Sunday, April 23, 2017

Book Review: "All About Mia" by Lisa Williamson

Title: All About Mia
Author: Lisa Williamson
Published: February 2nd, 2017
Publisher: David Fickling Books
Find the Author: Goodreads 

I received this book for review on my blog! As always, my reviews are fair and unbiased.

One family, three sisters.
GRACE, the oldest: straight-A student. 
AUDREY, the youngest: future Olympic swimming champion. 
And MIA, the mess in the middle. 

Mia is wild and daring, great with hair and selfies, and the undisputed leader of her friends – not attributes appreciated by her parents or teachers. 
When Grace makes a shock announcement, Mia hopes that her now-not-so-perfect sister will get into the trouble she deserves. 
But instead, it is Mia whose life spirals out of control – boozing, boys and bad behaviour – and she starts to realise that her attempts to make it All About Mia might put at risk the very things she loves the most.

First Thoughts
I first heard about Lisa on the bookish scene when The Art of Being Normal came out and even though it was high on my TBR list, I haven't quite got around to reading it. But when All About Mia arrived on my doorstep, something about it screamed READ ME, BECCA! I know that listening to that inner reader is always super important and even though it took me two months (really, Becca?!) I finally got around to delving into the pages.

Mia Mia Mia. What a character. When I first got into the book, I was worried I might not totally identify with her because she is a middle child and I am the youngest child of my family. But even though we were different in that aspect, I totally loved her character and her presence in the story and identified with her in other ways. Mia sometimes feels like the mess of her family - the one who doesn't have it all together. Her sisters; Grace (older than Mia and oh-so-perfect marks at School, never steps out of line) and Audrey (younger than Mia, destined to be an Olympic swimming genius), are totally different to her. Mia is outspoken and leads her friends into ambitious and creative ideas with carefree thoughts. She's a selfie queen, loves styling hair and is a shining and beautiful mess - but all her teachers and Parents see is the mess part. 
We all know a girl like Mia, or did at school. The girls who are loud and laughing and in your face. Mia should be unlikable, but it's part of those intricate ways of her personality that grows over the course of the book that make us love her. Grace, Mia's older sister, comes home one day with very abrupt news that sends All About Mia into a spiralling-out-of-control picture. It's when Mia finds that it's her time to shine, now that the attention is off her perfect sisters, that the truth about her raw character reveals itself. She isn't the overly confident and wild person we were led to believe, but hiding a host of feelings herself about being left out and unheard. 
If there's any book that did a complete 180' and made me totally question everything while I was reading, it would be this one. At first, I didn't know what to think of Mia, but by the end, I just wanted to tell her that she was going to be okay. This is the kind of book you need. I thoroughly adored the family points, the character development and of course, Mia. 5 stars completely!


Have you read All About Mia?

What did you think?

Let me know in the comments or on twitter @LittleMemoirs!

happy reading!
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Monday, April 17, 2017

Goodbye 20, Hello 21! AKA It's My Birthday!

Twenty One.
Another year older, maybe wiser, probably smarter and definitely more together. 
Today is my 21st Birthday. I don't feel that age, but I couldn't tell you what age I do feel, either. Some days I'm seventeen feeling lost, sometimes I'm thirty feeling like I've got everything under control and today, whether I feel it or not, I am twenty one years old. I'm probably getting ready right now, doing my make-up with some elaborate eyelashes and putting on my very springtime themed dress on my way to spending the day in England with my family. I'm writing this, two days before my birthday, completely emerged in the sunlight of the day and listening to my simple music on Spotify. Another year can bring anything, good and bad, but I hope that this new year for me brings some sunshine and sheds a little light on my life. But I have books, my most prized possessions, and my family and friends. 
That's all that I need. 
So, goodbye 20. Hello 21. It's very nice to meet you...

happy birthday me,
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Monday, April 10, 2017

Blog Tour: PERFECT by Cecelia Ahern (featuring a guest post by Cecelia!)

