Sunday 30 November 2014

I Failed At NaNoWriMo

When I wrote the post saying I was attempting NaNoWriMo a few weeks ago, I really didn't want to have to write this post. But alas, the typical thing happened and life got in the way and everything just got far more hectic than it was in October, meaning I failed rather miserably.

Although technically I failed as I didn't even reach 10,000 wor
ds, I'm still pretty proud of the fact I planned out a novel and wrote just short of 10,000 words of it. I think that alone is an achievement in itself, especially as that was almost exclusively written in the first week or so of November. After that everything got a little too busy and I wasn't able to write much at all and when I did have time I was too tired but these things happen.

Technically, yes, I failed, but I'm not really thinking of it like that. I wrote nearly 10,000 words that I wouldn't have written had I not attempted NaNoWriMo and since the whole idea of it is to get people writing more than they would normally, I would consider that something at least.

Did any of you manage to complete NaNoWriMo? If you did, I applaud you. It is no easy feet.

Lucy x

Sunday 26 October 2014


For those of you who may not have heard of NaNoWriMo before, it is 'National Novel Writing Month' and the aim is to write 50,000 words in the month of November. For more information check the website here.

Back in 2012 I attempted NaNoWriMo and it's safe to say it didn't exactly go to plan. I didn't even get a fifth of the way through the word goal and if I remember rightly my story was, to be quite honest, horrendous. While I wanted to attempted it the following year I was just too busy and I knew there was no point even trying it, as I did not physically have the time to write due to school being pretty hectic at the time.

But that leads us to this year, where I have a lot more time and have found friends who also thought it would be fun to attempt NaNoWriMo 2014 so after a few conversations about it and setting up a Facebook chat between the three of us, we have decided to do it and motivate each other. I think one of the issues I had back in 2012 is that no one knew I was doing it, meaning I had no one to motivate me when I was finding it difficult to write. I was so worried about not finishing it that I decided the best option was to not tell anyone I'd started it. This year I've decided that I'm not going to do that. While it would be annoying if I don't manage to finish it, that's not the point for me. I love to write, as you can probably tell my the fact I run four separate blogs, but I've never seriously attempted writing something as long as a novel, so this will be a very new experience for me!

If you're looking for a writing buddy, feel free to add me as one!

Have you done NaNoWriMo before? Are you attempting it this year? If you've got any tips for me leave them below! I have a feeling I'll need them!

Lucy x

Sunday 19 October 2014

5 Fun Facts About A Book And A Brew!

As it's been a busy few weeks and I've not got much reading done, I don't have a book review for you today. I thought instead I'd do a different kind of post for a change and realised there are a few things you may not know about A Book And A Brew. So here we go! I present to you some fun facts you may not have known about A Book And A Brew!

1) If you comment on my blog, I will without a doubt check out your blog.

As I'm still at a stage where my blog is relatively small in the blogosphere I don't get many comments on what I post. This means I have the time to have a little nosey look at who is commenting on my blog and what their blog is like. Very often I will then proceed to follow them on bloglovin so if you want a new follower on there and think I'd like your blog, leave me a subtle comment some time! (Or just a very obvious one below telling me you think I'd like your blog and we should be friends either works)

2) This is not my only spot on the internet.

Something that may come as a bit of a surprise is that this is not my only blog. I have a few other ones such as my personal/lifestyle blog lucytregidon and my beauty blog itslucyslook. Some of you may wonder why I don't just throw everything in together on one blog but I've found as a reader of other blogs I am often far more interested in one style of post. I may enjoy someone's book reviews but not be quite so fond of their beauty posts. That's why I like to keep things separate, so people know where they stand with each blog! I'm also a musician and as such have a YouTube channel. I don't upload videos regularly (we're talking a few a year) but if you'd like to head over there and watch a few of my videos, leave me some feedback and maybe even subscribe while you're there you'd make me a very happy Luce.

3) I love the name of this blog more than you probably realise.

It's such a great feeling when you have an idea and instantly think it is a brilliant idea. It's even better when you do that and then still think months later that it's a brilliant idea. For a long time this blog was called but it never really sat right with me. It wasn't what I wanted my blog to represent and it didn't capture my writing style at all. That's when I thought of A Book And A Brew. I shared the idea with one of my best friends who was as excited as I was by it meaning it wasn't one of my ideas that only I find good (that does happen quite often) and I proceeded to change the url. Not only that, but I also created a google account (although 'abookandabrew' was taken so I had to miss the first 'a' off which was why my contact email is '') and then later a twitter account.

4) The banner for this blog is more perfect than I could have ever hoped and I didn't even give my friend my ideas when I asked her to make it for me.

For those of you who aren't aware, my banner was made by my wonderfully talented friend Ishani. Knowing she was good at this sort of thing, I asked if she could consider making me a banner because I was really struggling. That was all I said and she got back to me very quickly with the design you can see at the top of the page. It was exactly what I had in mind and I feel like it encompasses the spirit of my blog so perfectly I will never be able to thank her enough.

5) I'm 17.

Those of you who pay attention to the side bar will already know this but I feel some of you may have accidentally over looked it. I am 17 meaning I am still in school and blogging has to be a secondary thing for me no matter how much I love it. You may have noticed that blog posts decrease dramatically during term time and although it is sometimes that I don't have enough time to write posts then, it's often that I don't have the time to read the things I want to review. I try to schedule posts so I keep uploading regularly although it's not always possible as I'm sure anyone in their last year of school will tell you!

