Review: Anna and the French Kiss – Stephanie Perkins

Anna and the French Kiss (Anna and the French Kiss, #1)Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I’ve wanted to read this book for so long. I’d heard so many positive reviews about it that I felt like I had to read it. And guess what? I wasn’t disappointed!

Synopsis from Goodreads: Anna has everything figured out – she was about to start senior year with her best friend, she had a great weekend job, and her huge work crush looked as if it might finally be going somewhere… Until her dad decides to send her 4383 miles away to Paris. On her own.

But despite not speaking a word of French, Anna finds herself making new friends, including Etienne, the smart, beautiful boy from the floor above. But he’s taken – and Anna might be too. Will a year of romantic near-missed end with the French kiss she’s been waiting for?

This was such a feel good book! I can’t even remember how many times it made me laugh, made me smile, and of course swoon!

Etinne St Clair is a new book boyfriend of mine. With many YA books I see the male love interest as somewhat annoying and can’t understand how or why other characters fall for him. With Etienne it’s the complete opposite. This alone is a good enough reason to read the book. And Anna was lovely, I related with her character so much, and I can see how other readers would do to. I think that’s another reason why this book is so popular.

The secondary characters of the book worked so well. Their stories intertwined well with Anna’s and they gave depth to the plot.

The fact that the book is set in Paris makes me love this book even more. It’s a cliché maybe, but Paris is the city of love! Certainly an ideal setting.

I can’t wait to read the next two books in the series! Fingers crossed that they’re equally as good!

View all my reviews

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Harry Potter Book Night!

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Happy Harry Potter Book Night! Tonight, the 5th February 2015 a celebration is taking place in the spirit of Harry Potter. The event aims to allow fans to celebrate their love of all things Potter and of course, encourage those who haven’t read the series to pick up the books!

The main reason I wanted to make this post was because I really do believe that Harry Potter should be celebrated. Without J.K. Rowling’s wonderful imagination I would not be the reader I am today. The books opened me up to a whole new world, teaching me about love, loyalty and friendship.

My love for Harry Potter is never ending, I own a ridiculous amount of merchandise of the books and films, collect first editions of the books and have an annual tradition of rereading them every year! I have been to the Warner Brothers studio Tour in London and even had my picture taken at Platform 9 and 3/4!

So how am I celebrating? Unfortunately, I’m not going to any Harry Potter related events tonight, however, I am sporting my Harry Potter tshirt and (despite being a proud Slytherin) a pair of Gryffindor socks!

Also, have you checked out the Harry Potter Book Night website? My favourite feature is the Quote Generator, there’s even a quiz to find out who your Hogwarts best friend would be – apparently Hermione would be mine!

How are you celebrating tonight! Will you be reading the books, whilst treating yourself to a warming pint of Butterbeer? Or will you be heading to a Harry Potter related event? Let me know!

Book Covers

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I know, I know we should never judge a book by it’s cover, but of course, deep down, we all do! One thing I wanted to do was examine the different trends in book covers.

Books which had amazing covers, but were unfortunately disappointing:

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Books which didn’t have a great cover but I loved regardless:

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Book covers which made me look twice:

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Book covers that have convinced me to read the book:

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Looking through my books, the most commonly occurring colour seems to be the colour blue:

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Other trends that I noticed in book covers were that:

They contain a lot of kissing:

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Or at least, couples looking longingly in love:

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Many of them are predominantly just text:

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And there were so many books where half of the people’s faces were just cut off:

In Real Life6936382Everything Changes

But all in all, these are just some my favourite book covers:

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What’s your favourite book cover and why? Does a book cover influence whether you want to read a book or not? Have you noticed any trends in book covers?

Review: True Calling – Siobhan Davis

True Calling (True Calling #1)True Calling by Siobhan Davis
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Planet Earth has became inhabitable and so human beings are being evacuated to other planets, which are replicated in order to look like Earth. Ariana Skyee is a 17 year old who has been selected to live on planet Novo, whereby “The Calling” is a legal requirement which forces 17 year olds to enter a system which makes them marry an eligible “suitor”. But what happens when Ariana begins to fall for Cal, a boy from school, yet has dreams of the mysterious Zane?

This book had the potential to be so, so good. But oh my, it was tedious.

Ariana knows Cal from school and had always disliked him.
“I sometimes see him at the running track, but I always go out of my way to take the opposite course to him. He has this uncanny ability to completely unnerve me, just as he’s doing at this moment.” Ariana sees Cal as an arrogant, cocky know-it-all to the extent where his presence makes her uneasy……However, she then falls in love with him.

So, ok we should all give people a second chance, right? Maybe Ariana was wrong about Cal. Maybe he’s a great guy after all. Ariana continues to fall further and further for Cal and as a reader, I really can’t see why. Cal was a manipulative, dominating character and I couldn’t bring myself to like him at all. At one point in the book, Cal suggests that in order to defy the government he should “get” Ariana pregnant. WHAT? No one has any right to control a woman’s body and attempt to get her pregnant without her consent. Luckily, Cal never tries to get her pregnant, however it is still a disgusting thing to suggest.

He also thinks he is God’s gift to women: “I’m not used to having to try so hard, it made me determined to win you over,” Cal was a horrible character and I really cannot see why Ariana felt so strongly towards him.

The plot of this book was good and I am so disappointed that the characters ruined it. It was original and somewhat exciting, however would have been much better if the characters weren’t so frustrating.

Thanks Netgalley for this free ebook!

Mental Illness in YA

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Earlier this week The Guardian (@GdnChildrensBooks) held a discussion on Twitter in regards to the way in which mental illness features in Young Adult books. The discussion took place on what is now commonly known as “Blue Monday” – which is supposedly the most “depressing” day of the year.

