April Book Wrap-Up

5/03/2019


This post is later than I normal due to my ability to catch a cold from barely leaving the house. Yay! Apologies for that, but let's jump right in. April was a mediocre month for books, I read more 'meh' ones than good and gave my first 1 star review of the year. I've been in a slump of picking up "chic lit" lately, and I don't know whether I'm enjoying it. Think it might be time for a genre revamp and see what surprises me. Have any suggestions? Let me know in the comments!
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Truly Madly Guilty
by Liane Moriarty

“There is no special protection when you cross that invisible line from your ordinary life to that parallel world where tragedies happen. It happens just like this. You don’t become someone else. You’re still exactly the same. Everything around you still smells and looks and feels exactly the same.” 

Sam and Clementine are the couple that seem perfect from the outside, good jobs, two beautiful little girls, and a solid foundation for a marriage. When they get invited to a last-minute barbecue by their friend Erika, they go. Two months later, they can't help but constantly ask themselves: what if we hadn't gone?As mentioned in last months wrap-up, I enjoy Liane Moriarty's writing and that alone keeps me coming back to her books. I adored What Alice Forgot and Big Little Lies, so I was really hyped to get to this one as I had heard really great things. Alas, I was disappointed. I'll be entirely frank here,the authors plots are never that groundbreaking or great. It's her character and relationship building that set her apart from the standard general fiction/mystery authors. However this book ended with such an anticlimax I couldn't help but sigh. Too long and not nearly interesting enough to recommend.

Rating: ★★★ (2.5)


Furiously Happy
by Jenny Lawson

“When you come out of the grips of a depression there is an incredible relief, but not one you feel allowed to celebrate. Instead, the feeling of victory is replaced with anxiety that it will happen again, and with shame and vulnerability when you see how your illness affected your family, your work, everything left untouched while you struggled to survive. We come back to life thinner, paler, weaker … but as survivors. Survivors who don’t get pats on the back from coworkers who congratulate them on making it. Survivors who wake to more work than before because their friends and family are exhausted from helping them fight a battle they may not even understand. I hope to one day see a sea of people all wearing silver ribbons as a sign that they understand the secret battle, and as a celebration of the victories made each day as we individually pull ourselves up out of our foxholes to see our scars heal, and to remember what the sun looks like.” 

This half memoir half self-help book is one of the funniest things I've ever picked up. With brutal honesty and a wit to match it, Jenny writes down the thoughts that we all have but are too afraid to voice. It was almost like talking to a friend, well, a really chatty one-sided friend. If you struggle with mental health or chronic pain, I urge you to give this a go. I can promise that you'll laugh and want to wipe a little stray tear. Possibly simultaneously.

Rating: ★★★★★


Crazy Rich Asians 
by Kevin Kwan 

We have so much money, we don't need personalities.
-Okay, not really. 
“Perfection comes at a sacrifice,” 

You probably know what this hyped book turned movie is about without me giving it a description, but let's go for it anyway. When Rachel, a young New Yorker gets invited by her boyfriend to  travel to Asia for a wedding, she jumps at the opportunity. But he isn't telling her a vital thing: his family is lavishly rich. I wanted to enjoy this, I was expecting a funny rom-com type book that'd make me happy. Eeehhhh. I hated it. Okay, that's a bit strong. I hated the characters, and the plot. I feel as though the author wrote this book solely to educate people on the lavish lifestyles that some Asians live, and it read like that. The characters had no substance and Rachel and Nick were horrible as a couple. If you're thinking of reading this, just watch the movie. It'd be over faster.

Rating: ★★


Cross Her Heart
by Sarah Pinborough

“Someone can do a terrible unforgivable thing, and yet you forgive them if you love them. The heart is such a strange thing.” 

