Wednesday, 27 April 2016

Me Before You Review

Me Before You by JoJo Moyes
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Published by: Penguin Books
Page Count - 369
My Rating - Five Stars

Louisa Clark is an ordinary girl living an exceedingly ordinary life—steady boyfriend, close family—who has never been farther afield than their tiny village. She takes a badly needed job working for ex-Master of the Universe Will Traynor, who is wheelchair-bound after an accident. Will has always lived a huge life—big deals, extreme sports, worldwide travel—and now he’s pretty sure he cannot live the way he is.

Will is acerbic, moody, bossy—but Lou refuses to treat him with kid gloves, and soon his happiness means more to her than she expected. When she learns that Will has shocking plans of his own, she sets out to show him that life is still worth living.

A love story for this generation, Me Before You brings to life two people who couldn’t have less in common—a heartbreakingly romantic novel that asks, What do you do when making the person you love happy also means breaking your own heart?

If you follow me on social media, you'll already know that this book holds a very special place in my heart, it's one of those heartbreaking books that manages to still give you the warm fuzzies and make you laugh as often as it made you cry, which is no easy task.


I picked up this book because of the upcoming movie release, and I am so, so glad I did. JoJo Moyes has a very enjoyable writing style, and I felt like I knew the characters so well within just a handful of chapters. Louisa as a character is very relatable, she is neither happy nor sad with her life, she's simply going through the motions, stuck in a rut. While she's eccentric with her clothing choices, she's trapped in her ordinary life and it isn't until she meets Will Traynor that her life begins to change. 


Having lived a big, exciting and adventure driven life before his accident, Will finds himself increasingly frustrated with Louisa, but somehow they reach a common ground. They have amazing chemistry, with both characters being very well developed and authentic. One of the things I adored most about this book was Will as a character, I was so worried he would be almost a cliche of himself, generic "disabled man", and he wasn't at all.

(Yep. I sobbed. A lot.)

The representation of disability in this book is done in a raw and honest way. As a twenty something with an invisible disability, I was surprised to find parts of this book relatable. Can I relate to a quadraplegic? Of course not. But could I relate the isolation, the way people think they can fix him, and the way it feels to be unable to do the things you used to do. That, I understood. And maybe that's why the book moved me so much.

This book is heartbreaking but so, so funny and charming all at once. It's the most beautiful kind of heartbreak, a book that makes you stand back and check your own privilege, and inspires you to make the most of your life. 

Have you read the book? What were your thoughts?
Sarah-Jane
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Enjoyed this review? Check out my Me Before You videos on Youtube!
Me Before You Trailer Reaction:
Spoiler Free Review:
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Wednesday, 6 April 2016

Top Ten Tuesday - Ten Bookish People You Should Follow on Booktube








It's been forever since I blogged, and I'm sorry. The problem with leaving for so long is that you need a really good blog post to kickstart that blogging feeling again, and while I wasn't planning to blog today, this topic is perfect. 

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature created by the Broke and the Bookish. This weeks topic is "Ten Bookish People You Should Follow on Twitter/Instagram/Snapchat/Facebook" etc. I love love, love this topic as there's nothing I like more than shouting out some of my favourites.  So here are some of my most favourite Booktubers, in no particular order.


Sam from Thoughts on Tomes
Anyone who knows me knows how much I adore Sam. She's one third of Random Readalongs along with myself and Kristin (she's next!), and she has a brilliant Booktube account full of book reviews and awesome discussion. And she's super consistent with uploading.


Kristin from What's Kappening
She was my first Booktube friend back in 2014, and we speak on a daily basis. She's another third of Random Readalongs, and she reads a wide range of books from so many genres. And she is one of the kindest people I know. 


Sian from Readersrambles
This girl is hilarious. We read a lot of books from the same genres, so if you like my channel I'm pretty sure you'll love Sian. While she isn't able to upload as often as she would like, her videos always make me laugh, and she's got awesome bookshelves. Oh, and she got me into The Walking Dead. 


