JULY 2017 WRAP UP ft. The Biannual Bibliothon wrap up

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So July was an unusually great reading month. I just felt like reading all the time, so I set a goal to read a book every day except for Saturdays (which is when I work). I ended up reading 23 books (because there were a few other days where I was busy) but every book I read I finished in a day! I also read lots of review books this month (12) and they are scheduled to go up over the next couple months. And I managed to fit in a few rereads.

Here’s what I read in July;

 

My Name is Victoria - Lucy Worsley

This was a great introduction to Victorian history and the reign of Queen Victoria before she was Queen. I liked this book, however, I feel like I would’ve enjoyed it a lot more if I was younger (13-15 years old).
3.4 Stars
Review: August 1

My Name is Victoria

Release - Patrick Ness

I really really really enjoyed a majority of this book. The story of Adam’s hectic day put me through a whole range of emotions and Patrick Ness’ writing style is really unique and something that I always enjoy reading. I didn’t understand the ghost/magical realism chapters though.
4 Stars
Review: August 11

Release

When It's Real - Erin Watt

This was an okay book. I didn’t hate it. I didn’t love it. It just fell a bit flat for me. I have a whole blog post coming soon about the Famous Boy Meets Normal Girl trope so I’ll have more thoughts on this book in that post.
3 Stars
Review: August 15

When It's Real

The Build-Up Season - Megan Jacobson

This book is incredible. It covers a wide range or serious and important topics, and it’s written beautifully. The main character is complex and relatable and goes through a lot, but it was amazing to see her development. I also got to do an interview with the author!
5 Stars
Review & Interview: https://alwaysandforeverreading.wordpress.com/2017/07/25/author-interview-megan-jacobson/

The Build-up Season

The Dream Walker - Victoria Carless

The synopsis for this book was really intriguing to me and I couldn’t wait to pick it up, but I just couldn’t get into it. I was confused and a bit bored so I ended up skim reading the rest of it. More thoughts in my review.
2.5 Stars
Review: August 22

The Dream Walker

Exchange of Heart - Darren Groth

This was another book that sounded really interesting, but I just couldn’t get into it. I was really confused. More thoughts in my review.
2.5 Stars
Review: August 25

Exchange of Heart

Love Letters to the Dead - Ava Dellaira

I read this book in March this year and loved it. It’s my favourite book of the year so far and one of my favourite books ever. Since I read a couple of books that I didn’t like, I wanted to pick my mood up by reading a book again that I know I love. So I read it again. And it was just as beautiful the second time around.
5 Stars

Love Letters to the Dead

If There's No Tomorrow - Jennifer L. Armentrout

I did not expect to love this book as much as I did. But I did. I loved it! It’s a 400 page book and I finished it within a four hour time span because I struggled to put it down. I laughed, cried, and fell in love with the characters and the story and the friendships and the romance. EEEEK I just loved this book so much!
5 Stars
Review: September 1

If There's No Tomorrow

When Dimple Met Rishi - Sandhya Manon

Almost everyone is talking about this book lately, so I thought I’d pick it up and see what the fuss is all about. I liked it, I just think I had such high expectations for it (and also because I’ve read quite a few amazing books this month) which meant that I didn’t love it as much as I thought I would. It’s still an adorable romance though!
4 Stars

When Dimple Met Rishi

The Possible - Tara Altebrando

I didn’t have high expectations for this book because I read Tara’s other book last year which fell a bit flat. I liked how the book focused on telekinesis and found this aspect really interesting, but the book didn’t really do anything for me. More thoughts in my review.
3 Stars
Review: August 18

The Possible

Tiny Pretty Things - Sona Charaipotra & Dhonielle Clayton

Eeeek! I loved this book so much. I love dance, I love dance movies, and now I love dance books. There’s a lot of bitchiness going around the school but it really only depicts what a lot of dance companies are really like. Also, Bette is my favourite. I know she’s the meanest and evilest out of all of them, and I’m probably not supposed to love her, but I do. I NEED the second book NOW but they don’t have it in stock anywhere in my city!
5 Stars

Tiny Pretty Things

The Fault in our Stars - John Green

I’ve read this book a gazillion billion times (translation: way too many) and it used to be my favourite book (hence why I own a gazillion billion copies). But I don’t think I’ve read the book in a couple years so I thought I’d pick it up again. I read it in a few hours and tabbed some of my favourite quotes, lines and scenes. And then I rewatched the movie and fell asleep crying…
5 (gazillion billion) Stars

The Fault in Our Stars

History is All You Left Me - Adam Silvera

This was such a cute and adorable and emotional and beautiful story. Everyone raves on about Adam’s books and I decided to finally pick one up, and I’m so glad I did. Now to read his other two!
4 Stars

History is All You Left Me

Tell it to the Moon - Siobhan Curham

I read the first book, THE MOONLIGHT DREAMERS, last year and this was a great follow up. It focuses on the friendships of four teenage girls who are all going through their own things. Although I didn’t enjoy this one as my as the last one, I still really enjoyed it.
3.7 Stars
Review: August 29

Tell it to the Moon

The Bell Jar - Sylvia Plath

I studied Sylvia Plath’s poems in high school and finally picked up her only novel. This was emotional, touching and reminded me a lot of GIRL INTERRUPTED which I’ve only seen the movie of (shame on me). I enjoyed it and it made me want to pick up her poetry again.
4 Stars

The Bell Jar

A Tragic Kind of Wonderful - Eric Lindstrom

Despite being a bit slow at the beginning, I absolutely loved this book. It was emotional and tragic yet there was so much light at the end of the story. The last 100 or so pages definitely made up for the slow beginning. There’s mental health rep including bipolar disorder and grief, and it was described and written beautifully. Plus all the characters were amazing!
5 Stars

A Tragic Kind of Wonderful

The Sky is Everywhere - Jandy Nelson

This is a reread for me. I read it the first time in year 10 and I’ve read it a few times since then. It’s such a beautiful story about first love and loss that makes me shed a tear every time. I want to read it again right now!!!
5 Stars

The Sky Is Everywhere

 

BIANNUAL BIBLIOTHON WRAP UP

Finding Nevo - Nevo Zisin

Read an LGBTQUI+ book.
This books was really informative and educated me a lot on queer identities and sexualities. Nevo has a beautiful voice and their story is one that I highly recommend. More thoughts in my review soon.
5 Stars
Review: September 15

