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Rather Too Fond Of Books

Hi, I'm Hayley,


I've been reading books for as long as I can remember and have recently re-discovered my book blog (Rather Too Fond of Books), which has made me excited to have a place to share what I'm reading, to review some books and to share my bookish memories. I have combined a newer blog of mine with this one and this is where I'll always post.


I am happy to consider any books to review. I post all of my reviews on here and on my book likes page, then I will be promoting the posts on Twitter and Facebook.


My email: rathertoofondofbooks@gmail.com


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carefully everywhere descending - L. B. Bedford


Audrey is a teenager from a poor family trying to make the best of her life by focusing on her education. She is very driven to get the best grades she possible can as she realises a scholarship to university is her best chance of changing her life. All is going to plan until Scarlett asks Audrey to tutor her.


The interesting thing for me in this book is that Audrey is a lesbian and it quickly becomes apparent that everyone in her life knows and is completely accepting of it. Now this is absolutely how it should be but in just about every other LGBT fiction I’ve read the main character’s homosexuality is what drives the plot. It was very refreshing to see here that it was referred to in exactly the same way as a teenage girl falling for a boy usually is.


Unfortunately, other aspects of the novel are not quite as compelling. The author repeatedly explains that Audrey’s family is poor; nothing ever happens to Audrey in this book without the author telling us yet again that she is very poor. It would have helped if there had been a bit more show, rather than tell to this aspect of the book but ultimately it feels like being banged over the head with it and it detracts from the story. I think that had this aspect of the book been just a little more subtle, if we had learned for ourselves as readers how disadvantaged Audrey was, it would have elicited a bit more sympathy rather than leaving the story a little flat and cardboard cut out-like.


I don’t want to give any spoilers but I’m really not sure what the final few chapters of the book add to the story. It didn’t enhance Audrey’s budding romance, it didn’t improve her family finances, or the way they operated as a family unit. It was just very odd.


Ultimately though, I have to absolutely applaud the author for writing a book where homosexuality is a complete normality. I’ve read quite a lot of LGBT fiction, especially YA, and there needs to be more books like this where a character’s sexuality is an aside and not the main plot for a novel. For all this novel is a little one-dimensional at times, and it does go off on a rather unnecessary tangent at the end, I would still highly recommend it to all readers who are keen to read LGBT fiction where homosexuality is not the main plot point and is really just another fact about character.


I rate this book 7 out of 10.


Carefully Everywhere Descending will be out on 1st October and is available to pre-order now from Amazon


I received this book from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.



This review was originally posted on my blog RatherTooFondofBooks

Source: http://rathertoofondofbooks.wordpress.com/2015/09/28/carefully-everywhere-descending-by-l-b-bedford

Review: Bulletproof by Maci Bookout

Bulletproof - Maci Bookout

Following my recent binge-watch of all the Teen Mom episodes I couldn’t resist buying Maci’s autobiography as she was my favourite of the girls and her story was most interesting to me.


Throughout Teen Mom, Maci always seemed like the most together of all of the girls, parenting seemed to come very naturally to her but I often wondered how much of what we saw was her keeping a protective wall around her about how she felt in certain situations. Maci never seemed to lose her cool, even when her son’s father was being incredibly rude to her. So, she intrigued me.


Bulletproof covers everything that happened to Maci throughout Teen Mom but it gives much more insight into what was going on in her head. As I suspected, she was panicking and sad many times when she appeared so calm and in control. For a fan of the show it really gives much more rounded insight into Maci’s life.


Maci talks about her previous boyfriends – her son’s father, Ryan and also Kyle, but for all they didn’t treat her all that well, she mostly sticks to an account of what happened rather than bad-mouthing them. It is very apparent that what Maci wants most of all is for her son, Bentley to have stability in his life, and that includes her wish that his father would be around more.


It was interesting to read what happened in Maci’s life between the end of season four of Teen Mom and the start of season five. I started watching season five and had no idea that Maci and Kyle had broken up, that Maci had a new long-term boyfriend or that she was pregnant again, so it was good to be able to read what happened and fill in the gaps. It’s uplifting to read just how happy Maci is in her life, she’s an inspiration to young people.


