Books · Reviews

Book Thoughts: Tweet Cute (Emma Lord)

Lord, Emma - Meet Cute

★★★★★☆☆

Title: Tweet Cute
Author: Emma Lord
Genre: Contemporary Fiction / YA
First published: to be published 21 January 2019 by Wednesday Books
Edition: e-ARC, courtesy fo NetGalley and the publisher

All’s fair in love and cheese ― that is, until Pepper and Jack’s spat turns into a viral Twitter war. Little do they know, while they’re publicly duking it out with snarky memes and retweet battles, they’re also falling for each other in real life ― on an anonymous chat app Jack built.

This is a really cute YA romcom set in New York, very much rooted in the modern world, in which Twitter, Instagram and other apps seem to  have taken over our lives. It was definitely a fun read and I enjoyed it for sure.

I liked both Pepper and Jack as characters and we get both perspectives throughout. The pacing was good and the food aspect was mouth watering at times! Of course it was predictable, but in this kind of story I really do not mind that.

Did I absolutely love it? Maybe not quite, but there was nothing I particularly disliked about it either. It was just a tad too fluffy for me, but I should have known that going in. This is the kind of novel you can simply curl up with and enjoy without having to think too much, and we all need those kind of books in our lives!

I would definitely recommend this to anyone who loves a cute romance with likeable characters.

5 out of 7 stars

Book Haul Review · Books

Book Haul Review: January 2018

Let’s do another haul review! I will try and read one of these books if my reading continues the way it is right now (which would mean I am well and truly out of my slump!). I am only doing January 2018, as I don’t want to put too much pressure on myself!

Let’s start by looking at the books I bought in January 2018.

Number of Books Hauled: 13

New: 4
Used: 9

Books read: 6

I am ok with this, especially since a few more are on my 2020 TBR and should get read this year.

I read four of those in 2018 and 2 in 2019. In fact, Centaur was my non-fiction book of the year in 2019!

Books Unread:

  • Life After Life (Kate Atkinson)
  • The Count of Monte Cristo (Alexandre Dumas)
  • The Book of Lost Things (John Connolly)
  • Botswana Time (Will Randall)
  • Holland Mania (Anette Stott)
  • Tom Jones (Henry Fielding)
  • Moby Dick (Herman Melville)
  • Collected Ghost Stories (M R James)

TBR - Randall, Will - Botswana TimeBook Pick for January 2020:

Botswana Time (Will Randall)

I really am not in the mood for a classic. Though Life After Life and The Book of Lost Things are both on my 2020 TBR, I have already read two books of that TBR  this month and I know I will get those read this year. However, I have not picked up any non-fiction yet this month, so I have decided to go with Botswana Time.

Reading Challenges

2020 Reading Goals

I can’t believe I haven’t done this post yet, but then I have hardly been blogging for a few months!

So, let’s set some goals for this year. If I don’t quite reach them, that’s ok, but I like having some goals to strive for!

1. Prioritize my 20 for 2020 TBR – I ‘failed’ this challenge last year, because I did not prioritize my yearly TBR enough. Definitely keeping this in mind with my reading plans this year.

2. Read my owned books. This goes for the books on my shelves as well as my e-books. I have so many, there is no need to buy any new ones. That does not mean I won’t be buying any books, but I will definitely cut back on buying books in 2020.

3. Keep listening to (non-fiction) audio books – I only started listening to audio books in the latter months of 2019, mainly whilst doing chores, and I enjoy it. I have discovered I only listen to them when I am doing other stuff and though I can catch all the words I definitely much prefer consuming non-fiction in this way, especially autobiographies. I will keep that in mind when choosing my next audio books.

4. Plan in series – I think it is a good idea that when I start a series to read the books reasonably close together. So maybe if I read the first book of a series in January, plan to read the next in February, etc.

5. Set a Lingering Books TBR of six book for 2020. – This is to encourage reading books I am not that likely to pick up otherwise.

6. Reading more diverse books. 

7. Read a wider range of genres. 

That’s it – not an incredibly ambitious list, but just one to keep in mind.

Books · Reviews

Book Thoughts: Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe (Benjamin Alire Sáenz)

Saenz, Benjamin Alire - Aristotle and Dante Discover The Secrets of the Universe

★★★★★☆☆

Title: Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe
Author: Benjamin Alire Sáenz
Genre: Contemporary Fiction / YA
First published: 2012
Edition: Paperback, published by Simon and Schuster

Dante can swim. Ari can’t. Dante is articulate and self-assured. Ari has a hard time with words and suffers from self-doubt. Dante gets lost in poetry and art. Ari gets lost in thoughts of his older brother who is in prison. Dante is fair skinned. Ari’s features are much darker. It seems that a boy like Dante, with his open and unique perspective on life, would be the last person to break down the walls that Ari has built around himself.

