Me Before You – Jojo Moyes *BOOK REVIEW*

Amazed. Utterly amazed.

Never have I been so taken with a book from the off. I, being a true indie weirdo, tend to avoid ‘trendy books’, but when I saw the movie trailer on YouTube: I just had to read it.

The irony was – I’ve had this book on my shelf since 2012, buying it just after the ‘3 million  copies sold’ mark. Now, ME BEFORE YOU has sold over 5 million copies; just a few short years later.

I posted this mid-read review on my Instagram page the other day:

Me Before You @melissaholden

***MIDREAD BOOK REVIEW*** Started reading this last night after I saw my friend @melissawood1 couldn’t put it down… and now neither can I! (Which is really bad of me, as it’s been on my bookshelf for at least two years…) I was hooked on the first page: the characters are so raw and unromantic that you’re instantly intrigued.
I’m only on Chapter 5 and I’m 80% sure this will end up on my Fave List!
Don’t think it will take too long to finish this one! #mebeforeyou #bookstagram #books #booktag #bookreview #bookhaul #jojomoyes #romancereads #amreading #instareview #vintage #bookclub

I ended up staying awake until 6 am to finish the book  – and I don’t regret it one bit!

***END OF READ BOOK REVIEW*** The last time I cried this much at a book was at #theperksofbeingawallflower.

I read ME BEFORE YOU in about 9 hours… and it was worth staying up until 6am to do so. I rarely come across books that effect me, but this is a game changer.

I won’t give anything away. Just go and read it, now.

#mebeforeyou #bookstagram #books #booktag #bookreview #bookhaul #jojomoyes #romancereads #amreading #instareview #crying #stayinguplatetofinishabook

It’s been a few days since I finished reading, but I still can’t get Lou and Will out of my head. It was such a beautifully harsh story. It’s not just about love or romance: it’s about the hardships life throws at us.

It’s the only book I’ve read that tells the truth: life really isn’t fair. And sometimes, even the love of your life can’t change that.


Funnily enough – not one of my 16 Books In 2016… oops! But I have just started reading BILLY AND ME by Giovanna Fletcher.  Keep an eye out for my review!


16 Books I Want To Read in 2016

Hey guys! I know, it’s been a while… life got in the way again. But I’m back and I’m bringing books with me for a good ol’ fashion TO READ list!

I was sitting in my room yesterday, scrolling through my Amazon Book Wish List when I (suddenly) realised that I had literally no space for the books I already owned, let alone any *inevitable* future purchases. 

SO, I’ve decided to start reading the books I already owned, and coveted for so long. This list is made of books that I waited ages to buy, but never got around to reading.

And of course, because it’s 2016: there HAD to be 16 books on my to-read list. (I’ve included some interviews, book trailers and movie trailers just to keep things interesting…) So, here goes:

16 Books in 2016

Alice In Wonderland – Lewis Carroll (that’s the one on the Kindle)

Funny Girl – Nick Hornby

A Tiny Bit Marvellous – Dawn French

All I Know Now – Carrie Hope Fletcher

BINGE! – Tyler Oakley

The Amazing Book Is Not On Fire – Dan Howell/Phil Lester

The Miniaturist – Jessie Burton

Fangirl – Rainbow Rowell

Billy & Me – Giavanna Fletcher

Cloud Atlas – David Mitchell

The Shock of The Fall – Nathan Filer

Inkheart – Cornelia Funke

Collected Stories – Dylan Thomas

The Stand – Stephen King

All The Bright Places – Jennifer Niven

The Woman Who Stole My Life – Marian Keyes


Keep an eye on the tag #16BooksIn2016 on my website and Instagram for updates over the year on my reading selifes and reviews from this list! 

THE THEORY OF EVERYTHING Movie Review (Blogmas Day 4)

[Originally published this on my Readwave page.

The Theory of Everything is the purest thing I have ever seen. No exceptions. Stephen Hawking is widely known to be the greatest mind of his age, but before the release of this hidden tale; we weren’t to know about Jane.

Mrs Hawking, as she later became, is the strongest soul I have ever encountered in a story. And she’s real. She hurts and she cries. She loves another and cares for Stephen regardless. She is loyal and never spiteful.

Any woman would have stopped at the sound of “motor neuron disease”, but not Jane. She is far too stubborn to quit on the love of her life. The father of her children. The god-ignoring genius she had respected and admired from the get-go.

