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    FEATURE | Is ARC reading a chore?

    is arc reading becoming a chore.jpgI’m sure every book blogger reading this post right now will be able to relate when I say getting an ARC of a really interesting book sent to you is one of the best perks of the job.

    Free books, you say? Yes please.

    When I first started my blog just before the summer, the idea of getting FREE books was incredible. Don’t get me wrong, it still is. I couldn’t wait for the first offer, waiting for it to just fall into my lap. Then, I got an email from a very obscure writer offering me a weird children’s fantasy book that made me physically cringe when I read the description and I thought I maybe had it all wrong.

    Fast forward a few months and I am now on a couple of different blogger/PR lists and regularly get sent emails that actually do fit with what I like to read, and I am receiving opportunities to receive free books left, right and centre. If I wanted to, as I am sure is the case with most book bloggers, I could probably manage to not actually buy any books again and still be kept going well into next year.

    And that right there is my issue. I often find myself getting a little bit overexcited and agreeing to all different blog tours and reviews and you name it, only to find that, actually, I don’t really have time to read all these books. As an English Literature student in their final year, I already have plenty to read without doubling the number of pages every week. The books I have been sent to review are piling up and are going to take me the rest of the year to catch up on, never mind all the ones I most likely agree to in the meantime. We forget that these free books are all fine and dandy, but we have to actually then find the time to read them.

    I am definitely what you call a ‘mood reader’, preferring to choose my next book to read purely by what I fancy picking up at the time. I already struggle to read my books for classes for this reason, absolutely hating having to read for a deadline, and reading because I have to instead of because I want to. Sticking to a strict date for book reviews is incredibly difficult when you have a busy life going on outside your blog, which is like a part time job in itself. I am in my fourth year of my degree and have two (paid) part-time jobs, as well as being the Arts editor of the student newspaper on campus, and also quite like to have a bit of downtime and occasionally – heaven forbid – a social life.

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    New In #2

    new in 2 - writing finch (1)How many times in your life have you spoken or thought the words: “I need to stop buying books.”

    Every. Damn. Week.

    The wonderful thing about being back in Glasgow for university is my mum can no longer see how many parcels arrive for me all containing new books and therefore I have no one moaning at me for how much I am spending on them and where on earth are you gong to put them all, Holly???

    I thought I would share with you today some of the books that have been added to my collection recently. I haven’t read any of these yet, but I might do some reviews on any that I have strong feelings about when I have. Let me know if there is any in particular that you would like a follow up on!

    Vagina – Naomi Wolf

    I kept seeing this pop up on Chloe Plumstead’s insta story and earlier this week I finally gave in and ordered it. From the author of The Beauty Myth, this “combines cutting-edge science with cultural history to explore the role of female desire and how it affects female identity, creativity and confidence.” It ” goes to the very core of what it means to be female” and examines the vagina in relation to women’s sexuality. I feel like this is going to be such an interesting read and will be so important in better understanding the female body and mind.

    Crazy Rich Asians – Kevin Kwan

    I feel it is a pretty safe assumption for me to make that every single person reading this will have heard of the film version of this. Like many book lovers, I much prefer reading the book version first before delving into the cinematic performance, so this is pretty near the top of my list.

    The Infinite Pieces of Us – Rebekah Crane

    I think this might have been my choice for November’s Kindle First. I have no idea what it was about, and like to choose my ebook option each month without really reading any of the descriptions so I can really surprise myself and find something I might not have picked otherwise (a method which is working pretty well so far and I can recommend).

    We Were Mothers – Katie Sise

    I feel absolutely no shame in saying that I bought this book for one reason and one reason alone – the beautiful cover. I mean, look at it!!! It also turns out that it is a really well-made book to, and the pages feel so beautifully soft and thick and luxurious that I just want to stroke it and flick through it all the time. The physical act of reading this is going to be so satisfying. This one is about a scandal in a boring, perfect town which makes me picture the Desperate Housewives houses. The “web of secrets” mentioned in the synopsis had me sold.

    The Rule of One – Ashley Saunders and Leslie Saunders

    It isn’t often that you manage to find something in Kindle Unlimited that you have actually heard of before, so I quickly downloaded this while I had the chance. This dystopian novel is set in a version of the United States in the future where they have enforced a Chinese-style one child policy to tackle the population issue. Hence, the rule of one. Naturally, this novel then explores what happens when a pair of identical twins, Ava and Mira, who have been living as one for their entire lives and trading places every other day, suddenly find that their charade has been exposed. This sounds fast-paced and exciting, and I hope it lives up to that.