Bulletproof is mainly straightforward autobiography but Maci has included some of her poetry within the book, which was fascinating to read. It’s very apparent that Maci loved creative writing and that it helped her work through her worries. I think so many people will identify with her poems, it’d be really interesting to read more of them.


This book is a great companion piece to the Teen Mom series. There isn’t a lot of new stuff in the book that isn’t seen on screen but it complements it very well in that we get to see Maci’s thoughts and feelings that she tends to hide on screen.


I’m sure fans of MTV’s Teen Mom, and 16 and Pregnant will enjoy reading this book. I found it to be an enjoyable read and rate it 7 out of 10.


This book is out now and available on Amazon


This review was originally posted on my blog RatherTooFondofBooks

Source: http://rathertoofondofbooks.wordpress.com/2015/09/27/review-bulletproof-by-maci-bookout

Review: Isabelle Day Refuses to Die of a Broken Heart by Jane St. Anthony

Isabelle Day Refuses to Die of a Broken Heart - Jane St. Anthony


Isabelle Day Refuses to Die of a Broken Heart is the story of a young teenage girl whose world has been turned upside down. Isabelle’s dad died and then her mum decided they would move to Minneapolis for a new start, so Isabelle has not only lost her dad but also her home, her friends and the only life she had ever known.


Isabelle and her mum now rent a small apartment from two old ladies who live in the apartment downstairs. Flora and Dora immediately want to look after Isabelle and her mum. They start checking in on Isabelle when she’s on her own and they bring food for her. Isabelle just wants to be left alone though, she doesn’t want people fussing over her.


Isabelle is in eighth grade and at an age where she doesn’t want to be different from her peers, she just wants to make friends and feel normal. Once she starts her new school two girls, Margaret and Grace do befriend her but Isabelle has a hard time realising that these two girls really do like her.


Isabelle is desperately trying to find a way to hold on to her dad even though he has never been a part of the life she has now, he will never see their new home or meet her new friends and she’ll never again be able to tell him anything that happens to her. Isabelle’s pain is tangible at times.


This is a coming of age novel which is also about coming to terms with loss; it’s about how when someone dies you don’t just lose them but who you were to them. The writing in this novel is so subtle and beautiful, yet the small statements of grief feel like a punch in the gut. The simplicity of the writing belies the intensity of the grief. There are moments in this novel that took my breath away. Isabelle, who is only a young teenage girl, realising that nothing in her life will ever be as hard as finding her father dead; it’s such a powerful and sobering moment in the novel. The heartbreak that Flora and Dora have also gone through in their lives is first told so subtly that you could almost have missed it but when you realise what they are not saying, it just makes your heart ache.


Yet even though this is a novel about a bereaved girl, it’s in no way a depressing, downbeat novel. Isabelle is like any other teenage girl - she gets up to mischief and has fun with her friends. It’s a coming of age novel, it’s about how life can throw the worst things at you and yet you can still find yourself laughing at funny things and being silly with your friends. Isabelle slowly begins to understand that life moves on and while she still feels sad that her dad isn’t there, she finds that there is still a lot of happiness to be found in the world.


This is a short novel but one to take your time reading, the subtly of the writing means so much of what is being said could easily be missed. This isn’t a fast-paced, action packed book, it’s a beautiful and moving account of one girl’s struggle to find a new normal. This book is for everyone but particularly good for a middle grade reader to help them understand grief and loss. It’s written in a way that doesn't ever overwhelm, it’s a realistic but also very comforting read. It’s such a wonderful book though that whatever age you are, I highly recommend reading it.


I rate this book 10 out of 10.


I received this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review but I’m sure I’ll be buying my own copy of this in the future as I know I’ll want to re-read Isabelle’s story.


Isabelle Day Refuses to Die of a Broken Heart is out now and available from Amazon


This review was originally posted on my blog: RatherTooFondofBooks

Source: http://rathertoofondofbooks.wordpress.com/2015/09/26/review-isabelle-day-refuses-to-die-of-a-broken-heart-by-jane-st-anthony

Review: Christmas at Lilac Cottage (White Cliff Bay book 1) by Holly Martin

Christmas at Lilac Cottage: A perfect romance to curl up by the fire with (White Cliff Bay Book 1) - Holly Martin

I have to admit that it felt a little strange to be contemplating reading a Christmas book in September, but I opened up this book and started reading and within the first page I was lost in the story. I ended up reading the whole book in one sitting as I just couldn’t put it down!