So there we have it! 5 fun facts about A Book And A Brew! Let me know if you enjoy this kind of post. It's something a little different to the norm but I enjoyed writing it so I hope you enjoy reading it and I'd be happy to do more things similar in the future! 

Lucy x

Sunday 5 October 2014

We Were Liars by E. Lockhart

228 Pages

Rating: 3/5

Format: ebook

Buy it: thebookdepository (paperback)

After seeing endless good reviews of this book, when I saw it was available on amazon kindle for £1.99 I decided to give it a shot. I went in to it not knowing anything about it because I'd heard it was best to go in blind and while I still agree that it is best to not know the plot, I didn't enjoy it as much as I was expecting to.

I had to convince myself to keep reading with this book which is usually not a good sign. If I hadn't heard so many good reviews I would've probably given up with it and that is something I very rarely do. I can see why people enjoy it as the good points raised are definitely things I can see, but I just did not enjoy it at all.

It would seem that this is a real marmite book: you'll either love it or you'll hate it. Unfortunately I didn't love it but that doesn't mean that you won't.

Have you read We Were Liars? What did you think of it? Did you love it or hate it?

Lucy x

Sunday 28 September 2014

The Fifth Wave by Rick Yancey

457 Pages

Rating: 4/5

Format: paperback (library copy)

The Fifth Wave is a dystopian novel in which humans are being destroyed in waves. Cassie, her father and her brother have survived until now but as they anticipate the fifth wave things start becoming more difficult. When Cassie and her family are separated she does everything she can to reunited them, but it's not quite as simple as that.

I picked this up when I was at the library last mainly because I'd heard people talking about it online. For a while I wasn't convinced by it. I found the beginning to be a little repetitive and I think the same book could probably have been written in less pages but overall it was definitely a good book. I found I couldn't put the book down for the last 100 pages or so and didn't really want it to end when it did, but at the same time I doubt I'll read the rest in the series (I didn't actually realise it was a series until I started reading it and added it to my goodreads). 

Overall it's a good book but I didn't find it particularly mind blowing.

This book is great for anyone who likes dystopian novels like The Hunger Games or Divergent and if you enjoy that type of book I'd definitely recommend it.

Have you read The Fifth Wave? What did you think of it?

Lucy x

Sunday 21 September 2014

Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell

325 Pages

Rating: 5/5

Format: Paperback

Eleanor is the new girl in town and doesn't fit in at all. Park is the boy on the bus who tries to be as invisible as possible. They slowly open up to each other and fall for each other with the help of mix tapes and comic books. As it says on the back of the book, 'they fall in love the way you do the first time, when you're young, and you feel as if you have nothing and everything to lose.'

I've been reluctant to read Eleanor & Park for a while. I've seen so many reviews online saying it's incredible and I didn't want to go into it with high expectations just for it to not meet them. That being said, after I read Fangirl a few weeks ago I knew I had to read this. Eleanor & Park is one of those books that deserves all of the hype it gets.

By far my favourite thing about Rainbow Rowell's writing is how realistic her characters are. Her characters are flawed. They are not perfect. They have traits about them that are not desirable and that's what makes them so fantastic. I find I get much more attached to a character who is imperfect because they just seem all the more real. Eleanor, Park and all of the people around them feel so real that I couldn't help but love this book.

I had been warned by a commenter on a blog post where I'd mentioned that I wanted to read this soon to have tissues at hand for the ending so I was on the look out for something sad to crop up the whole way through the book but I still didn't think it would play out as it did. Although I'm much more of a fan of happy endings, as most of us are really, I completely see why the ending was necessary and it just added to the realism of the whole story.

I would definitely recommend this book. It warns on the back of the book that it's not suitable for younger readers but for anyone older than about 14 I would recommend it. It's a fantastic and realistic book that deals with very real, very important issues.

Have you read Eleanor & Park? What did you think of it?

Lucy x 

Sunday 14 September 2014

84 Ribbons by Paddy Eger*

345 Pages

Rating: 3/5

As someone who has always loved dance, particularly ballet, I was interested in this book as soon as I saw the cover, but I have to say I was a little disappointed. While this is a good book, it wasn't as good as I was expecting which is possibly partially my fault for having expectations that were too high.

84 Ribbons is the story of Marta, a teenager in the 1950s, as she moves away from home to join a ballet company. While she's always dreamed of becoming a professional ballerina, her experiences as one aren't exactly what she had in mind. She makes two friends immediately who continue to be her best friends and, of course, there is a love interest.

This book deals with some important issues surrounding the ballet community such as eating disorders and ballerinas overworking their bodies and these issues are dealt with well. My only problem with the way the author deals with these sensitive topics is that they sometimes feel like unnecessary stereotypes. We only meet a handful of dancers throughout the book and the majority of them struggle with one of these two issues. While ballet is undoubtedly a physically demanding profession and it is likely that things were different in the 1950s than they are today, it would've been nice to see more characters who were strong dancers with healthy eating habits, as the majority of dancers do not have eating disorders and reading this book felt like the opposite.

While it was by no means my favourite book, I feel like it is a decent book and I didn't necessarily dislike it. I just wouldn't rush out to recommend it to all of my friends.

