March Wrap Up…

Welcome to my March Wrap Up. I had a great reading month, finishing 10 books (amazingly 5 books off my TBR). I also received 4 ARC’s this month, and I continued my new goal of reading 1 Shakespeare play and 10 Shakespeare Sonnets, as well as 5 Brother’s Grimm fairy-tales, and 3 ‘books’ from Les Miserable by Victor Hugo. I hope to keep this up every month for the rest of the year. I guess we will see if that actually happens.

I have reviews up or coming up for these books so as usual this is just going to be a brief run down on each book I read.

Without further ado, let’s get into my March Wrap Up…

Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen: I loved this book. Northanger Abbey is the second Austen book I have read and I have loved them both. I really enjoy how young this book felt. It is Jane Austen’s shortest book, so I didn’t take me very long to read. I was genuinely disappointed that this story ended.

Aussie Easter Hat Parade by Colin Buchanan: This book was absolutely beautiful. I have never seen an Aussie themed Easter book, so I had to buy this book when I saw it. This beautiful book had a great little story with fantastic Australian Illustrations. I’m so glad I own this book.

Little Whale by Jo Weaver: I can’t get over how beautiful this book was. I would like to say that the illustrations perfectly complimented the story but it was honestly the opposite. The story perfectly complimented the breathtaking illustrations. This book is a must have for every bookshelf.

The Dream Handbook by Jane Teresa Anderson: I really enjoyed this book. The layout was wonderful, with easy to understand writing and easy to follow instructions on how to better understand you dreams. I will be trying out a few of these tasks personally and I honestly already feel better about my dreams just by reading this book.

Differently Normal by Tammy Robinson: I absolutely loved this book. I was engaged with the story and the amazing characters from the start. This book is equal parts heartwarming and heartbreaking. I couldn’t put this wonderful book down and I am still sad that it ended. This book should be on the top of everyone’s TBR.

Hollywood Heartbreak by C.J. Duggan: The fifth standalone book in The Heart Of The City series, and it didn’t disappoint. I absolutely love this series and I absolutely loved this book. With wonderful characters, a great storyline and a fantastic setting, this amazing book will transport the reader to Hollywood and take them on a roller coaster ride through glitz and glamour. This book is not to be missed.

The Enchanted Wood by Enid Blyton: This book was so sweet. There is a reason Enid Blyton books are classics. I loved the joy and whimsy of this book. I couldn’t stop smiling while reading this book. I cant wait to read more Enid Blyton books. If you have a young reader in your life, get them started on Enid Blyton with The Enchanted Wood.

The Belles by Dhonielle Clayton: This book was fantastic. I will admit it took me a few chapter to get into it, but once I did I really enjoyed it. I love the whole concept and the way the characters looks at themselves and beauty. I am glad that there is more coming because I definitely havent had my fill of the Belles.

Before I Let You Go by Kelly Rimmer: I absolutely loved this book. I honestly couldn’t put it down. I was captivated from start to finish. I honestly can’t describe how this book made me feel. It was so emotional, real and heartbreaking. This is a book that I believe everyone should read.

Happiness For Humans by P.Z. Reizin: This book was such a pleasure to read. It was joyful, funny and really interesting. I loved the concept of this book and I found myself really engaged with the story and the characters. I truly believe this is a book that everyone will get something out of.

Shakespeare: I read 1 Shakespeare play and 10 Sonnets in March, I also read 1 Shakespeare Poem. I read the following Shakespeare Works This Month:

The Tempest

A Lover’s Complaint

Sonnets 21-30

Les Miserable: For those who don’t know this novel, it is broken up into character sections with each character section containing ‘books’. Within each of these books are chapters. These books come in various sizes, it is just the luck of the draw really. I hope to read 3 ‘books’ each month. I have read the following ‘books’ this month:

Cosette:

– Book 7: The Convent As An Abstract Idea

– Book 8: Cemeteries Take What They Are Given

Marius:

– Book 1: Paris In Microcosm

Brother’s Grimm: I am happy to say I that I not only completed my goals of reading 5 Brother Grimm Fairy Tales in March, I actually doubled it. I read the following Tales this month:

The Frog-King.

The Giant and the Tailor.

The Golden Key.

Sharing Joy and Sorrow.

The Little Peasant.

The Nail.

Tom Thumb.

Tom Thumb, Journeyman.

