My Top 15 Books in 2015!

2015 has been a really great year for reading I completed my Goodreads reading challenge for the first time EVER  and have been making an attempt to expand my reading choices- In no particular order here is my top 15 books of 2015!

  1. Like a Virgin by Gorgon Steel

like a virgin

Like a Virgin is a play centered around two teenage girls and the bubble gum drama that surrounds their everyday lives, for those looking to start reading plays I highly recommend. Check out my review click here.

2. Saga Vol 1 & 2 by Brian K. Vaughan 

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Saga was my big introduction to the world of graphic novels and boy was I happy to have been introduced. I really enjoyed the love story between the main characters and their trials and tribulations due to their inter-species romance and baby together not to mention the war going on around them. I have now read volume 2 and plan to read volume 3 soon!

3. Prisoner of Night and Fog by Anne Blackman

prisoner of night and fog

Prisoner of Night and Fog is a young adult novel set in the lead up to the Second World War. Gretchen had been brought up in Hitlers inner circle and he is known to her as the loving and kinds ‘Uncle Dolf’ it is only when she meets a young Jewish journalist that she realizes that her world as she knows it might not be as she seems. This was one of the first books I read in 2015 and one of my favourite books of the year I absolutely recommend.

4. The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chobsky

perks happy

I don’t normally like high school books but Perks is such a beautifully written story. Perks of being a wallflower is the story of Charlie a quiet high school boy who is just finding himself, his friends and coming to terms with some deep rooted issues. Perks is a heartbreaking novel but at the same time so, so beautiful.

5. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban  by J.K Rowling

prisoner of azkaban harry potter

2015 was the year of Harry Potter (well for me at least) I have been a long time fan of the films but have never actually read the books which as ‘reader’ is shocking. Prisoner of Azkaban was my favourite of the seven mainly because there is so much Lupin he is my favorite character in the books and the films and it was so great to read the more well developed book version of him and to read the Harry Potter series in its entirety.

6. The History Boys by Alan Bennett

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Unlike Like a Virgin ,which, when I bought it I was naive to the plot and author when I bought The History Boys I had heard of the play, the stage play and the film. The cast is filled with well known actors and it was the plays reputation that lead me to reading it. The History Boys follows a group of Ox-bridge hopefuls and their and their teachers journey together and their attempt in getting the young hopefuls into the prestigious universities. The dialogue in this play is insane so worth reading, I only wish I could have seem it live!

7. Lady Chatterley’s Lover by D.H Lawrence

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Class crossing classic love story a really interesting read.

8. The Host by Stephenie Meyer

the host mel

Alien/Human love story – four people three bodies- perfect. My Review

9. Brooklyn by Colm Toibin

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Beautiful Irish immigration story with a love triangle to boot, all I need now is to see the film. My Review

10. Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi

Shatter Me Tahereh Mafi

Shatter Me was my first read of 2015 I was drawn in to the Dystopian world that the prisoner Juliet embodies. She is the girl who can’t be touched, who can’t touch anyone or they will die. But some how I was enthralled in a love triangle to end all love triangles. I still need to read book 2 and three in this young adult series but as things stand  I am currently rooting for Adam.

11. Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs

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This was my last read of 2015, this book is a creepy YA read the story is told along side authentic antique photographs of children much like the little girl on the cover. The story follows Jacob whose Grandfather dies mysteriously in his arms. Jacob discovers his Grandfather has a deep, dark secret and encouraged by his Grandfathers dying words Jacob becomes determined to find out the truth.

12. Divergent by Veronica Roth

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I’m sure this book needs no introduction but as of 2015 I was a newbie to the Divergent fandom. I have only read Divergent but am relatively update with the other books because I have seen all the films. Really enjoyed the Dystopian world created by Veronica Roth and Four… Four!

13.Tuck Everlasting by Natalie Babbitt

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What if you could live forever? My Review

14. Clockwork Prince by Cassandra Clare

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Literature, love and Shadowhunters this is Cassandra Clare at her brilliant best. In celebration of Shadowhunters t.v show starting on Freeform in January next year I will be doing a Mortal Instruments reading challenge to refresh my memory for the up- coming series.

Clockwork Angel Review

Shadowhunters T.V Show Vs Movie

15. The Last Kingdom by Bernard Cornwall

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Historical fiction novel following the Danish/Vicking invasion of Britain this book follows Uhtrud a young Elderman  captured by the Danes and raised to be like them and too love them. When is re-captured by the Saxon thanks to his Elderman status Uhtrud must choose is he a Saxon or is he a Dane and who is he really fighting for. In the life and times of Alfred the Great this book is set in a period when England was created, it is violent and dangerous world but so compelling and full of characters that I just wanted to know more and more.

