Instagram is changing, and not for the better…

So, anyone who is on bookstagram will be aware that Instagram is changing its format to show the most popular posts rather than being in chronological order.

For someone like me who has just started out, and only has a small number of followers, this could be a DISASTER.

So please, follow me on Instagram and either keep interaction going with me on my account, or turn on notifications so you can see my posts.

The link to my Instagram is just a few words away… follow this link @incaseofbookishness and then follow me…

Save bookstagram! ❤️📚

March Book Haul

It’s here, and it’s huge! My March book haul consists of 16 books!

I’m not going to talk about them all because that would make for a very long and dull post, so I’ll just list them and maybe write a line or two for a couple of them explaining how and why I came to buy them.


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The Sky is Everyhwere – Jandy Nelson: Bought this for £1.99 in an Oxfam charity shop! It was in such good condition, and I had already bought I’ll Give You The Sun this month so I just had to. Bargain.

I’ll Give You The Sun – Jandy Nelson

All The Bright Places – Jennifer Niven

Code Name Verity – Elizabeth Wein: Actually bought this on the 1st of March!

The Art of Being Normal – Lisa Williamson

Hollow City – Ransom Riggs: I haven’t actually got or read the first book in the Peculiar Children series yet, but this was only £4 in the Book Warehouse (discounted book store) so I thought I may as well get it cheaper seeing as I had every intention of buying it at some point anyway.

Lady Midnight – Cassandra Clare: Hyped up so much on bookstagram!

City of Bones – Cassandra Clare: I need to read this whole series and the Infernal Devices series before I can read Lady Midnight, because I’ve been told it’ll be more enjoyable as I’ll have a better understanding of the world. I hope it’s good enough for me to get through them all…

Unbecoming – Jenny Downham: Signed copy, yay! I read Before I Die years ago and really enjoyed it. The concept for this book sounds great and completely different. Oh, and the cover is GORGEOUS.

What Was Never Said – Emma Cragie: Another March 1st purchase.

Lucky – Alice Sebold

The Maze Runner – James Dashner

The Merciless – Danielle Vega

A Thousand Pieces of You – Claudia Grey

An Ember in The Ashes – Sabaa Tahir

Red Queen – Victoria Aveyard: Another book that’s been controlling bookstagram for the past 2 months!

I actually could have bought several more books, but I forced myself not to and had a little chat with myself about unnecessary spending… Oops.


What books have you bought this month, and have you read any on this list? Comment below ❤️


 

The Notebook – Nicholas Sparks: Review

Rating: 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

Overall Opinion: A gorgeous story of love and loss. I could have read it in one sitting.

Synopsis: Set amid the austere beauty of the North Carolina coast, The Notebook begins with the story of Noah Calhoun, a rural Southerner recently returned from the Second World War. Noah is restoring a plantation home to its former glory, and he is haunted by images of the beautiful girl he met fourteen years earlier, a girl he loved like no other. Unable to find her, yet unwilling to forget the summer they spent together, Noah is content to live with only memories…until she unexpectedly returns to his town to see him once again.

Like a puzzle within a puzzle, the story of Noah and Allie is just the beginning. As it unfolds, their tale miraculously becomes something different, with much higher stakes. The result is a deeply moving portrait of love itself, the tender moments and the fundamental changes that affect us all. It is a story of miracles and emotions that will stay with you forever.

Finally, a book that is complemented by its film adaption! I’m usually left so disappointed by one or the other, but in this case, I still love both. I’ve seen the movie about 1000 times before reading the book, but I finally to decided that it was time for that to chance, so I picked it up. That was a great idea.

Although there’s not as much content in the book as the film (surprising, I know) the story is woven with such each and clarity, and honestly, it is stunning. I was reading it on the bus, I got misty eyed. In college… Misty eyed… At home… Cried. I just completely fell for the characters’ stories from the very beginning, and although on the surface it seems like a mushy romance novel, there’s so much more going on. The tragedy of losing someone you love to sickness, even though they’re still physically with you everyday is heartbreaking.

The Notebook is an engrossing novel, and at only just over 200 small pages long, it’s definitely a one day binge read!

Read it. Now.

I mean it.

We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves – Karen Joy Fowler: Review

Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Overall Opinion: A good book about family life, growing up realising that a huge part of you is missing. And a gorilla.

“Skip the beginning, start in the middle.”

Synopsis: Meet the Cooke family. Our narrator is Rosemary Cooke. As a child, she never stopped talking; as a young woman, she has wrapped herself in silence: the silence of intentional forgetting, of protective cover. Something happened, something so awful she has buried it in the recesses of her mind.