Sweet Porridge.

The Young Giant.

That’s it for my March Wrap Up. I hope you all had a great reading month. Let me know what you guys read this month in the comments section.

Until my April Wrap Up…

Happy Reading…

❤ Gem

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The Belles by Dhonielle Clayton

‘I AM A BELLE. I CONTROL BEAUTY.

In the opulent world of Orleans, the people are born grey and damned, and only a Belle’s powers can make them beautiful.

Camellia Beauregard wants to be the favourite Belle – the one chosen by the queen to tend to the royal family.

But once Camellia and her Belle sisters arrive at court, it becomes clear that being the favourite is not everything she always dreamed it would be. Behind the gilded palace walls live dark secrets, and Camellia soon learns that her powers may be far greater – and far darker – than she ever imagined.

When the queen asks Camellia to break the rules she lives by to save the ailing princess, she faces an impossible decision: protect herself and the way of the Belles, or risk her own life, and change the world forever.’

This book was amazing.

I honestly didn’t know if I would like this book. It took a few chapters to completely capture my imagination but once it did I was absolutely hooked.

I genuinely love the entire concept of this book. The obsession with beauty; What is beautiful? How much are you willing to pay for beauty? How far are you willing to go to be beautiful? These themes are perfectly woven through this entire story and really leave you thinking about them long after you have finished the book.

With so much focus in life about how you look; skin colour, eye colour, hair colour, and so many opinions on what is the most beautiful look, it isn’t any wonder that so much of our lives; especially as women, are spent asking ourselves these questions, or judging ourselves or trying to attain this perfect beauty. Seeing all of these current and widespread questions and ideals brought to the forefront in this book was such an amazing thing to read about.

Dhonielle Clayton did a fantastic job with this book. The world she created was amazing to read about and her characters were so relatable, which was something I wasnt expecting. I really loved her writing style, it had a really cinematic quality to it and the emotions of the characters really radiated off the pages.

This book surprised me in so many ways and I am honestly so glad that I read it. I truly believe that this book should be read by all, regardless of the age of the reader.

The Belles by Dhonielle Clayton is not to be missed. It may just become your newest obsession.

Q&A with Anne Allen

Today I am lucky enough to be hosting a Q&A with Anne Allen. This Q&A is to publicize Anne Allen’s book The Betrayal – The Guernsey Novels Book 6.

So without further ado, lets jump in…

Where and when can we buy your book?

All of The Guernsey Novels are available in print and kindle versions on Amazon worldwide and can be ordered from Waterstones and other good booksellers in the UK. My latest, The Betrayal, book 6 in the series, was published in October 2017. Each book is a standalone story, but is linked to others by characters and the setting of the beautiful island of Guernsey.

Give us an insight into your main character?

The Betrayal is a dual-time novel meaning there are two main characters. The earlier part is set in 1940s Guernsey, when it’s occupied by Germans. My character is Leo Bichard, married with a baby and the owner of a successful antique business. He married late in life and is devoted to his family, but has to send them away before the Germans arrive.

In modern Guernsey the main character is Fiona Torode who together with her twin brother, Nigel, buy a long-established antique shop in Guernsey after he is diagnosed with MS. Fiona finds his body in the shop soon after they find what appears to be a valuable painting and suspects foul play.

Was there a particular moment or smell that spark your idea for this book?

Not a smell, but I was drawn to the idea of writing a story based on Renoir who spent weeks in Guernsey in 1883 and produced a number of paintings.

Which actor/actress would you like to see playing the lead character/s from this book?

Ah! What a thought! Fiona could be played by Carey Mulligan, Leo by Brad Pitt and Fiona’s love interest, Michael, by Ryan Gosling

When did you decide to become a writer?

It wasn’t a particular decision. I was a psychotherapist but wanted to try my hand at writing a novel. I’d always been creative – sculpture, mosaics, painting furniture – and writing seemed a good follow-on. It became a reality about 10 years ago,

What made you decide to sit down and actually start something?

I read a book which reminded me of Guernsey – ‘Coastliners’ by Joanne Harris and I knew I wanted to set a story in the island I’d loved and lived in for 14 years, but had now sadly had to leave. At this time I also entered a true-story competition run by Prima magazine in the UK and won, which spurred me on to finish the novel. This was ‘Dangerous Waters’, which was finally published in 2012.