Have you read 84 Ribbons? What did you think of it?

Lucy x

*I received a copy of this book for review via netgalley

Sunday 7 September 2014

The Coldest Girl In Coldtown by Holly Black

419 Pages

Rating: 4.5/5

Buy it: thebookdepository

This was another library find that I picked up purely from hearing good reviews about it online and, although I wasn't really expecting much, I was surprised by it! I found it really engaging and it's definitely the type of book that is easy to lose yourself in. I've been struggling a bit recently with finding the motivation to read more than about a chapter without getting bored but I sat and read about 200 pages of this when I woke up today because I couldn't put it down.

The book starts when Tana, the protagonist, wakes up the morning after a party to find herself in a bathtub still in the house of the party. She wanders through the rest of the house expecting to find her friends awake and cooking breakfast but instead finds everyone who had been at the party dead, other than her ex-boyfriend who has been chained up in the same room as a vampire. She very quickly finds out that her ex-boyfriend was bitten by a vampire and when trying to escape, Tana comes very close to being bitten too. So close that she's not sure if the infection has been passed on to her. The story then follows Tana, Aiden (her ex-boyfriend) and Gavriel (the vampire who had been chained up) as they head towards the Coldtown, a quarantine to keep the vampires from infecting humans and what happens once they are inside.

I thought this book was brilliant. It was fantasy that has been written in a way that makes you almost believe it's not. I'd definitely recommend this to anyone in search of a good YA read with believable characters and a strong plot that is not centered around romance. There is some romance in this book but it definitely takes a back seat for the majority of the book.

Have you read The Coldest Girl In Coldtown? What did you think of it? 

Lucy x

Sunday 31 August 2014

History and YA Book Haul (Haul #5)

I went shopping with my parents the other day pretty much solely because it meant I could go and get some stuff I'd been lusting after on the LUSH website (I have a serious addiction to that shop) but when we switched shopping locations and I was left to decide between looking around outdoor type shops with my parents (some of you may not be aware but I am far from the outdoorsy type, I mean I have a blog doesn't that say enough?)  or find something else to do, I decided to wander. That was when I remembered The Works. Some of you may have seen from my Bargain Book Haul post last summer that I love The Works when it comes to buying cheap books. It is a chain of stores in the UK (as far as I'm aware, possibly other countries too) that sell everything to do with arts, crafts and, most importantly, books. And when I say cheap, I mean really REALLY cheap.

Having just finished History AS Level and getting ready to do History A2 next year, I couldn't help falling in love with the history section. Despite there being about a million books I would gladly have bought I limited myself to things I will realistically read.

First, I picked up Andrew Marr's 'The Making of Modern Britain' because my A-Level course is pretty much exactly the same time period as he covers in this and having watched a few episodes of the TV show by the same name in class as well as for revision, I thought it could be useful. I find that on the TV show the information is put across in a very easy to understand way so I'm hoping I'll find the same with the book.

Next up we have 'China Rises' by John Farndon. I will admit, this was a very spur of the moment buy and I've not had any particular interest in China's history, culture or economy before but once I'd read the blurb I thought it could be an interesting read. It mentioned how Britain was the dominant world power of the 19th Century and the US was of the 20th Century and China looks set to become the dominant world power of the 21st Century and that pulled me in. I guess we'll see if this is a hit or miss!

The next book I picked up is the beautiful book 'Remember, Remember (the Fifth of November)' that I fell in love with immediately because of how it looked. When I picked it up and looked at it properly and found out it was, as the cover says, 'The History of Britain in Bite-Sized Chunks' I couldn't resist. I didn't study history at GCSE and picked it straight up for A-Level meaning that, although it has considerably improved over the last year, my general knowledge when it comes to history is really not very good at all. That makes this book perfect for me. From what I can see, each page has an event in British history with it's date and a brief explanation. The first entry is from AD 43 and the last is from 1945, so it's fair to say it's broad!

Lastly, we have a book that feels very out of place in this haul but I bought it at the same time so thought I'd chuck it in. I picked up 'Dash & Lily's Book of Dares' by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan for £1! Told you it was a great place for cheap books! I don't really know much about this book but I know it's had some really great reviews online and I've read a few of David Levithan's other books and he is definitely up there on my list of favourite authors so I couldn't resist.

And there we have it! Let me know if you've read any of these and what you thought about them or even if any of them look good to you in the comments below.

Lucy x

Any of these books take your fancy? Links to buy them below:

The Making of Modern Britain - Andrew Marr - £1.99

(Click image to buy on or here for thebookdepository)

Chine Rises - John Farndon - £2.99

(Click image to buy on - not on thebookdepository or amazon - sorry!)

Remember Remember - Judy Parkinson - £2.99

(Click image to buy on or here for thebookdepository)

Dash and Lily's Book of Dares - Rachel Cohn and David Levithan - £1

(Click image to buy on or here for thebookdepository)

Tuesday 26 August 2014

Odeful by Jennifer Recchio*

38 Pages

Rating: 3.5/5

Format: ebook

I wasn't really sure what to expect with this. All I really knew was that it was a collection of poems that was released very recently and that it was about 'coming of age in the modern world' but I have to say, I did enjoy reading it!

