Mini Review: Happier Thinking by Lana Grace Riva

Mini Review: Happier Thinking by Lana Grace Riva

Hello, lovelies!

I hope you’re all having a great week!

I’m switching things up on my blog this week with an extra mini review on Happier Thinking by Lana Grace Riva. I must start by saying a massive thank you to Lana for sending me a copy of this book in an exchange for an honest review.

Lana describes her short but lovely little book in the following words:

‘Changing how you think is possible. I wasn’t always so sure that was true until I experienced it myself, but I know now we don’t have to just accept unhappiness. Not always anyway. This book is my collection of tips and suggestions that have helped me achieve happier thinking. It’s sort of a gym for my mind. I’d love to tell you it was easier than the real gym but well… it’s not really. It takes time, effort, and practice but it’s absolutely well worth the rewards.’

 

My Thoughts:

I want to start by saying that this definitely is not one of those preachy self-help books. Reading through ‘Happier Thinking’ is like having a conversation with Lana herself. The tone is warm, inviting and honest which is refreshing in a book like this. I don’t read many books like this but I know that this has become more of a favoured approach by authors with the likes of Fern Cotton and Matt Haig writing more relaxed and open self-help style books that are promoting a more active attitude towards positive mental health.

 

What I loved the most about this short read is that I already know it is something I can go back to time and time again. If I’m struggling or feeling down I can carry it with my bag and easily pick it up and start reading some of Lana’s reassuring words to help me feel better. I am not saying that this book is going to cure depression or anxiety but it might help people to cope with some of the symptoms and even if you don’t struggle with mental health issues, this book still has lots to offer.

 

You can find out more about Lana and her book here and ‘Happier Thinking’ is available to buy on Amazon now. 

Thanks for reading! Have you read any self-help books like this before that you would recommend? Let me know 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

Hello, lovelies!

Welcome to another Top 10 Tuesday! It’s been a while since I’ve taken part as the past few weeks I’ve been doing Top 5 Tuesdays but I thought I’d switch it up a bit.

If you’re not familiar with Top 10 Tuesday, it’s hosted by Jana @ That Artsy Reader Girl and features a different book related topic each week. This week weeks topic is the ‘Top 10 books by my favourite authors that I still haven’t read’.

I don’t have that many favourite authors as I read so many different books and genres so some of these are just books by authors whose other books I have enjoyed.

If you’re also taking part in this weeks Top 10 Tuesday or if you’ve done a similar post in the past then please leave a link to your post in the comments and I’ll check it out.

 

  1. Us Against You by Frederik Backman

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  1. Britt Marie Was Here by Frederick Backman

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  1. Every Day by David Leviathan

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  1. Two Boys Kissing by David Leviathan

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  1. Rich People Problems by Kevin Kwan

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  1. Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng

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  1. Pride & Prejudice by Jane Austin

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  1. Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte

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  1. Spinning Silver by Naomi Novik

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  1. The Sun is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon

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Thanks for reading! If you’ve read any of these books or have any books by a favourite author that you’re yet to read then let me know in the comments below!

REVIEW: In a Dark, Dark Wood by Ruth Ware

REVIEW: In a Dark, Dark Wood by Ruth Ware

Hello, lovelies!

I hope you’re having a lovely weekend! This week has been a busy one for me, so I haven’t had as much time to dedicate to blogging as I would have liked. I turned 24 on Wednesday so I’ve been celebrating with friends and family (and lots of amazing food!)

Its back to business this week starting with this short review of Ruth Ware’s best-selling thriller In a Dark, Dark Wood.

 

GoodReads Synopsis:

Nora hasn’t seen Clare for ten years. Not since Nora walked out of school one day and never went back.

There was a dark, dark house

Until, out of the blue, an invitation to Clare’s hen do arrives. Is this a chance for Nora to finally put her past behind her?

And in the dark, dark house there was a dark, dark room

But something goes wrong. Very wrong.

And in the dark, dark room….

Some things can’t stay secret for ever.

 

My Thoughts:

Unfortunately, this book was as clichéd as it sounds. I don’t like writing negative reviews and I want to stress before I go any further that reviews are subjective, I have read other books by Ruth Ware in the past and enjoyed them and I don’t doubt that I’ll read more of her work in the future but this one was just not for me.

