BLOG TOUR: The Great Unexpected by Dan Mooney

BLOG TOUR: The Great Unexpected by Dan Mooney

Hello lovelies!

I usually post my book reviews on a Sunday but as I’m taking part in the Blog Tour for The Great Unexpected by Dan Mooney, you’re getting an extra review this week!

I would like to start by saying thank you to NetGalley and Legend Press, the publishers of this book, for sending me a Kindle version to read in exchange for an honest review.

This is my first ever Blog Tour on The Girl with All the Books and I’m so excited to be involved! I have been extremely lucky so far with the ARCs I have requested and read an The Great Unexpected was no exception.

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GoodReads Synopsis:

“If you’re going to end it, you better make it big. No slipping off bridges, it’s undignified for men of our vintage. Go big or don’t bother.”

Joel lives in a nursing home and he’s not one bit happy about it. He doesn’t like being told when to eat, when to sleep, when to take his pills. In fact, he doesn’t like living at all, and he’s decided he’s going to end his life on his terms.

When he tells retired soap-actor Frank about his dark plan, Frank urges him to go out with a bang. Together, they embark on a mission to find the perfect suicide, and along the way, discover the strength of friendship when you really feel alone.”

My Thoughts:

This book was beautiful but heart-breaking, which, let’s be honest, all the great books are. The absurdity of the plot tied with the outrageous, yet lovable characters worked perfectly, and the well-timed humour softened the edges of the serious topic.

As you will have read in the synopsis, Joel Monroe has decided he is going to commit suicide. His new and extravagant friend Frank de Selby has decided he is going to help him. For Joel this means trying to decide what he should wear to the occasion, a football shirt, his pyjamas or maybe just a nice suit? For Frank this is an opportunity to show Joel that his life is worth living. The two are the most unlikely friends yet they are perfectly matched, and I could not stop my self from smiling when reading the scenes where they bicker back and forth or where they go out clubbing with Joel’s young grandchildren. (Yes, you read that right. Clubbing!)

If you love a book with a quirky story and exceptionally well-developed characters, then this is the one for you. Joel Monroe broke my heart into pieces several times. He was infuriating yet lovable and Mooney captured such raw emotion in his character that brought me close to tears at times. It also made me think differently towards my grandparents, particularly my amazing 92-year-old grandmother who has herself complained to me about the lack of independence she has. I have seen my family treat her like a child and like Joel, I have seen her act like a child in response but now I feel like I understand her position a bit better.

My favourite thing about this book was that no character seemed to just be there to assist a plot line. They were all so well-crafted and multi-dimensional and they each brought something different to the story. This for me worked particularly well with the staff at the nursing home where Joel is living. They could all just be name tags mentioned in the escapades of Joel and Frank, but Mooney gives them all a back story. It is the little things like this that make this book feel like such a well rounded and full story.

If you have read any of my other blog posts you will know that I am a huge fan of Frederick Backman (I mention him in at least 50% of my posts). The Great Unexpected reminded me so much of the type of genius yet crazy stories that Backman comes up with and also another favourite author of mine, Jonas Jonasson. This is a huge compliment coming from me as these are 2 of my go-to authors. I wouldn’t hesitate to pick up one of their books and I after The Great Unexpected, I would definitely read more of Mooney’s writing.

The Great Unexpected is out now and if you’re interesting in reading this lovely book (which I hope you are after this glowing review) then you can buy it here.

If you want to hear more from this author, then follow him on twitter @danielmoonbags

Thanks for reading! Do you like the sound of this book? Let me know in the comments below!

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TAG: The Unique Blogger Award

TAG: The Unique Blogger Award

Hi Lovelies,

I would like to start this post by saying thank you to the lovely Brianna at Brianna the Bookworm for tagging me in this award. and for providing such great questions!

Rules

  • Display the award!
  • Thank the person who nominated you and post a link to their blog on your blog.
  • Answer the questions they’ve written for you!
  • Nominate 8-13 bloggers and give them three questions in the spirit of sharing love and solidarity within our blogging family!

 

Brianna’s Questions:

  1. What are three of your all-time favourite books?

Such a hard question! If I HAD to choose I would go for Alice in Wonderland, The Hunger Games and The Hobbit.

  1. Do you prefer e-books or physical copies?

Definitely physical copies! I have a Kindle which was really useful when I was travelling and couldn’t carry too many books but nothing will ever beat the feel of having a real book in your hands and turning the pages over.