    ARCs/Review Copies

    HWFG – Chris McQueer

    This is one I actually received to review as part of my role as the Arts editor of my student newspaper, so I won’t be reviewing it on here (but I will still put something up on my Goodreads about it when I have finished it). Chris is a truly fantastic young Scottish short story writer, and his first book, Hings, had me in stitches.

    Heavenward – Olga Gibbs

    I am part of the blog tour for this, and my review stop is on the 10th of December, so keep an eye out for that. A big hallelujah to Melanie who is running the tour for actually giving me a decent amount of time to read it and not three days like you quite often get. Do people not realise we actually have lives outside of reviewing books… Anyway, the synopsis of this doesn’t give too much away, but “a quiet, unnoticeable girl with a hidden strength” has me hooked.

    Korrigan – Rebecca F. Kenney

    I was really interested in the premise of this book but I had to say that I am going to be so crazy busy over the next little while that I wasn’t sure if I would have time to read this and do it justice. But, Rebecca was so lovely and sent me a copy of the book anyway under no obligation to review it. Sometimes doing this would possibly annoy me and would make me feel pressured to do it anyway, but she was really nice in the way that she came across and so I don’t mind in the slightest, and actually really appreciate it.

    The Things We Learn When We Are Dead – Charlie Laidlaw

    I’ve have had this ARC for so long it is beginning to get a little bit embarrassing, but I just haven’t got round to reading it yet. I really need to move it to the top of my list. On the way home from a dinner party, our protagonist Lorna Love gets hit by a car, and what follows is a book about consequences, second chances, memories, and where we go when we die.

     

    Let me know if you have read any of these books, and what I should expect from them! And then tell me I am NOT ALLOWED TO BUY ANY MORE BOOKS UNTIL I READ SOME OF THESE.

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    ARC, book review, books

    Book Review: Fortunate Encounters by Caterina Passarelli

    First up, apologies to Ink Slinger PR for the fact that I *may* have forgotten about writing this book review which is why it is so ridiculously late…

    I was involved in the cover reveal for Fortunate Encounters by Caterina Passarelli, so I was really excited about receiving an ARC to review. Juliette is a young, single school teacher who has had some epically bad dates and extreme bad luck in romance. She shows up at the next date she has planned, only to promptly seat herself at the wrong table with the wrong man. After this first encounter, they begin to bump into each other everywhere they go (of course, this is a fiction novel after all, and it would be pretty boring if they had to actively seek each other out after that). The new love interest Clark is not one for relationships and suggests a friends-with-benefits situation instead. I’m sure it doesn’t surprise you in the slightest that problems occur when real feelings start to arise. Read more

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    Book Review: The Problem With Foverer by Jennifer L. Armentrout

    I wasn’t new to Jennifer L. Armentrout before picking up The Problem With Forever, having read and enjoyed her work in the Meet Cute anthology and Wait For You, as well as seeing her name pop up regularly on Goodreads. In fact, a quick search on Goodreads just there tells me that she has 104 (!!!!) distinct works, so I guess that it is no surprise that she is pretty hard to miss in the YA fiction world.

    The Problem With Forever is the beautiful story of Mallory Dodge, a girl who was taught to keep quiet to avoid getting into trouble. Her childhood nickname was Mouse as a result of her lack of speech which carried through even after she was adopted by two loving doctors and finally removed from the horrific foster home she had grown up in and suffered through. But, one good thing came from the group home, and that was her best friend Rider. After a horrible incident that was the final straw and finally helped her see the back of that house, Mallory and Rider lost all contact, until she decides she wants to switch from home-schooling to a regular high school. And who goes to this school, unbeknownst to her before her first day? Yep, you guessed it – the one and only Rider Stark.

    *Trigger warning: child abuse, bad foster home experiences, social anxiety*

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    Release Day: Whiskey Sour by Nazarea Andrews

    Happy release day to Nazarea Andrews for her new standalone novel in the River Street Bar series with Whiskey Sour!

    I haven’t read any of the books in this series before, but I am excited to get stuck into this one over the weekend before my review on Monday 1st October. (Apart from the fact all I can think right now is that it is WHISKY not WHISKEY. I’m Scottish after all. We know our whisky.) Read more

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    COVER REVEAL: Fortunate Encounters by Caterina Passarelli

    Title: FORTUNATE ENCOUNTERS
    Series: The Signs Series (book 1)
    Author: Caterina Passarelli
    Genre: Contemporary Romance
    Release: September 20
    Cover Designer: Najla Qamber Designs
    Synopsis
    Sitting at the wrong table turned my life upside down.

    I was supposed to be on a date with one man but made a huge mistake—a mistake I keep bumping into all over New York City.

