REVIEW: The Cruel Prince by Holly Black

REVIEW: The Cruel Prince by Holly Black

 

It has been a while since I posted as I took last week off to get back on track. October has been a hectic and stressful month and I haven’t been able to dedicate the time needed to keep on top of my posts.

In the last few weeks, blogging started to feel like a chore which is the last thing I want so I thought taking a week without the pressure might help and it definitely has. I have read lots of amazing books recently that I’m still yet to review so I’m excited to start posting again and what better way to start than with The Cruel Prince by Holly Black!

This is one of the many books I have purchased based on recommendations and reviews I’ve read on various blogs. With all the hype surrounding it and a cover as pretty as this, how could I resist?

Side note: I’m introducing a new section to my reviews from now which is going to be some bullet points at the end of each review of things I liked/didn’t like. This is just because as much as I would love to write long and detailed reviews for every book I read, I’m struggling to find the time, so this should help stick to my schedule but still include everything I want to say about a book. I’m not sure if I’ll keep doing this but I’m going to give it a go!

GoodReads Synopsis:

“Of course I want to be like them. They’re beautiful as blades forged in some divine fire. They will live forever.

And Cardan is even more beautiful than the rest. I hate him more than all the others. I hate him so much that sometimes when I look at him, I can hardly breathe.

Jude was seven when her parents were murdered and she and her two sisters were stolen away to live in the treacherous High Court of Faerie. Ten years later, Jude wants nothing more than to belong there, despite her mortality. But many of the fey despise humans. Especially Prince Cardan, the youngest and wickedest son of the High King.

To win a place at the Court, she must defy him–and face the consequences.

As Jude becomes more deeply embroiled in palace intrigues and deceptions, she discovers her own capacity for trickery and bloodshed. But as betrayal threatens to drown the Courts of Faerie in violence, Jude will need to risk her life in a dangerous alliance to save her sisters, and Faerie itself.”

 

My Rating:

★★★★☆

My Thoughts:

Fantasy will always be one of my favourite genres because of how diverse and creative it is. This is not the first story I’ve read about Faeries and it won’t be the last and yet the world Black has created feels so unique.  I love that authors can take an initial well-known concept such as magical creatures and create a whole new and interesting world for their reader to escape into and I would definitely love to experience the High Court of Faerie in real life after reading this book!

In case you haven’t already gathered, I really enjoyed this book! It’s a brilliant example of a book that uses the strong-female lead trope in the right way. Jude was such a refreshing character. As a human living in faerie, she was at the bottom of the ladder, vulnerable and weak. She has limited options and yet, she uses her intellect to fight her way into a position of power. However, I think the main reason I liked Jude was that she was more of an anti-hero than a saviour. Even though we know what she did was right, we also know her actions were morally questionable at times which made her so much more dimensional and interesting.

Carden was also a brilliant character. He is awful with seemingly no redeeming qualities and whilst part of me wanted him to stay this way, I knew that eventually we would have some reveal that would explain why he behaved the way he did. Black slowly unveiled Carden’s true character and private life to the reader and Jude, making us realise that the prince doesn’t have it quite as good as Jude believes. I know that YA fiction seems to love the ‘bully has a difficult home life’ trope with authors using it flippantly in near enough every coming of age story they write but In The Cruel Prince, the reveal of Carden’s true self completely changes the trajectory of this story. I honestly felt sorry for him at the end when Jude double-crossed him. As much as I enjoyed his involvement in the story, I secretly wanted him to just escape to his own castle far away and not have to deal with any of the Faerie Court’s politics.

The only thing I thought was unnecessary but completely saw coming was Carden and Jude’s kiss. The story would still have worked and made logical sense without adding in the potential romance. Once Carden’s personal life was revealed, we had enough justification for his treatment of Jude without needed the ‘he hates her because he secretly is attracted to her which repulses him’ plot line. That being said, there was no part of me that didn’t expect them to be romantically linked at some point of the book. I do think it’s great that Black didn’t make this the focal point of the book, but it did feel like everything was leading to it which was a bit disappointing. I hope in the next book this takes a back seat to Jude being bad-ass but I’ll have to wait and see!

 

Three things I loved:

  • I found it interesting how Black explored/used the theme of power and how quickly this shifted between characters.
  • As horrifying as it was, I did enjoy the part where the new king was going to be crowned as it reminded me of an episode of Game of Thrones (if you’ve read it then I’m sure you know which episode I’m thinking of – the Red Wedding!)
  • The descriptions of the parties, the food, and the outfits. I felt like I was immersed in their world which is what every good fantasy book should do!

 

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

REVIEW: Girl in Pieces by Kathleen Glasgow

REVIEW: Girl in Pieces by Kathleen Glasgow

Hello, lovelies!

I hope you’re all having a lovely week so far. This week I’m reviewing Girl in Pieces by Kathleen Glasgow.