  1. If you could meet one author, who would you choose and why?

This is such an interesting one! I think I would choose Fredrick Backman as I am his self-proclaimed number one fan but if I had a time machine I’d definitely say Tolkien.

 

My Questions:

  1. Who is your biggest fictional crush?
  2. What is one of your favourite book covers? (Post a picture if you can!)
  3. What is your favourite quote from a book that you’ve read?

 

I nominate: Izzy at Thinking and Inking, Sophie at Sophie Ismaa Writes, Kaniz at Tale of a Bookworm, Jenna at Bookmark your Thoughts, Nicole at The Bookworm Drinketh , Bookread2day and anyone else who would like to take part and answer my questions!

(No pressure if you can’t/don’t want to do the tag!)

Thanks for reading! I hope you’ve enjoyed this post, let me know what you thought in the comments below!

Top 10 Tuesdays: Top 10 Non-Fiction Books I Want to Read

Top 10 Tuesdays: Top 10 Non-Fiction Books I Want to Read

Hi lovelies!

Welcome back to another Top 10 Tuesday post!

This meme is hosted by Jana @ That Artsy Reader Girl. It features a different book related topic each week and this week weeks topic was a back to school freebie so I decided to go with the Top 10 Non-Fiction Books I Want To Read.

I keep saying I want to read more non-fiction so I’m hoping that this post will inspire me to actually start doing just that! Let’s get started…

  1. Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People About Race by Reni Eddo-Lodge

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  1. Natives by Akala

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  1. Everyday Sexism by Laura Bates

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  1. This Is Going to Hurt by Adam Kay

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  1. Talking as Fast as I Can by Lauren Graham

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  1. Reasons to Stay Alive by Matt Haig

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  1. We’re Going to Need More Wine by Gabrielle Union

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  1. Sapiens by Yuval Noah Harari

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  1. The Good Immigrant by Nikesh Shukla

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  1. Bad Blood by John Carreyrou

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Thanks for reading! Have you read any of these? What are some of your favourite non-fiction reads? Let me know in the comments below!

REVIEW: The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

REVIEW: The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

Hi lovelies!

Today’s review is on The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas. I have wanted to read this for so long and it was so worth the wait!

 

Good Reads Synopsis:

“Sixteen-year-old Starr Carter moves between two worlds: the poor neighborhood where she lives and the fancy suburban prep school she attends. The uneasy balance between these worlds is shattered when Starr witnesses the fatal shooting of her childhood best friend Khalil at the hands of a police officer. Khalil was unarmed.

Soon afterward, his death is a national headline. Some are calling him a thug, maybe even a drug dealer and a gangbanger. Protesters are taking to the streets in Khalil’s name. Some cops and the local drug lord try to intimidate Starr and her family. What everyone wants to know is: what really went down that night? And the only person alive who can answer that is Starr.

But what Starr does or does not say could upend her community. It could also endanger her life.”

 

My Thoughts:

With every book that has such a huge following and buzz around it, there is always that doubt and worry that you won’t enjoy it. I think honest reviews are important, but I don’t like telling people I didn’t enjoy a book, especially one that so many people love.

Luckily for me, this book lives up to the hype. I would even go as far to say it surpasses the hype and I really don’t feel like I have the words to do this book justice. The Hate U Give is hands down, one of the best books I’ve read this year and potentially one of the best books I’ve read ever.

Watching Starr trying to figure out what she was going through, what she felt and how she would react to the situation was so powerful. The characters and the storyline were so well crafted and developed that the book became one of those unique fiction novels that is so real that it could be a non-fiction autobiography.

Whilst I was reading THUG, I was scrolling down my Facebook one evening and came across a news video of a police shooting of an unarmed black man in America. In the video, the family were making an emotional plea for justice and everyone stood around in T-shirts with the young man’s face and name on it. I had just read the part in THUG where Khalil’s friends and family show up to his funeral in t-shirts just like the ones on the video and just like that and it hit me how this fictional story is actually so many people’s reality.

I think that’s where this book stands out for me. It is a difficult read at times because of how close to reality it is. Fiction for many people is a way to make sense of the world and emotions both in writing and reading. It allows you to explore different scenarios and even create a world that you’d like to see but Thomas doesn’t give her readers this. There is no happy ending or justice for Khalil because that is unrealistic. On any given day you could scroll down your twitter feed and see some kind of news story or post about police brutality against black people in America. There is the same uproar every time and there are hundreds of tweets and posts calling for justice, but it just never comes. Those responsible are never held accountable and the cycle continues. I think it was so necessary and brave for Thomas to stick to reality with her ending. Obviously as a reader I wanted a different verdict and I wanted to believe that justice can be found, even if it is in a fictional world but I recognise the importance of the verdict and the lack of that resolution.

