Tag Archives: 2015

15 in 15: What I’ve been Loving this Year

I hope you had an awesome Christmas and/or holiday!

In 2014, I made a huge infographic of my favourite reads of the year. It took ages, and I read a ridiculous amount last year, so that list was pretty big. I like summary posts, and I thought – why not write about just my top fifteen books of 2015? And, while I’m at it, why not throw in some other things too… So here’s a post of my top fifteen books, albums and movies/tv series of the year! Most of the things mentioned in this post are relatively new (out this year) but some are recent discoveries I’ve made.

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(shhh the Blue Neighbourhood music video trilogy totally counts)

Have you enjoyed any of the things I’ve mentioned above? What’s been your favourite discovery of this year?

Have a great 2016!

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2015: in Words and Pictures

It doesn’t feel right to be sitting down at my laptop right now, condensing all the great things that have happened this year into one blog post. This year has been one of the most important ones of my life so far, and so many great things have happened. It’s all flown by!

Here’s a few highlights of my year, bookish and non-bookish. I did a similar post last year and would like to make it an annual thing, as it’ll be nice (or embarrassing? I always laugh at my old posts) to look back on these in the future.

MARCH

One of my favourite bookish events happened in this month – I was lucky enough to get tickets to a talk by Gayle Forman at Foyles when she visited the UK promoting I Was Here. I really admire Gayle’s books so it was a fantastic opportunity to meet her.10999351_10206172150529216_5384210458056684139_nMAY

I took early entry exams in this month in science, PE and ICT. I was freaking out about them for months (except for PE, which I had… a week’s notice for. Thanks school) and all but one of the five exams were in one week. It was terrifying, considering this wasn’t near as many GCSEs as I’ll be doing next year. However, I’m really glad I took them early and got passing grades in them.

After all of the exam madness was over, I went to see Carrie the Musical in London. It was in a relatively small theatre in Elephant and Castle, and only ran for a couple of months, but it definitely deserves to come back! It was eerie and gory and fantastic.11008573_908539629187891_5813636513018271353_n
JUNE

This month was so exciting. In the first two weeks, I had my first ever work experience placement at a publishing company. I got to work with some fantastic, inspiring people and it’s helped me in starting to decide what kind of a career I want in the future.

Almost accidentally, I somehow managed to get some of the tickets to the #AskPaperTowns event in London. I went with my mum and a friend and it was such an unforgettable night – what was said to be a Q&A with John Green was unexpectedly also joined by Cara Delevingne and Natt Wolff – and hosted by Dan and Phil. It was such a surreal day and I also was able to meet Emma Blackery and LukeIsNotSexy, two YouTubers that I’ve loved for years!11253918_923387644369756_959585393825161374_n

Also this month, Sci Fi by the Sea, which is fast becoming my favourite convention, was brought back to Herne Bay for its third run. It was even bigger than the last one and there was so much cool stuff there! I love seeing this convention grow every year.IMG_4985
JULY

YALC! This second year was even bigger and better than the launch of this event last year – a new venue and almost a whole floor dedicated to YALC at this year’s London Film and Comic con meant so much was going on. I’m really thankful to have been invited to a blogger’s breakfast before events started on Sunday, and I had a great time in talks and workshops for the rest of the day, catching up with people and of course, buying books. One of my highlights of the day is actually one of my highlights of this year – after years of talking online, I finally met Siobhan Curham, author of True Face – she’s such a fantastic person and inspiration.PicMonkey Collage

At the end of July, I worked at a summer camp at my school (I did the same in 2014, but unofficially). Those two weeks were incredibly important to me, as I learned so many skills through being on the camp’s media team. I think after those two crazy weeks of photography and filmography, I’d actually like to go into a media related career!

august

I went on one of the best trips I’ve ever been on in August – to Amsterdam. It was such an unforgettable holiday and I would love to revisit the city sometime in the future. It was fascinating to see Van Gogh paintings in person and visit Anne Frank’s house. And, looking back on it, it’s quite laughable how long I dragged my family around for looking for the TFiOS Bench. There’s a bookish recap of my trip on this blog, and a photos on my photography blog here and here.PicMonkey Collage

Oh, yep, and I made a new blog! It’s called geetakesphotos and it was created when I realised I wanted a place to document my everyday happenings, and adventures, that wasn’t a neglected hard drive. I bought a DSLR with my first Saturday job wages in June and I am loving getting into photography, and sharing it all publicly on my new blog. I’d love it if you could check it out!127315229@N08_r

After Amsterdam, I spent the rest of my Summer preparing for year eleven (translation: sleeping) and volunteering at my local library for a second year. I love working there so much, as it’s so rewarding to be a part of the process that awards children for improving their reading and encouraging their love for it!
NOVEMBER

November was full of mock exams. I also took my early entry English Language GCSE. It was even scarier than all the exams I did in May put together, because it’s one of the subjects I really want an A in, especially if I’m doing English at A Level. My mock exam results for English Language were a bit up and down, so I’m just crossing my fingers until I found out how I did in January!