    Clark Chambers is arrogant, straightforward, devastatingly handsome, and takes what he wants. And right now his sight is set on me.

    But he only wants friends with benefits. And I’d rather eat dirt than agree to that.

    After an “enough is enough” moment, I turn to the Universe for help & ask for a special sign.

    And it’s just my luck … looks like rabbits & romance really do mix!

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    books

    30 Blog Post Ideas For Book Bloggers

    Source

    1. Book review (duh)

    2. New In – a list of books you have purchased recently

    3. A monthly reading wrap up

    4. Monthly reading goals

    5. Book series you haven’t finished

    6. Five favourite book covers

    7. Paperback vs. Kindle debate – where do you stand?

    8. Your reading routine – where do you read, how often do you read, etc.

    9. A book blogger tag (e.g. Behind the Screen)

    10. Seasonal reads (e.g. 10 books to read to get you in the mood for winter)

    11. Ten books you could re-read over and over

    12. Your favourite books/authors as a child

    13. Tips on how to write the perfect book review

    14. What’s on your book bucket list

    15. A list of your favourite book blogs

    16. Your favourite short story collections

    17. Your favourite poetry collections

    18. Character review

    19. Five favourite heroines/heroes

    20. Your top book boyfriends that you wish existed in real life

    21. A short story written by you

    22. Top tips for starting a book blog

    23. Five favourite classic books/authors

    24. WWW Wednesday – What are you reading now, What have you recently read, What are you reading next?

    25. What do you look for in a book/what is a ‘good’ book to you?

    26. Goodreads reading challenge update

    27. A list of blog post ideas (like this one)

    28. A book-related giveaway – book, memorabilia, bookmarks, stationary, etc

    29. Your favourite book-to-movie adaptations (like To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before)

    30. Book subscription boxes – a list of different available ones/unboxing of one you subscribe to/review of this month’s box

    If you have any more ideas, then feel free to leave them in the comments for our fellow book blogger friends!

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    Movie Review: To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before

    Release date: 17th August 2018
    Where to watch: Netflix
    Genre: Rom Com
    My Rating: ★★★★★

    I’ve never written a movie review before, but I can’t help but want to share my thoughts on the latest YA book-to-movie adaptation that came to our laptop screens via Netflix last week.

    Before watching To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before, I actually did think that I had read the book by Jenny Han but I’m not sure now. I definitely don’t have a hard copy of it, but I had thought I had maybe read it on my old Kindle. I think I might have been getting it mixed up with The Summer I Turned Pretty though – but I am not disappointed in the slightest because now it means I have an excuse to buy a new book and enjoy it all over again!!!

    Because of this, I can’t comment on how well it stuck to the events of the book but from what I have seen on Twitter, it is pretty accurate with how it portrays the characters and the main events. Of course, there will be bits cut out of it I’m sure, as the movie only lasts just over an hour and a half and it would be impossible to include absolutely everything. That said, it didn’t feel rushed or like there was too much crammed in there.

    One of my favourite aspects of the movie was its simply stunning cinematography. Some of the scenes were just so exceptionally beautiful in their set-up and colour. I particularly loved the design of Lara Jean’s bedroom. If you follow me on Twitter then you will know that I wish this bedroom existed in real life, aka right here in my home.

    I also really enjoyed Lana Condor’s performance of Lara Jean. Not only is she a beautiful human, but she also captured the personality of the character perfectly with her acting skills and facial expressions. The relationship of the Covey sisters was also perfect, and so sweet to watch. It was nice to see Mona from PLL’s face again, especially in the role of a very different character! And Kitty’s relationship with Peter had my heart go all fluttery and warm.

    Speaking of which, can we take a moment of appreciation for the man himself – Peter Kavinsky. Where are all the real-life Peters, let me ask you. I’m sure you have probably seen the meme on Twitter about how he is considerate to move the popcorn before fighting with Kitty lol. UGH. He’s adorable. I mean, yeah, he is portrayed as this ‘dumb jock’ for a lot of it that doesn’t have a clue with how to deal with girls’ feelings, but what teenage boy does?

    This movie left me feeling so warm and fuzzy inside for a long time after it ended. In fact, I was ready to watch it again from the beginning about five minutes after the credits but I just about managed to restrain myself. It seems like a movie I could never tire of watching, and I already know it won’t be a one time only viewing.

    I seriously hope that they keep going and make a second movie out of this, especially since the general consensus everywhere is that it was amazing. I have yet to see anyone say a bad thing about it.

    My one complaint is that it could’ve been longer, but maybe that is just me being selfish and never wanting it to end. It would have worked well as a TV series actually, but if that is the only criticism I can think of (and that’s me really trying here), then that is not bad going.