I also want to include some of my favourite quotes which I don’t normally do in my reviews but I’m making an exception for THUG! These are just a few quotes that stuck with me:

 

“Sometimes you can do everything right and things will still go wrong. The key is to never stop doing right.”

 

“Brave doesn’t mean you’re not scared. It means you go on even though you’re scared.”

 

“Fairy tale? No. But I’m not giving up on a better ending.”

 

THUG is one of those reads that will stay with me forever. I’m so glad I finally picked this up and I can’t wait for the film to be released!

 

Thanks for reading! Have you read THUG? Let me know what you thought of it in the comments below!

The Sunshine Blogger Award

The Sunshine Blogger Award

Hello, lovelies!

I hope you’re all having a lovely week so far.

Thank you so much to the lovely Lena May at Lena May Books for nominating me for the Sunshine Blogger Award and for thinking of such great questions!

 

 What is the sunshine blogger award?

The Sunshine Blogger Award is given to bloggers by other bloggers who are creative, inspiring, and radiate positivity.

(I’m not sure who started the award so I’m sorry I can’t give anyone the credit!)

 

The rules are:

  • Thank the blogger who nominated you and link their blog, so others can find them.
  • Answer the 11 questions which the blogger who nominated you asked.
  • Nominate 11 bloggers and ask them 11 different questions.
  • List the rules and display the Sunshine blogger award logo in your post and/or on your blog site

 

Lena’s 11 Questions:

  1. Where do you write the majority of your blog posts from?

I write the majority of my posts from either my bedroom or cuddle up on the sofa with a brew

 

  1. How long does it typically take you to write a post? Edit it?

It usually doesn’t take me too long to write a post as I’m so excited I can’t seem to type fast enough but editing can take a little longer.

 

  1. What is your go-to drink or snack while writing?

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I kind of answered this one already but I have to have a brew (cup of tea for all you non-brits) when I’m blogging.

 

  1. What inspired you to start your blog?

It was actually my family members, friends, and boyfriend who all kept telling me that I should start reviewing the books I read seeing as I got through so many and I eventually listened to them.

 

  1. What is your five-year plan?

I don’t even have a one-year plan haha! I’m not one for planning, I like to see what happens and where life takes me.

 

  1. If you were to write an autobiography what would the title be?

Such a good question! I think it would be the same as my blog title, ‘The Girl With All The Books’ as that just sums me up perfectly!

 

  1. What are your guilty pleasures?

I have so many but definitely sweets and awful teen high school/romance films

 

  1. If you could travel anywhere in the world where would you go and why?

I love traveling and one place I’d really love to visit is Iceland

 

  1. If you could meet anyone dead or alive who would you like to meet?

Anne Boleyn. I’ve had the same answer since I was quite young. I think she is such an interesting and complex historical figure.

 

  1. How long have you been blogging?

Only since June so I’m a relatively new blogger!

 

  1. What do you do when you are not blogging?

Read…

…don’t worry I do more than read! I work full time and when I’m not working or blogging I spend time with my boyfriend, friends and I love visiting my 92-year-old grandma and doing jigsaw puzzles with her.

 

Thanks again to Lena for the great questions! I nominate Brianna at Brianna The Bookworm, Sara at The Bibliophagist, Trisha at Tale of a Bookworm,  Rebecca at Rebecca Reads and Izzy at Thinking and Inking

(Don’t worry, there’s no pressure to do the tag!)

 

My 11 Questions:

  1. What inspired you to start your blog?
  2. What is your favourite thing about blogging?
  3. Are you a dog or a cat person?
  4. What is your favourite song or lyric?
  5. If you could be one character from a book or film for a day, who would it be?
  6. What is your greatest fear?
  7. If you could live in one era of history, which era would you choose?
  8. What is the most beautiful place you’ve ever visited?
  9. How long have you been blogging?
  10. What is your favourite book of all time? (I know this is a hard one, so I’ll let you pick top 3 haha)
  11. Who are some of your favourite bloggers? (I want to spread the sunshine with this question!)

 

Thanks for reading! I know I nominated some specific people but if there is anybody else who wants to answer my questions please feel free!

Top 5 Tuesday: Top 5 LGBTQ Books

Top 5 Tuesday: Top 5 LGBTQ Books

Hello, lovelies!