#Gdnbluemonday received a fantastic response from readers and authors alike, and got many people talking about and thinking about mental health issues, however not enough YA books discuss mental health.

Mental health issues have always existed, and according to the mental health charity Mind 1 in 4 people living in the UK will experience mental health problems each year. There are a vast number of mental health problems including Schizophrenia, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder and phobias. Unfortunately there is still a stigma attached to mental illness, and that’s why many people believe that mental illness should be much more widely represented in the media – one way that this can be done is via literature.

Books act as a voice for many individuals and can often help in times of loneliness. It can also help to educate readers on issues that they would have not come across otherwise, therefore books can help reduce the stigma which mental health unfortunately still holds. We need diverse books, and unfortunately the Young Adult genre is can often lack this.

On a personal note, some YA books about mental health I would recommend are:

  • The Bell Jar (Sylvia Plath)
  • The Catcher In The Rye (J.D. Salinger)
  • The Perks Of Being A Wallflower (Stephen Chbosky)
  • Will Grayson, Will Grayson (John Green & David Levithan)
  • Fangirl (Rainbow Rowell)

I believe that the earlier we educate individuals about mental health problems, the better. I also believe that many children’s and Middle Grade books need to become more diverse and include individuals suffering from mental health problems.

What are your thoughts on the representation of mental illness in YA? What are your favourite books that discuss mental illness?

If you’d like to read more about mental illness you can do so here.

For anyone who needs to talk, here is a list of international helplines.

Review: This Is Falling – Ginger Scott

This is Falling (Falling, #1)This is Falling by Ginger Scott
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Thanks to Netgalley for this free ebook!

Rowe has been homeschooled for the past two years, she was involved in a horrific incident which changed her life forever. But when she goes college she picks one far away from home. Despite the fact that Rowe instantly hates the place, she meets a guy called Nate and begins to fall for him, despite having very conflicting feelings….

The book deals with some serious issues, and Scott writes about these in a sensitive manner yet doesn’t sugarcoat any of it. Instead This Is Falling offers a message of hope to anyone who has been through hard times.

I loved this book. It’s one of the best NA books I’ve read. The characters had so much depth. Nate was presented as the “perfect boyfriend”, however he had his flaws- which I loved. He made mistakes, which made his character even more real. He also had a fantastic relationship with his brother, Ty, which was really explored their in the book. Ty was not just thrown in the novel for no reason, he helped to hold the plot together. The same applies with Cass, Rowe’s roommate/Ty’s girlfriend, who really helped to bring Rowe out of her shell, and they had a great dynamic as friends.

I really enjoy reading about college/university romances as moving away from home is a great way to show how characters act away from their comfort zone. This Is Falling really did that – moving away to college was the best thing Rowe ever did, it allowed her to open up and gain the confidence that she really needed.

Overall, This Is Falling was a book that had my emotions all over the place! I really loved Ginger Scott’s writing style and I can’t wait to read more of her work!

How Many Books Do you Read At A Time?

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One thing I’m always curious about is other people’s reading habits. How many books do readers read per year, do they read digital or physical copies, how do the books they read vary?
Whilst looking through Goodreads I see that many people are reading more than one book at a time. And I don’t mean two, or three. I mean, like 6 or 7.
Personally I have no idea how these people manage it! I very rarely have more than two books at a time that I’m reading (one for fun, the other for university). I don’t think I could deal with any more than that at a time. When I’m reading a book I like to devote my whole attention to it, and not get distracted by others. I know occasionally when I’m reading a book that I’m not so keen on I wish I was reading something else, so I am TEMPTED to start another one alongside it, however, I try my best to persist with the original one, knowing that it shouldn’t take too long to finish!

What are your thoughts on this? How many books do you read at a time? If it’s more than one how do you manage it?

Review: Us- David Nicholls

UsUs by David Nicholls
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Douglas’ family is seemingly falling apart in front of his very eyes. Connie, his wife has decided to leave him, and his relationship his son Albie, is poor to say the least.

“I was looking forward to us growing old together. Me and you, growing old and dying together.”

“Douglas, who in their right mind would look forward to that?”

So what does Douglas do? He takes them on a Grand Tour of Europe, in the hope of making everything better.
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Review: Down And Out In The Magic Kingdom – Cory Doctorow

Down and Out in the Magic KingdomDown and Out in the Magic Kingdom by Cory Doctorow
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I love Disney. It’s a huge part of my life. I love the films, I love the merchandise and I also love the parks so therefore this book was screaming at me to read it.

Am I glad I did?
No not really.

This book wasn’t bad, nor was it good. It was just incredibly average in the sense that my interest began to dwindle about 50% of the way through.

I felt no connection to the characters – I love it when a book makes me feel as if the characters are not actually characters, and instead they are real people. Down And Out didn’t do that for me unfortunately.

Don’t get me wrong, Doctorow has an incredible imagination. A futuristic world set in Disney World where people can’t “die” is a pretty cool concept. Unfortunately Down And Out just didn’t cut it for me.

2015 Is Here!

Happy new year guys!
Now that 2014 is officially over, I’ve decided to make some book goals for 2015. These are:

– To nail my Goodreads reading challenge! This year I’m aiming to read 90 books.
– Reread the Harry Potter books! I love to do this every year. The series holds a special place in my heart and rereading them just makes love for Rowling’s work grow even stronger!
– Attend some book events/signings and then post about them on the blog!
– Become more active on the blog’s Twitter account (@nomorethanbooks)
– Branch out into other genres besides YA. There’ll be a review of David Nicholls’ “Us” coming up in January!
– Update the appearance of the blog

I’m super proud of this blog, it’s something I thoroughly enjoy running. When I started NoMoreThanBooks in July I never expected people to actually read my reviews! So thank you to all of you who do.

I hope you all have a happy 2015!
Keep reading,

Laura