Review: Songs About a Girl by Chris Russell

Songs About A Girl by Chris Russell

I found out about this book through a Booktuber I’ve been watching for a while. She praised the book highly and it sounded interesting so I bought myself a cheap copy from Amazon.

The story is about Charlie Bloom who’s an ordinary girl who never wanted to be ‘with the band’. She’s happiest out of sight, unnoticed. But then she’s asked to take backstage photographs for popular band ‘Fire & Lights’ and she can’t pass up the chance. Soon Charlie finds herself caught up in drama between the group’s front man Gabriel West and his band mate Olly Samson. And soon Charlie discovers a hidden meaning behind their lyrics that could change her life…

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It starts off well. Charlie’s an okay character to read about and the story’s relatively interesting. I’ll admit it had me hooked. Slight spoiler alert but Charlie discovers that the lyrics in their songs are lyrics her Mother wrote down in a notebook years ago and she tries to find out how this can be when everyone knows that Gabriel writes his own songs. I wanted to find out too and it was enough to keep me hooked throughout the book.

Although it didn’t annoy me too much while I was reading it, upon reflection the love triangle was really annoying. Olly went to Charlie’s school so he knew her and invited her to take photos because he knew how good of a photographer she was. Upon meeting the band Gabriel decides he has a crush on her and so does Olly, and so the love triangle begins.

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As I said, I wasn’t particularly annoyed whilst reading it but upon reflection it’s just a bit stupid. Gabriel had known the girl for all of five minutes before having a crush on her. And it seems stupid that Olly waited until after school when he was in a famous band to go back and decide he had a crush on a random girl from the year below him who he’d only spoken to once. He might’ve liked her photographs but that’s not enough of a reason to have a crush on someone. Tim Burton makes some good films but I don’t have a crush on him. Also I understand there was some unresolved beef between Gabriel and Olly before Charlie showed up but really? They had to argue and fight every twenty seconds over some girl neither of them barely knew?

I’m just about learning to tolerate romance in books but the one thing I can’t stand is a stupid, pointless love triangle.

To be honest, I still think I really could’ve enjoyed this if it had been a standalone novel; I was a bit annoyed to get to the end and find it had been deliberately left unresolved to set up a sequel. We find out the truth about the song’s lyrics, the only reason we need a sequel is to keep reading about some stupid love triangle which was not what I had signed up for. Sure it was interesting but I don’t want to read a whole other book about Olly and Gabriel’s tantrums. No thank you.

Overall I don’t know what to think about this book, I enjoyed it while I was reading it but it’s not a book I’m likely to return to or recommend to a friend. And I won’t be buying the sequel.

Review: Not That Kind of Girl by Siobhan Vivian

Not That Kind of Girl

So I kind of fell in love with Siobhan Vivian’s books when I finished reading ‘The List’ and decided to buy more of her work. I asked for ‘Not That Kind of Girl’ for Christmas but for some reason when my Mom went to buy it they told her it wasn’t available until May for some reason? So she didn’t get it so I went to Waterstones myself to buy it.

‘Not That Kind of Girl’ is about Natalie Stirling who prides herself on always making the right choices. She avoids the jock types, always top honour roll and plans to become the first female student council president in years. If only the other girls could be like her. But being strong isn’t easy. Not when Natalie nearly gets expelled anyway, when her advice hurts more than it helps, not when she can’t stop thinking about a boy she knows she should ignore… What will Natalie do?

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I don’t really know what to think of this book. It’s not that I didn’t enjoy it because I definitely did but I wasn’t over the moon about it or anything. Like I said in my review of ‘The Last Boy and Girl in the World’ I think I would’ve enjoyed it more if I hadn’t read ‘The List’ first. I feel like that set my expectations really high and this book was a bit of a letdown. It was good; don’t get me wrong, but not as great as I hoped.

Natalie was okay but I didn’t really grow too attached to her or anything. However, I really loved Spencer who was a girl that Natalie had previously babysat for when she was younger but had just started at High School. I loved how honest and open she was. Sure, she made some questionable decisions but she’s confident and a lot wiser than I was at her age. Mike, however, can literally suck a cock.

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I thought Natalie’s relationship with Connor was a bit cringe, not gonna lie. The chapters of Natalie sneaking out in the middle of the night to meet up with him were really boring and I just couldn’t get into it. I was glad when they eventually got together but the build up to it really made me cringe and I’m not sure why. I know I’m not a fan of romance but this was something else.

Overall, I did enjoy the book. I wouldn’t go out of my way to recommend it to my friends but if they asked if they should read it I’d say yes. If you’re a fan of Siobhan Vivian’s other books then I’d definitely recommend getting a copy.

Review: Girlhood by Cat Clarke

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So this book is officially released on Thursday 4th May but Cat tweeted to say a few copies had been released early, as she had done when ‘The Lost and the Found’ was released. I didn’t know if there’d be any in Telford but I ended up going up town and decided to take a quick look in Waterstones and was lucky enough to find one copy of it sitting on the shelf. So of course I had to buy it.