It's a very short collection and the poems are the lovely kind of poetry that is easy to read but still leaves you thinking after. You could easily read the whole collection in one sitting (which I did) without feeling overwhelmed by it as sometimes happens with poetry and it's a great break from novels if you find yourself falling into a bit of a reading slump.

I read this book in ebook format and I found myself highlighting a lot of little phrases and passages that I wanted to remember later, which I always think is a sign that I'm enjoying something. It was a really easy read but still left me thinking about the words which I thought was lovely. The language used is simple but the phrasing of it is beautiful, meaning you're aware of what the poet is trying to express but it is far from boring.

Have you read Odeful or any similar collections of poems you think I'd like? Let me know in the comments!

Lucy x

*I received a copy of this book for review from the publisher via netgalley.

Monday 25 August 2014

Bout of Books 11.0: Wrap Up!

The Bout of Books readathon will probably always be my favourite readathon. I mentioned on here before that I love it because there is literally no pressure to read and you can set yourself goals that are realistic for you and I've not found any other readathon that feels as relaxed, which is definitely what works for me.

Although I posted a TBR, I knew I wouldn't stick to those books. I knew I wanted to read Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell but other than that I just wanted to read what I felt like reading, which is what I did. In my mind, the real goal for myself was to read 800 pages in 7 days because that's way beyond what I would normally read in a week. In a typical week I'd say I probably read about 400 pages which means I've managed to double that which is a great achievement for me!

I'm sort of sad to see the end of this readathon. I was enjoying keeping a tally of how much I'd read in the day and then sharing with you how the day had gone. I'd definitely gotten into a routine of blogging every day too! I'm going to try and keep blogging as much as possible for the next few weeks before I go back to school although most of it will be scheduled to appear over the next few months as I know I'm going to be crazy busy when school starts back.

If you found my blog through this readathon, hello and I hope you stick around for a bit! And don't forget to say hi in the comments so I know you're there.

How did the readathon go for you? Was it a success? Let me know in the comments!

Day 1: 142 Pages
Day 2: 86 Pages
Day 3: 78 Pages
Day 4: 120 Pages
Day 5: 60 Pages
Day 6: 216 Pages
Day 7: 136 Pages

Total Read: 838 Pages

Books read:
The Fifth Wave by Rick Yancey
Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell
We Were Liars by E. Lockhart (started but not finished)

Lucy x

Sunday 24 August 2014

Bout of Books 11.0: Day 6 Update

Day 6 was by far the most productive day I've had of this readathon. I was home all day with nothing that really needed to be done so I just powered through Eleanor & Park and managed to finish it in the early hours of the morning so while I'm not including all of it for my page count for day 6 it does mean I was left to read something else for day 7. 

My page count so far is:

Day 1: 142 Pages
Day 2: 86 Pages
Day 3: 78 Pages
Day 4: 120 Pages
Day 5: 60 Pages
Day 6: 216 Pages

Total Read: 702 Pages

Lucy x

Saturday 23 August 2014

Bout of Books 11.0: Day 5 Update

Far from a good reading day so I'll keep this update brief. I had to head into Cardiff earlier and then ended up going for a bit of a wander through the shops with my mum (which involved going to Lush which if you follow my beauty blog you'll know is my weakness). This meant I couldn't read past midnight like usual because I had to get up at a reasonable time and I didn't have time to read in the morning like I usually do. I didn't get home until late afternoon and although I tried to make up for lost time in the evening I didn't get as much read as I would have liked to.

Still, I'm enjoying the readathon! I've decided that as long as I finish Eleanor & Park (currently reading) this weekend I'll be happy with what I've done. I'd never normally read 2 books in a week, especially when one of them was over 400 pages, so that would make the readathon a success!

So far I've read:

Day 1: 142 Pages
Day 2: 86 Pages
Day 3: 78 Pages
Day 4: 120 Pages
Day 5: 60 Pages

Total Read: 486 Pages

Lucy x

Friday 22 August 2014

Bout of Books 11.0: Day 4 Update

Day 4 was far more successful than the last few days! I got reading just after midnight as usual because I couldn't sleep and found myself finishing The Fifth Wave by Rick Yancey at 3am! Probably not the best idea seeing as though I had to be at a hair appointment at 10.30am but worth it nonetheless.

You can see my very brief thoughts on The Fifth Wave that I posted to my goodreads page as soon as I finished it here. There will  be a review coming sometime in the next few weeks so keep yours eyes out for that! 

Day 4 felt like an incredibly productive day. Although I didn't actually read much throughout the day, having read 100 pages before I even went to sleep meaning by the time we were 3 hours into the day I had already met my target for the whole day felt incredibly satisfying.

Day 1: 142 Pages
Day 2: 86 Pages
Day 3: 78 Pages
Day 4: 120 Pages

Total read: 426 Pages

Lucy x

Thursday 21 August 2014

Like This, Try This Challenge! (Bout of Books 11.0)

Today's challenge looked fun and it's quite a quick one so I thought I might as well take part. You just have to recommend a book based on another book, simple! So...

Nineteen Eighty-Four is old school dystopian and has the same idea of the government controlling the people as is in The Hunger Games. Nineteen Eight-Four is a one of those books that you will either love or hate (I don't think I've ever found anyone who thought it was 'alright') and I absolutely love it. If you like dystopian, you should read this.

