Sunday 4 October 2015

All I Know Now by Carrie Hope Fletcher

322 Pages:

Rating: 4/5

Format: Hardcover

All I Know Now, which came into existence through Carrie Hope Fletcher's blog, is, quite literally, all Carrie knows now and wishes she could tell her younger self. It is less a guide, more of a helping hand through teenage years. Carrie, following her self-proclaimed role as 'honorary big sister', has, in my eyes, provided big sisterly advice in the form of this book on almost all topics a teenager would turn to a big sister for.

I really wish I'd read this book 3 years ago when I felt completely alone and had nothing but issue after issue with my friends. While I've left that stage of my life now, I still found Carrie's words on the friendship issues in particular very comforting, as she writes in a way that just screams 'you are not alone in feeling these things' at you. People can tell you to ignore people as many times as they like, but sometimes all it takes is reading someone else's experiences to prove to you that actually that can, and probably will, work.

While the content of this book was great, what I really loved about it was Carrie's writing style. As someone who has been watching her YouTube videos for years and has watched her online presence blossom, I'm fairly used to the way she speaks and I found that her voice really came through in her writing. Reading her book with a cup of tea in hand really felt like you'd sat down for a chat with Carrie as she offers you friendly one to one advice. There was something that felt really personal about this book and I'm fairly sure a large part of that was down to Carrie's writing voice.

I really enjoyed this book. As you can just about see in the photo, my copy is now covered in little pink sticky tabs for when I want to flick back to something. I always feel that it speaks volumes when I can't help but underline something in a book, especially because I am the type of person who likes to keep their books looking like new, and I underlined a lot in this book. While it didn't blow me away, probably because I'm ever so slightly out of the target age group, I wouldn't hesitate to pass this on to someone younger than me who was feeling alone. If I could give this book to 13-year-old me I would do it in a heartbeat.

Have you read All I Know Now? Did it make you feel like you'd sat down for a cup of tea with Carrie? Let me know what you thought of it in the comments below!

Lucy x

Sunday 27 September 2015

Landline by Rainbow Rowell

310 Pages

Rating: 4/5

Format: Hardback

Landline follows Georgie McCool as she struggles through a difficult point in her marriage that just so happens to fall around Christmas. Just as they are supposed to travel to visit Neal parents for Christmas, Georgie has a crisis at work, forcing her to stay home in Los Angeles while her husband and two children head to Omaha. While at her parents house one night, Georgie finds a way to talk to Neal from the past and begins to wonder what impact this could have on their relationship and whether this could potentially save their marriage or wipe it from existence.

This is the third Rainbow Rowell book I've read (after Fangirl and Eleanor & Park) and while it is probably my least favourite of the three that doesn't necessarily mean all that much. I still love her writing style and I stand by the fact that her characters are some of the most believable I've come across. Rainbow Rowell has a real way of making you believe her characters, possibly through the fact that they are flawed, making them realistic, and Landline is no exception to this.

I enjoyed this book but it wasn't quite a 5/5 star one for me. I will still read anything else Rainbow Rowell writes, but this one just wasn't my favourite. I can't quite pinpoint what it was but it is possible that the fact I read a book centred around Christmas in the summer might be a factor! (note to all of you considering reading it: wait until December!) I still loved her characters as always and while it wasn't 5/5 from me on this one, I still enjoyed the book.

Have you read Landline or any of Rainbow Rowell's other books? What do you think of them? Let me know in the comments below!

Lucy x

Sunday 20 September 2015

The Last Summer Of Us by Maggie Harcourt

295 Pages

Rating: 3/5

Format: Paperback

The Last Summer of Us is the story of three Welsh teenagers as they go on a spontaneous road trip to make the most of their time together. While things are changing around them, a few days away from their usual lives allows our narrator to begin to figure out how she feels about these changes.

I had high hopes for this book due to the recommendation from Sarah over at ClumsinessAsACurse on YouTube combined with the fact I am a Welsh teenager about to leave my friends behind as we all head off to university in September but it just didn't quite live up to my expectations. While it was a decent book and I can definitely see why many people will love it, it just didn't quite do it for me.