Title: Perfect (Flawed #2)
Author: Cecelia Ahern
Published: April 6th, 2017
Publisher: Harper Collins Children's Books
Find the Author: Goodreads 

I received this book for review on my blog! As always, my reviews are fair and unbiased.

The thrilling, shocking and romantic sequel to the bestselling YA debut FLAWED is finally here. When we embrace all our flaws, that’s when we can finally become PERFECT…

Celestine North lives in a society that demands perfection. After she was branded Flawed by a morality court, Celestine's life has completely fractured – all her freedoms gone.

Since Judge Crevan has declared her the number one threat to the public, she has been a ghost, on the run with the complicated, powerfully attractive Carrick, the only person she can trust. But Celestine has a secret – one that could bring the entire Flawed system crumbling to the ground.

Judge Crevan is gaining the upper hand, and time is running out for Celestine. With tensions building, Celestine must make a choice: save only herself, or risk her life to save all the Flawed. And, most important of all, can she prove that to be human in itself is to be Flawed…?

I am a HUGE fan of Cecelia's books, and have been since the day I read Where Rainbows End many years ago. Since then, her writing style has remained one of my all time favourites. I've always thought she fitted the Adult fiction world so flawlessly, but after reading Flawed last year, I knew she was a total contender to be a hit author in the YA league as well. I was so over the moon to be invited to be part of the Perfect tour that I actually did a small happy dance. 
Where we left off in Flawed, Celestine had a perfect life. She never put a foot out of place and was so well loved by everyone. So when she makes an impulsive decision when she encounters something she can't ignore, the remnants of her life turn upside down. She could now be found flawed and imprisoned. Now in Perfect, Celestine knows that the society she lives in, the one that requires absolute perfection, has turned her back on her after she was found flawed by the court. Everything in her life she knew like the back of her hand has been totally shattered. With a target on her back after being deemed a threat to their society, Celestine has gone on the run with the only person she can trust, Carrick, but that's just the beginning of what's going to happen to her life. Her secrets could bring an end to the entire Flawed reality, and faced with the options of rescuing herself or the entire Flawed, she knows that there's a thin line between being Flawed and just human. 
Perfect delivers an incredible follow up to Flawed. Not only does Cecelia's writing soar beautifully, but my expectations were exceeded and blown away. Celestine is a fresh, brave and intricately foolproof character. I love how not only did the story take some turns that surprised me (emotionally and powerfully), but the love triangle was effortlessly done. The romance in YA literature, especially utopian and dystopian, can sometimes be cliche and come undone, but Cecelia knows her way around a gorgeous romance highlight to a story and she wrote it brilliantly. 
Overall, Perfect was the perfect (pun intended) end to this duology. I thoroughly found it engrossing and a unique turn on the dystopian genre. Celestine was such a memorable character and until I picked Perfect up after reading Flawed last year, I forgot just how much I loved reading about her. Cecelia never fails to impress! 5 stars. 

Tips for World Building by Cecelia Ahern

I wrote Flawed in 6 weeks which is the fastest time I’ve ever written a novel. I felt so passionately about the story, it just flooded out. However I wrote it without there being a very strong sense of place.  I understood my character and the story but the first draft had no real feeling for where it was set.  During the editing process I went on a city break to Prague with my husband and as soon as I set foot in the city I realised I had found my world for Flawed and Perfect. While my novels are set in a fictional country named Humming, in the capital city Highland, the city has a history and aesthetic very similar to Prague. I loved that it had darkness but also a fairy tale quality.  It had so much history, it had experienced great turmoil and also had great beauty. From the medieval palace to the baroque bridges, its town square with the astronomical clock that reveals the Walk of the Apostles on the hour, ending with the figure of death ringing the hour, to its fairytale houses surrounding the palace, I knew I had found a place that fit Celestine’s town. A place that had suffered in the past, a modern city rich with history, that was dark and light, and had many stories to tell.

Cecelia Ahern was born and grew up in Dublin. She is now published in nearly fifty countries, and has sold over twenty-five million copies of her novels worldwide. Two of her books have been adapted as films and she has created several TV series.

