30 June 2013

Summer Reads - Book Haul

There's a giveaway going on! Check it out HERE. ^_^

I have a serious problem when it comes to book buying. This means that if I set foot in a charity shop, car-boot sale or book shop I am definitely going to leave with a bag-full of books. I get the feeling that my mum and dad try to avoid letting me loose in a book shop too often but every now and then I go and well...stock up. This happened yesterday and I came home with 12 books for the grand total of £4. This calls for a book haul. :D

First photo - The Summer trilogy by Jenny Han (The Summer I Turned Pretty, It's Not Summer Without You and We'll Always Have Summer)
Second photo - Someone Like You by Sarah Dessen, Ten Things We Shouldn't Have Done by Sarah Mlynowski and Pretty Things by Sarra Manning.
Third photo - Voices by Sue Mayfield, Water For Elephants by Sara Gruen and Looking For JJ by Anne Cassidy.
Fourth photo - Starter For Ten by David Nicholls, The Vampire Diaries (books 1&2) by L.J Smith and Broken Soup by Jenny Valentine.

If you've been reading my other Summer Reads posts (here, here and here) then you'll be sensing a common trend with the Summer trilogy by Jenny Han. I honestly didn't mean for them to play such a big part in this series but they are definitely my favourite summer books so it's just amazing luck that I found them yesterday! When I saw them I knew I couldn't leave them in the shop so I bought the three of them for a giveaway. I'm not giving away these copies as they aren't in very good condition, so instead I'm giving away my own copies and keeping the ones from yesterday for myself. I take amazing care of my books so I promise the giveaway prizes are like new. Click HERE to find out more about the giveaway. 

I haven't read any of the books in the second photo but I have read a couple of books by both Sarah Dessen and Sarra Manning and really enjoyed their writing styles. The covers are all lovely and they sound like books that would suit me. They sound like great summer reads too. ^_^

Onto photo three. I've read Looking for JJ by Anne Cassidy a couple of years ago and really enjoyed it so I thought I would pick it up so I could read it again at some point. It's a bit younger than the books I usually read but I remember liking it so I thought it'd be nice to own. Water For Elephants is a strange one as I do actually own it already on my Kindle which isn't my favourite way to read so I decided to buy a paperback copy yesterday. Voices by Sue Mayfield wasn't one I was planning to read but the synopsis sounded pretty good and I've heard a lot about this book from friends. :)

In photo four I have, of course, read Starter For Ten (my favourite book ever) but I'm trying to collect every cover and this is one I didn't have. That's right, I now have three copies...don't judge me. o_O The Vampire Diaries is another one that I wasn't planning on reading but it's been hyped up to no end so I thought I'd give it a shot. I'm not entirely sure why I bought Broken Soup by Jenny Valentine, to be honest...I think I was just drawn to the bright colours. :P

Have you read any of these books? Are you enjoying Summer Reads? :D
Lots of love, Cat

29 June 2013

Summer Reads - Giveaway!!

I was in a charity shop today stocking up on books when I saw something amazing. (It was so amazing I actually squealed a little bit in the middle of the shop...) The Summer trilogy by Jenny Han! :D If you've been reading my Summer Reads posts (here and here) then you'll know about my love for these books, and you will have read my little reviews in my last post. So when I saw these books I knew I had to buy them. They're in great condition, so I decided to keep them for myself and put my old copies (which are in even better condition) on here for you guys to win!

These books are absolutely amazing: super summery, heart-warming, emotional and endearing, and I would easily put them in my top 10 books of all time. The covers are gorgeous and they are written wonderfully. If you like summer books, pretty books or just books in general then you'll love these. ^_^

Like I said before, these books are second hand as they are my copies, but I take great care of my books. They've been loved and I even hugged them a couple of times...The spines are slightly creased as I've read them for the past few summers, but apart from that they are in lovely condition.

Unfortunately, this giveaway is UK only because of postage costs. :( Apologies! Entering is super easy, you just have to follow the instructions on the RaffleCopter box below. The giveaway will end on Saturday the 13th of July. When the winner is chosen, it'll be announced here and I'll also contact the winner in some way, before getting them sent off quickly. Good luck everyone!! :D

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Lots of love, Cat

27 June 2013

Summer Reads - Old Favourites

There are some books that I always go back to during the summer. I've read the same books every summer for a few years now and it's got to the stage where summer doesn't feel like summer unless I read these books. Of course I'm planning to do the same this year, and as they're my favourite summer books ever I felt like I needed to share them with you all. ^_^

Just like in my last Summer Reads post (here), the book covers and synopsis's are from Amazon and Goodreads, and the collage was made on PicMonkey. 