There was much I enjoyed about this Young Adult book about a Mexican boy in El Paso coming of age, but I also cannot help the feeling that at the end I wanted something more from it, or something different.

The characters were well written. The two boys from the title are very different in characters, but they develop a  friendship. This friendship was what I enjoyed most about this book, as well as the respective relationships with their parents. I like seeing parents actually being this involved in their children’s lives. That was refreshing. Too often the parents hardly feature in YA books.

The ending did not quite work for me. Somehow, I had expected (and hoped) the book to do something a bit different. It was not a bad ending, by any means, but it was just a bit middle of the road in the end. I wish it had wowed me more.

It was definitely a good book and I would recommend it, but it is also a little forgettable.

5 out of 7 stars

 

WWW Wednesday

WWW Wednesdays: 15 January 2020

I feel like I am FINALLY getting back into the swing of things and I am finding my reading mojo again, which was well and truly lost somewhere in the autumn of 2019.

IMG_1384-0

WWW Wednesdays is a meme hosted by Sam over at Taking on a World of Words.

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you will read next?

***

What am I currently reading?

I am currently halfway through the audio book of The Gathering Storm  (book 12 of The Wheel of Time series) by Robert Jordan and Brandon Sanderson. I have been listening to this since October, so it will take a while longer, but I am making progress. It is a re-read. I may go back to the physical book at some point as I am not the biggest fan of the narrating style of both the male and the female narrator.

I am also halfway through Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Saenz. I am enjoying it and I think it is the perfect book for me to read right now.

Haslett, Adam - Imagine Me GoneWhat did I recently finish reading?

I finished only one book in the last week, which is Imagine Me Gone, by Adam Haslett. It was a book I had been wanting to read for a while and I was kind of disappointed, but it was still a good book!

 

Lord, Emma - Meet CuteWhat do I plan on reading next?

I have a couple of NetGalley ARCs that I have been meaning to read for months, but Tweet Cute by Emma Lord is out next week, so I really should get on with that one! I hope to be able to read it before its release date.

***

What have you been reading?

 

Music · Music Monday

Music Monday: ‘Still Disappointed’ by Stormzy (Wiley v Stormzy beef)

I haven’t done this one for a while, but then, I have not been blogging much full stop!

Music Monday is hosted by Drew over at The Tattooed Book Geek.

MusicMonday

Bear with me, this is going to be a long story! (and out of my comfortzone!)

This past week brought the UK grime scene to the fore (there are criteria for making grime different from just rap, is it just the 140bpm thing? I don’t know!). Now, I don’t listen to a lot of rap music. It is not that I don’t like it, there is just not enough time in my day to listen to all the music I would like to listen to! I like Stormzy. What can I say? I am a sheep! No, it’s not that. Fact is, the guy is just incredibly likable. And his music is accessible for people who don’t listen to a whole lot of rap/grime etc music. Which is exactly why the following occurred and for some reason I found myself following what was going on and I may as well talk about it a bit!

Wiley (40) is one of the founding fathers of the grime scene in the UK and Stormzy (26) is the pretender to the throne. For some reason Wiley started going off on Stormzy, mostly for working with Ed Sheeran as far as I can tell. The fact that Stormzy is mixing grime with more popular music seemed to irk him quite a bit. Also, on his recently released album Heavy is the Head (went to no 1 in the UK charts!) Stormzy has a track called Wiley Flow, which seems a homage, but Wiley apparently took it as a diss.

Anyway, to cut a long story short, Wiley sent a diss track (Eediyat Skengman) out to Stormzy to an old school grime beat. He mainly attacked Stormzy’s credibility as a grime artist and the music he is making.  He managed to wake the bear and Stormzy came back with a track pretty snappy. On his track Disappointed he makes it very clear how disappointed he is and disses Wiley’s brother (Cadell) and dad. He does not really seem to take it too seriously and throughout the music video (made on the fly!), he is holding a mug of tea and a spliff, as if he could do this whole thing in his sleep. He makes it look so easy. Of course there were some grumblings from the grime scene that Stormzy’s track was in fact set to a slower drill beat (Know Better by Headie One, which in itself is a  bit of a diss).