I found elements of it incredibly frustrating. While I understand that it is fictional and the events in the book do not necessarily have to be realistic, I struggled with the fact the characters were seemingly in a typical Welsh costal town and then ridiculous things were thrown in, such as an elephant at one point, which just confused the boundaries between reality and fantasy for me. While some people may love this aspect of the book, I found it somewhat annoying, especially considering the book did not need these elements to be interesting. It felt as if Maggie Harcourt was trying to keep the reader interested when simply the relationships between the three main characters were absolutely enough to do this.

Like I said, this book is definitely not a bad book by any stretch of the imagination and I did really like all of the characters, each of whom is battling through their own personal issues that are gradually revealed throughout the book. I just found that unrealistic events combined with a few frustratingly obvious and unoriginal metaphors somewhat ruined it for me.

Have you read The Last Summer of Us? What did you think of it? Let me know in the comments below!

Lucy x

Sunday 13 September 2015

Look Who's Back by Timur Vermes (translated by Jamie Bulloch)

375 Pages

Rating: 4.5/5

Format: Paperback

Look Who's Back basically tells the story of a 'what if' : 'what if Hitler woke up alive and well in Berlin in 2011?'

The book follows Hitler as he tries to adapt to life in 2011 with no recollection as to how he arrived at his current point (although his uniform does inexplicably smell of petrol). It follows his frustration when asked for his 'real name' after providing the name 'Adolf Hitler' due to the fact people believe he is just an incredibly talented impressionist who refuses to break character.

This book is absolutely hilarious. As a history enthusiast particularly interested in Nazi Germany I knew I had to pick this up when I saw it in my local book shop and I'm so glad I did. I found myself actually laughing out loud at it and constantly wondering where the plot was going to go next. 

I could not recommend this book more. If you're even slightly interested in German history I am absolutely sure you will love this book.

Have you read this book? Do you want to? Let me know in the comments!

Lucy x

Sunday 30 August 2015

Girl Online by 'Zoe Sugg'

*I have put the name 'Zoe Sugg' in quotation marks in the title due to the controversy surrounding the actual author of the book which surfaced in late 2014 when Girl Online was released. I will go into it in more detail later in this review but my use of quotation marks is not any kind of personal attack on Zoe Sugg or the 'Zoella' brand*

344 Pages

Rating: 2/5

Format: hardback

Girl Online follows Penny, your average unlucky and a bit clumsy teen, on a family trip to New York after things go from bad to worse with her 'friends'. Penny struggles with anxiety and panic attacks and uses her online blog, 'girl online', as a way to vent her emotions and create an online community to support each other in similar circumstances. While in New York, Penny meets Noah who seems almost too perfect to be true and the love story spirals from there.

I'm sure from that summary you can see just how stereotypical young teen romance this book is. I really wanted to like this book as, while I'm not necessarily an active 'fan' of Zoe's, I do watch her videos and read her blog. I purposely left it a while before reading it to allow the controversy involving her use of a ghostwriter to die down a bit so I could read it with an open mind. The way I viewed it was Zoe still had some role in the book and she is certainly not the first celebrity to use a ghostwriter, so I personally felt the attack she got as a result was unfair.

Zoe clearly did have some undeniable role in this book as Penny holds a startling amount of parallels to Zoe herself. Many (if not all) of the tips she talks about for dealing with anxiety or panic attacks are ones that have been shared by Zoe in some form over the last few years and one of the 'blog posts' in the book in particular reminded me a lot of one Zoe has published in the past. Zoe's stamp is definitely on the book and it does, without a doubt, fit with the Zoella brand in terms of subject matter and the way it deals with topics like this. 

That being said, from reading the 2 page acknowledgements at the end of the book it becomes highly questionable whether Zoe actually physically sat down and wrote any of the book. The writing in Girl Online does not read even remotely in the same way Zoe's writing does. Zoe has a unique voice when she writes, which I personally found was one of the reasons I first started reading her blog, and that just isn't there in Girl Online. It frustrates me that Zoe Sugg is a good writer and I fully believe she is  capable of writing a book, yet a book was published that wasn't written by her and her name was stamped on it instead of allowing her to write it herself. 

With the issue of who wrote the book aside, I'd like to discuss the book itself.

I'm going to be brutally honest here: I do not think this is a good book and it does not fit the age group Zoe and the publishers have stated it was aimed at.

