September round up

Ah, the month of my birthday where I spend most of my time in a state of existential dread. Good times.
I had some time off this month, so naturally, I read TOO MUCH. Even so, the amount of books I have left to read is not getting any smaller, how am I supposed to read all the things?!
This month has been an interesting one, I started the month doing two hours of zumba for charity, which doesn’t sound like much of a challenge until you hear the fact that it was the first time I’ve ever done it! This month also saw Games Night part two, seeing the Adams Family and of course, turning 29 as well as the birth of my new niece!

What I read this month:

Mirror, Mirror – Cara Delevingne
See, when I saw that Cara Delevingne had written a book and it was available on Netgalley I was intregued, especially because it sounded so good! And actually I was pleasantly surprised, think Paper Towns crossed with Pretty Little Liars with a bit of Riverdale chucked in and you get Mirror Mirror. You can read my review here

Vivian Apple versus America – Katie Coyle
It has been about two years since I read the first one, but finally I got around to finishing Vivian Apple’s story! I reviewed this here (honestly, I was sent an egalley for this and should have reviewed about a million years ago but the file wouldn’t open so I couldn’t… then I saw it at the library, so the review has happened!) This was fun and I loved catching up with Vivian and Harp again!

Come Sundown – Nora Roberts
This is the first Nora Roberts book I’ve ever read, honestly, the fact that she has her name on over 200 of them is a bit daunting! This is a murder mystery of sorts set on a ranch that swings between being a little bit like the soap opera Dallas and a little bit like Emma Donaghue’s The Room. Creepy and melodramatic in all the right places, see my full review here! (I was supposed to read and review this about a million years ago, sorry. I’m back on it now!)

Shylock is my name – Howard Jacobson
You know when I was like, hey, I wanna read all the Hogarth Shakspeare books when I came across Margaret Atwood’s Hagseed? Well, I found this which is part of that collection, a retelling of the Merchant of Venice, which I’ve always avoided because I figured it would be a bit anti Semitic. However, as Jacobson himself is of the Jewish persuasion, I figured maybe not. I normally love reading Jewish writers, especially when they stick in Yiddish and stuff cos it makes me feel like I’m in on a joke, but this was a bit… I dunno, high brow? It gave me the impression that it was super clever and I wasn’t because I didn’t connect with or really understand what was going on… Maybe I should read the Merchant of Venice and it will all become clear to me!

The Journals of Sylvia Plath 1950-62
Have I ever mentioned before how much I love The Bell Jar? Well, I love the Bell Jar, so when I spotted this at my local library, I couldn’t not give it a go. This collection take us through Sylvia Plath’s time at college, into adulthood, marriage and up to her last year. Which is a bit of a weird thought. Anyway, I don’t know about anyone else, but reading the journals of celebrated people is always fascinating, they’re so intimate and this had so many insightful moments. There were moments that were a bit Bridget Jones which was weird and honestly reading about the only poet I like moaning about her period was a bit weird. Anyway. This was great. Read it.

Dramarama – E Lockhart
I was so sad reading this book! I have loved every E Lockhart book I’ve ever read, so when I saw this at the library I leaped on it. Only then I started reading it and realised that this wasn’t anywhere near as good as the others I’ve read which was such a disappointment. This is the story of Sadye, who meets her BFF Demi at an audition for a summer drama school that they both get into, only when she arrives, she realises that there are a lot of kids there who are professionals and feels insecure about her abilities. And for some reason, even though, this is completely new to her, is upset when she is given smaller parts… Anyway, it wasn’t the strongest of E Lockhart’s books and I’m a bit sad about it.

Everything We Keep -Kerry Lonsdale
Firstly, I am super sorry about how long this has been sat on my kindle for. I was sent this and the sequel to review a really long time ago… So… Sorry. This is the story of Aimee who ends up having to host a funeral on the day that she should be hosting her wedding, her fiancee James disappears and is declared legally dead following a boating accident. Its a very slow moving character driven book and features a lot of big ideas that seem a little flippantly used… I reviewed it here.

Everything We Left Behind – Kerry Lonsdale
I received this at the same time as the preceding book, so I reviewed them both together. This picks up immediately after the first one finishes following on James and Aimee’s story. I felt much the same way about this as the first one, you can click above to see all my thoughts, though if you’re planning on reading this duology, don’t read the blurb of this one until you’ve finished the first one because SPOILERS. These are quick and easy reads and would be great for summer, holiday reads.

Yuki Means Happiness – Alison Jean Lester
Another book for review. Sorry, are you bored of these yet? This was so different from anything I’ve read before – I wasn’t sure what to make of the narration to start with, but I got a little addicted to it after a while and ended up finishing it in a day! It follows the story of Diana, an American who is a little lost as to what to do with her life and unsure how she feels about the guy she’s been seeing, so she decides to take a job in Japan. As you do. While there she befriends the child in her care and along the way saves the child and herself while learning about an interesting new culture. I reviewed this too. Sorry.

Red Queen – Victoria Aveyard
Sometimes you just crave generic YA content and that was what this is. In fact, it was so generic, it was almost like someone went, The Hunger Games, Grisha series, Divergent and The Selection were all so good, let’s merge them all together and remarket it as though it were an original story! Basically, a society split into royals, who have Grisha like powers, and paupers live in a world where the poor must fight for the rich has a rebellion brewing and a poor girl somehow ends up with magic powers and gets caught up in the Prince’s selection for a wife ala Selection and then ends up having to live in the palace where she attempts to do a Katniss and become the face of a rebellion from behind enemy lines. Like, this could have been really good. It just wasn’t anything new.