And because I some how forgot to make it part of this list I would like to add an honorable mention. 

Me Before You by Jo Jo Moyes Me Before You is probably the book I have talked about on my blog the most this year and am really excited for the up and coming movie. Click here for an update on the movie and Click here to read my review.

me before you 1 me before you 2

I hope you enjoyed my top 15 of 2015- Happy reading X

 

Tamara Drewe by Posey Simmonds Review

I’m not a great graphic novel reader in fact I am REALLY new to the genre but since I read Saga (Vol 1 and 2) I have been keen to give other graphic novels a try. Tamara Drewe by Posey Simmonds is my first step into what will hopefully be a whole new genre to explore.

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Tamara is a British romp set in a small English country village the graphic novel is loosely based on the Tom Hardy novel Far From The Madding Crowd. At this time I haven’t read the original text so I can only judge Tamara Drewe for what it is.

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Tamara is a young up and coming journalist and after her mother dies she returns to her family home in the country from London to deal with her house and her mothers belongings. When Tamara returns she soon encounters her former teenage boyfriend Andy and married, adulterous literary sensation Nick. All the while Tamara is dealing with her own boyfriend former boy-band member and D-list celeb Ben. For the teenage girls in the village have Ben from Swipe roll in to town to see plastic fantastic Tamara is about the most exciting thing to happen EVER!

Tamara Drewe

I really enjoyed Tamara Drewe, the art work was beautiful and the characters particularly Nick and Tamara herself were extremely flawed. The story had a real feel of Britishness about it and the confines but beauty of living in a small English village. While the main plot is quite comical the story touches on topics of adulatory, teen drug problems and escapee dog.

Tamara Drewe has now been adapted for the big screen with Gemma Arterton as Tamara, Dominic Cooper as Ben and Luke Evans as Andy.

I would recommend Tamara and her adventures it’s soft, sweet, with a good heart and underlying moral compass.

3/5 Paint and Butterflies Stars

 

Bath and Body Works Tag!

Thanks to A Little Bookish a Little A Writerly for the Tag! I haven’t done a tag in a while so lets just jump right in.

Pure Paradise – A book that was pure perfection

Me Before You by Jo Jo Moyes 

 

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Me Before You is a you is a contemporary romance novel that follows Lou Clarke a young woman who has lost her way in the world and is struggling to find her path. When she looses her job and is desperate for money she becomes a carer for quadriplegic man Will. Will is a former international business man and before his accident loved life and lived it to the max. Will and Lou come together in a way which is both funny and heart breaking I would recommend this book to everyone who has a heart beating in their chest. To read my original review click here and to read my update on the upcoming movie click here.


Sweet Pea – A romance/contemporary you really enjoyed

You Had Me at Hello by Mhairi McFarlane

You had me at hello Cher

You Had Me at Hello is probably my favourite contemporary romance novel. The book is set in both the past and the present following two best friends who meet at university and as the reader we know there is an event, a falling out that separates them at the end of their third year. Mean while in the present day the two friends bump into each other when one of them moves back to the country after emigrating to America with his now wife. Their lives re-connect and old feelings and resentments come back to the surface once more.

I have never wanted two characters to get together more than these two knowing their back story by reading about their time at university. I was so attached the characters and really cared about what happened to them. A real A* contemparary.


 

Fresh Strawberries – A book you really enjoyed that came out this year

After You by Jojo Moyes

after you Lou

After You is the sequel to Me Before You and and follows Lou after the events in book 1. It follows her journey and her process in coping after all that happened in Me Before You. (My best attempt at spoiler free)

 

 


Warm Vanilla – A character and/or book that made you feel all warm inside

The Lion The Witch and The Wardrobe by C.S Lewis

the lion witch and the wardrobe tlwatw

Reading this book is like reading about an old friend or a memory, or returning home after a long trip. It’s so familiar but I’ll still read it forever.

I’m currently taking part in the Problem of Susan challenge to read more about it click here.


 Paris Amour – A couple you majorly ship together

Outlander by Diana Gabaldon 


O1 Outlander 2014

Outlander is book 1 in this epic time travel adventure series where married, 1945 nurse travels back in time and meets Highlander Jamie Fraser… If you haven’t read Outlander yet or seen the show Jamie and Claire are perfect for you shippers out there.

