Wednesday 6 April 2016

March Wrap-Up

March is usually one of my favourite months as depressing January and February are out the way and Spring is officially on it's way. I am also a bit biased towards it as it is also my birthday month and will showing the books and some other things that I got in a separate post. March has been a particularly busy month at work and blog wise, but I had a piece of good news as I passed my six-month probation period on the 21st so I am now a fully fledged employee of Bloomsbury Professional. I honestly love my job and even though I don't work with fiction books, I am still so thrilled to be part of the publishing industry.

I attended three brilliant book events this month, the first being Transworld's Rising Stars Women's Fiction Event at the Jewel in Piccadilly. This was probably my favourite event this month. I got to meet fabulous authors Julie Cohen (Falling), Laura and Jimmy (The Night that Changed Everything) and Cathy Bramley (The Plumbery School of Comfort Food) (AGAIN!) and for the first time I got to meet Anna McPartlin (Somewhere Inside of Happy), who was so funny and utterly captivating to listen to. It was also interesting timing as I had been thinking about whether I wanted to read as much Women's Fiction as I currently do (as a lot of what I have been reading recently has been really samey), but this evening completely changed my mind on this and I know that I definitely still need Women's Fiction on my reading list. An outstanding evening with brilliant authors and two books I picked up and are high up on the reading pile.

The next book event I had the pleasure of going to was another Women's Fiction event and this time it was for Books and the City's (Simon and Schuster) Spring Blogger Evening. I hadn't been able to attend last year's one so was so happy I got an invite again and was able to go. This event consisted of authors Paige Toon (fangirled) (The One We Fell in Love With) Juliet Ashton (These Days of Ours), Holly Hepburn (Summer at the Star and Sixpence) and Penny Parkes (Out of Practice). This was another great bookish evening with literally the best cupcakes I have ever had in my life and of course and awesome goody bag.

The final book event and only three days on from Books and the City was Scholastic's Bloggers Book Feast. Scholastic are one of my favourite publishers as they have published the likes of The Hunger games and Maggie Stiefvater. I am so into YA books at the moment so I was pretty excited about this event and they really delivered in their epicness. I got to meet debut authors like Beth Garrod whose book Super Awkward is high of my anticipated books list. I think we have all at some point and still today felt really awkward and I just cannot wait to read this one. This event was only supposed to be two hours, but we were all having such a good time listening to the authors and taking part in The Hunger Games quiz (my team lost- hashtag superfail) that it went on for nearly two hours more. I of course got to take a fab goody bag home with me as well as some other great books.

I do feel properly spoiled from all the bookish happenings of March, definitely the best for book events so far. Now onto a round up of the books I read this month.

March was a great month for the books I have read, all of them bar one got 4 or more stars from me and it was a very varied mix, from Middle Grade, YA, Thriller and Women's Fiction.

This is the second children's book from Jenny Colgan and I think I am going to be honest and say that I much prefer them to her women's fiction books. Ironically I got the first book in the Polly and Puffin series last year along with one of Jenny's adult books and got into it straight away. This is such a cute little story that carries on from when Polly first meets Puffin. My niece loves these little stories; the illustrations are wonderful and Jenny has a great way of writing for children and there are fun activities you can do at the back of the book.

2. The Night that Changed Everything by Laura Tait and Jimmy Rice

I adored Laura and Jimmy's debut The Best Thing that Never Happened to Me when it came out in 2014, so I was of course so excited to see that had another book coming out this year. Laura and Jimmy manage to make their stories stand out from the usual boy meets girl fiction that is out that and that is part if the reason I like their books so much. This book was a lot more melancholy than their first as it involves an incident that leads to a couple realising they may not be perfect for one another. I felt their emotions really keenly in this and although bittersweet, I definitely needed something to lift me up after reading. Laura and Jimmy's first book still remains my favourite.

3. The Teacher by Katerina Diamond

I will straight out come and say that I very nearly stopped reading this when I was only about a quarter of the way in. This was because Katerina had written in one of the most gruesome scenes I have read in fiction for a very long time and she managed to make me imagine so so keenly. However this just tells you how good a writer she is and despite this scene, I was too desperate to find out how this gruesome book would pan out that I just had to keep on reading and I was so glad I did. The Teacher managed to stand out from other thrillers in a way that I didn't expect. It was the way that it was put together as well as having multiple narrators to throw you and it gave me an ending that I didn't see coming and got me thinking about morals. Although not really for the faint hearted, if you can get past that first scene, you can definitely get to the end.

4. The Shadow Queen by C. J. Redwine

One of my favourite book genres is fairytale retellings and The Shadow Queen was a retelling of Snow White. Now Snow White is a story that has been retold a few times before, so I was interested to see how this one would stand out. Although I could see some small similarities (and despite what some other reviewers have said) I still thought it made this story its own. The characters really stood out and Lorelai's (aka Snow White) unexpected power was a great addition to the story. She also the most fierce and brave Snow White I have ever come across in a retelling. The Huntsman also wasn't what I expected at all and as another addition there were also shape shifting dragons! Relating to this, there are some brilliant unexpected twists and particularly in the second part of the book it was seriously action packed. I was racing through it to find out what would happen, and you just don’t see how it will turn out.

5. First Frost by Sarah Addison Allen

Having 100% fallen in love with Sarah's debut Garden Spells all the way back in 2008, you can imagine my happiness when I found out she was publishing a second book in which we would get to revisit the Waverley women again. I must also mention that Sarah is one of my favourite authors having read all but one (I'm getting there) of her books since. As with Sarah's first book, I thoroughly enjoyed getting swept up in the magic of the Waverley's and their little town in North Carolina. Her books always manage to feel like you are dreaming as it evokes such a beautiful atmosphere. Although not as good as Garden Spells, it was still an unexpected and enjoyable surprise to get a sequel to one of my all time favourite books.

6. Half Wild by Sally Green

Half Wild is the second book in the Half Bad trilogy that I read back in 2014. Although the second book in the series came out last year, I had been putting off reading as I don't think I could have waited another year on a cliffhanger lol. This story is the epitome of addictive. Once you start you just can't stop and with a matter of hours you have finished without even realising you have got to the end, and are then left with a massive cliffhanger.  I am so glad this book delivered as the first one was so good, I was a little apprehensive as to whether this would be just as good, but with Sally being the incredible writer that she is, I should never have been in doubt. If you are yet to start this incredible series, then definitely do check out my review for Half Bad.

7. Half Lost by Sally Green

The Final book in the Half Bad trilogy! You know when a book is epic when you wish it had been longer so that you could prolong it's absolute genius. The Half Bad trilogy has been, without a doubt, truly fantastic, it has been like a version of Harry Potter but for serious badasses and as much as I loved it, I am gutted that it is now over.

8. The Woman Who Upped and Left by Fiona Gibson

Having read Fiona's book As Good as it Gets? last year, I honestly was very excited to see that she had a new book coming out. This book actually disappointed me, it wasn't at all what I was expecting and some of the characters were just way to awful to make the story enjoyable. Don't get me wrong there were enjoyable parts, but after such a great previous book, this felt a bit of a let down.

Overall a very busy but brilliant bookish month and I know April has some fantastic books up it's sleeve so I now cannot wait to dive into them.


  1. LOVE this wrap up - so fantastic to hear about your super-busy month!! I've just won the Half Bad trilogy- and I happen to have a week off of work next week... hmmm, think I know what's going to be filling it! Laura x

    1. Thanks so much Laura. Oh you will love love love! Best series I have read in a while :) x