Lisa lives for her daughter Ava, her job, and her best friend Marilyn, but when a handsome client shows an interest in her, Lisa starts daydreaming about sharing her life with him too. But when Lisa's world explodes and she no longer knows who to trust, it's up to her to face her past to save what she holds dear. This was just a complete 'meh' book. The only good point was the twist that came suddenly around 1/3 of the way through the book, then it was all downhill. A basic thriller that really doesn't need to be on your TBR as it will leave you with no impression.

Rating: ★★


One True Loves
by Taylor Jenkins Reid

“When you lose someone you love, it’s hard to imagine that you’ll ever feel better. That, one day, you’ll manage to be in a good mood simply because the weather is nice or the barista at the coffee shop on the corner remembered your order.
But it does happen.
If you’re patient and you work at it.” 

There are love triangles, and then there are impossible situations that are forced upon you. When Emma's husband, Jesse, goes missing in a helicopter accident over the Pacific, she slowly begins to rebuilt her life. She moves back home, takes over her parents bookstore, and even opens her heart up for another man. When Sam proposes, she knows it's officially time to let Jesse go. Then she gets the dreaded call she once ached for, Jesse is alive. I adore Taylor Jenkins Reid's books. They never fail to capture my heart. This was no exception. Never have I read such a raw description of loss in a fictional book, and never have I been so torn in a love triangle. Screw Edward and Jacob.

Rating: ★★★★★


And the Ocean Was Our Sky
by Patrick Ness

“Will the world end in darkness because it is foretold? Or because there will be those who believe it so strongly they will make it so?”

A retelling of Moby Dick told through the whale's POV? Okay, sure, it's Patrick Ness, why would  I say no? This short illustrated novel was exactly what I was expecting, and more. The writing and imagery is beautiful, and though it didn't capture my attention like most other books, I was glad I read it. A quick but beautiful read.

Rating: ★★★★



Reconstructing Amelia 
by Kimberly McCreight

“It was too late to change anything. Too late to make different choices. To be a better mother than she had been. Kate could only be the mother that she was, Amelia’s mother—the curator of her memory, the keeper of her secrets, the cherisher of her heart. That, she would always be.” 

When teenager Amelia commits suicide by jumping off a school roof, her mother, Kate, is distraught. After receiving a message with the words 'Amelia didn't jump' she quickly becomes obsessed with figuring out what led to the death of her daughter. With crazy sororities, games that shouldn't be played, and an estranged father, Amelia's life may be too much for even her mother to unveil. I liked this book, but it was way too long. Over 400 pages of what is essentially fragments of Amelia's life being repeated, I grew bored a few times. But it wasn't terrible. An average 3 star read.

Rating: ★★★



The Light We Lost
by Jill Santopolo

“I hope you find a love like that–one that is all-consuming and powerful that makes you feel like you're going slightly mad. And if you do find that love, embrace it. Hold onto it. When you give yourself over to love like that, your heart will get bruised. It will get battered. But you will also feel invincible and infinite.” 

Told over a lengthy period of time, this follows the story of two people whose lives are intertwined by the tragedy that was 9/11. A love story of 'what could've been''s and fate. This was a Reese Book Club pick so I instantly wanted to pick it up, but... eh. I guess the characters just didn't do it for me..? Or maybe I was expecting some devastating love story, but was instead given a couple who really weren't suited, a bunch of dickish guys, and an ending that I really didn't care about. (Am I heartless? Maybe.) I didn't hate it per say, it just didn't make much of an impact on me. I'd still say give it a go, you may enjoy it more.

Rating: ★★★


The Bride Test (The Kiss Quotient, #2)
by Helen Hoang

He was ignoring everyone, including her, at this expensive wedding. So he could read a novel about alien demon things.