Top left to bottom right: The Summer I Turned Pretty by Jenny Han, It's Not Summer Without You by Jenny Han, We'll Always Have Summer by Jenny Han, Starter For Ten by David Nicholls, Before I Die by Jenny Downham and Paper Towns by John Green. As you may have noticed, the top three books are a trilogy. :P 

Every year Isabel spends a perfect summer at her family friends' house. There's the swimming pool at night, the private stretch of sandy beach . . . and the two boys. Unavailable, aloof Conrad - who she's been in love with forever - and friendly, relaxed Jeremiah, the only one who's ever really paid her any attention. But this year something is different. They seem to have noticed her for the first time. It's going to be an amazing summer - and one she'll never forget . . .
This is without a doubt my all-time favourite summer read. I love the characters of Belly, Conrad and (especially) Jerimiah, and Jenny Han's writing style is beautiful. The plot is typical for a fluffy summer read but it still has some substance and plenty of heartbreak. I laugh a lot and cry even more when I'm reading this book. :') Belly is super easy to relate to and you start to feel like her friend as you read the book, and the Fisher boys are amazing...^_^

I'm not going to put the official synopsis here as it gives away a few things from the first book, but basically this second installment follows Belly through another summer where she has grown up a bit more. This means that Jerimiah and Conrad have also grown up and changed, leaving her even more torn than before. She has to choose between the brothers whilst trying to stop the summer tradition from changing.
This second book is just as amazing as the first! I cried a lot more in this book as it's so damn emotional, but it's still quite light-hearted and summery. The characters of Jerimiah, Conrad and Belly stay true to themselves and you find out a lot more about them and their backgrounds. If I remember correctly, I was 100% team Jerimiah in the first 2 books, but that's pretty controversial. :P  

Like the second book, I'm not going to put a synopsis here as it spoils the rest of the trilogy and gives away major details. Basically Belly has no choice but to make her final decision between Jerimiah and Conrad, and now that they are all a good bit older they have all changed. She is completely torn as these are the two boys she has ever loved but she has to make her decision.
A lot of tears were shed during this book...My opinions were flipped and changed completely which made me cry, and my prediction was completely wrong which also made me cry...So emotional. :'( The characters, writing style and plot were all still amazing and I enjoyed this book a ridiculous amount. 
I'd HIGHLY recommend the Summer trilogy by Jenny Han!! 

The year is 1985. Brian Jackson, a working-class kid on full scholarship, has started his first term at university. He has a dark secret—a long-held, burning ambition to appear on the wildly popular British TV quiz show University Challenge—and now, finally, it seems the dream is about to become reality. He's made the school team, and they've completed the qualifying rounds and are limbering up for their first televised match. (And, what's more, he's fallen head over heels for one of his teammates, the beautiful, brainy, and intimidatingly posh Alice Harbinson.) Life seems perfect and triumph inevitable—but as his world opens up, Brian learns that a little knowledge can be a dangerous thing.  
This might come as a surprise as this isn't a John Green book, but Starter For Ten is actually my favourite book. It's witty, intelligent, hilarious and heart-warming all at once, and David Nicholls is an amazing author with a really natural, effortless style of writing. The plot is right up my street as it's geeky and a bit lame (it is based around University Challenge afterall) and the characters are all really well developed and are well...deep, haha. I read this book all year round but I love it a little more in summer because it's light and a lot of fun to read. ^_^

Tessa has just a few months to live. Fighting back against hospital visits, endless tests and drugs with excruciating side-effects, Tessa compiles a list. It's her Before I Die list. Released from the constraints of 'normal' life, Tessa tastes new experiences to make her feel alive while her failing body struggles to keep up. Her feelings, her relationships with her father and brother, her estranged mother, her best friend, and the powerful, bittersweet first love she finds with the boy next door - all are painfully yet beautifully crystallized in the precious weeks before Tessa's time finally runs out.
This such a beautiful, heart-breaking book. :') I read it first in Malta in 2011 so it has some negative memories for me but I love it too much to not read it every year. I remember finishing it on the plane home and just crying for the rest of the journey. The writing isn't amazing and the characters aren't all that likable, but there's just something about this book that makes it wonderful. It was made into a film last year called Now Is Good but I was ill when it was in cinemas so I didn't get to see it. I'm not too fussed to be honest because I don't agree with the casting or the decision to change the title. :/ I love the book though. :)