Now her adored older brother is a fugitive, wanted by the FBI for domestic terrorism. And her once lively mother is a shell of her former self, her clever and imperious father now a distant, brooding man.

And Fern, Rosemary’s beloved sister, her accomplice in all their childhood mischief? Fern’s is a fate the family, in all their innocence, could never have imagined.

It’s taken me a good couple of weeks since I finished reading this to actually get the time to write my review. And it seems that I’ve forgotten most of the detail of the book. So I guess that means it was forgettable, and didn’t stick with me afterwards, so I think this may be a bit of a shorter review than I would have liked. That’s disappointing, because I did actually enjoy it when I was reading it!

However, on the cover it says “one of the best twists in years”. I was expecting a massive dramatic plot twist. It didn’t happen. The story was beautiful though, and I loved how it started in the middle of the story, then you don’t find out the beginning (the most important part) until the end. It made it interesting to follow, and meant that I was hooked after the first chapter, it didn’t take long for something to actually happen like with other books where you read half of it and there has been no development in the story. Good.

Another thing about this book is that it uses complex language. As in really complex. Words I’ve never in my life come across before, and probably wouldn’t have done unless I was studying psychology… Although this did mean that it took a while longer to read, I did learn a lot of new and interesting words that I’ll probably never use in everyday conversation, such as “catachresis” – the incorrect use of a word. Ironic.

There is also A LOT of philosophy and psychology woven into this book, and real studies, all referenced in the back of the book as recommended further reading. I personally won’t read it, but I suppose that’s nice for someone who really wanted to?

Would I recommend it? Yes. It was a beautiful story of growing up after losing a sibling, and how that affects life from there on, not only for yourself, but for your family too.

We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves was a book that made me misty eyed, right at the very end… Family. Happy ending. Bound to happen wasn’t it..?

How I Live Now – Meg Rosoff: Review

Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️.5

Overall Opinion: This was NEARLY a 5 star review, just not quite, because there were a couple of holes in it for me, but what a firecracker of a novel this is. Short, sweet and terrifyingly relevant.

Synopsis: “Every war has turning points and every person too.”

Fifteen-year-old Daisy is sent from Manhattan to England to visit her aunt and cousins she’s never met: three boys near her age, and their little sister. Her aunt goes away on business soon after Daisy arrives. The next day bombs go off as London is attacked and occupied by an unnamed enemy.

As power fails, and systems fail, the farm becomes more isolated. Despite the war, it’s a kind of Eden, with no adults in charge and no rules, a place where Daisy’s uncanny bond with her cousins grows into something rare and extraordinary. But the war is everywhere, and Daisy and her cousins must lead each other into a world that is unknown in the scariest, most elemental way.

“And this is How I Live Now“… What a gorgeous conclusion to this glorious piece of writing!

I finished reading this on Thursday evening, and what a stunning book it was!

I was a bit dubious at first, the first person narrative took me a while to get into, just because of the way it’s written. I thought: “is this books bit young for me?”. There is very little punctuation as its written in the voice of  our protagonist, a teenage girl called Daisy, so the sentence structure reflects her quick pace of thinking. After the first few (short) chapters, I’d began to get used to this though. I found it worked extremely well and at certain points was beautifully descriptive and created a whole world that I, reading it, could see everything through the eyes of a 14 year old girl, and found this so refreshing.

I did have a couple of issues with the book though, as it only took 20 pages for Daisy to “fall in love” with her first cousin… Now, I’m not close-minded as such, but I found this a little off putting, and overall, I don’t think the story needed it. It felt a little bit like an excuse for a romance. Maybe it just needed a little longer for the relationship to develop, as it happened very suddenly and without much warning or letting us get behind them as a couple enough to justify the search for Edmond thought the story. Get past it. It’s totally irrelevant. Ultimately,  this is a story of survival and an unbreakable family bond, as when it comes to Daisy and Piper being taken away from the rest of their family, that’s what it becomes first and foremost, and this is when it works best.

It’s so great to read a story where two young women are completely taken away from all of their comforts, family, friends and any sort of secure living environment, and forced to survive on their own. Not once did I feel sympathetic for them. Not because I didn’t want to, but because I didn’t NEED to. Both Daisy and Piper were given such strength and power that I was 100% behind them until the end. They were a force against nature and an inspiration, showing us that we are undoubtedly stronger than we may appear on the surface, even to ourselves.

The ending was satisfyingly conclusive, and had one of those “happy ever after endings” but with more depth, as clearly lots of things had changed, for better or worse, so overall I felt like I myself had been taken on a journey. We were given enough of an insight into how the aftermath of the war had effected each one of their lives individually, and how they had changed as people, yet still gave breath and scope for us to think about where they could be another 10 years down the line. It was also good to get the other side of the story. The one we didn’t hear as we followed Daisy and Piper. The story of what happened after the war, and what the boys went through and the horrors they had experienced.

