seventeen-year-old about to start her last year at school. Emily is also fat. She likes herself and her body. When she meets Joe at a house party, he instantly becomes The Crush of Her Life. Everything changes. At first he seems perfect. But as they spend more time together, doubts start to creep in.
With her mum trying new fad diets every week, and increasing pressure to change, Emily faces a constant battle to stay strong, be her true self and not change for anyone.
A warm, funny inspiring debut YA novel from Bethany Rutter: influencer, editor and a fierce UK voice in the debate around body positivity.

My favourite read of the month shocked me, it was Rules of Being a Girl! And my least favourite was probably Always and Forever Lara Jean, but I still really enjoyed it. A good reading month overall!

I’m super excited for April as April brings the OWLs readathon. If you want to look at my TBR for April and the readathon, you can find it here!

What did you read in March?

-Beth

May your shelves forever overflow with books! ☽

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Review: Rules for Being a Girl by Candace Bushnell & Katie Cotugno

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Goodreads | Waterstones

Marin is a smart, driven, popular girl – she’s headed for Brown when she graduates and has a brilliant career as a journalist ahead of her. Especially in the eyes of English teacher Mr Beckett. He spends a lot of time around Marin, and she thinks it’s harmless . . . until he kisses her.
No one believes Marin when she tells them what happened, so she does the only thing she can: she writes an article called ‘Rules for Being a Girl’ for the school paper to point out the misogyny and sexism that girls face every day. As things heat up at school and in her personal life, Marin must figure out how to take back the power and rewrite her own rules.

Thank you to Macmillan for providing me with an Advanced Reading Copy in exchange for an honest review! All views are my own.

This book truly shocked me. I was lucky enough to be sent a proof copy at work, and honestly looked and it and thought ‘eh, not for me’. But I started to hear good things about it, found the synopsis more intriguing than expected, and thought ‘it looks like a quick read, just give it a go’. So I picked it up on Saturday morning and had finished it just over 24 hours later.

I was quickly drawn into Marin’s story. The first time I sat down to read it, I read 62 pages, and found myself wanting to pick the book up again soon after. It was such a compelling read, which was how I found myself flying through it and desperate to finish. I soon began to expect a book similar to Moxie – which unfortunately wasn’t quite for me – but this was so much better in my opinion. If you liked Moxie, Rules of Being a Girl is it’s bigger, more established and grown up sister. I loved it.

What hit me most about this book is how relevant it seemed. I think there are certain comments or aspects that every girl can relate to, and that’s why it made me so freaking angry. I’ve got to tell you, I did not expect this book to make me so angry I was almost shaking. But it did. It made me angry for things I have experienced, things I’m sure my friends have, and that many girls have witnessed in their teens. It made me feel seriously uncomfortable, upset and downright pissed on Marin’s behalf.

The rollercoaster of emotions pulled me along for the ride, but there were so many other aspects of this novel that made me love it even more. Even though Marin’s friendship with Chloe made me angry too, I loved the way it was written, and the plot twist at the end (I literally gasped out loud), made me love it all the more. Marin’s family were amazing, and the friendships she had with them were excellent. Some of the conversations she has with her parents and sister really warmed my heart. The romance that eventually blooms but in no way dominants Marin’s story was brilliantly written too, and I couldn’t help but love it because the boy in question reminded me so much of my boyfriend and reminded me of how lucky I am.

Marin herself was a brilliant role model to teenage girls out there, and she demanded respect over and over again. She was not afraid to stand up for what she believed in, and that made me so proud of her. Other things worthy to note is this book was feminist without hating men, which was one of the things that let me down with Moxie but totally wasn’t included in Rules of Being a Girl. It was exactly what I look for in myself and in feminist literature. It was also diverse as hell in subtle ways and I loved that.

★★★★★
5 out of 5 stars

-Beth

May your shelves forever overflow with books! ☽

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