Who is the real Margo? Quentin Jacobsen has spent a lifetime loving the magnificently adventurous Margo Roth Spiegelman from afar. So when she cracks open a window and climbs into his life - dressed like a ninja and summoning him for an ingenious campaign of revenge - he follows. After their all-nighter ends and a new day breaks, Q arrives at school to discover that Margo, always an enigma, has now become a mystery. She has disappeared. Q soon learns that there are clues in her disappearance ...and they are for him. Trailing Margo's disconnected path across the USA, the closer Q gets, the less sure he is of who he is looking for.
This won't come as a surprise as you'll all be aware of my John Green obsession. :P Paper Towns is my favourite book of his because of the amazing characters and whole road-trip aspect of it. It's the perfect summer read as it's emotional and tragic whilst still being hilarious and incredibly enjoyable. I've read it four times already but I'm more than willing to read it again. ^__^

Have you read any of these books? Do you have any recommendations? :D
Lots of love, Cat

26 June 2013

Summer Reads - Wishlist

Summer is, without a doubt, the time when I get the most reading done. It's the combination of having loads of free time and simply loving summer books that make me want to read constantly, and I usually get through about 10 books over the course of my summer holiday. This summer I've decided to do a mini-series of summer-related book posts including wishlists, reviews and tags, and the first post in this series is my Summer Reads wishlist! ^_^

I've already decided on some of the books I'm going to be re-reading this summer (they'll be coming up in another post soon) but there are also a few books that I've been hearing about that I would love to buy for the upcoming months. Most of these come from online recommendations from booktubers Kat and Priscilla, as I really value their opinions and seem to have quite similar taste to them when it comes to books. If there are any books you think I should try this summer leave a comment. :)

I got my book covers off of Goodreads, synopsis's from Goodreads and Amazon and made the collage on PicMonkey.

From top left to bottom right: Why We Broke Up by Daniel Handler, Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare, Meant to Be by Lauren Morrill, Monument 14 by Emmy Laybourne, Ready Player One by Ernest Cline and Crank by Ellen Hopkins.

Min Green and Ed Slaterton are breaking up, so Min is writing Ed a letter and giving him a box. Inside the box is why they broke up. Two bottle caps, a movie ticket, a folded note, a box of matches, a protractor, books, a toy truck, a pair of ugly earrings, a comb from a motel room, and every other item collected over the course of a giddy, intimate, heartbreaking relationship. Item after item is illustrated and accounted for, and then the box, like a girlfriend, will be dumped.
Carrie Fletcher mentioned this book ages ago and for some reason I decided I had to read it. It's been popping up ever since and I still really want to get it. I think it's the gorgeous cover and...mean and cynical nature that I'm just really drawn to...It's different and not sappy like most romance-y books. 

Orphan Tessa Gray, sixteen, crosses the ocean from New York to find her brother Nate in Victorian London, her only possession a clockwork angel necklace from her mother. She is ignorant of her power to transform; the Dark sisters are not. They kidnap her for the Magister, who wants to marry Tessa and claim her power.  hadowhunters, warriors of angel blood, battle demons and keep the peace in the Downworld of vampires, warlocks and other supernaturals. Orphan teen Shadowhunters Jem, Will, and Jess rescue Tessa and agree to help save Nate. Vengeful vampire Lady Camille Belcourt and her current lover, warlock Magnus Bane provide entrĂ©e to the Magister's secret Pandemonium Club.
I can't believe that I haven't read this...My friend Rachel has been nagging me to read this book for a couple of years but I always had an excuse for not getting it. I'm really going to try to read this book this summer as it does seem like something I'd like, and I trust Rachel. :)

It's one thing to fall head over heels into a puddle of hazelnut coffee, and quite another to fall for the—gasp—wrong guy. Straight-A junior Julia may be accident prone, but she's queen of following rules and being prepared. That's why she keeps a pencil sharpener in her purse and a pocket Shakespeare in her, well, pocket. And that's also why she's chosen Mark Bixford, her childhood crush, as her MTB ("meant to be"). But this spring break, Julia's rules are about to get defenestrated (SAT word: to be thrown from a window) when she's partnered with her personal nemesis, class-clown Jason, on a school trip to London. After one wild party, Julia starts receiving romantic texts . . . from an unknown number! Jason promises to help discover the identity of her mysterious new suitor if she agrees to break a few rules along the way. And thus begins a wild goose chase through London, leading Julia closer and closer to the biggest surprise of all: true love. Because sometimes the things you least expect are the most meant to be...
This is quite literally my perfect summer book; it's sappy and light-hearted, with a little bit of history thrown in. I can't wait to try it! The cover is super gorgeous too. ^_^