What did you think of the Flawed series?

Let me know in the comments, by using #PerfectlyFlawed on social media and don't forget to stop by all the stops on this tour! I'm so honoured to be part of it.

happy reading!
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Thursday, April 06, 2017

The Sense of an Ending: Review & Comparison Spotlight

Title: The Sense of an Ending 
Author: Julian Barnes 
Published: August 4th, 2011
Publisher: Vintage
Find the Author: Goodreads 

I received this book for review/feature on my blog! As always, my reviews are fair and unbiased.

Tony Webster and his clique first met Adrian Finn at school. Sex-hungry and book-hungry, they would navigate the girl-less sixth form together, trading in affectations, in-jokes, rumour and wit. Maybe Adrian was a little more serious than the others, certainly more intelligent, but they all swore to stay friends for life.
Now Tony is retired. He's had a career and a single marriage, a calm divorce. He's certainly never tried to hurt anybody. Memory, though, is imperfect. It can always throw up surprises, as a lawyer's letter is about to prove.

The Sense of an Ending 
Hello, book lovers! Today I'm talking about the great read that is The Sense of an Ending. If you've been at the movies recently, or watching trailers on YouTube, you might have seen the movie adaption on the big screen (which by any means looks like an amazing film). Or if you were a fan from the very start when it was just a book, you might have been waiting anxiously to see it played out by famous faces Jim Broadbent, Charlotte Rampling, Harriet Walter, Michelle Dockery, Freya Mavor, Billy Howle and Joe Alwyn. 
I just finished reading the book that bounced onto the scene in 2011, and without a doubt can see what the hype is about. I usually steer toward YA, but this was a totally refreshing and welcomed change. Today I'm going to do a review of the book and talk a little about the comparison between the book and the movie and share a little about it. 

After watching the trailer for The Sense of an Ending, I had only high expectations for the book. I knew that there would be some differences as with all book-to-movie adaptions and since I hadn't watched the film, only the trailer, I could go into it with fresh new eyes. Tony Webster is quite the character. When he meets Adrian at school, in the past portion of the short novel, they become fast friends. Through their teenage years, they get up to all sorts of mayhem and trudge their way through inside jokes and fun times together - but something happens that throws all those good times to the dirt - and it changes both their lives, and the people around them, forever.
Adrian was always the smart, consistent one. But after Tony and Veronica, whom they were both friends with in the past portion of the novel, break up after a year of dating, Adrian starts dating Veronica. Tony, feeling a dwelling of betrayal and mixture of feelings inside, drunkenly decides to write them both an angry letter. 
But what we know as the reader could ultimately be due to an unreliable narrator and repression of the past, because sometimes, we don't want to remember the things that happened in the correct way that they did, all because we think: we have time to fix them, which is in my opinion the true moral of the story. 
I thoroughly devoured and adored The Sense of an Ending. Without giving too much away, because Pretty Little Memoirs is a strictly no spoilers zone (unless disclosed beforehand) this book is a total game-changer that's thought-provoking, witty and incredibly powerful at twisting the past and present into a life meaning lesson. It was warm, absorbing, careful and reckless at the same time, filled with multidimensional characters and a story that begged to be told. Julian Barnes is a brilliant storyteller and I can't wait to watch the movie and become an even bigger fan. Five stars completely!

Watch the trailer yourself to know just what I'm talking about:

The Sense of an Ending is out in UK cinemas 14 April.