‘Girlhood’ is about a girl named Harper who asks to attend boarding school so she can escape her parents and the guilt of the death of her twin sister Jenna. But Harper can’t escape the memories of her sister and the part she played in it. Then she meets new girl Kirsty who lost a sister too. Harper’s finally found someone who understands her. But as the two become closer Kirsty’s behaviour becomes more erratic. Why is her life so similar to Harpers? Soon, Harper’s close relationship with Kirsty threatens her relationships with her best friends and her own identity.

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It’s no secret that Cat is my favourite author of all time so it’s no surprise that I finished the entire book within the space of a few hours. As usual the moment I started I couldn’t put it down. Cat’s writing is so easy to get into and I love the mystery element in all her books that keeps me hooked until the very end.

In my review of ‘The Lost and the Found’ I praised Cat for her brilliant LGBT representation in her books and this book is probably even better. Early on we learn that Rowan’s a lesbian and Harper’s bi-sexual and it doesn’t massively affect the plot? Obviously it’s brought up but it’s so refreshing to read about lesbian and bi characters were the central plot isn’t about their sexuality and I honestly love it so much.

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Character-wise, this book was bloody amazing. I loved Harper’s best friends Rowan, Lily and Ama. Especially Rowan who is without a doubt my favourite character, not just within this book but in general. I’m not sure what I thought of Kirsty after everything, I was pretty certain I didn’t like her but now I don’t know what to think. I don’t like her but I don’t dislike her.

Also, exciting news… I was a character in the book! A while ago I made a bid on an auction to appear in one of Cat’s books, something I talked about in a blog earlier this year, and I won! So I got a signed copy of ‘The Lost and the Found’ (which I gave to my friend ‘cos I’d already met Cat at a signing prior to winning the auction) and I was named after one of the characters. I also made it to the acknowledgements page.
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However, I can’t help feeling a little bit salty… The character I was named after wasn’t in it very much and didn’t say a single line. And that was fine by me until I read the acknowledgements and saw another girl had donated to a charity like me and had been named after one of the main characters. Obviously I don’t know the ins and outs of the auction, how much she donated, whether she received a signed book like I did etc. etc. But I still can’t help feeling a little salty about it.

Overall, I really loved this book and couldn’t recommend it highly enough. In terms of plot I think I preferred ‘The Lost and the Found’ but in terms of characters it’s so good and so interesting. Check in your local bookstore to see if an early copy has been released and if not then definitely buy one on Thursday, you won’t regret it!

Review: Silence is Goldfish by Annabel Pitcher

Silence is Goldfish

I can’t really remember what drew me to buy this book. I do remember I was shopping for a birthday present for my best friend and ended up buying myself this book… I think the title caught my eye, the blurb sounded interesting and after having a quick read of the first page I thought I’d be able to get into it quite easily. Turns out I was right.

‘Silence is Goldfish’ is told from the point of view of Tess who has just found out some pretty shocking news. She didn’t mean to become mute, it just kind of happened. But discovering your Dad isn’t your real father is a pretty big deal. Tess decides to find out the truth of her identity but she uncovers a secret that could ruin multiple lives… But how can she ask for help when she’s forgotten how to use her voice?

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My friend read the blurb of the book and said “Really, she stops talking just because she found out her Dad wasn’t her real Dad? Really?” All I will say is that it’s much more than that and I really feel awful for Tess, I can see why she didn’t want to talk. The blurb doesn’t do the book justice; you need to give it a go to understand what I mean.

I loved Tess so much. One of the reviews on the front of the book says ‘like a book and best friend all in one’ and that’s what it felt like. It felt like I really knew Tess, like she was my friend and a real person. I felt everything she felt and she’d fill my thoughts when I wasn’t reading. I’ve never had that with any other book before. I was really sad to finish it; it felt like I’d lost a friend.

The one person I can’t stand and will never be able to stand is Jack, Tess’ ‘Dad’. I feel like there was a kind of redemption ark at the end but I really can’t stand him and some of the decisions he made. I can forgive what made Tess hate him but there were so many little things he did that made me hate him so much and if I were Tess then I don’t think I’d have been able to forgive him.

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Do you know who was great though? Mr Goldfish. Because Tess can’t speak out loud she starts having conversations with a goldfish torch that she’s named Mr Goldfish who gives her general life advice and is there for her. This is really sad but I actually checked on Amazon and eBay to see if they had a torch like Mr Goldfish. They didn’t have any and I was absolutely gutted! I’m going to keep an eye out for one.

I really can’t put into words how much I loved this book and how much I recommend it. It’s one of the best books I’ve read in a while and I can’t wait to read more of Annabel Pitcher’s work. If you find a copy of it then buy it, you honestly won’t regret it!

Review: The Pants Project by Cat Clarke

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I think at this point it’s no secret that I’m a big fan of Cat Clarke. There isn’t a book she’s published yet that I haven’t enjoyed and ‘The Pants Project’ is no exception. Told from the point of view of Liv (not Olivia) it’s a story about a transgender boy who thinks it’s unfair that he has to wear a skirt to school just because he was born as a girl. He starts a campaign to change the rule but can he face the bullying that comes from mean girl Jade and her friends?

