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: Silence is Goldfish by Annabel Pitcher

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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: The Silver Eyes by Scott Cawthon and Kira Breed-Wrisley

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So I was really late to get into Five Night’s at Freddy’s… It was only recently after the release of Sister Location that I started to get interested in the storyline, even though I can’t actually play the games myself (if you want to see an attempt then click here to see me and my friend playing it [x]). So I was googling theories and a few of them were referencing this book so I decided to read it to get a bit of context.

The basic story is that ten years after the horrific murders at Freddy Fazbear’s Pizza, Charlie, whose father owned the restaurant and her childhood friends reunite on the anniversary and find themselves at the old pizza place which has been locked up and abandoned for years. After they discover a way inside, they realise that things are not as they used to be. The four adult-sized animatronic mascots that once entertained them have changed. They now have a dark secret… And a murderous agenda.

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I was really looking forward to reading this and it started off well. There’s enough going on to keep you intrigued and the characters aren’t that dislikeable. Then by the time I was halfway through the book it started to go downhill. I can’t say I wasn’t interested anymore but I wasn’t particularly getting any enjoyment from it. I finished the whole thing quite quickly because I wanted to find out what was going on but I feel like I haven’t particularly learnt a lot from it to be honest.

For me, I think the problem was that there wasn’t enough focus on the animatronics. They don’t even start moving around until you’re about three quarters of your way into the story. The emphasis is on Charlie and her friends and I suppose there’s no problem with that but it was boring unless they were at Charlie’s house, Freddy Fazbear’s or the original restaurant. From the description I assumed they went to Fazbear’s and then suddenly they were locked in there fighting to survive against the animatronics. That’s what we got for about a chapter.

Also, I don’t understand when this book is set in terms of the game? So surely the game must take place before this, when Charlie’s Dad is still alive right? So why are the suits possessed? To be honest I’ve never seen the first game completed the whole way through so maybe I need to see that to understand but I couldn’t figure out when it was supposed to be set, there was never any reference to them hiring a night guard to keep an eye on the place. Even the control room that the characters hid out in didn’t sound anything like the ones from the game even though you could recognise every other room?

To be honest though I think it was better than you would expect a Five Nights at Freddy’s story to be but it still wasn’t brilliant. It’s not particularly scary and it doesn’t really add much (as far as I’m aware but maybe I’m just an idiot) but I did find it interesting so I guess I would recommend it if you’re a fan of the games. If you didn’t like the games then I definitely wouldn’t bother with the book.

Review: Hate List by Jennifer Brown

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I got a ton of books for my birthday but unfortunately this wasn’t one of them. However, my Dad and step-mom gave me a £50 Waterstones gift card (the best thing I’ve ever received to be honest) and I’d seen ‘Hate List’ on Amazon and it sounded interesting so I decided to take a look for it. There was one copy left so I nabbed it!

Five months ago Valerie Leftman’s boyfriend opened fire on the school cafeteria, killing five students and one teacher before killing himself. Valerie is shell-shocked and even though she herself got shot trying to stop him the police believe she may have had a part in the shooting because of the hate list she and her boyfriend created. The list her boyfriend used to pick the targets. Valerie decides to go back to school and becomes more of an outsider than she ever thought she was before, she is forced to deal with her feelings of guilt and loneliness. Valerie must come to grips with the tragedy that took place and her role in it to make amends to her own life.

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The first half of the book is told from two different time point of views. We start with Valeria in the present day and then the next chapter is Valeria on the morning of the shooting. This keeps alternating until the shooting is over. I think this worked really well instead of having Valeria tell us what happened all at once because it kept the suspense going for longer and kept you intrigued.

I’m not entirely sure whether I liked Valeria or not. I didn’t blame her for what happened or anything I just thought she was a bit boring. Most of the characters were to be honest, although I did like Jessica. However, I’m glad that Nick wasn’t just shown as some horrible monster. We got to see him through Valeria’s point of view which made it more interesting rather than just seeing him as the bad guy. That’s when Valeria’s most interesting, when she’s talking about her confusing feelings for Nick who she still loves but hates at the same time.

Also, Nick had a friend, that Valeria hated, who was mentioned a lot at the beginning but towards the end he has little to no relevance so I’m not 100% sure why he was included? It would’ve been better if he’d been a bigger part of the story.

To be honest ‘Hate List’ is one of those books where I’m glad I read it but I won’t be in a rush to read it again soon. I suppose I’d recommend it but don’t expect to be amazed or anything. It just is what it is.