Welcome back to another Top 5 Tuesday! If you aren’t familiar with Top 5 Tuesday, it is a group here on WordPress now currently run by Shanah over at BionicBookWorm, where each week you are given a topic and you talk about 5 books that fit that category.

This week’s topic is Top 5 LGBTQ Books but I have decided to slightly change this and instead, this will be a post about the top 5 LGBTQ books that I really want to read!  I have so many LGBTQ books on my TBR that I still haven’t gotten around to reading so I am hoping that this post will inspire me to pick some of these up.

If you are also participating in Top 5 Tuesdays this week or you have previously done a post on a great LGBTQ book, then please leave your link in the comments and I will check out your post!

Let’s get started…

 

  1. Noah Can’t Even by Simon James Green

 

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“Poor Noah Grimes! His father disappeared years ago, his mother’s Beyonce tribute act is an unacceptable embarrassment, and his beloved gran is no longer herself. He only has one friend, Harry, and school is…Well, it’s pure HELL. Why can’t Noah be normal, like everyone else at school? Maybe if he struck up a romantic relationship with someone – maybe Sophie, who is perfect and lovely – he’d be seen in a different light? But Noah’s plans are derailed when Harry kisses him at a party. That’s when things go from bad to utter chaos.”

 

  1. The Miseducation of Cameron Post by Emily M. Danforth

 

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“When Cameron Post’s parents die suddenly in a car crash, her shocking first thought is relief. Relief they’ll never know that, hours earlier, she had been kissing a girl.

But that relief doesn’t last, and Cam is soon forced to move in with her conservative aunt Ruth and her well-intentioned but hopelessly old-fashioned grandmother. She knows that from this point on, her life will forever be different. Survival in Miles City, Montana, means blending in and leaving well enough alone (as her grandmother might say), and Cam becomes an expert at both.

Then Coley Taylor moves to town. Beautiful, pickup-driving Coley is a perfect cowgirl with the perfect boyfriend to match. She and Cam forge an unexpected and intense friendship–one that seems to leave room for something more to emerge. But just as that starts to seem like a real possibility, ultrareligious Aunt Ruth takes drastic action to “fix” her niece, bringing Cam face-to-face with the cost of denying her true self–even if she’s not exactly sure who that is.”

 

  1. They Both Die at The End by Adam Silvera

 

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“On September 5, a little after midnight, Death-Cast calls Mateo Torrez and Rufus Emeterio to give them some bad news: They’re going to die today.

Mateo and Rufus are total strangers, but, for different reasons, they’re both looking to make a new friend on their End Day. The good news: There’s an app for that. It’s called the Last Friend, and through it, Rufus and Mateo are about to meet up for one last great adventure—to live a lifetime in a single day.”

 

  1. Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Sáenz

 

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“Aristotle is an angry teen with a brother in prison. Dante is a know-it-all who has an unusual way of looking at the world. When the two meet at the swimming pool, they seem to have nothing in common. But as the loners start spending time together, they discover that they share a special friendship—the kind that changes lives and lasts a lifetime. And it is through this friendship that Ari and Dante will learn the most important truths about themselves and the kind of people they want to be.”

 

 

  1. We Are Okay by Nina LaCour

 

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“Marin hasn’t spoken to anyone from her old life since the day she left everything behind. No one knows the truth about those final weeks. Not even her best friend, Mabel. But even thousands of miles away from the California coast, at college in New York, Marin still feels the pull of the life and tragedy she’s tried to outrun. Now, months later, alone in an emptied dorm for winter break, Marin waits. Mabel is coming to visit, and Marin will be forced to face everything that’s been left unsaid and finally confront the loneliness that has made a home in her heart.”

 

Thanks for reading! Have you read any of these? What are some of you’re favourite LGBTQ reads? Let me know in the comments below!

REVIEW: All The Bright Places – Jennifer Niven

REVIEW: All The Bright Places – Jennifer Niven

WARNING: This review contains spoilers and references to suicide and mental illness

Hello, lovelies!

It’s Sunday and that means its review day! Today’s review is on All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven (currently being made into a film starring Justice Smith and Elle Fanning!) I actually read this book a few months ago but never got around to posting my review but better late than never! Unfortunately, this isn’t going to be the most cheery of reviews as this book deals with some serious topics. If you didn’t notice the warning above, this review will contain references to suicide and mental illness so please bare this in mind before reading.