Outlander Review.


 Dancing Waters – A book that takes place on the beach/ the perfect beach read

On the Island by Tracy Garvis Graves

Summer covers 5 Merlin

On the Island is about teacher in her early thirties who is employed to tutor a student who has been out of school with cancer. The boy who is now in remission, and teacher are to go away for the summer and catch him up for school for his senior year.

Well, the plane crashes and everyone dies but teacher and pupil. For years they are stuck on a desert island together until one day boy becomes a man.

This book deals with some uncomfortable themes and you think the teacher student relationship is going to be awkward and hard to read about. This is one of my favourite contemporaries, I would definitely recommend reading watching the relationship of these characters develop and grow over the years is really interesting and heartbreaking.


 

I Heart Cake (and Books) – Your favorite book

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It’s always hard as a reader to say THIS is my favourite book, I rate this above all the others and it is true when asked this question I could give you a list as long as your arm of my favourite books. But if I have to say, my favourite book is probably Summer in February by Jonathan Smith. It is the true story of a artist colony that existed in the 1930’s. The colony had members such as Laura and Harold Knight, and A.J Munnings who painted the picture of the cover of the book. The focus of the book is the woman in picture a young woman called Florence Carter-Wood a painter who came to the colony with her brother. She was the first wife of A.J Munnings and a subject he found hard to talk of in later life. The story is a love story, between Florance, A.J and A.J’s best friend Captain Gilbert Evans. It ‘s also a story of art, passion and a time when war was looming in the shadow of the sun.

To read my Film Review of Summer in February

 


 Winter Candy Apple – A book set during Christmas or winter

Winter’s Tale by Mark Helprin 

A new your winters tale A WINTER"S TALE

Winter’s Tale is a magical realism novel set in New York the novel is a love letter too New York as well as being a really beautiful story.


Beautiful Day – A book with an unusual / interesting / appealing setting

The Harry Potter World

With the teaser trailer for Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them dropping a couple of days ago and Harry Potter Mania rearing its head again – I don’t think I could do this tag without mention the Harry Potter Universe.

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Dazzling Diamonds – A beautiful cover

Uprooted by Noami Novik

uprooted a little princess

I got this book as a birthday present and as my birthday was yesterday I haven’t had time to read it yet! The cover is stunning, it is gold embossed and gorgeous. From what I know Uprooted is a stand alone, fairy tale esk novel about dragons. Can’t wait to get too it!

Hope you enjoyed this Tag.

Here are my Tag-ees…

Today I am tagging some of my new followers thanks for the follows guys.

Abbie Lu  Cafe Book Bean

Charley   Charleigh the Warrior

Bree        The Literary Hellion

Can You Pick a Flower Garden

Tash Glitterful Thoughts

 

The Hungry Ghost Festival by Jen Campbell :Review

The Hungry Ghost Festival is a poetry collection by The Bookshop Book author Jen Campbell, Jen is also a Book Tuber go check out her channel here.

the hungry ghost festival

The Hungry Ghost Festival talks of Jen’s childhood and young adult life growing up in the North of England, the poetry is personal and reminiscent of a fairy tale. Each poem takes you on a journey, a short story almost with a seemingly clear beginning, middle and end.

I haven’t read a lot of poetry it is something that I’m slowly trying to read more of especially as I enjoying writing it reading more and more seems like a natural progression. Taking into account that my reading of poetry is somewhat limited, I found these poems more like mini stories, by the end of the book which is really short a totally of thirty-two pages but really enjoyed this collection and hope to read more from this author soon.

A Paint and Butterflies rating of 3/5 stars!

go with happiness

Falling Kingdoms by Morgan Rhodes – Book 1 Review

I had been hearing a lot about the Falling Kingdoms series mostly positive reviews and often aligning the series with a Young Adult Game of Thrones. As a huge Game of Thrones fan and fantasy reader I was intrigued-

Falling Kingdoms

Falling Kingdoms is a Multi perspective YA novel that tells the story of Mytica a land that has been divided into three kingdoms. In the prologue of this novel a new born baby is stolen by two witches from her cot, the evil pair kill her mother and take her far away from her family. The baby is believed to be a great and powerful sorceress her birth predicted in the stars. The stolen child is given to raise to a King of one of the three Kingdoms known as the King of blood he eventually intends to use her magic for his own bidding – to conquer Mytica for his own.