Khai's mother brings over Esme, a mixed-race girl living in the slums of Ho Chi Minh City, to America to seduce and marry her son. Thinking this could be the break her family needs, Esme jumps at the chance and wills to become the perfect woman for Khai. But it proves to be harder than she initially thought. I was so excited to read this as I surprisingly loved The Kiss Quotation. I originally thought this was a sequel revolving around the same two characters, but instead it revolves around Khai, a side-character from the first book. Which, okay. I was still enthusiastic. Alas, I don't know what it was about The Bride Test but it fell flat for me. The characters weren't as likeable as The Kiss Quotation and I felt that the story dragged a little. It was also very repetitive, certain lines such as "I touched his sleeve as to not startle him"seemed to be on every other page. My favourite part of the entire book was the authors note, so.. that kind of says it all. It wasn't bad, but not nearly as good as the first book in the series.

Rating: ★★★


The Arrangement 
by Sarah Dunn

“Life is long. And it’s getting longer for most of us. Most people in this country will have three or four marriages in their lifetime. Each one will challenge them and suit them in a different way. The lucky few, the ones who are willing to work at it, will have a handful of very different marriages, all with the same person."

A married couple decide to have an open relationship for 6 months, to escape from the comfortable routines they're falling into (you know, marriage) and their autistic son. I've never read a book that was equally as dull as it was infuriating. Not only were the characters unlikable, but the whole point of the story was semi vetoed by the husbands utter idiocy. Parts of this book were also so unbelievably problematic such as eating disorder glorifying and slut shaming. Just.. no. Hard pass. 

Rating: ★


What was the last book you gave 1 star to?  

I'd appreciate if you checked out my Bookstagram page BranchingPages and my Goodreads. Let's talk! There can never be too much book talk.


A Constant State Of B&W

4/14/2019


I was roughly 9-years-old when I realised that nothing truly mattered. I was walking across my school yard with the entire class and teacher, and I distinctly remember thinking "I could run up to that fence and slam my forehead against it until I am covered in blood and dizzy from it, nobody would even notice. It doesn't matter. This doesn't matter. It isn't real." I was having one of those sensations that usually occur after a sleepless night or too much cold medicine or, as I grew older, the sensation after too many tequila shots, when everything seems like it's happening through a cloudy sheet. You aren't there, it's like watching a 80's TV show without fully paying attention. Blurry and foggy. I went home that day and waited for the feeling to go away, but it only seemed to fade. Some days were worse than others, and I was confused as I thought the saying went the other way.

I aged, and waited for my life to get better. To truly feel the things that were there or happening. Alive, I waited to feel alive. I did high risk things, and nothing. I hurt myself but it always felt fictionalised. The pain wasn't even real. I squeezed. prodded, hit, and cut myself but it felt as though I was doing a practical joke on myself. I acted shy and brave and everything in between but nothing was truly sinking in. I would lay awake at night, my duvet feeling almost too heavy, going over everything that happened that day but only seeming to detach myself further from it. I wrote in my journals, but I could never differentiate between what had happened and the things I thought I had experienced. Everything seemed brighter when looking back, but when there, it felt dull. Faded. I could no longer tell when I was telling the truth or lying.


I got even older.

My favourite memories with loved ones have always been the ones where we're reminiscing about the past together. I'm never in the moment, and it's bothering me. When we're discussing these past times together, it almost helps add another layer to my own memory proving that it all wasn't just a dream. I can never remember how I felt, so I allow others to help me define my own emotions at that time. It's all an idea, and I'm no longer sure whether it's mine or someone else's. I'm fickle. and easily moulded. They tell me what that I am, and I believe. Good or bad.

I do these important things that truly impact my life, but it always feels as though nothing matters as it isn't real. I keep waiting to wake up in the past or future, not knowing how I got there. I'm loved but am still waiting for the feeling to get inserted. It's as though my life is entirely built of fragments and not any of them really matter, expect sometimes they Aline and everything has suddenly changed without me realising it. I try and get it in my head, but I always come up short. My heart gets broken or fulfilled, and I have the same outcome. Nothing makes sense.

It feels as though everyone else is experiencing life with a much brighter ink, and I am left behind in my hazy black and white, accepting that this is how it ought to be.