Penny is an ice-sculptor; she loves her job, her gorgeous cottage and her lovely dog Bernard but she is lonely. She’s been hurt before so looking for love is not high on her agenda yet it is obvious she would love nothing more than to find her Mr Right. Henry and Daisy rent Penny’s annexe and after an amusing misunderstanding before Daisy arrives, they all hit it off brilliantly. The course of true love never did run smooth though, and it is very difficult for these three to form different relationships with each other leading to misunderstandings galore.


The chemistry between Henry and Penny just radiates off the page from the word go; it seems very apparent that these two simply have to get together. I can’t think of many other couples in contemporary fiction who were more suited to each other than these two!


I love the many characters in this book, who all know about Penny’s past heartache and just want her to fall in love again. The way they help her at times leads to very embarrassing but hilariously funny situations, like the time Penny went to buy a toothbrush. I actually laughed out loud at that bit!


The setting of this novel, White Cliff Bay, is described in such vivid detail that I could completely picture it and I really want to go there for a holiday. I’m so happy to discover that Holly has written a second Christmas book set in the same location and that is out very soon (30th October, I believe). I already cannot wait to be back in White Cliff Bay!


I highly recommend this book, it’s wonderful. It’s one of those books that you can curl up with on a cold day and just escape, and when you’ve finished reading you feel all content and warm and smiley.


I rated this book 10 out of 10.


I received a copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review, but I’m going to buy my own copy too as I want to be able to revisit White Cliff Bay again next Christmas! 


Christmas at Lilac Cottage is out today and is available from Amazon.


This review was originally posted on my blog RatherTooFondofBooks

Source: http://rathertoofondofbooks.wordpress.com/2015/09/25/review-christmas-at-lilac-cottage-by-holly-martin

Review: #PleaseRetweet by Emily Benet

#PleaseRetweet - Emily Benet

I absolutely loved this book! It’s such a fun, contemporary novel that is so apt for the social media age we now live in. 


May Sparks is a social media expert, her job is to run the twitter accounts of C-list celebrities who either cannot be trusted to run their own account, or they’re completely clueless when it comes to social media. Her job sounds like it would be fun and easy, what could possibly be hard about being paid to be on twitter all day? Well, it all quickly begins to unravel for May when tweeting as these celebs starts to take over her whole life and ultimately the lines begin to blur between her real life and the lives of the celebrities she works for. May finds she has no time for her own twitter account or her real life friends and it all begins to spiral out of her control. 


May is a brilliant character who I’m sure anyone who has spent time on twitter will identify with. I think we all occasionally think in hashtags these days, or feel compelled to take photos of everything that happens to us so we can share with our followers. We can’t help but feel a flutter of excitement if we get retweeted a few times; or if a celebrity replies to us, or even better follows back!  I often found myself chuckling as I recognised some of my twitter traits in SparkyMay. I know I’m guilty of planning on just having a quick scroll through my timeline only to realise a whole afternoon has disappeared. And I’ve occasionally retweeted sappy motivational quotes! Oh, and twitter and my real life blurred in a big way when I met my husband on there and moved to the other side of the country to be with him many years ago and it all stemmed from a certain celebrity’s short-lived book club (for real!). 


I can’t think of another book that has ever made me laugh out loud as much as #PleaseRetweet did. It’s such a brilliant take on modern life and how twitter can easily take over if we let it. I’m recommending this book to everyone!


I rated this book 10 out of 10.


I received this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review, I’ve now bought my own copy as I know this is a book I’ll read again.


My original review is on my Rathertoofondofbooks Blog


#PleaseRetweet is out now and available from Amazon

Source: http://rathertoofondofbooks.wordpress.com/2015/09/24/review-pleaseretweet-by-emily-benet

Review: Never Too Late by Amber Portwood

Never Too Late - Beth Roeser, Amber Portwood

I’ve recently been binge watching Teen Mom on Amazon Video while recovering from illness and I couldn’t resist buying this autobiography when it appeared in an Amazon email. 


Never Too Late is Amber’s story, in her own words, about what really happened behind the scenes of MTV’s Teen Mom, and gives added insight into what led up to events that were shown on screen. This book covers Amber’s difficult childhood, her battle with addiction and her struggle to overcome severe anxiety and depression. 