The overall pacing was near on perfect, as the action moves along swiftly without being so quick to become unspecific and lacking detail. It was gripping enough to hold my attention, and swift enough so that I definitely could have easily read it in one sitting had I have been given the time!

For a book that I intended on reading when I bought it 10 years ago, the themes presented in it are absolutely timeless, and very much still relevant to me reading it now. All the way throughout all I could think was “this could happen tomorrow for all we know”, and that scared me. It raised the stakes. It make me connect. And that’s when you know you’ve read a darn good book.

Recommended Read – March 2016

So for anyone who knows me, they will know that my favourite book that I’ve ever read is

The Book Thief, by Markus Zusak.

And I honestly can’t stop raving about it, so it only seemed fitting that it became my first recommendation.

I read it last summer, and it put me in a 6 month reading slump afterwards, which yes I know sounds like a bad thing, but only because it was just SO GOOD, and the book I tried to read after just didn’t measure up to it.

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Synopsis: It’s just a small story really, about among other things: a girl, some words, an accordionist, some fanatical Germans, a Jewish fist-fighter, and quite a lot of thievery. . . .

Set during World War II in Germany, Markus Zusak’s groundbreaking new novel is the story of Liesel Meminger, a foster girl living outside of Munich. Liesel scratches out a meager existence for herself by stealing when she encounters something she can’t resist–books. With the help of her accordion-playing foster father, she learns to read and shares her stolen books with her neighbors during bombing raids as well as with the Jewish man hidden in her basement before he is marched to Dachau.

This is an unforgettable story about the ability of books to feed the soul.

I don’t want to give too much away,  because there is so much to be discovered with it for yourself, but it left me reeling for so long afterwards, and for the last part of the book I just cried because it’s an absolute heartbreaker, so clearly it was successful.

I warn you know, the ending is sad, but unexpected. For the journey beforehand, it’s so worth it.

So honestly, just READ IT. If it isn’t on your TBR already, make sure you put it on for this month, you won’t regret it, I promise.

Who else has read this book? What did you think? ❤️

March TBR

I had to set myself a realistic goal, as I’m going to be very busy this month, but I would like to think that maybe I could squeeze in enough time for an extra book or two, but we’ll have to see.

Anyway, my March TBR list is:


1. How I Live Now – Meg Rosoff (Currently Reading) Update: Click here to read my review

2. To Kill a Mockingbird – Harper Lee

3. We Are All Completely Beside OurselvesKaren Joy Fowler Update: Click here to read my review

What’s on your reading list this month? ❤️

February Book Haul

So I’m in my 3rd year of living in London now for university, and I left the majority of my old books back at my family home up north. So I’m needing to build up a new collection because currently, my bookcase is filled with things other than books, which upsets me.

The last time I bought new books was last summer, and I think I must have bought about 15 in the space of a couple of weeks…

I read about 4 of them and then went on a dry spell because I read the greatest book of my life (The Book Thief – Markus Zusak), which for anyone who knows me, I still can’t shut up about it. But it put me in a massive reading slump because the next book just wasn’t as good.

But now I’m finally reading again! And loving it by the way. But I’m a little obsessed, and bought another 6 books in the last 2 days of February (plus 2 more yesterday but I’ll include them in a post at the end of this month instead).

All The Birds In The Sky – Charlie Jane Anders: I’ve heard great things about this book and can’t wait to read it! It’s a sort of fantasy magic filled book about a guy and a girl who knew each other as kids, then meet again when they’re older and they both have special powers and have to “save our futures” and I think end up falling in love along the way. It sounds fun.

The Versions Of Us – Laura Barnett: I saw this on the bestsellers shelf in Waterstones, and I’m not going to lie, I bought it because the cover was bright and colourful… But I did also like the sound of it. I think it sort of goes along the lines of how if one thing was slightly different in our lives, it can change a whole scenario. Kind of fate sort of thing?

All The Light We Cannot See – Anthony Doerr: Now this book sounds beautiful. It’s set during WW2, and follows the story of a blind girl who has no idea what’s happening around her until she hears something on the radio. It’s had absolutely rave reviews and I do love a book set during the war time. Don’t ask me why, I just think it’s always makes for a beautiful storyline with lots of action and drama, and they always end up moving me to tears…

Room – Emma Donoghue: Is about a boy who lives in ‘Room’ with his Ma. He doesn’t know any different until one day his mum tells him there’s a whole other world outside, and she plans an escape. It sounds stunning and has had great reviews. Also the film is out now, and I don’t want to watch it until I’ve read the book, because films always end up ruining books for me.