Finding Nevo

My Lovely Frankie - Judith Clarke

Read from the hosts favourite genre: Emma: diverse books
This was a beautiful and reflective story about about life in the seminary during the ’50’s. Although it isn’t everyone’s cup of tea and the story line fell a bit flat, I still enjoyed reading about the development of the main character, Tom.
3.5 Stars
Review: September 19

My Lovely Frankie

One Italian Summer - Keris Stainton

Read a book you’ve seen somewhere other than booktube.
This is an adorable summer romance if you’re looking for a light contemporary read with a bit of emotion. Although it didn’t quite provoke the emotions for me that I thought it would, I still liked the story.
3.5 Stars
Review: September 22

One Italian Summer

The Diary of a Young Girl - Anne Frank

Read a book that has been or still is banned.
Although I know the story (along with everyone else) and I’ve seen the movie a few times, I’ve never actually read Anne’s diary before. Unfortunately, I didn’t enjoy it as much as I thought it would. However, it is still an educational read and it did make me emotional and give me goosebumps just thinking about what these families had to go through.
4 Stars

The Diary of a Young Girl

The Wrong Girl - Zoe Foster Blake

Read and watch a book to move/TV adaptation. (I watched season 1 when it came out and season 2 is being released soon… so I kind of cheated on this one).
Unfortunately, I didn’t love this as much as I thought I would. I loved season 1 of the TV show and cannot wait to see what season 2 hold, but the book was kind of boring. It’s not completely the books fault because I’m not as big a fan of chic lit as I used to be, so really it’s just my personal taste in genre.
3 Stars

The Wrong Girl

Under the Same Sky - Mojgad Shamsalipoor & Milad Jafari with James Knight

Throwback challenge: read a book from the genre you’ve read the least of this year. (Non-fiction/autobiography).
This was such an eye opening and powerful book as it took me on the journey of two asylum seekers. Both Mojgan and Milad have big stories to tell and it was emotional to read what they went through. Unfortunately their future is still undecided and I hope that stories like theirs will make people aware of the issue.
5 Stars

Under the Same Sky

Thanks for reading! Comment below you’re favourite read from July!

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JUNE 2017 WRAP UP

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So June was a really good reading month for me – the best so far this year! I managed to read a book every two days which ended the month on 15 books. 6 of these books were sent to me for review, 4 were rereads and 5 were books that have been on my TBR for a while.

Here’s what I read this month;

The Whole Thing Together - Ann Brashares

Summer for Sasha and Ray means the sprawling old house on Long Island. Since they were children, they’ve shared almost everything—reading the same books, running down the same sandy footpaths to the beach, eating peaches from the same market, laughing around the same sun-soaked dining table. Even sleeping in the same bed, on the very same worn cotton sheets. But they’ve never met.
Sasha’s dad was once married to Ray’s mom, and together they had three daughters: Emma, the perfectionist; Mattie, the beauty; and Quinn, the favorite. But the marriage crumbled and the bitterness lingered. Now there are two new families—and neither one will give up the beach house that holds the memories, happy and sad, of summers past.

The synopsis to this book sounded interesting, but when I read it, it didn’t really do anything for me. It was confusing and there were too many characters. More thoughts in my review.
3 Stars
Review:

The Whole Thing Together

Geekerella - Ashley Poston

When geek girl Elle Wittimer sees a cosplay contest sponsored by the producers of Starfield, she has to enter. First prize is an invitation to the ExcelsiCon Cosplay Ball and a meet-and-greet with the actor slated to play Federation Prince Carmindor in the reboot. Elle’s been scraping together tips from her gig at the Magic Pumpkin food truck behind her stepmother’s back, and winning this contest could be her ticket out once and for all—not to mention a fangirl’s dream come true.
Teen actor Darien Freeman is less than thrilled about this year’s ExcelsiCon. He used to live for conventions, but now they’re nothing but jaw-aching photo sessions and awkward meet-and-greets. Playing Federation Prince Carmindor is all he’s ever wanted, but the diehard Starfield fandom has already dismissed him as just another heartthrob. As ExcelsiCon draws near, closet nerd Darien feels more and more like a fake—until he meets a girl who shows him otherwise

This was such an adorable and fun and fluffy read. Cinderella is my favourite Disney fairy tale of all time, and it was a lot of fun to read this modern and geeky retelling. More thoughts in my review.
4 Stars
Review:

Geekerella

Once and for All - Sarah Dessen

Louna, daughter of famed wedding planner Natalie Barrett, has seen every sort of wedding: on the beach, at historic mansions, in fancy hotels and clubs. Perhaps that’s why she’s cynical about happily-ever-after endings, especially since her own first love ended tragically. When Louna meets charming, happy-go-lucky serial dater Ambrose, she holds him at arm’s length. But Ambrose isn’t about to be discouraged, now that he’s met the one girl he really wants.

This is the first Dessen book I read, and I enjoyed it. It was a cute contemporary book about love and weddings and loss. More thoughts in my review.
3.5 Stars
Review: June 2

Once and for All

Juniper Lemon's Happiness Index - Julie Israel

It’s been sixty-five painful days since the death of Juniper’s big sister, Camilla. On her first day back at school, bracing herself for the stares and whispers, Juniper borrows Camie’s handbag for luck – and discovers an unsent break-up letter inside. It’s mysteriously addressed to ‘You’ and dated July 4th – the day of Camie’s accident. Desperate to learn the identity of Camie’s secret love, Juniper starts to investigate.
But then she loses something herself. A card from her daily ritual, The Happiness Index: little notecards on which she rates the day. The Index has been holding Juniper together since Camie’s death – but without this card, there’s a hole. And this particular card contains Juniper’s own secret: a memory that she can’t let anyone else find out.