I just want to make it clear before you read any further, that this review contains references to self-harm, suicide, and mental illness which may be triggering to some readers.

GoodReads Synopsis:

Charlotte Davis is in pieces. At seventeen she’s already lost more than most people lose in a lifetime. But she’s learned how to forget. The broken glass washes away the sorrow until there is nothing but calm. You don’t have to think about your father and the river. Your best friend, who is gone forever. Or your mother, who has nothing left to give you.

Every new scar hardens Charlie’s heart just a little more, yet it still hurts so much. It hurts enough to not care anymore, which is sometimes what has to happen before you can find your way back from the edge.

 

My Thoughts:

Don’t let the pretty cover fool you as Girl in Pieces is far from a light-hearted YA read. It is a detailed fictional account of struggling with a mental illness, self-harm and the road to recovery.

Mental illness has become a common trope across YA, arguably overtaking the recently neglected and controversial love triangle trope. This is both a blessing and a curse as on the one hand, mental illness is getting the representation in literature that it needs but on the other hand there are times when it is clear that an author is only using mental illness as a secondary plot devise, with no intention or desire to fully explore the subject matter.

Often, we read to know that we are not alone in what we feel which is why it is so important that authors take the time to consider their reader and the message they want to send before deciding to include such a sensitive yet critical subject.

Girl in Pieces is one of the best novels I have ever read that deals with the topic of mental illness. It isn’t a plot device that takes a back seat to romance or teen drama. It is woven into every chapter, page, and sentence of this novel so thoughtfully and carefully. It is the very heart of this novel, providing readers with the honest and raw representation that so desperately needs to be seen in literature.

I won’t lie, it was a difficult read. It was upsetting, heart-breaking but it really resonated with me.

The novel follows Charlie, a young girl recovering from a suicide attempt who is just trying to navigate this often challenging world, with the weight of her past still hanging on her shoulders. When we meet Charlie, she is in a rehab/psychiatric ward following her suicide attempt. She is silent, bandaged up and broken. Surrounded by other young girls all suffering from the same affliction, Charlie begins to heal, begins talking again and tries to face up to her past.

 

“Everyone has that moment I think, the moment when something so momentous happens that it rips your very being into small pieces. And then you have to stop. For a long time, you gather your pieces. And it takes such a very long time, not to fit them back together, but to assemble them in a new way, not necessarily a better way. More, a way you can live with until you know for certain that this piece should go there, and that one there.”

 

All of the girls Charlie is surrounded by are different. They are each in their own way, in pieces. Glasgow slowly develops each of their characters to highlight that there is no one way that mental illness affects people. For Charlie, she cuts herself away with shards of broken glass, for Blue, she sticks needles in her body to get away from the pain and for Isis there is fire leaving circular scars across her body. They all feel their pain in their own way just as they all must recover in their own way.

For Charlie, recovery is a rollercoaster of ups and downs. When she leaves the safety net of the rehab/psychiatric ward, she finds herself under the blazing sun in Tucson and soon begins to try and get her life back on track. She finds a job, a place to live and tries to begin to heal but her past is always close behind her. It is here that she meets Riley West, an ex-musician, alcoholic and a drug user battling his own demons. It is at this point that Glasgow could easily have taken this down the root that so many other authors do (girl is struggling, boy is struggling, girl meets boy, they fix each other and drive off into the sunset) but she doesn’t. She makes it clear that Riley is not the answer to all of Charlie’s problem, in fact, he becomes part of the cause.

Glasgow’s deeply emotional and at times witty writing style complimented the story perfectly. There was just the right amount of dark humour coupled with beautifully written philosophical observations for this story to grip me completely. I couldn’t put this book down because I needed to know what happened to Charlie and whether she was okay. I would love to tell you that this book has a happy ending, but it is more realistic that is doesn’t. It does, however, offer the reader a hopeful ending. Charlie is still dealing with her mental health problems, fighting off the urge to turn away from the world and to self-harm, but she is trying.

So, whilst this is a powerful yet painful read, it is also a hopeful one. For anyone out there struggling with mental health issues, this story may make you feel less alone and more understood.

 

Thanks for reading! I know this has been a particularly long and serious review but I felt I had to do this book justice. This book deals with a lot of sensitive subjects that may be harmful to some readers so do bear this in mind before picking it up. If you’ve read this book then 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

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!

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!

An Unexpected Book Haul

An Unexpected Book Haul

Hello, lovelies!

I couldn’t resist sharing my most recent purchases as I am so excited to read them all!

As per usual, I went into Waterstones to buy one book and came out with five. I had only intended to spend a voucher I won through work but unfortunately they got me with their buy one get one half price offer.  All of these books except one were inspired by posts I’ve read on here and various recommendations so I’ve tried my best to give credit where its due.