Do you have a special time or place where you like to write?

I have a small study where I write but no special time. I’m at the computer most days but it isn’t always very productive!

Do you aim for a set amount of words/pages per day?

Not when I start a book, but towards the end I aim at 1-2000 words a day.

Do you write on a typewriter, computer, dictate or longhand?

I jot down the outline for each chapter and then start writing directly onto the computer.

Where do your ideas come from?

Guernsey is a main character in all the books and I draw on its history and beauty for the stories. I usually start with something that happened in the past which affects people and events in the present and ideas just seem to materialise.

Do you work to an outline or plot or do you prefer just see where an idea takes you?

I always work to a plot and write a sketchy outline before starting although sometimes the story goes off piste!

What is the hardest thing about writing?

Sitting down at the computer and waiting for the words to flow.

What is the easiest thing about writing?

The fact that I’m in control and can choose what happens to my characters.

Do you ever get writer’s Block?

I get stuck occasionally in that I know what I want to achieve, but the story doesn’t flow.

Any tips on how to get through the dreaded writer’s block?

It can help to walk away from the computer for a while, either for minutes, hours or even days. Do something different to free your mind from the problem. I tend to go for a walk and have a coffee in a pretty café by the sea and let my mind wander where it wants. Seems to work ☺

What book/s are you reading at present?

I’ve just finished re-reading ‘The Guernsey Literary & Potato Peel Pie Society as the film is shortly to be released. Although I enjoyed the book for its quirkiness and unusual characters, it isn’t really authentic Guernsey.

What’s your views on social media for marketing?

Well, writers have to get on board with social media. It’s a useful tool for connecting with readers and potential readers as well as other authors although it might not improve book sales. I see it as a way to increase an author’s visibility rather than selling books.

How do you relax?

Naturally I love reading! And I chill in the evening by watching good dramas or documentaries on television – we have a good choice here in the UK. I also enjoy going to the cinema and theatre with friends or family.

What is your favourite book and why?

It’s difficult to choose from so many I’ve enjoyed over the years. One that does stand out is ‘The Quincunx’ by Charles Palliser. I read it some years ago and I was enthralled. It’s a sprawling tome with shades of Charles Dickens and Anthony Trollope, with a complex plot and myriad characters. It certainly kept my brain cells ticking over!

Which writers inspire you?

There have been a few. I’ve loved books by Barbara Erskine, Erica James, Mary Higgins Clark, Katie Forde and Robert Goddard to name a few.

What is your favourite quote?

“Inspiration is wonderful when it happens, but the writer must develop an approach for the rest of the time… The wait is simply too long”.

Leonard Bernstein

What is your favourite film and why?

Another difficult choice! I have a soft spot for ‘Ghost’ with the lovely Patrick Swayze. Having lost my own husband suddenly when I was young, it makes me cry every time.

What advice would you give to your younger self?

Keep going!

Which famous person, living or dead would you like to meet and why?

William Shakespeare. I want to ask him if he was the real author of the plays and if not who was?

If you could have been the original author of any book, what would it have been and why?

‘Quincunx’ as above – so intelligent, a book to be proud of.

What advice would you give to aspiring writers?

Write for your enjoyment and hone your craft before thinking of sending it out to the world. Don’t worry about what’s ‘hot’ at the moment, write the book YOU want to write.

Is there anything else you would like to add that I haven’t included?

My current work in progress is a dual-time again, but moving to Victorian Guernsey when Victor Hugo lived there in exile and finished off his masterpiece, Les Miserables, together with a connection in the present day. Could be of interest to you, Gem ☺

How can readers discover more about you and you work?

Website: http://www.anneallen.co.uk

Blog: Ditto

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Anne-Allen-Author-176883759173475/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/AnneAllen21

Instagram: anneallen4351

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5830010.Anne_Allen

Well that’s it from me. I hope you guys enjoyed today’s Q&A. Dont forget to check out The Betrayal by Anne Allen.

Until next time…

Happy Reading…

❤ Gem

 

Hollywood Heartbreak by C.J. Duggan

‘Hollywood isn’t all sunglasses and autographs.

Aussie girl Abby Taylor is heading for the hills – the Hollywood Hills. All she has to do first is exorcise some old demons, namely Cassie Carmichael, the character she’s been playing on Australia’s number one television drama for the past three years.