This is one of the best books I’ve read all year! I loved everything about it and it made me feel so many emotions. It’s a book about loss, grief, love, friendships and so much more. More thoughts in my review.
5 (million) Stars
Review: June 11

Juniper Lemon’s Happiness Index

Stargazing for Beginners - Jenny McLachlan

Science geek Meg is left to look after her little sister for ten days after her free-spirited mum leaves suddenly to follow up yet another of her Big Important Causes. But while Meg may understand how the universe was formed, baby Elsa is a complete mystery to her. And Mum’s disappearance has come at the worst time: Meg is desperate to win a competition to get the chance to visit NASA headquarters, but to do this she has to beat close rival Ed. Can Meg pull off this double life of caring for Elsa and following her own dreams? She’ll need a miracle of cosmic proportions …

Another really good read this month that covered so many touching and important story lines. I laughed, I cried, and I fell in love with the characters and story. More thoughts in my review.
4.5-5 Stars (I’m undecided)
Review: June 14

Stargazing For Beginners

Wreck - Fleur Ferris

Tamara Bennett is going to be the first journalist to strictly report only good news. Finished with high school, Tamara is ready to say goodbye to her sleepy little town and part-time job at the local paper. O-weeks awaits, which means parties, cute boys and settling into student res with her best friend Relle. Things take an unexpected turn, however, when she arrives home to find her house ransacked and her life in danger. What is this mysterious note? And why does it mean so much to one of Australia’s most powerful media moguls? Caught between a bitter rivalry and dangerous family secret, who can Tamara trust? Or should she trust herself?

I really enjoyed this book. I haven’t read one of Fleur’s books before, but the suspense and thrill from ‘Wreck’ has really made me want to soon. However, it still lacked a little something for me. I also got to do a Q & A with Fleur which you can check out below. More thoughts in my review.
3.5 Stars
Q&A:
Review: June 18

Wreck

Frankie - Shivaun Plozza

Frankie Vega is angry. Just ask the guy whose nose she broke. Or the cop investigating the burglary she witnessed, or her cheating ex-boyfriend or her aunt who’s tired of giving second chances…When a kid shows up claiming to be Frankie’s half brother, it opens the door to a past she doesn’t want to remember. And when that kid goes missing, the only person willing to help is a boy with stupidly blue eyes … and secrets of his own. Frankie’s search for the truth might change her life, or cost her everything.

I got to meet Shivaun at Reading Matters earlier in the month and she had so many great things to say about reading and YA. I was really looking forward to this story, and even though there were a few things that I liked and enjoyed, it wasn’t as good as I thought it was going to be.
3.5 Stars

Frankie

Still Life With Tornado - A.S. King

Actually Sarah is several human beings. At once. And only one of them is sixteen. Her parents insist she’s a gifted artist with a bright future, but now she can’t draw a thing, not even her own hand. Meanwhile, there’s a ten-year-old Sarah with a filthy mouth, a bad sunburn, and a clear memory of the family vacation in Mexico that ruined everything. She’s a ray of sunshine compared to twenty-three-year-old Sarah, who has snazzy highlights and a bad attitude. And then there’s forty-year-old Sarah (makes good queso dip, doesn’t wear a bra, really wants sixteen-year-old Sarah to tell the truth about her art teacher). They’re all wandering Philadelphia—along with a homeless artist allegedly named Earl—and they’re all worried about Sarah’s future.

This was such an intense, touching, emotional and thought provoking story. There were so many aspects of this book that I loved, found intriguing and it really made me think about so many things in my life and the world in general. Such a great read, and if you like abstract and different books, then I highly recommend.
4.5 Stars

Still Life with Tornado

Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone - J.K. Rowling

Harry Potter thinks he is an ordinary boy – until he is rescued by an owl, taken to Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, learns to play Quidditch and does battle in a deadly duel. The Reason … HARRY POTTER IS A WIZARD!

This was a reread for me. I just randomly felt like delving into this world again (even though I only read it for the first time a year and a half ago) but I cranked it out on one Sunday.
4.5 Stars

Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone (Harry Potter, #1)

Clockwork Angel
Clockwork Prince
Clockwork Princess - Cassandra Clare 

The year is 1878. Tessa Gray descends into London’s dark supernatural underworld in search of her missing brother. She soon discovers that her only allies are the demon-slaying Shadowhunters—including Will and Jem, the mysterious boys she is attracted to. Soon they find themselves up against the Pandemonium Club, a secret organization of vampires, demons, warlocks, and humans. Equipped with a magical army of unstoppable clockwork creatures, the Club is out to rule the British Empire, and only Tessa and her allies can stop them…

I was finally in the mood to start this series. I read The Mortal Instruments last year and liked them, however, I haven’t been in a fantasy mood all year so I didn’t want to force myself to read them just for the sake of it. But I’m so glad that I finally picked them up throughout the month because… I LOVED THEM! And that ending!!!!! I actually think I prefer TID to TMI. Also, I’m Team Will 🙂
4.5 Stars

Clockwork Angel (The Infernal Devices, #1)Clockwork Prince (The Infernal Devices, #2)Clockwork Princess (The Infernal Devices, #3)

To all the Boys I've Loved Before
PS I Still Love You - Jenny Han

Sixteen-year-old Lara Jean Song keeps her love letters in a hatbox her mother gave her. They aren’t love letters that anyone else wrote for her; these are ones she’s written. One for every boy she’s ever loved—five in all. When she writes, she pours out her heart and soul and says all the things she would never say in real life, because her letters are for her eyes only. Until the day her secret letters are mailed, and suddenly, Lara Jean’s love life goes from imaginary to out of control.

After I read Always and Forever, Lara Jean last month, it reminded me how much I love these books and characters (especially Peter). So I read both of them inbetween reading The Infernal Devices to break up the series and I loved them just as much the second time around. I tagged my favourite scenes and cutesy Peter moments and it ended up being half the book!
5 (million) Stars

To All the Boys I've Loved Before (To All the Boys I've Loved Before, #1)P.S. I Still Love You (To All the Boys I've Loved Before, #2)

All the Bright Places - Jennifer Niven

Theodore Finch is fascinated by death, and he constantly thinks of ways he might kill himself. But each time, something good, no matter how small, stops him. Violet Markey lives for the future, counting the days until graduation, when she can escape her Indiana town and her aching grief in the wake of her sister’s recent death. When Finch and Violet meet on the ledge of the bell tower at school, it’s unclear who saves whom. And when they pair up on a project to discover the “natural wonders” of their state, both Finch and Violet make more important discoveries: It’s only with Violet that Finch can be himself—a weird, funny, live-out-loud guy who’s not such a freak after all. And it’s only with Finch that Violet can forget to count away the days and start living them. But as Violet’s world grows, Finch’s begins to shrink.