The stated age group is 12-16 year olds, meaning, as an 18 year old, I shouldn't have felt like I was reading a book aimed at people way younger than myself. It felt like I should've been reading it at the same time as I was in love with Jacqueline Wilson, which would've been when I was around the age of 8-10. The voice of Penny which narrates the novel sounds less like a 16 year old, more like a 13 year old and because of that it seemed odd that the team behind the book feel it should be aimed at people up to the age of 16. John Green has often stated that teenagers are not given enough credit by publishers etc and that they are more intelligent than they are assumed to be. While John writes his books fully aware of not patronising his audience, it felt like Girl Online did the opposite. 

In addition to this, the plot was so stereotypical and predictable that I could've told you what would happen in the next chapter for the entirety of the book. It's a very standard love story with one thing added, that Penny runs a blog. Other than that, it's the same thing that has been published hundreds of times before (often better).

There were also several moments where I had major issues with the book and I've decided to share two examples with you. Since I had issues with both some of the ideas/areas of the plot and some of the grammar used, I've picked out one of each.

  1. The idea I have an issue with: When she sees her in a 1920s style flapper dress, Sadie Lee (Noah's grandmother) says to Penny 'You look just like a picture I have at home of my grandmother. She was one of the original flapper girls.' This means Noah's Great, Great-Grandmother was one of the original flapper girls. My issue I have with this is that it relies heavily on all of the generations between his Great, Great-Grandmother and himself having had children fairly young. I know that my Great-Grandfather was the right age to fight in World War 2, and for Sadie Lee's Grandmother to have been one of the 'original flapper girls', she would've had to be late teens-late 20s during the 1920s. While it is plausible when the argument is made that everyone between Noah and his Great, Great-Grandmother could've had children during their late teens-very early 20s, it would have made it much more believable had she said her mother instead of grandmother. This might sound like a tiny point to pick up on but as someone extremely passionate about history I feel we often think of it as more distant than it actually was, which is exactly what this comment does, for no reason.
  2. The sentence I have issues with the grammar of: Towards the end of the book this sentence pops up: 'Do you want to come here and I'll show it to you if you like?' There are so many extra words in that sentence that make the poor grammar stick out like a sore thumb. 
While I know some people would argue that mistakes are made in books all the time and that's just something that needs to be looked past, there were too many in this book for me to do that. Penguin are the largest publishing house in the UK and it was fairly obvious to everyone that this book was going to sell a ridiculous number of copies regardless of whether it was good or not which makes me angry that they didn't check it more carefully before putting it out into the world. There are people whose job it is to proof-read books, particularly for spelling and grammar errors, before they are published, so why did so many mistakes fall through this net?

I think it speaks volumes that I, someone who hates writing in books or marking them in any way, could not stop myself from writing little sarcastic comments in pencil at various points in the book, something which has never happened before. You may ask why I gave it 2 stars and that's because the concept was generally promising and there were, believe it or not, moments in the book I did enjoy. They were just few and far between. For example, while I liked the character of Elliot, the way he is basically forgotten about fairly often is something which annoyed me, meaning the initial positive was turned into a negative.

If this was an average book, I would be able to deal with the issues it has. What I can't deal with is the amount of copies this sold and records it broke for such a painfully average (if not below average) book. 

Have you read Girl Online? Do you think I'm being unfair and should just ignore its issues? Did you also find the issues in it too much? Let me know in the comments, I'd really love to have a discussion about it.

Lucy x

Thursday 27 August 2015

Bout of Books 14 *COMPLETED*

Okay, I'll be the first to admit that this was not really my most successful readathon and I absolutely did not hit my target of 700 pages. That being said, my 319 page effort is by no means my worst readathon effort (who remembers the 120 page effort of Booktubeathon 2013?). 

I managed to finish How To Build A Girl by Caitlin Moran and I started reading both Girl Online by Zoe Sugg and Wicked by Gregory Maguire. Since my copy of Girl Online is hardback I decided to read a paperback alongside as I don't like carrying hardbacks around with my if I can help it. I'm also feeling extremely let down by Girl Online so far and I needed something else to distract me from it at times, but there will be a full review up when I've finished it (at the moment reviewing it is what is getting me through reading it which speaks volumes and is a real shame but more on that when you get the review).