Lucy x 

Bout of Books 11.0: Day 3 Update

Again, I didn't read as much as I could've but that was because I actually left the house (not something I often do I'll admit). Although I only read 78 pages I think when it's factored into the equation that I was out of the house for about 6 hours that's acceptable. 

As I'm writing this on the thursday/day 4 I'm not worried about my total page count so far because I read a lot this morning which you'll have to wait until tomorrow's update to find out about!

My totals are as follows:

Day 1: 142 Pages
Day 2: 86 Pages
Day 3: 78 Pages

Total read: 306 Pages

Lucy x

Wednesday 20 August 2014

Bout of Books 11.0: Day 2 Update

Okay so the bad news, I didn't read much on day 2 and didn't meet my goal. The good news, I read enough on day 1 that when both are added together I still met my goal for the two days. 

The main reason I didn't get as much reading done for day 2 is because a few exciting things were happening on my blog. You may have noticed the spontaneous post that appeared yesterday and the new fancy banner in the side bar but I am now officially an affiliate for The Book Depository! If you're not sure what that is you can click the 'Policies' page on the navigation bar just below the header and it'll explain everything. I'm super excited about this (as if you couldn't already tell) and I'm excited to be able to make my blog an even better place!

So the totals are as follows:

Day 1: 142 Pages
Day 2: 86 Pages

Total read: 228 Pages

Lucy x

Tuesday 19 August 2014

Book Depository Affiliate?

This is just a quick post to let you know that I am now officially an affiliate for thebookdepository! There are details on my 'Policies' page but the brief run down is that when you click a link to thebookdepository on this blog I receive a small commission meaning I'm able to make this blog an even better place! 

If you want to support me and my blog by clicking these links I would be very grateful. The banner in the side bar will take you straight to the homepage of if you just want to browse and there will be specific links with book reviews so you can buy the exact same edition as I've pictured (or as close as possible) in my review.

I also feel like I should let you know that in clicking these links your order is in no way affected. The money I receive comes from The Book Depository's profit from the book and you are not charged any more than you would be if you hadn't followed the link.

Thank you for supporting A Book And A Brew!

Lucy x
Free Delivery on all Books at the Book Depository

Bout of Books 11.0: Day 1 Update!

It's currently day 2 of Bout of Books so I thought I'd update you on how day 1 went! I started reading at midnight (can you tell I was excited for this readathon?) but I still didn't read as much in the day as I probably could have, although I did go far beyond the 100 pages I'd planned to read which is always a nice feeling!

I'm currently reading The Fifth Wave by Rick Yancey and as you'll know if you're friends with me on goodreads (if you're not feel free to add me here) I can't quite decide how I feel about this book yet. I'm enjoying the plot and the idea for the story in general but I found the beginning quite repetitive so I'm hoping it doesn't carry on like that for the full 400+ pages!

How did the first day go for you? Let me know in the comments how much you read and what you're reading!

Day 1: 142 pages

Lucy x

Monday 18 August 2014

Bout of Books Scavenger Hunt

So Bout of Books is upon us and as I've already met my reading goal for the day (100 pages a day is beginning to seem not ambitious enough ) I thought I'd take part in the challenge for the day! This challenge seems like great fun so I didn't want to miss out! So let's start the scavenger hunt!

1. A Book that begins with “B”  (for Bout of Books!)

2. A book that has been made into a movie/tv show

The Fault in Our Stars by John Green (a bit of an obvious one I know but I just love both the book and the movie so much)

3. A series you love

The Complete Maus by Art Spiegelman - I was going to go with the obvious and say Harry Potter when I remember this. The history nerd side of me loves this series so much.

4. An anthology of poems or short stories

The Oxford Book of Modern Verse - I just love this book so much, look how pretty it is!

5. A book on your TBR shelf, or your full TBR shelves

I was just about to put the photo of my TBR for this week in for this one and then I thought, why not give you a glimpse of a haul that's coming in a few weeks! I bought these books a few weeks ago but you'll hear more about them soon!

So there we go, challenge complete! I'll post a full update of how much I read tomorrow because I wouldn't want to miss out what I read later today. I'm currently reading The Fifth Wave by Rick Yancy and I'm enjoying it so far!

Lucy x

Sunday 17 August 2014

Bring on the Books!

So as I've mentioned already this week, as of tomorrow I will be taking part in the week-long Bout of Books readathon. I've told you what I'm reading (click here if you missed it) and that I'm participating (click here if you missed that) but I've not told you what I plan to do during the week aside from reading so that's what I thought I'd share with you today!

As I've already changed my mind on some of the books I want to read (a trip to the library does that to a girl) I've decided that my TBR pile that I listed here is going to be a very rough guide. I get really stressed out by readathons if I feel like I'm not reading enough and that makes me read even less so although I'm going to aim for a minimum of 100 pages a day I'm not going to get annoyed at myself if I don't reach that for whatever reason. I'm going to aim to read a full book before starting another, purely because I find I get into the story better and I love the satisfaction of finishing a book in a day or two, it will definitely motivate me. I'm also just going to pick up whatever book I feel like I want to read next rather than sticking to a TBR.