As you can see, this novel-to-movie looks incredible, doesn't it? 
The Sense of an Ending movie is directed by Ritesh Batra and based upon the screenplay by Nick Payne and the book by Julian Barnes (did I mention it won the Booker Prize?!). 
The movie description differs a little from the book description, but we're still following the life of Tony Webster, divorced and retired who lives a lonely and quiet life. He quickly learns that the mother of his university girlfriend, Veronica, left in her will a diary kept by his best friend, who dated Veronica after they parted ways. Tony’s quest to recover the diary, now in Veronica’s possession, forces him to revisit his flawed recollections of his friends and of his younger self. As he digs deeper into his past, it all starts to come back; the first love, the broken heart, the deceit, the regrets, the guilt... Can Tony bear to face the truth and take responsibility for the devastating consequences of actions he took so long ago?
Some book-to-movie adaptions can be clear cut the same, with minimal differences and still play out wonderfully. But then, there are certain people who would argue that to make the film a hit and success, it must be unique and different to the book to really stand out. I think that the rule can differ, personally. When it comes to adaptions like Gone Girl or Divergent, they stayed relatively the same. Knowing that The Sense of an Ending played a more emotional and touching adaption sounds like it would attract a wider and differing audience. 

In the book, Tony remembers incidents over and over, whereas in the movie he recalls certain memories from his past but knows that his versions have been manipulated as time has passed by. Unreliability in a main character has always attracted my attention because that in itself is a mystery, trying to pick out the truth from the fabricated and I think that the movie has stayed true to this from watching the trailer and hearing the notes from the screening. 

Overall, I think that the book-to-movie has been done beautifully and I think that they picked the perfect people to play the parts of the characters, particularly Tony and Veronica. When you read a book, you always have this vision of who they would be or what they would look like, and for me this rang true and the characters did look very similar in my imagination! I've watched the trailer over and over (maybe I broke the re-play button) and I can say that it's going to be one of the best British films this year.

What do you think of The Sense of an Ending?

Have you read the book?

Let me know in the comments your thoughts! The movie is out April 14th and it's definitely one to watch.

 happy reading!
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Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Fancy Winning Some Books?

I know I love a giveaway, which is why I love to surprise my readers whenever I can and do some spur of the moment Giveaways! Since the success of my last giveaway was immense and you all were so lovely and kind, I thought it was only about time to do another to kick off Springtime. 
Last time, I opened my twitter giveaway to UK residents and my Instagram giveaway to everyone worldwide. But this time, both Giveaways are open WORLDWIDE for all my readers! I know you're all from various countries around the world and since my birthday is creeping up on the 17th of April, I was feeling in a celebratory mood. 

You can enter my twitter giveaway here and my instagram giveaway here

Good luck!

happy reading!
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Wednesday, March 22, 2017

What I'm Reading This Spring

Springtime is truly the season of new beginnings. The flowers start to bloom again after a weltering winter and slowly but steadily, my bookshelf has yet again become cluttered with new reads in the BEST possible way. I was a Spring baby, born just in the off middle of April on a Wednesday (full of woe, some might say) and every year, I truly embrace the fresh start of Springtime. So, this year I thought why not make it a BLOG thing? 
So in the name of book blogging, I've compiled a list of a few (can you imagine if I listed them ALL?) books I either own, want to read, or am expecting this Spring! Let me know if I've missed any of your highly awaited Spring reads - I love to get and give book recommendations! 

I've heard nothing but incredible things about Caraval, a novel that seems to be sweeping the YA world like a beautiful storm. I recently bought it (it had one of those hidden hardcover things with a slipcase and hidden indented design that was GORGEOUS) and I posted a very bookstagram style post about it over on instagram. This one is very high on my Spring TBR!

Emery Lord is a shining example of perfection and realistic, powerful storytelling. The Names They Gave Us is my current read and it's SO GOOD. It deals with friendship, love and loss and so beautifully and carefully. I'm always in awe of her books and if this isn't on your Spring TBR, you need to add it! 

FLOWER POWER. Okay, but seriously, what better name for a book to read in Spring? I picked this one up last month and then started reading something else but I think I'm ready to delve back into it. It's a light, YA contemporary with some love and life dilemmas and from the few chapters I read, it was one of those kind of reads that's fun and momentary with hints of what's to come buried in the storyline. 

I'm mentally kicking myself that I haven't started this one yet. I got it for review and I NEED to read it - the cover is calling me to open the pages already! Lisa wrote the inspiring novel The Art Of Being Normal, which unless you've been living under a pile of books, was (and still is) a HUGELY successful and amazing story. This book is next on my Spring TBR and I really, really, really can't wait.

