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

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...