I also went to my first concert this month (the same day as said English exam – I’ve never been so tired, but it was worth it). Seeing Imagine Dragons and Sunset Sons live was such a cool experience, and they were fantastic first concert choice. I’m so grateful to have been able to go. There’s a recap about it on my photography blog!IMG_3644

And, finally… I started applying to Sixth Forms. That’s scary. I’m really excited for whatever place I ultimately receive, because I’ll finally be studying just the subjects I enjoy. I can’t get over how cool it’s going to be to actually learn about films and/or photography for real classes very soon!

Also, here’s a quick top five favourite blog posts I’ve written / hosted this year:

The Tour in Between Guest Post: Nancy Tucker’s Recommended Reads

Book Review: The Big Lie by Julie Mayhew

Songs and Stories #2

Books About Books: An Infographic

Infographic: Autobiographies I’ve Read in 2015

Thank you, as always, to all of the publishers and authors who send me books to review and give me great advice about the industry. Although there’s been a bit of a lull in reviewing on this blog lately (year eleven madness) I’m hoping to pick up my old blogging habits again in 2016.

Watch this space next week for a similar blog post, about my top reads of the year – I’m also going to be sharing some of my other favourite discoveries of 2015.

Book Review: Vendetta by Catherine Doyle

Published January 1st 2015 by Chicken House Books.

22317508Goodreads Synopsis: When it comes to revenge, love is a dangerous complication.With a fierce rivalry raging between two warring families, falling in love is the deadliest thing Sophie could do. An epic debut set outside modern-day Chicago.

When five brothers move into the abandoned mansion in her neighbourhood, Sophie Gracewell’s life changes forever. Irresistibly drawn to bad boy Nicoli, Sophie finds herself falling into a criminal underworld governed by powerful families. As the boys’ dark secrets begin to come to light, Sophie is confronted with stinging truths about her own family, too. She must choose between two warring dynasties – the one she was born into, and the one she is falling in love with. When she does, blood will spill and hearts will break.

My Review: I was so excited to read Doyle’s début, Vendetta, when it came through the letterbox! All of the online buzz described it as a tense and gripping retelling of Romeo and Juliet, in suburban Chicago, with a Mafia twist. And if that doesn’t sound like the most insanely awesome idea for a book, then you’re wrong. 😀

I loved the beginning chapters of the story. From the first sentence, there’s a strangely chilling mystery. I found myself completely sucked into the story; I started Vendetta on a train, and somehow got through sixty pages, then (reluctantly) put it away. It was difficult to stop reading!

During the first chapters I had grown to really like the main character, and really feel for her; the mysterious, vague foreshadowing about her father’s story kept me reading, as I was sure it was somehow linked to the new family that moves into the town.

Sophie felt realistic for a lot of the story… though, I did get really annoyed at a lot of parts, where the she is too busy swooning over the dudes even after she’s seen REALLY SCARY STUFF relating to them. Like… I would have run far away at some of the things that happen based around the new boys in town: Not gone running to them. Maybe that’s just me…? I just found her reactions so weird and at a couple of points I just wanted to yell, because seriously, stop swooning for a sec and look PROPERLY at these dudes.

Anyhow, minus some of Sophie’s actions which confused me: I did really enjoy the story. It had the perfect setting, and everything was revealed in really clever ways. There were lots of unpredictable moments and I was up all night finishing Vendetta. The story has that chilling, foreshadow-y feeling throughout and the story spiralled very quickly into a dark and violent crime story. The new family that move in, including the five mysterious new brothers, were so interesting to read about. The story made time to build a great back-story for each one of them, which was brilliant; while maintaining a good enough pace to keep me engrossed.

Overall, I am very mixed about some bits of the book, but in general it was an enjoyable book and an exceptional début. I finished it thinking, whoa. I adored Catherine Doyle’s writing, and I would love to read more by her in the future. Some things were left unsolved in Vendetta, which I know will be explored more in the next two books (Vendetta is the first in a trilogy). I think I will carry on with the trilogy, as I’m just very interested to see what direction Doyle will take her daring, action-packed story in.

My Rating:

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I received a copy of Vendetta from the publisher, in exchange for a review. In no way at all did this affect my thoughts.