Casey from Casey Ann Books
Casey has a brilliant eye for photos. She is so creative with both her Booktube and Instagram, where she posts the most beautiful photos. She always introduces me into awesome new books, and she's just awesome. 



Bekah from Bekah Awesomebooknut
It's been a long standing joke between Bekah and I that we often have different opinions on books that we have both read, but she encouraged me to read Me Before You recently, and oh my, it was beautiful. She's one of those Booktubers who always make me smile, she's so warm and friendly, and her reviews are awesome. No pun intended. 



Kassidy Voinche
Kassidys bookshelves are absolute goals, I am always in awe. We read a lot of the same books, and she always has time to discuss them even if she read them a long time ago. She's another one who is always friendly, and I just adore her. I can't wait to discuss more of the Black Dagger Brotherhood with her. 



Dawn Kurtagich from Writaholic DK
If you're a lover of horror, check out Dawn's channel. She talks about books that are not seen as frequently in the Booktube circle, which is fantastic, and she's actually an author too. Her novel The Dead House sold out at YALC last year, and she is one of the funniest, nicest people I've ever met. When I met her, it felt like I'd known her my whole life. 



Lainey from GingerreadsLainey
I've always loved her channel, but I got to know Lainey better last year when she delved into the world of Urban Fantasy and binge read both the Fever series and the Shifter series in record time. If you love those books as much as I do, check out her thoughts on them. Dooo it. 



Alita Joy 
This is a recommendation that comes form a place of being purely a viewer, and not knowing Alita personally. She was one of the first channels I discovered, and recently I rediscovered her content and have been binge watching. Her videos always leave me feeling really calm, she is someone who I always feel has a beautiful soul and in addition to being a booktuber, she also sings on her channel. 




David from Litjournal
And I'm going to end this list with David, one of my friends who came to visit me last year. We drank root beer and we build hogwarts out of Gingerbread. I don't care if it's April, I'm showing you guys.

So there you go, there's my list! I'd love to hear some of your favourite Booktubers in the comments!
















Thursday, 30 July 2015

WIN SIGNED COPIES OF THE WINNERS CURSE AND THE WINNERS CRIME BY MARIE RUTKOSKI - INTERNATIONAL - OPEN



If you are a fan of The Winners trilogy by Marie Rutkoski, I think you will love this competition. Up for grabs I have signed copies of The Winners Curse and The Winners Crime, which she signed when I met her at the Young Adult Literature Convention in July. One winner will receive both books, and yes - this competition IS open internationally. All you have to do to enter is follow the Rafflecopter instructions below. The first and only rule is that you must subscribe to my YouTube channel The Book Life.  But there's lots of ways to snag additional entries as well, so good luck and I hope you win! 

The Prize:

If you haven't read The Winners Curse yet, check out my video review on YouTube, or my written review here. You can follow Marie on Twitter @MarieRutkoski 



Good luck in the giveaway, and in the meantime please check out my video interview with Marie Rutkoski at YALC, The Young Adult Literature Convention. We discuss favourite books, why Kestrel and Arin are a perfect match, and what to expect from The Winners Kiss.

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The Winners Curse by Marie Rutkoski - Book Review

Genre: YA Fantasy
Publisher: Bloomsbury UK Childrens Books
Page Count: 359
Buy It: Book Depository
My Rating: 5 Stars


Winning what you want may cost you everything you love...

As a general’s daughter in a vast empire that revels in war and enslaves those it conquers, seventeen-year-old Kestrel has two choices: she can join the military or get married. But Kestrel has other intentions.

One day, she is startled to find a kindred spirit in a young slave up for auction. Arin’s eyes seem to defy everything and everyone. Following her instinct, Kestrel buys him—with unexpected consequences. It’s not long before she has to hide her growing love for Arin.