I was lucky enough to meet Jennifer Niven last month which put me in the mood to reread this book. I read it for the first time when it was first released, and the story was just as touching the second time around.
4.5 Stars

All the Bright Places

 

Comment below what your favourite book that you read in June was. I would have to say that my favourite was Juniper Lemon’s Happiness Index – and it’s definitely going to be in my favourites list for 2017!

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MAY 2017 WRAP UP

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May started off as a really good reading month for me. I wanted to read all the time, and for the first couple of weeks I was reading a book every two days (this is when I read a majority of the books I read this month). However, while reading THuG and then ACoWaR, they took me slightly longer than the rest of the books. I wouldn’t call it a slump, it’s just that they’re both long and heavy books! Plus I became obsessed with ‘That ’70s Show’ and watched all eight seasons in less than two weeks… (I shouldn’t have admitted that). I read 11 books this month and I love most of them – I also reached the half way point for my 2017 goal of 100 books (I’m now at 54).

Anyway, here are the books I read this month!

 

My Sister's Keeper - Jodi Picoult

Anna is not sick, but she might as well be. By age thirteen, she has undergone countless surgeries, transfusions and shots so that her older sister, Kate, can somehow fight the leukemia that has plagued her since childhood. Anna was conceived as a bone marrow match for Kate, a life and a role that she has never questioned until now. Like most teenagers, Anna is beginning to ask herself who she truly is. But unlike most teenagers, she has always been defined in terms of her sister – and so Anna makes a decision that for most would be unthinkable, a decision that will tear her family apart and perhaps have fatal consequences for the sister she loves.

I’ve watched this movie a million times, and bawled my eyes out every single time. I finally decided to pick this emotionally captivating story up, and I really enjoyed it. I already knew that the ending was different and when I heard about how this ended, I thought it was stupid, but after reading it I understood it and it made more sense than the movie ending. I didn’t cry as much and I can’t decide which ending I prefer, but it was still a good read.
3.5 Stars

My Sister's Keeper

The Crying Lot of 49 - Thomas Pynchon 

Suffused with rich satire, chaotic brilliance, verbal turbulence and wild humor, The Crying of Lot 49 opens as Oedipa Maas discovers that she has been made executrix of a former lover’s estate. The performance of her duties sets her on a strange trail of detection, in which bizarre characters crowd in to help or confuse her. But gradually, death, drugs, madness and marriage combine to leave Oedipa in isolation on the threshold of revelation, awaiting the Crying of Lot 49.

I had to read this book for my uni class, Intro to English: Ideas of the Real. To be honest, I didn’t really enjoy it or understand the story. I thought it sounded fun in the beginning, but I got bored pretty easy. The cover I own is really pretty though!
2 Stars

The Crying of Lot 49

Heart of Darkness - Joseph Conrad

The silence of the jungle is broken only by the ominous sound of drumming. Life on the river is brutal and unknown threats lurk in the darkness. Marlow’s mission to captain a steamer upriver into the dense interior leads him into conflict with those who inhabit the forest. But his decision to hunt down the mysterious Mr. Kurtz—an ivory trader who is the subject of sinister rumors—leads him into more than just physical peril. The short story Youth, in which Marlow tells of his unlucky experience onboard a ship where the cargo caught fire, is also included.

Another book I read for uni; Lit and Society in Victorian Britain. I also didn’t really enjoy this one and I struggled to understand what happened. I’ve read so much about it and watched so many explanation videos, and I still don’t get it! It’s a bit annoying because I’m doing a group presentation and individual essay on it. Wish me luck!
2 Stars

Heart of Darkness

Simon Vs The Homo Sapiens Agenda - Becky Albertalli 

Sixteen-year-old and not-so-openly gay Simon Spier prefers to save his drama for the school musical. But when an email falls into the wrong hands, his secret is at risk of being thrust into the spotlight. Now Simon is actually being blackmailed: if he doesn’t play wingman for class clown Martin, his sexual identity will become everyone’s business. Worse, the privacy of Blue, the pen name of the boy he’s been emailing, will be compromised.

Eeeek! I loved this book so so much! I read THE UPSIDE OF UNREQUITED last month and freekin loved it, and I knew I was going to enjoy this one too. It was fun, the characters were amazingly written, and the story line was both inciteful, deep and light hearted. I cannot wait for the movie to come out.
5 Stars

Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda

But Then I Came Back - Estelle Laure

Estelle Laure is a bright new talent with a gorgeous voice – perfect for fans of John Green and Rainbow Rowell. Eden has always let her head lead the way. It’s why she excels at ballet, at school, and at life in general. But when she nearly drowns and then wakes from a month-long coma, everything is different. She’s troubled by dreams that seem more real than waking life, and her neat cookie-cutter existence is no longer satisfying. Unable to stifle her passionate heart anymore, she finds herself drawn to a boy with melting-chocolate eyes, and to a future different to what she ever imagined. That’s when Eden discovers that when it comes to love, first you fall, then you have to leap. Estelle Laure’s debut, This Raging Light, was a stunning debut with an unforgettable voice that has captured the hearts for readers.

Another incredible book that I loved. After such a streak of boring books, I had two in a row that I loved and finished in a day. The characters were amazing (especially Eden and Joe), the story line was both beautiful and unique, and it is one of the best books I’ve read this year. More thoughts on my review;
5 Stars
Review:

But Then I Came Back

The Names They Gave Us - Emery Lord

Lucy Hansson was ready for a perfect summer with her boyfriend, working at her childhood Bible camp on the lake. But when her mom’s cancer reappears, Lucy falters—in faith, in love, and in her ability to cope. When her boyfriend “pauses” their relationship and her summer job switches to a different camp—one for troubled kids—Lucy isn’t sure how much more she can handle. Attempting to accept a new normal, Lucy slowly regains footing among her vibrant, diverse coworkers, Sundays with her mom, and a crush on a fellow counselor. But when long-hidden family secrets emerge, can Lucy set aside her problems and discover what grace really means?