I had therapy, but I didn't want to be a bother. She liked me, asked me what was wrong, I said nothing. I tried therapy again, and she confirmed that nothing is wrong after I ticked a "I'm fine" box too many times on a basic paper. How would I tick anything else, when I was too embarrassed to say these non-logical thoughts to a woman who had on a wedding ring and spoke of her young daughters? She would laugh at me. And I would be left asking when it would matter?

I moved, changed my life, but nothing. I cry, laugh, sob, smile, and nothing sinks in.

When will it? I feel as though I will always be asking.. when will it?


*Eva NYC Chameleon Temporary Color Spray | REVIEW

4/09/2019


I recently got sent the #BossBabeVoxBox from Influenster with an array of products to test and review on their site. But when I saw the Eva NYC temporary colour sprays, I knew I wanted to also review these bad boys on here. I've tried a few "temporary" colour sprays in the past and very few have impressed me, and I think they're a product that a lot of us are reluctant to try in fear of it either staining our hair or not washing out as the can promises. I know I'm personally terrified of becoming one of those horror stories where someone did the brave act of trying to colour their hair something fun, only to end up with no hair whatsoever. Unlikely? Yes, but if you've gone down that rabbit hole on Youtube, you know the terror.

Anyhoo, here's my speedy review of the pink and blue colour sprays that me and my husband tried. Spoiler: One was good, one was invisible.

The process was easy enough. Making sure to cover the skin surrounding the hair you're colouring, you shake the can thoroughly and then spray. Voila! Easy!

Okay, so maybe I'm just not the sharpest tool in the shed, but I chose to use the pink spray on my auburn hair. I was aiming for an almost ombre effect. But as shown in the image, there is literally no colour pay off. It just lightened the ends of my hair into a richer red. After finishing, I figured it was a colour mix match but after looking online at other peoples reviews, many have a similar hair colour and they got a decent pink result. What's occurring? Is my hair just really stubborn or did the spray hate me? Who knows. 



At the time, I was blaming the spray and felt a bitter pang of disappointment, but we went ahead and used the blue on my husband's black hair expecting the worst. Alas, his came out a vibrant blue. "Huh, I thought." must just be the pink that's a fail, so I went ahead and tried the blue on a strand of my hair.. still no takers. 

Now I'm almost positive that my hair was the issue and not the sprays. As pictured below, my husbands was a rich colour that took really well. I washed mine out that very same night, not feeling all too happy about the hairspray feeling it gave. But he decided to deal with the icky feeling to see how well it lasted overnight. What a champ.




Upon sleeping on it, he noticed a slight fading and a smurf-like forehead. One huge negative of these sprays is most definitely the transfer problem. It will get everywhere the entire time it is in your hair. If you so much as tap your fingertips against the sprayed strands, you'll come away with coloured fingers. My hairbrush is now officially a pinky blue colour, and we're lucky that our bed sheets are blue. But they do wash out of your hair pretty easily, so.. yay?



All in all, they're cool if they work on your hair but feel terrible and will transfer all over you. I think the only time you'd find yourself reaching for these would be if you're going to a rave-type setting (totally how cool people would describe that), Halloween, or one of those colour festivals. Otherwise I think they're too much of a faff for the payoff you get.

Have you tried temporary colour sprays? Have any recommendations? Let me know!


This review was all over the place, but I thought it could be interesting and I've now spent too much time writing it up to leave it in the draft folder to gather online dust.

*As stated above, these sprays were gifted to me by Influenster. All opinions are my own.

Gluten Free Banana Bread | RECIPE

4/07/2019









Being a household who tend to purchase bananas with every big grocery shop, we often have a few over-ripped fellas hanging at the bottom of our fruit bowl. And when we aren't freezing them for future smoothies, I make a loaf of banana bread for either my husband or his mother and aunt. It goes down well, and it's really easy. But his father is gluten-free and is often left out of "please take this banana bread!" situations. When I looked online for gluten-free recipes, it was a black hole of different ingredients, things we'd never have in our food cupboard, and odd quantities with negative comments. So I sorta kinda winged it and after one failed attempt, I came up with this recipe which is the closest tasting to the non-gluten-free version I could make. The only difference being the smell as you mix, but who really stands around sniffing the mixing bowl? .. Well, besides me. Apparently.