Since this one doesn't have a cover as of yet available on Goodreads, I've inserted the lovely ARC picture that I took on my Instagram page! Show Stopper is set to be a hugely popular YA book set in near-future England where poor people sell their children to the circus! How insane (yet also intriguing) is that?! 

So there you have just a pinch of the titles on my Spring TBR this year! I'll be keeping my twitter and instagram loaded with my new reads and releases so be sure to stop by my pages if a Bookish Giveaway is your kind of thing? (Hint: watch this space this week!)

happy reading!
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Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Book Review: Allegedly by Tiffany D. Jackson

Title: Allegedly 
Author: Tiffany D. Jackson
Published: January 24th, 2017
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Find the Author: Goodreads 

I received this book for review on my blog! As always, my reviews are fair and unbiased.
Mary B. Addison killed a baby.

Allegedly. She didn’t say much in that first interview with detectives, and the media filled in the only blanks that mattered: A white baby had died while under the care of a churchgoing black woman and her nine-year-old daughter. The public convicted Mary and the jury made it official. But did she do it? She wouldn’t say.

Mary survived six years in baby jail before being dumped in a group home. The house isn’t really “home”—no place where you fear for your life can be considered a home. Home is Ted, who she meets on assignment at a nursing home.

There wasn’t a point to setting the record straight before, but now she’s got Ted—and their unborn child—to think about. When the state threatens to take her baby, Mary must find the voice to fight her past. And her fate lies in the hands of the one person she distrusts the most: her Momma. No one knows the real Momma. But who really knows the real Mary?
First Thoughts
Nothing had looked more inviting to me at midnight than Allegedly on my TBR shelf and since I was so, so behind on reading and reviewing because I've been hectically busy (sorry, world!) I thought it would be a perfect read to get back into the reading habit. The premise of Allegedly looked edgy and mysterious.

As I began delving into Allegedly, I realised why I love reading books and started this blog in the first place. Mary is this flawed, striking character with a complicated past that begs the question of what kind of society we live in. As a child, Mary was accused and locked away for supposedly killing a baby when she was caring for it with her ill Mother. Over the years, Mary has developed a thick skin for the way her life has been unlike normal girls. She's been kept in a sort of seclusion that she calls baby jail until she's moved into a group home. Whenever she questions why she's there in the first place, no one will answer her pleas. She constantly lives in the dark, waiting for someone to shed a little light on her and pull her out of the box she has been put into, because: Mary and her mother are Black, and were looking after a White baby. The media had portrayed them wrongly, and because of her hushed interview with detectives those years ago, they had filled in the missing information with what they assumed.
Now, Mary knows more than ever that she doesn't want to live like this anymore. After meeting Ted on an assignment, she knows he's the one that she wants, now more so that she's expecting a baby. But when they tell Mary that her baby will be adopted and taken from her, she knows she's got a fight on her hands if she wants to be happy and keep her child. Still, fighting their decision means facing the person she can't stand, her Mother, and she's going to have to delve into the past and the real her to reveal what really happened.
Allegedly is one gem of a read. It's gritty, thought provoking and honest. It's not shy of telling it how realistically life really is and how vicious the media can be without knowing the details. In this dark, raw read there existed Mary, this intriguing and powerful YA voice that begged to be heard. Her experience made me sad and mad, and sad again. There was more than just one twist (and one nearer the end that was totally unexpected) and the pace was steady enough to keep my attention throughout. I finished this mid-early morning, thanks to my insomnia, but that night I knew that Allegedly had just made those hours I couldn't sleep tolerable. 
Overall, Allegedly is a five star firecracker that's the definition of real. The characters, friendships, and sheer power of the premise was mind-blowing and it's a book to make you really think about what you just read. Truly amazing. 

Perfect For:
Everyone who enjoys YA books. 


Have you read Allegedly?

What did you think?

Let me know in the comments or on twitter @LittleMemoirs!

happy reading!
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