Fourteen kids. One superstore. A million things that go wrong. 
In Emmy Laybourne’s action-packed debut novel, six high school kids (some popular, some not), two eighth graders (one a tech genius), and six little kids trapped together in a chain superstore build a refuge for themselves inside. While outside, a series of escalating disasters, beginning with a monster hailstorm and ending with a chemical weapons spill, seems to be tearing the world—as they know it—apart.
Ohmygod I need this book! I only heard about this today but it went straight to the top of my to-read list. I've never heard of a book like this; it's such an original idea and I seriously can't wait to see how it's executed. :D

It's the year 2044, and the real world has become an ugly place. We're out of oil. We've wrecked the climate. Famine, poverty, and disease are widespread.
Like most of humanity, Wade Watts escapes this depressing reality by spending his waking hours jacked into the OASIS, a sprawling virtual utopia where you can be anything you want to be, where you can live and play and fall in love on any of ten thousand planets. And like most of humanity, Wade is obsessed by the ultimate lottery ticket that lies concealed within this alternate reality: OASIS founder James Halliday, who dies with no heir, has promised that control of the OASIS - and his massive fortune - will go to the person who can solve the riddles he has left scattered throughout his creation.
For years, millions have struggled fruitlessly to attain this prize, knowing only that the riddles are based in the culture of the late twentieth century. And then Wade stumbles onto the key to the first puzzle.
Suddenly, he finds himself pitted against thousands of competitors in a desperate race to claim the ultimate prize, a chase that soon takes on terrifying real-world dimensions - and that will leave both Wade and his world profoundly changed.
This isn't the kind of book I usually go for but Priscilla from the Bookables talks about it non-stop and has finally sold it to me. It sounds nerdy and fast-paced, and I think I'll really enjoy it. :)

Kristina Georgia Snow is the perfect daughter: a gifted student, quiet, never any trouble. But on a trip to visit her absentee father, Kristina disappears and Bree takes her place. Bree is a total opposite to Kristina - she's fearless. Through a boy she meets, Bree is introduced to the monster: crank. And what begins as a wild, ecstatic ride turns into a struggle through hell for her mind, her soul and, ultimately, her life.
This isn't the best synopsis for Crank as it doesn't explain a large aspect of it: Kristina's relationship with both  her mother and drugs. It has a lot of mixed reviews but I think it'll be a really powerful and thought-provoking book, that will be a nice change from the fluffy summer books I usually read. 

Have you read any of these books? Are there any that you would recommend? ^_^
Lots of love, Cat 


22 June 2013

Moving On

"Well I could be angry but you're not worth the fight, and besides I'm moving on. I've counted to ten and I'm feeling alright, and besides I'm moving on."
Guess the song! 

You'll all be sick of hearing about this but I feel like it's kinda necessary if my blog's going keep living. Next month Google Reader is getting ditched and because it and GFC (Google Friend Connect) go hand-in-hand there's a very high chance that GFC will also be leaving us. This means that the 257 followers I have gained in the past 6 years won't mean anything anymore and you'll all stop receiving my posts through your reading list on the Blogger dashboard. It's not hard to work out that this bad news - baaad news - and I'm feeling pretty rubbish about it. Most blogs I read have been running for a year or two and have a couple of hundred followers, and I'm sure that they're all feeling down about this news too, but it's taken me a ridiculous amount of time to get my blog to where it is and now it's pretty much going down the drain. I feel like 6 years of my life has kind of gone to waste, as I'm sure this is going to decrease my reader-count drastically.  

The only real option for bloggers now is to move over to BlogLovin' - a great site that makes it really easy to follow all of your favourite blogs - the only struggle now is getting everyone to sign up. Right now only 13% of my GFC followers are following on BlogLovin'. :( I don't really know how best to say this except by saying please please please sign up to BlogLovin' and follow the blogs you love if you want to keep getting notified when they post! It's a really great site and it's super easy to use. I managed to move all of the blogs I follow through GFC onto my BlogLovin' account just in a few minutes, so I'm sure you can do the same (if I can do it, anyone can do it :P). 

There is a chance that GFC won't be ditched but I think it's best to do this anyway, just as a precaution. :) Click HERE to follow this blog on BlogLovin'! 

Apologies for this incredibly moany post. Normal, happy posting will resume shortly. ^_^
Lots of love, Cat


16 June 2013

Review - Neutrogena Visibly Clear Daily Scrub

"Double action for tightened pores and mattified skin, providing a flawless-looking complexion."