This was a great story about a teenage girl experiencing new and different things in her life – some good and some bad. Overall I really enjoyed this one; it focused on religion which is something that I rarely read about in YA, but it also focuses on serious topics as well. More thoughts in my review.
4 Stars
Review; June 9

The Names They Gave Us

Countless - Karen Gregory

When Hedda discovers she is pregnant, she doesn’t believe she could ever look after a baby. The numbers just don’t add up. She is young, and still in the grip of an eating disorder that controls every aspect of how she goes about her daily life. She’s even given her eating disorder a name – Nia. But as the days tick by, Hedda comes to a decision: she and Nia will call a truce, just until the baby is born. 17 weeks, 119 days, 357 meals. She can do it, if she takes it one day at a time …

I LOVED this book (I even finished it within a day). It talked about some really touching and heartbreaking topics that aren’t spoken about enough in YA, and I learnt a lot. It was hopeful and emotional, and one of the best books I’ve read this year so far.
5 Stars
Review: June 13

Countless

Rapture - Carol Ann Duffy

The effortless virtuosity, drama and humanity of Carol Ann Duffy’s verse have made her a most admired contemporary poet. Rapture, her seventh collection, is a book-length love poem, and a moving act of personal testimony. But what sets these poems apart from other love poems is Duffy’s refusal to simplify the contradictions of love, and read its transformations–infatuation, longing, passion, commitment, rancour, separation and grief–as either redemptive or destructive. Rapture> is a map of real love, in all its churning complexity; simultaneously direct and subtle, with poems that will find deep resonance in the experience of most readers, it is a collection that speaks for us all.

I read this book of poetry for uni; Intro to English: Ideas of the Real. I love modern poetry, especially love poems, so I thought I was going to enjoy this one. However, I only loved a few, and the rest felt a bit meh. When we start talking about it in class and focusing on individual poems, I might find that I enjoy others too.
3 Stars

Rapture

The Hate U Give - Angie Thomas

Sixteen-year-old Starr lives in two worlds: the poor neighbourhood where she was born and raised and her posh high school in the suburbs. The uneasy balance between them is shattered when Starr is the only witness to the fatal shooting of her unarmed best friend, Khalil, by a police officer. Now what Starr says could destroy her community. It could also get her killed.

Such a heartbreaking, touching and important read that everyone needs to pick up! I felt such a wide range of emotions while reading this, but overall I loved it (except it was really long). More thoughts in my review coming soon.
4.5 Stars
Review: June 16

The Hate U Give

A Court of Wings and Ruin - Sarah J. Maas

Feyre has returned to the Spring Court, determined to gather information on Tamlin’s maneuverings and the invading king threatening to bring Prythian to its knees. But to do so she must play a deadly game of deceit-and one slip may spell doom not only for Feyre, but for her world as well.
As war bears down upon them all, Feyre must decide who to trust amongst the dazzling and lethal High Lords-and hunt for allies in unexpected places.

Overall I enjoyed the conclusion to this trilogy, even though I’m still slightly confused about pretty much the entire second half of the book. I seem to be the only one who prefers ACOTAR to the rest of the books in the series, but I love walking my own path! I’ll have a review up soon!
3.5 Stars
Review: June 20

A Court of Wings and Ruin (A Court of Thorns and Roses, #3)

Always and Forever, Lara Jean - Jenny Han

Lara Jean is having the best senior year a girl could ever hope for. She is head over heels in love with her boyfriend, Peter; her dad’s finally getting remarried to their next door neighbor, Ms. Rothschild; and Margot’s coming home for the summer just in time for the wedding.
But change is looming on the horizon. And while Lara Jean is having fun and keeping busy helping plan her father’s wedding, she can’t ignore the big life decisions she has to make. Most pressingly, where she wants to go to college and what that means for her relationship with Peter. She watched her sister Margot go through these growing pains. Now Lara Jean’s the one who’ll be graduating high school and leaving for college and leaving her family—and possibly the boy she loves—behind.

This was such a beautiful and heartwarming end to my favourite contemporary series. There was drama, romance, family, weddings, fights, graduating and so much more going on in this books, and Jenny once again took me on an emotional roller coaster. I just finished reading this less than an hour ago and I already miss the characters and their story (especially Peter who is my number 1 book boyfriend!). If you haven’t read this series and love contemporary, than I HIGHLY recommend you do!
5 Stars

Always and Forever, Lara Jean (To All the Boys I've Loved Before, #3)

 

Comment below how many books you read in May and what your favourite was. I read so many amazing books this month and it’s hard to pick, but I would have to say my favourite is Lara Jean!!!

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APRIL 2017 WRAP UP

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Hello fellow readers!

Another month done and dusted, and we’re a third of the way through 2017?!? April was another decent reading month;
I read 10 books in total
7 books were for review (reviews coming soon)
2 were for uni
1 was for my own benefit, and it was a poetry book!

I also participated in Dewey’s 24 Hour Readathon on the 30th and read two and a half books. A blog post will be up about that soon.

Comment below how your reading month was!

Milk and Honey - Rupi Kaur

milk and honey is a collection of poetry and prose about survival. It is about the experience of violence, abuse, love, loss, and femininity. It is split into four chapters, and each chapter serves a different purpose, deals with a different pain, heals a different heartache. milk and honey takes readers through a journey of the most bitter moments in life and finds sweetness in them because there is sweetness everywhere if you are just willing to look.

Everyone talks and posts about this poetry book and I’ve wanted to pick it up for so long. They finally had it in stock so I bought it and devoured it in a day because it made me feel so many emotions! I decided to tag all my favourite poems… which ended up being a majority of the book.
5 Stars.

Milk and Honey

Seven Days of You - Cecilia Vinesse

Sophia has seven days left in Tokyo before she moves back to the States. Seven days to say good-bye to the electric city, her wild best friend, and the boy she’s harbored a semi-secret crush on for years. Seven perfect days…until Jamie Foster-Collins moves back to Japan and ruins everything. Jamie and Sophia have a history of heartbreak, and the last thing Sophia wants is for him to steal her leaving thunder with his stupid arriving thunder. Yet as the week counts down, the relationships she thought were stable begin to explode around her. 

I liked this book, but I feel like it lacked a lot of things that would have made this a great story. I did a spoiler free review where I discussed everything in more detail, but it was a fun and quick contemporary read.
3 Stars.
Review:

Seven Days of You

Windfall - Jennifer E. Smith

Alice doesn’t believe in luck—at least, not the good kind. But she does believe in love, and for some time now, she’s been pining for her best friend, Teddy. On his eighteenth birthday—just when it seems they might be on the brink of something—she buys him a lottery ticket on a lark. To their astonishment, he wins $140 million, and in an instant, everything changes.