Stay with me – Ayobami Adebayo
I keep seeing this in book hauls so naturally I picked it up when I saw it at the library and honestly this was amazing! It was very different to anything else I’ve ever read, its set in Nigeria and was aside from being interesting to see life in a completely different culture to anything I’m used to, it was also written in a really fascinating way with different characters taking over the narration and the different time periods that it came from, as well featuring some of the socio-political issues of the time.

Films I watched this month:
You may have noticed if you follow me on twitter, have been keeping up with my Film reviews in 10 tweets or less posts or this video, that I really like films and that I spend a lot of time watching them, so here are all the films (some new, some rewatches) that graced my television/cinema screen this month!

  • The Dark Tower
    While the film wasn’t the best thing I’ve ever seen, it left me really wanting to read more Stephen King as I’ve only read The Shining and the film referenced a character having the shine!
  • Allegiant part 1
  • The Other Boleyn Girl

TV I watched his month:

  • The Great British Bakeoff
  • Strike
  • Timeless
    The whole of series one is on netflix now, so for those of you that missed it – GET ON IT.
  • House of Cards

My favourite Instagram posts this month:

bubble waffles for breakfast

A post shared by leah-marie smith (@leeeeeeeeah) on

🌈d r a m a t i c s k i e s 🌈

A post shared by leah-marie smith (@leeeeeeeeah) on

t w e n t y n i n e

A post shared by leah-marie smith (@leeeeeeeeah) on

What I did on YouTube this month:

What I loved on YouTube this month:

Luke Cutforth’s Taylor Swift parody was the best thing ever uploaded to the internet, literally the rest of us can all go home. I will just give some honourable mentions though, Daniel J Layton’s August PMS was so poignant and highlighted a lot of things I’ve been feeling myself, Dodie Clarke‘s video about depersonalisation was super interesting and her music video for 6/10 was super good. Sophie tagged me in a dinosaur themed book tag (which I will do at some point), Sanne made a great video to all the books she will never read and Leena does it again with her Creators for Change video about whether people feel British.

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Mirror Mirror

Mirror Mirror – Cara Delevingne (and Rowan Coleman)

She’s a model, an actor, a singer, she has the most impressive eyebrows in the western hemisphere and now she’s a novelist, is there a pie Cara Delevinge doesn’t have her fingers in?

Friend. Lover. Victim. Traitor.
When you look in the mirror, what do you see?
Sixteen-year-old friends Red, Leo, Rose, and Naomi are misfits; still figuring out who they are and who they want to be. Life isn’t perfect, but music brings them together, and they are excited about what the future holds for their band, Mirror, Mirror. That is until Naomi vanishes before being pulled unconscious out of the river.
She’s left fighting for her life in a coma. The police claim it was a failed suicide attempt, but her friends aren’t convinced. Will Naomi ever wake up? What -­ or perhaps who -­ led her to that hospital bed? And how did Red, the self-styled protector of the group, fail to spot the warning signs?While Rose turns to wild partying and Leo is shrouded by black moods, Red sets out to uncover the truth. It’s a journey that will cause Red’s world to crack, exposing the group’s darkest secrets. Nothing will ever be the same again, because once a mirror is shattered, it can’t be fixed.
Cara Delevingne, the voice of her generation, explores identity, friendship and betrayal in this gripping and powerful coming-of-age story. For fans of WE WERE LIARS, THIRTEEN REASONS WHY and THE GIRLS.

Most people say this is like Paper Towns, I think its more Pretty Little Liars set in London crossed with Paper Towns, if you mix those together, you have a Riverdale-esque teen mystery with actually a very impressive premise, a believably teenage narrator and is actually a fairly decent first novel full of twists and turns, which although had a few moments that felt a little contrived, kept me on my toes the whole way through. (Though, admittedly, I did figure out who the bad guy was fairly early on, but I was hoping that I was wrong!)
This is the story of a teenage band, Mirror Mirror, featuring Rose, Red, Leo and Naomi. Perhaps Cara Delevingne was inspired by her turn as Margot in the film version of Paper Towns, for we’re told that our missing student, Naomi begins life very much like Margot, forever running away and then reappearing, however, this time around, she was happy, had friends and unlike her previous disappearances, had a complete change of character beforehand. The four kids are pushed together and end up becoming best friends, who are then rocked by what happens to Naomi and our narrator, Red, teams up with Naomi’s sister to try and figure out what happened to her and why.

This features a diverse cast, enough twists and turns to keep you guessing even if it does get to PLL levels of ridiculous at times. IDK if you’ve seen PLL but seriously, how many underground bunkers are there in Rosewood? There were moments that were getting close to that in this book, but I still found it enjoyable. Much like PLL I guess.

Red can be read as trans or as androgynous and actually, their narration doesn’t lead you to believe in any particular gender until their identity reveal, which I really liked, their sexuality and gender identity weren’t made a big deal of and while I’m not trans or non binary myself, and someone who is might think differently, I think their character was great. Cara seems to be part of the write what you know club, as she acknowledges Red and Rose’s middle class privilege without letting it diminish or take over from other problems they experience during the book.

Its actually really teenage, which some books featuring teenagers seem to forget to allow the characters to be, while Red and co are dealing with their own individual issues and the mystery surrounding Naomi they also spend a lot of time concerning themselves with bullies and Instagram and all that kind of thing, I read the egalley of this but I think the paperback would be great because it includes Insta and Snapchat posts and text communications between the characters which is a little lost in the kindle edition.

While I don’t know how much of this CD wrote herself, I think it is a strong debut novel. Some reviews seem to really hate it, but I thought it was an enjoyable and gripping novel, if a little convoluted and rushed towards the end. There is a little q and a section with her at the end where she talks about the possibility of writing more and I certainly wouldn’t discourage it!