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One of my favourite things about Cat’s books is the diversity of characters. In her previous book the main character’s Dad was bi-sexual and in this book Liv has two Moms. It’s just so interesting to read about something different that’s not white heterosexual people all the time. Also, Cat is absolutely brilliant at writing realistic romance – something there wasn’t any of in this book! It was perfect! Thank you Cat! (For those who don’t regularly read my reviews, I can’t stand romance in books nine times out of ten)

It was a really easy book to get into. It’s aimed at a younger audience but it didn’t stop me enjoying it. It’s a relatively simple plot but there’s still a little twist that I wasn’t expecting – I guessed something completely different and it was a nice surprise. Don’t worry I won’t spoil it for any of you though!

All the characters are loveable, Liv is so awesome. My favourite character has to be Enzo though; I’d love a brother like that. I didn’t like Maisie, I have no sympathy whatsoever and I’m glad Liv didn’t either. I couldn’t stand Jade but that was clearly what Cat intended.

I really can’t recommend this book highly enough, as usual my review hasn’t done it justice but it’s truly brilliant! Please trust me and go and purchase a copy, it’s an amazing book and definitely worth a read.

Review: Girl Online by Zoe Sugg

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Most people will have heard of this book. It’s been out a while now and it’s already got two sequels so I’m probably the last person on the planet to finally read it. However, for those of you who haven’t heard of it before this is the debut novel of Zoella, a popular YouTuber, and it’s about a young girl named Penny who runs a blog called Girl Online. She keeps it anonymous and just blogs about things going on in her life; friendship, boys and the panic attacks she’s started having recently. When things get worse she goes on a family vacation to New York and ends up meeting a boy named Noah. Penny finds herself falling in love and records every moment of it on her blog. But Noah has a secret, one that threatens to ruin Penny’s cover forever.

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I’d seen this book around for a while but never considered reading it. Then a couple of weeks ago I went in to buy ‘Not That Kind of Girl’ by Siobhan Vivian and it was in the buy one get one half price offer. So was Girl Online. I figured it would be a good book to review on this blog and went for it! I didn’t particularly think I’d enjoy it but I was actually surprised.

‘Girl Online’ is pretty much a typical teenage novel. It’s not really anything new or amazing. The plot is relatively predictable but I still found myself getting completely invested. At twenty years old I don’t think I was the intended target audience, it’s aimed more at younger teenagers, but I still found myself really enjoying it.

I think ‘Girl Online’ is one of those books that I know isn’t particularly good and should by all means probably annoy the Hell out of me, but it doesn’t. After finishing this one I actually really want to read the sequels, I want to find out what happens to Penny and whether she decides to keep her blog or not. I have a feeling this series is going to be a bit of a guilty pleasure.

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As for the romance, it was a little bit annoying to read about because it was a bit unrealistic. I can understand Penny feeling attracted to him but the fact that they both fell in love with each other so quickly was a bit ridiculous. Also her friend Elliot started getting so petty that it was stupid. I understood why he was upset with everything going on but it seemed like soon he wasn’t giving Penny a break at all.

Ultimately, I did really enjoy the book and I’ll be buying the sequels but as I said, this book is definitely a guilty pleasure. A kind of, I know it’s not that great but I loved it anyway.

Review: … And a Happy New Year? by Holly Bourne

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When I found out there was another book in the spinster club series I was absolutely over the moon as it’s probably my favourite series out there. I’d wanted to read it for a while so put it on my Christmas list – but no one bought it for me! I’ve been pretty broke recently but after hearing so many brilliant reviews of it I spent the last of my money on it. I’m glad I did. It only took me a day to finish it.

For those of you who aren’t familiar with the Spinster Club series, it follows the friendship of Evie, Amber and Lottie who form their own group ‘the Spinster Club’ where they meet up to discuss feminism. Each girl has their own book told from their point of view until this one, which is told a chapter at a time but each of the girls. It’s New Years Eve and Evie, Amber and Lottie are having a party to remember. For the first time since they all left college the three girls are back together and it’s time to have fun – not tears or arguments.

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When the book arrived it was smaller than I expected it to be. I thought it was another novel but it’s actually a novella to tie up any loose ends and so we have one more opportunity to check in with the Spinsters and see how they’re doing. Why can’t all series have one last book like this? It was nice to see what the girls were up to now they’d all left college even if it wasn’t necessarily what you’d hoped would happen.

I love how things aren’t perfect for any of them, how they all went their separate ways and things aren’t exactly the same when they got back. Or how none of them are particularly having an easy time but they’re too afraid to tell each other that not things aren’t as perfect as they’d hoped they’d be.

My favourite thing though was that they all seemed to end up doing the thing that was right for them even if it meant they wouldn’t be able to meet up as often as they’d like to. It was a brilliant conclusion to the series and I’m so glad Bourne decided to write one more book.

If you’ve already read the Spinster series then I one hundred percent recommend this because it’s amazing and you’ll honestly love it. And if you haven’t read the Spinster series then you really need to start because it’s one of the best series out there and you won’t regret it!