Review: What’s A Girl Gotta Do by Holly Bourne

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It’s taken me a while to read this book because I put it on my birthday list which meant I couldn’t buy it just in case anyone bought it for me… It was a painful month but finally my birthday arrived and my Mom had bought it for me, YAY! I started reading and found it difficult to put it back down.

So ‘What’s a Girl Gotta Do’ is the third book in Bourne’s Spinster Club Series and this time it’s told from the point of view of Lottie. After being harassed on her way to college one morning Lottie decides enough is enough and decides to start her own feminism project where she points out everything sexist for an entire month, filming her journey along the way. As the project goes viral, Lottie finds herself attacked by online trolls who either miss the point entirely or just don’t care. Is this project worth risking her sanity for?

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I loved the first two books in the Spinster series and ‘What’s a Girl Gotta Do’ was even better! I’m a massive feminist so a lot of the topics really hit home because I imagine we’ve all seen the kind of thing Lottie has to go through over and over again whether it’s in real life or the internet. I loved that Lottie tried to make the whole thing funny; there were so many bits that made laugh out loud. My favourite was when Lottie threw the cream pie and her, Evie and Amber ran off down the hallways while Evie sang ‘we could’ve been anything we wanted to be’.

This book is also infuriating though because of the way most people react to Lottie’s feminism project and it’s sadly accurate to how most people would be. The most infuriating character to read about had to be Teddy. Teddy is your typical, everyday fuckboy and I couldn’t stand him. Bourne really did a great job of making him unlikable.

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As with most YA novels, there was an element of romance. However, as I mentioned in my ‘How Hard Can Love Be’ review, Bourne doesn’t just focus on romance and only romance and it makes it far more pleasant to read about. Romance can be cute but not when the main character literally has an obsession with her romantic interest. That’s what I love about Holly Bourne’s books, we can focus on other things and still have time for a bit of a cheeky romance on the side that isn’t forced or creepy to read about!

Overall, I recommend this book to all of you, it’s a must read for everyone. Even if you’re a diehard feminist or don’t know much about it, this book is perfect for you. It’s hilariously funny but also despairingly sad at the same time, it’s a win-win. Go and buy a copy!

Review: Consumed by Abbie Rushton

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So I posted a review of Abbie Rushton’s ‘Unspeakable’ well over a year ago now and I rated it positively. Earlier this year Abbie released ‘Consumed’ and I kept intending to buy it and read it but for some reason I didn’t. I finally got around to reading it a couple of weeks ago.

‘Consumed’ is told from two points of view. One chapter is told by Myla, a girl who used to love spending hot days on the beach with her sister Asha until the day Asha was taken from her forever. The next is told by Jamie whose come to Myla’s town for the holidays and finds it difficult to eat. As Myla hasn’t left the house since her sister’s death, Jamie is sent over to talk to her and soon they find themselves growing closer. Are they willing to reveal their secrets and risk discovering the truth? Or will they let their pasts consume them for good…

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This book relies on mystery just as much as ‘Unspeakable’ did and I loved every second of it. Myla has trouble recalling what happened the day her sister disappeared but she’s certain that the man who’s been convicted of her murder is innocent. Jamie is reluctant to talk about why he’s refusing to eat. But then there are other little sub-mysteries, like why Myla’s internet friend Eve dislikes Jamie and doesn’t want Myla leaving the house. It’s gripping and makes you want to keep reading.

I have decided something. My regular readers will know that I dislike romance in YA novels because nine times out of ten its written so unrealistically and disgustingly and quite frankly makes me a little sick to my stomach. Also it’s all just heterosexual, white couples and I’m just bored of the whole thing. However, there are a few exceptions to this and I think Abbie Rushton is one of them. I’ve decided that I like the way Abbie writes romance. To be fair, there isn’t tons of romance in this book but the way she wrote it was brilliant and realistic. Thank you!

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To be honest I can’t think of anything negative to say because I really enjoyed it. I was gripped right from the start and it didn’t take me long to finish it. I wasn’t sure whether or not I liked Jamie or the point of view shifts to start with but by the end I loved him even though I still found Myla’s chapters more interesting to read.  I loved Myla’s Mom but often found her Dad to be super annoying. I loved Ness too, Jamie’s Aunt.

Overall, I’d recommend this book to all of you because it was honestly brilliant. Especially if you love a mystery element, this will definitely be the book for you.