I'm going to try and post an update on here everyday with my progress but there won't be reviews up when I finish books because as I mentioned in a post not long ago I'm very aware of the fact that from September onwards I'm going to be very busy and won't have as much time as I'd like to blog. For that reason, I'm going to be writing reviews of the books I feel are worth sharing my opinions on but they will appear on A Book And A Brew at some point over the next few months rather than the next few days. I know this can be annoying if you're dying to see a review of a particular book but it'll help me be able to keep my blog running smoothly while I'm busy. That being said, if there is a review you'd like to see before the others let me know in the comments of any of my posts and I'll schedule it so you see that one sooner. 

So there we have my plan for the week! I'm super excited for this readathon and I'm definitely in the mood for it so I'm hoping I'll be productive and get a good few books ticked off my TBR list before I head back to school. Let me know in the comments if you're participating and what you're reading!

Lucy x 

Saturday 16 August 2014

Harry's Last Stand by Harry Leslie Smith*

200 Pages

Rating: 5/5

For those of you who haven't been introduced to this book yet, it is a non-fiction book written by 91 year old Harry Leslie Smith about the society he grew up in and how, despite improvements that were made by past governments, today's society seems to be dangerously close to returning to that of the 1930s. He discusses issues that he is passionate about, such as the number of people living below the breadline today, and highlights reasons why this is the case.

I could very easily have sat down and read this book cover to cover but I purposely took my time with it so I could fully appreciate it. Harry writes about issues he is passionate about and this passion really comes through in his writing. He writes non-fiction with an incredibly fluid, easy to read voice that almost feels like fiction, making it accessible to people who do not know as much about these issues as he does. He writes about politics and history in a way that allows those who do not know much about either to gain more knowledge while writing in such a way as to allow those who are familiar with both on any level to still gain something from reading it.

As a teenager with a strong interest in history, I found reading this book not only very interesting but important. I think it's important to listen to people like Harry who have lived through periods of history that we study in school so we can understand what it was like on a personal level. It's very different reading about the personal struggles of living in 1930s Barnsely to seeing figures for the number of people who were living in that type of situation. I also think it's important that my generation listen to people like Harry to understand what it was like living in those conditions and do whatever can be done to stop people having to live like that.

This is one of those books that I wholeheartedly believe everyone should read. Regardless of your age, location or social class I believe you would gain something from reading this.

Harry Leslie Smith wrote an article for The Guardian titled 'This year, I will wear a poppy for the last time' that you can find here if you're interested.

Have you read Harry's Last Stand? What's your opinion of it?

Lucy x

*I received a copy of this book for review thanks to Leena at Icon Books

Buy the book: thebookdepository

Monday 11 August 2014

Bout of Books 11.0 - Reading Goals

As I mentioned in my post the other day, I've decided to participate in Bout of Books 11.0! I thought I'd share with you my goals for the week. Although it's very likely that they will change/I will not finish anywhere near what I've planned, I thought it'd be nice to show you my plan for the week.

Top of my list is Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell. I read Fangirl a few weeks back and absolutely fell in love with it and couldn't put it down so I thought another Rainbow Rowell book would be a good choice for a readathon!

I've had two ARCs that I won through Goodreads First Reads sat on my shelf for a few months so I'm going to try and read at least one of them. They are Purefinder by Ben Gwalchmai and Woman Master by Mehrnaz Stars. I'm not sure if I'll get through both of them but I'm going to try and read at least one of them to tick them off the list!

I've also got a few books I need to read before going back to school so I thought I'd throw one of them into the reading goals. The one I chose is The Reader by Bernhard Schlink which is the English translation of the text we will be studying in German next year. We've been asked to read the English rather than the German (thank goodness!) but I will probably try and read at least some of it with the German alongside it, just to gauge how difficult the language we will be studying is.

So that's my aim for the week! Like I said, it's highly likely that this will change and I'll end up reading way less than I wanted to but I thought I might as well share with you what my basic plan is. I'm aiming to read about 800 pages I think in a week because that works out to just over 100 pages a day, something which is more than I currently read but is still achievable. Obviously if I go over that it would be great but I want to try and be realistic so I don't plan too much and make myself feel under pressure.

Are you participating? Have you set yourself reading goals? Leave them in a comment below!

Lucy x

Sunday 10 August 2014

Everybody Sees The Ants by A. S. King

280 Pages

Rating: 5/5

Buy it: thebookdepository

In search of something to read and not really feeling in the mood for anything on my tbr shelf a few weeks ago I decided to take a trip to my local library. It's a very small library and has less YA books than I do (and my collection isn't particularly big) so I wasn't expecting much but it would seem they've got a few new things in since I was last there, one of which being Everybody Sees The Ants. Immediately I had Ariel Bissett's voice in my head saying it is one of her 'all time favourite books' and thought I couldn't pass up the opportunity to read it knowing that.

I can definitely see why Ariel loved this book. It follows Lucky, a target of some traumatising bullying as his mother and himself spend a few weeks in another state to get away from the bullying and the arguments between his mother and father. Lucky searches for his grandfather, pronounced 'missing in action' from the Vietnam War, in his dreams and spends his waking moments trying to deal with all the struggles he faces. The ants, as referenced in the title, are his conscience that he sees mocking people, including himself, with things he is too scared to say.

This book is brilliant. I found the dream sequences and the ants incredibly unique and the book itself was just amazing. I'd definitely recommend this one to pretty much anyone!