But he, too, has a secret, and Kestrel quickly learns that the price she paid for a fellow human is much higher than she ever could have imagined.

Set in a richly imagined new world, The Winner’s Curse by Marie Rutkoski is a story of deadly games where everything is at stake, and the gamble is whether you will keep your head or lose your heart.
 

The Winners Curse is a beautiful book, the story of the Valorians and the Herrani had me hooked from the first page. The world building in this book is richly imagined, the politics, culture and history of this cleverly layered world is so vidid and well described.  Marie manages to paint us her setting in just a handful of words, making the story so vivid and beautiful it was like watching a play unfold in my mind - and an intense one at that. Her writing style is beautiful, so immersive and poetic, making the story not only brilliant overall but also sentence by sentence. 

Kestrel is a unique protagonist because her strength is internal and she relies on her intelligence and quick thinking over physical strength. She's sly, strategic and her love for music is heartwarming. She's a very likeable character, and when she buys Arin from the slave auction the story goes from strength to strength.




We are presented with two equally strong characters who have a deep connection, an undeniable chemistry, but cannot be together for reasons out of their control. The Winners Curse is the perfect blend of both character and plot driven story, making it very difficult to put down. But I wasn't just interested in the romance between Kestrel and Arin, I was invested in this battle between the Herrani and the Valorians, completely pulled into the politics and history of the world.  

This book was a rollercoaster of romance, betrayal, shifting alliances and power struggles. So, basically I loved it.



Okay, so I think I've gushed enough now, and if you are considering picking up this book I urge you to do so. It's one of those stories that gives you all the feels, and now is the perfect time to read them because you can go straight onto The Winners Crime. 

I gave The Winners Curse 5/5 stars, and I also filmed a video review on YouTube. 

Tuesday, 28 July 2015

Top Ten Tuesday: Ten Characters Who Are Fellow Book Nerds

Top Ten Tuesday is an original weekly feature created by The Broke and the Bookish. This weeks topic is top ten books you have acquired recently. To find out more about any of the books listed, just click the cover to be taken to the books Goodreads page. 

First of all, apologies for missing last weeks topic. I was poorly, and haven't had a chance to write these posts ahead of time. 

This week I have only included nine characters, because I didn't want to throw in a character I didn't love just for the sake of having ten, so-enjoy!




1. MacKayla, Darkfever by Karen Marie Moning
Adult Urban Fantasy
“I love books, by the way, way more than movies. Movies tell you what to think. A good book lets you choose a few thoughts for yourself.” 





2. Cath, Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell 
YA Contemporary
“To really be a nerd, she'd decided, you had to prefer fictional worlds to the real one.” 





3. Katy Swartz, Lux series by Jennifer L Armentrout
YA Paranormal Romance
“Dogeared pages were Antichrist of book lovers everywhere.” 






4. Charlie, The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky 
YA Contemporary
“It is now my favourite book of all time, but then again, I always think that until I read another book.” 




5. Alaska Young, Looking for Alaska by John Green
YA Contemporary
“When I look at my room, I see a girl who loves books.” 




6. Celaena Sardothien, Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas
YA Fantasy
“Libraries were full of ideas–perhaps the most dangerous and powerful of all weapons.” 




7. Tessa Gray - The Infernal Devices by Cassandra Clare
“One must always be careful of books," said Tessa, "and what is inside them, for words have the power to change us.” 



8. Will Herondale, The Infernal Devices by Cassandra Clare

“It was books that made me feel that perhaps I was not completely alone. They could be honest with me, and I with them.”



9. Juliette, Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi
“I spent my life folded between the pages of books.
In the absence of human relationships I formed bonds with paper characters."

Sarah Jane

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Monday, 27 July 2015

TEA AND TALK - PACKING UP THE BOOKS





This week has been all about packing up the books, every last one of them. I'm getting ready to move house, which means my mind has been busy with so many ideas for my 'creative room' as I'm calling it - a place to write, film, and create. I'm really excited about it, and I can't wait to show you guys. 