So although it didn't go to plan I'm not too bothered, especially with BookTubeAThon 2015 being my most successful readathon to date. My main aim with these summer readathons is to make sure I've got a few books read ready to review, especially during the first few weeks of term, so I don't have to worry about my lack of reading when I start university at the end of September. I didn't really think you'd want to read reviews of my textbooks etc!

Did you take part in Bout of Books 14? How did you do? Let me know in the comments below!

Lucy x

Saturday 15 August 2015

Bout of Books 14!

Following a pretty successful BookTubeAThon I have decided that after a week away from intensive reading I'm going to go back to it with the Bout of Books readathon this week. I've participated in a few of these readathons before and have always enjoyed them so why not!

Bout of Books

What is Bout of Books I hear you ask?

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 17th and runs through Sunday, August 23rd in whatever time zone you are in. Bout of Books is low-pressure. There are challenges, giveaways, and a grand prize, but all of these are completely optional. For all Bout of Books 14 information and updates, be sure to visit the Bout of Books blog. - From the Bout of Books team

I've always loved how low-pressure Bout of Books is which is why I've decided to participate again. While most people will aim to read a certain number of books, I'm going to aim to read a certain number of pages because I find myself only reading short books and ignoring anything over 300 pages otherwise. I want to ideally read more than 100 pages a day so my target for myself is 700 pages in the 7 days. 

I'm not going to tell you what I'll be reading as I'm just going to pick up whatever I feel I want to read at the time to keep myself interested and to stop myself getting bored but there will definitely be a wrap up post at the end of the week for you to see what I've read!
Are you participating? Let me know below and we can motivate each other!
Lucy x

Monday 10 August 2015

BookTubeAThon 2015 *COMPLETED*

Despite not being entirely optimistic about BookTubeAThon due to most readathon's I've participated in before not going all that well I'm happy to say I'd definitely count the week as a success! While I didn't quite complete all the challenges I read way more than I'd usually read in a week and, more importantly, it definitely achieved my personal goal of kick starting my reading.

Now to run through the challenges now and decide which were a success and which weren't:

1) Read a book with blue on the cover
I successfully completed this one by reading Animal Farm by George Orwell as my copy has a mostly blue cover!

2) Read a book by an author who shares the same first letter of your last name
Although I did search my shelves in the hopes of finding a book by an author who shares the first letter of my last name I couldn't find anything so I decided to cheat a little bit by using Look Who's Back by Timur Vermes and changing it to be the first letter of my last name being the same as the first letter of his first name. So that challenge is a success if you don't mind my cheating!

3) Read someone else's favourite book
As Ariel said in one of the BookTubeAThon YouTube videos that Animal Farm is her favourite book I think this one is a success!

4) Read the last book you acquired
The last book I acquired was Look Who's Back when I impulsively bought it from my local book shop a few weeks ago so this one is a success!

5) Finish a book without letting go of it
Although I thought I'd struggle with this one, I did actually manage it by reading Four Warned by Jeffery Archer which was one of the World Book Night books I got in 2014. For such a short book it took me a very long time to get around to reading it!

6) Read a book you really want to read
This is a bit of a different one but as well as really wanting to read Animal Farm I've been meaning to read Ed Sheeran: A Visual Journey since I got it for Christmas. Since about half of the book is images  I found this to be a really good readathon book because I just sat down and read it easily without having to focus too much. Some of you may know I'm a musician which made this especially interesting for me but there will be a full review up soon!

7) Read seven books
If we're taking this one to mean 'finish seven books' I didn't achieve it. I had already started Look Who's Back and All I Know Now by Carrie Hope Fletcher before the week started and finishing the week I still had a long way to go with Landline by Rainbow Rowell. If we're taking it to mean 'read at least part of seven books' I did complete it (full list of what I read is below). My own personal target was less about reading seven books and more reading 1,000 pages in the week which is far more than I'd ever normally read and I'm very happy that I beat that by reading 1,120 pages in the week!

Books read/part read:
(Click titles to buy on thebookdepository)

1) Look Who's Back by Timur Vermes
2) Four Warned by Jeffery Archer
3) All I Know Now by Carrie Hope Fletcher
4) Animal Farm by George Orwell
5) Chickenfeed by Minette Walters
6) Ed Sheeran: A Visual Journey by Ed Sheeran and Phillip Butah
7) Landline by Rainbow Rowell

Overall this was definitely the most successful I've been with a readathon and it's really made me get excited about reading again so I think it was a success!