Have you read it? What did you think? Let me know in the comments below!

Lucy x

Saturday 9 August 2014

Bout of Books 11.0

Bout of Books

As a bit of a last minute decision, I've decided I'm going to take part in the Bout of Books 11.0 readathon which starts next Monday! For those of you who aren't familiar with Bout of Books, have a read of this:

The Bout of Books read-a-thon is organized by Amanda @ On a Book Bender and Kelly @ Reading the Paranormal. It is a week long read-a-thon that begins 12:01am Monday, August 18th and runs through Sunday, August 24th in whatever time zone you are in. Bout of Books is low-pressure, and the only reading competition is between you and your usual number of books read in a week. There are challenges, giveaways, and a grand prize, but all of these are completely optional. For all Bout of Books 11 information and updates, be sure to visit the Bout of Books blog. - From the Bout of Books team

I took part in the Bout of Books 8.0 readathon last summer so I'm excited to give it a shot again this year! In the past I've not been too good at keeping up with readathons and it usually turns out that I start a readathon and then end up having the busiest week of the year but I'm going to give it a go nonetheless! I also have a few books I want to try and get through before I go back to school in September so I thought this would be the perfect opportunity to just plough through them and get them read!

Are you taking part? I'll be posting updates throughout the week so feel free to link me to updates you're posting so we can discuss what we're reading with each other!

Lucy x

Friday 8 August 2014

A New Twitter Account?

Hello book lovers!

This is just a quick little update to inform you of the brand new twitter account I've set up to go hand in hand with this blog! How exciting! If you enjoy the content on here, want to see more of 'A Book And A Brew' or just generally love books you can head to @abookandabrew on twitter. Don't forget the tumblr account too:

I hope you enjoy all the changes that have happened to this blog recently, let me know what changes you like in the comments below! My personal favourite is the lovely banner my talented friend Ishani made me.

Lucy x

Sunday 3 August 2014

Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

460 Pages

Rating: 5/5!

Buy it: thebookdepository

I know I'm a little late to the party on this one but oh my goodness this book is brilliant. And exactly what I needed right now.

For those of you who have heard about this book but aren't clear about what it's about (I wasn't before I read it I'll admit) here's a very brief plot run down for you. Cath and Wren are twins who have always been inseparable. Fangirl starts when they first arrive at college (or univerity for us Brits) and they have been roomed in not only different rooms but different buildings due to Wren feeling she needs a bit more space, space that Cath isn't sure about. While Wren settles in to university life straight away, Cath doesn't. She struggles with her room mate initially, finds it very difficult to make friends and buries herself in the safety and familiarity of the online world instead. While her sister and  roommate are at parties, Cath is at home writing fanfiction about the Simon Snow stories (which bare a remarkable resemblance to Harry Potter). Fangirl follows Cath through her first year at university as she slowly gets used to all the changes, despite several major knock-backs.

This book probably isn't anywhere near as good to those people who have little to no knowledge of fanfiction or the concept of a fandom (particularly an online one) but as I know at least a bit about both I found it brilliant. I think part of the reason I loved it so much is because Cath is such a believable character. She finds it hard moving to a new place and meeting new people and starting everything from scratch. She's not perfect with the idea of relationships and struggles with opening herself up to it. She worries about things a lot. That's what makes her so great.

Cath isn't the only character in this book I fell completely in love with but as I don't want to give away any spoilers I won't say any more, I just felt the review would be incomplete without a little mention of him. If you've read it I'm sure you know who I mean.

Have you read Fangirl? Did you like it as much as I did? Let me  know what your opinion of it was in the comments below! Feel free to leave me any suggestions based on this too, I have a weakness for this type of book.

Lucy x

Saturday 26 July 2014

Back To YA

Currently smack bang half way in the middle of my A-Levels I have a few weeks off school for the summer and while I know I should be reading the books on my suggested reading list for English Literature next year that relate to the A2 course (Love Through The Ages) I couldn't resist reading a few YA books and it got me thinking.

Why is it that I feel slightly guilty for reading Young Adult books and why does it make me feel like I've taken a step back in terms of reading? Since September last year I've barely read anything that wasn't related to last year's course (AS English Literature - The Struggle For Identity in Modern Literature) and while it did show me a love for George Orwell I wouldn't have found otherwise there were very few books I finished and loved. Don't get me wrong, I finished them and appreciated them and felt they deserved the critical acclaim they got because of various different literary reasons but I didn't fall head over heels in love with them to the point I couldn't put the book down.

I have returned to YA for at least a few weeks because I felt like my brain needed a rest. I felt I needed to read something purely for the enjoyment of it and not because it would be useful in the future. I needed to read something and not feel pressure to appreciate the language and fully understand all of the small details.

Upon returning to YA I have remembered why I love it so much. There is a beautiful simplicity to young adult literature in terms of the language itself but the plots are just as interesting as those in adult literature, if not more engaging. I can read YA without feeling like I have to enjoy it which makes me enjoy it even more. I like to read things with simple language that you can read quickly without having to digest the words in your brain and I like to read things that I want to read, not what an exam board thinks a student of my age should be studying.

While I have enjoyed reading things written by the likes of F. Scott Fitzgerald, Maya Angelou and Jeanette Winterson over the last year, at the age I am now I am definitely more at home with a John Green book in hand. And I personally don't think there is anything wrong with that.

