Reading Challenge 2015 – A Popular Author’s First Book

Book Number Eleven – This Side of Paradise by F.Scott Fitzgerald.


I know that The Great Gatsby is one of those books that you either love or hate, but for me I adored it. From the moment I read it, I became obsessed with all things Fitzgerald and greedily researched his other work. When it came up in my reading challenge that I had to read the first novel of a popular author, I thought this would be ideal.

I’d never read This Side of Paradise before now and instantly I found that familiar charm and romantic word use that is well known in Francis’ other work. Like his other work we have a charming protagonist by the name of Amory Blaine. A young man who after being raised, predominantly by his mother, in a rather unusual way heads for Princeton in the hope that it will provide him with the answer to his calling in life.

Along the way there are many friends. Philosophies on life, politics and religion are shared and of course there are different girls who touch Amory’s life at various points in his life. The novel is split into three books, and this really allowed me to get a greater understanding of Amory and how he changed and grew as person. But perhaps one of the main themes I took away from the book is desire to find something in life, whether it is the ability to write, or have faith in religion or the shared love of a woman, as human beings we are always searching for that extra thing that we feel will make us whole.

There are some dark elements to the book, when Amory turns to alcohol to numb himself from the painful break up from Isabelle, I found this particularly well written and it comes as no surprise that F.Scott Fitzgerald based it on his own experiences. If you’re hoping to read this novel and feel inspired with romance I’m afraid you will be disheartened. However what you will get is another beautiful novel that perfectly captures the confusion, anger and heartbreak of life when you’re young, trying to find your place in the world and be understood.

‘The early moon had drenched the arches with pale blue, and, weaving over the night, in and out of the gossamer rifts of moon, swept a song, a song with more than a hint of sadness, infinitely transient, infinitely regretful.’


Star Rating out of 5: 4

Happy reading fellow bookworms.



Next Up

The next book I will be reading and reviewing for the blog is;

Horns by Joe Hill.


I’m so excited to get started on this, the film trailer looked incredible however I’m reluctant to watch the film until I’ve read the book. As usual I will post a full review as soon as I’m done.

Happy reading fellow bookworms.


Book Review – We Were Liars by E.Lockhart

What to say about We Were Liars? If you’ve looked into the book, you’ll have noticed that it’s difficult to talk about without giving away the story, but I’ll try my best.


The novel centres on the Sinclair family, a rich All American family with the looks and stock much desired by others. Every summer they meet on their own private island and pass the days with swimming, games and family meals. It all sounds ideal but if the thoughts of Cady, Gat, Johnny and Mirren are anything to go by the family isn’t as perfect as perceived.

I really loved the style of writing, with E.Lockhart making each chapter feel more like the passage of a poem. It’s thought provoking and romantic at the same time as focusing on characters that are materialistic, narrow minded, tragic and vitriolic.

There’s an incredible twist that I didn’t seem coming, but this only added to my enjoyment of the book. You may feel that it’s a bit flaky but please do stick with it as it’s worth it. I think the book could have been wrapped up a lot sooner, instead of overdoing it and providing some kind of resolve or closure at the end but it’s a small grumble about an otherwise great novel. I’d recommend this if you were looking for something a little different.

Star Rating out of 5: 4

‘He was contemplation and enthusiasm. Ambition and strong coffee. I could have looked at him forever.’


Happy reading.


Next Up

Next up for my Kindle Reads is this piece of work, which I have heard nothing but good things about.

We Were Liars by E.Lockhart.


I’m reading another book as well at the moment, but as I’m reviewing it for a website I review books for, I cannot list it here. But as soon as the review goes live for that, I will let you know. In the meantime, why not get in touch and let me know what you’re reading at the moment? Or what book releases are coming up that are getting you excited?

Also if you’re an author and have a book you’d like me to review, then please do get in touch. You can reach me on here or on Twitter, just click on the icons to the right of the page.

Thanks lovely people, and until next time, happy reading fellow bookworms.


Quick Commute Read – Book Review – Where There’s Smoke by Jodi Picoult

I’ve never read anything by Jodi Picoult before but have heard great things about her. This morning on the way to work, I realised I hadn’t picked anything out of my TBR Jar so I turned to my trusty old Kindle for commuting solace. I scrolled through looking for something fairly short to read that would cover my journey from home to work and came across this 41 page of greatness.

Where There’s Smoke by Jodi Picoult.


Where There’s Smoke follows the story of Serenity, who from a young age appears to have a ‘gift’ – she is a psychic and can see spirits and communicate with them. After a brief introduction set in 1993 we’re bought to modern day where Serenity is the host of a successful TV show where she uses her gift to help people who are grieving, or who have loved ones missing. However during a routine show one day, Serenity gives information to the Widow of a soldier, live on air, which causes great controversy. Pretty soon Serenity’s life seems to take a massive turn and seems to go from one of great happiness and indulgence to soon wondering if she’ll have anything left.

Considering it’s such a short book, Jodi did a great job of bringing the characters to life and penned a storyline that left me wanting more. I’d recommend this to people who are looking for something quick, but entertaining to read. And also read this if you plan to purchase her new book, Leaving Time, which is out on November 4th, as Serenity is a character that features in her new work, so this works great as an introduction to her, and means the next book will, hopefully, give you some resolve as to what happened after ‘Where There’s Smoke’.

Star Rating out of 5: 4.5


‘I have spent a lifetime telling the living to appreciate the people you love, because you run out of time sooner thank you think.’


If you plan to read this, or have already read it, get in touch by commenting below and let me know your thoughts.


Technology (my forgetful brain) let me down so…Currently Reading.

I had something of a nightmare after my last post, in which I displayed the next book I would be reading on my Kindle. My Kindle ran out of life juice and I couldn’t find my charger. As the battery lasts so long, I rarely charge it and I could not seem to remember where I last had it. A thorough search of the house at midnight (yes midnight) didn’t turn anything up; so when I awoke the day after I was somewhat flailing around as I didn’t have anything to keep me entertained on my 1 hour+ commute to work, so I just randomly plucked this off the shelf.

Paper Towns by John Green.


Having read The Fault in Our Stars and Looking for Alaska, I am familiar with his work and appreciate it, so I can’t wait to get into this one. As usual my fellow bibliophiles, I will post a full review upon completion. Watch this space!

Happy Friday!


Currently Reading.

Perhaps it’s quite apt that this one came out of the TBR Jar with it being October and the lead up to Halloween.

Witch Hunt by Syd Moore.


As usual I’ll post a full review when I’m done, so keep your eyes peeled. In the meantime why not follow me over at Twitter and let me know what you’re reading and enjoying at the moment?

Catch me on Twitter at: @GinaAlanaSmith

Happy reading fellow bookworms.