Amber is very candid throughout this book; she doesn’t shy away from the more distressing things that have happened in her life and she accepts responsibility for the things she did wrong. It would be very hard not to have sympathy for a lot of what Amber has been through, and all credit to her for being so open in this autobiography. 


Never Too Late isn’t set out like a traditional autobiography, the style is very chatty and as a result some parts are a bit repetitive and in other parts events that have happened have just been skimmed over. The timeline of her life is a little difficult to follow in places too, but again I think that’s because of the style of writing. Amber’s story feels authentic though, it is as if Amber is talking to her readers about her life rather than it being a structured account of her life. 


I’m sure this book will be enjoyed by anyone who watched MTV’s 16 and Pregnant or Teen Mom, and of course to all fans of Amber Portwood. 


I rated this book 6 out of 10.


This book is out now and available from Amazon


This review was originally posted on my Rathertoofondofbooks Blog


Source: http://rathertoofondofbooks.wordpress.com/2015/09/23/review-never-too-late-by-amber-portwood

Review: Somewhere in Between by Katie Li

Somewhere In Between - Katie Li

The blurb for this book states that it is inspired by works like Eternal Sunshine of a Spotless Mind, which is when I knew that I had to read this book as that is one of my favourite films. I’m fascinated by the idea of getting rid bad memories in order to move on with life, I’m not necessarily saying I think it’s a great idea but it does intrigue me.


Somewhere in Between is the story of an unlikely friendship between Magnolia and Rom. They meet at school and become friends of a sort, mainly because they are both a bit lost and feeling like they don’t quite fit in. She is a pseudo-punk and he is an underachiever gamer-geek. Together they find a portal to the in-between place. They enter and outside in the real world everything changes.


This is where the book becomes a little difficult to follow at first. It isn’t always clear exactly where the in-between place ends and reality begins. It is apparent that whenever Magnolia and Rom enter the secret portal it changes their reality in some way, but they seem unaware that this has happened and so they often appear confused about their own lives and surroundings. While in the in-between place they seem able to express themselves and share things about their lives and yet once they leave they just have very vague fuzzy memories of what happened in there. The fuzziness they experience regarding what happens in the in-between place made me think of when you have a great dream and then on waking you remember that it was great but find you can’t really remember what happened in it.


This is a surreal novel that is at its heart an exploration of the confusion felt around the in-between time in life when a person is no longer really a kid but not yet an adult. It seemed to me that Magnolia’s obsession for building up a collection of lost things means that maybe she has always been metaphorically (and perhaps literally too) between worlds and Rom is one more lost thing that she finds and wants to keep. It seems like if she could just hold on to something or someone then maybe she could be grounded and things would stay the same. There is so much in this book that is easily missed and you only see it afterwards, which is actually very clever and makes the book itself feel like an in-between place of sorts!


I rate this book 9 out of 10 stars and highly recommend it to anyone who enjoys books that make them think, where you have to read slowly and ponder what is on the page. 


I received this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.


This book is out now on Amazon


This review was originally posted on my RatherTooFondofBooks blog

Source: http://rathertoofondofbooks.wordpress.com/2015/09/19/review-somewhere-in-between-by-katie-li

Review: A Parcel for Anna Browne by Miranda Dickinson

A Parcel for Anna Browne - Miranda Dickinson


Anna Browne is a very ordinary woman living a perfectly satisfactory life, but nothing exciting ever happens to her… that is until the day that a parcel arrives at work for her. Inside she finds a beautiful gift, which becomes the first of many wonderful parcels sent to Anna by a mysterious benefactor. Each gift brings real joy to Anna and she finds herself growing in confidence and happiness. But who is sending her these gifts and why?


This novel is magical and wonderful and just perfect! It draws you in and you don’t want to let it go. Anna Browne is such a great character. She is down-to-earth, caring and kind but her life is lacking any excitement. The joy she feels on receiving each gift, and how these gifts bring her out of herself is magical – it’s like her life suddenly gets sprinkled with fairy dust, and who wouldn’t want that? Each gift brings a bit more of Anna to life, she smiles a bit more, gains confidence, feels better about herself – these are the real gifts she receives. I love how the parcels never change who Anna was, they just allowed who she always was to shine.