One Day – David Nicholls: Now, contrary to what I just said, I’ve seen the film for this a couple of years ago, and it made me want to read the book, but I just never got round to buying it. However I now feel that a substantial amount of time has passed, so I don’t really remember the film that well so it won’t impose anything upon my reading experience.

The Lovely Bones – Alice Sebold: Again, I’ve seen the film… I just contradicted myself twice… But it’s such a moving and hard hitting story that I just wanted to read it so badly! I’ve read a section of it before for a sight reading class, and the writing was just so descriptive and grotesque, it made me feel uncomfortable (for all the good reasons). I’m excited for this one.

So that’s it. They’re what I bought. And I probably won’t get round to reading them for a while as I have other books on my to read list first, but I really can’t wait to get stuck into them!

If anyone has read any of these books, lets me know what you think in the comments below ❤️

Elizabeth Is Missing – Emma Healey: Review

Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Overall opinion: Substance of the book is led mainly by character, rather than a quick paced plot-line. Generally a “nice” read rather than something you get hooked on.

Elizabeth is Missing, and so is something else…

Synopsis: In this darkly riveting debut novel—a sophisticated psychological mystery that is also a heartbreakingly honest meditation on memory, identity, and aging—an elderly woman descending into dementia embarks on a desperate quest to find the best friend she believes has disappeared, and her search for the truth will go back decades and have shattering consequences.

Maud, an aging grandmother, is slowly losing her memory—and her grip on everyday life. Yet she refuses to forget her best friend Elizabeth, who she is convinced is missing and in terrible danger.

But no one will listen to Maud—not her frustrated daughter, Helen, not her caretakers, not the police, and especially not Elizabeth’s mercurial son, Peter. Armed with handwritten notes she leaves for herself and an overwhelming feeling that Elizabeth needs her help, Maud resolves to discover the truth and save her beloved friend.

This singular obsession forms a cornerstone of Maud’s rapidly dissolving present. But the clues she discovers seem only to lead her deeper into her past, to another unsolved disappearance: her sister, Sukey, who vanished shortly after World War II.

As vivid memories of a tragedy that occurred more fifty years ago come flooding back, Maud discovers new momentum in her search for her friend. Could the mystery of Sukey’s disappearance hold the key to finding Elizabeth?

Now, don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed this book and this isn’t necessarily a BAD review, but I couldn’t help but feel that I was cheated out of something. Not that I actually know what that something is, which is actually ironic seeing as the main character, Maud, can’t remember what she’s looking for either.

I’m not going to lie, it took me a while to get into this book. And when I say a while, I actually mean 6 months. Perhaps that’s because I had just read the greatest book I’ve ever read in my life, which I still can’t stop thinking about, and then came to this straight afterwards, but I just couldn’t bring myself to continue reading it, and stopped before chapter 3. But a few days ago I thought “hey, maybe I should try and read that book again now that I haven’t read anything in half a year…”

Honestly, I’m glad I did, because it was a generally good book, but it was a very slow starter for me. The writing was very clever, as it’s written from the point of view of a 90-something year old woman called Maud, who suffers with Alzheimer’s disease. She struggles to remember why she went to the shop, let alone trying to solve the mystery of the illusive “Elizabeth”.

We get varying flashbacks of her childhood memories of her beloved sister “Sukey” and when she went missing, with teenage Maud trying to solve the mystery. These are actually my favourite parts of the book as they actually go somewhere, we get details and storyline. The rest of it was very slow moving, and I get the point of it all, with her memory not being good, and she feels frustrated not being able to remember, etc. but for me it was a very frustrating read, and I wanted the other characters to tell me things, not just “you know what happened, Maud, we’ve been through this.”

HOWEVER, I was thoroughly determined to get to the end, and I’m glad I did, because the last few chapters were great, and answered all of the questions that the rest of the book had stuffed my brain with. I just feel like I wanted something MORE. More details about the solved mystery at the end. But because Maud couldn’t remember specifically what she’d been told, we never find out. We just get a general rushed version of events when her daughter Helen goes on a mad spree.

One thing I did love about this book though, was the vivid images of the characters that I was given. I feel like I knew each character, and each one of them had very different personality traits, especially the quirky humour of Maud in contrast to her very stern daughter Helen. And even though Maud had lost most of her memory, she definitely did not lack in compassion and made me smile with joy at times, and others nearly (not quite) but nearly weep for her.

Overall Elizabeth is Missing is a very good read and brilliantly written, and I would recommend it to others, maybe it just wasn’t quite my cup of tea.