I N G R E D I E N T S

2 CUPS GLUTEN FREE FLOUR (I use Bob's Red Mill Gluten-Free Flour)
3/4 CUP BROWN SUGAR
2 TSP BAKING SODA
1/2 CUP UNSALTED BUTTER
2 EGGS
2 + 1/2 LARGE BANANAS or 3 MEDIUM (the darker, the better)
1 TSP CINNAMON
1/2 TSP SALT

P R E P:
Preheat oven to 350F/177C/Gas Mark 4

M E T H O D

STEP ONE: Sift your flour into a large mixing bowl, add in your salt, cinnamon, and baking soda. Give it a mix.

STEP TWO: In a different bowl, cream together your brown sugar and butter.

STEP THREE: Into your butter/sugar mixture, stir in your eggs and pieces of banana. Personally, I add the banana with my (CLEAN!) fingertips so that I can squish it into small chunks as I do. It helps make the finished product moister than I think it does when, say, mashing the banana with a fork. But if it grosses you out, go ahead and roughly slice the bananas beforehand.

STEP FOUR: Combine the wet mixture with the dry, stir until you can no longer see lumps of flour.

STEP FIVE: Bake for 45 minutes. Insert a toothpick into the centre of the loaf, if it comes out entirely clean, remove from oven. If not, leave in for an additional 5 mins. 

STEP SIX: Enjoy!



For serving I'd strongly recommend having it with a foamy cup of espresso, but if you tend to find loaf cakes dry, I'd say cover a slice with custard or some yummy chilled ice-cream. For a breakfast option, toast a slice and smoother with creamy peanut butter. If you have a diet (like me) of a 7-year-old cover a slice with a thin amount of cream cheese frosting and indulge.

What your go-to baking item? I'd love to know, and if you'd like a non-gluten-free version of this, just let me know! 


15 Books I'd Banish Forever

4/04/2019


Last week I uploaded 'The 30 Books I'd Keep | The Marie Kondo Challenge' and it was fun, so much so that I decided to do the exact opposite. This list consists of 15 books I hated with a passion, and thus I would appreciate them vanishing forever. Okay, a bit harsh. Some I just really didn't like. Please don't take anything personally if your favourite books are on here, reading is diverse and we all have our own opinions. That's the fun part. This is once again a collaboration with Bill aka: my husband. Go check out his post on SomewhatNerdy.
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[1] Lord of the Flies
by William Golding
Yay for unpopular opinions!? I hated this book, and I didn't even have to read it in school. Not only was the plot a lost cause, but the characters were all so insufferable that I couldn't care less who died or survived. This felt like a badly written attempt at trying to write children in a modern world, and trying to make their savagery plausible in the most unlikely of ways.
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[2] The Ocean at the End of the Lane
by Neil Gaiman
This was the first Neil Gaiman book I read and to be perfectly honest, it put me off picking up his other work. I just didn't get the whole spiel he was going for. The story itself was too weird and I really can't think of one character that stood out to me. It was a jumbled mess. My husband on the other hand enjoyed it, so I think this is more of a case of personal preference. Either way, I'd happily get rid of it. Sad though, because the cover is quite striking.
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[3] Annihilation (Southern Reach, #1)
by Jeff VanderMeer
What the flipping fudge? I picked this up quite soon after the trailer for the movie got released as it sounded really interesting. I hadn't read much sci-fi prior to Annihilation, so the prospect of a group of women kicking ass seemed promising. But.. I'm still not sure what I read. It was so description heavy that I failed entirely to understand the actual plot. And *semi spoiler ahead* the movie trailer ruined what I guess was meant to be the twist at the end of the book..? A huge mess.
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[4] A Wrinkle In Time
by Madeleine L'Engle
This was one whole mess that I don't think kids could understand let alone me, a 22 year old woman. It was too wacky for my liking, and though the movie was semi enjoyable, I would never ever want to reread this childhood classic.
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[5] The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon
by Stephen King
We're getting quite controversial here, aren't we? I picked this up as it was short, and as I do the "Popsugar Reading Challenge" it fitted a prompt. I don't know whether it's due to my utter disinterest in sports, but this whole book fell flat for me. The characters annoyed me, the plot was questionable at best, and the quirky twist at the end just didn't make up for the other problems. I'm sure King's other work is remarkable, but this is entirely skippable.
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[6] Animal Farm
by George Orwell
I read it, I got the hidden messages, but it just didn't enjoy myself while reading it. And that's okay. I think when it comes to classics such as these, it can be really hard to admit that you just didn't like them because they're layered and almost a "Well, you aren't meant to enjoy this. You're meant to appreciate it." situation. I don't know, if Animal Farm was released now, would people really still love it, or would it be seen as weird and too try-hard?