I really tried to enjoy this book, but I found that it was often overly dramatic and unrealistic. The pacing was good and the twists and turns of the plot line did keep me reading but I wasn’t invested in the story or characters. There were a lot of characters who all had their own back stories and problems which Ware used to keep the reader on their toes, but I think this added unnecessary complications to the plot. I didn’t particularly like or care about any of the characters, particularly the protagonist Nora who was so useless and dull.

I don’t want this review to be all negative, so I’ll finish with this. One thing I did like about this book was Ware’s writing style and how she switched back from present to past tense throughout. I think this worked well to build the suspense leading up to the big reveal and it kept me interested despite the problems I had with the characters and plot twists.

If you’re a fan of thrillers or Ruth Ware’s writing, then you should definitely consider reading this book. It might not have been one of my favourites but hopefully, you’ll enjoy it more!

Thanks for reading! Have you read this book? If so, let me know what you thought in the comments below!

Series I Stopped Reading But Would Love to Continue

Series I Stopped Reading But Would Love to Continue

Hello, lovelies!

This post was inspired by the brilliant Brianna at Brianna the Bookworm, whose original post you can read here.

As soon as I started reading Brianna’s post, I couldn’t help but think of all the series I started and then abandoned mid-way through. I’ve managed to narrow it down to only a small list that I would actually consider picking up again which was a lot harder than it sounds.

 

The Mortal Instruments by Cassandra Clare

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I can’t even remember what book I got up to in this series, but I wish I’d carried on reading it. For a while, vampire and werewolf books were just being churned out in the masses and it became such a tired storyline, but I immediately fell in love with the world that Cassandra Clare created. I also loved watching it come to life in the TV adaptation of the series, Shadowhunters. Katherine McNamara was the perfect Clary!

 

 

The Divergent Trilogy by Veronica Roth

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I only read the first two books in this trilogy, so it frustrates me that I never got around to finishing it.  I have watched all of the films now but as I’m sure we all agree, that should never stop you from reading the book as well!

 

 

Themis Files by Sylvain Neuvel

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I do intend to finish this series as I absolutely loved the first book ‘Sleeping Giants’ but I’ve just not had the chance yet. This is definitely high up on my never-ending TBR list!

 

 

Gone Series by Michael Grant

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I started this series so long ago now and I still often think about it and kick myself for not finishing it.  I remember absolutely devouring each book I read and just completely immersing myself in the story, it was so unique but also slightly scary for YA!

 

 

The Wardstone Chronicles by Joseph Delaney

 

I think that this is the ‘unfinished series’ that annoys me the most. I absolutely loved these books. I read the first book ‘The Spooks Apprentice’ when I was still in school and it was just brilliant. They were dark, magical and unlike anything I’d read before. Who knows, maybe this post will inspire me to pick them back up and see what happens to Tom.

 

 

A Song of Ice and Fire by George R. R. Martin

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With all the hype surrounding this series I thought I would get into it straight away but unfortunately, I only made it halfway through the first book. I do want to try and get back into it but it does feel like a big commitment.

 

 

 

Thanks for reading! Have you read any of these or are there any series you wish you’d finished reading? Let me know in the comments below!

T5T: Top 5 Fantasy Books

T5T: Top 5 Fantasy Books

Hello, lovelies!

Welcome back to another Top 5 Tuesdays. If you aren’t familiar with Top 5 Tuesday, it is a group here on WordPress that is currently run by Shanah over at BionicBookWorm. Each week you are given a topic and you talk about 5 books that fit that category. This week’s topic is the Top 5 Fantasy Books.

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

 

  1. LOTR/The Hobbit by J. R. R. Tolkien

I know I’m cheating by combining these into one point, but it had to be done! Middle Earth will always be my favourite fantasy world. When you read either The Hobbit or any books from the LOTR trilogy, you are immediately immersed into Tolkien’s world which is one of the main reasons I love fantasy so much.

 

  1. Uprooted by Naomi Novik

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I picked up this book purely based on its cover and I’m so glad I did. Good fantasy novels with a strong female lead are like gold dust so I was so pleased when I read this story. Novik is a brilliant writer and storyteller and I can’t wait to read more of her work.

 

  1. The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

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The Night Circus truly lives up to the hype. It is some of the most beautiful writing I have ever read, and the descriptions are exceptional. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, it makes me sad that I can’t actually go to the night circus as it sounds so amazing.