Lucy x

Monday 9 June 2014

Little Failure by Gary Shteyngart*

349 Pages

Rating: 3/5

Buy it: thebookdepository

Although I wasn't completely blown away with this book, I did enjoy it. The writing was the type of writing that is just nice to read and the book itself was interesting, I just found that I didn't have particularly strong feelings about it either way. The use of other languages worked well although I did feel that I would have perhaps gained more from it if I was familiar with that language and despite not really knowing much about the circumstances described I enjoyed it.

This was the first time I've read anything by Gary Shteyngart and probably wouldn't rush out to buy any more of his works but would read them if they came my way. It was an enjoyable book, but not one I'd re-read or necessarily rush to recommend to someone.

Lucy x

*I received a copy of this book to review through Goodreads First Reads

Sunday 30 March 2014

Book Haul: March 2014 (Haul #4)

Although I've not been reading as much as normal this month due to craziness in terms of school work, I have acquired a lot more books this month than normal so I thought I'd share them with you!

The first book I got this month I won in a YouTube giveaway on Sarah Churchill's YouTube channel to celebrate her reaching 5,000 subscribers. If you haven't already seen her videos I highly suggest having a look. I love watching her videos and she seems so lovely! I won A Game of Thrones by George R. R. Martin and I'm excited to see what all the fuss is about!

I also discovered the giveaway section on goodreads this month and I'm loving it! For those of you who don't know, goodreads have a section on their website dedicated to a scheme called 'First Reads' in which you can enter as many giveaway's as you like and all you have to do is provide an address for whoever is hosting the giveaway to send you your prize and add the book to your 'to be read' shelf. Simple!

The first book I won from goodreads 'First Reads' is Little Failure by Gary Shteyngart. Littlle Failure is a memoir following Gary's family as they make the move from Russia to the USA and how he, as a young child, has to deal with the move along with his ever-changing identity as he attempts to fit in as an American.

The second book I won from goodreads 'First Reads' is The Poets' Wives by David Park. Although I've only read the first few pages of this so far, I can already tell you that it is written beautifully. The quote on the cover of this proof copy is 'Park writes prose like a poet' (from The Times) and I can already tell you that's accurate. I'm excited to see this progress!

I ordered A Clockwork Orange and Slaughterhouse 5 from amazon as 'wider reading' for my AS English Literature course. For the exam we have to link things we've read in three genres, prose, poetry and drama, and these were both suggestions from class. I don't know much about either of them other than the fact they link to our course which is 'the struggle for identity in modern literature'.

Earlier this month I borrowed a copy of George Orwell's Essays and after reading the first few, decided I really needed to own it. The way Orwell writes is absolutely beautiful and I honestly think I could read anything he's written. So far, the only works of his that I've read are Nineteen Eighty-Four and Down and Out in Paris and London and I loved both. I can't recommend Orwell enough!

Finally I bought When the Guns Fall Silent by James Riordan from The Book Depository during their 25 hour sale. This book was only about £3 and as I am studying history for A Level and part of the course focuses on Britain around the time of the First World War, I thought I'd find this interesting! All I know about it is what is says on the back, that it is based on a man as he recalls his experience of World War 1 and is based on a true story.

I also bought the first of the word cloud classics editions of The Brothers Grimm fairytales. Ever since I saw justkissmyfrog's video about these editions of classics I've wanted to pick one up and decided to buy it along with Frankenstein in the Penguin English Library edition. I love both of these editions. They're absolutely beautiful and make me even more excited to read them!

That's all of them! If you've read any of these and want to suggest which ones I should read first please do in the comments below!

Lucy x

Saturday 11 January 2014

50 Books Challenge?

So as some of you will know, for the last 2 years I have joined many other people in the online book community in the '50 Books Challenge'. For those of you who don't know what that is, it's where you challenge yourself to read 50 books in a year.

In 2013, unfortunately I didn't manage it. I read a total of 39 books which I still think is pretty good considering the year was so busy for me but it still annoys me that I didn't reach the target I set for myself at the beginning of the year.

I know that 2014 is going to be an even busier year than 2013 which is why I made the decision to not challenge myself with the task of reading 50 books over the next 12 months. I did, however, want to set myself a goal in terms of reading so I decided to go with 30. For the last two years I've read about 40 books a year so I feel that 30 books is a good goal as it's achievable but also something I will be proud to do. I'm also going to try and make sure that I read as many books as possible that will help me with my school work. This means I'm going to try my best to focus on things that come under the topic of 'the struggle for identity in modern literature (20th century) which is my course for English Literature this year and the occasional historical book about either Britain 1880-1980 or Nazi Germany as that's the A Level history course I'm doing. That being said, I'm not going to let that stop me from reading books that I want to read just because they look good.

Since setting myself this goal at the very beginning of January I've already finished a book that comes under my English Literature course so things seem to be going well! That book is Nineteen Eighty Four by George Orwell, I can't recommend it enough and there will hopefully be a review coming soon!

Did you challenge yourself to the 50 Books Challenge in 2013? Did you complete it? Have you set yourself a reading goal for 2014? Let me know in the comments!

Lucy x

Guess Who's Back...

 So... it's been a while! So looking at my most recent post, it's been a grand total of 7 years, 4 months and 12 days since I last u...