[7] Pure
by Rebecca Ray
I mean, this is the definition of a bad YA contemporary that attempts to deal with mental health but instead glorifies cutting and dysfunctional relationships Lolita-style. Nah, hard banish.
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[8] Looking For Alaska
by John Green
I have read almost all of John Green's books, and this was by far the worst. His writing style and characters are always a hit or miss for people. He writes the type of book that people would of loved during the whole Twilight craze, and though I appreciate some depressive content and poetic dialogue as much as the next YA fan, Looking For Alaska was a definite miss. The characters were insufferable and Alaska was the most unrealistic pixie-dream-girl ever.

[9] Midnight Sun
by Trish Cook
This is a popular trope in the YA genre, you know, dying girl who falls in love. I have read a fair few of them, but Midnight Sun was as implausible as it was annoying. The dialogue between characters was ridiculous, the author was trying to make the main character way too quirky and likeable, and her father was the epitome of very unrealistic YA parent. All around terrible book.


[10] All The Bright Places
by Jennifer Niven
This had been known as the ultimate book regarding teenage suicide between YA book fans.. But what the heck? The characters were as idiotic as they were unrealistic and the suicide story line was practically a case of 13 Reasons Why but without proper reason. I hated the way that 'love set us free' was practically the motto for this abysmal contemporary novel. No.. just, no.

[11] Outlander
by Diane Gabaldon
Yay, a controversial one again! Outlander is a well loved historical fantasy series that seems to have 35 books. The first one just pissed me off something royally. So we're following Claire, a strong-willed feminist or whatever, as she travels back in time and comes to terms with living there. From the rape, abuse, to the characters who were d'bags that we were meant to forgive because of the time period/their past. I was royally disappointed and my saltiness over it made me put it on here. No regrets.

[12] The Killer Inside Me
by Jim Thompson
You know those horror movies that involve rape and it leaves you with that icky feeling in the pit of your stomach, this is book form of that and not even in an entertaining way. It felt like torture porn disguised as a thriller/crime book. Nah.