 

  1. The Crooked Sixpence by Jennifer Bell

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This is actually a children’s book, but I read it when I was 22 and loved it. Bell creates such an interesting and unique world in The Crooked Sixpence and had me hooked from the first few chapters.

 

  1. Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs

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This series is incredibly imaginative and slightly creepy at the same time. I don’t know how these authors come up with these ideas, but I am so glad they do!

 

Thanks for reading! What are some of your favourite fantasy books? Let me know in the comments below!

REVIEW: The Power by Naomi Alderman

REVIEW: The Power by Naomi Alderman

Hello, lovelies!

Today I’m reviewing The Power by Naomi Alderman. The Power is quite a heavy book for a Sunday and this review will mention some topics that people may find difficult so please bear this in mind.

This is one of the most passionate reviews I have written so far so this is quite a long review which is unusual on this blog but once I started writing I just couldn’t stop myself.

 

Synopsis:

‘She throws her head back and pushes her chest forward and lets go a huge blast right into the centre of his body. The rivulets and streams of red scarring run across his chest and up around his throat. She’d put her hand on his heart and stopped him dead.’

Suddenly – tomorrow or the day after – girls find that with a flick of their fingers, they can inflict agonizing pain and even death. With this single twist, the four lives at the heart of Naomi Alderman’s extraordinary, visceral novel are utterly transformed, and we look at the world in an entirely new light

What if the power to hurt were in women’s hands?”

 

My Thoughts:

“When does power exist? Only in the moment it is exercised.”

Where to even begin with this review?

I had very high expectations going into The Power because of all the hype surrounding the book and I am happy to report that it did not disappoint.This was one of the most thought-provoking and provocative books I’ve read for a while.

If you’ve read The Handmaids Tale by Margaret Attwood (or seen the recent TV version of it) then think of The Power as Gilead inverted. Alderman immerses her reader in a world where women everywhere are discovering a new and dangerous power within themselves. With the simplest touch or slight of their hand, they are capable of inflicting immense pain and even causing death. This new power awakens in women an intense rage. Those who have been oppressed are now in a position to fight back, but at what cost?

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Alderman’s writing was so compelling. Her tone is very direct and she doesn’t dress her narrative up with elongated descriptions. This bothered me at first as I felt like the writing was almost a bit lazy or lacking something but I soon got into it. The tone perfectly suited the narrative. With the new found power, the women are rationalising their actions and the direct approach in Alderman’s style captured this perfectly. I found myself highlighting quotes on every other page so I wanted to share a few of my favourites with you:

“It doesn’t matter that she shouldn’t, that she never would. What matters is that she could, if she wanted. The power to hurt is a kind of wealth.”

“This is the trouble with history. You can’t see what’s not there. You can look at an empty space and see that something’s missing, but there’s no way to know what it was.”

“One of them says, ‘Why did they do it, Nina and Darrell?’ And the other answers, ‘Because they could.’ That is the only answer there ever is.”

As you can see from the above quotes, Alderman has quite the way with words. She flips gender stereotypes on their head giving women the upper hand with her subtle critiques of gender stereotyping and identities. As more women find this power within them, the rates of domestic abuse against men rise. Men become afraid of women and women to become violent towards men. We see the stereotypical roles or attitudes of men and women change drastically.

One of my favourite examples of the clever way Alderman subtly highlights this is the ongoing inclusion of news segments throughout the narrative. We see the roles of the presenters change slightly as the power balance shifts. A young male presenter is brought in alongside the strong female lead. The woman delivers the hard-hitting news stories with the man only interjecting some affirmative comments and shallow insights. It is clear that the new male presenter is there to ‘smile and look pretty’ which is so on topic in the current climate with the ongoing conversations surrounding the treatment of women across industries.

The most powerful element of this book for me was the different reactions and outcomes that the reader witnesses across the globe. Alderman is not naive to the vastly different societies and situations that women live in across the world and her narrative reflects this. In America and England, the changes are very much political and practical. There is no mass outrage or rioting, there is just the slow and quiet take over of the decision maker roles by women in a very civilized manner. However, in the Middle-Eastern countries, the reaction is severe. Women who have been oppressed for so long are rebelling. They are driven by rage and a lust for revenge after being abused and denied many basic rights for so long. It is in these areas we start to see the break down of governments and societies as they were. Murder, rape, and pillaging becomes rife across countries. This was a particularly difficult part of the book to read but it was necessary. Alderman wanted us to see all the harsh parts of reality through a different lens.