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Princess Lucia’s story  is just one path traveled when reading Falling Kingdoms, we follow young boys from dying lands and head strong Princesses with dying sisters and Princes with incestuous hearts.

Falling Kingdoms is a good book, it is the first book on a six book series but I have to say I found it a little slow. For the first two hundred pages or so I wasn’t connected to the characters at all but at some point after that it really picked up the pace. I became invested in the story and that’s always a good thing.

One of my main problems with this book (other than slow pacing) there is some serious insta-love going on. Two characters just fall in love within a matter of pages which was a bit laughable it might have been exceptable if they had some chemistry but they didn’t. (For those who know I’m talking about Cleo and Theo here.)

Leo raising eyebrows

The leading man in Falling Kingdomsis just dying to have an incestuous love affair with his sister Lucia. I know incest in books isn’t necessarily a new thing but somehow Magnus (said Prince) makes it creepier than it needs to be; let me tell you this these guys are not Jamie and Cersei Lannister.

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Over all I liked Falling Kingdoms, it was good but not great I would definitely recommend reading if Game of Thrones or Books like it (Outlander, Mistbourne ect) are perhaps a little too much for you reading wise.

Overall I rated it a – not sure if I’m going to continue on but positive-

3/5 stars

Happy reading everyone! x

 

 

Outlander Season 2 – Update

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It feels like ages since I have had any Outlander in my life but with the ongoing Droughtlander here are some pictures of season 2 and the new teaser to ease the count down to April.

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We last left our couple on a boat sailing to France and the new series picks up from were we left them. Series 2 is based on the second novel Dragon Fly in Amber where Jamie and Claire have arrived in France in French court of Charles Stewart ready to stop the Highlands uprising in an attempt to change history and save Scotland.

outlander season 2 2

Claire and Jamie will be facing new and more politically charged dangers than their time in Scotland with the clock ever ticking towards Culloden.

outlander season 2 5

Meanwhile Dragonfly and Amber is the first book that features Jamie and Claire’s redheaded daughter Brianna. While in the books a twenty year old Brianna is mentioned and leads the first chapters the Show-runners have indicated that Brianna may not feature to later on in Season 2.

outlander season 2 3

I hoped this helped the drought and if you’re still feeling the lack of Claire and Jamie in your lives you can watch the brand new teaser trailer here! If that’s still not enough then go pick up the books 🙂

After You by JoJo Moyes – Book Review

Ebook provided by Netgalley in return of an honest review.

Spoilers for Me Before You Ahead!

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After You is the sequel to Jo Jo Moyes international bestseller Me Before You. The first novel followed Lou Clarke a young woman stuck in a rut and suddenly finds herself desperate for a job and working for Will. Will is a former international playboy, business man and now Quadriplegic.

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Will and Lou (or Finnick and Khaleesi!)

Will wants to die, he intends to end is life and for his friends and family the clock is ticking to change his mind and keep him living. Lou finds that in Will’s sad life she might have something to learn from a man who used to live big and Will finds that from Lou he might just have something to Learn…

Me Before You was one of my favourite reads of the year it is heartbreaking and beautiful and left me feeling like I really knew all the characters but in particular Lou and Will.

So when I heard there was going to be a sequel to a book that a genuinely LOVE I was nervous but really excited.

big yes

What did I think?

after you

After You picks up about a year after Will’s death and we take a look at the repercussions for Lou and the other characters. Lou is suffering greatly without Will and her grief leads her to getting drunk and falling off a roof(classic Lou). Her fall leads to Lou meeting the lovely Sam a paramedic and perfect for our grieving heroin.

Me Before You

After You is a book about grief, Lou’s grief, the grief of Will’s parents and the grief of characters who are new to the story. It’s  a book that is a process, Lou wanting to fore-fill her promise to Will. I really enjoyed re-visiting Lou again but as I was reading the problems I had with the original novel were still present- I don’t really like Lou’s family, I find them selfish and grasping and to be honest just really unlikable and I have similar issues with Will’s family.

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Emilia Clarke as Lou in the up and coming film (2016)

What made Me Before You great was having Lou and Will together in their different  family dynamics and I missed the dialogue between the two of them with Nathan always in the back ground making a happy three.

I enjoyed reading After You but the best part for me was the end-

SPOILERS

When reading Me Before You and now After You all I wanted for Lou was a happy ending and After You gave me that and I’m so grateful.

Would recommend. 4/5 Stars keep your eyes peeled for the film that comes out in 2016!