The Theory of Everything shows us two things:

1. Stephen Hawking is pure brilliance. 

2. Jane Hawking is the most selfless human, ever. 

She gave up her twenties, her passions – and possibly even her sanity – to care for her husband. I have no doubt she truly loved him, always has. You can see it in her eyes (I, of course am referencing an actress – but even an actor has to draw from the truth.)

When Jane Hawking wrote the book [Travelling to Infinity: The True Story Behind the Theory of Everything], she had no idea what she would be doing to a world of readers. We are all curious about the famous Brit with the American robot computer speaking his beautiful science, but little did we know: he was part of a love story.

Now, I’m sure there must be a few embellishments – as every love story must have – but there is only so much love you can fake. And she doesn’t fake a single day.

I’ve seen the film twice now, and there is one thing I can confess for sure. I’ve cried both times. Never, ever, have I felt so immersed into a film as I have with The Theory of Everything. Seeing a bio-pic of a man we have all, always, admired; played by an award-winning actor (and my own personal crush): it’s awe-inspiring.

Go see it. Now. Before your time runs out.

Me, Earl and The Dying Girl: Book review

BOOK REVIEW! (Originally published on my Instagram page:


I only started this book this morning and I’ve already finished it! I’m in a YA mood after Paper Towns, so this was perfect! It was rather surreal and the writing was real.  Real as in no attempt at love, or poetry. Just raw, honest selfish pain and emotion.


The author covers a risky subject in a risky way. There’s violence,  drugs, cancer. It’s hard hitting. I admire that amount of Real Life Bullshit Honesty. We need more writers like this. Selfish and petty and fucking brilliant. 

Add it to your To Read List. This book’s too real not to read.

A Half-Way Through Book Review | Paper Towns by John Green

I was dubious to get involved in the fandom-surrounded world that is a John Green novel, but Paper Towns intrigued me from the get-go.

For the those of you that have been living under a rock, Paper Towns is about neighbors Margo and Q going on a midnight adventure around Orlando to avenge Margo against her friends. But the next day, Margo is nowhere to be found and she chose Q to spend her last night with. Margo becomes the mystery story she craves as her friends try to track her down. But it won’t be that easy.

*Confession* although I haven’t seen the film, I have seen the Paper Towns movie trailer, so of course Cara Delevingne’s face is Margo’s face. And Q is Nat Wolff (who first came to my dewy-eyed attention in ‘Stuck In Love’.)

Amazing casting choices, and I am more than happy to have their voices in my head whilst I read Paper Towns, but I do wish I had put my blinkers on and just read the book without and intervention from movie trailers!

I am in love with Q. There, I said it! He is a fantastic character: weak, confused and utterly in love with Margo Roth Spiegelman. He’s a real teenage guy: I’Ming all night, but sticking to his dream of going to Duke University.

When Margo runs face-first back into his life, he can’t help but let go of his fears and grab Margo’s dreams head on. Margo isn’t your typical female lead character, which seems to be a theme for John Green.
Margo is strange, lonely and rebellious. She’s popular and loved, but she doesn’t care about her preppy wannabe school friends, she wants to live dangerously and enjoy the risks. She sees Orlando as what it really is: a paper town. All fake and built to please, but not strong enough to hold her down.

paper towns by john green: a review by @melissaholden94

I’m not finished reading Paper Towns yet, but I am loving it so far! I almost don’t want to reach the end because I adore Q and Margo and don’t really want to close the book on them. But let’s see how it goes!

I still won’t go anywhere near The Fault In Our Stars for fear of being beaten to death by academics, but John Green has won me over.

Miranda Shanklin | Interview With An Author

Author picAbout the Author

Miranda Shanklin resides in Central Illinois with her husband and their two children. When she is not working at her day job as a paralegal, running her children to practices or supporting them at events she is writing. She has been an avid reader most of her life and has always dreamed of writing her own books someday. Now that her children are reaching their teenage years she is finding the time to sit down and chase her dream.

Miranda loves to hear your opinions and uses the feedback to improve. You can find her on Facebook at or email her at

– Let’s here from Miranda herself! –

What got you into writing?  I have always loved reading and dreamed of writing. One day I just decided to start writing.

What’s your favourite book and why? I don’t really have a favourite. I love all kinds of books.

What’s your writing routine? I sit down at the computer and start typing.

Tea, or Coffee? Coffee, lots and lots of coffee

What got you into your particular genre of writing? I love reading paranormal romance so it made sense for me to try writing it.

souldiscovery-shanklin-ebookWhy do you love writing it? I love to write what I would love to read.