The supporting cast of characters in this book really add to its all-round loveliness. I loved Ted the security guard, he has a conspiracy theory about everything but his heart is in the right place. Anna’s neighbour, Isadora, was so lovely too, I adored reading about their time together.


Then there were the men! The book keeps you wondering for a good while about who Anna will end up and I loved that. Ben was a man of mystery but he kept me reading as I wanted to know more about him, and I just adored Jonah – he’s the kind of man we all want in our lives (plus I really want his camper van!).


The mystery of the parcels will keep you guessing, you’ll think you have it all worked out and then more intrigue comes along. I was convinced I knew who the mystery parcel sender was at several points in the book and was proved wrong! It’s so fantastic to be kept guessing, it adds to the magic of the story.


It felt very serendipitous that I received this book when I did as it arrived at just a time when I needed a lift and Anna Browne’s story was a tonic to me. I swear this book has an effect on its readers the same way the mysterious gifts have an effect on Anna! A Parcel for Anna Browne is without a doubt Miranda’s best novel so far, I can’t recommend it highly enough!


I was sent this book to review for Net Galley but will definitely be buying my own copy when it is released on 24 September as I know this is a book I will read again and again, it is set to become one of my firm favourites.


Available for Pre-order now from Amazon


This review was originally posted on my Rathertoofondofbooks Blog

Source: http://rathertoofondofbooks.wordpress.com/2015/09/16/review-a-parcel-for-anna-browne-by-miranda-dickinson
Explain Pain (Revised and Updated, 2nd Edition) - David Butler, Lorimer Moseley

This book is brilliant! It’s such a shame that the kindle version has got so many one star reviews based on how difficult the book is to read on the device because the actual content of the book is absolutely worth five stars. If you or someone you know suffers from chronic pain then this book is a must read!


Explain pain is written in layman’s terms, which I was so pleased to discover as I’m not science-minded at all. The information is given in bitesize chunks and reinforced with brilliant illustrations. It explains how pain responses are produced by the brain and why you can be left in pain long after an injury has healed.


It was recommended to me by my physiotherapist after I was diagnosed with a neurological condition that means I will spend the rest of my life dealing with severe pain. It makes such a difference to your state of mind when you can read a book like this and really understand why you have pain, how pain signals occur and most importantly to learn that there are things that you can do to help yourself deal with the pain. Since reading this book I have found distraction techniques that I now try before reaching for extra painkillers, I now understand the benefit of relaxation/breathing exercises to help work through pain and am just generally finding it a little easier to live with severe pain now I understand why it’s there. Not knowing why pain hurts can be very distressing, which then makes the pain feel worse. My pain will never not be there but this book has given me such a great understanding of why the pain is there and now I am much less fearful of it, and that enables me to focus more on trying to do things rather than avoiding through fear of pain.


After reading Explain Pain I’ve been left feeling like I finally have some control back. I’m sure this will be a book that I refer back to many, many times. I cannot recommend this book highly enough to anyone who is suffering from chronic pain.


I rate this book 10/10.


This book was originally reviewed on my blog: https://rathertoofondofbooks.wordpress.com/2015/09/15/explain-pain-by-and-g-lorimer-moseley-david-butler/

Source: http://rathertoofondofbooks.wordpress.com/2015/09/15/explain-pain-by-and-g-lorimer-moseley-david-butler

Review: Abroad by Katie Crouch

Abroad - Katie Crouch

Grifonia is an ancient Italian city which plays host to swarms of foreign exchange students every year. Irish student Tabitha Deacon arrives wanting to immerse herself fully into Italian life and so turns down the university accommodation and quickly finds herself renting a room in a small cottage with two Italian women and an American student, Claire. Tabitha, or Taz as she prefers to be known, is very insecure and desperately wants to fit in, and so finds herself unable to resist when the cliquey Brit Four invite her to join their group. The Brit Four lead a very lavish lifestyle and Taz finds herself at increasingly decadent and dark parties. The sense of foreboding is gradually heightened as Taz gets further involved in their world.


Abroad is very loosely based around the murder of British student Meredith Kercher in 2007; Amanda Knox was convicted of the crime, but this novel focuses on the fictionalised story of before.