Neutrogena Visibly Clear Pore & Shine Daily Scrub*

I've been testing this face scrub out for about a month now; using it every other night as part of my usual skincare routine, and overall I've been pretty impressed by it. Before I started using it my skin was feeling pretty crappy; I was getting quite a few spots and it was feeling congested and dull. Luckily this scrub made my skin feel healthy and happy again, and I woke up with much brighter, less dull skin every morning. ^_^

The Neutrogena scrub says it "visibly mattifies the skin and helps tighten pores". I would say that it does mattify the skin because, even though I use it at night just before I put on a heavy moisturiser, my skin has been feeling a little less oily and whenever I use it in the morning (probably about once a week) I find that my skin holds makeup better and basically just looks less shiny. As for tightening pores I haven't noticed too much of a change. I don't have huge pores anyway but this scrub hasn't made much of a difference to my pores. Maybe it would work more effectively for someone with larger pores. :)

My favourite thing about this product has got to be the smell. I seriously love it! It's a very fresh and fruity scent with lime and tangerine. I'm not sure how much I'll love it in the winter but in Spring and Summer this has the perfect scent. Sometimes scented products can make my skin feel a little more sensitive than normal but this scrub hasn't done that, but it may if you have incredibly sensitive skin that doesn't react well to fragrance.   

Overall I'd definitely recommend this product especially for people with quite oily skin. I have combination skin and have found that it balances it out very well so it seems ideal for combination, normal or oily skin, but maybe not so much dry skin. If you are prone to spots or you want your skin to appear brighter, this scrub may be perfect for you, but remember that everyone's skin is unique to some products that work for me may not work for you. You can get this scrub from Boots for £4.49 - here

Lots of love, Cat

3 June 2013

I Love Music - Tag

I do quite a lot of tags over here but most of them are beauty ones, so when I saw a music tag over on 'Your Almost Alice' I knew I had to give it a shot. Music hardly ever gets a mention on my blog, which is weird considering that it is a massive part of my life. I've always loved music. I grew up listening to The Beatles and was raised in a house of music-lovers so it just became part of who I was as I grew up. Hopefully you'll all enjoy getting to know a bit more about my music taste. ^_^

1. What are your 5 favourite songs right now?
This is pretty hard but I'd probably have to say; The Promise by Emma Blackery, Adventure Time by BriBry, The Best Is Yet To Come by Kids In Glass Houses, Treasure by Bruno Mars and Still Into You by Paramore. 

2. Who are your favourite bands of all time?
This is horrible question...I'll probably forget a couple but here goes. :P McFly, Kids In Glass Houses, Paramore, All Time Low, Fall Out Boy, One Direction and Busted. (Don't judge me on those last two...) 

3. What is the most played song in your iTunes?
It's the acoustic remix of Coffee Shop Soundtrack by All Time Low, which has over 100 more plays than the second most played song. This is only because I left it on repeat over night by accident once though, so I don't think it even counts. :P My second most played is Love Is Easy by McFly. 

4. What is the last album you bought?
My last download was an EP by Betty Who but I'm not counting that because it's an EP instead of a full album. So the last album I bought was the High School Musical 2 soundtrack... 

5. What song can you not get out of your head?
Adventure Time by BriBry. I'm learning it on ukulele and piano right now so I've been listening to it non-stop for a couple of days. I absolutely love his voice. ^_^

6. What was the last single you downloaded?
The Promise by Emma Blackery. This is definitely my favourite song at the moment!

7. What is your favourite band right now?
This changes all the time...My all-time favourite is McFly, but at the moment I've been loving Kids In Glass Houses. I loved them a couple of years ago but stopped listening to them for a few months. I rediscovered them a week or so ago and fell back in love. :D

8. What is your favourite type of music?
Probably like alternative/rock/pop....and I love 80's pop. XD

9. In your most played list, what is number 10?
Whole Wide World by Mindy Gledhill. This song just makes me so happy and gets me in the mood for summer. Her voice is to die for! 

10. What was the first gig you ever went to?
I don't actually remember...I think I started going to gigs when I was pretty young because my dad is music-obsessed, but I don't remember the order of them. It's probably a Beatles tribute act, haha.

11. What was the best gig you've ever been to?
I haven't really enjoyed the gigs I've been to, apart from one: Barenaked Ladies. I saw them 5 or 6 years ago and I still remember how awesome they were. ^_^

12. And finally, if there was one band/album/song you would recommend everyone listening to RIGHT NOW, what would it be?
Bribry! My favourite songs of his are Adventure Time and Sum Me Up. He has the most amazing voice ever, and he writes all of his own songs. He's wonderful. ^__^

I tag everyone!
Lots of love,
Cat xxx

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