    So now I am off to break my spending ban on books again by ordering this one…

    Have you seen this movie yet? And had you read the book first? I’d be interested to hear your thoughts on how it was adapted if you have!

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    books, personal, tag

    Bookish This or That Tag

    Hello everyone! I am back today with another tag post (I absolutely loved doing the book blogger tag, Behind the Screen, which you can read here. I have been tagged in quite a few different ones recently so I will slowly be working my way through them in amongst my book reviews and other chatty discussion posts and may be caught up around, oh, say next year sometime.

    A massive thank you to my friend Noly from The Artsy Reader for tagging me in this one! There were some seriously hard choices in there but I struggled through this “torture” tag, as Noly very aptly named it.

    I am also going to cheat and not tag anyone in particular to do this (lol lazy I know, don’t hate me), because I have so many tags to get through that I don’t think I even know that many bloggers!! So, I am taking the easy way out and just saying that if you fancy doing this tag, then help yourself, and leave a link for me to have a read. It’s a good one, even if was so incredibly hard.

    Now, without further ado, here are my answers…

    1. Series or standalone?

    As much as I love standalones for the fact that you get to read book after book and inhale so many stories and worlds, there is nothing better than reading a great book and being able to pick up the next one right away and find out what happens next! I am never ready for my favourite characters’ stories to end.

    2. Magic earned or magic born?

    I’m going to say magic earned (I’m guessing this is like Feyre a la A Court of Thorns and Roses?) because that probably makes for a more exciting story in my eyes! I love seeing how they adapt to this new world and how they bring their own world along with them.

    3. Enemies to lovers or friends to lovers?

    Ooooh enemies to lovers, for sure. All that tension.

    4. Hilarious banter or emotional ruin? 

    Noly – can I copy you and say both???

    5. Love triangle or insta love? 

    Love triangles quite often get on my nerves because there is always either the one person they are quite obviously going to choose, or – worse – they choose the wrong one and I am not happy with the ending. An insta love story can be a little on the corny side but if done well, it goes down a treat!

    6. Keyboard smash names or names start with the same letter?

    I can be quite bad for not remembering who is who if there are loads of characters in a book, so a bunch of keyboard smash names would be a recipe for disaster. As annoying as names all starting with the same letter would be, I would definitely have to choose that one.

    7. Mean parents or dead parents?

    Is it cruel to say dead parents? Mean parents is so hard to read but dead parents might mean happy memories? (Apparently I just stole your answer Noly lol sorry).

    8. Supermodel looks or constantly says how “plain” they are?

    Supermodel looks, because that doesn’t necessarily mean that they boast about it all the time, or really recognise it much themselves. A constant reminder of their “plainness” though is boring and frankly a little annoying.

    9. Face on cover vs. typography on cover?

    That is HARD. I THINK I prefer typography on a book over a face the majority of the time, but it really does depend on the individual cover.

    10. Villain turning a little good or hero turning a little bad?

    No! Don’t give us the disappointment of a hero not staying a true hero! It is much nicer to think everyone has a good side to them.

    11. Best friend dies or love interest dies?

    Oh, god. Do I really have to pick? Um, the best friend? Is that mean? I don’t want my friends to die, I promise!!! But if it’s their one true love they can’t die! But no wait, their best friend in the whole world? ARGH. NO ONE. NO ONE SHOULD DIE.

    12. Awesome writing with a dull plot or amazing plot with murderously bad writing?

    Awesome writing all the way. I would barely get two chapters into a book with bad writing, I can’t stand it. How does it even get published, or past the editing stage?! A dull plot would just mean it wouldn’t be an all round amazing book, but it would be readable at least.

    13. Cliffhanger ending or heartbreaking ending?

    I’d rather have neither but if I have to be absolutely pushed for an answer then I suppose I would have to pick heartbreaking ending because although I may never get over it, I hate the idea of a story unfinished. I don’t want to wonder what happened next. I need to know.

    14. Breaking the spine or dog-earing the pages?

    I really should use a bookmark more often but I usually just end up dog-earing the pages because then at least you can’t see that when it is sitting in your bookcase, whereas you would see a worn spine. It is such a shame if the spine is a pretty one!

    Then again, how good does it look when the spine has been broken so many times and it looks so well-loved? Ok – I am going to say a very unbroken spine (not one or two pesky little lines) and dog-earing the pages as well. Is that allowed? Screw it. My blog, I make the rules.

    15. “Bad boy” trope or “perfect golden boy” trope as love interest. 

    Oh, we all like a bad boy, don’t we.

    And I will leave it at that.

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