Did you take part in the BookTubeAThon? Were you successful? Let me know in the comments below!

Lucy x

Sunday 2 August 2015

BookTubeAThon 2015

As those of you who have noticed the lack of posts on here in the last few months will probably have guessed, I'm still yet to get back into reading properly after exams and revision. For a while I wasn't bothered by it and just gave myself a break from staring at words on a page (I think I needed it!) but I've now got to the point where I really want to be reading but I'm just not. In a spur of the moment decision on Sunday night I've decided to participate in the BookTubeAThon which starts tomorrow (Monday) and runs for a week.

Readathons have never really gone too well for me in the past but I thought it might be a good way of encouraging myself to read and the timing seems to have worked well for me. While I'm not sure I'll stick it out until the end of the week and I'm sure I won't complete all of the challenges listed below if I read more than I have been recently I will be happy.

The challenges for the BookTubeAThon 2015 are:

1// Read a book with blue on the cover

2// Read a book by an author who shares the same first letter of your last name 
3// Read someone else's favourite book
4// Read the last book you acquired 
5// Finish a book without letting go of it
6// Read a book you really want to read
7// Read seven books

While I might attempt some of these challenges I'm not going to be too worried about completing them all. I see them as more of a guideline than a set of rules to follow which is, I am sure, what the hosts of the readathon want.

Are you participating? Let me know below!

Lucy x

Wednesday 29 July 2015

The Time In Between: A Memoir of Hunger and Hope by Nancy Tucker*

354 Pages

Rating: 4/5

Format: ebook

The Time In Between tells of Nancy Tucker's personal experiences with eating disorders she suffered with from the ages of 11. While it feels wrong to say I enjoyed this book, as doesn't seem right to enjoy reading about such a serious topic, I couldn't put it down and found it incredibly interesting, which seems to be the equivalent.

I absolutely loved Nancy's writing style and will definitely be keeping an eye open for any more books she publishes in the future as I'm sure this is just the start of her writing career. I also found that the way she dealt with these difficult issues made it easier for me to empathise with what she went through, despite having no experience of it. The way she consistently personifies eating disorders really gives the reader an insight into how over-whelming and constant the destructive thoughts were in an incredibly unique way.

While I'm not exactly well read when it comes to literature focused around eating disorders, this book was completely unlike anything I've read before. It successfully explained the full journey she went through, while also emphasising the point that it's not as clear as 'this is where it began, this is where it ended'.

I honestly think this book is incredibly important and while it will not be for everyone due to it's handling of a sensitive issue, if you're interested in it I urge you to read it. I also think it would be good for friends or family members of people going through the things Nancy went through, as it puts into words things that appear to be beyond the explanation words can give.

Have you read The Time In Between? What did you think of it?

Lucy x

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

Monday 22 June 2015

My Study Space

Seeing as though I have finally finished my exams (a moment of appreciation for the fact I survived the exam period without TOO many breakdowns please) it's likely that I won't be studying intensely in this space again as I head to university in September. I thought you might be interested in my study space as it was for the duration of my A2 exams so I thought I'd explain some of the key features to you incase you're in search of inspiration for your own study space!

I almost always work at my desk in my room. If I feel like I need a change of scenery I will occasionally take my books and laptop outside or I'll sit on my bed but generally this is what I see while I revise. As my desk isn't actually that big, and I'm a big fan of spacing everything out around me, I sometimes move my laptop somewhere else, within reaching distance so I can still use it as a clock as well as having it to hand to look up more information if I don't understand something. Because I was spending so much time here I wanted to use the space I had on the side of my bookcase to put things I thought might motivate me when I'd really rather be doing something else. At the very top is a postcard I received from my insurance choice university wishing me luck in my exams which I thought was really lovely and in the middle are my favourite polaroids I got with my copy of Taylor Swift's 1989 album, mainly because I thought they just made the space look nice.

Hanging off the fairy lights around my book case I have two of these little signs. (The other says 'Chocolate is not just for breakfast') The one pictured in particular I love so much as I've always been a big fan of this Walt Disney quote and I think it's just a really nice and uplifting thing to read, especially when revising for important exams that you need to do well in. 