[13] Breaking Dawn
by Stephenie Meyer
Some people might put the entire series that is Twilight on this list, but I personally appreciate them for introducing me to a whole new reading genre. Breaking Dawn, however, was terrible. What a tragic way to end the series, and it doesn't even have a unhappy ending, it was just pure.. bad writing. I hated vampire Bella and the big fight that didn't even happen in the book. Nessie was a mess of a character that screamed weird. No.. just no.
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[14] Gone Girl
by Gillian Flynn
Much like Twilight with the YA genre, Gone Girl was the start of a huge thriller takeover. Pick up any newly released thriller and it will likely have a blurb that includes the words Gone Girl. And though I didn't despise this Gillian Flynn book, I didn't love it either. So why do I want it to banish? Hold onto your hats for my non-popular option.. I think this didn't do the genre justice. Imagine if Final Girls or The Death of Mrs. Westaway was the book that went viral.. how high our standards would be if they weren't defined by domestic thrillers?
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[15] Everything, Everything
by Nicola Yoon
Another popular YA contemporary? Yup. It was a difficult choice to decide whether I wanted to include this on here as it hard potential. The overall story was interesting and it did put its own twist on the 'dying girl' plot. I saw the twist coming pretty soon, but if I had read it when I was younger, I probably wouldn't. The thing that bothered me about this was the love story. It was the epitome of insta-love and I just can't hack that anymore. Especially when the main character is willing to literally DIE just the have a relationship. Ph-lease.
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So, there we have it. What books do you wish had never come into your life? Let me know!


March Book Wrap-Up

3/31/2019


Three months down, nine to go! March wasn't a great month for reading if you look at how many books I managed to finish. But much like February what I did read was enjoyable, I didn't give anything less than a three star rating. After recently joining the Bookstagram community (Follow me at @BranchingPages) I've been bombarded with book inspiration so I'm hoping that will aid in my getting back on track with reading 10 books a month in April. I'm also taking part in the Magical Readathon over on Twitter, which will be sure to be fun. 

I digress, before looking to the future we have to revisit the past! So here are the books I read in March.

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The Wife Between Us
by Greer Hendricks & Sarah Pakkanen

“I was happy, I think, but I wonder now if my memory is playing tricks on me. If it is giving me the gift of an illusion. We all layer them over our remembrances; the filters through which we want to see our lives.” 

Nellie and Vanessa lead very different lives. Vanessa has just divorced her husband and is struggling to come to terms with newly single life, living without the safety net that her husband had always placed under her. She feels like an empty shell, no longer being a wife is foreign to her. Nellie on the other hand has just got engaged to Richard, a wealthy man who is as charming as he is persuasive. She looks forward to starting a life with him, to becoming a wife, but when her past seems to come back to haunt her, she begins to question everything. This is a classic domestic thriller revolved around an ex-wife, husband, and mistress. But don't dismiss this book that easily. Boy, does this pack a butt load of twists. Some I guessed, others I did not, which is always fun. I like to feel as though I'm Sherlock, but I don't want the entire thing to be predictable, ya know? If thrillers are  your niche, and you haven't already picked up this hyped one, then do it. You won't regret it.

Rating: ★★★★
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The Kiss Quotation
by Helen Hoang 

“How did one not obsess over something wonderful? How did one like something a reasonable amount?” 

Refusing to let her diagnosis of Asperger's define her existence, Stella Lane decides that she wants to herself into a relationship. Partly for her, partly to stop her mother nagging her about dating prospects. Unsure about the way to go about it and most definitely needing the experience, she decides to hire an escort to help her adjust to the dating life. Unbeknown to her, the escort may just be the perfect boyfriend material.. Pretty Woman meets Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine, this was as humorous as it was touching. This was a pure guilty pleasure read and I loved it. I expected parts to be cringe or for the smut to feel forced and unnecessary, but it all worked out perfectly and I adored the relationship between Stella and Michael. They were sweet, and I most definitely wasn't expecting that aspect of the story. This is definitely chic-lit, but not as corny as you might be expecting. Give it a try.

Rating: ★★★★★
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The Virgin Suicides
by Jeffery Eugenides  

“It didn't matter in the end how old they had been, or that they were girls, but only that we had loved them, and that they hadn't heard us calling, still do not hear us, up here in the tree house, with our thinning hair and soft bellies, calling them out of those rooms where they went to be alone for all time, alone in suicide, which is deeper than death, and where we will never find the pieces to put them back together.” 