Abby is in desperate need of a change. With a new city, new friends and a sweet new condo in West Hollywood, it’s time to take her career to the next level. But with disastrous auditions and countless rejections, Abby is going to need to numb the pain in the hope that her next big break comes along soon, and it does. She just never dreamed that her big break would be in the form of waiting tables at one of the hottest nightspots on the strip.

Action-packed late nights and VIP parties are a sure distraction, but nothing distracts her quite like her brooding new boss, the infuriating Jay Davis. Suddenly living the dream takes on a whole new meaning, but when something in Jay’s past is revealed, Abby has to question, who is the greatest actor of them all?

In the land of broken dreams, all Abby can do is hope that hers is not going to be one of them.’

The fifth standalone book in ‘The Heart Of The City’ series.

I loved this book.

I was so excited to get my hands on this book, and unsurprisingly it didn’t disappoint.

C.J. Duggan is fast becoming one of my favourite authors. Her writing is beautiful and really transports the reader. I always find myself emotionally connecting to at least one of her characters.

C.J. Duggan’s ability to create such relatable characters really helps to enhance the romance and erotic elements of this book. The emotions that these characters display radiate off the pages, making for a really emotional and endearing reading experience.

I loved the relationship between Abby and Jay, the connection that was built and the uncomfortable moments they shared really helped to solidify the bond between these two characters. I also loved the relationship between Abby and Billie. I really enjoyed reading about the friendship between Abby and Billie and I am so glad we got to see their friendship struggle and grow.

C.J. Duggan’s writing is always amazing and Hollywood Heartbreak is no different. The descriptive, almost cinematic writing really captures the bright lights of Hollywood. I loved seeing the different sides of Hollywood from both a tourist’s and local’s perspectives, it was both exciting and overwhelming.

Hollywood Heartbreak by C.J. Duggan is a fantastic read that will transport you to Hollywood and take you on a rollercoaster ride through glitz and glamour that you wont want to end.

Differently Normal by Tammy Robinson 

‘For Maddy, life is all about routine. It has to be, to keep her sister with autism happy and healthy. With just Maddy and her mother as Bee’s full-time carer’s, there’s no time in Maddy’s life for complications like friends, let alone a boyfriend. So when Bee joins a new Riding for the Disabled stable and they meet Albert, the last thing on Maddy’s mind is falling in love.

Some things, she’s about to learn, are outside of our control. Albert has resigned himself to always being a disappointment to his strict father. When he meets Maddy, he gets a glimpse of what being part of a family can be like, and of the tremendous sacrifices that people will make for the ones that they love.’

I absolutely adored this book.

I honestly don’t know if I have enough words in my vocabulary to do this book justice. I fell in love with this book from the get go and I didn’t want it to end.

Tammy Robinson has done a fantastic job with this book; not only is it un-put-down-able, it just radiates emotion. Her amazing characters are completely human; flawed, confused and utterly relatable.

I loved the pacing of this book. It had a really wonderful feel about it, making for a truly wonderful reading experience.

It is rare to find a book that is a perfect bland of heartwarming and heartbreaking, but Tammy Robinson has created that book. This book was truly an emotional roller coaster; I laughed, I cried, I got angry and by the end of the book I was completely overwhelmed by how invested I was in these characters.

I honestly believe that this is a book that everyone should read at least once in their life time. I plan on reading it multiple times and sharing it with my loved ones.

Differently Normal by Tammy Robinson is an amazing book that will stay with you long after the final page. A must read book that should be at the top of everyone’s TBR pile.

Q&A with Tammy Robinson

Today we have a Q&A with Tammy Robinson. This Q&A is part of a blog tour for Tammy Robinson’s book Differently Normal.

So without further ado, lets jump in…

Where and when can we buy your book?

Differently Normal will be out January 30th in Australia and New Zealand. In Australia, it will be available in all good bookstores and online including Dymocks and Booktopia. In New Zealand, it will be in all Paper Plus stores, plus Whitcoulls, Warehouses and Independent bookstores.

Can you give us an insight into your character Maddy?

Maddy has been forced to grow up quickly from a young age. With no father on the scene, she and her mother are full-time cares for Maddy’s younger sister Bee who has autism and other health issues. Maddy is cynical and used to being a loner, as she has barely had time for friendships and those she had fallen away due to her family obligations. She is resigned to always putting her sister first. Then she meets Albert.