Stuck to my mirror is this good luck card my mum gave me last year. There were a few exams I was particularly stressed for and before each of them she reminded me of 'the biscuit' and although its a bit of a silly thing I just love the sentiment behind it. I'm a big believer in having lucky things even if their only purpose is to comfort you so I love this card a lot! Hanging next to it is a necklace I was sent by my family in New Zealand for my 18th Birthday. I miss them a lot so it's nice to have that near, even if they're not.

The last, and probably my favourite, thing in my study space is these two good luck cards that my lovely little cousins made me. Every time they make me cards it makes me incredibly happy and having these near me while revising reminded me that although I am 100% doing this for me and no one else, it would also be a nice added bonus if I could make them proud of me (even if they are both about a decade away from sitting their A-Levels). I especially love that one of them wrote me some little history facts and the 93 times table on it, just incase it came up.

There are a few other things dotted around the space like my little jar of happiness that one of my incredible best friends made me for my 18th Birthday or the grades that I'm aiming for to remind me that there is an end point to all of this but these are the main ones. 

I hope you've enjoyed looking at my study space! If there's something you particularly liked let me know what it was in the comments! Let me know if I've given you any inspiration for things to decorate your study space with too, I'd love to know.

Lucy x

Wednesday 3 June 2015

Study Motivation

While there are some lucky people out there already finished with their exams, the less fortunate of us, particularly us A2 students who are only just starting our exams, find ourselves trying desperately to power through. I'm sure I'm not alone in feeling incredibly unmotivated some days, so I thought I'd share a few of the things I do when I'm searching desperately for motivation. Not all of them work for everyone all the time, but it may be enough to kick yourself into gear and sit down and revise for a bit, even if not for as long as you'd like.

1) Studyblr - Studyblr is actually what started the idea of this being a study blog during the exam period and I'm sure I'm not alone in finding it incredibly motivating. Although photos of pretty desks and people's revision notes that end up looking more like a work of art seems like a bit of a weird concept at first, I always find that after searching the 'studyblr' tag on tumblr I feel incredibly motivated to sit down and revise. Just try not to get sucked into the depths of tumblr while you're over there! (We've all been there)

2) Make pretty notes! - Speaking of those notes that look like works of art, try making some of those yourself! On days when I'm not feeling particularly motivated to revise I tend to gravitate towards making pretty notes because it means you get sort of mini-breaks every now and then while you draw something or colour something in. It's also been proven that colour helps you remember information better (I know this is 100% true for me, I swear by colour coding) and if, like me, you remember things visually and try and picture things on a page it makes it a lot easier to recall information! I also know I'm so much more likely to look back on my notes if they're pretty.

3) Listen to music - I always used to think that if I listened to music while studying I'd get distracted. While many people swear by listening to classical music while revising, I've never been a huge fan of classical music and I assumed that anything with lyrics would be distracting, but that's not necessarily the case. I find if I choose something that I don't know very well I can stay focused, because I'm able to ignore the lyrics. Anything I know the lyrics to is a no-go for me, because I almost always end up singing along, but sticking to things that are quite new to me has proven to work quite well so far this exam season. My two current favourite revision albums are Hozier's album and James Bay's album, but I also like to put the 'Afternoon Acoustic' playlist on Spotify on which is great because it throws up loads of things I haven't heard before but it's all got a similar, calm vibe to it, perfect for concentrating!

4) Get outside - No, seriously! If you're stuck inside all day every day throughout the exam period it's going to slowly drive you crazy and I've definitely been feeling that this year, far more than in previous years. It doesn't even have to be for long, go for a 10 minute walk around the block or go for a bike ride in the evening, just get yourself out of the house and in the fresh air for a little bit. I've found that doing this even just every few days really helps to clear my head, which I personally think is important at this time of year. With so many things to concentrate on and learn it's important to give your brain a little rest and my personal favourite way to do that at the moment is by being outside and not having to think about anything for a little while.

5) Don't beat yourself up about it - We all have incredibly unproductive days, it's okay. Don't feel like you're going to fail all your exams because you woke up later than you would've liked today or because you didn't manage to finish the notes on the topic like you'd planned. Just work through it as much as you can, but if you can't, forgive yourself for it. As long as you're not doing this every day, it's fine. If you need to, take time off and have some 'me' time and just accept that today it's not going to work out but tomorrow you're going to really get stuck in to make up for it.