I finished A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J.Maas, and I'm feeling pretty conflicted. I enjoyed the last 30% or so, but overall it was pretty difficult to get into, because I felt like it lacked much of the 'hate turned to love' that you expect from a Beauty and the Beast retelling. However I loved the Faerie lore, it was really well done and I will definitely keep reading the series. But is Tamlin finding his way into my long list of bookish boyfriends? Nah. He just didn't do it for me, sorry guys. Have you read this book? Let me know your thoughts in the comments!




What I love to do with Tea and Talk is shine a light on YouTube videos that I've loved in the last week, and this week it absolutely has to go to the wonderful Emily Jean who is part of the Booktube community.






 She's awesome, I love her personality, her sass and her attitude. This week I watched her amazing video 'Tale of the TBR', and it had me in stitches. It's actually from December of last year, but when I was watching my lovely friend Sam from Thoughts On Tome's 'Booktuber Shoutouts Tag' she mentioned this video and since I'm a subscriber of Emily's anyway, I had to go check it out. Seriously, go watch. It's fantastic. Although, now I feel like all my books are talking to me, so I guess it's pretty good I've packed them all away.

I've just picked up The Bones of You by Debbie Howells, it's not my usual read but I've definitely got sucked into the plot and I'm really invested in the story already even though I'm only fifty pages in. PanMacmillan sent me this book for review, and I'm so excited to get further into the story.




What have you read this week? Any recommendations for me?

Sarah-Jane 

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Tuesday, 21 July 2015

TEA AND TALK - YALC. YALC. AND MORE YALC.



I fully intended to cosy up in my hotel room on Sunday night and compose a Tea and Talk dedicated to the wonderful weekend that was the Young Adult Literature Convention. I did. But sometimes you just need a bit of time to soak up all the awesome, and that's basically what I needed to do. Well, that and sleep. Lots and lots of sleep.

I had an amazing time, the convention was a mixture of panels, signings, workshops and talks and of course there was a lot of book shopping involved. A lot. I met up with friends, made new ones and got to meet some amazing authors. 

(L-R) Dawn Kurtagich, Sarah Churchill,
Lisa from City of YA Books and Sanne 
from booksandquills
One of the best things about YALC was meeting other Booktubers. On the Friday I saw Sanne from booksandquills over at Hot Key Books, and on Saturday I made sure to visit Sarah Churchill who was at the Penguin stand filming videos. I also met up with Lisa from City of YA Books and filmed a couple of collab videos for our channels, which I am really looking forward to editing! I also met the lovely Dawn Kurtagich, who is both Booktuber and author - and we also filmed a collab video in the midst of all the bustle of YALC! And of course I made sure to grab a copy of her debut novel The Dead House before it sold out.



Selfie time with Marie Rutkoski

In my last Tea and Talk I mentioned how much I was loving The Winners Curse by Marie Rutkoski, and since then I have also devoured The Winners Crime, and consequently fallen head over heels with Kestrel and Arin and their story. I'm new to Marie's books, but they have already found a way into my most favourite YA books of all time. I wish I'd read them sooner. During YALC I had the privilege of meeting and interviewing Marie and she is just wonderful. The interview will be up very soon, but in the meantime here's a couple of photos.






Meeting Cassandra Clare was one of the highlights, she admired my steampunk Shadowhunter necklace, and asked me about my blog. She was so friendly and I am so pleased I now have a signed Clockwork Princess and City of Bones - I'm smiling just thinking about it. I also had a copy of Clockwork Angel signed for a giveaway, so keep an eye out for that if you are a fan of The Infernal Devices.




I will of course write up a blog post with more in depth thoughts on YALC, but for now - I'll just say it was amazing and I am absolutely going back in 2016. Did you attend YALC? Let me know your highlights below! 

Sarah-Jane




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