Was there a particular moment or smell that sparked your idea for this book?

Yes, I had the idea of a young woman whose life was in limbo because of family obligations. Her mother was originally going to be very flighty and unreliable, but that didn’t sit well with the book so I changed it. The rest came from there.

Which actor/actress would you like to see playing Maddy and Albert from this book?

For Albert, I’d say Alex Pettyfer. He is gorgeous but has that down to earth natural appeal. Plus, he looks like he’d be at home on a surfboard. For Maddy, someone like Rose Leslie, or an unknown. I quite like the idea of someone new to the scene taking on the role.

When did you decide to become a writer?

Before I can remember. It’s just something I’ve always wanted, and always known I’d be. It’s who I am. I could never NOT be a writer.

What made you decide to sit down and actually start something?

I’ve written on and off since my teens, although when I worked on cruise ships and for Club Med resorts I had no time for it, so it was put on the back-burner for later in life. After I came home, married and settled, the time was right and as soon as I had the idea for my first book I was away Haven’t stopped since!

Do you have a special time or place where you like to write?

At the house we owned in Rotorua, I had my own little writing room and I was so in love with it! It looked out over the mountain and it was my peaceful place I could lock myself away in and just focus on writing. However, we moved to a farm last year and the house we’re in is much smaller, so I’m sharing an office with my baby boy Leo and his cot. It’s not ideal but it will do for now. As for a special time to write, whenever I can basically! With three young children aged five and under, time is hard to come by. SO whenever my husband has time off he’s on daddy duty and I’m writing.

Do you aim for a set amount of words/pages per day?

Not usually, but with the book I’m currently working on, PHOTOS OF YOU, I have a deadline so I’m aiming for two thousand words a day. Sometimes it’s over, sometimes under. I’m hoping it will balance out.

Do you write on a typewriter, computer, dictate or longhand?

Computer, always. I wish I could write longhand as well but my thoughts are too quick for my fingers to keep up with.

Where do your ideas come from?

Different places. One was sparked by a dream. Some the character will just form in my head, usually with a sentence of piece of dialogue that I just love, and the entire book will come from that. Others have come from news articles I’ve read.

Do you work to an outline or plot or do you prefer just see where an idea takes you?

I never have an entire book in my head to start, just a snippet of something, and I have to work out the story from there. When I first started writing, I rarely knew how a book would finish until I got there.

What is the hardest thing about writing?

The worry of whether anyone will actually like what you have to say.

What is the easiest thing about writing?

For me, coming up with new ideas. I always have a few ideas brewing in my head at any one time.

Do you ever get writer’s block?

Not so far, touch wood!

What book/s are you reading at present?

Buddhism for the unbelievably busy, by Meshel Laurie.

What’s your views on social media for marketing?

Invaluable. Difficult to get your name out there without social media these days.

How do you relax?

Believe it or not, by writing! I get angst if I go too long without being able to Crafting stories is what makes me happy.

What is your favourite book and why?

Benny and Shrimp, by Katarina Mazetti. I’m not sure exactly why I’s my favourite, but it is and has been since I read it on the beach quite a few years ago now. It is one I can read again and again. Simple storytelling done well. Ordinary people living ordinary lives and yet quite extraordinary.

Which writers inspire you?

The ones who actually make a living doing what they do!

What is your favourite quote?

‘I hope to arrive to my death late, in love, and a little drunk.’ Atticus

What is your favourite film and why?

The Notebook. Can’t beat a good love story. Ryan Gosling and Rachel McAdams just made perfect sense together.

What advice would you give to your younger self?

This is a tough one, because I’ve been through a lot of stuff that, while tremendously difficult at the time, shaped who I am today. So as hard as it was, I wouldn’t change it.

I guess I would just tell myself to stay positive, everything works out ok in the end.

Which famous person, living or dead would you like to meet and why?

Oprah. I feel like she could teach me a lot, especially about The Law of Attraction which I have recently taken an interest in.

If you could have been the original author of any book, what would it have been and why?

And Terry Pratchett book, because he must have had a hell of a great time coming up with the Discworld and all the colourful characters. Love his books, very funny stuff.

What advice would you give to aspiring writers?

Write, write and write some more. You will learn as you go and, like a fine wine, get better with time. Write what you like to read and that enjoyment will show through the pages.