 

Synopsis:

Theodore Finch is fascinated by death, and he constantly thinks of ways he might kill himself. But each time, something good, no matter how small, stops him.

 Violet Markey lives for the future, counting the days until graduation, when she can escape her Indiana town and her aching grief in the wake of her sister’s recent death.

 When Finch and Violet meet on the ledge of the bell tower at school, it’s unclear who saves whom. And when they pair up on a project to discover the “natural wonders” of their state, both Finch and Violet make more important discoveries: It’s only with Violet that Finch can be himself—a weird, funny, live-out-loud guy who’s not such a freak after all. And it’s only with Finch that Violet can forget to count away the days and start living them. But as Violet’s world grows, Finch’s begins to shrink.

 

Thoughts:

I have wanted to read this book for so long and after constantly picking it up and putting it down in every bookshop I went in, I finally purchased it mid supermarket shop in Asda of all places. I started reading it as soon as I got home, and I couldn’t put it down. I did want to do this review without spoilers, but I couldn’t find a way to do this book justice without mentioning specifics.

Jennifer Niven sums up All the Bright Places best with the line included on the front cover of the book. It is ‘the story of a girl who learns to live from a boy who wants to die’. It is an opposites-attract love story that paves the way for important conversation about mental health and its effects, specifically in young people.

I really loved the dual narrative Niven used throughout the book. I’ve always loved this approach to writing as I think it adds something to the book to hear the story from different characters perspectives. It was particularly effective in this book as it allowed us to see how mental illness affects people in different ways. Finch and Violet are both struggling with mental health issues and they both find themselves on top of the school’s bell tower contemplating their lives. This event changes both of their lives but not always for the better.

In Violet’s narrative, we see her mental health slowly start to improve. She has Finch to talk to, someone to listen and to care and understand which is essential in her making it out of that dark place. Finch on the other hand still seems to sink further and further into himself and his illness because he is unable to talk about it which ultimately results in his tragic suicide. The dual narrative allows the reader to actually feel Finch’s absence through the silencing of his voice after he takes his own life, we only hear Violet’s voice and this leaves a powerful impression on the reader.

I also liked the way that Niven used a lot of common tropes that are often found in YA fiction but in an extremely clever way that allowed her to comment on the effects of mental illness. The popular girl falls for an unpopular boy is a well known and arguably tired plot line that is so frequently used that it had me rolling my eyes when I first started reading but I was definitely too quick to judge. Niven doesn’t use this to sell the love story, she’s using it to show how anyone can be affected by mental illness. Violet is loved by everyone and Finch is the outcast, yet both are struggling.

There is also the trope of the ‘mean girl’ Amanda that Niven powerfully turns on its head when Finch goes to a suicide support group after attempting to take his life and sees Amanda there. I loved this for 2 reasons, the first being it shows that everyone has their own cross to bare and the second being that it shows the other side of mental illness. Amanda has survived. She struggled like Finch and Violet and she has made it through like Violet does. This was really important for me in the book, I think it definitely needed that hope and light at the end of the tunnel.

“The thing I realise is, that it’s not what you take, it’s what you leave.” 

I think the best thing that this book does overall is not to show suicide as a selfish or cowardly thing to do. Niven really shows how much Finch is struggling. She writes about it so powerfully that you can understand the reason why he wanted to take his own life. There is little done to help Finch by the adults around him including those at school. He doesn’t get the help and the support that he desperately needs and so his illness becomes too much for him to deal with which is sadly what happens to a lot of people who take their own lives. There is just not the resources and support to help people, especially young people who are often disregarded as being hormonal or just moody. This is where this book really resonated with me.

I think it’s extremely important that so many YA authors are tackling the issue of mental health in their novels. In the UK, approximately 1 in 4 people will experience a mental health problem each year with statistics suggesting that 50% of mental health problems are established by age 14 and 75% by age 24*. The more this is recognised, and the more action is taken to provide the resources and support that is so desperately needed for people of all ages and genders, the more that people like Finch won’t think that suicide is their only way out of their illness.

 

Thanks for reading! Have you read this book? Let me know what you thought of it in the comments below!

 

If you have been affected by anything I have mentioned in my review, then please check out the following links for support: 

https://www.mind.org.uk/

https://www.samaritans.org/

 

 

*https://www.mind.org.uk/information-support/types-of-mental-health-problems/statistics-and-facts-about-mental-health/how-common-are-mental-health-problems/#.W3lov-hKjIU

https://www.mentalhealth.org.uk/statistics/mental-health-statistics-children-and-young-people