I loved this book! It had been such a long time since I had read a book that I really loved, but as soon as I picked this up I couldn’t put it down! I think I ended up finishing it in a day; it was fun and different and I think it was what I needed to read to get me back into that reading mood. More thoughts in my review!
5 Stars.
Review: May 4th

Windfall

The Upside of Unrequited - Becky Albertalli

Seventeen-year-old Molly Peskin-Suso knows all about unrequited love. No matter how many times her twin sister, Cassie, tells her to woman up, Molly can’t stomach the idea of rejection. So she’s careful. Fat girls always have to be careful.
Then a cute new girl enters Cassie’s orbit, and for the first time ever, Molly’s cynical twin is a lovesick mess. Meanwhile, Molly’s totally not dying of loneliness—except for the part where she is. Luckily, Cassie’s new girlfriend comes with a cute hipster-boy sidekick. If Molly can win him over, she’ll get her first kiss and she’ll get her twin back.
There’s only one problem: Molly’s coworker, Reid. He’s a chubby Tolkien superfan with a season pass to the Ren Faire, and there’s absolutely no way Molly could fall for him.

Another incredible book that I couldn’t put down. I also finished this in a day; it was diverse, I loved the romance, there was family aspects, and it was so much fun. I haven’t read Simon but I now own it and plan on reading it soon. More thoughts in my review.
5 Stars.
Review: May 12

The Upside of Unrequited

King's Cage - Victoria Aveyard

Mare Barrow is a prisoner, powerless without her lightning, tormented by her lethal mistakes. She lives at the mercy of a boy she once loved, a boy made of lies and betrayal. Now a king, Maven Calore continues weaving his dead mother’s web in an attempt to maintain control over his country—and his prisoner.
As Mare bears the weight of Silent Stone in the palace, her once-ragtag band of newbloods and Reds continue organizing, training, and expanding. They prepare for war, no longer able to linger in the shadows. And Cal, the exiled prince with his own claim on Mare’s heart, will stop at nothing to bring her back.

Considering I didn’t really like the previous book in this series, I actually really liked this one. I was more interested in the story and I loved how Mare continued to develop throughout. More of my thoughts can be found in my review coming soon.
4 Stars
Review: 16th May

King's Cage (Red Queen, #3)

Mrs Dalloway - Virginia Woolf

Clarissa Dalloway, elegant and vivacious, is preparing for a party and remembering those she once loved. In another part of London, Septimus Warren Smith is shell-shock and on the brink of madness. Smith’s day interweaves with that of Clarissa and her friends, their lives converge as the party reaches its glittering climax.

I had to read this for my Intro to English: Ideas of the Real uni class. To be honest, I really couldn’t get into the story and I ended up skim reading it and just reading a summary. I was just bored and confused and I really didn’t like that it didn’t have chapters because I didn’t know when to put the book down.
2 Stars.

Mrs Dalloway

Middlemarch - George Eliot

Dorothea is bright, beautiful and rebellious and has married the wrong man. Lydgate is the ambitious new doctor in town and has married the wrong woman. Both of them long to make a difference in the world. But their stories do not proceed as expected…
Middlemarch contains all of life – the rich and the poor, literature and science, politics and romance – and is a stunningly compelling insight into the human struggle to find contentment

Another book I read for uni, this time for my ‘Lit and Society in Victorian Britain’ class. I didn’t hate this book; I enjoyed how we got the life stories of two different characters whose lives linked together, but not “too” together (as in they were from the same town but weren’t romantically connected as I initially assumed). It was just SO long and it dragged on (900 pages!) so I began to lose interest in the end.
3 Stars

Middlemarch

Close Your Eyes - Nicci Cloke

Southfield High School is oh so normal, with its good teachers, its bad, and its cliques. But despite the cliques, there’s a particular group of friends who have known each other forever and know that they can rely on each other for anything.
There’s the twins: Aisha, rebellious, kind, and just a tiny bit worried about what the hell she’s going to do once this year is over, and Vis, smart, quiet and observant. Then there’s Remy, the loudmouth, and Gemma, who’s more interested in college boys and getting into the crap club in town. And then there’s Elise: the pretty one.
But at the start of Year 11, when the group befriend the new boy, Elijah, things start to change. The group find themselves not as close as they used to be.
Until one Tuesday, when the students are trapped inside the school building. And one of them has a gun.

Overall, I really liked this book. I’ve never actually read a book based on a school shooting before so I found that really interesting to read about. I also enjoyed how it was told through different forms of communication; interviews, blogs, messages. It was a bit slow to begin with, but the mystery and suspense in the end made up for that.
4 Stars.
Review: May 19 (my birthday!)

Close Your Eyes

Indelible - Adelia Saunders

Magdalena has an unsettling gift. She sees writing on the body of everyone she meets – names, dates, details both banal and profound – and her only relief from the onslaught of information is to take off her glasses and let the world recede. Mercifully, her own skin is blank.
When she meets Neil, she is intrigued to see her name on his cheek. He’s in Paris for the summer, studying a medieval pilgrimage to the rocky coast of Spain, where the body of Saint Jacques was said to have washed ashore, covered in scallop shells. Desperate to make things right after her best friend dies – a loss she might have prevented – Magdalena embarks on her own pilgrimage, but not before Neil falls for her, captivated by her pale eyes, charming Eastern European accent, and aura of heartbreak.

Despite the blurb sounding really interesting when I first requested it for review, I read it and did not enjoy it at all. Luckily I read it during the 24 Hour Readathon and because it’s a short book I finished it quickly. If it wasn’t for that, I probably would have DNF’ed it because I wasn’t interested in the story or the characters. More details in my review.
2 Stars
Review: May 23

Indelible

The Blue Cat - Ursula Dubosarsky

A boy stood in the playground under the big fig tree. ‘He can’t speak English,’ the children whispered.
Sydney, 1942. The war is coming to Australia – not only with the threat of bombardment, but also the arrival of refugees from Europe. Dreamy Columba’s world is growing larger. She is drawn to Ellery, the little boy from far away, and, together with her highly practical best friend Hilda, the three children embark on an adventure through the harbour-side streets – a journey of discovery and terror, in pursuit of the mysterious blue cat …

I also read this during the 24 Hour Readathon and I managed to finish it in one sitting. It was a nice quick read that was able to educate me on the 40’s war time in Australia. There were some aspects to the story that I enjoyed, but it fell short for me due to the lack of character connection. More of my thoughts will be in my review.
3 Stars
Review: May 26

The Blue Cat

 

Comment below what your favourite book from April was, and what you plan on reading in May!