That's my 5 little motivation tips. Like I said, they don't always work and while these work for me, they may not for you. If you've got any more tips leave them in the comments, I'm sure we could all benefit from them! (Especially me!)

Good luck to everyone taking exams, head over to my tumblr for more exam season inspiration and motivation!

Lucy x

Saturday 14 March 2015

Study Blogging?

Recently I wrote a post about the fact I've not been reading much, and therefore don't have much to review, so I've been at a bit of a loss for blog post ideas. Since writing that post I have discovered a side of tumblr that called themselves 'studyblr' or 'studyspo' and had a bit of a brainwave that, particularly through exam season, I could become, at least in part, a study blog. 

It's my guess that the kind of people who are into book blogging are probably very similar to the type of people who are into study blogging so I thought it might be a good way to keep this blog active while continuing to work hard for my last year of school. I've got a few ideas for posts so far such as things that keep me motivated to study and my study essentials but if you have any requests feel free to leave me a comment or to tweet me @abookandabrew to let me know.

I'm excited about this progression for A Book And A Brew and I'm excited to get back into blogging again! Let me know what you think of this new development. I'm also using studyblr to keep me motivated so follow me on tumblr if you'd like to do the same!

Lucy x

Monday 16 February 2015

I Haven't Forgotten About You, A Book And A Brew

It's been a while since I last wrote something to go here. I think about writing something for this blog a lot, but as usual life is a little busy at the moment due to school work which means I don't have much time to read and since this is usually my space for reviewing what I've read, I find I don't have anything to write about.

Don't get me wrong, I'm still reading. I'm just not reading much (we're talking like a book every 3 weeks or so here) and what I am reading doesn't seem like the type of thing you'd be interested in reading a review about. While there may be a select few of you interested in what I've been reading that relates to my History A2/A Level course, I'm sure the majority don't have any particularly strong feelings towards books about Nazi Germany or Britain during the 1900s.

I guess I just wanted to update you a little bit and let you know that although there's not many words appearing on here, I've not forgotten about or given up on this blog at all. I know things are going to be a little crazy from now until the summer but I assure you that I will post what I can, when I can.

If there are any other types of posts you'd like to see in the meantime feel free to leave me suggestions below! And if you're missing blog posts feel free to go over to and say hi/nag me to write something!

Lucy x

Friday 2 January 2015

Reading Resolutions 2015

Back in 2013 I attempted the 50 books challenge and, despite not finishing it, did pretty well. In 2014 I aimed to read 30 books throughout the year, a smaller number because I was aware of the reading I'd have to do for school and that I have much less time meaning 50 books was not a realistic goal. For 2015 I've decided to do things slightly differently.

I have set my goodreads goal to 20. A fairly low number that I know I will achieve. 2015 will not be about how many books I read cover to cover, that's not the type of reader I want to be. Instead I've set up a few reading goals or resolutions for myself to make sure my love of reading perseveres throughout the stressful year that lies ahead for me.

Read at least one book every other month just because you want to read it. Last year I found that throughout term time I wasn't really reading anything because I wanted to read it. I have found myself ridiculously far behind on ebooks I've been sent and my tbr pile seems to be growing by the minute. So many things to read just makes me feel a little over whelmed and that just takes the excitement out of reading. Reading is something I enjoy and I plan to remind myself of this by not depriving myself a little bit of YA every now and then, despite it not being on the syllabus for any of my subjects.

Utilise time: read othe busI find that when I get home from school at 5pm and have work that needs to be done for the next day I just can't motivate myself to read before I go to sleep. I do, however, have about 40 minutes of time on the bus on the way home from school every day that is usually spent doing nothing more than staring blankly out of the window. Using this time to read has worked in the past and could make a big difference to how much reading I can get done.

Don't finish bad booksI have a real habit of finishing bad books just because I want to add them to be 'read' pile on good reads. Next year if I get more than halfway through the book I am going to allow myself to mark it as read, meaning hopefully I can spend more time reading good books, time currently spent finishing bad ones.

While I am sure I will still have a little voice in the back of my mind saying to read more because I've not read enough, I'm going to try and stick to these and remind myself of them though 2015.

Do you have any reading goals or resolutions for 2015? Are you attempting the 50 books challenge? Let me know in the comments below!

Lucy x  

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