The ending was another highlight for me. It was completely and utterly perfect. I must have highlighted about 10 different quotes from the last few pages alone. To give you some context, the beginning, and end of the book are written in exchanges between a writer an a what I assume is a publisher. This frames the rest of the story as we realise that The Power is written as a historical fiction book by this writer who is male. He is trying to publish his book that offers an alternative side to history that is more in line with all the historical evidence that exists. Towards the end of the novel, his exchanges with the female publisher about the book he has written were genius.

Some of my favourites were: “I know you probably didn’t mean it to come across as patronizing, but it’s not just ‘a fun idea’ to me”, “Every book you write is assessed as part of ‘men’s literature” and the subtler “I’ll ask my assistant if he’ll sort out some dates for us to have lunch”. I actually found myself laughing out loud at some of these but the one that takes the crown has to be the last line of the whole book which I know is a spoiler but I couldn’t resist including it:

“Neil, I know this might be very distasteful to you, but have you considered publishing this book under a woman’s name?”

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There were so many exceptional and brilliant things about this book but the one thing that stood out to me was that Alderman gets to the heart of the issue with society in this appropriately named story. The problem isn’t men or women. The problem is power. When the women find themselves in a position of strength, they abuse their power. They don’t do a better job at running countries and societies than the men have, they make the same mistakes and show the same cruelties. Why? Simply because they can. As Alderman rightly points out, ‘that is the only answer there ever is’.

Those who have power will always be in a position to harm those who don’t and as Alderman has rightly highlighted in this book, this isn’t a problem that is linked to either men or women. The idea that one must be superior or the most powerful is the real problem.

“Gender is a shell game. What is a man? Whatever a woman isn’t. What is a woman? Whatever a man is not. Tap on it and it’s hollow. Look under the shells: it’s not there.”

“There’s never been a right choice, honeybun. The whole idea that there are two things and you have to choose is the problem.”

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Thanks for reading! If you have made it to the end of this review then well done, you deserve a medal for sticking with me on this long rambling review!

Have you read the Power? Let me know what you thought of it in the comments below!  

Blog Tour: The Stranger Upstairs by Melanie Raabe

Blog Tour: The Stranger Upstairs by Melanie Raabe

Hello, Lovelies,

I usually post my book reviews on a Sunday but as I’m (belatedly) taking part in the Blog Tour for The Stranger Upstairs by Melanie Raabe, you’re getting an extra review this week!

Unfortunately, I am a few days late with this post due to unforeseen work commitments so my stop on this Blog Tour was supposed to be on the 13TH September but better late than never!

I would like to thank Pan Macmillan, for sending me a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

 

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GoodReads Synopsis:

“Several years ago, your husband, and the father of your young son, disappeared. Since then, you’ve dreamed of his return; railed against him for leaving you alone; grieved for your marriage; and, finally, vowed to move on.

One morning, the phone rings. When you answer, a voice at the other end tells you your husband’s on a plane bound for home, and that you’ll see him tomorrow.

You’ve imagined this reunion countless times. Of course you have. But nothing has prepared you for the reality. For you realize you don’t know this man.

Because he isn’t your husband, he’s a complete stranger – and he’s coming home with you.

Even worse, he seems to know about something very bad you once did, something no one else could possibly know about . . . Could they?”

 

My Thoughts:

If you are a big fan of thrillers with a twist, then this is definitely the book for you.

The Stranger Upstairs may sound like a standard thriller from the synopsis, but it will surprise you like it did to me. Raabe stays faithful to the expected structure of a gripping thriller throughout the majority of the book but towards the end, the story started to transition into more of a romance. I don’t want to give too much away as the big reveal is definitely one you don’t see coming but Raabe brings something unique to the genre in this dramatic story.

The pacing of this story was quite slow which may put some people off, but I think it worked in Raabe’s favour in this case. The story takes place over the space of a few days so you are getting every action and emotion that Sarah goes through in minute detail. We think we know what’s going on the whole way through the book as we are getting both Sarah and the Strangers side of the story the entire time which is why when the plot twist is revealed, the reader is left so shocked. The one thing that let this novel down for me was the writing. This may have been down to the translation as this sometimes means that you lose an aspect of how the story is told.

Thank you again to Pan Macmillan for sending me a copy of this book and for Melanie Raabe for writing this interesting story. The Stranger Upstairs is out now and can be purchased here.

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