 

Circe by Madeline Miller

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GoodReads synopsis:

 “In the house of Helios, god of the sun and mightiest of the Titans, a daughter is born. But Circe is a strange child—not powerful, like her father, nor viciously alluring like her mother. Turning to the world of mortals for companionship, she discovers that she does possess power—the power of witchcraft, which can transform rivals into monsters and menace the gods themselves.

Threatened, Zeus banishes her to a deserted island, where she hones her occult craft, tames wild beasts and crosses paths with many of the most famous figures in all of mythology, including the Minotaur, Daedalus and his doomed son Icarus, the murderous Medea, and, of course, wily Odysseus.

But there is danger, too, for a woman who stands alone, and Circe unwittingly draws the wrath of both men and gods, ultimately finding herself pitted against one of the most terrifying and vengeful of the Olympians. To protect what she loves most, Circe must summon all her strength and choose, once and for all, whether she belongs with the gods she is born from, or the mortals she has come to love.”

After finishing The Song of Achilles I immediately added this book to my TBR and since then I have seen this book recommended and reviewed on so many blogs and by so many great bloggers but the most recent review of this book I read was by BooksandMe which you can read here.

 

The Cruel Prince by Holly Black

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GoodReads Synopsis:

“Of course I want to be like them. They’re beautiful as blades forged in some divine fire. They will live forever.

And Cardan is even more beautiful than the rest. I hate him more than all the others. I hate him so much that sometimes when I look at him, I can hardly breathe.

Jude was seven when her parents were murdered and she and her two sisters were stolen away to live in the treacherous High Court of Faerie. Ten years later, Jude wants nothing more than to belong there, despite her mortality. But many of the fey despise humans. Especially Prince Cardan, the youngest and wickedest son of the High King.

To win a place at the Court, she must defy him–and face the consequences.

As Jude becomes more deeply embroiled in palace intrigues and deceptions, she discovers her own capacity for trickery and bloodshed. But as betrayal threatens to drown the Courts of Faerie in violence, Jude will need to risk her life in a dangerous alliance to save her sisters, and Faerie itself.”

I’ve read so many reviews of this book over the past few weeks that it was impossible to pick just one but thank you to all the lovely bloggers out there who shared their thoughts on this book!

Scythe by Neal Shusterman

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GoodReads Synopsis:

“A world with no hunger, no disease, no war, no misery. Humanity has conquered all those things, and has even conquered death. Now scythes are the only ones who can end life—and they are commanded to do so, in order to keep the size of the population under control.

Citra and Rowan are chosen to apprentice to a scythe—a role that neither wants. These teens must master the “art” of taking life, knowing that the consequence of failure could mean losing their own.”

I was originally put off by the cover of this book as it didn’t look like one I’d usually go for but after seeing so many amazing reviews for it I just couldn’t resist. One of my favourite reviews was by Sara at The Bibliophagist which you can find here.

 

Warcross by Marie Lu

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GoodReads Synopsis:

“For the millions who log in every day, Warcross isn’t just a game—it’s a way of life. The obsession started ten years ago and its fan base now spans the globe, some eager to escape from reality and others hoping to make a profit. Struggling to make ends meet, teenage hacker Emika Chen works as a bounty hunter, tracking down players who bet on the game illegally. But the bounty hunting world is a competitive one, and survival has not been easy. Needing to make some quick cash, Emika takes a risk and hacks into the opening game of the international Warcross Championships—only to accidentally glitch herself into the action and become an overnight sensation.

Convinced she’s going to be arrested, Emika is shocked when instead she gets a call from the game’s creator, the elusive young billionaire Hideo Tanaka, with an irresistible offer. He needs a spy on the inside of this year’s tournament in order to uncover a security problem . . . and he wants Emika for the job. With no time to lose, Emika’s whisked off to Tokyo and thrust into a world of fame and fortune that she’s only dreamed of. But soon her investigation uncovers a sinister plot, with major consequences for the entire Warcross empire.”

I had read a few reviews of this book and it just happened that the day before I went shopping I read a brilliant review by Rae at Thrifty Bibliophile that totally convinced me I needed to read this book. 24 hours later and I had bought it and added it to my physical TBR pile.

 

The Accidental Further Adventures of the Hundred-Year-Old Man by Jonas Jonasson

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GoodReads Synopsis:

“It all begins with a hot air balloon trip and three bottles of champagne. Allan and Julius are ready for some spectacular views, but they’re not expecting to land in the sea and be rescued by a North Korean ship, and they could never have imagined that the captain of the ship would be harbouring a suitcase full of contraband uranium, on a nuclear weapons mission for Kim Jong-un …

Soon Allan and Julius are at the centre of a complex diplomatic crisis involving world figures from the Swedish foreign minister to Angela Merkel and President Trump. Things are about to get very complicated…”

This one wasn’t recommended but is the second book in a series by one of my favourite authors. If you haven’t read ‘The Hundred Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out of the Window and Disappeared’ by Jonas Jonasson then you definitely should!