The Summer that the Lisbon sisters all commit suicide was hard for many people, most notably their parent and the boys who had become infatuated with them. Why did they do it? This takes a look back through the eyes of one of the boys who lived across the street from the Lisbon's as he tries to find the answers. You've likely heard of The Virgin Suicides, whether it be the book or movie. It's popular and that made me all the more excited to finally pick it up, but.. meh. It just fell flat for me. I couldn't find myself caring for the characters and the lack of overall dialogue in the book made it feel all the more lacklustre. It was okay, not great. Beautiful writing but a dull story. The epitome of 3 stars.

Rating: ★★★
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Never Let Me Go
by Kazuo Ishiguro 

“I keep thinking about this river somewhere, with the water moving really fast. And these two people in the water, trying to hold onto each other, holding on as hard as they can, but in the end it's just too much. The current's too strong. They've got to let go, drift apart. That's how it is with us. It's a shame, Kath, because we've loved each other all our lives. But in the end, we can't stay together forever.”

Whether you've read it or seen the movie adaption, this is a story that has captured thousands of hearts. It's a modern classic, no doubt about that. Following the story of Kath, Tommy and Ruth, as they come to question the outside world that awaits for them outside of their boarding school. I enjoyed this, I wasn't surprised by the "twist" though which I think many give it 5 stars for. The writing was beautiful, the characters flawed, and I did like the questionable pacing of the novel. This is one I think you should 100% go into blind, and it is definitely worthy of the hype. The only downside for me was some of the unnecessary back stories to places or people that only really matter once. It pulled me out of the book at times and I found myself wanting to go back to our narrator as she told us her story.

Rating: ★★★★
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Daisy Jones & The Six
by Taylor Jenkins Reid 

“I had absolutely no interest in being somebody else's muse.
I am not a muse.
I am the somebody.
End of fucking story.”

When party girl Daisy Jones joins the 60s-70s rock band The Six, they are dubious as to whether she'll fit. Billy, the band's leader man, dislikes her attitude and she isn't all too fussed about him either. Can two people who dislike each other get along for the music that will undeniably skyrocket their careers? This is already well loved online, but boy, I didn't expect to love it as much as I did. This is a love letter written to modern day women, from women of the past. (Okay, fictional women, but let me dream them into reality). It's beautiful, realistic, and feminist as hell. Read it.

Also be sure to check out my full review HERE.

Rating: ★★★★★
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The Husbands Secret
by  Liane Moriarty 

“None of us ever know all the possible courses our lives could have and maybe should have taken. It's probably just as well. Some secrets are meant to stay secret forever. Just ask Pandora.”

In a similar style to her other novel Big Little Lies, this is a story of three women whose lives unexpectedly interconnect after one of them discovers a devastating secret. I was a sceptical going into this domestic fiction story as I hadn't heard overly positive things about it (though nothing overly bad either, just a strong 'meh'.), but that worry was for nought. If you enjoy Liane's writing, then you'll enjoy it. I think many were disappointed as they were expecting a thriller of sorts, but it is instead a story of female empowerment and marriage troubles. I liked it.

Rating: ★★★★
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The Reason I Jump
by Naoki Higashida
(translated by David Mitchell)

“When you see an object, it seems that you see it as an entire thing first, and only afterwards do its details follow on. But for people with autism, the details jump straight out at us first of all, and then only gradually, detail by detail, does the whole image float up into focus.”

Written by a thirteen year-old-boy who has Autism, this isn't your standard non-fiction. I wasn't sure what to expect when starting this short book, especially as the author was so young when writing it and the topic itself can be a sensitive one. So imagine my surprise when I found myself smiling continuously whilst reading. This book has such a beautiful voice and it wasn't at all dense (which a part of me thought it might be). I learnt so many things from the author about the illness, but I also learnt how to view the world in a much more beautiful light. It was a pleasure to read The Reason I Jump, and I'd happy recommend it to anyone wanting to learn more about Autism.

Rating: ★★★★★
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What was your favourite read of the month? Let me know in the comments!


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