From the beginning of this novel the reader knows that Taz’s time in Grifonia doesn’t end well, and the tales woven through her story of young women throughout ancient Etruscan civilisations who have befallen horrible, often sacrificial fates due to their being women, gives this novel a haunted feel all the way through. The narrative style adds to this by evoking such a sense of longing and loss; it is reminiscent of Alice Sebold’s The Lovely Bones with it’s slightly distant, dream-like quality. It just makes the reader ache for these lost young women.


This novel is wonderfully written and an utterly engrossing read, albeit discomforting at times due to it’s links to a real life case. I highly recommend this book.

I gave it 9 out of 10 stars.


Original review on my blog: https://rathertoofondofbooks.wordpress.com/2015/09/14/review-abroad-by-katie-crouch/

Source: http://rathertoofondofbooks.wordpress.com/2015/09/14/review-abroad-by-katie-crouch

Grief is the Thing with Feathers by Max Porter

Grief Is the Thing with Feathers: A Novella - Max Porter


Grief is the Thing with Feathers is the story of a grief-stricken father and his two young sons following the death of their mother. It is a deeply profound exploration of grief and one of the most beautiful and moving books I’ve read in a very long time.


The Crow enters the family’s home soon after their loss, he is drawn to the pain and despair of their grief. The crow describes himself as sentimental but actually he encompasses many personalities - he is babysitter, healer, trickster. The crow is a brilliant character because he is there to help the family through their grief but he also represents what grief is, how insidious it is and how it affects everything; how you want it to go away so you can feel better and at the same time cling to it because you don’t know what it will mean when it’s gone or how you will be without it.


This is a short novel written in part poetry, part prose; narrated by the Dad, the Boys and the Crow. They are a wonderful mix of characters and make for a novel whereby you are crying reading one page and then jolted by the humour on the next. 


Compassion and beauty just radiate from this book. It is a novel to be read slowly, to be properly savoured. It is a novel to read and re-read. It is at times a challenging read but ultimately it’s a healing read, it’s completely worthwhile and I recommend it to everyone. 


This book is absolutely a 5 star read, I've already pre-ordered a copy to keep in my own collection and it will be going straight on to my favourites shelf!


This book was sent to me by Net Galley in exchange for an honest review.


Grief is the Thing with Feathers is published by Faber and Faber on 15th September.


Pre-order from Amazon here: http://amzn.to/1O5S22X

Source: http://rathertoofondofbooks.wordpress.com/2015/09/11/review-grief-is-the-thing-with-feathers-by-max-porter

Review: Fragile and Perfectly Cracked by Sophie Wyndham

Fragile and Perfectly Cracked: A Memoir of Loss and Infertility - Sophie Wyndham

Fragile and Perfectly Cracked is a memoir of a woman’s journey through her struggle to conceive focusing a lot on her miscarriages and how they left her feeling. The book is written in such a way that at times it felt almost like a stream of conscious-style of writing, that Sophie has spilled all of her pain and emotions out onto the page. Other times there is more structure but the combination made the writing feel much more heart-felt and real.


The over-riding thing that comes across in this book is Sophie’s honesty about what she has experienced, she never shied away from sharing her pain or from sharing exactly what it is like to lose a baby – from both a physical and an emotional standpoint.

Sophie really helps the reader to understand that miscarriage can leave women feeling very real grief for the baby they have lost, even when it happened in the early stages of pregnancy, and I think this is a very important issue to raise. Too often the grief following miscarriage is swept under the carpet so Sophie’s writing feels very refreshing.


This book ultimately leaves the reader with hope as Sophie gets her happy ending. (Please note this is not a spoiler, the reader discovers this on the first page). It is good the book starts by telling the reader the ultimate outcome as it means that as heartbreaking as the book is to read a lot of the time, the reader knows while reading about such intense emotional pain that Sophie wasn’t left struggling with the emotional pain of child loss.


I would recommend this book to anyone who has suffered a miscarriage and wants to feel less alone in what she has experienced. I think it would be a good book for men to read too as it gives a real insight into what a woman goes through during miscarriage and into all the complex emotions that go with the harrowing experience.


I rate this book 4 of 5 stars.


I received this book from Net Galley in exchange for an honest review.

Source: http://rathertoofondofbooks.wordpress.com/2015/09/08/review-fragile-and-perfectly-cracked-by-sophiewyndham

A Proper Family Holiday

A Proper Family Holiday - Chrissie Manby

Four generations of the Benson family go on holiday to Lanzarote for a week - what could possibly go wrong? This is an often funny, sometimes poignant and constantly entertaining read.