 

Thanks for reading! If you’ve read any of these books then please let me know what you thought of them in the comments below and feel free to share links to your reviews! 

T5T: Top 5 Characters I Want as A Best Friend

T5T: Top 5 Characters I Want as A Best Friend

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 Characters I Want as A Best Friend. 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. Izzy O’Neil from The Exact Opposite of Okay by Laura Steven

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I promise that one day I will stop including TEOOO in all my posts but today is not that day. I love Izzy and as I said in my review of this brilliant book, she is the female protagonist of my dreams and one of my favourite characters ever.

  1. Samwise Gamgee from The Lord of The Rings by J. R. R. Tolkien

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I think we can all agree that Sam would be the most loyal and supportive friend you would ever have. He would always have your back and follow you to the fiery pits of Mordor, no questions asked! We all know who the real MVP of LOTR is and it’s definitely not Frodo!

  1. Ron Weasley from the Harry Potter series by J. K. Rowling

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I almost didn’t include Ron in this list as I thought it may be too much of an obvious of a choice, but I couldn’t resist, and I wouldn’t be surprised if he’s featured on a lot of other people’s list as well! Ron is that lovable and dopey friend that you can always count on to be there for you and to make you laugh (not to mention his family would treat you like one of their own and who wouldn’t want that!)

  1. Tiny Cooper from Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green & David Leviathan

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He is extravagant, hilarious, such a diva and has a ridiculously big heart and a lot of love for his friends. He’s a brilliant character and I actually feel sad I don’t have a real Tiny Cooper in my life!

To quote from the book itself:

‘Tiny Cooper is not the world’s gayest person, and he is not the world’s largest person, but I believe he may be the world’s largest person who is really, really gay, and also the world’s gayest person who is really, really large.’

  1. Bridget Jones from Bridget Jones’s Diary by Helen Fielding

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I feel like this one is quite self-explanatory. Every friendship group needs a Bridget!

So, there you have it, the top 5 characters I’d want as a best friend. In real life I am actually such a girl’s girl so I’m not sure why the major of this list consists of boys. I honestly found it hard to pick as there were some other great options which I’m going to list anyway even though its kind of cheating:

Hermione Granger from Harry Potter, Sasha Cade from The Last Wish of Sasha Cade, Peeta Mellark from the Hunger Games, Elsa from My Grandmother Asked me to Tell you She’s sorry, Merry & Pippin from Lord of the Rings, Beatrice from Much Ado About Nothing, Dickon from The Secret Garden & Winnie the Pooh from well, you know what he’s from!

Thanks for reading! Which characters would you want to be best friends with? Let me know in the comments below!

T5T: Top 5 Books That Made Me Laugh

T5T: Top 5 Books That Made Me Laugh

Hello lovelies!

Welcome back to another Top 5 Tuesdays. You might have noticed that I’ve been switching between Top 5 Tuesdays and Top 10 Tuesdays for the past few weeks and this is because they both have some amazing topics and unfortunately, I just don’t have the time to do two posts every week on a Tuesday so I’ll have to stick with alternating!

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 the Top 5 Books That Made Me Laugh. If you are also participating in Top 5 Tuesdays this week or you have previously done a post on a really funny book then please leave your link in the comments and I will check out your post!

  1. Angus, Thongs and Full-Frontal Snogging by Louise Rennison

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I would just like to point out that this list could easily have just been all of the books from this series as they all made me laugh like a loon on loon tablets. Georgia Nicholson and the rest of the Ace Gang are some of my favourite characters ever. I read these books over and over again when I was growing up and I wouldn’t hesitate to pick them up even now.

  1. The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion

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I feel like the only justification I need for having The Rosie Project in this list is the lovable Don Tillman. The end.

  1. The Wrong Knickers by Bryony Gordon

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When I first read this book I had no idea that it was a memoir as I just picked it up off my mum’s bookshelf and started reading. It was a hilarious, witty and completely outrageous and led me to become a big fan of Bryony and a frequent listener to her podcast which I’d also recommend listening to (she interviews Prince Harry in one of them!)

  1. Boy Meets Boy by David Leviathan

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This book was a wild ride from start to finish. Everything from the characters to the plot was just so over the top and perfect. This book would also make a brilliant film *hint* Netflix *hint*.

  1. Starter for 10 by David Nicholls

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I vividly remember laughing so hard I cried at parts of this book and then again when I watched the film. It is hilarious, brilliant and completely daft. (For any non-brits who don’t know what I mean by daft, its sort of a lovable way of saying silly or ridiculous).

Thanks for reading! What are some of your favourite books that made you laugh? Let me know in the comments below!