MARCH READING WRAP UP

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Another average month of reading! I read 10 books again; 4 for uni, 3 for leisure and 3 for review. My favourite book of the month was ‘Love Letters to the Dead’ and it is officially one of my favourite books (everyone check it out if you’re looking for mental health and grief recs)!

Also comment below how many books your read this month and what you’re favourite was!

This Song Will Save Your Life - Leila Sales

Making friends has never been Elise Dembowski’s strong suit. All throughout her life, she’s been the butt of every joke and the outsider in every conversation. When a final attempt at popularity fails, Elise nearly gives up. Then she stumbles upon a warehouse party where she meets Vicky, a girl in a band who accepts her; Char, a cute, yet mysterious disc jockey; Pippa, a carefree spirit from England; and most importantly, a love for DJing.

I really enjoyed this book and it had such a touching story – one that will definitely stay with me for a long time. It probably wasn’t as intriguing of plot driven as I thought it would be, but there was a great representation of mental illness present in the story and the main character and it was described in such a thoughtful way.
4 Stars

This Song Will Save Your Life

* Frogkisser - Garth Nix

Poor Princess Anya. Forced to live with her evil stepmother’s new husband, her evil stepstepfather. Plagued with an unfortunate ability to break curses with a magic-assisted kiss. And forced to go on the run when her stepstepfather decides to make the kingdom entirely his own.

I have a blog post all about this book and fairy tale retellings which I will link below. I was excited for this book because sounded like a fun and intruiging concept, however it didn’t end up meeting my expectations.
2.5 Stars
review:

Frogkisser!

Great Expectations - Charles Dickens

Dickens’s magnificent novel of guilt, desire, and redemption. The orphan Pip’s terrifying encounter with an escaped convict on the Kent marshes, and his mysterious summons to the house of Miss Havisham and her cold, beautiful ward Estella, form the prelude to his “great expectations.” How Pip comes into a fortune, what he does with it, and what he discovers through his secret benefactor are the ingredients of his struggle for moral redemption.

I started reading this book in high school, but stopped now far through because I was bored and didn’t understand it. I had to read it again for my English; Ideas of the Real class, and surprisingly I actually really enjoyed it. Obviously it is a bit slower and focuses on different themes than what I’m used to, but I was invested in the characters and their story. I’m excited to study this further in class!
4 stars.

Great Expectations

Love Letters to the Dead - Ava Dellaira

It begins as an assignment for English class: write a letter to a dead person – any dead person. Laurel chooses Kurt Cobain – he died young, and so did Laurel’s sister May – so maybe he’ll understand a bit of what Laurel is going through. Soon Laurel is writing letters to lots of dead people – Janis Joplin, Heath Ledger, River Phoenix, Amelia Earhart… it’s like she can’t stop. And she’d certainly never dream of handing them in to her teacher. She writes about what it’s like going to a new high school, meeting new friends, falling in love for the first time – and how her family has shattered since May died.

This is one of the most beautifully written books that I’ve read in a long time, and the story touched me in a way that very few books do. I cried, I laughed, and I fell in love with Laurel and her story. I think it’s a really important story that everyone should read, and I love how Laurel saves herself in the end.
5 stars.

Love Letters to the Dead

* We Come Apart - Sarah Crossan & Brian Conaghan

Nicu has emigrated from Romania and is struggling to find his place in his new home. Meanwhile, Jess’s home life is overshadowed by violence. When Nicu and Jess meet, what starts out as friendship grows into romance as the two bond over their painful pasts and hopeful futures. But will they be able to save each other, let alone themselves?
For fans of Una LaMarche’s Like No Other, this illuminating story told in dual points of view through vibrant verse will stay with readers long after they’ve turned the last page.

Another incredible book that is a really important read and gave me all the feels! It’s the first book I’ve ever read that’s told in free verse and I thought this made the story all the more emotional. More details in my spoiler free review soon to come!
4.5 stars.
Review; April 18th

We Come Apart

Jane Eyre - Charlotte Bronte

Orphaned into the household of her Aunt Reed at Gateshead and subject to the cruel regime at Lowood charity school, Jane Eyre nonetheless emerges unbroken in spirit and integrity. She takes up the post of governess at Thornfield, falls in love with Mr. Rochester, and discovers the impediment to their lawful marriage in a story that transcends melodrama to portray a woman’s passionate search for a wider and richer life than Victorian society traditionally allowed.

I read this last year and to be honest I found it boring and stopped paying attention to the story about half way through. I’m doing an essay on Jane Eyre for my Victorian Britain Lit class so I decided to reread it, and I LOVED IT!!!! It’s become one of my favourite classics and I appreciated Jane as a character and her incredible story.
5 Stars

Jane Eyre

Amy and Roger's Epic Detour - Morgan Matson

Amy Curry is not looking forward to her summer. Her mother decided to move across the country and now it’s Amy’s responsibility to get their car from California to Connecticut. The only problem is, since her father died in a car accident, she isn’t ready to get behind the wheel. Enter Roger. An old family friend, he also has to make the cross-country trip – and has plenty of baggage of his own. The road home may be unfamiliar – especially with their friendship venturing into uncharted territory – but together, Amy and Roger will figure out how to map their way.

I’ve read all of Morgan’s other books and I’ve loved all of them – the romances are always adorable and the stories are always fun. Amy and Roger is no exception! Although this isn’t my favourite of her works and the story fell slightly short for me, it was still a fun and light hearted read.
3.5-4 stars (I can’t decide)

Amy & Roger's Epic Detour

Because You'll Never Meet Me - Leah Thomas

Ollie and Moritz are best friends, but they can never meet. Ollie is allergic to electricity. Contact with it causes debilitating seizures. Moritz’s weak heart is kept pumping by an electronic pacemaker. If they ever did meet, Ollie would seize. But Moritz would die without his pacemaker. Both hermits from society, the boys develop a fierce bond through letters that become a lifeline during dark times—as Ollie loses his only friend, Liz, to the normalcy of high school and Moritz deals with a bully set on destroying him.