How can readers discover more about you and you work?

Facebook: Tammy Robinson Author

Twitter: @TammyRobinson76

Instagram: Tammy Robinson – Author

Goodreads: Tammy Robinson

Well that’s it from me. I hope you guys enjoyed today’s Q&A. Dont forget to check out Differently Normal by Tammy Robinson.

Until next time…

Happy Reading…

❤ Gem

There’s Someone Inside Your House by Stephanie Perkins

‘Makani Young thought she’d left her dark past behind her in Hawaii, settling in with her grandmother in landlocked Nebraska. She’s found new friends and has even started to fall for mysterious outsider Ollie Larsson. But her past isn’t far behind.

Then, one by one, the students of Osborne Hugh begin to die in a series of gruesome murders, each with increasingly grotesque flair. As the terror grows closer and her feelings for Ollie intensify, Makani is forced to confront her own dark secrets.’

I loved this book.

This book made me feel like I was watching a modern slasher film like Scream or I Know What You Did Last Summer. This book jumps straight into the killings and the body count just keeps rising, leaving readers with questions like who the killer is, what their motive is and where it will all end.

A genuine page-turner with a fantastic cast of characters, a really creepy setting, and an extremely high body count. This fast paced story not only has some brutal slayings, but great writing. The dialogue in this book is smart and at times genuinely funny.

I have been searching for a teen slasher novel for some time now, So I am really glad I picked this book up. I finished the first chapter excited to see what else was going to happen. The intensity continues from the first page and the suspense and suspicion grow from there.

Stephanie Perkins has done a fantastic job with this book. It was exciting and fast paced, and I loved every page. Her characters were well-developed and likeable so it was both fun and frightening to see them picked off one by one.

I was so absorbed by this book, I  honestly couldn’t put it down. I love a quick read, and this one was both quick and thoroughly entertaining. I know I will be reading it again many times in the future.

There’s Someone Inside Your House by Stephanie Perkins is a fantastic YA slasher book that will have you on the edge of your seat from start to finish.

Quark’s Academy by Catherine Pelosi

SCIENCE IN PROGRESS – ENTER AT YOUR OWN RISK!

Junior science geniuses Augustine, Celeste and Oscar can’t believe their luck when they’re accepted into an elite and mysterious science academy summer camp run by the elusive Inventor Quark.

From the moment they step inside the gates of Quark’s Academy at the end of Molecule Drive, they know they’re in for a week they’ll never forget. But things at the academy are not quite what they seem, and the three quickly realise that they’ll need to put their squabbles aside and their heads together if they’re ever to get out of there alive…’

I absolutely loved this book.

This amazing junior fiction adventure is filled with humorous dialogue, Mad Scientists and a great array of peculiar characters for readers to fall in love with. Truly a page-turning adventure that was both engaging and entertaining. I really loved the pacing of this book, it really added to the sense of urgency throughout the story.
This is action-packed story is perfect for young readers who love science and
inventing things. I absolutely loved the fact that two of the young inventors were
female. This book really highlights female scientists and will hopefully encourage young female students to engage with the sciences.
Another fantastic element of this book is the way it deals with the personal issues faced by talented youngsters; the expectations they place on themselves, their sometimes strained family dynamics, and the difficulty they can face in making friends.
Catherine Pelosi has created a fantastic cast of characters, with so many great characters to connect with, I can’t imagine a reader not finding someone to fall in love with. This wonderful, funny and inventive novel, with amazing, diverse characters will leave
young readers wanting more.

Quark’s Academy by Catherine Pelosi is a truly marvelous book that will captivate and entertain readers of all ages.

St Patrick’s Day Reads…

Welcome one and all to another Wacky Wednesday. With St Patrick’s Day coming up on Saturday, I thought this would be a great time to go through my Top 5 Irish reads. Now these books may have been written by Irish authors, take place in Ireland or have Irish character’s or some other Irish connection. I have narrowed the list down to five to try it keep it relatively short.

So without further ado, lets jump into my St Patrick’s Day Reads:

Dubliners by James Joyce: This amazing book is a collection of 15 short stories that offer glimpses into the lives of ordinary Dubliners, and collectively they paint a portrait of a nation. Set at the turn of the last century, this collection shows the good, the bad and the ugly of life in Ireland. This book was such a wonderful read. As someone with Irish heritage I really connected to this book. I loved talking about these stories with my family and getting to hear our own families stories about Ireland. This book is an absolute classic, yet it is not at all difficult to read. If you havent yet read Dubliners, do it now.