Wiley’s reply (Eediyat Skengman 2) was a better effort than his first, but he made the big mistake of dissing Stormzy’s mum (again!). The bear turned into one pissed off dragon, or as Stormzy says in the track (Still Disappointed‘not a happy bunny’, and certainly in the first half of the track he seems really pissed off and goes at Wiley’s mum quite a bit in retaliation. However, in the second half, he is clearly just taking the piss and mocking the whole situation, which was absolutely hilarious in my opinion. Again, with mug of tea and a spliff in hand, he makes it look so easy, especially since he had the track (which has direct replies to Wiley’s second track) ready less than 24 hours later with a scorching video to go with it and that whilst he had signings and interviews to attend.

Wiley should not have replied, but he did with Eediyat Skengman 3 (though not within the prescribed 24 hours). The track added little to what had already gone on, and I presume Stormzy won’t reply. He does not need to. After all, he has a busy schedule and he said what he needed to say. I would be very surprised if he did.

Now, I am a indie rock chick at heart, but you have to admire the workrate of these rap/grime artists when they are beefing, especially when they are responding within 24 hours with pretty hot work.

It very much looks like a generation clash to me. On one hand you have the old guard, who worked hard for the genre and for where they got to, and on the other hand you have this young upstart who managed to break from your genre into the mainstream by mixing it with other genres. That’s tough, right! However, it is not like Wiley has never dabbled on the pop side of things, but he is more of a grime artist than Stormzy is. The problem is that when an older generation starts on a younger one it comes across jaded. Instead of being proud of paving the way, Wiley seems to feel that Stormzy is using grime to further his own career. Now, I am not sure whether that is the case, but I know that a lot of young kids out there will be listening to more grime, because Stormzy promotes it and how can that be a bad thing.

Also, Wiley has a new album coming out soon and since the beef has started dropping tracks, so one has to speculate that this was all a publicity stunt on his part. I am sure his name has been trending because he has been beefing with Stormzy, who was number 1 in the singles and album charts in the UK as the time of the beef. What better way to get your name out there again for when you drop your album. Highly suspicious!

Both Wiley’s brother Cadell and grime artist Dot Rotten have sent for Stormzy, but he has not dignified those with replies. I don’t think he will. There’s no need.

Anyway, this is Still Disappointed. (I won’t add the lyrics, as they are pretty harsh). If you are interested check out all the above tracks for a proper narrative in this particular diss exchange.

 

Books

2019 in (a short) Review

It is finally time to look back on my reading year of 2019. It was definitely a good reading year up to about October when my reading fell of a cliff, hard. However, looking back, I read some amazing books and I am happy with the books I did read.

So, let’s look at some stats!
I read a total of 100 books exactly, which is very respectable indeed! Of those 60 were physical books, 35 were e-books and 5 audio books. 3/4 of the books I read were fiction and I mainly reached for contemporary and fantasy books. A third of the books were part of series.

Most of the books I read (38) were between 300 and 399 pages and 3/4 of the books I read were published between 2010 and 2019. I read 65 books by female authors, which is an interesting stat, as I always tended to read more male authors, probably mainly because I read far more fantasy that I do at the moment.

Highest rated books!
Ratingswise, I had no 1-star books. If I had, I would have DNF’d them. I think I only DNF’d 3 or 4 books and not necessarily because they were bad. I had three 2-star books, six 3-star books, twelve 4-star books, 38 5-star books, 36 6-star books and five 7-star books. Clearly I chose my books well over 2019 and I liked most of the books I read quite a bit, since 79 books were five stars or over. I am very pleased with that!

So I rated 5 books seven stars over 2019! I am so pleased with that! However, one of those was a re-read of my favourite children’s book, so I am not sure it counts!

Those books are:

Overall, I am really pleased with my reading in 2019, though I am a bit bummed that the year ended up on such a low note! My reading is still slow, but I am enjoying it more, so I am hoping it will be picking up. I finished a few series and picked my books carefully, sometimes by TBR, sometimes mood reading. Both worked for me at different times. In the latter part of the year I have started to read more audio books, which helped me.

For 2020:
I hope to finish more series, as well as focus on the physical books I already own. I do not think I will be buying lots of books any time soon, instead concentrating on the books that are already on my shelves and Kindle.

How was your reading year? What are your reading plans for this year? I still need to catch up on all your posts  from the beginning of 2020!