What I loved about this book is that it focused on the developing friendship between two teenage boys, and this is somethings that I rarely read about. Both characters are diverse and have been through a lot in their lives which definitely added to the plot and character development, however I found myself disinterested in most of the story. Find out more of my thoughts in my review coming soon.
3 Stars
Review: April 21st

Because You'll Never Meet Me

Our Mutual Friend - Charles Dickens

Following his father’s death John Harmon returns to London to claim his inheritance, but he finds he is eligible only if he marries Bella Wilfur. To observe her character he assumes another identity and secures work with his father’s foreman, Mr Boffin, who is also Bella’s guardian.

I read this for my Victorian Lit class. I actually struggled to read this because there were so many characters and so many different things going on and I actually couldn’t even understand half of the million story lines! Luckily for me I don’t have to do an assignment on this one!
2 Stars

Our Mutual Friend

The Importance of Being Earnest - Oscar Wilde

Oscar Wilde’s brilliant play makes fun of the English upper classes with light-hearted satire and dazzling humour. It is 1890’s England and two young gentlemen are being somewhat limited with the truth. To inject some excitement into their lives, Mr Worthing invents a brother, Earnest, as an excuse to leave his dull country life behind him to pursue the object of his desire, the ravishing Gwendolyn. While across town Algernon Montecrieff decides to take the name Earnest, when visiting Worthing’s young ward Cecily.

I enjoyed the play despite the quick and basic story line. However, I watched the 2002 movie and I actually liked it a lot more! The humour definitely came out a lot more, I found anyway, and I really liked the romance between the boys and their love interests.
3 Stars

The Importance of Being Earnest

DECEMBER 2016 READING WRAP UP

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I can’t believe December is over – another year done and dusted! This post is a bit late, but I’ve had so many other posts that I’ve wanted to upload so this one got pushed back a bit. I didn’t read as much as I wanted to last month since I was so busy with Christmas, family and just enjoying the sunshine. It didn’t bother me too much though because I still read seven books, and I not only reached my Goodreads reading goal of 150 books, but I reached the 153 mark!

Comment below what the last book you read in 2016 was!

 

Lyrebird – Cecelia Ahern

I was sent a copy of Lyrebird by Harper Collins in exchange for a review, which you can check out below. I was a little bit dissapointed with this book because I have read two of Ahern’s books before (Love, Rosie and Flawed) and I absolutely loved both of them, so I had high expectations. Unfortunately, I found the story kind of boring and felt like I had to finish the book because I needed to write a review. It is adult chic lit which is different to the usual YA that I read, but I usually like chic lit still (and I loved Love, Rosie). It wasn’t bad, it was just boring.

3 Stars.

Review:  https://alwaysandforeverreading.wordpress.com/2016/12/11/lyrebird-cecelia-ahern/

Lyrebird

Songs About A Girl – Chris Russel

This book put me back in the reading mood and I was so grateful. I’ve talked about it a few times (and it even made it in my Top 16 of 2016) but it was such a fun and creative read. It reminded me a little bit of a fan fiction since the main character falls for two members of a band, but I liked it and it was perfect for the mood that I was in. I don’t usually like love triangles, but I didn’t mind it in this instance and I think Russel did a good job at it. I’m Team Gabriel <3.

5 Stars.

Songs About a Girl

Looking For Alibrandi – Melina Marchetta

Another book that made it on my Top 16 of 2016, and this is probably my new favourite book of all time. It counted as my classic for the month of December – it’s an Australian modern classic that most kids have to read or watch the film in high school. My class never did, so when I watched the movie a few months ago, I fell in love with it straight away. I read the book in less than a day and I loved it even more. I relate to Josie so much, and her Italian family reminds me so much of my own. I already want to read it gain!

5 Stars.

Looking for Alibrandi

My Best Friend Is A Goddess – Tara Eglington

Thanks to Harper Collins for sending me a copy of the book to review, which you can check out below. This book follows the story of two teenage girls in high school, and although I feel like younger readers may appreciate the story a lot more, I found it a fun and lighthearted read which can be good sometimes. I liked how the story was told between the perspectives of the two girls, and we got post present and past stories and thoughts from both of them. I liked the realistic and unpredictable end, and even though romance was a big part of the book, it was more about the friendship between the two girls.

4.5 Stars

Review: https://alwaysandforeverreading.wordpress.com/2016/12/18/my-best-friend-is-a-goddess-tara-eglington/

My Best Friend is a Goddess

My True Love Gave To Me – Stephanie Perkins

This is an anthology or series of short stories with the theme focusing around the time of Christmas and New Year. I read this about a week before Christmas which was good because it really got me in the festive spirit despite all the stories being set in winter and snow, when I was reading the book in 40 degree celcius heat (I’m not even joking)! There were some stories that I absolutely loved, and a few that I just skimmed through because they didn’t really interest me, but overall I liked the book and I just love Christmas in general.

4.5 Stars

My True Love Gave to Me: Twelve Holiday Stories

The Song From Somewhere Else – A.F. Harrold

Thanks to Bloomsbury for sending me a copy to review, which you can check out below. This book is directed to a younger audience and I think it’s classified as a children’s book – it’s short and contains illustrations, but this only made me love the story more. The pictures definitely added character to the book and helped me visualise the story. Although it’s a book for younger readers, it wasn’t childish, despite the main characters being young children. It was dark and scary, yet beautiful at the same time. I was left with goosebumps at the end.

4.5 Stars

Review: https://alwaysandforeverreading.wordpress.com/2016/12/31/the-song-from-somewhere-else-a-f-harrold/

The Song From Somewhere Else

A Quiet Kind Of Thunder – Sara Barnard

This was sent to me by Pan Macmillan to review as part of their official blog tour which you can check out below. This is such a touching and beautifully written book and I am so glad that I read it. Both the characters are so diverse – Rhys is deaf and Steffi is a selective mute and has suffers from anxiety. What I love is that these two completely different characters come together and they really do bring the best out of each other. I have a lot more to say, but you can check it out in my review.

5 Stars

Review:

A Quiet Kind of Thunder

And that’s my last reading wrap up of 2016! Comment below how many books you read in December and if you managed to reach your reading goals!