I bought this novel around the time it was released a year ago and it's sat on my TBR ever since but I don't really know why as I love Chrissie Manby's novels. I think I was subconsciously saving it for a time when I knew I'd need a guaranteed pick-me-up of a book, and it didn't let me down. 


This novel was unputdownable for me and was the wonderful pick-me-up that I'd hoped it would be. It was chick-lit with depth to it, and I adored it. I gave it 5 stars and also added it to my favourites shelf as I'm sure it'll be one of the few books that I will re-read in the future.


On finishing this novel I was so tempted to immediately pick up the next in the series, A Proper Family Christmas, as I really want to know what happens next. But I love a good Christmas read so I'm going to try and hold off reading it for just a few more weeks! I'm happy to see that a third book in the series is already out though and I'll be buying that soon.



Source: http://rathertoofondofbooks.wordpress.com/2015/09/08/review-a-proper-family-holiday-by-chrissie-manby

Sophie Someone

Sophie Someone - Hayley Long

I was really looking forward to reading this novel as I've loved the author's previous books, so I bought this without ever reading a blurb and I'm really glad I did.


It meant my first feeling on reading the book was one of confusion as Sophie has an unusual way of telling her story, but it enhanced my enjoyment that I had no idea why she was doing this. 


I'm much older than the target market for this book but it didn't stop me finding it wonderful. 

Source: http://rathertoofondofbooks.wordpress.com/2015/09/08/review-sophie-someone-by-hayley-long


Remix - Non Pratt

I loved this book so much. Yes, it was a little cliched at times, with pretty much every festival trope you can think of being chucked into the mix, but that aside, it was a very accurate portrayal of how the friendships between teenage girls are.


It's a long time since I was 15/16 but I remember the flirting with boys, the trying to be more than your best friend was, the horrible arguments you had that felt like the end of the world. It's all in this book and it takes you right back to that time.


Non Pratt really captured the way that at 16 you are in that middle ground between childhood and adulthood - how you're capable and legally allowed to do so many things but the emotional ability to cope with those situations isn't always there yet. At no point does Non Pratt talk down to the teenagers this book is aimed at, I'm sure many teenagers would love this book and see themselves in it.


I loved Kaz and Ruby, but my favourite character was Owen and I wish we'd seen more of him. He just seemed like a really cool, nice, laid back guy. 



The characters felt authentic, they were real and I miss them already now I've finished reading the book. 


I already can't wait for the next Non Pratt novel!

Source: http://rathertoofondofbooks.wordpress.com/2015/09/08/review-remix-by-non-pratt

Wonderful collection

Accidental Emeralds: Poems of Longing - Vivienne Tuffnell

This is a wonderful collection of poetry, it really does capture the feeling of longing in a beautiful and thought-provoking way.


I have to admit to having a favourite poem - Autumn Leaf. This poem just captured so much of how I'm feeling at the moment, not just as we approach the end of summer and the change of season into autumn but the many changes in my own life that I'm having to come to terms with. I just felt a feeling of not being alone in my struggles wash over me on reading these lines:


How long I may travel

I shall not know

Until I begin to sink;

The source and the sea,

They are still certain,

But the journey,

As you know, is not.


I also took a lot from Mind Mountains for similar reasons to Autumn Leaf. Just the much needed reminder that however much my own life contains me, there is so much more beyond the garden fence than my own thoughts. 


Spring is...? was also a lovely poem, one that made me smile. I loved the line 'It changes the rules and snows in May' because that is just so much of how life is. Unpredictable and yet somehow still beautiful.


And of course I adored Urban Springtime as it gave insight into the title for this collection. Accidental emeralds is such a lovely title and to know where it comes from is a much-needed reminder that there is beauty even in things that are broken. This poem in particular will stay with me, it's something to cling to.


Overall the collection at face value can be enjoyed as a group of poems about the changing seasons, but deeper than that is the underlying reminder that things change, things break, things pull you in different directions but there is still something beautiful in all of it if we just sit a while and take it all in.

Source: http://rathertoofondofbooks.wordpress.com/2015/09/08/accidental-emeralds-by-vivienne-tuffnell