Leaving Ocean Road by Esther Campion: ‘After the death of her husband Nick, Ellen O’Shea is struggling to cope. Ellen finds her world turned upside down again when her first love Gerry Clancy arrives on her doorstep. Having Gerry back in her life might just pull Ellen out of her grief, but it will also trigger a whole new set of complications for her and those she holds dear.’ I adored this book. Set in Australia, Ireland and Greece, this book is a wonderful read that will stay with you long after the final page.

Kingdom Of Scars by Eoin Macken: Following 15-year-old Sam as he deals with all of the ups and downs or adolescence. Set in Dublin, this amazing book was sometimes hard to read emotionally, but once you finish it, you definitely wont regret reading it. It doesn’t matter what your gender or where you grew up, everyone can relate to Sam’s teenage struggles, from peer pressure, bullying, first love and loss, this book has something for everyone and it will take you on a n emotional journey back to your own adolescence. Kingdom of Scars is not to be missed.

The Picture Of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde: Oscar Wilde’s story of a fashionable young man who sells his soul for eternal youth and beauty is the author’s most popular work, with good reason. The tale of Dorian Gray’s first appeared in 1890, and has endured ever since. This amazing book is still relevent today and should be read by everyone. This book can at sometimes be a bit hard to read, but given when it was written this shouldnt really surprise anyone. This book is a genuine classic that I have read many times already and will read many times in the future. 

Angela’s Ashes by Frank McCourt: This haunting memoir of Frank McCourt’s childhood in Ireland is a future classic. This inclusive story radiates compassion and humour that really engages the reader. I couldn’t put this book down. I laughed, I cried and I kept coming back for more. A Pulitzer Prize–winning and #1 New York Times bestseller, this fantastic book will definitely stand the test of time. This book is a must read for everyone, just make sure keep you tissues on hand throughout this amazing book.

Well that’s it from me. I hope you guys enjoyed today’s post. Hit me up in the comments if you have read any of these books or if you have any other Irish books that you think I should read.

Untill next time…

Happy Reading…

❤ Gem

Queens Of Geek by Jen Wilde

‘Three friends, two love stories, one convention: this fun, feminist love letter to geek culture is all about fandom, friendship, and finding the courage to be yourself.

Charlie likes to stand out. She’s a vlogger and actress promoting her first movie at SupaCon, and this is her chance to show fans she’s over her public breakup with co-star Reese Ryan. When internet-famous cool-girl actress Alyssa Huntington arrives as a surprise guest, it seems Charlie’s long-time crush on her isn’t as one-sided as she thought.

Taylor likes to blend in. Her brain is wired differently, making her fear change. And there’s one thing in her life she knows will never change: her friendship with her best guy friend Jamie―no matter how much she may secretly want it to. But when she hears about a fan contest for her favorite fandom, she starts to rethink her rules on playing it safe.’

I have mixed feelings about this book.

I really loved the characters in this book. They were a great mix of funny, warm and diverse. I loved seeing these characters grow and bond with each other in this book. I also loved seeing new relationships bloom and strengthen throughout the story.

I really loved the setting of this book. Being set in a fictional Comicon, made for a really quirky environment to be apart of. I loved the descriptions of the setting and the different sections of this con that we got to experience.

While I did enjoy the story/stories being told in this book, I didn’t love the way it was being told. I found having to jump between two narrators to be really jarring and it really effected the pacing of this book.

Jen Wilde’s writing was really inclusive and emotional, and her ability to create relatable characters is fantastic. This is why I feel like this book should have been two different novels. Both of the lead characters and their stories were strong enough and interesting enough to deserve their own book.

I truly believe having these two amazing characters share a story was a mistake. I for one would have read both of these characters individual stories and I’m fairly certain I would have loved them both.

With the characters representing so many different diverse sections of the community, I feel putting them in the same story was a bit of a waste. We don’t get to see very many strong, diverse characters that are truly well written, so multiple in the same book, made less of an impact.

Jen Wilde is an amazing writer who is able to create wonderful characters and I am so excited to read her future works.

Queens Of Geek by Jen Wilde is a wonderful, exciting and diverse read that will leave you wanting more.