As a first time author, how are you finding the publishing process? A little overwhelming.  I have had a lot of advice and tips from other authors as I try and find my way through it all.

How many books have you written and what are they? I have one full series out. The Soul Series consists of Soul Journey, Soul Redemption, Soul Knowledge, Soul Freedom and Soul Discovery.

As a series author, do you find it hard to keep the story fresh? It can be challenging. You have to find something new for each book but it still has to relate to what happened in the previous books.

What tips can you give aspiring authors about writing a series? Have an idea of how many books you want to include and a general idea where you want them to go. It will help to make it flow better.

Is there anything controversial or different about your writing? Not that I know of .

How do you manage your time? Is it hard balancing your writing life with your working life? My life is crazy busy. I am a mother first, then a wife, then a paralegal and then a writer. I have a very delicate balance that gets thrown off all the time LOL

soulfreedom-shanklin-ebookAre you self-published or with an agent? Was this an active choice? I am self-published. It was an active choice. I don’t have anything against agents or publishing companies I just wanted to show myself that I could do it on my own.

Do you have a writing space? Tell us what it’s like! Right now my laptop is set up on my dining room table. I hope to add a small office onto the house in the next couple of years but for now I am in the middle of the house.

How do you keep motivated? I have a whiteboard with my characters and other important facts about the story that is in the dining room. Every time I walk through the house I see it and it keeps it all alive for me. My kids and husband are also very supportive and do everything they can to help me.

soulknowledge-shanklin-ebookWhat did you struggle with the most when writing your new book? I had a little trouble at first getting it to come across on the page the same as it was in my head. It took me a little while to find my writing style.

Do you have any hints/tips for my readers about writing? If you can come up with a story that you would want to read then there is nothing stopping you from trying.

Is there anything you wish you had known BEFORE you started your latest book? A better way to market my books. I am still working on that LOL

You’ve got a new book out! What’s it about? My books are about a group of witches. There is a little twist to the witching world though. There are no new witches born. The souls of each witch go through life cycles and as they get older they remember their past lives. The main characters in the story are the exemption to most of the rules due to a punishment that they have been fighting against for many lifetimes. They break free from their punishment only to find that they have now created an even bigger problem.

soulredemption-shanklin-ebookHow did you decide on cover art? Did you consult with a designer or is it all you?

I asked a fellow author about cover art and what was the best option. I have zero ability in that field. I found the cover for my first book on Paper and Sage Designs in their pre-made section. I fell in love with it and bough it. I then worked with the cover artist to custom make the other covers so that they would all stay in one theme.

Any links or websites you would like my readers to visit? My author site is; my facebook is

The Elemental – Lisa Veldkamp | Cover Reveal

Cover The ElementalTime is running out, and only the Elemental can save the world.

“My name is Catherine van Dyk. I run a private massage and coaching practice in Shoreditch, London—nothing special, you would say, and you would be right. Except something terrible is about to happen to our planet, and I’m the only one who can do something about it, so no pressure. Am I going to succeed? This time I might finally be able to control the elements. I have to. To save my life. To save all our lives.”

Catherine van Dyk is an Elemental, which means she can control earth, air, fire, and water—sort of. Catherine is trying to leave her darker days behind her, but she and her friends, who have similar abilities, must try to restore balance to our world. Whether her new neighbor Tristan can help her in that has yet to be seen. Is Tristan who he says he is? With disaster on its way and only one week to go, time is running out. For Catherine, for her friends, for all of us.



Lisa is the author of the poetry collections Nothing is Forgotten and When Words Start to Sing, and The Elemental, part I of The Fire Trilogy. This is her first short story for teenagers, The Bridge Between Yesterday and Tomorrow. She has a background in social services and music, but writing has always been a part of her daily life. One night she dreamed the outlines of The Elemental and took it as a sign from the Universe to pursue a career in writing.

She grew up in a small town in the Netherlands where her parents always taught her to think outside the box. She has a degree in social studies and joined the Order of Bards, Ovates & Druids as an adult.

Lisa loves London—according to her, “the city where magic dwells”—and can often be found there. She still resides in the Netherlands, however, with her partner and their dog, Miss Ginger Rogers, and if you’re lucky, you may find her in her favourite coffeehouse, Barista cafe.

Lisa is also a freelance copywriter for CAPSLOC, a music venue in The Netherlands, and an editor for Folk Harp Folks, a magazine published by The Dutch Folk Harp society.


I am honoured to be helping Lisa with her cover reveal! A fantastic author with a great idea!

Find out more at:

Watch the book trailer here: